Shaman Leveling: Enhancement 1-30

21 Apr

Every now and then I get drawn back to the class that was my first real main, the Shaman. My first shaman didn’t make it all that far, capping at level 35, but he was the first character that I seriously leveled and intended to play for a long while. I had recently purchased the BoA Axe for a warrior that I was planning to level but then deleted after he got to level 3 (have I ever mentioned how much I hate playing Warriors?). I didn’t want that axe to go to waste though so I had to decide who else I could give it too. I didn’t want to give it to my hunter since he was already rocking some solid weapons, and my paladin will most likely be deleted before this article is even posted, so my only other option was to go back to my roots and roll a shaman.

Character Creation
Other than the ever-restricted Druid class, Shamans share the worst racial selection in the game with the Paladin with only one option for Alliance and three for Horde.

Alliance: Draenei
Horde: Orc, Tauren, Troll

After Cataclysm arrives we’ll be able to add Dwarves to the Alliance list, and Goblins to the Horde list.

If you roll Alliance pre-Cataclysm then your racial selection is made for you since you only have one option. If you roll Horde then I suggest Orc or Tauren if you’re going to roll Enhancement, or Troll if you prefer either Elemental or Restoration (neither of which I’m talking about this time).

My personal preference for Horde (and overall) is the Orc, but you’ll do just as well with a Tauren. I’m not a fan of troll shamans, but I’m not a fan of trolls to begin with. Basically, roll whatever you want to and looks the coolest in your opinion, but there’s mine.

Important Spells
Since I’m focusing on Enhancement here I’m going to emphasize those spells, but part of being a Shaman is tapping all of your available resources to be the best you can be at the position you’re in. You have more tools to use than almost every other class in any given situation, and your utility is what really makes you stand out.

Combat Spells
Lightning Bolt: Casts a bolt of lightning at the target dealing Nature damage.
Earth Shock: Your burst damage shock, deals Nature damage and slows the target’s melee attack speed by 10%.
Flame Shock: Your dps shock, deals initial Fire damage plus additional periodic Fire damage over 18 seconds which can individually crit.
Fire Nova: Deals Fire damage in a 10 yard radius around your active Fire Totem.
Wind Shear: Spell interrupt that prevents spells from that school from being cast for 2 seconds, and also reduces your threat on the target when in a group.
Frost Shock: Deals Frost damage and slows target movement by 50%.

I tend to use Lightning Bolt a lot up to level 12 or so, then I pretty well stop using it for about 30 levels or so. It’s great for pulling and adding in ranged DPS, but since we’re playing the melee spec it’s all about instant casts and weapon attacks for me.

Flame Shock should be your opening spell once you have it so that you get the extra damage from it’s DoT effect, otherwise Earth Shock is your burst spell and the one I usually use as a finisher of sorts if my melee falls just short of killing them.

I really only use Frost Shock in PvP or when things turn to crap and I have to either kite or die. For the most part I don’t bother using it. Wind Shear is situational when solo questing and for the most part I’d say just ignore it. I use it myself only to stay familiar with its use because of how much I PvP. Otherwise I’d say keep it somewhere handy if you’re running dungeons, but otherwise it doesn’t serve much purpose in questing.

Healing Spells
Healing Wave: Heals a friendly target (long cast).
Lesser healing Wave: Heals a friendly target (short cast).
Ancestral Spirit: Resurrect a friendly target (non-combat).
Reincarnate: Allows you to resurrect yourself with 20% health and mana once every 30 minutes.

If you’re in combat you’re generally better off using LHW because of the shorter cast time than HW. If you need a lot of health then it’s usually better to do LHW once or twice for a quick buffer and then HW for the big heal. If you’re actually healing in a group, then you should probably look for someone that knows more about shammy healing than I do.

Reincarnate is the beloved ability to self resurrect. When you die, assuming you have an ankh on you or the glyph to remove their need, you have the option of either releasing your spirit or using Reincarnate. One of the coolest things a shaman can do in PvP is to jump back up right after being killed and slay the attacker who thinks he’s safe. As for PvE uses, sometimes you’re going to die and this makes it easier to deal with. Otherwise I also like to use it for ease of travel by jumping off of a cliff and then just bringing myself back once I hit the bottom. But maybe that’s just me.

