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Greyweasel's Shaman Guide
This guide written by GreyWeasel and updated by Rimbuk Da'Hammie.
Shamans are a strange class in Everquest. They can do a bit of almost everything from melee to all manners of casting, and are one of the most versatile classes in Everquest. The shaman is billed as an offensive-minded cleric according to the documentation, but that's really the druid's role. Druids are better offensive casters than shaman are, and can almost compete with wizards for effectiveness at times. Shaman are not as powerful at striking their enemies down, but are far more effective in wearing them down with curses, poison, and other debilitating effects. Shaman are also far more effective than druids at building up themselves and others through quickness/alacrity, ability buffs, and utility enchantments. Shaman can also melee better than any other priest class.
Shamans can use most 1H and 2H blunt melee weapons in the game. These are generally effective weapons that are a little slower or weaker than slashing weapons are. They are also generally a bit heavier. Blunt weapons are still pretty effective overall, and there are a lot of high-quality magic ones out there.
Also, shamans have the ability to develop the piercing weapons skill. Recent changes have allowed the shaman to use many more piercing weapons than before, but it should not be your primary melee skill. You can usually find a better blunt weapon that corresponds to your level.
In a similar fashion, shamans have the ability to use all "standard" axes. I say "standard" because shamans are not able to equip throwing axes or battle-axes. But there is a weapon type known simple as "axe" that shamans can use. This includes the famous polished granite tomahawk, which is a fantastic weapon. Unfortunately shamans can never develop the skill to wield slashing weapons, and must rely on their base offense score to hit. This means shamans will almost always be better off using a blunt weapon anyhow.
Shamans can wear most armor up to, but not including, plate mail. Shamans can also equip a shield. In most cases shamans can equip the powerful magic armor that exists in the game. They have a Rubicite replacement called Totemic Armor, which has the same AC as Rubicite, but gives a bonus of 5 stat points to various stats, depending on the piece of totemic. Overall, you will not miss the chance to wear some of the best armor in the game.
Shamans don't have all that much class specific equipment except for Totemic armor. Outside of the planes and dragon loot, they are limited to just a few weapons and some random low to mid level pieces of armor. And while powerful, they are certainly not some of the most powerful items in the game. Oh, and good luck getting these items, as they are off some of the rarest spawns in the game as well! An example would be the Mortificator Staff, found in Rathe Mountains. The spawn is so rare that eight months after release, you can only find a handful of these staves on each server, if that.
On a lighter note, shamans can use almost all equipment that clerics can, and most of the mana-bonus items that pure casters can get. Shamans also will be able to use all equipment limited to the large races. There are a limited number of such items available, but some of the nice 2H hammers do fall into this class of items that only the big races can handle. One is the now infamous Gatorsmash Maul, with a whopping 30/70 damage to delay ratio.
Shaman races by and large are big, strong, stupid, and unpleasant. By the books the main attributes of a shaman are his stamina, wisdom, and charisma scores. You are going to want to add points to your three prime requisites more than anything else.
Stamina - the trickiest stat to judge. Stamina affects your hit points, but not signifcantly. In fact, 30 extra stamina will only add about 90-100 HPs at level 50. Keep stamina in mind for melee only. If you plan to melee alot at later levels, you may want to dump a few points into this stat.
Wisdom - Wisdom affects how much mana you have, and how often you succeed in your skill rolls. At level 50, you get 10mana per extra wisdom point your shaman has. While one or two points is not significant, 25 wisdom will equal 250 mana, which may just be enough to save you in a tough fight. Also, wisdom and intelligence are the only 2 stats that a shaman can't buff with spells(enchanters can buff wisdom in a minor sense). Given these facts, most shaman will choose to dump as many points as they can into wisdom
Strength - quite useful. Not only does Strength affect how much damage a character does with melee attacks, it also affects how much weight a character can have before becoming encumbered (as encumbrance increases, so too will a penalty to a character's AC, Agility, movespeed, and finally ability to jump). While Shaman will mainly be casting spells from mid to high levels, a few points spent in Strength early on can be useful in carrying around a lot of loot!
