Starting a shaman

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Shamans are a unique multi-modal class: they can play as casters, as healers, or as melee DPS. Their totems and utility spells make them valuable members of any group, and their ability to self-heal and conjure fierce elementals give them high survivability in solo and PVP content.

Enhancement shamans are dangerous melee attackers, imbuing their weapons with temporary powers to make their strikes even more lethal. Elemental shamans are ranged casters, summoning the powers of nature to weaken, transform and injure their enemies. And Restoration shamans use the power of water, casting forth soothing rains and tremendous surges of healing energy.

Shamans have one of the largest spellbooks in the entire game, with their myriad totems and enhancements often confusing new players. But it doesn't have to be difficult, and Wowpedia is here to help make sure it isn't.

Race selection

Although some races do provide modest bonuses to shaman abilities, rebalancing has ensured that every option has at least some utility. In selecting a race, the most important thing is finding one which feels good: if you think Tauren are pretty, roll a Tauren; if you think Goblins are hilarious, play a Goblin; if you think Draenei are sexy go on and play with them. Pick whatever you think you'll enjoy most.

The following races can play as shamans:


Starting attributes

Race Strength Agility Stamina Intellect Spirit Armor Health Mana
Alliance DraeneiDraenei Draenei The Burning Crusade 22 17 21 21 24 34 59 90
Alliance Wildhammer DwarfWildhammer dwarf Wildhammer dwarf Cataclysm 22 16 23 22 21 90 69 75
Horde GoblinGoblin Goblin Cataclysm 18 22 21 24 20  ?  ?  ?
Horde OrcOrc Orc 24 17 22 18 24 34 69 73
Horde TaurenTauren Tauren 26 16 22 17 24 32 70 72
Horde TrollTroll Troll 22 22 21 17 23 44 59 72

Early Levelling

As a shaman, your early abilities include:

These 5 abilities let you assemble a basic rotation: use [Earth Shock] to attract an enemy's attention, then cast [Lightning Bolt] while they run towards you. Once they're within melee range, [Primal Strike]. If they've survived this long, keep alternating [Lightning Bolt] and [Primal Strike] until they're dead. If you require healing, use [Healing Surge] to save yourself, and try to keep [Lightning Shield] on yourself at all times.

Don't worry about mana: at this level of play, it regenerates very quickly. For now, focus on learning how to use these abilities optimally.

Hitting 10

Weapon Enhancements

At level 10, you gain access to [Flametongue Weapon], your first weapon enhancement. These enhancements are temporary buffs which make your weapons even more powerful. Flametongue causes every strike to deal more damage, and makes your fire spells even more powerful. Weapon enhancements must be re-applied every hour, or whenever you replace a weapon, and cannot be applied to shields.

As you level up, you will gain access to more enhancements:

  • [Windfury Weapon], which gives every swing a chance to hit three times. Used mostly by enhancement shamans, as they're the only ones who should be doing melee damage.
  • [Frostbrand Weapon], which slows the movement speed of anyone you hit. Primarily useful in PVP.
  • [Rockbiter Weapon], which weakens incoming attacks and allows you to attract the attention of your enemies. Mostly used in instance groups while queuing for a tank or during emergencies.
  • [Earthliving Weapon], which makes your healing spells more powerful and gives you a chance to apply a bonus heal.

If you have two weapons, you can use different enhancements on each one, and enhancement shamans are advised that [Lava Lash] is much more powerful if [Flametongue Weapon] is applied to the weapon held in their off-hand.

Specializations

Level 10 is also when specializations unlock. As a shaman, you can choose from three schools:

  • Spell shaman thunderstorm.png Elemental Shamans, ranged casters who attack with powerful nature spells.
  • Ability shaman stormstrike.png Enhancement Shamans, melee attackers who use both hands to smack down their enemies.
  • Spell nature healingtouch.png Restoration Shamans, healers who use the power of water to protect and empower their allies.

Because they use such different equipment for each specialization, shamans may find it difficult or inconvenient to swap specs at a later date. By now, you should have some idea where you're most comfortable: do you prefer to attack your enemies up close (Enhancement), do you prefer to kill them at range (Elemental), or do you prefer to avoid combat entirely and play a healer role? (Restoration)

Levelling as Elemental

As a caster, you're at your most effective when enemies are far away. If they're up close, they can not only injure you, but they can also interrupt or delay your casting by clawing at your face.

