Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos. Acting as moderators among earth, fire, water, and air, shaman summon totems that focus the elements to support the shaman’s allies or punish those who threaten them.
Updating for Warlords of Draenor
This page is an overview of the Shaman class in WoW. For more specific details for each specialization (spec) of Shaman, including talents, rotations, and other details see the links below.
Other Shaman Guides
Leveling your Shaman? Shaman leveling is as easy as any other class, unless you’re Resto, and even that isn’t bad if you’re dungeon leveling.
With the changes in Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, and now Warlords of Draenor quest leveling is about as fast as other forms of leveling. If you don’t care for the pace, frustrations, and occasional jerks in PvP or the dungeon groups you’re joining, then questing is the way to go. Still, with a bazillion quests to do it can take awhile.
Here’s how to smooth the process. This guide is a widget which sits in your in-game window and shows you exactly where to go and what to do, every step of the way, all the way to max level. Whether you’re new to WoW or an old hand, Zygor has your back. Grab yours here.
The Shaman represents one among three hybrid classes (the others being Druids and Paladins,) and much like the others, they possess numerous abilities within three primary paths, capable of excelling within one while remaining viable for support within the others. These paths are Healing, Damage, and Ranged damage.
At level 10 you pick your Specialization and then you are locked into that spec.
In exchange for being locked into one of the three talent trees you will receive certain abilities, unique to each tree, and a Mastery ability (trainable at 80) which buffs some aspect of your abilities. See below for more details on how this works.
Buffs and Nerfage: With patch 4.0 class balance became… interesting. One day any given class might rule (casters, in this case) and on the next day the same class might drool. Hot fixes and minor patches will tweak the class balance and things will eventually settle down.
Warlords of Draenor did the same thing and so will the next “game balance” patch and the next expansion.
Those of you with multiple 90s can play the “flavor of the minute” game, but we won’t do that on these pages. Instead we’ll concentrate on what should be good builds and mechanics and let the buff/nerf game sort itself out.
Note that this page is an overview of the Shaman class, you can get a lot more detail on these pages, including gems, enchants, rotations, etc:
- Shaman leveling
- PvE: Enhancement, Elemental, Restoration
- PvP: Restoration, Skill-Capped Shaman PvP Videos & Guides
Shaman Patch Notes
All the official Warlords of Draenor changes can be found here.
Shaman Abilities & Specs
Shaman abilities are divided into three primary spell trees: Elemental, Enhancement, and Restoration. Each serves a purpose in gifting the shaman with the ability to support or lead in a variety of scenarios.
The Restoration tree is obviously healing centric, enhancement for those who like crushing skulls face to face, and finally elemental (my personal favorite) for anyone wanting to nuke the target from orbit… figuratively speaking.
Whether you be enhancement, elemental, or even restoration, a large amount of our killing ability comes directly from the spells we learn and that remains whether you choose to improve them or not. With careful play an elemental shaman can also match enhancement for sheer leveling speed.
Totems gift all shamans with the ability to bring along helpers (totems,) each emitting dramatically helpful increases to damage, mana regeneration, and much more, depending upon what the shaman requires for each encounter.
With totems comes the Shaman’s adaptability, although they are forced to remain in one spot (certain talents will modify this) unlike a Paladin’s aura.
See below for more on totems and weapon enchants.
However we have more than just totems to enhance our effectiveness. Shamans also possess numerous pseudo-enchants for melee weapons, each providing a separate style of buff such as a chance for extra attacks (windfury,) or additional fire/frost damage.
These spells represent a massive boost to melee DPS for enhancement shamans, and with use of dual-wield you gain an even higher chance to proc the effects, being able to apply them to both right and left hand weapons.
Bolt lobbing and healing
Beyond melee abilities, Shaman possess elemental attacks giving them the ability to play the role of ranged caster, elemental shamans being quite versatile and capable in PvP and playing a lesser role if at all in raiding.
Finally, the crown jewel: healing. Shamans with totems and healing capabilities represent one of the most desired healers for all endgame raiding. Chain heal brings massive amounts of health back to multiple raid members and renders us one of the best instance healers in the game.
With the combination of all these facets, Shamans become an immensely powerful class for any situation conceivable with the added bonus of being great soloers. Not bad, at all.
Elemental is the ranged caster tree of the shaman, comparable to say a druid’s moonkin/balance tree, it’s just that we happen to avoid the whole turning into an over-sized owlbear in the process, a definite positive.
This tree encompasses all of our shocks, such as earth shock, flame shock, or the ever so well known ‘frost shawk’ (frost shock) from ye old days of the overpowered shaman. Despite the passing of our dominating era, Shaman are still present as formidable opponents when correctly utilized, and that means using all of our shocks dependent upon the situation.
