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Totem Talk: Halls of Stone and Lightning, CoT Stratholme

Matthew Rossi

Gear! Let us continue our discussion of gear in five man instances, for we are shamans, and we have more interesting things to talk about. Like love. Or DPS. I like talking about DPS more than love, to be honest, I'm not specced for love with anyone but my wife. (She's a very specific boss in this regard.) Healing's good too, we could also talk about that. I found myself healing a Halls of Stone/Lightning run (is anyone else noticing that they end up running more instances back to back in Wrath?) in enhancement spec (resto gear) the other day, and I freely admit I wished I was resto several times on that run. Well, we made it through, anyway. But a HoT would have been very nice on Ionar. Can I just say now how very much I hate Ionar? A lot. Healing that fight without Riptide is pretty agonizing, especially when you don't have Nature's Swiftness or Earth Shield as well. The tank had to heal himself a couple of times. Lesson learned: it's just more fun to heal as resto. Oh, please let dual specs come soon, Santa.

As I'm inching up the levels on the shammy and considering if I want to raid on him (I've been considering raiding as resto or enhance, haven't decided yet) I'm looking to the Storm Peaks instances as a source for upgrades. What can we find there? I've also begun making forays to the Culling of Stratholme in prep for when I start running it over and over again on heroic for the fist weapon. I mean, for no reason at all! There's no fist weapon here! Don't even run the instance! (Whew, I think they bought it.)

Halls of Stone

So let's talk about what drops for us shamans in the Halls of Stone. First off, and I tried to lose the roll with good grace since I'm not currently specced resto, there's the Chain of Fiery Orbs. I don't know if I pulled that off or not, but man it hurt to see that go to the cat druid for offspec. Do they even use MP5? I haven't seen the Hollow Geode Helm drop yet, as Krystallus seems to drop the plate hat with remarkable frequency. I did get lucky and picked up the Linked Armor of the Spheres, though. Yay me! Finally an upgrade to my previous chestplate. It was getting pretty moldy. I haven't seen the Embrace of Sorrow drop yet either. I am a panda weeping in the snow. Won't you give me some bamboo and a physical DPS cloak with hit on it? Please? Because it feels like elemental shamans get somewhat boned on the drops in here, I present you with a leather chestplate that has good elemental statistics. There's cloth in here too, but I'm not going to waste your time with the piece with spirit on it.

What about heroic drops, you say? There are quite a few. First I wanted to mention The Prospector's Prize with its... creative? Let's say creative itemization. Baffling would also be a word we could use. Frankly, I'm a little surprised we don't see items like this more, with the changes to hit unifying physical and spell hit rating. You could easily forsee a use for this ring as enhancement, elemental or restoration (although resto's not going to care about the hit, they probably are going to like the haste). I present it as is and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

I apologize for once again giving you leather, elemental shamans. You can't argue with those stats, though. Heck, how would you even go about it? "You fail to see the flaw in your rhetoric, Intellect!" It would be odd. The Spark of Life is a trinket with a huge dose of haste and an interesting MP5 mechanic, similar to the Memento of Tyrande.The Sabatons of the Ages are (yay!) caster mail with DPS stats, although some very good resto shamans I know swear by haste. Raging Construct Bands, meanwhile, are for the 'punch it till it dies" shaman in your life. The Maiden of Grief drops a leather belt that elemental shamans may be interested in (or even resto shamans who went with talents that proc off of crits like Ancestral Awakening) - casters may also be interested in the Lightning-Charged Gloves, although the MP5 certainly seems to say healing. Finally, enhancement will be drooling over the Leggings of the Stone Halls. Crit-tastic.

Halls of Lightning

Like I said, I often find myself doing both of these instances back to back. It's happened at least four times now, since neither is terribly long unless you start wiping a lot.

On normal, I picked up the Bjarngrim Family Signet because no one else wanted it, which kind of surprised me. Even if you're meh on haste, it's a very solid ring. I did not pick up the Cape of Seething Steam when it dropped, but I didn't mind seeing it go to the elemental shaman on that run, it's a nice cape for them. I have yet to see the Kilt of Molten Golems drop, though. Panda in the snow, folks, panda in the snow. Meanwhile, the Leather-Braced Chain Leggings dropped and dropped and dropped like rain from the sky when I was tanking this instance on the warrior. Haven't seen them once on the shaman. Blizz, you are hilariously cruel sometimes. My wifels hunter is sporting a pair of Tornado Cuffs, so of course I do not have them. And as always I hesitate to link cloth, but sometimes I make an exception and Volkhan's Hood seems worthy of one.

What does heroic HoL have for us, besides a hilarious in-joke for old RP'ers? I'm glad you asked. Yes, you did ask. I clearly heard you ask. What do you mean I can't hear you at all considering that I'm writing this post hours before you read it and I'm not sitting in your room watching you read it and listening to what you say as you do? You're ruining this for me.

Anyway, caster shamans might be on the lookout for the Winged Talisman (very nice for resto or fights where DPS needs to concern itself with mana), the Woven Bracae Leggings (cloth, yes, but very nice for elemental), the Mail Girdle of the Audient Earth, the Patroller's War-Kilt (mail! Castery mail! DPS mail, even!) and possibly the Giant-Hair Woven Gloves. Physical DPS items include the Cord of Swirling Winds, and the Shroud of Reverberation (expertise!)

Caverns of Time: The Culling of Stratholme

Prince Arthas Menethil. Former heir of Lordaeron, fallen paladin, now the Lich King. And not only am I not allowed to Stormstrike him in the back of the head, I have to stop other people from doing so. Life's just not fair sometimes. It's just my bad luck that there's a decent assortment of shaman gear in here.

On normal, we've got the Beguilding Scepter for caster shamans, the Gauntlets of Dark Conversion for casters (but probably resto over elemental), the Kilt of Sewn Flesh for elemental (yeah, it's leather), the thankfully mail Ouroboros Belt, (edit - it is in fact leather, I was just hallucinating out of sheer desire) the Sempiternal Staff for you synonym lovers out there (a very caster DPS stick, I think) and Soul Preserver, a healing trinket. Enhancement shamans will be interested in the Waistband of the Thuzadin, the Treads of Altered History, and the Necklace of the Chrono-Lord.

Nothing special drops here on Heroic. In fact, shamans, don't run heroic CoT. It's a complete waste of your time. There's certainly no fist weapon here you might want. Just go ahead and log off now. I mean, I can't think of a single shaman drop of any interest in heroic CoT. Tell you what, I'll run the instance so that you don't have to. No, don't thank me, I'm just that selfless.

Next week: Utgarde Pinnacle and the Oculus, and the heroic drops from Utgarde Pinnacle and the Nexus.

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