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

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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

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About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.

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