Matticast Episode 9 – BOEs, Calling Wipes, and Picking Raiders

Welcome to Episode 9 of The Matticast. This week BorskMattKat, and Brian, discuss:

- The Economics of BOEs

- When to call a wipe.

- Resto Shaman Spirit Refresh

- When/How to test new raiders.

Sites mentioned

State of DPS

Posts referenced

When do you call a wipe?

Don’t forget you can send us your questions or topic, and be sure to checkout and participate in the listener topic every Wednesday.

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Special Delivery: Roundup Of This Week’s Best WoW Posts

The Shattering! This Tuesday?! Is it happening? Isn’t it happening? Is the World As We Know It Going To Go Kaboom? Maybe.  One thing’s for sure: Azeroth’s not going to be the ideal holiday spot with balmy breezes and clear sea views for much longer. Unless you count the whoosh of dragon wings above you and the view of a tidal wave coming right for you as you lounge on the beach polishing your tier kit. Not that you would be, of course, because you like everyone in the blogosphere are getting ready for the Big Changes whenever they happen. Right? Right.

After its lolloping back and forth between various topics over the past few weeks the blogosphere seems to have settled firmly on looking at healing. Well, I say firmly, but there’s the odd look at guilds in Cataclysm, too. Generally things are hotting up in the blogosphere as we get ready for lava to ruin our holiday locations. So as an aside from my normal task of finding the best blog posts and delivering them over at MMO Melting Pot, I’ve gone and dredged the blogosphere for the week’s bset on healing, leading and guilds for you here at WoM. And this week there really should be something for everyone. Except possibly trees.. wait, resto druids, no permanent tree forms, what do we call you guys now?

 

  • T-Minus-3 Weeks: The State Of The Resto Shaman: Vixsin over at Life In Group 5 has a timely preview of what raiding resto shaman can expect to get out of their healing toolkit come the time to raid. She=’s looking at all of our healing spells, old new and tweaked, and how effective they’re looking after the latest beta changes. She’s also looking at how they interact with our stats and has some in-depth but digestible explanations on how much Mastery affects various spells. Very well written, and also an encouraging post for resto-shaman kind. Almost makes me wish I was staying a resto shaman for raiding!
  • Five Tips For Holy Paladin Healing In 4.0.1: Kurn’s got some practical tips for any holy paladins still getting on with the business of healing here and now, Cataclysm malarky aside. The tips are well written and look to be good advice – she’s got thoughts on how and whom to beacon, whether Flash of Light is any good, and the importance of Divine Pea. Sorry, Plea. She’s also got a tip and video clip specifically aimed at dealing with Infest if you’re still visiting Arthas regularly. She does have the caveat that these tips might not be as useful in 4.0.3, but they are probably worth a read as somewhere between food for thought and a discussion point for you Holy pallies.
  • Cataclysm Enchants For Holy Priests: Oestrus has a two part guide that does just what it says on the tin. You can find part 1 here and part 2 in the link at the start. It’s a no brass-buttons guide which gives you just what you need; she goes through all of the equipment slots and gives you the run down on which enchants she thinks will suit a priest best to go do their holy thing. Of course, nothing’s set in stone yet and things may change come the time we all get to 85 but Oestrus’ guide looks well researched and thought out, and should let you know what to be aiming for. Some of the new enchants are really creatively named, too.
  • The healing model in Cataclysm: pwnwear has highlighted a post on their forums by Adrift, one of their readers. It’s a very cogent piece on the interaction between HPS, burst healing and desireable tank survivability with an undertone of awareness that mana will be at a premium. Adrift looks at the ways a tank might be geared – avoidance vs. stamina – and talks about how this might impact his healing, and then the same again for theoretical raid damage. He also takes a look at what stats healers are likely to prioritize both earlier and later in Cataclysm raiding content. I found this an absorbing read both from a healer and a tank’s perspective – would recommend reading it yourself then sharing it with your guild’s meatshields.
  • Tips for applying to a guild as we move towards Cataclysm: Moving guild, getting a fresh start. The thought might’ve crossed your mind. Rank4HealingTouch is one step ahead and has an excellent post guiding you through the major sections of a standard guild applications. The guide’s split up by sections and covers everything from the basics of spelling and checking to answering questions on your computer specs, your class, your role, and yourself. In each case as he goes through, he talks about how to answer the questions – and how not to. He also gives some examples for certain topics to get you thinking. Think of this guide as a kind of cheat sheet, if you will – I’d not recommend cheating and it doesn’t give you all the answers, but it is incredibly well written and good advice.

That’s it for this week. Have a happy Shattering! Oh, I might not be able to do one of these next weekend, so apologies if so – but I’ll quite possibly be gooey eyed at the local Christmas market full of pretty lights and sweet things. But should resume the following week, if so.

Til then, then! Oh, and by the way, what are you hoping to read more or less of, from around the blogosphere? And just what do we call trees now?

How I learned to live without Spirit Link, or a fond farwell.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I’ve been a huge fan of the spell Spirit Link since it first made an appearance back in the Wrath of the Lich King beta. The spell allowed restoration shaman to link players together, distributing damage among them. The spell was eventually removed due to balancing issues, and I only got to play with it for a few, fleeting moments.

When Cataclysm was announced, the developers made a note that they were going to try to work Spirit Link back into the game. It was a spell a lot of players were excited about and wanted to have in their arsenal. It was a promise to give us something we didn’t have, a defensive cooldown. Shaman throughout the community came up with various ideas on how to balance it and let it come back to the game. I was included among that number. Alas, it was not meant to be, and Spirit Link has drifted off without much of a word about it from the developers.

After lamenting the loss of the spell, I came to a realization. I’ve been healing through the beta both in dungeons and raids and not once did I ever say to myself  “I wish I had Spirit Link right now!”. That exact phrase I muttered to myself at least a dozen times in Wrath. But looking at the way Cataclysm is designed, it is now impossible for Spirit Link to be incorporated into the game. Looking at the damage model for the new expansion it is quite easy to see this. Let me explain a bit here for clarification sake. When I say damage model, I quite literally mean damage model. Everyone is taking damage in Cata. There is rarely instances in a raid where someone is not taking some damage. This is very unlike Wrath, where there were a few fights that had massive amounts of raid damage. Let’s use the new Nefarian encounter as an example. The new fight has you engaging the reanimated corpse of both Onyxia and Nefarian. Onyxia has some fun new abilities including shadow flame (doing her dad proud) and a new electrical charge. Needless to say, she does a ton of raid wide damage. Combine this with Nefarian flying around and summoning adds, throwing his own shadow bolts and you have yourself a recipe for pain.

