Category Archives: Shaman

Shaman: Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better

I focused a lot of my game time this weekend on leveling my Orc Shaman, Belgawrath. Over half of his quest log was filled with quests that are done in instances ranging from Wailing Caverns to Scarlet Monastery. Since I was already level 31, I decided that Wailing Caverns was not worth my time and just dropped them instead.

Just as I prepared to delete the quests for Razorfen Kraul as well, I saw an LFG message asking for a healer for RFK. I don’t have a single point in the Restoration tree, and I haven’t done any real healing other than my own, but since I had the quest and they were ready to go I went ahead and offered my services. They quickly grabbed me up as apparently they had been looking for a healer for quite a while, so off I went to RFK.

Razorfen Kraul
The rest of the group was made of characters in their low 20’s except for the 29 Warrior who was tanking for us. The warrior was the only one high enough to be summoned by the stone. Since a lot of warrior gear looks pretty cool I like to inspect warriors and have a look at what gear they are actually using. The tank was wearing BoA shoulders and a BoA weapon though I do not remember which one it was now. The rest was mostly green drops but he did have a couple of enchants on there so I assumed he knew what he was doing.

After the third pull I gave up on just sitting in the background to heal and proceeded to show the rest of the group how a real dps class does damage and then threw the heals around when needed. Healing wasn’t hard, but everyone was pulling agro all over the place so I had to heal pretty much everyone but myself. It went in little spurts though where healing was needed everywhere one second and then nobody needed it the next.

After the fifth pull I noticed a dangerous trend and started asking questions. We’ll just call this tank Cuddlebear.
“Cuddlebear, how many instances have you tanked before?” (Answer: 8 or 9)
“Cuddlebear, why do you keep losing agro? Do you know what taunts are?” (Answers: I don’t know. No?)
“Cuddlebear, why aren’t you using Thunder Clap?” (Answer: )
“Cuddlebear, why are you doing nothing by auto-attacks?” (Answer: )
“Cuddlebear, why do you keep moving all over the place for no reason?” (Answer: )

So, after figuring out that this tank has no idea what he’s doing, I explained to him how a warrior tank works at his level. And to my surprise, he still can’t hold agro on anything at all. And I’m not talking about holding it against me and my comparatively epic dps, I’m talking about the mage who cast a single Frostbolt and pulled the tank’s main target. To give the guy some bit of credit, there was another dps warrior in there that was using Thunder Clap and pulling some of the mobs off of him.

Since he stopped replying to my questions, which I can understand if he felt like I was attacking him with the questioning, I decided I would go ahead and tank the instance in addition to the healing and dps I was already doing. I was already the strongest dps, obviously, and I was the only one in the instance that even had the option of healing, but I was pretty sure I could tank better than the warrior, so that’s what I did.

I just went ahead and beat the snot out of everything that came at us, threw down some Stoneclaw, Healing Stream, and Magma Totems and went to town owning face with my mace. When people got low on hit points I stopped what I was doing to heal them instead. When someone pulled agro away and started taking too much damage I went ahead and switched targets to get agro or kill the mob.

So, for RFK I did my usual job of dps, while filling the necessary role of healing, and also tanking 80% of the instance as well. Sorry Mr. Cuddlebear, but you just got out-tanked by a leather wearing class that has the lowest hit points in the game. Cuddlebear (Orc Warrior), I can do anything better than you.

Scarlet Monastery
It took quite a while for some reason, but I did eventually find a group that was willing to run through SM: Library and Armory. We had a 38 Warlock who actually managed to out-dps me a few times, and a 38 Paladin who came to tank for us but bailed after the first boss in Library. The rest of the group were low 30’s, with me at 33.

After the paladin bailed the 29 Warrior (not Cuddlebear from RFK) offered to tank for us and since he used the Equipment Manager to switch to his tanking gear I was actually a little impressed that he might have an idea of what he was doing. Luckily, he actually did a great job even though he was a bit low level. We had a druid doing the healing and though I was strictly dps I did jump in several times to help him heal when the…less than intelligent, rogue wanted to “peek into the next room” and by so doing pulled way more mobs than we wanted.

