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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.

 
4 Comments

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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Shaman Leveling: 30-49 Enhancement

Leveling Enhancement 1-29

This post’s MS Paint was done on a laptop with just the trackpad, so they’re even “better” then usual. Enjoy!


Playing an Enhancement Shaman
There isn’t all that much that changes in this particular level range from the 1-29 range. You’re still primarily a melee DPS class that weaves spells in between your attacks. But, you do start to get a better feel for how the class is going to play at max level as you finally get access to some of your really key features such as dropping all four totems with a single cast, actually having access to all four totems in the first place, and the ability to resurrect yourself.

As Enhancement, you’ll still have a very hybrid combat style where you weave melee and spells into a deadly mixture of ferocity, and the higher you get in level the more apparent that becomes. You don’t quite hit the premium level of that mixture in this level range, but you’re getting closer.

Enhancement-Specific Tips
The biggest suggestion I have for this bracket is directed at those of you who have played Enhancement in the past and are now leveling new ones or trying to get back into the class/spec after a long time away from it – do not use dual Windfury Weapon buffs. I loved rocking dual WF back in the day and seeing those swirly black tornados of doom popping left and right, but you’re gimping your own DPS if you do it. Also, don’t think you can get away with using spell caster weapons or fast weapons either, that’s all been nerfed.

Windfury Main Hand – Flametongue Off Hand

Otherwise, it’s pretty much business as usual compared to the last guide. The main difference is that Windfury is going to drastically increase how fast you kill things. This is where you’ll really be able to appreciate the greatness that is instant-Ghost Wolf, and where you’ll start to develop a closer relationship with your totems as casting them all is much easier as is removing them all and restoring mana in the process.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 49 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 30-39

  • Ancestral Recall (30): Yanks the caster through the twisting nether back to their Hearthstone Location. Speak to an Innkeeper in a different place to change your home location.
  • Call of the Elements (30): Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem Bar.
  • Reincarnation (30): Allows you to resurrect yourself upon death with 20% health and mana. [Reagent: Ankh]
  • Totemic Recall (30): Returns your totems to the earth, giving you 25% of the mana required to cast each totem destroyed by Totemic Recall.
  • Windfury Totem (30): Summons a Windfury Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster. The totem increases the melee and ranged attack speed of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 10%. Lasts 5 min.
  • Windfury Weapon (32): Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with wind. Each hit has a 20% chance of triggering three extra attacks with 310 bonus attack power. Lasts 30 minutes.
  • Lava Burst (34): You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 120 to 152 Fire damage. If your Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will deal a critical strike.
  • Far Sight (36): Changes the caster’s viewpoint to the targeted location. Lasts 1 min. Only useable outdoors.
  • Magma Totem (36): Summons a Magma Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for (21 sec) sec that causes Fire damage to creatures within 8 yards every 2 seconds.
  • Grounding Totem (38): Summons a Grounding Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster that will redirect one harmful spell cast on a nearby party member to itself, destroying the totem. Will not redirect area of effect spells. Lasts 45 sec.

Ancestral Recall was one of my favorite things about the Shaman when I first started playing; back when your hearthstone had a one hour cooldown. It’s still useful, but with the cooldown on your hearth lowered to 30 minutes, or 15 with the guild perk that most people have by now, it’s not quite as good as it used to be. But, it’s still a really useful spell if you’re doing a lot of travel (anyone doing Archeology out there?).

Call of the Elements and Totemic Recall are the both spells I would have killed for back in the day when I leveled my first shaman. Being able to drop all four totems (or fewer if you wish) with a single click/cast is a fantastic upgrade from the multiple GCD’s it would have taken you before. Totemic Recall destroys all of your existing totems and gives you a portion of their mana cost back when you do. The main benefit of this spell, as Enhancement, is to clear your totems from an area where they might draw some accidental agro.

Reincarnation is one of the signature abilities of the Shaman, allowing you to resurrect yourself when you die. If you’ve ever played a Warlock it works more or less the same as a Soul Stone, except that you can’t cast it on anyone else and you don’t have to cast it on yourself beforehand as you can cast it anytime you die as long as it’s not on cooldown.

Windfury Totem gives you melee haste, and it’s your best default Air totem with its duration and general benefit. In dungeons it’s going to be a great help when you have melee or hunters in your group. Magma Totem is your AoE totem of choice as it deals AoE damage itself as well as allowing you to cast your Fire Nova through it. If you have several mobs around you, go ahead and drop the Magma Totem, but remember that Searing Totem will give you more damage for single targets, especially as you get higher in level.

Windfury Weapon is THE reason why I love the Shaman class and the Enhancement spec. Windfury Weapon procs cause you to get three free, instant attacks on your target. I like to call the “swirly black tornado of DOOM” because that’s what it looks like, and that’s what it is. If you have a decent weapon for your level then Windfury procs generally mean that your target is dead, even if they were at full health.

Lava Burst isn’t really associated with being Enhancement, but I want to mention it anyway for its auto-crit property. You won’t often end up in situations where casting spells trumps melee, but for those rare instances where you end up rooted/snared or that your target is fleeing, this can be a really great option. You’ll be in the habit of having Flame Shock on all of your targets anyway, so this one’s basically a free ranged crit on demand. Since I’m mentioning PvP in my leveling posts now as well, this is especially worth mentioning even if it’s not something you’re casting in every battle.

Grounding Totem is another great spell that further increases the Shaman’s varied tool set. It’s often dismissed as a PvP totem, for which it is fantastic (and is getting buffed, though the cooldown is getting nerfed), but it does have some solid usefulness in PvE as well. You’ll find more spell casters in dungeons than in just questing, but any time you’re up against casters you might as well utilize your get-out-of-target-free card.

Another one of my favorite spells for the Shaman is Far Sight, which many players simply dismiss. For PvE, yeah, it’s about half a step above worthless. But, it’s still both fun and useful. It’s biggest benefit is PvP, where you can scout areas at range. In Arathi Basin I like to defend the Mine while casting Far Sight on the top of the Blacksmith which gives me a clear view of the entire map, including Lumber Mill. In Warsong Gulch you can spy on the enemy base from the safety of your own (you need to be on the “outside” section between the tunnel and the roof to do this from “inside” the bases).

I love casting Far Sight in PvE to hunt rare spawns. The great thing about Far Sight is that you cast it on any area that you can see on your screen, but you can recast it to any point that you can see from the place you’re already looking at with Far Sight, so you can chain cast this to look at the entire continent. You can also use it to hunt vanity pets from raptor nests such as the Ravasaur Hatchling, Leaping Hatchling, and Darting Hatchling.

Level 40-49
It’s important to note that at level 40 you also gain the ability (finally) to wear Mail armor, and you’ll want to upgrade your gear as soon as possible as not only do you get more armor from Mail, but you’re also about to enter the level range where you get a buff to your primary stat (Agility) only if you’re wearing your class’s particular armor type in all slots, which happens to be Mail for Shamans.

  • Call of the Ancestors (40): Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem Bar. Can call different totems than Call of the Elements.
  • Mana Spring Totem (42): Summons a Mana Spring Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 5 min that restores 326 mana every 5 seconds to all party and raid members within 40 yards.
  • Wrath of Air Totem (44): Summons a Wrath of Air Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster. The totem provides 5% spell haste to all party and raid members within 40 yards. Lasts 5 min.

Call of the Ancestors is the same thing as Call of the Elements at level 30, except that it allows you to set a different group of the totems so you can work with the tools you need in any situation without a lot of time spent juggling them around. You’ll end up with four of these all together and that’s basically what they’re for. I like having one set up for general questing and dungeons and another for PvP.

As I’ve said before, mana isn’t a big deal for Enhancement, but Mana Spring Totem is worth mentioning because your totems are great buffs for your party and mana is one of the major obstacles for people to deal with in dungeon settings. This is my default Water Totem for that very reason. Wrath of Air Totem I mention for the same reason I do Mana Spring; you aren’t a caster but you’ll definitely end up with at least one in any dungeon or battleground that you go to.

There are a few other spells you get in this range as well, and while they are useful they aren’t that great for Enhancement. Chain Heal is the biggest potential exception there, but it’s not as good at this level as it will be in another 20 levels when you can cast it instantly.

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]

[EDIT: I had Primal Strike listed in the rotations instead of Stormstrike. Primal Strike is worthless once you have Stormstrike, so remove it from your bars and forget that it exists. The two share a cooldown, and Stormstrike out performs Primal Strike in every way.]

