The Art of War/Maelstrom Weapon Cage Match. No, it isn’t pretty.

Hilary Duff style, I need to come clean. I’ve been leveling a paladin. I’ve been leveling a RETRIBUTION paladin. Moreover, my fatty cow, wanna-be leprechauns, and desperately-needing-dentist brethren, I’ve been leveling an ALLIANCE RETRIBUTION PALADIN. Dun dun dun. (This is the part where the shaman community revolts and flays the skin from my bones with their sharp fist thingies and wolves of doom.)

No, this is not to reroll. No, it’s not because I’ve “grown disillusioned by the utter crap that is the shaman class” like the thousand other people who have yet to realize that they’re not nearly as amazing as they think they are. Actually, what it is for is to gank my guildmates and friends since it is on my home server is a few reasons. A)I’ve only played tauren melee dps at 80, and a small part of me worries that the gigantic cow in the front of my screen is affecting my performance in some way, mainly dpsing from behind on human sized mobs that I can barely see past my fatty self. If it does seem to be better on the small side, I might consider race-changing Failam to orc when it’s released. (No, the OP racials have nothing to do with it- they’re jsut a nice benefit.) B) I’m leveling the ret to learn.

Ideally, I’d like to have every melee dps at level 80 within the next few months- ret paladin (who is pretty close) rogue, feral, and warrior are all that are left for me, I believe. I’m of the opinion that focusing on one character is a bad idea- first off, you become overly aware of that one classes problems, and take for granted their benefits. I feel playing a single character restrains a large number of people from seeing WoW as a whole, and rather they focus entirely on what makes them better without regard to class balance. (I swear, if I see another person post “It’s Our turn to be OP,” I’m going American History X and curb stomping them. Srsly.) Second, I just find it useful to understand how other classes gear /work/dps, and learning different ways, as this game is constantly changing, and class A mechanics you may have a handle on today might be entirely overhauled in Patch x.y to be more akin to class B, etc. Oh, and, Outland is fun. This post, however, is no longer about my qt baby retadin, even though she’s fabulous.

I’m not sure if it’s in the water or something, but I’ve been reading a lot of whining from a large number of people who have no idea what they’re talking about (Also known as the shaman forums) in regards to the Retribtion talent The Art of War. (http://www.wowhead.com/?spell=53488) For those of you who don’t know about this talent, it’s the Retribution answer to Maelstrom Weapn- a chance on melee critical strike for them to be able to cast an instant flash of light or exorcism. To hear it said by quite a few players, it’s ridiculous- they don’t have to stack their instant cast, and it only requires a two talent point investment to reach. So, I’d like to spam purge on some of this QQ and provide a nice, neat, comparison between the two talents.

1) Maelstrom Weapon lightning bolts are our single hardest hitting on command ability. (Windfury can hit harder, but we have no control over it.) We prioritize MW5 Lightning Bolts over sex while raiding, both because it hits hard and because each second gone by not hitting it means we’re missing more potential MW procs. By comparison, instant excorcisms are a Paladins LAST priority- where we would refresh shields/totems, they’re hitting exorcism. Even consecration is more highly valued on Ret Priority than exorcism.

2) Exorcism has a 15 second cooldown. MW doesn’t have a cooldown. This means that while we might be firing off an instant lightning bolt every 5 seconds, Retribution Paladins who don’t need the instant flash of light are letting their Art of War just sit there for 10-12 seconds at a time waiting for that exorcism to be up again. I know that when I’m dpsing, I tend to have a near 100% uptime on art of war, since it does proc quite frequently- but most of that uptime is spent waiting for the cooldown¬† to be up, and then, when the cooldown IS up, making sure there is nothing else on my priority list that needs to be done before using it.

3) Maelstrom Weapon provides more versatility. Single target dps fight? That’s cool, I’ll use lightning bolt. Mimiron Phase 4? Chain Lightning and I are bffs. Learning Hardmode XT Deconstructor for the first time? Sure, I’ll use some instant chain heals on the melee during tantrums. OH SHIT I’M DYING? Instant Healing Wave ftw! Wait, what? Trash exists somewhere that needs to be CCed and is currently eating our wild-growth spam sapling’s face? W/e man, he’s now a frog. Instantly.

