The shaman is a healer, melee and ranged damage dealer hybrid class. As such, the class is considered one of the most adaptable and versatile in the game. They are designed to enhance all parts of a party while not being particularly focused on any one aspect of the game. Depending upon how players choose to customize their character's talent points, they can specialize in offensive spellcasting, melee damage dealing, or healing. Their primary support buffs come in the form of stationary totems, which when placed on the ground by the shaman, provide various benefits to party members, or offensive versus enemies within a totem's 30 to 50 yard (depending on the totem) radius.
- See also: Shaman (Warcraft III)
Shamans are spiritual visionaries of tribes and clans. These gifted healers can see into the world of spirits and communicate with creatures invisible to eyes of normal beings. They are beset by visions of the future and use their sight to guide their people through troubled times. Although the shaman may seem wise and serene at first glance, he is a formidable foe; when angered, his wrath is as fierce as those who have a connection to Eternals or nature.
Shamanism has existed since the sapient races first discovered the power of the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. On Draenor, now shattered Outland, the orcs were shamanistic; on Azeroth, trolls and tauren were shamanistic. Though shamanism on Azeroth flourished and still continues to, shamanism on Draenor was all but extinct by the time of the great crossing of the Horde into Azeroth via the Dark Portal. The greatest and yet some of the most vilified orcs were once shaman; Zuluhed the Whacked, Ner'zhul, and even Gul'dan were all previously shaman. However, Kil'jaeden, current lord over the Burning Legion, distorted the shaman's connection with their spirits in the sacred mountain of Oshu'gun, himself taking on the form of the shaman's ancestors to convince the shaman (who held much political sway in the orcish culture) that the Draenei were the enemy. The ensuing massacres upon several Draenei hunting parties offended the spirits, who eventually denied the shaman their powers.
All was set for the transition.
Cut off from their elemental powers, the former shamans turned to the more efficient and masterful powers of the Burning Legion, becoming Warlocks. Though many tried to hang onto their roots, it was impossible. Even Drek'Thar was sucked into the dark magics, though he later repented and to this day has never forgiven himself for the acceptance of the demonic corruption that plagues himself and the orc race to this day. Ner'zhul was the warlock who created the portals from Draenor to many other worlds. The many portals ripped Draenor apart creating the ravaged land of Outland. He repented but was dragged back into the fold by Kil'jaeden who promised him an endless existence of suffering and pain if he did not serve the Legion. Ner'zhul accepted this second chance at serving the Legion and was changed into the mighty being the Lich King and currently inhabits the body of Arthas Menethil his first and most powerful of the second generation of Death knights.
Shamanism in the orcs was all but extinct until Thrall, the son of the deceased Durotan and future chieftain of the Frostwolf clan, grabbed hold of the reins of Warchief of the New Horde ushering in a new generation of shamanism, breaking the crippling lethargy of the captive orcs and outlawing the dark magic of the Burning Legion. At the time of the internment camps, a shaman was a derogatory term for someone who told fantastical and unbelievable stories. Shamanism is now at its peak though, as the New Horde itself is led by a shaman of great power in the new orcish kingdom of Durotar.
The shaman class was originally only available to three of the Horde races: tauren, orcs, and trolls. Designed as a counterpart to the Paladin, the shaman class was once unavailable to the Alliance. This was said to create much trouble in developing both classes since they needed to be balanced against each other. The release of The Burning Crusade expansion introduced the shaman to the Alliance through the draenei while the Horde gained access to the blood elf Paladin, thus making it possible for both classes to be developed independent of each other.
In parties, shamans make the quintessential fifth member; supplementing the others with powerful buffs (using their totems and shields) along with healing or damage on par with other, more specialized classes. Shamans have the ability to resurrect themselves once every 30 minutes (which can be reduced with talent points to once every 15 minutes) using their ability. In addition to its uses within a fight, this, in combination with their ability to resurrect other players, makes shamans a viable utility for wipe recovery.
Originally, shamans were supposed to be capable of tanking through the enhancement talent tree. However, their lack of heavy plate armor and the various changes made to their talent trees over time have phased out their tanking potential in favor of healing and damage dealing. While most shamans are capable of adequately tanking instances prior to reaching level 60, higher level areas and instances require tanks to have stronger passive defenses and damage mitigation than shamans have, despite their versatility and healing abilities.
- Magatha Grimtotem
- Farseer Nobundo
- Rehgar Earthfury
- Primal Torntusk
- Zuluhed the Whacked
- Earthen Ring: A group of shamans employing all races connected to the elemental spirits, including orcs, taurens, trolls, mag'har, broken, lost ones, draenei and even a few of the Wildhammer dwarves.
- Unnamed Draenei shaman brotherhood led by Farseer Nobundo.
- Main article: Shaman races
The shaman class can be played by the following races:
Until The Burning Crusade, the shaman class was exclusive to Horde, as the Paladins were exclusive to Alliance. The balance of power has been partially upheld, however; only one Alliance race can play shamans, just as only one Horde race can play as Paladins. Note that come Cataclysm, two Horde races will be able to be Paladins just as two Alliance races will be able to be shamans.
