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A Shaman Primer for new players

Paul Sherrard

The following document was created to help Shaman, specifically Draenei Shaman, as they find themselves as the new class in the Alliance. It's also useful for those who are about to group with a Shaman (or two or three), to understand what role a shammy will play in your group or raid. Finally, it's definitely a good read for anyone who's just picking up the Shaman class, to give you a bit of a jump on your fellow players in knowing your place in groups and raids.

As with most of my shaman info, the credit here definitely goes to Skew, my leveling buddy who is now on his 3rd level 60 Shaman. He swore that if Shaman were ever given to the Alliance, he'd play one, and he has. His knowledge and support and love of the class have been instrumental in encouraging the same in me.

The bulk of the primer is posted after the break, so be sure to read and chime in with your thoughts on the role of a shaman.

Shaman are a purely support group, with fantastic stacking group-only buffs, but we're sub-par at melee, tanking, casting, and healing. Being purely support, each build should be grouped with certain other players. Throw the individual-balanced-groups mindset out the window and get used to cross-healing, because with Shaman that's the most efficient use of our buffs!

Elemental Shaman - Mages and Warlocks best friend.
Totem of Wrath (fire) - Specced ability - +3% spell crit and +3% spell-hit for group
Wrath of Air (air) - +101 spell damage (not healing) for group
Mana Spring (water) - 12 mana every 2 seconds for group

Enhancement Shaman - MT group
Stoneskin Totem (earth) - reduces melee damage taken by 43
Healing Stream (water) - 18 health every 2 seconds
Windfury Totem (air) - enchants all party member's main-hand weapons with a proc where each hit has a 20% chance of granting 1 extra attack with +445 attack power. (huge agro builder)

Enhancement Shaman - physical combat group (rogue/hunter/dps war)
Strength of Earth (earth) - +86 strength to group
Healing Stream (water) - 18 health every 2 seconds
Grace of Air (air) - +77 agility to group
(can also use windfury totem depending on how many hunters vs rogues are in group.)

Resto Shaman - healer group
Mana Tide Totem (water) - Specced ability - restores 6% of total mana every 3 seconds for 12 seconds - 5 min cooldown (followed up with normal mana spring totem during cooldown)
Tranquil Air Totem (air) - reduces all threat cause by party members by 20%

5-man or mixed-groups
We found a great trick last night with a paladin healer. As you may know, when a heal lands on the paladin, they regenerate some mana, so a healing stream totem constantly regenerates mana to the paladin. We were running a 5-man instance, so constant health regen was the best choice for the group. A second shaman was also along and threw out his mana totem, so our paladin was never below 90% mana unless both shammies died.

There are two combat styles that differ with build and group makeup: "Tight" and "Divided". Enhancement Shaman will benefit from a tight close-range group, while a Resto or Elemental Shaman will benefit from a divided style. If you are a non-shaman, knowing the range of the totems around you takes some getting used to, but is imperitive towards the endgame.

Tight-Group Combat - when all 5 players are within 20 yds in combat
Drop melee-based totems close to the MT, based on whatever will give the best overall benefit to the group. Stoneskin/Strength, Windfury/Grace, and Healing Stream. Use fire totems sparingly, as they can over-agro or pull unwanted groups.

The Divided Group - when your casters/healers are 20yds away from your MT
This is a tough style to accomplish, but works well when your healers are sitting back behind the action. Drop Tranquil Air behind the casters so that its far enough from the MT to not effect them. Drop your remaining totems between the casters and the rest of the group to give them all the benefit.

Example Placement:
[Tranquil Totem]---[Casters]------[Remaining Totems]---------[Meleers]--[Boss]

It is imperative that you watch the effect of your totems. If your MT gets the Tranquil Air buff, use totemic call to release your totems to reset their placement. If the fight is a constantly moving fight, its best not to bother with Tranquil Air.

So there you have it, a short guide to playing a shaman in multi-player content, Shamans on a Raid.

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