Archive for Weapons

Gearing Up

Yesterday was more of the same, questing around Icecrown, Argent Tournament daily quests and random heroics. Quite a few random heroics actually. Of course in the random heroics, you get level 200 blues dropping off most bosses, and a level 200 epic dropping off the final boss.

Stormshaper was unlucky with the epic drops from the final boss. Out of all of them, only a ring in Culling of Stratholme would have suited her, but she lost out on the roll. However, she did receive quite a few decent blue items. From Violet Hold she won the Solitare of Reflecting Beams and Mark of the War Prisoner. From Azjol Nerub she won Hollowed Mandible Legplates which I enhanced with a precise dragon’s eye (jewelcrafter only gem) and a precise bloodstone (yes I know its low level, but so are the pants), both of which increased her expertise level somewhat.

These were all nice gear upgrades for her, but the real highlight came from the Emblem of Triumph vendor. As Stormshaper had run so many heroics, she had accrued quite a few emblems of triumph and I decided that her first emblem purchase would be Shoulders of the Fateful Accord. A substantial increase over her BoA shoulders.

The thing I am really struggling with at the moment are weapons. There is a fist weapon that drops in Culling of Stratholme she can use, called Greed, but after that, I think the better weapons drop in Trial of the Crusader on normal and heroic. There is a nice axe that drops from Lavanthor in Violet Hold – but the chances of getting that are quite slim given the random number of bosses, and the random loot they each drop. The weapon upgrades are a priority for Stormshaper now.

I have checked out the Argent Tournament which is a good source of reasonable weapons for people in heroics and just starting on the raid schedule and there is an Ironforge Smasher available from there. However, that is some time away, due to the grind of actually earning Champions Seals. We’ll see how it goes.

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Gear Choices, Theorycrafting EnhSim and Rawr

Stormshaper has four very, very good one handed weapons at her disposal now. Two main hand items, Arm Blade of Augelmir and Borean Smasher and two items that can go into either hand, Venerable Mass of McGowan and Rising Tide.

The task now is to decide which two of the four will benefit her the most.

To do this, I’m going to go all Elitist Jerks and use the Enhsim and Rawr applications to simulate DPS using these different weapons in different combinations.

If you want to know what Enhsim and Rawr are, read this.

I used Rawr to equip each weapon combination, exported that data to Enhsim and ran the simulations. Three simulations for each weapon combination. Then I averaged out the DPS, MPS, MP2Min, MRPS and Out of Mana time. Here are the results:

1.Borean Smasher (MH)(WF) and Venerable Mace of McGowan (OH)(FT)

DPS 1118.92
MPS 204.14
MP2Min 24496.06
MRPS 180.31
OOM 11.29

2. Arm Blade of (MH)(WF) Augelmir and Venerable Mace of McGowan (OH)(FT)

DPS 1114.94
MPS 202.81
MP2Min 24040.06
MRPS 178.92
OOM 11.57

3. Borean Smasher (MH)(WF) and Rising Tide (OH)(FT)

DPS 1098.91
MPS 203.49
MP2Min 24418.70
MRPS 179.65
OOM 11.47

4. Arm Blade of Augelmir (MH)(WF) and Rising Tide (OH)(FT)

DPS 1094.62
MPS 202.21
MP2Min 24265.11
MRPS 178.32
OOM 11.72

5. Venerable Mace of McGowan (MH)(WF) and Rising Tide (OH)(FT)

DPS 1141.46
MPS 203.98
MP2Min 24476.97
MRPS 180.15
OOM 11.33

6. Equipped with Rising Tide (MH)(WF) and Venerable Mace of McGowan (OH)(FT)

DPS 1132.39
MPS 204.02
MP2Min 24481.65
MRPS 180.20
OOM 11.31

What these tests showed was that the best combination for Stormshaper is the Venerable Mace of McGowan in her main hand and Rising Tide in her offhand. This is to be expected, because up until level 80, the BoA items are in most cases better than available equipment at the same level.

If you don’t have any BoA items on your shaman, and you have a choice between the Borean Smasher and the Arm Blade of Augelmir as a main hand weapon, for me as I understand the data above, the Borean Smasher is the better of the two weapons. As I look at my item comparison of all four weapons, the attributes of the Arm Blade of Augelmir look to outshine the Borean Smasher, but the slower speed of the Borean Smasher really brings it to the fore for Enhancement Shamans.

Of course, that all might be complete rubbish, and if it is, I’d love someone to correct it for me. But as I understand it, the Borean Smasher is king. I’m actually going to pass the Venerable Mace of McGowan over to my paladin so Stormshaper’s weapon choices just got a little bit easier.

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Utgarde Keep

Stormshaper’s first run in a Northrend 5 man instance was Utgarde Keep. I have been using the excellent Kaliban’s Loot List to see what gear she can get from quests and instance runs, and I went to Howling Fjord today to start the quests there which lead to the Fury of the Encroaching Storm trinket.

I signed up for the daily random dungeon and hoped it would be Utgarde Keep, and it was. Now, according to Kaliban’s Loot List, Stormshaper can get some decent loot from that dungeon. Prince Keleseth drops Dragon Stabler’s Gauntlets, and lo, as soon as he was down, they did indeed drop. She needed these as the group was made up of a DK tank, a shadow priest and two druids. She also won a bouquet of ebon roses for the Love Is In The Air seasonal event, which caused the DK tank – Powerdk of Bronze Dragonflight to drop out of the group without a word, leaving us tankless. Nice job PowerDK. You win the inaugral Stormshaper’s Douchebag of the Day award!

Next boss Skarvald the Constructor drops Arm Blade of Augelmir, and once again, random number generator was kind and another need secured the loot.

