Playing an Enhancement Shaman
This is the bracket in which everything really starts to take shape for you as you finally reach level 69 to obtain Enhancement’s keystone ability, Feral Spirit, as well as one of the single-most helpful attributes of the class, Maelstrom Weapon. Up to this point you’ve woven spell damage into your combat with a few Shocks thrown in here, maybe a little Fire Nova action in a dungeon, and perhaps even a Chain Lightning cast on a multi-target pull. That, my little Shaman in training, was child’s play.
Now is when you become a true whirlwind of weapon swinging, face smashing, spell chucking, self resurrecting, buff purging, wolf summoning force of natural mail(-wearing) enhancement.
Once you have Maelstrom Weapon you’ll be much better at both healing on the fly and dealing extra damage, whichever you need more of at the time. On the damage dealing front, I tend to fire off Chain Lightning like nobody’s business, while if I’m fighting higher level or elite mobs on my own then I tend to save the procs for Greater Healing Wave instead.
Also, don’t be hesitant to use your cooldowns, like Feral Spirit. The more you use a spell, the more familiar you get with its use so the more valuable a tool it becomes. You can take on elite mobs and group quests just fine with a combination of Feral Spirit and utilizing your Maelstrom Weapon procs. You can also destroy, or at the very least distract and then run away from, level 78 mobs in Sholozar Basin when you’re there farming herbs/ore at level 68; all you have to do is manage those tools wisely.
Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 69 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.
- Call of the Spirits (50): Simultaneously places up to 4 totems specified in the Totem Bar. Can call different totems than Call of the Elements or Call of the Ancestors.
- Mail Specialization (50): Grants +5% Agility for wearing mail in all armor slots.
- Tremor Totem (52): [Earth] Summons a Tremor Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster that shakes the ground around it for 6 seconds, removing Fear, Charm and Sleep effects from party and raid members within 30 yards. This totem may be dropped even while the caster is afflicted with such effects.
- Earth Elemental Totem (56): Summons an elemental totem that calls forth a Greater Earth Elemental to protect the caster and his allies. Lasts 2 minutes.
- Stoneclaw Totem (58): [Earth] Summons a Stoneclaw Totem with 950 health at the feet of the caster for 15 seconds that taunts creatures within 8 yards to attack it. Enemies attacking the Stoneclaw Totem have a 50% chance to be stunned for 3 seconds. The Stoneclaw totem also protects your other active totems with a shield that absorbs up to 950 damage.
Call of the Spirits is just another default set of totems that you can cast with a single button-press, just like the two we’ve had before. I have one of them set up for soloing and LFG with other melee DPS, one for PvP, and one for LFG where the other two DPS are both casters. Mail Specialization isn’t really a spell, it’s just a 5% bonus to your primary stat (Agility) whenever you’re wearing all Mail armor, which from level 50 on you want to do whenever possible.
Tremor Totem is one you’ll definitely want to get familiar with and you want to keep it somewhere on your bars/keybinds where you can easily access it. You might not use it much when you’re running solo, but it’s a big deal in dungeons and especially raids. Pay special attention to the fact that you can now cast this while you’re already under the effects of the CC that it prevents. Stoneclaw Totem is great for when you pull multiple mobs because it will taunt some of them off of you and repeatedly stun them. You can also use its accompanying glyph to have it’s protective totem bubble also protect you.
Earth Elemental Totem and Fire Elemental Totem (below) are both really cool totems that summon some temporary pets for you that go and bash the crap out of things in the area. They were still a little buggy the last time I used them where every now and then they would just sit there doing nothing, but for the most part they pop out and really unleash some pain. I use them sometimes when I’m farming close to mobs that want to attack me, when I pull several mobs, or when I’m just looking to increase my damage without dropping all of my other totems.
- Bind Elemental (64): Binds the target hostile elemental for up to 50 seconds. The bound unit is unable to move, attack, or cast spells. Any damage caused will release the target. Only one target can be bound at a time.
- Fire Elemental Totem (66): Summons an elemental totem that calls forth a Greater fire elemental to rain destruction on the caster’s enemies. Lasts 2 minutes.
