Written by | Posted November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm A Girl and her Dog

The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across […]

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Be a Shamanistic Genius (while you level)!
comment 23 Written by on April 2, 2008 – 9:26 am

Or just make everyone else think you are one!

Ok – so Matticus has challenged me with this post title in his recent bit about finding interesting headlines for your blog. Frankly, I’m a little surprised he didn’t leave the original headline as it was and have me do an RP/cyber spoof.. so I figured I’d just do that part for him. April Fool!

Regardless, I’m happy to oblige with some little shaman “secret” tidbits to make your life as a freshly rolled, soloing shaman a little easier.

Before I get into any actual tips, my first and most emphasized point is this – Do NOT give up on your shaman until you get at least into the 20’s, if not level 30+ish (if at all possible). You will not have your full complement of abilities until level 30 – no windfury, no air totems, no totemic call, no healing totems (level 20), no ghostwolf (level 20). And as thus you will not find yourself being the shining example of low level power until then. So don’t give up – I promise it gets better!

Anyway on to the rest of this, in no particular order:

1 – Level Enhancement. I love all three shaman specs. I love healing as Restoration. I love the windfurysheer, unmitigated, glorious pewpew that is Elemental. And I get a certain sick satisfaction at the sound of an axe and a mace coming crashing down over the heads of my enemies. That said – level Enhancement. I know I know – but (insert one of many reasons to be elemental/resto). Keep in mind that Enhancement shaman are not strictly melee. Neither are elemental shaman strictly casters – if you lightning bolt it, it *will* come, and if you are enhancement specced you will still have those caster abilities… plus a lot of really nice things to help you up close, which will make leveling faster, require less downtime due to drinking, and eventually allow you to dual wield with windfury. I’ve leveled a shaman to 70 as elemental, and a shaman to 40 as enhancement. Go enhancement. At least until 60.

2 – Know your basic stat mechanics: You get 1 Attack Power for every point of Strength. You get 1 Attack Power, some critical strike rating and dodge from Agility. You get mana from Intellect. You get staying power with Stamina. And you get regen (snerk) out of Spirit. Spirit, for a shaman, is largely not worth the itemization. Your focus is going to be on STR, AGI, STA, and some INT thrown in for good measure (level enhancement). Look for things “of the Tiger”.

3 – Improved Ghost Wolf will never steer you wrong, regardless of your eventual talent spec. For only 7 points in the enhancement tree (the first 5 of which give youghostwolf extra mana – yay!) you can have what is essentially a “get out of jail free card” for when a fight goes horribly wrong – particularly in patch 2.4, when the two talents will make this instant cast. You also cannot be sapped or polymorphed (though the form can be dispelled), and you can pick herbs, loot chests, skin and mine. Oh – and if you’ve ever wanted to go back to Aldrassil and finish out your Darnassus reputation for a riding saber, do it in ghostwolf form. You don’t lose your attackpower (only your special abilites), and you’ll blow through the zone that much faster.

4 – Always, always, always drop your totems BEFORE the fight starts. Then you can drink a little if you need to… but you won’t be wasting the Global Cooldown to drop them when you should be smacking things. Always. ALWAYS. (unless you get jumped, but you know, that’s not the point here)

5 – Plan out your basic battle strategy! So you see a bear. And your quest giver wants you to bring him bear claws. Or livers. Or tails. Or something. Either way – it’s going to be you and the bear; the bear and you. But the bear has some friends, and you are not really equipped yet to deal with multiple adds… Your basic strategy at this point is *not* to run hellbent for leather straight at the mob, and pray you don’t aggro its friends.

  • Drop totems. dualwield
  • Wind up an’ zap the sucker with a lightning bolt
  • Hit him with it again as he’s running towards you (if you have time)
  • Shock it, and then beat it really hard over the head with your mace.
  • Shock it again, for good measure
  • Loot!

6 -Remember your Stoneclaw and Earthbind Totems – both are situational, but very useful. Stoneclaw + ghost wolf can get you away from a mob that decides you look very tasty but which you have little interest in fighting. And Earthbind will vastly help with any mob that “runs away in fear.”

7 – Be careful with Searing Totem, until you have Totemic Call,firetotem because it’s notorious for deciding that the furbolg you’re currently killing is rather boring, and it’d rather shoot that ravager over there instead. It will also shoot at pathing monsters long after you’ve moved on, sending them running in your direction. It also breaks polymorph/sheeped mobs (much the same as Thrall does in Durnholde – if there’s a mob in combat, and it’s crowd controlled but the last thing alive, the totem will nuke it) – so BE CAREFUL. An overly ambitious searing totem will mark you as a noob shaman very quickly… but we’ve all done it.

