Today’s guest post is brought to you courtesy of Fred, guildmate of mine and the newly-begun blogger of By Muradin’s Beard (“it’s an unupdated heap atm, but i’m not embarrassed”). In unrelated news, Fred is also the name of my Tranquil Mechanical Yeti.
An elemental – enhancement comparison
If you’re reading this Charles has evidently given his quality assurance team the weekend off [yep, that's basically the idea! - Ed.]. When he approached me with the idea for a comparison of the elemental and the enhancement shaman specializations I was flattered, enthusiastic and worried. Flattered because he obviously feels I’m capable of producing something worth posting, enthusiastic because I love the opportunity to share my ramblings and worried that I wouldn’t live up to the expectations. I’m grateful C and will attempt to disappoint you to the best of my ability.
Background – it’s so dull to write, but so necessary to provide. My main is a holy paladin, a dwarf of high moral principles and a devout worshipper of the light, but he’s not what I’m here to talk about. I also play a dual specialized draenei shaman on Shadowsong who switches between her elemental and enhancement specs to best serve the synergy and current needs of groups she’s in. My experience does not include any restoration play; as if I would’ve wanted to throw spaghetti at people to make them feel better I would’ve been institutionalized by now.
With the concern of being all too reminiscent of Liz’s earlier post pressing against the back of my eyes with painful vigor I have picked a list of arguments I feel represent the strong sides of both specs. If you are under the impression that there are points I neglect to make you are sorely mistaken, for I am infallible. Without further delay – the list.
Who in their right mind would not love this spell? A guaranteed critical hit for five digits every 8 seconds. For me that’s about as sweet as the potato gets. If that doesn’t do it for you consider this – you are launching MOLTEN LAVA from the palms of your hands. Now enhancement shamans have lava lash, but it has failed to impress me at the same scale. Lava lash is to lava burst what potato peel is to a golden French fry dipped in Heinz. Hah, analogies. How they fail me.
Eye of the storm.
Oh you want me to say more? Fine. Launching people off cliffs isn’t enough for you. How about watching your freshly dinged death knight from Turalyon carefully gathering a pack of mobs about to launch a howling blast to cement them onto him? Then landing your thunderstorm smack in the middle of it sending them flying all over the place?
If that’s not something you will admit to enjoying I guess you could always use it for less amusing things like saving yourself from loose mobs or handling adds on fights like Saurfang.
Because Thrall knows where it’s at™. Puppies make people happy. It’s up there with Pythagoras as an irrevocable truth. These puppies hurt bad guys and heal you. Mine are called Siskel and Ebert because they dislike poor acting. The best part about this ability is that it allows me to say “Let loose the dogs of war” without feeling like I’m in some kind of low-budget naziploitation movie.
Now this might not seem like much but if you can have two of something, why settle for one? Everything is better if you have two of it; women, cars, handfuls of money, malignant tumors. Maybe not tumors, but you see what I’m getting at. And before anyone thinks ‘what about shields?’ I’ll just point out that half of them have mp5 and the other half are ugly.
If you would allow me to drop the serious approach I have had so far for a moment this is something that has properly bugged me about gearing up for my elemental spec. For enhancement most mail quality items with physical dps stats will suffice and quite a lot of those are really really good. This is not the case when I enter raids as elemental. Most of the upgrades I seem to encounter are mp5 restoration mail or hit-clad mismatched pieces of cloth. The amount of upgrades to choose from if you want to gear according to any form of priority is miniscule compared to my experience with other toons and specs.
Now I realize that this might just be my personal experience, but consider for example the fact that there are no separate healing and caster dps mail items from the emblem vendor. How difficult would it be to put in an item that looks just the same, but has a bit of haste or similar instead of mp5? Not very difficult I reckon.
Ranged vs Melee
Anyone who’s tried both roles in a raid, knows that this is a matter of personal taste. I have 4 characters at 80, all of which have a melee dps spec. It’s safe to say I’m more than a little bias. As such it would be hypocritical of me to suggest that one is more enjoyable than the other. Melee combat IS more enjoyable. For me fighting a boss is always more intense if I’m right in its face (or rather in its ass as is customary for melee) chopping away at my quick keys. Part of the beauty of battle is getting sprayed with the blood of your adversary and feeling the bloodlust overtake you. The only blood ranged ever get soaked in is their own.
Who you get to party with
Party chat is one of my most used channels and it’s particularly great if you want to trash talk other raid roles, seeing as you’ll usually be partied with your own. As an enhancement shaman I get to group up with retribution paladins, fury warriors, rogues and Danish kniggits. Bigger bunch of attention starved meter whores I have yet to come across. Needless to say, I fit in quite nicely. I’m sure there are people among your fine selves who feel more at home grouping with men wearing fancy dresses and owlbeasts pecking at you with their intimidating beaks, but for me the melee camp just smells like home – a testosterone brewing cauldron forged out of delusion.
Of all the points on this list I believe this to be the main decider for my personal enjoyment of any class or raid role. As long as I’m still struggling to produce the results I would like to see playing a class or spec will still be interesting. Don’t get me wrong. Elemental is enjoyable, but to me it is not challenging in the same way enhancement is. Both specs surround themselves with about the same amount of spells/totems/buffs to worry about, but I’ve found that enhancement requires a completely different level of timing and attention to procs.
We honorable members of the jury find this case an atrocity to our court system and refuse to deliver a unanimous judgement in the matter.
All in all I love playing my shaman both as elemental and enhancement. For the above reasons and probably a couple more that my sleep depraved sugar induced mind can’t think of at this particular moment. They’re both great specializations that have much to offer any shaman and if you haven’t tried both and decided for yourself which one you prefer, you’ve missed out on quite the treat.
I’m back to levelling my soon to be arcane mage, toodles gents and ladies.