- For the manga, see Shaman (manga).
“Know this: a shaman must never demand power; to do so would arouse the anger of the elements, and a shaman without the elements’ protection is nothing. Those that follow the path of the shaman must never forget this most vital tenet.
However, a shaman that works in a respectful union with the elements wields a power rivaled by few.”
- — Teo Hammerstorm
Shaman (sometimes pluralized as shamans) are mortal mediators between the very elements themselves. Often spiritual guides of their communities, these powerful practitioners commune with the ancestors and seek to balance the raging elemental forces, and can call upon them in battle to scorch and blast their enemies, or to strengthen and heal their allies. Shaman can enhance their weapons with elemental effects, smite enemies with lightning strikes and bursts of lava, and summon powerful elementals to their aid.
The shaman is a hybrid class, able to specialize in offensive spellcasting, melee damage dealing, or healing. As such, the class is considered highly adaptable and versatile. Shaman can also use a selection of stationary totems to gain a wide variety of effects, from restoring mana and automatically healing allies to snaring foes and attacking the shaman’s enemies. Shaman are versatile and formidable opponents, able to respond to any situation with a range of unique abilities.
- 1 Class overview
- 2 History
- 3 Overview
- 4 Notable
- 5 Shaman organizations
- 6 Races
- 7 Specializations
- 8 Equipment
- 9 Abilities
- 10 End-game expectations
- 11 In the RPG
- 12 Trivia
- 13 Gallery
- 14 Videos
- 15 Patch changes
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- 18 External links
For millennia, since the primitive tribal cultures of Azeroth and Draenor, the natural elements of the physical universe have been celebrated, feared, and even worshiped. Mystics sought communion with the earth, air, fire, and water, and learned to tap into their raw power. In time, these spiritual guides came to understand that nature’s elemental forces aren’t wholly benevolent, but have, in fact, been locked in an unending conflict of chaos and primal fury that once consumed the physical realm. So began the calling of the Shaman, to bring balance to these volatile energies, leveraging their intensity to mend wounds . . . or inflict them.
Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos. Acting as moderators among earth, fire, water, and air, shaman summon totems that focus the elements to support the shaman’s allies or punish those who threaten them.
These masters of the elements can also call upon elemental forces directly, unleashing torrents of lava and bolts of lightning against foes. The elements can create, destroy, support, and hinder. The experienced shaman balances the vast spectrum of these primordial forces into an array of diverse abilities, making shaman versatile heroes and valued members of any group.
Creation screen description
Shaman commune directly with the elements. Their combination of wisdom and resilience makes them ideal as tribal advisors and leaders. In battle the shaman uses totems and spells to manipulate the elements and provoke other fighters into untold heights of rage and might. Shamans exemplify the primal bond between the savage races and their environment.
- Shaman use the power of the elements to enhance their weapon damage or spells. Shaman summon totems in combat, small objects that disable enemies, heal, or cause damage to enemies.
Limited to the Horde, Shamans commune with the chaotic elements, harnessing primal fury to enhance weapons, empower totems, and augment their own abilities.
Shamanism has existed since the sapient races first discovered the power of the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. On Draenor, now shattered Outland, the orcs were shamanistic; on Azeroth, trolls and tauren were shamanistic. Though shamanism on Azeroth flourished and still continues to, shamanism on Draenor was all but extinct by the time of the great crossing of the Horde into Azeroth via the Dark Portal. The greatest and yet some of the most vilified orcs were once shaman; Zuluhed the Whacked, Ner’zhul, and even Gul’dan were all previously shaman. However, Kil’jaeden, current lord over the Burning Legion, distorted the shaman’s connection with their spirits in the sacred mountain of Oshu’gun, himself taking on the form of the shaman’s ancestors to convince the shaman (who held much political sway in the orcish culture) that the Draenei were the enemy. The ensuing massacres upon several Draenei hunting parties offended the spirits, who eventually denied the shaman their powers.
All was set for the transition.
Cut off from their elemental powers, the former shaman turned to the more efficient and masterful powers of the Burning Legion, becoming Warlocks. Though many tried to hang onto their roots, it was impossible. Even Drek’Thar was sucked into the dark magics, though he later repented and to this day has never forgiven himself for the acceptance of the demonic corruption that plagues himself and the orc race.
Ner’zhul was the warlock who created the portals from Draenor to many other worlds. The many portals ripped Draenor apart, creating the ravaged land of Outland. He repented but was dragged back into the fold by Kil’jaeden who promised him an endless existence of suffering and pain if he did not serve the Legion. Ner’zhul accepted this second chance at serving the Legion and was changed into the mighty being the Lich King and used to inhabit the body of Arthas Menethil, his first and most powerful of the second generation of Death knights, until Arthas’ eventual defeat, and Bolvar Fordragon took his place as the new Lich King.