Switch to my qt femret. Single target dps fight? That’s cool, I’ll use exorcism. Mimiron phase 4? Still here, still hitting exorcism. Learning Hardmode XT for the first time? Oh shit son, I just flash of lighted myself for 3k. Pity that rogue next to me died though. These healers need to lrn2play. OH SHIT I’M DYING. Nice, instant flash of light. That almost brings me out of killsho–you cannot do that while dead? Wait, what? Trash exists somewhere that needs to be CCed and is currently eating our wild-growth spam sapling’s face? Fuck excorcism. /cast Divine Storm!

4) Maelstrom Weapon has a chance to proc off melee hits. The Art of War has a chance to proc off melee critical hits. On any target that is standing still but has a lot of resilience in pvp (not done very much, I know), you’d have a better chance of proccing MW than the Art of War.

5) That said, the Art of War does not need to stack, so you can fire off instant underwhelming abilities fairly often in pvp, while the shaman needs to stick on top of something to try and fire off a more powerful attack.

6) The Art of War provides a base damage increase to a few abilities, which is a nice benefit to taking the talent.

7) The Art of War is only a two talent point investmentm, while MW is five.

The last three, in my mind, are beneficial for The Art of War’s cause, but not enough to counteract the amazingness of Maelstrom Weapon. For Ret, the Art of War is a nice free damage bonus, much like our lava lash. For Enhance, Maelstrom Weapon is spec-defining in it’s glory. There is absolutely no reason to QQ about TAoW.

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No, Blizzard Doesn’t Suck at Enhance- You Do.

Since it appeared last month on the Public Test Realms, Totem of Quaking Earth (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=47667) has been underwhelming shaman across the forums, inciting nerd rage and massive amounts of qq whereever it goes. It’s not that it’s a bad totem, per se- it’s a direct uprade from the Gladiator’s totems of indomitability (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=42608), albeit with a few differences: Gladiator’s is a ten second buff duration, but is guaranteed to proc every lava lash; Totem of Quaking Earth is an 18 second buff, but only an 80% chance to proc on an ability with a 6 second cooldown. I’m not an expert on probability, but when you have three 80% chances happening during the time the buff is up, the chance of it proccing again and keeping a relatively high uptime seems pretty high. (If anyone could show me how to calculate this, I’d love them forever.) So, we’ve got a totem with a near-100% uptime that provides 200 attack power- not amazing (especially considering the Death Knight/Ret Paladin relics each give 200 Strength, a stat with a much higher ep that scales with buffs. 200 agility would be much more desirable, but the point is moot.), but seemingly worthwhile. Until, that is, you see the “Elemental Totem.”

Totem of the Electrifying Wind (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=47666) is somewhat comparable to quaking earth in that A) It provides a 200 pt bonus to one stat. B) Assuming 60 PPM (I sim at 61 due to gemming haste with the t8 4pc. Other people’s PPMs might be lower, but I assumed 60 for ease, because it means one proc per second, and for the purpose of napkin math I’m saying this is one static proc per second- no more, no less), you should be firing off an instant lightning bolt every 5-6 seconds, comparable to the 6 second cooldown on lava lash.¬† C) It has a high proc chance, albeit slightly less than Quaking Earth’s- 70%. It also has a shorter buff duration- 12 seconds, to Quaking Earth’s 18.

The difference with Electrifying Wind is that it has a 6 Second Internal Cooldown, which means assuming a lightning bolt every five-six seconds will result in your first lightning bolt not being able to renew the buff. This leaves you with one lightning bolt that CAN renew the buff before it falls off, at a 70% chance to proc. Your next chance to proc the buff would be at 15 seconds, also at a 70% chance to proc. Because it has such a high proc chance, my best guess is that you’d rarely go anymore than three-eight seconds without a proc, and at times would keep the buff up consistently. (Once again, this is assuming you had a static proc per second of maelstrom weapon- you will be seeing more and less than that at different times.)

