Axes, maces, lightning, fire, frost and wolves -- and best of all, Windfury. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance at Big Hit Box, pens the enhance side of Totem Talk and leads the guild Big Crits as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.
As we get deeper into levels, the new spells from trainers taper off and we start to pick up all the fun stuff from talent points. In the next 20 levels we're going to finish out the enhancement tree, pick up some great talents and have a ton of fun blowing up elite mobs.
But before we get there. we do have to get out of the level 40 doldrums. We left off with one point in dual wield and a spec of 0/31/0. At this point, you're probably missing as much as you're hitting with dual wield. If you were to spend one more level with a two-hander or a one-hander + shield, no one would fault you for it. It's really only at level 43 that enhancement starts to take off. Let's dive in and continue.
Before we start with level 42, put that level 41 talent point into Dual Wield Specialization. The extra hit is a god-send.
Levels 42 and 43
If you weren't dual wielding before, you can by level 42 and absolutely should be by level 43. If you were cheating with an ele spec before (for shame!), then you cheaters can safely move over to enhance for all the glory.
Talent points: 2/3 Dual Wield specialization, then Stormstrike!
Spell upgrades: Fire Nova, Water Shield, Fire Resistance Totem
Kill strategy: Dual Wield with slow weapons in each hand (if the weapon speed is above 2.0, then it's considered slow; most are in the 2.4-2.7 range). I still go Windfury as my imbue on both weapons at his point until level 45; you'll see why when we get there. If you don't want to run in and start attacking like a crazed battlemage, then use Lightning Bolt (LB) to pull, then Flame Shock (FS) to apply your DoT. Stormstrike (SS) right away and use SS on every cooldown, then use Earth Shock (ES) on every cooldown. Keep using SS and ES until the mob is dead. Blow these mobs up! If you're in a dungeon and on a boss, the only change is to reapply FS when the DoT ticks out.
Levels 44 and 45
We add in another weapon attack and change our imbues here.
Spell upgrades: Lightning Bolt, Stoneskin Totem, Lesser Healing Wave, Nature Resistance Totem
Kill Strategy: We change our imbues and for the first time start to get into the convolution that is the enhancement shaman spell rotation. Imbues should be from here and forever forward (in PvE) be Windfury on main hand and Flametongue on off hand. The spell "rotation" for enhancement is more of a priority system: go down the list of available spells and use the first one that is off cooldown. Then start over at the top for the next spell. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Here's our rotation: SS, FS, ES, LL.
What does that mean? Use Stormstrike every time it is available as your highest priority. Use Flame Shock if SS is off cooldown and if there is not a FS DoT up on the target. If SS is on cooldown and FS is on the target, then use ES. Finally, if you've used SS and a shock (FS or ES), then use LL. For the complete, level 80 version of the enhancement shaman rotation, see the article I wrote about it.
Levels 46 and 47
With the two big spells (SS & LL) on our bars, we can start tearing through the levels now.
Talent points: Improved Stormstrike 1 and 2
One of the key things with leveling is reduced downtime. Taking 2/2 Improved Stormstrike means active mana regen, which means more up time, especially if you can heal up with (Lesser or regular) Healing Wave between pulls and regain mana during fights.
Spell upgrades: Flametongue Weapon, Frost Shock, Magma Totem, Mana Spring Totem, Chain Heal
Levels 48 and 49
Talent points: Static Shock 1 and 2
Diving in to Static Shock means that Lightning Shield (LS) is the shield of choice. LS versus Water Shield at this point is a personal preference and is a trade-off between downtime and damage output, but I highly recommend taking the extra damage instead of extra mana based on what we'll get at level 50.
Spell upgrades: Healing Wave, Earth Shock, Lightning Shield, Stoneclaw Totem, Ancestral Spirit, Frostbrand Weapon, Water Shield, Flametongue Totem, Chain Lightning
Levels 50 and 51
Oh Shammy Rage! Damage reduction! Mana regen! We've got it all wrapped up in one spell on a 60-second cooldown. Keybind it and use it often.
Mental Quickness bridges the gap for us between attack power and spell power. We'll dive in here with one point now and a full 3/3. This also means that + int uncommon quality (green) gear becomes more viable for us as we level.
Spell upgrades: Lightning Bolt, Searing Totem, Healing Stream Totem, Earthliving Weapon, Windfury Weapon
New spell: Call of the Spirits. This is our third and final totem combo spell.
