Monday, March 19, 2007

Subjective upgrades

Before diving into my topic, let me update you on my play for the last week or so, which hasn't been much. I actually dusted off Sakuran (my rogue) for the first time in close to a month to run some quests with a RL friend of mine who's finally caught up to me in level. Playing her after focusing on my tankadin is very odd. I feel very vulnerable, which is odd because Sak's build is deep subtlety (aka, lots of survival tricks), but at the same time I forget how much damage she can deal. I'd read that playing a Paladin involved casting a few seals/judgments and then leaving the room... It's a bit of an exaggeration, but there is truth behind that statement. Sak on the other hand is much more involved to play, and I have to be much more careful with her. I think I forgot that I have vanish and prep, ended up making visits to the GY that simply shouldn't have been. L2P, I know...

So, I had earlier found Tim's Trusty Helmet off a quest in Zangarmarsh and, looks aside, was pleased with it. After clearing a few more early quests in Zangarmarsh, I had the opportunity to grab Scout's Hood. For those who are too lazy to click the links, Tim's Trusty Helmet is probably a much better items, but Scout's Hood has three sockets (one per color). I found myself is a somewhat new position, not knowing what was a better item. I suppose I could have cheated and looked on to find that Tim's Trusty Helmet has a higher item level, but I haven't decided how heavily to weight the presence of sockets. Before socketing anything Scout's Hood is sitting at -5 AGI, -22 STA, -22 AP, and +12 Hit. The socket bonus is +4 AGI, so I only needed to make up 1 point there, the rest of the stats would be a bit more difficult. Looking at the vendor gems was not encouraging. I could pick up +6 STA of a blue, +4 AGI of a red, and +4 hit or crit off a yellow. Not bad, but not good. I then decided to give my trusty neighborhood Auction House a visit.

Now, as I'm sure you all know, searching for gems in the AH is next to impossible. No way to only look at gems without an addon, and to my knowledge, no way to view by gem slot. So, I resorted to which offered a very robust gem search. I ended up +3 AGI/Hit yellow gem, +6 AGI red gem, and +3 AGI/+4 STA purple gem. This brought the difference between the items to +11 AGI, -18 STA, -22 AP, +15 hit. So it's 180 HP and 11 AP vs. +15 hit and some crit (don't have the calculation infront of me). Pretty close, but what ultimately made the decision for me is that Scout's Hood hands down looks cooler. While Tim's Trusty Helmet has some decent stats, I actually had to turn off my helmet display as it was so ugly... I'm not normally one who cares what the gear looks like, but Tim's Trusty Helmet looks kinda like an old early 1900's football helmet...

So, this leads me to ask the question: How long should socketable items 'last'. In my example above I started with an item of lower item level, and with the addition of ~8g of gems made it superior (IMHO) to the item I had. Down the line as my lazy butt levels my main I'm sure I'll run into a head piece that is clearly superior to what I have. In this scenario should I 1) take the item and drop what I have, or 2) buy better/more expensive gems to make the item I have 'better'. The choice is easier if said item is also socketable, but it is certainly a new dynamic.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And the winner is...Enhancement

So, upon dinged 40 over the weekend I went ahead and specced Zydaria into the 20/11/0 build that I mentioned last post. I explained to my wife what was different about it, emphasizing that she could now use two-handed weapons. After playing for a moment she informs me that she thought that what I was going to do was let her wield two weapons at once (dual-weild). I let her know that she could actually do that right now, but that would require taking all her points out of elemental and focusing almost exclusively on melee combat. She said that sounded fine so back to the trainer we went :P.

Specced 31 into Enhancement, picking up Dual-Wield initially, Stormstrike at 41 (which we dinged last night). After some time at the AH to replace the caster focused gear she had and grab an off-hand (mainhanding the Hypnotic Blade from SM, not good stats at this point, but decent DPS). The worked on the first two naga quests in Ferales, the first batch of Wastewanderer quests in Gadget and then over to STV to kill Naga for the horrible low drop rate Akaris Reed. Wowhead thinks it's a 25% drop rate, but I don't buy it....

Anyone who's played an Enhancement shaman will agree that pre-BC itemiztion sucks for Shammies. I'm not sure what I'll do for her, but currently a majority of her armor is low to mid 30's mail. We'll have to see what we can find from here on out.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shaman builds

So, I've been theory crafting several different shaman builds for my wife. At level 39 she's exclusively been an Elemental Shaman, to the point of wearing cloth with +spelldamage. However, I was getting the impression that she'd rather be in melee combat. So, after some discussion it's clear that she'd like to 1) remain an effective ranged DPS class (AKA caster) and 2) be able to melee effectively. This has led me to look at a variety of hybrid builds for level 40 (no sense buying new gear at 39 that'll be replaced in a level).

The current build I'm leaning toward is 20/11/0. Deep enough in Enhancement to grab Two-Handed weapons and enough in Elemental to cover those initial bases (Convection, Concussion, Call of Thunder, Elemental Focus, 4/5 Reverberation). I'm thinking I'll fill Elemental till 51 where she'll be 31/11/0, then go back to Enhancement for a while. The problem I'll run into is at level 61 where she'll be 31/21/0. I really don't know what to do with those last 9 points. I could have her end up 40/21/0 or 31/30/0 or something in between. Heck, if melee is enjoyable for her might as well repsec towards 20/41/0. I just don't know how it'll end up.

With the change of focus I'm stumped on how to gear her up. A melee/caster hybrid seems to benefit from about all the attributes, but I think I'll lean towards STR/INT. Something along the lines of 1 INT=1 STR= 2 STA=2 SPR=2 AGI. I know that she's going to end not excelling in either regard, but hopefully she'll get a taste of both sides and be able to decide how she wants to play her class.

Any experienced shamans out there, please help me out. Me and my alliance chums just don't know enough about the class.

Too many sigs...

A few cool sigs that I found here:

Can you tell what toons I haven't been playing? Here's my wife's toons