Questing Single Mob (no change from the 29 Guide)
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, unless you missed with the Flame Shock cast.

Questing Multi-Mob
Now that you can drop all four of your totems with a single cast I suggest you drop them as you rush into combat instead of planting them in advance as it just saves time. You can plant them ahead of time if you’d like, I just prefer doing it on the move. 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. Windfury procs will speed up your multi-mob combat speed a lot when it procs.

If you need to heal in these situations, go ahead and do so. 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.

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. 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.

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, Flametongue (2+ casters, Searing otherwise), 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 should probably lean towards 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. 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 Windfury Weapon on your main hand and can generate some very high burst threat.

Talent Spec: 49 Enhancement Shaman

  • Static Shock 3/3: When you use your Primal Strike, Stormstrike, or Lava Lash abilities while having Lightning Shield active, you have a 45% chance to deal damage equal to a Lightning Shield orb without consuming a charge.
  • Elemental Devastation 1/3: When you deal critical damage with a non-periodic spell, your chance to get a critical strike with melee attacks increases by 3% for 10 sec.
  • Searing Flames 3/3: Causes the Searing Bolts from your Searing Totem to have a 100% chance to set their targets aflame, dealing damage equal to the Searing Bolt’s impact damage over 15 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.
  • Elemental Devastation +2 (3/3): When you deal critical damage with a non-periodic spell, your chance to get a critical strike with melee attacks increases by 9% for 10 sec.
  • Unleashed Rage 1/2:
    Increases your expertise by 4, and increases all party and raid members’ attack power by 5% while within 100 yards of the Shaman.

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.

Static Shock is first on my list because I like to have more consistent DPS increases rather than relying on something like crit chance. While there’s only a 45% chance to proc the talent, that’s still much more consistent than a bit of crit chance. That being said, I do like Elemental Devastation for additional crit on my melee attacks when I crit with spells. With the Shaman’s hybrid melee/caster play style you’ll deal with a lot of opportunities to get this to proc. I suggest splitting the points you spend it though, because of this next talent.

Searing Flames is the reason why your Flame totem of choice is Searing Totem. It causes the totem to turn into a stacking DoT debuff. While level 49 opens you up to another key class/spec ability (Shamanistic Rage), I don’t feel that this one in particular needs to be rushed into as survivability is typically a non-issue while leveling and you don’t really have enough high-cost spells to need the mana benefits of it just yet. Instead I suggest you increase our DPS through Unleashed Rage as it not only gives you 5% more attack power (10% once you spend the other point in it), but it also reduces your chance to be avoided. Not only that, but it gives that benefit to your whole party/raid.

The Honorable Mention is a talent that I spent points in instead of topping off Elemental Devastation right away. It’s usually considered a PvP talent since it freezes people in place and gives extra buffs when using Frostbrand Weapon (the PvP imbue), but I really enjoy using it in PvE as well. I use it often when gathering to freeze mobs that would otherwise stop me from gathering, I use it to stop runners (though I could use a totem for that), and of course I do love using it in PvP as well. I like having types of control in my tool set for any class that I play, and this talent fits very well into my play style.

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. Finally I have Flame Shock listed though it’s important to note that it’s really only useful in LFG boss fights or in PvP as typical mobs and dungeon trash will not live long enough for even the normal duration to matter.

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. 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.

Fire Nova is probably the best investment if you’re looking to beef up your AoE ability in dungeons by increasing its radius and taking away the hassle of replanting your totems. Chain Lightning is one I haven’t used myself, but it deserves a mention for AoE if you enjoy it.

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.

Dungeon Gear
I got some good feedback from putting the dungeon drop list in the last post, so here’s one for this level range as well. Again, I’m not going to go into detail as far as which pieces to pair up from which dungeons to get a “best in slot” list, but I will give you a list of the items that if they dropped for me, I would consider rolling on if they were an upgrade to what I currently had.

A lot of the “good” lower level gear is tuned more towards Strength, which is still good though it’s not great. Agility is where it’s at, so don’t pass up an Agility piece for a Strength piece unless the value is at least twice that of the Agility piece.

Also remember that while Leather is still really good gear for you, you should try to upgrade all of your armor slots to Mail as soon as possible from level 40 on.

Scarlet Monastery: Graveyard
Bloody Brass Knuckles: Fist Weapon, +5 Agility, +5 Hit
Ebon Vise: Leather Gloves, +9 Agility, +6 Stamina, +6 Crit
Ironspine’s Eye: Ring, +9 Agility, +4 Crit
Ironspine’s Fist: 1H Mace, +3 Agility, +5 Stamina, +3 Hit
Ironspine’s Ribcage: Mail Chest, +8 Strength, +11 Stamina, +8 Crit
Gloves of the Pure: Leather Gloves, +5 Agility, +8 Stamina, +5 Hit

The Ebon Vise gloves drop from a rare spawn. Ironspine’s Eye also comes from a rare spawn, as does his Fist and Ribcage. Ironspine’s Fist isn’t the best weapon for us, as it’s a little bit fast, but at least it has both Agility and Hit. The Gloves of the Pure are a quest reward.

Scarlet Monastery: Library
Dog Training Gloves: Leather Gloves, +9 Agility, +6 Stamina, +6 Hit
Houndmaster’s Belt: Leather Belt, +6 Agility, +9 Stamina, +6 Crit

The Houndmaster’s Belt is a quest reward.

Scarlet Monastery: Armory
Herod’s Shoulder: Mail Shoulder, +11 Strength, +7 Stamina, +7 Crit
Raging Berserker’s Helmet: Mail Helm, +16 Strength, +5 Agility, +8 Crit
Herod’s Medallion: Neck, +5 Strength, +7 Stamina, +5 Hit
Cloak of the False Champion: Cloak, +5 Agility, +7 Stamina, +5 Crit

Herod’s Medallion, and the items listed below it, are all quest rewards, and they’re all from the same quest as well. Pick whichever item is the best upgrade for your current gear.

Scarlet Monastery: Cathedral
Branded Leather Bracers: Leather Bracer, +10 Agility, +6 Stamina
Gauntlets of Divinity: Mail Gloves, +13 Agility, +7 Stamina, +4 Hit
Hand of Righteousness: 1H Mace, +7 Intellect, +7 Spirit
Scarlet Leggings: Mail Legs, +20 Strength, +10 Stamina
Grasps of the Insane: Mail Gloves, +7 Strength, +11 Stamina, +7 Haste
Band of Grandiose Illusions: Ring, +5 Agility, +8 Stamina, +5 Crit

I mention the Hand of Righteousness only because if you don’t have access to heirlooms then despite the fact that the bonus stats on it kind of suck for your spec, the damage and speed on it aren’t too bad. While it’s definitely more of a caster weapon, if nobody needs it and it’s an upgrade for you, go ahead and take it.

The Grasps of the Insane and Band of Grandiose Illusions are both quest rewards from the same quest.

Razorfen Kraul
Ferine Leggings: Leather Legs, +15 Agility, +10 Stamina
Whisperwind Headdress: +8 Stamina, +15 Intellect, +5 Crit
Tusken Helmet: Mail Helm, +11 Agility, +11 Stamina, +11 Crit
Pronged Reaver: 1H Axe, +6 Agility, +4 Hit
Agamaggan’s Clutch: Ring, +6 Stamina, +6 Intellect, +6 Spirit
Monkey Ring: Ring, +8 Agility, +6 Crit
Agamaggan’s Silent Tear: Ring, +5 Agility, +8 Stamina, +5 Hit
Boots of the Noble Path: Mail Boots, +7 Strength, +11 Stamina, +7 Crit

The Ferine Leggings may be leather, but they have great stats on them. The Tusken Helm and Pronged Reaver are particularly great drops, assuming you don’t have heirlooms to fill those slots instead.

The Monkey Ring, and the items below it, are all quest rewards. The Ring is from one quest, the rest from another. Again, some are listed just as upgrades to slots that you might be struggling with, not necessarily because they’re “great” items.

