WoW Shaman Guide for the World of Warcraft

Draenei Shaman

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. ( source)

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 Other Shaman Guides links below.

This Page

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.

world of warcraft alliance and horde leveling guide

Click the Image and Break Free!

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 a good 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

Goblin Enhancement Shaman

Goblin Enhancement Shaman

The Shaman, being something of a hybrid class, possesses numerous abilities which all them to be capable of excelling within one while remaining viable for support within the others.

These paths are Healing, Melee Damage, and Ranged damage. At level 10 you will pick your Specialization which will define your primary capability.

Buffs and Nerfage:  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 tweak the class balance and things eventually settle down.

Those of you with multiple characters at max level 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.

Also, 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 Races

So what do you want to play? Each race has its own flavor. Note that for some of them you will need to achieve maximum reputation with each of those races (exalted,) and then to a quest line to make that race playable.


can choose to join either the Horde or the Alliance upon earning the right to leave their starting area. You don’t have to join, you can play as a “neutral” for awhile, if you want to experiment.

  • Melee range stun has definite uses, even for healers, as it allows an escape from melee.
  • Inner Peace: Rested XP lasts longer for faster leveling. Obviously not much use once you’re at the level cap.
  • Epicurean provides increased benefits from food buffs, which is generally a very nice ability.
  • Being “Bouncy” means you take less falling damage; it is just the thing if you’re into cliff jumping.
  • Your Gourmand ability provides a +15 cooking bonus.

“For the Horde!” Races


Goblins as Shamans? Who’d they bribe to get that deal? Do they buy their totems from GobMart?

  • Blood Fury increases both melee and spell damage, which suits you just fine.
  • Slightly increased pet damage does you no good.
  • Hardiness allows a decreased stun duration, which is particularly nice for PvP.
Mag’har Orc – Starts at level 20.
  • Your Ancestral Call will boost a random secondary stat (crit, haste, versatility) for 12 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown. The boost scales with level.
  • Your love of the open skies increases your mounted speed by 10% and your…
  • Savage health, you barbarian you, reduces the duration of curses, poisons, and diseases by 10%.
  • If you could have a pet it would have a 10% health boost.
  • War Stomp: Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yds for 2 sec. Useful for any spec of Shaman.
  • Brawn: Critical strike bonus damage and healing increased by 2%. This is not crit rating, just extra damage.
  • Endurance: Increases your Stamina by a small, but useful, amount and it scales with your level.
  • Nature Resistance: Reduces Nature damage taken by 1%.
  • Cultivation: Herbalism skill increased by 15 and you gather herbs faster than other herbalists.
HighMountain Tauren – Starts at level 20. 
  • Bull Rush is a short (6 yard) charge forward that knocks those enemies down.
  • Being versatile they get +1% Versatility (link) and they also take a bit less damage (link.) Both are nice passives for any Shaman.
  • Your Pride allows you to mine faster and adds 15% to your mining skill.
  • Having gone to survival school your philosophy is Waste not Want Not, so you have a chance to gather more meat and fish from appropriate situations.
  • Increased Haste when Berserk is very nice for any Shaman.
  • Your health regeneration is increased, but it’s a trivial amount.
  • More XP from beast slaying is very nice for leveling and useless afterwards.
  • Shuffle reduces snare (slow) duration, which is pretty nice in PvP.

Zandalari Troll – Starts at level 20. 

  • Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown, so choose your Loa wisely.
    • Embrace of Akunda – Your healing abilities have a chance to heal their target. A Warrior, with healing abilities? Hmmm…
    • Embrace of Bwonsamdi – Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Shadow damage and heal you for 100% of the damage done. Pretty good general ability.
    • Embrace of Gonk – Increase movement speed by 5%.
    • Embrace of Kimbul – Your damaging abilities have a chance to cause the target to bleed over 6s. This effect stacks up to 3 times. More damage is always good.
    • Embrace of Krag’wa – Taking damage has a chance to grant you additional Health and 66 Armor. Good tanking ability.
    • Embrace of Pa’ku – Your abilities have a chance to grant you +4% critical strike for 12 seconds. Live by the crit? This is for you.
  • Regeneratin’ – Regenerate 100% of your maximum health over 6 sec, interrupted by damage. 2.5 min cooldown.
  • Pterrordax Swoop – Slows your fall for two minutes. Time for some serious cliff jumpin’.
Vulpera – Starts at level 20. 
  • Bag of Tricks: Cunning thing that you are you can use a trick on an enemy to damage them or on an ally to heal them.
  • Make Camp: Set your camp location outdoors and then you can use Return to Camp, which teleports back to your camp location. Basically another hearthstone.
  • Nose for Trouble: Take a little less damage from the first strike inflicted by an enemy.
  • Your Alpaca Saddlebags increase the total size of your backpack by 8 slots.

