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Category Archives: Play Styles

Shaman Leveling: 1-29 Restoration

Today I give you the first of the Project High Heals leveling guides, focusing today on my Restoration Shaman, Bottledwatah. At the time of my writing this she is currently sitting in her low 40′s in level, with my Holy Priest at level 30 and likely to catch up with her fairly soon.

My Shaman’s focus for this project is generalization, she’s meant to participate in all aspects of leveling pretty evenly. So far she’s done a fairly good job with that, though I have slowed down somewhat on the BG queues and questing is definitely taking longer to do in the Resto spec. I’ll get into more detail on that later on in the article.

Playing a Restoration Shaman
The Resto Shaman has been a really interesting experience so far. While I was in my teens and 20′s I was both a fantastic healer as well as an exceptional damage dealer while in my Resto spec. It was rare to see me come out of BG without being at the top of the charts in several areas, including killing blows and damage done.

Healing dungeons with her is actually a lot of fun, and I like that the style of healing even comes off differently than all of the other healers. Earth Shield is a fantastic spell that’s similar to a Priest’s bubble (sort of) except that instead of preventing damage it heals the target after they receive damage. This is especially good because early on you only have access to one, long-cast healing spell so you really need those Earth Shield heals thrown in to keep your tank alive. With only a couple of heirlooms available (since I’m not on my main server), I’m not as fantastically OP as I would be otherwise, so I’m not bored when healing on my Shaman.

A question I see a lot when I mention that I’m leveling multiple healers right now is “how does Class X do on mana?” As far as the Shaman is concerned, there’s no such thing as mana issues. In an average dungeon where morons aren’t pulling extra mobs or doing stupid crap, it’s rare that I see my mana drop below 90% unless I decide to help kill things, which I often do. Even then, the only time I have ever run out of mana on her is when I fought a level 56 Rare Spawn at level 40, and I was almost 16 minutes into the fight when I ran out only because I was casting Flame Shock every cooldown and dropping fire totems to try to kill it. I’m sure I could have finished him off in another half hour or so even being OOM, but instead I had my wife come kill it for me since I was only passing through the zone anyway.

Resto-Specific Tips
Resto Shamans are great at staying high on mana (so far, at least) and their heals are really powerful. I find that I can pretty well constantly cast my Healing Wave while keeping Earth Shield up on my tank and never have mana issues. And, unless the tank is under-geared or has over pulled, he’s not going to die either. It’s not that Shaman heals are over powered though, it’s that things just flow really well and it’s easy to stay on top of it when you pay attention.

Playing a Resto Shaman isn’t boring though, because even though it’s easy to keep your tank alive, that does involve a lot of casting. I find that my Shaman is constantly casting but never running out of mana, while my Priest is only rarely casting but often goes OOM. Some of the talents I suggest further on in the article cause your heals to be more effective and/or cost less mana when combined with damaging spells like Shocks, and utilizing those talents help keep things more interesting without negatively impacting my performance.

As far as tips are concerned, always keep your shields up both on yourself and on your tank. I personally like to use the Power Auras [Curse link] addon to keep track of shields and charges, but use whatever works best for you to be sure you aren’t robbing your tank of heals or yourself of mana.

Also, don’t dismiss your melee potential simply because you’re a caster. I have a blast in PvP watching someone close into melee with me thinking that’s going to give them the advantage when all it really does is give me free heals from my Earth Shield and allow me to use Primal Strike to bash their faces and avoid getting spell locked. I still use Primal Strike for questing, PvP, and LFG as well.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 1-10

  • Lightning Bolt (1): Casts a bolt of lightning at the target for 39 to 43 Nature damage.
  • Primal Strike (3): An instant weapon strike that causes 10 additional damage.
  • Strength of Earth Totem (4): This totem increases the Strength and Agility of all party and raid members within 40 yards.
  • Earth Shock (5): Instantly shocks the target with concussive force, causing 49 to 51 Nature damage and reducing melee and ranged attack speed by 20% for 8 seconds.
  • Healing Wave (7): Heals a friendly target for 150 to 170.
  • Lightning Shield (8): The caster is surrounded by 3 balls of lightning. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for Nature damage. This expends one lightning ball. Only one ball will fire every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.
  • Flametongue Weapon (10): Imbue the Shaman’s Weapon with fire, increasing total spell damage by 408(?).

Lightning Bolt is your bread and butter spam attack while you’re questing. Primal Strike is an instant melee attack that I really enjoy using as a caster. Even though Shamans have access to shields I like to use a staff instead because it has better melee damage while I’m questing while still having healing stats on it.

Strength of Earth Totem ends up being my most common Earth Totem so far, mostly because the other Earth totems don’t do jack for my spell casting and I’ve had a ton of non-casters in my LFG groups. Earth Shock is one of your bread and butter attacks, it’s an instant burst of damage which also provides a nice attack speed reduction to the target for a bit of additional survivability either for you or for your tank.

Healing Wave is your spammable heal, having a fairly long cast time but a reasonably low mana cost. I cast this one the most to keep my tanks topped off when Earth Shield charges aren’t enough to heal them on their own.

At level eight you receive Lightning Shield which you’ll use right up until you get Water Shield and then you can remove this from your bars for good. Flametongue Weapon is your weapon imbue of choice for the time being and will be until level 54. Wowhead tells me that 408 Spell Power is the value at level 29, but that sounds way too high to me so I think the numbers are wrong.

By choosing Restoration as your specialization at level 10 you receive all of the following:
Earth Shield: Protects the target with an earthen shield, reducing casting or channeling time lost when damaged by 30% and causing attacks to heal the shielded target. This effect can only occur once every few seconds. 9 charges. Lasts 10 minutes. Earth Shield can only be placed on one target at a time and only one Elemental Shield can be active on a target at a time.
Purification: Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 25%, and reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave spells.
Meditation: Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.
Mastery: Deep Healing: Increases the potency of your healing spells by 24%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Each point of Mastery increases healing by up to an additional 3%.

Earth Shield is the biggest benefit, which of course is why they give it to you. It’s a fantastic spell and I love having it at such a low level. Purification is the standard buff for choosing any spec, increasing the effectiveness of what you do with the spec; however, it also reduces the cast time of Healing Wave which is pretty big. Meditation is just one of the mana factors that contributes to the Resto Shaman having such great mana management.

You won’t be able to benefit from Deep Healing any time soon, but it seems like a pretty decent buff to have once it does open up, making you more effective at healing targets that are low on health which is kind of the point.

Level 11-20

  • Ancestral Spirit (12): Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 45% of maximum health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
  • Flametongue Totem (12): This totem increases the spell power of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 6%. Lasts 5 minutes.
  • Flame Shock (14): Instantly sears the target with fire, causing 28 Fire damage immediately and 48 Fire damage over 18 seconds.
  • Ghost Wolf (16): Turns the Shaman into a Ghost Wolf, increaes speed by 30%. As a Ghost Wolf, the Shaman is less hindered by effects that would reduce movement speed.
  • Wind Shear (16): Disrupts the target’s concentration with a burst of wind, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school form being cast for 2 seconds. Also lowers your threat, making the enemy less likely to attack you.
  • Cleanse Spirit (18): Removes one Curse effect from a friendly target.
  • Earthbind Totem (18): This totem slows the movement speed of enemies within 10 yards of the totem. Lasts for 45 seconds.
  • Healing Surge (20): Heals a friendly target for 299 to 341.
  • Healing Stream Totem (20): Summons a totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 5 minutes that heals party members every 2 seconds.
  • Water Shield (20): The caster is surrounded by 3 globes of water, graning 15 mana per 5 seconds. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, mana is restored to the caster. This expends one water globe. Only one globe will activate every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.

