Welcome to our WoW Classic leveling guide for shamans! Shamans are true elemental masters, harnessing their abilities to shock and strike their enemies down. They represent the horde exclusively, serving as the counterpart of the alliance’s paladin class. No shaman is complete without an arsenal of totems, which they use to either empower themselves and allies or affect monsters directly.
Shaman are often viewed primarily as healers at level 60, but restoration just isn’t an effective way to level. On the other hand, enhancement is actually phenomenal for leveling despite not being a terribly desirable DPS class in raids. With the combination of healing, utility, crowd control, increased movement speed from Ghost Wolf, and versatile damage output, shaman are easily one of the better classes for leveling.
With so many different spells and abilities at your disposal, it can certainly be overwhelming trying to figure out what works best. We’ll explain that thoroughly in this guide, covering gameplay advice, stat priorities, what order you should select your talents, useful professions, and what abilities will help you level faster. You might feel pretty silly until you can use two-handers at level 20, but once you start to flesh out the rest of your abilities, like the iconic Stormstrike, you’ll know what makes a shaman so fun!
Excellent upfront damage.
High survivability with the combination of utility and healing spells.
Flexible class that can fulfill any role.
Can use Ghost Wolf for extra movement speed at level 20.
Fairly good leveling speed.
Extremely popular in groups due to Windfury Totem.
Can self-resurrect every 30 minutes.
Every primary stat is useful to a shaman.
Can quickly run out of mana if spamming spells.
Totems require completion of quests.
Can’t use two-handers until level 20, and can never use swords of any type.
Can be confusing to know what totem/weapon buff/shock to use.
Requires constant movement to take advantage of Earthbind Totem, allowing you to massively reduce incoming damage.
General Leveling Tips
Unless you’re trying to speed your way right to max level, you’ll take quite a while to get there. While this might not sound appealing at first, there’s really not a huge need for you to be level 60 to enjoy the game. All aspects of the game are relevant, from dungeons to questing, and you shouldn’t view anything as irrelevant! Azeroth is absolutely a world you’ll want to immerse yourself in, allowing yourself to feel a connection with your character. It might sound cheesy, but you know deep in your heart your grow a special love for your main character.
You can hasten that connection with the use of this advice:
If you only pick one consumable, make sure to have plenty of water that corresponds with your level. You can restore your health with healing, but you don’t have anything that effectively restores your mana in a quick time frame. Solve this by remembering to buy new water every 10 levels.
Take some time to learn what zones are optimal for leveling. Shaman can only play as horde, so make sure you learn what zones are best for the horde. Zones like Westfall and Loch Modan will never be useful to you, but The Barrens is definitely the place to be.
Dungeons are a great source of experience and gear. Most of your leveling will probably be questing, but you can avoid burnout by doing some dungeons for variety. There’s nothing better than a nice new weapon too!
Any time you have the flexibility for it, only fight enemies that are your level. Lower level enemies give less experience, but so do tougher high level enemies. This will also ensure you have a quicker leveling experience.
Consider learning Astral Recall so you have an additional hearthstone. Set them to wherever you’re questing at to cut out several minutes of returning to town to turn in quests.
You’re definitely going to want to only fight one enemy at a time. You’ll need to constantly be moving so that enemies won’t be freely swinging at you, (since they’ll be slowed by Earthbind Totem) making it so that you only take damage when you go in to attack.
While shamans definitely are one of the best classes for leveling solo, they’re also excellent in a group environment. Your heals are certainly useful, but your totems (specifically Windfury Totem) are extremely powerful for other melee attackers. Shamans are the perfect class to pick if you’re leveling with a friend.
It might be a little annoying to hop out of Ghost Wolf, but you’ll appreciate killing enemies in between your quests. You just can’t reach level 60 by questing (unless you’re constantly resting, in which case it would take you several months), so some casual grinding will reduce your workload towards the end of leveling.
Shaman Specific Gameplay Advice
Try to strategically place your totems so that you can kill multiple enemies without needing to put them down again. Most of your totems last at least 30 seconds, which means you can easily kill a few without needing to waste mana on popping down more totems.
Make an effort to do your totem quests whenever they are available, with the exception of your water totem. Your earth and fire totems are absolutely essential, but your water totem isn’t and is gated behind a long and difficult questline. Your air totem isn’t as important, but it is basically freely given to you.