- Greater Healing Wave (68): Heals a friendly target for 4357 to 4977.
Bind Elemental is a new spell that came with the expansion. I don’t really have a use for it while leveling outside of PvP, but there are plenty of elementals throughout the entire game now that will give you opportunities to use it. You want to get familiar with casting it even if it’s not really necessary just yet though, as you’ll very likely be called to do so for reliable CC once you get into running Cataclysm dungeons and raids.
Earth Elemental Totem (above) and Fire Elemental Totem are both really cool totems that summon some temporary pets for you that go and bash the crap out of things in the area. They were still a little buggy the last time I used them where every now and then they would just sit there doing nothing, but for the most part they pop out and really unleash some pain. I use them sometimes when I’m farming close to mobs that want to attack me, when I pull several mobs, or when I’m just looking to increase my damage without dropping all of my other totems.
Greater Healing Wave seems a bit odd to be listed in a DPS leveling guide of this level, but Shamans are quite unique. As you spend talent points in Maelstrom Weapon you’re going to be able to cast healing spells instantly and without any mana cost, and this is your single most effective heal for doing that. It’s a big heal with a longish cast time which would otherwise make it worthless to us, but with Maelstrom Weapon available to you it’s now your go-to heal with Healing Surge used only when you have no Maelstrom stacks available and need to off-spec heal in an emergency.
Leveling an Enhancement Shaman
Weapon Imbues: Windfury Weapon (main hand), Flametongue Weapon (off hand)
Totems:Strength of Earth Totem, Searing Totem (Magma for AoE), Mana Spring Totem, Windfury Totem
While Windfury Weapon is fantastic, it has an internal cooldown on it that will make your off hand weapon occasionally rob you of procs on your main hand which will result in decreased DPS. At level 62 I lost roughly 220 DPS using dual Windfury Weapon, and I didn’t even have all the talents that make Flametongue Weapon really shine for the off hand.
- Questing Single Mob: Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock
- Questing Multi-Mob: Call of the Elements, Flame Shock, Stormstrike, (swap targets), Lava Lash, Flame Shock
- LFG Trash Rotation: Call of the Elements, Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]
- LFG Boss Rotations: Call of the Elements, Flame Shock, Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Earth Shock [Wind Shear]
Questing Single Mob
In this rotation you’re just going to destroy targets as fast as possible. If you’re using heirloom weapons then I definitely suggest you stick to using Earth Shock as your go-to shock spell, but if you’re not using heirlooms then you might find Flame Shock to be a better option for the opening cast as it’s DoT damage will add up over time to be even more than Earth Shock. Any shocks you cast after the first one should be Earth Shocks though. When fighting elites or group quest mobs, keeping Flame Shock up is likely more important as they’ll typically have much larger health pools than typical mobs of the same level.
If the group of mobs you’re going to fight are close together, go ahead and pull them with a Chain Lightning, otherwise just stick to the rotation.
The point here is primarily to get Flame Shock cast on all of your targets so that they’re all taking damage, and then speeding up their deaths with your melee attacks. Light one up, bash them in the face a time or two, switch targets and repeat. As you get Maelstrom Weapon procs you want to use Chain Lightning if you want to deal more damage, or Greater Healing Wave if you’re taking a lot of damage. If you want to throw Fire Nova into the rotation as well, feel free to do so. I find it’s usually more a waste of my mana since I have high damage and good survivability as well, but use your own judgement and deal with the situations you’re given to get a feel for your own preference.
If you need to heal in these situations, go ahead and do so. If you don’t have any Maelstrom Weapon stacks cast Healing Surge instead since it has a faster cast time, otherwise stick to Greater Healing Wave for your Maelstrom procs. If you find yourself running short on mana because you’re healing go ahead and switch over to Water Shield for the mana return and switch back to Lightning Shield when your health and mana are at a more manageable level.
This one is the same as solo questing, except that sometimes you might want to bother with totems and others you might not. I don’t cast my totems by default at this level when I’m doing LFG, instead I wait to see how quickly we’re progressing through the instance. If we’re moving at a fast pace then I usually don’t bother with any of them until we see a boss. If we’re going kind of slow or we have people who are /afk or something, then I’ll go ahead and drop the totems to increase everyone’s performance.
