Totem Talk is the column for Shamans. Matthew Rossi has two 70 shamans and is considering a third so that he can dedicate it to elemental, the most fundamentally shamanic of the three specs. No, I'm sorry, this week's column is not about Sentry Totem. Begging will do you no good.
One of the nice things about The Burning Crusade when it released was that the gear available through questing was often more than sufficient to replace whatever you had when you came through the Dark Portal, and often it was for specs that had not seen as much love prior to its release. Frankly, it's very tempting to spec elemental when you hit Outland if you haven't already, as there's a lot of decent +spell damage mail available just from quests. In fact, my enhancement shaman's healing set is in fact mostly made up of elemental shaman kit that I got through various quests and simply held onto rather than vendoring it on the off chance I might want to spec elemental at some point. Now that I'm contemplating a third shaman to explore elemental with (I can't respec my resto shammy as he has way too much healing gear to even consider it, and I like the enhancement squidface just like he is... I think a tauren or troll elemental shaman could be a lot of fun) I'm looking back over those quests that reward solid elemental pieces.
This installment focuses on Hellfire Peninsula, Zangamarsh and Terokkar Forest, assuming that you play through them in that order. It focuses on quest items and not instance drops, although I will link to appropriate level instance drops at the end of each zone's section.
The Totemic Staff caught my eye right away. It's a horde only questline, so you draenei shammies will have to look elsewhere, but it's a nice little stick for a shaman new to outland. Another horde-only quest (what's with the horde bogarting all the good sticks?) awards this nice caster staff if you're looking for an alternative. And alliance shamans who are just dying for a staff can get this one, although you'll notice it's also available to the horde, as is this one. I personally prefer going with a weapon and a shield, but you may feel differently.
Thankfully, both horde and alliance can do this quest and get this Totem of Lightning. My draenei used it for a long time simply because he didn't have another totem, to be honest. If you're looking for a caster shield, a nice starter one is the Landslide Buckler, available to both factions.
Alliance shamans get the Boots of the Earthcaller while horde shamans receive Venn'ren's Boots for the analagous quest to kill Blacktalon. I'll leave it up to more experienced gear-checkers to say which is better, although I prefer the stamina on the Earthcaller's myself. Spell crit isn't a bad thing to have, but I like to have as much health as I can. Meanwhile, if you're looking for a chestplate out of questing in Hellfire, there are several options for an elemental shaman that I can recommend: the Arcane Ringed Tunic and Aerodynamic Scaled Vest are both fairly easy to obtain and with a little more effort you can grab hold of the Stormstrike Vest which you could well hold onto until you hit 70, depending on luck. It's a nice blue. Once you have it, you should pick up the Verdant Handwraps to go with it, they'll both last you a good while. As for trinkets, you'll want Vengeance of the Illidari. Sadly, the only decent quest legs I found out there were these Arcane Ringed Greaves, at least if you (like me) try and stay with mail if at all possible. Likewise, your hat of choice if you intend to avoid the AH is going to be the Helm of Affinity.
Hellfire Citadel drops that will call to you at this level are the Crystalfire Staff, Kilt of Rolling Thunders and Witching Band from Ramparts and the Diamond Core Sledgemace from Blood Furnace. You might consider the Girdle of the Gale Storm if there's no resto shaman in the group, since 2.3 gave it a little spell damage and it has nice stats and sockets. And if no one else needs, there's always the Warsong Howling Axe. Don't take it over melee classes or hunters, but you DO sometimes need a good weapon for when you're out of mana. And while you're running these instances you'll most likely hit honored, so don't forget to buy the Farseer's Band in Thrallmar or the Sage's Band in Honor Hold.
Most likely your next stop after Hellfire Peninsula, if not someplace you go while still working on quests there. The pickings here for an elemental shaman are a trifle slimmer, but there are still some items to look for. For shoulders you'll be looking at Ikeyen's Pauldrons and the Fierce Mantle, which while slightly inferior in stats has the advantage of a couple of sockets. If you have a level 70 with gold to burn or an excess of gems for some reason or another, you could twink the Fierce with some nice gems. For a trinket you can pick up the Ancient Crystal Talisman/Glowing Crystal Insignia. If you picked up the Landslide Buckler and haven't found a main hand for it yet, the Ensorcelled Marshfang Blade will do the job for you, and the Windcaller's Gauntlet's are available if for some reason you didn't get the Verdant's yet or took another quest reward. Why would you have done that? Don't do that. Take the Verdant's. I don't care if you're an enhancement for life shaman, take the Verdant's, they're awesome. But these are here if you don't listen. Why won't you listen to me? You know how I worry about you. Have you been eating enough? Well, if you didn't take the Verdant's then I have to assume you're weak from hunger or hopped up on what the kids today call 'the goofballs'.
I think I'm going to cry here. I need a moment.
Slave Pens drops you will be interested in are the Spore-Soaked Vaneer and the Vest of Living Lightning. The Underbog presents you with the opportunity to acquire the Luminous Pearls of Insight, the Totem of the Thunderhead and the Zangartooth Shortblade.
Home of Shattrath City and Auchindoun, Terokkar is a hub of activity that continues well into the 70's with the Skettis dailies. There are quite a few quest rewards here for the up and coming elemental shamans. The Invincible Stave for you stick wielders, the Spiked Destroyer if you like a melee weapon with some bite and spell damage, the Revered Mother's Crysknife if you've been tested by the Gom Jabbar. You can get a nice set of elemental legs from the Skywing questline, which you may as well do anyway to get more XP when you end up talking to Rilak the Redeemed to get you your Necklace of Bloodied Feathers. Plus you get a neat pet out of the Skywing quets. There's also a nice ring and a couple of nice trinkets available in the zone for you.
In Auchindoun, you'll find that Mana-Tombs has items to tempt you: the Lightning Rod Pauldrons and Mask of the Howling Storm could work for either elemental or enhancement shamans with their broad range of stats (and the mask's sockets only make it more flexible) while the Sigil of Shaffar and the Staff of Polarities are more straightforwardly caster items. As you approach level 65 and beyond you'll make your way into the Auchenai Crypts, which while not as welcoming as the name suggests lure the adventurous with the Oculus of the Hidden Eye. Okay, so Crypts is kind of loot-shy for the elemental shaman.
Next week we'll continue our look at elemental shaman gear with the quests in Nagrand (including the Ring of Blood) and then cover the Blade's Edge, Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm quests and revisit instances and visit new ones.