Each Race has its own distinct advantage, no matter its class; consequently, many players who wish to play shamans factor in the advantages and abilities of the various races when starting their characters. Some prefer tauren for their racial ability, as shamans themselves do not possess any ability to stun. Others prefer orcs as stun effects don't last as long when used against them, which is helpful versus a rogue, as well as against a shadow priest; likewise, the orcs' racial ability can be very useful for a shaman because they get a bonus to both their melee attacks and spell damage. Both of these abilities are very useful in PvP. Still others enjoy playing trolls because of their and powers, and the bonus which can allow them to level more quickly. Players looking for a boost in healing for PvE or PvP may find that the draenei's usable racial ability, is an effective heal over time spell that can be cast on oneself or on another player at no mana cost. In the end, the choice of race is up to the player, and often comes down to a matter of aesthetics more than anything else. As long as the player enjoys the race they have chosen, many will simply ignore the mathematics.
The elemental tree focuses on the shaman's offensive spell casting ability. It decreases the mana cost and casting time of spells while increasing their damage and critical strike chance. The 31 point ability is Elemental Mastery, a self buff usable every three minutes that gives you a 15% increase to haste lasting for 15 seconds. The 41 point talent is Totem of Wrath, which increases the raid's spell power, and makes any enemies in its radius more likely to be critically hit. The 51 point talent is Thunderstorm giving elemental a AOE that can throw opponents.
Overall, elemental is the best build for shamans who want to maximize their damage output in PvP. In raids, elemental shamans are more of a general utility class, so raid spots may be a little harder to find. In 5-Man instances and PUGs, elemental shamans bring great flexibility and utility capable of high DPS, buffing and healing (due to excellent spec and equipment synergy).
By spending talent points in enhancement, a shaman greatly increases melee damage output. This is a very appealing tree to lower-level shamans because dealing melee damage does not cost mana. At level 40, the Dual Wield weapon skill can be learned. Together with the powerful Windfury Weapon buff, an enhancement shaman's melee damage output is second only to rogues and retribution paladins. Additionally, with their 51 point talent, Feral Spirit, enhancement shamans can quickly destroy small groups of enemies while soloing and bring an impressive amount of DPS to raids.
Enhancement builds generally have the highest damage output potential of all shaman builds. In raids, enhancement shaman are highly desirable because their buffs to the other melee damage dealers are substantial. In PvP, enhancement shamans usually have problems due to low survivability (compared to plate-wearing classes and rogues) and susceptibility to snares.
The restoration tree focuses on the shaman's healing capability, reducing the casting time and mana cost of healing spells, while increasing their effectiveness. Restoration shamans are well suited for any healing situation in the game. On top of that they offer good utility (like Mana Regeneration by Mana Tide Totem), and the best multi-target heal spell in the game (Chain Heal), giving them excellent potential as raid-wide healers. The 41 point talent Earth Shield acts as a very mana-efficient single-target HoT with a long duration. The 51 point talent, Riptide give the shaman an instant cast heal and a HoT.
This tree is highly useful in PvP and group PvE, the only drawback being the rather low damage output, so solo play is more difficult. In return, a restoration shaman hardly ever dies while questing/soloing.
Shamans can wear leather armor at the start of the game and can train to wear mail gear after level 40. It is not uncommon for many shamans take up leatherworking as a profession because there is some mail armor that can be made. Additionally, the Dragonscale Leatherworking specialization can make several mail armor items with stat bonuses that are very beneficial to the shaman class.
Shamans can use one-handed maces with shields and staves by default, and can train daggers, fist weapons, one-handed axes, and two-handed axes and maces (as of Patch 2.3) by visiting a trainer. Post-patch 2.0, enhancement shamans can dual wield.
After reaching level 40, a shaman can learn to wear mail armor from their trainer. For shaman casters, the Turtle Scale collection available from Leatherworkers is good, other items such as the Chain of the Scarlet Crusade are better for melee shamans.
- At level 70, it takes 40 agility to gain 1% to critical strike chance.
- At level 70, it takes 22 critical strike rating to gain 1% to critical strike chance.
- Your level's worth of agility will increase your chance to dodge by about 3% (e.g., +60 agility will give a level 60 shaman +3% to dodge).
- Every point of agility provides 1 melee attack power (e.g., +70 agility will give any shaman +70 AP).
- Every point of strength provides 1 melee attack power (e.g., +70 strength will give any shaman +70 AP).
- Every point of strength increases the amount of damage you block with a shield.
- Every point of intellect adds 15 mana (MP).
- Your level's worth of intellect will increase your chance to crit with spells by about 1% (e.g., +60 intellect will give a level 60 shaman +1% to crit with spells; at level 70 it takes +70 int.)
- Every point of stamina adds 10 health (HP).
- Every 10 points of spirit regenerates 1 mana per second. This can also be described as "five spirit yields 1 mana per tick" or "2 spirit restores 1 mana per five seconds" (MP5). See also Formulas:Mana Regen.
- Every 18 spirit increases health regeneration by 1 health per second (i.e., 9 spirit restores 1 point of health per tick).