Trolls seem to have the worst shaman stats to start, but make up for that with their race modifier - regeneration. Regeneration is undoubtedly the best racial ability in the game and, to some, more than compensates for the slight difference in abilities. Trolls have better combat-specific stats than ogres do with higher dexterity and much higher agility. Agility adds directly to your AC and may be the best combat stat of all the four. Trolls are evil, however, and are therefore hated by most of the cities and inhabitants in Norrath. While it is not impossible to build faction, this should be a consideration before starting a troll shaman. Their newbie area, Innothule Swamp, is quite good, with an abundance of frogloks, skeletons, swampwater crocs, and other mobs wandering around to kill. Bottom line: Trolls have the least downtime, have the best melee stats, and are the easiest to solo with.
Ogres have the most base stat points of the 3 shaman races, with Strength and Stamina making the real difference. They have higher wisdom than trolls, but are significantly lacking in agility and dexterity. Again, they are evil, so you should consider this when deciding what race to play. Their newbie zone, Feerrott, is probably the trickiest of the newbie zones. It is very dark, and a young shaman can easily get lost among the trees and hills. Bottom Line: Ogres are not wanted in most places because they are evil, and don't have regeneration, but have many more stat points than the other two races to start with, so they are a decent choice.
Barbarians are the best casters of the three and have the advantage of not being a hated race. Barbarians have slightly better shaman-specific stats than ogres do, but both ogres and trolls are far better melee and better solo races than barbarians are. Barbarians, however, do not suffer from the racial hatred that plagues the other two evil races, and are far less likely to be soloing at any given time. Their newbie zone, Everfrost, is probably the most highly populated, and therefore the best newbie zone of the 3 shaman races. Bottom line: Barbarians are fine shamans and will give you the least headaches faction-wise, and as such, are the most popular shaman race.
The shaman in melee:
Shamans are surprisingly effective at melee throughout the game. In the early levels (1-10) a shaman will be practically as effective as any true melee class. Shamans do not get as many skill points in melee skills as pure melee classes do, but this won't matter much until later levels. Shamans are limited to [ ( lvl + 1 ) x 4 ] ability points per level in all weapons skills. This will keep them from being true warriors throughout the game. But all shamans get a slam attack by virtue of being a large race, and that is a significant advantage.
Slam only does one point of damage, and never increases. But it does stun targets effectively, and adds a second attack that no other pure caster gets. It is perfect for disrupting enemy casters when timed properly. It is also great for stunning a fleeing monster and preventing his escape. As a shaman gains levels he may have the odd role where he is the only character capable of stunning an enemy, as most warrior classes opt for 2H weapons or dual wield over using a shield. So be prepared to use slam frequently ( Hotkey it! ).
Shamans also get respectable hit points at about 21 per level. That's going to be enough to hang out in a battle and take some hits. You will always want the best armor possible at any time, and shamans can wear all armor that isn't raw plate. That's most of the good armor in the game, and certainly enough to be melee-proficient for your first 20+ levels.
Around level 20 you will notice that your shaman is quickly losing his effectiveness as a melee fighter, but you can still get in there and mix it up with your weapons and slam skill. You will have adequate hit points to survive some attacks and enough armor to absorb some damage.
On another note, shamans also have a unique line of spells that allows them to transform from a semi-melee caster into a near-melee non-caster. At level 19 shamans can cast Frenzy. It doesn't work like a normal spell that you pay the cost of and it takes effect. Instead, you cast it and it continues to drain your mana until you run out. In exchangee for this Frenzy adds greatly to your strength and also boosts your AC and attack speed significantly. Later spells along this line also add to your Hit Point regeneration considerably. This spell line won't make you a warrior, but it does allow you to melee better than any other non-melee class at a significant cost.
The shaman as a caster:
Shamans are arguably the most versatile casters around. In most basic terms they have respectable offensive spells that do Direct Damage (DD) and Damage over Time (DoT). These are the spells that kill MOBs and are easy to understand. Cast them and watch as the enemy takes damage.
