This week I interviewed Xarkness, Level 70 Draenei Shaman on Gul'dan. Before BC, he used to raid with his Paladin but rolled up a blueberry shaman when the expansion came out.
Robin: I love your Elemental Noob video. Is that your current spec?
Xarkness: I have spent a lot of time with each talent spec, but sadly, I always find myself dragging my feet back to the resto tree. When I first dinged 70 I was enhancement, and had leveled exclusively through enhancement from 1 to 70. Upon reaching 70 I respeced Elemental in hopes for a change in pace, also I found my DPS to be too uncontrollable as an enhancement shaman. (Windfury crits = you are dead) After being elemental for some time I became quite fond of the spec. Time continued on and one day the guild needed me to respec resto for Karazhan. Upon respeccing the difference in my survivability and viability in PvP was like night and day. I not only felt incredibly useful, but anytime I was stun locked or assaulted by a melee class I actually could survive. Also my teams' ratings in the arenas began rising across the boards. As elemental or enhancement, I was usually always the first to be killed -- stunlocked, counterspelled, CC'd, or focus fired. The only real thing I was good for was getting Heroism/Bloodlust off before I died.
When you were leveling up, did you notice any difference when grouping with people not knowing what to do with a Shaman, or was it pretty much the same as when leveling your other character(s)?
Leveling up as a shaman I did a lot of soloing. The most common thing I would see is someone such as a priest or druid run up to me, buff me, then remark, "buffs plz". "I'm sorry I don't have any buffs unless you're in my group." They would then /spit and walk away. In the later levels once I had gotten to Outlands I wanted to do more instancing. The first thing you encounter of course is the preconceived notion that all shamans are resto. Occasionally, you'll run into a person who never knew that shaman can self-resurrect, or people who never knew that we can water walk. Of course these individuals, amazed and bedazzled, simply scream, "OP" or "nerf shammies!".
Why do you think there are so few Blueberry Shamans as compared to Belfadins?
I think that the ratio of Blood Elf Paladins to Draenei Shamans is simple to explain. According to Warcraft Realms' Census, currently 28% of Horde characters 10-70 are Blood Elves. For the Alliance, only 13% of 10-70 players are Draenei. Simply put, Blood Elves are more attractive to most people, both visually and functionally. Their racials in my opinion posses much more utility than Draenei racials. A Blood Elf can not only AoE Silence but in addition to that can gain mana back from doing so. Draenei racials give you the ability to heal yourself over time. Now as a hybrid class that can heal him/herself, what's more valuable to you, another heal, or mana/AoE silence?
What are the pros and cons of raiding with your Shaman as opposed to your Paladin?
I have raided as a healbot both as a Paladin and as a Shaman. In terms of the pros and cons, my Paladin is a very effective single target healer. Not only that, but the sustainability of their healing is paramount. However, honestly, I grew tired of single target healing a long time ago during my pre-BC raiding days.
Healing as a Shaman is much more engaging to me. Having to keep track of totem placement, making sure everyones in range, and planning bounces on Chain Heals to maximize efficiency is actually entertaining to me. I believe it's much more challenging to be an effective healer as a Shaman, and because of that fact, I feel a greater sense of accomplishment by fulfilling that role.
Do you feel that your Shaman skills are utilized properly in instances? How about raids?
I can confidently say that I have raided and instanced effectively with each spec. As I hit 70, I had somewhat of an identity crisis. I had rolled my shaman to get away from being a healbot. So initially I was drawn to the DPS trees (Elemental/Enhancement). Enhancement was definitely a viable form of sustained DPS, even after the nerf to dual wield windfury. Elemental's DPS sustainability was great prior to the clearcast nerf. The main problem I have with both of those trees is that they both involve spamming one skill endlessly. Not only that, but they have no aggro dump, meaning if you ever get aggro in a raid, chances are you're dead. I am also an avid PvPer, and the survivability of Enhancement/Elemental is extremely low. I am currently speced Restoration, and probably will remain speced that way until something interesting pops up in either of the other two trees.
Now granted I am happy with resto, but honestly I feel as though I've simply been pigeon-holed back into a healing spec. If I was going to be a healer for life, I should have never have left my paladin to begin with. I re-rolled as a shaman to try something new, to have fun with a new kind of hybrid. I have no problem being the best healbot around, but I can't make a montage video of healing crits set to dramatic music. I only hope that Blizz actually listens to all the great feedback they get from their community.
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.