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WoW Classic Shaman Starter Build and Leveling Guide

WoW Classic Shaman Starter Build and Leveling Guide

Check out the best Leveling/Starter build for the Shaman class in WoW Classic

Shaman Leveling Guide
for WoW Classic


If you are planning on joining the World of Warcraft Classic adventure make sure to check out our other related Guides below:

And Starter builds/Leveling Guides for all other character classes:

RogueRogue Leveling Guide HunterHunter Leveling Guide
DruidDruid Leveling Guide PriestPriest Leveling Guide
MageMage Leveling Guide PaladinPaladin Leveling Guide
WarriorWarrior Leveling Guide WarlockWarlock Leveling Guide
Or if you are done with the leveling process make sure to check our Best WoW Classic Builds for level 60 characters!

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Shaman Class Overview

Shamans are Horde-only Class of Seers and Warriors that use the power of the elements to destroy their enemies and heal their allies. They are very versatile and can assume the role of a Healer, DPS, or even a Tank (especially at lower levels). Restoration Shamans possess a very rare, in Classic at least, AoE Heal ability in a form of the Chain Heal, which makes them a very desired Raid Healers. Elemental Shamans, while not the best as End-Game DPSs, can pull their weight in Raids. Enhancement Shamans, although not viable for Raiding, are very strong in PvP and have an ability to One-Shot their enemies with lucky Windfury procs.

Shamans are very capable Solo and Duo levelers, but their rather low mana pool slows them down a bit by forcing downtimes. They have access to the Ghost Wolf ability (from level 20) that gives them mobility advantage over most other Classes and their ability to Heal allows them to keep going until they inevitably run out of mana. While rather weak against multiple enemies at once, they are also perfectly capable of soloing level-appropriate Elites. Shamans are strong In Open World PvP as well and have the ability to kite enemies like no other class by using Frost Shock ability and interrupt spell casting every 6 seconds (or 5s with 5/5 Reverberation Talent) with their Earth Shock.

This guide will aid you and your Shaman on your journey to level 60; it will help you choose a Race, present you with an optimal leveling Talent build, point you towards Dungeons and Quests that award worthwhile Ranged Weapons, provide some tips & tricks, and more.

Shaman's Strengths and Weaknesses

 Pros  Cons
 Great Utility thanks to various Totems and Shocks  Lack of Hard CC options
 Great Mobility  Lack of strong AoE options
 Versatile; can Heal and Deal Damage. Also somewhat capable as an off-Tank  Can run out of mana very quickly and mana optimization requires a lot of management
 Can Kite enemies easily thanks to Earthbind Totem and Frost Shock  Complicated class with a high skill ceiling and a lot of abilities for many different situations (requires a lot of key binds and even more practice)
 Has access to the best interrupt spell in the game - Earth Shock  
 Can solo level-appropriate Elites  
 One shotting stuff with Windfury procs is hilarious  

Statistics Priority

  1. Agility - Provides you with Critical Strike and Dodge chances, highly increasing both offensive and defensive capabilities of your character. This is your primary statistic.
  1. Strength -  Provides additional Attack Power and, in turn, increases the strength of your attacks. This is a very important statistic for Enhancement Shamans, as it considerably boosts their DPS.
  1. Stamina - Improves your survivability by increasing your total Health pool. This is an important statistic, but it shouldn't be prioritized over Strength and Agility. Shaman's ability to Heal slightly decreases the value of this Statistic.
  1. Intellect - Increases total Mana pool, provides Spell Critical chance and increases the rate at which you gain Weapon Skills. As a Shaman, you are a Mana-Based Class, but you don't benefit too much from stacking Intellect.
  1. Spirit - Increases your out-of-combat Health and Mana regeneration rate. A Shaman has access to Healing spells, which decreases the value of this statistic, but Spirit should not be underestimated as it can cut a large portion of your downtime all the same.

Leveling stat priority:

Agility ⇒ Strength⇒ Stamina ⇒ Intellect ⇒ Spirit

Note:  Items with "Of the Tiger" Suffix are great for Shamans, as they provide both Agility and Strength. "Of the Monkey" (Stamina and Agility) and "Of the Bear" (Stamina and Strength) are strong second choices and you should Need on those, while in a group, as well.


The Best Shaman Races

As most of you know, Shaman is an Horde-only Class in WoW Classic (Alliance got access to the Class in The Burning Crusade Expansion, with the introduction of Draenei, who were the only Alliance race allowed to become Shamans until the implementation of Allied Races in BfA). Out of four Classic Horde Races, only Undead can't become a Shaman.