Shield Spells
Lightning Shield: Your DPS shield. It has three charges and each time you’re hit expends one charge to deal Nature damage to that enemy.
Water Shield: Your Mana Regen shield. Restores mana every 5 seconds and when hit it expends one of its three charges to restore mana.

You’ll bounce back and forth between these two shield spells (which have no mana cost, by the way) as Enhancement. When you’re running low on mana, switch over to Water Shield. If your mana’s fine and you want to increase your DPS then switch back to Lightning. When I AoE I default to Water, and when doing single target I default to Lightning.

Utility Spells
Ghost Wolf: Turns you into a Ghost Wolf, increases speed by 40%, regenerating 1% of your health ever 5 seconds, and you are less hindered by effects that reduce movement speed.
Far Sight: Changes your viewpoint to the targeted location for 1 minute, outdoors only.
Water Walking: Allows you to walk on water for 10 minutes or until you take damage.
Water Breathing: Allows you to breath underwater for 10 minutes.
Astral Recall: A spell version of your Hearthstone.

Ghost Wolf is your method of travel prior to getting a mount and is often used in place of a mount until your epic ground mount becomes available at level 40, and it’s also useful in combat when you need to keep distance between yourself and your targets or when you need to get away for a quick heal. Water Walking is good for traveling and great for fishing. Water Breathing has its uses, but with the 3 minute timer we have these days it’s not really that important. Astral Recall is a second method of “hearthing”, which you can use in place of or in addition to your hearth stone.

Far Sight gets its own little mention here because it’s often dismissed completely by most players. It’s a spell that lets you target any area you can reach on your screen and lets you look as though you were standing at the point you cast it on. The great thing about this spell is that it lets you cast Far Sight again as though you’re standing at the point you’re currently viewing. The furthest I’ve ever bothered looking is from Iron Forge all the way down to Booty Bay, which is about 5 zones worth of chain casting. For regular play it’s not that useful, but it is fun. For PvP it’s amazing for strategical advantage.

Weapon Enhancements
Rockbiter Weapon: Increases your weapon’s damage per second.
Flametongue Weapon: Increases spell damage and your attacks deal additional Fire damage based on weapon speed (slower weapon, higher damage).
Frostbrand Weapon: Deals Frost damage and slows target movement by 50%.
Windfury Weapon: Each hit has a 20% chance of dealing additional damage equal to two extra attacks with additional attack power.
Earthliving Weapon: Increases healing done and gives your heals a % chance to proc a HoT on the target for 12 seconds.

Weapon enhancements are one of the most frequently disputed subjects in leveling guides. Some people prefer sticking with Rockbiter because they feel a consistent increase in DPS is better than spiky procs, others feel that Flametongue is better for the buff to your spells and the additional Fire damage can crit for burst dps, and some feel that Frostbrand’s slowing effect as well as it’s Frost damage makes leveling simpler. I don’t think anybody outside of PvP would ever suggest anything other than Windfury once you get to level 30, with the possible exception of your offhand weapon once you get dual wielding at level 40. Earthliving is what you’ll use if you ever have to fill the Healer’s role, otherwise not used in Enhancement.

Personally I prefer to switch from Rockbiter to Flametongue once it becomes available and then stick with it until Windfury at level 30. Frostbrand I’m not a huge fan of but I did try it out a bit on my most recent Shaman and it wasn’t all that bad. I suggest you play around with all three of them before level 30 and just figure out which one works best for you. Once level 30 rolls around, forget those three exist and switch to Windfury.

I’ll discuss Windfury in a bit more detail down below.

Totemic Breakdown
Totems are the signature ability of the Shaman class. Rather than casting buff spells on your party members, you drop totems and grant their buff to everyone in your party that stays within range of them. This system has is benefits and it’s drawbacks, but it’s what we have and so we’ll use them. Some people prefer not to bother with totems while they’re leveling because you have to recast them every time you relocate which is a major annoyance.

My personal preference for totem use is sort of half and half on using them versus not using them, depending on the situation. If you’re a frequent reader then you’ll know that I’m crazy about AoE grinding, and while many people feel that AoE is a Shaman’s weak point, I merely embrace what tools we do have and put them to use.

