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Shaman Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Shaman Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Guide Written By: Dottz Gaming

Table of Contents

  1. Video
  2. Introduction
  3. Specializations
    1. Elemental
    2. Enhancement
    3. Restoration
  4. Contact Info
  5. Update Log

Video

Introduction

Welcome to DottzGaming.com’s beginner guide for the Shaman class in World of Warcraft! This guide will give you a brief overview to what the class has to offer, its specializations and new player focused talent setups to get you going on your adventures through Azeroth! If you are brand new to WoW and are reading this guide, I also recommend checking out my WoW Complete Beginner Guide, which will teach you all non-class specific things you need to know to get yourself started in WoW.

Shamans commune directly with the elements, utilizing totems in battle and elemental spells to heal their allies and decimate their enemies. Shamans can enhance their weapons with elemental effects, smite enemies with blasts of earth, strikes of lightning and bursts of lava, as well as slow down their enemies with the power of frost. In addition, they are also able summon elementals to their aid in the heat of battle.  As mentioned, Shamans are able to use totems (small stationary objects they are able to place on the battlefield) to gain a wide variety of effects from restoring mana to healing allies to attacking enemies.

Shamans are a hybrid class with one healing specialization, one ranged damage dealing specialization and one melee damage dealing specialization. Elemental Shamans are the ranged damage dealer of the class, lobbing spells of the various elements in quick succession, using the properties of each element to effect their opponents in different ways! Enhancement Shamans are the melee damage dealing specialization, dual wielding elemental-imbued weapons to deal high burst damage to their enemies. Finally, Restoration Shamans are the healers of the class, utilizing the healing powers of water to sustain themselves and their allies!

Shaman’s utilize 1 to 2 primary resource systems for their skills: Enhancement and Restoration Shamans utilize Mana, while Elemental Shamans use Mana & Maelstrom. You build up maelstrom with certain skills, and then you use the maelstrom you generate on more powerful abilities! In addition, Shamans wear mail armor, they utilize Agility as their primary stat for Enhancement, and Intellect for Elemental & Restoration.  Shamans can wield shields, daggers, fist weapons and one handed weapons. Enhancement shamans are also able to dual wield.

Races that can play the Shaman class are as follows:

  • Dark Iron Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Draenei (Alliance)
  • Goblin (Horde)
  • Highmountain Tauren (Horde)
  • Kul Tiran (Alliance)
  • Mag’har Orc (Horde)
  • Orc (Horde)
  • Pandaren (Alliance/Horde)
  • Tauren (Horde)
  • Troll (Horde)
  • Vulpera (Horde)
  • Zandalari Troll (Horde)

Now that we have a brief summary of the class out of the way, let’s get into the specs and what they have to offer. The following builds are going to be tailored to new players, looking to make your rotation as easy and straightforward while adding as few additional skills to your action bars as possible. If you’re looking for something more advanced and focused on dealing as much damage/healing as possible, I recommend checking out Icy-Veins or WoWhead for builds more tailored towards end game raids, mythic+ and rated PvP.