The good news is that you've got two key abilities to make you hard to reach:

  • [Elemental Reach], letting you hit your enemies from further away.
  • [Thunderstorm], which will knock them out of the way if they get too close for comfort.

Abilities, Enhancements and Elemental Shields

When running instances, you don't need to worry about survivability, so you should focus on powers which increase your mana throughput or grant bonus spell damage: [Water Shield], [Flametongue Weapon], etc.

In a dungeon, be very careful with abilities like [Thunderstorm], which can make it difficult for tanks to maintain the attention of enemies: only use it if you need to get mobs off of you.

Equipment

As an elemental shaman, you have two weapon choices: a two-handed staff, or a weapon in one hand and a shield or off-hand in the other.

Carrying a shield will give you additional armour, and many shields have useful stats (like intellect), but they can be hard to come by. Shields are most useful during solo and PVP play, when that extra armour makes you more difficult to kill. For dungeon and raid instances, use whichever combination gives you the most useful stats, regardless of whether or not it involves a shield.

Elemental shamans will want equipment which maximizes:

While playing solo, you may also want to stack on some stamina in order to increase your survivability, and from level 80 onwards you'll also want some mastery, but most other statistics are not useful to elemental shamans.

Levelling as Enhancement

Enhancement shamans do their best work in melee, but you can still take advantage of ranged spells like [Lightning Bolt] and your shocks ( [Earth Shock], [Flame Shock]) to get in a few hits from a distance.

Once the enemies are in your face, your melee abilities like [Lava Lash] and [Stormstrike] will let you make quick work of them. For groups of mobs, put a [Flame Shock] on one of them, then use [Lava Lash] to spread it to the others. (Once you hit the mid-40s, [Fire Nova] will make this one of your most powerful damage-dealing rotations.)

Abilities, Enhancements and Elemental Shields

Because you dual-wield, you can use two weapon enhancements. For the time being, just put [Flametongue Weapon] on both of your weapons. When you hit level 30, you'll want to use [Windfury Weapon] on your main-hand weapon and [Flametongue Weapon] on your off-hand.

Enhancement shamans really only use mana in emergencies, so you'll want to keep [Lightning Shield] on yourself at all times. This will also improve the damage of your [Stormstrike] and [Static Shock].

Equipment

As Enhancement, you want to ditch your shield as soon as possible after level 10. Take an offhand weapon instead: this will significantly improve the damage output of your [Lava Lash] (one of the core Enhancement spells) and make your [Flame Shock] even more destructive.

In terms of statistics, enhancement shamans want:

  • Agility, which increases your damage output and makes it more likely your attacks will hit for bonus damage.
  • Critical Strike, which grants significant amounts of bonus damage and makes it easier to pop [Flurry].
  • Hit, which will help you hit higher-level enemies more often.
  • Haste, which will make your weapons swing even faster while reducing the global cooldown.
  • Expertise, which prevents enemies from dodging your attacks.

Once you get to level 80, Mastery is also very helpful to enhancement shamans. Most other statistics (Intellect, Spirit, etc.) are not useful.

Levelling as Restoration

Restoration shamans can generally follow the same advice given to elemental shamans, with one key difference: as a healer, in addition to intellect, you want gear with Spirit in order to significantly improve your mana regeneration.

Totems

Although totems have decreased in importance since Cataclysm, they're still an important part of every shaman's rotation.

Your first totem, [Searing Totem], will do a good deal of damage to a single enemy, and should be used in most single-target encounters. (Especially for enhancement shamans who benefit from [Searing Flames].) As you level up, you'll begin swapping it out for [Magma Totem], which does less damage, but hits every enemy within an 8-yard range.

You'll gradually acquire more and more totems as you level up, and using them effectively is what differentiates good shamans from poseurs. Some totems are primarily useful in PVP, others in PVE, and some for solo play: check out the full list of totems for more information.

Professions

Although shamans start out wearing leather armour, they change over to mail at level 40, which can complicate profession selection. (If you take leatherworking, it becomes much less useful at 40; if you take blacksmithing, it doesn't really kick in until you're halfway to 90.)

With this in mind, there's really no right or wrong combination of professions for a shaman to take. Most players find it helpful to take a "matching pair" (e.g: herbalism and alchemy, or skinning and leatherworking), but the best advice is to find a combination that feels right. If your character feels like an engineer, take engineering; if it feels like an alchemist, take alchemy; etc.

Shaman Quests

These quests are available only to shamans, and offer unique rewards.

Level 20

Level 50

See also

External links