Shaman Guide (1-60)
Classic Shaman Guide
Another class leveling guide, this time for Shaman. Never leveled a Shaman until Nost 2.0, but I did a whole heap of research and tried out different things for myself. These are my findings.
Shaman is overall a pretty good leveling class. It’s very versatile with both good melee attacks and great spells, as well as self-healing and a plethora of buff and utility totems. There’s a reason why the old “That’s the WoW that you play” song calls Shaman “the most overpowered class”!
For leveling, you will want to go full Enhancement. I see lots of people claiming that Ele is good, but really, Ele does not even come close to Enhancement until level 40 or so, when you’ve got all of the useful talents for it. Even then, Enhancement is still faster, because you don’t have to drink as often.
Some people will tell you to start off Resto, going deep enough to get the 3% hit talent and then going Enhancement from there, but honestly, in my experience, the 3% hit did not make much of a visible difference, whereas Flurry and Elemental Weapons make a HUGE difference. I leveled 10-33 using the Resto+Enh spec, and at 34 I swapped to full Enh just to try it out, and it was immensely better. I didn’t even notice the loss of 3% hit, and the loss of -5% mana cost on heals didn’t affect my dungeon healing either. The -25% totem mana cost also doesn’t matter much, since the only totem you use consistently while questing is Searing Totem, and it already has a very low mana cost.
I’ve also heard people say that you should go Ele for Elemental Devastation, but….really, spell crit is incredibly hard to come by while leveling, and the spell crit talent in Ele only applies to Lightning spells. So Elemental Devastation is rarely going to proc unless you’re using lightning spells all the time, which is going to run your mana down and force you to drink a lot.
So yeah, I’d recommend just going full Enh from the start, then putting the rest of your points in Resto or Ele trees after 40. Either one works. Resto gives you slightly better healing and 3% hit and 30 yard totems, while Ele gives you mana cost reduction and damage increase to damage spells, a bit of a buff to Searing Totem, and Elemental Concentration. Either way, you’re going to get a damage increase and a mana reduction, to some part of your spellbook. Personally, I would go towards Resto, as the 30yd totem range is amazing, and you get groups so much easier as a healer.
Anyway, onto the guide.
Shaman talents are pretty straightforward. Most of the talents are obvious and self-explanatory, for the most part.
Ancestral Knowledge is better than Shield Spec, because that 5% mana will help you all the time, as opposed to shield spec only helping you when grinding, and that’s only if you’re using a shield. Imp Ghost Wolf makes Ghost Wolf so much better to use, no more having to sit there for 3 seconds and cast. Also makes it much more usable in combat, as it’s much harder to get pushback on a 1-second cast. Rest of the points into Thundering Strikes.
Finish off Thundering Strikes, and then get 2h Axes/Maces. The reason why I take Anticipation is because the other talents are pretty shit. Imp Lightning Shield doesn’t provide that much of a damage increase, Guardian Totems is also crap, and so is Enhancing Totems. A rank 2 Strength of Earth totem will only get +3 strength from 2/2 Enhancing Totems. Rank 3 will get +5 strength. Rank 4 will get +9 strength. Tiny bonus to strength for 2 talent points? Yeah, no, fuck that. The dodge you get from Anticipation is much better.
Also, Flurry! This talent is just fucking amazing with Windfury. Often times, one of your three Windfury attacks will be a crit, leading to easy Flurry procs.
Parry is also a very nice talent, giving you that extra survivability, as well as parry-hasted attacks, great for slow 2-handers. Weapon Mastery and Stormstrike are obvious choices. Improved Weapon Totems is useless for solo leveling, as you only use weapon totems in groups. Even then, the bonus is not enough to justify 2 talent points.
Level 40 (Resto)
If you’re going to heal a lot of dungeons, I’d recommend changing to Enh/Resto at 40, if only for the 30 yard radius on totems. It makes totem placement SO much easier, as you don’t have to worry about running up close to melee range to place those Windfury totems, or making sure that Grace of Air is being applied to both melee and ranged. I swapped to this spec at 46, mostly because I was frustrated at the short totem range. Didn’t really notice much of a decrease in damage, despite dropping Stormstrike and Weapon Mastery.
Continue onward into the Elemental tree, picking up the damage and mana reduction talents, as well as the fire totem increase talent, since you’re going to be using Searing Totem. Elemental Focus is also a really nice boon to your mana, and Elemental Devastation is pretty nice for when you get the occasional spell crit.
Level 60 (Resto)
Get the 3% hit talent first, and then finish up the Enhancement tree. After that, the last 6 points you can pretty much put wherever you want, based on what you’ll be doing.
Though honestly, I would recommend speccing full Resto at 59, and just heal DM:E / BRD to 60. You can still quest just fine, but you’re going to be doing these dungeons lot for gear, so you might as well get EXP for it. People might be reluctant to invite you to Strat/Scholo/DM West/DM North, but healing BRD and DM East should be no problem at 59, so long as you’ve been keeping your Int set up to date. I managed to heal Strat UD at 59 without wiping.
If you REALLY want to level Elemental, however…
For the most part, your rotation on mobs will go:
Pull with Flame Shock -> Searing Totem -> autoattack -> Flame Shock again when debuff fades -> autoattack until mob dead
You can also use Lightning Shield in place of Flame Shock, as it is slightly more mana efficient in terms of damage per mana, past rank 2. Not a whole lot, but it adds up over time. And you can buff it long before combat.