However, this slight drop off in buff uptime can be counteracted by the fact that the buff is 200 haste, rather than 200 attack power. Assuming Unleashed Rage/Aboms Might/trueshot aura being up 100% of the time, the maximum EP you’re going to get over a 36 (Least Common Denominator FTW) second period for Quaking Earth is a static 220. I’ve seen Haste EPs of between 1.7-2.3- I’m going to assume 2 for simplicity. This means that if you get super lucky with your 2nd lightning bolt always renewing the buff, you’re going to see 400 EP from Electrifying Wind. If you get somewhat unlucky and you miss out on renewing the buff before it falls off and instead proc it at 15 seconds every time, you’re going to see an EP of 400X30(12 seconds + 3w/o + 12 seconds +3 w/o +6 seconds to the end of test uptime)/36(test length)= 333.33 EP. Still, 113.33 more than Quaking Earth. Assuming RNG hates your guts and you only proc it on your fourth lightning bolt every time, you’re still going to see an EP of 400X24 (12 sec + 8 w/o +12 sec +4 w/o)/36=266.66 EP. Even with the RNG Gods hating you (and I don’t think there’s much of a chance of you going longer than 8 seconds without seeing a proc refresh), you’re looking at a totem that packs a serious punch. (Note: On fights with a lot of AOE where you’ll be using chain lightning most of the time, Quaking Earth may be a better choice.)

Now, the irony about me writing an as-of-right-now 660+ word post about these totems is that you can read the front page of the shaman forums and see Enhancement Shaman being told to grab the Totem of Electrifying Wind. It’s easily accessible information. What is also accessible, however, is the rampant trash talking that has gone on about blizzard since this information has gone live. And, honestly, it both shocks and appalls me. I’ve heard everything from “Blizzard is lazy” to “Blizzard has no idea about how enhancement shaman work” (this one always gets me- they can make sure that pve dps for nearly every class is where they want it to be, but they don’t understand how the classes work? Dear stupids, stop saying stuff like this. <3) to “Blizzard is intentionally trying to nerf enhancement by giving it a subpar totem.

And honestly, the best thing I can say to this is “stop and think.” Please, for the sake of the mental health of everyone around you, stop being a turd and ask yourself a few questions. What is the chance of Blizzard not realizing that haste is an incredibly desired stat for enhancement, a spec that uses lightning bolt as it’s single hardest hitting ability? I’d say slim to none. Despite the fact that lightning bolt is in the elemental tree and lava lash is enhancement, and the fact that the totems respective spells on wowhead’s database say “t9 enhancement or elemental relic,” is there anything about these totems that say “limited to enhancement or elemental shaman only?”¬† The answer to that one is “nothing.”

Last question: In a game where half the player base is already complaining that content is “too easy,” why do we want our gear choices to be easy to choose and dictated by the fact that it “looks” like it belongs to our spec? Personally, I find that “I-don’t-want-to-have-to-think-about-my-gear-choices” mindset is pretty lame, as might be evident by this blog post. To me, the fact that Blizzard was able to design a totem that is highly desirable by both enhancement and elemental, made it ottainable through emblems rather than a competitive random raid drop, and then gave us another totem that screamed “enhancement” to fake out the shaman who don’t want to do the work to remain on top makes me applaud them. I applaud them a lot. /applaud!

Also, go go nearly-1100 word blog posts. I should be an English Maj–oh wait.

3.2 And You: How to not Be Bad

So, it’s pretty common knowledge that I’ve been massively procrastinating reediting my 3.2.2 version of “Totem Eclipse of the Heart,” the shaman forum Enhancement DPS sticky. This is due to a large number of issues- my 22nd birthday, a crazy work week, 3 nights of 25 man raiding, 2 nights of 10 man raiding a week, wanting to have this blog finished with a good fiveish posts so that I could link to it, and a large number of minor-yet-annoying happenstances have led to me putting off updating the 3.2 version with the edits people gave me. However, due to todays upswing in productiveness, I have released a new, updated version of A Totem Eclipse of the Hear. The link is at the end!

First, though, here is a brief preview of the 3.2 post- to me, they’re the highlights. Enjoy!

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