Maraudon
Grovekeeper’s Drape: Cloak, +8 Agility, +5 Stamina, +5 Crit
Claw of Celebras: Off Hand Fist Weapon, Chance on hit: Poisons target for 9 Nature damage every 2 sec for 20 sec.
Albino Crocscale Boots: Leather Boots, +12 Agility, +6 Stamina, +4 Hit
Fungus Shroud Armor: Leather Chest, +17 Agility, +11 Stamina
Phytoskin Spaulders: Leather Shoulders, +12 Agility, +6 Stamina, +4 Hit
Bloomsprout Headpiece: Mail Helm, +15 Strength, +15 Stamina
Bracers of the Stone Princess: Mail Bracers, +8 Agility, +5 Stamina, +5 Hit
Elemental Rockridge Leggings: Mail Legs, +15 Strength, +10 Stamina, +10 Crit
Infernal Trickster Leggings: Mail Legs, +13 Agility, +9 Stamina, +9 Hit
Rockgrip Gauntlets: Mail Gloves, +11 Agility, +7 Stamina, +7 Crit
Fist of Stone: 1H Mace, Chance on hit: Restores 50 mana.
Blackstone Ring: Ring, +6 Strength, +6 Stamina, +6 Hit
Leggings of the Verdant Oasis: Leather Legs, +10 Agility, +15 Stamina, +10 Hit

The Leggings of the Verdant Oasis are a quest reward.

Uldaman
Oilskin Leggings: Leather Legs, +15 Agility, +15 Stamina
Revelosh’s Spaulders: Leather Shoulders, +10 Stamina, +Random Enchant
Rockshard Paulders: Leather Shoulders, +11 Agility, +8 Stamina, +8 Hit
Worn Running Boots: Leather Boots, +13 Agility, +9 Stamina
Cragfists: Mail Gloves, +8 Crit, +Random Enchant
Horned Viking Helmet: Mail Helm, +17 Strength, +17 Stamina, Use: Charge an enemy, knocking it silly for 30 seconds. Also knocks you down, stunning you for a short period of time. Any damage caused will revive the target. Chance to fizzle when used against targets over level 60. (30 Min Cooldown)
Ironaya’s Bracers: Mail Bracers, +Random Enchant
Revelosh’s Armguards: Mail Bracers, +8 Stamina, +Random Enchant
Revelosh’s Boots: Mail Boots, +10 Stamina, +Random Enchant
Galgann’s Firehammer: 1H Mace, +7 Stamina, Chance on hit: Blasts a target for 80 to 112 Fire damage.
Archaedic Stone: Ring, +50 Armor, +Random Enchant
Durdin’s Hammer: 1H Mace, +4 Agility, +7 Stamina, +4 Hit
Band of Uldaman: Ring, +9 Stamina, +6 Intellect, +6 Spirit

Uldaman is kind of cool in that a lot of the boss drops have random enchants. At the same time, it sucks for that very same reason. You’re looking for enchants with Agility or Attack Power, Intellect isn’t too bad, nor is Strength. Galgann’s Firehammer is a great weapon if you don’t have heirlooms; it’s just a big faster than optimum, but the damage proc can add up fast with Windfury Weapon procs as all four attacks can proc the extra damage.

The following items are Horde-only because the “bosses” they drop from are friendly to Alliance toons: Worn Running Boots, Horned Viking Helmet. I would love to get my hands on that helmet, and I might farm it with my Tauren just so I can have it. This item used to be Plate, but was switched to Mail in Cataclysm.

The last 2 items there are quest rewards.

Scholomance
Has an insane amount of gear in it. Since we’re getting into level 40 content, I’m only going to list Mail Armor from now on, even though there may be some really nice upgrades for you that are Leather. I’m also going to stop listing items that do not give a bonus to Agility, except for weapons, and special slots such as trinkets and relics.

If you want a full list of the items that drop, you can follow this link and search through them yourself.
Bloodmail Armor Set: Mail Belt, Boots, Gloves, Chest, Legs: +58 Agility, +58 Stamina, +34 Crit, +24 Hit
Bone Golem Shoulders: Mail Shoulders, +14 Agility, +10 Stamina
Shadowy Mail Greaves: Mail Boots, +10 Agility, +10 Stamina, +10 Haste
Windreaver Greaves: Mail Boots, +14 Agility, +10 Hit
Iceblade Hacker: 1H Axe, +7 Agility, +7 Crit
Bonechill Hammer: 1H Mace, Chance on hit: Blasts a target for 90 Frost damage.
Hammer of the Vesper: 1H Mace, +7 Strength, +7 Stamina
Libram of Divinity: Relic, +4 Stamina, +4 Intellect, +4 Spirit, 1 Prismatic Gem Slot
Totem of Sustaining: Relic, +4 Stamina, +4 Intellect, +4 Spirit, 1 Prismatic Gem Slot
Discipline Rod: 1H Mace, +5 Strength, +7 Stamina, +5 Hit
Shackles of Punishment: Mail Bracers, +6 Agility, +9 Stamina, +6 Crit

Of particular note are the Libram of Divinity and Totem of Sustaining as they are both Relics which you’ve likely not had access to up to this point, nor will you likely have access to another for quite some time. They also have a gem slot which can give you even more stats, though depending on which gem you put in you may not be able to benefit from the extra stats for quite a while.

You can use up to a Delicate Cardinal Ruby in this relic for +20 Agility, or if you can’t find/make/afford one then you can go with a Delicate Scarlet Ruby for +16 Agility instead. There are also lesser versions that will cost less gold on the AH (and give you less Agility), but those are the top two you’re looking for and they should be easy to find since people are still using them in some of their Cataclysm gear.

You may also consider using one of these Hit Gems since dual wielding requires more Hit, or you may even want to consider one of these Intellect Gems to increase the damage and crit rate of your spells as well as the size of your mana pool. Being able to use up to Wrath level gems in a level 40 item is pretty fantastic.

The last two items are quest rewards.

Razorfen Downs
Boar Champion’s Belt: Mail Belt, +13 Agility, +8 Stamina, +8 Crit
Koriastrasza’s Amulet: Neck, +7 Agility, +10 Stamina, +7 Hit

The Amulet is a quest reward.

Dire Maul
Dire Maul has even more loot in it than Scholomance does, and that’s saying something. Again, I’m going to leave out all non-Mail gear and all non-Agility gear save for Weapons and other exceptional non-armor pieces.
Evil Eye Pendant: Neck, +11 Agility, +5 Hit, +4 Crit
Fluctuating Cloak: Cloak, +7 Agility, +7 Stamina, +7 Haste, +4 HP/5 seconds
Jagged Bone Fist: 1H Fist Weapon, +6 Agility, +6 Stamina, +6 Crit
Demon Howl Wristguards: Mail Bracers, +7 Agility, +7 Stamina, +7 Crit
Gauntlets of Accuracy: Mail Gloves, +14 Agility, +10 Hit
Leggings of Destruction: Mail Legs, +15 Agility, +15 Stamina, +15 Crit
Odious Greaves: Mail Boots, +10 Agility, +10 Stamina, +10 Haste
Ogre Forged Hauberk: Mail Chest, +21 Agility, +9 Stamina, +9 Crit
Warpwood Binding: Mail Belt, +10 Agility, +10 Stamina, +10 Crit
Well Balanced Axe: 1H Axe, +7 Agility, +7 Stamina
Hammer of Revitalization Main Hand Mace, +5 Stamina, +12 Intellect
Ring of Demonic Potency: Ring, +7 Agility, +7 Stamina, +7 Crit
Tarnished Elven Ring: Ring, +12 Agility, +8 Hit
Counterattack Lodestone: Trinket, +14 Strength, +14 parry
Dire Maul: 1H Mace, +5 Agility, +7 Stamina, +5 Haste

The Hammer of Revitalization gets a special mention because of its damage. It doesn’t give us the best stats, but that 12 Intellect is still pretty good and the damage is higher than the other weapons listed here.

The Counterattack Lodestone should go to a tank, of course, but if they don’t want it then you might as well take it as you’re not likely to have anything especially better.

The Dire Maul is a quest reward.

Zul’Farrak
Ripsaw: 1H Axe, Chance on hit: Wounds the target for 75 damage.
The Hand of Antu’sul: 1H Mace, Chance on hit: Blasts nearby enemies with thunder increasing the time between their attacks by 11% for 10 sec and doing 7 Nature damage to them. Will affect up to 4 targets.

The Hand of Antu’sul is a great weapon. It doesn’t have any stats on it, but it has solid damage and the proc on it has no cooldown, meaning when you dual wield them you can have several back-to-back procs off of all of your attacks and all of your Windfury-procced attacks as well, turning you into quite the low level AoE melee machine.

