So I’ve observed what search results have turned up my page and figure it’s about time I toss out my ideas on elemental, how it works, etc.:
Spec: Mine is odd because I’m a whore for Improved Ghost Wolf. I also have Elemental Warding maxed out to help reduce incoming raid damage; I honestly believe that talent has saved my hide a couple of times while working on Firefighter. With 3.3, I will have to shift 2 points into Improved Fire Nova when the patch goes live, which may mean I have to lose my beloved insta-cast GW. 😦 I’m currently waiting to see if there will be any other changes made before I finalize a spec.
Gear/gemming: 4 piece T9 is money. Just picked up the rest of my T9 last night and the 4 piece is VERY noticable. Consistent 11-12k LvB crits are delicious. Reach hit cap first (289 for raids if you have a shadow priest or boomkin; 367 otherwise), then stack spell power, haste, then crit in that order. Gemming is pretty easy; Chaotic Skyflare for meta, which will require 2 Glowing Dreadstones in your gear. Put those 2 in items you can get a spell power socket bonus from, preferrably a bonus of 7 or more spell power. For the rest of your blue sockets, as well as all red sockets, stack Runed Cardinal Rubies, and if you have yellow socket items that give a bonus aside from spell power, toss rubies in those, too. If the yellows do grant spell power, you can toss Reckless Ametrines in them.
Glyphs: Note to self, replace ToW glyph with Lava. Lightning Bolt is a given (4% more damage on your most used spell), and with the recent changes, Flame Shock still remains as a glyph, unless you still have 2 piece Tier 8, in which you won’t need the FS glyph. In that case, you can drop FS for Lava.
We elemental shaman have had fun throughout this expansion with our itemization…and by fun, I mean it’s been a rollercoaster ride. I remember my early days at level 80 where every gem slot I had possessed a gem with hit on it. Dying Curse was the be-all-end-all of trinkets for quite some time. During 3.1’s PTR, we (the elemental shaman community as a whole) were flabbergasted at how our Tier 8 (when first revealed) had almost as much MP5 on it as the T8 for our resto counterparts. For those not in the loop about how elemental works…we don’t need MP5 on our gear at all. The problem, though, is that a lot of caster shaman mail non-set pieces have MP5 on them…so getting optimal gear has been a pain in the ass for us. Perfect example: Look at my armory. I’m still rocking ilvl 213 items from Naxx 10/25 and Malygos 10, even with 3.2 just having released. I have had my boots since last December, the mace since February (Vezax 10 HM likes our rogues), and the bracer since around March (yet to kill Hodir 25 HM). Fortunately, the new Coliseum raid does have some upgrades available for 2 of those 3 items, and even though I’m at the point that I will have hit rating running out of my ears, I would gladly take the caster dagger from the Northrend Beasts encounter just for the massive amount of spell power I would gain. Sadly, I’ve had the absolute worst luck with weapon drops, and whenever something I could use does drop, it has either spirit or MP5 on it, thus rendering part of the item budget nigh-worthless. There isn’t a mail caster belt upgrade in the Coliseum from the one off Razorscale, and we look like we will be sticking to ilvl 226 rings also. The Hodir 25 HM bracer remains BIS also.
Of course, this is without dancing with the idea that I can use leather and even cloth caster dps items…but seriously, that is not fair to druids or all the cloth-only classes. Sure, there are crafted leather/cloth items we could opt for (sup Sash of Ancient Power), but is it too much for us to ask to have caster mail that’s well-itemized for elemental (re: No MP5 on it)? With off set items, this wouldn’t be a big deal, because our resto brethren would be happy to pick those pieces up if we elementals have them or have better already; they would serve as pure throughput pieces for resto, which can be very handy in many situations. Elementals won’t touch mail gear with MP5 unless it has a stupid amount more spell power on it than our non-MP5 item (example: my mace vs. the one from Razorscale 25, which I’ve opted to take if no healers needed it, which has not been the case).
Our Tier 9, in addition to looking sexy (at least on the real shaman race, Orcs :P), has spot-on itemization a la our revamped T8. Touching on one of my previous posts, though…we’re going to have hit rating running out of every pore. The ilvl 245 set (from Coliseum 25 regular mode) has 239 hit rating on it from 3 of the 5 pieces (the other 2 have no hit, but jeez…they don’t need to). With the ilvl 245 dagger, we’re one spellpower/hit gem away from hit cap, pretty much. A good problem to have that can be worked around much easier than all the gear with MP5, though.
