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Shaman is the true hybrid class in World of Warcraft. They come with a blend of melee and casting abilities, and have totems that can be used to help heal party members, or slow down, pacify, or even kill mobs. They also have several healing spells at their disposal, and can resurrect fallen friends while in battle. They're also the only class that can resurrect themselves when slain. The shaman's versatility unfortunately comes with the problem that it is a class that is very hard to master, and a truly well-played shaman are a rarity.

The shaman class perfectly fits the expression "Jack of all trades, master of none." which makes it a class that's a lot more challenging to play. Though they can act as caster, melee fighter, or healer, they're not able to outperform any other class at these tasks, and as such will always have to be more of a support character in parties than anything else. This doesn't mean that the shaman is a weak class, but merely that the shaman is more often used as secondary healer, supporting fighter, or simply to fill open slots in groups or raids.

A shaman's main strength is in his totems. These can provide additional defense, crowd control, or even an unconditional form of party buff by increasing the party's armour, attack power, or even add a little extra healing or disease control. Throughout the game, the shaman gains a plethora of different totems based on different elements, some more useful than others. The totems take a bit to get used at, as they make for a playing style that is entirely unique to the shaman class.

Though the totems are a shaman's trademark, they're also very capable caster and melee fighters. In order for a shaman to be an effective caster however, one must first master the totems, as they're a necessity to keep mobs far enough away that the shaman doesn't get interrupted while casting. A shaman spec'ed for casting looses several potential weapon skills, but retains the ability to use shields and mail armour.

Enhancement spec shamans gain the ability to use two-handed weapons and dual wield through spending their talent points in those areas, and are potential high-dps melee fighters that can even act as secondary tanks with the ability to use mail armour and shields. Though their dps capabilities can't rival a rogue but is still close to a fury spec warrior, melee fighting is often a better choice for young shaman that either solo, or often group with other caster classes such as mages or priests.

A shaman's last field, is restoration, which lets them act as a very competent healer. For many shaman, healing is the only task groups will let them perform. Though all shaman have the ability to heal, and have healing and cleansing totems, a restoration spec shaman is a very competent healer with access to several forms of group healing, and the simple fact that they can wear mail and use shields, means that they have very good survivability, surpassed only by the plate-wearing paladins.

Available races:
Orc, Tauren, Troll, Draenei

Armour: Cloth, Leather, Mail (at level 40+), Shields
Weaponry: One-handed maces, Staves, Fist weapons, One-handed axes, Daggers, Two-handed axes (with talents), Two-handed maces (with talents).
Magic types: Earth, Fire, Water (frost), Air

Main strengths:
  • Can heal themselves, and resurrect themselves and others during battle.
  • Can transform into a Ghost Wolf allowing for fast travel at low levels.
  • Can walk on water.
  • Instant cast damage spells (at higher levels).
Main weaknesses:
  • Most totems are easily destroyed when attacked directly.
  • High dependence on mana pool for offensive and defensive abilities.
  • Majority of party buffs are only available through totems.
Typical role: Secondary fighter (dps), Secondary healer

Starting stats (level 1):
Race Strength Agility Stamina Intellect Spirit Armor Health Mana
Orc 24 17 23 18 25 48 77 73
Tauren 25 18 23 16 24 44 81 71
Troll 22 22 22 17 23 58 67 72
Draenei 22 17 20 22 24 36 47 105

Shaman milestones:
Level 3: Earth totem
Level 10: Fire totem
Level 20: Water totem, Ghost Wolf shapeshifting form
Level 30: Air totem
Level 40: Ability to use mail armour.