WoW Classic WotLK: Shaman Leveling Guide (1-80)

Shamans are a unique class in WoW Classic, capable of filling almost any role – melee DPS, caster DPS, healer, and even to some extent tank. They utilize totems to draw upon their connection to the elements and the spirits for powerful buffs and utility. While not as ubiquitous as they were in vanilla and TBC Classic, shamans still fill a valuable role in endgame content in Wrath of the Lich King Classic. But first you have to get to level 80! Let us guide you in leveling your shaman to 80 in WotLK Classic.

Which races can be a shaman in WotLK Classic.
The races available for shaman on both Alliance and Horde. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Best Shaman Leveling Spec

We’ll be using the Enhancement talent specialization for this guide. Elemental is also a viable option, but Enhancement offers less downtime and will therefore be quicker for leveling. Restoration is not recommended, unless you are going to do most of your leveling in a dungeon group.

Unlike in retail World of Warcraft, you will need to visit your class trainer in order to learn new spells as you level up. Trainers are located in every major faction city as well as each of the starting zones. You should train at least every few levels, because new ranks and new spells can make a huge difference to your damage and efficiency.

Best Shaman Leveling Spec - WotLK Classic Guide
The Enhancement talent build we’ll use for this guide. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Gear and Stats

As an Enhancement shaman, here are the stats you should look for on gear, in order of importance:

  1. Agility is your strongest stat, with each point granting two points of Attack Power as well as some Critical Strike and Armor rating. You should be able to get lots of it on your gear without having to look for it specifically.
  2. Intellect increases your mana pool and your Critical Strike, but more importantly, it increases your Attack Power via the Mental Dexterity talent. Ideally all of your gear will have both Agility and Intellect, but this can be difficult, especially at lower levels.
  3. Attack Power increases the damage you do with most of your abilities and is the main secondary stat you should aim for. On top of increasing your weapon damage it also increases your Spell Power via the Mental Quickness talent.
  4. Critical Strike increases your damage by causing more of your abilities to critically hit.
  5. Haste speeds up your attacks, increasing the amount of damage you can do over any given window of time.
  6. Spell Power increase the damage done by your spells.
  7. Hit is much more important at level 80. You won’t see much of it as you level, but when you do, it’s good to grab.
  8. Expertise is another stat you will rarely see while leveling, but which can be good to get when it’s available.
  9. MP5 improves your mana regeneration, which can be nice, but it’s not worth aiming for over other, better stats.
  10. Strength increases your Attack Power, but is not nearly as useful for enhancement shamans as Agility. Most gear will only have one or the other, and you always want to take Agility over Strength.
  11. Stamina does nothing to boost your damage but is important for your survivability. It should come naturally on your gear without needing to look for it.
  12. Spirit improves your health and mana regeneration out of combat, but is useless otherwise.

Shamans can use any type of armor except plate, with leather being the best until mail becomes available at level 40. You should focus on the stats above rather than worrying too much about armor.

For your weapon, shamans can use both one- and two-handed axesmacesfist weaponsstaves, and daggers. Keep in mind that each individual weapon type has its own separate skill in WoW Classic. If you swap to a different weapon type, you may need to level its skill before you can be effective with it.

As far as choosing your weapons, go for damage rather than DPS. Enhancement shamans do best with slow weapons that do big crits.

Starting gear for a shaman in WotLK
You’ll start with a shield, but you should use a two-handed weapon until level 40, and then dual wield. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Best Heirlooms for Enhancement Shamans

Heirloom gear is well worth getting if you have a level 80 character and are able to purchase it. They scale with your level, so you don’t have to keep replacing your gear as you go. Chest and shoulder pieces also provide a buff to your experience gained, increasing your leveling speed significantly.

These are the heirloom pieces you should look for if you are leveling a shaman:

  • Shoulder: Champion Herod’s Shoulder
  • Chest: Champion’s Deathdealer Breasplate
  • Trinket: Discerning Eye of the Beast
  • Trinket: Swift Hand of Justice
  • Weapon: Bloodied Arcanite Reaper until level 40, after which you can dual wield Venerable Mass of McGowan
Best Heirlooms for Leveling a Shaman
The best heirlooms for a shaman. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Guide to Leveling a Shaman in WotLK

Now let’s get to leveling!

Level 1-9

Rotation: Starting out, you can pull with Lightning Bolt and then just auto attack when the enemy is in melee range. You can learn Rockbiter Weapon right away from a trainer, and should get used to keeping this buff active at all times.

You’ll gain Earth Shock at level 4, and should start using it on cooldown. At level 8, you’ll learn Lightning Shield, and you should also get in the habit of maintaining it at all times.

