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A (Pre-WotLK) Shaman FAQ
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Hello. I am a shaman and this is a FAQ.
Now with more resto!
This will be receiving update in the near future, as things have changed greatly since this post was first made. Understand that the mechanics here were based on TBC gear and talent calculators. Where some of this information is still valuable, large chunks of it must be changed.
You have been warned.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled post, already in progress.
Some questions for Shaman, answered here. A vast majority of this information was obtained through the posts by Binkenstein, Skyhoof and Malan at the EJ forums. Their three guides (linked below) are the best resources that we, as shaman, have. If you’re new to the shaman community, I highly encourage you to read the thread that’s appropriate for you and embrace it. If you read those, you basically do not need to read the rest of this FAQ but I find some people don’t want to go to all that trouble, so hopefully this will get them started on the right path.
You really should read those resources, though.
More Q/A will come as questions arise. This FAQ is designed to act as a corollary to
at the top of this forum. I highly encourage you to read that first, as it contains some good specs and basic information to get you on your feet and thinking like a shaman.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I’m arrogant and I kind of know what I’m talking about (mostly) but I’m not an expert. If I need to correct something, you’re welcome to address it right here and I’ll do my best to keep this current.
Please list any guide corrections, as well – I spell-checked it an’ everythin’, but #$%^ happens. I’d like to include more for Resto and Elemental but I tend to watch those topics less. Any suggestions, hit me up.
Rayford’s Guide (top of this forum):
Enhancement Shaman: The Collected Works of Theorycraft, Vol. 1:
Shaman – The One Stop Elemental Shop:
Shaman – How to Heal Like a Pro:
(let’s not forget our Resto brethren)
If you'd like to know what gear you should have pre-Kara, see Rayford's post
to see that information.
The Question List:
Here are the questions that are currently answered in this FAQ. Clicking on any of the questions will take you to the post that they’re contained in. If you click the link to find the post and don’t see it immediately, scroll down a little and you will soon. This is as close as I can get to fancy anchors (as Wowgeek suggested) but I think it's a good solution.
Why does elemental devastation suck?
How much +hit to I need?
Are enhancement shaman DPS chart toppers?
What enhancement spec should I use?
What weapons do I use?
Should I level as Elemental, Enhancement or Resto?
Are Shaman good for PvP?
What spec should I use for PvP?
General Totem Information
I'm ____ Spec, What Totems Should I Use?
How do I use them effectively?
Leveling your Shaman in PvE
Posts Elsewhere Discussing Restoration
Shaman PvP Discussion
Restoration Talent Discussion
Additional Beneficial Posts
Travysh on Elemental talents:
Travysh on weapon speed:
Drolfeir's reply to Travysh on weapon speed:
Drolfeir on leveling paths:
Gauroth on Elemental badge gear:
Gauroth on Unrelenting Storm:
ReAn on Restoration benchmarks:
Mesoforte's EXCELLENT list of pre-Kara gear for Resto shaman
If there's something else that should be added, please notify me in this thread
Missing reagent: Popcorn
3.0.3 edit: The times, they are a'changin'
WHY DOES ELEMENTAL DEVASTATION SUCK?
Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. First, the Enhancement perspective.
: EJ Forums - Malan
2.2 The Myth of Elemental Devastation
One of the more prevalent suggestions is that Enhance Shaman should optimize their DPS by speccing into Elemental for a 5 second shock cooldown, 5% increased shock damage, and of course the Elemental Devastation Talent, typically achieved by removing points from Mental Quickness and/or Improved Weapon Totems for an 18/43/0 build.
The logic of this build is fundamentally flawed. A properly geared Enhancement Shaman will have at most a 6% spell crit rate from Intellect.
Under perfect conditions this will amount to a 1% crit gain from Elemental Devastation. Under not-so-perfect conditions, this talent would be negligible and worthless to an Enhancement shaman
The probability of getting 2 crit shocks in a row at 6% spell crit, in order to sustain the extra melee crit bonus of Elemental Devastation, is 1-(1- 0.6)^2 = 0.118. That's about 12% uptime of an extra 1% crit from 3 talent points.
Let’s ignore the fact that you’re potentially gimping either Mental Quickness or Improved Weapon Totems (which is as much sense as gluing your index fingers to your palms and then teaching yourself to type that way)... such a low uptime and such a low crit increase is pathetic.
: EJ Forums – Toots Hepcat
Elemental Devastation definitely sucks. With a 5% spell crit, you'd see ED up an average of once every 100s, for an uptime of around 10%. This makes 3/3 of this talent worth approximately .9% crit, the equivalent of 19 crit rating. (Cross this with Nature's Guidance which is worth 47 hit rating.) I suppose there's a desire to make use of the +int that's on all mail gear, but it still takes 70+ int for 1% spell crit.
Now, the Elemental perspective.
: EJ Forums – Binkenstein
(T4) Offensive Spell Crits increase Melee Crit chance by 3/6/9% for 10 seconds
Elemental shaman will crit with spells fairly often. They should
be within Melee range. The end effect of this talent will never be used. It is also important to note that this talent does not help for an Enhancement build either, meaning that
it should never be used for any raiding build.
The latter is really a better explanation from a non-mathematical perspective and can be used two ways.
against ED (the elemental perspective) is: “
You’re a caster; why are you trying to do melee damage when none of your gear is melee-oriented?
against ED (the enhancement perspective) is: “
You’re melee; why are you screwing up your gear by sacrificing attack power and crit which you’re optimized for in favor of gear with spell crit?
