The Shaman is one of World of Warcraft’s most unique and iconic classes. Masters of the elements, they represent and wield the natural world’s power and fury. In this Shaman guide, we’ll take you through the three Shaman specialisations - Enhancement, Elemental and Restoration - detailing their differing playstyles, lore and flavor, and strengths and weaknesses, before proceeding to direct you to more specific guides with tactics and strategies to play each one to the highest standard.
Thrall, one of Warcraft’s most loved and iconic characters, and one-time Warchief of the Horde, is a Shaman, and as such the flavour of the class will be very appealing to fans of that character. For a long time, they were considered the Horde’s counterpart to the Paladin, until the Draenei joined the Alliance and introduced the faction to shamanism.
Shamans wear mail armour and wield a variety of weapons, depending on their specialisation. They can opt to act as damage dealers, both in melee and as a ranged class, or to heal and buff their allies. They are a very versatile class, with a good array of utility spells, from movement boosts to the ability to walk on water - a very useful skill to have when questing in the open world! At high levels in the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Legion, they are given access to The Maelstrom Class Hall, which becomes their base of operations.
In this Shaman guide, you’ll find all you need to know about playing the class and its various specialisations - consider it a hub for all your Shaman needs. We’ll update it over time with all things related to World of Warcraft's elemental masters, so make sure you check back often.
Editor's Note: Update #1 - We've just added our Elemental Shaman guide, which you can find via the link in the relevant section below. In this initial version of the guide, we'll take you through the basics of playing the Elemental Shaman specialisation, provide you with a talent build that excells across every kind of content, and also outline the single and multiple target rotations that go along with it.
The Enhancement Shaman is a lightning-fast front-line melee brawler that uses the elements to enhance his combat prowess. They dual-wield one-handed weapons like maces, axes and claws, and once they arrive at level 100 Thrall himself will gift them the legendary Doomhammer as their artifact weapon. This will then spawn the elemental hammer Fury of the Earthmother for the shaman to use on the off-hand.
Enhancement Shamans are a great choice for players who are looking for a rapid-fire melee playstyle. They have a lot of situational abilities that require a second-by-second revision of your rotation, and as such can feel challenging - but extremely rewarding - to play well.
|Strengths||Very good mobility and consistent damage output. Almost no ramp-up time for delivering damage, meaning the spec excels at switching from target to target with minimal damage loss.|
|Weaknesses||Despite the ability to self-heal, few defensive cooldowns and a melee focus makes this spec somewhat squishy, especially in dungeons. No huge damage-boosting abilities that significantly capitalize on an enemy's vulnerability windows.|
The Elemental Shaman is the true master of the elements, able to call down ice, thunder, fire and earth in order to smite his or her enemies. They can wield two-handed staves or spell-centric one-handed weapons and caster-focused offhands. At Level 100 and above they will be granted the fist weapon Claw of Ra-Den as their Artifact weapon, which summons a spell-imbued shield, The Highkeeper’s Ward for use in the off-hand slot. Conveniently, most modern mail converts Agility into Intellect when equipped by an Elemental Shaman.
The Elemental Shaman offers a crackling, explosive playstyle with a lot of audio-visual flair. It’s a great fit for players that enjoy building up their resources before unleashing hell through a succession of earth shattering spells. They are also the only specialisation that can summon powerful elementals which will - for a brief period - aid them in battle.
|Strengths||Versatility. Adequate tools to deal with all possible game scenarios. Very good single-target damage, with above-average potential to splash / cleave to other targets nearby.|
|Weaknesses||Movement of any kind is very disruptive for maintaining optimal damage output. A big ramp-up until significant damage can be dealt means a loss of effectiveness in fights were frequent target-switching is needed.|
More WOW class guides:
|Death Knight guide||Demon Hunter guide||Druid guide|
|Hunter guide||Mage guide||Monk guide|
|Paladin guide||Priest guide||Rogue guide|
|Shaman guide||Warlock guide||Warrior guide|
Other WOW guides:
The Restoration Shaman focuses on mastery of wind and water, using these rejuvenating elements to restore and support their allies. Just like their Elemental brethren, they initially favor two-handed staves and spell-centric one-handed weapons, before earning the right to wield Sharas'dal, Scepter of Tides at high levels. This one-handed mace comes paired with the Shield of the Sea Queen. Also like Elemental Shamans, any Agility in the mail they equip is converted into Intellect.
As of patch 7.0.3, Restoration Shamans are the darlings of the raiding community, experts at weaving multiple-target healing spells across large chunks of players. While their capacity for single-target healing is a bit lacking, and makes them inferior to other healers when it comes to healing the tank, they are consistent life-savers for the raid in general. A very solid and pleasant choice for players that enjoy support roles.
|Strengths||Very high mobility and their most valuable spells can be cast while moving. God-tier raid and party-wide healing.|
|Weaknesses||Single-target healing. Situations where players are forced far apart from each other.|
- Check back soon for our Restoration Shaman guide, which will detail the best talent and trait choices to take, and help you get up to speed with the healing arts!
Do you play a Shaman? What spec? What are your top suggestions for playing it? Let us know in the comments, and keep checking in for our regular updates - the next one will focus on Elemental Shamans!