Shaman Leveling Guide
Introduction – How to Level a Shaman in WotLK
The shaman class’ talent trees are: Enhancement, Restoration and Elemental that each offer a very unique play style and very different needs when it comes to gear. Elemental and Enhancement are the two trees that focus on damage dealing, while Restoration focuses on healing. Either of the damage dealing trees is your way to go if you want to solo level your way to 80, while if you want to use the random dungeon tool for leveling it’s better to play Restoration for shorter queues and great rewards from instances.
Shaman Leveling Gear – stats to focus on
The Shaman class starts off as (cloth and) leather users, and at level 40 mail users.
The Enhancement shaman focuses on stats such as attack power, agility, crit and haste while leveling. You want to get your attack power up as high as possible because of your Mental Quickness talent that you can get around level 50-55. Intellect is nice as well, as all your attacks cost mana, and because of the talent Mental Dexterity. Expertise and Hit is always nice too. Strength on the other hand, is okay, but only translates into 1 attack power. You will be in melee-range taking damage as you grind through mobs, so stamina is never to be underestimated either.
Pre- Shamanistic Rage:
Attack power, Agility, Intellect and Strength
Post- Shamanistic Rage;
Attack power, Agility, Hit and Expertise
Haste and Crit is also okay.
Elemental, on the other hand, requires intellect, crit and spell power. Spell haste never hurts. Intellect will let you cast more spells before running out of mana, and at the low levels it will work as your primary stat. IF you find cloth armor with the right stats, don’t be afraid to use it.
Before level 40-50
Intellect, mp5 and Spell power
After level 40-50
Spell power, Haste, Crit and Intellect.
mp5 if you find yourself running out of mana quickly
Pretty much the same as Elemental, but if you find yourself running out of mana, prioritize intellect and mana per 5.
Note: at lower levels, intellect will be your primary stat like with Elemental. Your heals will be big enough, but you will run out of mana quickly, so the more intellect, the more spells. Also, cloth armor with the right stats never hurts.
Before level 40-50
Intellect, mp5, Spell power
After level 40-50
Intellect, mp5, Haste, Crit and spell power
Shaman Leveling Heirlooms and enchants
Use your leftover Badges (or Emblems) / Stone Keeper’s Shards / Champion’s Seals to make leveling even easier. Heirlooms will greatly increase the leveling speed, as some of them provide extra experience. They improve as you level, and their stats often stay equal to dungeon drops around your level.
Which heirlooms for a shaman?
Discerning Eye of the Beast will provide you with both spell power and mana, as opposed to Swift Hand of Justice which provides haste and health, and therefore I suggest taking the first one as Elemental/Restoration, and the second one for Enhancement.
Also, remember that you can use two of the same heirloom trinket.
Every Saturday, the big Tuskarr named Elder Clearwater holds a fishing contest, with the Dread Pirate Ring as one of the rewards. He waits around in Dalaran starting 2PM Server Time for the first person to catch him a Blacktip Shark.
Up until level 40 you can’t dual wield, so the best heirloom for this period is the Bloodied Arcanite Reaper, however once you train dual wielding you should go with two Venerable Mass of McGowan this mace is nice and slow can be used in either hand. Remember that you can enchant your heirloom weapons with level 60 enchants, so Crusader and/or Agility are a good idea if you can afford them and find an enchanter with the recipes.
Unfortunately for enhancement the heirlooms from PvP are not well optimized, the 2hander is a sword which shamans cant use and the 1h’ers are fast daggers (Sharpened Scarlet Kris). As enhancement you want to aim for the slowest possible weapons, 2.6 or slower is ideal.
Chest and shoulder slots:
Elemental / Restoration heirlooms
Weapons – 2h staff or 1h mace + offhand/shield
Here you have two options, you can either go with a 2h staff or a 1h mace & offhand/shield. I suggest that for convenience you stick with the staff, as this will prevent you from having to find a new offhand or shield every few levels. However if you tend to solo a lot the one hand option together with a shield can give you some added survivability, particularly if you use a tanking shield (often you may be forced to as caster shields are fairly rare at lower levels)
Heirloom Weapon Options
Dignified Headmaster’s Charge (2h) and Devout Aurastone Hammer (1h) may be purchased with badges or champion’s seals, however if you are lacking in these or if you would prefer some resilience so that you can PvP a bit then you can get the Grand Staff of Jordan (2h) or The Blessed Hammer of Grace (1h) which can be purchased in Wintergrasp for Stone Keeper’s Shards.
Just note that the PvP equivalents will result in lower dps.
Chest and shoulders
There’s also leather and cloth heirlooms, however the mail ones are better. If you can’t afford the mail heirlooms, use whatever else you might have as the cloth and leather ones with spell power also can prove to be pretty decent.
Elemental and Restoration Weapon Enchants
General Chest Enchants
As a shaman, you should get Enchant Chest – Greater Stats or Enchant Chest – Major Mana. Personally, I’d get the stats because it boosts your Intellect and health pool, plus Agility and Strength if you are Enhancement.
Enchanting and giving your character the best gear possible takes up a lot of time, and generally for a very small damage boost. Farming the materials/money/items can take up quite some time, and I generally advice you not to do it.
….these boots are made for walking
If anything, getting a low level pair of boots, like Tattered Cloth Boots and enchant them with Enchant Boots – Minor Speed can be nice. The run speed will work as a nice boost until you get your mount/Ghost Wolf. These boots can also be used on other low level alts.
Best Shaman Leveling Builds?