” If your answer to either is “because it helps me do more damage,” you’re wrong. If it’s “I dunno, lol” then just accept that it’s stupid and don’t do it.
It should be fairly clear that Elemental Devastation shouldn’t even cross the mind of a restoration shaman and, if it does, you really should re-evaluate why you rolled A). a healer; B). a shaman; C). a caster in general.
Now say it with me:
Elemental Devastation sucks.
Yes; again. Once more. Good.
Other posts on this matter:
I felt like just outright quoting Randomtotem's post about this so here it is:
This post is meant to clear the ED discussions, to to players who don't know the dreaded elemental devastation. When you first look at the talent all you see is a 9% crit, that great right? Wrong, an enhancement shaman has 5% spell crit give or take, that means 1/20 will crit so it pretty bad. Now in the enhancement tree there should be 45 staple points which are in the following build:
This build has every useful talent to the raid and you. Now that leaves 16 point free, great now where should they go?
Most new shamans go in elemental and pick up everything including ED, which is BAD, or the build in this case would be:
With the changes to elemental quickness this build pulls alot of damage with searing totem down with out compromising your DPS, in the elite jerks forums this build is grossing more DPS than its counter part in resto, but this issue is still hotly debated.
The resto counter part is NOT FOR HEALING but rather your dps with the 3% hit, which taken with your enhancement 6% hit caps yellow damage allowing you to stack attack power, not hit which you would need with the elemental "brother build". This is the "staple" resto enhancement build:
This post was created to stop the "ED!1111one oneone powns all <3 " posts and provide some complete knowladge to the ones to lazy to read the shaman guide posted up there =/, and i also didn't see the "new" elemental build that might become the new "cookie cutter"
My personal opinion on this fact is that 3% hit and some other resto buffs will outweigh the totem damage, and allow you to stack more atack power and crit, and which might gross out more damage since all your loosing with the ele build is 15% damage to the totem and shorter shock cool down, which is not gonna be 100% used since we are threat capped.
Yay wall of text!
Thanks for this, Random.
HOW MUCH HIT DO I NEED?
Talents which improve a shaman’s hit percentage (both casting and melee) are available in every tree for the shaman. This isn’t particularly unique except for the fact that it’s easy to combine these to generate absurd values of +hit from talents alone.
Both forms of shaman DPS have access to up to 9% +hit
from talents alone
, which means we can simplify our item budget requirements rather easily. A little bit of hit is still necessary for elemental shaman, but it’s icing on the cake for enhancement, provided you take full advantage of these talents. This value changes if you decide to not put points into these talents, which I personally feel is absurd. Now to support this with some facts.
: EJ Forums - Binkenstein
Elemental Shaman gearing
: It takes 3-4% hit from gear to reach the 16% hit cap with talents. This means that upgrades for Mages will not be upgrades for Elemental Shaman. ...
General Rule of Thumb: If it has hit, an item would be better off going to another spellcaster.
: EJ Forums - Malan
There is no magic value of +Hit that an Enhance Shaman needs We need as much of every stat as we can get, but hit rating is just less important than the others. That does not mean that the goal is to have low hit rating either though. Rogues and Warriors require large amounts of +Hit to be effective because of their rage and combo point systems, and because they do not have talents that can hit cap their specials before considering hit on gear. Enhance shaman have no such feedback system and are able to hit cap specials through talents - therefore, hit rating above and beyond your talents is great to have, but is not a necessity.
This is basing the build on having improved DW and Nature’s Guidance; i.e. using resto as a sub-spec whether you're elemental or enhancement.
If a shaman chooses to ignore the resto tree for the additional 3% from Nature's Guidance, the need for hit rating increases significantly.
ARE ENHANCEMENT SHAMAN DPS CHART TOPPERS?
Enhancement Shaman are a dual-wielding, melee support class. Shad0w00, a Wowhead forum poster, made
this excellent remark
(quoted below) in
in which he attempted to explain the purpose of the enhancement shaman:
I think people are really misunderstanding the meaning of "enhancement" shaman. It's not called the "OMG-WTF-DPS Tree", it's the ENHANCEMENT tree. You ENHANCE others.
I wouldn't expect an enhancement shaman at the top of the DPS sheet, maybe close, but not at the top. But once you add in the extra dps that the rogues, warriors, and other meleers that are in the group do from your windfury (or grace of air) totem, stength of earth totem, and extra mana the ret pallies get (which equals more dps from them) from your mana spring totem ... well, that just pushed you WAY over the top of the DPS chart.
I guess it just takes a very selfless person to successfully play a PvE enhancement shaman, because it's DEFFINATELY NOT about you, it's about how you can ENHANCE others.
This is a very profound statement and indicative of the line of thinking that enhancement shaman should be using. Yeah, we can hit hard. Yes, we can even top meters on very rare occasions. But it’s never about that and it never will be about that. Being an enhancement shaman is purely about what you bring to the raid. If you understand your responsibility, your tanks will love you (easier for them to tank), your DPS will love you (better threat generation for tanks means they can open up) and your healers will love you (increased DPS on long fights will be easier on their mana pools). In short, your simple act of dropping four totems is substantially more valuable than any DPS you could ever hope to do, period. Expect all other melee DPS (assuming they're playing at your skill level) to out-damage you, end of discussion.
Take heart, though – it gets better with time. As you get into T6 content, your enhancement shaman will improve in DPS output. Unfortunately this also means that our elemental brethren tend to slip in damage output.
