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WoW - Updated: Selecting Talents for the Shaman

Updated Sat, Jul 04, 2009 by Bluto



“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What's a sun-dial in the shade?" - Benjamin Franklin

I thought I would try and sound a little more upscale and classy this round of discussion. I wouldn’t get used to it. As you can tell by now this article is all about the Shaman’s talents. 

Let us for example take identical twins of sorts. Two Troll Shamans, both have the identical starting statistics, both will follow the almost identical path of leveling. So what is that can turn one into a well oiled healing machine and the other into a rampaging engine of destruction?  Or, what could take two identical twins, and have one grow up to be a premier ballet dancer and the other well, let’s say it’s still dancing…..  (And you were worried, I may have become classy)  Ding Ding Ding Ding, that’s right folks - talents. 

At level 80, players will have a total of 71 talent points to distribute. Ah, but how to distribute them is the true trick. “What’s there to figure out?” that was my original thought on talent builds when I was first starting in WoW. If you are for example, an Enhancement Shaman, why not just throw all seventy one talent points into your Enhancement tree?  Surely that would create the best Enhancement Shaman? On some levels you may be right. Although if you sacrifice some of those Enhancement points and add them to the Elemental tree, you can increase your Enhancement build. Just one the many subtleties to the talent trees. I also favor passive Talents to some of the more active Talents; it’s just easier on my brain.

To be honest I don’t think I’ve figured out all the tricks to it myself, but let’s look at some talent builds out there and see what we can learn. Readers please jump into the Ten Ton Hammer Forums and correct or expound on anything you read here. 

I’ve chosen a sample build for each of the Shaman’s builds. I’d like to discuss what talents I think make a successful Shaman of your choice. Keep in mind this is an overview and as such, I have decided to focus on three primary tree Talents and two supporting tree Talents.  As a rule, I have decided not to discuss the top two talents of each tree. The top two are the best Talents you can achieve, and as such, really there is no doubt about you learning them.   They are all very powerful, and very useful to your build, and let’s not forget how cool some of them can be.

Enhancement
Sample Enhancement Build

Enhancement Talents
Importance
Almost speaks for itself. Mana conservation is always a concern. Even though focus is on melee DPS, getting some well timed Shocks never hurt anybody, well maybe your target.
If you’re going to be a melee DPS, no reason not to use two weapons.  Plus two weapons increases statistic bonuses.  With the ability of Windfury Weapon this makes this talent for a Enhancement Shaman a no brainer.  Windfury procs + Duel Wield + Weapon Speed (the slower the weapon the better to maximize DPS) is the Enhancement Shaman's best source of DPS a great article here explains Weapon Speed to perfection.
If you’re going to wield two weapons, you may as well have the ability to attack with them both at once.  Plus the added nature damage bonus will allow you to follow up with nice Shock.  I personally would not put talent points into Improved Stormstrike because with Water Shield, Improved Shield, and Shamanistic Rage, mana should not be an issue.
Supporting Elemental Talents
Extra mana reduction (always good for prolonged battles)
Extra damage, even better.  What I like about this talent, especially in raids, it increases the damage of your Searing Totem which will increase your over all DPS.

Maelstrom Weapon is one of the best talents for a Enhancement Shaman.  The 5 stack insta cast happens very often, in my experience while soloing it will stack 5 times on every mob and even more often during a boss fight while raiding.  This can be used as DPS with a insta cast Lightening Bolt or give you a insta cast Healing Wave to bail you out if your going to die. Your mana tends to drain more quickly, but if you keep Water Shield up and use Shamanistic Rage going on every 2 min cooldown, you will have no downtime.

