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Posts with tag enhancement-shaman-dps

Totem Talk: What to expect when you're enhancing (in 5.0.4)

Enhancement shaman casts elemental blast
Look up in the sky! Is it a bird-form druid? An engineer in a flying machine? No, it's a wild Josh Myers, returned from summer adventures and bursting with knowledge about DPS shaman in his weekly Totem Talk. This week will focus on enhancement shaman for brevity, but I haven't forgotten my elemental brethren. Next week, you'll have all my attention to yourselves.

Hello again, Totem Talk! I apologize for my disappearing act the last few months, but I started a new job as a summer camp director six weeks before camp began, which requires a phenomenal time investment during the summer. Also, my boyfriend got diagnosed with MS and my mom with uterine cancer, so my life has turned into a frost giant's stress ball. And, because I'm a masochist, I decided to start personal training, because I didn't have enough stresses on my schedule or my body.

But I'm back! Summer is winding down, and with its slumber comes a slightly less hectic work schedule for me, which should mean more time playing and writing about WoW. This is convenient, seeing as patch 5.0.4 releases this Tuesday, and I've left my league of adoring fans, frenemies, and people bored enough to read my articles without any enhancement or elemental guidance for far too long.

A lot of the changes coming in patch 5.0.4 are the very generic ones that we've covered in the past, such as the total overhaul of the talent/glyph systems for every class in the game. For those overarching game changes, you'll want to check out the most recent patch notes we've posted, as well as Anne's 5.0.4 primer. This post will deal more with the actual nitty-gritty of what's changing for enhancement specifically. This post is aimed toward maximizing your level 85 shaman during the month in between 5.0.4 and Mist of Pandaria's actual release, so that you can spend that month learning how to play before release.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: Solving the problem of Maelstrom Weapon

The default Blizzard power aura for Maelstrom Weapon
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids using all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

When I try to think of what enhancement's most iconic ability is, a few come to mind. Windfury Weapon is a definite contender, and three or four years ago it would have been my default response. Seriously, though, what is Windfury other than a glorified auto-attack with an attack power bonus and a lower chance to miss? Likewise, Stormstrike could be iconic, but it's essentially a melee attack with both weapons with an electric graphic and a debuff. It's enhancement's Mutilate or Obliterate.

To me, Maelstrom Weapon is the answer. If there's one ability that encapsulates what enhancement is -- a brutal melee class that weaves instant spellcasts between their weapon strikes to harm their opponent or heal themselves -- I believe it's Maelstrom Weapon. It's enhancement's Death Strike, Arcane Blast, Chakra, or Raging Blow -- abilities that, at a glance, offer an insight into what makes the spec different from other specs in their role.

There's a problem here, though. If Maelstrom Weapon is enhancement's iconic ability, why is it currently so awful?

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: Hit rating, expertise, and enhancement in Mists of Pandaria

Raid group takes on the Madness of Deathwing encounter
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids as all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

A long time ago, in a Mulgore far, far away, I was a young tauren shaman who was attempting to gear up as enhancement after hitting level 70 for the first time. Enhancement shaman who have only started playing within the last two years won't remember the confusing beast that was enhancement gearing of yesteryear, but it was an adventure.

First off, we gemmed strength exclusively. Yes, strength. Despite sharing gear with hunters, we got more (read: any) attack power from strength than we did from agility. More importantly, and this is where Mists of Pandaria changes will come into play, the enhancement shaman of The Burning Crusade didn't try for hit rating on their gear. In fact, we avoided it like a bear tank gemming agility avoids sunders on Warmaster Blackhorn. We did like expertise, which made the few items it existed on like Shard of Contempt best in slot, but it was almost never included on items, and there were no expertise gems. As a result, the majority of enhancement shaman ran with nearly zero hit rating and zero expertise.

If you're reading this today, your jaw might have hit the floor. Never, you'll say, while pulling up your character sheet and crying over the whopping 2,284 secondary stat points we need to put into hit rating and expertise. Yes, you read that correctly. We spend 2,284 stat points simply making sure we can actually hit the boss.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Totem Talk: 3 reasons enhancement shaman should be excited for Mists of Pandaria

Pandaren kicking a fireball
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once just the expert on enhancement shaman, Josh Myers has spent most of Dragon Soul as elemental, and he's not quite sure how he got there. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I'm going to be honest: I still love Cataclysm. I know that it has a lot of problems, but I think a lot of the issues people have with Cataclym are that it isn't Burning Crusade (or vanilla, for that matter), and I'm very much an enemy of nostalgia. Especially in comparison to its immediate predecessor, Cataclysm has a lot of things going for it. Class balance is in a better place across the board than it was in Wrath. Even though Firelands was a giant explosion of red and orange visual vomit, it still doesn't compare to Trial of the Crusader's single room. And, even though we've not been amazing at all during any of Cataclysm, enhancement shaman haven't actually sucked during any patch, much less the entire last year of the expansion.