WHAT ENHANCEMENT SPEC SHOULD I USE?
AUUGH EVERYTHING IS WRONNNNNG (see
As Rayford notes in the sticky at the top of this forum, there really is no “perfect” enhancement build. There are some basic possibilities and some good options but a few of the points, once you have the basic talents, can be shuffled around to your taste. Factors include dodge increase, Ghost Wolf, improving various aspects of different shaman abilities; etc. My build is
. A much more common build is another
. Other possible specs:
. As you can see, these are all very minor tweaks, but there are core talents (effectively the bottom half of the whole enhancement tree) that must be included.
It should be noted here that there is currently a discussion ongoing regarding just how viable the 16/45/0 spec is in a PvE / raiding environment. If you wish to learn more about that discussion,
visit this thread and start reading
. DO NOT just pick one of these specs and go for it; it is IMPERITIVE you understand why your build is the way it is so that you can properly implement your abilities. It is currently considered that the 16/45/0 and the 0/47/14 are equal in value. It should also be stated that building into elemental as a subspec means that
YOU WILL REQUIRE ADDITIONAL +HIT ON YOUR GEAR
to make up the 3% +hit loss from the resto tree. I don't know how much, though, because I'm lazy and haven't looked it up because I'm not specced that way.
Regardless of this fact, DO NOT SOCKET YOUR GEAR WITH +HIT GEMS. Just don't.
Resto and Elemental builds are discussed in
in Rayford's post
WHAT WEAPONS DO I USE?
Enhancement Shaman prefer slow weapons in both hands. To quote the forum signature of the famous Pitbuller from the EJ forums,
“Slow, Slower, Shaman weapon.”
This is fundamentally true.
So when you’re dual-wielding, pick slow weapons; it’s that simple.
If you're still leveling
and find a fast dagger that does 15-20 more DPS than your slow mace, take it. Just understand that if you have a choice between a slow and a fast weapon, the slow weapon is always the better choice.
Before you’re able to dual wield you have a choice of using a 2-hander or a shield / mace combo. Do what makes you happy; just understand that 2H will level faster than mace / board. The following would constitute a breakdown of weapon selections for Enhancement Shaman, assuming green or blue quality.
Level 1-40 2-Handers
– if you prefer the 2-hander route.
Level 1-40 1-Handers
which must be used with
Level 1-40 Shields
if you prefer the shield / 1-hander route.
Once you hit level 40, you can start dual-wielding.
Level 40-60 1-Handers
– This is a combination of one-handed axes, maces and fist weapons, main-hand and off-hand, which can be used to level your enhancement shaman. As a shaman, slow weapons are always preferred, but
if you’re leveling, it doesn’t really matter
. Just get to the mid-60’s before you start worrying about such details, as level-capping your shaman is your ultimate goal.
Once you’ve hit Outland, go for the slower weapons
as much as possible
. Never turn down a significant upgrade if it’s fast, though – the key is hitting 70.
Level 60-70 1-Handers
– This list is restricted to 2.4 speed weapons and slower (2.5, 2.6 etc). Really, do your best to go for stuff like this, but again, don’t refuse an upgrade just because it’s fast. If the DPS is an increase and the stats are an increase, just make sure you put Flametongue or something on it instead of Windfury.
You will notice there are only 56 possible weapons here – this leads to our next topic, but before we get there, let's touch briefly on elemental and resto weapons.
Elementals should get spell damage weapons and especially weapons with critical strike. Restos should also get spell damage weapons, but they should additionally carry +heal weapons and especially Mp5 for their instancing. Caster weapons are obvious. If you're not sure what stats to go for or how to balance them, refer to Rayford's post at the top of this forum (which is also linked at the top of this thread).
Here are some weapons
that suit Elementals and a Resto's damage set once you hit Outland. Prior to Outland, locating weapons with both +spell damage and +crit is nigh-impossible.
Prior to Outland, though,
this is a list of caster weapon options
for weapons that have +spell damage.
SHOULD I LEVEL AS ELEMENTAL, ENHANCEMENT OR RESTO?
It depends on your personal preference. Generally it’s accepted that from level 1-40, either spec moves at a fairly good pace with Enhancement going perhaps a hair faster due to a lack of downtime. Once you reach level 40, DW enhancement is about as efficient as you can get. Once you hit Outland, however, the quality of Enhancement gear becomes lackluster and even poor – there’s far less gear for enhancement shaman who are leveling, so one popular opinion is that you should level in Outland as Elemental.
I leveled completely as enhancement, start to finish and it wasn’t particularly frustrating. I say this to suggest that it’s best to choose what you enjoy and stick with that, because quite simply, the more you enjoy the character the faster you will level because you’ll want to play it.
Leveling as Resto is your choice. The more into the tree you get, the harder you become to kill, which is always a good thing, but like trying to level any healing class, it’s going to take longer. If speed is your goal, resto is immediately out of the question. If you don’t care or have a part-time leveling buddy (e.g.,
"I only play this character when I’m leveling with my buddy, Smacky"
), resto becomes more desirable. The original mantra holds true –
choose what makes you happy
The best advice for leveling I can possibly give you regardless of spec is this: Find some shoes you don’t mind keeping for a while and enchant them with Minor Run Speed.
ARE SHAMAN GOOD FOR PVP?