Aside from the level 1 burst of flame, all shaman DD spells are all based on cold, so they aren't too effective in Permafrost and some other zones. That stinks for young barbarians but is great everywhere else. Most creatures are not very frost resistant. Shaman DD spells are some of the least efficient DD in the game, costing a ton of mana for the amount of damage being dealt. Shaman DD spells are relatively quite expensive. But while they are not efficient, they are certainly effective. In a party situation you may want to drop a big ice blast or two on a tough monster for a quick kill. Shamans cannot keep up with wizards or druids in dealing massive damage throughout combat, but they can contribute effectively if it is necessary.
DoT spells, on the other hand, are far more efficient at dealing damage for the mana they cost you. Since your damage is spread out over a minute or two you get an overall much better damage/mana ratio. Shaman DoTs are all based on either poison or disease attacks. Poison spells do their damage within 45 seconds, while disease spells are slightly more mana efficient but take around 2minutes. Shamans can stack up both a poison and a disease spell to really wear down a monster quickly.
Aside from the obvious damage spells, shamans have the very subtle buffing and debuffing spells. These spells will add to any physical attribute of a character or take away from most physical attributes of an NPC (non-player character). These spells are generally underappreciated by non-shamans because the effects are not drastic, yet they are very useful at increasing a character's (or party's) effectiveness over the course of the buff. The shaman Disempower and Drowsy line of debuffs are particularly effective, as they can slow down an NPC's attacks or considerably cripple his ability to deal damage. This mean less healing and, therefore, less mana spent. NPC's attacks are all based on their raw ability scores (ie. they do NOT work the same way players attacks do) so when you take away from an NPC's strength and stamina it DIRECTLY affects the maximum damage that NPC can do and how well he is attacking overall. 20 points of strength removed from an NPC can translate into 10-20% less damage from EVERY hit that NPC scores. And he won't be able to score as many hits, either.
Furthermore, shamans have the fantastic ability to reduce the ability of an NPC to resist any kind of magical attack. The Malise and Insidious Fever lines together take down each of the 5 NPC resistances. A caster that is normally partially resisted by a mob will most likely have his DDs hit, and hit for full damage, when these spells are place..
Shamans also have other spells that add direct bonuses to AC, hit points, magic resistance, and attack speed. Clerical HP and AC bonuses are superior, but ours work just fine when no cleric is around. And the bonus to attack speed is not to be underestimated. It should always be maintained on your group's tanks when possible. Same thing goes with magic resistance, which is obviously a handy ability to have in effect.
A shaman's healing ability is also worth noting. Shamans heal e exactly the same as druids do. That's to say that shamans are not primary healers, but are effective healers nevertheless. Usually shaman's heals come one circle after the cleric's corresponding spell does. In the shaman's case this stops at lvl 29 with greater healing for ~300 hits. It's the tradeoff shamans must accept for their great versatility in all other areas...
Shamans also get a short line of odd utility spells that are pretty helpful. Most significant of them is the Spirit of the Wolf spell. It very simply adds about 30-40% to your running speed. That may sound simple, but once you are travelling around in 30% less time than before it's great. Even better is the simple fact that now you can outrun most NPCs, and suddenly life outdoors is practically safe again. Spirit of the Wolf is a perpetual case for class jealousy amongst non-shamans or druids. Shamans get it 5 levels earlier than druids do as well. Other utility spells are:
- Levitate- great for running over lava and water (lavastorm, Lake Rathe, Ocean of Tears)
- Enduring Breath - Lets you breath underwater for 25minutes or so. Necessary in Kedge Keep.
- Regeneration - Significantly decreases downtimes, especially when used in conjunction with...
- Cannibalize - Trades Hp's for mana at a rate of around 60/20.
- Ultravision - Lets you see like a dark elf.
- Invisibility - Obvious.
- Summon Food/Water - Summons one food or water item for a minimal amount of water.
- Spirit Pouch - Summons a bag that decreases the weight of all items in in. WARNING: When you log off, the pouch and all items in it will disappear!
- Befriend Animal - Charms an animal for an amount of time determined by your charisma and level.