Once you get Stormstrike at 40 however, you should consider not using Flame Shock or Searing Totem anymore. Reason being that Stormstrike is so mana-intensive, that if you try to use it alongside Searing and Flame Shock, you’ll burn right through your mana and be drinking every 3-4 mobs. Not fun.
I found that with a decent amount of Spirit gear, I was able to use JUST Stormstrike, no totems, and go 10-12 mobs without having to drink. The killing was not that much slower (except for when getting fucked by bad RNG of no crits / no windfury), and I was saving tons of mana. But if you’ve got tons of mage water and don’t mind drinking, go right ahead and use Lightning Shield as well. The +20% nature damage debuff from Stormstrike DOES affect Lightning Shield, but Lightning Shield does not consume charges of Stormstrike’s debuff.
GEARING / STATS
For the most part, you’ll want to be stacking Str/Stam/Agi. Strength will give you more melee attack power, Stam will give you more survivability, and most importantly, Agi will give you more crit (as well as more dodge)
I’ve seen guides say that both Str and Agi are valuable, but IMO Agi is much better. Not only does it give you crit, but it also gives you dodge. With a Greater Agility elixir running (+25), I was rocking 15.5% crit and 13.2% dodge, at level 40. Pretty sweet.
Intellect isn’t bad either, can help to increase your time between drinks.
Spirit is actually pretty nice for Shamans, as you’re going to be spending a lot of time regen’ing while you autoattack. Don’t go out of your way to get spirit gear, though, just…don’t insta-vendor the piece if it has spirit on it. There’s lots of good gear with Spirit, like Tanglewood Staff, or Polished Jazeraint Armor. Since most people are convinced that Spirit is a shit stat, blue gear with Spirit on it will sell for real cheap.
So for the most part, all stats are good. Str/Agi for damage, Int/Spirit for more mana-longevity.
When it comes to weapons, you will want to start out using a fast Dagger (anything below 1.9 speed will work) and Flametongue, plus a shield of course. If you get a really good 2h weapon though, feel free to use it and Rockbiter.
Once you hit 30 and get Windfury, you have the option of using 2h and Windfury, or continuing with daggers and Flametongue. People will claim that Windfury is better than Flametongue, or Flametongue is better than Windfury, but in my experience, it all boils down to whatever weapon you have. If your best weapon is a 2h, use Windfury. If your best weapon is a dagger, use Flametongue. On a PvP server though, you’ll definitely want the extra survivability of a shield, so go with Flametongue the whole way.
For 2h weapon speed, you don’t want to go over 3.4; Windfury is not PPM-based, it is just a flat 20% chance to proc on every hit. So if you use a super slow weapon, you’re going to have a really low Windfury proc chance, overall. Anything between 2.8 and 3.4 speed is fine. In PvP, you want a really slow weapon so you can potentially 2shot clothies; in leveling, you want a faster weapon for more consistent WF procs.
If you need to pull one mob out of a group of 3+ mobs, use Lightning Bolt and then start running. The mob you damaged will have a slightly longer leash range than the other mobs, so just keep running until the other mobs reset, and then run up to the mob that you attacked. It takes a bit of practice to get a feel for the leash ranges, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it pretty easily.
Use Rank 1 of Earth Shock for interrupts, to save mana. Use max rank for damage, if you need to catch a fleeing mob before it pulls other mobs, or burn down a mob really quickly.
If there are a lot of mobs in a small area and you’re going to kill all of them, put down Strength of Earth and Grace of Air, and pull the mobs within range of those totems. Either through Lightning Bolt, or just backing up towards your totems as you melee the mob.
Front-load all of your casting before a pull, so you can maximize regen time. Cast your totem(s), Lightning Shield and/or Flame Shock as soon as possible after each other, so you can spend as much time as possible outside the 5-second rule.
Before you go out questing, ask around for some mage water. It’ll save you a lot of money in the long run.
Lots of elite quests can be soloed, albeit somewhat slowly. With clever use of Frost Shock / Earthbind, you can kite a single elite around in circles, while your Searing Totem slowly melts it. With a little practice, you can use Flame Shock, while Earthbind slows the mob over and over. Just run in circles so that the elite keeps walking near the Earthbind, and you’re good. I wouldn’t recommend doing this for quests that require you to kill lots of elites, as it takes a good 3-4 minutes to kill one elite, and you need a good bit of space to kite around. This is mainly useful for quests that only require you to kill a single elite, such as Raptor Mastery(Tethis), or Excelsior(elite croc).
If you can get consumables for cheap, go right ahead. I found that potions were always really cheap, up until Superior level. Even things like Greater Mana Potion, I was buying them for 5-8 silver each. Also, I’d recommend using Agility elixirs, as the extra crit is really nice, and they’re usually pretty cheap. These elixirs DO NOT STACK with Grace of Air, but they do give you the convenience (and mana savings) of not having to put down Grace of Air totems all the time. So you can pick between “more agility” or “not having to put down agi totem all the time”. I personally use the totem, so that I don’t have to buy elixirs, saving money and bag space.