Flame can be used to prevent rogues from stealthing, frost to catch someone/slow them down and prevent them from catching you, earth allows you to slam the enemy and weaken their strikes. Finally the fire elemental totem enhances your ability to blast away at anything from players to bosses with massive amounts of burst damage.
Intellect is the go-to elemental stat for Elemental and your Spellpower is based in Int. It also provides a smidgen of crit chance, too. In short, load up on the Int. As of Mists of Pandaria, Int no longer has anything to do with Mana Pool or Mana Regen.
Spirit is a staple requirement for elemental shamans.
For PvE (Raiding) the stats are:
Spirit (until capped (15%)) >> Intellect >= Spellpower > Haste = Mastery >> Crit
It used to be that leveling as Elemental is a mixture between awed fascination and mired boredom. How could this have been? Downtime. Elemental shaman leveling was five seconds of overpowering slaughter followed by five seconds of drinking. Repeat ad infinitum, or at least until you get some nice mana regeneration. With the 4.0 patch (Cataclysm) mana problems seemed to be gone. As of Mists of Pandaria the whole thing became “No Sweat.”
Enhancement is our low intelligence, high strength, and attack power tree. To put it simply: how to hit stuff really hard and make it die. Enhancement is the primary tree for efficient leveling, conserving mana for only the necessary buffs and heals while using our potent melee capabilities to bring death.
Windfury is the primary weapon buff of choice when leveling enhancement, and for good reason too. Windfury provides you with a massive attack boost.
With some luck you’ll find yourself mowing down even level or higher mobs without much trouble at all, and with some mana regeneration you’ll likely never have to stop as long as you take up a good pace, never expending more than you gain back between fights.
Enhancement leveling is the easiest and generally draws the more favorable reviews. Besides, becoming a whirlwinding blender machine of death and destruction isn’t at all a bad thing for grinding/questing. Windfury is where this truly begins to shine, and combined with dual-wield you become basically unstoppable.
Restoration is healing, the thing that makes us so wildly useful in raids for our massive amounts of semi-AoE healing with chain heal spam. Restoration shamans are in high demand in raiding for good reason, we bring massive amounts of utility via insane healing capabilities and totems as a side-dish.
PvE wise we excel, many of the current endgame dungeons practically demand three shamans healers if not even more, and even in small time instances you’ll find yourself quite capable of main-healing all the way through.
Restoration is one of the more uncommon builds for leveling. That would likely be due to the prevalence of solo players for the 1-100 grind, as opposed to leveling teams (such as in dungeons.)
In the old days (before the Dungeon Finder tool) leveling Restoration solo would get the job done, but it would be very much on the slow side. The recommended tactic was to grab a team and heal them while they slaughtered everything.
Since all your primary abilities will be in healing efficiency you’ll have to use that to your advantage. Generally my experience as restoration was to beat the mob down as efficiently as possible, and what with my heals taking less than 1% my total mana pool, that was fairly easy.
The only real problem with restoration was taking a minute per mob; at least I never had to stop and drink. If you’re leveling up you should really consider one of the other trees.
If you have an extra 10 gold, and you’re 30+, consider getting the dual talent ability from your trainer. Then you can switch between resto and whatever, whenever you like.
Nowadays you can use the Dungeon Finder tool and heal dungeon teams all the way to 100. You’ll get fast XP and better gear, too. Plus, think of how much that will prepare you for end-game raiding.
See our Restoration Shaman guide for more on this build, for PvE, and check out our Dungeon Leveling Guide if you want to go the dungeon route. If you’re the PvP type then check out our Resto PvP page.
Shaman Totems and Weapons
The Shaman gets a variety of useful tools to assist in laying down the destruction (or healing.) Some of these are the Totems they use, others are weapon effects.
Totems are dropped near the Shaman as necessary and you have a number to choose from, depending on your needs. They remain in place, but if you took the Totemic Projection talent you can move them. Totems last for varying times or until killed (and they’re easily killed) or removed by the Shaman. Glyph of Totemic Vigor increases their health.
Totem abilities, available to any shaman.
- Searing Totem, level 16, zaps a nearby enemy that you have targeted for fire damage, in 5.4 a glyph will change the looks of this totem.>
- Eathbind Totem, level 26, slows the movement of nearby enemies, which is nice for dungeons and PvP.
- Healing Stream Totem, level 30, heals the most injured party member (within 40 yds) every two seconds. The glyph also shields the healed ally from a small amount of damage for a few seconds.
- Totemic Recall, level 30, you get rid of unwanted totems. With the glyph it returns all mana used when dropping the totems.
- Magma Totem – level 36, attacks all nearby enemies with magma every two seconds.
- Grounding Totem, level 38, absorbs a spell attack directed at a party member. The glyph causes it to reflect that attack at the caster.
- Tremor Totem, level 54, dropping this totem removes various effects from nearby (30 yds) party members.
