Bringing The Deeps

Things are starting to fall into place with Stormshaper. Slowly, inevitably, she is accruing the badges to buy tier 9 gear. As you gear up, its important to read up on what brings you the best DPS you can muster. With a hunter, you’re looking at armour penetration, agility and hit rating. With a Death Knight, you’re looking at strength, expertise and a bit of stamina thrown in for good measure, to make sure you can survive any big hits that come your way.

With an enhancement shaman, its a little bit of both. Expertise is one of the statistics an enhancement shaman needs to get to the maximum level as quickly possible because expertise reduces the chance that your attack will be blocked/dodged/parried. If your attacks are hitting home, you’re causing damage, which is giving you maelstrom weapon procs, which stack up rapidly, and on five stacks you can let go instant cast chain lightning or lightning bolts, which means your DPS is going to go through the roof.

Another statistic an enhancement shaman needs is hit. Not because hit gives you crit, but because hit means you are going to miss less. Less missing means pretty much the same as above. Hit and expertise together will mean that you’re smacking your target on pretty much every swing and that’s what you are after.

So, last night, after Stormshaper picked up her second piece of tier gear, Nobundo’s Grips of Conquest, I powered up Rawr, and proceeded to do a lot of ‘what if’ analysis, going through various gems and enchants, in order to see what combination of both will give Stormshaper a significant DPS increase.

You can follow the socket bonuses available from gem slots on gear, but, truthfully? You don’t need to, and sometimes it benefits you enormously to ignore those available bonuses.

In Stormshaper’s case, the gem that gave her the best DPS in each slot were those gems that gave her expertise. So in her gloves and shoulders went a Precise Cardinal Ruby. Both of these gems give Stormshaper the best DPS over all the other gems available in the game, and no, they don’t match the socket, so she does lose the socket bonus, but 4 agility and 8 attack power is small potatoes in comparison to the DPS increase from the gem alone.

To see if I could prove this point, and find out the overall effect one of these gems would have on Stormshaper’s overall DPS, I used Enhsim and Rawr together to perform two simulations. One with the gem, and one without.

In Rawr, I disabled all the buffs available apart from those from racial and tradeskills, and ran a simulation which showed that with the gem equipped in her glove socket, Stormshaper was doing an estimated 2097.60 DPS. Then, with the gem removed from the glove socket, I re-ran the same simulation which resulted in her doing an estimated 2086.01 DPS.

According to Enhsim therefore, one Precise Cardinal Ruby adds 11.59 DPS to Stormshaper, given her current equipment. Certainly a lot better than a socket bonus of 4 agility.

I pressed on with the expertise and hit gemming and in Stormshaper’s boots and chest piece went Accurate Ametrine, again the chest piece socket bonus is missed, but 2 mana every 5 seconds? Who’s going to miss that? This gem in the boots enables the socket bonus, so that’s all well and good.

After gemming, I sauntered along to the target dummies and spent a little while attacking them, trying out various attacks. I could see that the DPS increase was significant, – perhaps not as clearly as Enhsim shows, but certainly the numbers were higher than previously, and significantly so.

There is a lot of improvement in Stormshaper’s performance now, but even with level 200 blue-quality weapons and a level 70 enchant on each one (Mongoose), she’s still doing 2.4K – 2.6K DPS in heroics, which isn’t too shabby by any standards.

By the end of the week, Stormshaper will be in four piece tier gear and she’ll exploit the four set bonus, which increases damage done by her shock spells by 25% which is a significant jump, so I’m aiming for her to be around the 3K – 4K mark before she progresses on the weapon front.

Let’s see how it pans out.

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