Third and final boss, Ingvar The Plunderer can drop Overlaid Chain Spaulders – and – three out of three that’s exactly what he did. So all in all, it was the most incredible dungeon run Stormshaper has ever been on. Every boss dropped gear that she can use, plus a seasonal drop. Oh happy day!

I could talk about the tactics we used on the fights, but really, there’s nothing that anyone doesn’t already know. For myself, on each boss, I popped heroism and spirit wolves. For Keleseth, we bunched up on the boss and each time Maelstrom Weapon got five stacks, I’d unleash Chain Lightning which caused additional damage on the undead adds he summons. For Skarvald and Dalronn, after we took down Skarvald, I popped heroism and Spirit Wolves and the group buffs from heroism was more than enough to complete him. For the final boss, I melee’d him with no totems up at first – then after his resurrection, I dropped totems right on where he stands, so that I could hit him for additional damage with Fire Nova, popped Heroism and Spirit Wolves and it was over in seconds.

All in all, apart from Powerdk, it was as good a run as you could ever wish for.

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Black Temple

Tonight, I logged on with the full intention of completing a few more quests in Borean Tundra. However, I noticed that there’s a run to Black Temple being advertised in the trade channel. I chance my arm and whisper the organiser. It’s full of 80’s so they might have been a bit funny to “lower levels”, but I got an invite to the run. It’s purely for the achievement from their point of view, but from Stormshaper’s point of view, it’s a chance of some decent Outlands loot. And – if the instance went to plan, she will have defeated Illidan Stormrage. She will have completed Outlands! I’ve never done this on my main Hunter or on the Death Knight!

What a scoop!

Anyway, the run went very, very smoothly considering it was a pug. Of course, it should go smoothly with a number of 80’s in the raid, but this was organised and marshalled superbly from start to finish. At each boss tactics were discussed by the raid leader, and followed almost to the letter. We had one wipe on the Ilidari Council and two wipes on Ilidan himself but apart from that, it went very smoothly.

In total there were between 20 and 23 players at various times. Of course, being level 71 and running around in greens, Stormshaper wasn’t going to register on the DPS monitors, so there was no point in fretting about it. I knew what I was there for. I bring buffs to the raid with the totems and with Heroic Presence. Just by standing there looking gorgeous the raid is buffed! Yay! Go Draenei!

I died a few times on trash mobs. I found it difficult to get in the right place at the right time – there were so many melee DPS’ers smashing down mobs. I was caught two or three times by AoE damage which meant I spent far too long out of action. However, I managed to overcome this by carefully skipping around the very edge of the melee and standing back behind the Death Knights and fighting from the very edge of melee range.

So, we do all the bosses one by one and I roll need on a couple of decent items. As luck would have it, Stormshaper won Rising Tide which dropped off High Warlord Naj’entus.
When Black Temple was end game raiding for the select few leading guilds, this was deemed to be one of the best off-hand weapons for an Enhancement Shaman (outside Sunwell). Big win!

She also rolled on and won Bands of the Coming Storm from Supremus. Considering she was in pre-outlands wrists before this, these are a major, major upgrade for her!

A couple more items dropped that would have been nice to have, but those rolls went elsewhere. I wasn’t too bothered to be honest. Two items like that, two major upgrades were more than sufficient for Stormshaper and soon she will return to Northrend to press on in Borean Tundra.

Oh, I nearly forgot – as Stormshaper was heading back to Shattrath, she found and killed the rare mob Ambassador Jerrikar in Shadowmoon Valley and gained the achievement Medium Rare. A nice bonus to a great evenings entertainment!

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Maelstrom Weapon and Power Auras

Stormshaper reached level 56 last night. At level 55, I was able to select the Maelstrom Weapon talent, that requires 45 points in the Enhancement talent tree.

When you deal damage with a melee weapon you have a chance to reduce the cast time of your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lesser Healing Wave, Chain Heal or Hex by 20%. The Maelstrom weapon proc stacks up to five times, meaning that on the fifth stack, whatever spell you choose becomes instant cast.

According to the tooltip, dealing damage causes Maelstrom Weapon to proc. That’s it. If you’re swinging away and hitting things, then you’re due to see Maelstrom Weapon proc sooner or later. It’s not a case of more damage causing more procs, you simply have to be dealing damage full stop. The more points you stack in the talent the more frequent the trigger.

Simple, and effective.

Initially, with the one talent point, I was killing mobs and only saw it stack to five times once. Once Stormshaper hit 56 and I could put two points into the talent, the amount of times I saw five stacks went up enormously. Easily more than double. When I hit five stacks, I could cast a Lightning Bolt instantly, which was a good DPS increase, or, if I was running low on health, instantly cast a Lesser Healing Wave. Basically, any time I had stacks of Maelstrom Weapon up, I would cast *something* to make use of it, as I didn’t want it to go to waste.

With having to watch the amount of Maelstrom Weapon procs, I decided that I’d investigate and see what other Shamans do to monitor their Maelstrom Weapons. Two addons come to the fore; Shock And Awe and Power Auras Classic. As I have Power Auras Classic on my other characters and I am familiar with it, I decided to go with that. I know Shock And Awe is Shaman-specific, and it’s probably a cracking addon, but I like to re-use what I already have, so Power Auras Classic it is.

I could go through a step by step guide to setting up Power Auras Classic to monitor your Maelstrom Weapon procs, but there’s already a superb guide on this very subject on You Tube which is miles better than anything I could do.

My advice is to watch this movie a couple of times, and follow the steps he shows you and before too long, you’ll have your own Maelstrom Weapon procs appearing around your character.

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