“For the Alliance!” Races

These can be Shamens and Humans can’t? Sheesh.

  • A small heal (Gift of the Naru) is occasionally handy, even though you have your own, better, heals. Also usable on others.
  • Your Heroic Presence now Increases your Agility and Intellect (it used to add Hit.)
  • Draenei are good at gemcutting and love their bonus to their Jewelcrafting skill.
  • Stone Form is a nice PvP talent, and occasionally useful elsewhere. It washes away bleeds, various magical effects, and adds a 10% damage reduction for a few seconds.
  • Might adds 2% to your critical damage (not crit rating.)
  • Resistance allows a small reduction to incoming Frost damage.
  • Explorer – Dwarves are good with Archeology.

Dark Iron Dwarf – Starts at level 20. 

  • Your Fireblood removes all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects, just like your Dwarven “brethren,” but your ability increases your primary stat (Agility or Intelligence) by 600(!) (scales with level) +200 for for each additional effect removed. Lasts 8 sec. with a 2 min cooldown.
  • You’re a tunnel dweller and Dungeon Delver and you’ve learned how to move 4% faster while indoors, plus your people have the Mole Machines: While outdoors you can summon a Mole Machine that tunnels through the earth and can pop you up in a variety of places.

Kul Tiran – Starts at level 20. 

  • Wind up, then unleash your mighty Haymaker upon your foe. Doesn’t hurt much, but does stun then for 3 sec and knocks them back substantially.  2.5 minute cooldown.
  • Brush It Off – Increases Versatility by 1%. When you take damage, heal for 2% of that amount over 4 sec.
  • Your Child of the Sea ability lets you swim a bit faster and hold your breath longer than anyone who is not Undead.
  • You are a Jack of All Trades which increases all of your Tradeskills by 5. Unfortunately it does not give you free tradeskills, just a boost to the ones you actually learn 

Shaman Abilities & Specs

Pandaren Shaman 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 is for those who like crushing skulls face to face, and Elemental (my personal favorite) is 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.

The Totem

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.)

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 their 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 Spec

Elemental is the ranged caster tree of the shaman, comparable to, say, a Druid’s Moonkin/Balance spec, it’s just that we happen to avoid the whole turning into an over-sized owlbear in the process, a definite positive.

Intellect is the go-to stat for Elemental and your Spellpower is based on your Int.

Enhancement Spec

Goblin Enhancement Shaman

Enhancement is our high Agility and attack power spec. To put it simply: how to hit stuff really hard and make it die.

Enhancement is the go to spec for efficient leveling, using our potent melee capabilities to bring death to the enemy.

Windfury is the primary weapon buff of choice when leveling enhancement, and for good reason too.  Windfury provides you with a solid attack boost.

You’ll find yourself mowing down even level or higher mobs without much trouble at all.


Restoration Spec

Restoration is healing, the thing that makes us so wildly useful in raids with 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.

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.

Level your Shaman fast with Zygor

Hit the Level Cap, ASAP!


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. Totems last for varying times or until killed (and they’re easily killed) or removed by the Shaman.

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.
  • Magma Totem – level 36, attacks all nearby enemies with magma every two seconds.
  • Tremor Totem, level 54, dropping this totem removes various effects from nearby (30 yds) party members.
  • Healing Tide Totem – This becomes a baseline talent for all Shaman in 5.4.

Restoration Only

  • 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.

Weapon Buffs

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.



Shaman Professions

If your other characters are rich, and under the level cap, 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.

All three gathering skills are good money-makers; you get to pick two. I suggest Mining and Herbalism, because they both give very nice XP.

Once upon a time there were Profession Bonuses (such as increased crit,) but now all of the profession bonuses are gone.

Profession sub-skillsOne interesting change with Battle for Azeroth is that the professions were each broken up into several sub-skills.

Instead of having one skill maxing out at 900 points or whatever, you now have 8 skills.

Yes, this means you can level a skill in Legion or BFA without leveling the earlier skills.