You do get more totems that what I’m covering here, but I’m going to point out the ones that you’ll actually use as Enhancement.

Earth Totems
Earthbind Totem: A 45 second totem that slows enemies within 10 yards by 50%.
Stoneclaw Totem: A 15 second totem that taunts creatures in an 8 yard radius and provides a damage absorbing shield to your other totems. Enemies attacking it have a 50% chance of being stunned for 3 seconds.
Strength of Earth Totem: A 5 minute totem increasing Strength and Agility.
Tremor Totem: A 5 minute totem that removes Fear, Charm and Sleep effects within 30 yards.

Earthbind is something I use a lot in PvP (obviously), but it’s also great for when you need to run away or when you’re kiting. Keep it handy, but it’s not your default Earth totem. Stoneclaw is great for setting up your initial AoE pulls, for when you accidentally pull multiple mobs, of when you need to pull higher level mobs off of you. If you use the glyph that goes with it, Stoneclaw becomes one of the most important totems for you when soloing (see glyph section below). Strength of Earth is your default earth totem providing you with a big DPS boost by increasing both your Strength and Agility. Tremor totem is more situational. It has obvious use in PvP, but it’s also good for some questing areas or dungeons.

Fire Totems
Searing Totem: A 40 second totem that repeatedly attacks an enemy within 20 yards with Fire damage.
Magma Totem: A 20 second totem that deals Fire damage to creatures within 8 yards every 2 seconds.
Flametongue Totem: A 5 minute totem that increases Spell Damage and healing.

Water Totems
Healing Stream Totem: A 5 minute totem that restores health every 2 seconds.
Mana Spring Totem: A 5 minute totem that restores mana ever 5 seconds.

Air Totems
Grounding Totem: A 45 second totem that redirects to itself one harmful spell cast at you or your party, destroying itself as it does so.

Totem-Related Spells
Call of Elements: Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem bar.
Totemic Recall: Dispels all of your active totems, restoring 25% of their mana costs to you.

You get both of these spells at level 30, allowing you to drop (up to) all four of your totems with a single click instead of casting each on individually with CoE, or destroying your totems after using them to restore 25% of their mana cost with TR. Totem management becomes a lot simpler, but be careful not to overuse your totems with this and waste your mana. Always “eat” your totems with Totemic Recall, but don’t overuse CoE.

Leveling 1-10: Starting Area and Starting Zone
Rotation: Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock, Auto-Attack

During your first 10 levels there’s really nothing to it. You’re sort of a caster but sort of melee. If I’m feeling especially caster-like then I’ll LBolt things to death just to do it, if I’m feeling melee-like then I’ll just bash things in the face. After I get Earth Shock I tend to just leave LBolt out of the rotation for the most part and just run in with Earth Shock, Auto-Attack, and finish off with another Shock if for some reason they aren’t already dead yet.

Make sure you do your Shaman quest at level 4 to get your first totem, Stoneskin. You aren’t going to use the stupid thing while questing, but at least you’ll have it for later in case you want to give your tank more armor in a dungeon or something. And since it is a quest it’s basically free experience that most other classes don’t get at that level.

If you don’t have access to BoA weapons, but are willing to spend a little extra coin in the AH, then I suggest you get a Severing Axe which you’ll usually find for less than 1g. It comes with a random enchant, so the ones to look for are (of Power, of Agility, of Strength, of the Tiger).

Leveling 10-15: Starting and Secondary Zone
Rotation: Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock, Auto-Attack
Rotation: Lightning Bolt (optional), Flame Shock, Auto-Attack, Earth Shock

Rotation-wise you’re not going to do much different than what you have been. I personally stop bothering with Lighting Bolt for the most part during these levels, but that’s because I’m a toon-twinking fool and always have great weapons with good enchants on them.

At level 10 you get a quest to go get your Fire Totem. For Alliance it’s a somewhat annoying back and forth trip across the Draenei starting area, but overall it’s not too bad and it’s actually pretty easy. For Horde it’s an annoying trip into the Barrens to get specific items to drop that have a bad drop rate.