Ancestral Spirit is how you resurrect those freaking punk DPS who feel like they can pull the entire instance with their face just because they’re a hunter/warlock with heirlooms on, when in fact they just fail at fulfilling their role. Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Flametongue Totem is great for spell casters, making it my primary Fire Totem. Flame Shock isn’t huge for us as Resto, but I do like to use it when I’m solo questing and on bosses in LFG. During large pulls I’ll also try to spread Flame Shock around to make use of Fire Nova, but only if I have a tank with good survivability. Since Resto does really well on mana at this level I don’t mind adding DPS into my rotation and my damage while solo is pretty low in a healing spec so I make use of Flame Shock quite a bit.

Ghost Wolf is a wonderful movement speed buff, allowing us to take on the form of a wolf to move faster. That second sentence in the description above means that you cannot go below 100% movement speed while in Ghost Wolf form. So you move at 130% normally with the buff, and you cannot be slowed below the 100%. Note that that applies to effects, not conditions, so you’ll still be slowed by things such as being in water. It can be used indoors which is fantastic, but it does have a cast time for Resto until you’re pushing 85.

Wind Shear is primarily used for its spell interrupting feature, though it does also reduce your threat in a group setting. I primarily use this on crowd control spells being cast on my party (like the Sleep spell cast by the Druids in Wailing Caverns) or to counter healing spells. In PvP you can use it on Player Pets that I haven’t generated threat against to cause them to stop attacking me. An experienced PvP player will quickly put them back on you, but you’d be surprised how many players don’t notice. Cleanse Spirit can remove Curse debuffs cast on you or your party, which is actually pretty common.

Earthbind Totem is somewhat situational. It’s a great totem for PvP, especially to slow Flag Carriers or pursuers of your Flag Carrier, or for allowing you to escape a deadly situation. In PvE it can slow mobs who run away when they’re low on health or it can be used to get some distance between you and your attackers to get a heal cast if you’re in danger of dying.

Healing Stream Totem is a decent AoE healing effect, but to be quite honest I almost never bother casting it at this level since only my tank should be taking damage anyway and if not then HST probably isn’t even to heal the damage they’re taking. Healing Surge on the other hand is a great, fast healing spell. It does have a high mana cost, though, so you don’t want to cast it any more than you have to and with your other healing abilities you should be fine casting it only during emergencies.

Water Shield is your primary shield for yourself, where Earth Shield is usually on your tank. For solo questing I switch back and forth between the two as needed.

Level 21-29

  • Frost Shock (22): Instantly shocks the target with frost, causing 46 to 48 Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 50%. Lasts 8 seconds. Causes a high amount of threat.
  • Water Walking (24): Allows the friendly target to walk across water for 10 minutes. Any damage will cancel the effect.
  • Chain Lightning (28): Hurls a lightning bolt at the enemy, dealing 55 to 61 Nature damage and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Each jump reduces the damage by 30%. Affects 3 total targets.
  • Fire Nova (28): Causes the shaman’s active Flametongue, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totem to emit a wave of flames, inflicting Fire damage to enemies within 10 yards of the totem.

Frost Shock is another spell that I mention primarily for its usefulness in PvP. In PvE it’s really only useful if you need to stop runners or when mobs are coming after you and the tank hasn’t taunted.

Water Walking is a cool utility spell that allows you to move on water. It’s great for certain PvP Battlegrounds and has some small usefulness in certain dungeons as well. For PvE can save you a little travel time prior to having a flying mount by letting you cut across water without being slowed down.

Chain Lightning is our first AoE spell, and an interesting one in that it’s more multi-target than AoE. You’ll only really use this one in LFG or perhaps in PvP, unless you’re a AoE crazed leveler like myself in which case you’ll use it all the time. If you do use this one often then you’ll want to be sure to use Water Shield to keep your mana supply high.

Fire Nova is our first literal AoE spell, dealing damage in a ring around targets with our Flame Shock debuff. You can have up to three Flame Shocks up at a time (due to it’s cooldown and duration) which will cause Fire Nova to burst in a ring around all three of them. In theory it’s a great AoE tool because a single spell is like three AoE’s in one, but in practice it kind of sucks since you have to have Flame Shock active for it to do anything and using Fire Nova damages the targets that have the debuff as well, so by killing targets you’re also killing your potential.

Leveling a Resto Shaman

  • Questing Single Mob: Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock, Primal Strike, Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock
  • Questing Multi-Mob: Chain Lightning, Flame Shock, Lightning Bolt, Primal Strike, Flame Shock, Chain Lightning

Questing Single Mob
As a healer, you’re obviously missing the burst damage of a DPS spec, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still unleash some serious hurt. Start off with either a dual Lightning Bolt or a Lightning Bolt followed by a Chain Lightning to take advantage of your cast times without suffering pushback from being attacked. From there I usually stick to shocks and Primal Strike since I hate dealing with pushback while I’m trying to cast. If your damage isn’t all that great and mobs take a while to kill use Flame Shock instead of the first Earth Shock and consider casting Searing Totem right before you pull.

Questing Multi-Mob
If you know that your’e going to face multiple mobs, or multiple groups of mobs, go ahead and cast your totems before you get started on the actual combat. Just remember not to drop aggressive totems (like Searing) until you’re within range for it to hit your target(s) and you’re ready for combat to start.

Facing multiple mobs as Resto is both good and bad. On the one hand, Resto has crazy good survivability and you can easily take on multiple mobs. On the other hand, your damage is pretty weak so killing all of those mobs can take a long time. If you don’t mind a little sustained combat then go ahead and slay the masses, otherwise stick to single targets when you can.

If you do want to face multiple mobs, then this is the rotation that I suggest. If there aren’t at least three mobs, lean more towards Lightning Bolt than Chain Lightning so that you don’t run yourself out of mana. Otherwise your primary objective is to get Flame Shock on three targets and then use Fire Nova to burn them all down.

You definitely want to use Earth Shield in these situations, switching to Water Shield only when you know you can take enough hits to get enough mana back to make it worth your time. I usually keep Earth Shield up until I’m down to a single mob and then switch to Water Shield to get some mana back while I finish them off.

How to Heal: 29 Restoration Shaman
When you’re actually filling your healing role rather than questing it’s probably a good idea for you to have a clue how to actually, you know, heal. The numbers in the next section are based on the level 29 version of the spell, unmodified by talents or gear.

Healing Spells
Earth Shield: 19% base mana, instant cast, heals when attacked
Healing Wave: 9% base mana, 2.5 sec. cast, heals 150-170
Healing Surge: 27% base mana, 1.5 sec. cast, heals 299-341
Healing Stream Totem: 3% base mana, instant cast, heals for ~28 every 2 seconds
Cleanse Spirit: 14% base mana, instant cast, removes one Curse effect
Ancestral Spirit: 72% base mana, 10 sec. cast, resurrect target with 35% of their health and mana

These are the six “healing” spells that you have you have available at level 29. You have two passive/reactive heals (Earth Shield, Healing Stream Totem), two direct heals (Healing Wave, Healing Surge), one decurse (Cleanse Spirit), and a non-combat resurrection (Ancestral Spirit).

The two you’ll use most often are Earth Shield and Healing Wave. Earth Shield will take care of most of your healing in this bracket and you should keep it up on your tank at all times. When solo questing you should switch back and forth between Earth Shield and Water Shield as needed. Healing Wave is cheap to cast and it heals for a decent amount given the power of Earth Shield.

