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Elemental Gear – A Look at Best In Slots

July 28, 2010 8 comments

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

Pimp My Shaman

April 20, 2010 3 comments

It took a while (a little under 4 months to be precise), but finally my alt, Zinglet (Scublet..) finally reached level 80 yesterday. Overall, the process of levelling again wasn’t as painful as I had predicted and certainly not as mind numbing as I remember levelling Zing to be. This is probably purely due to the fact that when levelling Zing, I was desperate to change mains where as this time, it’s an alt. Never the less, I did believe levelling the same class again would be more painful that it ultimately was.

At this point in the game, it is incredibly easy to deck out a new level 80 character in style and this is exactly what I had intended to do. She has had multiple BoE epics in her inventory for many, many levels as I’ve diligently checked the auction house multiple times a day for those items I really wanted.

So, want to really pimp your shiny new shaman? Read on 😉

Please note: This is designed as a list of high level, BoE items that you can buy straight from the auction house. I’ll touch on BoP’s in another post.

Jewellery

Starting with the jewellery items, there are some really nice BoE’s around for these slots. Availability of them can vary however and at least one of the following took me a long time to find.

Neck

The Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker drops from, obviously, Blood Queen Lana’thel in 25 man, normal mode Icecrown Citadel. It’s a very good neck and as such, you’re mainly going to be hoping for pick up groups that raid role all BoEs and for someone to then sell it.

The price on this one is going to vary enormously. My server has a distinct lack of decent pugs and as such, the only one I’ve so far seen on the auction house was 22k. More populated servers should (hopefully) find this for a lot cheaper.

If you’re looking for a cheaper BoE altenative, there is the crafted Titanium Spellshock Necklace. Quite conveniently, this has a red socket which in true twink style, you’ll be gemming with a runed cardinal ruby.

Rings

The first obvious choice here is the upgraded Dalaran caster ring.

The price of this is dependent upon your reputation with the Kirin Tor. If you can’t wait and want to buy it straight off, the base ring is 8,500 gold and fully upgraded, you’re looking around 12k. If you don’t need hit however, this ring is unlikely to be replaced until well into Icecrown Citadel.

For the second ring slot you have a couple of options. Firstly is the Ring of the Darkmender, a BoE drop from Lord Jaraxxus in Trial of the Crusader 25 man. Secondly, is the superior Marrowgar’s Frigid Eye. Another BoE drop from Lord Marrowgar in 25 man normal.

The price difference, at least on my server, isn’t huge between the two rings. I opted for the Marrowgar’s Frigid Eye as both my shaman’s now have this (it’s part of Zing’s resto set) and as I can’t do twenty five man raids due to our ten man strict status, having this as a BoE option is lovely.

Once again, there is a much cheaper, crafted caster ring available in the form of the Titanium Spellshock Ring.

Trinkets

There are a couple of Darkmoon Faire trinkets that might be of interest. Firstly, is the caster version of the noble’s deck.

Secondly, is the illusion deck which, ignoring the awful effect, gives a nice, base spell power increase.

Armour

Shoulders

There’s little available in regards to BoE epic shoulders. The Stiffened Corpse Shoulderpads are a BoE drop from Icecrown Citadel, but you do have wasted stats in the form of spirit. That said, they’re a large chunk of spell power with sockets and a decent socket bonus.

I personally didn’t bother with these and will be going straight for t9 emblem shoulders. However, if you’re set on decking out in full BoEs right from the start (or you want to be Icecrown passable at least), these can be considered.

Cloak

There are a couple of options available here also and again, their price bracket varies. Firstly we have the Cloak of Displacement dropping from 25 man trial of the crusader.

The price again will vary hugely from server to server but a few thousand feels about right. The advantage of this cloak is that it has hit rating.

The second option is crafted, this time from tailoring and comes in the form of the Deathchill Cloak.

Chest

By far the best option here is to have the Merlin’s Robe crafted (or buy it from the auction house.) It was our best in slot prior to tier 10, despite being cloth and will comfortably see you into Icecrown.

Bracers

Once again, we look to tailoring to provide these amazing BoE bracers. Again, these were best in slot for elemental shaman’s before Icecrown was released and you’ll still see many using them well into the instance.

Weapon

There are a few options for the main hand slot ranging in price enormously. The first option is to acquire a Battered Hilt from the auction house. Upon completing the quest chain, the shaman reward is the Hammer of Purified Flame. Once again, if you’re looking for an item to see you into Icecrown Citadel, this would be it. The prices on these are still quite high on many servers. They vary on my home server from around 11,000 upto 15,000 gold.

Of the cheaper, crafted varieties we have the Titansteel Guardian and the Titansteel Spellblade. While the mace has higher spell power, the dagger comes with a nice splashing of hit rating which is generally a concern of newly levelled shaman.

Off-hand

Really good BoE off-hands are basically none existent. You can pick up Zom’s Crackling Bulwark very cheaply and while it’s far from amazing, it serves a purpose at this stage.

Belt

Again here we look to an Icecrown BoE drop. The Belt of the Blood Nova. This appears to be a fairly common drop and is certainly seen on the auction house a lot at reasonable prices.

Again, it’s not ideally itemised due to the MP5 but it does have both high spell power and high haste and will see you comfortably into Icecrown when you replace it with our best in slot, Waistband of Despair.

Legs

Fortunately for any newly levelled alt, crafted legs are available from Icecrown Citadel and crafters are quite abundant at this stage. The cloth leggings, Leggings of Woven Death, are better itemised for an elemental shaman than the Lightning-Infused Leggings, but the difference is very slight. Due to my vanity, I opted for the mail leggings as they match the look of the shaman t10. It should be noted that your best in slot set might include the t10 legs (due to their hit) but they will still carry you well into Icecrown Citadel (and all the way if you so wish.)

Boots

Once again, the Icecrown Citadel crafted boots are close to best in slot for many and this includes elemental shaman’s. The Earthsoul Boots are by far your best option here and can only be replaced by a very slight upgrade from Lady Deathwhisper heroic.

Conclusion

So there we have it. If you have gold to burn and want to dress your new shaman up like a barbie doll, this is how. If you want to (almost) walk straight into Icecrown Citadel with your guild then this will put you well on that road. Quite minimal emblem farming can be done to fill in the gaps (I’ll come to these in another post).

Categories: The New Shaman