Thursday, October 18, 2012

MoP Enhancement Shaman - Need To Know Guide (90)

Yes, this is a nearly identical post from the original Need To Know guide that I did shortly after 5.0.4 dropped. I have however tweaked a few things so now it reflects what you need to know as a level 90 Enhancement Shaman. This guide has been updated to reflect changes that have taken place in patch 5.4.

What's Changed
- Hit and expertise caps are no longer what they were. You need 7.5% hit and  7.5% expertise, respectively. 7.5% = 2550, or 2210 for those of you who have racial bonuses that grant hit or expertise.
- Haste is no longer completely garbage. At level 90 mastery, haste, and crit are all roughly equal; the stat that is strongest will depend on your personal gear. Haste will increase RPPM procs (legendary cloak, legendary meta gem, certain trinkets) and is the preferred stat when using the talent Primal Elementalist. Haste will also increase the number of ticks done by our healing totems, depending on how much haste one has.
- Mastery in 5.4 is generally the preferred secondary stat, but it may depend on your gear set up. Mastery increases all of the fire, nature, and frost damage we do (which is to say a large majority of our spells) and becomes very strong with AoE situations.
- Critical Strike becomes less of a focus for Enhancement once we've surpassed roughly 20% crit. Once we're around that percentage point, Flurry uptime becomes adequate (making haste worth our time) and everything beyond that is just bonus. Crit, along with excess hit and expertise, tends to be our reforge stat.

 - Searing Flames (x5) no longer build up on a target; instead they stack on us, making target switching less of a pain.
- Buff totems have become auras, thus our clunky totem bar is gone. What totems you have left are now cooldown-type deals, save for the Searing and Magma totems.
- Our Fire Elemental has had his CD reduced to 5 minutes and should reset once an encounter is either completed or a wipe has occured. He now gives us Searing Flames, which makes him not only a viable totem to use, but a rather powerful CD.
- Our Earth Elemental can now be considered to be a minor DPS CD. He should no longer taunt off of someone who is rocking a tank specialization, but he may still try to taunt little adds that haven't been picked up by a tank yet. Keep an eye on him.
- Feral Spirits have lost their control bar. Because of this change, we no longer have their stun ability. The ability they used to grant, called Spirit Walk, is now a separate ability that has a relatively short CD, especially when glyphed.
- Pets such as our Feral Spirits and our Fire/Earth Elemental totems will no longer "snap shot" stats and will adjust to your current procs and stats as they roll out. No more double-dipping on Heroism for your puppies, but no more sitting around for the proc-gods to line up either.

Our rotation varies slightly depending upon the talent choices we make. For more information on this, please read the rotation portion of the complete Enhancement guide over on Totemspot.

For the most part, you'll be adjusting your spec on a per-fight basis. I'm going to suggest talents that you'd use depending on encounter. Please note that specs are no longer of a "set it and forget it" mindset; adjust to your needs accordingly!

Tier 1: Stone Bulwark Totem or Astral Shift
- SBT is a great general use talent. This ability has decent uptime with a relatively short cooldown, so feel free to use it liberally.
- AS is for those moments when you need a large damage reduction cooldown, but only for a very short window of time.

Tier 2: Earthgrab Totem or Windwalk Totem - Both of these talents have utility uses. These are abilities that are often forgot about, but they can be incredibly handy in a large variety of raiding and soloing scenarios.

Tier 3: Call of Elements or Totemic Persistence or Totemic Projection
-  CoE will allow you to use your Capacitor Totem, Earthbind Totem /Earthgrab Totem, Grounding Totem, Healing Stream Totem, Stone Bulwark Totem, Tremor Totem, and Windwalk Totem more often. Great for encounters that require you to use your utility totems more often.
- Totemic Persistence allows you to have up to two totems of the same school up at the same time. This does not include fire totems. Having your Earth Elemental out and still being able to pop a Tremor Totem or Stone Bulwark totem at the same time without despawning your Earth Elemental is a wonderful thing.
- Totemic Projection does have some uses, though as a general rule we don't often need to move a totem to any place besides our feet.