Stratholme
Here’s another instance with a huge loot table, so again I’m skipping non-Mail, non-Agility Armors, but including any good weapons or otherwise exceptional pieces of gear.
Cape of the Black Barron: Cloak, +9 Agility, +9 Stamina, +9 Haste
Stoneskin Gargoyle Cape: Cloak, +9 Agility, +9 Stamina, +9 Haste
Gargoyle Shredder Talons: Off Hand Fist Weapon, Chance on hit: Wounds the target causing them to bleed for 110 damage over 30 sec.
Willey’s Back Scratcher: Main Hand Fist Weapon, +6 Agility, +6 Stamina, +6 Crit
Beaststalker’s Boots: Mail Boots, +14 Agility, +23 Stamina
Crown of Tyranny: Mail Helm, +14 Agility, +14 Stamina, +14 Crit
Gauntlets of Deftness: Mail Gloves, +17 Agility, +8 Stamina, +8 Hit
Timmy’s Galoshes: Mail Boots, +11 Agility, +11 Stamina, +11 Haste
Darkspinner Claws: Mail Gloves, +9 Agility, +9 Stamina, +13 Nature Resist, +13 Shadow Resist, +9 Crit
Bone Slicing Hatchet: 1H Axe, +9 Agility, +6 Stamina, +6 Crit
Soul Breaker: 1H Axe, Chance on hit: Target enemy loses 12 health and mana every 3 sec for 30 sec.
The Cruel Hand of Timmy: 1H Mace, Chance on hit: Lowers all attributes of target by 15 for 1 min.
Idol of Brutality: Relic, +5 Agility, +5 Stamina, +5 Dodge
Ramstein’s Lightning Bolts: Trinket, +8 Hit, Use: Harness the power of lightning to strike down all enemies around you for 200 Nature damage. (5 Min Cooldown)
Balnazzar’s Hide: Cloak, +7 Agility, +10 Stamina, +7 Hit
Idol of the Paragon: Relic, +5 Agility, +5 Stamina, +5 Hit , +1 Prismatic Gem Socket
Book of the Paragon: Relic, +5 Stamina, +5 Intellect, +5 Haste, +1 Prismatic Gem Socket
Relic of the Paragon: Relic, +5 Stamina, +5 Dodge, +5 Hit, +1 Prismatic Gem Socket
Statue of the Paragon: Relic, +5 Strength, +5 Stamina, +5 Crit, +1 Prismatic Gem Socket

Balnazzar’s Hide is a quest reward, as are the four relics at the end of that list. With a sure way to get your hands on an early relic, I highly suggest you run Strath once you reach the level required to get one (Idol is the one you want, btw). Slap a Wrath level gem in that sucker for +20 Agility, +20 Hit, +20 Intellect or anything else you please.

I mention the Lightning Bolts trinket primarily because it’s additional Hit, but also because it has an AoE Lightning effect which just screams Shaman while also being interesting.

PvP Rewards
Sentinel’s Medallion: Neck, +12 Agility, +8 Stamina (45 Honor)
Highlander’s Chain Greaves: Mail Boots, +8 Agility, +17 Stamina, +8 Crit, +8% Run Speed (70 Honor)
Highlander’s Chain Girdle: Mail Belt, +10 Agility, +8 Stamina, +14 Crit (70 Honor)
Protector’s Band: Ring, +10 Strength, +9 Agility, +6 Stamina (45 Honor)

These are all the Alliance versions of the items, but there are links to the Horde version on each page.

 

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Shaman Leveling: 1-29 Enhancement

The first class I ever really tried to get into on my own was the Shaman. My first toon was a Hunter that I got to level 20, but I had no idea what I was doing and just shot things in the face until they either died or closed into melee range with me. But the Shaman was the first class that I ever did any research on to try to learn how to play it and play it well. In looking at the class my first impressions were to be Elemental or Resto because casting just seemed so much more powerful than melee back in the day, but then I eventually found out the insane burst damage of Windfury and I was sold.

I’ve leveled up a few Enhancement Shamans in my time, though none of them ever reached max level. My highest level Shaman to date was level 54, an Orc Enhancement Shaman named Belgawrath. But during Wrath my wife’s main was an Enhancement Shaman so I’m continually reading guides and blog posts about the class and spec so that I can pass on all of the important information to her.

But now the time comes once again for me to level my own, but this time I’m going all the way to 85.


Playing an Enhancement Shaman
Enhancement Shamans are a great example of a hybrid class that has a truly hybrid playstyle as well. You’re a dual wielding melee class that deals a large portion of your damage as magic damage rather than just melee. Being tied so closely to the elements also means that you have a lot of flavor in the magic that you use as well, and though it’s all elemental, it’s not all tied to a specific element.

Of the dual wielding classes you’re more closely related to the Death Knight, in my opinion, than any other. Rather than weaving diseases into your melee, you’re instead weaving bursts of elemental damage, and rather than summoning the dead for aid you call on the spirit of wolves. You’re not a sneaky Rogue, or a pansy Hunter afraid of getting hit. You might be similar to a Fury Warrior, but I’ve honestly never played one of those beyond level 14 so I can’t say from experience.

Of all the characters I’ve ever played, the Shaman gives me the strongest feeling of actually “being there” in combat. All Shamans are able to take on the form of a Ghost Wolf, but only Enhancement (early on at least) can do so instantly, and I absolutely love turning into a wolf, charging towards an opponent and unleashing my fury on them, then instantly dropping back into wolf form to charge down the next target. It might not do much for you, but I’m a huge fan.

Shamans also come with a very special class mechanic that is all their own: Totems. Totems work similar to the party/raid-wide buffs of other classes, but rather than being cast on players they are instead centered around a totem that is placed on the ground. When the totems are active, they grant their buff to a wide area. Most totems work in that fashion, providing buffs of one kind or another, but there are others that deal/heal damage or summon elemental pets for their duration as well. We’ll get into the specifics a little bit later for those you’ll actually use as Enhancement, but it deserved a mention here.

Shamans also have another special class mechanic which is their Shields. Shamans have three different Shield spells, with Lightning Shield and Water Shield available to all specs, and Earth Shield available only to Restoration Shamans. Each of these shields is built around a “charges” mechanic that has a specific effect whenever a charge is triggered to be used. Lightning Shield deals damage, Water Shield restores mana, and Earth Shield heals the target when they get hit. More on those later as well.

Enhancement-Specific Tips
As Enhancement you don’t use a whole lot of your mana during combat, and what you do use you’ll typically regenerate through your class abilities anyway. You still cast spells very frequently, but you typically don’t have to worry too much about mana. As a melee class though, you are a bit more “squishy” than many other melee classes because you only wear Leather armor until level 40 where you upgrade to Mail. But remember that Shamans are also healers, and because you’re not spending much of your mana it’s usually not a problem for you to stop the offense for the sake of casting a healing spell on yourself.

As a DPS spec you’ll typically want to use Lightning Shield to deal additional damage whenever an enemy hits you with an attack. At later levels you may occasionally switch to Water Shield instead to be sure you have adequate mana. In this level range, Lightning Shield is a passive DPS spell, dealing damage only when you’re attacked, but at higher levels you’ll also be able to trigger the charges of Lightning Shield with your attacks.

Remember that Shamans are a partially hybrid class with a very hybrid playstyle. You’re meant to be able to heal while you’re in your DPS spec, so do so. You’re not supposed to be “the healer”, but you are designed to be able to toss those heals out there when they’re needed. Shamans can be very “squishy”, taking a lot of damage in a short time, but we also pack some very efficient healing to get us through those times. At these low levels your healing spells will nearly restore you to full in a single cast. You can take that one of two ways: either you can heal in the middle of combat to be sure to make it to the end, or you can push yourself and your damage potential to be able to destroy your enemies quickly and efficiently, and then heal yourself back up to full at the end of combat.

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.
  • 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(?).
  • Searing Totem (10): This totem repeatedly attacks an enemy within 20 yards for fire damage. The totem will prefer to target enemies that are afflicted by your Flame Shock or Stormstrike effects. Lasts for 1 minute.

Lightning Bolt is the ability you start off with, and what you’ll be spamming for a few levels in order to kill things quickly. As you get higher in level you’ll cast this less and less until you final get a talent that allows you to cast it instantly, but that won’t happen in this level range. Primal Strike is going to be one of your best friends in this level bracket as one of the few melee attacks you have access to. If you’re in melee range then you want to use Primal Strike whenever it’s not on cooldown.