Do this quest as early as you can because Fire is the totem that will benefit you the most during your leveling by adding to your DPS.

Again, if you don’t have a BoA weapon and you haven’t gotten anything good from dungeons or questing then you can look for weapons on the Auction House. The more expensive leveling weapon (usually 15-75g) is Boahn’s Fang, or you can save a little gold by looking for a Certain Green Items with random, or base, enchants that provide Agility, Strength, Attack Power, or a combination of them.

Leveling 15-30: Quests and Instances
Rotation: Flame Shock, Auto-Attack, Earth Shock
Rotation: Earth Shock, Auto-Attack, Earth Shock

We don’t have any of our special attacks from our talent tree yet, instead we’ve just been buffing up our melee abilities. As such we don’t see a lot of change yet in our “rotation”. Start with Flame Shock to get a DoT going, bash them in the face while you wait for shocks to cooldown, and then Earth Shock to finish them off if they’re not already dead.

[UPDATE: At level 20 you get the quest to get your Water Totem. It’s going to provide you with healing and mana regen throughout the rest of your days so you’ll want to get it. Head back to your race’s main city to get the quest started. The water totem isn’t hard, but it’s a lot of traveling around, so be prepared for it.

At level 30 you get the quest for your final totem, Air. The quest to get this one is pretty simple. I think Blizzard sort of ran out of ideas when it came time to quest out the Air totem so they just threw something together for you and send you on your way. Air is your source of Haste for the most part, though it does have other useful tools as well such as the Grounding Totem which redirects a harmful spell from you to itself.]

Once you reach level 30 and you start using Windfury I tend to lay off of Flame Shock and go for Earth Shock instead for the higher burst damage. When Windfury procs whatever it is you’re hitting is probably going to die. As such I prefer getting a big burst to start with to try to take them down with the melee attacks, and then use Earth Shock again once it’s off of cooldown if necessary.

After you get Windfury it’s time to get serious about weapon selection. When you’re dealing with a big two-handed weapon you want to go with the slowest one you can find, with the highest minimum and maximum damage you can find, so that you can maximize your Windfury damage.

Enhancement Shaman Tactics
There are a few different ways that you can play your Shaman as Enhancement, and each one involves different amounts of spell use and/or totem use. I personally have three different approaches to playing my Shaman.

Single Target, No Totems: This is probably my most common in which I simply rush straight at a mob casting Flame Strike or Earth Strike as I move into melee range and then just bash them in the face until they’re dead. When the mob drops you loot the corpse and then move on to the next target and just bring them down one at a time like that. In lower levels and especially in solo play you’re going to find that most of your totems are a waste of time and mana because of the fact that they buff an area rather than an individual. So while a class such as a Paladin can give themselves an Attack Power buff that lasts for 10-30 minutes, ours only lasts until we move out of range.

For this I almost always stick with Lightning Shield unless I’m casting so frequently that I need to switch to Water Shield for the mana regen.

Single Target, Totem-Assisted: This is one I do when I’m fighting higher level mobs, when I’m doing a “Kill X of Y-mobs” quest, or when I just want to kill more things faster. Typically this involves dropping a Strength of Earth Totem to increase my melee abilities, or dropping a Magma/Searing Totem for extra damage and use of Fire Nova if necessary. With the “Kill X of Y-mobs” quests if I can find a place that has 6 or more of the mobs that I need then I’ll drop one of each type of totem, whichever benefits me the most. Generally that ends up being Strength of Earth, Flametounge, and Mana Spring totems.

I will set my totems and then attack the first mob as I would any other, starting with Flame Shock and following it up with melee attacks until dead, then pulling a second mob near my totems and repeating that process over and over to take as much advantage of my totems’ 5 minute duration as possible before moving on to the next area.

Since I’m using totems and chain pulling mobs one after the other I tend to run with Water Shield when doing this rather than Lightning Shield since I use more mana due to less downtime between mobs to regenerate.

Mana-Intensive AoE: Up to level 20 this is going to involve setting up your totems (Strength of Earth, Mana Spring, and Magma), keeping your Water Shield up at all times for the mana regen, using Flame Nova every time it comes off of cooldown, and recasting Magma every time it wears off. If you’re good on mana then you can switch to Lightning Shield for extra damage, but you’re probably better off with Water for the extra mana.

