This week on Totem Talk, I ask Onnix the Shaman what's RIGHT with the Shaman class since that is the question he actually wanted to answer in our first interview. There's a lot of belly-aching going on about the Shaman being the least balanced class in the game and Warcraft Realms is still showing them as the least played class -- though honestly, I don't know how often their census is updated. But Onnix maintains that the Shaman class is a blast to play, even with all the limitations.
So, what is right about about the Shaman class?
Onnix: We are a Jack-Of-All-Trades class -- I think the most fun one. The versatility of our class allows us to be instantly flexible in a variety of situations as opposed to the druid class, who have to shift forms to access limited skill sets.
Why should a shaman be invited to a heroic instance run?
From a resto perspective, contrary to popular belief, the shaman can main heal or even solo heal just fine in Heroics, but they require a competent group -- tanks that can hold aggro, DPS that don't pull aggro. A competent group is always the ideal, but with a priest healing, there is a larger margin of error within the group. I believe priest heals generate less threat (not positive) but if they pull healing aggro, they can fade, they can also Power Word: Shield targets to give them a chance to catch up on heals. Also, their heals are so much more efficient that they don't run out of mana as much.
What about the other specs? Do they have a place in heroic instances?
Elemental and enhance shaman, can do great DPS, but will have to fight the prevailing opinion of having to have crowd control classes in heroics. Most groups will want to find at least two CC classes, typically mages, hunters, or rogues, before picking up a DPS shaman.
So, in fact, there is more room for a DPS shaman in large raids than in small groups?
More flexibility certainly, but more room? It depends on the raid leader.
What is the most fun aspect of your level 70 Shaman?
PvE solo-ability. Resto shamans can take a lot of abuse, and can solo fairly tough elites. Elemental and enhance shamans are great DPSers that can heal. They are just a very versatile class to play.
You had your most fun with Onnix from 60 to 70?
I had a blast leveling to 70. It was a fantastic break from raiding, and I just had a great time with all of the new content. It was really great seeing things from a fresh perspective again -- almost like being brand new to the game.
What spec were you from 60 to 70? I know previous to TBC, you were resto for raiding.
Elemental. I was pretty well geared at 60, which made getting started pretty easy.
What are the most fun skills you have as a 70 Shaman?
Hmm, Ghost Wolf is pretty fun. I consider Improved Ghost Wolf a must-have while leveling up on a PvP server. And our new elementals are pretty cool, even though the 20 minute cooldown limits their usefulness. Oh, and there's nothing quite like seeing a Grounding Totem eat a mage's Pyroblast.
What about Earth Shield?
Earth Shield is cool, but i don't know about fun. It just adds survivability to a spec that has horrible DPS.
In a heroic instance, what are the totems you use most?
It depends on the group make-up, but totems for the tank generally take priority. Strength of Earth and Grace of Air both help with damage mitigation, but if it's a caster heavy group, i may throw down Wrath of Air. And I use Mana Spring for myself, always.
What about raids?
Tank groups get Strength of Earth and Grace of Air. Melee DPS groups get Strength of Earth and Windfury. Caster DPS groups get Wrath of Air and Mana Spring totems.
What totems do you use in your arena group?
Depends on the group you are fighting, but Tremor and Grounding totems are super important. Poison cleansing are required to help cleanse rogue and hunter debuffs. And for a little extra DPS, I use Fire Nova or Searing totems.
Overall, would you recommend that someone play the shaman class?
Definitely. Shamans are fun. Just don't expect to do crazy DPS and don't expect to be the best healer. It takes more effort to excel in any given area than it does for other classes. You'll have a lot of fun leveling up, but don't expect to do anything but heal in the endgame.
Are you a level 70 Shaman with interesting experiences or insightful opinions or inside knowledge that you would like to share? Please email Robin.Torres AT weblogsinc DOT com for a possible interview.