That said, I'm terribly excited for Mists of Pandaria. Part of the excitement is that for once in my life I'll have a horde race to play that isn't tauren as I hate all the other choices, and The Amazing Panda Adventure was possibly my favorite movie from 1995. Another part of the excitement is that Mists of Pandaria is new and shiny and it's only human to love things that are new and shiny. I love some of the new ideas Blizzard has cooked up for level 90 players, from PVE scenarios to companion pet battles. Yes, I was young enough to play Pokemon when it was relevant, but I'm also old enough to not be ashamed of wanting to play it again.

Most importantly, though, I'm most excited for the potentials changes coming to enhancement in MoP. Enhancement has had some pretty glaring issues for a good part of this expansion, even if we regularly remained competitive. Thankfully, some of the changes that came in last week's updated talent calculator look like they'll be on the road to solving these issues when Mists drops.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: 4 ways to increase your shaman DPS

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

DPS is an art. It's not art in the sense that the Mona Lisa or Friday by Rebecca Black are art, but it's art. It requires practice, knowledge, and dedication to make work, and judging by the Battle.net forums, Twitter, and various other social media outlets, it's an art form that a lot of people still have trouble getting right. As a DPS shaman (really, as any class), there are a few basic rules every player should follow to enhance their DPS.

1. Use addons that make up for what the default UI lacks. I know that there's a set of players out there who totally swear by using the default UI. In reality, I can understand that sentiment. I didn't realize it until I found myself with a sprained hamstring and only able to raid my borrowing my boyfriend's laptop and downloading an addon-less WoW onto it this week, but I actually thought the default UI looked really cool.

Unfortunately, despite how cool it looks, default isn't optimal. Doing the Raid Finder as elemental, I realized a couple of things -- that of my 30-plus-addon suite, I really only missed six or seven of them, and those six or seven I missed were ridiculously important. I was lacking OmniCC for watching my cooldown timers, and I didn't have Power Auras to watch Fulmination stacks or ForteXorcist for tracking my DoT timers (important for both ele and enhance). I know that I played sloppily as a result. I missed Lava Surge procs like crazy, I Fulminationed as Flame Shock ran off, and I made other small mistakes that I would normally not make because I have addons to help me keep track of the fight.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: The ups and downs of playing enhancement in Dragon Soul

Enhancement shaman mid0Morchok fight
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

I've said in the past that enhancement is in a good place in 4.3, and that's the truth. Despite some really awful itemization and some as-yet-unresolved issues with the spec, enhancement is remaining a strong middle-of-the-pack contender. In non-cutting-edge raid groups that don't have multiple Dragonwrath-wielding casters, we're even better.

Dragon Soul is a great instance for enhancement in 4.3 because it offers a variety of fights. Some play to enhancement's strengths, some highlight its weaknesses, and some fights are Ultraxion and your DPS spec doesn't matter, provided you can push buttons and click a shiny purple dot on his screen every 45 seconds. For the purpose of brevity, I'm going to assume you're familiar with the normal-mode mechanics of these fights (and if you're not, some are conveniently covered by my frenemy Tyler Caraway in the Ready Check column) and just speak to how enhancement specifically fares on these fights.

Chopping Morchok

There's nothing particularly special about Morchok for enhancement, except if you're doing the fight on heroic. Shamanistic Rage and Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem make Morchok's Stomp damage negligible, but Stomps don't really hit hard enough on normal to worry about. However, if you have a healer in line of sight during a black phase (and you've done nothing in recent memory that would cause them to hate you), Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem and Shamanistic Rage will let you stay on the boss for most if not all of the phase. If you don't have a friendly healer, enhancement still fares better than most melee on this fight, as cast Lava Bursts and Lightning Bolts still hit hard.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: The enhancement shaman of 2011

An enhancement shaman in very early Cataclysm gear
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

One of the nicest things about 2011 for enhancement was that it wasn't 2010 any more. If you've been an avid reader of my column, you probably know by now that I think that 2010 will most likely (and hopefully) go down in history as the year in which Blizzard tried and was often successful at driving droves of enhancement shaman away from the class in masse. An overcomplicated rotation that still gave us the worst single-target DPS of any spec in the game, terrible mobility, lack of scaling from armor penetration (worst. stat. ever.), absolutely zero competitive AoE DPS ... The list of the bad things about the Icecrown Citadel/Ruby Sanctum era is worth an article in and of itself. In fact, I think we've done a number of those in the past.

