Thursday, May 30, 2013

Enhancement Trinkets for Tier 15

What's up ladies and gents? It seems like lately I've been tackling some rather broad subject matter, trying to cover all the general basis so that you all have some sort of a launching pad for getting into the awesome specialization that is enhancement. This time around though I'd like to dive into a more specific topic that seems to crop up often on my search terms list: 5.2 trinkets.

The Throne of Thunder raid patch presented us with a good number of new trinkets to play around with. Some of these trinkets have turned out to be pretty awesome, some of them have worked out to be flops. Let's take a look at what has become available to us and the individual pros and cons of each.

Renataki's Soul Charm - Dropped by Jin'rokh the Breaker, the first encounter in Throne of Thunder.

Pros: One of the stronger RPPM trinkets available to us. Drops off of an easily accessible boss.

Cons: Has a base stat of expertise. If you find yourself at an awkward gearing stage where you're way over the expertise cap, this situation could devalue Renataki's a bit.

Bad Juju - Dropped by the Council of Elders, the third encounter in Throne of Thunder.

Pros: Another very strong RPPM trinket. Council of Elders is a fairly accessible encounter to most on normal mode, though the LFR version of this trinket is pretty decent as well. It has a mastery base, which of course is pretty fantastic all around. It even procs adorable little gnomes that shoot lightning!

Cons: The biggest problem with this trinket isn't general raid performance, but with the fact that it does proc little "guardians". If you're a soloist going through content where bosses have a chance to mind control, this trinket can pose an issue for you. This is the only real con I can think of, and it has no bearing on current tier content.

Talisman of Bloodlust - Dropped by Primordius, the eighth encounter in Throne of Thunder.

Pros: Has a base stat of Agility with a chance to proc haste. Said haste proc has a chance to stack up to 5 times; RPPM based trinket. A decent contender if you have an obscene excess of expertise that renders Renataki's Soul Charm less than ideal for you.

Cons: Based on various user reports on this trinket, unless you have the heroic version the chances of you seeing ToB stack past 3 is rather slim. I personally haven't had the chance to play around with this trinket, as it hasn't dropped for me, to confirm that this is low-proc situation is also a trend for us enhancement types.

Rune of Re-Origination - Dropped by Lei Shen, the final encounter (on normal mode at least) in Throne of Thunder.

Pros: Yet another Agility based RPPM trinket. Unfortunately that's about where the pros end for us.

Cons: Essentially, this trinket works thusly:

"- Increase your highest secondary stat by 200% of the sum of your two lowest secondary stats. For example: you have 3500 mastery, 5000 crit, 7000 haste. Rune procs, and you get [-3500 mastery, -5000 crit, +17000 haste]. Same logic as before, just double the size of the buff to your highest stat."

The bonus proc of RoRO isn't the issue, the fact that it essentially zeroes two of our secondary stats is where the problem resides. Enhancement has a very strong synergy with how secondary stats work for us. Crit feeds into our Flurry procs, which enables haste to be beneficial to us. Mastery naturally boosts the damaging throughput of nearly all of our abilities. Haste makes us hit faster, burst harder, and works to increase the uptime of our RPPM trinkets. A healthy balance of these stats makes for the best damage output potential for our spec.

Now, the best case scenario for this trinket would probably be to force a mastery proc, which you'd do by stacking mastery (which most enhancement shaman who have two RPPM trinkets are NOT doing; we're moving towards being a bit more haste heavy to encourage even more procs from our trinkets/weapon enchants). If you were to do this, you'd be reducing your Flurry uptime and diminishing the chance of your other RPPM trinket, should you have one, to proc. Both of these scenarios are less than ideal. If you were to try and force a crit or haste proc, you'd also see less than ideal circumstances, as both of these stats can and do eventually suffer from diminishing returns. Needless to say, most people have seen DPS losses when replacing even tier 14 trinkets with this item regardless of how their stats add up.

Vicious Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault - Sold by Ao Pye in Townlong Steppes and Teng of the Flying Daggers at the Isle of Thunder for 1750 Valor Points.

Pros: Easily obtainable and still a somewhat decent item despite its cons. Like most trinkets, has a tendency to proc at the beginning of an encounter, thus could help lead to higher opening burst. Hit based, though this is really only a pro point for those shaman who are just starting out.

