Thursday, December 23, 2010

Classy Thursdays: Leveling a Shaman Part I

Classy Thursdays is a weekly article focusing on class issues.

Expect a heavy dose of Shaman articles mixed with some Druid, Hunter, Death Knight and sprinkle of Mage... mmm that's one classy concoction. I'll also see if I can con... I mean persuade some of my guildies and friends to write up the occasional article for whatever class they play.

This week I'm going to cover leveling as a Restoration/Elemental shaman. For those of you who want a guide on enhancement... tough cookies! I have no problem with enhancement but I know and am more comfortable with Elemental and Restoration. I decided to split this into two guides as the article was much larger than I originally anticipated.

This guide assumes you are at least familiar with Elemental and possibly Restoration. I'll be posting Elementary Elemental and Remedial Restoration guides soon and we'll cover the mechanics of each spec there. This post will cover more of how to spec, where to go and what to get on your journey from 80-85. We'll start off with...


This 80, 81, 82, is a pretty good elemental spec for leveling. Points after 82 are more personal preference but I liked the range enhancing Elemental Reach. Since you should be focused on DPS while questing I highly recommend sticking with elemental through most of the leveling process. If you want to do a little dungeon grinding before capping out then spend the ten gold and get a secondary resto spec. DPSing is a lot easier than healing but your queue will take at least 15mins on a good day and up to 45mins-1hour on a bad one.

This served me well as an early restoration spec. Because of severe mana constraints it goes for regen through crits and builds on talents that should ultimately be your raiding restoration spec. It will cost at most 50g to respec for serious dungeons/raids at lvl 85 so don't be afraid to play around and find something you're comfortable with for healing dungeons. Telluric Currents is a favorite of many leveling shamans.

Helpful Hints:

Okay I fibbed a little. I'll give you a little elemental advice for questing out there. Don't say I never gave ya' nothin'... damn whipper snappers:
  • Remember that you have 2 forms of CC. Hex Which works on beasts and humanoids and Bind Elemental which works on undead and demons... oh wait no it doesn't... it works on elementals. Since most of this expansion deals with the elemental forces of the world going nuts there are ele's everywhere. If you get swamped don't forget your CC.
  • At 81 you can Unleash Flame Which will increase the damage of your next fire spell by 20%. So Flame Shock+Unleash Elements+Lava Burst = Dead Mob
  • Insta-wolf is your friend. You can pick it up at lvl 82. Get it. Other talents can wait, I promise. It will save your bacon when the going gets rough.

Leveling from 80-85 is really fun, well at least in my opinion, and your choice of zones will boil down to what you want from your leveling experience. My wife, a feisty gnome warlock, and I hit Mount Hyjal at 2:15ish am(CST) on drop day. It was fun, the lore was good but man was that place crowded. We beat feet back to SW and boarded the transport for Vashj'ir. After a night of hard leveling we called it quits and due to her morning sickness weren't able to really play much together through the rest of the levelling process so most of my push to 85 was solo. I've completed all zone lore achievements except for Uldum. I did all the Ramkahen quests but still have some Harrison Jones quests I'm saving until I can sit down and burn through them all in a sitting.

Here's my impression of each zone:


Mount Hyjal:

This is a great zone for the up-and-coming shaman. There are a couple of early rep items, Cloak of the Dryads -Honored, and Wilderness Legguards - Revered, from the Guardians of Hyjal for the budding resto shaman as well as the Arcanum of Hyjal which serves as both our restoration and elemental head enchant. The questing is fairly easy and there are many fun and cool moments(Joust anyone?). Near the end of the quest chains things to start to drag on a little but I would highly recommend sticking it out and seeing this one to completion before moving on. Aside from the sheer coolness factor of who you're doing quests for at the end of the chain there are some great rewards and you should reach Revered with the Guardian's of Hyjal by the end of the chains.