Healing Surge costs three times as much as Healing Wave and heals for only twice the amount, but it is a full second faster to cast. Use this one when you need a big heal in a short amount of time, typically when your tank is taking a ton of damage and Earth Shield isn’t enough to keep him up.

I drop Healing Stream Totem when I’m fighting bosses, but I only really do it out of habit. There are only a few instances in low level play where there’s any amount of AoE damage in a dungeon where the totem would really be useful, and most of those the AoE damage is either so high that the totem doesn’t really help or so low that you don’t really need it in the first place. But, it is really cheap and the heals from it do add up over time so it’s not a bad spell it’s just not great either.

For the vast majority of dungeons I heal the whole thing with Earth Shield and Healing Wave. Once I get a feel for how much damage my tank is going to actually take I decide from there whether I’m going to need to spam Healing Waves, stay on my toes for emergency Healing Surge casts, or if I’m going to slip into DPS mode with nothing but Earth Shield and an occasional Healing Wave.

Make use of your talents. For example, we get mana returned via Water Shield when we crit with Healing Wave, so don’t be afraid to cast it for lack of mana. Also, make frequent use of your Shocks, particularly Earth Shock, when healing dungeons. Firstly because Earth Shock reduces the attack speed of the target you hit with it (thus protecting your tank), and secondly because casting Shocks reduces the mana cost and increases the effectiveness of the next healing spell we cast after the Shock. It’s a great way to get a cheaper Healing Surge off if you need a big heal but not necessarily right away.

Talent Spec: 29 Restoration Shaman

  • Spark of Life 3/3: Increases your healing done by 6% and your healing received by 15%.
  • Tidal Focus 2/3: Reduces the mana cost of your healing spells by 4%.
  • Improved Water Shield 2/2: You have a 100% chance to instantly gain mana as if you consumed a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave, Greater healing Wave, or Riptide spells, a 60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Surge spell, and a 30% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Chain Heal spell.
  • Focused Insight 3/3: After casting any Shock spell, your next heal’s mana cost is reduced by 75% of the cost of the Shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 30%.
  • Nature’s Swiftness 1/1: When activated, your next Nature spell with a base cast time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell.

Spark of Life is pretty simple, it makes your heals 6% stronger. It also has that spiffy side effect of increasing the healing you yourself receive by 15% which is one of the reasons why you can survive things as Resto that others cannot. Tidal Focus gets only two of its three points right now simply because we’re moving down the tree. It reduces the mana cost of your heals which is great even if not entirely necessary at this level range.

Improved Water Shield is fantastic for LFG, allowing you to regain mana when you crit with your heals where normally you would need to get hit for Water Shield to take effect. As you can see from the percentage chance of getting that mana return on your crits, it really pays off to stick to your longer cast time spells for a higher chance of mana return and why I can spam Healing Wave for days.

Focused Insight is a really interesting talent, causing your Shocks to reduce the mana cost of your heals while also making them more powerful. I typically use Earth Shock to trigger these since ES applies an attack speed debuff which is good for my tanks, and then follow it up with either a Healing Wave because the tank doesn’t need much healing, or with a Healing Surge since the mana cost is significantly reduced.

Nature’s Swiftness is an interesting spell. The traditional use for it is to make one of your heals instant cast for when things turn ugly. However, in the leveling game where emergencies are pretty rare I actually end up using this most often to cast DPS spells, such as Chain Lightning, instantly instead.The only time I’ve used it in a dungeon so far was in Gnomer where an ignorant Hunter/Warlock/Mage (I forget which it was that time) didn’t dismiss their pet before jumping and brought half the instance down on us.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Earth Shield is your top choice for sure. The healing from Earth Shield is already fantastic and this just makes it even more so. If you can’t make this, buy it. If you can’t buy it, steal it. If you can’t steal it, get Water Shield instead. Water Shield isn’t bad, but mana regen hasn’t been an issue for me at all so far. Definitely go Earth Shield if at all possible.

Major Glyphs

I really like Healing Wave because it’s really useful in PvP and it’s also a decent option for LFG which are my two favorite things to do. It’s basically worthless for solo play though. Ghost Wolf is another really good glyph even though it has nothing to do with healing. The extra run speed is simply useful for the leveling process and when gathering, so it’s a good back up. Healing Stream Totem provides a resistance buff when you use the totem. Those resistances aren’t by any means necessary when you’re leveling, but some benefit is better than none so you might decide to use this one.

Minor Glyphs

I’m a huge fan of getting rid of reagents, so Water Walking is the definite first choice here. Arctic Wolf is a simple vanity glyph that just changes the way you look in Ghost Wolf form. The only other Minor Glyph available at this level range is Thunderstorm which is a spell that only Elemental Shamans can use, so it’s completely worthless to you.

Gearing Up Your Shaman
For Resto you’re looking first and foremost at Intellect on your gear. Intellect provides Spell Power, Mana, and Spell Crit, all of which you’re interested in. I would say Haste is probably your second best, but it’s pretty hard to come by at lower levels. Even though I don’t have problems with mana, I still rank Spirit as the third stat. Just because I don’t have mana problems this level doesn’t mean the same will be true next level. From there, Crit isn’t a bad stat for us, it makes our heals bigger/better and it gives us more mana back from our talents in Improved Water Shield.

Macros

#showtooltip
/cast [harm, nodead] Earth Shock; [harm, nodead] [@targettarget] Earth Shock
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This macro lets me cast Earth Shock on my target, unless my target happens to be friendly (like the tank) in which case it casts it on their target instead. When I don’t have a tank that has a lot of survivability on their own I like to keep the tank as my target just so I can pay extra special attention to their health, and this macro lets me use Earth Shock on the tank’s target without having to change my actual target. I use a variation of this spell for all of my Shocks.

#showtooltip Purge
/cast [harm, nodead] Purge; [harm, nodead] [@targettarget] Purge
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

This macro works just like the Shock macros up above, except that it’s all about destroying people’s buffs. This is mostly a PvP macro as few low level mobs have any buffs for you to purge.

#showtooltip
/cast [@focus] Earth Shield

This is my “heal with sammich” macro, it allows me to cast Earth Shield directly on my focus without having to bother with targeting and such. I set the tank as my focus as soon as the group is created and hit this button when the spell wears off instead of tying up a slot in my healing addon. I use a variation of this for both Healing Wave and Healing Surge as well so that I can easily heal an instance with one hand while eating a sammich with the other and watching YouTube on the second monitor.

#showtooltip Wind Shear
/stopcasting
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
/cast [target=focus,harm,exists] Wind Shear
/cast Wind Shear

This macro is used when I’m facing a caster mob or a caster player in PvP. Instead of focusing the tank or myself I’ll set my focus instead to the caster so that I can use Wind Shear to interrupt their important spells. If I’m in a situation where focusing to interrupt is important then I’m going to heal with my addons rather than auto-targeting macros, so having my heal target focused isn’t important.

Power Auras
And just in case anyone is interested, here are the Power Auras that I use for my Shaman. Some of them I have set up even though I don’t have the buffs associated with them just yet (like Bloodlust), but they’re set to not do anything until then anyway.

The most important ones here, to me, are the ones that monitor Earth Shield and Water Shield. The Water Shield aura simply monitors whether or not I have the buff active, so that I know when I need to recast it. There are four Earth Shield auras here, one that tells me if I have Earth Shield up on anyone at all in my party, and the other three are used to track how many charges I have left (1, 2, or 3+).

Other auras include monitoring my health/mana to let me know when I’m low for those occasions where I’m taking a lot of burst in PvP or when I’m just not paying attention to the fact that something’s eating my face in a dungeon.

Most of these aren’t mine originally, they’ve come from other blogs or from my buddy Krizhek.