Elemental and Enhancement
: by default, no. If you pit a shaman against any other class in a one-on-one environment, chances are quite good that the shaman will lose, barring luck or a bad opponent. Assuming you’re up against good PvPers, all ranged will kite us (casters / hunters) and most melee does more damage than the enhancement shaman (including heavily-geared ret paladins who know what they’re doing. Yes, RET PALADINS). Rogues will stunlock us to death and are difficult to kite and you cannot kite a warrior, period, because their intercept range is longer than our frost shock range. Warlocks are nearly guaranteed to smear you across the pavement and then defecate upon your corpse for good measure. Or eat it, if they’re undead.
In a group, however,
the shaman suddenly becomes much more useful. We are, after all, group buffers and group assistance; we’re a “support class.” We can break fears on our group, spot-heal here and there, remove effects on other players and do damage where possible (causing pushback to healers and so forth). In short, a PvP shaman stays with a group and darts in and out to assist the group as they kill across the battlefield. A shaman becomes infinitely more terrifying as the group size increases. When your group of 5 or 10 is assaulting a held area in a battleground, it is you who will be removing all of the buffs from your opposition, frost shocking or flame shocking escaping players, doing damage where possible, and interrupting spells while everyone else does the slaughtering. This is part of the reason behind the shaman mythos in PvP.
As such, we’re rather crappy in 2v2, but we become useful in 3v3 and even great in 5v5.
are a completely different story and the most-often viable of any PvP shaman type. Due to some phenomenal talents and (usually) high Mp5, restos are durable, somewhat difficult to drain of mana and have the highest survival chance if locked down by a rogue. Restos often favor lesser healing wave as their primary heal and will almost undoubtedly have 5 points specced into
, which is part of the legend behind "unkillable" resto shaman. If you're serious about PvP and you enjoy healing, a resto shaman would be one hell of a good fit for you.
WHAT SPEC SHOULD I USE FOR PVP?
This is a tough call. Many specs are suggested as being “the ultimate” spec, but the correct answer is that there is no ultimate spec. If you read the question above, you understand that PvP as an enhancement shaman isn’t a walk in the park, so you have to adjust yourself to fit into the group. In the end, as the saying goes, a PvP victory is rewarded to the guy who lives. As such, a spec such as this
is actually not a bad choice (
); it also provides you with all of the good talents for raiding. This can further be adjusted to one of two specs which are much more for exclusive PvP:
. You should also strongly consider any of the PvE specs, but just realize that without 5/5 Anticipation, you’re very likely to get brought down fast. Some people also suggest that it’s better to use a 2-hander for PvP (arena) due to the high burst damage potential of a WF crit on a nice, slow 2H weapon. That would suggest a spec such as
. Bear in mind two things: 1). 2-handers are inferior sustained damage, period. This is not arguable. A 2H may generate a wonderful crit from time to time, but it will NEVER out-damage DW. 2). A decent raid leader will laugh at you, should you ever suggest this may be a good raid build. It is NOT a good raid build and is on-par or worse than a paladin who sucks at his class attempting to DPS and speccing retribution. I’ve never tried this spec and I never will, but I would say that this spec is about as good as you’ll ever get for that playstyle.
EDIT FOR PATCH 2.4
: Toughness has been substantially buffed to the point that it's now an incredibly desirable thing to spend points in for PvP. As such, the value of the
spec has drastically increased, as your snare effects are greatly diminished. This still is not a great talent build for raiding, but it will get the job done. Adjustments can be made by removing the 2 points in Mental Quickness and placing them either in improved weapon totems or enhancing totems.
Elemental and Resto will be added when someone tells me. I think I could figure out a good resto one but I imagine there are Resto players out there with far greater experience in this field than I could ever hope for.
- Finally, some Restoration PvP spec discussion! Go
GENERAL TOTEM INFORMATION
At levels 4, 10, 20 and 30 you get access to your different totem schools (Earth, Fire, Water and Air, respectively). It seems many shaman don’t understand their totems or what they’re for, so the next sections are devoted to better understanding them. Learn your totems and USE THEM. They're a fantastic resource and, where not always necessary, they will become more powerful when properly used. Effective totem use is a hallmark of an excellent shaman.
– This reduces damage BEFORE armor is calculated and it’s largely useless except if you have a mage or paladin or anything that is doing AoE and therefore drawing a great deal of aggro from many sources. If you’re grouped with a warlock on the Terestian Illhoof fight, this will provide a nice buffer against all of the spawning imps. This is a situational totem.
– A simple totem with a simple and obvious purpose. Use this when kiting certain mobs and in PvP to slow down rogues or whatever else you want. This can be used inconjunction with Frost Shock or in lieu of it so that your shocks aren’t on cooldown when you need something like Earth Shock handy. This is viable in both PvP and PvE but don’t expect to use it as much in the latter. Still, it’s good to know how it works and what it’s for.
– A wonderful little aggro-generating totem for use if you need to run away. With 1315 health (max rank), it won’t last long (especially against multiple targets) but it can buy you a little bit of time if you’re trying to solo on-level elites or run away with your tail between your legs. Also, read
Strength of Earth Totem
– This is a staple of raiding enhancement shaman. Strength of Earth is probably one of our best totems in general, providing great benefit for any melee in the group (especially warriors and druids) as well as ourselves. Enhancement shaman should consider this a requirement of raiding and should have this handy at all times.