Specializations

Elemental

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Echo of the Elements – This talent gives your Lava Burst, one of your primary damage skills and maelstrom generators, 2 charges. In addition, a skill that would normally reset the cooldown now grants a charge instead, allowing you to fire off more lava burst for more damage!
  2. Aftershock – Earth Shock and Earthquake, two of your primary damage dealing maelstrom spenders, have a 25% chance to refund all maelstrom spent, allowing you to potentially be able to fire off these powerful skills in quick succession!
  3. Spirit Wolf – This talent empowers your Ghost Wolf, which is a skill that transforms you into a wolf allowing you to move quicker, by also making it progressively increase your movement speed even more and reducing your damage taken the longer your transformed! This effect can stack up to 4 times, with you gaining a stack every second.
  4. Master of the Elements – This talent makes it so that after you cast Lava Burst, the next nature, physical or frost spell has its damage increased by 20%, giving your next skill a nice power boost!
  5. Nature’s Guardian – This talent gives you a nice survivability increase by making it so that when you are brought below 35% health, you instantly heal for 20% of your max health! This can occur once every 45 seconds.
  6. Surge of Power – This passive talent empowers your next Flame Shock, Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst or Frost Shock after you use Earth Shock by giving them an additional effect, giving you another nice passive power boost! (You’ll primarily be spending this passive on lightning bolt)
  7. Stormkeeper – This strong active talent causes your next two Lightning Bolts to deal 150% increased damage, and then causing your next 2 lightning bolts or chain lightnings to be instant cast and trigger elemental overload on every target! Elemental overload is your passive mastery that gives these 2 lightning skills just mentioned and lava burst a chance to fire a second time for 85% of their original value. So this skill lets you pump out a nice amount of burst damage on your next two lightning bolts or chain lightnings by not only empowering their damage, but causing elemental overload to automatically trigger for even more burst!
  8. Spectral Recovery – This PvP talent combines well with the Spirit Wolf talent, making it so that your ghost wolf speed is increased by an additional 10% and you heal for 3% max health every 2 seconds while you remain in form.
  9. Lightning Lasso – This new active channeled skill stuns the target while dealing massive damage over the 5 second channel. In addition, you are able to move while casting this skill!
  10. Grounding Totem – This powerful totem redirects all non-AoE harmful spells casted on nearby party or raid members to it, allowing you to use this totem to essentially “dodge” powerful abilities coming from your enemies!

Rotation

Dealing Damage

The rotation for Elemental Shaman is pretty straightforward. Simply put, you want to maintain Flame Shock on as many targets as you can, and then focus on building and spending maelstrom. You’re going to want to cast both of your Lava Burst charges, and then whenever you gain a charge. You then want to spend your maelstrom as soon as you’re able to on Earth Shock when fighting 1 enemy or Earthquake when fighting multiple enemies. After you use Earth Shock, preferably use Lightning Bolt for your Surge of Power passive, but you can use one of the other skills if the situation calls for it. If Lava Burst is on cooldown and you don’t have enough maelstrom for either Earth Shock or Earthquake, use Lightning Bolt as a filler, or Chain Lightning if fighting 3+ enemies. If you need to deal damage while moving, use Frost Shock as a filler.

Offense

  • You’re going to want to use Stormkeeper on cooldown, as this greatly empowers the damage of your lightning bolt and chain lightning.
  • When you want to deal a big burst of damage, you’re going to want to use your Fire Elemental or your Earth Elemental, greatly increasing the amount of damage you can deal to your enemies!
  • Whenever you are in a particularly tough boss fight or a tough part of an encounter, use Bloodlust/Heroism to drastically increase the damage of your entire raid party by giving them a massive haste buff!
  • Use Purge if you see a magical buff on an enemy that can be removed! Many nameplate addons will have skills like these glow on their unit frames or nameplate to help you identify which beneficial skills can be purged.

Defense

  • If you are taking a huge amount of damage and need to recover, use Astral Shift to reduce the amount of damage you take by 40%!
  • If you need some extra healing but don’t want to stop your offensive assault, simply drop a healing stream totem to passively heal you and your allies!
  • Use Tremor totem to stop incoming fear, sleep or charm effects from effecting you and your party members!
  • Use Earthbind totem to slow down enemy movement, allowing you to kite them and keep them at bay! You can also use Thunderstorm in a similar way by knocking enemies away from you and slowing their movement speed.
  • Use Capacitor totem on an enemy or group of enemies if you need to stun them. This will stop problematic spell casts or help prevent your party from being overwhelmed by a group of enemies!
  • Use Hex to crowd control problem enemies, CCing them for up to 1 minute (shorter duration in PvP but serves the same purpose). Any damage will break this effect though.
  • Maintain lightning shield and flametongue weapon on yourself to deal some damage back to attackers and add a little extra damage to your attacks!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Versatility
  2. Haste
  3. Critical Strike
  4. Mastery