At no point in this fight would it have been safe to link multiple players together. Simply put, any additional damage on the non tanks would have killed them. Now, almost every fight in Cata is like this. Heroic dungeons feel like raid bosses (at least until we outgear them but still), and raids feel much more difficult. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just an evolution of the game. Players are more accountable for their own health totals than every before, and healers have a whole new set of concerns. With this new model, Spirit Link just doesn’t fit anymore. Players simply would die if linked together. Now you could argue that a defensive cooldown could be extremely useful here, but Blizzard has done us one better.

Instead of a defensive cooldown, we get an offensive healing cooldown. I’m not talking about Nature’s Swiftness here, but our new level 85 spell, Spiritwalker’s Grace. Traditionally the role of a healer is to indemnify. That’s my nickle word for the day. It means to secure against hurt, loss or damage. By this I mean we wait for people to get hurt, or hurt enough and react by healing them in an attempt to bring their health back to 100%. Most of the new healing abilities for the other healers are more preventative. They stop damage from happening. Shaman without the ability to keep damage from happening are forced to be more aggressive healers. This fits really well with the tools we are given.

So let’s take a look at our new cooldown. Spiritwalker’s grace lets us cast any heal while moving. Let me state that again for dramatic effect here, it lets us cast any heal while moving. This means in those fights (read: all of them) that require us to move, we can pop this cooldown and run-and-gun casting our big heals, like Chain Heal, without having to stop. Mull that over for a second. Pretty awesome right? This gives us not only some added versatility, but the ability to manage that versatility. We choose when to use it, which adds that level of healing skill everyone has been talking about wanting for a while now. Sure, we can’t power word: shield someone, but you bet your ass we can drop a nuke heal while on the move! While other healers can throw shields and HoTs while running, we can cast full blown spells. The cooldown lasts 10 seconds, and only has a 2 minute cooldown. It fits really well with our healing style as well. Shaman are not the healers that sit in the back and chant. We are the healers that charge into the thick of battle to drop our totems and throw fire at the enemy while making our own troops whole again.

Honestly I think this new ability hasn’t gotten nearly enough media attention, as players remain too focused on what could have been. It really is quite awesome, and with it I’m no longer pining for Spirint Link. While I  will always remember it with fondness in my heart, I’ve come to accept that its departure was for the best and to move on. So goodbye Spirit link, it seems to me you lived your life like a candle in the wind, never knowing who to cling to when wrath set in. And I would have liked to have known you
but I was just level 70, your candle burned out long before, but your legend never will.

I think other restoration shaman will start to feel the same as time spent with the new spells comes.

So what do you think? Still miss Spirit Link? Do you like Spiritwalker’s Grace?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

Why Resto Shaman Need a Defensive Cooldown, or Another Spirit Link Post

Why Resto Shaman Need a Defensive Cooldown, or Another Spirit Link Post

In case you’ve missed it, I’ve grown quite partial to the idea behind Spirit Link. I’ve talked about it recently wondering where it is. Before that I lamented its absence as the one that got away. Today I’d like to take a different approach to this enigma.

Tuesday I reported about the Cataclysm beta and how things looked so far. In that post I quoted the devs with their answers to many questions, including the state of Spirit Link. Their answer was not one I was all to keen on. Back on the 13th of July I appeared on the podcast Raid Warning with their Shaman Roundtable. I had the opportunity to talk with some amazing members of the shaman community and share ideas. While we were talking a fantastic point was made. Shaman are in need of an external cooldown.

Sure it seems like we have it all. Fame, power, sweet shoveltusk-ghost-shoulders, but the truth is we still have some holes in our healing arsenal that need to be addressed. Let me specify that a defensive cooldown is not an “OH SHIT!” ability like Nature’s Swiftness. I’m talking about cooldowns that are used in anticipation of something bad happening instead of reactionary (with a couple exceptions).

Let us compare to other healers.

Priests

Pain Suppression – Lets face it, this spell has come in handy on more boss fights than you would normally consider. Every 3 minutes Discipline priests can reduce the incoming damage on a target by 40% for 8 seconds. That is a large number, and while 8 seconds might not seem like a lot of time, 8 seconds can wind up being just enough to mitigate a boss mob’s large nasty spell or ability. If you Glyph it, you can even cast it while your stunned!  This is a great raid leading ( or heal leading) shot gun, and honestly has saved our rears quite a few times.

Guardian Spirit – Holy priests are not left without a big cooldown. Like pain suppression, this spell is on a 3 minute cooldown and increases healing received on the target by 40%. If the person dies while guardian spirit is active, the spirit will instead be consumed and the person will be healed immediately for 50% of their maximum health. It lasts for 10 seconds on the target and with the Glyph, if it lasts the entire 10 seconds without being consumed your cooldown gets reset to 1 minute. As a healing lead I love abusing this talent. It is a net, a nice cushion-esque net. You can set it on a tank and if you got OOM or have to move and cant push healing, it buys you time. Minimizing risk and compensation for “oops” is part of every raid leaders job, and cooldowns like this can help a ton.

Druids

Tranquility – 8 minute cooldown for a massive area of effect heal. There have been plenty of fights where this has come in handy, and rotations have been set up between multiple druids. Tranquility is another “buys you time” spell. It heals everyone around the druid for a sizeable chunk of health every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, but those 4 pulses of healing can spell defeat or victory as it allows you to help mitigate massive AoE damage and buys healers time to shift gears and compensate. It is often used when you expect massive amounts of raid wide damage.

Rebirth – This spell carries a 10 minute cooldown and a material component in order to cast it, but in this case the effect is greater than the cost by leaps and bounds. Rebirth brings a player who has died back to life with about 6k health and almost 5k mana. Doesn’t sound like a whole lot right? Well if you didn’t know, it is the only resurrection spell that can be cast while in combat. This is huge! Sometimes, things go bad and there is nothing you can do to stop it. A DPS ganks aggro and splats before you can heal them, but you need them alive in order to make the enrage timer. If you have a druid handy this is not an issue, they can bring that person back up and help complete the task at hand. If the druid is using the Glyph, it returns the target of the res with FULL health. This is an amazing cooldown to be able to call on in those particularly awful fights. While this one is a reactionary ability, I think it still fits in with the “defensive” cooldown abilities so I’ve made an exception and included it in the list.

Paladins

Hand of Sacrifice – 2 minute cooldown and it transfers 30% of the damage taken on the target to the paladin for 12 seconds or until the paladin takes damage equal to their total health. The paladin can still use their bubble while using hand of sac in order to mitigate the damage they are receiving and it can be very strategically used to bleed off normally lethal damage on the tank. Divine Sacrifice is an area affect version of this spell that redirects 30% of all damage within 30 yards to the paladin for a maximum of 40% of the paladin’s health times the number of party members.

