Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

Totem Talk: Back to Enhancement

Matthew Rossi

Before last week, I had assumed that folks were tired of hearing me talk about enhancement as a spec. I've been focusing more on elemental because in the past I've seen a lot of comments complaining that elemental was getting short shrift from me, and also because I found the way it had been released with Wrath to be worth discussing. Frankly, elemental now is a lot more fun and pushes more DPS than it had pre-3.0.8 and I was enjoying playing with the spec.

Well, in the comments to last weeks post you informed me that, in fact, I haven't been talking about enhancement enough. At this point I put my head down and I began silently to weep. Then great, wracking sobs, followed by a scream to the heavens. Enhancement, enhancement, why have you forsaken me!?

I didn't, dumbass, I'm still right over here, you even have all the gear in your bags, just respec and we can go stormstrike things to death.

So yeah, I've respecced enhancement on my draenei. Never fear, orc boosters, I've started leveling my orc again and I'm aiming him at resto/elemental when dual specs come out. Since that bloody fist weapon in CoT won't drop for me, I had my warrior make up a Titansteel Bonecrusher for the MH and we're off to the races. Well, okay, these particular races involve hitting things in the back and setting them on fire a lot.

First up, as is often the case, please go to the Enhancement Shaman postings on Elitist Jerks if you want a lot of detail and math on your DPS as an enhancement shaman. It's an incredibly valuable resource for you. Yes, it is also an enormously long resource so as always I'll take the time to summarize and explain as best I can what it says.

One of the things to keep in mind as an enhancement shaman in the new WoTLK order of things is this: you are the most hybrid spec of possibly the most hybrid class in the game. I've said it before and I will almost certainly say it again, you are a caster/melee DPS class now if you play enhancement. You want gear with int on it, especially once you start running heroics and moving into 10/25 man raid content, thanks to Maelstrom Weapon and the ability to throw an instant cast Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning without clipping your melee swings. Maelstrom is also insanely sweet for leveling and questing... the ability to throw an instant cast Healing Wave on yourself when you're taking damage is not to be underestimated, but you won't be using it for that in a raid or instance. You'll be using it to push damage. With Maelstrom, you can throw an "Oshi.." heal on the group with Chain Heal, use Chain Lightning for limited AoE damage, or LB for single target DPS, it's an amazing ability that really adds power and flexibility to the class. I myself am not good enough to use a 4 stack MW to cast a quick spell without clipping my swings and lowering my DPS, but some shamans are capable of doing so, especially if they have two slow weapons. If you can do it, more power to you, but I recommend waiting until you have a full five stack on MW until you're really comfortable with how it works.

Feral Spirit's
pretty hot when it's up. You should be using it every cooldown. I don't really know what else to say here, it clears roots and snares, it heals you while it's up, it does pretty solid damage while the invisible wolves are biting the things you don't like. It's a good talent. Yay for Feral Spirit. Seriously, what's not to like here? Get it, love it, use it. Excellent for soloing, good in a dungeon, I for one embrace our ghostly wolf underlings. I've solo'd group quests with the proper use of this talent.

In addition to Maelstrom making us much more castery than ever, we now have the new mechanics of Lava Lash to consider. I have Glyph of Lava Lash and am 5/5 Elemental Fury, which is the recommended way to go if you intend to use flametongue on your offhand (as I do, even though it's not a particularly fast offhand) - I use a slower offhand in part because slower weapons work better with Lava Lash and in part because it's the best weapon I'll have access to until I get lucky in Naxx or buy the badge fist offhand. Lava Lash does its damage as fire, so it ignores armor, and gets more damage from the FT/Glyph setup. You can still go WF/WF and do respectable damage, and I know some shamans actually don't take Lava Lash to simplify their rotations, but I'm a huge booster of the talent and can't imagine going without it.

We should also talk about Static Shock. At present, the groups and raids I've been on as a shaman haven't had enough mana return for me to forgo Water Shield, but as soon as we get a Spriest or properly specced hunter/paladin for the 10 mans, Static Shock will be a very hard DPS talent to ignore. EJ says that it's the best use of 3 talent points in the tree

One of the things I love about the 'new' enhancement tree is that it isn't just Stormstrike - Earth Shock - Stormstrike over and over again. Since Maelstrom Weapon is somewhat unpredictable (you know it will stack to five, but you don't know exactly when that will happen) you want that to be your first priority when it is at a full five stack, then Stormstrike, Earth Shock and Lava Lash in that order.

Some shamans swear by opening with a Flame Shock and then casting Lava Burst to ensure a spell crit to proc Elemental Devastation, but I've tested this out and the loss of time clipping your swings seems to hurt your DPS. If you're going to do this, do it once at the beginning of a boss fight, don't keep doint it. You're going to get enough spell crits from your normal rotation that you don't need to try and force them and the constant casting will really bone your DPS.

Talents for enhancement really benefit from synergy with elemental, especially now that we do so much more casting than before Wrath. My current build isn't entirely satisfying... I'd prefer more points in static shock but like I said I don't get to use it as much as I'd like and I might drop points in Unleashed Rage if anyone I knew had Abomination's Might. But I love having Elemental Devastation and Elemental Fury, and I've toyed with playing around with the spec to get 1 point in Elemental Focus since then I might be more able to go into full Static Shock. I haven't tested that yet, though, and it might not work. The spec I'm considering using now is this one, depending on if I can justify losing the bonus to my windfury totems (depends on raid makeup). If not, I can always drop the points in Reverberation and make it up there.

Next week we'll talk more about specific gearing for enhancement. And I promise, a big post about resto is coming, I just want to get more healing under my belt before I do it.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr