Hey, guys. After being harassed daily on my Twitch, Discord and YouTube, I've decided to take on the task of making an enhancement shaman guide.
A short disclaimer, I played Wrath private servers for years and I no longer can tell what is Blizz-like, bugged, feature, what's the correct patch or retail-esque. The Wrath I play is best depicted as a feverish nightmare.
I can understand why other people might look forward a lot to Wrath Classic and look for this guide. As a result, not all topics covered here will directly translate into Wrath Classic. I don't know what patch you guys will be playing on, which is very important for enhancement shamans as the class has received several buffs for every patch since Wrath was launched.
I don't know how trinkets will behave for you guys neither if PPM or PPH will load the class. The TBC Classic andies asked me to keep the video short, 8 to 10 minutes. To help me keep this guide factual and short, I've got my old raider and friend, Rugs, here to help out.
I'm thinking he will introduce y'all to some of the chapters I intend to cover in this video, so think of him as a TLDR version of me.
Let's first start off by answering the question, why even consider bringing an enhancement shaman into your raid?
Well, they’re our buff chameleons. They're often filling gaps in our raid for buffs that are missing from other sources. The first of which being our 10% attack power, often brought from a blood DK or a marksman hunter.
Secondly, an enhancement shaman is a great choice for your Bloodlust. Somebody's got to press that button and I think the enhancement shaman is a great choice for your raid to spare that global for you. And of course, they also bring enhancing totems which just buff their Strength of Earth Totem meaning it's going to provide more strength and agility than a typical Horn of Winter would from any death knight.
Lastly, they also provide a 5% spell haste to the raid, which is a shaman-unique buff in Wrath of the Lich King. Since frosty DKs are bringing Improved Icy Talons, an enhancement shaman's Windfury Totem would be insufficient for that gap, so they may as well drop Wrath of Air Totem.
For base stats for enhancement shamans, our strength is going to be a one-to-one conversion rate to attack power. As for agility, it's a one-to-one conversion rate for attack power as well. However, for every 83.3 agility that we get, we get one percent melee crit overall. Stamina is going to be a dead stat. As for intellect, we get a one-to-one conversion rate to attack power due to Mental Dexterity talent.
Additionally, thanks to Ancestral Knowledge, we actually get to double dip into this intellect bonus as well. As for spirit, it's a dead stat and armor is also a dead stat.
For melee stats, weapon damage is going to give us an overall increase in our Windfury weapon. On top of that, it's also going to increase our auto attack damage and our Lava Lash damage and our Stormstrike damage.
Speed a.k.a. haste is going to cause more damage from all sources in our tool kit except for totems. This is just going to be an overall increase in how many spells and abilities that we can get out per minute. Attack power is going to give us a lot of bonuses. With the introduction of talents such as Mental Dexterity and Mental Quickness, enhancement shamans amass a lot of attack power and all of our damage sources benefit from this.
Crit chance is more damage from all sources since crit rating benefits both spells and physical sources in Wrath the Lich King. However, crit melee ca p is a problem latent to t10 which we'll get into later.
For our caster stats bonus damage a.k.a. spell power is going to mean more damage on all of our abilities, this of course except for Windfury, auto attacks, Lava Lash, Stormstrike and our Feral Spirits.
Our hit and crit rating are the same as before. It's only going to mean as much damage until we hit our hard caps. Same thing with haste rating, it's going to increase our damage overall completely as it's getting us more actions per minute. This increase includes everything except for our totems, our Feral Spirits and our direct shock damage.
PLAYING AROUND PROCS
In this chapter, I won't showcase the difficulty in playing a proc-based class optimally. Upon reaching 5 Maelstrom stacks, you want to use Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning on your next global. Any other global usage is an error as Maelstrom is capped at 5 and any new procs will give no benefit.
In this clip, I've added some parts of me misplaying my Maelstrom. Often when I get five times Maelstrom and I am within 0.2 seconds of my next global cooldown, I will not react accordingly and I will instead use another ability than my Maelstrom stacks.
While our procs use procs per hit mechanic, we can gain stacks of Maelstrom very quickly and this can change our rotation. However, haste does not change the cooldown of abilities for us. With 1.0 GCD and close to zero downtime between globals, you could schematically plan out the optimal globals for enhancement.
SNAPSHOTTING PETS & GUARDIANS
As shamans, we can snapshot our Flame Shock, crit haste upon application and we can snapshot our Fire Elemental. Our Fire Elemental scales with both our attack power and our spell power so ideally, you want to swap out your Magma Totem for Fire Elemental Totem upon proccing high spell power or attack power trinkets, usually a couple seconds into the pull.
Our wolves update their stats dynamically and are coded as pets while Fire Elemental is a guardian. Our wolves scale with the owner's attack power armor and hit rating and they require a 262 hit rating to remove misses from their attack table. You ideally want to summon your wolves ASAP and buff them with Heroism, the spell you ideally want to use as soon as you, representing the melee crew, reach your target, usually the third or fourth global.
If you're a resto or elemental shaman and you could sacrifice a global for Heroism instead of the enhancement, that is ideal as losing a global is more punishing than a healer or elemental doing so. Therefore, all shamans should be tracking wolves and not use Heroism and Bloodlust before the enhancement shaman has summoned them or to give them heroism upon their second summon in longer fights.
SPELLHANCEMENT, WHAT IT IS
With the introduction of the talent, Mental Quickness, turning attack power into spell power and a quick look at our abilities and their scaling, the cog wheels of enhancement shamans began to turn ever so slowly. Maybe the old ways of TBC out-swinging Neanderthal gaming is but a remnant of the past. Maybe there was a new way to optimize our gear and once again take the throne as the king of damage per second.
On private servers, many bugs have existed over the years. One of them being this trinket (Reign of the Dead) that had no internal cooldown, making enhancement shamans on said server flocked to get their hands on them. Due to the bug, the trinket quickly added up to a new source of damage that pushed the enhancement shaman into a broken state and it was later fixed.
But an idea that's been around on forums for years had been sparked and ever since the Reign bug on Warmane, shamans started experimenting with using spell power items to a much broader extent.
SPELLHANCEMENT, 17% HIT CAP
In this chapter, I will talk about the rise of spellhancement in Wrath. What it is, how it works and when it stops working. As our spells accumulates to our greatest source of damage, naturally, you want to get hit capped.
Upon reaching 17% spell hit, you are now hard-capped for hitting with spells. Any additional hit rating will not help your sources of spell damage. As enhancement shamans, who are a dual wielding class, we naturally have a 27% miss chance on auto attacks, making it very difficult to reach this hard cap.
Instead, upon reaching 17% spell hit, we gear towards expertise.
Hey, guys, I found an error while editing this video. You need to remember that we have expertise from talents. There are nine points to get from the talent, Unleashed Rage, so whenever you're trying to reach the expertise cap, make sure you take these into account.
26 expertise or lower as Orc, we now have our first choice in terms of gear choices.
THE HIT TABLE
In this table, I've outlined how crit cap changes if you hit the mob from the front behind or in the back. Note that this is the melee crit cap. Our spells are also crit capped but to a much lower extent, so it's not a problem even with zero hit rating on gear. After reaching the expertise cap, which is easier as an Orc and spell hit cap, we land at a percentage chance to miss with auto swings.
WHY WE GEM DIFFERENTLY IN T7
Here comes the kicker. Since the vast majority of our abilities scale with spell power and procs per hit, we want to hit with our weapons as fast as possible and our spells to deal as much damage as possible. Even with Mental Quickness, gemming attack power hereby becomes inefficient and instead, we can gem either hit which means more procs per hit, haste more pokes per hit and also faster Flame Shock DOT or we can gem spell power means harder hitting spells.
Out of these three offensive and gearing and gemming options, haste is the winner due to our class being procs per hit and not procs per minute restricted. So our gearing as enhancement will be haste oriented early on.
After reaching the spell hit cap and expertise cap, we will use spell power items in item slots where we don't lose hit, expertise and the total spell power haste gain is higher than the classic physical damage gain and its optimization.
WHY SHAMANS WANT INTELLECT & SP ITEMS BEFORE T10
Classically, these slots are…
Hello, Editor Anfall here again. I now go on to say a couple of item slots but I completely forget about the cloak. Cloak is obviously also one of the pieces that could very well be a spell power item in tier 7 to tier 9.
Weapons, necklaces, rings and trinkets. You will never use spell power items in any other item slot because it will most likely cause you to drop below 17% spell hit or below the expertise cap. And sadly, there are no spell power items with expertise as a co-stat as your gear will never be full on caster. You stick to this gearing philosophy until tier 10.
WHEN SPELLHANCE IS SUBPAR AND WHY
In tier 10, physical DPS trinkets from ICC and all the stat power being converted into hit, you will be hitting a lot more auto attacks than early on into the expansion.
And as auto attacks become a much more important part of your total damage done, you will reach crit cap unless you expand the table by starting to gem for hit. So there is no spell enhance or normal enhance, it's just enhance but in different stages of the expansion. One gear optimization and glyphs perform better than the other at different stages of the expansion.
SIMILARITIES & DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PLAYSTYLES
The similarities are one: exactly the same talents. Two: the rotation is almost identical and three: both of them use Stormstrike glyph for Maelstrom damage.
And the glaring differences are one: spell enhance uses two times Flametongue Weapon instead of one times Windfury and one times Flametongue on the offhand during tier 7 to tier 9. Two: the Flametongue glyph is used instead of Windfury glyph during tier 7 to tier 9 providing more spell crit.
Three: Fire Nova glyph instead of Feral Spirits in tier 7 to tier 9 even for single target. And four: you gem haste in tier 7 to tier 9 until ICC physical trinkets and crit capped on autos, then you start gemming hit and haste instead.
ENHANCEMENT SHAMANS ARE SO FUN
Enhancement shaman is crazy fun. There is literally always a button to press every single global. There's lots of flavor for the play style. Oftentimes, you're soaking loot pieces that are niche or just completely unwanted and you're constantly surprising people with your impressive DPS.
Enhancement shaman is truly one of the most exciting and satisfying DPS classes to play in all of Wrath of the Lich King and you should certainly try it out if you never have.
RACE, TALENTS & PROFESSIONS
We've already covered why Maelstrom is our major proc that changed our rotation. We've touched on spell coefficients and gearing philosophy throughout tier 7 to tier 10. There are arguments to be made for professions, talents, race choices and there's plenty of good material out there to help you decide.
Before we get into the rotation, I'll briefly say how I play. I play Orc and Draenei if I’m forced to play Alliance. We play with jewelcrafting and engineering for utility and the most available haste. And these are the talents I use. That's it. Now let's talk about how to play the game.
This picture is me trying to convey what a good opener playstyle would look like. Green means that you want to use your ability ASAP. Blue means that it is readily available but you choose to not use it, GCD or prioritize something else. Yellow means that the DoT totem or the summon of wolves has uptime.
Red means that the spell is not available to cast. This schematic uses Fire Nova glyph to make Fire Nova readily available more often. This schematic also does not include refreshing Lightning Shield. Something you will always do when it has expired.
Note: this schematic does not have any Lightning Bolts single target or Chain Lightning cleave globals included. So whenever you proc Maelstrom, your next global should always be Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning. Remember that from before in the video.
On the opener, we will start by using Flame Shock because it's a ranged ability and we pull from range so we can't really hit it with melee spells and because we pre-pot haste, so the DOT will tick faster.
Our second global will be spirit wolves as we run in to hit the boss and their stats update dynamically anyway and they leap towards the boss. Our third global is Stormstrike to increase Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning damage. The fourth one is Magma Totem.
The fifth one should be Fire Nova. The sixth one is Earth Shock as shocks have a six second cooldown in Wrath. Your seventh global is the first time you need to really make a choice.
No spell is available to you at this point but if you have procced Maelstrom, chances are that one of your previous global have been a Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning and it has delayed the rest of the rotation.
If you have procced Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning, you will wait for Fire Nova as your next spell. If you haven't procced, you will use Lava Lash as your seventh global. After this, your spells will come available to you one by one. As long as they are more than one second apart, you just press any of the buttons and you're doing okay but remember using Maelstrom stacks is always the number one priority, sometimes overlapping and several of them available at same time.
RETURN TO THE PRIORITY
If many spells are available to you, you need to make a choice. Then go back to the logic we had on the pull, starting from the highest to the lowest priority of our spells.
Use Flame Shock if you don't have the DOT up. Earth Shock if Flame Shock is up on the target, Feral Spirits should be used ASAP. Stormstrike, don't worry about stacks as other classes will eat them anyway. Fire Nova, Magma Totem refresh and sometimes clipping your totem is correct when other spells are more than 2 seconds away or on cooldown.
You should also remember to use a Fire Elemental Totem when you peak your spell damage and can ensure that the Fire Elemental will have uptime on the mob.
LAVA LASH TO BE OR NOT TO BE
And lastly, Lava Lash, you only use this if everything is more than one global cooldown away. Otherwise, don't use it. It's a trash spell but it gains priority in late tier 10 and is higher prioritized than Fire Nova.
Fire Nova has a 3 second CD when it is glyphed. So naturally, it will be your most popular filler even for single target DPS.
As you start to understand the differences between a shaman that has 0.2 seconds downtime between globals and 0.02 seconds that would mean a lot of spells across many hours of consecutive raiding.
This class is extremely high APM, not for arthritic classical gamers. And just like your shaman scales with haste, being mechanically a strong player gets rewarded when playing enhancement shaman, unlike many other classes.
Some closing words: thanks to all of you who kept cheering me on to make this video and allowing me to express my thoughts about the class. There's so much more to talk about as there always is but I draw the line here.
Hopefully, you guys felt it was a good mixture of entertainment and educational content. I had a lot of fun making it and I learned a few things while making this video. Some big areas that I didn't cover at all in this guide is BiS gear from different tiers, trinket proc rates and how they influence our play style and gear choices.
I didn't include it because I feel as if BiS lists are better reviewed in a sheet format. So I've published a sheet with all the BiS lists pre-tier 7 all the way to tier 7 and some of the tables shown in this video. I'm sure there are tons of errors in this video and this was mostly just a madman's ramblings.
But if there's any closing words worth saying, I would like to send you off with this; don't get too caught up in second guessing what you do or why. You should be playing with confidence but be humble to learn more about the class or the game itself. Warcraft and Wrath especially, is to me just a huge sandbox game where the most important thing is to enjoy your time in the playground. Never fail, just improve.