Hand of Protection – 5 minute cooldown but it makes the target completely from physical attacks for 10 seconds. This can be a great way to drop physical debuffs or just to protect someone from getting 1-shot. This was very useful in Trial of the Crusader.

Shaman

I’m having a hard time thinking of anything I can consider a preemptive defensive cooldown. Hero-Lust is an offensive ability as is both of our elementals. Everything else we have that has a cooldown is reactionary (Nature’s Swiftness). I can’t count Reincarnation in this either as while it is nice to be able to resurrect yourself, finding the timing to do so with all the environmental effects and boss abilities are going off, as well as not being able to rez yourself at, you still only rez with a maximum of 40% of your health. With no buffs it is very easy just to splat again. In a large raid where there is a group of healers to pull abilities from this isn’t such a big thing. But when you start talking about smaller raids it is at that point it starts to become an issue.

Now with Cataclysm on the horizon a few things are happening that make this an issue that needs to be addressed. First of all, raid sizes will be smaller. Now I don’t mean blizzard is taking away 25 man raiding, but they are evening out gear distribution and content to be consistent from 10 man to 25 man. The only difference will be how much of the loot drops from 10 man compared to 25 man. My prediction is that this will cause a lot more 10 man raiding groups to pop up. While the game has come a long way from 40 man raids, organizing 25 man raids can be just as stressful.  The ability to gain the same gear from 10 mans that you do from 25 mans removes some of the incentive to actually run 25 man raids. The facts is, organizing 10 people is easier than 25.

Healing is being tuned to be quite a bit harder both on the healer themselves in terms of mana management but also for groups in terms of damage output. Having had first hand experience in the new 5 mans in cataclysm I can tell you healing has become much more difficult. There were several times where I wish I had something I could toss up on a group member so I could keep healing the tank without having to choose which of the two would die (and there were several instances in which someone WILL die), or a few occasions where a tank was getting pummeled hard and could have used something to either help mitigate the damage or use as a life line.

It is in these smaller groups (5 and 10 man content) that our distinct lack of an external cool down to help those around us mitigate damage or act as prevention really is highlighted. This means in smaller group compositions another healer type may wind up being preferable. Keep in mind that in current content external cooldowns have been used to help tanks and raids quite a bit. Examples include but are not limited to; Vezaxx with pain Suppression and Guradrian Spirit were big deals and on hard mode you almost had to have them available. Ormokk the Impailer was cake with a paladin with Hand of Prot and bubbles, and Tranquility owns the air phase on Blood Queen. These are just a few examples

The Fix

The first thing that comes to mind is that we honestly need an external cooldown. The concept of Spirit Link could very easily fill that gap. Now there is a concern that players would use it to kill other players and exactly how the mechanic would work, but there are a couple ways this could be balanced.

You can certainly make it analogous to Divine Sacrifice. Traditionally and lore wise, shaman have always been the protectors of their people both in health and physical defense. Calling upon the powerful spirits and ancestors to guide them, making offerings to produce better hunts or harvests. The idea of a AoE Spirit Link on a long cooldown could be quite nice.

Spirit Link: Instant cast 3 minute cooldown

The shaman calls upon the spirits of their ancestors to watch over their companions and help ease their burdens and suffering

30% of all damage taken by party members within 40 yards is redirected to the Shaman (up to a maximum of 50% of the Shaman’s health times the number of party members).  Damage which reduces the Shaman below 20% health will break the effect.  Lasts 15 sec.

I could see something like that couldn’t you? Could also be handy if say it could also be affected by Ancestral Resolve, we could get that much more out of it. It also stays true to the original thought and feeling behind the spell.

Maybe make it like a healing Misdiretion, where it will still be on a long cool down but maybe transfers a portion of the damage off of x number of swings or impose a time limit. maybe something like:

Spirit Link: Instant cast 3-5 minute cooldown

The current party or raid member targeted will receive 30% of the damage dealt to a secondary target for the next 10 seconds. Any effect that reduces the targets health below 50% will cancel the effect.

These aren’t perfect but it is an idea at least. It really is the only tool we are missing. A long defensive cooldown. The other classes all have their cookies and flavors for this, and with groups potentially thinning down, and with healing being changed as it is, it is personally something I think the class needs. Just… call it Spirit Link to humor me is all I ask! Once we have that I think our healing tool-set will be complete, and then we will truly be princes of the universe! (bet you were wondering why I linked a Queen song up at the top ;])

So what do you think? Do you think shaman need that defensive cooldown? What would you make it? would you change any of our spells to fill the gap?

That is it for this week folks. Happy Healing!

Less is More?

Less is More?

As some of you may or may not know, I am actually trained in the skills of an architect. It’s a fun fact about me on the off chance you care about that sort of thing. The reason I bring this up is because all throughout my college career, my teachers attempted to drive home the point that “Less is More”. This is not a new design concept by any means, in fact it is a rather old idea, a 19th century proverbial phrase. It is first found in print in Andrea del Sarto, 1855, a poem by Robert Browning:

Who strive – you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) – so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.

Architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe is often associated with this phrase as a founder  of modern architecture and proponent of simplicity of style.

So I’m sure you’re asking why I’m dragging architecture into your dragon game right now yes? Well, quite simply the idea of less is more is a design concept that many game companies have embraced. To do more with less decreases production time, allows for a better shake down of bugs and glitches, and can free up a developer to create some very innovative game play.  One need not look much further than Braid or The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom to see what I mean here.

Blizzard it would seem has just begun to adapt to this way of thinking, at least it appears that way. You can see this in the latest build of the Cataclysm Beta. The new 31-point talent system has streamlined the talent trees by removing  bloat and overused space. What we are left with is a cleaner, albeit smaller, talent tree. A lot of the talents cut away were instead folded into the players choice in specialization, for example Earth Shield was removed as a talent and given as a core spell when a player chooses to specialize in Restoration. This design model is an attempt to do more with less. Less wasted talent space will lead to more interesting talents in the tree, as well more interesting game play for players… in theory anyways. I wrote up a more detailed breakdown of these changes on WoW.com so feel free to check it out. This is my more personal thoughts on these changes, and well… I just felt the need to keep talking about them some.