Set=Resto@
Aura[1]=Version:4.20; b:0; anim1:2; g:0.0196; icon:Ability_Shaman_Heroism; buffname:Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp; r:0.9176; unitn:Only for raid/group.; texture:33; alpha:1; stacksOperator:=; size:1.5; y:0; anim2:4; finish:3; timer.h:1.5; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.y:100; timer.Transparent:true@
Aura[2]=Version:4.20; b:0.6275; g:0; icon:Spell_Holy_SealOfMight; buffname:Stun; x:-100; bufftype:3; texture:38; alpha:1; size:0.25; anim2:4; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:RIGHT@
Aura[3]=Version:4.20; b:0.0549; g:0; icon:Spell_Holy_Silence; buffname:Silence; x:-100; bufftype:3; texture:39; alpha:1; size:0.25; y:-10; anim2:4; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:RIGHT@
Aura[4]=Version:4.20; b:0.8549; anim1:5; g:0.1922; icon:inv_alchemy_elixir_02; r:0.1098; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:9; texture:3; alpha:1; speed:0.5; stacksOperator:=; threshold:30; combat:true; size:1.5; torsion:1.25@
Aura[5]=Version:4.20; b:0.0078; anim1:5; g:0.0235; icon:inv_alchemy_elixir_05; r:0.7294; begin:1; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:8; texture:24; alpha:1; stacksOperator:=; threshold:40; size:1.54; torsion:1.25; anim2:1; finish:2@
Aura[6]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:127; texture:21; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; stacksOperator:>; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:22; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
Aura[7]=Version:4.20; icon:Spell_Shaman_TidalWaves; buffname:Tidal Waves; x:-176; texture:26; alpha:1; mine:true; size:0.43; y:3; texmode:2; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.LegacySizing:false; stacks.y:-65; stacks.x:-180@
Aura[8]=Version:4.20; b:0; anim1:7; icon:Spell_Frost_SummonWaterElemental; buffname:Mana Tide Totem; r:0.9765; x:-179; bufftype:15; texture:80; size:0.5; randomcolor:true; y:-144; anim2:1@
Aura[9]=Version:4.20; g:0; icon:Ability_Shaman_WaterShield; buffname:water shield; r:0.0078; x:85; texture:163; symetrie:1; size:0.94; torsion:0.79; y:-11; texmode:2; inverse:true@
Aura[10]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:162; stacks:3; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:57; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
Aura[11]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:173; stacks:2; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:18; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
Aura[12]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:159; stacks:1; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:-19; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@

 

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Shaman Leveling: 50-69 Enhancement

Leveling Enhancement 1-29
Leveling Enhancement 30-49

Playing an Enhancement Shaman
This is the bracket in which everything really starts to take shape for you as you finally reach level 69 to obtain Enhancement’s keystone ability, Feral Spirit, as well as one of the single-most helpful attributes of the class, Maelstrom Weapon. Up to this point you’ve woven spell damage into your combat with a few Shocks thrown in here, maybe a little Fire Nova action in a dungeon, and perhaps even a Chain Lightning cast on a multi-target pull. That, my little Shaman in training, was child’s play.

Now is when you become a true whirlwind of weapon swinging, face smashing, spell chucking, self resurrecting, buff purging, wolf summoning force of natural mail(-wearing) enhancement.

Enhancement-Specific Tips
Once you have Maelstrom Weapon you’ll be much better at both healing on the fly and dealing extra damage, whichever you need more of at the time. On the damage dealing front, I tend to fire off Chain Lightning like nobody’s business, while if I’m fighting higher level or elite mobs on my own then I tend to save the procs for Greater Healing Wave instead.

Also, don’t be hesitant to use your cooldowns, like Feral Spirit. The more you use a spell, the more familiar you get with its use so the more valuable a tool it becomes. You can take on elite mobs and group quests just fine with a combination of Feral Spirit and utilizing your Maelstrom Weapon procs. You can also destroy, or at the very least distract and then run away from, level 78 mobs in Sholozar Basin when you’re there farming herbs/ore at level 68; all you have to do is manage those tools wisely.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 69 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 50-69

  • Call of the Spirits (50): Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem Bar. Can call different totems than Call of the Elements or Call of the Ancestors.
  • Mail Specialization (50): Grants +5% Agility for wearing mail in all armor slots.
  • Tremor Totem (52): [Earth] Summons a Tremor Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster that shakes the ground around it for 6 seconds, removing Fear, Charm and Sleep effects from party and raid members within 30 yards. This totem may be dropped even while the caster is afflicted with such effects.
  • Earth Elemental Totem (56): Summons an elemental totem that calls forth a Greater Earth Elemental to protect the caster and his allies. Lasts 2 minutes.
  • Stoneclaw Totem (58): [Earth] Summons a Stoneclaw Totem with 950 health at the feet of the caster for 15 seconds that taunts creatures within 8 yards to attack it. Enemies attacking the Stoneclaw Totem have a 50% chance to be stunned for 3 seconds. The Stoneclaw totem also protects your other active totems with a shield that absorbs up to 950 damage.

Call of the Spirits is just another default set of totems that you can cast with a single button-press, just like the two we’ve had before. I have one of them set up for soloing and LFG with other melee DPS, one for PvP, and one for LFG where the other two DPS are both casters. Mail Specialization isn’t really a spell, it’s just a 5% bonus to your primary stat (Agility) whenever you’re wearing all Mail armor, which from level 50 on you want to do whenever possible.

Tremor Totem is one you’ll definitely want to get familiar with and you want to keep it somewhere on your bars/keybinds where you can easily access it. You might not use it much when you’re running solo, but it’s a big deal in dungeons and especially raids. Pay special attention to the fact that you can now cast this while you’re already under the effects of the CC that it prevents. Stoneclaw Totem is great for when you pull multiple mobs because it will taunt some of them off of you and repeatedly stun them. You can also use its accompanying glyph to have it’s protective totem bubble also protect you.

Earth Elemental Totem and Fire Elemental Totem (below) are both really cool totems that summon some temporary pets for you that go and bash the crap out of things in the area. They were still a little buggy the last time I used them where every now and then they would just sit there doing nothing, but for the most part they pop out and really unleash some pain. I use them sometimes when I’m farming close to mobs that want to attack me, when I pull several mobs, or when I’m just looking to increase my damage without dropping all of my other totems.

Level 60-69

  • Bind Elemental (64): Binds the target hostile elemental for up to 50 seconds. The bound unit is unable to move, attack, or cast spells. Any damage caused will release the target. Only one target can be bound at a time.
  • Fire Elemental Totem (66): Summons an elemental totem that calls forth a Greater fire elemental to rain destruction on the caster’s enemies. Lasts 2 minutes.
  • Greater Healing Wave (68): Heals a friendly target for 4357 to 4977.

Bind Elemental is a new spell that came with the expansion. I don’t really have a use for it while leveling outside of PvP, but there are plenty of elementals throughout the entire game now that will give you opportunities to use it. You want to get familiar with casting it even if it’s not really necessary just yet though, as you’ll very likely be called to do so for reliable CC once you get into running Cataclysm dungeons and raids.

Earth Elemental Totem (above) and Fire Elemental Totem are both really cool totems that summon some temporary pets for you that go and bash the crap out of things in the area. They were still a little buggy the last time I used them where every now and then they would just sit there doing nothing, but for the most part they pop out and really unleash some pain. I use them sometimes when I’m farming close to mobs that want to attack me, when I pull several mobs, or when I’m just looking to increase my damage without dropping all of my other totems.