– Great for removing certain kinds of fears and sleep and other effects, this totem will cleanse them. This is great on any boss that fears the group or the raid or does any other kind of general disorient. It pulses every 4 seconds (3 in 2.4 patch) and is very useful. Keep this handy and use it if you think there’s an incoming fear (such as Nightbane in Kara).
Earth Elemental Totem
– This big guy is our little pocket tank and trust me, he rules the school. He generates massive threat and constantly spams an AoE taunt which will grab all enemies in a 15 yard radius. He’s not terribly durable but can be healed, so in a case where you need an emergency tank, this is a possible life-saver. Never EVER throw this on a raid, it will rip aggro from any tank by constant spamming taunt. Use this if you need to kill a high-level elite! Throw him down and then do your shaman thing – you should have no problems if you hike a couple of heals to him.
– This little guy gains 8% of your spell damage and does decent, consistent single-target damage. Consider this to be the equivalent of a fire-damage DoT. Enhancement and Resto shaman should always consider putting this down in order to provide general DPS. For an enhancement shaman, this totem is your staple raiding totem and should be dropped on every single boss fight. This totem also does a wonderful job of drawing aggro during transitions (Attumen; Leotheras the Blind) and many bosses will waste a charge or attack on this little 5 health totem, potentially saving a healer during a shaky transition. Searing totem is smart and will not break sheep.
Fire Nova Totem
– An AoE totem that does some decent damage and, the moment it’s put down, draws a huge amount of threat. NPCs will kill this and, because it has a cooldown, this can be annoying. If you’re looking to use this effectively, drop Stoneclaw first – the aggro from Stoneclaw will keep mobs off of your Fire Nova Totem. This totem will break sheep in range.
Frost Resistance Totem
- In raiding and PvP, this is one of our most powerful of our “forgotten” totems. For Hydross, this is a fantastic and useful totem that will only make it that much easier for your Frost tank. Frost mages will hate you for this and it will benefit any fight that has frost-based damage incoming.
– When a group leader calls for AoE, this is the totem you use. If you have multiple targets in a single area, this is the totem you use. If you want to guard a WSG tunnel against a stealthed rogue, this is the totem you use. Against single-target DPS, this will always be inferior to Searing Totem; in all other cases, use this (carefully). This will break sheep.
– Similar in concept, though inferior, to Windfury, this provides a weapon buff to party members’ weapons. If you are buffing melee you will nearly always prefer Windfury over this totem. Don’t expect to use this totem often.
Totem of Wrath
Available only to Ele Shaman via Talents
– If you’re a raiding elemental shaman, you drop this totem for your fire totem. It’s that simple. You do not use anything else in your fire slot except this totem. Do not question this or ask for justification – it’s a huge, wonderful totem that’s absurdly powerful to you and your group. If you’re not a raiding elemental shaman, this is largely unnecessary.
Fire Elemental Totem
– I named mine “Sparky.” Sparky puts out tremendous damage through a variety of straight-out attacks and a walloping Fire Nova-esque AoE attack. If you need a wild increase in burst DPS, throw this guy out and let him go absolutely nuts. He DOES gain damage based on your spell damage and he is created with a percentage of your health and mana as his base. Do not forget to heal him! He activates a 2 minute GCD with your Earth Elemental and has a 20 minute CD once used. Simply put, Sparky is awesome and will scare the pants off of people who aren’t expecting it. His attacks are uncontrollable and he will attack anything he can get his hands on.
Healing Stream Totem
– As the shaman HoT, this totem gains 6% of your bonus healing. This seems insignificant but if you have a shaman with 1500 bonus healing, your HS totem will tick every 2 seconds for about 100, meaning in its 2-minute duration, it’ll heal 6000 health (for the cost of 95 mana). Turn that into a 10-minute fight and you’re suddenly looking at 30,000 healing. Most shaman prefer Mana Spring as their water totem, but if you have 2 shaman, this should be out. If mana isn’t an issue for the fight, this will edge out Mana Spring.
Poison Cleansing Totem
– This is a fantastic totem. Any time you have your group getting poisons from anything, drop this to make life easier on your healer(s) and everyone else. With a wide effect and frequent tick, this totem can make a huge difference and turn all kinds of fights into instant EZ-Mode. Though utility and only for specific scenarios, failing to drop this totem when it would be beneficial is a stupid mistake and characteristic of a shaman who isn’t thinking. Make use of this totem. It’s especially useful in PvP against rogues.
Mana Spring Totem
– This is probably the single most-used totem in our arsenal, no matter what spec. It provides a base of 1200 mana over 2 minutes (1500 with Restorative Totems). That equates to 100 (125) mp5 for the shaman alone, but put that in a group of casters and you’re looking at total of 500 Mp5 (625) across the group. All shaman should consider this to be a lifeblood to everything they do, even more so if they’re in a caster group and if an enhancement shaman is paired with a paladin tank.
Fire Resistance Totem
– In raiding and PvP, this is one of our most powerful of our “forgotten” totems. This was a staple of the old MC days when the Horde didn’t have paladins and it should not be forgotten. Fire mages and destruction locks will hate you for this and it will benefit any fight that has fire-based damage incoming.
Disease Cleansing Totem
– This is a fantastic totem. Any time you have your group getting diseases from anything, drop this to make life easier on your healer(s) and everyone else. With a wide effect and frequent tick, this totem can make a huge difference and turn all kinds of fights into instant EZ-Mode. Though utility and only for specific scenarios, failing to drop this totem when it would be beneficial is a stupid mistake and characteristic of a shaman who isn’t thinking. Make use of this totem.
