Previous Post: Shaman Leveling: 1-13
Where To Level
After getting my Fire Totem right before hitting level 13, I went ahead and pushed forward into the Barrens. There are a ton of quests to do in the Barrens, and while they do stretch across the whole map, most of the ones for a given level are bundled together in a fairly small area making it easier to level.
When I level a character in the barrens, I basically grab every quest I can find and just do them all. There is a troll standing in front of a hut right across from the orc blacksmithing area, and I never take the quests that he has to offer. Otherwise, if I see a quest I take it.
A lot of the mobs in the Barrens like to run away from you, which bugs me to no end. I found the Earthbind totem to be particularly useful for that. I also started saving my Earthshock for when I might be able to score a killing blow on a runner, or I would just throw a lightning bolt at them instead if they were headed off in a direction with no other mobs in it.
If you don’t like the Barrens, or you are even more tired of running characters through there than I am, then feel free to go somewhere else. I gave a lot of thought to questing in the Ghostlands over by the Blood Elf city instead, and the only reason I did not was because there is no Shaman trainer in Silvermoon City.
All of the quests in the Barrens can take you right up to level 30. I usually quest here until about level 25-28 and then move on to another location. I prefer Tarren Mill as my next stop, personally. The bad thing about Tarren Mill is that the nearest major city, Undercity, does not have a Shaman trainer in it either. The good thing about UC though, is that there’s a zeplin right outside waiting to take you to Orgrimar where you can train.
I still love Tarren Mill and the quests in that area, so almost every character I ever make ends up questing there for those levels.
The axe that I had was still doing an excellent job over here, though I did have a few mobs that actually lived long enough to require a second or third attack. At level 15 I had the chance to pick up an excellent axe called Boahn’s Fang that falls off of a rare spawn named Boahn that can be found every 8 hours outside the entrance of the Wailing Caverns instance. You do have to go inside the cave, but he’s found in the cavern right outside the portal to the instance itself. Since my main character is also an enchanter, I had him enchant the axe to add another 7 damage to it just to beef it up a little bit more.
I bought it on the AH with my main character for 15g. Now, not every shaman is going to be able to buy this axe. Either because they don’t have the gold, or because it’s simply not available to them. The axe is not required to level a shaman, it just happened to make it easier for me personally.
Once I started using Boahn’s Fang I went right back to killing everything with a Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock, Attack combination. The axe was insanely brutal in my orc’s powerful hands, and he chewed right through his quests.
When I hit level 22, I did end up replacing the axe with Living Root which dropped off of one of the bosses in Wailing Caverns. I tested it out and found that it dealt more damage on a consistent basis than Boahn’s Fang did. The axe crit more often, but the staff’s crits dealt more damage, so I went ahead and switched. Boahn’s Fang did last me for 7 levels, and easily could have lasted longer as well.
After a few levels of questing I started running through Wailing Caverns and was able to collect almost the entire Embrace of the Viper Set, which is all “of the Fang”. The belt was the only thing I missed out on. From the set pieces that I did manage to grab I gain +18 Strength, +21 Agility, +18 Stamina, and 289 Armor. Since I have 4 of the 5 pieces in the set, I also gain 7 Nature Spell Power, 4 Expertise, and 6 Spell Power, and I am missing out on +10 Intellect for having the belt as well.
If you can find the Fang Set, then I suggest you go ahead and pick it up because the Strength and Agility bonuses that it gives to you provides a solid boost to your attack power and crit chance. The Gloves are the only piece that are not Bind on Pickup, so you will have to get all of the rest of the pieces yourself. Even though the gloves can be bought on the AH, I would suggest trying to run the instance to find them for yourself as the AH price is usually pretty high since twinks still use them.
My shaman, Belgawrath (Level 28 Orc), is still using the Living Branch for his weapon and the Fang set for most of his armor. The weapon is not as strong now as it was when I first switched over to it, but I have another axe ready for him to pick up at level 31 that should fix that problem. The armor will still be good for a few more levels still, and I am able to deal enough damage right now that I can kill most mobs before it becomes an issue.
The Glory of Ghost Wolf
Ghost Wolf is a wonderful addition to your skills when you hit level 20, granting you +40% run speed. You can also spend talent points to reduce the casting time from 2 seconds down to an instant cast, which is what I suggest. Some guides will tell you to save the points in Improved Ghost Wolf until about level 22 or so. Personally, I love moving faster, so I put the 2 points it takes at levels 18 and 19, so that I can take advantage of it just as I get it.