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Kyrian (Necrolord is also a good option)

Recommended Legendary: Memory of Elemental Equilibrium

Enhancement

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Lashing Flames – This talent makes it so that Lava Lash (one of our primary damage dealing melee attacks) increases the damage of our Flame Shock (our primary damage over time skill), by 100% for 20 seconds, giving us a nice boost to our sustained damage!
  2. Stormflurry – Stormstrike (our primary melee damage dealing attack) has a 25% chance to strike again for 40% of its normal damage. This effect can also chain off of itself, allowing it to proc multiple times off of one Stormstrike!
  3. Spirit Wolf – This talent empowers your Ghost Wolf, which is a skill that transforms you into a wolf allowing you to move quicker, by also making it progressively increase your movement speed even more and reducing your damage taken the longer your transformed! This effect can stack up to 4 times, with you gaining a stack every second.
  4. Elemental Assault – This talent makes Stormstrike have 15% increased damage and generate 1 stack of Maelstrom Weapon. Maelstrom weapon is a stacking passive that increases the damage and reduces the cast time of your next healing or damage dealing spell. This talent lets us get this passive up more frequently, and gives us a flat damage increase on one of our most important skills, making it a great choice!
  5. Nature’s Guardian – This talent gives you a nice survivability increase by making it so that when you are brought below 35% health, you instantly heal for 20% of your max health! This can occur once every 45 seconds.
  6. Sundering – This talent gives us a strong AoE active, allowing us to shatter a line of earth in front of us for a strong amount of flamestrike damage, and incapacitating any enemies hit.
  7. Ascendance – This talent gives us a VERY strong offensive cooldown, dealing damage instantly to anyone around us and reducing the cooldown and cost of Stormstrike by 66%. In addition, Stormstrike and our auto attacks are now wind based, and therefore not mitigated by our enemies’ armor, and they have a 30 yard range! This plays well into our talent build by continuing to strengthen the offensive capability of our stormstrike!
  8. Shamanism – A PvP talent that allows our Bloodlust/Heroism to be used in PvP, by giving it a 60 second cooldown, giving us a 20% haste buff, causing it to only effect 2 targets (us and an ally) and making it last for 10 seconds. It also no longer gives us the debuff that prevents us from being effected by it again within a 10 minute period.
  9. Ride the Lighting – This continues to add power to our stormstrike by also making it so that if there are 2 enemies within 8 yards of each other when we use stormstrike, we also cast a chain lightning on the target! If there are no enemies within 8 yards, we instead conjure lightning bolts that fire at the 2 furthest enemies within 40 yards.
  10. Grounding Totem – This powerful totem redirects all non-AoE harmful spells casted on nearby party or raid members to it, allowing you to use this totem to essentially “dodge” powerful abilities coming from your enemies!

Rotation

Dealing Damage

The rotation for Enhancement Shaman is heavily proc based, so often times, you’ll be hitting skills as they come off of cooldown. One important thing to understand when playing Enhancement shaman is how Maelstrom Weapon works. When you use melee attacks, you gain stacks of this, and each stack increases the potency and reduces the cooldown of your next spell by 20%, and you can have up to 10 stacks of this. You can spend up to 5 stacks at a time, thus increasing a spells potency by 100% and reducing its cast time to nothing. So we will be generating Maelstrom Weapon with our melee attacks, and then spending them on lightning bolt on a single enemy, chain lightning on multiple enemies or healing surge if we need the defense whenever we hit 5 stacks. Our priority when doing this is as follows:

  1. Maintain Windfury Totem at all times.
  2. Maintain Flame Shock on as many enemies as possible. If you don’t need to refresh Flame Shock, use Frost Shock here instead.
  3. Use Lava Lash
  4. Use Crash Lightning
  5. Use Stormstrike
  6. Use Sundering

Once you use all of your skills, you’ll basically just be juggling the cooldowns to make sure you are keeping Stormstrike, Lava Lash, Crash Lightning and Frost/Flame Shock on cooldown as much as you can, while continuing to use Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning whenever you reach 5 stacks of maelstrom. Overall, the spec is really straightforward to play.