Mana Tide Totem
Available only to Resto Shaman via Talents
– This totem will regen 24% of all caster’s mana over 12 seconds. Think of this as a party-wide innervate. dropping this in your party will regen a stupid ton of mana and resto shaman will use this on a regular basis. The 5 minute cooldown is in place to keep it from being too stupidly overpowered. If you’re a resto shaman and you see that your whole group could use a mana pot, drop this – they’ll all thank you and love you forever.
– Huge in PvP against mages or locks; equally useful in PvE against Maiden’s Holy Fire or any number of other spells, the Grounding Totem is something you should have hot-barred for quick, emergency spell redirects. This can literally save your life and protect you from all kinds of things and should be used in conjunction with Earth Shock to control incoming spells. You may interrupt the first spell cast by someone but if they cast again before your shock is up, this will protect you. Love it and use it often – I personally prefer it when farming fire elementals in SMV. They waste their time casting a fireball (I can DPS them without any incoming damage) which hits my totem and it costs less mana than Earth Shock.
Nature Resistance Totem
– This great totem is probably one of the most undervalued totems in our arsenal. 70 NR is a wonderful thing to have for the Hydross fight, but it also reduced damage done by poisons and nature AoEs (such as Quagmirran). On heroic Quag, a combination of the elf NR buff, poison cleansing and this totem will make the healing so stupidly easy that it’ll seem like non-heroic. Any situation where you see AoE poisons, use this totem.
– The legendary Windfury Totem (often abbreviated as WF) is your staple raiding totem for enhancement shaman. This is a tremendous group buff and the source of a great deal of theory crafting from other classes. Once you’re regularly grouping, this is the totem people will ask you for, even if they don’t understand why they’re asking for it – they just know it’s good.
– Easily one of the most mocked and derided totems available to a shaman, the Sentry Totem is the butt of many jokes and flames but this is largely due to ignorance. You will not find a more useful totem for watching entrances in PvP and this totem is designed entirely for PvP. Place it anywhere that needs to be watched and then move about your business. If you don’t feel like babysitting it by being in “totem sight” mode, then just wait until you see a ping on your minimap to indicate that your totem is under attack. This will warn you of incomings. If you’re going to PvP often, keep this handy and use it and you’ll quickly wonder why people belittle it so much. Besides, it can be kind of funny to use.
– This is the most useless totem that we have. Only use if you’re fighting a Marksmanship hunter, else you can forget ever using this thing, ever. I can think of one circumstance that I used it and it was purely for humor value.
Grace of Air Totem
– This is used in place of Windfury if your tank is a druid, or if your warrior tank needs a little extra mitigation for a boss fight. This is a fantastic totem and the second-most-asked-for totem (second only to WF) that we have. Never underestimate the large value of agility that this adds and keep it handy.
Tranquil Air Totem
– This can be a great totem in specific scenarios and it’s most useful when you’re just starting in the raiding thing and people are getting used to each other. There’re better choices for the Air slot but if you have two shaman in a group and you’re worried about threat, this will help. Consider it a specific-utility totem and keep it available, but don’t expect to use it as often as you might think. Never drop this if you’re on a raid and in the tank’s raid group.
Wrath of Air Totem
– This totem is designed for use in a caster or healing group, but if you’re an enhancement shaman this is a wonderful thing to pair with a paladin tank. Wrath of Air affects all spell damage and should always be handy as your role in your group shifts.
I'M _____ SPEC, WHAT TOTEMS SHOULD I USE?
Generally speaking, PvE totem choices should focus on things which improve your personal or group sustainability and PvP totem choices should focus on considering your immediate opponent. Take, for example, Poison Totem. In PvE, it's very situational. In PvP, however, it becomes a near-vital aspect to fighting and protecting yourself from rogues (thanks Rinor).
You must understand the function of all of your totems and learn when it's appropriate to use specific ones.
Below are some general options for good "starting" totems. Adjust, especially in PvP, to what you're fighting. Also, if you're in a 5v5 and you only see 4, put down a poison totem. Seriously.
Earth: Stoneskin Totem
Fire: Totem of Wrath
Water: Mana Spring Totem
Air: Wrath of Air Totem (Windfury if you're in a rogue / warrior group)
Earth: Stoneskin Totem
Fire: Searing or Magma Totem
Water: Mana Spring Totem or Healing Stream Totem or Poison Totem
Air: Wrath of Air Totem
Earth: Strength of Earth Totem
Fire: Searing Totem
Water: Mana Spring Totem
Air: Windfury Totem (raiding) / Grace of Air Totem (solo or no rogues / warriors)
Earth: Stoneskin Totem
Fire: Magma Totem
Water: Mana Spring Totem or Healing Stream Totem o r Poison Totem
Air: Grace of Air Totem / Windfury Totem (if with a Warrior, esp. Fury)
Earth: Stoneskin Totem
Fire: Searing Totem
Water: Mana Spring Totem (Mana Tide Totem when necessary)
Air: Wrath of Air Totem (Windfury if you're in a rogue / warrior group)
Earth: Stoneskin Totem
Fire: Magma Totem
Water: Healing Stream Totem or Poison Totem
Air: Wrath of Air Totem
Everything else is situational but should never just be left on the back burner and forgotten. Totems are one of your principal powers as a shaman - USE THEM.
HOW DO I USE THEM EFFECTIVELY?
