by Josh Myers
So, you want to queue for the Raid Finder on your enhancement shaman, but you don’t quite have the required 372 item level for it yet. We’ve all learned tips and tricks over the year sinceCataclysm launched to cheat the ilevel restrictions, like wearing restoration gear to inflate our ilevel. However, if you want to actually benefit the raid and increase your chances of downing bosses, those tricks are not the best way to go. There are multiple accessible 378 items for near every slot.
The first rule of getting geared for Raid Finder is to avoid Hour of Twilight like the plague. There’s seriously only one drop in the instance that’s worth getting, and that’s the Clattering Claw. Dawnslayer Helm? Both our Erupting Volcanic Helmet and Scalp of the Bandit Prince put that ugly hit/haste helm to shame. Betrayer’s Pauldrons are a possible good choice, if only because extensive testing by yours truly has proven that Mantle of the Fiery Protector does not actually exist. It’s a myth. Flickering Shoulders of the Zephyr/Windstorm are both good choices to use over the Hour of Twilight shoulders, but getting a useful random enchant on an already random drop is not a sure bet.
Hour of Twilight also has the Cinch of the World Shaman as a quest reward. I’m so glad Blizzard decided to create an agility belt with shaman in the name and itemize it to be absolutely awful for the only spec of shaman that uses agility. Well played, Blizzard. If you’re fresh to 85, this will unfortunately be your main belt choice, as the Firearrow Belt requires you to be honored with Avengers of Hyjal. However, you’re a lucky shaman who has to run Firelands to deal with the itemization woes of the 4.3 heroics anyway, so you should be honored in no time at all!
End Time isn’t much better
End Time doesn’t fare significantly better than Hour of Twilight for enhancement gear. Cloak of the Banshee Queen drops off Echo of Sylvanas and echoes the rest of 4.3′s agility gearing schema in being itemized perfectly for hunters. Thankfully, achieving friendly rep with Avengers of Hyjal gives you the Sleek Flamewrath Cloak. It’s not perfect, but the hit rating on it makes it better than anything with crit/haste. That’s not all, though. Rhyolith still drops his beautiful Dreadfire Drape, which will tide you over well into the Raid Finder.
The other really mediocre drop in End Time is Arrow of Time. I was originally going to classify this as awful, but easy access to a trinket with 383 agility on it isn’t bad. The haste proc still stinks, but I wouldn’t shame a shaman trying to gear up for using it. Fluid Death is also still a great trinket to fill your other slot when you’re actually in the instance, but its low ilevel will not help you queue for Raid Finder. Ancient Petrified Seed has a long reputation grind before you get it, and Matrix Restabilizer drops off the only boss that PUGs still have difficulty defeating, so Arrow of Time is probably your best choice. You can pair it with The Hungerer of Majordomo Staghelm to make me die a little inside, but also to queue for RF.
Thankfully, End Time does have its upsides. Dead End Boots have a chance to drop off any of the Echoes you get, which gives you two chances to get them per instance. Hit/mastery is an awesome combination, and these boots are actually better than the only option out of Firelands, Decimation Treads. Time-Twister’s Gauntlets are also a quest reward from End Time. These aren’t half bad, but given that Erupting Volcanic Grips are only 1,650 justice points now and significantly better, you probably won’t be using them very long.
Well of Eternity? Surprisingly well itemized!
Well of Eternity kind of makes up for the mediocrity of the rest of 4.3′s new 5-mans.Trickster’s Edge gives you slightly more crit and a little less expertise than the Gatecrasheroff Baleroc but doesn’t require a 10-man raid to get. It also drops off the first boss, which means you only need to commit to the instance for about 10 minutes if you just want it. Of course, I’d never actually advocate ditching a group after the item you wanted didn’t drop, but I won’t pretend it isn’t a reality in MMO gaming.
Queen Azshara also drops a beautiful chestpiece in the Breastplate of the Queen’s Guard, which is better than Flaming Core Chestguard out of Firelands. However, this is slightly diminished by the existence of the Erupting Volcanic Cuirass for 2,200 justice points. You’ll likely have two pieces of your tier gear before you can even queue for 4.3 heroics. This is the beautiful part of 4.3 heroics for enhancement — for all the terribly itemized pieces, it’s a chore to get something better to replace them. For the well-itemized pieces, you’ll replace them within a week of hitting 85.
Well of Eternity has a few other choice pieces. Mannoroth’s Signet drops off the pit lord himself and has a load of mastery on it. Legion Bindings, which are better than the justice point alternative, are a BoE trash drop, so even if you don’t see them drop you can buy them off the Auction House. As a downer, the atrocious Legguards of the Legion exist, but they’re easily replaced at the justice point vendor by Erupting Volcanic Legguards, so I have no issue with them at all.
This Just In: Justice points are cool, too
As already mentioned, tier gear will most likely be your first few purchases with justice points. After those are down, you can pick up the Splintered Brimstone Seal to fill in your other ring slot. Covenant of the Flame is a really solid purchase, too. It also comes with the added benefit of not needing to farm Hyjal dailies for over a month, unlike Relic of Elune’s Shadow. Necklace of Smoke Signals will probably be your last justice point purchase, as it’s not incredible. If you can get your hands on a Choker of the Vanquished Lord off Ragnaros, you should grab that instead. If you’re broke or just don’t want to shell out the money for Legion Bindings and you can’t convince them to drop, Bracers of Forked Lightning are a good bet.
If you’re really serious on just getting into Raid Finder, the 4.3 heroics give you a chance at some easily acquired, ilevel-boosting loot. However, if you really want to shine when in Dragon Soul, you can’t limit yourself to just running heroics. You need to push on to Firelands, as head, shoulders, belt, and trinkets are all slots for which there are no better options than Firelands loot.
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