For most trash pulls though, just stick to Earth Shocks and using your melee strikes as often as possible. By careful using Chain Lightning when you’re in a dungeon as the tank might not have agro on all of the mobs you’re blasting in the face. If it’s early in a pull, go with a regular Lightning Bolt on the tank’s target instead, otherwise it’s Chain Lightning all the way.
If the mobs aren’t dropping very quickly then you might consider switching to Flame Shock instead of Earth Shock and adding Fire Nova to the rotation for extra AoE damage. Shaman AoE is decent as far as damage goes, but it’s heavily reliant on mobs being alive in order to use it (Flame Shock has to be active) so it works against itself which kind of sucks. You can also use Magma Totem for extra AoE damage. You can get more information on that from @Elamqt’s post, Totem Talk: Why Enhancement AOE doesn’t work on WoW Insider.
Wind Shear: Deserves a special mention here though. Shamans have crazy-good spell interruption capabilities thanks to Wind Shear. If you see a mob casting spells, particularly a healer, interrupt as many of their spells as possible. If you’re in instances with caster mobs who are especially annoying then be sure to make use of Wind Shear when they’re casting the spell you don’t want to go through.
During boss fights you can also use this to lower your Threat as you can cast it even if there’s not a spell to interrupt. With Windfury procs, each extra attack can generate a critical hit which can send your threat through the roof, and lets not forget those Maelstrom Weapon procs. With such a short cooldown and the fact that it can be cast regardless of the GCD, there’s really no reason for you not to use it. Some bosses cast spells that can be interrupted and some (most) cannot, but the reduction in threat is good regardless.
For bosses you want to maximize your DPS potential. That means that you’re going to make sure Flame Shock stays active on the boss as long as possible, and that you’re going to utilize your totems for the good of your group.
Totems: Strength of Earth, Searing, Mana Spring, Windfury (Wrath of Air for 2 casters)
Using Searing Totem will give you a higher, personal DPS score on a boss fight, but if you have at least one caster DPS in your group then you might consider Flametongue as both they and the healer will benefit from it as will you (though to a lesser extent). If there are no caster DPS in the group then switch your Fire totem over to Searing and drop it right next to the boss when you move into melee range. Mana Spring is the choice for Water as your mini heals from the other won’t help nearly as much and your healer will love you. Windfury is your default Air, but if your other two DPS are both casters then go for Wrath of Air instead since Haste really isn’t your top priority anyway.
Once Flame Shock is dealing its damage you’ll start rotating through your melee attacks and casting Earth Shock as filler while you wait to refresh Flame Shock. If you time your shocks just right you can get two Earth Shocks off with almost perfect timing for your shocks to refresh just as Flame Shock ends, allowing you to reapply it immediately with no time lost.
Wind Shear will still work on many boss abilities at low levels, so be ready to use it when you get the chance as Shamans have a fairly flexible and laid back rotation at this point. Spells you want to interrupt in particular are healing spells and AoE damage spells such as Chain Lightning. I could go into specifics, but this is a class guide, not a boss guide, so just use your own judgment. Remember that Wind Shear also lowers your threat, which can be a big deal now that you have big burst potential from both Windfury Weapon and Maelstrom Weapon procs.
Talent Spec: 69 Enhancement Shaman
- Unleashed Rage +1 (2/2): Increases your expertise by 8, and increases all party and raid members’ attack power by 10% while within 100 yards of the Shaman.
- Shamanistic Rage 1/1: Reduces all damage taken by 30% and causes your skills, totems, and offensive spells to consume on mana for 15 seconds. This spell is usable while stunned.
- Improved Shields 2/3: Increases the damage done by your Lightning Shield orbs by 10%, increases the amount of mana gained from your Water Shield orbs by 10%, and increases the amount of healing done by your Earth Shield orbs by 10%.