Tier 4: All three talents at level 90 pretty much on par with each other. Each has its use, depending on your situation.
- Elemental Mastery is for situations where you need higher, concentrated burst in a pinch. Also a nice talent for single target encounters where you may have down time in between where you can hit something.
- Ancestral Swiftness is preferred for single target static fights.
- Echo of Elements is great for AoE/cleave encounters, as well as for leveling and soloing

Tier 5:  Ancestral Guidance or Rushing Streams
- Ancestral Guidance is a very strong healing cooldown, so long as you're able to hit something while it is active. This talent can produce some pretty ridiculous healing numbers when tied in with Ascendance, however it's not always possible to have both of these abilities rolling at the same time. AG is the perfect talent for when burst hybrid healing is necessary.
- Rushing Streams causes our Healing Stream Totem to heal for an increased amount of 15% and to hit two targets (instead of just one). This is a very solid choice for general static healing, especially for those still running with haste builds.

Tier 6: All three talents are fairly close to each other, even with the various combinations from tier 4. What you choose to use will rely on a combination of gear, the encounter, and your comfort zone.
- Unleash Fury With mastery back in action in Siege of Orgrimmar, UF has once again become an appealing choice. This ability will buff your personal damage (not that of your Elementals or wolves, sadly), and becomes a very solid choice with the t16 2 set bonus.
- Primal Elementalist is an amazing burst cooldown choice, even though it prefers haste builds over mastery. Even when using a mastery build, PE still can treat you well, depending on the encounter.
- Elemental Blast is a strong talent choice, though it does complicate the Enhancement rotation some. If you're unfamiliar with the Enhancement priority rotation, or are working on a fight that has a lot of high movement, this may not be the best choice. Complications aside, it is very viable, as it will buff your pets and all of your abilities for a short amount of time.

Major Glyphs
- Flame Shock causes this ability to heal for 50% of the damage it does.
- Healing Storm increases any of your direct healing done. This is to say that it makes Healing Surge and Chain Heal stronger by 20% for each stack of Maelstrom Weapon you have. Fairly potent and pretty much a necessity for soloing.
- Feral Spirits increases the healing done to you by your wolves or raptors (if you have the Spirit Raptors cosmetic glyph) by 40%. Excellent for extra passive healing when they're up, also very helpful for leveling/soloing.
- Lightning Shield is a glyph that has some niche uses. The major downside to this glyph is that it is reactive, instead of proactive. If you're not receiving hits within a rapid succession (which in a raiding environment it's pretty rare that you will be) the proc of this glyph is pretty much a waste, as it has a rather short duration for the 10% reduced damage. I've found that this glyph is absolutely fantastic though for soloing.
- Fire Elemental Totem can be used in certain situations, though its use often results in a DPS loss. Times to use this glyph include short windows of increased damage where this glyph will allow said windows to line up with your Fire Elemental cooldown, or fights that last a certain duration and allow you to stack other cooldowns with your Fire Elemental.

Minor Glyphs
- There is only one minor glyph that has a non-cosmetic function: Lava Lash. This glyph is necessary in those situations where you don't want to break CC via spreading your Flame Shocks around, or if a boss fight requires you to control your cleave. It's just a "per basis" sort of glyph, like many of the majors.
- All other minor glyphs are purely for fun. However, I find that Spirit Wolf can be pretty handy to have around.

Utility Totems
- Stormlash Totem is a wicked little thing that buffs the raid for 10 seconds, causing them to pump out some extra nature damage. Naturally (har har) this gets slightly buffed through our own mastery. Sadly it's on a five minute cooldown and isn't reset through Call of Elements. Also, does not stack with other Stormlash Totems.
- Healing Steam Totem no longer works like the old, static HST. This one is a single target SMART heal, which will always try to choose the target with the lowest health. Can have its timer reset by the talent Call of Elements. May also be improved through the talent Rushing Streams.
- Healing Tide Totem is no longer a talent, but a cooldown that is baseline for shaman of all specializations. Great AoE healing utility.
- Capacitor Totem, Earthbind Totem /Earthgrab Totem, Grounding Totem, Healing Stream Totem, Stone Bulwark Totem, Tremor Totem, and Windwalk Totem are all great minor utility totems. Remember them, use them, love them.

