Totem Talk is the column for shamans. Matthew Rossi found himself sucked into a frenzy of Kara key runs this week, healing and DPSing, and as a result finds himself thinking about pre-Kara loot for shammies, who are after all the class this column is about.
So I and my guildmates in the Consummate Vees, Horde-side Malfurion, did some key runs this week. (No, I'm not going to tell you my toon's name, it's a super-duper secret, but I will give you a hint: it starts with the letter V.) It's our hope to get back into semi-serious raiding shape by the time Zul'Aman comes out, and since I'm still working on my elemental set for when I switch specs (I like Resto, don't get me wrong, but I'm antsy to try something new) I started looking at gear options. I'm lucky enough to have a couple of nice epic Kara pieces for an elemental shammy (the Ring of Unrelenting Storms and the Big Bad Wolf's Head) but in general, most of my gear is gemmed out for healing.
Since gearing up is part of the game, especially as you prepare for raiding, I thought it wouldn't hurt to talk over some options. The only limitations I'm imposing on myself are that I will only talk about mail pieces, and I can't cover gear for three separate specs in any comprehensive way so I'm just doing a few for each slot for each spec. (Also a note for lower level shamans - I'm testing stuff out on the PTR and will have a post about gearing up your lower level shaman with the 2.3 changes soon.) This time we'll cover belts, bracers and boots for the three specs, as well as some generic pieces that can fill a need for more variety. Belts, bracers and boots are often the hardest things to find since they're not often covered in the new dungeon sets, so it seemed to make sense to start with them first.
Okay. As yet another aside, in light of last week's post about dual wielding and enhancement shamans, I present unto you Rage and Fury. I expect a lot of arguments to erupt between Fury Warriors, Rogues and Shamans over these, but whatever else can be said it cannot be denied that these are two sweet 2.6 speed fists. If I were a deluded egomaniac I'd be tempted to believe that someone at Blizzard reads my posts. But I know they don't.
I made myself sad. Anyway, onto gear options.
Girdle of Living Flame - Drops off of Hungarfen in Heroic Underbog. Looks like the old Tier One, has a decent array of sockets and stats for your spellcasting needs. However, it does require you to run a heroic to get it, and so you may want something to get you there.
Netherfury Belt - Crafted belt, part of the Fury of the Nether set. Nice stamina and okay sockets and bonuses, but overall inferior to the Girdle in my opinion. But since it's crafted you can snag it on the AH or get a friend to make it if you're not a leatherworker, making it a lot easier to obtain. A decent starter belt, it's the one I'm using for my elemental set for now.
Netherstrike Belt - Another (and superior) crafted belt with steeper mats (a lot of primals, including a primal nether) it's a really nice caster belt. If you happen to be a Dragonscale Leatherworker.
Veterans Mail Girdle - I'm listing this epic and its cousins because it's not hard to obtain, the biggest stumbling block being the 40 Arathi Basin marks you'll need to get it. And honestly, it's not really harder to get 40 AB marks than it is to get revered with the Sha'tar. These belts are very nice epics and are easily obtained before you ever set foot in an instance, you can even run AB on weekends as you level up and be all set to pick them up.
Archery Belt of the Broken - This one's Heroic Slave Pens off of Mennu, and if you're doing the run with a hunter you can expect to fight for it. Personally I wish more mail had strength instead of AP just so we could point to it and say 'Enhancement' but for that you generally need to wait for the specific enhancement sets from T4 and up.
Blessed Scale Girdle - If you'd rather not fight with the hunters, you can just grind up to revered with the Sha'tar and collect this belt instead. No stam, but some int for mana, agi for crit and dodge and a healthy dollop of attack power thrown on top.
Veterans Chain Girdle - Again, if you don't mind PvPing, this is a superior item.
Shattrah's Champion Belt - I wanted to include a belt that you could get without running a heroic or PvPing, which led me to decide between this belt and the Felstalker. For a shammy I like the Champion Belt better, but your mileage may vary depending on how you socket the crafted belt.
Stillwater Girdle - Seems like a lot of the decent stuff drops in Heroics, which I guess means you'll be grinding rep. This one, from Mana Tombs (Nexus Prince Shaffar his own bad self) is a really lovely healing piece all told. Good stats, good +healing, good MP/5. It may well be the best you can get before Kara, at least it is if you won't PvP or just can't make the time.
Veteran's Ringmail Girdle - If, however, you can/will make the time to run Arathi Basin, this is the superlative healing belt. You lose out on some MP/5, but the rest of the stats speak for themselves.