Greater Healing Wave seems a bit odd to be listed in a DPS leveling guide of this level, but Shamans are quite unique. As you spend talent points in Maelstrom Weapon you’re going to be able to cast healing spells instantly and without any mana cost, and this is your single most effective heal for doing that. It’s a big heal with a longish cast time which would otherwise make it worthless to us, but with Maelstrom Weapon available to you it’s now your go-to heal with Healing Surge used only when you have no Maelstrom stacks available and need to off-spec heal in an emergency.

Leveling an Enhancement Shaman

Weapon Imbues: Windfury Weapon (main hand), Flametongue Weapon (off hand)
Totems:Strength of Earth Totem, Searing Totem (Magma for AoE), Mana Spring Totem, Windfury Totem

While Windfury Weapon is fantastic, it has an internal cooldown on it that will make your off hand weapon occasionally rob you of procs on your main hand which will result in decreased DPS. At level 62 I lost roughly 220 DPS using dual Windfury Weapon, and I didn’t even have all the talents that make Flametongue Weapon really shine for the off hand.

  • Questing Single Mob: Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock
  • Questing Multi-Mob: Call of the Elements, Flame Shock, Stormstrike, (swap targets), Lava Lash, Flame Shock
  • LFG Trash Rotation: Call of the Elements, Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]
  • LFG Boss Rotations: Call of the Elements, Flame Shock, Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]

Questing Single Mob
In this rotation you’re just going to destroy targets as fast as possible. If you’re using heirloom weapons then I definitely suggest you stick to using Earth Shock as your go-to shock spell, but if you’re not using heirlooms then you might find Flame Shock to be a better option for the opening cast as it’s DoT damage will add up over time to be even more than Earth Shock. Any shocks you cast after the first one should be Earth Shocks though. When fighting elites or group quest mobs, keeping Flame Shock up is likely more important as they’ll typically have much larger health pools than typical mobs of the same level.

Questing Multi-Mob
If the group of mobs you’re going to fight are close together, go ahead and pull them with a Chain Lightning, otherwise just stick to the rotation.

The point here is primarily to get Flame Shock cast on all of your targets so that they’re all taking damage, and then speeding up their deaths with your melee attacks. Light one up, bash them in the face a time or two, switch targets and repeat. As you get Maelstrom Weapon procs you want to use Chain Lightning if you want to deal more damage, or Greater Healing Wave if you’re taking a lot of damage. If you want to throw Fire Nova into the rotation as well, feel free to do so. I find it’s usually more a waste of my mana since I have high damage and good survivability as well, but use your own judgement and deal with the situations you’re given to get a feel for your own preference.

If you need to heal in these situations, go ahead and do so. If you don’t have any Maelstrom Weapon stacks cast Healing Surge instead since it has a faster cast time, otherwise stick to Greater Healing Wave for your Maelstrom procs. If you find yourself running short on mana because you’re healing go ahead and switch over to Water Shield for the mana return and switch back to Lightning Shield when your health and mana are at a more manageable level.

LFG Trash
This one is the same as solo questing, except that sometimes you might want to bother with totems and others you might not. I don’t cast my totems by default at this level when I’m doing LFG, instead I wait to see how quickly we’re progressing through the instance. If we’re moving at a fast pace then I usually don’t bother with any of them until we see a boss. If we’re going kind of slow or we have people who are /afk or something, then I’ll go ahead and drop the totems to increase everyone’s performance.

For most trash pulls though, just stick to Earth Shocks and using your melee strikes as often as possible. By careful using Chain Lightning when you’re in a dungeon as the tank might not have agro on all of the mobs you’re blasting in the face. If it’s early in a pull, go with a regular Lightning Bolt on the tank’s target instead, otherwise it’s Chain Lightning all the way.

If the mobs aren’t dropping very quickly then you might consider switching to Flame Shock instead of Earth Shock and adding Fire Nova to the rotation for extra AoE damage. Shaman AoE is decent as far as damage goes, but it’s heavily reliant on mobs being alive in order to use it (Flame Shock has to be active) so it works against itself which kind of sucks. You can also use Magma Totem for extra AoE damage. You can get more information on that from @Elamqt’s post, Totem Talk: Why Enhancement AOE doesn’t work on WoW Insider.

Wind Shear: Deserves a special mention here though. Shamans have crazy-good spell interruption capabilities thanks to Wind Shear. If you see a mob casting spells, particularly a healer, interrupt as many of their spells as possible. If you’re in instances with caster mobs who are especially annoying then be sure to make use of Wind Shear when they’re casting the spell you don’t want to go through.

During boss fights you can also use this to lower your Threat as you can cast it even if there’s not a spell to interrupt. With Windfury procs, each extra attack can generate a critical hit which can send your threat through the roof, and lets not forget those Maelstrom Weapon procs. With such a short cooldown and the fact that it can be cast regardless of the GCD, there’s really no reason for you not to use it. Some bosses cast spells that can be interrupted and some (most) cannot, but the reduction in threat is good regardless.

LFG Boss
For bosses you want to maximize your DPS potential. That means that you’re going to make sure Flame Shock stays active on the boss as long as possible, and that you’re going to utilize your totems for the good of your group.

Totems: Strength of Earth, Searing, Mana Spring, Windfury (Wrath of Air for 2 casters)

Using Searing Totem will give you a higher, personal DPS score on a boss fight, but if you have at least one caster DPS in your group then you might consider Flametongue as both they and the healer will benefit from it as will you (though to a lesser extent). If there are no caster DPS in the group then switch your Fire totem over to Searing and drop it right next to the boss when you move into melee range. Mana Spring is the choice for Water as your mini heals from the other won’t help nearly as much and your healer will love you. Windfury is your default Air, but if your other two DPS are both casters then go for Wrath of Air instead since Haste really isn’t your top priority anyway.

Once Flame Shock is dealing its damage you’ll start rotating through your melee attacks and casting Earth Shock as filler while you wait to refresh Flame Shock. If you time your shocks just right you can get two Earth Shocks off with almost perfect timing for your shocks to refresh just as Flame Shock ends, allowing you to reapply it immediately with no time lost.

Wind Shear will still work on many boss abilities at low levels, so be ready to use it when you get the chance as Shamans have a fairly flexible and laid back rotation at this point. Spells you want to interrupt in particular are healing spells and AoE damage spells such as Chain Lightning. I could go into specifics, but this is a class guide, not a boss guide, so just use your own judgment. Remember that Wind Shear also lowers your threat, which can be a big deal now that you have big burst potential from both Windfury Weapon and Maelstrom Weapon procs.

Talent Spec: 69 Enhancement Shaman

  • Unleashed Rage +1 (2/2): Increases your expertise by 8, and increases all party and raid members’ attack power by 10% while within 100 yards of the Shaman.
  • Shamanistic Rage 1/1: Reduces all damage taken by 30% and causes your skills, totems, and offensive spells to consume on mana for 15 seconds. This spell is usable while stunned.
  • Improved Shields 2/3: Increases the damage done by your Lightning Shield orbs by 10%, increases the amount of mana gained from your Water Shield orbs by 10%, and increases the amount of healing done by your Earth Shield orbs by 10%.
  • Maelstrom Weapon 3/3: When you deal damage with a melee weapon, you have a chance to reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Hex, or any healing spell by 20%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 30 sec.
  • Improved Lava Lash 2/2: Increases the damage of your Lava Lash ability by 30%, and by an additional 20% for each of your applications of Searing Flames on the target, consuming those applications in the process.
  • Feral Spirit 1/1: Summons two Spirit Wolves under the command of the Shaman, lasting 30 seconds.