If you wish to read more in detail about each of the spells, glyphs, and various other Enhancement-related MoPish things, please take a look at the Enhancement Guide for Mists of Pandaria, which can be found over on TotemSpot. If you're looking for some macro tips, check out my Enhancement Macro post, and for all things totems, there's my Pandaria Totem guide at your service.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Saz Lives! And Updates.

Hey guys, just swinging by the blog to let you all know that I have NOT completely fallen off of the face of the Earth. Mists of Pandaria is keeping be extremely busy, between the mounds of dailies and raiding, so it might be a bit before I return to make any sort of content for this particular space or my fanfiction blog.

Here's a heads up on the projects I have been working on/plan to get to in the near future:

1) Mists of Pandaria Enhancement Raiding Guide - This guide has been a collaborative effort, with me writing pretty much all of the fluff stuff while Purge took care of the theorycrafty/gearing stuff and Platform did up all of the rotational stuff. This guide should in theory be cross-posted to the general forums, MMO-Champ, and possibly even EJ soonish, but I have no eta on that. Keep in mind that there will be adjustments made to the guide within the next few weeks, once the theorycrafting boys get a free moment. For now though, enjoy and I hope it helps!

2) Raiding Videos - Yes, I've been at it again with the PoV videos. I haven't been doing any fancy editing with the most recent kill videos (you get to hear us scream and swear, what fun!), but I do plan on eventually getting around to doing some how-to guides here on WoS when I get a moment. I need to get a solid grip on the encounters myself before I feel even remotely capable of passing on any "tips" to my readers after all! Until then, you can watch me derp around on Youtube.

3) UI Walk Through - This is a project that I hope to record by sometime this coming weekend. I've had several people on Twitter, Youtube itself, and even an email about my UI, plus I always have guild mates bugging me about how I set up this or that. Since the UI portion of my blog needs an update anyways, I'll be killing many birds with one stone. If such a thing interests you, keep your eyes peeled! It should be coming soon.

4) General Blog Updates - Several aspects of WoS are kind of completely outdated, especially the guide links. Fixes coming as soon as I get a moment!

5) Twitterland Raiding - Currently suspended until further notice! Well, the site is still very much there for everyone to use, but I still personally will not be raid leading anything until the dust settles with t14 raid progression, which may be a while yet with how the time tables are laid out for raid releases. I do plan on raid leading a few Firelands achievement runs, as all as a few DS runs. More Ulduar and ICC is also in the plans, and we'll more than likely also do a few more Herald runs for those who missed out.

6) Twitterland Raiding on Steam - This is kind of old news by now and I'm sure I've mentioned it, but Twitterland Raiding is also on Steam! If you want to hook up with your Twitter buddies on the Steam community, there's the place to do it. You all can thank Binkenstein for that one. I think it's pretty neat anyways, even if I don't have much time for Steam goodness.

7) Other projects - Yes, I know. I need more projects like I need holes in my head. I'm hoping to at some point work on a solo Podcasty-type project. However, I have yet to find the time to properly research all of the aspects to cover my butt (bandwidth to monetary requirement ratios, as my budget is still very much at zero; things of the legal nature, if there are any; etc) so I don't have a ton of information on that for the moment. I will however be bugging you all at some point for opinions/participation in that project, if I give it a go!

Since I'm pretty slack at posting these days, if you have any interest on my latest projects/internet postings, you can always find me linking things over on my WoW-based Facebook account or on Twitter. I'm always babbling on Twitter, so beware of that, but Facebook is generally only used for project linking and the occasional screen shot. I've also been trying (and failing quite well) to use my Tumblr account more often. The plan was to do a whole series of pictures involving my ginger mug and my bandana collection, mainly because I know you're all just dying to see both. I'll get back to it eventually, but for now MoP has gotten in the way. It's in the "eh, I'll get to it eventually" pile.

Anyways, a lot of things on my crazy plate, as per usual. I will return to everything at some point. I will get all of my things accomplished, it's just a lot of waiting while I muddle through it all. One thing at a time, eh?