Belt of Flowing Thought - This one's another drop from a heroic, specifically Blood Guard Porung in Shattered Halls. The belt would be equally good for elemental (at least if you felt a need for mana and/or mana regen) but I'm listing it here because the pickings for resto can be kind of slim as you gear up for raiding, and 32 int plus good mana regen can't be sneezed at for a healer.
World's End Bracers - Bracers are where the pickings get really slim for elemental. I'm going to tell you now, if you're not raiding yet and you're gearing up, I heavily suggest you PvP or make friends with/become a crafter because the bracer itemization for elemental shamans isn't all that great. These are decent enough bracers and are also part of the Tier 1 lookalike set.
Netherstrike Bracers - Part of the Netherstrike Armor set, while I can't ignore the set and its really nice bonuses (and these bracers are very easy to make for how good they are) you do appear to need to be Dragonscale to wear them.
Veteran's Mail Bracers - Outside of being a Dragonscale LWorker, these are probably your best bet before you go into Kara.
Veteran's Linked Bracers - Yay, strength on mail! You know these are enhancement right away. Granted, there's a lot of hunter mail that enhancement can make use of in the instances (if you don't believe me, just look at this one simple filtered list of rare bracers) but it's nice to see a bracer tailored for enhancement.
Ebon Netherscale Bracers - Similar to the Netherstrikes, these are the Hunter/Shaman Dragonscale LW crafted bracers. If you can wear them, they're not bad to make and have nice stats.
Bracers of the Hunt - Heroic Sethekk Halls off of Talon King Ikiss. Hunters will kill you in your sleep if you take these, but they're out there.
Honestly, it's not like enhance is hurting for bracer options. You have the Auchenai Bracers, Bracers of Shirrak, Emerald Eye Bracers, and Felstalker Bracers in addition to these two.
Primal Surge Bracers - Drops off of Aeonus in either heroic or non-heroic Black Morass. Quite honestly, outside of the PvP bracers I haven't found better before Kara. There might be a heroic drop I'm ignorant of, but while I'm confining myself to mail drops in this list you may not want to do that yourself unless you can get these fast when hitting 70. These are the one's I'm using myself as I'm too lazy to PvP on more than one character.
Veteran's Ringmail Bracers - They lack the MP/5 of the Primal Surge but are otherwise superior. I'd grab them myself but all of my honor grinding nowadays goes to my warrior as I expect Attumen to cough up the Whirldwind's sooner or later... however, that's outside the scope of this guide.
Wave-Crest Stiders - Heroic Blood Furnace from Keli'dan. There are matching bracers and a belt as well. As the Wowhead entry indicates, they match up with Tidefury pretty well.
Magma Plume Boots - Another heroic drop, this time from Shirrak in the Auchenai Crypts. Since he also drops a 2.5 speed fist weapon and enhancement/hunter bracers, I expect heroic Shirrak is pretty popular with shammies. (I personally hate him with the fire of a thousand exploding suns, mainly because he never drops anything for me.)
Netherfury Boots - As always, your basic crafted starter boots.
Greaves of Spellpower - If you happen to be an Aldor shaman (as I am) then you will cry when you see the Scryer rewards for this quest. Seriously, you will wish you were a Scryer, especially if you're an elemental shaman, because these are nice, easy to obtain boots.
Veteran's Mail Sabatons - If you can't get the Wave-Crest to drop these are nearly equivalent, in my opinion.
Boots of the Endless Hunt - Well, I don't need to tell you that I like the Veteran's boots better for the strength and lack of hunter drama, but you can't do much better than these before raids. Heroic Warp Splinter has your shoes if you're looking to go get them.
Veteran's Linked Sabatons - I really just love strength on mail, I can't say it enough.
Outland Striders - These are really nice. They drop off of Zereketh in regular Arcatraz. I don't have a lot else to say about them. I'm failing you all as a columnist, I know, but aside from "Sigh, more hunter mail we have to make do with" there's not much else to say about these shoes.
Wavefury Boots - Incredibly nice healing boots available off of that dastardly Rokmar in heroic Slave Pens. Let's go now. My feet are cold. I need new shoes. Why won't he drop my shoes? I don't understand why you want me to cry, Rokmar.
Veteran's Ringmail Sabatons - If, like me, that jerk Rokmar is taunting you with a lack of shoes, then this is probably your best option before the 10 or 25 mans.
Okay, this seems like a decent array of options for your waists, wrists and delicate little tootsies. There are of course really good items I missed, but as you can see in that screenshot sometimes my shaman is only human. God, humans look stupid in shammy mail. Next week, we'll either continue looking for gear for pre-raid, discuss gearing up lower level shamans with the new options in 2.3, or sit down and have some nice cheese. I like a good gouda now and again.