Note: Please remember that a good Player will make all races work well, and a bad player will not get any better thanks to a Race choice. In other words - pick your Race as you please, because after all, Fun is the most important aspect of the Game.

Shaman Race Choice
PvE Enhancement

Orc's Blood Fury combined with his Axe Specialization provides the highest DPS boost out of the three Races, making him a clear winner for PvE Enhancement. Troll's Berserking secures him a second place, but Tauren deserves some consideration if you'd like to try Tanking as a Shaman.

Recommended choice: Orc

Note: Enhancement Shamans are not considered a viable Raiding spec in Classic World of Warcraft, so you might be better off choosing a Race that suits End-Game Restoration/Elemental PvE/PvP builds better.

PvE Elemental

Casting Speed Boost provided by Troll's Berserking increases Burst Damage potential by a bit, while Racials of other two Races do not have a real impact on Elemental's DPS. Tauren is a second-best choice thanks to his increased survivability provided by that 5% bonus Health and the War Stomp, but Orc's Stun Resistance should not be overlooked either.

Recommended choice: Troll

PvE Restoration

Bonus Casting Speed provided by Troll's Berserking can be the difference between a wipe and a close call successful attempt. Orcs and Taurens do not have any Racial Abilities that would impact Restoration Shamans directly, but Tauren might be a slightly better choice than an Orc because of the utility provided by the War Stomp.

Recommended choice: Troll

PvP DPS/Healing

Just like for most other Horde Classes, Orc's 25% chance to resist Stuns proves to be the go-to Racial for PvP, moreover, his other two Racials supplement Enhancement builds very well. Tauren's War Stomp is a great PvP ability, useful both for Healers and Damage Dealers, and the 5% Health bonus is always nice to have, but they're nowhere near as impactful as Orc's Racials in PvP. Troll deserves some consideration if you want to play as a PvP Healer, but Berserking will be generally less impactful than Stun resistance or AoE Stun.

Recommended choice: Orc (especially for Enhancement builds)
Second best choice: Tauren (for Elemental/Restoration)

Talent Build and Talent Allocation Order

Optimal Talent allocation is essential for smooth leveling. Here, we will describe the most optimal leveling spec and lead you through the Talent Trees level-by-level.

Talent allocation for early levels (10-19)
Talent allocation for early levels

For the first bunch of levels, you will want to go up the Elemental Tree, as early Elemental Talents give the highest power boost at the start:

  1. Levels 10-14 ⇒ 5/5 Convection - Simple and solid leveling Talent that largely increases your sustain by improving your mana efficiency.
  2. Levels 15-17 ⇒ 3/3 Call of Flame.
  3. Levels 18-19 ⇒ 2/2 Earth's Grasp - Improves the efficiency of your Stoneclaw and Earthbind Totems.
After reaching Level 20, you should visit a Class Trainer and reset your Talent Points.

Talent allocation for Levels 20-59Talent allocation for Levels 20-59

  1. You will have 11 Talent points after resetting, you should allocate all of them as follows:
    • 5/5 Ancestral Knowledge - Some people prefer to go for 5/5 Shield Specialization, but if you do not plan on Tanking as a Shaman (which is doable), it is a waste of 5 Talent Points, and Ancestral Knowledge at least gives you some extra mana.
    • 5/5 Thundering Strikes.
    • 1/2 Improved Ghost Wolf.
  2. Level 21 ⇒ 2/2 Improved Ghost Wolf - This reduces Ghost Wolf's casting time to 1 second, making it much more efficient to use between mob pulls.
  3. Level 22 ⇒ 1/1 Two-Handed Axes and Maces - A Talent point for the ability to use devastating, slow-speed Two-Handed Maces and Axes (other Classes get this from weapon trainers, but we take what we are given). 
  4. Levels 23-24 ⇒ 2/5 Anticipation.
  5. Levels 25-29 ⇒ 5/5 Flurry - A powerful Talent that strongly synergizes with Agility and Critical Strike chance.
  6. Level 30 ⇒ 1/1 Parry - Another, otherwise baseline skill, that Shamans have to spend a Talent Point to get. Quite sad.
  7. Level 31-33 ⇒ 3/3 Elemental Weapon - Very strong Talent that improves Enhancement Shaman's... enhancements.
  8. Level 34 ⇒ 3/5 Anticipation.
  9. Levels 35-39 ⇒ 5/5 Weapon Mastery.
  10. Levels 40 ⇒ 1/1 Stormstrike - Grants you an extra Weapon Attak and increases Nature Damage dealt to the Target. This also strongly synergizes with Windfury Weapon.

