Elemental Shaman Gearing: Pre-Heroics

23 01 2009

  In the further interest of good community service for the Elemental Community at large, I’m working to make up some checklists and targets for quick reference gearing; this is part one.

  I’d like to clarify with this particular list, I’m selecting items based on a few qualifiers. While items are primarily based on the stats accorded by them, I also weighted the ease of acquisition when forming the list. Thus, it’s not entirely a “best in slot, pre-heroic” list, so much as it is representative of an easy-to-attain gearing list that you can put together quickly and (relatively) cheaply from the Auction House and some quest rewards. I’m more or less going on the rationale that heavy investment into anything at this point is irrelevant, as it’s all likely to be replaced quickly. I stuck with mail as well, though there are certainly spots that a cloth or leather piece may suffice. Call me a purist.

  I also avoided placing any Exalted Faction rewards on the list, as players in this stage aren’t likely to have any reputations at that level. there are a few Revered rewards dotting the list, and I’m actually a bit reticent to even place those, but what the heck. Without further ado, here’s your Elemental Shaman Starter Kit ™ shopping list:

Head: Battle Mender’s Helm (Argent Crusade Revered) *or* Nightshock Hood (Leatherworking BOE)

Enchant with either Wyrmrest or Kirin Tor Revered Head Glyph, if available depending on need, Kirin Tor preferred. If these are n/a, use Sha’tar (preferred) head enchant or Thrallmar. Failing that, slap a +Stamina Armor Kit on there for filler.

Verdict: Easy to obtain pieces, especially the crafted one as crafters who are skilling up sell these for next to nothing, and the buyers market is narrow. The head glyph will probably cost you more than the helm by a lot.

Neck: Emeline’s Locket (Icecrown Quest) *or* Titanium Spellshock Necklace (Jewelcrafting BOE)

Verdict: The Locket is on part 2 of a 2-deep 5 Man Group Quest, and easy to get. If you happen to be a Jewelcrafter, or have a JC alt, then the crafted neck is affordable enough to justify. I listed in the secondary position for this as it can be cost-prohibitive. Either one can be gemmed with a spellpower /crit gem or a spellpower / hit rating gem.

Shoulder: Epaulets of Market Row (Auction House) *or* Stormforged Shoulders (Halls of Lightning reward for quest chain)

Enchant With: Sons of Hodir enchant if you can (Inscription of the Storm), or Inscriptor-only upgrade if that’s your profession. Failing that, Aldor / Scryer shoulder chants, or a Stamina Armor Kit in the absence of any of those.

Verdict: The Market Row shoulders are always in stock and cheap on the AH. While not ideal Elemental gear (more at Restoration), the +Spellpower is nice and a healthy dose of MP5 somewhere in your gear is a good thing. Stormforged is the reward for offing Loken; they do have +crit, but the Intellect number is kind of low.

Back: Deathchill Cloak (Tailoring BOE) *or* Dark Soldier Cape (Ebon Blade – Honored) *or* Bloodbane’s Fall (Icecrown Quest)

Enchant with: one of the +haste enchants (+15 or +23); the lesser one is very affordable for mats.

Verdict: Despite the lack of attributes, the auxiliary stats on the Deathchill Cloak are excellent and it is reasonably affordable if you gather the mats and find a crafter. The one thing that it lacks is +hit, which is a hard to find stat on Elemental gear. As a low-rep piece, the Dark Soldier Cape fill that need quite well. Either piece is preferable to Bloodbane’s Fall, but it does have some healthy +crit and it’s free.

Chest: Revenant’s Breastplate (Leatherworking BOE) *or* Chestguard of Unwanted Success (Icecrown quest chain)

Enchant with: MP5, either the cheapie +6 one from BC or the more expensive +8. Depends on how much cash you want to drop, but the +6 should serve fine.

Verdict: It’s not entirely ideal from the standpoint that it’s haste over crit, but the stats provided on the Revenant’s piece are very high. Add to that, as stated before, Elemental Shaman gear is stupid cheap on the AH and it makes a lot of sense. The quest piece is from the “Ring of Blood” style event that’s fairly deep into Icecrown questing. It’s got crit, but it’s ultimately inferior.

Wrist: Bands of the Sky Ring (Auction House) *or* Dragonflayer Seer’s Bindings (Auction House)

Enchant with: +Spellpower Leatherworking emboss if you have it, or +23 spellpower enchant otherwise.

Verdict: Bands of the Sky Ring are superior in every aspect, though marginally rarer on the AH. Neither one ever sells for much though, so be patient and get the good ones.

