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 sheer, 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 you 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.
- 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
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, 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 nice 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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