I love loot. There might be something shameful about admitting it, but I don't care -- I really, really, really love loot. Killing a boss is cool. Spending time with friends is fun. But loot? Loot is something tangible (as tangible as anything in a virtual world can be) and something that is yours. It reminds you of what you have done, the victories you've achieved, as well as the very basic function of making you better. Also, gear makes you look cool.
In a few short weeks, patch 4.2 will hit live servers. To some, this means new content: new quest hubs, a new raid, a billion new skins for hunter pets, etc. To me, it means one thing: new and shiny loot. Be it from valor points, the new Avengers of Hyjal faction, or from Firelands raid bosses, patch 4.2 is coming at us fast with loads of pretty purples to get our hands on, and I couldn't be more excited to preview them in this post.
Talking about tier gear
I've talked before about how incredibly good our tier 12 set bonuses are. I'll say it again: Our tier 12 set bonuses are incredibly good. Our tier 12 two-piece bonus complements our tier 11 two-piece startlingly well. Our life becomes all the more sweeter when we realize that the two pieces of tier gear that are most easily obtained (via valor points) are all ridiculously well itemized. Erupting Volcanic Cuirass and Erupting Volcanic Grips will be your best-in-slot hands and chest, standing in stark contrast to the shamefully itemized Cuirass of the Raging Elements and the slightly better Grips of the Raging Elements.
Tinkering with trinkets
Unlike Nefarian's Prestor's Talisman of Machination, the Matrix Restabalizer off of Ragnaros is no joke. With a stupidly high 406 base agility and a proc for 1,532 mastery (if mastery isn't your highest secondary stat, you're doin' it wrong), this trinket is an enhancement shaman's answer to Deathbringer's Will. The Ancient Petrified Seed, a reward for hitting revered with the Avengers of Hyjal, will be our second trinket, offering a 1-minute cooldown agility buff and a ton of base mastery. The Hungerer off Majordomo Staghelm can't really compete with its terribly lame haste proc. Fluid Death will still be a contender until Matrix Restabalizer and Ancient Purified Seed become available and will be even easier to get since it will be a justice point reward.
Weighing weapon choices
For weapons, we have two choices. The first is Gatecrasher, an expertise/crit axe that drops off WoW's answer to J.R.R. Tolkein's Balrog, Baleroc the Gatekeeper. The other, the Shatterskull Bonecrusher, has slightly worse itemization at the expense of being shared loot across a number of bosses. So one is harder to get but has slightly better stats. Dwarves can rejoice, though, as Shatterskull Bonecrusher is the first epic mace for dwarf enhancement shaman in the game; it's easy for them to get, and their racial will make up the expertise from not getting Gatecrasher. Gimli wannabes everywhere can rejoice!
For your neck, you have two choices. Necklace of Smoke Signals costs 1,250 valor points and is only mediocrely itemized but is on par with Choker of the Vanquished Lord off Ragnaros. It probably will be your last valor point purchase, and then only if you can't get the Choker. On the other hand, Bracers of Forked Lightning cost the same amount of valor points for more of a gain. Add to that the fact that there are no other bracer upgrades in T12 content, and those will be one of your first valor point purchases after your three pieces of tier gear. It has the exact same stats and valor point cost as the Splintered Brimstone Seal, so that choice will largely be decided on what items you're wearing. After everything else is bought with VP, you'll want to grab the Covenant of the Flame. The slightly better itemized but significantly lower ilevel Relic of Elune's Shadow is available from a Molten Front vendor, which should hold you over until you can spend the valor on the Covenant.
Dreadfire Drape is our BIS cape of the tier, offering two beautiful red gem slots as well as hit and mastery. To tide you over until then, friendly with Avengers of Hyjal will give you a crit/hit cape, the Sleek Flamewrath Cloak. Unfortunately, both of our second ring slot choices -- the Widow's Kiss off Bath'tilac and the Viridian Signet of the Avengers from exalted with Avengers of Hyjal -- are haste/mastery. Rogues and ferals may rejoice, but we'll cry in a corner and wonder why there hasn't been a single amazing ring choice for enhancement in all of Cataclysm. Ouch.
Boring boots and belts
Rounding out the loot tables are our belt and boot choices, which really offer no choice at all. Honored with Avengers of Hyjal gives us the Firearrow Belt. If you have a heroic Star Chaser Belt of the Windstorm from heroic Conclave of Winds, congrats! You'll probably be using that belt until patch 4.3, unless Firearrow Belt can be upgraded to heroic. Lancer's Greaves, a Molten Front vendor reward and the only boot option introduced in 4.2, isn't much better. It has exactly the same itemization as heroic Boots of Vertigo with seven less ilevels, so expect to be trying to convince your guild to farm heroic Atramedes until you get them. According to Wowhead, there should be a pair of Decimation Treads introduced in the patch, but I can't figure out where they drop from. If they do end up on boss loot tables, look out for these!
I'd like to extend a special shout-out and thank you to Sarrnia of Shandris (US), who emailed me a consolidated list of all the enhancement gear that was coming in patch 4.2 so that I might condense it into our most wanted pieces. Thanks, Sarrnia!
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