- As of patch 3.0 every point of Intellect provides 1 attack power with the talent Mental Dexterity (e.g., +70 intellect will give the shaman +70 AP)
Totems are unique to the shaman, and must be obtained by completing certain quests. Each Totem corresponds with one of four element (Earth, Fire, Water, Wind) and only one of each elemental type can be used at a time. Once a totem is put down, it cannot be moved, but a new totem can always be summoned to replace it.
With the spell Totemic Call (available at level 30), shamans can instantly remove all of their totems for no mana and receive 25% of the mana spent on the totems back.
However, as of 2.4, shamans who have not yet reached level 30 and trained the spell 'Totemic Call' will see "Totem Timers" below their character portraits. As with buffs, a simple right-click to the "Totem Timer" icon, and the totem will be destroyed with no mana gain.
- See the shaman totems page for complete list of totems, and additional details.
Shaman spells include direct damage spells, heals, and weapon buffs among others. Their spells are mostly based on the elements.
Shaman talents are split into 3 categories:
- Elemental — improvements in offensive spells and offensive totems.
- Enhancement — improvements in melee related skills and enhancement totems.
- Restoration — improvements in healing and restoration totems.
- Offhand weapons ("Dual Wielding")
- Swords (1-handed or 2-handed)
- Ranged weapons (wands, bows, throwing weapons, crossbows, guns)
Note: the inability of shamans to use ranged weapons makes the Troll's Throwing Weapon Specialization and Bow Specialization racial traits worthless for them.
Totems are a major part of the end game and knowing what totems will benefit the shaman's group members best in different situations is all part of the strategy involved in playing a shaman. With the versatility that comes with a shaman you will always be the one patching up on various issues that your group might run into. If your party runs into an encounter which is very DPS heavy, you will find yourself supporting DPS, occasionally throwing in a heal if needed. The same goes for encounters that require lots of healing.
A shaman's role in parties and raids will vary depending on how they choose to spend their talent points and equip themselves, as some of the shaman's versatility is diminished if they focus heavily on one tree. For example, a shaman who has specced enhancement (and geared accordingly) may have problems healing, due to the lack of crucial intellect/+healing/MP5 bonuses on their gear which restoration requires, but will greatly enhance melee group DPS in raids (enhancing warriors, rogues, and feral druids via Windfury Totem, and all physical damage classes via Unleashed Rage and Strength of Earth Totem). On the other hand a restoration shaman gets very little benefit from going melee due to the lack of +hit/+attack power, whereas elemental shamans can cast ranged DPS and still cast the occasional support heal (and possibly main heal any 5-man instance), still getting the bonuses (in most cases) from +heal/+spell damage.
Specialization is all a matter of preference. Some shamans choose to go restoration, some elemental, and others enhancement. No matter which tree they follow, there are a lot of abilities that will benefit raid/party DPS, protection and healing. Patch 2.0 (just prior to Burning Crusade) added such talents as Totem of Wrath, and Unleashed Rage (depending on whatever you wish to go Melee or Caster shaman), so although you may not be the number one DPS class or number one healing class, your choice of playstyle and talents will greatly benefit the classes who do heavy DPS and/or heals, leading to an overall successful achievement in the end.
- Remember that the beauty of the shaman is its versatility, and even though you tend to go one way with talents, remember that you still have access to the rest of your spells and abilities.
Shamans now receive one point of attack power from both strength and agility. Additionally, every point of intellect provides one attack power with the talent Mental Dexterity. Also, critical rating and spell critical rating, as well as hit rating and spell hit rating, have each been condensed into a single stat.
Totems have been "condensed" into a smaller amount of totems, for example Grace of Air Totem was removed and its agility bonus was merged into Strength of Earth Totem. Totems were moved to physical school and cannot be counterspelled. Most totems now also affect raid members, not just the local party.
- Weapon enchants
The effect of the Windfury Totem is not a weapon enchant anymore and has been changed to a buff granting melee haste.
Shamans were given Hex, a polymorph spell with a 45 second cooldown allowing them to turn an enemy into a frog. The enemy cannot cast or attack but is still in control of his character. It will last up to 10 seconds on PvP targets with diminishing returns, similar to other crowd control, or up to 30 seconds on monsters.
- Unleashed Rage
Unleashed Rage affects the raid, not just the party.
- Wind Shear
Shamans now have Wind Shear, a threat-reducing spell that does no damage but has an interrupt effect.It is not affected by the global cooldown and, as of patch 3.2, no longer shares a cooldown with Shock spells.
- Water Shield
Water Shield got moved to an earlier level and has more ranks now.
- Lava Burst
The Lava Burst spell was added at level 75 in the elemental tree.
- Earth Shock
As of patch 3.2 the Earth Shock spell was changed from interrupting spellcasting for 2 seconds, to increasing time between attacks by 10% for 8 seconds.
- See Shamanism and nature worship to learn more about the shamans' beliefs.
- See List of shamans for named shamans from lore and in-game.
- Spell power coefficient.
- A list of useful macros for shamans.