There are several totems you can use, but you should try to only use Earthbind Totem, Searing/Magma Totem, and Grace of Air/Windfury Totem. Other totems are less valuable than these respective counterparts.
Anytime you need to travel, switch into Ghost Wolf. With 2 points in Improved Ghost Wolf, the cast time becomes just one second. Once you have a mount, use it instead if you are traveling for more than 20 or so seconds.
One of the most important things to know about leveling a shaman is the earthbind shuffle. This involves placing your Earthbind Totem to slow an enemy by 50%, and dancing around the totem to avoid attacks from your target. By doing this, you can make it so that you only take damage when you actually go to attack. Normally, enemies attack far faster than you, so this allows you to massively reduce your incoming damage.
Only use Rockbiter Weapon until level 30, at which point you should switch to Windfury Weapon. If your weapon is really slow, you can keep using Rockbiter Weapon as it will deal more damage.
Try to frontload all of your damaging abilities so you spend plenty of time auto attacking. This will allow you to benefit from spirit regeneration, helping to reduce your overall downtime.
Once you start using Flame Shock at level 10, save Earth Shock for whenever you need to interrupt a spell.
Stormstrike is definitely your strongest ability, but it is quite mana intensive. Using it whenever it is available will quickly run you out of mana. Unless you have plenty of spirit and no problem with mana, you’ll want to try and only use it once a fight to prevent yourself from going out of mana every few fights.
After level 30, you’ll always want to have an Ankh around so you can use Reincarnation. This allows you to self-resurrect every 30 minutes, but you revive in the exact same spot and only have 20% health and mana. If you died in a dangerous spot, don’t waste your Reincarnation.
Agility – As a melee-oriented shaman, your primary stat is definitely agility. Agility is an excellent stat because it gives you attack power and crit chance, making all of your attacks more potent. It also gives a small dodge chance, something you’ll also learn through talents.
Strength – Strength is also very effective for helping you deal more damage. It gives more attack power than agility at the expense of offering nothing else. Prioritize strength over anything that isn’t agility.
Stamina – You’ll also want some stamina to help you dish out some more smackings. You have great survivability innately because you can heal, but this gives you more breathing room before you need to cast a heal.
Intellect – Don’t neglect picking up some intellect. Shamans are that special class that loves every stat they find and intellect is no exception. Enhancement can be quite mana intensive (especially if you foolishly spam Stormstrike), so you’ll want a bigger mana pool to give you some wiggle room.
Spirit – You can also find some good use of spirit as a shaman. This will give you some passive regeneration, enabling you to quest and kill longer before needing to drink.
Playing a shaman is no passive task because you’ll need to kite if you want to be most effective. No matter where you fall in your rotation, remember to stay out of melee range until you need to attack so you only receive damage when you actually go in to attack.
Before you even begin to pull, you’ll want to use Lightning Shield. Reapply this whenever it falls off, as it is the most mana efficient spell you have. Prepare for a fight by planting your Earthbind Totem so you can kite. If you have Stormstrike, you’ll definitely want to open with it. Otherwise, put down your Searing Totem (before level 10, you’ll simply skip straight to the next part).
Now you’ll want to use a shock spell. If you’re under level 10, you can use Earth Shock, but after that you want to use Flame Shock. The rest of your fight will generally consist of auto attacks and kiting.
Single Target: Lightning Shield > Earthbind Totem (begin kiting, only be in melee range when you are attacking) > Stormstrike > Searing Totem > Flame/Earth Shock
Multiple Targets: The same as single target, but replace Searing Totem with Magma Totem.
Progression: 5 points Ancestral Knowledge > 2 points Improved Ghost Wolf > 3 points Thundering Strikes > 1 point Two-Handed Axes and Maces > 2 points Thundering Strikes > 2 points Anticipation > 5 points Flurry > 1 point Parry > 3 points Elemental Weapons > 1 point Anticipation > 5 points Weapon Mastery > 1 point Stormstrike > 5 points Convection > 5 points Concussion > 1 point Elemental Focus > 3 points Call of Flame > 1 point Reverberation > 3 points Elemental Devastation > 2 points Anticipation
With this build, you’ll have some nice defense with dodging and parrying in addition to boosting your offensive capabilities. Even though the first 20 levels will feel brutal, you’ll want to go enhancement all the way. At this point you’ll unlock Two-Handed Axes and Maces, which is obviously a massive damage increase. Unfortunately your character doesn’t really come together until level 40 when you learn Stormstrike. With Improved Ghost Wolf, you can effectively use Ghost Wolf just about anytime you’re traveling, which makes the road to Stormstrike (and a mount) just that much easier.
