Things to consider with obtaining or buying gears:
I. Stat Weights, and What Not To Gear For:
A) The basics- Attack Power: As a melee class, Attack Power is the bread and butter of the enhance class. Beyond simply modifying our melee damage, every three points of attack power also gives us one point of spell power, which makes our spells hit harder.
We get this attack power through a variety of ways: first, a lot of gear just comes loaded with it. Beyond that, every point of strength, agility, and intelligence gives us one point of attack power. Because of the latter two, mail gear is generally considered best for us, since it provides us with loads of agility, intellect, and attack power.
B) But first, missing is bad!: Before we consider gemming/enchanting for attack power, there are two caps we need to worry about, named Hit and Expertise.
2. Expertise: Expertise is a fun stat, as it reduces the bosses chance to dodge/parry your attacks. Level 83 bosses have a dodge chance of 6.5 (needz moar agility imo), and a chance to parry of something like 15%. We eliminate the parry by being intelligent and not standing in front of them. We eliminate the dodge by getting to 26 expertise, which is 140 rating with 3/3 Unleashed Rage (which you need to have.) Once you get there none of your attacks should be dodged.
It’s possible to stack enough hit to get rid of white damage misses while dual-wielding, but the amount required is so large that it’s not advisable, as you’d lose out on other stats. These two stats are the first in priority for gear. Once you reach the 368/341 hit cap and the 140rating (26) expertise cap, you can start following the next directions.
3. Spell Hit Cap:(Actually, we got to that cap through talents. No gemming required.) We instead gem to hit the Spell Hit cap, which is 17%. However, when gemming, it is generally suggested that it is assumed there is a Balance Druid or Shadow Priest in the raid, as both of them provide a 3% spell hit debuff. Thus, Horde Shaman need to gem/enchant to get 368 hit, and Squidfaces need to hit 341 hit rating (as their aura provides 1% hit.)
C) Generally, 40 AP gems are considered best for gemming once you reach these caps. The reason for this is that most gems that give “rating” (such as crit/haste/lolarmor pen) or stats (Such as agility)give 16 rating, whereas Attack Power gems give 32. So, in order for any of these gems to become more worthwhile than AP gems, the EP for the other stat’s EP (Equivalency Points) need to be more than 2.0. For example, for starting Shaman, Agility tends to have an EP value of 1.7 due to the AP and crit it gives, which means a 16 Agility gem has a total EP value of 27.2. A 32AP gem has an EP value of 32, so 32 AP is the better choice.
Most of the time. you’ll see 40AP as the gem of choice. However, due to a recent change where we receive 30% more haste from haste rating, players using 4PC t8 have seen changes in their EP which puts haste at more than 2EP, which means they’re gemming haste. This is not advisable for someone starting out, especially if you’re unfamiliar with playing Enhance. However, it is something you’ll deal with eventually, so it’s worth knowing about, and keep in mind while you progress through gear levels that you might want to start considering Haste as an option. Keep in mind that this gemming of haste is likely a dying habit- it’s power comes from synergy with our amazing 4pct8 bonus, but due to the awesomely higher stats/iLevels on Crusader’s Coliseum gear, 4pct8 won’t last terribly long. AP is most likely going to remain the gem of choice for everything now that 3.2 is here.
Also, you need at least one blue gem to activate your meta. This gem should almost always be the “Nightmare Tear,” or +10 to stats. 10 Str=10 Ap, 10 Agi=10AP+Melee Critical Hit, 10 Intellect=10 AP+Spell Crit, and 10 Stamina is just nice so that you die less. Plus, the gem scales with kings. It’s pretty qt.
Armor Penetration got a buff in 3.1 as well, so that we get 25% more Armor Pen from ArP rating. However, since less than 50% of our damage is melee-based, Armor Penetration is no where near as desirable for us as it is for other melee classes. That said, if you have the choice between an iLevel 242 item with ArP on it and an iLevel 200 with no ArP, the shear bonus in stats from the higher iLevel item should outweigh the less-than-stellar Armor Pen.
As for Meta Gems, Relentless Earthsiege Diamond (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=41398) and Chaotic Skyflare Diamon (http://www.wowhead.com/?item=41285) are the two best choices. Their usefullness differs on your own EP values- whether or not Agility or Critical Strike EP higher for you when you sim it. (RED has the added benefit of only needing one blue gem, which is the BiS nightmare tear. This will be a consideration for jewelcrafters come 3.2, when their JC only gems are no longer Prismatic, but is less of a concern now.) These are the only two metas you should consider gemming at this point.
(NOTE: Ok it’s probably best to stack your ap first then worry about hit and expertise once you ding 80. As for agility v ap, I’m betting on agility for now)
—- Binkenstein from Elitist Jerks posted some handy ref. guide for all shamans. It includes some basic class talent definitions (which I find useful so no more Google if you have no bloody idea what each talent is all about ) The guide’s suppose to be for elemental shamans only but enhance and resto specs are covered as well.