Monday, September 24, 2007

Blades of Flurry! (Enhancement)

Much maligned historically, the enhancement shaman received a huge boost with the addition of dual wield. Although there are still some unresolved issues, enhancement is a very viable talent tree these days, capable of both solid personal DPS as well as providing some amazing buffs to their party.

I've spent most of my time as Elemental and Restoration, so my knowledge of raiding as Enhancement is more theoretical than experiential. However, the best piece of advice I can give to a new enhancement shaman is to read the Enhance Shaman: Collected Works of Theorycraft thread. There's a ton of important information in there, collected by some of the best theorycrafters playing the game right now. I'll hit some of the highlights, but I'd highly recommend every enhancement shaman read it.

Enhancement talents are pretty straightforward. There are a couple of really awful choices, but otherwise it's very easy to get to 41 points without any real wasted talents. I'll hit a couple of highlights, then comment on general talent build strategies.

  • Thundering Strikes, Flurry, Spirit Weapons, Elemental Weapons, Weapon Mastery, Stormstrike, Dual Wield, Improved Dual Wield and Unleashed Rage - These are the bread and butter of the enhancement shaman.
  • Ancestral Knowledge and Shield Specialization - Both of these talents are bad. For a dual-wielding shaman, Ancestral Knowledge is slightly less wasted.
  • Improved Ghost Wolf - This is a great talent for the levelling shaman, allowing you to escape a fight that you're not going to win. It's not a great use of points for a raiding shaman, but can still be useful in the PvP side of the game.
  • Improved Lightning Shield - LS is one of the most mana-efficient damage spells in the shaman's arsenal. Like Improved Ghost Wolf, it's not that useful for raiding, but it's great for grinding or for PvP.
  • Toughness - Shaman make poor tanks. Point for point, you'll get better returns from Anticipation.
  • Two-Handed Axes and Maces - For PvE, dual wielding provides a much higher rate of return - better damage and better "up time" for Unleashed Rage. Until Blizzard makes this a learnable talent, it's still useful to have for PvP.
  • Enhancing Totems and Improved Weapon Totems - Although not needed for PvP, these are both strong talents for the raiding enhancement shaman (Enhancing Totems much moreso than Imp. Weapon Totems).
  • Shamanistic Rage - This is another great talent for a raider and is usually more than sufficient to cover their mana needs. It's less useful in PvP where battles tend to end before the buff does.
  • Improved Reincarnation (Resto, Tier 2) - One of the downsides to high DPS that relies so much on spike damage is the tendency to draw aggro (and die). Two points in this talent will allow you to come back mid-fight and still be useful.
  • Nature's Guidance (Resto, Tier 3) - The miss rate for dual-wield is 24%, so the more +hit you can get, the better.
Most raiding builds use something along the lines of 0/4X/1X. These builds aim for Improved Dual Wield, Shamanistic Rage and Nature's Guidance to maximize their raid DPS. Extra points are occasionally placed in Concussion (Elemental, Tier 1) for a little more DPS.

An alternative build, primarily focused on PvP, is a hybrid 30/31/0 build, focusing on 2H weapons with enough Elemental talents to still be deadly at range.

Enhancement itemization is somewhat lacking, at least as of the 2.1.3 patch, so don't be afraid to supplement your gear with a few pieces of leather. The Collected Works of Theorycraft thread has some great pointers, but here're a few highlights:
  • You want the slowest possible weapon in your off-hand to avoid having it "eat" your Windfury procs (see the thread above for a full discussion). A green 2.6 speed weapon will generally be better than an epic with a speed faster than 2.4!
  • Increased run speed is a huge benefit in any fight requiring movement and these are probably the best boot enchants available right now.
  • Always choose Strength over Attack Power if given the choice. Avoid Intellect and mana/5: These are "wasted" itemization stats for you - let the hunters have them instead.
  • The suggested AP-equivalent (AEP) values for the various stats are (higher is better):
    Strength = 2 (2.2 with Kings); Crit rating = 2; Agility = 1.8 (2 with Kings); Haste = 1.5 (as of patch 2.2); Hit rating = 1.4; AP = 1; Armor penetration = 0.25

Continue reading "Blades of Flurry! (Enhancement)"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Turning to the Dark Side! (Elemental)

Image obtained from WookieepediaRestoration shaman are very strong healers, both for PvE and PvP, so why would you ever think of switching to another talent tree? Besides the usual complaint of grinding as a healer (Restoration shaman can grind effectively since we can take such a beating, it's just slow), it's just a lot of fun. Nothing is more exciting then popping Elemental Mastery (and Nature's Swiftness if you have it) before a Chain Lightning and watching two or three of your opponents drop at once, or seeing that string of numbers pop up above your head with a triple-Windfury crit and having your target's health melt away.

The Elemental and Enhancement trees are very strong in their own right and both bring some significant advantages to a raiding party. I'll extoll their raid-usefulness later, but for now I'd like to give some basic advice for those who'd like to make the switch. I'll concentrate on Elemental in this post, and create a separate one for Enhancement.

The first step to Elemental pwnage is choosing your talents. There are a number of "must have," quintessential talents that every build should have, as well as a number of additional options depending on your play style. (I've ignored Enhancement talents for now and will include Ele/Enh hybrids in a further post.)

  • Essential: Convection (-10% mana cost), Concussion (+5% damage), Elemental Focus (clearcasting), Call of Thunder (+6% crit), Elemental Fury (increased crit damage), Lightning Mastery (reduced casting time)
  • Good (PvE): Elemental Warding (reduced damage from Fire, Frost and Nature), Storm Reach (increased range), Unrelenting Storm (mana regen), Elemental Precision (increased hit chance), Elemental Mastery (mana-free crit every 3 minutes), Lightning Overload (chance for additional spell), Totem of Wrath (increased hit/crit), Nature's Guidance (Resto Tier 3: increased hit), Tidal Mastery (Resto Tier 4: increased crit), Nature's Swiftness (Resto Tier 5: instant-cast spell)
  • Good (PvP): Elemental Warding (reduced damage from Fire, Frost and Nature), Eye of the Storm (pushback resistance on proc), Storm Reach (increased range), Elemental Mastery (mana-free crit every 3 minutes), Lightning Overload (chance for additional spell), Tidal Mastery (Resto Tier 4: increased crit), Nature's Swiftness (Resto Tier 5: instant-cast spell)
  • Mediocre: Call of Flame (increased fire totem damage), Reverberation (reduced shock cooldown), Elemental Shields (reduced chance of being crit)
There are a couple talents that deserve a bit more discussion:
  • Call of Flame: This talent is worthless if you're putting 41 points into the tree for Totem of Wrath (both fire totems). It can be a decent boost to damage output for a 40/0/21 or similar build, however.
  • Eye of the Storm: The pushback resistance is good for PvP, however it does not proc on spell crits. Also, the reduced chance for crit from Elemental Shields is bugged (you don't get credit for something that would have been a crit, but wasn't due to ES), so it makes this talent less useful if you're taking both.
  • Elemental Precision: Largely essential for raiders (both for the hit and reduced threat). The amount of hit rating is capped at 4% for PvP, so a point or two is all that's necessary at most.
  • Elemental Shields: Note that this only affects melee and ranged crits, not spells. Also see the Eye of the Storm above.
  • Lightning Overload: I don't know that it's been confirmed, but the general consensus is that the second lightning bolt causes reduced threat.
  • Nature's Guidance: (Resto, Tier 3) The extra 3% hit is useful for getting to the 16% hit cap for raid bosses. Not a good use of points for PvP spec's.
  • Nature's Swiftness: (Resto, Tier 5) This is often considered a "must have" for PvP since it significantly increased your burst potential. You cannot get both NS and Totem of Wrath, but it's a good trade-off for PvP where totems are less useful in general.
A few sample builds:
  • 41/0/20: The primary raiding build. Some skip Storm Reach in favor of more mana regen, and there's some extra points to play with in Restoration depending on your preferences (I would choose Ancestral Healing since you'll have a very high crit rate, but very occasional healers can easily skip this).
  • 40/0/21: Primarily a PvP build, this forgoes Totem of Wrath in favor of Nature's Swiftness. The 1 second reduction on shock cooldowns is good, although though others might prefer to put those points in Eye of the Storm or Elemental Shields.
  • 30/0/31: Mana Tide is a great talent and this spec tries to get the best of both worlds. It's a decent PvP build (although Mana Tide can be hard to use effectively in PvP), but tends to be underwhelming for PvE since you're lacking key talents at the top of the Elemental and Restoration trees.
There are several good gear guides out there. The best is Skyhoof's Guide to Elemental Shaman Gear for Raiding, with a pre-Kara guide available as well. You can also use Binkenstein's shaman calculators to compare gear. In general, however, the stat choices for Elemental are pretty easy: Load up on +spell damage, crit and hit, with a smattering of Intellect and mana/5 wherever you can. A good guideline when comparing gear is:
1 +spell = 1 crit rating = 1.25 hit rating (until capped) = 0.5 mana/5 = 1.5 Intellect = 2 haste rating.
There are a couple stand-out pieces of gear that are worth mentioning: Edit 11/25: Added "[Chaotic Skyfire Diamond]

Continue reading "Turning to the Dark Side! (Elemental)"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Building a healer (gear)

Cyclone Faceguard image credited to Sepirion on WoWHeadOnce you have your talents squared away, it's time to start collecting your gear. There are few healing-oriented quest rewards, but there're plenty of options available to a budding healer through 5-man raids and Karazhan. I have created ratings for all Restoration Shaman Gear, but these are some general guidelines for selecting your healing equipment.

  • Stick to mail whenever possible. Although there are many wonderful cloth and leather pieces out there, the ability to take a beating is one of the shaman's biggest advantages. Those items are worth taking if they're a huge upgrade in your healing ability (and once you leave Karazhan, you can start safely mixing in the occasional non-mail piece of gear), but you - and the druids and priests you're running with - will be happier with mail in the long run.
  • A one-handed weapon and shield is preferable to a two-handed weapon. Again, the extra armor is a huge benefit to your survivability and your shield can be enchanted with extra Intellect and Stamina as well.
  • The three most important stats on your gear are Intellect, healing, and mana/5. There are ways to calculate the relative "worth" of these stats based on your current gear (I plan to explain this in the near future), but in general, try for a 10:1 ratio between healing and mana/5. This ratio breaks down once you have more than a couple Karazhan pieces, but it's a good rough estimate for your early healing gear. Stamina shouldn't be ignored, but it's of secondary importance to the first three. The other stats (Spirit and spell crit) are nice bonuses, but generally unimportant when comparing two pieces of gear.
  • Enchants can provide a phenomenal boost to your overall stats, especially at lower gear levels. The three sets of "enchants" that provide the most benefit are:

    They're somewhat expensive, but if you can afford them, I'd highly recommend them. As for other enchants, stick with cheaper enchants until you have something worth all those primals and shards.
  • The choice between +healing and Spellsurge on your weapon is a personal one. Healing will generally be the best choice for PvP and 5-man, but Spellsurge is a very viable choice for 25-man caster/healer groups. Intellect is a good choice for a weapon you intend to replace sooner rather than later.
  • Never leave your gear unsocketed. The uncommon gems can be had for 1-2g and are an inexpensive way to upgrade even a so-so piece of gear. Once you get an epic you plan to keep, don't be cheap - put the rare gems in it (due to rounding, any gem with mana/5 has more item budget than any of the other gems). In general, [Royal Nightseye] is the best gem for shaman, with [Dazzling Talasite] used for yellow sockets. The best meta gem is the [Insightful Earthstorm Diamond], which can give you the equivalent of 12 mana/5 when healing. It requires 2 of each color of gem to work, which is relatively easy to obtain. In general, only worry about socket bonuses if they provide Intellect, healing or mana/5.
For more advanced methods of comparing individual pieces of gear, check out my Comparing Healing Gear series as well as my Healing Gear Ratings.