- Earth Elemental Totem, level 58, summons a Greater earth Elemental to punch your enemies in the face.
- Capacitor Totem, level 63, sucks up energy for a few seconds then explodes, stunning all nearby enemies for a few seconds. The glyph speeds up the charging time.
- Fire Elemental Totem, level 66, summon up a Greater Fire Elemental to burn you enemy’s face off. The glyph reduces the cooldown and the duration of this ability.
- Healing Tide Totem – This becomes a baseline talent for all Shaman in 5.4.
- Spirit Link Totem, level 70, reduces damage to nearby party members and redistributes their health numbers, so when it expires everyone has the same (e.g., 77%) health percentage.
And even more Totems from your Talents
- Stone Bulwark Totem, level 15 talent, dropping this totem puts up a shield that absorbs damage for up to 30 seconds.
- Earthgrab Totem, level 30 talent, roots and snares nearby enemies.
- Windwalk Totem, level 30 talent, party members have a brief immunity to roots and snares.
- Totemic Projection, level 45 talent, plops your totems in a new location.
- Totemic Restoration, level 45 talent, totem cooldowns are reduced if the totem(s) are killed early.
- Healing Tide Totem – This becomes a baseline talent for all Shaman in 5.4.
These are enchants that you will keep on your weapons at all times.
- Enhancement only: Windfury Weapon, level 30, each hit has a chance to trigger additional strikes.
- Enhancement only: Maelstrom Weapon, level 50, chance to reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next spell every time you do melee damage.
Pandarens can become Shamans. They can pick Horde or Alliance when they leave the starting area.
- Bouncy means they take less falling damage. Just the thing for jumping off cliffs …
- Can stun melee opponents with a quick hand strike.
- Rest XP, as gained from an Inn, lasts twice as long as for other races.
- Good with Cooking
- Buffs from food have increased effect.
For the Horde
Goblins as Shamans? Who’d they bribe to get that deal? Do they buy their totems from GobMart?
- Blood Fury increases melee and spell damage for a short time. Drop into a macro with any other buffs you have.
- Resistance to stuns is nice for PvP and certain other situations
- War Stomp is nice to have for the melee shaman. It’s not quite so useful for bolt lobbers or healers.
- Increased Health is always nice to have, but seems to be weak at high level. It’s still equal to several of the Stam gems.
- Good with Herbalism
- Berserk increases casting and attack speed for a few seconds, which is always useful. Drop into a macro with any other buffs you have.
- Increased Regeneration sounds nice, but it’s a very small amount and you have heals.
- Reduced Duration of Movement Impairing Effects is nice in PvP and has its uses elsewhere.
- Increased damage vs. beasts is nice for leveling and some PvE.
- Rocket Jump is a nice way to get to the fight or to escape from it.
- Haste (1% increase) is a nice little DPS/Heal increase in all cases.
- Vendor Discounts and Personal Bank are useful even if they don’t add to damage or healing.
- Good with Alchemy and Goblins get better results with their own potions.
For the Alliance
These two can be Shamans and Humans can’t? Sheesh.
- Dwarf – The dwarves have been corrupted/enhanced by new tribes, some with a Shamanistic tradition. Naturally their totems should be kegs, but aren’t.
- Stone Form washes away bleeds and such, for a few seconds, as well as reducing damage by 10%.
- Good with Archeology
- Draenei – Um, well, er…
- The heal is nice, but redundant for you.
- Increased Jewelcrafting skill.
If your other characters are rich then go ahead and level a crafting profession. If you’re poor then you might want to stick with the gathering professions for awhile. You can earn gold with the crafting professions, but it takes some work, it helps if you’re very high level with the skill, and you need to keep an eye on the Auction House. Tycoon will be a help with that.
All three gathering skills are good money-makers; you get to pick two. I suggest Skinning and Herbalism.
- First Aid – You have heals, so why bother? Every once in awhile it’s useful.
- Cooking – You can create your own buffing foods. Cooking mats are often dirt cheap.
- Archeology – You can find BoEs, mounts, very nice weapons, and even some BoA (Bind on Account) items. The downside is that it’s a bit, well, boring to level up.
- Fishing – Kick back and goof off after a few dozen quests, dungeons, or battlegrounds.
- Mining –
- Herbalism –
- Skinning – With the bazillions of critters in WoW it’s easy to gather many stacks of skins. Might as well take advantage.
Ok, so you have enough gold:
Blacksmithing is, in some ways, the most useful profession in that you will be able to make your own armor and some weapons.
Oops, this section seems to have been carted off by rampaging Gnomes.
If you really want the scoop on Shaman PvP, for any spec, from BG to Arena, then check out Skill-Capped. It’s not free, but it’s pretty cheap and has a ton of good Shammie stuff.
- Our Restoration Shaman PvP page
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