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Category Archives: Hand Me Downs

Shaman Leveling: 1-29 Enhancement

The first class I ever really tried to get into on my own was the Shaman. My first toon was a Hunter that I got to level 20, but I had no idea what I was doing and just shot things in the face until they either died or closed into melee range with me. But the Shaman was the first class that I ever did any research on to try to learn how to play it and play it well. In looking at the class my first impressions were to be Elemental or Resto because casting just seemed so much more powerful than melee back in the day, but then I eventually found out the insane burst damage of Windfury and I was sold.

I’ve leveled up a few Enhancement Shamans in my time, though none of them ever reached max level. My highest level Shaman to date was level 54, an Orc Enhancement Shaman named Belgawrath. But during Wrath my wife’s main was an Enhancement Shaman so I’m continually reading guides and blog posts about the class and spec so that I can pass on all of the important information to her.

But now the time comes once again for me to level my own, but this time I’m going all the way to 85.


Playing an Enhancement Shaman
Enhancement Shamans are a great example of a hybrid class that has a truly hybrid playstyle as well. You’re a dual wielding melee class that deals a large portion of your damage as magic damage rather than just melee. Being tied so closely to the elements also means that you have a lot of flavor in the magic that you use as well, and though it’s all elemental, it’s not all tied to a specific element.

Of the dual wielding classes you’re more closely related to the Death Knight, in my opinion, than any other. Rather than weaving diseases into your melee, you’re instead weaving bursts of elemental damage, and rather than summoning the dead for aid you call on the spirit of wolves. You’re not a sneaky Rogue, or a pansy Hunter afraid of getting hit. You might be similar to a Fury Warrior, but I’ve honestly never played one of those beyond level 14 so I can’t say from experience.

Of all the characters I’ve ever played, the Shaman gives me the strongest feeling of actually “being there” in combat. All Shamans are able to take on the form of a Ghost Wolf, but only Enhancement (early on at least) can do so instantly, and I absolutely love turning into a wolf, charging towards an opponent and unleashing my fury on them, then instantly dropping back into wolf form to charge down the next target. It might not do much for you, but I’m a huge fan.

Shamans also come with a very special class mechanic that is all their own: Totems. Totems work similar to the party/raid-wide buffs of other classes, but rather than being cast on players they are instead centered around a totem that is placed on the ground. When the totems are active, they grant their buff to a wide area. Most totems work in that fashion, providing buffs of one kind or another, but there are others that deal/heal damage or summon elemental pets for their duration as well. We’ll get into the specifics a little bit later for those you’ll actually use as Enhancement, but it deserved a mention here.

Shamans also have another special class mechanic which is their Shields. Shamans have three different Shield spells, with Lightning Shield and Water Shield available to all specs, and Earth Shield available only to Restoration Shamans. Each of these shields is built around a “charges” mechanic that has a specific effect whenever a charge is triggered to be used. Lightning Shield deals damage, Water Shield restores mana, and Earth Shield heals the target when they get hit. More on those later as well.

Enhancement-Specific Tips
As Enhancement you don’t use a whole lot of your mana during combat, and what you do use you’ll typically regenerate through your class abilities anyway. You still cast spells very frequently, but you typically don’t have to worry too much about mana. As a melee class though, you are a bit more “squishy” than many other melee classes because you only wear Leather armor until level 40 where you upgrade to Mail. But remember that Shamans are also healers, and because you’re not spending much of your mana it’s usually not a problem for you to stop the offense for the sake of casting a healing spell on yourself.

As a DPS spec you’ll typically want to use Lightning Shield to deal additional damage whenever an enemy hits you with an attack. At later levels you may occasionally switch to Water Shield instead to be sure you have adequate mana. In this level range, Lightning Shield is a passive DPS spell, dealing damage only when you’re attacked, but at higher levels you’ll also be able to trigger the charges of Lightning Shield with your attacks.

Remember that Shamans are a partially hybrid class with a very hybrid playstyle. You’re meant to be able to heal while you’re in your DPS spec, so do so. You’re not supposed to be “the healer”, but you are designed to be able to toss those heals out there when they’re needed. Shamans can be very “squishy”, taking a lot of damage in a short time, but we also pack some very efficient healing to get us through those times. At these low levels your healing spells will nearly restore you to full in a single cast. You can take that one of two ways: either you can heal in the middle of combat to be sure to make it to the end, or you can push yourself and your damage potential to be able to destroy your enemies quickly and efficiently, and then heal yourself back up to full at the end of combat.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 1-10

  • Lightning Bolt (1): Casts a bolt of lightning at the target for 39 to 43 Nature damage.
  • Primal Strike (3): An instant weapon strike that causes 10 additional damage.
  • Strength of Earth Totem (4): This totem increases the Strength and Agility of all party and raid members within 40 yards.
  • Earth Shock (5): Instantly shocks the target with concussive force, causing 49 to 51 Nature damage and reducing melee and ranged attack speed by 20% for 8 seconds.
  • Lightning Shield (8): The caster is surrounded by 3 balls of lightning. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for Nature damage. This expends one lightning ball. Only one ball will fire every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.
  • Flametongue Weapon (10): Imbue the Shaman’s Weapon with fire, increasing total spell damage by 408(?).
  • Searing Totem (10): This totem repeatedly attacks an enemy within 20 yards for fire damage. The totem will prefer to target enemies that are afflicted by your Flame Shock or Stormstrike effects. Lasts for 1 minute.

Lightning Bolt is the ability you start off with, and what you’ll be spamming for a few levels in order to kill things quickly. As you get higher in level you’ll cast this less and less until you final get a talent that allows you to cast it instantly, but that won’t happen in this level range. Primal Strike is going to be one of your best friends in this level bracket as one of the few melee attacks you have access to. If you’re in melee range then you want to use Primal Strike whenever it’s not on cooldown.

Strength of Earth Totem is your primary Earth totem now and forever. It provides both Strength and Agility to your group, both of which contribute to your primary damage stat Attack Power. I couldn’t find the exact amount that it grants you at level 29 and neither of my shamans right now is the right level to test it to see. Earth Shock is one of your bread and butter attacks, it’s an instant burst of damage which also provides a nice attack speed reduction to the target for a bit of additional survivability.

At level eight you receive Lightning Shield which is one of your primary buffs as it passively deals damage to anyone attacking you. Keeping this buff active is a bit of a pain until level 25 at which time you can add a glyph that prevents the orbs from being expended and instead turns it into a flat 10 minute buff. Flametongue Weapon is one of our most important weapon imbues at at level 10 you’ll have it on both of your weapons. Wowhead tells me that 408 Spell Power is the value at level 29, but that sounds way too high to me so I think the numbers are wrong.

Last up on the 1-10 list is Searing Totem which is your primary Fire totem for the rest of the game. It deals decent damage for now that will increase a lot more as you get higher in level and spend talent points to enhance its effect.

By choosing Enhancement as your specialization at level 10 you receive all of the following:
Lava Lash: You charge your off-hand weapon with lava, instantly dealing 200% of that weapon’s damage to an enemy target. Damage is increased by 40% if your off-hand weapon is enchanted with Flametongue.
Mental Quickness: Increases your spell power by an amount equal to 50% of your attack power, and reduces the mana cost of your instant beneficial, damaging, and totem spells by 75%.
Dual Wield: Allows one-hand and off-hand weapons to be equipped in your off-hand, allows you to parry frontal melee attacks, and increases your chance to hit by an additional 6%.
Primal Wisdom: Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to immediately restore 5% of your base mana.
Master: Enhanced Elements: Increases all Fire, Frost, and Nature damage done by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 2.5%.

Lava Lash is one of our signature attacks, one that you’ll use very frequently and will be a big contribution to your overall damage. Mental Quickness is how our spell damage remains viable as a melee class that weaves spell damage into most of what we do, and it reduces spell costs by a 75% which is how we manage to cast spells as a class that doesn’t stack Intellect.

Dual Wield is another signature of our spec, allowing us to wield two weapons at once, and it’s one of the reasons I love playing this class as much as I do. Primal Wisdom relates to Mental Quickness up above, providing us with the means to regenerate our mana through melee combat so that we can continue casting spells even with a relatively small mana pool.

Enhanced Master doesn’t actually turn on until level 80, but it’s a big boost to damage once you do get access to it.

