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Shamanism for Dummies
By: Joey Schouten a.k.a. Cryon / Obunaji, (Un)Plugged Gaming.
Shamans. They seem so cute, nice and party buffing. And they are. Each spec buffs his/her respective colleagues in the same role nicely. As someone that played Elemental pre-TBC, Enhancement in TBC (was funnier to see pre-TBC as preformed by my former CL) and Resto both pre-TBC and now, I might be able to give pointers. However, I don't like to Theorycraft, I hate crunching numbers, so everything I know is by experience, just trying things out. That and common sense. I'm only covering Enhancement and Restortation, with Elemental only for totem choice.
As a Shaman, you are a "Hybrid Class", this means that you can DPS or heal (But cannot tank). In reality, it means respec costs, multiple sets to lug around and flexibility. Make sure to pick up offspec (DPS set if healing, healing if DPS'ing) items to help improve those sets. Active buffing is your game with proccing buffs, Bloodlust and totems. You can also remove Poison and Disease effects.
This specialisation relies on melee DPS and windfury, but it's still buffing the group. Be sure to use totems like Windfury, Grace of Air and Strength of Earth. These are loved by the Melee Groups. Landing melee critical hits provides you with great bonuses coming from Flurry, Shamanistic Focus and Unleased Rage. Although squishy (if you PvE), it can deal damage well. Just stay away from the top of the aggro meter and out of harm's way, which is the hardest part of the spec. You like slow weapons of around 2.6-2.8 speed and should dual wield. This is because Windfury has a 3-second internal cooldown on it's procs. Because you dualwield, you might want to get some +hit rating to keep your from missing.
The Pew Pew Caster. Mind the aggro meters. I'm not going to discuss this, since I don't know much about it. I used to though... over 2 years ago.
This is the oldest viable PvE spec. Although I have seen Enhancement in Pre-TBC Molten core, with many deaths for that player as a result, resto was the way to go back then. Keep up Earth Shield and then spam Chain Heal alot. Although your single target heals are slow, you are a great raid healer. Resto certainly isn't the easiest spec, but it is the one that wins the game.
Totems are basically what makes a Shaman a Shaman. Okay, anyone can plant wooden sticks in the ground and call it a buff, but only Shamans may call theirs totems. They also vary from useless (like Sentry Totem) to useful (Windfury for melee group, anyone?). You have four flavors of totem, these being Air, Earth, Fire and Water, allowing you to have one of each group up at one time.
Most totems last for two minutes (except for Grounding Totem, some fire ones, Earthbind Totem, Sentry Totem and Mana Tide totem), so you will need to recast those in fights to keep the effect up. So, what do you want to use?
Well, it depends on both your own playing style and your party members. Often your members will ask for certain totems, but in raids it is a bit easier. Use the Cleansing Totems, Grounding Totem and Tremor Totem when needed. It may cut your DPS a bit, but it is worth it in terms of raid survival. This is what I can recommend, use your Elementals in emergency situations aswell.
* Air: Either Windfury or Grace of Air Totem. It depends on your group members, Druids and Hunters can't use WF for example. Grounding Totem when needed.
* Earth: Strength of Earth totem! It ups everyone's Strength, which is a good stat for AP. If fear is used, Tremor Totem is your friend.
* Fire: Yeah... This is an useless group for Melee. Flametongue doesn't stack with Windfury, so that's a no. You can keep up a Searing Totem up though, if you want it to do a tiny (around 70) bit more DPS.
* Water: Depends on the fight, if you need to help remove poisons or diseases, then use those totems. If not, use Mana Spring totem for mana, if needed.
* Air: Wrath of Air totem. It ups your +healing and that of your group members.
* Earth: Hug your Tremor Totem.
* Fire: Don't bother. None of it will help your healing. Maybe the Frost Resistance Totem if needed.
* Water: Mana Spring Totem and the Cleansing Totems if needed.
Pew Pew Casters
* Air: Wrath of Air... Again use Grounding if needed. If your aggro is too high, you could try nerfing it with Tranquil Air Totem. Don't use that if your MT is in your group and in range.
* Earth: Tremor Totem versus Fear etc. (Would be nice to get a caster Earth totem)
* Fire: Use Totem of Wrath. If you are Elemental, but lack this totem, then something is wrong. I've seen them without, don't leave the 5% spell crit unused.
