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Class Q&A: Shaman questions answered

Eliah Hecht

The first answer post from the class Q&A series is up! 6:30 PM on a Tuesday night is not exactly when I expected this to drop, but I'm not complaining, and neither are most shamans, I expect. 4,400 words from the devs answering the community's questions is always nice. I've summarized the major points below; my summary may seem long, but it is only 20% of the original post.

As of Wrath, the goal is for all three Shaman trees to be viable in end-game raiding, and for Shaman DPS to be not necessarily quite as high as pure classes, but close; the goal is that "no raid worth its salt would turn down" any shaman out of concerns that the class is underpowered.

They do think Shamans are a bit underpowered in PvP, especially smaller Arenas, and view that as a problem. They mention particularly wanting to improve Shaman performance on 2v2s.

Shamans are still designed to be the offensive "counterpart and complement" to Paladins' defense, which has been a design thread in the game since the beginning.


Here's a piece of news that should please: they're still working on a way for shamans to drop all four totems at once, on one GCD. Of course, this will come when it's ready, is subject to change, and so forth. They also want to ensure that totem stomping macros die, and to look at totem range - you shouldn't "regularly get out of range" on a large boss fight.

Additionally - and this pleases my lowbie shaman - leveling shamans will be able to trade in their four totem items for a single one they can equip. They're not interested in removing totem spells from the game entirely, although they might change the buff totems into buff spells and make all totems do "something more active."

Finally on the totem front, they do want to continue consolidating and changing totems so that there aren't any never-used totems (Sentry Totem gets a name-drop here). Magma Totem and Fire Nova Totem might get merged, and Stoneskin might get tacked onto another earth totem. Also under consideration is making the Fire and Earth elementals come out of any totem of the appropriate element, instead of requiring their own totem.


Shamans currently have the lowest base health, and there are concerns about that. Apparently this has been in the game forever, and nobody knows why they did it this way, so it's getting changed in patch 3.2.

As far as itemization, they are concerned about trying to make all classes that are supposed to share gear interested in the same stats. Specifically, they want to make Enhancement value Armor Penetration. They also feel like the fact if a piece of caster mail has MP5 on it, it's for Resto shamans is a problem, although they don't have a solution yet.

Speaking of Resto, they note that they don't want a return to the spam-Chain Heal days of BC, although there are concerns that Resto shamans run OOM "perhaps more than any other healer right now." They plan on addressing this.

Resto shamans are meant to be "a strong group healer with the option of focusing on a single target with Lesser Healing Wave as needed."

As far as Elemental, there is a concern that all the movement fights in Ulduar are hurting their DPS, and that the AoE from Magma Totem "comes at too high a cost to their buffs and mobility." They'll look into it.

The devs are "pretty happy" with Enhancement in raids, though of course they're continuing to monitor DPS and buffs.


In the last section, the devs touch on PvP. One major concern is mobility - caster shamans are described as "turrets," which just sit and turn and cast. They want to fix this, and in the case of Elemental, they want them to be able to do more damage while on the move.

Resto shamans also seem to have low survivability. Shamans do better in larger arenas (which, by the way, the devs say they want the community to move back towards). As a possible fix for Earth Shield being too easy to dispel, they're looking into making it so only one charge at a time can be dispelled.

The dev team thinks Shamans are one of the most challenging classes to play in PvP, which makes them hard to design. They have to think about offense and defense at the same time - many other classes just do one or the other. They need to figure out how to make it not too hard for beginners, but not too powerful for skilled players. Warlocks and Hunters are listed as being in the same boat.

Finally, as mentioned above, totem-stomping macros are going away. They want totems to be fragile, but you should at least have to target them.

Wow, that is a lot of Shaman insight. Any reactions? If you're confused about anything I wrote here, go check the original post, where things are spelled out in more detail.

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