This Guide has been written in 2009 when Ulduar was the highest Instance. Now that Cataclysm has been incoming I suggest you take a look here for updated Information:
A lot of search queries here seem to be related to questions about how to play an Enhancement Shaman and which Rotations to use. I will try to summarize this from my own experience, so do not expect any scientific approach and trust my gut feeling 😉
With 3.0 Developpers promised to make Enhancement Shaman “less mathy”, but the opposite is the fact. Noone knows exactly what is best at the moment, everybody has a different statweight for his character and his playstyle. No simulator can actually help with that. While we believe to know all theories on how our strikes and spells are being calculated, simulators are only as good as their programmers. They also do not take things in count like tanks moving out of totem ranges, or the occasional offheal, placing totems new situational totems. I guess not even for a static fight like Patchwerk they are 100% accurate. However if you have no idea which stats you should be looking for then you should use one of the known Simulators which will give you a rough estimate how many points each stat is worth for you!
Personally I go for:
- Attack Power
- Crit Rating
- Hit Rating
All other stats I take as they come. I prefer longer lasting proc effects than short ones, due to the nature of our spells. If our wolves last 45 seconds then a trinket like Fury of the Five Flights will make them stronger for the whole duration while mirror of truth will only boost them for a short time.
Except for Attack power, which will never cap, these stats become less powerful the higher they are for you.
I prefer slow weapons in main and offhand, and imbue the offhand with Flame Tongue Weapon. I simply like the burst these weapons give, but a bad slow offhand is worse than a good fast one. Just test it out on a target dummy what works best for you!
Let us look at some Talents:
This is the reason I prefer crit rating over Agility. While Agility will only benefit our melee crit rating (and Attack Power), ciritcal strike rating will also rovide us with spell crit, which we need to get Elemental Devastation running.
Personally I aim for at least 25% spellcrit and use Glyph of Flametongue Weapon as third major glyph, because I think in the end we will benefit a lot form this.
Since we cast about 3-4 Spells per 10 seconds we should have a buffed spellcrit chance of 33% or more.
Often overlooked is the benefit of focus magic, if you have a mage in your raid/group have it cast on you.
Each time you critically hit with melee weapons, totems or spells he will get a 3% spellcrit buff. In a 12 second timeframe we are – even with slow weapons – talking about ~7 melee auto attacks, ~2-4 stormstrikes, ~2 shocks, ~2 Lava Lash, ~1-2 Lightning bolts, ~4 Flame Tongue hits, ~6 Magma Totem pulses. This averages out at 2 possible procs per second, which I doubt any other class can provide, especially not with our average physical critical hit chance of 45-52%.
On the other hand, the benefit of crit chance is also limited, too much of it is as bad as too little. I think at around 28% spellcrit chance (selfbuffed) you can stop using enchants like Icewalker and replace them with Attack Power.
This talent scales very nice with Haste and Hit Chance, it can proc also from Windfury Attack, Lava Lash, Stormstrike. Sometimes you see it stack up in less than 5 seconds, while it takes a lot longer at other times. This talent makes shaman very fun to play, but its randomness also destroys any kind of rotation we may have.
Enhancement Shaman Rotation:
So how are we going to priorize our abilities?
- Five Stacks of Maelstrom Weapon -> Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning
- Lava Lash
- Renew Static Shock
This seems to work out best for me.
Lightning Bolt has a better coefficient than Chain Lightning, which means that with more spellpower it will hit harder than chain lightning. Ofc if there are multiple targets you use chain lightning, as each target may be critically hit and proc elemental devastation.
The difference between a good and a bad shaman?
It is kind of hard to say and people have different views on this. In my opinion as Shaman we are still support characters and there are plenty of situations where we can help out.
Place totems, change totems situational, don’t be shy to throw a heal here or there, If you can interrupt or purge abilities, then do it. I think in general we should have a broader overlook over the whole situation.
With all our buff and proces we need to be aware of this might prove hard, so how can we make enhancement easier to play?
How to easen up the burden of 10000 abilities.