At this point, it is time to switch back to the Elemental Tree:

  1. Levels 41-45 ⇒ 5/5 Convection.
  2. Levels 46-48 ⇒ 3/3 Call of Flame.
  3. Levels 49-50 ⇒ 2/2 Earth's Grasp.
  4. Level 51⇒ 1/1 Elemental Focus - Gives you a chance to proc Clearcasting, which is great for mana efficiency. With this Talent, you can use Rank 1 Spells to fish for procs and potentially save a lot of mana.
  5. Levels 52-55 ⇒ 4/5 Reverberation.
  6. Levels 56-58 ⇒ 3/3 Elemental Devastation.
  7. Level 59 ⇒ 5/5 Reverberation.
After reaching Level 60, you should visit a Class Trainer, reset your Talent Points and spec into an End-Game Build.


Two-Handed Weapon Progression

Slow, Two-Handed Weapons are the best choice for leveling Enchancment as they work very well with his Weapon buffs and later with Stormstrike. A good weapon upgrade can shave off seconds out of your kill times, largely increasing your exp/hour, especially when grinding (you might even consider altering your leveling route and focus on mob-grinding, for some time, after you get your hands on a potent new weapon). Below, we present you a shortlist of Two-Handed Weapons that you should try and get during your leveling journey. 

Note1: For the first bunch of levels only Two-Handed Weapons you can use are Staves, as Enhancement Shamans can't buy other Two-Handed weapon skills from Trainers and get a special Talent instead. If you follow our Talent progression, you will unlock the ability to use Two-Handed Axes and Maces at level 22, but you can get the Talent as soon as you reach level 20 (we recommend doing this only if you have a level 20 Weapon upgrade already).

Note2: Listed Weapons are not organized in a strict order and you don't have to go for every single one of them. The list is meant to be a raw guideline for Paladin's Weapon progression.

Note3: There are a lot more Two-Handed Weapons than those described. We have mentioned just the easy-to-get and quite essential upgrades. BoE items were excluded from the list, as there is a lot of RNG involved in getting them.

Shaman Two-Handed Weapon Progression
Walking Stick
Walking Stick
  • Source: Weapon Vendors in all low-level zones. It costs 5s 4c.
  • Level Required: 3
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.50, 8-13 Damage, 4.2 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Staff
Quarter Staff
Quarter Staff
  • Source: Weapon Vendors in all Horde Capital Cities
  • Level Required: 11
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.70, 20-31 Damage, 9.4 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Staff 
Wind Rider Staff
Wind Rider Staff
  • Source: "Cry of the Thunderhawk" Quest available from level 10 from NPC Jorn Skyseer, Camp Taurajo, Barrens.
  • Level Required: It is a level 20 Quest reward that can be acquired earlier easily, when in a group.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.80, 29-44 Damage, 13.0 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Staff
Crescent Staff
Crescent Staff
  • Source: Dungeon Quest "Leaders of the Fang", Wailing Caverns. NPC Nara Wildmane, Thunder Bluff. 
  • Level Required: This is a Level 22 Quest Reward that can be acquired quite easily around level 18
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.90, 47-71 Damage, 20.3 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Staff
Rod of the Sleepwalker
Rod of the Sleepwalker
  • Source: Twilight Lord Kelris Boss in the Blackfathom Deeps. Entrance: Zoram Strand, Ashenvale. Drop Chance: ~50%.
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 24 to wield and the Boss is a level 27 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.80, 53-80 Damage, 23.8 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Staff
  • Source: Overlord Ramtusk Boss in the Razorfen Kraul. Entrance: South part of The Barrens, close to Thousand Needles Elevators. Drop Chance ~50%. 
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 29 to wield and the Boss is a level 32 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.80, 88-132 Damage, 28.9 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
  • Note: RFK is located in The Barrens, which is a Horde Zone. Finding a group might be quite difficult, as getting to the dungeon takes a rather long time.