8 – Train 2handed weapons at level 20 as soon as you can, dual wield at 40. Get yourself a really big mace/axe – keep an eye out for things that look like paladin weapons. Love it. Use it. Shields are useful, yes, especially if you take a brief healing gig for Deadmines/Ragefire Chasm, but the idea behind grinding quests is to kill things faster.  As Michael so wisely pointed out below – windfury works best if you use weapons that are around 2.6-3 seconds in speed.  This is because windfury has a hidden 3 second cooldown, and you don’t want to miss any tasty windfury procs.  (If you have two weapons only, and one is fast and one is slow (2.6-3 seconds is slow for a 1H weapon), put the slow weapon in your OFF hand.  That way you’ll get windfury procs off your main hand more often.  But try to get two slow ones if you can.)

9 – Rockbiter. Until you get Flametongue. Then Windfury. In that order. You should *always* have one of these up on your weapon. And they go in order of usefulness. (I’ve never been a fan of frostbrand, except for PVP). They’ll increase your DPS, which increases your speed of leveling. Yay!  Once you get to level 42-45ish and have Lava Lash, you’ll want to look into using Windfury on your main hand and Flametongue on your off-hand, but until then, it’s all Windfury, all the time!

10 – Professions – Skinning and Leatherworking is always a good choice, as there are some very gogglenice shaman pieces later on. Mining and Engineering is also a good choice, both for the random trinkets and for the eventual goggles (which can be worn as once you get the nether, and will last until tier 6). Herbalism and Alchemy is nice as well, as are Mining and Jewelcrafting (particularly as a Draenei). Basically the only profession that will *not* help you out much is Tailoring. If you can’t decide pick up min ing and skinning and make some money, and choose later on. Oh – and learn First Aid. Just do it.

Oh and one last thing. I wanted this to be about the soloing shaman early on, but I had to add this in, since I think it’s just that important…

11. In a group, if you are going to hit the monster with your mace, STAND BEHIND IT. (level enhancement!). It can’t parry an attack that comes from behind.

Oh! And good luck! I hope you enjoy leveling your shaman as much as I’ve enjoyed leveling mine, and if not, that’s ok too. Not every class is for everyone! The Shaman class has a lot of variables to manage, but well played, is a force to be reckoned with – and hopefully now you’re a bit better equipped to dish out the pain on your way up to level 40.

And, as always, may the loot-fu be with you!

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23 Responses to “Be a Shamanistic Genius (while you level)!”

  1. I would just like to add a tidbit that helped me out greatly leveling (and grinding as a 70) as far as downtime.

    Shaman drink. A lot. Especially elemental shaman. You can help this a bit by bandaging yourself up after fights instead of healing out of combat. It may not seem like a lot, but trust me, it makes a difference if you have the cloth to spare.

  2. Heck even as an enhancement I drink a ton. Although that has lessened a bit now that I have Shamanistic Rage.

    But thats not what I wanted to comment on. I was wondering Annas if you had any opinions on converting from enh to resto at level 60. I’m wanting to go restoration eventually for battlegrounds and arena and such and I wasn’t sure if I should stay enh until 70 or if I should go resto at 60 to start getting used to healing and things of that nature.

  3. I think that depends on what you’re looking to do, but I definitely think that both resto and elemental are a LOT more viable after you hit Outlands because of the gear.

    You might try a resto/elemental build, concentrating on picking up both kinds of gear for now – and use the elemental skills as you level. You’ll still probably melee a bit, but your enhancement skills will help you there, and you can get some time with the mechanics of shaman healing (even if you don’t go deep resto just yet). That way you can have a bit of practice, especially if you can heal a 5-man or two on the way up.

    In fact, the more 5-man content you expect to get, the more viable a resto build from 60 to 70 is going to be :)

    I will say, though, that unlike battleground healing, which it has it’s similarities to raid healing (chain heal anyone?) arena healing is a totally different game about which I know next to nothing. My only arena experience was actually as an elemental shaman, and then only for about a month.

    By Anna on Apr 2, 2008 | Reply
  4. I got a sneak peak of this and it’s really helped me out with starting a shaman. I was totally clueless on specs, stats and generally how I was to play this class but now I have half a clue, so cheers Anna! ;)

  5. Very nice guide! Love it.

    – A

    http://enhancementshaman.wordpress.com

  6. I can’t agree with you more on the “level enhancement” advice. The DPS mail gear in SM will last you almost to outlands if you have a main that can spare some enchanting mats for +Assault. Also worth noting is that caster leather pre-40 and caster mail until Outlands is very few and far between and you’ll be stuck wearing cloth until then. Cloth is no fun to solo in as a Shammy. If you really want a Resto or Elemental PEW PEW Shaman wait until Outlands or even 70 if you can.

    By Mutoh on Apr 3, 2008 | Reply
  7. But but but… I want to try leveling an elemental shaman. What if I has me a gnome mage stowed away in me pocket? It’s been a fun duo, not much (if any) drinking required as we kill stuff so dang fast. But when we hit 49 I think my little fella will be called away for battle leaving me all by my lonesome. :(

  8. Ahh yes – but then you wouldn’t be a *soloing* shaman :) I leveled elemental, and with a friend – particularly an explosive, vending machine friend, it would *definitely* be fun!