On a side note for an Enhancement Shaman spell rotation will be:

Lightning Bolt if Maelstrom Weapon is at 5 stacks
Stormstrike if available
Earth Shock if available
Lava Lash if available


Elemental
Sample Elemental build: Mostly Casting DPS

Level Talent Rank School
10 Concussion  1 Elemental
11 Concussion  2 Elemental
12 Concussion  3 Elemental
13 Concussion  4 Elemental
14 Concussion  5 Elemental
15 Elemental Devastation 1 Elemental
16 Elemental Devastation 2 Elemental
17 Elemental Devastation 3 Elemental
18 Convection 1 Elemental
19 Convection 2 Elemental
20 Elemental Focus 1 Elemental
21 Elemental Fury 1 Elemental
22 Elemental Fury 2 Elemental
23 Elemental Fury 3 Elemental
24 Elemental Fury 4 Elemental
25 Elemental Fury 5 Elemental
26 Reverberation 1 Elemental
27 Reverberation 2 Elemental
28 Reverberation 3 Elemental
29 Reverberation 4 Elemental
30 Call of Thunder 1 Elemental
31 Elemental Reach 1 Elemental
32 Elemental Reach 2 Elemental
33 Reverberation 5 Elemental
34 Unrelenting Storm  1 Elemental
35 Lightning Mastery 1 Elemental
36 Lightning Mastery 2 Elemental
37 Lightning Mastery 3 Elemental
38 Lightning Mastery 4 Elemental
39 Lightning Mastery 5 Elemental
40 Elemental Mastery 1 Elemental
41 Storm, Earth and Fire 1 Elemental
42 Storm, Earth and Fire 2 Elemental
43 Storm, Earth and Fire 3 Elemental
44 Elemental Precesion 1 Elemental
45 Elemental Oath 1 Elemental
46 Elemental Oath 2 Elemental
47 Booming Echoes 1 Elemental
48 Booming Echoes 2 Elemental
49 Lightning Overload Elemental
50 Lava Flows 1 Elemental
51 Lava Flows 2 Elemental
52 Lava Flows 3 Elemental
53 Lightning Overload 4 Elemental
54 Lightning Overload 5 Elemental
55 Shamanism 1 Elemental
56 Shamanism 2 Elemental
57 Shamanism 3 Elemental
58 Shamanism 4 Elemental
59 Shamanism 5 Elemental
60 Thunderstom 1 Elemental
61 Ancestral Knowledge 1 Enhancement
62 Ancestral Knowledge 2 Enhancement
63 Ancestral Knowledge 3 Enhancement
64 Ancestral Knowledge 4 Enhancement
65 Ancestral Knowledge 5 Enhancement
66 Thundering Strikes 1 Enhancement
67 Thundering Strikes 2 Enhancement
68 Thundering Strikes 3 Enhancement
69 Thundering Strikes 4 Enhancement
70 Thundering Strikes 5 Enhancement
71 Shamanistic Focus 1 Enhancement
72 Improved Shields 1 Enhancement
73 Improved Shields 2 Enhancement
74 Improved Shields 3 Enhancement
75 Totem of Wrath 1 Elemental
76 Elemental Warding 1 Enhancement
77 Elemental Warding 2 Enhancement
78 Elemental Warding 3 Enhancement
79 Astral Shift 1 Enhancement
80 Astral Shift 2 Enhancement


Elemental Talents
Importance
It’s not just for supporting Enhancement builds. Still reducing that mana usage.
It helps you and your group.
The top of the Elemental Talent tree.  It should go without saying this is your goal.  But really read the definition. YOU ARE CALLING DOWN LIGHTNING. Sometimes you just need to have fun with a game and worry less about numbers. Take that Raiden. 
Supporting Enhancement Talents
Extra Intellect equals extra Mana.  More Mana is caster’s best friend.  More Intellect you have the more your Crit % will go up also.


Restoration

Sample Restoration Build.