This is actually quite simple. First, get something that helps you manage your totems. I use Totemus (available from curse.com) and other folks use other flavors of totem timers. The point is you want to have something which allows you to have one-click or one-keypress totems which are "smart" (i.e., the macro or addon remembers your last used totems, as Totemus does) so you can just click and have them right there. Once you have that solved, hot-bar your situational totems as you see fit (I keep grounding, tremor, poison and disease totems handy always and switch fire and frost resistance in if I'm going to PvP).
Patch 2.4 will be adding totem timers and, although a nice feature, this will not provide functionality for any form of totem-wrangling. You'll just see your totems and when they're going to run out.
From there it's a matter of comfort and knowing what to use and when to use it. If you're aware of your boss fights you can switch totems in at different places (searing totem should always be quick and ready for Leotheras but isn't necessary for Supremus) but by no means do you have to have every single totem hot-barred.
In shorter form:
1). Get a totem manager addon of some fashion.
2). Hot-bar situational totems (Grounding, Tremor, etc.)
3). Know your enemies / bosses / fights.
This answers almost all the questions people keep asking, and a few I had. This thread wins.
Great work GoGo!
It's nice you put a lot of time into this, and it does cover a lot. But, I can't help be "Ms. Cleo" this and forsee people saying something like "WTB Advice on 20/20/20 build". The problem is the wall of text is too high a level for most of these lowbie shamans to take on. Though this could be used as a good refrence tool so long as it's kept up to date. The only thing I can think of that would make this more useful would be the use of anchors, which is completly out of your hands.
LEVELING YOUR SHAMAN IN PVE
I’ve included here a series of talent calculators designed to guide the process of leveling your shaman. Enhancement and Elemental paths (both popular) are currently shown, with restoration to be added soon. Enhancement is considered the most efficient until Outland is reached. Elemental is considered to have better gear availability than Enhancement once you hit Outland. Try out all three specs if you’re unsure, then choose what you feel is the most fun. You will ALWAYS level faster if you’re having fun.
Enhancement and Elemental are discussed in this post; there's a link at the bottom of this post which will take you to the Restoration leveling path.
The Total Enhancement Path
Sounds like a Bowflex commercial... or a Viagra ad...
Ancestral Knowledge is a “filler” talent but more useful to an Enhancement shaman than increased shields. 2/2 Ghost Wolf should take priority over Thundering Strikes, because the greatest DPS gain you can have as a shaman is reduced time between mobs, towns, continents, etc. The same logic is applied here that is applied to “increase run speed” enchants for boots.
Shamanistic Focus was added in 2.3 to replace 2-hand weapon specialization and this has proven to be a very useful addition to our mana efficiency. This will make the use of each and every shock spell that much more efficient, thereby decreasing your downtime. This is too good to pass up. With 5/5 Flurry and 1/3 Elemental Weapons added to the mix, you’ll start to see solid gains in your DPS output.
Going back down the tree a little to throw a point into “Enhancing Totems” will provide you an increase to your DPS on elite mobs you may encounter and a nice increase to your overall DPS in group scenarios. Stormstrike joins the list of talents, providing us with our staple special attack. When it’s up, use it.
The allocation of these points is obvious and straight forward. I’ll note here that I do not recommend that you dual-wield until you have at least 2/3 Dual Wield Specialization (which would mean level 43 in this case), because you will see a great deal of missing if you don’t have those points allocated. Remember that the off-hand when dual-wielding has a base chance to miss of 19%, so unless you offset that some (2/3 DW Specialization will lower that to, of course, 15%), it’s going to be tough and possibly quite frustrating. At 50, you’ll obtain Shamanistic Rage. “Use it early, use it often.” Learn to live by this mantra.
There is a long-standing debate as to whether the first 5 points into the restoration tree should go to reduce the mana cost of healing spells or reduce the casting time of Healing Wave. Many Shaman choose the time reduction to HW, because they figure that if they’re needing a heal, they’re going to want to toss a strong one. I prefer this personally, though Lesser Healing Wave really classifies as our “panic” or “emergency” heal.
This finishes the Enhancement / Resto-subspec build and prepares you with all of the available PvE talents for good raiding synergy. This fills out a couple of missing talents.
The Total Elemental Path
Anything that improves lightning bolt should generally be a target of your build, as lightning bolt is your primary nuke. By level 20, you can get Elemental Focus (Clearcasting) which only improves this nuke. Clearcasting here, unlike a mage, doesn’t reduce mana cost by 100%; it’s a 40% reduction for your next two spells.
Where EotS isn’t the best ability, it’s a fairly good option.
is to swap Reverberation for Elemental Warding, or you could even go with
and select 2/3 for each of those and forego EotS all together. As you can see, you can manipulate and customize the talents here to benefit your playstyle. Take into account your environment (PvE, PvP), what you’re doing (groups/instances vs. soloing), etc.
Increased range translates to more casting before the mob gets to you, especially when paired with the casting time decrease. You can choose to take a point out of Lightning Mastery at this point and put it into Elemental Fury if you so desire.
Elemental Precision is a must. Lightning Overload is a must. Notice how here, at level 50, we skip over to Restoration and forego the Totem of Wrath. ToW, although an exceptional talent, is a raiding talent. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t have its use at this stage in the game – it just means that it’s not necessary. If you prefer ToW, feel free to put the point into it and start using this talent.
Level 60 sees the push to Nature’s Guidance with a couple more useful talents out of the Restoration tree. Not much else to say about this other than the fact that if you have chosen to select ToW by now, you won’t be able to have 1 point into Nature’s Guidance. That’s your choice; you’re going to get it in the next batch of 10 anyway.
