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Totem Talk: Leveling Enhancement 1-20


Axes, maces, lightning, fire, frost, and wolves, and best of all, Windfury. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance at Big Hit Box, pens the enhance side of Totem Talk, and leads the guild Big Crits as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby.


Shaman, welcome! Today begins your journey to the realm of shamanism. You'll learn to tame the power of the elements, request their presence and rely on their support in your daily life. The earth will move for you and fires will lash your enemies. The wind is always at your back and flusters those who would do you harm. You will learn to harness lightning to strike fear into mere mortals and summon elemental pets to aid you in your quests!

It will be amazing! It will be fulfilling! It will... all come later. Now shut up and go over there and Lightning Bolt down some boars or moths.

Ask most shamans how they leveled and the answer usually is enhancement. Let's face it: it's a fun spec to play, it's easy to stay alive, and in later levels after getting a few special talents you can solo elites and fend off filthy rogues on PvP realms.

The purpose of this guide is to get you from 1-80 with the best possible talents, the most amount of information, and get good spell selection into practice now. Everything here is designed to keep you alive, keep you moving, help your quest/dungeon mates and get the most out of the class and spec.

By no means are these absolute must-do and must-have rules. Play your class the way you want to play it and the way you enjoy it. But if you're stuck and not sure what to do, then follow this guide and hopefully it will point you in the right direction.

Read on for BoA gear run down and levels 1-20...


Bind on Account gear

Before we dive in to the leveling guide let's talk about the BoA gear and enchants. For the armor go for the physical DPS pieces (you are going enhancement, right?), but for trinkets I recommend both if you can.

  • Shoulders - Champion Herod's Shoulders - 40 Emblems of Heroism or 60 Champion's Seals. Or if you feel like the resilience is going to benefit you more, then the Prized Beastmaster's Mantle will cost you 200 Stonekeeper's Shards.
  • Chest - Champion's Deathdealer Breastplate (40 EoH or 60 CS) is the only choice for BoA chests. Get it and you'll never need to worry about another chest until level 80.
  • Trinkets - Swift Hand of Justice (50 EoH or 75 CS) should be your first choice; get on the haste wagon early! And Discerning Eye of the Beast (50 EoH or 75 CS) if you have the emblems left over.
  • Weapons - Ideally you'll want to start with the Venerable Mass of McGowan (40 EoH or 75 CS) then add a second when you pick up dual wielding. If you want to go with a two-hander for the first few levels then either the Repurposed Lava Dredger because it is the only BoA two hander we can use with agility or the Bloodied Arcanite Reaper because it is sexy as hell.
  • Enchants - the chest enchants are rather weak and I wouldn't bother with them, but there is a weapon enchant that will serve you well through the first 60 levels: Crusader. It procs often and between that and Swift Hand of Justice your downtime will be minimized.
In total for shoulders, chest, two trinkets and two weapons you'll need 260 EoH or 420 CS.

Level 1

Put some Rockbiter on your weapon, strap on your shield, stand at max range, and Lightning Bolt (LB) those evil, horrid, terrible, nasty boars or moths. If for some reason you get in trouble -- then you're probably doing something wrong. But if you do, use Healing Wave (HW) to top yourself off.

For starting out I recommend standing at range and LB until the mob gets in close, then continue to cast LB. We'll get into meleeing later.

Level 4

Earth Shock, nice to meet you. ES will become a part of your regular rotation for the rest of your enhancing career. Put it in a prominent place on your action bar and leave it there forever. For now still LB until the mob is in range then ES and auto attack or cast another LB.

Call of Earth

Here we get our first totem and thankfully this is an easy one for both factions. Pick up your totem and learn Stoneskin Totem. Not that you'll need Stoneskin any time soon. Especially if you're leveling with BoA gear, you'll be tearing through mobs so fast Stoneskin won't matter at all. Even later in levels or without BoA we have much better earth totem options such as Strength of Earth for offensive and Tremor, Stoneclaw or Earthbind for defensive.

Level 8

With upgrades to Lightning Bolt, Rockbiter Weapon, and Earth Shock there are nice damage boosts so be sure to stop back in and get your new skills as soon as you can. The new spell is Lightning Shield. Might as well get in the habit now of putting LS up and keeping it refreshed.

Level 10

Finally, talent points! But we're not getting anything cool just yet. We'll work our way straight down to the cool stuff in later weeks, but for now, put your first points in Enhancing Totems. Though you can spend talent points every level I'm only listing every other level here where we go back for more training so I'll tell you where to spend your next two talent points at every even level.

Talent points: Enhancing Totems for both levels 10 & 11

New spells:

  • Flame Shock - Another shocking spell, use this as part of your pulls and get that DoT up.
  • Flametongue Weapon - We'll be using this spell later on when we get dual wielding and some other spells, but for now stick with Rockbiter.
  • Searing Totem - Not a bad little thing. If you are running some dungeons then put this down as long as there is no CC. Otherwise it will probably collect dust.
  • Strength of Earth Totem - Great totem to put down when you want to set up camp and tear down some mobs.