So one of the best things about 2011 was the changes made to address a lot of those issues. Ancestral Swiftness gave us the normal bonus run speed that classes like ret paladins received, and since Ghost Wolf was changed to be usable indoors, we're much better at maximizing time on target. Armor penetration was thankfully removed from the game (coincidentally, I'm fairly certain that 4.0 saw a significant drop in headache medicines to WoW players), and the awesomely cool mastery stat was added in its place.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Gearing your enhancement shaman for Raid Finder

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

So, you want to queue for the Raid Finder on your enhancement shaman, but you don't quite have the required 372 item level for it yet. We've all learned tips and tricks over the year since Cataclysm launched to cheat the ilevel restrictions, like wearing restoration gear to inflate our ilevel. However, if you want to actually benefit the raid and increase your chances of downing bosses, those tricks are not the best way to go. There are multiple accessible 378 items for near every slot.

The first rule of getting geared for Raid Finder is to avoid Hour of Twilight like the plague. There's seriously only one drop in the instance that's worth getting, and that's the Clattering Claw. Dawnslayer Helm? Both our Erupting Volcanic Helmet and Scalp of the Bandit Prince put that ugly hit/haste helm to shame. Betrayer's Pauldrons are a possible good choice, if only because extensive testing by yours truly has proven that Mantle of the Fiery Protector does not actually exist. It's a myth. Flickering Shoulders of the Zephyr/Windstorm are both good choices to use over the Hour of Twilight shoulders, but getting a useful random enchant on an already random drop is not a sure bet.

Hour of Twilight also has the Cinch of the World Shaman as a quest reward. I'm so glad Blizzard decided to create an agility belt with shaman in the name and itemize it to be absolutely awful for the only spec of shaman that uses agility. Well played, Blizzard. If you're fresh to 85, this will unfortunately be your main belt choice, as the Firearrow Belt requires you to be honored with Avengers of Hyjal. However, you're a lucky shaman who has to run Firelands to deal with the itemization woes of the 4.3 heroics anyway, so you should be honored in no time at all!

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Enhancement talents in Mists of Pandaria

The fourth tier of shaman Mists of Pandaria talents.
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

At BlizzCon last week, Blizzard unveiled its plans for an entirely new talent system in Cataclysm. Designed to try and eliminate cookie-cutter specs, the new talent system includes practically no DPS-increasing talents and focuses mainly on utility. (Don't fear losing some of your familiar talents; those are being rolled into the specs you choose at level 10.)

Part of the problem with utility talents is that they tend to gravitate toward becoming PVP talents, particularly when you reach max level. Sure, Frozen Power or Earthgrab Totem might be excellent for soloing, but at level cap, you rarely do much soloing. And the soloing you do do comes in two forms: soloing old raids, where the mobs would be immune anyway; and dailies and quests, where heightened gear levels will eventually allow you to blow away mobs in a Windfury proc.

That said, some of the tiers look like they will have potential. As a result, I'm going to do my best to keep my doubts about whether or not we'll actually be able to utilize some of this utility in check, and do a tier-by-tier review of the talent tree for enhancement in Mists of Pandaria. Please remember, these are all subject to change ... and hopefully, some of them do. (I highly recommend keeping up the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator in another tab while reading this, as since most of these spells don't exist yet in game, I can't link to them like I normally would.)

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

Totem Talk: Enhancement shaman changes in patch 4.3

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

I won't lie: The past few months have left me fairly disillusioned about playing an enhancement shaman. Nothing in Cataclysm will ever match the absolute horror that was the last patch of Wrath of the Lich King for enhancement. However, our total lack of scaling with secondary stats that aren't mastery, horrific AOE DPS every patch, and our total lack of any form of worthwhile DPS cooldown have all been ingredients in the lukewarm dish that is enhancement. If this was Iron Chef: America, even Alton Brown would be hard pressed to make us sound good.

Thankfully, the 4.3 PTR is up, and with it comes some changes to enhancement shaman that have me excited.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Analyzing DPS shaman tier 13 set bonuses

Orc shaman in tier 13
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

If you haven't been living under a rock for the past week, you're probably aware that tier 13 bonuses have been revealed. You might have read about them here on Wow Insider. You might have heard your friendly neighborhood boomkin bemoaning his bonuses on Twitter. You might even have caught guild members accusing each other of being overpowered months before 4.3 hits live servers. At any rate, regardless of how you heard about them, tier bonuses are here, and tier 13 offers some interesting bonuses for both specs of DPS shaman.