Level 11-20

  • Flametongue Totem (12): This totem increases the spell power of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 6%. Lasts 5 minutes.
  • Flame Shock (14): Instantly sears the target with fire, causing 28 Fire damage immediately and 48 Fire damage over 18 seconds.
  • Purge (12): Purges the enemy target, removing 1 beneficial Magic effect.
  • Ghost Wolf (16): Turns the Shaman into a Ghost Wolf, increaes speed by 30%. As a Ghost Wolf, the Shaman is less hindered by effects that would reduce movement speed.
  • Wind Shear (16): Disrupts the target’s concentration with a burst of wind, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school form being cast for 2 seconds. Also lowers your threat, making the enemy less likely to attack you.
  • Cleanse Spirit (18): Removes one Curse effect from a friendly target.
  • Earthbind Totem (18): This totem slows the movement speed of enemies within 10 yards of the totem. Lasts for 45 seconds.
  • Water Shield (20): The caster is surrounded by 3 globes of water, graning 15 mana per 5 seconds. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, mana is restored to the caster. This expends one water globe. Only one globe will activate every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.

Flametongue Totem is great for spell casters, but not a huge benefit to us as Enhancement. When I’m grouped with two or more casters I usually use this one instead of Searing Totem to benefit the group more. Flame Shock is our other bread and butter shock that we’ll use all the time. Flame Shock is best used on targets with large health pools, such as dungeon bosses, so that it will be active for the 18 seconds it takes for its full damage to take its place.

I decided to list Purge here as an offensive dispel, which I don’t often do. For the most part you’ll cast this in PvP to remove buffs from enemy targets, but there are some buffs you’ll want to remove in PvE as well. Since PvP is definitely a viable option for leveling your characters now, you’re going to see me mentioning things like this more than I used to. Ghost Wolf is a wonderful movement speed buff, allowing us to take on the form of a wolf to move faster. That second sentence in the description above means that you cannot go below 100% movement speed while in Ghost Wolf form. So you move at 130% normally with the buff, and you cannot be slowed below the 100%. Note that that applies to effects, not conditions, so you’ll still be slowed by things such as being in water.

Wind Shear is primarily used for its spell interrupting feature, though it does also reduce your threat in a group setting. I primarily use this on crowd control spells being cast on my party (like the Sleep spell cast by the Druids in Wailing Caverns) or to counter healing spells. In PvP you can use it on Player Pets that you haven’t generated threat against to cause them to stop attacking you. An experienced PvP player will quickly put them back on you, but you’d be surprised how many players don’t notice. Cleanse Spirit can remove Curse debuffs cast on you or your party, which is actually pretty common. Even though you’re playing a DPS spec it’s good practice to be in the habit of dispelling Curses as you can save your healers time and mana.

Earthbind Totem is somewhat situational. It’s a great totem for PvP, especially to slow Flag Carriers or pursuers of your Flag Carrier, or for allowing you to escape a deadly situation. In PvE it can slow mobs who run away when they’re low on health or it can be used to get some distance between you and your attackers to get a heal cast if you’re in danger of dying. Water Shield is the alternative to Lightning Shield, but not typically used by Enhancement. If you do find yourself in need of mana then you can certainly switch to Water Shield to get it back faster. I often switch to this shield in LFG in my upper-20’s as I start using more of our mana-intensive spells for AoE damage, but for soloing and questing I stick to Lightning Shield.

Level 21-29

  • Frost Shock (22): Instantly shocks the target with frost, causing 46 to 48 Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 50%. Lasts 8 seconds. Causes a high amount of threat.
  • Water Walking (24): Allows the friendly target to walk across water for 10 minutes. Any damage will cancel the effect.
  • Frostbrand Weapon (26): Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with frost. Each hit has a chance of causing additional Frost damage and slowing the target’s movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds. Lasts 30 minutes.
  • Chain Lightning (28): Hurls a lightning bolt at the enemy, dealing 55 to 61 Nature damage and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Each jump reduces the damage by 30%. Affects 3 total targets.
  • Fire Nova (28): Causes the shaman’s active Flametongue, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totem to emit a wave of flames, inflicting Fire damage to enemies within 10 yards of the totem.

Frost Shock is another spell that I mention primarily for its usefulness in PvP. Slowing targets is a pretty big deal in a lot of PvP matches and talent points can be spent to make it freeze your target in place instead of just slowing them as well. In PvE it’s really only useful if you need to stop runners; Earth and Flame Shocks are more useful in PvE.

Water Walking is a cool utility spell that allows you to move on water. It’s great for certain PvP Battlegrounds and has some small usefulness in certain dungeons as well. For PvE can save you a little travel time prior to having a flying mount by letting you cut across water without being slowed down. Frostbrand Weapon is one you’ll only use in PvP as all of the other imbues offer better damage, but in PvP this can be a really good enchant to roll with.

Chain Lightning is our first AoE spell, and an interesting one in that it’s more multi-target than AoE. You’ll only really use this one in LFG or perhaps in PvP, unless you’re a AoE crazed leveler like myself in which case you’ll use it all the time. If you do use this one often then you’ll want to be sure to use Water Shield to keep your mana supply high. Fire Nova is our first literal AoE spell, dealing damage in a ring around our Fire totems. Searing Totem is our primary Fire totem when soloing, but it doesn’t allow Fire Nova to be cast through it, so you’ll need to remember to plant the right totems to use it, and the nova is centered on the totem itself, so you’ll need to drop your totem near your targets for it to be useful.

Leveling an Enhancement Shaman

  • Questing Single Mob: Earth Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock
  • Questing Multi-Mob: (Totems), Flame Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, (swap targets), Lava Lash, Flame Shock
  • LFG Trash Rotation: (Totems), Earth Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]
  • LFG Boss Rotations: (Totems), Flame Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]

[NOTE: At level 29 you should replace Primal Strike with Stormstrike. Remove PS from your bars completely and forget that it exists. The two share a cooldown and are designed such that Stormstrike takes its place for Enhancement. Stormstrike is a better ability in every possible way and should be used from level 29 on.]

Questing Single Mob
In this rotation you’re just going to destroy targets as fast as possible. If you’re using heirloom weapons then I definitely suggest you stick to using Earth Shock as your go-to shock spell, but if you’re not using heirlooms then you might find Flame Shock to be a better option for the opening cast as it’s DoT damage will add up over time to be even more than Earth Shock. Any shocks you cast after the first one should be Earth Shocks though, unless you missed with the Flame Shock cast.

Questing Multi-Mob
If you know that your’e going to face multiple mobs, or multiple groups of mobs, go ahead and cast your totems before you get started on the actual combat. Just remember not to drop aggressive totems (like Searing) until you’re within range for it to hit your target(s) and you’re ready for combat to start.

I don’t suggest you intentionally get into combat with multiple targets as Enhancement unless you’re using heirlooms or are over-geared for the mobs you’re facing. Shamans have some good healing spells and a lot of utility, but they’re also pretty easily killed in this level range if you’re taking sustained damage.

If you do have good gear and decent survivability though, I suggest you go with this rotation. The point here is primarily to get Flame Shock cast on all of your targets so that they’re all taking damage, and then speeding up their deaths with your melee attacks. Light one up, bash them in the face a time or two, switch targets and repeat.

If you need to heal in these situations, go ahead and do so. If you find yourself running short on mana because you’re healing go ahead and switch over to Water Shield for the mana return and switch back to Lightning Shield when your health and mana are at a more manageable level.

LFG Trash
This one is the same as solo questing, except that sometimes you might want to bother with totems and others you might not. I don’t cast my totems by default at this level when I’m doing LFG, instead I wait to see how quickly we’re progressing through the instance. If we’re moving at a fast pace then I usually don’t bother with any of them until we see a boss. If we’re going kind of slow or we have people who are /afk or something, then I’ll go ahead and drop the totems to increase everyone’s performance.

For most trash pulls though, just stick to Earth Shocks and using your melee strikes as often as possible.

Wind Shear: Deserves a special mention here though. Shamans have crazy-good spell interruption capabilities thanks to Wind Shear. If you see a mob casting spells, particularly a healer, interrupt as many of their spells as possible. If you’re in instances with caster mobs who are especially annoying (LOOKING AT YOU, WAILING CAVERNS DRUIDS!!!) then be sure to make use of Wind Shear when they’re casting the spell you don’t want to go through.

LFG Boss
For bosses you want to maximize your DPS potential. That means that you’re going to make sure Flame Shock stays active on the boss as long as possible, and that you’re going to utilize your totems for the good of your group.

Totems: Strength of Earth, Flametongue, Healing Stream

Using Searing Totem will give you a higher, personal DPS score on a boss fight, but if you have at least one caster DPS in your group then you should probably lean towards Flametongue as both they and the healer will benefit from it as will you, though to a lesser extent. If there are no caster DPS in the group then switch your Fire totem over to Searing and drop it right next to the boss when you move into melee range.