Continue reading "Building a healer (gear)"

Building a healer (spell usage)

I'd intended to post a bunch of tips for healing, but there's very little I would add that's not already covered in (the revised) Murderbot's Guide to PvE Healing. I would especially recommend the discussions of the five second rule, cancelling, downranking and healing efficiency. I highly recommend that every aspiring healer read this guide (even for those non-shaman out there, it has some good pointers).

Addition 10/2: For a more generic discussion of what makes a good healer, you may also want to check out The Egotistical Priest's A Good Priest. The comments are fairly priest-centric, but the listing of qualities of good priests applies pretty equally to all healers.

Editted 10/23: New version of Murderbot's guide available on the Elitist Jerks forums.

Continue reading "Building a healer (spell usage)"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Building a healer (talents)

Restoration shaman are very strong in both PvE and PvP play. They benefit from a lot of great talents, two rather unique healing spells, and a wealth of mail healing gear in the early raiding scene. These inherent strengths can be used to your advantage with a good talent spec, good gear selection, and knowing how to get the most out of your healing spells. I'll talk about gear and healing strategies in another posting, but let's take a quick look at the available talents.

Tier One

  • Improved Healing Wave: Reduced casting time for a shaman's biggest heal. Less useful to a pure PvPer, but very strong for main tank healing.
  • Tidal Focus: Reduced mana cost for all healing spells. Mana inefficiency is one of the shaman's biggest weaknesses, so another good talent.
Tier Two
  • Improved Reincarnation: Many see reincarnation simply as wipe recovery, but 2 points in this talent allows you to rez mid-fight and still be able to contribute. This was a great talent for me while my guild learned Karazhan, but I've found less use for it recently. You can't reincarnate during arena games, so PvP'ers probably won't want this talent.
  • Ancestral Healing: Increases target's armor value after a critical heal. Although it doesn't sound that exciting, this is a great talent for improving your tank's mitigation. A little less useful if you're only raid healing, but still a strong talent. (Note: This is a great talent for primarily elemental shaman since they tend to sport huge spell crit percentages.)
  • Totemic Focus: Reduces totem mana cost. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's actually not that great of a talent. If you're just refreshing your totems every two minutes, it works out to about 3 mana/5 per point invested. Not horrible, but not a great return on your "investment" either. More useful for PvP since you'll undoubtedly be dropping grounding totem fairly often.
Tier Three
  • Nature's Guidance: Increases spell/melee hit chance. This is a great talent for dual-wielding enhancement shaman, and raiding elemental shaman to some extent as well, but isn't terribly useful for healing builds.
  • Healing Focus: Reduces chance of interruption. Very useful when you're getting beat on, either directly or through AoE. A "must have" talent.
  • Totemic Mastery: Increases totem range. I consider this a "must have" as well. It's especially important if you're not standing near the rest of your group (I'm usually in the melee or tanking group and don't want to get too close to those nasty critters) or if there is a lot of movement during the fight.
  • Healing Grace: Reduces threat from healing spells. Early on in your healing career, this is a godsend. Once you've moved into Karazhan, however, you should only be stealing aggro if your tank is dead or asleep. If this is the case, then you're basically competing with the other healers to see who gets beat on first. From an alturistic standpoint, better the shaman in mail and a shield than the squishy priest. I currently have the talent, but I plan on dropping it in the future. Useless for pure PvP'ers, obviously.
Tier Four
  • Restorative Totems: Increased Mana Spring and Healing Stream. The talent itself isn't that great (improves your Mana Spring by 2.5 mana/5 per talent point), but as a prerequisite for Mana Tide, you'll be taking it anyhow.