Back in Outland, the elements slowly recovered from the turmoil and uncertainty of being ravaged along with the land when the portals were opened. For some time, they were lost, confused and neglected: very much like, they sensed, a kindred spirit in a certain Broken draenei named Nobundo was. Hopeful that he would be receptive to contact with them, they did so once they recovered sufficiently enough to reach out once again… and found that he was.
In an experience that was probably not too dissimilar to the first ancient shaman of other races, the elements themselves taught Nobundo the delicate balance of nature and the powers and truth of the Five Elements. Spending years primarily as a student of the elements, Nobundo would become a teacher himself, seeking out his first students among his own people at Telredor in Zangarmarsh and opened a new path for the draenei.
- See also: Shaman (Warcraft III)
Shamanism in the orcs remained all but extinct until Thrall, the son of the deceased Durotan and future chieftain of the Frostwolf clan, grabbed hold of the reins of Warchief of the New Horde, ushering in a new generation of shamanism, breaking the crippling lethargy of the captive orcs and outlawing the dark magic of the Burning Legion. At the time of the internment camps, a shaman was a derogatory term for someone who told fantastical and unbelievable stories. Shamanism is now at its peak, though, as the New Horde itself became led by a shaman of great power in the new orcish kingdom of Durotar.
Shaman use the four elements and “spirit” to bring them to life. Only dark shaman forego spirit and use the elements with decay.
Shaman were originally a Horde-exclusive class available to three races: tauren, orcs, and trolls. The class was designed as the counterpart to the Alliance-exclusive paladin, and they shared many qualities such as a strong focus on buffs, the ability to act as an off-tank, and useful healing spells. However, balancing the two classes against each other to prevent one faction from having a clear advantage became too difficult for developers, restricting the development of both classes. After the release of The Burning Crusade in 2007, the Alliance gained access to the shaman class with the introduction of the alien draenei, while the Horde gained access to paladins through the blood elves. With both factions now capable of fielding shaman and paladins, developers have been able to balance the shaman against the other classes instead of trying to mirror paladins. Later expansions have seen the shaman class become available to new races. Some goblins have adopted shamanic ways—albeit for typically profit-oriented reasons—and the dwarves have embraced shamanistic traditions. The pandaren are also known to include shaman.
In the past, shaman were often considered a “Jack of all trades, master of none”. This was a result of their ability to perform many abilities outside the normal realm of skills for their primary specialization. It was also a result of the Cataclysm model for the shaman’s iconic totems, in which many classes provided more powerful versions of a shaman’s totem buffs but no class provided the same amount of variety. Following the overhaul of the totem system in patch 5.0.4, shaman now provide a number of powerful and unique buffs for their allies. Increasing their value in group settings is their access to two crowd control spells: and . Finally, the combination of and make shaman the only class able to begin wipe recovery without outside help. These abilities make the shaman one of the most powerful support classes in the game.
In game, shaman are capable of filling three roles: ranged DPS, melee DPS, and healing. These roles are represented by the Elemental, Enhancement, and Restoration specializations. Originally, Enhancement shaman were designed to be viable off-tanks to counter the abilities of Protection paladins. As the Horde gained access to paladins with The Burning Crusade, and with the addition of the death knight class in Wrath of the Lich King, the need for shaman tanks was eliminated. Though developers pushed the class towards being exclusively damage dealers or healers, some enthusiasts maintained tanking simple encounters using Enhancement shaman. However, with the removal of the defense statistic in Patch 4.0.1 it became impossible for shaman tanks to prevent critical strikes, effectively ending their history.
- See also: List of shaman
|Thrall||Founder and former Warchief of the New Horde, former leader of the Earthen Ring||Frostwolf clan, Earthen Ring, Horde||Alive||Various|
|Drek’Thar||Chieftain and elder shaman of the Frostwolf clan||Frostwolf clan, Earthen Ring, Horde||Alive||Various|
|Magatha Grimtotem||Elder Crone of the Grimtotem tribe||Grimtotem tribe||Alive||Unknown|
|Ner’zhul||Elder shaman of the Shadowmoon clan and Warchief of the Horde of Draenor||Burning Legion||Deceased||Unknown|
|Farseer Nobundo||First draenei shaman||Exodar, Earthen Ring, Alliance||Alive||Various|
|Muln Earthfury||Former leader of the Earthen Ring||Earthen Ring||Alive||Various|
|Rehgar Earthfury||Advisor to Thrall, shaman representative on the New Council of Tirisfal, former gladiator master||Horde, Earthen Ring, New Council of Tirisfal||Alive||Various|
|Zuluhed the Whacked||Former chieftain of the Dragonmaw clan||Dragonmaw clan, Illidari||Deceased–Killable||Dragonmaw Fortress, Shadowmoon Valley|
- Earthen Ring: A group of shaman employing all races connected to the elemental spirits, including orcs, tauren, trolls, Mag’har, Broken, draenei, taunka, Wildhammer dwarves dwarves, and goblins.