I have to assume that the rogue was otherwise occupied with something else because (s)he constantly went into the wrong room or pulled mobs from who knows where, or just whatever could possibly be done to screw things up. Luckily the rest of us actually melded surprisingly well and easily made up for the rogue’s mistakes.

The tank was good at what he did, but he was also having connection issues, so when the rogue came running in with another group of mobs chomping at her heals, I had to switch over to being an off-tank and steal the mobs from her. Luckily she was smart enough to not build up any agro when she pulled the groups, so my totems, shocks, and attacks were enough to gather them all to me and chew them down. We didn’t want to lose the tank while he was dc’ed, so we kept the druid healing him and I just healed myself when I needed it.

The druid was pretty good on heals for the most part, but I think he was pretty new to it. When things got hairy, I dropped the dps gig and went pseudo-resto instead. When things were cool the druid worked just fine, but when extra mobs were pulled he fell apart. When it comes to healing in a pinch, Mr. Resto Druid, I can do anything better than you.

The warlock’s blueberry was supposed to be our off-tank, but he couldn’t match me for holding agro so we sent him back to the void for the Felhound instead. Yes Mr. Voidwalker, I can do anything better than you. The Felhound’s Fel Intellect buff is my new best friend though. With Mental Dexterity I get attack power from my Intellect, and the boost this little guy was giving me sent my windfury crits up another 200 damage.

After clearing Library the tank got dc’ed and never came back, so I had a DK in the guild come and run us through the rest of it instead. Got a few decent gear upgrades, but mostly mail armor I can’t wear until 40 anyway.

Useful Tools
Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem
One thing I want to share that really helped me out in my “tanking” as a shaman, was the Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem. When you use the totem the glyph makes a protective bubble pop up around you that absorbs damage. This was critical at times when I had 4 or more mobs on me and really needed to heal. I dropped the totem for the sake of getting the bubble. The threat generation is nice if you haven’t built up threat on the mobs around you, but the main thing was that bubble.

When the bubble is up I have time to let my Healing Wave cast, and that’s usually enough by itself to heal about 50-60% of my overall health in one cast. I usually cast my healing spells on myself in a reactive manner, only using them when I drop below 40% in health. I don’t cast them when things just start to look a little bad, I wait until I get to the point death is soon to follow if something doesn’t happen pretty fast.

Since my Shaman is an Inscriptionist (no, I don’t like calling myself a “scribe”), I went ahead and just made the glyph myself to try it out, knowing that I could just as easily make a different glyph to replace it in all of 3 seconds if I needed to. As it turns out, it’s extremely useful in leveling and questing as well as in instances where you have to pick up the slack for the other players.


Posted by on June 15, 2009 in Shaman



Shaman Leveling: 14-30

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.

Gear Upgrades
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.

Totem Usage
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.

Survival Tips
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.


Posted by on June 11, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Shaman


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Shaman Leveling: 1-13

I decided to spend a little time on Belgawrath (Orc Shaman 13) this weekend. By doing the quests in the Orc starting area I was able to get him up to Level 6 as I mentioned before, and this weekend I was able to get him up to Level 13 by doing the majority of the quests found in Durotar. I skipped a few of the quests that I know exist over there, not because they aren’t good quests to do, but just because I did not feel like doing them since I have leveled so many characters in this area that it begins to bore me.

[EDIT: For those of you interested in specifics about the Shaman Totem Quests, I plan on having a single post that I will mention each of those in detail.]

Starting the Day Off Right: Breakfast
As any good Orc should do, I started the day off with a nice breakfast of fruit from the local vendor.
As you can see, the kind of fruit that Orcs consume, comes from our favorite plant: the beasts of Stranglethorn.

(Note: In case you didn’t catch the joke there, take a look at the picture on the sign, and then it’s name.)