Glyph: We get a second minor glyph here. What do you want to do? Hearth more often? Water walk more? Water breathe more? Ankh without the Ankh? Your call. For me, a 7.5-minute hearthstone seems key to reducing leveling downtime.
Levels 52 and 53
Talent points: Finish out Mental Quickness to 3/3
Spell upgrades: Flame Shock, Strength of Earth Totem, Fire Nova, Lesser Healing Wave
Levels 54 and 55
Talent points: Static Shock 3/3 and Maelstrom Weapon 1/5
Are you excited? You should be. Of all the spells and talents, Maelstrom Weapon (MW) is one of the coolest. Though I'm not really a lore guy, I look at Maelstrom Weapon as a buildup of energy, a charged capacitor of sorts wherein we
battlemages enhancement shamans store our energy, only to unleash it in a charged ball of electricity. BAM! Either that or we're just shuffling our feet on the carpet, a lot -- and since the carpeting in WoW is sparse, I'm going with the charged capacitor theory.
We only have one point in the talent right now, so we'll not see a lot of five-stacks, but let's take a moment to talk about MW and how we can work it into our rotation. It's simple: when you get five charges of MW, then cast LB; this is referred to as MW5_LB. It's a "free" cast of a cast time spell, meaning that while it costs mana and a global cooldown, it doesn't reset or interrupt your swing timer.
As a general rule of thumb, only use MW for LBs when you have five stacks. But when it comes to healing and you're in a tight spot, MW3_HW (Healing Wave with three stacks of MW), MW4_HW or MW5_HW will save your hide if you're in trouble. Get LB and HW keybound and keep them handy.
Spell upgrades: Stoneskin Totem, Frost Resistance Totem, Chain Heal
Kill strategy: The only change here is to put MW5_LB at the top of your priority rotation. That means your rotation looks like this: MW5_LB, SS, FS, ES, LL, LS. But you're not getting to five stacks that often, are you? Patience, young padawan.
Levels 56 and 57
Talent points: Maelstrom Weapon 2 and 3
Spell upgrades: Healing Wave, Lightning Bolt, Lightning Shield, Flametongue Weapon, Water Shield, Magma Totem, Mana Spring Totem, Chain Lightning
Levels 58 and 59
Talent points: Maelstrom Weapon 4 and 5
Feels good, doesn't it? MW almost all the time. Welcome to enhancement post-3.0.
Spell upgrades: Stoneclaw Totem, Frost Shock, Frostbrand Weapon, Flametongue Totem, Fire Resistance Totem
Outland, ho! Get yourself out to the Outland and start killing ... boars. Fel boars! But yeah, moar boars.
Talent points: Feral Spirit
I've been driving us down this path as quickly as possible. We could have fooled around with talent points in other things or moving sideways across the shaman tree into ele now, but when it comes to killer 51-point talents, few top Spirit Wolves. Our pets are available for 45 seconds every three minutes bring a taunt, a stun and a bonds-breaking run speed boost -- oh yeah, and a ton of damage that scales actively as we increase our stats mid-fight (meaning as you get trinket, spell, talent or item procs, your wolves benefit actively). This is the opposite of the Fire and Earth Elemental Totems, whose stats are based when you plant the totem and do not scale afterwards.
Spell upgrades: Healing Wave, Earth Sock, Flame Shock, Searing Totem, Strength of Earth Totem, Ancestral Spirit, Healing Stream Totem, Lesser Healing Wave, Nature Resistance Totem, Windfury Weapon
Kill strategy: Because of the sheer awesomeness of the wolves, you want to use them as often as possible while leveling. While they're out, go crazy; pull mobs, let them run wild, leap over and kill more, just be sure to get at least one hit on a mob they're attacking. If you let your puppies do all the work, you'll not get credit for the kill.
That wraps up this edition of the enhancement leveling guide. We ended up with a spec of 0/51/0 and lots of great core enhancement talents. But before we go, I want to share with you my handy enhancement leveling spreadsheet. I'm a spreadsheet guy and while I prefer Excel, Google Docs does just fine for these sorts of things. Check it out here. Tune in next week for levels 61-70.
May all your hits be crits!
Shaman, follow the path of enhancement with Rich Maloy's leveling guide by starting with with levels 1-20, 21-40, and then continue the journey into levels 61-70.