Once Flame Shock is dealing its damage you’ll start rotating through your melee attacks and casting Earth Shock as filler while you wait to refresh Flame Shock. If you time your shocks just right you can get two Earth Shocks off with almost perfect timing for your shocks to refresh just as Flame Shock ends, allowing you to reapply it immediately with no time lost.

Wind Shear will still work on many boss abilities at low levels, so be ready to use it when you get the chance as Shamans have a fairly flexible and laid back rotation at this point. Spells you want to interrupt in particular are healing spells and AoE damage spells such as Chain Lightning. I could go into specifics, but this is a class guide, not a boss guide, so just use your own judgement.

Talent Spec: 29 Enhancement Shaman

  • Focused Strikes 3/3: Increases the damage dealt by your Primal Strike and Stormstrike abilities by 45%.
  • Elemental Weapons 2/2: Increases the passive bonuses granted by your Flametongue Weapon and Earthliving Weapon abilities by 40%, the damage of your extra attacks from Windfury Weapon by 40%, and the effectiveness of the ongoing benefits of your Unleash Elements ability by 50%.
  • Ancestral Swiftness 2/2: Reduces the cast time of your Ghost Wolf spell by 2 seconds and increases the movement speed by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  • Flurry 3/3: Increases your attack speed by 30% for your next 3 swings after dealing a critical strike.
  • Stormstrike 1/1: [Instant cast, 8 second cooldown] Instantly strike an enemy with both weapons, dealing 125% weapon damage and granting you an additional 25% chance to critically strike the enemy with your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lightning Shield, and Earth Shock spells for 15 seconds.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

With Lava Lash being a staple attack and the fact that you get it at level 10, this is my first choice of Prime Glyphs, increasing its damage by 20%. Next up is Stormstike, though you don’t get that spell until level 29, as the bonus crit can be useful. Finally I have Flame Shock listed though it’s important to note that it’s really only useful in LFG boss fights or in PvP as typical mobs and dungeon trash will not live long enough for even the normal duration to matter.

Major Glyphs

Lightning Shield is overall going to be the most useful glyph for you here; it’s how you turn your Lightning Shield into a solid 10 minute buff instead of lasting only for three hits worth. Ghost Wolf is my next choice because moving faster is always a good thing, both in PvE and PvP. Frost Shock deserves a mention for those of you interested in getting into some low level PvP, though I would generally suggest Ghost Wolf above this one.

Fire Nova is probably the best investment if you’re looking to beef up your AoE ability in dungeons by increasing its radius and taking away the hassle of replanting your totems. Chain Lightning is one I haven’t used myself, but it deserves a mention for AoE if you enjoy it.

Minor Glyphs

I’m a huge fan of getting rid of reagents, so Water Walking is the definite first choice here. Arctic Wolf is a simple vanity glyph that just changes the way you look in Ghost Wolf form. The only other Minor Glyph available at this level range is Thunderstorm which is a spell that only Elemental Shamans can use, so it’s completely worthless to you.

Gearing Up Your Shaman
As Enhancement your primary stat is Agility. Each point gives you 2 Attack Power and it also boosts your Melee Crit (and Dodge). Intellect boosts your Spell Power on a 1:1 ratio, and it also increases your Spell Crit and your mana. Strength is a decent stat for you as it still gives a 1:1 ratio for Attack Power, but it’s not something you really want to seek out unless you just cannot find any Agility pieces at all for those slots.

You also want to look for gear with Hit on it in particular since you take a penalty to melee hits for dual wielding. You don’t need a ton of Hit to get you by while you’re leveling, but if you find some good Agility pieces that also have Hit on them then be sure to pick them up.

For green gear with random enchants you’re probably most interested in “..of the Falcon” (Agility and Intellect), “..of the Tiger” (Agility and Strength), and “..of the Monkey” (Agility and Stamina).

As you get into running random dungeons you’re looking for items with the “..of Agility” and “..of the Bandit” (Agility, Stamina, and Crit) enchant on them from the Satchel of Helpful Goods.

There are two ways you can look at gearing up your low level Shaman. You can either go for maximum killing potential, which is stacking Agility above all else, or you can go with a more balanced build where you look for gear with both Agility and Stamina. I prefer maximizing my damage potential, personally, and going for good survival pieces in slots that I have no Agility piece to fill in. If you’re not used to healing on the fly as a DPS spec though, you might want to lean more towards survival.

Dungeon Gear
There are a lot of good pieces of gear that you can find in low level dungeons, some of them pretty decent and some rather outstanding. I’m not going to go into detail as far as which pieces to pair up from which dungeons to get a “best in slot” list, but I will give you a list of the items that if they dropped for me, I would consider rolling on if they were an upgrade to what I currently had.

A lot of the “good” lower level gear is tuned more towards Strength, which is still good though it’s not great. Agility is where it’s at, so don’t pass up an Agility piece for a Strength piece unless the value is at least twice that of the Agility piece.

Ragefire Chasm
Oggleflint’s Inspirer: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 3 Crit
Subterranean Cap: Cloak, 4 Strength, 4 Agility
Hide Vest of the Hungerer: Chest, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

The Hide Vest is a quest reward available to Horde only.

The Deadmines
Defias Leather Set: 5 piece Leather armor set (Belt, BOots, Gloves, Legs, Chest)
Cape of the Brotherhood: Cloak, 5 Agility, 3 Stamina
Smelting Pants: Legs, 8 Agility, 4 Stamina, 4 Crit
Smite’s Reaver: One-handed Axe, 2 Strength, 3 Stamina, 2 Hit
Cookie’s Tenderizer: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 2 Stamina, 2 Hit
Cookie’s Meat Mallet: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 3 Stamina
Cookie’s Table Cloth: Cloak, 3 Agility, 3 Stamina

The last two items are both quest rewards, but the same quest and rewards exist for both factions.

The Defias Leather set is a great set to have, unfortunately the Chest is no longer available in the game now that Cataclysm has replaced the final boss. The four remaining pieces are still very good, but they all have low drop rates. The good thing about this set though, is that it’s all BoE so you do have a chance of finding it on the auction house.

Wailing Caverns
Glowing Lizardscale Cloak: Cloak, 6 Agility, 2 Stamina
Embrace of the Viper Set: 5 piece Leather armor set (Belt, Boots, Gloves, Legs, Chest)
Cobrahn’s Boots: Boots, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

Cobrahn’s Boots are a quest reward, available to both factions. The Embrace of the Viper set is an example of the exceptional armor. Unlike the Defias Leathers from Deadmines, all but one of the pieces from the Embrace set are BoP, so you’ll have to farm all but the Gloves yourself if you want them, but the drop rates are significantly higher than the Defias set.

Shadowfang Keep
Wolfmaster Cape: Cloak, 5 Agility, 3 Stamina
Silverlaine’s Family Seal: Ring, 5 Strength, 3 Stamina
Butcher’s Cleaver: One-handed Axe, 3 Agility, 3 Stamina
Baron’s Scepter: On-handed Mace, 2 Strength, 3 Stamina, 2 Hit
Black Wolf Bracers: Wrists, 3 Agility, 4 Stamina, 3 Crit
Shadowfang Spaulders: Shoulders, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

Blackfathom Deeps
Naga Battle Gloves: Gloves, 7 Agility, 7 Stamina
Bands of Serra’kis: Bracers, 5 Agility, 5 Stamina
Dusk-Stained Cloak: Cloak, 5 Strength, 5 Stamina
Band of the Skull Crusher: Ring, 7 Strength
Aluwyn’s Legguards: Legs, 8 Agility, 10 Stamina

The last three items are all Alliance-only quest rewards.

The Naga Battle Gloves have a pretty high drop rate, so if you haven’t scored better gloves then these are a really good and pretty easily obtained option.

The Stockades
Hogger’s Trousers: Legs, 9 Agility, 9 Hit
Standard Issue Prisoner Shoes: Boots, 8 Agility, 5 Stamina
Rifle Commander’s Eyepatch: Helm, 8 Agility, 11 Stamina, 8 Hit

These are all really great items, especially the legs and helm. As a dual wielding class Hit rating is important because you take a penalty for wielding two weapons, and both of these pack a great amount of Hit as well as exceptional Agility and Stamina.

Gnomeregan
Charged Gear: Ring, 4 Arcane Resist, 4 Nature Resist, (Random Enchant)
Temple’s Vest: Chest, 7 Agility, 11 Stamina, 7 Crit

Temple’s Vest is an Alliance-only quest reward.

The Charged gear by itself looks pretty crappy, I know. But, the random enchant on it can be exceptional. You’re looking for “Charged Gear of..”: the Tiger (7 Agi, 7 Str), the Falcon (7 Agi, 7 Int), the Monkey (7 Agi, 7 Stam), Agility (10 Agi), or Strength (10 Str). I listed those in the order I would personally rank them, with “..of the Tiger” coming out on top as it provides a total of 21 Attack Power.