Offense

  • Enhancement shamans have a ton of strong burst cooldowns! So when you want to deal a big burst of damage, you have a few options! You can use Ascendance to make your throughput goes through the roof and give you extra range on your attacks, you can use Feral Spirit to summon 2 spirit wolves to aid you in battle and help increase the rate at which you generate maelstrom weapon, and you can use your Earth Elemental to have it fight by your side and deal big damage to your enemies!
  • Use Purge if you see a magical buff on an enemy that can be removed! Many nameplate addons will have skills like these glow on their unit frames or nameplate to help you identify which beneficial skills can be purged.

Defense

  • If you are taking a huge amount of damage and need to recover, use Astral Shift to reduce the amount of damage you take by 40%!
  • If you need some extra healing but don’t want to stop your offensive assault, simply drop a healing stream totem to passively heal you and your allies!
  • Use Tremor totem to stop incoming fear, sleep or charm effects from effecting you and your party members!
  • Use Earthbind totem to slow down enemy movement, allowing you to keep your enemies slowed so you can maintain uptime, or if needed, kite them and keep them at bay!
  • Use Capacitor totem on an enemy or group of enemies if you need to stun them. This will stop problematic spell casts or help prevent your party from being overwhelmed by a group of enemies!
  • Use Hex to crowd control problem enemies, CCing them for up to 1 minute (shorter duration in PvP but serves the same purpose). Any damage will break this effect though.
  • Maintain lightning shield, windfury weapon and flametongue weapon on yourself to deal some damage back to attackers and extra damage to your attacks!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Haste
  2. Versatility = Critical Strike
  3. Mastery

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Venthyr

Recommended Legendary: Memory of the Doom Winds

Restoration

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Torrent – This passive talent increases the initial heal of our riptide (one of our primary heals that heals an ally instantly and gives them a HoT) by 20%, making this already great heal that much stronger.
  2. Echo of the Elements – This talent gives your riptide, healing stream totem and lava burst 2 charges. In addition, a skill that would normally reset the cooldown of these skills instead grant a charge. This gives you a ton more healing throughput by giving you additional riptides and healing stream totems, and even allows you to do more damage with lava burst if no allies need healing or you are questing!
  3. Spirit wolf – This talent empowers your Ghost Wolf, which is a skill that transforms you into a wolf allowing you to move quicker, by also making it progressively increase your movement speed even more and reducing your damage taken the longer your transformed! This effect can stack up to 4 times, with you gaining a stack every second.
  4. Earthen Wall Totem – This incredibly strong active talent summons a totem that absorbs a portion of damage taken from allies in its radius for 15 seconds. This gives anyone within the totem heavily increased survivability, allowing you to more easily keep your allies health bars topped off with your heals!
  5. Nature’s Guardian – This talent gives you a nice survivability increase by making it so that when you are brought below 35% health, you instantly heal for 20% of your max health! This can occur once every 45 seconds.
  6. Flash Flood – This passive now makes it so that when you consume stacks of Tidal Waves, the cast time of your next heal is reduce by 20%, allowing you to get off more heals even quicker! The Tidal Waves passive is granted whenever you use Chain Heal or Riptide, and decreases the cast time of your next healing wave or increases the critical chance of your next healing surge. Basically, this talent just makes it so that as you are consuming stacks of this passive, you are able to cast other heals even faster!
  7. Ascendance – This talent gives us a VERY strong defensive cooldown, healing any nearby allies instantly, duplicating all healing we deal and distributing it evenly among all allies within 20 yards for 15 seconds. This gives us another “oh no” button, making it easier for us to pick up our allies health bars if we fall behind on healing.
  8. Ancestral Gift – This passive talent empowers our spiritwalker’s grace, which is a skill that lets us cast while moving, by also making us immune to silence and interrupts for 5 seconds after we use it!
  9. Tidebringer – Every 8 seconds, the cast time of our next chain heal is reduced by 50% and the jump distance is increased by 100%, giving us a quicker cast and more powerful heal! We can store up to 2 of these tidebringer charges, and this talent also combos well with flash flood!
  10. Grounding Totem – This powerful totem redirects all non-AoE harmful spells casted on nearby party or raid members to it, allowing you to use this totem to essentially “dodge” powerful abilities coming from your enemies!

