The Role of Enhancement
I have a confession to make. I had never been to the Elitist Jerks website before yesterday. Well, I went once, was blown away by the sheer amount of content and got scared off. So I avoided it. I told myself that I wasn’t doing any serious raiding, so it wouldn’t be killer if I didn’t learn how to perfectly min/max everything. And sure, I did fine. My dps was always respectable on both my hunter and my mage.
But things changed yesterday. I need to get caught up on Shaman issues that I have no idea existed. While the EJ forums are no less daunting than before, I found a good link on SoE to page 119 of a thread that had a great summary of Enhancement stuff. From there I found a link to this! It’s a general guide for Enhance Shamanal, written by Malan of <Serious Casuals> on the Mal’Ganis-US server. The introduction did such an excellent job that I decided to reproduce part of it here. Please note that some of it is paraphrased slightly for brevity.
“An Enhancement Shaman is an integral part of a raid group. Besides offering substantial personal dps, an Enhancement Shaman brings talented totem buffs beyond those offered by Resto or Elemental Shamanal. These include Unleashed Rage (an on-crit proc for 10% additional melee AP), Strength of Earth (+STR/+AGI) and Windfury (20% melee haste).
An Enhancement Shaman is not a melee healer. While Maelstrom Weapon instant cast heals can certainly help top off a group after an AoE or step in to prevent an Emergency, their gear’s focus on melee stats makes them unsuitable healers in the Endgame. An Enhancement Shaman should be dedicated to DPS, maximizing Unleashed Rage and totem coverage for the raid.
Enhance Shamanal have 6 sources of damage:
(a) Windfury: a weapon imbue that gives the Shaman 20% proc of two instant attacks with a substantial AP bonus.
(b) Lava Lash: an off-hand instant attack (6 sec cooldown) that deals fire damage, does more damage if Flametongue Weapon is used.
(c) Elemental Shocks: shared (6s) cooldown instant elemental damage offering stealth prevention (Flame Shock), snaring (Frost Shock) or interruption (Earth or Wind Shock).
(d) Fire totems: Pulse, direct or AoE fire damage.
(e) Lightnings: Chain Lightning or Lightning Bolt instant casts triggered by a 5-stack of the Maelstrom Weapon talent.
Enhance Shamanal are highly gear dependent, perhaps more so than any other dps class. Much of the ‘skill’ required to be effective at the class, manifests in proper gear selection prior to combat; during combat, the amount of ‘skill’ to produce respectable dps consists mainly of staying in contact with the mob, using skills as cooldowns expire, and maintaining totem coverage. This gives Enhance Shamanal a great deal of latitude while doing damage, since there are a limited number of actions that can be performed while waiting on Stormstrike and Shock cooldowns to be used for purging mobs or removing poison/disease debuffs with no interruption of the dps cycle.”
— The original work of Malan of <Serious Casual> on Mal’Ganis-US.
I’ve found the post to be an excellent resource for Enhance Shamanal. If you’re interested in a nice consolidated resource for all things Enhance, its there. From what I’ve read so far, it seems to be updated for patch 3.0.3. The only thing lacking was a discussion of totems. I’m sure to the people who’ve been playing a Shaman a long time, that may seem like a waste of space since it is obvious which totems to choose. You’d think that anyways. But I’m interested to know that if I’m using Flametongue totem, is that more of a dps increase to my spell damage than the Searing Totem is of actual damage? Don’t know. If I don’t find out anywhere, I’ll be doing a little testing of my own when I hit level 80. The new targeting dummies in the cities, which I’ve dubbed Gozz for short (long story) are going to be an excellent way of getting actual numbers from in game mechanics. And while you won’t be able to take into account every variable, it’s a great ‘all other things being equal’ test.
Anyways, if you’re interested in finding out more about Enhancement or getting into the nitty gritty detail of why people recommend certain things, go read it for yourself.
As a follow up to my last post on totems and as a result of reading further and getting into the comments in the guide, there are two totems that are recommended for Enhance always. Strength of Earth Totem was buffed to provide strength and agility, getting combined with the old Grace of Air totem, which is now gone. With Enhancing Totems (15% increased effect) this is an excellent choice for Enhance, always. Secondly, Windfury Totem now gives 16% melee haste (20% with Improved Windfury Totem), which is great for Enhance as well. The other two schools I’m a bit less sure of, but I have my suspicions, and they’ll get tested eventually.
For Water Totems I am generally using Mana Spring, as the more mana I have, the more damage I can do with the Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Shocks and Lightning Bolt. If I get low on health, I can always use the Maelstrom Weapon proc to get off a heal, and if I have more mana, this isn’t an issue from a longevity perspective. (None of this takes into account Feral Spirit and Shamanistic Rage of course). When I group with Bacta for raids, however, he uses a combo of Mana Spring / Mana Tide, so I drop Healing Stream or Poison/Disease cleansing as required.
For Fire totems I am generally using Flametongue Totem when I solo. Since Searing is uncontrolled and often aggros adds without warning, I don’t like using it at the moment. Flametongue provides a spell power bonus, which increases spell damage, and with points in Enhancing Totems for the SoE increase, Flametongue also gets the increase.
Lastly, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about talent specs and such. This is what I think I’m going with for levelling (10/51/0), switching to this at 80 for raiding (17/54/0). The 80 build will be revisited later on though.
May the Horde be with you.