PvP Rewards
Sentinel’s Medallion: Neck, 8 Agility, 5 Stamina
Defiler’s Chain Greaves: Boots, 8 Agility, 8 Stamina, Increased Run Speed

Both of these items can be purchased with Honor, and you can get all the honor you need for them in about 2-3 Battlegrounds worth of fighting. The run speed on the boots is particularly worth looking into, even if the stats themselves aren’t as great as other boots you might already have.

There are two versions of the necklace, one for each faction. There are also multiple copies of them for different level ranges, so you can also get one of these for other level ranges, including level 19. You’ll have to travel to Ashenvale to purchase this as Alliance, and Northern Barrens as Horde since they are sold by the Warsong Gulch vendors.

The Boots come in multiple names as well as two versions of each for their respective factions. They also come in multiple level ranges just like the necklace, so you can keep coming back at different level ranges for definite upgrades, though you can’t get them for lower than the 29 bracket. To purchase these you’ll have to travel to Arathi Highlands for both factions, as the Arathi Basin vendors are the ones who sell them.

 

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Hand Me Downs: Hunters

I realize that my Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, so I’ve decided to do a breakdown of it so that it’s more useful to those who want try it out.

To do this, I’m going to do a breakdown of each class and show you which Hand Me Downs (HMD’s) I suggest using for the given class and spec. Most of this information is copied and pasted from the original post, but I’ve put in specifics related to the Warrior class and specs and hopefully given a bit more detail and direction for why I chose what I did.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Ranged and Melee Weapons
We’re going to start off with weapons because they have more potential than armor for making your low level toons extra powerful. As far as Hunters are concerned though, melee weapons are most often nothing more than “stat sticks” meaning that you take them simply for the stats that they give you with no intention of ever actually using it in combat.

Ranged Weapons
Cadet’s Bow: [Lvl: -] 4-9 Damage (3.2 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Hornwood Recurve Bow: [Lvl: 3] 6-13 Damage (4.4 DPS), 2.10 Speed
Ornate Blunderbuss: [Lvl: 4] 7-15 Damage (5.1 DPS), 2.20 Speed

The highest damage you can find on a bow at level 1 is sadly the Cadet’s Bow which has a low drop rate and from only a few mobs. If you want to hunt the bow down, then feel free to do so, but it’s pretty easily replaced by better ranged weapons that are available at levels 3 or 4.

The only class that really needs to worry about having a high-DPS ranged weapon is the Hunter, and with their power at low level they can make it to level 4 in the blink of an eye and bypass the need for the Cadet or Hornwood bows. If you’re going to roll a Hunter I suggest you skip the Cadet’s Bow and aim for either the Hornwood Bow or Ornate Blunderbuss when they become available, and then upgrade to better weapons once you get close to level 10.

I didn’t bother listing other HMD ranged weapons beyond that level because the Hornwood Bow or Ornate Blunderbuss should be more than enough to get you to level 10 and at that point you’re better of ditching HMD’s and using other weapons instead. The easiest ones to obtain, or make yourself, come from the Engineering profession. They tend to have higher damage than green drops in dungeons and they’re almost always an affordable option as well. If you can’t find them, it’s not that hard to pick up the Engineering profession yourself and level it up high enough to make your own.

The “enchants” available for ranged weapons right now really suck too, so it doesn’t matter that you’re replacing your ranged weapon quickly because you’re better off just not bothering to enchant them in the first place.

Ranged Weapon Enchants
Crude Scope (Req. 5): +1 Damage to a bow or gun
Standard Scope (Req. 10): +2 Damage to a bow or gun

Your Ranged weapons are pretty lonely in the enchanting category as your only options really are a +1 Damage scope that requires level 5 to benefit from, and a +2 Damage scope that requires level 10. The best HMD enchants you can give a hunter are actually his melee weapons by using the +Agility enchants mentioned below with the +25 Agi on a two-hander prior to level 20 and then +15 Agi on dual one-handers from 20 on.

Melee Weapons
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Jambiya: [Lvl: 11] 7-14 Damage (7.4 DPS), 1.40 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed

I have a few options listed for two-handed weapons just to give you a little variety, and then some one-handed weapons as well. As I mentioned above, you’re not going to use your melee weapon unless you’re somehow forced to do so, so the only reason you’re going to consider a two-handed weapon is because you can enchant it with +25 Agility which gives you 50 Attack Power.

The one-handed weapons listed here are for when you reach level 20 and can dual wield. The best thing to do here is just borrow a pair of weapons that you would have used on your Rogue and use them instead. Having two one-handed weapons allows you to use dual +15 Agility enchants for a total of 60 Attack Power.

Melee Weapon Enchants
Enchant 2H Weapon – Agility: +25 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)

As a Hunter, the only enchants you’re concerned about for your melee HMD’s is Agility, and the more you have the better it is. If you can’t find or can’t afford the agility enchants, then the only other thing to really even consider is Fiery Weapon so that in those few, rare occasions that you are forced into melee you can at least get some more bang for your buck.

Use a two-hander with +25 Agility if at all possible, and then switch to dual one-handers with +15 Agility once you reach level 20.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Leather Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Sun Cured Vest: 33 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Sun Cured Pants: 29 Armor
Waist: Squeeler’s Belt: 22 Armor, Sun Cured Belt: 18 Armor
Bracer: Sun Cured Bracers: 14 Armor
Gloves: Sun Cured Gloves: 20 Armor
Feet: Sun Cured Boots: 23 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

Above is the vendor bought Leather set from the Blood Elf starting area. For level 1 characters these do end up being the strongest items available to you, so I haven’t bothered listing items for other levels as armor upgrades really aren’t important for your first 20 levels unless you’re a tank.

The Haliscan Jacket and Pantaloons and the Tuxedo Pants easily beat out the best leather options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth. They also happen to have higher item levels than all of the other options, giving you the ability to put more worthwhile enchants on them as well.

Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

It’s hard to be +6 Stats no matter which class you’re playing, and the Hunter is no exception. Go for +6 or +4 if you can find them, otherwise I’d suggest even +3 Stats above 150 or 100 Health. Hunters have a lot of survivability due to their pets and their abilities to avoid melee combat such as Disengage and traps, so straight health isn’t all that great.

Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina

The one exception I make for using +1 Agility over +9 Strength is for the Hunter. You get almost nothing at all from Strength, so 1 Agility is the better of the two. If you feel the need for health then 9 Stamina is a way to do it, but you’re a Hunter…just move away and shoot them in the face.

Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Gloves provide us one of the best enchants of all of our HMD’s with Superior Agility (+15 Agi). The +15 Agi enchant isn’t exactly easy to find though, because it’s not exactly easy to farm either. If you can’t find it, then look for the +7 Agi instead. Having that +15 Agi enchant is like giving us a third weapon though, it’s actually pretty sick as far as HMD enchants are concerned.

Haste is the only other option that’s really worth considering here as it will help you attack a bit faster and also help your DoT’s tick a bit quicker. It’s not the best thing in the world, but it’s better than nothing (or Strength).

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

For Hunters I prefer to go all out when it comes to damage, so I go for +7 Agility even over Minor Speed. Also, Hunters eventually get Aspect of the Cheetah which increases their run speed and doesn’t stack with the enchant. By the time you get the spell (in your 20’s, I believe) you probably already have your HMD boots replaced anyway.

Minor Speed is still a really good option until that point, especially if you want to use a lot of kiting or practice your Jump Shots, but since it doesn’t stack it will eventually be nullified by your class abilities.

The other option is Lesser Accuracy which is still good for a low level boost to your Hit chance, but I don’t find myself missing very often as a Hunter anyway so I generally don’t bother.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility, +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor

The Stealth enchant has stepped up in 4.0.3a as the top enchant for Agility-based HMD’s. Rather than making it harder to be noticed while it stealth, it now gives you +8 Agility and +8 Dodge making it far superior to every other cloak enchant available on your HMD’s. The mats for it are also fairly inexpensive given how powerful this enchant is.

Hunters have a ton of burst damage in low levels compared to many of the other classes, so if you’re doing dungeon runs you may give some serious consideration to the Subtlety enchant to reduce your threat. It’s not great, but every little bit helps. It also helps with pulling threat off of your pet, so it’s a lot better for Hunters than it is for any other class.

Your other option is +70 Armor, but you’re a Hunter, remember? NO MELEE FOR YOU!