Killing strategy: Pull with LB, Flame Shock, then melee and use Earth Shock when your shock is off cooldown.

Call of Fire

Here begins the quest for a fire totem, our second of four totems. More details about the quests can be found on Wowwiki for the Horde and Alliance versions of each.

Level 12

Talent points: Enhancing Totems, Ancestral Knowledge

New spells:

  • Ancestral Spirit - How to rez friends and influence people. Peel your buddies off the floor when they get themselves into trouble.
  • Fire Nova - In order to use this spell you must have a fire totem down. It's a mana hog but when you have multiple mobs around you it's great to add some AoE to your repertoire.
  • Purge - This won't get much use outside of PvP and dungeons. It will remove 1 buff from your foes. Most of the time while leveling there is nothing to purge. At later levels you'll get more use out of it for sure, plus rank 2 of this spell will remove 2 buffs.

Level 14

Talent points: Add a 2nd point to Ancestral Knowledge. When you hit level 15 we can finally reach tier 2. Then start on one of the key enhancement talents: Thundering Strikes.

No new spells here but there are upgrades to LB, ES, and Stoneskin Totem so be sure to head back and train.

Level 15 - Glyphs

It's glyphin' time! 1 major glyph, 1 minor glyph.

Minor: Glyph of Ghost Wolf. You have to wait until level 16 to put that in, but it will serve you well through many levels. Anything that lowers downtime while leveling is a good thing.

Major: There are a lot of choices for the first major glyph. The question is, do you want to put one in now that you'll replace later or just not bother with it until you pick your final glyphs? Choices include Healing Wave, Lightning Shield, Lightning Bolt, Shocking, Flametongue Weapon, Flame Shock, and Fire Nova. Truth be told it doesn't make much of a difference what glyph you go with at this point. Let's go with Shocking or Lightning Bolt right now just for kicks.

Level 16

Talent points: Thundering Strikes for level 16 & 17

New Spells:

  • Cure Toxins - This is a great spell for leveling. There's more diseases and poisons than the bus station at 3am. Too bad you can't cure them with this spell, but at least you can cure your character in game. And what were you doing at the bus station at 3am anyway? Never mind, I don't want to know.
  • Ghost Wolf - Get ready to move! Though we can get land mounts at level 20 now, might as well spend the next four levels moving around a bit faster in Ghost Wolf form.
  • Wind Shear - Another great spell. Shear your enemies' casts and force them into melee range or interrupt that heal.

Are your action bars full yet? Just you wait, we enhancers have a lot of spells to track.

Level 18

Talent points: Finish off Thundering Strikes at levels 18 & 19

Spell upgrades are to HW, Stoneclaw, Flame Shock, and Flametongue Weapon. It's one of those levels where as damage-dealers we run back in and frown in disappointment at the trainer.

New Spells:

  • Tremor Totem - Learn to love the Tremor Totem. It will be your friend in PvP and through certain PvE encounters. Keep it handy in battlegrounds!

Level 20

Talent points: For our 11th & 12th talent points I'm going to put them into Improved Ghost Wolf. Though we can also get a mount at level 20, I think this will be a good investment for fleeing the scene if we get into trouble later on in levels. Insta-wolf is awesome for scooting between mobs quickly or escaping an accidental multi-mob pull.

Spell upgrades: Lightning Bolt and Searing Totem get new ranks.

New Spells:

  • Frost Shock - FROSTSHOCK! Slow those enemies down. Great for PvP or for preventing mobs at low health from running off to get their friends.
  • Frostbrand Weapon - We'll be using this in PvP, but for leveling it's underpowered.
  • Healing Stream Totem - After completing the Call of Water quest we get our water totem and Healing Stream Totem. If you are setting up shop to grind mobs in a condensed area then drop SoE, Healing Stream, and Searing together for maximum effect. Though honestly, you don't need to drop totems all that often to level successfully.
  • Lesser Healing Wave - LHW is very useful when you're in the throes of combat and need that little extra something to top yourself off. With the shorter cast time you're less likely to get interrupted in PvP or get pushed back in PvE.
  • Water Shield - If you find you're running low on mana or want to have less downtime then use this shield which we learn at level 20.

Kill strategy: At this point we should still be pulling with LB, then FS to apply the DoT, and meleeing mobs with Rockbiter. If you are having problems with runners then save your shock cooldown and Frost Shock them at the end. Purge enemy buffs, cure poisons and diseases from yourself, and interrupt enemy spell casts with Wind Shear.

Call of Water

At level 20 we get our third totem quest. Again I defer to Wowwiki for the detailed explanations for the quest. Run around and follow the chain to save the whales or whatever to get your water totem.

Final spec: 0/11/0

Next week: Level 21-40. Windfury and what to do with the 31 point talent.

May all your hits be crits!


StormstrikeShaman, follow the path of enhancement with Rich Maloy's leveling guide by starting here with levels 1-20, and then move on to levels 21-40, 41-60, and 61-70.

Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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