Home > Best in Slot Guide > Elemental Gear – A Look at Best In Slots

Elemental Gear – A Look at Best In Slots

Some time ago, I wrote an article about gearing your elemental shaman to be raid ready from purely auction house obtained items. (You can read that article here.) Since then, I’ve had numerous requests to produce a “best in slot” guide and I’ll admit that I’ve generally avoided the topic.

A “best in slot” list refers to an end product comprising of the best available items in game. There are multiple problems with this concept. Firstly, World of Warcraft’s raiding game is now offering a great deal more choice. Players are presented with the option of focussing on ten man content alone. Throughout the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, ten and twenty five man loot tables have been separate entities; much to the annoyance of those people confined to ten man content to allow their guild to stay ranked. This is changing in Cataclysm (thank goodness) but it does mean that the items available to us vary. On the note of availability, many players also need to be realistic about their guild’s capabilities. Many coveted items for such a list are from heroic versions of twenty five man bosses. With the Icecrown Citadel buff gradually growing in it’s potency, the content has undoubtedly been accessible to more players. That said, some encounters remain very difficult and a portion of the player base will just not see them. You can, naturally, argue that this doesn’t change the “best in slot” list; indeed it doesn’t. However with a need to balance hit there is little point in relying on items from end game content that you have little chance of acquiring. When your spells are being resisted and your DPS directly affected, telling yourself that if you were to loot a specific item from a specific heroic encounter is of little consequence. We need to play in the here and now. Finally and related to the previous points, it is easy to forget that hit rating is our strongest stat until we are capped. Being under hit cap and experiencing resists will impact your DPS far more than any other stat. As such, it is vital to remember that acquiring best in slot gear is the destination at the end of a long and arduous journey. On the path, you may find that another item is far superior to you than one flagged as best in slot. This is frequently the case for high hit rating items.

Considering all of this, I’m not going to produce a definitive best in slot guide. I’m going to discuss your options at each step of your journey to that much desired destination.

Hit Ratings

At the centre of creating your ideal gear set should always be hit rating. It’s imperative that you remain hit capped as slipping under this point will have dire consequences for your DPS. The raid setup your guild utilise is key to calculating your required hit rating. There is zero point in aiming for a “best in slot” gear set that balances it’s hit around having misery or a boomkin’s presence if you raid with neither. Equally draenei aura rewards and additional 1% hit that needs to be accounted for.

I’m going to assume that everyone raids with Elemental Precision as aside from the hit rating increase, it also provides threat reduction. Based on this, hit rating required is shown below:-

  • Draenei with Misery / Boomkin Buff = 10% Hit Required = 263 Hit Rating (on character sheet)
  • Draenei without Misery / Boomkin Buff = 13% Required = 342 Hit Rating (on character sheet)
  • Non-Draenei with Misery / Boomkin Buff = 11% Required = 289 Hit Rating (on character sheet)
  • Non-Draenei without Misery / Boomkin Buff = 14% Required = 368 Hit Rating (on character sheet)

These are the figures you need to balance your gear set around. Being a few points under will impact your DPS but it will be quite negligible. Equally a few points over isn’t catastrophic. Avoid going considerably over hit rating as the stats are just wasted. Equally if you slip too far under, you’ll experience a large amount of resists on your offensive spells and your DPS will suffer.

Ten Man Versus Twenty Five Man Gear

Undoubtedly the largest factor that determines how your best in slot template looks comes down to whether you have access to twenty five man raiding. When Wrath content became available in two different incarnations (ten man and twenty five man), many players chose to focus purely on the smaller raids. Out of this apparent enthusiasm for a smaller raid size came strict ten man guild rankings. This gave the smaller guilds their own forum in which to feel competitive. To qualify, your guild had to forgo most twenty five man content. Indeed to ensure a new guild could not form out of veteran players boasting the crème de la crème of twenty five man gear, restrictions were put in place to limit how many twenty five man kills one guild could accommodate.