  • Tidal Mastery: Increased crit for healing and lightning spells. Crit is one of the least important stats overall for a resto shaman, but there aren't a lot of talents outside the tree worth putting points into and this one isn't bad. Has good synergy with Ancestral Healing. This is a "must have" talent for elemental builds in a lot of cases, however.
Tier Five
  • Healing Way: Increase effect of subsequent Healing Wave spells. HW isn't as strong inherently as some of the other classes' big heals, but Healing Way gives a big boost for main tank healing. You can skip it if you know you'll rarely/never be healing the MT, but it's a pretty good talent to have if you do occasionally. Not very useful for PvP since you'll typically go with the faster LHW or Chain Heal.
  • Nature's Swiftness: Next spell is instant. The "oh shit" spell. Take it. It's also great for hybrid and elemental builds for an instant-cast lightning bolt.
  • Focused Mind: Reduces duration of silence or interrupts. Back when this was a flat resistance to silence/interrupt, it was a "must have" for PvP. The current talent is pretty weak, but it should be buffed in the 2.2 patch to 10/20/30% reduction. Definitely a good talent for a pure PvP'er, not very important for PvE.
Tier Six
  • Purification: Increased healing effectiveness. Makes your heals better. Take it, it's a staple of a good healing build.
Tier Seven
  • Mana Tide Totem: Mana Tide restores 24% of all party member's mana over 12 seconds. A phenomenal talent for PvE, even if the only one in your group with mana is you. Can also be strong for PvP, but you better believe your opponents will target it quickly (especially now that it has a big glowy "kill it now!" animation).
  • Nature's Guardian: Chance to heal and reduced threat if damaged below 30% health. This is a wonderful talent for PvP and part of why resto shaman are so hard to take down. Although it doesn't sound like a great PvE talent since you shouldn't get hit often, it can activate off of periodic damage as well and is a healing spell that not only keeps you up a little longer, but lowers your threat as well.
Tier Eight
  • Nature's Blessing: Increases spell/healing by 30% of Intellect. A great boost by itself, it's a prerequisite for Earth Shield.
  • Improved Chain Heal: Increases healing by Chain Heal by 20%. This is a huge boost to an already mana-efficient spell. Take it and don't look back.
Tier Nine
  • Earth Shield: Earth Shield is a great spell to toss on your MT (or yourself) to provide an as-needed "heal over time." It's guaranteed not to overheal, uses the +heal bonus from when you cast it (so great for activating trinkets before a boss fight), and the healing threat is applied to the recipient, not the caster (bad for your healing meter epeen, good for helping your tank keep aggro).
Elemental Talents
  • Elemental Warding (Tier Two): Reduced damage from Fire, Frost and Nature. This is a great talent, both for PvP and PvE, reducing damage taken across the board. You have to "waste" points in Tier One to get it, but it's a very strong talent.
Enhancement Talents
  • Ancestral Knowledge (Tier One): Increases maximum Mana. Just say no, this is a terrible waste of talent points.
  • Guardian Totems (Tier Two): Reduces cooldown of Grounding Totem. Vaguely useful in some fights and PvP, it's not a very strong talent in general.
  • Improved Ghost Wolf (Tier Two): Reduced casting time. Good for running away. Potentially useful for PvP, but having to spend points in Tier One makes this not worth getting.
There are several "standard" restoration builds, although there's always variety amongst even the cookie-cutter builds.
  • 8/0/53: Takes Elemental Warding and puts the rest of the points in restoration. PvP folks would probably prefer Concussion over Convection in the elemental tree, and would favor Focused Mind over Healing Grace. They might also consider dropping Improved Healing Wave in favor of Totemic Focus.
  • 0/5/56: Not having a better place to put those last five points, many shaman put them in enhancement for the bigger mana pool. I personally consider this a waste, however.
  • Elemental Hybrid: 30/0/31, or some variant thereof is a fairly popular build as well, particularly for PvP. It's not a great PvE build since you won't heal as well as a pure healer and won't DPS as well as a pure DPSer. Also not recommended for solo-healing heroics unless you have very solid gear.
More to follow regarding gear, spell choice, and other healing tricks and tips!

