How to play a Shaman in WoW dungeons – Elemental spec

Do you keep dying for no reason? Can’t quite figure out how to play a Shaman in WoW? Are your teammates getting annoyed and shouting, and you don’t know why? No worries – here’s a list of things that might be going wrong:

I keep dying!

Don’t use too much AoE.

If you do too much damage before the tank has had a chance to control the fight (by building up threat against your opponents) you’ll make her job much harder. In particular, don’t use Earthquake or Lava Burst if you’re likely to catch mobs that the tank does not yet have under control.

Don’t stand too close to the boss

Shaman can be healers or melee DPS, but as an Elemental shaman you’ve chosen to be a ranged damage-dealer. That means that, for most fights, you should be standing some distance away from the boss, using your ranged damaging abilities. If you’re too close to the boss, you’re in danger of receiving damage from the boss’s close-combat abilities.

Some bosses require you to stand close to the boss. See our quick start dungeon guides to find out when that is.

My teammates say I am a “ninja”

Don’t roll need on armor that is not suitable for Elemental Shaman

Although shaman are capable of wearing cloth, leather and mail armor, you shouldn’t roll need on cloth armor or leather armor if you’re level 40 or above – only mail armor is designed for shamans at that level.

Even if the item is mail, it may not be suitable for you. If a piece of gear does not have Intellect on it, don’t roll need on it.

The exception to these rules comes when your character is below level 40. At that point, you won’t have yet gained the ability to wear mail armor. In that case, leather armor is the correct armor type for you. Simply take the rules for mail armor, above, and apply it to leather armor instead.

Don’t roll need on weapons that don’t have Intellect or Spellpower on them, and don’t roll need on anything other than Axes, Maces, Pole Arms, Staves, Daggers, Fist Weapons or Relics.

My tank is annoyed with me / other people say I am tanking

Don’t attack before the tank

The tank should start each fight, and will attack the mobs first. Don’t attack first – even if the tank is already running towards the mobs, be sure you don’t cast a spell which will land before she or he gets there.

My teammates say my damage sucks

Make sure you’ve spent all of your talent points

Talent Points are additional powers you get as you level up. To see them, press “N”. You should ensure that you’ve spent all the talent points you have available. If you’re stuck, you can get a good idea for where to put your talent points by reading our guide to Elemental shaman talents, spec and glyphs.

Make sure you have the correct glyphs

You can find Glyphs from the bottom of your Talent window (press “N” and look for the Glyphs tab at the bottom). Most glyphs are not that important, but you need to have the following Prime glyphs – fill up as many Prime Glyph slots as you currently have:

  • Glyph of Unleashed Lightning
  • Glyph of Flame Shock
  • Glyph of Lightning Bolt

You buy glyphs from the Auction House. Some may be very expensive – it’s worth saving up for them (see our guide to making enough money to buy things on the Auction House) . You, or a guildmate, may be able to make the glyphs you need if you have the Inscription profession.

Make sure you’re using the right abilities

Not all of your spells are alike, and not all of them are best to use in any situation. Most WoW players will use a “priority system”, worked out by expert players, to do the most damage.

Here’s a very simple priority system that should allow you to do decent damage as an Elemental Shaman. First of all, make sure that your totems are in place. You should use a Stoneskin totem, a Wrath of Air totem, a Healing Stream totem and a Searing totem. Then, work your way down this list from the top to the bottom, using the first ability that’s available each time.

  • Cast Flame Shock if it’s available.
  • Cast Lava Burst if it’s available.
  • Cast Earth Shock if you have at least 7 charges of Lightning Shield.
  • Cast Lightning Bolt.

If you are not high enough level to have some of those abilities: Ignore the abilities you don’t have yet and just use the others.

This is a very simplified priority system, which won’t get the most out of your abilities but which should enable you to reach acceptable levels of damage-dealing. Once you’ve mastered the simple system, you can move on to the more complex priority systems detailed in our Elemental Shaman stats, talent spec, glyphs and reforging guide.

Make sure you’re using the right totems

Unless your party specifically request otherwise, the totems you should be using are:

  • Stoneskin Totem for your Earth totem.
  • Wrath of Air Totem for your Air totem.
  • Healing Stream Totem for your Water totem.
  • Searing Totem Totem for your Fire totem.

Try to ensure that you have all four totems active at all times. They’ll significantly increase the amount of damage you do.

My teammates say my gear is bad

Don’t use gear with the wrong stats

Don’t use any piece of gear that doesn’t have either Spirit, Spellpower or Intellect on it. Anything else will be reducing your damage. Trinkets may not have Spellpower or Intellect on them, but should mention spells.

Don’t use armour other than leather below level 40 or mail above level 40.

My teammates want me to resurrect! I’m not a healer!

You should resurrect people anyway if they’re dead. You still have the ability to do it, and the faster everyone’s up, the sooner you can carry on with the dungeon.

My teammates don’t want me healing – but I have healing spells!

As an Elemental Shaman, your healing spells are very weak. They’re useful for soloing, but in a group, you’re better focusing on what your class is best at – doing damage – and letting the healer do healing.

It might seem like you’re helping the healer out by healing yourself, but in actual fact, by taking yourself away from doing damage, you’re making his or her job harder.


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