There is a vast difference between the gear available to twenty five man raiders in comparison with ten man players. For some item categories, you’re going to find yourself very limited in choice. The prime example of this, for casters, is in regards to trinkets. The lack of good trinkets has been a plague throughout the Wrath expansion. It began with the Illustration of the Dragon Soul back in Obsidian Sanctum. It continued into Ulduar and the Trial of the (Grand) Crusader instances with Flare of the Heavens, Scale of Fates and Reign of the Unliving and it has shown no sign of ceasing it’s torment in Icecrown Citadel and Ruby Sanctum with Dislodged Foreign Object, Phylactery of the Nameless Lich and Charred Twilight Scale.

As an officer in a ten man strict guild, the biggest request I get from members is them asking if we can afford a raid flag so they can pug for their trinkets. Their justification is simple and obvious; “it’s best in slot for me.” My answer is equally simple, “change your best in slot list to account for your guild.”

Four Set Tier Ten Bonus

Due to tier items and set bonuses, a reasonable number of our gear pieces are selected for us. This raises the question as to whether it is better to aim for a set bonus or choose offset pieces.

The entire tier ten set can be purchased with frost emblems. Much like tier nine, however, each piece has potential upgrades which are purchased with emblems dropping in raid content.

The two set bonus for the elemental set is as follows:-

  • Your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning spells reduce the remaining cooldown on your Elemental Mastery talent by 2 sec.

It’s not an amazing set bonus and it suffers under certain circumstances (such as high movement encounters). It’s still worth around 100 DPS however.

The four set bonus for the elemental tier ten set reads as follows:-

Categories: Best in Slot Guide
  1. July 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Well, I think half the trouble with best in slot list is that it can mean several different things. When I was playing my old main it referred to the gear ranking lists that Shadowpriest.com made, which basically listed all the useable gear in the current content, and ranked it according to ‘pseudo power’ calculations, with added numbers to show the set bonus, or the value if hit is needed. This is a metric of rating gear that I used a lot when I was a shadow priest (and I had contemplated doing lists like this for totemspot.com as well)

    THEN you have the simple ‘best in each slot’ list, a little like yours, however if you put all the the ‘BiS’ items together they don’t make a set (as you point out) and so arises the ‘holy grail’ of the ‘bis set’, which is the best possible combination of all these items.

    Some people use the ranking system, or simulationcraft/rawr, to build their gear up piecemeal. Some people use a BiS list and pick the best of the items as they see it, and then build the rest of their set around that, and then others find a BiS SET and try and build up towards that.

    I think the piecemeal set is better for immediate improvements, but can lead to a funky final set of gear and a lot of wasted dkp, but all the methods that are there to help you chose your gearing path can be used together to make planning much easier.

    Awesome post, again, Zing 😀

  2. July 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I must admit I’ve avoided the topic for a while because I simply find the whole concept a little “meh”. (Highly technical term I know).

    I’ve spoken to so many people in the past (guildees and otherwise) that become obsessed with a set gear list they have seen somewhere and regardless of their current stats or items, they’re compiling it piece by piece.

    In addition I’ve been in guilds before where people have refused to spend DKP on a massive upgrade purely because there is, theoretically, a better item out there. They don’t seem to care whether that item is in feasible reach or not, they’re saving to ensure they can get it should the guild ever reach that boss. (In the case of that guild, they did not.)

    I personally believe it is better to think of gear sets as a more fluid entity. You have to be willing to switch things around here and there to maintain that critical hit rating.

    Frequently you also need to be willing to spend DKP on upgrades that aren’t on your “BiS” list because if everyone went with the same mindset, the entire raid would be gimping themselves 😛

    And thanks Pewter ❤ 😀

    • July 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm

      Yeh, that’s the problem I have with BiS lists – it encourages the “wait for BiS item to drop” mentality which means you might put yourself out of gear upgrades for a very long time, to the overall detriment of the raid.

      I guess the situation could be different when DKP is involved (I’ve never been in a guild that uses it), however I’d say that if your guild uses DKP, you’ll be raiding a lot more than a guild that doesn’t.