* Water: Same as before, Mana and Cleansing.
Enchants and such
Resto Shamans like +healing Enchants when possible. Else, take +mana or mp/5. Enhancement on the other hand wants dual Mongoose. Especially now Agi is the Shaman's AP stat since recently. Cobrascale leg patch is nice aswell. For both, make sure that you have *at least* 9k health (buffed is allowed) for some encounters. Stamina Enchants or food might help.
Even your Shaman needs some culinary love. Food buffs, Guardian Elixirs and Battle Elixirs make nice buffs for your Shaman. But, as not all foods give the same buffs, let alone usable buffs for your specialisation, not all are a good choice. Also, you can only have one Food Buff, one Battle Elixir and one Guardian Elixir. What would we want then?
* Foods: Ravager Dog, Roasted Clefthoof, Spicy Crawdad
* B. Elixir: Elixir of Major Agility, Onslaught Elixir, Elixir of the Mongoose, Elixir of Mastery
* G. Elixir: Elixir of Major Mageblood
* Foods: Golden Fish Sticks, Blackened Sporefish, Spicy Crawdad
* B. Elixir: Elixir of Healing Power, Elixir of Mastery
* G. Elixir: Elixir of Major Mageblood, Elixir of Dreanic Wisdom
* Foods: Poached Bluefish/Blackened Basilisk/Crunchy Serpent, Blackened Sporefish, Spicy Crawdad
* B. Elixir: Adept's Elixir, Elixir of Mastery
* G. Elixir: Elixir of Major Mageblood, Elixir of Dreanic Wisdom
You could also take Flasks, which take up both the Battle and Guardian Elixir buff slots.
Minor Gear pointers
If possible, get Mail armor. But don't be afraid to get cloth or leather if it improves your efficiency. Armor isn't a main stat for you since you don't tank. Feel free to exchange armor for stats... Unless you PvP. Then you will want the Armor.
These are mainly for all raiders and shouldn't be anything new. Of course it has been said time and time again, but sometimes I feel that it still isn't common knowledge.
- Never forget to bring your reagents. You need Ankhs. It's a good idea to bring 2 stacks along (that's 20 Ankhs), in case someone else forgets. Watch out that you don't end up being the Reagent Vendor for your guild.
- Read up on Bosses. Unless you're confident that just staying behind the boss and nuking away as Enhancement or spamming heals as Resto will win you the game. Then you just need to learn it the hard way. Guilds often have their own tactics on their website. Don't rely on other people to tell you the tactics. It's your responsibility to be prepared.
- Chain Heal is mana efficient, but you can still find yourself OOM. Bring Mana Pots, although I assume that this is common knowledge.
- Mind your aggro. I have to be honest, everyone but me manages to pull aggro, to my own amazement. Still, you can wipe the raid by overaggroing. Winning on Omen means losing the game. Unless you're the tank (Shamans are the only hybrid class that cannot tank).
- This one should be obvious aswell, but listen to your raid leader. Even if what he comes up with is wrong or won't work, do it. If he tells you to jump off the bridge, do it. If it fails then, it's his/her fault, not yours. The reason why I am putting this in here is because some of the newer members in my guild don't listen as well.
- If your guild uses a VOIP system (like Teamspeak2 or Ventrilo), make sure you have it and have it working. If your guild uses Addons, like CT_RA, Omen etc. Get them! Keep them updated. You might not use them, but the raid most certainly does. So you do too.
- You don't need to top the Damage and Healing metres. Especially if that would mean overaggroing, death and wiping. If you do want to, keep it limited to your own class, since they are the only ones with the same spells.
In all honesty, I hardly ever win Arena matches. The only matchup that got me wins was Resto Shaman (me) with Beast Mastery Hunter. For this, I can reccomend that you keep switching Earth Shield to whomever needs it, pop Bloodlust when the Hunter needs it ofc, and stay alive. Or just multibox 5 Shamans. If you really want to go arena as Enhancement, get more than 10k health and 300 resilience. Then just pray.
In Battlegrounds, as Resto, find a nice S4 warrior and heal him. He'll defend you if possible. Easy honor. As Enhancement, don't stray from your teammates. You're bound to run into three Warlocks if you do.
That's it, if I haven't forgot anything. If you want to know more about Shamans, you might want to check this list of things you might want to know.