Silver Spade
  • Source: "Venture Company Mining" Quest available from level 30 from NPC Crank Fizzlebub, Booty Bay, Stranglethorn Vale.
  • Level Required: It is a level 41 Quest reward that can be acquired earlier easily, when in a group.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.70, 89-134 Damage, 30.1 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Mace
  • Source: Herod Boss in the Scarlet Monastery: Armory. Entrance: North-east corner of the Tirisfal Glades. Drop Chance ~25%. 
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 37 to wield and the Boss is a level 40 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.50, 104-157 Damage, 37.3 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
  • Fun Fact: this weapon has a very powerful on-hit effect that enabled Warriors to shred through very large mob packs with ease, even in later expansions (the effect could proc of itself, providing a constant Whirlwind-like AoE attack).

Will of the Mountain Giant
Will of the Mountain Giant
  • Source: "Weapons of Spirit" Quest available from level 40 from NPC Witch Doctor Uzer'i, Camp Mojache, Feralas. The Quest becomes available after completing "Mountain Giant Muisek" and "Natural Minerals" Quests.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 50 Quest that can be done solo around level ~47. 
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.80, 88-133 Damage, 39.5 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
  • Source: "The Mighty U'cha" Quest available from level 50 from NPC Torwa Pathfinder, the south-east part of Un'Goro Crater. The Quest becomes available after completing "The Apes of Un'Goro" Quest.
  • Level Required: This is a Level 55 Quest that can be done solo around level ~52 rather easily. 
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.30, 112-169 Damage, 42.6 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe
Sarah's Guide
Sarah's Guide
  • Source: "The Corpulent One" Quest available from level 56 from NPC Nathanos Blightcaller, the south-west part of Eastern Plaguelands. The Quest becomes available after completing "To Kill With Purpose" Quest
  • Level Required: This is a reward from level 60 group Quest. It can be done at level 56 (minimum required) with proper group composition.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 2.50, 94-142 Damage, 47.2 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Staff
Force of Magma
Force of Magma
  • Source: Bael'Gar Boss in the Blackrock Depths. Entrance: Below the Blackrock Mountain; enter the Mountain, jump on a chain and follow the path down. Drop Chance ~25%
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 51 to wield and the Boss is a level 54 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.20, 123-185 Damage, 48.1 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Mace
Dreadforge Retaliator
Dreadforge Retaliator
  • Source: Emperor Dagran Thaurissan Boss in the Blackrock Depths. Entrance: Below the Blackrock Mountain; enter the Mountain, jump on a chain and follow the path down. Drop Chance ~20%
  • Level Required: Weapon requires level 54 to wield and the Boss is a level 59 Elite.
  • Weapon Stats: Speed 3.70, 149-225 Damage, 50.5 DPS
  • Weapon Type: Two-Handed Axe



Your rotation will greatly depend on your level and will get gradually more complex as you progress through content and get access to more tools. 

Let us look at basic DPS rotations for different level ranges:

Very Early Levels (1-10)

At the beginning of your journey, your rotation will change rapidly as you will gain access to new abilities very quickly. You should try to implement every new ability to your rotation.

Before Combat Starts:

  • Make sure you have your Rockbiter Weapon active
  • Pre-Cast Lightning Shield immediately before Combat (do not reapply it during combat as it will hurt your resource management by a lot)

Basic Rotation:

Stoneskin Totem* Lightning Bolt ⇒ Weapon Swing** ⇒ Earth Shock*** Weapon Swings until Target is dead (take advantage of the 5-second rule and natural mana regeneration)

From Level 4 onwards (this Totem is often underestimated, but is actually great, especially at low levels, and can save you A LOT of Health)
**Get a Swing Timer addon and try not to clip your auto attacks with Spellcasts
***From Level 4 onwards

  • Use Rank 1 Earth Shock to interrupt any enemy spell casts
Medium Levels (11-39)

Before Combat Starts:

  • Make sure you have your Rockbiter Weapon/Windfury Weapon active (you gain access to Windfury Weapon at level 30)
  • Windfury Weapon is better than Rockbiter Weapon if you are using fast Weapons - One-Handers and faster Two-Handers, like Sarah's Guide (2.50 Speed Staff).
  • Pre-Cast Lightning Shield immediately before Combat

Basic Rotation:

Stoneskin Totem* Searing Totem ⇒ Flame Shock** Weapon Swings until Target is dead

*This starts to lose value at higher levels, so you might try to use Earthbind Totem and kite enemies between your Weapon swings to save some more Health instead.
**Reapply if needed, if you have the mana for it.

