Shaman Class Overview

Last updated on May 10, 2024 at 00:00 by Seksixeny

Shamans are masters of the Elements who bring a huge amount of utility, often through their unique totems such as Mana Tide Totem Icon Mana Tide Totem, Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem, Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem and supporting talents like Totemic Wrath Icon Totemic Wrath. They can become Healers, Melee DPS and Ranged DPS, making them extremely versatile.


Introduction to Shaman

Shaman Class Crest Cataclysm Guide ShamanShaman is a versatile hybrid class which can Melee DPS, Ranged DPS, or heal. All Shaman roles use Mana as their primary resource, though its importance as a resource is mostly limited to Restoration, the healing specialization. Because of gear similarities due their Primary attribute being shared, you will usually find Ranged / Healer Shamans (Intellect) or Melee Shamans (Agility), and only rarely Shaman who mix both Intellect and Agility specializations.


Shaman Specializations

Shaman Shaman is able to choose from three specializations: Enhancement, Elemental, and Restoration.

  • Enhancement Enhancement — Enhancement is a melee DPS spec that deals significant spell damage as part of its core rotation due to Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon. While it is usually derided for its low single-target damage, Enhancement has massive area damage potential, great off-healing capabilities and a powerful defensive in Shamanistic Rage Icon Shamanistic Rage.
  • Elemental Elemental — is a very strong ranged DPS with multiple DPS cooldowns in Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem and Elemental Mastery Icon Elemental Mastery, great mobility with Glyph of Unleashed Lightning Icon Glyph of Unleashed Lightning, and excellent group utility with critical raid buffs such as Elemental Oath Icon Elemental Oath and Totemic Wrath Icon Totemic Wrath.
  • Restoration Restoration — is a specialist in stacked group healing with Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain and Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal, but also brings unique utility such as Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem and Ancestral Healing Icon Ancestral Healing, as well as important raid buffs such as Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust / Heroism Icon Heroism and Wrath of Air Totem Icon Wrath of Air Totem, and is well suited for spot healing in between area heals with the Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves mechanic.

What Specialization Should I Play?

Each ShamanShaman specialization is very different and the specialization you should play depends on how you like to enjoy the game. Enhancement is a good option for players who enjoy the Battlemage feeling of melee DPS heavily mixed with instant spells, Elemental is a powerful ranged DPS that brings an unique fantasy, many buffs and high mobility, and Restoration is one of the best stacked raid healers but can also spot heal very well with Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves and Riptide Icon Riptide.



EnhancementEnhancement is a great option on encounters where you are fighting many enemies at once, but even outside of its mass area of effect damage niche, it is still a very safe specialization to play that brings some important raid buffs and can seamlessly contribute off-healing in emergencies.



ElementalElemental is one of the best casters to bring to 10-man raids because it brings many caster raid buffs by itself, including the rare Elemental Oath Icon Elemental Oath and even rarer Totemic Wrath Icon Totemic Wrath, as well as Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust / Heroism Icon Heroism. It is also just generally a good specialization because of its high damage numbers and capability to deal significant damage while moving with Glyph of Unleashed Lightning Icon Glyph of Unleashed Lightning.



RestorationRestoration is well known for its strong and area heals Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain and Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal, but it can also provide huge unique support to its raid group with Mana Tide Totem Icon Mana Tide Totem, Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem, and Ancestral Healing Icon Ancestral Healing, and is a surprisingly strong spot healer while Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves are active, which should be most of the time, especially as Riptide Icon Riptide is meant to be used on cooldown or close to.


How Viable is Shaman in Cataclysm?

Shaman Class Art Shaman is a popular class due to its role flexibility, unique raid buffs, and also unique ability to soak Mail caster gear. Enhancement is not the highest profile spec but can still be quite strong in the hands of capable players. Elemental is a very strong ranged DPS class with multiple DPS cooldowns, multiple rare raid buffs, and great mobility, especially for a caster spec, making it an easy pick for any sort of group. Finally, Restoration is always a fantastic pick to solve area healing issues for large raids, but even in small raids its capability to spot heal with Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves should not be underestimated.