 
 

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Hand Me Downs: Paladins

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Paladins.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Melee Weapons
Unlike casters, a melee class actually needs to look for good weapons in order to perform well. For a Paladin, we’re looking for good damage slow speed. We don’t necessarily want to stick with the same weapon from level 1-15 (or higher), because the damage itself needs to go up, so with melee classes you may want to consider multiple HMD’s to upgrade to throughout the first 20 levels or so.

Once the LFG becomes available to you I strongly suggest you run through The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, as well as The Stockade and Blackfathom Deeps. Those dungeons have the best weapons you can find for your level. While some may not always perform as well as your HMD’s, averaged out they most likely will. Remember that you’re looking for big damage, slow speeds, and bonuses to Strength and Attack Power.

While HMD’s are excellent at making your characters more powerful, when it comes to melee classes your weapons should be upgraded whenever possible, making HMD’s have much shorter lifespans for melee classes. I don’t bother with melee HMD’s passed level 11-12, and I wouldn’t suggest that you do so either unless you can’t stand LFG and for some reason can’t find a quest with a decent reward.

Melee Weapons (1H)
Fine Scimitar: [Lvl: -] 3-7 Damage (2.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Axe: [Lvl: -] 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Studded Blackjack: [Lvl: 5] 5-11 Damage (4.4 DPS), 1.80 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed
Cleaver: [Lvl: 15] 14-27 Damage (9.2 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Double Axe: [Lvl: 19] 19-37 Damage (11.2 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Left-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Right-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed

I don’t generally suggest leveling with one-handed weapons starting out because of their low damage compared to two-handers, but if you want to use a shield to help you level then these are your options.

Starting out I’d shoot for the Arcane Forged Axe since it’s a vendor item compared to the Fine Scimitar being a drop. At level 5 you may want to upgrade to a Studded Blackjack or similar item for higher base damage, though it’s not necessary if you have a decent enchant on the axes. For melee classes, I suggest Fiery Weapon as your initial HMD enchant, because it deals 40 Fire damage when it procs, and that proc can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage instead. The damage from the proc is often enough to one-shot the mobs in your starting areas, and it quickly dispatches the mobs you’ll face up to level 10 as well.

At level 10 you need to make a decision on your spec, and that determines which weapons you pursue from there on. Holy will want a one-handed weapon and a shield, though you don’t really need to upgrade your weapons as often with Holy. Protection wants a solid one-hander and shield, and Retribution demands the nastiest two-hander you can find.

Melee Weapons (2H)
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Tabar: [Lvl: 9] 21-33 Damage (8.5 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Claymore: [Lvl: 10] 23-35 Damage (9.0 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Rock Hammer: [Lvl: 16] 37-59 Damage (12.5 DPS), 3.70 Speed
Battle Axe: [Lvl: 20] 46-70 Damage (15.3 DPS), 3.80 Speed

Here’s quite a list of two-handers for you to choose from. Remember to take your racial modifiers into account when choosing your weapons. If you have a bonus when using certain types of weapons then try to stick to those weapons to maximize your performance in combat. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just going with whatever weapons look cool either.

For my melee toons I generally get a weapon that I can use at level 1 and then replace at 5, or one that I can use a level 3 and then replace at level 10-12. If you’re going to stick to two-handers then I suggest upgrading to the Vile Fine Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff at level 5 and then the Claymore at level 10. You can probably last through most of your teens with the Claymore before replacing it with a dungeon drop or quest reward that offers more base damage and a decent stat boost to make giving up the enchant worth it.

If you aren’t using LFG to level and you aren’t having any luck with good weapons from your quest rewards, then you might consider upgrading to either the Rock Hammer or the Battle Axe as HMD’s. I would strongly urge you to run dungeons at this level though as there are some excellent weapons to be found.

Enchanting Melee Weapons
As a melee Paladin, you’re mostly interested in Strength enchants. Stamina is a good option as well, especially if you’re going Protection as they seem to be taking more damage than the other low level tanks at the moment.

Protection and Retribution Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Strength: +15 Strength
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)

The best source for Strength at low levels is Crusader with a +100 Strength proc. That’s 200 Attack Power plus a heal when it procs that’s going to have you one-shotting mobs left and right. If you go with a slow weapon, then Crusader is the one you want. If you’re going with fast weapons, then you want either +15 Strength or Fiery Weapon.

I don’t find Fiery to be quite as appealing for Paladins as I do the other melee classes, though I can’t say for sure why that it. Lifestealing is a good backup for Crusader, as is the +15 Strength.

Holy Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect

In 3.5 the +30 SP was the go-to enchant for casters, but with the change to spell power Mighty Intellect has taken the lead. It’s also the cheapest of the three options which makes it that much more appealing. You don’t get quite as much spell power out of the deal, but you’re trading 7-8 SP for 330 mana which is more than worth it for low level casters in my opinion.

Shields
Holy and Protection will both be using shields. Prior to level 10 I’d still us a two-hander for all three Paladin specs, but that’s just me. If you want to use a shield before then, here’s your list of HMD worthy shields.

Shields
Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Wall Shield: [Lvl: 12] 480 Armor
Reinforced Targe: [Lvl: 19] 634 Armor

If you want to start off with a shield, then the Large Round is the one you want. The Dull Heater can be purchased at level 5, or you can do what I did and spend 18 seconds farming a pair of Standard Issue Shields outside of Scarlet Monetary. (Note: The area around SM changed from 4.0.3 to 4.0.3a, so these might not be available now.)

I’ve listed a couple of options for HMD’s passed level 10 if you’re going to roll as Protection, but you’re probably better off sticking with your low level shield until you replace it with dungeon drops or quest rewards.

Protection Shield Enchants
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

The best option from a leveling perspective is to go with the biggest, nastiest shield spike you can find to slap on the most interesting-looking shield you have access to and then go stab some eyeballs out with the shield spikes while you’re smashing faces with your weapon.

If you’re worried about your health then get the Stamina enchant, but otherwise stick with the shield spikes.

Holy Shield Enchants
Enchant Shield – Vitality: Restore 4 health and mana every 5 seconds
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Holy doesn’t really have much trouble as far as mana is concerned at low level, so this one’s a little rough. Better safe than sorry – the Vitality enchant is probably the best one overall. If you’re going to do a lot of soloing then I would suggest a shield spike. The Stamina enchant isn’t a bad option, but Paladins have the best low level survivability of every class in the game, so 70 HP isn’t really all that important.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Mail Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Unadorned Chain Vest: 53 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Unadorned Chain Leggings: 47 Armor
Waist: Unadorned Chain Belt: 30 Armor
Bracer: Unadorned Chain Bracers: 23 Armor
Gloves: Unadorned Chain Gloves: 33 Armor
Feet: Unadorned Chain Boots: 37 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

No surprises here, again we have the Blood Elf starting zone’s vendor items. Warriors get better Rage if their armor is a somewhat slacking (at least they used to), and Paladins have plenty of self healing at their disposal, so I wouldn’t bother replacing HMD’s on either of them until you start to find superior dungeon drops or significant quest rewards.

I still get a little chuckle at the Haliscan Jacket/Pantaloons and Tuxedo Pants beat out even the best Mail options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth.

Holy Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: +100 Mana
Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime: Restore 7 Mana every 5 seconds [ilvl 35+]

The best choice here is +6 Stats which gives you 90 Mana and 6 Spell Power, though it can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket. The +4 and +3 Stats enchants are listed for the same reason, providing both spell power and mana. Mana isn’t nearly as big of an issue for a Paladin as it is for other classes, so the stats pull ahead here for me.

Protection and Retribution Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

The +150 Health enchant can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket because it requires a minimum item level of 35 and the Haliscan is one of only two items you can wear at level 1 that meat that item level requirement. The other is an expensive gown purchased in Moonglade which is limited quantity and has a horribly long respawn time. To give you an example of how hard it is to find, I’ve been looking now for almost 5 weeks and I’ve never even seen it.

The best option for offense rather than survival is the +6 Stats which still gives you 60 Health, but also a fair amount of Attack and/or Spellpower. Like the +150 Health though, it toon can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket.

The +4 Stats enchant is pretty hard to find and you’re going to pay a pretty copper for it if you buy it on the AH, so you may want to settle for the much easier to obtain +3 Stats. The +100 Health isn’t going to help you perform any better in combat, it’s just survivability, so it’s listed last.

Holy Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect
Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration: Restore 5 Mana every 5 seconds

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better now than it was before 4.0. You can either have 15 SP or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste. If you do find mana issues, then the Mana Regeneration enchant is there to help you along.