Strength of Earth Totem is your primary Earth totem now and forever. It provides both Strength and Agility to your group, both of which contribute to your primary damage stat Attack Power. I couldn’t find the exact amount that it grants you at level 29 and neither of my shamans right now is the right level to test it to see. 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.

At level eight you receive Lightning Shield which is one of your primary buffs as it passively deals damage to anyone attacking you. Keeping this buff active is a bit of a pain until level 25 at which time you can add a glyph that prevents the orbs from being expended and instead turns it into a flat 10 minute buff. Flametongue Weapon is one of our most important weapon imbues at at level 10 you’ll have it on both of your weapons. 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.

Last up on the 1-10 list is Searing Totem which is your primary Fire totem for the rest of the game. It deals decent damage for now that will increase a lot more as you get higher in level and spend talent points to enhance its effect.

By choosing Enhancement as your specialization at level 10 you receive all of the following:
Lava Lash: You charge your off-hand weapon with lava, instantly dealing 200% of that weapon’s damage to an enemy target. Damage is increased by 40% if your off-hand weapon is enchanted with Flametongue.
Mental Quickness: Increases your spell power by an amount equal to 50% of your attack power, and reduces the mana cost of your instant beneficial, damaging, and totem spells by 75%.
Dual Wield: Allows one-hand and off-hand weapons to be equipped in your off-hand, allows you to parry frontal melee attacks, and increases your chance to hit by an additional 6%.
Primal Wisdom: Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to immediately restore 5% of your base mana.
Master: Enhanced Elements: Increases all Fire, Frost, and Nature damage done by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 2.5%.

Lava Lash is one of our signature attacks, one that you’ll use very frequently and will be a big contribution to your overall damage. Mental Quickness is how our spell damage remains viable as a melee class that weaves spell damage into most of what we do, and it reduces spell costs by a 75% which is how we manage to cast spells as a class that doesn’t stack Intellect.

Dual Wield is another signature of our spec, allowing us to wield two weapons at once, and it’s one of the reasons I love playing this class as much as I do. Primal Wisdom relates to Mental Quickness up above, providing us with the means to regenerate our mana through melee combat so that we can continue casting spells even with a relatively small mana pool.

Enhanced Master doesn’t actually turn on until level 80, but it’s a big boost to damage once you do get access to it.

Level 11-20

  • 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.
  • Purge (12): Purges the enemy target, removing 1 beneficial Magic effect.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Flametongue Totem is great for spell casters, but not a huge benefit to us as Enhancement. When I’m grouped with two or more casters I usually use this one instead of Searing Totem to benefit the group more. Flame Shock is our other bread and butter shock that we’ll use all the time. Flame Shock is best used on targets with large health pools, such as dungeon bosses, so that it will be active for the 18 seconds it takes for its full damage to take its place.

I decided to list Purge here as an offensive dispel, which I don’t often do. For the most part you’ll cast this in PvP to remove buffs from enemy targets, but there are some buffs you’ll want to remove in PvE as well. Since PvP is definitely a viable option for leveling your characters now, you’re going to see me mentioning things like this more than I used to. 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.

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 you haven’t generated threat against to cause them to stop attacking you. 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. Even though you’re playing a DPS spec it’s good practice to be in the habit of dispelling Curses as you can save your healers time and mana.

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. Water Shield is the alternative to Lightning Shield, but not typically used by Enhancement. If you do find yourself in need of mana then you can certainly switch to Water Shield to get it back faster. I often switch to this shield in LFG in my upper-20’s as I start using more of our mana-intensive spells for AoE damage, but for soloing and questing I stick to Lightning Shield.

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.
  • Frostbrand Weapon (26): Imbue the Shaman’s weapon with frost. Each hit has a chance of causing additional Frost damage and slowing the target’s movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds. Lasts 30 minutes.
  • 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. Slowing targets is a pretty big deal in a lot of PvP matches and talent points can be spent to make it freeze your target in place instead of just slowing them as well. In PvE it’s really only useful if you need to stop runners; Earth and Flame Shocks are more useful in PvE.

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. Frostbrand Weapon is one you’ll only use in PvP as all of the other imbues offer better damage, but in PvP this can be a really good enchant to roll with.

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 our Fire totems. Searing Totem is our primary Fire totem when soloing, but it doesn’t allow Fire Nova to be cast through it, so you’ll need to remember to plant the right totems to use it, and the nova is centered on the totem itself, so you’ll need to drop your totem near your targets for it to be useful.

Leveling an Enhancement Shaman

  • Questing Single Mob: Earth Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock
  • Questing Multi-Mob: (Totems), Flame Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, (swap targets), Lava Lash, Flame Shock
  • LFG Trash Rotation: (Totems), Earth Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]
  • LFG Boss Rotations: (Totems), Flame Shock, Primal Strike/Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]

[NOTE: At level 29 you should replace Primal Strike with Stormstrike. Remove PS from your bars completely and forget that it exists. The two share a cooldown and are designed such that Stormstrike takes its place for Enhancement. Stormstrike is a better ability in every possible way and should be used from level 29 on.]

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, unless you missed with the Flame Shock cast.

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.

I don’t suggest you intentionally get into combat with multiple targets as Enhancement unless you’re using heirlooms or are over-geared for the mobs you’re facing. Shamans have some good healing spells and a lot of utility, but they’re also pretty easily killed in this level range if you’re taking sustained damage.

If you do have good gear and decent survivability though, I suggest you go with this 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.

If you need to heal in these situations, go ahead and do so. 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.

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 (LOOKING AT YOU, WAILING CAVERNS DRUIDS!!!) then be sure to make use of Wind Shear when they’re casting the spell you don’t want to go through.

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, Flametongue, Healing Stream

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 should probably lean towards 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.

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 judgement.

Talent Spec: 29 Enhancement Shaman

  • Focused Strikes 3/3: Increases the damage dealt by your Primal Strike and Stormstrike abilities by 45%.
  • Elemental Weapons 2/2: Increases the passive bonuses granted by your Flametongue Weapon and Earthliving Weapon abilities by 40%, the damage of your extra attacks from Windfury Weapon by 40%, and the effectiveness of the ongoing benefits of your Unleash Elements ability by 50%.
  • Ancestral Swiftness 2/2: Reduces the cast time of your Ghost Wolf spell by 2 seconds and increases the movement speed by 15%. This does not stack with other movement speed increasing effects.
  • Flurry 3/3: Increases your attack speed by 30% for your next 3 swings after dealing a critical strike.
  • Stormstrike 1/1: [Instant cast, 8 second cooldown] Instantly strike an enemy with both weapons, dealing 125% weapon damage and granting you an additional 25% chance to critically strike the enemy with your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lightning Shield, and Earth Shock spells for 15 seconds.

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 Stormstike, though you don’t get that spell until level 29, as the bonus crit can be useful. Finally I have Flame Shock listed though it’s important to note that it’s really only useful in LFG boss fights or in PvP as typical mobs and dungeon trash will not live long enough for even the normal duration to matter.

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. 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 suggest Ghost Wolf above this one.

Fire Nova is probably the best investment if you’re looking to beef up your AoE ability in dungeons by increasing its radius and taking away the hassle of replanting your totems. Chain Lightning is one I haven’t used myself, but it deserves a mention for AoE if you enjoy it.

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
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.

Dungeon Gear
There are a lot of good pieces of gear that you can find in low level dungeons, some of them pretty decent and some rather outstanding. I’m not going to go into detail as far as which pieces to pair up from which dungeons to get a “best in slot” list, but I will give you a list of the items that if they dropped for me, I would consider rolling on if they were an upgrade to what I currently had.

A lot of the “good” lower level gear is tuned more towards Strength, which is still good though it’s not great. Agility is where it’s at, so don’t pass up an Agility piece for a Strength piece unless the value is at least twice that of the Agility piece.

Ragefire Chasm
Oggleflint’s Inspirer: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 3 Crit
Subterranean Cap: Cloak, 4 Strength, 4 Agility
Hide Vest of the Hungerer: Chest, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

The Hide Vest is a quest reward available to Horde only.