Races for Shaman

In Cataclysm Classic Shaman can be played as Dwarf or Draenei if you are playing Alliance, and as Orc, Goblin, Troll, or Tauren if you are Horde. Draenei is the best Alliance Shaman race due to Heroic Presence Icon Heroic Presence and Gift of the Naaru Icon Gift of the Naaru, while Orc is the best Horde Shaman race for DPS due to Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury and Command Icon Command, as well as Hardiness Icon Hardiness in PvP. For healing purposes Goblin also works, as it brings 1% extra Haste and extra mobility with Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump.



  • Draenei Draenei's main racial ability is Heroic Presence Icon Heroic Presence, which grants 1% spell hit. At level 85, this is equivalent to 103 hit rating, making this a fairly decent choice. Gift of the Naaru Icon Gift of the Naaru can also provide some free healing.
  • Dwarf Dwarves have a few notable racials, especially for Enhancement. Mace Specialization Icon Mace Specialization grants 3 expertise skill when wearing a mace, making it be worth 90 expertise rating at level 85, which is alright but not great. The other notable racial, Stoneform Icon Stoneform, removes all poisons, diseases and bleeds when activated and reduces all damage taken by 10% for 8 seconds, making it a useful defensive racial ability.


  • Orc Orcs remain the preferred choice for Horde DPS Shamans, especially for Enhancement, who can benefit from Axe Specialization Icon Axe Specialization for extra 90 expertise rating at level 85. Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury gives 1169 Attack Power at level 85 and should be used with other cooldowns for maximum effect. Command Icon Command is a small but DPS boosting racial, and Hardiness Icon Hardiness remains one of the top PvP racials.
  • Goblin Goblins are one of the two new races added in during Cataclysm. Their main racial is Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump which is a great mobility ability and Time is Money Icon Time is Money for 1% Haste, making them a fine race for Shamans, which can be great in specific encounters that stress your limited mobility.
  • Troll Trolls are still a fine choice for all Shamans due to their strong cooldown Berserking Icon Berserking. This grants 20% Haste, which helps your throughput significantly when needed. Beast Slaying Icon Beast Slaying is also a good bonus against beast enemies.
  • Tauren Taurens are the only race without throughput bonuses, but they do have Endurance Icon Endurance, which grants you 5% more base health. Note that base health is only the raw health that you gain from levels and does not scale with your gear at all, making it weaker than it appears at first glance. War Stomp Icon War Stomp can also occasionally be useful to stop enemy casts.

Gearing and Stats

Shamans are relatively easy to gear due to a lack of competition for most Mail pieces, especially Intellect ones where they are the only class that wants to roll on them due to Mail Specialization Icon Mail Specialization, which forces each class to equip only its highest armor class available.

ShamanShaman are able to wear Cloth, Leather, and Mail armor, as well as using a large variety of weapons, including staves, daggers, one-handed and two-handed maces, one-handed and two-handed axes, and fist weapons. What is important is using gear that has your primary stat (Intellect for Elemental and Restoration, Agility for Enhancement) and is Mail in the case of armor, as it does not really matter whether you use a dagger or a fist weapon (when assuming equal weapon speed for Enhancement), for example, outside of cosmetic concerns.

Your stat priority as an EnhancementEnhancement Shaman should be as follows: Agility > Hit > Expertise > Mastery > Crit > Haste.

ElementalElemental Shaman will instead want to prioritize: Intellect > Spell Power on the weapon > Spirit / Hit > Haste > Mastery > Crit.

Finally, RestorationRestoration Shaman will aim for Intellect > Spell Power on the weapon > Haste > Crit > Mastery > Spirit, although Spirit can be much higher if Mana is an issue, especially as it also scales the Mana awarded to the group by Mana Tide Totem Icon Mana Tide Totem.

Agility Shaman will face competition from Hunters, and there will be high competition from many classes for some of the more rare weapons, trinkets, and jewelry pieces.


Shaman Addons and Macros

Addons and Macros can greatly improve your quality of life in Azeroth. Listed below are some of our recommended Addons and Macros for smoothing out your gameplay.



  • 10 May 2024: Page added.
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