wotlk classic shaman leveling guide

Welcome to our WotLK Classic leveling guide for Shamans, noble protectors, and seers to the spirits and elements of Azeroth. Shamans are known for heeding the call of the elements and expressing their will through elemental totems to support their allies or attack their foes.

Shamans in WotLK Classic are a great class, offering 3 distinct playstyles and a unique, support-heavy playstyle. Shamans are decently easy to level but aren’t necessarily the fastest levelers. Even so, they are very satisfying to level with large, sudden bursts of damage mixed in with sustained damage and a lot of buffs.

Most Shamans will choose to level as Enhancement, but some prefer to level as Elemental because of its ranged playstyle. Both playstyles work fine, but Enhancement is significantly easier and quicker for leveling. Because it is generally seen as the superior leveling spec in WotLK Classic, this guide will be focused on Enhancement Shamans, but a lot of the tips can be applied to Elemental also.

In this guide, we’ll go over helpful tips, where to spend your talent points, what to look for when gearing, effective use of your abilities, and other general advice to make the leveling process as smooth and easy as possible!

Pros

  • Great survivability and utility
  • Able to adapt to many situations or groups’ needs, especially with Dual Specialization
  • Capable of soloing a lot of quests
  • Rotation is punchy and entertaining at higher levels
  • Situational abilities reward attentive players
  • Totem quests offer a unique look at the world

Cons

  • Lots of abilities come later, making the earlier levels fairly dull
  • Dropping multiple totems every fight gets boring quickly
  • Lots of situational abilities can be overwhelming
  • Fights don’t vary a lot, you will mostly be doing the same thing for every fight
  • Totem quests take a lot of time and are mandatory

General Leveling Tips

Pay attention to spells as you get them, something that may sound useless at the time most likely has a niche use that can save you. Something like Earthbind Totem may seem mediocre, but can be incredible for leveling. Experiment and see what you can do with niche spells!

Resistance Totems like Frost Resistance Totem might not seem important, but they can drastically reduce the damage enemy casters do to you, leading to less risk and less downtime between kills. Play around with every new spell you get, and try to understand it so you can incorporate it into your toolkit effectively!

As an Enhancement Shaman, most of your damage is based on your weapons, not your spell ranks or spell power. This means that upgrading your weapon will be the best increase in your leveling speed and a lot of the time a detour into a dungeon or a different zone to get a better weapon early can be worth it. Spells like Stormstrike deal damage based on “weapon damage”. Because of this, you want a slower weapon that deals higher damage. Something like Rockslicer is going to be better than Taskmaster’s Axe even though it has lower DPS, simply because every individual hit will deal more damage.

Shamans are able to use Cloth, Leather, and after level 40, Mail Armor. This is a key part of survivability as a leveling Shaman and you will often need to choose between higher damage Leather options and higher survivability Mail options. This is always going to end up being a personal choice, only you know how your leveling feels, so only you can decide if you need more survivability or if you’re comfortable enough to get damage instead. In general, you will always want to avoid wearing Cloth gear, as it does not provide the stats you need.

While leveling you will learn Lightning Shield and Water Shield — These 2 abilities are key parts of your leveling toolkit. Swapping between them as needed can be a great asset for any Shaman, giving you mana from Water Shield on demand and damage from Lightning Shield when you are actually killing things. Small things like swapping to Water Shield before mounting and back to Lightning Shield can be a useful habit to make.

Your weapon enchantments, Rockbiter Weapon, Flametongue Weapon, Frostbrand Weapon, Windfury Weapon, and Earthliving Weapon all have situational uses and it is good to familiarize yourself with all of them.

  • Rockbiter Weapon is your first enchant, simply increasing the damage you deal. You will immediately stop using this as soon as you learn your next enchant.
  • Flametongue Weapon is the second enchant you learn, making each hit deal bonus Fire damage and at higher ranks increasing your Spell Power. This is a fantastic weapon enchantment that you will be using in some capacity all the way to max level. Once you learn Windfury Weapon, you will no longer want this on your main hand. When you get Lava Lash you will want to make sure Flametongue Weapon is always on your off-hand!
  • Frostbrand Weapon is the third enchant you learn and will not get much mileage while you level, but it can be useful in an emergency if you ever need easy access to a slow.
  • Windfury Weapon is the fourth enchant you learn and is your bread-and-butter. This enchant gives each swing a chance to hit two more times, effectively tripling the damage of that swing. Getting this is a major turning point in your leveling and this should always be on your main-hand weapon while questing.
  • Earthliving Weapon is the fifth and final enchant you learn. This enchant increases your Healing Power and gives your heals a chance to buff the target with a small heal-over-time effect. This is aimed at Restoration Shamans more than anything else, but if you decide to heal a dungeon, swapping over to this can be a quick and easy way to get some bonus healing.