The Deadmines
Defias Leather Set: 5 piece Leather armor set (Belt, BOots, Gloves, Legs, Chest)
Cape of the Brotherhood: Cloak, 5 Agility, 3 Stamina
Smelting Pants: Legs, 8 Agility, 4 Stamina, 4 Crit
Smite’s Reaver: One-handed Axe, 2 Strength, 3 Stamina, 2 Hit
Cookie’s Tenderizer: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 2 Stamina, 2 Hit
Cookie’s Meat Mallet: One-handed Mace, 3 Strength, 3 Stamina
Cookie’s Table Cloth: Cloak, 3 Agility, 3 Stamina

The last two items are both quest rewards, but the same quest and rewards exist for both factions.

The Defias Leather set is a great set to have, unfortunately the Chest is no longer available in the game now that Cataclysm has replaced the final boss. The four remaining pieces are still very good, but they all have low drop rates. The good thing about this set though, is that it’s all BoE so you do have a chance of finding it on the auction house.

Wailing Caverns
Glowing Lizardscale Cloak: Cloak, 6 Agility, 2 Stamina
Embrace of the Viper Set: 5 piece Leather armor set (Belt, Boots, Gloves, Legs, Chest)
Cobrahn’s Boots: Boots, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

Cobrahn’s Boots are a quest reward, available to both factions. The Embrace of the Viper set is an example of the exceptional armor. Unlike the Defias Leathers from Deadmines, all but one of the pieces from the Embrace set are BoP, so you’ll have to farm all but the Gloves yourself if you want them, but the drop rates are significantly higher than the Defias set.

Shadowfang Keep
Wolfmaster Cape: Cloak, 5 Agility, 3 Stamina
Silverlaine’s Family Seal: Ring, 5 Strength, 3 Stamina
Butcher’s Cleaver: One-handed Axe, 3 Agility, 3 Stamina
Baron’s Scepter: On-handed Mace, 2 Strength, 3 Stamina, 2 Hit
Black Wolf Bracers: Wrists, 3 Agility, 4 Stamina, 3 Crit
Shadowfang Spaulders: Shoulders, 4 Agility, 5 Stamina, 4 Crit

Blackfathom Deeps
Naga Battle Gloves: Gloves, 7 Agility, 7 Stamina
Bands of Serra’kis: Bracers, 5 Agility, 5 Stamina
Dusk-Stained Cloak: Cloak, 5 Strength, 5 Stamina
Band of the Skull Crusher: Ring, 7 Strength
Aluwyn’s Legguards: Legs, 8 Agility, 10 Stamina

The last three items are all Alliance-only quest rewards.

The Naga Battle Gloves have a pretty high drop rate, so if you haven’t scored better gloves then these are a really good and pretty easily obtained option.

The Stockades
Hogger’s Trousers: Legs, 9 Agility, 9 Hit
Standard Issue Prisoner Shoes: Boots, 8 Agility, 5 Stamina
Rifle Commander’s Eyepatch: Helm, 8 Agility, 11 Stamina, 8 Hit

These are all really great items, especially the legs and helm. As a dual wielding class Hit rating is important because you take a penalty for wielding two weapons, and both of these pack a great amount of Hit as well as exceptional Agility and Stamina.

Gnomeregan
Charged Gear: Ring, 4 Arcane Resist, 4 Nature Resist, (Random Enchant)
Temple’s Vest: Chest, 7 Agility, 11 Stamina, 7 Crit

Temple’s Vest is an Alliance-only quest reward.

The Charged gear by itself looks pretty crappy, I know. But, the random enchant on it can be exceptional. You’re looking for “Charged Gear of..”: the Tiger (7 Agi, 7 Str), the Falcon (7 Agi, 7 Int), the Monkey (7 Agi, 7 Stam), Agility (10 Agi), or Strength (10 Str). I listed those in the order I would personally rank them, with “..of the Tiger” coming out on top as it provides a total of 21 Attack Power.

PvP Rewards
Sentinel’s Medallion: Neck, 8 Agility, 5 Stamina
Defiler’s Chain Greaves: Boots, 8 Agility, 8 Stamina, Increased Run Speed

Both of these items can be purchased with Honor, and you can get all the honor you need for them in about 2-3 Battlegrounds worth of fighting. The run speed on the boots is particularly worth looking into, even if the stats themselves aren’t as great as other boots you might already have.

There are two versions of the necklace, one for each faction. There are also multiple copies of them for different level ranges, so you can also get one of these for other level ranges, including level 19. You’ll have to travel to Ashenvale to purchase this as Alliance, and Northern Barrens as Horde since they are sold by the Warsong Gulch vendors.

The Boots come in multiple names as well as two versions of each for their respective factions. They also come in multiple level ranges just like the necklace, so you can keep coming back at different level ranges for definite upgrades, though you can’t get them for lower than the 29 bracket. To purchase these you’ll have to travel to Arathi Highlands for both factions, as the Arathi Basin vendors are the ones who sell them.

 

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Glowbie’s Healing Basics

When it comes to WoW blogging there’s nothing I appreciate more than a very well written guide that takes the time to go into detail and explain things to people without making the blanket assumption that you already know what you’re doing and what they’re talking about.

Today Glowbie did just that with a fantastic guide on Druid healing that’s specifically aimed at those people who are brand new to Druid healing or who are considering getting into it and need a solid place to get started.

If you’d like to learn how to heal on your Druid, or would like to pick up some tips from another Druid healer, then go on over and take a look at

Healing Basics.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Caster, Class, Druid

 

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Priest Leveling: 70-85 Shadow

If you’re just getting started on a Shadow Priest of your own, or considering one, then I suggest you take a look at the previous guides applicable to your level:
Priest Leveling: 1-29 Shadow
Priest Leveling: 30-49 Shadow
Priest Leveling: 50-69 Shadow

Playing a Shadow Priest
You’re going to find a couple of changes to how you play a Shadow Priest in this level range. The first thing is that you actually get an AoE spell at level 74. It’s not great, but it is useful if you’re in an AoE situation and you’ve already got your DoT’s spread around. The second change is that once you hit 81 you get a new spell that completely changes how you quest, called Mind Spike. I’ll get into the specifics of it down below, but for now just know that you have two methods of leveling through Cataclysm content at that point – DoT’s or Nukes.

We still run out of mana easily, but we also still have a lot of tools for getting that mana back. As we spend talent points in the Discipline tree we get even more ways to manage our mana successfully while also increasing our performance. Again, more on that down below.

Shadow-Specific Tips
Playing a Shadow Priest even at level 85 shares a lot of similarities to other classes. We’re part Warlock, part Mage, part (healer of choice), and 100% face melt. We have multiple play styles within a single spec, have excellent survivability spells, we heal while we kill, and we’re just plain fun to play.

The tips for playing Shadow in particular remain mostly the same. Finish off every mob that you can with Shadow Word: Death casts to trigger the mana regeneration from your talent points and glyphs, as that is the most common form of replenishing our mana. Speaking of replenishment, make sure you follow a rotation that allows you to take advantage of other forms of mana return, such as the Replenishment effect you get from casting Mind Blast on a target that already has your Vampiric Touch debuff active.

If you step away from your DoT rotation after level 81 and switch over to Mind Spike and Mind Blast, remember that you can still take advantage of your mana regenerating abilities, including Replenishment from Vampiric Touch and Mind Blast. Also remember that if you’re using the direct damage route rather than DoT’s, you’ll often encounter mobs while questing that die from the direct damage crits before you can trigger SW:Death returns so you might consider dropping back to a DoT rotation for a single mob now and then just to trigger those returns.

No matter which rotation you tend to use the most when you’re soloing or fighting dungeon trash, remember to stay flexible for the situation you’re in.

Mana Issues
Shadow Priests have mana issues no matter what level you are. The higher you get in level though, the more tools you get to manage your mana and restore it so that it’s less and less of an issue for you, but it’s not so much that the mana issues go away as it is you learning how to deal with them and get around them so that they no longer hinder your performance.

The following are your tools for managing your mana.

Vampiric Touch: Causes up to 10 party/raid members to regain 10% of their mana over 10 seconds if you cast Mind Blast on a target that’s inflicted with Vampiric Touch. Vampiric Touch itself has no cooldown, but the trigger for the replenishment effect (Mind Blast) has a default cooldown of 8 seconds which can be reduced to 6 seconds by spending 3 talent points in the Improved Mind Blast talent.