One addition with the 3.2 patch that I overlooked is that you can now gain xp by doing battlegrounds. I was reminded of it by the following post:
With the XP numbers being posted there, I’m convinced that leveling via pvp is a viable alternative to going through the quest grind for the umpteenth time. For long time players such as myself (I’ve done every quest in the game at least once; I would guess at least 3 times for every quest, and dozens of times for low level quests/zones), this is WONDERFUL. Yeah, sure, I’d be plodding around in the same BGs that have existed for years now, but I would find leveling to be a LOT more fun when it involves pwning the opposite faction in some pvp action. Beats the hell out of “Collect 15 bear pelts that have a 10% drop rate for no logical reason other than to annoy the piss out of you” quests that I’ve already done before.
Some downsides: The heirloom xp bonus doesn’t apply (not that big of a deal), plus you’d miss out on rep gains from turning in quests. Regarding the latter, if you are desperate for rep, going back and working on Loremaster when you are 80 (as I did a couple of months back) will net you all the rep you could ever need, and then some.
Twinks are crying because their queue times have shot up to ridiculous levels, but really…not many of us care anymore. I’ve been that guy that has a decently geared character that wants to pvp with friends, only to get steamrolled by someone who’s sitting at x9 in the bracket with all sorts of crazy ass gear/enchants just so they can slaughter people. Well, no more. The xp via battlegrounds option is one of the better things that has been added to wow in a long time. I’m not looking to level another alt any time soon, but if I do, I’m sooo going to be pounding it out in BGs.
So I leave for a week’s vacation to a location without internet access and what does Blizzard do? They release patch 3.2, of course. I honestly didn’t expect 3.2 to be live until later this month, but based on how buggy the release was (Ysera was pretty much down all of Tuesday and into Wednesday, from what I’ve gathered), the vacation timing was perfect.
While chilling at the airport in Atlanta during a 4 hour layover, I went about downloading and patching the game. Got home and started checking stuff out. I’m loving the heck out of the new totem bar that has been implemented, and the Call spells (for dropping up to 4 totems at once) is one of the bigger shaman changes in several years, IMO. I may see if I can run TotemTimers along with this new bar, because I do miss TT for using the lesser-used totems (resist totems, for example).
I thought I would hate the changes to Wintergrasp, but so far it seems ok. I like how I can queue for it in Dal, leave, then get ported once the battle begins. Beats having to sit around the portal room with a thumb up my ass (not literally, mind you) for 10 or whatever minutes. I have all the new items for my shaman…now to farm tokens on my warrior, heh. I’m bittersweet about being able to fly in WG when the battle isn’t going; it’s gonna make achievements such as Wintergrasp Ranger a PITA to obtain. I suppose it gives the zone more of a world PVP flavor, though, where you have to contend with folks dropping in on you from above to attempt to gank you (Ysera is a PVE server, FYI).
The new 5 man dungeon, Trial of the Champion, boggles me. Here we have a fairly simple dungeon that churns out some pretty damn good loot and doesn’t take very long to run. Heroic mode drops are on par with Ulduar 10 items, while folks can farm it on regular for some pretty decent starter epics, especially some of the trinkets (I want the tank trinket for both of my plate wearers, heh). Sadly, I’m looking forward to (hopefully) getting the caster dagger from heroic mode for my shaman; Ulduar was a total disappointment with all of 2 weapons properly itemized for elemental (I’m discounting the legendary mace for obvious reasons). The weapon drops in heroic make for good starting weapons for those of us with alts that were stuck with, say, Titansteel weapons. All the ArP gear from there has the inner warrior within me licking his chops (I’ve picked up the bracer from there already).
So far I’m pleased with the patch. Only disappointment I have is the gate lockout mechanism on the raid content; basically, no one will be able to fully clear the new raid until September. I suppose they’re doing that to leave us a couple more weeks of running Ulduar to tie up any loose ends left there.
I was a long time raider as a warrior, dating back from limited experience in vanilla to the first half of TBC. I never thought of myself as a super-dee-duper warrior. Good, yes, but not great (I hold that stance with shaman, also, along with paladin). I’m not a braggart; I only brag in jest.
Over the months, I’ve repeatedly heard the comments of “I wish you still played your warrior” from a few guildmates. I figured it was for nostalgia’s sake, but no…the general response would be something along the lines of “You have sunder on your bar”, heh. One would think an elemental shaman would give two flying shits about sunder armor…but the warrior within cries at night when he hears other warriors having to be prodded by officers/raid leaders to slap sunders on a boss.
There are three debuffs that a warrior should have up on a raid boss: Sunder Armor, Demoralizing Shout, and Thunder Clap. Protection spec warriors get dibs on Thunder Clap, because they have a talent that increases the attack speed slow effect from 10% to 20%; tanking druids and paladins have abilities that can also apply this effect, so for a DPS warrior, there will be very rare occasions where TC is used. Demo Shout can be increased in effectiveness by talents in the fury tree, but fury warriors now have most all their points spent elsewhere to increase personal DPS; I believe feral druid’s Demo Roar can match the effects of Improved Demo Shout, though. That aside, a warrior should be keeping demo shout up regardless, unless there’s said feral druid with improved demo roar. With 3.2, Ret paladin’s Vindication will also accomplish the same effect as Demo Shout/Roar (tooltip in the link is erroneous).