Abilities to Train
Level 1-20 – Go ahead and learn every ability your trainer will offer you.
Earth Totem: You’ll need to complete quests for all of your four elemental totems (earth, fire, water, and air) and earth is the first one you’ll acquire at level 4. Fortunately this one is fairly simple and allows you access to Earthbind Totem, one of your most important totems, and also Strength of EarthTotem.
Fire Totem: At level 10 you can start your quest to grab the fire totem. This one is a little longer, but absolutely worth it because you can now use another important totem, Searing Totem, and also Magma Totem.
Water Totem: Level 20 will give you access to the questline for the water totem, but be warned because it is extremely long. Considering that you won’t actually use any of your water totems often while leveling, you might want to skip grabbing your water totem altogether. If you do want Healing Stream Totem or Mana Stream Totem, you’ll need to buckle down and complete the quests.
Air Totem: Level 30 is when enhancement shamans really take off, and that is certainly signified by the arrival of the air totem. Unlike the water totem, the quest for the air totem is extremely simple and easy. After finishing it, you can eventually use Windfury Totem and Grace of Air Totem!
Your weapon speed will determine whether you use Windfury Weapon or Rockbiter Weapon. You should always be using a two-handed axe or mace, but the type of weapon enhancement you apply will depend on how fast it is. If it has a weapon speed of 3.4 or slower, you should use Rockbiter Weapon. If it is faster than 3.4, you should use Windfury Weapon. With this in mind, try to run dungeons that you know drop a weapon suited for your preferred playstyle.
At level 40 you can wear mail, but you should continue to favor gear with better stats. A cool feature of shamans is their ability to wear mail starting at level 40. While the extra armor is absolutely nice, this minor defensive gain isn’t worth the loss of precious agility and strength. Don’t pick a piece of mail equipment just because it is mail, instead prioritize gear based off which piece gives the better combination of stats.
Dungeons are your best source of a new axe or mace, but don’t forget about weapon vendors! There is no question that dungeons are fantastic for finding a new weapon, but there’s another source that many forget or don’t know about. Weapon vendors do actually sell good weapons for leveling. For most melee attackers, the damage and speed of your weapon is far more important than the stats it has. This makes common weapons like those found at vendors far more valuable. Check in every few levels to see if there’s something new for you to swing with.
Another thing to keep in mind is the use and leveling of professions. Quests will naturally take you all across Azeroth and you’ll inevitably find plenty of metal ore, herbs, and skinnable beasts. Taking the time to collect this means gold for you. With gold you can buy better equipment and a mount, both of which will greatly help you in your leveling journey. Alternatively you can use professions to boost your capabilities in combat!
You’ll be just frost-shocked at how useful these professions are for a shaman:
Mining – Mining is one of the three gathering professions, which makes it a naturally great choice here. Metal ore always sells well, or you can also use it to level up your engineering skill.
Engineering – If you’re planning on taking mining to save your ore, you should spend it all on engineering. Bombs are quite useful for helping you deal damage, but you can also make useful crafts like Advanced Target Dummy and Mechanical Dragonling.
Herbalism – Another good option here is another gathering profession, herbalism. Double gathering professions is never a bad choice, but you can also save your herbs to make potions.
Alchemy – If you’re saving your herbs, you’ll definitely want to use them for alchemy. Alchemy is an incredibly useful profession, offering you tinctures and potions that give you short and long buffs, restore health and mana, and even grant unique effects like invisibility. All of this is excellent for leveling!
Flame Shock – Casts Flame Shock on your target while also initiating your auto attacks. This is particularly useful for allowing you to continue dealing damage despite being out of mana.
#showtooltip Flame Shock
/cast Flame Shock
Stormstrike – Once you learn Stormstrike, you’ll use it as your first ability rather than Flame Shock if you are already in range to cast it. If you aren’t directly facing your target or are out of mana, this will ensure that are able to auto attack whenever you do get in the right position.