While it is still in an early beta phase, I can’t help but feel… disrupted a little bit. While I agree that some of the talents should have been moved, I’m not entirely feeling good about what was pulled out and what was put in. I agree that for restoration, Earth Shield should have been removed as a talent and made into a base spell. You will never hear me complain about that. Every resto shaman I know takes that talent, and in truth it is a very core, very iconic spell that is part of the identity of a resto shaman. If you are a restoration shaman without Earth Shield… well I just don’t even know. I am curious though as to why Mana Tide Totem was left in place though. Like ES it is a very core shaman talent and again something most if not all resto shaman take. Why not remove it as a talent and give it as a bonus for choosing the restoration specialization? That could further open up the tree and allow more space for more fun talents. From a design perspective it would make more sense to make it a base ability or a specialization bonus and open the slot for something else… maybe something like Spirit Link!

Another thing that confused me was some of the additions, Spark of Life to be exact. One of the things that Blizzard stated was that they wanted to move away from/remove talents that added passive % bonuses. Don’t get me wrong, I like the talent. Buffing the healing done to yourself has been near godly in the beta (*ahem* restoiz4tanking!) and it makes the passive heal from Healing Stream Totem nice for longevity, but I am still surprised to see it included. It does go well with Ancestral Resolve as far as that whole staying alive thing goes as well. I fully plan on using these for tanking as a healer!

Telluric Currents would be nice for leveling… if it was lower in the tree. I can’t see taking it as a dedicated healer in end game, as it is rare that I have to DPS at all and even then it is usually a flame shock followed by more healing and then a lava burst. It could be useful for soloing… maybe.

We lost a lot however. A lot of our supercharged healing is gone, and we are dreadfully low on passive crit. Some additions to the tree give us back some of the bonus healing, but no where near where it was. I understand that they want to make healing harder and more thoughtful and I am pro difficulty on that, but a shaman’s best procs all come from crit. Passively we can push 40% in a raid without trying, this helps with heals from Ancestral Awakening and helps trigger Blessing of the Eternals sure. It also is necessary for shaman mana regeneration. Improved Water Shield procs off of critical heals. The more crits you have the more likely you are to regen mana and be able to keep casting. I don’t know if you remember but there was a time not so long ago that shaman were having longevity issues. IWS was implemented to compensate for that, but by removing the passive crit, it hurts our regeneration rates. Meditation is supposed to allow for further regeneration, but the question remains if it will wind up being enough.

Along those same lines, Tidal Force is out. I really really miss this spell. It has become second nature in to pop this spell and its absence is keenly felt. When I’m healing on live I usually have a rhythm going. Like say for Valithria;

Riptide > Healing Wave > Healing Wave > Chain Heal > Tidal Force > Healing Wave > Healing Wave etc. Refreshing Riptide when off cooldown.

Now it has become

Riptide > Healing Wave > Healing Wave > Chain Heal > Look for Tidal Force *DAMNIT* Unleashed Weapon > Healing Wave > Healing Wave etc.

Throws me off quite a bit. Still getting used to it. I can see what they are doing by trimming the trees and I approve. While I may not be a staunch minimalist, I know when things have gotten bloated. The restoration tree on live definitely is bloated, and the one on the current beta could use some more pruning .

So Blizzard, keep in mind that less is more. Players have been doing creative things with very little for a while now. Just make what we have better defined and maybe move a few more things around. We don’t necessarily need a rolls-royce (although it would not be turned down!) we just need things that function well. We’ve been trotting along pretty much unchanged for a good bit, just make sure you don’t break us ok?

So what do you guys think of the changes so far? Anything you noticed you love? Hate? Anything you think they should add in?


Your Alt In Our Guild, My Shaman In Your Hands

arthursseat

There are now two Mimetirs.

She’s now also a male Tauren warrior on Argent Dawn (EU). This might sound like a bit of a break with the beaky tradition but it’s not too much of a stretch for a character who’s named for her ability to mimic other creatures. Being a warrior still makes her a birdbrain, after all,.

Why am I telling you this? I thought I’d share a happy occurrence with you. On Tuesday I heard (thanks Jaedia!) about Single Abstract Noun (SAN). It’s a community guild on Argent Dawn (horde side for EU, alliance side for US) open to anyone in the WoW blogging community, be ye a reader or blogger.

So, I’d like to thank Tamarind, Miss Medicina and crew for having the idea and setting it up – great thought, guys. I think the full story of how it came about – and the guild policies – are here (EU) and here (US).

The guild roster is already astonishingly long and guild chat on Tuesday was moving so fast it was almost impossible to keep up with, which was good to see. Not only that, it was lovely to see a whole load of warm welcomes when new folks signed up. So, if you’re in any way related to the blogging community – and if you’re reading this, you are – I think I’m right in saying that you’re welcome to roll an alt and join up, See moo there!

In other news …

meet my shaman, Ape. He quakes in his boots when he visits the badge vendors at the moment. At this rate he’s going to give all his frosties to the bartender at the Legerdemain in return for calming, calming wine. In the name of fun – and of my shaman’s sobriety – I’ve decided to put his dilemma to a vote with you guys.

winechoiceiseasier

You know how it is when you’re browsing the vendors in real life. You’ve tried various shinies on by this point. The blue top is only worth it if you get the new jeans as well. The stripey top only really works with some outfits. And the wristlet – well, it’s small and will put an inappropriately sized crater in your purse but then it is really shiny.

It’s easy to get in a tizwaz about upgrades to your wardrobe. Particularly if those upgrades have stats on them and it’s not just the colours that you’re trying to match to the rest of your outfit.

That’s how my shaman feels when he’s trying to decide which upgrade to buy next. I’m trying to decide whether to go for minor utility upgrades or to do what I think most of us should do more and say “dash and poppycock! I’m going to do the fun thing.”

I’ve seen and heard a lot of discussion about the various tier 10 set bonuses, and the sets themselves. I’m not going to ramble on about them here except to say the 2 piece tier 10 resto shaman bonus is nigh essential.

I will give a brief synopsis. Ape was in a mixture of 232s and 245s when he hit ICC. Several things were sorely in need of being upgraded and stats in need of being rejigged. To that end:

  • I needed to upgrade chest and hands badly. My research dug up some info on the cloth 264 gloves and chest being somewhat marvellous, so Ape dilligently saved up for those first
  • I examined and cross-examined the resto tier set and decided that I generally wasn’t very impressed with its individual pieces given my gear setup at the time
  • Obviously I needed to get the two-piece tier bonus so i decided that head and shoulder pieces were my best bets
  • I could also do with a new trinket (and belt). I’ve been running ToC25 and ICC25 as often as possible but haven’t once seen the relevant shines from them
  • My guild does more 10 man content than 25 at present due to time constraints

At the moment I’m torn between three new additions to my outfit for different reasons.

I have 78 frosties saved up.