Level Talent Rank School
10 Totemic Focus 1 Restoration
11 Totemic Focus 2 Restoration
12 Totemic Focus 3 Restoration
13 Totemic Focus 4 Restoration
14 Totemic Focus 5 Restoration
15 Tidal Focus 1 Restoration
16 Tidal Focus 2 Restoration
17 Tidal Focus 3 Restoration
18 Tidal Focus 4 Restoration
19 Tidal Focus 5 Restoration
20 Improved Water Shield 1 Restoration
21 Improved Water Shield 2 Restoration
22 Improved Water Shield 3 Restoration
23 Tidal Force 1 Restoration
24 Ancestral Healing 1 Restoration
25 Tidal Mastery 1 Restoration
26 Tidal Mastery 2 Restoration
27 Tidal Mastery 3 Restoration
28 Tidal Mastery 4 Restoration
29 Tidal Mastery 5 Restoration
30 Nature's Swiftness 1 Restoration
31 Restorative Totems 1 Restoration
32 Restorative Totems 2 Restoration
33 Restorative Totems 3 Restoration
34 Restorative Totems 4 Restoration
35 Purification 1 Restoration
36 Purification 2 Restoration
37 Purification 3 Restoration
38 Purification 4 Restoration
39 Purification 5 Restoration
40 Cleanse Spirt 1 Restoration
41 Healing Focus 1 Restoration
42 Healing Focus 2 Restoration
43 Healing Focus 3 Restoration
44 Restorative Totems 5 Restoration
45 Nature's Blessing 1 Restoration
46 Nature's Blessing 2 Restoration
47 Nature's Blessing 3 Restoration
48 Imroved Chain Healing 1 Restoration
49 Imroved Chain Healing 2 Restoration
50 Blessing of the Eternals 1 Restoration
51 Blessing of the Eternals 2 Restoration
52 Ancestral Awakening 1 Restoration
53 Ancestral Awakening 2 Restoration
54 Ancestral Awakening 3 Restoration
55 Tidal Waves 1 Restoration
56 Tidal Waves 2 Restoration
57 Tidal Waves 3 Restoration
58 Tidal Waves 4 Restoration
59 Tidal Waves 5 Restoration
60 Riptide 1 Restoration
61 Ancestral Knowledge 1 Enhancement
62 Ancestral Knowledge 2 Enhancement
63 Ancestral Knowledge 3 Enhancement
64 Ancestral Knowledge 4 Enhancement
65 Ancestral Knowledge 5 Enhancement
66 Thundering Strikes 1 Enhancement
67 Thundering Strikes 2 Enhancement
68 Thundering Strikes 3 Enhancement
69 Thundering Strikes 4 Enhancement
70 Thundering Strikes 5 Enhancement
71 Improved Shields 1 Enhancement
72 Improved Shields 2 Enhancement
73 Improved Shields 3 Enhancement
74 Elemental Weapons 1 Enhancement
75 Elemental Weapons 2 Enhancement
76 Elemental Weapons 3 Enhancement
77 Earth Shield 1 Restoration
78 Improved Earth Shield 1 Restoration
79 Improved Earth Shield 2 Restoration
80 Mana Tide Totem 1 Restoration


Restoration Talents
Importance
Anything instant cast is good.  Having a handy macro like /cast Nature's Swiftness followed by /cast Healing Wave(Rank 14)  can be used as a emergency heal for anyone in the raid.
Chain healing is one of the best things about being a Restoration Shaman. No reason not to maximize its effectiveness.
As a healer you never want to run out of mana. So here’s a little assistance. With so many intellect boosting items out there, Shamans’ mana pools have greatly increased.  Increasing your Intellect will also increase your Crit % which can lead to big heals which is always a good thing.
Supporting Enhancement Talents
Do I even need to say it?
The 10% increase to the healing and mana generation is a good end game bonus. There are generally some area effect spells that hit the entire party. You might as well benefit from the attacks.  For Restoration Shamans this has twice the benefit, increase your Water Shield for more mana and increases your Earth Shield which will help your tank out.

Unfortunately to all the great talents out there, there are some I wonder why they are even in the game. As such, I give you my list of top three most useless Shaman Talents. I kept it down to three, one from each Talent tree. 

These talents are usually best for only one type of spec and not to be used for cross builds like........
Why Not?

Elemental builds are essentially casters at this point. Start acting like one.  Stay the hell away from mobs. Though this is great for an Enhancement Shaman.
This one is best for Restoration Shamans.  Anytime, as a healer, you can reduce your threat of any kind it is a good thing.  Elemental and Enhancement specs should not bother with this particular talent.

If the UFC has taught us anything is that mixed martial arts kick ass. Mixed Talent builds in my opinion are no different.  So get out there and show the world (of Warcraft) how talented you all can be.


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