Honorable Mention: Frozen Power 2/2: Increases the damage done by your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Lash, and Shock spells by 10% on targets afflicted by your Frostbrand Attack effect, and your Frost Shock has a 100% chance to root the target in ice for 5 sec. when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.

Unleashed Rage is going to help reduce your chance of being avoided in combat and also increases your group’s attack power. Shamanistic Rage is a nice cooldown, used to reduce the damage that you take for 15 seconds, and also removes the mana cost of all of your spells for 15 seconds. I generally use this in PvP or when a bad pull gets worse, using the free mana costs to spam the crap out of my flash heal to keep people alive.

Improved Shields increases the damage of your Lightning Shield or returns more mana to you if you slip into Water Shield instead. It’s a decent talent, made acceptable thanks to Static Shock’s chance to deal Orb damage when we attack, but I don’t personally care for it much. I went with the talent I mentioned in my Honorable Mention section instead.

Maelstrom Weapon is a truly amazing talent, able to give you great burst damage or instant healing in the blink of an eye. You build stacks of the MW buff as you hit things with your melee weapons and each stack speeds the cast time and reduces the mana cost of either an offensive or defensive spell (see description for details). For damage I like to throw a free, instant Chain Lightning out there, or for heals I’ll take a free, instant Greater Healing Wave (or Healing Surge below level 68). It’s one of my favorite things about the class, ranked very closely behind Windfury Weapon.

Feral Spirit is the Enhancement keystone, allowing you to summon two spirit wolves of complete and total awesome sauce that go beat the crap out of whatever you tell them to. But that’s not all! They also have the ability to stun a target for 2 seconds with their Bash ability (which works as a spell interrupt too), and they can remove any movement impairing effects and increase your (and their) movement speed by 60% with Spirit Walk. But wait, there’s more! They also heal you for 150% of the damage that they deal. If that’s not flipping amazing, then I don’t know what is! Oh, they also have a taunt in case you need it.

As I mentioned in the level 49 guide, I spent points in Frozen Power instead of Elemental Devastation, because I like to do a lot of PvP. If you did the same then you’ll want to go ahead and get those two points in ED now instead of spending two points on Improved Shields. If you’re not into PvP and skipped Frozen Power, then you’ll want Improved Shields. If you’re confused…just spend them wherever they look good.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

With Lava Lash being a staple attack and the fact that you get it at level 10, this is my first choice of Prime Glyphs, increasing its damage by 20%. Next up is Stormstrike as the bonus crit can be useful with how many spells you cast in combat. If you’re using heirlooms then you’re probably dealing enough damage that only one or the other of these two isn’t really necessary, but both is fine too.

Winfury Weapon is a decent glyph in its own right, but while you’re leveling and after you’ve gotten Maelstrom Weapon it’s even better as the extra chance to proc those free attacks translates to extra chances to proc Maelstrom Weapon for even more beautiful destruction.

I decided to take the Glyph of Flame Shock off the list because it never really made much of a difference at all and it seemed like quite a waste. It’s meant to be an Elemental glyph anyway, so it’s not a big deal.

Major Glyphs

Lightning Shield is overall going to be the most useful glyph for you here; it’s how you turn your Lightning Shield into a solid 10 minute buff instead of lasting only for three hits worth. Stoneclaw Totem is fantastic for soloing and PvP, giving you a bubble whenever you cast your Stoneclaw Totem. In LFG it’s not quite so cool because you shouldn’t be taking damage anyway, but with our burst potential and most of it being completely random and uncontrollable you’re likely to pull threat now and then and the totem’s taunt ability works well for getting mobs off of your healer so it’s not entirely wasted.

Ghost Wolf is my next choice because moving faster is always a good thing, both in PvE and PvP. Frost Shock deserves a mention for those of you interested in getting into some low level PvP, though I would generally always suggest Ghost Wolf above this one for that purpose. Chain Lightning is one I haven’t used myself, but it deserves a mention for AoE if you enjoy it.

I took Fire Nova off the list since Blizzard changed Fire Nova to now center on all the targets that have your Flame Shock debuff instead of being centered on your fire totem. Extra radius isn’t likely to be a big deal when all of the mobs in question are likely grouped together anyway.

Minor Glyphs

I’m a huge fan of getting rid of reagents, so Water Walking is the definite first choice here. We have a few more options that do the same thing for spells that opened in this range, with Water Breathing and Renewed Life. Of the three, you’ll cast Water Walking more often (I do, at least), but Renewed Life is probably more valuable overall. The other cool option is Ancestral Recall, which cuts the cooldown in half. It’s not super useful in today’s short hearthstone world, but if you need to do a lot of back and forth travel (*cough*archeology*cough*) then it can be really useful. Arctic Wolf is a simple vanity glyph that just changes the way you look in Ghost Wolf form.

Gearing Up Your Shaman
As Enhancement your primary stat is Agility. Each point gives you 2 Attack Power and it also boosts your Melee Crit (and Dodge). Intellect boosts your Spell Power on a 1:1 ratio, and it also increases your Spell Crit and your mana. Strength is a decent stat for you as it still gives a 1:1 ratio for Attack Power, but it’s not something you really want to seek out unless you just cannot find any Agility pieces at all for those slots.

You also want to look for gear with Hit on it in particular since you take a penalty to melee hits for dual wielding. You don’t need a ton of Hit to get you by while you’re leveling, but if you find some good Agility pieces that also have Hit on them then be sure to pick them up.

For green gear with random enchants you’re probably most interested in “..of the Falcon” (Agility and Intellect), “..of the Tiger” (Agility and Strength), and “..of the Monkey” (Agility and Stamina).

As you get into running random dungeons you’re looking for items with the “..of Agility” and “..of the Bandit” (Agility, Stamina, and Crit) enchant on them from the Satchel of Helpful Goods.

There are two ways you can look at gearing up your low level Shaman. You can either go for maximum killing potential, which is stacking Agility above all else, or you can go with a more balanced build where you look for gear with both Agility and Stamina. I prefer maximizing my damage potential, personally, and going for good survival pieces in slots that I have no Agility piece to fill in. If you’re not used to healing on the fly as a DPS spec though, you might want to lean more towards survival.

I decided to skip the list of dungeon drops for this level range as by now you should already know what kind of stats you’re looking for and upgrades are pretty obvious. With the speed of leveling these days you’re not likely to actually farm dungeons for gear anyway and you’ll be finding better gear the higher you get as well, so it seemed like a bit of a waste of time.

 

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High Heals: Priest

Priest came in a very close second to the Shaman from reader replies on the Project: High Heals post. As such, they’re going to be the 2nd class of course, but I also decided that I can handle leveling two of these classes at once, so the Priest has already been rolled as well.

The Priest is unique among the classes for having two healing specs to choose from, but I’m going with the one generally agreed to be the “harder” of the two to level, Holy. I have considered actually grabbing a dual spec on this priest to make use of both of the healing specs since it does still fit in with the plan of the project, but I think I would end up running around as Disc all the time and ignore Holy, so I’m going to resist.

Also, as I’m finally making a return to the Horde (though not for good) I decided to make this one an Undead male, allowing him to take on the Master’s name. So today I’m going to do a bit of outlining for my plans to level the second (first, part two?) of the leveling guides, Psynister the Holy Priest.

Healing Tools
Priests have probably the single largest healing tool set in the game. They have direct heals, HoT’s, bubbles; heck, they can even heal you after they’ve already died themselves. The spec that I’ve chosen, Holy, is geared more towards the use of direct heals and HoT’s where my potential dual spec (Discipline) is aimed more at damage mitigation through the use of bubbles. Both specs heal and they both have mitigation, they just have different strengths between the two specs.