Non-Crafting Professions

  • First Aid – Oops, it’s dead. Buy your bandages from a tailor and healing potions from an Alchemist. Or try the Auction House for either.
  • Cooking – You can create your own buffing foods. Cooking materials 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 – Always a nice way to make some extra gold. Fuels your Blacksmithing and Engineering profs.
  • Herbalism – Always a nice way to make some extra gold. Fuels your Alchemy and Inscription profs.
  • 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 to level a profession, and note that it’s pretty cheap in Draanor, so here’s the scoop:

Blacksmithing Mail and Plate armor, keys for some locks, weapons of course. In Draenor Your garrison follower can give you two nice buffs:
  • Song of the Anvil – “Your armor and weapons do not lose durability from use for 4 hrs.” Just the thing for an extended tanking/dungeoning session, right?
  • Solace of the Forge might be helpful when leveling through Draenor, as a molten elemental will sometimes come to your aid.
Engineering will let you create a number of useful items, such as rockets, shields, a stealth device, etc. These cannot be used in rated PvP, but that can be used elsewhere, such as World PvP or in Highmaul Coliseum.
Jewelcrafting Useful rings and neck items, pretty gems to increase stats and such, gemmed mounts, some fun toys.
Inscription Glyphs, some trinkets, staves and caster weapons, fortune & Darkmoon cards, trinkets, and more.
Alchemy Chemistry is fun, unfortunately you can’t make acids or bombs. You can make flasks and potions to boost stats and cause other interesting effects. You can also make a very nice DPS trinket.
Enchanting Enchant our weapons, gloves, and rings. Make PvP wands. And disenchant items into components used in your various enchants.
Tailoring Cloth armor, flying carpet, murlock chew toy and allows you to make nets (Embersilk Net) and battle standards (such as: Fearsome Battle Standard)
Leatherworking will let you make leather and mail armor and some nice bows.  Drums of Fury is a nice Heroism type buff (25% Haste for 40 sec.) You can also to the incredibly important bags and hats and even SCUBA gear.
Archeology Explore the lore of Azeroth by investigating ruins and other places, searching for clues and artifacts.



Shaman PvP

Elemental Shaman 8.3 PvP Guide | Talents, Essences, Azerite, Corruption and Playstyle

WoW 8.3 Enhance Shaman PvP – Pumping with Ascendance!

Resto Shaman 8.3 PvP Guide | Talents, Essences, Azerite, Corruption and Playstyle

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.

Skill Capped Shaman PvP Guides

Skill Capped Shaman PvP Guides, click the image.


How to Get to the Level Cap Fast!

Zygor'sShaman leveling is pretty easy and all specs work well, though Resto will want to be in a group.  Still, there are thousands of quests and a bazillion mobs to kill (not to mention other players, but they don’t count here.) Sorting out which quests are best and which series of quests will get you to the level cap the fastest is another game, which is why we highly recommend Zygor’s Guide.

Zygor’s is an in-game guide and it nearly automates the whole leveling process: you just pick your starting point, at any level, and the guide tracks which quest you’re on, tracks the quest objectives, and automatically advances and updates as you complete your tasks and quests. In addition, a waypoint arrow is set automatically, so you never have to wonder where to go. All of the important quest info is included in the guide so you never have to wonder what to do.

Playing with Heirlooms and/or Recruit a friend? Gaining a few levels in the dungeons or in PvP? Zygor’s has your backThe guide knows what level you are and will correctly suggest where to go next. It will also dump all of your obsolete quests. And you will probably never need to look at your quest log again. Not even in Warlords of Draenor or Legion.

Grab your copy here.

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Other Shaman Guides

2 thoughts on “WoW Shaman Guide for the World of Warcraft”

  1. Uhm, no offense meant, but no one of you really *plays* a shaman, right? Some of the information here is outdated by *at least* one expansion, if not two.

    First of all, the plural is ‘Shaman’, not “shamen”.

    “Windfury Weapon is the primary weapon buff of choice when leveling enhancement, and for good reason too. Windfury provides you with a massive attack boost.”

    WF on main hand, FT offhand.

    “Totems can alternate between mana regeneration, strength, agility, and possibly a fire totem for some increase in consistent DPS should you want it.”

    Ok… Totems haven’t been stat sticks since the beginning of *Cataclysm*. You are lagging about two years behind here.

    “With totems comes the Shaman’s adaptability, although they are forced to remain in one spot, unlike a Paladin’s aura.”

    Totemic Projection would like to have a word with you…

    “earth allows you to interrupt spell casting”

    Earth shock hasn’t interrupted anything for years now, that’s Wind Shock.

    “1% increased chance to hit is nice for PvE gearing. It also adds to your Spell Hit. Since you need 15% for raiding this definitely helps.”

    Which only applies to Elemental, Enhancement needs the usual 7.5% hit/exp each for physical casters and Restoration now has innate 15% hit like all healer specs.

    Thats about what I can see at a first glance. Please have someone go through this – Shaman is an awesome class and deserves accurate guides 😉

    1. Thanks, I’ll do just that. You’re right, the Shaman guide has been kinda “lagging” for awhile.

      BTW – thanks for being nice about it. 🙂

      Updated, 9/3: Various fixes made, totems and weapons added.

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