Totems: You’ll get your first totems at level 4, 6, and 8. These will all be Earth Totems, so you will only be able to use one at a time. Eventually you will be able to drop one totem of each element (Earth, Air, Fire, Water).

Most totems are situational, and if you want to play a shaman well at 80, you should spend some time learning when to use them as you level. This will help you develop good habits for endgame. That said, you don’t need to be dropping totems constantly at this level.

Lightning Bolt will be your staple spell at the start - Shaman Leveling Guide WotLK
Use spells to pull enemies, then melee attack when they get close. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 10-19

Talents: At level 10, you’ll be able to choose your first talent. Here are the recommended talents for this level range:

  • Level 10-14: Astral Knowledge (5/5)
  • Level 15-16: Improved Ghost Wolf (2/2)
  • Level 17-19: Improved Shields (3/3)

Glyphs: At level 15, you will be able to use your first glyphs. Glyph of Fire Nova and Glyph of Ghost Wolf are good options at this level.

Rotation: At level 10, you’ll learn Flametongue Weapon, and should start using this in place of Rockbiter Weapon. You’ll also learn Flame Shock, which you should use to pull enemies (followed by Lightning Bolt until they’re in melee range). At level 12, you’ll gain Fire Nova and should start using it on cooldown when you are fighting more than one enemy.

Continue to maintain Lightning Shield at all times and use Earth Shock on cooldown. At level 16, you’ll get Ghost Wolf, which will make getting around a lot quicker.

Totems: You’ll acquire Strength of Earth Totem at level 10. This is the first totem that is consistently useful and should be dropped any time you’re in combat.

Ghost Wolf form for faster traveling - WotLK Shaman Leveling Guide
Druids wish they had a shapeshift this cool. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 20-29

Mount: You can buy your first mount at level 20! The basic ground mount has a speed of 60% and costs five gold. Head to the starting zone or capital city for your race to purchase a mount as soon as you can – it really makes everything a lot faster and easier.

Talents:

  • Level 20: Shamanistic Focus (1/1)
  • Level 21-25: Thundering Strikes (5/5)
  • Level 26-29 Flurry (4/5)

Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyphs until level 30.

Rotation: You’ll get Water Walking at level 28, which is a very useful if niche utility spell. Your rotation will stay the same aside from your totems.

Totems: You’ll learn your first non-earth totems, Healing Stream Totem and Searing Totem, at level 20. Searing Totem is worth dropping along with Strength of Earth Totem any time you’re going to be standing in one place for a while. Swap it out for Magma Totem at level 26.

Draenei mount vendor
Head back to your race’s starting zone or capital city to buy your first mount. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 30-39

Talents:

  • Level 30: Flurry (5/5)
  • Level 31-33: Mental Dexterity (3/3)
  • Level 34: Spirit Weapons (1/1)
  • Level 35-37: Weapon Mastery (3/3)
  • Level 38-39: Unleashed Rage (2/3)

Glyphs: At level 30, you can use a second major glyph. Glyph of Windfury Weapon is a solid option.

Rotation: You’ll learn Windfury Weapon at level 30, and you should start using this in place of Flametongue Weapon. Also at level 30, Astral Recall makes it so you don’t need to bother carrying around a Hearthstone anymore.

Totems: At this level, you’ll learn Call of the Elements, which will allow you to place four totems at once. These totems should be Strength of Earth Totem, Magma Totem, Healing Stream Totem, and from level 32, Windfury Totem.

Shaman Class Trainer - WotLK Leveling Guide
Visit your trainer often for new abilities and ability ranks. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 40-49

Mount: At level 40, you can upgrade your mount. An epic ground mount has a speed of 100% and costs 60 gold. You will most likely need to return to the same vendor you purchased your level 20 mount from.

Mail Armor: At level 40, you can begin using mail armor, which offers more protection than leather or cloth. It’s not urgent that you upgrade all of your leather gear right away. Continue to focus on getting the best stats. Mail just gives you more options going forward.

Talents:

  • Level 40: Dual Wield (1/1)
  • Level 41: Stormstrike (1/1)
  • Level 42-44: Dual Wield Specialization (3/3)
  • Level 45: Lava Lash (1/1)
  • Level 46: Unleashed Rage (3/3)
  • Level 47-48: Improved Stormstrike (2/2)
  • Level 49: Static Shock (1/3)

Glyphs: You won’t unlock any new glyph slots in this level range. You may want to swap out Glyph of Windfury Weapon for Glyph of Stormstrike when it becomes available.