Leveling Up
The first thing I want to note about leveling up a shaman, is that a good weapon goes a LONG way. I spent a whopping 47 silver on a level 5, two-handed axe for Belgawrath that had 7.0 DPS with +2 Strength and +1 Stamina on it. The damage on the weapon was pretty good for only a level 5 requirement, and the bonus to stats was nice since there are not a whole lot of options for that at such a low level. At level 6 the axe was scoring crits for 62-80 damage.

As soon as I put that axe on and gave it the Rockbiter shaman buff, the weapon was doing some serious damage. Whether it is the class or just my personal luck, Belgawrath was critting up a storm out there while I was leveling and was clearing mobs around his level with a simple rotation of Lightning Bolt > Earth Shock > Attack.

I pull with the LBolt, cast the shock as I run towards the enemy, and then my attack goes off as soon as I close in with them. They generally set off a charge of my Lightning Shield as well, which just adds more damage to the overall total which was easily more than they could take.

I would like to point out that having the Lightning Shield (and other shields) no longer require mana is a huge benefit to playing the shaman. That was one thing that always caused headaches with my previous shaman was having to waste 119 mana on a spell that did decent, but not significant damage to enemies that attacked me. I now cast Lighting Shield while I travel simply for the sake of doing it since it no longer requires mana to cast.

As for tips on leveling the Shaman at this stage of the game, the main thing that I can really tell you is that the damage from a decent weapon far outweighs the damage from any of your spells, especially if you take the time to grab one from the Auction House instead of relying on the ones you get from drops or quest rewards.

Secondly, Stone Claw Totem is very useful at this stage in the game when you are in close areas with multiple mobs or when you are fighting mobs that also have pets. In Durotar and the Barrends there are several mobs that have pets with them. Attacking the humanoid mob while letting their pet plink away at a totem that has a chance to stun them with each hit has proven to be a very safe method of leveling in those areas where your weak armor would otherwise have potentially ended up with a spirit walk back to your body.

After reaching Level 10, I began spending my talent points, starting out with Ancestral Knowledge. I only have 4 talent points right now, and all 4 of them are there.

While I do plan on running instances, I do still prefer to level solo instead, so I decided not to enhance my totems right now, though I may later on if I find myself drawn more towards grinding through instances than grinding through mobs one at a time.

At level 10 I purchased another two-handed axe from the AH, this one costing right around 1 gold to buy, and it had 10.7 DPS on it with +2 Strength and +2 Intelligence, which was more along the lines of what a shaman needs than my previous axe. From there I continued questing in Durotar until I had finished all of my quests, and then I went to the Barrens to start the quest chain for my Fire Totem.

At that point in time I was level 12, and I found everything that I needed for the quest in a fairly short amount of time. I had my Hearth Stone set in Razor Hill since it was pretty well the middle point between all of the areas that you need to go for the quest, and I put it to good use with these quests since you run back and forth so much otherwise.

I called it a night after I received my new totem, and managed to sneak one more level in there before I logged off for the night.

Shave and a Haircut: Here we have Belgawrath’s new look. In sticking with the character for which he was named, I actually should have given him a big, grey beard. Perhaps I will take a look at that as he levels up, but for right now he’s still a fiery youth.

Exploring Durotar: One of the natural occurrences of doing nearly all of the quests in one region is that you have a very high possibility of fully exploring the map.

Represent: Every good guildie needs to rep his guild! This happens to be some random guild that threw me an invite, and since I am such a low level I really don’t care what kind of guild I am in so I went ahead and took it. A cool guild tabard can make me stay in a low level guild better than anything else, so I always have to take a look at it. I did not get a shot of the tabard itself, but red with the skull & crossbones on it is a decent enough start.

Professions: All of my characters end up leveling their professions at least to the second level. I have not done this yet with leatherworking, but only because I have not had the desire to spend the time doing it yet. Instead, I have just thrown all of my skinning mats into my bank and will level it up at a later time, probably this week.




Posted by on May 11, 2009 in Guide, Leveling, Shaman



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