Shadow Word: Death: By itself does nothing for mana returns, however 2 talent points in the Masochism talent causes you to regain 10% of your mana instantly if you cast SW:Death and do not kill the target. The Glyph of Spirit Tap causes you to regain 12% of your mana over 12 seconds when you do kill a target with SW:Death. Default cooldown is 10 seconds, but the Glyph of Shadow Word: Death causes the cooldown to instantly refresh if you cast it on a target below 25% health if it doesn’t kill them which allows you to double-dip either Masochism for 20% mana instantly if they don’t die from both casts, or Masochism + Glyph of Spirit Tap for 10% mana instantly plus 12% mana over 12 seconds.

Dispersion: The keystone of the Shadow Talent tree, this ability restores 6% of your mana every second for 6 seconds, a total of 36% mana returned. Default cooldown is 2 minutes, but can be reduced to 75 seconds by use of the Glyph of Dispersion.

Shadowfiend: A summoned pet which restores 3% of your mana every time it attacks. Over it’s 15 second duration it averages around 10 attacks if it’s not killed or CC’ed in some manner, resulting in up to 30% mana return. Default cooldown is 5 minutes which can be reduced to 4 minutes with 2 talent points in Veiled Shadows, and 2 talent points in Sin and Punishment reduces the current cooldown by 10 seconds every time your Mind Flay crits.

Archangel: From the Discipline tree restores up to 25% of your mana instantly when you use it. In order to use Archangel you have to build stacks of Evangelism which you do by casting Mind Flay, resulting in 1 stack each time Mind Flay deals damage up to a maximum of 5 stacks, and each stack results in 5% mana returned by Archangel. Cooldown is 90 seconds.

Hymn of Hope: A channeled spell that restores 2% mana to up to 3 targets low on mana, ever 2 seconds for 8 seconds. It also increases the targets’ mana pools by 15% for 8 seconds (this effect is refreshed each time it ticks, so it lasts even after the channel). Cooldown is 6 minutes.

All of these effects allow you to replenish your mana at varying rates and amounts. Combined with one another they provide a vast amount of mana regen, enough even to go from 0 to full in a matter of seconds. One of the most effective ways to get your mana back if you need a large amount is to cast summon your Shadowfiend, channel Hymn of Hope, and then drop into Dispersion. Hymn of Hope’s 15% buff to your maximum mana means that the percentages of mana restored by Shadowfiend and Dispersion restore more per hit/tick than they would otherwise.

If you need some mana and you need it quick, toss a SW:Death cast on anything you can find that it won’t kill to regain 10% from the Masochism talent, follow that with two casts of Mind Flay to get 5 stacks of Evangelism and then pop Archangel for 25% mana instantly. That amount of mana should be enough to get you back on your feet and into a rotation that will restore even more mana if needed.

Important Spells & Abilities

  • Mass Dispel (72): Dispels magic in a 15 yard radius, removing 1 harmful spells from each friendly target and 1 beneficial spells from each enemy target. Affects a maximum of 10 friendly targets and 10 enemy targets. This dispel is potent enough to remove Magic effects that are normally undispellable.
  • Mind Sear (74): Causes an explosion of shadow magic around the target, causing 104 to 112 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all enemies within 10 yards around the target.
  • Mastery: Shadow Orb Power (80): Increases the damage done by your Shadow Orbs by 11.6%. Each point of Mastery increases damage by an additional 1.4%.
  • Mind Spike (81): Blasts the target for 1083 to 1143 Shadowfrost damage, but extinguishes your shadow damage-over-time effects from the target in the process. Mind Spike also increases the critical strike chance of your next Mind Blast on the target by 30%. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Inner Will (83): A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, reducing the mana cost of instant cast spells by 15% and increasing your movement speed by 10%. Lasts 30 min.
  • Leap of Faith (85): You pull the spirit of the friendly party or raid target to you, instantly moving them directly in front of you.

Mass Dispel is a great spell to have, but one you probably won’t be casting very often unless the task is assigned to you in a raid or instance that has large scale AoE debuffs. I use it it PvP quite a bit, but basically never in PvE up to this point.

Mind Sear is our only Shadow AoE. It’s damage isn’t all that great, but it’s still a good option when you’ve got several mobs you want to damage at once when you’re in a group. The cool thing about it is that you can cast this on a friendly target because it doesn’t do anything to the actual target, instead it deals damage to everything around the target while you channel it. The bad thing is, it doesn’t deal damage to the target, so if you did cast it on a mob that mob doesn’t take damage from Mind Sear.

At level 80 we unlock our Mastery: Shadow Orb Power which gives us additional damage on our Shadow Orbs based on our Mastery stat. Our Mastery is pretty good, but I’ll leave it up to the experts to tell you how good and why.

Mind Spike is the spell that changes how we play, if we decide to use it. It’s a direct damage “nuke” spell that removes all of our DoT’s from the target with no benefit of doing so (unless you need to clear DoT’s off of a raid boss or something). It also puts a stacking debuff on the target that grants +30% Crit Chance to our next Mind Blast spell on the target, to a max of +90%. You now have the option of burning targets down with direct damage rather than waiting on your DoT’s to tick. I find the smoothest flow of questing is to use a combination of these two of different mobs I face at the same time, typically finishing my DoT target with SW:Death casts as the direct damage route often kills the mobs outright so that I can’t use SW:Death for mana regen.

Level 83 adds a new buff called Inner Will which gives a 10% movement buff it cuts the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 15%. Sadly you can’t have Inner Will and Inner Focus active at the same time, so I tend to use Inner Focus for the extra spellpower. It’s a good buff though, and one that I do take advantage of in certain PvP fights.

And our reward for reaching level 85 is Leap of Faith, more commonly known as “Life Grip”. It works just like the Death Knight spell Death Grip (hence the nickname), except that you cast it on your allies rather than your enemies. Its uses are endless, though most of them are mischievous. Just to point it out for the sake of completion, Leap of Faith is a Holy spell and it will take you out of Shadowform if you cast it.

Leveling a Shadow Priest

  • DoT Rotation: Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Shadow Word:Pain, Devouring Plague, Mind Flay, Shadow Word:Death
  • Same old DoT rotation we’ve been using. In Wrath content you probably don’t need the Devouring Plague cast in there, but it will help you while you’re leveling through Cataclysm. Sometimes I use it while questing, sometimes I don’t so just figure out which method you prefer and go with it.

    After level 81 I rarely bother with the DoT rotation while I’m soloing because it’s just faster to kill things with the direct damage.

  • Direct Damage Rotation: Mind Spike, Mind Spike, Mind Spike, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, (Mind Flay if 30% health or higher), SW:Death
  • This is the rotation I end up using the most right now. I sneak a Vampiric Touch cast in before my Mind Blast so that I trigger Replenishment just in case the direct damage spells are enough to kill the target before I can SW:Death.

    If you’re running low on mana and you’ve already spent talent points in Evangelism and Archangel, then I suggest you go ahead and skip SW:Death on the end and instead cast a second Mind Flay to build up your 5 stack of Evangelism. Once you have that 5th stack go ahead and cast SW:Death if the target isn’t already dead, but don’t worry about it if they die during the Mind Flays. Once you have the 5 stack go ahead and pop Archangel for 25% of your mana instantly returned. You also get a 20% damage buff to your direct damage Shadow spells while it’s active so just keep right on killing things while you’ve got your wings.

  • LFG Trash Rotation: Vampiric Touch (1 target), Mind Blast (same target), Shadow Word: Pain (all targets) , Mind Sear (on the tank), SW:Death when possible
  • This one changed once again thanks to our new spells that became available. Get Replenishment going first with VT>MB and then start the SW:Pain spam rolling on all of the targets (assuming they won’t die in .2 seconds anyway). Follow that with Mind Sear on your tank for AoE waves of death and snipe every kill you can with SW:Death when it’s off cooldown.

    If the trash isn’t going to last long enough for SW:Pain to be cast on them I suggest you use the Nuke Rotation above and just apply it to the tank’s target.

  • LFG Boss Rotations: Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, SW:Death, Shadowfiend (on cooldown), Mind Flay, Mind Blast, Mind Flay x2
  • Again, we’re going to get Replishment rolling first off, then we’re going to establish DoT’s. Reapply your DoT’s as needed, but remember your Mind Flay will refresh SW:Pain once you’ve spent your talent points to get the effect. Vampiric Touch (VT) will wear off before Devouring Plague (DP) will, and you’ll have enough time to cast 2-3 spells after refreshing VT before you need to refresh DP.

