Totem Talk: Horde races for elemental shaman

Josh Myers
J. Myers|09.03.11

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Tauren shaman on flying carpet
Tauren shaman on flying carpet
Tauren shaman on flying carpet
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

I really like Tauren. If I had my way, the Horde would be comprised of six different tribes of Tauren who spent most of their days participating in competitive flower picking and saying "Walk with the Earthmother." Unfortunately, the Herd is not a real faction, and most people aren't Tauren.

While some players make racial choices for game immersion or fun, there are players who choose their character's race for the best performance. A tank might choose Tauren for the 5% base health bonus, a PVPer might choose human for the extra trinket slot, and a healer might choose Blood Elf for the 2-minute cooldown mana return. For Horde elemental shaman, there's a reason to play any of the four available options, but the choice is largely up to your playstyle.


Tauren are the superior choice for any Horde class. Tall, dark, handsome, and great with A-1 sauce, Tauren are simply the coolest race in the game. When you add their innate affinity for shamanism (the elevator in Thunder Bluff is a gigantic totem -- you don't get more shaman than that), you come to the realization that there's no reason not to play Tauren. Unless, you know, looking totally awesome 24/7 isn't your idea of a fun gameplay.

The total badassery of our bovine buddies is slightly diminished by the fact that Tauren racials leave something to be desired. War Stomp, a short-duration AOE stun on a 2-minute cooldown, is great for PVP and soloing. Some of its more popular uses allow you a chance to cast a Healing Surge on yourself, interrupt an enemy spell cast while Wind Shear is on cooldown, or buy you time to run away before Earth's Grasp comes off cooldown. Unfortunately, War Stomp's usefulness in PVE content is incredibly limited and does nothing for DPS.

Endurance is a 5% increase to base health, which is about a 2k increase at 85. This might help you if a raid boss sneezes in your direction. Cultivation provides a 15-point increase to herbalism and a speed increase when picking pretty flowers. This is a nice bonus for herbalists, but is somewhat tempered by the fact that many serious raid groups and PVP teams require players to have double crafting professions for the stat bonuses.


I have a love/hate relationship with the Darkspear Trolls. I really like their starting area, the picturesque Darkspear Isle. I think Vol'jin should be Warchief of the Horde, and I will be the first to write a letter of thanks to Blizzard when he successfully dethrones Garrosh Hellscream. At the same time, the design of the race itself is wildly culturally appropriative and, to me, somewhat offensive. As a result, I've never managed to get into playing a Troll.

Troll shaman with earth totem
Trolls have a few racials that are utterly wasted for elemental shaman. 1% more crit on bows and throwing weapons is not really helpful when your main form of damage is casting Lightning Bolts. Regeneration is one of (if not the) worst racials in the game. On the flipside, Trolls do get Beast Slaying, which is a 5% damage bonus on a handful of encounters like Beth'tilac or Chimaeron. They also get Da Voodoo Shuffle, which shortens snares by 15%. This is somewhat useful for PVP.

The king of Troll racials is Berserking, a 10-second, 20% haste increase on a 3-minute cooldown. With haste's current position as the top secondary stat for elemental, Berserking is a strong burst DPS cooldown. It can initially be stacked with Elemental Mastery (provided the double haste increases don't bring Lightning Bolt below a 1-second cast time) for some added burst DPS, but due to the way Feedback works, you can't match every Elemental Mastery and Berserking. Ultimately, this racial is the main saving grace for Trolls.


Orcs are quite possibly my least favorite Horde race -- or at least, my least favorite of the ones that can be shaman. Female Orcs are the exception, countering the male Orcs' dumb, strong, masculine dude routine by being strong female characters with excellent sass. And pigtails. I also don't totally hate Thrall; he seems like a pretty cool dude. On the other hand, Garrosh Hellscream embodies everything I despise about the Orcish race.

Going by racials, Orcs are a strong contender for elemental shaman. Though there is some debate on it, Command does seem to effect Fire Elemental Totem. For elemental shaman of any gear level, this is a nice bonus. For elemental shaman in Firelands tier gear with a near-permanent Fire Elemental, it's even better. Hardiness is of very limited value in PVE, but decreasing the length of stuns in PVP is always a nice thing.

Orc talking nonsense
Blood Fury is the crown jewel of the Orc racial set, providing 584 spellpower for 15 seconds on a 2-minute cooldown. It has considerably better uptime than Berserking, which is up for 1/16th of the fight, while Blood Fury is up 1/8th. On the other hand, the spellpower it gives is not as incredible as the haste bonus from Berserking, which is why it can be up sooner. Orcs end up being a solid choice for both PVE and PVP.


Since I'm a lifelong resident of New Jersey, you might think a race of small, green-skinned Sn00ki wannabes would make me want to be one. I don't. While I'm a huge fan of the majority of Blizzard's pop culture comedy, my own experiences with leveling in Kezan was that Jersey Shore was one pop culture mainstay that Blizzard should have left to Gawker. Fortunately, Kezan is over quickly, and you can spend the rest of your toon's life with voices off, allowing you to somewhat forget your six levels spent as The Situation's Mini-Me.

Goblins make up for their faux Staten Island accents by having some of the best racials in the game. Better Living Through Chemistry, a small alchemy bonus, Best Deals Anywhere, a price reduction on every vendor good in the game, and Pack Hobgoblin are all nice quality of life perks. Time is Money is the best passive racial for elemental shaman, giving a permanent 1% spell haste. This is a slightly smaller benefit than Troll's Berserking, which popped on cooldown equates to 1.11% spell haste. However, it's possible to miss Berserking coming off cooldown by a few seconds, suddenly need to move while it's up, or something else that might cause you to lose the benefit. Time is Money has no similar drawback.

Female Goblin extending pointer finger
The other main racial of Goblins is Rocket Jump, which allows you to jump forward 15 meters on a 2-minute cooldown. The main function of this is as an incredible PVP ability that allows you to escape a hairy situation. However, it also has its uses on every movement fight in the game, either helping you compensate for a slow reaction or helping you to proactively move into a position that makes DPSing the boss easier, saving you time on moving. Combined with Time is Money, Goblins are a solid contender for the top elemental shaman race.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Elemental. Let's get down to business with a heart-to-heart on fixing the fire elemental problem, and then join us for a discussion of best practices for elemental shaman.

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