If you have access to the Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem it will provide you with a damage-absorbing shield for 15 seconds after dropping that totem. If you do have this glyph then my personal preference for doing AoE pulls is to use either your mount or Ghost Wolf form to body pull three or more mobs, drop Stoneclaw Totem to have it taunt and draw agro off of you, then drop Mana Spring, then Magma, and then Strength of Earth Totem. Follow that up with Fire Nova, then cast Flame Shock on your first target and take the mobs down one at a time.

If you want to kill them faster then use Flame Shock on the individual targets each time its cooldown is up so that the DoT will tick longer and on multiple mobs, but keep your melee focused on a single target until it’s dead. If you want to bring them down one at a time then Flame Shock first and then Earth Shock until they’re dead.

Windfury Weapon: How to (Ab)Use It
I’m not going to get into the actual formula here because that’s not what I do here. However, it’s important to know what the key numbers are in a weapon in order to find out whether one weapon is an upgrade over another, or not. There are three key numbers when deciding which weapon to use when running as Enhancement: Minimum Damage, Maximum Damage, and Weapon Speed.

When calculating how much damage your Windfury procs will do, the game plugs your min/max damage into a formula to get the base damage range (x damage to y damage) while taking in the AP buff of Windfury and adding it in, essentially calculating a new min/max damage for Windfury. The Weapon Speed is the key to how much damage you end up with though, because it’s the multiplier.

So let’s say your minimum weapon damage is 20 and your maximum weapon damage 60 with a 2.5 speed weapon. Windfury generates a number between the min and max damage and then multiplies it by the weapon speed for the damage (that’s not technically true, I’m just trying to express the concept). So if it picks the number 40 (between 20 and 60) it will then multiply it by 2.5 to deal 40 x 2.5 = 100 damage. If you have the same min and max damage, but on a weapon with 4.0 speed (slowest in the game) then you instead get 40 x 4 = 160 damage. If you’re using a higher damage weapon and your random number for damage happens to be 250 then the difference between the two speeds is 250×2.5=625 damage versus 250×4.0=1000 damage, so you can see how important weapon speed and weapon damage is.

Before duel wielding you want the slowest weapon you can find for the largest Windfury hits possible. Anything that’s 3.0 or slower should work for you at this point, though the closer you get to 4.0 the harder you’ll hit. When you’re using Windfury, whether it’s for a two-hander or for duel wielding after 40, never go faster than 2.6 weapon speed if you can help it or else not only are you gimping your WF damage but you’re also robbing yourself of some WF procs because it has a 3 second internal cooldown. Prior to duel wielding I prefer a two-hander that’s no faster than 3.5 because I really enjoy bashing things in the face for more health than they have in the first place.

Talent Points and Glyphs

Ancestral Knowledge 5/5: Increases your Intellect by 10%.
Improved Ghost Wolf 2/2: Reduces the cast time of your Ghost Wolf spell by 2 seconds.
Thundering Strikes 3/5: Improves your chance to get a critical strike with all spells and attacks by 3%.
Shamanistic Focus 1/1: Reduces the cost of your Shock spells by 45%.
Elemental Weapons 2/3: Increases the damage caused by your Windfury Weapon effect by 40%, increases the spell damage of your Flametongue Weapon by 30%, and increases the bonus healing on your Earthliving Weapon by 30%.
Thundering Strikes +2 (5/5): Improves your chance to get a critical strike with all spells and attacks by 5%.
Flurry 5/5: Increaes your attack speed by 25% for your next 3 swings after dealing a critical strike.
Spirit Weapons 1/1: Gives a chance to parry enemy melee attacks and reduces all threat generated by 30%.

Ancestral Knowledge serves multiple purposes. First it gives you more mana which is great since without mana you suck, second it increases your spell power and spell crit which helps your Shock damage, and third here in three more levels you’re going to be able to add 100% of your Intellect to your Attack Power so another 10% is sweet.

