World of Warcraft’s Shaman: A Class Overview
Shamans are one of the oldest classes in Azeroth and were originally only available to players of the Horde, much as paladins are only available to players of the Alliance. When the Dark Portal opened, bringing the Draenei to Azeroth from Outland, the peoples of the Alliance began to learn to be shaman and the art is now practiced by both the Draenei and the Dwarfs. Four of the Horde’s races, the Tauran, Trolls, Orcs, and Goblins, all practice the shamanistic ways. The most powerful shaman in all the world, Thrall, leads the Horde as well. The totems of the Shamans have been changed with the upcoming Mists of Pandaria release, meaning that many Shaman players will have to re-learn their class. Luckily, many of their abilities were given large power increases, making them even more fun to play.
The Elemental Shamans are spell casters, often compared with warlocks and mages in the ways that they work within a team. They have an Earthquake spell that does AoE damage, much like a warlock’s Rain of Fire or a mage’s Blizzard. They can store up electricity like a battery, unleashing a massive amount of damage through their Earth Shock. Elemental Shamans can even cast down a Thunderstorm, causing massive damage to all enemies around the Shaman and knocking them back out of melee range, giving him or her the chance to escape.
An Enhancement Shaman is the tank spec for the Shamans, but it differs from all other tank specs in one key way: When played correctly, most of its damage comes from spells and not from melee damage. Enhancement Shamans can dual-wield one-handed weapons, meaning they can carry two swords, maces, or axes (or any combination thereof) and capitalize on that with spells that cause greater damage. There is no “set” rotation, meaning that every strike and every spell must be learned to maximize the damage output of an Enhancement Shaman.
A Resto Shaman, as they are referred to in-game, is a Shaman that heals itself, its party, and/or its raid group. A Resto Shaman’s healing abilities are ideal for large group heals and also for single-person healing. One of the best spells that they normally reserve for tanks is that of the Earth Shield. This provides protection for the tank and also heals the tank each time damage is taken. It can last for up to 10 minutes, which also gives the Resto Shaman time to focus on the rest of the group.
Shaman, like druids, have the ability to shape shift into different forms, providing stealth and/or movement bonuses. Shaman can use shields, one-handed weapons, and even two-handed weapons, which is unique to their class. They can also wear cloth and leather from the start and then upgrade to mail after level 40, giving them much greater defensive capabilities.
As you can see, playing a Shaman will give you many different ways to experience the World of Warcraft. Also, given that you can dual-spec for a really low amount of gold, you can experience it in two different ways at once, letting you pick your two favorite Shammy specs to play with. Which way will you go?