- Maelstrom Weapon 3/3: When you deal damage with a melee weapon, you have a chance to reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Hex, or any healing spell by 20%. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts 30 sec.
- Improved Lava Lash 2/2: Increases the damage of your Lava Lash ability by 30%, and by an additional 20% for each of your applications of Searing Flames on the target, consuming those applications in the process.
- Feral Spirit 1/1: Summons two Spirit Wolves under the command of the Shaman, lasting 30 seconds.
Honorable Mention: Frozen Power 2/2: Increases the damage done by your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Lash, and Shock spells by 10% on targets afflicted by your Frostbrand Attack effect, and your Frost Shock has a 100% chance to root the target in ice for 5 sec. when used on targets at or further than 15 yards from you.
Unleashed Rage is going to help reduce your chance of being avoided in combat and also increases your group’s attack power. Shamanistic Rage is a nice cooldown, used to reduce the damage that you take for 15 seconds, and also removes the mana cost of all of your spells for 15 seconds. I generally use this in PvP or when a bad pull gets worse, using the free mana costs to spam the crap out of my flash heal to keep people alive.
Improved Shields increases the damage of your Lightning Shield or returns more mana to you if you slip into Water Shield instead. It’s a decent talent, made acceptable thanks to Static Shock’s chance to deal Orb damage when we attack, but I don’t personally care for it much. I went with the talent I mentioned in my Honorable Mention section instead.
Maelstrom Weapon is a truly amazing talent, able to give you great burst damage or instant healing in the blink of an eye. You build stacks of the MW buff as you hit things with your melee weapons and each stack speeds the cast time and reduces the mana cost of either an offensive or defensive spell (see description for details). For damage I like to throw a free, instant Chain Lightning out there, or for heals I’ll take a free, instant Greater Healing Wave (or Healing Surge below level 68). It’s one of my favorite things about the class, ranked very closely behind Windfury Weapon.
Feral Spirit is the Enhancement keystone, allowing you to summon two spirit wolves of complete and total awesome sauce that go beat the crap out of whatever you tell them to. But that’s not all! They also have the ability to stun a target for 2 seconds with their Bash ability (which works as a spell interrupt too), and they can remove any movement impairing effects and increase your (and their) movement speed by 60% with Spirit Walk. But wait, there’s more! They also heal you for 150% of the damage that they deal. If that’s not flipping amazing, then I don’t know what is! Oh, they also have a taunt in case you need it.
As I mentioned in the level 49 guide, I spent points in Frozen Power instead of Elemental Devastation, because I like to do a lot of PvP. If you did the same then you’ll want to go ahead and get those two points in ED now instead of spending two points on Improved Shields. If you’re not into PvP and skipped Frozen Power, then you’ll want Improved Shields. If you’re confused…just spend them wherever they look good.
- Glyph of Lava Lash: Increases the damage dealt by your Lava Lash ability by 20%.
- Glyph of Stormstrike: Increases the critical strike chance bonus from your Stormstrike ability by an additional 10%.
- Glyph of Windfury Weapon: Increases the chance per swing for Windfury Weapon to trigger by 2%.
With Lava Lash being a staple attack and the fact that you get it at level 10, this is my first choice of Prime Glyphs, increasing its damage by 20%. Next up is Stormstrike as the bonus crit can be useful with how many spells you cast in combat. If you’re using heirlooms then you’re probably dealing enough damage that only one or the other of these two isn’t really necessary, but both is fine too.
Winfury Weapon is a decent glyph in its own right, but while you’re leveling and after you’ve gotten Maelstrom Weapon it’s even better as the extra chance to proc those free attacks translates to extra chances to proc Maelstrom Weapon for even more beautiful destruction.
I decided to take the Glyph of Flame Shock off the list because it never really made much of a difference at all and it seemed like quite a waste. It’s meant to be an Elemental glyph anyway, so it’s not a big deal.
- Glyph of Lightning Shield: Your Lightning Shield can no longer drop below 3 charges from dealing damage to attackers.
- 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 Ghost Wolf: Your Ghost Wolf form grants an additional 5% movement speed.
- Glyph of Frost Shock: Increases the duration of your Frost Shock by 2 seconds.
