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Gearing Up the Shaman

Updated Sun, Jul 19, 2009 by Bluto



Angry Dread
Binds when picked up
One-Hand Mace
274 - 509 Damage, Speed 2.50
(156.6 DPS)
+31 Agility
+42 Stamina
Requires Level 80
Improves hit rating by 25
Improves critical strike rating by 29
Increases attack power by 86
There is no doubt that most games from console to computer are driven by the type of item used by the player. World of Warcraft is no different; in fact, in some ways it may be worse. It may be a little “too” gear driven. There are some complaints that gear can surpass a player’s ability to play, meaning that a poor playing, well geared individual will surpass a poorly geared outstanding player.

Unfortunately gear is what is needed to excel at WoW, so gear is what we will discuss. Gear will essentially help get a player where they want to be, the question is, will it be in a Ferrari or your mom’s car with her driving? Sure both are cars; both have four wheels and will get you where you want to go. But only one will do it quickly and in style, and be far less embarrassing. (Assuming all readers possess a driver’s license. If not I apologize for the poor analogy).

For those out there who may not be familiar with the classification of WoW items, here’s a quick little definition of the majority of items along with a little personal commentary.

Color

Blizzard’s Definition

My  Definition

Green

Uncommon

Not really that uncommon, they are from almost every quest out there, not to mention random world and boss drops

Blue

Rare

Usually chain quest rewards and normal dungeon boss drops, so really not that rare.

Purple

Epic

Tiered gear, and Epic Dungeon drops, and almost everybody is full of epics, so how can epic be less rare than rare items?  If that makes sense to anybody.


As I mentioned in last week’s introduction, the Shaman’s greatest blessing can be their greatest curse - versatility. Fortunately when it comes to gear, rather than being forced with three choices (Elemental, Enhancement & Restoration), the player has to essentially decide if they choose to be a caster Shaman or a Melee Shaman.

At a glance consideration for Shaman item combinations:

Build

Combination

Enhancement Shaman

Two Handed Weapon or Dual Wield

Elemental Shaman

One Handed Weapon & Off Hand or Shield

Restoration Shaman

One Handed Weapon & Off Hand or Shield

What stats are most important?

While leveling your Shaman the two popular selections are the enhancement and elemental builds.  Enhancement is melee DPS for Shamans so you are upclose and personal with the mob or mobs. Elemental is the range DPS for Shamans so you can blast away from a distance.  The two base stats that should receive focus for enhancement is strength and stamina. Agility will assist in the amount of physical damage done by the player by means of attack power,  while stamina increases the total amount of health points. The two base stats that should receive focus for elemental is intelligence and stamina.  Intelligence will increase your mana pool and spell critical hit and stamina as mentioned above will increase the total amount of health points.  For the enhancement build, other statistics to strive for while leveling your Shaman is attack power which increases damage with melee weapons, hit rating which increases your melee chance to hit a target, and crit chance which increases the chance of your melee attack to be a critical strike.  For the elemental build a Shaman should focus on spell damage which increases damage done by spells, spell hit rating which increases your spell chance to hit a target, and spell haste rating which decreases the casting time of your spells.

If the player decides to go the restoration build while leveling the statistics they should focus on are similar to the elemental build. Intelligence, stamina, and spell damage are once again key.  Some may think that leveling as a restoration build will be boring, and let's face it you will kill things slower than the other two builds, but in turn you will be harder to kill because of increased survivability.  One thing I enjoyed while leveling my Shaman as resto was the increase likelihood to get into a five man instance group. Healers are always needed and are in high demand since most players do not choose to be a healer build while leveling.  Fortunately mana regeneration is less of a concern for a Shaman since they possess the ability to throw down a Mana Spring totem. Blizzard has done a tremendous favor to all casters out there over the past year. In the olden days of WoW, players would have to contend with healing power versus spell damage. Now they have been merged under spell damage, it helps reduce the amount of gear a player may need to amass. No longer must you focus on a healing vs.a damage set of gear. 

It is best to focus on leather gear with these statistics until level fourty. Leather will provide you with greater armor class than cloth. At level fourty  the Shaman can train to wear mail armor which greatly increases the player’s armor class.Many of your quest rewards and instance drops will now be mail, further increasing your survivability.

How important is the DPS of a weapon?  


Depending on what build you choose whether it be elemental, enhancement, or restoration there are important stats to consider when selecting a weapon or offhand.  For elemental, selecting a weapon that has intelligence, critical strike, haste rating, and high spell power is optimal.  Do not pay attention to the DPS of the weapon since you will be a range caster and will not do much melee damage.  As mentioned above, an elemental Shaman should focus on one hand weapon with a shield.  For enhancement, selecting weapons (duel weild) with high DPS and slower attack speed is optimal, am old thread here done by Elitist Jerks explains attack speed very well.  As an enhancement Shaman you should also focus on weapons with high attack power, critical strike, hit rating, and if possible expertise rating.  For restoration, selecting a weapon to increase your effectiveness as a healer is what is most important.  As mentioned above, a restoration Shaman should focus on a one hand weapon along with a shield.  The statistics you should be looking for is intelligence, MP5 (mana per 5 seconds), critical strike, haste rating, and high spell power.  Fortunately there is ample additional Shaman coverage right here at Ten Ton Hammer, quick shout out to all the TTH contributors out there.

How important is AC?


For the Shaman, AC is only truly a focus if you decide to mix it up as a melee DPS, or off tank. If you decide to go restoration, you will be far away from the mix that AC shouldn’t be a concern. Sure it helps, but may not be worth the bonus spell power that both leather and cloth items may offer.

How to get the gear you're after?


Quest Rewards:
From levels 1 to 79, quite honestly, quest reward items and crafted items will be more than sufficient. WoW seems to have a fairly balanced system of quest rewards which allows a player to stay competitive as they progress.

Faction Rewards: The whole game changes at level 80, and I believe it is here the player needs to focus.  The Wrath of Lich King has introduced a number of new factions to gain reputation. A number of these factions have items useful to all Shaman builds. As an added bonus, these items are quite useful at the honored level. Gaining reputation moves fairly quickly. Just focus on those quests.

Auction House: The Auction House is always worth checking out.  Sometimes you may luck out and just find somebody desperate for gold and willing to let a quality item sell for a reasonable price.

Crafted Items: High end crafted items are often expensive, but there is something to be said for the certainty of purchasing items. It’s a sure thing, no worries about being out-rolled for that drop you had your eye on. Popular choices at the Auction House these days are any items crafted from Titansteel.  For the player who has specialized in the proper profession, it may be a very reasonable alternative.

Emblem rewards:  The bonus of raiding is gathering currency to get your own epics. The level of difficulty of the instance will dictate the number of Emblems of Heroism or Valor the player receives. It’s Blizzard’s way of saying “hey thanks for taking the time to raid, and sorry you didn’t get any loot, but do this twenty more times and you can get yourself some sweet epics.”

Raiding: Last but certainly not least, the absolute best items in the game come from raiding. So go forth and use the gear you have already and get some epic loot for yourself.

What to roll on?


At level 80, my opinion is that if it is mail or under, and the stats work for your build roll on it. Just be a little considerate of other’s gear needs. Roll on everything that you can wear, you’ll never know when you may decide to change what role your Shaman plays. Mail is preferred, but shouldn’t be the sole type of gear to look for.

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