As a mana class, you always want to carry level-appropriate water with you. You never want to be stuck waiting around for your mana to regenerate, time spent waiting around is time wasted! You won’t need to carry a ton, but at least a stack or two should always fit into your bags.

Stat Priority

There are a few important factors to take into consideration for Stat Priority. First of all, your equipment will be varied throughout your entire leveling journey.

Early on, your gear will be a combination of both cloth and leather items, and this will highly prioritize gear that grants you main stats, such as Stamina/Intellect/Agility/Strength. After reaching level 40, your gear will mostly shift towards mail items. Then, you will want to prioritize gear that provides main stats, such as Stamina/Agility/Intellect.

Our talents further emphasize this prioritization: we have two different talents that perfectly synergize with each other: Mental Dexterity, which increases our attack power based on our intellect stat, and Mental Quickness, which increases our spell power based on 30% of our attack power.

Primary Stats

  1. Agility
  2. Intellect
  3. Stamina
  4. Attack Power
  5. Critical Strike Chance
  6. Haste
  7. Spell Power
  8. Hit Rating
  9. Expertise

Weak/Useless Stats

  1. Spirit
  2. Mp5
  3. Strength

Primary Stats

  • Agility should be prioritized throughout your leveling journey. You will find it on most leather and mail items. By gathering Agility, you will gain armor, critical strike chance, and attack power. You will want to stack as much Agility as possible while leveling.
  • Intellect increases your spell critical strike chance while also increasing your mana pool. For an Enhancement Shaman, this stat is extremely overpowered since we have access to Mental Dexterity, granting us raw attack power based on 100% of our Intellect value. Our equipment often has both Agility and Intellect, so can pretty much become beasts with this talent.
  • Stamina increases your overall health. It will be present on most of the equipment you will find in the world. However, you will also find items that don’t grant Stamina. It’s important to balance out items that do, and items that don’t, since you will want high survivability while questing and battling monsters in dungeons.

Secondary Stats

  • Attack Power increases the potency of your attacks and abilities. It is one of the core stats for Enhancement Shamans, especially since it also buffs our Spell Power from Mental Quickness.
  • Critical Strike Chance increases the chance your abilities will deal double damage, landing a critical strike. This stat is very potent for an Enhancement Shaman, since it can trigger Flurry, aside from empowering all of your abilities.
    • You gain +1% chance to crit for every 45.91 Crit rating you have.
  • Haste is a secondary increases your attack speed, reduces your casting speed, and reduces your overall global cooldown. You will not encounter items that grant you Haste Rating until the later steps of your journey. Still, it is a very important stat that can help you proc effects such as Windfury Weapon and Maelstrom Weapon faster.
    • You gain +1% attack speed for every 32.79 Haste rating you have.
  • Spell Power is extremely important for Enhancement Shamans due to a few effects in your toolkit.
    • Firstly, it scales with most of your abilities, especially with your “Shock Spells” and others, such as Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning.
    • Then, there is Mental Quickness, a talent that further enhances your Spell Power based on your Attack Power, effectively boosting it for free.
    • Spell power will also indirectly enhance Maelstrom Weapon, allowing you to weave powerful Lightning Bolts in your rotation.
  • Hit Rating will turn out to be your most important stat once you reach a higher level — if you can’t hit your targets, you’re not dealing damage. Sadly, you will only be able to find this stat once you get to a higher level, forced to miss some of your attacks, since low-level items lack Hit Rating.
    • Luckily, we have Dual Wield Specialization, a talent that grants you a 6% hit chance while you are dual-wielding.
    • You gain +1% chance to hit for every 32.79 Hit Rating you have.
  • Expertise prevents your enemies from dodging or parrying your attacks. Just like with Hit Rating, you will hardly see this stat while leveling. Instead, you will start gaining it when you reach a higher level, which will be extremely important down the line.
    • Luckily, we have access to Unleashed Rage, granting us 9 Expertise.
    • You gain 1 expertise for every 8.1974 Expertise rating you have.

