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


Charles Fox said...

Good article. Not to nitpcik, but the miss rate when dual-wielding is actually 24% I have a more in-depth talk about +hit here.

Draezele said...

You are correct! Not quite sure where I pulled that number from, but I've fixed it in the main article. Thanks for the comment!

Anonymous said...

"Enhance Shaman do not require large amounts of Hit Rating on gear." - EJ

Anonymous said...

I am by far NOT an expert, nor even a 70 -- (63 Enhancement Cow) -- However, for leveling I do like having a fair amount of INT. My current build is (13-41-0) skipping shield spec, guardian totems, improved wolf, anticipation, toughness, and unleashed rage; and adding the base 10 + elemental focus and reverb out of the elem tree. I have found that for my style of play I use a fair amount of casting along side my fast dual weild. (2 daggers right now) I love to pop windfury on both and just watch focus and flurry proc again and again. Off focus your casting Earth Shock for like 125 mana...
My opening salvo on a heavy target is as follows: Lightning bolt, chain lightning, storm strike, (gain focus)earth shock - (gain focus)earth shock you get the drift. But the best advice I can offer is USE YOUR TOTEMS! If you are not dropping your totems your are missing the whole point of being a shammy! They are your lifeblood. Spend some time learning what they do, and when to use them. Once you get a good rotation down, and drop the right totems you will be a force to be reconed with! Know your enemy and yourself then use what is effective. [IE grounding totem and earth shock will nullify caster mobs]
--- Again, I am no expert, just full of opinions, lol. Good luck, and remember, it's a game -- go have FUN!

Anonymous said...

Using two slow 1-handers instead of a pair of daggers will mean a huge, huge DPS increase.

I beg any potential enhancement shaman out there not to take bad advice and to avoid fast weapons at all costs. People may tell you a pair of daggers is great for keeping Flurry up all the time, but they're gimping their DPS by not using Windfury to its full potential, which requires two slow weapons.

Neonode said...

Slow Main hand is required, but I am not agree for OH. Fast off-hand with FT is not worse than WF by tree reasons:
1. FT ignor armor and get 3%dmg bonus from your AP
2.FT don't coun't MH/OH and don't lock WF on your MH.
3. FT get full benefit from your haste/flurry rate, also FT can't be parry and block.

So everyone need to find his own way and not to generelize like EJ this is absolute true!

Draezele said...

I haven't played as enhancement for a while, so I don't have personal experience using FT on the off-hand. Current theorycrafting still suggests that WF on a slow off-hand will produce more damage, but my guess is that you're better off with a fast, high-DPS with FT than a slow, green weapon. Definitely don't use WF on a fast off-hand, however, or you'll seriously compromise your DPS.

Jose said...


1. FT ignor armor and get 3%dmg bonus from your AP

Windfury gets 100% bonus from AP AND an extra on that. It also uses your weapon's damage TWICE. FT may hit every time, but if it can be resisted (enhance has 3% spell hit) and the damage is so low it isn't even close.

2.FT don't coun't MH/OH and don't lock WF on your MH.

Windfury is coded poorly. VERY POORLY. The linking they did to lockout your main hand actually makes WF work correctly ONLY WHEN YOU USE IT ON BOTH. It has a 20% chance to proc on each attack when not on cooldown. But, it checks both weapons each time either attacks. So effectively BOTH weapons have a 36% chance to proc each time one swings as long as they are off the cooldown. When you have 1 weapon, only 20%. Now comes the fun part, that 1 weapons has a 3 sec CD. So it drops to around 12% depending on speed. You went from 36%/36% chance the first swing off CD to: 20%. That amount of extra procs is worth more than FT or the lost to an off-hand proc over any time.

3. FT get full benefit from your haste/flurry rate, also FT can't be parry and block.

FT can be parried or dodged, whenever your off hand is, it is too. This point is complete BS. WF gets the full benefit of haste because it will be rare to get a swing timer so low that it loses DPS. And the swings themselves will make up for that. Last time I got a WF blocked was because the tank was stupid and couldn't keep the mob facing away. You should never be parried or blocked as melee unless you are solo. All attacks are done in the side or rear.

In fact flurry works better with 2 weapons at the same speed. It does not check to see which is attacking first if they are at same time so both weapons get the 3rd flurry charge and you actually get 4 attacks with it.

Anonymous said...

another argument against fast oh weps: they eat ur flurries way way way faster. same reason fury warrs dont like em.