I'm sure alot of alliance out there are wondering how to level up a shaman as we're wondering how to level up a paladin. With the dubious credentials of alot of guides out there I thought it might be a good idea for high end players to swap strategies here.
Here is how I'd level up a shaman. This is assuming soloing with a moderate level of twinking, a new blue weapon every 5 levels or so, something like that. First off you'll head straight for two handed weapon which will allow you to use whatever the latest and greatest weapon is, although remember weapon speed doesn't really matter for shamans. Next I would hop over to restoration to grab healing focus, I find its actually fairly rare that you use nature's swiftness against non elites so you don't need to go that far but you'll definetly want to be able to heal in combat if you have to. Back to enhancement for the rest of the way picking up some efficiency.
Try to burst your spells as much as possible, the key is to try to keep your spirit regen going. Something like lighting shield, shock, searing totem, heal, heal, lightning shield then let your melee and spirit take over again.
How would you level a paladin? Grabbing seal of command, holy light and then heading down the retribution tree seems like the general way to go.
http://www.wowhead.com/?talent-bc=sZZVbhtbfhVuV is probably the best build from a strict soloing quest/grind perspective. After grabbing 40 in Ret you can go for precision or some of the Holy talents. Spiritual focus is pretty overrated since between two shields every 5min you have enough escapes barring reckless drunk behavior(ie, me) and imp. might doesn't add enough AP to be worth the investment. You can always activate your concentration aura midswing if it gets hairy. Ret aura is always more dps than sanctity aura, talented or not. You'll have plenty of surplus mana so you might as well go judge-happy to proc vengeance more often with fanactisim and benediction synergy unless you like grinding with the autoattack, alt-tab, do classwork method (me again). Also I've mainhealed every sub-raid instance as full Ret with the right gear, so it's not a large handicap.
Porcupine grinding with holy shield, reckoning and BoSanc sucks in practice.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that at 64 or so instance runs and group quests will be more beneficial due to the rewards if not the xp. At that point you can happily respec into 31 Holy while keeping SoC. Chances are you'll be sick of body pulling everything by then anyway.
Edit: Wowhead has clickthrough ads now, apparently. Oh, how the mighty hath fallen.
If you're going to solo, go for spiritual focus (by way of divine int), then for seal of command (don't bother imp BoM). Here I'd suggest to go back to holy for divine favor (greatly reduces downtime while solo grinding) and dump the rest into ret after, or you could just dump the rest into ret now. You want to pick up as much passive damage as possible - conviction, 2h spec, sanc aura, vengeance and all those new talents. Don't bother with e4e.
Some people aoe grind with a heavy prot build focusing on a lot of reflected damage (think reactive disk). I never done anything like that, but it could be quite effective.
edit: Seal of command likes slow weapons.
Decent plan for weapons would look like this:
1-20 Get to 20, nothing stands out as a really awesome weapon at 10, and you'll level out of it too fast anyways.
20-37 I don't know how they're going to change the quest for horde, but we have a quest here for an uber weapon - Verigan's Fist, you can get it at 20 the earliest.
37-43 Ravager from sm armory
43-51 Executioner's Cleaver for something you can buy. Ideally would have to go with Rockpounder. Cleaver's better than Kang imo.
51-59 This is where ideally you'd go with Ice Barbed Spear. I don't know if AV is going to make it to the expansion. There's always things like Destiny.
59+ Something easy to get would be Doomulus Prime. You can buy a Crystal Spiked Maul - but those are usually rediculously expensive. Ofcourse at that point you can always blackmail the rest of your guild into running something ancient like BWL and pick up any weapon that drops there for a huge upgrade on whatever else I could come up with here.
I disagree with needing spirtual focus. It is handy being about to heal, but the only time I needed to heal as a Pally while getting hit on was in PvP and attacking multiple targets.
I would go with Saramin's listed build. You start fights by judging something (Crusader, Wisdom, or Light), then start up Command. Wack for a bit, then stun, judge, reseal, repeating the judge/seal every 8 seconds.