Hands: Gauntlets of the Windreaver (Storm Peaks quest) *or* Grips of the Warming Heart (Auction House)

Enchant with: Blasting is better (greater if you have the mats, BC version otherwise), or you may opt for straight + spellpower or even Precision. I prefer the crit.

Verdict: The Windreaver gloves are superior, but then again quest chains can be a menace. The AH gloves are always there, and always cheap. Outside of a total lack of stamina, they aren’t too bad, either.

Waist: Nightshock Girdle (Leatherworking BOE) *or* Chained Belt of Remembrance (Icecrown quest)

Enchant with: get an Eternal Belt Buckle and stick a spellpower / crit or spellpower / hit rating gem in it.

Verdict: Don’t waste your time on the quest belt, it’s inferior and more difficult to get. Again, there is more supply than demand for the BOE one, so take advantage of that.

Legs: Dark Nerubian Leggings (Leatherworking BOE) *or* Scavenged Feathery Leggings (Frenzyheart Revered)

Enchant with: Azure Spellthread, or Sapphire if you’ve got money to burn. Personally, I wouldn’t spend too much as the pre-heroic options make this one of your weakest slots and there are about 4 different upgrade possibilities that drop in heroics.

Verdict: You probably don’t have the Frenzyheart rep (but if you do, theirs are the better item). Take the cheapie BOE ones and look for an upgrade.

Feet: Revenant’s Treads (Leatherworking BOE) *or* Scaled Boots of Fallen Hope (Gundrak non-chain quest)

Enchant with: Icewalker all the way. Cheap mats, nice bonuses.

Verdict: Again, market saturation means cheap epics. On top of that, you probably won’t replace these until well into Naxxramas. Buy the mats and find a crafter, it’s well worth it.

Rings: Ring of Temerity (Oculus non-chain quest) *or* Voodoo Signet (Gundrak non-chain quest) *or* Ring of Northern Tears (Jewelcrafting BOE)

Enchant with: Spellpower, but only if you’re an Enchanter.

Verdict: The Oculus ring is amazing, the only roadblock being that it seems people hate to run Oculus. The Voodoo Signet is one that you’ll hold onto for a bit when you need more +hit in a Raid set, and the crafted one – while absent attribute stats – has some nice auxiliary stats and a blue socket (crit / MP5 or hit / MP5).

Trinkets: Cannoneer’s Fuselighter (Icecrown quest) *or* Badge of the Infiltrator (Zul’Drak quest) *or* Rune of Infinite Power (Dragonblight quest)

Verdict: The Fuselighter is great; the only sticking point to it would be if you are primarily Resto in which case the Cannoneer’s Morale is a better choice for the quest reward. The Badge of the Infiltrator is a nice, easy-to-get trinket that will augment some base stats, while the Rune of Infinite Power is a good one to hang onto for Raiding later. I still use that one, personally, in combination with the Mark of the War Prisoner from Heroic Violet Hold as +hit is not very well itemized in Elemental gear.

Weapon: Flameheart Spell Scalpel (Kirin Tor Revered) *or* Gavel of the Brewing Storm (Wyrmrest Accord Revered) *or* Totemic Purification Rod (Kalu’ak Revered) *or* Screw-Sprung Fixer-Upper (Amphitheater of Anguish) *or* Saronite Spellblade (Blacksmithing BOE)

Enchant with: +50 spellpower. At this stage, +63 is just a waste of mats.

Verdict: There are a lot of Revered-level goodies in there that may not be options for you, so I listed weapons in descending order, best to worst. Pick the earliest one that’s obtainable and run with it, you’ll likely find an upgrade soon anyhow.

Shield: Bulwark of Redemption (Icecrown quest) *or* Tharon’ja’s Aegis (Drak’Tharon drop) *or* Saronite Protector. Honorable mention: Zom’s Crackling Bulwark (Auction House)

Enchant with: +24 Intellect

Verdict: I put Zom’s on the list because it’s an item that just seems to be hanging out in the AH a lot lately and may be available for less than 1000g if you’re lucky. It has better attribute stats, higher spellpower and ridiculous MP5 – but it’s more suited for Resto. Still, it’s a good choice that will serve you well until you get into Naxx – but only if you can get it at the right price for your budget. Otherwise, the Bulwark of redemption is a really solid choice and comes in the whole Banshee line of quests. Tharon’ja’s is slightly more Elemental suited, but depends on getting the last boss in Drak’Tharon to drop it for you. The crafted one is your fallback, easily obtained by anyone for a starter set but definitely the weak sister of the group.

      ***********************************

  Again, this set should be fairly easy for anyone to piece together and won’t break the bank. While certainly not on par with Heroic drops (in most cases), it will definitely allow you to put out some very competitive DPS numbers once you start running, and you’ll likely be upgrading slots with some frequency at that point.

