So there Stormsoul is. Taking part in an “All but the Lady V” clear of Serpentshrine Cavern in just over 3 hours last night.
Gearwise he’s pretty much in epics. Three pieces of T4: gloves, helm, and leggings. Three more pieces of that psuedo-T5 from the badges vendor: belt, boots, shoulders. My epic bracers are from a Heroic, but the iLevel is only 110. My last blue item is the DS3 chest armor. I’ve got the best shield before Black Temple or Mount Hyjal. I’ve pretty much got the best one-hander before BT and MH. I’m nicely geared.
Seeing the damage meters last night, there were four broad groups of people. And they pretty much stayed within range of each other, and otherwise distinct from the other bands. Top Tier: Folks in some/all Tier 5 gear. My Tier: T4 or so. The Tanks. And the Healers. And we’re talking pretty large jumps in output for each band.
Now there’s Shamans above me, and below me. The Enhancement Shamans are rocking the place.* The Resto Shamans are doing their thing. And then there’s me. What do I have access to, as an Elemental, at this stage in the content? There is no +Spell Damage mail armor. None. Not in SSC, not in TK. There are no +Spell Damage weapons that a Shaman can use, and no +Spell Damage shield a Shaman could use. I can get the T5 tokens now and otherwise badges gear by running Karazhan. (Which folks don’t want to do except maybe gearing alts and new folks, new folks getting priority.)
But the Shamans above me and the Shamans below me have twice the gear options. The Enhancement Shamans have all the +Attack Power Hunter gear that drops in SSC/TK to improve themselves with, in addition to their T5 pieces. The Resto Shammys have all the +Healing gear that drops in SSC/TK in addition to their T5 pieces. As an Elemental Shaman I have to compete with them for the T5 pieces, and they have access to other pieces. That appears to be a distinct decision on Blizzards part. And to that I ask “What the hell, Blizz. Again???”
1-60 you went Enhancement to level up. Blizzard admits that. 60-70 is also Enhancement, though you do have access to the DS3 gear, which is either +Spell Damage (Tidefury) or +Attack Power (Desolation). There was also the +Spell Damage (psuedo-Earthfury) and +Healing (psuedo-Ten Storms) in the Normals and Heroics. Ah, so Blizzard expects 60-70 to be open to any Shaman type. There’s +Healing mail, +Attack Power mail (not just for hunters because they have their own too), *and* +Spell damage mail drops and quest rewards.
But once you hit Karazhan it’s either +Attack Power, +Healing, or the Tier gear. Which means twice the opportunities to gear up an Enhancement Shaman and the Resto Shaman versus an Elemental Shaman. That’s Karazhan, and now SSC/TK. They get regular drops, and the Tier token drops to gear up with. Elemental only get Tier token drops.
It’s wierd. I’m actually banking +AP gear from SSC now for an Enhancement set. I’ve probably got an all epics set for Enhancement now. It’s just too wierd why the gear drops in this fashion. It’s almost like Blizzard expects the end-content Shaman to be either Enhancement or Restoration. Not Elemental.
Damn it. DID I MISS THE MEMO AGAIN??!
*Too, there’s three kinds of mobs in SSC that really keep an Elemental Shaman from damage output. One is the Damage Immune mob. Half of the Hydross fight is against a nature resistant Boss and his adds. Half of the fight I’m dropping flame shocks and magma totems. My damage output on that fight is pretty bad.
Then there’s the silencing trash mob. No matter how far back, I’m getting silenced, and the tremor totem is no cure for it. Over and over.
Then there’s the spell reflecting mob. Great. The Naga is loaded up with so many dots I fail to notice the little one that looks like a moonfire dot with a counter on it. Spell reflect. (The guardians in Karazhan have this, but that’s just one of three modes they can be in, and there aren’t that many of them.)
How does this affect an Enhancement Shaman? Really rather little. How does this affect me? Very much so.
I seriously hope The Eye in Tempest Keep isn’t more of the same. Otherwise it’ll be “Goodbye Elemental spec, hello Enhancement spec.
I’ve got a question for you guys. What’s it like for Shamans in your end-game raids? What do you see as the “best spec for end-game?”