Monday, June 15, 2009

Shaman first to have their answers

I've been busy lately leveling my Druid, so I neglected to comment on this last week when it was posted. But it's just too good to pass up. Especially since a lot of the complaints these answers address are the prime reason I stopped playing on my Shaman. This is the first in an expected series of long question and answer posts from Blizzard for every class. WoWInsider was nice enough to post an analysis of the official Blizzard response here and here.

Reading through the official post, you can see that Blizzard is putting a lot of effort into figuring out where the real problems with the class lay. And I think they understand that the lack of mobility is a primary problem with the class. Especially in PVP where the totem mechanic is simply too limiting, so I'm optimistic in regards to what Blizzard will ultimately do with the totems over the long term. I think they're on the right track with their current thinking and should pursue making totems into specific short term spells instead of the buffs they give now. And should instead give Shaman group buffs like other casting classes.

Totems are not the only problem in regard to PVP however. Being tethered to a small area around your totems is bad, but the larger problem with Shaman PVP is having to remain still for relatively long periods of time to cast a series of spells is worse. That immobility makes Shaman easy targets. And the lack of any ability to disengage from attackers when every other casting class has one simply means that once someone sets their eyes on you you're good as dead. To address these issues Blizzard should give Thunderstorm a short duration stun or daze and should introduce at least one instant cast attack that Shaman can use while on the run. Shocks would work without the cooldown on them currently.

PVE raiding is in a much better position, but there are some areas that need to be addressed to. Again, the totem mechanic is limiting but the lack of any true AOE is a bigger problem for those that play the class. Right now the only AOE capability is through the Magma or Fire Nova totems. Both of which require the Shaman to run forward with the melee and drop in the groups. Since both totems are relatively short lived it could mean having to do this more than once as well, putting the Shaman in possible danger from whirlwinds or what have you. It also means that while running to the mobs you aren't DPSing. Fights that require movement are simply not feasible for Shaman AOE right now.

Fix the current totem mechanic, give Shaman greater survivability in PVP and give them a true AOE capability and they'll be in a much better position in my opinion.