I’d like your opinion on which of them I should go for. I promise that whatever way the vote goes, that will be what I buy next – feel free to keep an eye on WoW-Heroes for confirmation. The options are:

  1. I bite the bullet and buy the Purified Lunar Dust. Happily, it’ll solve the trinket issue. On the other hand Murphy’s Law says I’ll then get Althor’s Abacus and/or Solace of the Fallen quicksmart thereafter.
  2. I save up for both the tier helm and tier shoulders and then buy them together: basically buy the set bonus, as neither item on its own is that much of an upgrade over what I’m currently wearing
  3. I buy the shoulders now even though they’re a next-to-nothing practical upgrade. Why? Because I’ve heard about the shoulder-shoveltusk animation and I think it sounds really quite fun. I know, I know, small things. The catch here is then deciding which of the other options to pursue after the shoulders have made my day.

As a fourth, ugly-duckling type option I could say dash it all, and go for the somewhat-shiny but not-critical-upgrade Waistband of Despair.

So what do you think – what should I go for? Cast your votes now! Feel free to either just post a vote or go as in depth as you like. Either vote here in the comments page or tweet @Juddr, voting closes on Monday or so.

This is a post by Mimetir, a druid of a raidleader on The Venture Co. (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

Article images originally by Daniel Coomber and littleREDelf @ Flickr

State of Chain Heal 2:”Hail to The King, Baby!”

State of Chain Heal 2:”Hail to The King, Baby!”

ash2es_phixr

Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?

I simply can’t resist making Army of Darkness references, especially with all the WoW movie talk  and everything circling Sam Rami. This also mirrors a conversation I had with a guildie the other night on the current state of Restoration Shamans and where we are after this most recent patch. For some reason it always makes me think of Army of Darkness and Bruce Campbell, each time I chain heal I feel the urge to yell “THIS. IS. MY. CHAIN HEAL!”

Patch 3.2 brought with it not only a new instance in the coliseum, but a slew of Restoration Shaman changes that helped bring our healing up a little bit. Back in May I responded to a very lengthy thread with my own thoughts on chain heal, and in truth shaman healing as a whole. A lot of people thought we were broken in a bad way and were QQing about how it was time to re-roll. I stood up for us and said, yes we need tweaking but we aren’t broken. Patch 3.2 brought us that tweaking. In 3.0 and in 3.1 Shaman were given a slew of other spells to round out our healing and move us further away from the Haste / MP5 Chain heal spamming model of the Sunwell days. Blizzard did an amazing job doing that… but swung a little too far and inadvertently took Chain Heal down a few pegs to the point that we were having a very difficult time keeping up with AE damage in hard modes. Many Shaman were getting passed over to bring in other healers, that was bad news and quite frankly made me a sad Shaman. Then the man himself Ghost Crawler chimed in and said that changes were coming but they had to ride the knifes edge to not over power Chain Heal and make it the only spell we cast. Congratulations sir I dare say you guys did a fine job!

Lets take a look at what made the cut, First let’s look at Chain Heal.

Chain Heal: First of all, the Range between target was increased. 12.5 yards between targets is pretty good. It’s better when you consider that this is a smart heal and directs itself to a healing priority list and makes sure those who need it get it. This gets even better when you add in the Glyph of Chain Heal which lets it hit another target for a grand total of Four at a time! Now add in the change that between jumps the amount healed only is reduced by 40% (down from 50%) and you have yourself one sexy heal again.

But wait, there’s more!

Chain Heal was made very attractive again, but there were some other changes that compliment this as well.

Improved Water Shield: Not only does this give mana back on crit heals from LHW, HW and Riptide, but now it includes Chain Heal! The other good thing about this, is when you gain the effect, it doesn’t burn an orb. This is great news because that means it’s one less GCD you have to burn, which means that much more healing. This helps fix a lot of shaman mana problems, and ensures we can hang with paladins and disc priests for that near infinite mana.

Tidal Force: Another change that included chain heal. This now gives, HW, LHW and Chain Heal 60% additional critical strike rating. This also goes well with the next change

Nature’s Swiftness: The major change here is the Cool down. It’s been reduced to 2 minutes down from 3. This is huge in fights where you’ll need a fast chain heal or a fast healing wave more often (Hodir comes to mind). Having this available 1-2 more times a fight is a big boon to us.

Tidal Waves: Again this was changed to give a different bonus to LHW. When you cast riptide or chain heal, this bad boy procs. Before it gave a haste rating to LHW, now it gives it an additional 25% crit chance. That again is pretty huge considering everything we have that procs off of critical healing.

Healing Way:  This change was bigger then a lot of people I believe have noticed. Prior to the patch it placed a buff on your target that increased healing from Healing Wave. No other target benefited from it except for the one with the buff. This made the spell primarily a nuking tank heal spell. Now however it adds a flat increase to the healing output of the spell. A 25% bonus is nothing to scoff at. This allows you to work it into your spell rotation and make sure everyone you hit with it gets the added bonus of the talent

Ancestral Healing: This used to add armor. Now it adds a 10% physical damage reduction on any person you critically heal. This procs off of every crit, including Earth Shield crit heals. Look at the other above changes. The increased crit rate, the talents that add crit and make your heals faster combined with this? You could be rolling that 10% reduction over almost the entire raid with some smartly placed chain heals and liberal use of your talents. This is huge because it helps take environmental damage and even it out for the rest of the healers. This means less mana consumed trying to catch up and top people off and overall greater raid survivability.

Putting it all together, you get a rather complex and complete toolkit with which to heal your raid. We solidify our position as one of the games best swing healers, we can put out some very very good AE healing, or can spot heal on the fly. We can take over tank healing duties, or simply roll between them all. The changes to the spells make sure we are competitive in hard mode raids, but aren’t limited to casting a single spell over and over again. Personally I think the devs did a great job with us this patch. I feel they did a great job balancing Chain Heal out while not letting it overshadow all the other spells we have at our disposal. The synergy our class has always enjoyed is still there. Personally I’ve seen somewhere between a 350-450 hps increase in throughput, which puts us on par with the other healers, I’ve been able to keep up better with area effect damage and have been able to nuke heal a tank as needed. Healing is still challenging and fun, but I don’t feel underwhelmed by the shaman’s ability to keep up.

How about you? How has your healing been since the patch? Do you think they did a good job with the changes? What would you change, add or remove that the devs didn’t? Do you feel confident to head into a hard mode encounter and give it your all?

That’s it for today, Until next time Happy Healing

Sig

Image courtesy of Universal Studios

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State of Chain Heal, Lodur’s Thoughts

State of Chain Heal, Lodur’s Thoughts

chain-heal

A couple days ago one of my twitter buddies linked me a forum post that has been going on centered around the state of Chain Heal. Here’s the thread if you want to take a look. I generally make it a rule not to troll the official forums for the sheer amount of flotsam that tends to be present, but I did read it. All 22 pages (at the time of this post). I have a few opinions on this topic (keep in mind this is my opinion), and I’d like to take a moment to share them.