- Glyph of Chain Lightning: Your Chain Lightning spell now strikes 2 additional targets, but deals 10% less initial damage.
Lightning Shield is overall going to be the most useful glyph for you here; it’s how you turn your Lightning Shield into a solid 10 minute buff instead of lasting only for three hits worth. Stoneclaw Totem is fantastic for soloing and PvP, giving you a bubble whenever you cast your Stoneclaw Totem. In LFG it’s not quite so cool because you shouldn’t be taking damage anyway, but with our burst potential and most of it being completely random and uncontrollable you’re likely to pull threat now and then and the totem’s taunt ability works well for getting mobs off of your healer so it’s not entirely wasted.
Ghost Wolf is my next choice because moving faster is always a good thing, both in PvE and PvP. Frost Shock deserves a mention for those of you interested in getting into some low level PvP, though I would
generally always suggest Ghost Wolf above this one for that purpose. Chain Lightning is one I haven’t used myself, but it deserves a mention for AoE if you enjoy it.
I took Fire Nova off the list since Blizzard changed Fire Nova to now center on all the targets that have your Flame Shock debuff instead of being centered on your fire totem. Extra radius isn’t likely to be a big deal when all of the mobs in question are likely grouped together anyway.
- Glyph of Water Walking: Your Water Walking spell no longer requires a reagent.
- Glyph of Renewed Life: Your Reincarnation spell no longer requires a reagent.
- Glyph of Ancestral Recall: Reduces the cooldown of your Astral Recall spell by 7.5 min.
- Glyph of Water Breathing: Your Water Breathing spell no longer requires a reagent.
- Glyph of the Arctic Wolf: Alters the appearance of your Ghost Wolf transformation, causing it to resemble an arctic wolf.
I’m a huge fan of getting rid of reagents, so Water Walking is the definite first choice here. We have a few more options that do the same thing for spells that opened in this range, with Water Breathing and Renewed Life. Of the three, you’ll cast Water Walking more often (I do, at least), but Renewed Life is probably more valuable overall. The other cool option is Ancestral Recall, which cuts the cooldown in half. It’s not super useful in today’s short hearthstone world, but if you need to do a lot of back and forth travel (*cough*archeology*cough*) then it can be really useful. Arctic Wolf is a simple vanity glyph that just changes the way you look in Ghost Wolf form.
Gearing Up Your Shaman
As Enhancement your primary stat is Agility. Each point gives you 2 Attack Power and it also boosts your Melee Crit (and Dodge). Intellect boosts your Spell Power on a 1:1 ratio, and it also increases your Spell Crit and your mana. Strength is a decent stat for you as it still gives a 1:1 ratio for Attack Power, but it’s not something you really want to seek out unless you just cannot find any Agility pieces at all for those slots.
You also want to look for gear with Hit on it in particular since you take a penalty to melee hits for dual wielding. You don’t need a ton of Hit to get you by while you’re leveling, but if you find some good Agility pieces that also have Hit on them then be sure to pick them up.
For green gear with random enchants you’re probably most interested in “..of the Falcon” (Agility and Intellect), “..of the Tiger” (Agility and Strength), and “..of the Monkey” (Agility and Stamina).
As you get into running random dungeons you’re looking for items with the “..of Agility” and “..of the Bandit” (Agility, Stamina, and Crit) enchant on them from the Satchel of Helpful Goods.
There are two ways you can look at gearing up your low level Shaman. You can either go for maximum killing potential, which is stacking Agility above all else, or you can go with a more balanced build where you look for gear with both Agility and Stamina. I prefer maximizing my damage potential, personally, and going for good survival pieces in slots that I have no Agility piece to fill in. If you’re not used to healing on the fly as a DPS spec though, you might want to lean more towards survival.
I decided to skip the list of dungeon drops for this level range as by now you should already know what kind of stats you’re looking for and upgrades are pretty obvious. With the speed of leveling these days you’re not likely to actually farm dungeons for gear anyway and you’ll be finding better gear the higher you get as well, so it seemed like a bit of a waste of time.