Elemental, Opinion, Shaman, WoW

Shamanism and Me

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.

Lava Burst

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.

Feral Spirits

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.


10 thoughts on “Shamanism and Me

  1. It’s good to read a post on my own blog that I can disagree with a bit 😉 On the issue of what you call “longevity” – the degree to which the spec continues to challenge after the initial newness wears off – I still find my elemental shaman very challenging in progression encounters.

    This could just be the lower concentration levels that are a result of my present condition, but I think elemental is very unforgiving of even a small lapse: delaying LvB, not making full use of shocks/FN while moving, mistiming trinkets or elemental mastery, switching targets a moment too late or using the wrong spell in a given GCD, etc. In the chaos of a boss fight, it can be quite tricky – especially if you’re using fire totems! It’s quite rare for me to finish a fight and feel entirely satisfied by my performance. There’s nearly always some area, however small, that I feel I could improve on next time. (I guess it doesn’t help that I’m usually concentrating on the entire raid’s performance rather than just my own.)

    Other than that, I wonder how enhancement compares to feral DPS? On my levelling paladin tank I’m getting used to constantly cycling multiple cooldowns of different lengths and priorities, and it feels very different from the complexity of feral which doesn’t have many cooldowns or procs but is all the harder for it.

    Posted by Charles | January 18, 2010, 12:17 am
    • I don’t think enhancement can be compared to feral dps. There are pretty much 2 model types of melee dps as I see it – “stacking” and “bashing”. Stacking are, for example, Rogues, Arms Warriors, Ferals: they need to stack up and maintain bleed effects or poisons in order to land big dps moves. On the opposite side are the bashers, ret paladins, fury warriors and enhancers: they have no stable rotation, the either follow FCFS, priority system or watch for procs (Maelstrom, Slam). Such cathegorization is of course flawed and generalising, DKs overlap both cathegories depending on spec and none of the classes can be classified as “pure” basher or stacker (even the flagship of bashers, retadin, has to upkeep stacks of SoV). However, from my experience, the style and approach to fight of those two groups differs, same as straight nuke casters differ from DoT casters.

      Posted by Rahana | January 19, 2010, 11:47 am
  2. I’m not going to lie, this guy has a way with words. Excellent post. Please post again!

    Posted by Crimsín | January 19, 2010, 7:26 am
  3. Very entertaining post Para, it really is. Oh by the way, get a better weapons, my are now covered in Bolt’s drool 🙂

    Posted by Rahana | January 19, 2010, 11:50 am
  4. Amusing post. All seriousness aside though, what I struggle with most is trying to decide how to use Dual Spec most efficiently.

    My current split is Enh – Resto. Gathering gear for both specs is crazy difficult, because there is absolutely no overlap, but the more I look into Elemental gear the more I realize that there isn’t much overlap there either!

    I mean, there are a few Elemental pieces that are actually BiS for Resto too (and likely vice-versa), but there is no Resto gear that has Hit on it by default (apart from some acceptable substitutions, like Kurisu’s Indecision for T8-level content, etc). I’m curious as to your experiences with Dual Spec (if you have it). Thanks for the post.

    Posted by Shatterhoof | January 19, 2010, 12:20 pm
    • My dual spec is elemental / resto, and my advise is to not worry about BiS for both specs. There’s far too much competition for you to come out ahead. You’re better off going for BiS in your main spec, and going for top 10 or so for resto. When I’m asked to heal, my guild knows that I don’t have the best gear, but my gear is far better than what they’d find in other people.

      There is a fair bit of overlap in gear for elemental and resto if you look at your offspec in a similar way that I do. Depending on how you’re currently geared, so long as your gear isn’t entirely full of hit, then you’ll be ok with using those non-hit pieces for your resto set. Yeah, you’ll lack some mana regen, but so long as you’re not main healing, you’ll be fine.

      Posted by Maker | January 19, 2010, 2:20 pm
    • I think there’s a lot to be said on the topic of what offspec to pick for any hybrid class. My shaman, as should be apparent by now, is enhancement as well as elemental and I haven’t really had a lot of situations where there’s been problems with me rolling for enhancement pieces as elemental. Mainly because the only competition usually is a hunter, and they’re suckers for bribes.

      I find it comfortable somehow to not have overlapping items for my 2 specs. I can certainly see the benefit of having mainspec BiS items that you can use for your offspec, as gearing up would perhaps take less time and effort. But at the same time I feel it is simpler just to keep them apart from eachother. As well as the fact that I’d most certainly manage to disenchant offspec items that I upgrade in my mainspec set.

      Pros and cons for any of the three possible combinations of shaman specialisations really, so personally I’ve just gone for the two I enjoy most. Gearing issues have not been a conscious part in my own decision.

      Posted by Para | January 19, 2010, 3:18 pm
  5. Very amusing post. I just have one thing to say to add to it. *grin* Your transparent wolf love is only fleeting. =P My hunter has the real deal ghost wolf.

    Mind you, she’s still only 76, because the shaman stole my soul but…

    Posted by Dulcea | January 19, 2010, 4:28 pm
  6. A pleasure, an absolute pleasure to read – thank you!

    Posted by Matty | October 29, 2011, 6:25 pm


  1. Pingback: Metarrific « Planet of the Hats - January 23, 2010

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