Major Glyphs
Glyph of Windfury Weapon: Increases the chance per swing for Windfury Weapon to trigger by 2%. [Requires level 30]
Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem: Your Stoneclaw Totem also places a damage absorb shield on you, equal to 4 times the strength of the shield it places on your totems.
Glyph of Fire Nova: Reduces the cooldown of your Fire Nova spell by 3 seconds.

For your first glyph my personal suggestion is Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem because that damage shield is amazing. It’s great for PvE and it’s a must have for PvP. I rocked the Glyph of Fire Nova for a while and really liked being able to use Nova more often, but in the long run I felt the increased DPS wasn’t really worth the extra downtime from having to restore mana or that having its cooldown faster didn’t actually speed things up since mobs were usually dead before it mattered. Lightning Shield is a solid boost to your kill speed when you’re solo, but if you plan on grouping it sucks since you’re not going to be hit very often.

Once you hit level 30 the Glyph of Windfury Weapon is an absolute must. Windfury is the whole reason you play Enhancement in the first place. That 2% isn’t a huge number, but when the difference between a WF attack and a non-WF attack is like the difference between having a Tauren stomp on your face and a Gnome step on your toe, you want that 2%.

Personal Preference: Stoneclaw at 15, add Windfury at 30.

Minor Glyphs
Glyph of Water Walking: Your Water Walking spell no longer requires a reagent. [Requires level 20]
Glyph of Renewed Life: Your Reincarnation spell no longer requires a reagent. [Requires level 30]
Glyph of Water Shield: Increases the number of charges on your Water Shield by 1. [Requires level 20]
Glyph of Ghost Wolf: Your GW form regenerates an additional 1% of your maximum health ever 5 seconds. [Requires level 16]

The lack of minor glyphs for Shamans sucks.

I don’t like the Ghost Wolf glyph, though I love the spell, because we can both actively (healing spells) and passively (healing stream totem) heal ourselves at any time. Use it if you’re a twink, otherwise I suggest you skip it unless you find it for less than 1g on the AH or can make it yourself. I only mention it because it’s your only option prior to level 20. Water Walking is my personal choice for our first minor slot since I’m a big fan of extra mobility and hate wasted bag slots. If you don’t care about that then go for Water Shield instead so that you can spend less time reapplying the shield when your questing. Renewed Life is another bag slot saver, but it’s for a spell you’ll be using for the rest of your career so you might as well grab it.

Personal Preference: GW at 16 if you’re twinking (otherwise ignore it), Water Walking at 20 or Renewed Life at 30.

Macro Suggestions
Oddly enough I don’t use a whole lot of macros for my Shaman even though they probably deserve more macros than almost any other class.

/cast Lightning Bolt

I use this same macro for Earth Shock, Flame Shock, Wind Shear and every other attack I ever get. You’ve seen me post a version of this macro on almost every class guide I’ve written, and it’s on every one for a reason. It’s all about simplification and saving time/effort, even if it’s only one keystroke or one button press at a time.

#showtooltip Ghost Wolf
/cast NameOfYourFlyingMount
/cast NameOfYourGroundMount
/cast !Ghost Wolf

This one is your one-button travel macro. If you’re not moving it will first try to cast your flying mount (if you have one and can fly where you are), if you don’t have one or can’t summon it then it will summon your ground mount (if you have one and can ride it), and failing that it will cast Ghost Wolf if you’re able (can’t be used in doors).

The exclamation point (!) before Ghost Wolf will stop the macro from activating if you already have Ghost Wolf active, so you won’t break the spell if you press the button a second time unless you use it to summon a mount. You can also put the (!) in front of your mount names if you don’t want the macro to dismount you. You may also want to replace that last line with /cast [modifer:nomounted] !Ghost Wolf so that activating the macro will not dismount you and cast Ghost Wolf while you’re mounted.

I personally love dismounting by turning into a Ghost Wolf, chasing down my target on all fours, and then popping out of GW with a Shock following by an axe (and hopefully a Windfury proc) to the face. I’m just a goofy cheeseball like that sometimes. It’s one of those pseudo-roleplaying things that I do because I like to do it which really provides no in-game benefit to me at all other than wasting my mana, but it makes me enjoy the experience more so I do it anyway.