(this will probably be a bit  of a rant. so apologies in advance I just hate gross generalization)

/soapbox

There seems to be a perception that Chain Heal, and Restoration Shamans are broken in general. Not broken in the “DUDE I totally need to roll a Resto Shaman” but broken as in not functioning correctly. I cannot agree with that, not even a little. As a true lover of the class and all it’s faults and strengths, I can honestly say we are better off then most classes and specs. Are we perfect? No, we’re not. Are we broken? Hardly.

In the thread people quote the musings of Mek from Ensidia. I’m going to copy and paste the opening statement from the thread here.

There has been theorycraft showing that CH isn’t as strong as the other options. There have been logs produced showing how shaman are HPS capped. I’m not going to repeat all the data here, because you’ve read every post. Further, you have some of the top guilds putting shaman on spot heals instead of AOE heals or even replacing shaman with other healers for hard modes.

Mek, the resto Shaman from the #1 raiding guild Ensidia, is abandoning Chain Heal in favor of spot healing with LHW/RT.

http://ensidia.com/community/blogs/cause-and-effect.html

Chain Heal cannot compete with the comprehensive AoE healing power of four highly skilled Priest and Druid AoE healers. This is simply because if you compare the relative spell combos they have many advantages.

Vis Maior, a Top 20 US progression guild recently replaced one of their shaman with a priest, because Chain Heal could not keep up. Sixthy, the other resto is spot healing the raid with RT/LHW. His Chain Heal for the raid was 6% of his total heals.

http://elitistjerks.com/f79/t49212-resto_best_practices_pve_healing_discussion/p12/#post1248740

Deconstructor hard mode (25) really made Chain Heal look weak in my opinion. We had a 2nd resto shaman in for a few attempts and CH just flat out couldn’t keep up with PoH / CoH / WG / etc / etc.

Mek and Sixthy are not scrubs that just started playing. They are some of the best players in the world.

While I respect Mek and Sixthy , and appreciate everything they have contributed to the Shaman Community as a whole (this is in no way a shot at them or the OP of the comment above), I cannot agree that Chain Heal fails to measure up to the other AoE healing. I also feel that they are taken out of context quite often and people take statements like “this spell is better in this fight compared to this one” as “OMG SHAMANS ARE BEING REPLACED CAUSE THEY STINK”.  With Vis Maior, pointing out that they replaced a shaman with a priest is fine, but that’s going to have a lot to do with their composition. ( I checked their site they don’t have a raiding roster posted) I did notice they had three Resto Shamans on their members list. Unfortunately I don’t have details as to whether or not they were all raiders, but looking at each toon’s loot page it seems likely they are. I can see that being a problem, not because of the weakness of the class or spells, but based on composition. As a Healing Lead I can tell you, too much of a good thing often turns swiftly into a bad thing, and there have been many nights a raid has suffered from too much of one concentration.

Second thing I would like to point out is quoting that Chain Heal for Sixthy was 6% of his total casts. That’s fine and all but is that one fight? I started going through the EJ post, there is a lot of information there, but all of it is subjective. Keep in mind your mileage may vary. I can produce WWS that show Chain Heal being 50% of all healing done, doesn’t mean it’s a “God Spell” by any means. Also, pointing out that the spell is HPS capped is moot. Technically all healing spells in the game are HPS capped if you have all the items/gems/enchants necessary to push that cap.

I’m going to quote Ghost Crawler here. He chimes in on the topic with the following.

We’re not convinced there is a Resto or Chain Heal problem in PvE.

Part of what we wanted to do was give shamans other spells to cast besides CH. Riptide is an awesome spell and seems to be fun for a lot of shamans. People are still casting CH, and probably a lot more often than priests are using PoH and druids WG (depending on the fight of course). We would want to make sure that any change to CH didn’t send shamans back to the Sunwell world of just using that one spell.

Well, I agree 100% with GC. Blizz gave us a multitude of spells so we weren’t one trick ponies. Back in BT / Sunwell days you could bind all your keys to Chain Heal and just roll your face on the keyboard and win (with the exception of keeping one key for Heroism / Bloodlust). Well… that just wasn’t fun. Now we have a lot of cookies, and they are quite delicious. Personally I think Chain Heal is just fine. Would I complain if they did buff it a little? No sir, I’d be grateful but I don’t expect it. I like the fact that unlike Wild Growth and Circle of Healing, there is no cooldown on the spell other then the GCD. I like the fact that if glyphed I can hit 4 targets at a time. I love the fact that it is a smart heal and not just blindly jumping to pad over healing. I love the fact that it feeds our other talents and spells with buffs and loving. I love the iconic spell, bottom line, but you can’t lose sight of every other tool we have at our disposal and say that we don’t measure up or that the spell fails. Math can be produced to support any argument, ask my buddy mike. He has a degree in Computational Physics. His entire job is to debunk the theories put forth by other scientists using math. His stance is

“I can find an equation to prove or disprove anything given enough time. Numbers change and statistics are subjective”

I agree with mike. In a game of Random Number Generation no numbers can be absolute. I can roll a 20 sided dice 10 times, and I can get multiple 20′s in a row. That doesn’t mean the die isn’t balanced, I just had a hot streak. Try to keep that in mind when applying numbers to the game. We can shift the tables, but at the end of the night it still boils down to RNG

/soapbox

Ok, now that I have the rant out of the way, lets take a look at the Resto Shaman’s Tool box and what we bring to the table.

Cleanse Spirit – While not a “healing” spell in the effect that it doesn’t restore health, it’s a reactionary tool to stabilize. It removes 1 disease, 1 poison and 1 curse for a 7% base mana cost. Well, thats kind of an amazing tool, and one that shouldn’t be looked over.

Riptide – Our instant cast HoT. This spell Is more amazing then people give it credit. As a HoT it’s admittedly not as good as some of the others available, but adding the T8 2pc bonus and the Riptide Glyph makes it a bit better for use as one. Lets not forget the spell gives your Chain Heal a 25% boost. Oh and it can trigger Improved water Shield. Thats hardly something to scoff at.

Tidal Force – This talent is on 3min timer. It gives you a 60% increased chance to crit on your Chain Heal, Healing Wave and Lesser Healing Wave with a diminishing factor of 20% on each successful crit. I know in a normal raid I run about a 31% crit chance. Poping this to give myself a 91% crit chance, and combining that with say Riptide on a target is a very attractive healing explosion.

