Recently Blizzard’s community managers asked players for their questions and concerns about their particular classes and reported these responses back to Ghostcrawler, forum personality and new lead systems designer of World of Warcraft. Shaman where chosen as the first class to have their questions answered. This was either due to random chance or the sheer volume of responses that shaman players gave.
As a shaman player, I have both PVE and PVP concerns about the direction that my class is taking. In PVE I lament the diminished usefulness that totems bring to raids. With patch 3.1 making buffs less unique and with the Ulduar boss fights requiring more movement, stationary buffs seem silly when there are more powerful alternatives that stick with the player. Examples of this are mana spring totem vs. blessing of wisdom and strength of earth totem vs. the horn of winter buff. In PVP I have felt limited by my lack of mobility and survivability. Also, totems have felt very clumsy and time consuming to cast in PVP while being easily countered by pet classes and “totem stomping macros.”
Ghostcrawler, aka Greg Street, responded to these concerns in the first installment of the Q & A series. To address the PVE disadvantage of totems as buffs, GC stated that the damage dealing capabilities of shaman were raised to compensate for the lowered buffing ability. Also he raised the possibility of allowing shaman to drop four totems within one global cooldown, making it far easier to replace buffs during a movement intensive fight. In my opinion this would be excellent compensation as it would make me more competitive by decreasing the time spent dropping totems. As for PVP, GC stated that while shamans have the lowest base HP currently, this was an artifact from a long time ago and that shaman health pools would be brought up to par with other classes. He also stated that “totem stomping macros”, macros that allow pet classes to kill totems with their pets without thought, were not intended to work and would be made obsolete by a future patch. Finally, he stated that he feels the representation of shaman in arenas is too low and that designers are working on solutions for that issue.
While I feel more confident about the future of my class, talk and action are two very different things. Hopefully many of Greg Street’s promises see the light of day in a patch in the near future, but after hearing for years that designers were working on a totem UI without ever receiving one, I remain justifiably (at least in my mind) skeptical.
Link to original article: http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/underdev/shaman.html