- Unnamed Draenei shaman brotherhood led by Farseer Nobundo.
- The Dark Shaman, a group of evil orc shaman beneath Orgrimmar.
- Main article: Shaman races
The shaman class can be played by the following races:
- For a full list of specialization abilities, see Shaman abilities
A spellcaster who harnesses the destructive forces of nature and the elements.
Elemental shaman are powerful spellcasters, fulfilling a caster DPS role to blast and scorch enemies from afar. They benefit from numerous improvements to their offensive spell casting abilities, boasting reduced cooldowns and mana costs, and increased crit chance, range and damage dealt for many of their spells. Dedicated casters, Elemental shaman’ play is augmented with a number of mechanics rewarding spell-casting, including and They also gain some unique abilities of their own, including the iconic – a powerful knockback ability notorious for propelling enemies from high edges in PvP – and their . Elemental is the choice for shaman who want to play a ranged damage-dealer and maximize their damage output with their spells.
is another Elemental ability which while broadly similar to and , also has utility in being able to knock down foes caught in its area of effect, making it very versatile in both PvE and PvP settings when used right. Combining their and , an Elemental shaman can do considerable AoE damage.
The most important attribute for Elemental is intellect, which increases spell power. The second-most important statistic is haste, which increases their casting speed.
Certain shaman have dedicated themselves above all else to forging a deep bond with the elements. They have peered beyond the Elemental Plane, gleaning visions of an ancient past where manifestations of volatile energies once raged unimpeded across primordial Azeroth. Through careful study and dedication, the elemental shaman is able to channel such power into destructive magical surges. Through the body of the shaman flows bolts of lightning, as if from storm, and bursts of fire, as if from molten earth. They manipulate the land itself and summon spirits of earth, fire, and storm to their aid. To battle an elemental shaman is to taunt the very forces of nature.
A totemic warrior who strikes foes with weapons imbued with elemental power.
Enhancement shaman are melee damage dealers, smiting opponents with elementally-empowered weapons. A unique melee spec that derives a large portion of its damage from spells, the playstyle of an Enhancement shaman is very active and hectic. Using the right abilities at the right time, combined with procs, it’s a very engaging spec to play.
Signature abilities of this spec include , giving shaman the ability to dual wield one-handed-weapons, , which gives a chance of each of your main hand attack to trigger extra attacks, and , which allows the shaman to hit with both weapons at once for a large amount of damage.
Enhancement Shamans use Maelstrom (game resource) as their resource instead of mana. They passively generate Maelstrom with each auto attack, and can also actively generate it with . They spend their Maelstrom through their usage of , and many other skills.
Finally, allows enhancement shaman to summon a pair of immensely powerful spirit wolves which add a fair amount to the shaman’s DPS while active, as well as generating Maelstrom for each time they attack. (and providing some unique utility, in breaking snares, sprinting, stunning, and taunting enemies).
Intense communion with fire, earth, air, and water isn’t exclusive to the elemental shaman. In many ways, enhancement shaman similarly bond with nature and leverage its power on the battlefield. What distinguishes them in their training—and in their connection with the elements—is their combat methodology. These shaman favor empowering their physical attacks with elemental energies and facing their adversaries up close. They don’t shy from the frontlines, wielding magically augmented weapons, potent elemental attacks, and totems that shape the tide of battle.
A healer who calls upon ancestral spirits and the cleansing power of water to mend allies’ wounds.
Restoration shaman are versatile healers well suited for any situation, with numerous passive abilities reducing the casting time and mana cost of healing spells, while increasing their effectiveness. On top of that they offer good utility (like mana regeneration using ) and strong multi-target healing through and . Signature abilities include , a long-term buff that triggers a heal whenever the target is damaged, and , an instant cast heal and an HoT.
An important mechanic of the restoration shaman is the buff, granted upon casting a or a . This buff has initially two stacks. A single stack is consumed upon casting a or a . A spent charge makes a much faster to cast or increases the crit chance of a . This makes careful management of , , and the Healing Wave spells essential for a good Restoration shaman.
Restoration shaman are highly effective in PvP and group PvE, the only drawback being their rather low damage output, which can make solo play more difficult. In return, a Restoration shaman hardly ever dies while questing/soloing.