Protection and Retribution Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

Finally we come to a class that gets some real benefit out of that +9 Strength enchant. Unless you’re in dire need of more health, the Strength enchant is the way to go. If you need survivability then the Stamina is a very solid choice as well, and if by some freak occurrence you can’t find either of those, then the +1 Agility is better than nothing.

Holy Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells. Haste can help you in a few situations, though mostly in your reduced cast times.

Protection and Retribution Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Threat: +2% Threat on all attacks

I generally prefer the +15 Agility enchant for my gloves, but the Strength classes don’t get quite as much from Agility, so +7 Strength is a very solid option. Given that the two mail-wearing classes who’ll be using your HMD’s both benefit the most from strength, I’d say +7 Strength is the way to go here, or just reuse the +15 Agility Leather gloves you use on your other toons. I wouldn’t bother enchanting both a leather and mail piece with +15 Agility unless you’re just trying to burn through your enchanting mats.

Haste will give you a slight boost to your attacking speed, and will give a small benefit to your Rend damage (at least, I think bleeds benefit from Haste the same way DoT’s do – could be wrong), and the +7 Agility is a decent substitute if you can’t find the others.

I also listed the Threat enchant which I definitely recommend if you’re going to be a tank. From what I’ve seen so far in low level LFG, Paladins have the best threat generation of all the low level tanks. That 2% Threat can probably solidify that for you if you find that you’re having problems. Note that I give advice on this enchant and this situation based on my healing of tanks on my Resto Shaman twink, not from my experience tanking.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Holy Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours. Accuracy will help if you’re using Holy Shock offensively or when you’re using Crusader Strike for additional Holy Power.

Protection and Retribution Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

Paladins still have nothing to help them close gaps when tanking and such, so I prefer Minor Speed for them to get whatever edge I can. The +7 Agility will give you better avoidance and also help with your melee crits, so it’s a good choice as well. Hit is there if you need it, though you probably will not, and +7 Stamina is something to consider if you’re going Prot.

Paladin tanks seem to take more damage than the others right now at low level, so I strongly recommend picking up extra Stamina where you can afford it if you’re going to be a tank.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility and +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

As I’ve mentioned in the other HMD posts so far, the Stealth enchant made a surprise leap of awesomeness in 4.0.3a by switching from a lackluster enchant to the best-in-slot cloak enchant for the majority of low level play. You want it more than the others and that’s really all there is to it.

If you can’t find Stealth then the +3 Agility enchant would be my preference for Retribution while I would probably consider +70 Armor for Protection. Retribution can lay down a lot of damage in a really short time right now, especially if they store Holy Power from one fight to use at the beginning of another. For that reason you may consider Subtlety for Retribution, but you likely have enough survivability to handle pulling threat from time to time anyway if you’d rather go with one of the others.

 
 

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Hand Me Downs: Warriors

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Warriors.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Melee Weapons
Unlike casters, a melee class actually needs to look for good weapons in order to perform well. For a Warrior, we’re looking for good damage slow speed. We don’t necessarily want to stick with the same weapon from level 1-15 (or higher), because the damage itself needs to go up, so with melee classes you may want to consider multiple HMD’s to upgrade to throughout the first 20 levels or so.

Once the LFG becomes available to you I strongly suggest you run through The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep, as well as The Stockade and Blackfathom Deeps. Those dungeons have the best weapons you can find for your level. While some may not always perform as well as your HMD’s, averaged out they most likely will. Remember that you’re looking for big damage, slow speeds, and bonuses to Strength and Attack Power.

While HMD’s are excellent at making your characters more powerful, when it comes to melee classes your weapons should be upgraded whenever possible, making HMD’s have much shorter lifespans for melee classes. I don’t bother with melee HMD’s passed level 11-12, and I wouldn’t suggest that you do so either unless you can’t stand LFG and for some reason can’t find a quest with a decent reward.

Melee Weapons (1H)
Fine Scimitar: [Lvl: -] 3-7 Damage (2.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Axe: [Lvl: -] 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 2.00 Speed
Studded Blackjack: [Lvl: 5] 5-11 Damage (4.4 DPS), 1.80 Speed
Cutlass: [Lvl: 10] 10-20 Damage (7.0 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Hatchet: [Lvl: 11] 12-25 Damage (7.4 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Scimitar: [Lvl: 14] 14-27 Damage (8.7 DPS), 2.30 Speed
Cleaver: [Lvl: 15] 14-27 Damage (9.2 DPS), 2.20 Speed
Double Axe: [Lvl: 19] 19-37 Damage (11.2 DPS), 2.50 Speed
Left-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed
Right-Handed Claw: [Lvl: 20] 12-23 Damage (11.7 DPS), 1.50 Speed

I don’t generally suggest leveling with one-handed weapons starting out because of their low damage compared to two-handers, but if you want to use a shield to help you level then these are your options. If you decide to go Fury at level 10 then you’ll want a good pair of one-handers though, so I’ve included some good options for you here.

Starting out I’d shoot for the Arcane Forged Axe since it’s a vendor item compared to the Fine Scimitar being a drop. At level 5 you may want to upgrade to a Studded Blackjack or similar item for higher base damage, though it’s not necessary if you have a decent enchant on the axes. For melee classes, I suggest Fiery Weapon as your initial HMD enchant, because it deals 40 Fire damage when it procs, and that proc can crit for 60 or 80 Fire damage instead. The damage from the proc is often enough to one-shot the mobs in your starting areas, and it quickly dispatches the mobs you’ll face up to level 10 as well.

At level 10 you need to make a decision on your spec, and that determines which weapons you pursue from there on. If you’re Arms, then you need to upgrade to a two-hander to maximize your damage potential. For Fury, it’s time to grab a pair of one-handers for furious facesmashing. And for Prot, you just need to upgrade to a better one-hander and grab yourself a shield.

Melee Weapons (2H)
Bastard Sword: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.00 Speed
Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
Tabar: [Lvl: 9] 21-33 Damage (8.5 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Claymore: [Lvl: 10] 23-35 Damage (9.0 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Rock Hammer: [Lvl: 16] 37-59 Damage (12.5 DPS), 3.70 Speed
Battle Axe: [Lvl: 20] 46-70 Damage (15.3 DPS), 3.80 Speed

Here’s quite a list of two-handers for you to choose from. Remember to take your racial modifiers into account when choosing your weapons. If you have a bonus when using certain types of weapons then try to stick to those weapons to maximize your performance in combat. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just going with whatever weapons look cool either.

For my melee toons I generally get a weapon that I can use at level 1 and then replace at 5, or one that I can use a level 3 and then replace at level 10-12. If you’re going to stick to two-handers then I suggest upgrading to the Vile Fine Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff at level 5 and then the Claymore at level 10. You can probably last through most of your teens with the Claymore before replacing it with a dungeon drop or quest reward that offers more base damage and a decent stat boost to make giving up the enchant worth it.

If you aren’t using LFG to level and you aren’t having any luck with good weapons from your quest rewards, then you might consider upgrading to either the Rock Hammer or the Battle Axe as HMD’s. I would strongly urge you to run dungeons at this level though as there are some excellent weapons to be found.

Enchanting Melee Weapons
As a Warrior, you’re interested in Strength enchants. Stamina is a decent option since your life revolves around taking damage as well as dealing it.

Melee Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Strength: +15 Strength
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)

The best source for Strength at low levels is Crusader with a +100 Strength proc. That’s 200 Attack Power plus a heal when it procs that’s going to have you one-shotting mobs left and right. If you go with a slow weapon, then Crusader is the one you want. If you’re going with fast weapons, then you want either +15 Strength or Fiery Weapon.

If you’re going to roll a Protection Warrior, then you might want to consider Lifestealing instead because it deals extra damage and also converts that damage into healing for you. While my personal preference is still Crusader, regardless of spec, you can use any of the ones above and be successful.

For Fury, I tend to feel more “furious” if I’m dual wielding Fiery weapons because it both looks cool and has some burst damage from the procs. Fiery Weapon is typically half the price or less of a Crusader enchant, so go with whichever one you have easiest access to. You might also want to consider putting different enchants on your weapons so they look distinct and provide the benefit of multiple enchants. Crusader/Fiery, Crusader/Strength, Fiery/Lifestealing, and Crusader/Lifestealing are the combinations I would suggest if you go that route.

Shields
The only Warrior that’s going to use a Shield passed level 10 is Protection. You can use a shield before then even if you don’t plan on going Prot, though you may be better off going with a big two-hander for damage.

Shields
Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Wall Shield: [Lvl: 12] 480 Armor
Reinforced Targe: [Lvl: 19] 634 Armor

If you want to start off with a shield, then the Large Round is the one you want. The Dull Heater can be purchased at level 5, or you can do what I did and spend 18 seconds farming a pair of Standard Issue Shields outside of Scarlet Monetary. (Note: The area around SM changed from 4.0.3 to 4.0.3a, so these might not be available now.)