    The problem with elemental early on is the lack of gear choices for mail armor, so just be aware that you may have a challenge on that front. And, you know, with a magey friend, that “of the gorilla” gear will come in even more handy, as you attempt to hold aggro and quasi-tank. Not that anything will ever get to you…

    By Anna on Apr 4, 2008 | Reply
  9. Very nice guide! May it help newbie shamans everywhere :)

  10. Er… your advice on picking up 2-handers is dated, probably because you missed the implications the last time they adjusted the enhancement tree. Shamans have always been using staffs from level one; in fact it’s one of the two weapon skills you have at character creation, and they hit just as hard as the axes and maces. Since those no longer require a talent that you can’t get until level 20, they don’t require level 20. If you’ve got the cash and can get to the trainer, you can start swinging a big axe or mace at level 1 these days.

    I disagree with your recommendation for Flametongue over Rockbiter for enhancement; Flametongue need to make a second to-hit roll and uses both spell hit and crit (complete with a mere 50% crit bonus). I’d recommend Flametongue once you have Mental Quickness (and a very nice amount of spell power for your level)… but you can’t get the first point in that until 5 levels after you get Windfury, which is certainly better with the right weapons.

    Finally, if you’ve got the cash, you can equip your first purple goggles as early as 62; they added the level requirement at the same time they unbound primal nethers.

    By Boobah on May 5, 2008 | Reply
  11. You’re right on the change to 2H weapons – I missed that update! Fixed! Also fixed the bit about the goggles – when this was written, nethers were still soulbound.

    I’ll have to do more with the rockbiter/flametongue thing – for now, if you’re a newbie shaman reading this, make sure you have ONE OF THEM on your weapon. They’re both good; I’ll track down and see which is better in what circumstances. :)

    By Anna on May 5, 2008 | Reply
  12. May want to mention that dual-wielding with windfury you should aim for weapons that are around 3 second speed. The main- and off-hand profs being on a linked cooldown and whatnot. I think this is still the case anyway…

    By Michael on May 27, 2008 | Reply
  13. on Michael’s comment:
    IMHO the 3 sec weapon thingy is an end game calculation where the player has a high(ish) crit chance and the mobs last forever.

    I suspect (no proof though) that when grinding your way up through the levels a faster weapon (though don’t go daft) isn’t as big a disadvantage as all that. You lose some DPS because of the windfury proc-linkage, but you will get more crits (from more hits) which means less mana used on shocks which reduces downtime. You will also get fewer wasted windfurys when the mob inconsiderately dies in the middle of your super-duper chain of windfury crits – think of it as the DPS equivalent of overheal.

    Basically don’t go broke buying the slowest gear you can find, it’s not that important for leveling.

    By Flowersz on Jun 18, 2008 | Reply
  14. Well, i’m level 16 right now, and looking at the tips, there are a lot of things that have really helped sofar.

    But regarding the 2H weaps, I trained for the 2H mace and staves, but haven’t found a decent one yet, so I’m still on mace/dagger and shield. The two-handers that are in the game at that point are not much better than the 1H weaps. (wasn’t planning on using daggers much, but they have been the best dps weaps in the AH most of the time).

    By Moonwalk on Jun 24, 2008 | Reply
  15. I’m a little late to this party, as I wasn’t really playing a shammy when this was first posted. I’ve picked mine up again recently, and found this post VERY helpful. Nice work, Anna! :)

  16. Great post, although I would take issue with the recommendation to level as an enhancement shaman. It is definitely quicker to level that way, but I think it is worth leveling according to the build you hope to play eventually. You develop so many playing habits as you level, and I think the experience of leveling as an elemental or restoration shaman is valuable if you want to play either of those builds. Especially if you have friends or a guild to quest with!

  17. Great article – I followed one of your tweets back to your blog today and just started poking around. I have a level 23 shaman I don’t play as much as my 80/main (and a 50/priest I’m bringing up). Subsequently, I never really worked out how to play shammy while leveling. Thanks for a great post.

    By Guugle on Feb 11, 2009 | Reply
  18. Hi there.

    I recently started solo-leveling a shaman as enhancement, and am picking up gear along the way but hate visiting the auction house every few levels. Are any heirloom weapons I can pick up that would be worth the emblems?

    This guide has been very helpful and looks great, too!

    By Oho on May 6, 2009 | Reply
  19. @Oho – The weapons are probably not as big a deal as picking up the shoulders that grant 10% extra experience. You /definitely/ want to snag those. As far as weapons go, you should be able to do OK with quest weapons – especially once you hit Outland.

    By Anna on May 7, 2009 | Reply
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