Ghost Wolf is one of your most useful spells, especially if you spend those talent points to make it an instant cast. Besides the obvious benefit of being able to move faster at level 20, you can also put it to good use in combat. If you are fighting mobs that flee when their health is low, then you can pop Ghost Wolf and chase them down if needed. If you cast a spell while GW is active, then it will cancel the GW spell. But, you can still attack while in GW form, so you don’t have to turn it off in order to attack. Ghost Wolf is also great for kiting enemies around, as well as for making quick escapes by throwing down Earthbind or Stoneclaw totems when you pull too many mobs and then casting GW to run away.
Most of the time I did not bother using my totems in this area, generally speaking. When I was able to fight mobs one on one, then I would throw down an occasional Strength of the Earth totem to make my attacks stronger.
When I happened to pull multiple mobs, or I when I pulled mobs that have pets, I would use the Stoneclaw Totem to draw agro to it while I attacked a single target. If I pulled more than two mobs, I used Stoneclaw first and tried to kill one of them. If the totem did not last long enough, or for some reason I could not kill the mob fast enough, I instead dropped an Earthbind totem and just ran away until I lost agro.
Luckily, most of the mobs in this area do not hit very hard unless they are 3-4 levels higher than you. So if you do find yourself facing more than one mob, you do also have the option of just relying on your attacks for your damage and spending your mana on healing spells for yourself instead of attack spells. I was quite successful with this when fighting mobs that were closer to my level.
After you get Water Shield, you can use your totems more freely and more often. I don’t suggest you use them constantly, or that you throw down all the totems available to you at every fight, but you don’t have to worry so much about running out of mana as you used to. If you find yourself low on mana, try to pull over a low level mob and let them beat on you a few times while your Water Shield is up so that you can restore some of your mana.
Shamans have the lowest hit point totals in the game. They might have better armor than mages, but mages have more hit points. Don’t hesitate to drop either a Stoneclaw or Earthbind totem and then run away for the sake of staying alive. Your low health pool doesn’t last very long against a multiple sources of damage.
Enhancement Shamans rely heavily on their mana to be able to do anything other than regular attacks. While your attacks can be very powerful, you also tend to have to use a slow weapon in exchange for that power. There are two things that I want to suggest to help you conserve mana:
Keep Water Shield active unless Lightning Shield is needed
Use Bandages and/or Potions whenever possible
Don’t overuse your totems
Water Shield: Water Shield works just like Lightning shield, but instead of dealing damage to enemies that hit you, Water Shield restores 10 mana every 15 seconds and it also restores 40+ mana each time you get hit. So while you are in combat your mana is constantly being refreshed. Even with the mana get regain by using WS, the following points are still important.
Bandages and Potions: This is free healing. Sure, they can’t be used when you’re in the thick of melee, but they can used right after you finish. You can also use them right after you drop a Stoneclaw Totem and it grabs agro from the mobs around you. You can also use one when you drop an Earthbind totem and then run away faster than the mobs can chase you down.
If you can’t get away, or your totems don’t buy you enough time, then potions are your next best option if you need to conserve your mana. If you don’t have any potions, or your health is too low for the potion to be of any real use, then by all means cast your healing spells instead. If you have to use mana to survive, then go ahead and do it. But if you don’t have to, then don’t waste the mana.
Overusing Totems: A totem is basically a buff that you cast on an area instead of on individuals. That’s a great thing, because a single spell buffs your whole party (if they’re in range). The bad thing is, that area you cast it in never changes. So if you want the buff after you move, you have to recast your totems. Don’t feel like you always have to have your totem “buffs” on you. They certainly help, but they aren’t required.
When I am leveling solo, I prefer to only drop totems if I know that there are plenty of mobs around me that I can pull over to within the totem’s range. I drop my totems, pull the first mob, and then focus on him until he’s down. I then pull the second right back to the very same place, and continue this cycle until I have killed all of the mobs nearby. You get the most out of your totems when you are not forced to move out of their range and can take advantage of their duration.
Fire totems are a huge drain to your mana. If you need a fire totem, then go ahead and drop one. But the first couple of fire totems you get don’t really provide enough benefit or for a long enough amount of time for them to be worth their mana cost. Now, I have gotten some serious help from throwing down a Fire Nova totem while questing in the Barrens, and it has saved my life more than once. I’m not trying to tell you not to use them at all, I just want you to know that there is no reason to feel like you have to to throw them down every chance you get. If you don’t need your totems, then don’t bother casting them. They are there to help you and your party, but they are not required.