I’ve listed a couple of options for HMD’s passed level 10 if you’re going to roll as Prot, but you’re probably better off sticking with your low level shield until you replace it with dungeon drops or quest rewards.

Shield Enchants
Felsteel Shield Spike: Deals 26-38 damage when you block
Thorium Shield Spike: Deals 20-30 damage when you block
Mithril Shield Spike: Deals 16-20 damage when you block
Enchant Shield – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

The best option from a leveling perspective is to go with the biggest, nastiest shield spike you can find to slap on the most interesting-looking shield you have access to and then go stab some eyeballs out with the shield spikes while you’re smashing faces with your weapon.

If you’re worried about your health then get the Stamina enchant, but otherwise stick with the shield spikes.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Mail Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Unadorned Chain Vest: 53 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Unadorned Chain Leggings: 47 Armor
Waist: Unadorned Chain Belt: 30 Armor
Bracer: Unadorned Chain Bracers: 23 Armor
Gloves: Unadorned Chain Gloves: 33 Armor
Feet: Unadorned Chain Boots: 37 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

No surprises here, again we have the Blood Elf starting zone’s vendor items. Warriors get better Rage if their armor is a somewhat slacking (at least they used to), and Paladins have plenty of self healing at their disposal, so I wouldn’t bother replacing HMD’s on either of them until you start to find superior dungeon drops or significant quest rewards.

I still get a little chuckle at the Haliscan Jacket/Pantaloons and Tuxedo Pants beat out even the best Mail options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth.

Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

The +150 Health enchant can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket because it requires a minimum item level of 35 and the Haliscan is one of only two items you can wear at level 1 that meat that item level requirement. The other is an expensive gown purchased in Moonglade which is limited quantity and has a horribly long respawn time. To give you an example of how hard it is to find, I’ve been looking now for almost 5 weeks and I’ve never even seen it.

The best option for offense rather than survival is the +6 Stats which still gives you 60 Health, but also a fair amount of Attack and/or Spellpower. Like the +150 Health though, it toon can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket.

The +4 Stats enchant is pretty hard to find and you’re going to pay a pretty copper for it if you buy it on the AH, so you may want to settle for the much easier to obtain +3 Stats. The +100 Health isn’t going to help you perform any better in combat, it’s just survivability, so it’s listed last.

Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

Finally we come to a class that gets some real benefit out of that +9 Strength enchant. Unless you’re in dire need of more health, the Strength enchant is the way to go. If you need survivability then the Stamina is a very solid choice as well, and if by some freak occurrence you can’t find either of those, then the +1 Agility is better than nothing.

Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Threat: +2% Threat on all attacks

I generally prefer the +15 Agility enchant for my gloves, but the Strength classes don’t get quite as much from Agility, so +7 Strength is a very solid option. Given that the two mail-wearing classes who’ll be using your HMD’s both benefit the most from strength, I’d say +7 Strength is the way to go here, or just reuse the +15 Agility Leather gloves you use on your other toons. I wouldn’t bother enchanting both a leather and mail piece with +15 Agility unless you’re just trying to burn through your enchanting mats.

Haste will give you a slight boost to your attacking speed, and will give a small benefit to your Rend damage (at least, I think bleeds benefit from Haste the same way DoT’s do – could be wrong), and the +7 Agility is a decent substitute if you can’t find the others.

I also listed the Threat enchant which I definitely recommend if you’re going to be a tank. From what I’ve seen so far in low level LFG, Warriors have the most drastic and most wide-spread threat issues of all the tanks. Is 2% going to fix the problem I’m seeing? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that when my Resto Shammy meets a Warrior tank I prepare to heal the entire group rather than just the tank.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina

While I lean heavily on the Minor Speed enchant for my toons, I like that the Warrior’s Charge ability lets me sort of get by without it. You don’t get significantly more benefit from +7 Agility, but that one does at least have some direct impact on your combat performance.

If you’re going to try Fury then you’ll probably want to give that +5 Hit enchant a shot as dual wielding comes at the price of hit chance. The Stamina enchant is there if you need more health, of course. While health is a tank-related stat in general, I would actually suggest that for Warriors you shoot for better damage stats early on. But that’s my experience healing Warrior tanks talking, not my (lack of) experience playing one.

Cloak Enchants
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility and +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

As I’ve mentioned in the other HMD posts so far, the Stealth enchant made a surprise leap of awesomeness in 4.0.3a by switching from a lackluster enchant to the best-in-slot cloak enchant for the majority of low level play. You want it more than the others and that’s really all there is to it.

The +3 Agility enchant is fairly even with the +70 Armor on my personal preference list though I’d probably choose Agility between the two for a Warrior.

DPS Warriors hit pretty hard right now and killing blows can lead to some nasty chained-Victory Rushes, so if you’re frequently dealing enough damage that you’re causing threat issues in your random dungeons then you may consider the -2% Threat enchant.

 
 

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Hand Me Downs: Druids

So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Druids.

General Concept
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).

The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

Balance and Restoration Weapons
We’re going to start off with weapons because they have more potential than armor for making your low level toons extra powerful. When you’re choosing a hand-me-down weapon, you need to consider which type you’re really looking for. For Melee weapons you’re interested in three things: damage, usefulness, and coolness.

Balance and Restoration Weapons
Arcane Forged Mace: 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Dirk: 1-4 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.60 Speed
Mana Gathering Staff: 5-9 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Apprentice’s Staff: 3-5 Damage (1.3 DPS), 2.90 Speed

As I’ve said before, the Mace is the only weapon that every healing class in the game has in common, so the Mace is one of your best choices. However, the Dagger is the one weapon that can be shared across every type of spellcaster in the game, except for the Holy Paladin. If you only want to enchant a single caster HMD, then the dagger is the best option because both healers and DPS casters can use it save for the Paladin.

Balance and Restoration Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect

In 3.5 the +30 SP was the go-to enchant for casters, but with the change to spell power Mighty Intellect has taken the lead. It’s also the cheapest of the three options which makes it that much more appealing. You don’t get quite as much spell power out of the deal, but you’re trading 7-8 SP for 330 mana which is more than worth it for low level casters in my opinion.

I find that I have more mana issues as Balance so +22 Intellect is the clear winner there for me, while as Resto I’m begging people to go jump in a fire or something just so I can spend my mana on something. I’ve mostly given up on the 30 SP enchant for everything non-twink at this point, but you might find it to be more to your liking.

Feral Weapons
2H Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
2H Quarter Staff: [Lvl: 11] 20-32 Damage (9.6 DPS), 2.70 Speed
2H Gnarled Staff: [Lvl: 15] 27-42 Damage (11.9 DPS), 2.90 Speed
1H Copper Dagger: [Lvl: 6] 5-10 Damage (5.0 DPS), 1.50 Speed
1H Amani Sacrificial Dagger: [Lvl: 12] 10-21 Damage (7.8 DPS), 2.00 Speed

The best way for you to kill things when you roll a fresh Druid is to just spam Wrath until your target is dead. You don’t have any Feral abilities at all until level 8, so you start out as a Balance Druid no matter what you want to do later in the game.

Once you get Cat form you can switch over to melee combat instead of Wrath spam. You’ve got a couple of options to consider here. First, some Cat abilities now take weapon damage into consideration, so you want weapons that actually deal damage. Second, you have to take reusability into consideration and Druids have some of the worst weapon selections for that.

There are four classes that use Agility as their primary damage stat (Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman). The highest Agility bonus enchant you can get comes from two-handed weapons, but the only other Agility class that will use two-handed weapons is the Hunter, and the only two weapon types you share in common are the Staff and Polearm. Hunters don’t care about melee weapon damage, so they could use a level 1 weapon for 40 levels and not care. If you have multiple two-handed HMD’s you’re not going to the same reusability from them that you would other weapons because the Hunter doesn’t need to upgrade HMD’s until he can dual wield.

My personal suggestion for Feral Druid HMD’s is to use a staff with +25 Agility when you first get Cat Form at level 8, and then upgrade to two-hander (likely a Mace) with Crusader on it in your teens and stick with that until you replace your HMD’s with dungeon drops or quest rewards. The Crusader two-hander can be used by your Warriors and Paladins, so it has at least some chance of being reused where a higher level staff with +25 Agility would not.