  3. July 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I view my gear as an ever-evolving puzzle, a Rubix cube, I suppose you could call it. I look over my entire gear set and ask myself “What could I upgrade this to?” for each individual slot, then weigh the results of the changes and determine an order as to how to pursue upgrades. Recently I shelved the heroic Horrific Flesh Epaulets in favor of my 264 T10 so that I could swap my 264 T10 gloves with heroic Gunship Mittens. I may go back to the T10 gloves if I were to get heroic Plaguebringer’s Stained Pants…but then I’d have to put another blue gem somewhere, probably in the T10 shoulder, then pour on the runed rubies on the pants.

    I don’t have any of the math for this handy, but like I said, I evolve my gear set a piece at a time; rarely does anyone grab 2-3 upgrades in a single raid, anyhow.

    Sure, I try to get everything BiS, but I don’t take the “BiS or bust” approach to it. I may be viewed as a loot whore though. o.o

    • July 28, 2010 at 9:48 pm

      Precisely the kind of view I take also. I’ve always disagreed with whoring DKP for specific items. At least when it’s at the expensive of taking very good upgrades just for the sake of waiting on one BiS drop.

      While the loot table difference between ten man and twenty five man really irritates me, I’m also lucky in that I generally have little competition for most of the items I want. Though I do remember the day of there being ten or so other casters in the guild all wanting the same trinket 😦

      I’ve also picked up misc pieces along the way that have extra hit or that I won’t use immediately but may need at some point. I guess that could make me a loot whore too 😉 But it’s better than disenchanting stuff in my opinion 🙂

  4. Jen
    July 29, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    BiS lists are good as a general guide, but we all get items in different orders. For example I have never had Lich wrappings from Dreamwalker, because it has only dropped once, and our warlock still needs it. We have to keep ourselves hit capped every step of the way, so we shift our gear around to give the best possible stats that the gear we do have, can offer whilst maintaining the hit cap. The hard decision is when you look at a loot table and you think how that item could fit into your gearset, and would a certain gearset give more dps than another.

    I use the chardev website to change gear around, and the Zap spreadsheet. I look at each item that I could still use in each slot, and I model different gearsets around those items. There is one rule, each gearset has to be hit capped. After that just throw in anything that you have/could have. I have worked out an optimal gearset, changing around t10 and hit pieces, however I would need 3 new items to get it. So I look at some gearsets which just use one new item. You end up with a list of different gearsets (I describe what’s in each one) with a dps number, and anytime you win one of those items from a raid, you see if that item can be fit in just on its own, or whether you need something else also. If the highest dps gearset does not include that item, you still take it because you might receive another item that DOES fit with that item, that is still an upgrade from what you have now.

    Obviously you only focus on upgrades, no point shifting your gear for no dps difference. But I hope you understand all that. It’s always good to take optional loot, every step of the way you can look at what you have and just optimise it. You can’t control what will drop and when, so take a look at what you do have, and what is immediately available from badges, and take it from there.

  5. July 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I agree with you 100%

    We have had equally terrible luck with the Lich Wrappings. It dropped once on normal and never on heroic. I was fortunate that no one else actually needed it at the time but some of the drop rates seem crazy. The Frozen Seed boots are the same thing. They’ve dropped once for us in all the time we’ve been in ICC and obviously (and rightly so) the boomkin got them.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree that BiS lists are a useful framework, as long as that is how they are treated and not as a definitive list which must not be deviated from 🙂

    Always lovely to hear (or read!) your comments Jen

  6. Jen
    July 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    We’ve had those boots a few times…but there are many items we haven’t even seen on heroic yet…after how many months of doing heroic modes. The warrior/hunter/shaman tokens won’t drop either. We have 7 people with full sanctified and now using them for their offspecs, and I’m still at 2/4 resto and 1/4 elemental. Also have our hunter and warrior with 1/4 and 2/4 main spec respectively. Insane. Not that I desperately need them but still, it’s nice to get a bit of love every now and then.

    Anyhow, less of my whinging! I could whine about 10 man loot tables all day, but I won’t. I’m just gonna give my abyssal rune a hug and carry on doing 12k dps. It feels good :D.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: