Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Reaching the Hit Cap

After a suggestion from one of the readers I have made a hit cap helper. I explain hit earlier in this blog's history so we are all aware of what our cap is (if not go read up on that first), but I didn't really enlighten on how to achieve those kind of hit numbers.

When you start out it will be hard to reach the cap. As you get better gear and start entering deeper endgame content you will find it becomes much easier to acquire hit and you will end up regulating hit rather than striving for it.


The absolute best place to start is with your trinket. At every stage of progression there is a hit trinket available that carries large quantities that I recommend getting. In order of increasing difficulty to get, they are as follows:
  • [Rune of Infinite Power] - From a pretty fun quest called Mystery of the Infinite, Redux where you help a version on yourself in the past. The original quest you get help from your future self, so you end up going full circle. Anyways, this is a good trinket to kick you off in the right direction hit-wise.
  • [Figurine - Twilight Serpent] - This one is for the Jewelcrafters only. Requires JC lvl 400, its materials are here.
  • [Mark of the War Prisoner] - This is the first hit trinket I used at 80, and it is a good one. In fact, I used this most of the way through Naxx 10 and well into Naxx 25. Drops from Cyanigosa in Heroic Violet Hold.
  • [Dying Curse] - When you get into Naxx 25 regularly this becomes the upgrade from the War Prisoner. Has a shared loot table (it can drop off of multiple bosses) and has a very nice proc.
  • [Elemental Focus Stone] - Drops off of Auriaya in 10-man Ulduar. Huge amounts of hit, but the proc is worse than Dying Curse for most casters.
  • [Living Flame] - Drops off of Razorscale in Ulduar 25. A ton of hit and a usable proc that is much more competitive with Dying Curse than that of the Elemental Focus Stone.


There are a couple of enchants that give hit. I am only putting the best available versions of the enchantment (i.e. there are less effective versions of the ones given) but I am choosing not to include these. In order of increasing amount of hit:

  • [Enchant Boots - Icewalker] - +12 Hit (as well as +12 Crit). Most casters tend to roll with this enchant because it is one of the only caster boot chants available (I opt for this one instead, but that discussion is for another post...)
  • [Enchant Gloves - Precision] - +20 Hit. The other option for enchanting your gloves is +28 Spell Power, but for a cheap enchant the 20 hit is nice.
  • [Enchant Weapon - Accuracy] - +25 Hit (as well as +25 Crit). This is an extremely expensive enchant that I would not recommend getting unless you plan on keeping the weapon a long time and are really struggling to reach your cap. You can also get a Titanium Weapon Chain put on your weapon; although the disarm resist won't help you the +3 hit will, and it is considerably cheaper.


The most simple way to make small adjustments to your hit rating is via gemming. Here is a list of gems with hit that are available, as before there is lesser quality versions of those posted:

  • [Rigid Autumn's Glow] - +16 hit. This is the only pure hit gem available (Jewelcrafters have [Rigid Dragon's Eye] available to them, but we will disregard it for our purposes).
  • [Veiled Monarch Topaz] - +9 Spell Power, +8 Hit.
  • [Vivid Forest Emerald] - +8 Hit Rating, +12 Stamina. In my opinion this is the best gem to put in a blue socket if you are under cap and looking to get a socket bonus or keep a meta socket running (this is applicable to elemental shaman only, other casters who may be reading this will tend to get more benefit from the 'Shining' equivalent below).
  • [Tense Forest Emerald] - +8 Hit, +10 Spell Penetration.
  • [Shining Forest Emerald] - +8 Hit Rating, +8 Spirit.
  • [Lambent Forest Emerald] - +8 Hit Rating, +3 mana every 5 seconds.

Note: Make sure you keep an eye on sockets for any with hit rating also. These can be freebies for that extra little bit to keep you over cap. Although stacking Spell Power gems is the trend at endgame, being ignorant of socket bonuses can cause you to miss out on benefits. Being a smart raider is more than just moving out of void zones you know...

I hope these recommendations help you in reaching that elusive hit cap if you are just starting work on your gear, or shows you a way to get that little tweak to be able to stay capped with your recent upgrade.

- Puut

Monday, 29 June 2009


A more informal post is the order of the day. Firstly, I have been doing some 2v2's with a random Destro Lock who was bored in trade and recently parted with his last partner, a Shadow Priest. Judging by his full deadly gear and PvP trinkets/rings etc. he obviously was more into arenas waaay more than myself who, as you may know, have only really done 2v2s with my PvE Boomkin housemate. Anyway, he said as it was just for some skirmishes it would be fine for me to roll in my PvE gear and adding a ring/trinkets/cloak etc. for some survivability. Surprisingly we did very well in our first couple of non-rated matches, so much so that he invited me to join his team and see how we fared against rated. The team rank was in the mid-high 1400's along with his personal ranking whereas mine and my team ("The Vulvarian Riders", don't ask...) was in the low 1100's. We played mostly 1400-1550 ranked teams and fared pretty well on the day, ending at 20-13 for our ranked (with him DCing for 2 of those losses) and 8-3 for skirmishes. The dynamic of the Destro and Ele is pretty interesting, their buffs complement each other extremely well. Most of the time the opposition assumed I was resto and would try to burn my teammate down faster than I could heal. This generally backfired though, as we would counter with an all-out nukefest with Heroism and trinkets popped and would usually take down one of them well, well before they could take down a 900+ resil lock. I would then heal us up and we could clean up the 2v1.

The other noticeable thing was the far greater ability to fare against the dreaded rogues. As he has his fears and I have hex we could peel apart as soon as a rogue appeared and CC the lil' bastards to give each other time to recover. We would then both open up on the now vulnerable target and down him before he could think; even with a dedicated healer they usually would not survive more than 10-15 seconds with our heroism and cooldowns popped. Nice to be able to extract some revenge finally.

And to conclude on a note about healers; we did come across a few good ones unlike the scrubby ones I had met during my 800-1100 rating endeavours. A cool counter to a skilled healer that we learnt rather quickly off the bat was that in a 2v2 they simply cannot keep both them and their buddy up at the same time against a dual-caster assault. With my earth/wind shocks and my partner's silences we could throw enough patches in their healing to make it a nightmare with our bursts.

I am not sure if this partnership will keep going as I really do not take my PvPing seriously enough for much higher rankings, but I would definitely recommend that budding arena players amongst the readership give this combination some consideration. It is a little more off-the-wall than a lot of people are used to but it keeps that nice duo-caster dynamic with some cool abilities that make it viable.


Edit: Hit Rating 'How to' guide is in the works, expect it to be up in the next couple of days. May want to invite your caster friends as it is pretty general and applicable to any of us looking for some additional sources of hit.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Ulduar 25-man Gear Guide

Flame Leviathan:

[Constructor's Handwraps]
Embrace of the Leviathan]
Freya's Choker of Warding]
Glowing Ring of Reclamation]
Leviathan Fueling Manual]
Steamworker's Goggles]
Boots of Fiery Resolution] - [Hard Mode]
[Pendant of Fiery Havoc] - [Hard Mode]
[Shoulderpads of Dormant Energies] - [Hard Mode]


[Flamewrought Cinch]
Pyrelight Circle]
Soot-Covered Mantle]
Wristguards of the Firetender]


[Belt of the Fallen Wyrm]
Bracers of the Broodmother]
Collar of the Wyrmhunter]
Guiding Star]
Living Flame]
Shackles of the Odalisque]


[Boots of Hasty Revival]
Mantle of Wavering Calm]
Quartz-Studded Harness]
Sandals of Rash Temperament]
Thunderfall Totem]
Charm of Meticulous Timing] - [Hard Mode]
[Grasps of Reason] - [Hard Mode]

Assembly of Iron:

[Overload Legwraps]
Phaelia's Vestments of the Sprouting Seed]
Radiant Seal]
Raiments of the Iron Council]
Runeshaper's Gloves]
Unblinking Eye]
Drape of Mortal Downfall] - [Hard Mode]
[Sapphire Amulet of Renewal] - [Hard Mode]


[Bracers of Unleashed Magic]
Handwraps of Plentiful Recovery]
Leggings of the Stoneweaver]
Robes of the Umbral Brute]


[Amice of the Stocic Watch]
Cowl of the Absolute]
Ring of the Faithful Servant]
Sandals of the Ancient Keeper]
Unwavering Stare]


[Breastplate of the Wayward Protector], becoming [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Hauberk]
Frozen Loop]
Bindings of Winter Gale] - [Hard Mode]
[Constellus] - [Hard Mode]
[Gloves of the Frozen Glade] - [Hard Mode]
[Staff of Endless Winter] - [Hard Mode]


[Crown of the Wayward Protector], becoming [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Helm]
Leggings of Lost Love]
Scale of Fates]
Pauldrons of the Combatant] - [Hard Mode]
[Wisdom's Hold] - [Hard Mode]


[Legplates of the Wayward Protector], becoming [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Kilt]
Belt of the Crystal Tree]
Boots of the Servant]
Leggings of the Lifetender]
The Lifebinder]
Drape of the Sullen Goddess] - [Hard Mode]
[Leggings of the Enslaved Idol] - [Hard Mode]


[Gauntlets of the Wayward Protector], becoming [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Gloves]
Asimov's Drape]
Malleable Steelweave Mantle]
Pandora's Plea]
Conductive Seal] - [Hard Mode]
[Crown of Luminescence] - [Hard Mode]
[Starshard Edge] - [Hard Mode]

General Vezax:

[Belt of the Darkspeaker]
Boots of the Forgotten Depths]
Grips of the Unbroken]
Mantle of the Unknowing]
Ring of the Vacant Eye]
Flare of the Heavens] - [Hard Mode]
[Handwraps of the Vigilant] - [Hard Mode]
[Vestments of the Blind Denizen] - [Hard Mode]


[Mantle of the Wayward Protector], becoming [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Shoulderpads]
Cowl of Dark Whispers]
Chestguard of the Fallen God]
Shawl of Haunted Memories]
Sanity's Bond]
Show of Faith] - [Hard Mode]
[Treads of the False Oracle] - [Hard Mode]


Constellus] Text Color
Starshard Edge]
Pharos Gloves]
Planewalker Treads]
Star-Beaded Clutch]
[Starwatcher's Binding]
Note: WoWhead appears to be missing the link to this piece.


So after far too long in the making, here is the completed Ulduar-25 Gear Guide. I know this comes pretty late into Ulduar but in my defence, I have only been writing since partway through Ulduar anyway. I opted not to put comments like in my 10-man Guide because I am aware of my ramblings and know you probably won't feel any great loss with them not being there. The result is a neater, more concise presentation in my opinion; making it easy to alt-tab to during a raid to see what this next boss will drop that you may have interest in.

I hope you get good use out of it, and don't forget the Ulduar 10-man Gear Guide.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Upcoming Stuff

I have been asked recently by a few of my viewers what is in the pipeline for the blog; what I am working on. I find myself stuck for answers because up to this point I haven't really 'planned' anything. I generally write on topics that I have thought about, have been asked about in game or via email, or seen on the forums being discussed. To make it easier and keep you guys in the loop I am posting today what you can expect to see because I figure it is best if I start adopting some organization and planning for this:

  • Ulduar 25-man Gear Guide: This has been a while in the works but I have been learning and looking to improve on the system I used for the previous guides. It should be out sometime this week I am guessing and I am sorry it has taken so long!
  • Hit Rating guide: Not strictly a gear guide; it will feature ways on how to get to the hit cap if you are just hitting 80 or if you just need a couple more points to reach the cap with a new upgrade.
  • Speccing: I have debated about actually posting about this because I have found people either get it or they don't, but I feel for the benefit of all it will be best if I lay it all out on how to spec and why to clarify if people are confused or are still having questions.
  • Longer term plans is to get a little bit more mathy (I have generally avoided it up to this point as to not scare you all off too early). Potentially down the road a summary of glyphs, totem slot item comparisons and delving into the mechanics of the Elemental rotation (or lack thereof).
  • I will also be updating/improving some old material and polishing up some areas where I cut corners or things have differed. One of the readers, Razen, showed me a perfect example of this with the new Argent Tournament gear that would work well into the fresh-to-80 gear guide. I also plan to update the 10-man Ulduar guide to reflect changes to the guides that I am making currently with the writing of the 25-man version.

I have also had big jumps in readership in the last 2 weeks or so which I really appreciate. Your support make this enjoyable to do and I hope I can provide quality content which improves your play or just generally makes life a little easier.


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Totem Bars

HERE is a post from the devs regarding changes to our totem system. Reserving comments until a later time. For now, absorb and contemplate.

- Puut


Proud to say we knocked out XT on hardmode last night, nice work to all the fellow raiders at Bladestorm.
- Puut

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Q&A Summary

Well, the Shaman Q&A session is over and the developer's preliminary responses are in. With this, I felt it was time for a bit of a rant.

Firstly, you can find the full spread of Ghostcrawler's response here. It is quite the wall o' text, so beware.

I have seen numerous posts already springing up in response to the thread and the developer's conclusions. The most accurate summary I have seen is a comparison of GC's response to that of a politician: saying a lot without saying much at all. Seems GC can verbally build a wall of roundabout discussion whilst slyly dodging actual questions.

So what was actually said. What, regarding elemental shaman, is in the pipeline and will be changing soon? What are we so patiently holding our collective breaths for?

The answer: Not much.

I would not say this if I didn't feel it true because of my love for our other specced brethren; but I personally feel we got the least out of the Q&A session out of all three specs. Now, admittedly one spec has to get the least but the least in this case seems to be next to nothing. The only real thing I was hearing that will benefit us that is seemingly pretty concrete is connecting all 4 totems to a single GCD. Which, in all honestly, is long overdue and has been discussed many, many times on the forums already. The only other thing that spiked my ears up a little was the sliver of discussion regarding elemental AoE damage, where GC was quoted as saying: "...while we have given Elemental strong AoE in the form of the Magma Totem, some players feel like this comes at too high a cost to their buffs and mobility, so this is something we’ll look at". Again, something that has been consistently discussed on the forums for a long time. May we finally see the introduction of forked lightning? Or is this just a way to roll out the carpet on the chain lightning modification that was being discussed a while ago, where it has less single target damage but hits an additional target and loses less potency with its jumps? Time will tell.

There was a couple of comments that got my blood boiling a little. It is commonplace to see comments thrown around regarding the developer's lack of understanding of our class/spec and I avoid making these claims to as greater extent as possible, but sometimes they really test my patience on such topics.

Firstly, GC and all the developers have beating this dead horse in regard to "hybridization" for as long as I can remember and this session was no exception. GC mentions of elementals that they can "easily throw out heals if a group needs a little extra help"; seemingly in response to our lacking DPS numbers. As a higher-end raiding shaman I know that if it comes to the point where you are asking the elemental shaman to 'throw out heals' the raid is in pretty big trouble and more than likely wiping anyways, making us nothing more than the bubblegum used to plug holes on a sinking ship. And with dual-spec now available it makes the need for such hybrids obsolete. Using this ability as a defence of where our spec is at the moment seems like a pretty hollow excuse to me.

"...However, we didn’t want say shamans to no longer be attractive for raiding so we brought up their damage a lot. It might still not be as high as rogues or warlocks, but it’s close, and if you have the right gear and really know how to play, you can even beat those classes on some bosses". I think here we see blissful ignorance of the issue by the devs. Yes, there is fights where I can trump a rogue and warlock (Yogg and General, for examples). However, I think the problem is not with having those 'one off' fights. The greater issue is that on a stand and blam, tank and spank fight we do not keep the pace. Sure, in favourable conditions we are competitive but should we really need that kind of crutch to be able to keep up? My complaint has been for a long time that comparable players of comparable gear and comparable experience in the same raid should be doing similar numbers but this is simply not the case. When a dps warrior/feral druid/ret pally opens up on a tank and spank fight they will considerably beat us; and I use those classes as examples because they are other hybrid classes who supposedly should be on the same par as us (sitting slightly below the pure DPS classes).