Tidal Waves – This ability gives your next 2 healing wave or lesser healing waves a 30% haste increase after you cast CH or Riptide. It also gives HW a 20% increase in healing, and LHW 10% boost. Combine that with Tidal Force and you can have some big HW heals in clutch situations.

Earth Shield – This bad boy is a great little cookie. You toss it up on a tank and it gives you a little bit of a buffer for healing. It really shines on a tank that has a ton of avoidance (see Death Knight or Bear Tank). It has a few second internal cooldown between healing procs, but when your tank is dodging 70% of the incoming attacks that becomes less of a factor. Average healing is between 2 – 3k . I tossed this up on our Main Tank (DK) in Uld last week and after one fight he asked if he even got hit. ES was down 3 charges but no healers had to touch him. I think that says something about this spell right there.

Lesser Healing Wave – This is our Flash heal. It’s fast and works like our healing jab. Combine that with Tidal Waves and it’s that much faster while Tidal Force can give it a little more bang for your buck. You can also toss in a LHW Glyph and give your ES target a little LHW loving. It also triggers your Improved Water Shield to help with your mana regeneration.

Healing Wave – This is our Greater Heal. It’s slow and it hits hard. You can speed it up with a Tidal Waves proc and boost it with Tidal Force. It also can trigger IWS and you can Glyph it to heal yourself whenever you use it.

Healing Stream Totem – Since patch 3.1 this has become one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal. Combine it with the recent changes to Restorative Totems and toss in a Glyph of Healing Stream Totem and watch this puppy start pumping out massive AoE HoT healing. Using this with Chain Heal on top of it just becomes a ridiculous amount of raid healing.

Acenstral Awakening – This little puppy might not be the greatest tool we have, but it is definitely useful. It can proc off Riptide, LHW and HW and heals the lowest health target within 40 yards for 30% of the amount you just healed. Combine that with some of the aforementioned talents and you can get a decent amount of mileage out of this one.

Earth Living Weapon – Our healing weapon imbue adds 150 healing and has a 20% chance to toss a small HoT off the target of the heal. This can and does proc off of chain heal and taking Blessing of the Eternals can increase the proc percentage as well as the Glyph. It might not seem like a lot but free healing is free healing, and it does add up.

We have so much going for us now, we are a complete healer. Our strength lies in the synergy of spells and talents as well as our ability to compliment every healer in the game. I once referred to Restoration Shamans as the driving bass line that keeps the song moving forward. I still fully believe that. I think our spells are strong and I think they give us an ability to fill multiple roles in a raid at the drop of a hat. I think our versatility and synergy allow us a certain amount of freedom many classes don’t always have. I can go from raid healing to tank healing in the blink of an eye, and be just as good as any other healing class.

I don’t think chain heal is broken, I just think it’s not the crutch it used to be. I think people should stop looking to it to be the spell it was in Sunwell, and should accept that it is one of many tools to be used with great effect. You have to use every tool you have at your disposal to be effective or as the saying goes, the sum is greater then the parts. I think chain heal keeps up with PoM, CoH, and WG just fine. I think swinging to one extreme and favoring one spell or the other is horrible. You should never grow to rely on a single spell, nor should a class be defined by the strength of a single spell. For all the people who claim that a shaman’s worth lies in Bloodlust and Heroism solely, or that since chain heal isn’t a god-like spell that we have no use in a raid. That just makes me sad. As someone who truly loves the shaman class, and as a person who enjoys it so much that other classes pale in comparison to play I beg you. Please look at the class as a whole. Look at all the wonderful things we bring to the raid and treat us like any other healer. I beg you to keep in mind composition of the entire raid over individual classes. We stack up just fine compared to other AoE healing, don’t write us off.

I’m ok if you say one of our spells is not suited for a specific task, but it really sets me off when it degenerates down into a crude understanding of how things are. I know for a fact I can keep up on hard modes, I know my spells will be there to back me up. I know this because I use everything and the kitchen sink when healing.

What do you guys think? Do you think Shaman Healing is broken? Do you think we can’t keep up with hard mode healing? Do you still love your Lazer Beam of Love?

Until next time, Happy Healing

sig4

Image courtesy of Lize of <Gladius Dei> on Kilrogg
Found through official forums

Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

Restoration Shaman – Best in Slot 3.1

puzzle-piece_phixr

Once again we find ourselves with new content and as a result new upgrades. Our tier sets await us as well as many more foes that must be conquered. That means it’s time for another best in slot post for my fellow raiding restoration shamans. Before we get started I would like to say just a couple things.

  • First, this is my opinion. Use this as a guide or not at all, but this is based on my value of the stats we use.
  • Second, please feel free to make your own list or suggestions, after all it is your character and you should equip it as you see fit.

Head: [Steamworker's Goggles] – Flame Leviathan 25: Good MP5 and great stats

Neck: [Charm of Meticulous Timing] – XT-002 25 (hard mode) this is a tough one to get, and so you might not get a chance at it for a while. In the meantime a good alternative is [Frozen Tear of Elune] which will run you 19x Emblem of Conquest.

Shoulders: There are two options here, first is [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Spaulders] – Yogg Sarron 25. Haste, good mp5 and a red socket. Second runner up is [Amice of the Stoic Watch] - Auriaya 25. Crit instead of haste, decent mp5 and a red socket.

Back: [Shroud of Alteration] – Ulduar Trash 25

Chest: [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Tunic] Hodir 25 or 58 Emblems of Conquest

Wrist: Again two options here, First is [Binding of Winter Gale] Hodir 25 (hard) or if you aren’t quite there yet, [Armbraces of the Vibrant Flame] from Ignis 10. These are BoE so you might be able to find them on the auction house as well.

Hands: [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Handguards] Mimron 25

Waist: I’m going to give this to [Windchill Binding] This will cost you 28 Emblems and it’s a great upgrade from the Naxx 25 loot. If you want more crit you can go with [Blue Belt of Chaos] but I’m finding the price rather inflated to have it crafted right now.

Legs: [Conqueror's Worldbreaker Legguards] Freya 25

Boots: [Boots of the Forgotten Depths] General Vezax 25 Good MP5 and haste.

Rings: There are a lot of options here, I’m going to give my top 4 choices though to [Pyrelight Circle] – Ignis 25. [Sanity's Bond] – Yogg 25. [Ring of the Faithful Servant] – Auriaya 25 and [Signet of Manifested Pain] – KT 25

Trinket: Again a lot of options my top picks are [Scale of Fates] – Thorim 25. [Living Ice Crystals] – Malygos 25. [Energy Siphon] – Flame Leviathan 10.  [Pandora's Plea] – Mimron 25,    [Je'Tze's Bell] – BoE World Drop. I’m normally not a fan of on use trinkets, I prefer ones that give passive buffs most times, but Energy Siphon and Living Ice Crystal’s passive mp5 make them worth picking up alone. The on use effect of each is icing on the cake.