Now, for the debuff that everyone loves: Sunder Armor. It does not matter what spec warrior you are…make sure Sunder is stacked on a boss ASAP!!! When it’s up, do what it takes to make certain sunder does NOT fall off. A stack of sunders is possibly the most powerful buffs/debuffs in the game in terms of increasing damage done. It benefits not only the warrior putting them up, but it helps fellow warriors, rogues, hunters, enhance shaman, feral druids, DKs (especially blood DKs like my guildmate Valdarion, and ret paladins. There’s bound to be a mix of several of the aforementioned classes/specs in most every raid. Sunder armor makes them happy in special places. Make it happen.
Being the only warrior in a raid can be interesting. With arms, you’re hitting some sort of special on nearly every GCD available, so putting debuffs up can make for a fun time…but it’s completely doable and should be done, even if you miss out on a execute/OP proc. The benefit for the raid that refreshing the sunder stack makes will FAR exceed the damage from that one execute/OP. Fury has a bit more leeway with GCD to where it is easier to keep debuffs up/refreshed; with BT/WW on cd and HS not causing GCD, there a minimum 2-3 second window where debuffs can be applied.
Based on our our DPS has performed the past 2 nights in Ulduar, we need every single edge we can get. I personally have started to believe that I may have to look at leveling a “pure dps” alt, since elemental DPS is still a ways behind, per Blizzard (sadly, I don’t have a link). I’m here to win, so I’ll do what it takes, but I believe the dps and utility I provide is sufficient enough…for now.
So I’m going about my morning ritual of checking out various WoW-related websites to pick up on any news/updates on goings-on with the game. I hopped over to my usual first stop, MMO-Champion, since it tends to be updated quicker than most other sites (hooray for Euros living in the near future). Today’s update: New item level 245 and 258 PVP weapons.
Upon first glace, I get the typical “kid-in-a-candy-store” tingly feeling…”Oh wow, these new weapons are AWESOME!!! Then I look at the stats closely…and it dawns on me that “Whoa, these new 2H weapons have 80-100 more DPS than the first level 80 epics” and “The ilvl 258 1H weapons have more DPS than 2H weapons from Ulduar 10” and “The caster daggers have 50-70% more spellpower than the first level 80 epics“…and it makes me concerned. Seriously, how the hell will new level 80s (especially new mains) compete at this point?
I reminisce back to the days of vanilla WoW, where I (playing my original warrior) was so stoked to get my Arcanite Reaper (HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!) crafted , then 1-2 months later I obtained The Unstoppable Force , thinking I was the shit, only to go up against folks with Ashkandi and GM/HWL weapons. Sure, I had decent gear, and on occasions I could beat those that outgeared me, but if they had any inkling of how to play, they would generally beat me.
The arms race is starting to look more and more like it did in vanilla, where it’s a microcosm of capitalism. You have the haves (which obtained T2/2.5/3 back in Vanilla, or today would have these ilvl 245/258 items), and the have-nots, wielding such weapons as the Titansteel Destroyer, are pitted against the haves. Players with the skill to obtain the ilvl 258 weapons would most likely smoke the guy with ilvl 200/213 weapons, even if both players had the same gear.
Maybe the new weapons will become a necessity, though; healers in pvp are approaching the point (once again) where they are nigh-unkillable. When I played resto at the end of TBC, I managed to farm up all the gear possible from BGs (S2 set with S3 off pieces and S4 gloves), it would take no less than 3 people focus firing me in order to kill me. In the meantime, those 3 people are getting beat down by teammates of mine while I “tank” the opposing players, heh. It was times like that when the OP “burst” that people whined about 3-4 months ago would’ve been nice, but now burst is starting to lose it’s edge some as people get more pvp gear. I have yet to look into the new resil changes, though.
Somewhat related: Why must all the decent pvp gear require a player to compete in arena? I personally loathe arena and would much rather just play around in BGs and Wintergrasp. It’s a good thing I raid, or else I would still be rocking a Titansteel Guardian (sad thing is that the TS guardian isn’t much worse than my current weapon for pvp). I don’t see why the previous arena season’s weapons (as of this post, the Deadly Gladiator weapons) weren’t tossed on the honor vendor, a la TBC; this time around, the weapons were completely removed. I have a hunch they may remove Furious weapons when 3.2 hits.
I suppose I will have to settle with being a have-not in pvp.