  • Elemental, 2P -- Elemental Mastery also grants you 2000 mastery rating 15 sec.
  • Elemental, 4P -- Each time Elemental Overload triggers, you gain 200 haste rating for 4 sec, stacking up to 3 times.
  • Enhancement, 2P -- While you have any stacks of Maelstrom Weapon, your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, and healing spells deal 20% more healing or damage.
  • Enhancement, 4P -- Your Feral Spirits have a 45% chance to grant you a charge of Maelstrom Weapon each time they deal damage.

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Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Soloing old raids as a DPS shaman

Enhancement shaman soloing Magtheridon
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

With the introduction of transmogrification in patch 4.3, collecting old armor styles has become one of the most productive ways to spend your free time in World of Warcraft. As an added bonus, soloing old content (or going in very small groups) can be very lucrative. I made 2,400 gold tonight from soloing Karazhan, Gruul's Lair, and Magtheridon's Lair and grouping for Sunwell Plateau, Tempest Keep, Serpentshrine Cavern, and Caverns of Time: Mount Hyjal.

Both specs of DPS shaman bring some excellent soloing utility to the table. As mail wearers, we have some solid physical damage mitigation. Wind Shear is an incredible utility ability that will be used on bosses in nearly every tier of raiding. Earth and Fire Elemental Totems provide a second target and work especially well for pulling council fights, so that you can pick off one target and kill it while the rest attack your elemental. Tremor Totem is useful on fights like Lady Vashj. Grounding Totem can be used to absorb direct damage spells your interrupt is down for or catch boss CCs that are headed your way. Bloodlust is great for burst DPS, and especially helpful on fights that have a soft enrage. And, of course, being a hybrid class means that both of our DPS specs have some amount of self healing to bring to the table.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Choosing to play an enhancement shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

Any seasoned video game veteran is used to the idea of choices. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, you made choices that determined your character's alignment. In Pokemon, you chose between Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander, and that choice determined your rival's team for the rest of the game. In World of Warcraft, character creation is a system of choices: What race will you be? What gender will you be? What faction will you choose? And, of course, the most important choice: What class will you be?

If you're reading, this, I assume you made the right choice and chose a shaman. You spent the first 10 levels in an awkward, liminal space where you weren't quite sure whether or not you were supposed to melee mobs or cast at them. Maybe you did both, casting Lightning Bolts in between your Primal Strike and Earth Shock cooldowns. If you're stuck in this in-between area, where you're not quite sure what you're supposed to be doing or what the purpose and playstyle of the two DPS specs for shaman are, this is the right place. Today, I'll discuss enhancement.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Crit vs. mastery for enhancement shaman

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

I spend a lot of time talking about gear. In the past, I've made loot lists for upcoming content, wrote a guide to enhance stats in Cataclysm, and devoted an entire post to talking about why haste is such a terrible, terrible stat for us. Gear is our only physical (as much as pixels on a screen can be physical) reminder of the boss we killed, and it's the only way for our characters to grow once they meet max level.

In my talks about gear, I've paid a lot of attention to how horrible haste is. Unfortunately, while I've mentioned in brief tidbits that mastery is our best secondary stat, the hot fudge on the ice cream sundae of our gearing, I've gone into little detail on why it's so good. Even worse, I've totally neglected discussion critical hit rating and why it isn't as good. To fully understand enhancement gearing, this is stuff you need to know.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Enhancement shaman vs. Alysrazor


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

When I was a youngling, my family didn't have a lot of money. As a result, we didn't have a lot of discretionary income for video games. When my neighbors were getting Nintendo 64, I was getting Sega Genesis. Getting Pokémon the first Christmas it was out was a really big deal.

As a result, my first exposure to Star Fox 64 came nearly two years after the game was released. Star Fox 64 had everything 12-year-old-me could have wished for in a video game: anthropomorphized animals with annoying voices, epic space battles, and barrel rolls. I was in heaven. I slept over my friend Francis' house every Friday night for three months just to play Star Fox. (I'd always skip the water zone, though. That place makes heroic Ragnaros look simple.)

When Blizzard released Patch 4.2 and Alysrazor came out, I was faced with a fight uniquely suited to my skillset. Half of the fight, I'm an enhancement shaman: half of the fight, I'm flying through the air dodging incendiary clouds and collecting gold rings like a boss. Unfortunately, the half of the fight that doesn't involve pretending to make fun of Falco over Ventrilo is the part that enhancement excels on.

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Filed under: Shaman, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Cataclysm

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