Restoration shaman should focus on intellect, seeking to maximize their healing output while maintaining enough mana regeneration to last the fight.
Some shaman find a serene affinity for the restorative properties of water. These shaman do not necessarily seek the Light or turn to the divine, yet they feel a profound spiritual connection with the source from which all mortal life took root. So strong is their connection with water that the shaman is able to restore life and heal afflictions. They balance this with a command of the other elements, finding harmony in nature and purifying their allies as a tidal surge washes across a sandy shore.
Shaman can cloth armor and leather armor and mail armor, but they should seek to only wear mail armor. Shaman will often compete with Hunters for armor, since both classes use Mail armor. All shaman specifications can equip daggers, staves, fist weapons and shields; as well as, one or two-handed axes and maces. In Patch 2.0.1, Enhancement shaman gained the ability to dual wield. Prior to Mists of Pandaria, shaman equipped a Totem, in their relic slot in lieu of having a ranged weapon. However, with Patch 5.0.4 the ranged weapon slot was removed and the relic items were phased out.
Enhancement shaman should dual wield agility weapons. Elemental and Restoration shaman should equip a Intellect main hand weapon and a shield. Caster shaman may also equip non-shield off-hand items or, if the stats are more beneficial, staves.
There are a number of end-game gear sets for shaman to use ranging from Molten Core’s Tier 1 to Mists of Pandaria’s Tier 15. There are also multiple sets for PvP which can be purchased with honor points and conquest points. Most of these sets can be found on the Shaman sets page.
The Leatherworking profession is capable of crafting many pieces of mail armor that are attractive to both PvE and PvP focused shaman. Uncommon quality armor sets, like the Nerubian Hive or Heavy Scorpid Armor can provide useful upgrades while leveling; however, the highest quality pieces often require materials which can only be collected in a raid setting, and may be very expensive.
- See also:
- Shaman tactics
Totems are unique to the shaman, and give them access to unique and powerful abilities. Once a totem is put down, it cannot be moved, so the shaman must have the intended position in mind when using it.
Only Restoration has baseline access to totems, one example being . Enhancement and Elemental need to spec into certain totem talents to have access to totems themselves, such as for Elemental and Enhancement, or extra totems for Restoration such as .
- See the shaman totems page for complete list of totems, and additional details.
Shaman spells include direct damage spells, heals, and weapon buffs among others. Their spells are mostly based on the elements.
Shaman also are graced with , a spell similar to the , but it can only be used when out of combat, and is on a separate shorter cooldown.
Two Handed Maces and Axes were originally a 10-point talent (named simply Two-handed Axes and Maces) for Enhancement, but became trainable proficiencies in Patch 2.3
Totems are a major part of the end game and knowing what totems will benefit the shaman’s group members best in different situations is all part of the strategy involved in playing a shaman. All shamans have access to powerful spells such as /, a powerful raid-wide cooldown that considerably increases everyone haste for a long period of time, and useful utility such as and .
An elemental shaman will be expected to maximize their damage output as a ranged DPS through careful management of their stats such as Intellect and Versatility, and usage of their offensive spells such as . They are able to call upon for extra damage and also if the shaman requires help tanking an enemy mob.
An enhancement shaman will be expected to maximize their damage as a melee DPS by stacking stats such as Haste, Agility and Critical Strike. They have access to elemental buffs such as to increase their damage output and powerful abilities like to devastate all enemies within melee range.
A restoration shaman will be expected to maximize their healing, and much like an elemental shaman requires Intellect and Critical Strike. They also have access to a vast array of totems to aid their healing, from the minor , to the powerful raid-wide healing of the , to the potentially raid saving .
In the RPG
Shamans are spiritual visionaries of tribes and clans. These gifted warriors can see into the world of spirits and communicate with creatures invisible to eyes of normal beings. They are beset by visions of the future and use their sight to guide their people through troubled times. Although the shaman may seem wise and serene at first glance, he is a formidable foe; when angered, his wrath is as fierce as those who have a connection to Eternals or nature.
- In Warcraft II the differences between shaman and warlock were not yet well established, as it was stated that shaman could manipulate “the cold, negative-energies of the Twisting Nether”. In the canceled Warcraft Adventures, Thrall had to learn some of the dark magics of the death knights in order to become shaman, referring to the older background about the ancestral religion of the orcs being necromantic instead of elemental.
- During the early beta days of World of Warcraft shaman could only wear bucklers instead of any shields.
- Shaman have a “natural magnetism.”
- A knowledgeable shaman can hear the sound of all the world’s tongues on the wind.
A tauren shaman as originally seen on the official World of Warcraft website.
- Warcraft III
Shaman unit from Warcraft III.
Art with a orc shaman in the middle.