Continue reading "Building a healer (talents)"

Why a shaman?

If you don't play a shaman, you might wonder what the appeal is. Sure, back in the day they were widely regarded as the most powerful PvP class, so it's no wonder they were initially so popular. But since then, shaman have received very little love in terms of class updates and are known to have a number of issues currently. Shaman is the least popular class, so why would you want to play a class that Blizzard (and popular opinion) has recognized has some serious concerns?

To me, the biggest advantage of the class is its versitility. Shaman have three very viable, very different talent trees that give you the option to play a hack-and-slasher, a spellslinger, or a healer, all for the small price of a respec. If you get tired of a particular playstyle, hit your local shaman trainer, grab some new gear, and you have a completely different character - but without having to grind all those reputations again. The downside is that the talent trees don't play particularly well together, making it more difficult to make good hybrid builds (at least from a raid perspective. There are several good PvP hybrid spec's).

A second advantage for the shaman isn't just how powerful your own DPS or healing is (and they excel at both), but how much you bring to the rest of your raid. Totems provide some phenomenal buffs and there's a smattering of additional boosts in each of the talent trees as well. Obviously this isn't a big draw if you're primarily PvP-focused, but they're well worth adding to a raid (I can't find the link, but there was an estimation that an enhancement shaman can boost a warrior's DPS by as much as 20% from totems and Unleashed Rage alone).

With the pluses come the minuses, of course. Both enhancement and elemental have serious threat issues due both to their reliance on crit, providing unexpected burst damage, and their lack of aggro-shedding abilities that other classes enjoy such as Feint, Invisibility or Soulshatter. Elemental shaman have the additional difficulty of sustaining their DPS over a long fight due to poor mana efficiency, although a good shadow priest generally fixes that problem. Gear itemization is also an issue for both elemental and enhancement, though they're certainly not the only ones with that problem. Enhancement shaman are often regarded as weak in PvP due to their lack of crowd control or ways to close quickly with their enemy. Although frost shock and earthbind have some utility, it is usually the opponent that sets the tone and speed for the fight. And what about restoration? Not a whole lot of minuses there, fortunately, other than having so many good talents to choose from and the lack of synergy making taking talents in the other trees relatively unappealing.

I've certainly questioned whether making the switch to shaman was worth it from time to time. But those times are few and far between these days. I wasn't particularly good at enhancement, but it's hard not to get excited when you have those sudden string of Windfury crits and your enemy's health just melts away. I also really enjoyed playing elemental and switch back every once in a while for a change of pace and WTFpwnage. But most importantly, I find healing as a shaman to be incredibly fun. Besides being very strong healers (only lacking a heal over time or instant-cast spell), Chain Heal is simply amazing, making shaman one of the best raid-healers in the game.

Shaman have some issues right now, but Blizzard is supposedly looking into them. They've been saying this for some time, apparently, but I'd like to think they'll eventually make good on it. And in the meantime, all three roles are a lot of fun and fairly successful at their roles already, so I'd heartily recommend that class to anyone who wants to be able to "do it all."

Continue reading "Why a shaman?"

Monday, September 17, 2007

The obligatory link post

No blog would be complete without a listing of links. I'll skip most of the usual suspects (news sites, UI databases, etc.) and focus on more shaman- and hunter-specific resources.

Quick links to sections:

  • Non-class specific
  • Gear
  • Theorycrafting/General Guides
  • Other Class Guides
  • Guild Blogs

  • General
    • Elitist Jerks forums - Rather than wade through the morass that is the official forums, I prefer to browse EJ's forums. They have a wealth of information for the high-level raider, including numerous class guides. Despite their name, the majority of the posters are quite helpful and some of the best theorycrafters in the game share their results there. It doesn't hurt that the guild leader is a resto shaman, either.
    • MMO Champion - One of the best sources of WoW news out there, it's always concise and updated frequently.
    • WoW Pro - A great source of WoW guides, including my favorite Alliance levelling guide (used it for both Draezele and my now-retired priest alt). The Horde guide looks good as well, though I haven't really used it. Definitely a great resource if you want to level a character as quickly as possible. And they're all free!
    • WoW Reputation Calculator - A handy tool to show how many repeatable quests and instance runs you need to obtain the next reputation level with each of your Outland factions.
    • MapWoW - A Google-style map of Azeroth and Outlands, complete with locations of herbs, ores and treasure.
    • Aegis Hestia - My guild, Aegis Hestia, on the Scarlet Crusade (RP) server.