Very simlar to a Shaman, you want to be in the 5 sec rule, so you burst your spells. Focus on Str/stam then some agilty gear.
One thing to consider as a horde paladin once you get into your 40's is their will be very few warriors, so if your looking to do instances a 15 points in protection to get some gains in tanking may be worth it.
I messed around a bit on the test server (before the shammy respec patch) and found that "eye of the storm" reduced the need for "healing focus". This implies a enh/elem build is probably the best to me. Even if not, I'd say that "tidal focus" beats "improved healing wave" for leveling - if it's in combat LHW is probably better even if you have focus and if its out the extra .5 sec doesn't matter. If you are going to level with resto, I would recommend starting with enhance, and respecing when you have enough levels for decent talents, maybe level 24 when you can grab healing focus.
One thing to consider for a shaman is grabbing a huge damage 2hander and grinding on mobs -2 levels or so is key as any time you proc windfury you'll pretty much one-shot them, or at least close enough that earth/frost shock will finish them off.
There are few things quite as annoying as getting a yellow/orange mob down to 10% then procing a triple-crit windfury.
Saramin is correct. For grinding, go pure Ret. As much as I like Spiritual Focus and Divine Favor, 2x5m shields takes care of any mid-fight healing you need, so they can be delayed. Also, any pre-raid healing/tanking is perfectly doable without a point in Holy/Prot (respectively).
Edit: Also, keep an upgraded slow blue 2h at all times. Speed does matter for Paladins, slower = better SoC. Research your options outside the BoE department, there are some exemplary BoP items at lower levels (Corpsemaker at 29 = broken good).
I preferred levelling my shaman (oh so many moons ago, he was my first to 60) with daggers or something equally quick. Windfury procs that are more frequent and smaller are less likely to be that "oh boy, I just wtfpwned an equal level target that had 17 HP left". Hell, I used rockbiter a fair bit to be quite honest. If your shaman is anything resembling a twink though, there is something to be said for just going elemental and riding the storm while drinking a lot. Although there is not a lot of twinkable +damage mail gear, you'll still destroy things really pretty damn fast and it saves you all the sunk points in resto for HF. Alternately, grab healing focus asap and then just drill down enhancement pretty much in whatever order you like. Do pick it up (and perhaps even Nature's Swiftness) though because frankly, it'll make life much, much easier. Nature's Guidance is obviously now a gimme for levelling I suppose, depending on what you like to grind on. Keep in mind as well that your totems really are not something you'll use much soloing as the mana-efficiency is just plain horrid on one target, so talents that improve them are not really ideal for the soloing shaman.
Cull from Casus Belli on Ayonae Ro Cull? If so, sup man. It's Zehn. <3
Corpsemaker is so delicious it's almost like cheating.
Yeah, other then the str totem I don't think I've used one in 44 levels. They're nice for pre-casting if you're about to try to kill an elite or something. I don't think going elemental and all out nuking would really compare to duel-wielding with rockbiter though. From 1-40, decent +dmg gear is nigh impossible to find. My mage at 40 had something like +150 dmg at the expense of having almost zero stats except for my wand and offhand.
Oh, btw, another tip. If you ever find yourself fighting a mob 4 levels above you or so and you're hitting for absolute crap, lightning shield, flametongue weapon and searing totem = gold. Flametongue will still proc even if you miss, iirc, though I'd have to log on my shaman to check and I'm in the middle of repping dreadmines to get my crappy hunter twink those crazy overpowered Cruel Barbs.
Do pick it up (and perhaps even Nature's Swiftness) though because frankly, it'll make life much, much easier.
That's what I'm saying, maybe try it out on a test relm. But I found hitting LHW when I got crit (with the help of SCT to let me know when that happened) was more then sufficient for your general grind type encounters.
Not taking those talents, and taking elemental ones instead is a pretty significant boost to your DPS. Unless the level 63 dungeons really are trying to the point where you can't heal with out the talents, I'd say non resto is probably alot faster.