Weaker Stats

  • Spirit is a primary stat that increases your health and mana regeneration while out of combat. This stat is useless for Shamans for two main reasons: firstly, we have no talent that can help us maintain our regeneration while in combat. Secondly, Water Shield enables us to regenerate a huge chunk of mana just by maintaining it active most of the time while out of combat.
  • MP5 is a secondary stat that can be useful for Shamans, however, it is quite weak when used with an Enhancement Shaman. Similarly to Hit Rating and Expertise, MP5 will be found closer to the final steps of your journey, making it quite rare.
  • Strength is a primary stat that increases your attack power. However, Strength has an overall weaker scaling compared to Agility. You will benefit from this stat early in the game as you will find many powerful items that can grant you both Strength and Agility at the same time. But, once you reach the middle of your journey, you will slowly begin getting rid of any items that still grant you Strength, replacing them for items with Agility, Intellect, and Stamina.

Rotation

While leveling your “rotation” will mostly consist of reusing your totems until level 30, when you get CotE, allowing you to place 4 totems with one button.

Before any pull, make sure you have appropriate Weapon Enchants active, such as WFWeapon or FlametongueWeapon, alongside the appropriate shield, either LShield or Water Shield.

  1. Pull with Flame Shock (Unlocked at level 10)
  2. Cast Stormstrike (Unlocked at level 41)
  3. Cast Earth Shock (Unlocked at level 4)
  4. Cast Lava Lash (Unlocked at level 45)
  5. Cast Fire Nova (Unlocked at level 12) if you are against more than 1 target
  6. Cast Chain Lightning (Unlocked at level 32) if you have 5 stacks of Maelstrom weapon and are against more than 1 target
  7. Cast Lightning Bolt (Unlocked at level 1) if you have 5 stacks of Maelstrom weapon and are against 1 target
  8. Cast Fire Nova (Unlocked at level 12)

Totems

As a Shaman, you have access to a lot of different totems, all useful for different things. You can have 4 totems out at once, one from each of the 4 elements, Earth, Fire, Water, and Air.

Each element focuses on different things, for example, water totems focus primarily on healing and restorative buffs, while fire totems focus primarily on direct damage.

You can place totems individually, or you can store them in a set, summoning your pre-chosen 4 totems with one button instantly. You learn the first set at level 30, until then you will need to manually place them!

Some totems, like Tremor Totem and Grounding Totem, should be placed individually when they are needed, as more situational abilities.

Remember, whenever you need to leave your totems, destroy them with Totemic Recall to refund some of your mana!

Preset 1 – Call of the Elements

Preset 2 – Call of the Ancestors

Preset 3 – Call of the Spirits

This preset shouldn’t really use a set list and should be changed based on your situational needs and wants.

Talent Path

enhancement shaman leveling talents
Talent Build Order

The Enhancement tree has a lot of talents that are fantastic, and a lot of talents that are more so-so. Because of this, the route to your best talents can vary heavily from player to player. The tree posted is my preferred route, but a lot of the choices may vary from other players.

These are the key points in the talent tree:

  • Improved Ghost Wolf at level 16, making your Ghost Wolf instant cast, saving you a lot of time traveling before you have a mount.
  • Flurry at level 25, increasing your attack speed every time you deal a critical hit.
  • Mental Dexterity at level 30, giving you Attack Power equal to your Intellect.
  • Unleashed Rage at level 38, giving you Expertise and increasing the attack power of yourself and all party and raid members.
  • Dual Wield at level 40, allowing you to equip two one-handed weapons instead of a two-handed weapon.
  • Stormstrike at level 41, giving you an instant weapon attack.
  • Lava Lash at level 45, giving you another instant weapon attack.
  • Shamanistic Rage at level 50, giving you a defensive cooldown and a way to regain a lot of mana.
  • Mental Quickness at level 51, converting your Attack Power into Spell Power, improving a lot of your spells.
  • Maelstrom Weapon at level 55, giving you access to instant cast Lightning Bolts, Chain Lightning and healing spells.
  • Feral Spirit at level 60, a massive offensive and defensive cooldown that makes you a powerhouse for 45-seconds.

When we are done in the Enhancement tree, we move over to the Elemental tree. This tree supplements our damage with talents like Concussion and Elemental Devastation.

Glyphs

Glyphs aren’t always going to be the easiest to get a hold of while leveling, but if you happen to swing by an auction house you might find some cheap and useful glyphs to use.