Feral Enchants
Enchant 2H Weapon – Agility: +25 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Lifestealing: Proc: Steals 30 health from the target (x2 crit)

Since the purpose of HMD’s is to be used at low level, you want to consider what kind of investment you’re really making. The best enchant for your class is Agility, but the best enchant for those low levels is technically Crusader. Druids don’t get the luxury of dual wielding, so your best option is a two-hander with +25 Agility on it, or any weapon you can use with Crusader on it. You can put a +25 Agi enchant on it for a consistent +50 AP, or you can put Crusader on it for a fairly reliable +100 AP most of the time.

I haven’t had enough time to really sit down and test this one out from a min/max point of view. As far as being able to reuse an item goes though, a staff with +25 Agility is great for Feral Druids but also excellent for Hunters until they can dual wield at level 20. At the same time, Crusader is the best Strength class weapon, so you can also reuse those weapons on your Warriors and Paladins.

Another thing to consider is that the best place to farm the mats for the Agility enchants has apparently been nerfed in my experience. The day before 4.0.3a went live I farmed the area for just over 40 minutes and had 4.5 stacks of Essence of Air. I farmed it again on patch day and in the time that I should have had over 2 stacks in my months of farming experience I only had 3, total. Not 3 stacks, just 3, when I should have had more than 20. So Agility might be harder to come by than it once was.

Fiery and Lifestealing are both great choices as well, with Fiery being the better of the two. I like that Fiery procs often lead to one-shots, but the higher you get in level the less impressive the enchant becomes. Lifestealing does at least have some scaling with your level, but it’s proc rate isn’t as high as Fiery so it doesn’t happen as often.

Armor
Armor isn’t nearly as important as your weapons because in the levels that you’ll use HMD’s you should not have very many issues with survivability, making the armor stat much less impressive than it really is. The main benefit that you’ll get from your HMD’s then is actually the enchants that you place on them. The best-in-slot items for both chest and leg slots (that can be used at level 1) are interestingly cloth items; Haliscan Jacket and Haliscan Pantaloons.

And since the whole point of HMD’s is to enchant them in order to make them more powerful than regular gear, we’re not going to bother making HMD’s that cannot benefit from enchants, or which benefit only a very small amount. So we’re not going to look at Belts, jewelry or trinkets.

Leather Armor Set
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor (Cloth), Sun Cured Vest: 33 Armor
Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor, Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor, Sun Cured Pants: 29 Armor
Waist: Squeeler’s Belt: 22 Armor, Sun Cured Belt: 18 Armor
Bracer: Sun Cured Bracers: 14 Armor
Gloves: Sun Cured Gloves: 20 Armor
Feet: Sun Cured Boots: 23 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor

Above is the vendor bought Leather set from the Blood Elf starting area. For level 1 characters these do end up being the strongest items available to you, so I haven’t bothered listing items for other levels as armor upgrades really aren’t important for your first 20 levels unless you’re a tank.

The Haliscan Jacket and Pantaloons and the Tuxedo Pants easily beat out the best leather options at level 1, so they’re listed here as well even though they’re cloth. They also happen to have higher item levels than all of the other options, giving you the ability to put more worthwhile enchants on them as well.

Balance and Restoration Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Mana: +100 Mana
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Restore Mana Prime: Restore 7 Mana every 5 seconds [ilvl 35+]

The best choice here is +6 Stats which gives you 90 Mana and 6 Spell Power, though it can only be placed on the Haliscan Jacket. The +4 and +3 Stats enchants are listed for the same reason, providing both spell power and mana. I like the +100 Mana more than +3 stats for Druid HMD’s because while mana isn’t an issue in most cases I’m more likely to need the extra mana than I am a mere 3 points of spell power. Mana regen isn’t usually a huge issue, but if you run into mana problems then you might want to consider Restore Mana Prime.

Feral Chest Enchants
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Stats: +6 All Stats [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Greater Stats: +4 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Exceptional Health: +150 Health [ilvl 35+]
Enchant Chest – Stats: +3 All Stats
Enchant Chest – Major Health: +100 Health

We have basically the same situation for Feral, except the +X Stats enchants get much more beneficial. The +6 Stats for instance grants 18 Attack Power (6 Agi = 12 AP, 6 Str = 6 AP) as well as 6 Spell Power and 90 mana, all of which you’ll use (though SP to a lesser extent). This is a great example of when being a hybrid is a good thing. I’ve found Feral Druids to be more on the squishy side than they used to in the early levels, so +150 Health isn’t a bad idea either, if you have the Haliscan to put it on.

Balance and Restoration Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Healing Power: +15 Spell Power
Enchant Bracer – Greater Intellect: +7 Intellect
Enchant Bracer – Mana Regeneration: Restore 5 Mana every 5 seconds

I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better now than it was before 4.0. You can either have 15 SP or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste.

I feel that the mp5 enchant is the weakest here, but it’s still a decent fit for a caster. I find I have more mana issues as Balance than I do Resto, but I’d go for one of the other enchants over this one regardless.

Feral Bracer Enchants
Enchant Bracer – Superior Strength: +9 Strength
Enchant Bracer – Superior Stamina: +9 Stamina
Enchant Bracer – Minor Agility: +1 Agility

I don’t know why in the world they gave us +9 to both Strength and Stamina, but not Agility. We don’t even have a +7, +5, or even +3 Agility; they just left us with the dinky +1. However, we do still get 1:1 AP from Strength, so the +9 Str enchant is your best bet here. If you’re feeling especially fragile then go ahead and reach for the +9 Stam instead, but you shouldn’t have many too survivability problems in this level range, especially not as a class with some of the most useful heals in the game.

Balance and Restoration Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Healing Power: +16 Spell Power
Enchant Gloves – Minor Haste: +10 Haste

Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells. Unfortunately, most of our damage is Nature which doesn’t have it’s own “.. Power” enchant, so Healing Power is your best option. Haste can help you in a few situations, though mostly in your reduced cast times.

If you’re going for Resto then Haste actually helps a lot more because of your HoT’s, but at the same time you aren’t going to have much trouble healing low level instances anyway so it’s not all that big a deal in this time frame.

Feral Glove Enchants
Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Gloves – Greater Strength: +7 Strength

Gloves provide us one of the best enchants of all of our HMD’s with Superior Agility (+15 Agi). The +15 Agi enchant isn’t exactly easy to find though, because it’s not exactly easy to farm either. If you can’t find it, then look for the +7 Agi instead, or +7 Str if you can’t find either of the Agility enchants.

I’ve been told that the rep grind for Superior Agility isn’t as bad as it was prior to 4.0 being released, so perhaps it will become easier in the future. I’ve done the farming on my own for one of my servers and am about to start on my other server just as soon as I finish up the Cenarion Expedition grind that I’m on right now for the cloak enchant that we’ll talk about down below.

Leg Enchants
Light Armor Kit: +8 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet
Medium Armor Kit: [Lvl: 5] +16 Armor to Chest, Legs, Hands or Feet

I’m going to go ahead and list these here just for the sake of completion. I don’t use HMD pants because of the fact that these are the only enchants you can put on them. A little extra armor never hurt anybody, but it never really helps for your low level toons either. Not when we’re talking about 8-16 points of it, at least. If you want to use them, then here they are.

Balance and Restoration Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit

Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours.

Feral Boot Enchants
Enchant Boots – Greater Agility: +7 Agility
Enchant Boots – Lesser Accuracy: +5 Hit
Enchant Boots – Greater Stamina: +7 Stamina
Enchant Boots – Minor Speed: +7% Run Speed

For Feral Druids I almost always suggest you go with +7 Agility because the first two points you spend in your talent tree are likely going to include a speed boost while in Cat form anyway. If you don’t want to spend your points there, then the Minor Speed is still a good option, but I personally go for that kitty speed right off the bat. The speed from the enchant and the speed from those talent points do not stack, which is why I mention it.

Cloak Enchants (All Specs)
Enchant Cloak – Stealth: +8 Agility, +8 Dodge
Enchant Cloak – Lesser Agility: +3 Agility
Enchant Cloak – Superior Defense: +70 Armor
Enchant Cloak – Subtlety: -2% Threat

The top cloak enchant is thanks to a change from 4.0.3a in the Stealth enchant. It used to just make you count as a single level higher when calculating how hard/easy it was for someone to see through your stealth. But now this sucker has almost three times as much Agility as the previous option and it also has Dodge thrown in for good measure. I don’t know what prompted this change, but I’m loving it.

If you’re not Feral though, the Subtlety enchant is probably your best option for the reduced threat. Tanks don’t have great AoE threat compared to what they used to have, so it’s not too uncommon for healers to get early agro on trash packs. If you don’t like LFG or don’t think that threat is an issue, then go for either Stealth or Superior Defense.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Caster, Class, Druid, Guide, Hand Me Downs, Leveling, Melee, Play Styles

 

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