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Shifting Perspectives: The Druid-Shammy double whammy

Ryan Carter

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them.

Lately I have been leveling a Shaman, and I was surprised to learn that Druids (my all-time favorite class) and Shamans (might become my second favorite) are quite similar. I know I am a Shammy noob, having never leveled one before, but am quickly learning to love them and hoping to suck in all the knowledge I can in coming days.

Not only with Shamans and Druids, I guess you could say that there is a lot of class crossover in many areas, for example, a Warlock functions much like a Hunter, being a long ranged fighter with a pet, or how druids double up on many of the Rogue's trademarks, at least in feral form. The list is endless, and I could go on, but after all, this is a Druid column, so let's get to it.

I don't think crossover is all that uncommon, nor is it detrimental to any class, in fact, much of the time, the class crossover actually helps and can fill a void especially in instances when your (insert loser class here) bailed on you at the last second before a big fight. This is what makes druids the cream of the cat, um, crop. We druids can do almost everything, but with varying degrees of effectiveness depending on spec, motivation, and of course fun-ness index. Shammies are also quite versatile and varied in their skills, which makes me like them for sure, and thus our first class crossover comparison between Druids and Shammies today.

The mix of healing and damage dealing abilities, a delightful cocktail enhanced by talents trees created to cater to one or more of those abilities are common to both Druids and Shammies. Both make great backup healers, if your primary mode of transit is to deal damage like an ice cream truck in a crowded neighborhood.

When the main healer is out of mana, and with a Druid's Innervate, you can have poor old lu over there in the corner guzzling down the Mountain Dew back in action fast. I have been pretty shocked of late at the number of peeps I group with at high levels who don't have a clue that Druids have that ability. Merry Christmas! Once they find out, they love it. Want to be a mana-user's best friend? Throw up your Innervate on them and add a cherry on top, there you go!

A great thing common to both is the ability to selectively pull and hold aggro, even though that may not be your primary job in an instance. Druids do this, as you know through the bear's Growl ability, and Shammies have their Earthbind Totem for this as well. Another great thing that makes us animals (cat, cat2, bear, butt-ugly mongoose) love the other animals (ghost wolf) too. I still don't like Murlocs, no matter what form I take.

One thing that is different about Druids and Shammies is definitely the armor specs. Druids wear only leather or cloth, and Shammies can wear mail and use shields, adding to a Shammy's survivability when pulling aggro right off the bat. You might say "well geez, who doesn't know that," but let me tell you, as a lifelong druid who is starting to love the Shammy, mail and shield armor is a breath of fresh air. Wow, never thought I would hear that particular sentence ringing in my head. Don't mind me, I'm just sticking my head out the window on the freeway to get that breath of fresh mail!

Has anyone else seen the extent of the symbiotic relationship these two classes have? Do you like playing them both? Do you think playing one makes you naturally gravitate toward the other? For me at least, loving the one makes me appreciate the other. That, and I love playing the "hard" classes which require much focus to handle all the forms and abilities. I guess I am just a versatile kind of guy.

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