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Shaman Guide - Combat

Updated Mon, Jan 25, 2010 by Mem

So you’ve found your way here to learn something about the basics of Combat as a Shaman. Before we begin be sure that you have read the page on Druid Basics so everything makes a little more sense. Now that you are all caught up let’s get started. 

Totems are without a doubt what the Shaman class is all about. Knowing which totems you should be dropping is very important especially in large raid situations, and as such communication with any other Shamans in your raid or party is very important to get the max benefits from your totems. 

Recently Blizzard has shown mercy to the Shaman class and provided an in game totem UI that allows the Shaman to drop 4 different totems instantaneously on one global cool down. However it still costs the combined mana cost of all four totems. You are able to customize three different sets of totems. 

Most totems (unlike in the old school WoW days) will affect every player in your raid your party. This means that no matter what group you find yourself in, the rest of your raid will still gain the buffs from your totems. There are a few exceptions that should be noted as they will only affect the five players in the Shaman’ party:

Below are some useful totems from each aspect (Air, Fire, Water, Earth) that should be dropped by the Shamans in a raid/party:


Air
Wrath of Air
Windfury Totem - Only if there is no DK or Enhancement Shaman present

Fire
Flametongue Totem - Only if no Enhancement, Elemental Shaman, or Demonology Warlocks are present
Searing/Magma Totem

Water
Mana Spring - Does not stack with Blessing of Wisdom
Healing Stream
Poison/Disease Cleaning - Only when needed

Earth
Stoneskin Totem
Strength of Earth - Only if no Enhancement Shaman are present

This useful ability gives the Shaman another chance at life. So if you’ve done something silly like stood in the fire, or just had some bad luck this will give you another shot to redeem yourself. Reincarnation is on a 30 minute cool down and takes an Ankh each time you use it. To avoid having to carry around a ton of Ankhs I would suggest using Glyph of Renewed Life which  does away with the need for an Ankh.

Knowing when to use your Reincarnation is very important. Keep in mind that you will reincarnate exactly in the spot where you died so be sure to check out your environmental surroundings before popping. For example if your body is in a huge patch of fire, it may not be the best idea to use your Reincarnation spell at that particular moment.

Knowing when Reincarnating is futile is also important. If it appears your raid or party is wiping you will want to save your Reincarnation for another time where it will be more useful. If in doubt you can always ask your raid leader if he/she feels you should use your Reincarnation or not.

After a certain level Shamans are given the ability to imbue their weapon with extra powers on top of the usual gems and enchantments. The imbue will last a total of 30 minutes and can and should be reapplied at all times. Keeping this up on your weapon will give you a great damage or healing boost.

There are several weapon imbues available, however it is pretty obvious which imbues are made for which spec. Below is a list of the imbue you should use with each spec:

Restoration
Earthliving Weapon - Increases healing done and each heal has a chance to proc Earthliving on the target which heals for additional damage over time.

Enhancement
Windfury Weapon - The imbue of choice for your main hand weapon. Each hit has a chance of dealing additional damage equal to two extra attacks.

Flametongue Weapon - The imbue of choice for your off hand weapon. Increases total spell damage and each hit causes extra Fire damage based on the speed of the weapon. Slower weapons cause more fire damage per swing.

Elemental
Flametongue Weapon - Increases total spell damage and each hit causes extra Fire damage based on the speed of the weapon. Slower weapons cause more fire damage per swing. 

Bloodlust/Heroism is another unique ability Shamans have, and need to learn to manage. This ability increases melee, ranged, and spell casting speed for all party and raid members for 40 seconds. After the completion of this effect, those affected with become Sated and be unable to benefit from Bloodlust/Heroism again for 10 minutes. Bloodlust/Heroism itself is on a 5 minute cool down.

Using Bloodlust or Heroism at the right moment is all important. It’s usually a good idea to speak with your raid leader to find out when they would like you to use Bloodlust or Heroism on each fight, and if they will be calling out when they want you to use it. You also have to be aware of the Sated debuff, if the party/raid has this debuff your Bloodlust/Heroism will be ineffective and in essence wasted.

Shaman are a venerable force in solo play, as they are able to do awesome DPS and heal in a pinch. To learn more about soloing as a Shaman take the time to read these guides:

PvP

Shaman are also excellent at PvP and if you are looking to learn more about PvPing as a Shaman see this guide.

Although all Shamans bring buffs through totems to the raid, each spec of Shaman fills an individual niche in a group.

Elemental Shamans are focused on the Shaman’s offensive spell casting abilities. Probably the best spec for PvP especially if you are looking to maximize your damage. In raids Elemental Shamans are mainly a utility class, so more than one in a raid is unlikely. Elemental Shaman bring great flexibility, as they are capable of pushing out high DPS, bring awesome buffs, and can also heal if the situation calls for it.

Ehancement Shamans are must have for any raid group. They offer substantial personal DPS, and bring totem buffs that are enchanced by their talents beyond those offered by the other types of Shamans. These include Strength of Earth, Windfury, and Unleashed Rage. Enhancement shamans are not healers, especially since their gear focuses on melee stats. An Enhancement Shaman should be dedicated to DPS and maximizing totem coverage for the raid.

Restoration Shaman are the healers of the Shaman group. Resto Shamans can fill the role of either single target healer (with Lesser Healing Wave and the right glyphs) but really shine while raid healing as they have one of the best multi-target heals in the game (Chain Heal). In a raid or party Resto Shaman are expected to heal their assigned targets (or the entire party if in a 5 man) and place the proper totems at all times. Shaman of this spec offer Mana Tide Totem, as such they should be placed with other mana using casters or healers to be most effective.




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