- Shrink - Shrinks you to a managable size. Only usable in dungeons.
- Pets - YES! At level 34, you will begin summoning your very own Fido (wolf pet). This is an invaluable asset to shaman at higher levels. While not as effective as a necro or Magician pet, they are capable of taking a bit of a beating from higher level mobs, letting you med, cast, or even run.
As a solo shaman, you must be smart and use a combination of your most useful spells. The root line, malise line, drowsy line, blinding line, DD, and DoT's used together make a shaman very powerful. Add to this the shamans buffing and debuffing spells, and you are nearly invincible. While Kiting (the use of SoW with DoT's) is used to be one of the most popular ways for a shaman to gain experience, changes made to DoTs have rendered this tactic fairly useless. Following is a table of some of the solo tactice a shaman can use:
|Tactic 1 - Green( melee )||Tactic 2 - Low Blue||Tactic 3 - High Blue||Tactic 4 - Tough mobs/high magic resists|
|root||DD||Root (if needed)||DoT||DD(or disease DoT)|
|DoT(poison)||Melee||DoT||DD||Root if needed|
|Root (if needed)||DD||DD or melee||Melee||DoT|
In a group, the shaman can fill many rolls:
- Buffer/Debuffer - You buff your party members (mostly the tanks) with dex, agi, str, quickness, etc... Debuff mobs with either malies, the disempower line, or drowsy line.
- Primary/Secondary Healer - While not as effective as a cleric, you can save many party members lives' by healing at the right time..
- Secondary Tank/Nuker - You can step in and take a few hits when needed, and casting a few straight DD's or heals is the best taunt in the game.
- All-in-One-Superman - You buff, you debuff, you burn when necessary, you may root, and you may melee... Wow, you can do a lot!
The shaman as a herbalist
Shamans have the unique ability to create potions with the Alchemy Tradeskill. Although a large number of potions aren't all that useful, many (Spirit of Wolf, Invisibility, Damage Shield, Gates) are extremely useful and will quickly find happy homes in other player's backpacks in return for a (usually hefty) reduction in the weight of their coin purse.
Developing your shaman
When you start as a young shaman whelp you are best advised to purchase all your available buffs first. Don't even worry about DD until you have all your healing and buffing spells. You can melee like a champ for a long time as long as you keep up your strength and dexterity spells. Add in the occasional DD when you pick up Burst of Flame and you can level quickly.
I advise that you pick up as much armor as possible as soon as you can. Armor is far more important than weaponry is in all cases and will continue to be so throughout the game. Always strive to maintain the best AC you can. Your club is a good weapon for quite a while, although you should strive to pick up a rusty morningstar and worn great staff from decaying skeletons as soon as possible. Once you aquire a 2H blunt weapon be sure to use it every level and keep BOTH 1H blunt and 2H blunt equal at all times. You get exactly 4 skill points times your level, plus 4 more points, and you should strive to keep your combat maxed at all times. It is very easy to keep both skills up if you do it from the start and alternate within every level. It can be very frustrating to learn one all the way from 0 if you make it to the teens and you never bothered to practice.
You should start to learn how to best use your slam ability at this point. Remember that slam only does one point of damage. You want to use it constantly ONLY on non-spellcasting NPC. If you are fighting someone that can cast spells you must save your slam until you see him begin to cast. Once he pauses hit him with the slam. You will be surprised how much more effective you are this way, and you will survive many more battles.
Also learn to time your offensive spells in with your enemy's attacks. As soon as you see him strike you want to immediately hit the cast button. Your DD and DoT spells mostly have a casting time equal to the delay time that an NPC has. So if you start to cast when he has just started to recover, you will often get your spell off without interruption.
The first few levels are very easy to advance through. Save all your money and buy all your spells. Remember that sitting down doubles your mana and hit point recovery. Try to keep aware of where you are, because you will die from time to time and you need to find your corpse. By typing /loc you get a +/- divination of your location on the zone that will dramatically help you find your corpse. Hotkey /loc in your combat keys so you can hit it whever you get in trouble. Even if you are running away it will still give you some clue as to where to go. If you die somewhere hard to reach there is a /corpse command that will summon your body to you. This can help when monsters are hanging around your corpse or it is under water.