As far as dispels are concerned the Priest has Cure Disease which removes a single disease from the target, Dispel Magic which removes up to 2 Magic spells from themselves and for choosing a healing spec they can do the same for friendly targets, and Mass Dispel which hits a 15 yard radius with a dispel that removes 1 harmful spell from all friendly targets and 1 beneficial spell from all enemy targets within the radius (up to a maximum of 10 friendly and 10 enemy targets). Holy Priests can also spec so that their Cure Disease also removes 1 Poison effect when cast on themselves.

Mass Dispel also has the added benefit of removing Magic effects that are otherwise too powerful to be dispelled, for example you can use this to break an enemy Mage’s Ice Block or a Paladin’s bubble which normally makes them immune to everything.

Leveling Tools
Being a full caster class, Priests have the benefit of being able to use all of the class’s offensive DPS spells even in their healing spec. Granted, they don’t do as much damage as they would in other specs, but they’re still available. None of the other healing classes are pure casters. Healing Priests also receive additional mana regen during combat which is designed to help them in their healing role, but while leveling that also means less downtime while using your spells offensively for questing.

For choosing the Holy spec you get a spell called Holy Word: Chastise which is an instant cast spell that deals damage and also disorients the target for 3 seconds. As both an instant spell and one that can pseudo-stun a target it’s a fantastic spell for leveling as well as PvP. Sadly, it does come with a 30 second cooldown, but that can be specced down to around 20 seconds.

Priests also have the advantage of their bubble, Power Word: Shield, which absorbs damage and also prevents pushback when you’re casting spells while it’s active. This makes leveling much easier compared to other casters as your spells fire off at the normal rate when mobs manage to close in to melee range (not to mention the added survivability from the absorb).

Leveling Strengths
Holy Priests don’t have just a whole lot going for them in the way of leveling strengths, which is why most people who level Priests choose to do so as Shadow or Discipline instead. If you can stick to your healing role by running dungeons and PvP a lot then you can really play to your strengths (healing), but for questing you’re not quite as well off as you could be in another spec.

While Holy doesn’t receive any boost to their damaging spells, they do get to reduce some of the cast times which speeds up leveling in a similar way. While I might not hit you 20% harder, I do cast 20% faster (just an example), so it evens out. But the flip side of that is that I may also have to spend more mana to do it as it takes me three casts to kill something that another spec could handle with only two.

Leveling Weaknesses
The Holy Priest’s biggest weakness when it comes to leveling is that they receive no damage buffs at all outside of glyphs. Any amount of damage you can do as Holy, Disc or Shadow could easily do better. Not so much at low levels perhaps, but the higher you go the more apparent it becomes. Thankfully the class’s strengths should be enough to overcome this, but it does mean that questing will seem slower as Holy. I’ve tried to alleviate some of that by choosing Engineering as one of my professions, hoping to put explosives to very frequent use in my questing.

Priests are also notorious for having really bad issues with mana while leveling. Shadow gets a few tools to help with this, as does Discipline, but Holy does not. I’ve decided to combat this to some extent at least with my racial selection of Undead, allowing me to consume the corpses of undead and humanoids in order to regenerate both health and mana.

Intended Leveling Focus
Since I am going with the most healing-focused tree for the class, I’m leaning more towards dungeons as my focus for the Priest. Questing isn’t too bad, but my lack of damage buffs makes it more difficult than it would be had I chosen a different spec. PvP isn’t too bad, so I’m going to keep on doing a decent amount of that as well, but LFG seems to be the best fit for me.

I think focusing to LFG allows me to utilize my strengths and nullify my weaknesses. The major exception to that being if I end up with people in the dungeon queues that don’t allow me to stop and drink if my other mana replenishment options aren’t available. Being able to use bubbles usually gives me the time I need to use Cannibalize to regen my mana, but big pulls where I’m doing a lot of healing or where agro is all over the group can really burn through my mana and easily lead to a wipe.

Planned Spec
Holy is unique for me personally because it’s the only spec of all of the healer classes that I have no experience in at all. Well, technically I did have a level 10 Holy twink-to-be that lasted for a single WSG run before he was switched over to Disc, but he doesn’t really count since it lasted all of seven minutes.

Having no experience of my own, I had to turn instead to a reliable source. And with Tales of a Priest closing their blogging doors I had to find a new, reliable source: enter The Stories of O, stage right. She blogs about Holy Priests in particular which happened to be just what I was looking for too.

I gave her suggested spec a look and figured that for the most part I see where all of those talents could be helpful to me while leveling. There are a couple of possible exceptions, such as Lightwell and Circle of Healing which I can probably get away with not spending points on as this particular priest isn’t going to raid. That’s not to say that they couldn’t be used in a leveling environment, just that they aren’t necessary. I’ll probably end up spending the points in them anyway since there’s not really anywhere else that they could serve me better.

And I think frequent use of Lightwell while leveling in dungeons just might teach some people to get used to clicking it…maybe. Alright fine, they’ll still be clueless, but not for a lack of trying on my part!

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Caster, Class, Leveling, Play Styles, Priest

 

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High Heals: Shaman

From the replies I received on the blog itself and on twitter from those who read it, the Shaman was voted as the top choice for being the first class to use in this project. I’m sure I probably influenced that vote a bit as I mentioned that I had already enjoyed a bit of Resto Shaman leveling in the recent past, but that’s fine.

For those of you who have not read the introductory post, Project: High Heals, I’ll give you a quick recap. Most guides that you find online in relation to healing are all aimed at end game content, making it hard to find quality information on leveling your healing character beyond a simple layout of when/where to spend your talent points. Since writing guides to help people level, and have fun while they do it, is what I do – that’s what I’m going to do with this project. I’m going to level each of the four healing classes from 1-85 without using a non-healing spec the entire time.

Today I’m going to do a bit of outlining for my plans to level the first of the Project: High Heals leveling guides, Bottledwatah the Restoration Shaman.

Healing Tools
Shamans have one of the most balanced healing sets of all the healers, which makes them a good choice for both single-target and multi-target healing. You don’t get active multi-target heals until level 40 where you get the Shaman signature, Chain Heal, but your spec-specific bonus heal of Earth Shield allows you to passively heal a target with it while you focus your healing spells on others when necessary. You do get a glimpse of some of your group healing at level 20 when you get Healing Stream Totem, but it’s a bit of a passive heal while the totem is in play, and while the healing from it certainly helps, it’s not something you can rely on if there’s any real amount of damage being applied to your group.

As far as defensive dispels go, Shamans by default can remove Curses and can spend talent points to also remove Magic effects. You can also spec so that using your dispel (Cleanse Spirit) heals the target when you remove a harmful effect so that you’re both cleansing and healing with the same spell.

While not exactly a healing ability, Shamans also have the unique ability to resurrect themselves when they die. Warlocks can use soul stones to mimic the effect, but theirs is a “use it or lose it” option so if you die at a time where resurrecting isn’t important the effect is kind of wasted where a Shaman can chose to resurrect or not any time they die so long as the 30 minute cooldown is up. It’s not really crucial by any means from a leveling standpoint, but it does have its uses and advantages now and then.

Leveling Tools
The Shaman’s other two talent trees are both DPS, one caster and one melee. This gives the Shaman an interesting advantage when it comes to leveling as Resto because you’re collecting gear that naturally makes you good at casting offensive spells while also having built-in melee attacks that they give you to help you level early on. To compare, the Paladin has melee attacks it can use but there is no Paladin caster spec to draw from, the Priest has two other caster specs that can deal damage but no melee benefit, and while the Druid shares the ability to use melee attacks it requires weaving in and out of forms to switch between casting and melee.