  I had an earlier question about spell rotations, so this is probably as good a time as any to place it somewhere; while I’m at it, the rest of the Elemental peripherals as well.

  Glyphs: Minors don’t really impact you. Water Shield (+1 orb) is very handy, and most people fill the other 2 with Water Walking and Water Breathing. Yay for no reagents! As to Majors, the Flametongue Weapon one is excellent (+2% crit). Flame Shock (longer duration, and not consumed by Lava Burst) is recommended as well for a pure Elemental build, and round it all out with either Glyph of Chain Lightning (+1 more target), Glyph of Water Mastery (30% more MP5 from Water Shield) or Glyph of  Lava (+10% spellpower bonus to Lava Burst). I lean towards the MP5 one, but if mana is a non-issue then pick from one of the others. Currently, the Glyph of Lightning Bolt is -10% to mana cost, but reports are that it will go to +4% damage in the future, in which case it looks like that may be the better choice.

  Totems: Barring situational needs, Totem of Wrath, Mana Spring Totem, Wrath of Air Totem and Stoneskin Totem will be in the best interests of the party during 5-mans. If no Death Knight (with Horn of Winter) is present and there is a good physical DPS presence, trade out Stoneskin for Strength of Earth if the Tank can stand to take the hit. Outside of that, just pay attention for situational bosses that can be made easier with a totem like Poison Cleansing Totem or Tremor Totem. 90% of the time, you’ll just lay the same 4 over and over again, though.

  Self-buffs: Flametongue Weapon and Water Shield should always be up. Beyond that, food and pots / flasks are up to you. I tend to think that Elemental Shamans get more return from crit / stam food than from spellpower / stam food. If you elect to use potions, try to do so in order to augment weaker areas (notably +hit) before falling back on raw Spellpower or Intellect.

  Spell Rotation: The central ideas are simple here. Keep Flame Shock ticking as long as possible, Lava Burst every time the cooldown is up, and stuff as many Chain Lightnings as cooldowns permit in between. If you have Flame Shock glyphed, it’s easier to maintain than otherwise. Myself, I flip back to Resto so often that I don’t and thus it takes some monitoring. Spell rotation is also going to vary based on haste, so you’ll have to try it out a few times to see what you can get away with. Assuming a more or less standard level of haste, and a Flame Shock glyph is present, you’ll likely have to go through separate “between Burst” rotations in order to manage you Chain Lightning to it’s fullest, plus the Flame Shock renewal. Near as I can figure, it will take 3 Lava Bursts or so until the pattern repeats… something like this:

Flame Shock -> Lava Burst -> Chain Lightning -> Lightning Bolt -> Lightning Bolt -> Chain Lightning  -> Lightning Bolt (end part 1 of 3 in cycle)

Lava Burst -> Lightning Bolt -> Chain Lightning -> Flame Shock -> Lightning Bolt -> Lightning Bolt (end part 2 of 3)

Lava Burst -> Chain Lightning -> Lightning Bolt -> Lightning Bolt -> Chain Lightning  -> Lightning Bolt(end part 3 of 3, and start over)

  Net casting time will vary; Flame Shock is on a GCD of 1 second, Lava Burst and Chain Lightning a base of 1.5 seconds and Lightning Bolt a base of 2.0 (all after talents). Assuming a nominal 13% Haste (5% from Wrath of Air, and 8% from gear), that makes the following:

  • Flame Shock : Still at 1 sec GCD
  • Lava Burst, Chain Lightning: 1.305
  • Lightning Bolt : 1.74

  So, segment 1 = a total of 10.135 seconds beginning to end with ~7.83 seconds elapsed from the conclusion of the first lava burst to the one coming on the second segment. You may have to wait a smidge for that cooldown if you’re on top of your casts and pushing them pretty tight together.

  Segment 2 = a total of 8.83 seconds, beginning to end, with 7.525 seconds between the conclusion of Lava Burst and the one incoming on segment 3.

  Segment 3= 9.135 elapsed time, with 7.83 again before the end of this cycle; however the process starts over with the first segment after the conclusion of this, which is +1 second for the new Flame Shock, so you should be ok.

  Elapsed time for total cycle: 28.1 for 19 casts, with a possible need to hesitate for a split second before the second or third Lava Burst. Entirely possible to macro a cast sequence, though the amount of characters will likely necessitate that you make a macro for each stage. It’s impractical for movement fights, but on something like Patchwerk or Loatheb, this can guarantee that you’re maxxing out your cooldowns and using your highest return spells as frequently as possible.