Once you get to lvl 4 make sure to train yourself in channeling, as it allows you to cast spells faster and occasionally allows you to recover from being hit and still cast successfully. You can easily kill white creatures at this point and probably have no problem with a single yellow creature when you are fully buffed and full with mana. Up until lvl 4 you will get a full refresh of water and food when you get killed. I suggest that at the end of lvl 3 you die once near home and get some free food for the last time in your career. After that you need to buy it for a while until you get summon water at lvl 5 and summon food at lvl 9.
At lvl 5 be sure to get as many spells as you can afford. You want your ability buffs, scaleskin, and spirit pouch, as well as drowsy and sicken. Then get frost strike when you can. Scaleskin is a much-maligned spell that is very, very useful. Kill some snakes for an hour and store up 20-40 components. Just don't store them in your spirit pouch. Using sicken and drowsy with all your buffs you will notice a major difference in your melee. By now you should have learned that you always want to fight near a zone entrance or close enough to the guards that you can make it to them when you are under 2 bubbles of health. You are still able to take on yellow creatures for a while, but watch out since you start losing experience when you die at lvl 5.
At lvl 8 you get meditate. This dramatically reduces your downtime and makes you feel less like a melee character. Now you can finally think about blasting away with your DD spells. From here on out you will be casting significantly and your melee will begin to fall behind the warrior classes more and more. By now you should think about grouping up when you can, or you need to be soloing blue monsters. Whites and yellows can be a real risk at this point.
At lvl 9 you finally get SoW. Be happy with yourself, you are now a shaman. You can start making good money by hanging out in high level areas and /auctioning off SoW to high level characters. I would do it all the time when I was broke. Many players will give you a platinum per cast. You also get tainted breath, your first really effective DoT spell. Use it whenever possible. Also make sure you have summon food and water and light healing. All are important. SoW allows you to solo whites again without much risk. You can keep this up for a long time to come.
At lvl 14 you want to buy almost every spell. This is going to be expensive, so buy Spirit of the Snake or Spirit Strike first and save a few gold. Be sure to buy the new AC buff Turtle Skin. Disempower is also a good choice for the cost.
You get dodge at lvl 15. This is not much of a big deal since you have a fairly low skill cap. Still, it can help you avoid an attack every few combats and is worth training a few points in.
At lvl 19 you are pretty advanced. Most likely you know how to run a shaman by now. If you made it to this level I am confident you don't need any further help from me. Turn around and help out the other shaman whelps in your home city become big and powerful like you now are.
There is nothing quite like the feeling that a free SoW and super-ability buff can give a newbie. Be sure to help them out when you can. They'll usually thank you for it.
Tips and Tricks
These are just a few things I'm learning as I level up my first shaman. Most of this was either learned from other sources online or from the many helpful players on P1999
- Use Inner Fire as a heal until level 19. Inner Fire costs 10 mana and heals 20hp compared to light heal which costs 25 mana and heals about 30hp.
- Your level 5 nuke is useless considering sicken costs half as much mana but deals a lot more damage even after only a single tick. (EDIT: This no longer appears to be true, as Sicken costs more to cast than Frost Rift).
- As a barbarian it took me awhile to figure out that my level 5 and 9 DOT spells (along with all the higher level ones I believe) were sold in Everfrost Peaks by a merchant standing atop a ruined temple on the tundra.
- This is more of a general trick but instead of purchasing backpacks which weight 3.0 pounds each, buy large sewing kits which only weigh 0.3 pounds. The capacity and size are the exact same. For a class that requires weapons, spells and armor at lower levels the additional loot you can carry has significant advantages. (EDIT: This also appears to be false; a recent patch changed sewing kits to have 3.0 pound weight, so their only advantage over backpacks is the fact that they hold Giant-sized items).
- Note that a Medicine Bag is still much lighter (0.4) than backpacks (3.0), and can carry large items.