Rotation: This is the range where Enhancement really starts to take off. You’ll learn Dual Wield at level 40, allowing you to equip a second weapon. At level 41, you’ll gain Stormstrike, and at level 45, you’ll gain Lava Lash – both through talents. With that, here is your rotation from here on out:

  1. Maintain the Windfury Weapon buff.
  2. Maintain the Lightning Shield buff (or Water Shield if you need the mana).
  3. Pull with Flame Shock.
  4. Use Stormstrike on cooldown.
  5. Use Earth Shock on cooldown.
  6. Use Lava Lash on cooldown.
  7. Cast Fire Nova on cooldown if you’re fighting more than one enemy.

Totems: You’ll learn Call of the Ancestors at level 40, which allows you to set up a second set of totems that you can drop all at once.

Visit the auction house for mail armor and a secondary weapon at level 40 - WotLK Shaman Leveling Guide
Head to the Auction House at level 40 for mail armor and an offhand weapon. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 50-57

Talents:

  • Level 50: Shamanistic Rage (1/1)
  • Level 51-53: Mental Quickness (3/3)
  • Level 54: Static Shock (2/3)
  • Level 55-57: Maelstrom Weapon (3/5)

Glyphs: At level 50, you can use a second minor glyph. Glyph of Astral Recall is incredibly useful.

Rotation: Once you gain the Maelstrom Weapon talent, you can start using Lightning Bolt (or Chain Lightning if you’re fighting more than one enemy) whenever you have 5 stacks of the buff. This is at the very bottom of your rotation priority, when everything else is on cooldown.

You’ll also gain access to Shamanistic Rage via talents, so you’ll have a more reliable way to restore mana in the midst of a long fight.

Totems: You’ll get a third set of totems with Call of the Spirits at level 50.

Thrall, the most famous shaman in WoW.
If you train hard, maybe you can be as great a shaman as Thrall someday. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Level 58-67

Zones: Head to Outland as soon as you reach level 58. The items you can get there are much better than those in the lower level zones.

Mount: At level 60, you can purchase your first flying mount. A basic flying mount has a flying speed of 150% and a ground speed of 60%, and costs 300 gold total. The Flying trainers are located in Hellfire Peninsula and Shadowmoon Valley.

Talents:

  • Level 58-59: Maelstrom Weapon (5/5)
  • Level 60: Feral Spirit (1/1)
  • Level 61-65: Concussion (5/5)
  • Level 66-67: Elemental Devastation (2/3)

Glyphs: You won’t get any new glyph slots until level 70.

Rotation: You’ll gain access to Feral Spirit via talents at level 60. The two spirit wolves that you summon from it are quite strong and drastically increase your damage while they’re active.

Use it near the start of your rotation whenever you’re fighting a strong enemy. If you’re in a group, make sure to let the tank get aggro first before using this ability.

Totems: You’ll learn Earth Elemental Totem at level 66, a powerful 2-minute summon on a 10 minute cooldown. The earth elemental makes an excellent temporary tank as well as offering some extra damage.

Fire Elemental and Earth Elemental - powerful totem cooldowns.
These guys are your new best friends. (Image: Blizzard via HGG/Sarah Arnold)

Level 68-80

Zones: Head to Northrend as soon as you reach level 68. The quest rewards are much better and you can start working on the reputations you will need at level 80.

Mount: You can upgrade your flying mount at level 70 if you choose. An epic flying mount has a flying speed of 280% and a ground speed of 100%, and costs 5100 gold. But you will not be able to use it in Northrend until you train Cold Weather Flying. This can be done at level 77 for 1000 gold, or if you already have a level 80 character, you can purchase a Tome of Cold Weather Flight for your shaman to use as early as level 68. Northrend flying trainers are located in Dalaran, Storm Peaks, and Sholazar Basin.

Talents:

  • Level 68: Elemental Devastation (3/3)
  • Level 69-71: Call of Flame (3/3)
  • Level 72: Elemental Focus (1/1)
  • Level 73-75: Elemental Weapons (3/3)
  • Level 76-78: Elemental Fury (3/5)
  • Level 79-80: Improved Fire Nova (2/2)

Glyphs: At level 70, you can use a third minor glyph. Opt for Glyph of Renewed Life so you never have to worry about being able to Reincarnate. You won’t get the third major glyph slot until level 80.

Rotation: At level 70, you’ll learn the iconic Bloodlust ability (or Heroism if you’re Alliance), which you shouldn’t hesitate to use for a damage boost when solo. Keep using your buffs and stick with your rotation. You’ll be done leveling before you know it.

Totems: You’ll get Fire Elemental Totem at level 68, which is similar to the Earth Elemental Totem, but aimed more at damage than defense.

Congratulations on level 80!

Cold-weather flying mount in Northrend.
I believe I can fly… in Northrend. (Image: Blizzard via HGG / Sarah Arnold)

Join the High Ground!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully this guide has helped you level your shaman through World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!

Happy gaming!

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