Here are some of the Major Glyphs worth considering:

Here are some of the Minor Glyphs worth considering:

Noteable Abilities To Train

Class Quests

  • Call of Earth – At level 4 you will get a quest from your local Shaman trainer, giving you a few tasks around your starting zone, eventually rewarding you with Stoneskin Totem and an Earth Totem.
  • Call of Fire – At level 10 you will get a quest from your local Shaman trainer, sending you on a few long treks to nearby zones, gathering some odds and ends to perform a ritual ending with you being rewarded Searing Totem and a Fire Totem.
  • Call of Water – At level 20 you will get a quest from your local Shaman trainer, sending you on one of the longest quests World of Warcraft has to offer, taking you across continents and to a few small areas non-Shaman players will likely never see! After a long journey, you will be rewarded with Healing Stream Totem and a Water Totem.
  • Call of Air – At level 30 you will get another quest from your local Shaman trainer. This one is a quick and easy quest, sending you on more of a hike than an epic journey and eventually rewarding you with an Air Totem.
  • Totem of the Earthen Ring – At level 30, once you have all four Totems, you can turn them in to combine them into one, saving you a lot of inventory space.
  • At level 50 all classes receive a quest taking them to the Sunken Temple. For Shamans, this offers a choice between Azurite Fists, Enamored Water Spirit, and Wildstaff. None of these are fantastic, but it is unlikely that you will have two trinkets by this point, so I recommend grabbing Enamored Water Spirit.

Equipment

Shamans are able to use Axes, Maces, Fist Weapons, Staffs, and Daggers. You should always aim for whichever weapon is best for you, but swapping weapon types will typically require you to level the appropriate weapon skill as well.

You should always prioritize the damage of your weapon, not the DPS. Slower weapons at the same level will almost always have higher damage to make up for their slow speed and attacks. Abilities like Stormstrike are instant and deal damage based on weapon damage. Something like Corpsemaker is perfect for a leveling Shaman, being incredibly slow and having a lot of Strength. Something like Angerforge’s Battle Axe may seem great at a glance, the 2.60 attack speed massively reduces the damage per swing, especially compared to something like Flame Wrath from the same dungeon.

Weapon upgrades will be the biggest damage increase while leveling. Your most damaging spells only have a single rank and scale with gear instead of spell ranks.

Shamans are able to use Cloth, Leather, and Mail and ideally will always want to wear Mail after level 40 and Leather before level 40, but sometimes Leather items will provide better stats at the cost of survivability. While leveling you won’t always be able to wear optimal gear, so make do with what you have.

Professions

Professions can be hard to keep up while you level, but in Wrath of the Lich King, they give a lot of benefits. Something like Blacksmithing is very difficult to keep up while you level, but gathering Professions like Mining and Herbalism are incredibly easy to keep up as you go, and even if you don’t want to craft things yourself, you can sell the materials on the auction house to supplement other aspects of leveling.

While every profession gives some kind of stat boost, most of them give them towards max skill. Gathering professions instead give skills early that constantly scale as you level.

  • Mining gives Toughness, a passive boost to your Stamina, starting with 3 Stamina at 75 Mining, and ending at 60 Stamina at 450 Mining.
  • Skinning gives Master of Anatomy, a passive boost to your Critical Strike Rating, starting with 3 Critical Strike Rating at 75 Skinning, and ending at 40 Critical Strike Rating at 450 Skinning.
  • Herbalism gives Lifeblood, an instant cast heal-over-time on a 3-minute cooldown. This scales with both Herbalism and your maximum health.

If you instead want to craft things while you level, Alchemy and Engineering are fantastic alternatives.

  • Engineering allows you to craft grenades and bombs alongside a bunch of fun or niche utility items such as target dummies and fireworks.
  • Alchemy allows you to craft your own potions, flasks, and elixirs which can all be invaluable for improving your leveling experience and speed.

Useful Macros

There aren’t many useful macros while leveling, but one important one that I recommend always having is a stopcasting macro to make sure you can cast Wind Shear immediately without delay if you need it.

#showtooltip
/stopcasting
/cast Wind Shear

 

About the Author

Passion

I love MMOs of all shades, especially the nitty gritty numbers parts of them. You might recognize me from the Shadow Priest discord, otherwise I play a little bit of everything, especially games with support roles available.
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kuccy
kuccy
26 days ago

What about leveling-questing paths?

Shammy
Shammy
21 days ago

Looking at it as I type this, Strength is only giving me 1 ap per 1 Str.

Guru
Guru
Reply to  Passion
13 days ago

Also agility gives you 1 AP and crit pr point, so its the highest stat prio

maldo
maldo
5 days ago

why isnt intellect the primary stat as we get 1 ap per intellect

Shadistro
Shadistro
5 days ago

I uh….gonna have to disagree with you on the stat priority section there chief.

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