Combine senseful abilities into 1 key. For example Lava Lash and our Shocks have a 6 second cooldown. This makes it kind of easy to macro.
Earth Shock, Lava Lash macro:
/cast [button:2][modifier:shift] Flame Shock
/castsequence reset=6target Earth Shock, Lava Lash, Earth Shock, Lava Lash, Lightning Shield, Earth Shock, Lava Lash
If you hit Shift or use the right Mousebutton, the macro will cast a Flame Shock, in any other case it will cycle, between Earth Shock, Lava Lash and after like 18 seconds renew the Lightning Shield – and each 30 seconds after.
I love this macro, since it removes all the need to look for cooldowns, to check if your Lightning Shield is still active. You can just spam the button and focus on more important stuff.
How to set up this macro:
Ingame type “/macro” in your chat window, then the macro window appears. click on “New”, type in a name for the macro and select the “?” as Icon.
Then simply click “Okay” copy & paste the text into the macro window and put it on your action bar.
If you properly selected the red “?” as Icon you will always see which spell is cast next.
Other Shaman Macro’s I use:
Stormstrike and Fishing in 1 Button:
/equipslot [worn:Fishing Poles,combat] 16 Calamity’s Grasp
/equipslot [worn:Fishing Poles,combat] 17 Angry Dread
/cast [worn:Fishing Poles] Fishing
/stopmacro [worn:Fishing Poles] /startattack
It will cast fishing if you have a Fishing Pole equipped and should you get into combat, equip your weapons. If you have weapons equipped you will start to attack and cast Stormstrike.
Lightning Bolt and Lava Burst:
In relation to the Flame Shock from our cycling Lava Lash and Earth Shock Macro above here is the Lightning Bolt/Lava Burst Macro.
/cast [button:2][modifier:shift] Lava Burst
/cast Lightning Bolt
When you press shift you will see that Flame Shock and Lava Burst are easily available in those rare cases where you need it as enhancement Shaman.
Ghost Wolf Macro:
#showtooltip Ghost Wolf
/cast [nostance,nomounted,nobutton:2] Ghost Wolf
/use [nostance,nocombat,nomounted,noflyable,button:2][modifier:shift] Raven Lord; [nostance,nocombat,button:2] Plagued Proto-Drake
/dismount [mounted] /cancelform [stance]
It will use Ghost Wolf if you press it, use Reins of the Ravenlord as ground mount and Plague Proto Drake and Flying Mount if you right click the macro. Notice that Wintergrasp and Dalaran are marked as Flyable, even though they are not. Also if you do not have Cold Weather Flying the area is still tagged as flyable and the macro will try to use the flying mount. If you right click the macro while holding shift it will always select the ground mount.
Windfury. Flame Tongue, Frost Brand and Earthliving Weapon
/cast [modifier:shift][button:2] Flametongue Weapon;[nomodifier] Windfury Weapon; [modifier:alt] Frostbrand Weapon; [modifier:ctrl] Earthliving Weapon
/castsequence reset=combatshift6 Strength of Earth Totem, Windfury Totem, Magma Totem, Mana Spring Totem
SCT /Scroling Combat Text) and Maelstrom Weapon:
If you use SCT, you can easily set up a more visible Notification for Maelstrom Weapon. In the configuration Window, under Custom Events creater a “New Event”
Give the Event a Name, Maelstrom Gain, Event Type: “Aura Gains”, Display “*1”, Target “Player”, Search “Maelstrom Weapon”, select the Frame you want to see it in, and set the Aura Count to “5”. If you also select “Make Critical” it will show larger and longer.
And create another Event to see when you lose the Aura again (after a spellcast, e.g.).Name “Maelstrom Fade”, Event Type “Aura Fade”, Display “*1”, Search Maelstrom Weapon, Aura Count “0”
Now you have a nice big green Message, when you gain 5 Stacks of Maelstrom Weapon clearly visible and easy access to your key spells. You no longer need to constantly loot at buffons and buffs and can easily focus what is happening around you.
Here is a great website that has more indepth information and a more mathy approach to the subject. It is a great place for information, just follow this link.