#showtooltip Hearthstone
/use Scroll of Recall
/cast Astral Recall
/use Hearthstone

– OR –

/use [modifier:alt] Hearthstone
/cast Astral Recall

I made this macro a long time ago for a Shaman who happened to be an Inscriptionist. If you’re not an Inscriptionist, then delete the Scroll of Recall line since you’ll never be able to use one. Without the SoR line this macro will cast Astral Recall if it’s not on cooldown, otherwise it will use your Hearthstone.

Some people prefer more direct control of it, so if that’s what you want then the second option

If you do a lot of travelling all around the world (or happen to be used to playing a Mage like I am), then it’s always better to use your short cooldowns first so that you get more overall use out of them if you’re bouncing all over the place. Just trust me on this one.

Gearing Up: Guidelines and Suggestions
If you’re going to rock an Enhancement build then early on you want to shoot for things that are going to increase your Attack Power, which will be Strength and Agility (both at 1:1 ratio for AP). I prefer going for Agility over Strength because Agi is going to give you melee Crit as well while the AP value is the same for the two stats. Any gear you find that’s “of the Tiger” is great as it will provide both Strength and Agility increases, though you will also make good use of “of Power” items which add higher values of straight AP.

You also make use of Spell Power and Intellect since shamans are a hybrid melee/caster class. Intellect will become more important to you a bit later when you’re able to add your Intellect to your AP as well, but we’re not there just yet so for now take it if you find it but don’t bother focusing on it.

During this level bracket you want: Agility = Attack Power > Strength > Intellect > Stamina

If you’re willing to do a little PvP on your Shaman then you can do just a couple of runs in Warsong Gulch between level 10-20 for a great neck piece that proves both Agility and Stamina that costs a dinky 100 Honor. I ran several BG’s to get an average amount of honor per fight and after averaging them together it came out to be about 46 Honor per battle, so anywhere from 92 to 138 Honor per hour depending on how fast the matches go and how long the queue times are. After level 20 you can do a few runs in Arathi Basin if you’re still in a PvP mood and get both a Belt and Boots upgrade for 100 Honor each that provide excellent stats as well.

As far as instances go there are a few good pieces here and there that are solid, and others that are especially good. I strongly suggest you run some randoms once you get to level 15 and try to get your hands on a good cloak in particular. There are several upgrades that you can get from the Satchel of Helpful Goods that will last you for 10 or more levels. Items you’re looking for in particular from the satchel form level 15-25 include:

  • Tumultuous Cloak of the Bandit: +4 Agility, +4 Stamina, +8 Attack Power
  • Tumultuous Cloak of the Soldier: +4 Strength, +4 Stamina, +4 Critical Strike Rating
  • Tumultuous Cloak of the Battle: +5 Strength, +3 Stamina, +2 Critical Strike Rating
  • Vigorous Belt of the Bandit: +5 Agility, +5 Stamina, +10 Attack Power
  • Vigorous Belt of the Wild: +10 Attack Power, +3 Stamina, +5 Agility
  • Vigorous Belt of the Monkey: +6 Agility, +6 Stamina
  • You’re looking for the “of the Bandit” gear in particular, but the others are good choices as well. Some of the other items I didn’t list are good for you as well, and you may consider holding onto some of the more caster-oriented items in case you find yourself in queue as a Healer. If you aren’t going to queue to heal at all and refuse to be a healer then you can ignore that bit of advice of course.

    After level 25 the Random queues will drop a different version of the Satchel of Helpful Goods which will reward you with necklaces or gloves instead. (Protip: If you happen to be an enchanter you may want to consider selling these necklaces that aren’t upgrades rather than disenchanting them as they sell rather high to vendors for their level.)

    Again, “of the Bandit” is what you’re looking for in particular. The reward you get is random, so you might get exactly what you want and you might get something that’s fairly useless.

    Moving on to specific instance drops:

    Wailing Caverns (particularly pieces of the Embrace of the Viper set, Gloves and Pants in particular, and the Serpent’s Shoulders.

    The Deadmines may offer a couple of upgrades as well such as the Lavishly Jeweled Ring, Smelting Pants, and a Smite’s Hammer).

    Shadowfang Keep offers the Arced War Axe, Fenrus’ Hide, Rugged Spaulders, and Silverlaine’s Family Seal which could all be upgrades for you.