Cons: Not an RPPM based trinket. Most enhancement shaman going into or are already raiding Throne of Thunder tend to be suffering from an excess of hit. This trinket also has a rather lengthy ICD (internal cooldown) of 105 seconds.

Now that we've gone through the pros and cons of each trinket, let's look at how they stack up.

The graph found above has been put together by a fellow called Purge, who is by far much more clever than I when it comes to this theorycrafting/simulation running business. You may find the original post of his findings on his site here.

Unfortunately the LFR versions of these trinkets are not found within this list, but by the data presented we can see that both Renataki's Soul Charm and Bad Juju are strong contenders for Best in Slot, so much so that even the normal mode versions are superior to the heroic versions of Talisman of Bloodlust and most certainly Runes of Re-Origination. If I were to wager a guess (and that is all this is folks, a ballpark guess), I'd say that the LFR versions of Renataki and Juju are probably at least on par with the heroic versions of Bottle of Infinite Stars and Terror in the Mists, two rather strong trinkets in their own right from tier 14.

Also missing from the graph above are the Thunderforged and upgraded versions of each trinket. For those you'll have need to run your own simulations to see how one version of a trinket stacks up against another for you.

Overall we have some interesting options available to us. While ultimately Renataki's and Juju may be clear winners for enhancement, the VP purchased trinket Vicious Talisman and the normal mode (or heroic, if you're one so lucky to be progressed that far) version of the Talisman of Bloodlust are viable standbys for the unlucky or for those who may have ridiculous amounts of expertise that they just can't shake.

Hopefully this post has been a help to those of you who are baffled by our trinket choices. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. May the Voodoo Gnomes be with you!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Patch 5.3 Primer for Enhancement

Patch 5.3 is upon us! With this patch we will see several buffs to our damage and a couple of quality of life changes to boot. While these changes may not address things such as the long ramp up time for our AoE damage, they should bring our overall damage up enough to make us more competitive with other classes/specs in Throne of Thunder.

Lightning Bolt can now be cast while moving.
The effects of the Glyph of Unleashed Lightning (a glyph that has been revamped; we'll get to that) has been baked into the shaman toolkit, minus the increase in Lightning Bolt's cast time. What does this mean to Enhance? Not a whole lot really. This will be handy in those situations where we're on the move and may not have a full Maelstrom stack available. For high movement encounters, this change may yield a minor DPS increase for us.

* Glyph of Lightning Shield (previously Glyph of Unleashed Lightning) will reduce damage taken by 10% for 6 seconds after Lightning Shield is triggered. 
At first glance it seems like this glyph could potentially become a "must have" item for both PvP and progression raiding alike. However as it stands now, it is not triggered by Static Shock, which means that in order to receive the damage reduction effects, we must receive some sort of damage (spell, melee, or ranged attack, according to Lightning Shield's tooltip) before we receive the 10% damage reduction. This pretty much means that Glyph of Lightning Shield is reactive, versus proactive.

Bottom line, unless you're receiving some sort of semi-consistent direct damage, this glyph may not be worth a slot. Of course this glyph can have its uses, but it'll be very dependent upon the situations you find yourself in. Personally, I think I'll love this one for soloing.

* Feral Spirit: The summoned Spirit Wolves are now immune to movement impairing (root and snare) effects.
This change seems to be more of a quality of life change for PvP, though there are some situations in PvE where roots/snares occur. Though we may get stuck to the floor, our pups will still be able to chase down whatever it is that we're attacking, keeping up the damage pressure and giving us some passive healing in the process.

*Lava Lash now deals 300% weapon damage, up from 250%.
Single target damage buff? I'll take it!

*Stormstrike now deals 450% weapon damage, up from 375%.
Another nice buff to our single target damage. No complaints here.

*Mental Quickness now coverts 65% of the shaman's attack power to spell power, up from 55%.
This is a little buff that will effect a number of different aspects of both our damage and utility toolkits. Without going into heavy details, this change should slightly boost our AoE damage output, increase shock damage just a touch, and will also bring up healing throughput just a smidge.

That about covers it, barring any hotfixes. Now get on out there, swing those weapons, and enjoy the buffs!