This place is also great for raising your herbalism/mining as there are plenty of Obsidium nodes and Cinderbloom for you to harvest. Since there aren't 5 billion people in the zone now raising your gathering professions here seems much more viable. There also seem to be plenty of dragonkin and some beasts wondering about for you crazy skinners out there.

Hyjal is a great zone and I had tons of fun questing here. The only problem I had was the way things started to drag near the end of the zone but the fact that you're doing quests for such a big lore character and gaining a lot of xp in concentrated bursts make up for it. If you're going for speed of leveling this is my recommended zone.

Things to do:


I have a love/hate relationship with this zone. I applaud Blizz for making this a unique(to WoW), visually stunning, and well scripted zone. I love the way you can fly over it knowing there's a whole bubbling, fishy, sometimes bizzare, always disturbing Lovecraftian horror story beneath the calm surface. Also you get to fight naga inside a demigod's disgusting body. I will speak no more of this but it is awesome. There are a ton of Earthen Ring quests here and since they are another faction with no daily quests I'd recommend finishing this place off. Again they have a couple of nice early rewards, Pendant of Elemental Balance - Honored and Cloak of Ancient Wisdom - Revered and at exalted there's a pair of epic mail healin' boots. There's the love. Now time for the hate.

The zone can be confusing at times, especially after adding another dimension of play. Having to search through three different tiers of a ruin for a poorly described quest objective or search for 10 minutes to find the entrance to a sea-cave will frustrate you and pull you out of an otherwise engaging narrative. The "Sea Legs" buff, while nice, feels a little on the slow side. Until you get your seahorse, which takes far too long in my opinion, you move at a snails pace through the quests. I also don't like the fact that if you want to get somewhere in a different subzone it's easier to surface, fly and drop.

If you're looking to level herbalism or mining I'd suggest Hyjal for the bulk of it but for alchemists a very important early herb Azshara's Veil is found in great abundance here along with Stormvine. Just don't expect to do any farming before you get your seahorse. There are some mining nodes but it's just far easier to farm in Hyjal than here.

If it sounds like I'm harping a bit on this zone it's because I am. I think this zone had to potential to be mind blowing but the general pacing mixed with some poorly written quest objectives detracts from what could have been a sublime experience. I really give Blizzard props for the concept but feel let down by the execution. Having leveled my shaman through Vashj'ir and my druid through Hyjal I found Hyjal to be the faster zone. That being said both zones need to be completed for reps sake, but if you're going to level in one and come back for the other at 85 I'd recommend hitting Hyjal and saving the maddening deeps for later.

Things to do:
  • Rep up with the Earthen Ring
  • Get your seahorse if you plan on farming here
  • Go to the Abyssal Depths and find the Throne of Tides entrance

81(2) - 83(4)


Deepholm is essentially a giant circular room you can fly around in. You start off in the center of the map and after a few quests only return periodically to hand in fragments of the world pillar. I have no complaints about this zone but I also don't have heavy compliments for it. It's a good zone; fun, some engaging story elements and good rewards but all in all it's just another zone.

Deepholm is home to the Therazane faction and they hold our new shoulder enchants as well as a pretty decent elemental ring so you're going to want to run this one all the way through before leaving so you can open up the dailies. There's Earthen Ring rep here but the gains here are pretty light. The best part isn't the rep however it's the mining.

Obsidium nodes abound and there's some elementium mixed in. I saw some pyrite the first time I was there but I think it went the way of the dodo when Blizzard decreased the number of nodes here and changed many elementium nodes to obsidium. This is also the only place I've found Heartblossom while herbing. It's not all that abundant but there's enough here to get you over another Alchemy hump.

I'd definetly make it a point to finish this zone up for the Therazane dailies. It's not too much of a grind to get there and you get to do and see some cool stuff along the way.

Things to do:

  • Open up Therazane Dailies
  • Get more rep with the Earthen Ring
  • Discover The Stonecore entrance at the world pillar
  • Enjoy the simplicity of the zone

This concludes part one of Leveling a Shaman. Tune in next week for coverage of Uldum, Twilight Highlands, Gear, Supplies and Addons.

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