Enhancement has some great talents for leveling however many of these are not available right away (Such as Improved Stormstrike at level 45 and Shamanistic Rage at level 50) this can either lead to a fair amount of downtime at lower levels in order to replenish health and mana or it can result in you just using auto swing in an effort to save mana. This can put you off leveling as enhancement but if you stick with it and just carry around some water the effort will be well worth it. In the worst case, there’s always Elemental!
Keep the above in mind when you are choosing your talents, try to go for the ones that will increase your mana efficiency and reduce downtime first, after that, go for damage enhancing talents, this way your leveling speed will be higher. If at low levels you find you are running low on mana, use water shield instead of lightning shield; since mobs should be hitting you fairly constantly you should be getting enough mana back to keep grinding, just remember to keep an eye on your health.
Once you have the Maelstrom Weapon talent, I strongly recommend you get an addon that can let you know once you have 5 stacks, this way you can use it as soon as it is ready and prevent wastage, for this I use Power Auras (See addon section for more information)
Leveling as elemental can get very repetitive at lower levels where the only abilities you have are lightning bolt and flame shock/earth shock. However this does get somewhat better once you get lava burst(level 75) and thunderstorm (level 60 minimum via the talent).
Eye of the Storm is a really usefully talent if you intend to solo as it will prevent that pesky push back problem!
If you do find yourself doing dungeons a lot it is a good idea to invest in the Glyph of Thunderstorm (at level 70). If you don’t have this glyph try be careful when and where you use this ability as it can be very annoying for the tank when mobs are bouncing around like pinballs.
If you are leveling as restoration you will be doing a lot of dungeons, if not, you should really consider a different spec, soloing as restoration is possible but it is considerably slower than either of the other two specs. If you are going to be PuGing most of your dungeons or grouping with an inexperienced tank then I would strongly recommend you take the Healing Focus talent, this will help a lot if the tank is unable to hold aggro as it will allow you to continue healing even if there is a mob hitting you. If you are confident in your tank’s ability you can switch this talent out for Ancestral Healing as this will increase your efficiency by reducing damage taken. Nature’s Swiftness can be particularly useful at lower levels where a single Healing Wave will take the tank back to full health. Improved Water Shield is a great efficiency talent, make sure you keep water shield on you at all times (See the addon section, I use Power Auras for this task).
General Shaman Leveling Tips
Totems are awesome. Just remember that totems cost mana, so don’t pop all your totems if you are just killing a single mob.
Remember you can use fire nova with ANY fire totem down, and that it is an AOE ability and will damage all the mobs around the totem.
Keep an eye on your mana bar, you don’t want to be left just auto swinging, make sure to carry around some water at lower levels and use Stormstrike on cooldown to regain as much mana as possible. If you are soloing, you want to start off with a flame shock to pull the mob, then use Stormstrike once the mob is in melee range, followed by Lava Lash and then earth shock.
A note on shocks – since earth shock and flame shock share a cooldown, you want to make sure that you use the correct one at each cooldown, the general rule is to keep flame shock up on the target. So if the target has flame shock, feel free to use earth shock instead, as the duration of flame shock is affected by haste, you will have to judge for yourself which one to use. Don’t refresh the flame shock debuff before the dot has run out as this will lower your DPS.
The rotation here is pretty straight forward, pull the mob with Lightning Bolt, followed by flame shock and then lava burst then Lightning Bolt until something is off cooldown. If there are many mobs you can use Chain Lightning however this is very expensive so use it wisely!
Use Strength of Earth if you are in a group with melees or else Stoneskin Totem, Wrath of Air, Totem of Wrath (Flametongue at lower levels)and Healing Stream/Mana Spring Totem depending on the situation. If you are AoE’ing switch your fire totem with Magma Totem.
If you are new to healing, try and get an addon that estimates heals, this will help you to save mana by picking the correct spell. Don’t spam the tank with heals if he is already topped off, this just wastes mana and if you are leveling in dungeons the damage shouldn’t be so insane that you need to do this. Once you get Earth Shield, keep this on the tank at ALL times making sure to keep water shield on yourself. Riptide is a great spell for tank healing as it also applies a HoT which can help keep him topped off.
This will depend heavily on your group makeup and situation. Certain buffs from other classes will overwrite your totems but as a general rule use Strength of Earth if you are in a group with melees or else Stoneskin Totem, Wrath of Air, Flametongue and Healing Stream/Mana Spring Totem depending on the situation. You shouldn’t need to AoE as a healer however if you do, you can cast Fire Nova.
There are some addons that I suggest getting, even for leveling! The types I recommend are:
This makes checking the duration of those damn DoTs even easier. Instead of switching target to check how long there is till refresh, get a DoT timer such as:
DoT timer — easy to understand while it keeps track your DoTs and cooldowns. Easy to understand and ready to track DoTs “right out of the box”.
ForteXorcist — requires a bit more modification than DoTimer does, but when you get it to work, you’ll love it! It can also track cooldowns in a neat easy-to-understand meter.
If you do dungeons and level with others quite a lot, then this is a really nice addon for you.
I personally prefer Omen Threat Meter, which is easy to use and easy to customize.
Power Auras – This neat little addon can be configured to show graphic overlays and play sounds when you gain or lose buffs and debuffs, in addition it is capable of showing a timer and the number of stacks for a buff or debuff.
When configured correctly you can ensure that you are never without a shield, make sure Earth Shield is always up on a friendly player in your party or raid. It is also capable of tracking cooldowns, so you can make sure you always pop that DPS trinket as soon as it’s ready.
DW – Dual Wield
LL – Lava Lash
SS – Stormstrike
WF – Windfury Totem