Hand Me Downs: Shamans

24 Nov

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 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.

Elemental 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.

WARNING! – Using your Shaman weapon buffs will bind non-bound gear to you. Meaning, if you cast Flametongue Weapon (or any of the others) on your HMD’s, they become bound to the character and can no longer be traded to your other toons. The only weapons that will not become soulbound when using your class’s weapon buffs are the actual BoA heirlooms.

Elemental 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.

Any of these, or similar, weapons will work for you though you’ll want to keep in mind that as a Shaman caster you can take advantage of shields where most other casters cannot, so a one-hand is more useful to you overall than a staff.

Elemental 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.

Enhancement Weapons
2H Broad Axe: [Lvl: -] 5-8 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
2H Vile Fin Battle Axe: [Lvl: 4] 12-19 Damage (5.1 DPS), 3.10 Speed
2H Frostbit Staff: [Lvl: 5] 12-19 Damage (5.8 DPS), 2.70 Speed
1H Mace: [Lvl: 9] 8-17 Damage (6.5 DPS), 1.90 Speed
1H Left-Handed Brass Knuckles: [Lvl: 10] 6-13 Damage (7.0 DPS), 1.40 Speed
1H Right-Handed Brass Knuckles: [Lvl: 10] 6-13 Damage (7.0 DPS), 1.40 Speed

The best way for you to kill things when you roll a fresh Shaman is to just spam Lightning Bolt until your target is dead. You really don’t have anything else to help you along until Primal Strike at level 3, so you don’t necessarily need a melee HMD until then. If you want one anyway, then the Broad Axe is your choice for level 1+, while the Vile Fin Battle Axe or Frostbit Staff will work well for level 4-5 on.

Since a two-hander will work better than a one-hander in those early levels I’m not listing any one-hand options until the Mace at level 9. You can’t dual wield until level 10, but you can use a pair of Maces once you hit level 10. If you want to add a little flair to your low level toon you can go for the Brass Knuckles instead as very, very few players use fist weapons early in the game.

As I mentioned above, using your class’s weapon buffs (Flametongue Weapon) will bind your HMD’s to this character, so you don’t want to use them unless you don’t mind having to vendor the HMD’s when the Shaman gets high enough to stop using them.

If you’re going to go Enhancement, I suggest you pick up the Maces at level 9 and use them until you replace them with dungeon drops.

Enhancement Enchants
Enchant Weapon – Crusader: Proc: +100 Strength for 15 sec., heals you for 75-125 (x2 crit)
Enchant Weapon – Agility: +15 Agility
Enchant 2H Weapon – Agility: +25 Agility
Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon: Proc: +40 Fire damage (x2 crit)
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. Since you don’t get Dual Wield until level 10 your best damage increase is going to come in the form of a two-handed weapon. 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.

Note: Concerning Crusader, Fiery Weapon, and Lifestealing – these enchants all work off of a proc rate which ties directly to the weapon’s speed. The slower your weapon, the more often it will proc on a per-swing basis. The faster the weapon, the fewer times per-swing it will proc. The proc rate is based on a Procs Per Minute (PPM), so you won’t get any more procs each minute from a slow weapon than you would from a fast weapon, but the chance of a proc on each swing is higher if it’s slow.

It’s kind of confusing, so let me simplify it by saying this: Given the level range at which HMD’s are viable, the strength of classes, and the fragility of mobs, you’re better off using slow weapons rather than fast weapons when using proc-based enchants.

I haven’t decided yet which of those I honestly prefer more, so for now I’m using Crusader since I already have it. When it procs I know I have 12 seconds of one-shotting most mobs, so I go on a mini killing spree while it’s active and loot after the buff wears off. Between the two Agility enchants, you want a two-hander prior to level 10, and then two one-handers from 10 on, so if you can dual wield the +15 Agi (x2) is better than +25 Agi, but until then +25 > +15 (x1).

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.

I really only suggest you even bother looking at shields if you’re going to go Elemental or Restoration. Enhancement is better served with a two-handed weapon prior to level 10 and then dual wielding from there on, so there’s never any room for a shield as Enhancement.

Large Round Shield: [Lvl: -] 171 Armor
Light Guard Shield: [Lvl: -] 116 Armor
Warrior’s Shield: [Lvl: 4] 278 Armor
Dull Heater Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor
Standard Issue Shield: [Lvl: 5] 307 Armor

Shields aren’t all that important prior to level 10 or 15, so you might want to consider doing another search that looks at higher level shields if you’re not going to use one right away. If you want one starting out though, the Large Round Shield is as good as it gets. While I do have a level 1 shield that I can pass around on my alts that use them, I wouldn’t really recommend that you bother with one below level 5 when the Standard Issue and Heater Shields become available. They give almost twice the armor value and it takes all of 15 minutes to reach level 5 without heirlooms so it’s not a big deal to wait. And the Standard Issue Shield is probably the coolest looking low level shield in the game, give or take a couple of the other options I have listed there.

Elemental and Restoration 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

This is actually a hard call to make. Elemental now gets Thunderstorm at level 10 which can negate the usefulness of a shield spike because most mobs won’t get to touch you before they’re dead. But, the shield spike provides a lot of extra damage for low level characters too. I haven’t been able to test these two out yet, so I’m going with my gut on the priority order here. I’m going to say that for Elemental you want Vitality over a shield spike, while Resto probably wants the additional damage from a shield spike rather than Vitality.

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.

Elemental 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 Shaman 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.

Enhancement 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 Enhancement, 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. This is a great example of when being a hybrid is a good thing. Shamans do have a knack for being squishy in the early levels though, so +150 Health isn’t a bad idea either, if you have the Haliscan to put it on.

Elemental 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. You may consider it if you’re a healer, but I wouldn’t even look at it if you’re going for DPS unless you can’t find or can’t afford one of the others.

Enhancement 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 survivability problems in this level range.

Elemental 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.

Enhancement 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.

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.

Elemental 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.

Enhancement 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 my personal choice for HMD boots is almost always Minor Speed, the +7 Agility is the best one for actually improving your performance. You can also get a lot of use out of the +5 Hit, especially once you can dual wield at level 10, so keep that one in mind. I only use the +7 Stamina enchant on my twinks, and even then I usually go for the run speed instead, but it’s there if you want 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 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 it.

Elem/Resto may want to consider Subtlety if you’re going to be using the dungeon finder a lot. The Defense enchant is good for any spec as well, but it’s not all that great. Consider the +70 Armor if you’re going to do a lot of solo questing, and Subtlety if you’re doing a lot of LFG.


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