The shaman is described as the spiritual leader of his tribe and clan and master of the elements. As a hybrid class, he is one of the most versatile classes in the game, capable of being a healer, melee or ranged damage dealer, depending on how you choose to spend your character's talent points. In addition, they come with an awesome array of buffs in the form of totems, which when planted on the ground will provide your group with various boosts to their abilities.
At the beginning, the shaman is only able to wear cloth and leather armor but will be able to equip mail starting at level 40. This ensures they are not overly squishy but naturally they're not as durable as Warrior or Paladin who wear plate. They can wield various weapons ranging from 1-hand maces, daggers, axes, shields, fist weapons or staves. If you are so inclined, you may also learn to wield 2-hand axes and maces by investing points into your Enhancement tree.
Totems are what separate the Shaman from the rest of the other classes and it is also the driving force behind the shaman's adaptability in combat. Up to four can be dropped on the ground at any given time, and the buffs they grant your entire group can be divided into the 4 major elements :- Earth, Fire, Wind and Water and only one element can be channeled at any given time.
Potential shaman players should also take note that totems are very weak, possessing only 5 HP or slightly more. While computer-generated mobs will rarely target them, you will have to place them strategically while battling human opponents. The effects of the totem is only around a certain radius therefore you will have to keep that in mind during combat. Some totems will affect all the members of the party in the radius while others will only affect a set amount of teammates/enemies.
A high quality Shaman PvE Guide should be able to bring all these elements into discussion as well as what talent spec to choose and how to use it effectively in combat. Your ability to play all the roles effectively by using your unique totems, shields and buffs is what makes you a good or not so good Shaman.
This class requires a huge deal of practice and careful attantion and even then, they are going to be one of the hardest classes in the game to master. However, if you manage to pull it off, your hard work will be rewarded with a permanent spot in any raid as shamans are one of the most important classes in the game, bar none.