Level 70 fills out all of the necessary talents, including the amazing Tidal Mastery which should be a staple of any Elemental Shaman build. Note at this point that ToW has been added to the build anyway, which sets your shaman up with all of the talents necessary to be an effective raider. With this build, you will see excellent output in the raid scene. If you prefer to PvP, you can simply swap ToW for Nature’s Swiftness, which is largely regarded as a very solid, if not preferable, PvP spec.
The Total Restoration Path
See next post!
(click link to jump down to it)
Alot of talk on enhancement on these boards....how about some resto love?
GoGo writes about what he knows, I'm sure if someone gave him some info, he'd add it.
Anchors are used in web programming.
It allows you to tag an area so that an index could be used to get there faster.
So if you had an index and it said "1. Enhancment" they could click the link and it would move them to that part of the page, making it easier for the user.
Restoration leveling path goes here.
I, being a moron, forgot to save the one I wrote up. :(
/bump for great justice!
I'll post up an elemental shaman talent breakdown I wrote on my guild forums nearly a year ago :)
Note this is old, and while I'll try and ensure everything is up to date... some of it may not be.
A talent spec is quite the personal thing, and should weigh heavily on your own play style. It's a good idea to learn what various talents do for you, and to make sure your build fits what you want to do.
That said, an elemental shaman has a variety of highly recommended talents, whether PvE or PvP. IMO these include (full ranks of each):
Call of Thunder
And that's it! These 5 talents should be the mainstay in every elemental shaman's talent build. From here there are other tweaks depending on whether you primarily PvP, solo PvE, 5 man PvE, or raid PvE.
I'm not going to cover PvP here, but I will PvE.
Solo PvE we branch out to the resto tree as well to cover survivability:
Eye of the Storm
Improved Healing Wave (resto)
Healing Focus (resto)
Tidal Mastery (resto, recommended)
Nature's Swiftness (resto, recommended)
5 man PvE:
Tidal Mastery (resto)
Totem of Wrath
Tidal Mastery (resto)
Nature's Guidance (resto)
If I were to build my ideal solo PvE talents it would look something like this:
5 man PvE:
And raid PvE:
Now for a discussion of the various talents.
Convection - 10% mana reduction on damage spells. Mana conservation is quite important in (any) shaman build.
Elemental Focus - 40% mana reduction on the next two casts following a crit. Again, mana conservation Smiley
Call of Thunder - 6% increased crit on lightning. This goes back to Elemental Focus and you guessed it, mana conservation.
Elemental Fury - 100% damage on crits. Since crit heavy builds mean mana conservation, why not make that crit hit hard?
Lightning Mastery - 0.5 second reduced cast time on lightning bolts. In all honesty, this is probably the #1 talent to max out for purpose of DPS. Because an untalented lightning bolt is a "special" 2.5 second cast, it gets 80% of spell damage bonus. This means if you have 100 +spell damage, lightning bolt will benefit from 80 of that. Lightning Mastery reduces the cast time from 2.5 seconds to 2 seconds but the damage coefficient remains the same at 80%. This talent will make your DPS increase even more with +spell damage, and is the single biggest DPS increase to an elemental shaman, though at the cost of mana conservation. All the talk of mana conservation talents before? This is why.
Improved Healing Wave (resto) - 0.5 seconds off of healing wave, for a 2.5 second cast. Quick, big heals helps you and others stay alive.
Healing Focus (resto) - 70% to avoid cast pushback on heals. This, to me, is a critical talent for solo PvE. Heal pushback = death. Also important in 5 man PvE, though again in both 5 man and raids you shouldn't need this talent, as you shouldn't be getting hit.
Tidal Mastery (resto, recommended) - 5% more to crit on healing and lightning. With Call of Thunder we're looking at 11% crit from talents alone, and remember, crit = mana conservation.
Nature's Swiftness (resto, recommended) - Instant cast spell every 3 minutes. What's better then avoiding cast pushback? Having no cast time at all! I have a macro for an instant healing wave, this is my "Oh %^&*" button. Most useful to me in 5 man PvP, even on DPS. If the tank is going down I can toss an insta heal and then go right back to DPSing.
Unrelenting Storm - 10% of intellect back to you as while casting MP5. Mana conservation! Very important in 5 man and raid PvE. This talent also makes intellect an incredibly useful talent as it now gives you a larger mana pool, higher spell crit, and MP5. (slightly less valued now that watershield gives MP5)
Elemental Precision - 6% to hit, 10% reduced threat. Useful in 5 mans, but critical in raids. Raid bosses are level 73 which means there's only a 83% base chance to hit them. Missing with a spell is bad. Also, 10% reduced threat = 10% more DPS you can do without pulling aggro.
Nature's Guidance (resto) - 3% to hit. This plus elemental precision brings chance to hit to 92%
Totem of Wrath - 3% to hit AND crit. This brings chance to hit to 95% and 14% crit from talents alone! Strongly considered a raid talent as this totem is best when in a group of other casters, if you are the only caster you're better off with a searing totem (seriously).
Well, I appreciate this breakdown but I kind of feel a majority of this is covered in Binkenstein's post (not like anyone's going to read that anyway).
What, from the perspective of the elemental and resto community, are some questions that you wish either people would stop asking, or things that you wish every elemental / resto knew or thought about when they were rolling their shaman or speccing them?
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