    Blackfathom Deeps offers Bands of Serra’kis, Naga Battle Gloves, and the Reef Axe.

    Razorfen Kraul has a couple of really big upgrades you’ll want to watch out for, particularly Ferine Leggings which look horrid but offer huge melee stats, and Corpsemaker which lives up to its name nicely. You also may want to grab the Tusken Helm which you can’t use until level 40 because it’s mail, but if no other mail wearers want it then it’s 24 AP waiting for you right when you hit level 40. If you only get one item from here, the Leggings are some of the best you’ll find for a while.

    Gnomeregan is the last one we’ll discuss in this portion. If you still need a decent weapon then Thermaplugg’s Left Arm is a solid option even if it is a bit rarer on the drop list. While not exactly in line with the stats we’re looking for, the Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator can lay some serious hurt down for you, has great +Int, and even though it looks ridiculous it’s hard to find head gear this early so it’s a great choice. There’s also the Charged Gear ring which drops with a random enchant on it. You’re looking for “of the Tiger”, “of Agility”, “of the Monkey”, “of the Falcon”, “of the Boar”, “of the Bear”, “of Strength”, or possibly “of Intellect”. Tiger and Agility are the big ones.

    There are several upgrades to be found in Scarlet Monastery as well, but I’ll leave those for the next guide since at 30 you’ll just barely be getting into SM country and not particularly the parts you’ll find upgrades in.


Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Class, Guide, Leveling, Shaman


5 responses to “Shaman Leveling: Enhancement 1-30

  1. skinnemuva

    April 21, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    I am considering rolling a twink shaman at 19 and for that I heard that it is best to stack spell power. Thoughts? As far as macros go, is there one that you use to drop stoneclaw totem then replace it with earthbind or strength of earth for the shield from the glyph? Would a macro like that work? I haven’t played a shaman in a number of years so I remember nothing about totems/cool-downs, etc…

    Great post; I am inspired!

    • Psynister

      April 21, 2010 at 8:02 PM

      Stacking SP for a twink is good, but your priority is Stamina. If you can get Stam and SP together on the same piece, then all the better, but don’t sacrifice Stam for SP unless it’s a significant amount.

      As for the totem macro, it’s quite simple:
      /castsequence reset=30 Stoneclaw Totem, Earthbind Totem, Earthbind Totem

      The macro will not instantly replace one with another because they don’t work that way, what you’ll have to do is activate the macro twice dropping first one and then the other.

      If you’re going to roll a shaman twink then you want Ancestral Knowledge 5/5, Improved Ghost Wolf 2/2, and Improved Healing Wave 3/5.

  2. LordKaladar

    August 22, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    No profession suggestions? :)

    • Psynister

      August 29, 2010 at 1:39 AM


      If you don’t have alts or the spare gold to do a dual crafting profession, then just use a gather/craft combination instead. That’s the order I would recommend them in.

      Herbalism is good even though you have healing spells because you use so much mana in an offensive manner that it’s good to not have to rely on mana for healing (or your racial if you’re a goat).

      Skinning can provide a decent boost to your DPS while you’re leveling, but I’m not a huge fan.

      Mining doesn’t thrill me much on any class, with the possible exception of Warlocks and the occasional tank. If you want to be an Eng, then take it, otherwise forget it.

      Engineering can give you a lot of benefit while leveling, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites for leveling.

      Enchanting is a great option for any class these days, especially if you like to use LFG. Leveling it up isn’t nearly as hard as people like to claim that it is. I’ve power leveled it twice now with very few mats needing to be purchased from the AH to do it.

      Leatherworking isn’t too bad, but a lot of what you can make early on is very underwhelming, so I’m not a huge fan.

      BS is just that, it sucks so don’t even bother with it.

  3. LordKaladar

    August 30, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    One tip I’ll share about Wind Shear: it made the Cryo-core area survivable. I tried doing a pair of earlier and kept getting wrecked by the casters, especially since that area is add-heavy.

    Once I had Wind Shear, its like that area was a boot-camp in using it frequently. Its almost a reflex to hit that hotkey now when I see a casting bar. Carried over well into PvP, too.


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