Forget Shamans! (what we lost in the fire, edition)

17 Jun

Come Cataclysm, shaman raiders are going to die in a fire.  We don’t need their stinking totems.

Now before we get into a QQing storm, let me clarify.  Right now, in end game play in Wrath of the Lich King, a successful 10 player group contains 2 tanks (of any class, even the same), 2 healers, one dps who can heal some fights, and reasonable balance of ranged and melee dps.  And one shaman, of any spec.

That’s not cool.

First, I don’t want to bring a shaman I don’t want to raid with.  I have a level 80 resto shaman on another server and they’re a great class.  Some of my best friends are shamans.  A fellow officer plays a shammy, and he cracks me up all the time.  I don’t hate the totemic folks, but I hate having to take them.

If our shaman misses a night, we call the hardmode run.  If he or she is playing badly, we can’t kick her or him.  The countless nights I spend reading blogs, forums, posts, and sims to get better at my class feels needless, as I could just have rolled an essential class and not worried.

How did we get here?  What makes Bloodlust/Heroism a “must have” buff?  How is Cataclysm going to shake up our world here?

First, we got here because every fight-strategy and every raid leader will tell you “pop lust here” or “use heroism at 20% to push through this tricky part.”  These sayings should be, “co-ordinate so that all of your dps know to save cooldowns for this time and pop potions to maximize damage there,” but that’s a bit lengthy.  Bloodlust does that for you, and as a leadership tool, its a big deal.

Second, this co-ordination of dps means everything is happening faster.  Debuffs are getting up without space for them to fall off, and damage is lining up perfectly into huge numbers.  The myth of bloodlust: its a huge damage buff.   Reality: it does more for dps as a co-ordination tool than as a raid buff.

Heroism is so loved because while other classes have significant raid-wide buffs, no one else has one that gets mentioned every fight.  Everyone, from the pugger to the hardcore guild master, knows about bloodlust and makes a point of maximizing its usage as they know best.  Healers heal faster, and enjoy it.  Casters cast faster, and melee swing faster.  Even the tanks enjoy seeing threat hammered on to a boss at an increased rate.

So that’s why we love it, and why we couldn’t fix the problem by making it smaller.  I’ve taken a 10 player group into ICC a few times now without a shaman and called to “save cooldowns… pop them now.”  It works, to an extent.  Nevertheless, when we had a possible shaman available to replace a busy healer, and the group excitement could be felt through vent.

How is cataclysm changing this?  Simple: they’re giving this buff to twice as many people.  While it feels like a blow now, this will be good for the viability of the shaman class.  We shamans will not be taken for our buff, but rather, for play skill.  Mages will be getting Time Warp, so raid guides will now have to say “and then pop Time Warp/Heroism/Bloodlust at 10%.”

The only thing that really scares me about this change is the already dangerous rogue/mage 2v2 teams.  /shudder


4 Responses to “Forget Shamans! (what we lost in the fire, edition)”

  1. DKS June 20, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    I don’t think it’s just that easy. Blizzard tried and tried again to make Shamans “less attractive/mandatory” and this mage deal will work great for 25-men.

    However, for a 10M Hardmode stacked group, I’ll still always take a Shaman over a Mage.

    Shamans have four totems. This is a huge deal. They’re *the* kings of buffs. Unlike each paladin bringing another blessing, a shaman brings four, and the number only increases with each additional shaman. Their totems buff the raid massively. It pains me to say this, but as a DK DPSer in a 10M Hardmode encounters, I had to work very hard to justify my presence, and if the call was between me and a Shaman, as a responsible RL, I stepped down for the Shaman.

    This is especially crucial in 10M as I said, where buffs aren’t dime a dozen. And let’s say… You somehow got a spellcleave group with 1 DPS slot left for either an Ele and a Mage. You still take the Shaman for the self-rez.

    Shamans, simply said, are one of the most unbalanced and crucial parts of 10M raids. That along with Retribution paladins, with massive amounts of DPS boosts that aren’t really found elsewhere and also the mana battery.

    Giving Bloodlust to one more class certainly helps, but it’s just “merely a setback” in the words of Kael’thas.

  2. calsong June 21, 2010 at 12:20 am #

    Solid points, sir. This is the fundamental issue: class design. Early designers made classes that give buffs, and classes that receive buffs. Years later, we’ve realized its more fun to get buffs and rock the charts, but its no fun at all to always get benched.

    Even as a shadow priest, I’ve had to work hard to justify my place in a raid. 4 totems are solid, no question. That said, early design efforts show retadins getting the wind-fury buff, spriests getting the spell haste totem buff, and even the possibility of hunter pets each being taken for a specific buff.

    It still isn’t perfect, but Cata promises to take us closer to that ideal. Totems can’t become meaningless, but they are becoming closer to the ideal of one unique buff and three overlapping ones.


  1. Shared Topic: What Needs to Die in a Fire in Cataclysm? « Twisted Nether Blogcast - June 20, 2010

    […] Calsong from Mind Spike […]

  2. Mythbusters, WoWstyle! « Mind Spike - June 22, 2010

    […] Bloodlust/Heroism is huge for a raid’s dps. While the co-ordination of cooldowns is a big deal, and a heroism does help, bloodlust just isn’t that big a buff. Any shaman who’s soloed to level can tell you that.  A ten player or a 25 player group can accomplish challenging goals without this buff, and the WoW world’s emphasis on it is something I’ve covered in a previous post. […]

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