Shamans also have the wonderful use of Ghost Wolf. Granted, you get the spell four levels shy of getting a mount, and it does have a cast time for non-Enhancement Shamans until end game (if you spend the talent points on it), but it’s still a great mobility spell that can be used both in doors and during combat. They also have spells that allow them to breath underwater and to walk on top of it.

You can’t talk about the Shaman class as a whole without mentioning Reincarnation, the self resurrection spell that you can use after any death so long as it’s not on cooldown (30 minutes). The other, big signature feature of the class is the use of Totems. Totems allow you to provide a great number of different buffs to your party which can also be put to good use when leveling solo. Combining the passive/reactive healing of Earth Shield with the glyphed bubble from Stoneclaw Totem for example can give you some incredible survivability.

Leveling Strengths
One of the major advantages of leveling a Restoration Shaman is that you have a solid offensive tool belt that includes both melee and casting attacks, and when you combine that with healing from Earth Shield questing becomes incredibly easy (though not necessarily fast since you get none of the damage buffs that the two DPS specs receive).

As I’ve mentioned before, you also have the use of Ghost Wolf which can make a lot of your questing faster by increasing your movement speed in doors and such. While you don’t have access to them until you’re in Northrend levels, you also receive two totems which act as pets and can be a great help while leveling as well. The Fire and Earth Elemental totems are both really good for when you find yourself being attacked my multiple mobs, or when you want to contribute a bit of damage to a boss fight where your other totems aren’t necessary.

Leveling Weaknesses
One of the major drawbacks while leveling is that you have no form of crowd control (other than slows) until you reach level 80. Until that point if you happen to pull more mobs than you intended to your only options are to either run away until they reset, or say a prayer to the elements that you can heal yourself enough to survive the pull.

You also have a disadvantage when it comes to gear. While you’re leveling you’ll often find that Cloth pieces are the best items you can get your hands on when you should be wearing Leather (1-39) or Mail (40+) instead. Caster Leather/Mail pieces and caster shields aren’t impossible to find, but they aren’t as abundant thanks to the small number of classes and specs that use them.

Intended Leveling Focus
I haven’t decided 100% which path I’m going to focus on with Bottledwatah. As I said in the initial post, I’m going to do a bit of everything with these little healers, but each of them is also going to lean towards a certain aspect of the game more than others. The Druid will likely focus more on PvP, for example, where the Paladin may focus more on questing.

Right now I’m leaning towards keeping this one pretty evenly focused on all of the different aspects of the game. I have really been enjoying PvP with her, but I’ve had a some fun in LFG as well (though I got more queues to pop as DPS in my Resto spec than I have healing so far). Questing is sort of the in between to pass the time between whichever queue I’m in except for when I’m leveling my professions in which case questing is the norm while I gather materials.

Right now Bottledwatah has Herbalism and Alchemy, but with an 85 Tauren Druid with herbalism on the same server I’m considering dropping Bottle’s herbs for Tailoring instead. Doing this would remove the benefit of gathering experience (which can really help when you’re leveling a healer), but it would make her professions more useful in the long run. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of that in the actual leveling guides, though.

Planned Spec
This is the spec that I’m planning to use while I level. My healing experience on a Shaman is pretty limited, so hopefully I’ve chosen a good build there but I can’t say for sure since I’m only level 20. Time will tell, and I’ll be sure to pass on any information it happens to share with me.

And as always I’ll share the details of the spec along with the order in which I spend the talent points in the actual leveling guides.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Caster, Class, Leveling, Play Styles, Shaman

 

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Project: High Heals

Finding information on how to level a particular class in a DPS spec isn’t hard to do. Most classes (except Rogues, apparently nobody likes being a Rogue) have at least a decent blogging community dedicated to them and/or you can find posts for it on forums all over the place. You can find most of the same for leveling as a tank as well. But when it comes to healing guides, almost all of them are aimed at healing in heroics or raids, or how to switch from a non-healing spec to the healing spec.

Personally, I don’t like just grabbing a random spec I’ve never tried before when my character is a high level. I don’t like learning when I have all the tools I’ll ever need thrown at me all at once. Rather than grabbing a spec I know nothing about I prefer to reroll the character, especially if the spec in question is tanking or healing because of their nature. If I pick up an unfamiliar DPS spec my team can usually carry me while I’m busying sucking and trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing, but I can’t do that as a tank or a healer because I’m the only one filling that role at the time and my failure would lead to the group’s failure.

I believe that the best way to become truly skilled and knowledgeable about a particular spec is to level in it. I’m not saying it’s the only way, you could certainly do it without ever experiencing the spec until you reach max level, but that knowledge is so much easier to pick up if you’ve had the time to learn about each and every ability as it becomes available to you rather than just having them all thrown at you at once.

So I’m going to do a little mini-project, which is to level a character form 1-85 in their healing spec the entire way. I know it can be done, my wife did it on her first Paladin. The results of this test, which are going to be based on how fun it was and how hard/easy it is will determine whether it becomes a larger project (leveling all of the healing classes in their healing spec), or if I just say, “that was fun, but uh…yeah, never again.”

But I’m not going to take the easy route, I’m not just sticking to LFG where four other people do my leveling for me; I’m going to experience the leveling content in every aspect of the game. So I’m going to take the healer(s) into dungeons, I’m going to take them into battlegrounds and I’m going to quest with them all with the healing spec. I’m not even going to purchase dual specs for them because I know if I do I’m going to be tempted to cheat and grab a DPS spec that I’m sure I’ll tell myself “oh, it’s just for a BG or two so I can throw someone off of the Lumber Mill in AB.” None of that, these suckers are going to live or die (/delete) by their own healing power.

Having done at least some leveling with all of the healing classes with varying degrees of healing experience, I already know a few things off the bat about each class:

  • Druid: Can be very boring as HoT’s are very powerful and quick/instant cast.
  • Paladin: Some healing spells or related spells can be used offensively to help leveling.
  • Priest: Similar to the Pally, they have some heals that can be used offensively.
  • Shaman: Passive healing from Earth Shield can make up for time spent DPSing.

Knowing that Druid healing is frequently boring, I’m less inclined to have them be the class I use for the first test. On the flip side, their powerful HoT’s could very well make up for their boring factor by allowing me to deal damage during the downtime. I’m still considering the druid, but right now they’re the lowest on the list.

Paladin healing I’ve only done in the low level battlegrounds and tiny bit in Northrend during Wrath. I don’t think I have any real “need” for another Paladin right now, so I might leave this one for one of the last slots as well as the character would likely end up deleted and rarely/never played.

The Priest is a class I’m really enjoying right now, but still in the Shadow spec that I’ve recently blogged about. I’m not a great Priest healer and that’s something that I want to work on, and I’d really love to learn it by leveling instead of just flailing into it on my 85. As such, this is a big contender for first or second. I would likely go Holy over Disc because Holy is labeled more as the “used for heals only” spec where Disc is more “use for heals or leveling”.

Lastly we have the Shaman, a class I’m also having a lot of fun leveling right now, but both of my existing Shaman are in DPS specs. My Resto Shaman experience extends to about level 25 as my current Enhancement Shaman was originally a level 19 Resto Twink (which is why he’s named Tiklemonster, btw). I know that Shaman healers are very powerful at low levels as even after Cataclysm I managed to solo a couple of the low level dungeons, one of which (SFK) my buddy Cynwise hasn’t managed to solo yet on his super-twinked 19 Prot Warrior…yet. This ranks the Shaman near the Priest in priority as I had a lot of fun with the Resto spec.

So for right now I’m left with the big question – Resto Shaman or Holy Priest.

 

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