  • Use Rank 1 Earth Shock to interrupt any enemy spell casts

Note: If you need to run away or build some distance to Heal yourself, use Frost Shock/Earthbind Totem to slow your Enemy down and strafe away after going into Ghost Wolf form.

Higher Level Rotation (40-59)

Before Combat Starts:

  • Make sure you have your Rockbiter Weapon/Windfury Weapon active
  • Pre-Cast Lightning Shield immediately before Combat

Basic Rotation:

Stoneskin Totem* Searing Totem ⇒ Flame Shock Weapon Swing ⇒ Stormstrike ⇒ Weapon Swing

*Very optional at this point

  • Use Rank 1 Earth Shock to interrupt any enemy spell casts


First Aid
First Aid

As a Shaman, you have access to Healing Spells but still, you should strongly consider leveling up First Aid, as it will help with your Sustain and reduce your downtimes by quite a bit. Bandaging up after a fight instead of using a Spell to heal yourself will allow you to maintain your mana regeneration and take advantage of the 5-second rule. Bandages can also be used during a fight, in a combination with CC, to give you the second wind in a prolonged engagement (you will get Health from Baandaging up and some mana from your natural regen).

Leatherworking Skinning
Leatherworking + Skinning

This combination will enable you to craft yourself some Gear as you progress through Levels. As a Shaman, you will unlock the ability to wear Mail Armor at level 40, and if you level LW high enough, it will smooth out your armor type upgrading process, giving you that armor edge earlier. The main problem with Leatherworking is the fact that it does not provide as much profit as other Crafting professions do (except Engineering). However, if you level up quickly and get an opportunity to farm some Devilsaur Leathers, this combination might turn out to be the most profitable out there (Devilsaur Set, crafted by Tribal Leatherworkers, is the pre-Raid Bis for a few Classes and the demand for it will be very high during the Server's first few months)*.

*Just keep in mind that Devilsaurs will be highly contested and Skinning even one of them might be very difficult.

Skinning is the best gathering profession for quick levelers as it does not require you to go out of your way and provides some steady influx of money.

Herbalism + Alchemy
Herbalism + Alchemy

This is a solid choice for Shamans, as they strongly benefit from potions and elixirs. Alchemy provides a wide range of consumables that will aid you during leveling and will become a great source of Gold in later stages of the game. The main source of Alchemist's income comes from selling large quantities of Flasks, Potions, and Elixirs. Most of them do not require too many rare or expensive ingredients, which makes Alchemy one of the top Gold-making Professions. 

*Gathering Herbs is more time-consuming than farming Leather and does not award any experience, so power-levelers will be better off with LW+Skinning, or even Skinning+a second gathering profession.

Note1: Herbalism is necessary here as it will provide you with materials for Alchemy.

Note2: Many Alchemy ingredients come from Fishing (Oily Blackmouth, Firefin Snapper, and others), so leveling it up as an Alchemist might be a good idea.

If you want to know more about all professions available in WoW Classic, please check out our WoW Classic Professions Guide.


Tips and Tricks for Shaman leveling

  1. Preserve your Gold. Ideally, you should be able to progress through levels without any Auction House purchases (if you spot a great Weapon upgrade, do not hesitate if it is cheap, however). When it comes to Skills - you should learn just the essentials from Class Trainers.
  1. Effects of some of your spells are the same across all spell levels, take advantage of this and save some mana on your casts - use Rank 1 Frost Shock to Slow Enemies, and a Rank 1 Earth Shock as an interrupt.
  1. Keep Intellect/Spirit set at hand even if you are specced as a DPS, this will increase your in-group versatility. Enhancement Shaman is still a capable Healer if he is dressed for the job.
  1. Pull mob after mob, after mob to the location where your Totems are set up. This will help you increase your mana efficiency by allowing you to utilize a single Totem Drop for a longer time. 
  1. Keep your Weapon up to Date. Try to follow the Weapon Progression route and remember that most of your Damage comes directly from your Weapon (better Weapon = faster kill times = faster leveling), and remember that Weapon Damage is more important than Weapon DPS, which means that Slow Two-Handed Weapons are the best for you.

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Leveling process in the Classic World of Warcraft is different from leveling in the current game versions. This Guide should help you to prepare yourself for that legendary Vanilla Experience and allow you to progress through levels efficiently and with a good amount of fun.

We hope that you have found this guide useful and informative.  If we have missed a piece of information that is important to you, please let us know! 

Please do note that this is an early version of our guide, and we will be happy to receive constructive criticism, that will help us improve it, so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.