World of Warcraft Healing Classes: Strengths, Weaknesses, Pros, and Cons - Shamans and Paladins

World of Warcraft Healing Classes:  Strengths, Weaknesses, Pros, and Cons - Shamans and Paladins
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Restoration Shamans


It’s no secret that my main toon is a Restoration Shaman so naturally , there is some biase towards my preference for this class. In my opinion, Shamans are the MacGyver equivalents in the world of Azeroth. With their forest of totems and seemingly endless bag of tricks, Shamans have the ability to wiggle their way out of some dangerously tight situations. Chain Heal is the Shaman money maker and they do exceedingly well at raid healing. Mail armor increases their durability and Water Shield coupled with Mana Spring totem make running out of mana a matter of little concern. Totems provide raid wide buffing abilities that are instant and far reaching. Shamans have the ability to affect multiple targets at once in a variety of ways. Reincarnation provides a nice wipe prevention utility since the Shaman can self resurrect during battle. Shamans also have a 3 in 1 cleanse that removes a poison, disease, and/or curse from a target.


Shamans are not as ideal for healing single targets like main and off tanks. Most often, raid leaders will assign Shamans to heal the raid group which can be less glamorous than having the responsibility of keeping the main tank alive. Though they have one HoT, it only pops every 6 seconds which makes healing on the go very difficult. Shamans need to stand in one place, and preferably by their totems, to be the most effective.

A. Useful Stats

a. Intellect

b. MP5

c. Haste

d. Spell Power

B. Strengths

  1. AoE Heal

a. Chain Heal – Heals the friendly target then jumps to heal additional nearby targets. Heals 3 total targets

  1. Direct Heals

a. Lesser Healing Wave – Smallest heal but is cast quickly at 1.5 seconds

b. Healing Wave – The slowest direct heal at 3 seconds, but the Shaman’s most powerful

  1. HoTs

a. Riptide – Is actually a direct heal and a HoT in one. It heals the target for a specific amount then provides additional healing over 15 seconds

  1. Self Buffs

a. Water Shield – Surrounds the Shaman with 3 globes of water which grant MP5. When an attack hits the Shaman, a water globe is expanded restoring mana back to the caster.

b. Earthliving Weapon – Imbues the Shaman’s weapon to increase healing done. Each heal has a 20% change to proc Earthliving on the target, healing for an additional amount over 12 seconds.

  1. Raid Buffs - Totems

a. Earth Shield – Cast a shield on the target with 6 charges. Each time the target is damaged, earth shield heals them. It can only be active on one target at a time

b. Mana Spring Totem – Restores mana to group members within 30 yards

c. Healing Stream Totem – Heals group members within 30 yards

d. Flametongue – increases healing and spell damage to all party members within 30 yards

e. Wrath of Air Totem – Provides 5% spell haste to all party members within 30 yards

f. Strength of Earth – Increases strength and agility to all party members within 30 yards

g. Tremor Totem – removes fear, charm, and sleep effects from party members within 30 yards

  1. Cleansing

a. Cleanse Spirit - Cleanse the spirit of a friendly target, removing 1 poison effect, 1 disease effect, and 1 curse effect.

  1. Oh $#@* Button

a. Mana Tide Totem – Restores 6% of mana every 3 seconds for a 12 second duration to all group members within 30 yards

b. Reincarnation – Instant self resurrection that pops once per hour

c. Nature’s Swiftness – Turns next spell into an instant cast

d. Bloodlust (Horde) Heroism (Alliance) – Increases melee, ranged, and spell casting speed by 30% for all party members. Lasts 40 seconds

e. Ghost Wolf – I invest the 5 points required in the Enhancement tree to get Improved Ghost Wolf so that I can cast it instantly. This allows me to flee from danger so that I can find a safe place to heal myself back to full life.

Shaman 2

C. Weaknesses

  1. Only two direct heals available. The most powerful heal takes 3 seconds to cast

  2. Not effective against single targets like tanks

Holy Paladin

WoWScrnShot 042109 221712


As plate wearers, Holy Paladins are the toughest healers available. Additional armor combined with the ability to self-heal makes them a group of survivors who can be absolutely annoying in player versus player. Flash of Light is one of the fastest, most mana efficient heals in the game. Paladins also come with a wide array of blessings that provide buffs essential to any raid. Additionally, they are able to regenerate more mana than other classes. Holy Paladins excel at healing single targets like main or off tanks. Divine Intervention also provides them with a wipe prevention utility.


Their lack of Heal over Time and Area of Effect skills makes healing multiple targets very challenging. Most paladins repeatedly use Flash of Light which keeps them from regenerating mana through the 5 second rule making the stat of spirit useless to them. Additionally, their buffs are not raid-wide and they must apply them to other team members individually which requires more cast time and mana. Paladins are also unable to heal while moving due to the casting time required for their spells.


A. Useful Stats

  1. Intellect – increases mana pool and compliments Divine Plea

  2. Critical Strike – provides an increase in healing and mana regeneration through the Illumination talent which gives a chance to increase mana with a critical strike from Flash of Light, Holy Light, and Holy Shock.

a. Divine Favor - gives your next Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Holy Shock spell a 100% critical effect chance.

  1. Spell Power
  1. Stamina – Increases survivability

  2. Haste

Holy Paladins

B. Strengths

  1. Great at healing single targets like tanks and off tanks due to the frequency of spamming Holy Light
  1. Survivability – Plate Wearer with the ability to heal self

  2. High amount of Mana return:

a. Illumination (in the Talent Tree – requires 15 points in Holy to max) – After getting a critical effect from your Flash of Light, Holy Light, or Holy Shock heal spell, gives you a X% chance to gain Mana equal to 60% of the base cost of your spell.

b. Divine Plea - You gain 25% of your total mana over 15 sec, but the amount healed by your spells is reduced by 50%

c. Lay On Hands - Heals a friendly target for an amount equal to the Paladin’s maximum health and restores X of their mana.

  1. Raid Buffing Abilities (Only one blessing per Paladin)

a. Blessing of Kings – Places a Blessing on the friendly target, increasing total stats by 10% for 10 min. Players may only have one Blessing on them per Paladin at any one time.

b. Blessing of Might – Increases melee and ranged attack power

c. Blessing of Wisdom - Places a Blessing on the friendly target, restoring X mana every 5 seconds for 10 min.

  1. Oh $#@* Buttons

a. Lay On Hands – Instant burst heal that also restore caster’s mana. Should be used sparingly since it has a 20 second cool down

b. Divine Intervention – Protects an ally from being attacked for 3 minutes. Typically used on other classes with resurrection so they can pop up after the fight and resurrect group members.

C. Weaknesses

  1. No AoE Heals

  2. No HoTs

This post is part of the series: WoW Healing Classes

Read this 3 part series to explaining World of Warcraft healing classes and general healing fundamentals.

  1. World of Warcraft Healing Classes: Strengths, Weaknesses, Pros, and Cons - Part 1 Druid and Priest
  2. World of Warcraft Healing Classes: Strengths, Weaknesses, Pros, and Cons - Part 2 Shamans and Paladins
  3. Guide to World of Warcraft Healing Fundamentals: Juking, pillar-humping and feigning casts