Rotation

How to Play Restoration

When playing as a healer, there isnt a “set rotation” like when you play a damage dealer. It’s up to you to judge what healing spells are appropriate for each situation. The following is a priority list of your heals/skills and things to keep in mind when deciding which skills to use:

  1. Before you fight, apply Earth Shield to the tank. This will increase your healing on them by 20% and healing them when they take damage every few seconds. This shield has nine charges, so it will need to be refreshed throughout a fight. Maintaining this on your tank is very important.
  2. Use Riptide on cooldown for its instant heal and long duration HoT.
  3. Use Healing Rain on cooldown for some nice AoE healing.
  4. Use Healing Stream totem to help with your healing throughput. We have two charges of this thanks to Echo of the Elements, allowing us to have good uptime on this totem.
  5. Use Healing Wave for low or moderate damage, and use Healing Surge on targets who are in need of BIG healing. If you need to heal multiple allies, use Chain Heal. Pay attention to your stacks of Tidal Waves though; if you have two charges of Tidal Waves, you shouldnt use Chain Heal (even in an AoE situation) and instead use Healing Wave or Healing Surge, depending on your current need.

Offensive Notes

  • If no one needs any healing, apply Flame Shock to your enemies and use Lava Burst until its on cooldown. You can also use Lightning bolt or chain lightning if these skills are on cooldown and still no one needs healing.
  • When you want to deal a big burst of healing, use Ascendance to instantly heal allies around you and drastically increase your healing throughput!
  • Use Healing Tide Totem to help increase your AoE healing on all party members near the totem!
  • When you want to deal a big burst of damage and contribute to your groups damage output, use your Earth Elemental to have it fight by your side and deal big damage to your enemies!
  • Use Purge if you see a magical buff on an enemy that can be removed! Many nameplate addons will have skills like these glow on their unit frames or nameplate to help you identify which beneficial skills can be purged.

Defensive Notes

  • Earthen Wall totem should be used when members of your party are taking a lot of damage or are about to take a lot of damage, and you want to help reduce it. This helps absorb a ton of damage taken by members of your party, making it easier for you to keep them alive!
  • Use Spirit Link totem if members of your party are taking big damage! This totem reduces the damage people within it take, while evenly distributing everyone’s health pools.
  • If you are taking a huge amount of damage and need to recover, use Astral Shift to reduce the amount of damage you take by 40%!
  • Use Tremor totem to stop incoming fear, sleep or charm effects from effecting you and your party members!
  • Use Earthbind totem to slow down enemy movement, allowing you to kite them and keep them at bay!
  • Use Capacitor totem on an enemy or group of enemies if you need to stun them. This will stop problematic spell casts or help prevent your party from being overwhelmed by a group of enemies!
  • Use Hex to crowd control problem enemies, CCing them for up to 1 minute (shorter duration in PvP but serves the same purpose). Any damage will break this effect though.
  • Maintain water shield and flametongue weapon on yourself to help maintain your mana pool and add a little extra damage to your attacks!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Versatility = Critical Strike
  2. Haste = Mastery

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Venthyr

Recommended Legendary: Memory of a Primal Tide

Contact

If you have any questions about the build, join our discord server and ask @Dottz about the build in the #wow-general channel!

Update Log

12/30/2020 – Guide created