  Also, I’m sure that my math is somewhat off, so feel free to correct me… but you get the general idea!

review note #1: ok, on review when I got home from work and looked at cast times, I think I’m waaaaaaaaay slow on LB. I’ll get around to a proper numerical representation soon, though the rotations should be more or less correct.

review note #2: updated the numbers and rotations somewhat, I think it’s more in line with proper cast / cooldown mechanics and should reasonably approximate a rotation. Again, the spirit of the thing is this: keep Flame Shock ticking as long as possible before renewing it, Lava Burst every cooldown, Chain Lightning when it’s available and fill everything else with Lightning Bolt (or Thunderstorm, depending). Resist the urge to say “Touchdown!” out loud (though ok to do so in your head) when Lava Burst crit number appears on screen.

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9 responses

24 01 2009
shattersphere

Glad to see there’s another shaman blog-a-dealie out there. Totally added.

I have faith that one day you’ll stop fighting the tide of justice and become enhancement!

But seriously, I’m considering trying out elemental (I’ve raided resto and enhancement), and never have really looked much into it. I’ll be sure to use this and its preceding posts when it comes decision making time.

30 01 2009
Exitis

Hey thank you for the great info!

I’m at lvl 78 and looking at my gear thinking hey how close am I to doing heroics, other than not being lvl 80 🙂

Here is a current armory of my shaman:
http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Bronzebeard&n=Exitis

What I would really like to see are numbers to shoot for. I’ve seen some for starting raiding as resto, but can’t find anything for us pour ele shamans. I’d like to see some numbers for starting raiding, as well as starting heroics.

I’ll definitely add this as a bookmark!

Again thanks for all the effort you put into this!

5 02 2009
Uzzi

OMFG.
I need to know statistics required for these dungeons.
I dont want your gear, I dont want to be like you. Finding the gear and understanding the difficulty to achieve those statistics is what makes the game fun and unique.
>.<
STATISTICS!!

5 02 2009
ribby47

I suppose that’s one take on it. What I’m looking to do here is present an easy reference checklist for anyone who wants it. If you’re like me (noted: you don’t want to be) then you only have so many hours in the day and knowing where to focus your efforts for gearing is a good thing, as opposed to running pell-mell across Northrend only to find that your quest rewards are limited to an Enhancement chest, a Tank Sword or an Attack Power neck. You don’t *have* to use this list, it’s just a suggestion for peeps that don’t want to rifle through Wowhead to compile a list.

However: if it’s statistics you want, I’d suggest the “Armory Data Mine” link on the right side of the page. Select the “lvl 80 statistics” for your class / spec and you’ll be able to see what a mean baseline is that you can judge yourself against. It’s a pretty useful resource for that eternal “am I geared enough for (X)” question that will reveal areas of strength or weakness in your current gear, and possibly point out where you’re wasting itemization as well.

19 02 2009
Exitis

I took a look at the Data mine and while it has some nice information its not very up to date for us pour shamans.

Looks like Elemental was updated in October…

As for statistics I’m still working on getting setup.

I have found that at lvl 80 by following the gearing ideas posted above any Elemental shaman should be able to run heroics with a decent group.

It also won’t take long for you to upgrade your gear when doing those heroics.

I’m currently self buffing to a little over 1800 spell dmg and my crit is around 15%. Finding haste, and hit gear has been a challenge for me and as of yet my stats are still low. at around 100 each.

So far for me I have found that being another dps has been the biggest problem with getting into heroics. For this reason I have been working on switching gear out to be more resto and see myself going resto in the near future.

That should present a whole new world of challenges for me. Namely learning to heal and not wipe the group.

21 02 2009
ribby47

Exitis, that whole “DPS / Healer” role versatility is the reason that this guy can’t wait for the proposed dual spec changes! 😀 I’ve spent a small fortune respeccing to the different roles when I wanted to get into groups… *but* when that dual spec thing drops, there aren’t going to be a lot of people who can switch back and forth with as much effectiveness (based loosely off the gear functionality) as we can!

25 02 2009
Smokehorn

Thank you for this post. It is incredibly helpful. I am 78 at the moment, newly elemental (previously T4 resto), and I have found it really hard to find good info on how to gear _for_ heroics. Everyone focuses on gearing for raids, and even then the info is light on the elemental shaman front.

This post is solid gold in my opinion.

10 03 2009
Want to be a heroic elemental shaman? « BobTurkey’s WoW Blog

[…] Too Many Alts has an excellent post on elemental shaman and gearing […]

13 03 2009
Generic WoW » Want to be a heroic elemental shaman?

[…] Too Many Alts has an excellent post on elemental shaman and gearing […]

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