My final point is in regards to elemental shaman scaling. There seemed to be nothing but silence offered on this issue, which is surprising due to the amount of posts regarding it. The statement of "After the recent Lightning Overload change, we think Elemental can do competitive ranged damage" is the only thing we could get out of him, which anyone who has been playing this class for a while knows that the whole change to overload was just another quick fix in the ever growing chain of quick fixes (*cough* Shamanism *cough*). Unless this constant buff-then-ignore system is the long term strategy (which creates a whole different issue altogether) then we need to see some kind of scaling introduced. Its not like it is something that has just been sprung on them; this issue has been existent since the end of Burning Crusade and the Moonkins are undergoing changes with it at this very moment. Are we really that invisible of a spec?

If all goes well we will see the buffing to base HP, single GCD for totems and additional PvP viability that was discussed. As for everything else? I go back to holding my breath. At least I got a little fresh air to hold onto.

- Puut

(PS: Fingers crossed for those of you who roll resto, the news was far more promising for you guys.)

Friday, 5 June 2009

Upcoming Shaman Q&A

The latest talk around the official forums is about the upcoming Question and Answer session the developers will be having regarding each class. Obviously there is a feeling of discontent amongst the entire shaman community as all three specs are having difficulties at the moment.

The interesting ting to see will be the responses by the developers. Some are already fearing the dreaded 'working as intended' or 'known issue, working on it' responses that we have seen from blue posts in the past. Hopefully in this session they will have the common sense to at least elaborate to a greater extent and calm the concerns of the community some.

Posts are already going up discussing what questions should/will be asked so I am putting my opinions up as to what the most important questions are for us. A couple of these points are general for all shaman specs I will admit off the bat:

Scaling: This is an issue that has plagued elemental shaman since the Burning Crusade. The inability to scale up well as we move into deeper content is worrying. We are the only caster class without benefit to our spell damage from base stats such as intellect or spirit; the easiest method of scaling there is. With the latest improvements to Moonkin Druids giving them significant benefit from spirit, elemental shams are now scratching their heads wondering when we are going to get a bone thrown our way. Seems we are becoming the forgotten casters, and it is not a fun spot to be in.

Totem Viability: When WoW was in its early days, shamans were a necessity as the benefits that their totems bought to a raid group was unmatched. This presence has lessened consistently as the game has evolved until this latest expansion where, in order to make raid makeups more flexible, they have made almost every totem's benefits replaceable by another classes buffs. In essence this is a good idea, because the developers want this game to not restrict the player's experience based on their class. However, being the buffing class we are we have gotten a raw deal here as we now have non-unique buffs that are bulky and awkward to use in that totems have limited range and have to constantly be recast. I would imagine this will be the hot topic of discussion amongst all specs.

PvP: PvP is generally not a topic of discussion for me as I am far more into my raiding than anything else, but I do hit the BGs every now and again and am in a 'just for kicks' 2's team with my Boomkin housemate (we stay in PvE gear/spec and see how many we can win blowing heroism and spamming like hell!). I know like every other elemental shaman how incredibly vulnerable we are, especially to the likes of rogues/feral druids. We are easily stunnable and have literally NO way of getting out of CC apart from our trinkets. I do not have any huge issue with it, but I know serious PvPers are demanding changes to even the playing field a little.

These are the three biggest I can think of off the top of my head, but here is where I am turning it over to you. I have received emails from readers in increasing amounts (which I really appreciate, I might add!) but I am asking you guys to leave comments and let me know what you think about this whole Q&A deal. What questions do you have? Do you have any suggestions? Do you foresee us getting any changes? Hit the comments at the bottom of the post and let me and the other readers know.

- Puut

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Puut'n It Down: The Elemental Shaman Blog by Puut is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.