    Keep your DoT’s up at all times. If you need mana, get it. Shadowfiend, SW:Death, Replenishment (Vampiric Touch + Mind Blast), Dispersion, Archangel, and Hymn of Hope are all sitting there just waiting to be used, so don’t let yourself run dry for no reason. If you’re especially low on mana then cast your Shadowfiend first and follow it with an immediate Hymn of Hope. Both of them restore your mana by themselves, but Hymn has the added bonus of increasing the size of your mana pool and the amount of mana returned by the Shadowfiend is based on your maximum mana, so all of its attacks will restore more thanks to Hymn. If you’re still worried about mana when Hymn is done channeling, pop your Dispersion for another 36% mana.

    Talent Spec: 85 Shadow Priest

    • Twin Disciplines 3/3: Increases your Shadow and Holy spell damage and healing by 6%.
    • Mental Agility 2/3: Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 7%.
    • Evangelism 2/2: You have a 100% chance when you Smite and 100% chance when you Mind Flay to gain Evangelism. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts for 20 seconds. [Dark Evangelism] Increases the damage done by your Periodic Shadow spells by 2%.
    • Archangel 1/1: Consumes your Evangelism effects, causing an effect depending what type of Evangelism effect is consumed. [Dark Archangel] Instantly restores 5% of your total mana and increases the damage done by your Mind Flay, Mind Spike, Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death by 4% for each stack. Lasts for 18 seconds. 90 second cooldown.
    • Harnessed Shadows 2/2: Increases the chance for you to gain a Shadow Orb when dealing damage with your Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain by 8%, and you have a 100% chance to gain a Shadow Orb when critically hit by any attack.

    I decided to go straight into the Discipline tree once my mandatory 31 points had been placed in Shadow. I do go back and put a couple more points into Shadow at the end, but you get more benefit from reaching Evangelism/Archangel as early as possible.

    Twin Disciplines is a straight 6% bonus to our Shadow damage as well as our healing. We don’t do a whole lot of direct healing, but we do indirectly heal through abilities such as Devouring Plague which benefit here as well. Mental Agility will help with some of your mana issues, especially while you’re still killing everything with DoT’s.

    Evangelism by itself is is a nice bonus to your DoT damage, with 5 stacks granting them 10% more damage. When you combine it with Archangel though, it becomes both a damage increase and a mana returning tool. With all five stacks of Evangelism up casting Archangel will instantly restore 25% of your total mana and increase the damage of your direct damage spells by 20% for its duration. It also has the spiffy animation of giving you wings which just plain look cool.

    The last two points go back into the Shadow tree with Harnessed Shadows. Now that you can actually find and use the Mastery stat you might as well take advantage of getting extra use out of it, right? This talent helps you build up Shadow Orbs faster which increase your DPS when you cast Mind Blast or Mind Spike which consumes the orbs.

    Glyphs
    Level 75 opens the three remaining glyph slots, allowing for 3 of each type to be used.

    Prime Glyhphs

    • Glyph of Mind Flay: Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.
    • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain: Increases the periodic damage of your Shadow Word: Pain by 10%.
    • Glyph of Shadow Word: Death: If your Shadow Word: Death fails to kill the target at or below 25% health, your Shadow Word: Death’s cooldown is instantly reset. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 6 sec.
    • Glyph of Dispersion: Reduces the cooldown on Dispersion by 45 sec.

    Primes for PvE
    I list the Prime Glyphs in the order that I suggest them. Mind Flay and Shadow Word: Pain are both great for your DPS, and the two I recommend most. Shadow Word: Death is another good option as it not only gives you a better chance of getting your Spirit Tap glyph and/or Masochism talent to proc, it also gives you a way to deal some quick burst damage to mobs or bosses that are low on health. Dispersion is a decent glyph if you’re looking for more survival or more mana regen. It drops the cooldown from 2 minutes to 1 minute and 15 seconds so you can use it a lot more often, but I’m not sure that you really need to cast it that often if you’re using the methods I’ve been discussing throughout these guides to help manage your mana.

    Primes for PvP
    Dispersion is a fantastic glyph for PvP as it reduces damage, clears movement impairments, and restores your mana all at the same time. Shadow Word: Death is the next one on the list because being able to double your SW:Death casts on a target near death is very important in the world of Resilience stacking. Last up is Shadow Word: Pain as it’s the most likely DoT for you to cast on multiple people at once and it’s damage is already good so you’re only making it that much better.

    Major Glyphs

    • Glyph of Spirit Tap: When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
    • Glyph of Fade: Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.
    • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.
    • Glyph of Psychic Horror: Reduces the cooldown of your Psychic Horror by 60 30 sec.

    Majors for PvE
    Spirit Tap remains the top priority here, though with more mana tools coming out in this bracket you could probably drop it if you really wanted to without worrying too much…maybe. Fade is a really good option for me since I like to hit LFG now and then to help me level and it’s also good for PvP against pet classes as Fade will often make a pet leave you and target something else if you’ve not done anything to harm the pet. Psychic Scream is a good option if you’re going to do a lot of LFG leveling by making the mobs tremble in place instead of running off in random directions. Last up is Psychic Horror which cuts its cooldown in half by 30 seconds, though you’ll have to spend the talent point to get the spell in the first place before this glyph does you any good.

    Majors for PvP
    Fade is one of the more important glyphs in this bracket as reducing the cooldown of Fade means you’re able to break out of slows and snares more frequently thanks to the talent that adds that effect to Fade. Psychic Horror is next up on the list because it’s basically the key to you killing a healer as you’ll need to CC the snot out of them and then nail them with something like this to initiate the burn phase to bring them down. Psychic Scream is next up on my list because it allows you to still use the CC but also maintain control over the effect rather than having everyone run in random directions. Spirit Tap is still a really good glyph to use in PvP, but whether or not you use it I’ll leave up to you since you get more direct benefit from these others.

    Minor Glyphs

    Minors for PvE
    Minor glyphs are still really minor so take whatever you want. Levitate is my first option just because I like using spells like Levitate and don’t like having to keep a supply of some stupid reagent in my bags in order to use it. Fortitude is great if you’re into LFG and just decent otherwise. Fading isn’t a bad option, though it’s not especially good either. Shadowfiend has some real good potential, but I don’t think my Shadowfiend has died from damage even once so it wouldn’t do me much good right now.

    Minors for PvP
    I suggest you use Shadowfiend over Fading for PvP if you’re going to bother making any change here at all. Sometimes my Shadowfiend is CC’d, sometimes he’s left alone, and sometimes he’s killed. Levitate and Fortitude are still the best options overall.

    Gearing Up Your Priest
    At this level range you should have enough of your mana returning spells and effects that Spirit isn’t quite so important now as far as mana is concerned. Spirit is still a good stat to have, especially with points in Twisted Faith turning it into Hit Rating, but at this point I wouldn’t bother stacking it above other stats that are more important to your DPS.

    Stat Priority: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit

    Once you hit level 78 you might want to take a look at the Auction House for any green quality items from Cataclysm that are significant upgrades to your existing Wrath gear. You’ll likely replace it soon anyway, so don’t spend a fortune on it, just pick up any cheap pieces that are significant upgrades.

    Once you reach level 80 you can start to equip pieces of the Deathsilk Set made by tailors which is an excellent starting set for a Shadow Priest entering Cataclysm zones. There are eight pieces in the whole set, four of which can be used at level 80 and the other four at level 81. The full set provides almost 20,000 health and mana, over 1,300 Spellpower, 334 Haste, and a great amount of Hit, Crit, and Mastery as well. In total this set requires the following mats to craft from scratch:

    When you reach level 85 I suggest you pick up yet another tailor-made set of gear, though technically it’s not a “set” since there’s no bonus for wearing additional pieces. As with the Deathsilk set above, there are a total of eight pieces in this “set”, but all eight require level 85. Technically this gear is PvP gear since it has resilience on it, but due to the fact that Blizzard decided to make all of the level 85 crafted cloth gear PvP gear you’re just kind of out of luck. Luckily, the set has excellent stats anyway so it’s still a great place to start. With this set you’ll receive almost 28,000 health and mana, 1,800 Spellpower, 378 Haste, and even more Crit and Mastery, though the bonus to hit that Deathsilk offers is replaced by the Resilience stat for this set. In total this set requires the following mats to craft from scratch:

     
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    Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Caster, Class, Guide, Leveling, Priest

     

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