    • Cheeky's Hunter DPS Calculator - One of the most complete gear and talent comparators I've ever seen. Want to see just how much better one spec is, or what the effects of swapping gear will be? This'll do it for you. I just wish there was something this slick for all classes. Discussion of Cheeky's spreadsheet can be found here.

    Theorycrafting/General Guides
    • Muderbot's Guide to PvE healing - A fantastic guide to shaman healing, but has lots of other goodies not directly related to healing as well (links, macros, UI suggestions and more!). Currently in revision after being transferred to the Elitist Jerks forums.
    • Rorixx's PvP guide - Rather brief, but has some useful tips and tricks for the PvP-oriented shaman.
    • The One Stop Elemental Shop - Binkenstein has been putting together a great guide of everything you need to know as an Elemental shaman. Still in progress!
    • Enhance Shaman: Collected Works of Theorycraft - A brief (but very complete!) overview of all those things you ever wanted to know about enhancement shaman.
    • Lux et Umbra - A guide to priest PvE healing, but there're a few good tidbits in the "How to Heal" section (post #8).
    • A Good Priest - Although a priest blog, this particular post really should be called "What makes a good healer." It's pretty generic (and is completely non-theorycraft-oriented), but these are good things to keep in mind when learning to heal.

    • Hunter's Lounge - A collection of hunter theorycrafting on the Elitist Jerks forums. It's still a work in progress, but Lactose is one of the "old guard" theorycrafters and I expect great things of this thread.
    • Petopia - I doubt there are many hunters unaware of this site, but just in case, this is the site for choosing your hunter's pet. Especially if looks and style matter to you.
    • Savage: a PvE Hunter Handbook - A good source of general hunter info.
    • Shot Rotation Illustrated - Graphical representations of the hunter's shot rotations. If you ever wondered why hunters are so hard to play in a raid, this will show you.
    • BM Raiding Hunters - A VERY long thread talking about raiding as beastmaster. Worth the read-through, but make sure you have a couple of hours for it.
    • Help Me Please - An eclectic thread on the EJ forums that's been a great source of random theorycrafting tidbits.

    Other Class Guides
    You know, those other classes that you occasionally see around.... These are all collected works of theorycrafting put together by the regulars of the Elitist Jerks Class Mechanics forum.
    Guild Blogs
    I'd be remiss if I didn't hype some of my guildmate's blogs.
    • Resto4Life - Phaelia's discussion of all things druid and the "inspiration" for my blog name.
    • Druid Tank - Currant's thoughts on druid tanking.
    • Parry! Dodge! Spin! - Valenna's rogue-centric blog.
    • Bid Sexy! - Antipas's dedication to tanking and looking good at it at the same time.

    Thanks also to Hackosphere for the primer on selective expandable posts.

    Continue reading "The obligatory link post"

    To Blog or Not To Blog....

    After years of resisting, I've finally joined the blogging movement. I managed to avoid the narcissistic pitfalls of LiveJournal back when it was the "in" thing, but I just can't resist talking about my current obsession, World of Warcraft - especially since there are very few shaman-oriented sites out there. Rather than providing the daily news updates (there's always MMO Champion and WoWInsider for that), I plan on sharing my thoughts and opinions about the game and how it relates to shaman. I'll undoubtedly include a few bits about hunters as well - as happy as I am with the switch, it's hard to completely let go of a class you played for well over a year.

    So let's see how this goes and let the timesink begin!

    Continue reading "To Blog or Not To Blog...."