Off Hand: Two solid choices here, First is [Ice Layered Barrier] – Hodir 25 (hard) or [Pulsing Spellshield] – XT-002 10. Both have good stat allocation (and it helps they look cool!)

Relic: [Steamcaller's Totem] – Flame Leviathan 25 or [Totem of Forest Growth] – 15x badges of heroism.

Main Hand: I saved this for last. First weapon that should be on EVERY healer’s list of wants is [Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings], Amazing mace with good stats. The proc as we’ve seen from the blue posts is crazy good. This will be at the top of everyone’s list. Second to this mace I vote [Guiding Star] – Razorscale 25, for best in slot runner up.

Looking at this I’m sure you will see it’s got a decent mix of MP5, haste and crit, while maintaining good intellect for replenishment and good spellpower. Some of the choices seem predictable, such as the tier 8.5 set pieces. The four pieces I selected I feel offer the most bang for the buck and allow you to gather the four piece bonus, which is worth it’s weight in gold.

If you’re looking to place value on items and stats, and figure out what weight works for you, you can use Shaman_hep, an addon from Stassart which allows you to calculate a miryiad of information from your combat logs to help lend a hand figuring out what’s best for you.

So now you’ve seen my list, What do you think are the best in slot items for Restoration Shaman?

Until next time, Happy healing

sig

Image courtesy of UToronto.ca

Why Play a Shaman?

Why Play a Shaman?

Lodur here again. A while ago I posted a question over at Plusheal as well as my guild forums and a few other places asking the Shaman community for a little input. Here’s the question I posed to them.

“What made you choose to play a shaman healer over all the other choices? What about the class keeps you playing it? and lastly, what do you like about the class and what do you not like?”

I know my own reasons but I’ve been curious as to what drew other people to the class over the others. I’m happy to say I received a surfeit of information from many people. I would like to take a second here and thank the Shaman community as a whole for taking the time to respond to the question.

There were many varied responses but they tended to fall within a certain range of categories. I’ll attempt to gather them here for you in a nice and tidy grouping.

Uniqueness

This by far got the most mention. There seems to be a general consensus that no one does it quite like a Shaman. The Shaman has many iconic features such as Totems, the Chain spells, crazy Windfury action, the Elemental Shields, and Self Resurrection! The shaman also has a distinct look. Take a look at our sets of armor

shammies1

Tell me those are not unique and awesome!

Versatility

Everyone seemed to agree that the versatility of the class was a sticking point with them. They loved the ability to melt faces, heal a raid or smack things with large pointy sticks. Being able to switch between roles is definitely a draw for me as well. It’s nice being able to go from raiding and heal like a mad man and then afterward pop over and do some dailies throwing lightning and lava at things to get it done without having to switch gear or respec.  Even in a raid when healing is taken care of (or fights you can’t heal) it’s fun to be able to toss up a Flame Shock, throw some Lightning Bolts and then finish off with a nice Lava Burst crit (I’m looking at you Loatheb!) and not worry about gear or trinkets or what have you. The shaman may not be able to tank, but it’s still one of the more versatile classes you can play in Warcraft.

Lore

Surprisingly enough the lore of the Shaman class draws a lot of players as well. Lore is a huge reason of why I play the class but I have a whole other post coming about that. Lets look at what a Shaman traditionally is and believes in the real world

From Wikipedia:

  • Spirits exist and they play important roles both in individual lives and in human society.
  • The shaman can communicate with the spirit world.
  • Spirits can be good or evil.
  • The shaman can treat sickness caused by evil spirits.
  • The shaman can employ trance inducing techniques to incite visionary ecstasy and go on “vision quests”.
  • The shaman’s spirit can leave the body to enter the supernatural world to search for answers.
  • The shaman evokes animal images as spirit guides, omens, and message-bearers.
  • The shaman can tell the future, scry, throw bones/runes, and perform other varied forms of divination

Shamanism is based on the premise that the visible world is pervaded by invisible forces or spirits which affect the lives of the living. In contrast to organized religions like animism or animatism which are led by priests and which all members of a society practice, shamanism requires individualized knowledge and special abilities. Shaman operate outside established religions, and, traditionally, they operate alone, although some take on an apprentice.

That’s pretty darn cool if you ask me.  If you look in game you can see that these ideals were pulled in for greats like Ner’zhul and Thrall as well as the quests we see throughout the game. In Warcraft, the Shaman has a rich history, and are an integral part in the stories and lore of Warcraft past and present. The Paladins may have their light, but I think I’ll ride the lightning instead.

Feeling of Being Needed

A lot of people love the “need” that people have for Shaman. In BC you could see guilds posting recruitment threads asking for Shamans. Shamans were treated well and people loved the fact that their guild and well, pretty much everyone wanted them in their raids and groups. It normally doesn’t take long for a Shaman to get scooped up into a raid from the Looking For Group or Trade chat. We may be more common now on the Alliance side, but our position and tricks are no less coveted. We are hot commodities still!

What Needs to be Fixed?

The second part of the question was asking people what needed to be fixed about the class, or what they thought could be improved.  There were two topics that kept coming up.

First was the topic of streamlining totems. This was before the announcement of 3.1 and the patch notes, but people wanted to see totems re worked and streamlined. It’s nice to have a box full of tricks to pull from but managing them can become a hastle. Mods like Yata and Totem Timer make it easier,  but it’s still a daunting task, especially in the middle of a hectic boss fight. When Wrath was coming we saw the beginnings of the process to remedy this. They announced that Stength of Earth totem would combine with Grace of Air totem meaning you only had to drop one to get the effect for both. This was a huge boon to us shamans and I know more then one of us rejoiced. The trend is continuing here with the combining of cleansing totem putting together Disease Cleansing and Poison Cleansing into one glorious totem. Whether this will stay or not is another thing but right now it’s very good.

Second thing that kept coming up was PvP viability. Restoration Shaman have always been the resilient “you can’t kill me” types in PvP situations. Give a resto Shaman some resilience and talents like Nature’s Guardian with a sprinkle of Earth Shield and just watch them go! The other two trees though suffer from glass cannon syndrome. They can hit hard up front but have a hard time taking a hit. Some talents though are being reworked to help keep all talent trees viable in PvP. Looking at items like Astral Shift and Elemental Warding in the Elemental tree and Toughness in Enhancement being changed to add stamina instead of armor you can see they are trying.

So now my question to those out there that play the Shaman.

Why do you play the Shaman?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

~Lodur