Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shaman Class Feedback

Merinna visiting the Maelstrom back in beta- still blissfully
unaware of how developers  were going to screw up her class.
Recently, developers posted requests for specific feedback about how the classes are working that included a specific list of questions for each class. I rather wish that somebody would publish a sort of digest for these things. I think it would be very interesting to see what a bulk of thoughtful people had to say about these sorts of things. Though, I can't bring myself to slog through the pages and pages of "MAGES NEED MOAR DPS!" kinds of comments to find them.

Taking a look at some of the guide questions got me to thinking Shaman thoughts though:

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.

We have three spells requiring reagents (Water Walk, Water Breathing and Reincarnation) and realistically, I can't use up all three of my minor glyph slots to opt out of carrying those reagents. Most other classes have been losing more and more of their reagents. I would be happy to lose the need to farm naga for "shiny fish scales" and/or "fish oil" at the earliest opportunity. I still kinda like carrying ankhs though, though it would be nice if I could make more than a stack of 10.

Standardize spell ranges please. Lightning Bolt can be fired from from 40 yards out, but you have to go into 20 yards range if you expect to put a Searing Totem in range. Wind Shear is just somewhere in between at 25 yards. I'm of the opinion that range dps should stay at range as much as possible, so having to jump around adjusting range in a fight is a pain.

What makes playing your class more fun?

Having some more mobility while I blow stuff up in Elemental Specc! Glyph of Unleashed Lightning makes me happy!

Big crits with Lava Burst are also fun. So is Hexing noobs!

What makes playing your class less fun?

The marginalization of totems in PvE. There must be around... 20 totems available to most Shaman, and I use maybe... 6 of them. Ever. Most of the totems are redundant now that so many other classes offer the same buffs.  Others like Totem of Tranquil Mind are nice, but hard to sub in for other totems in the same element. Blizzard occasionally mutters about having totems do bigger effects over shorter durations and I wish they would hurry up and move to that model.

Fire totems that stand around not knowing what to do are also no fun. It's obvious when the Fire Elemental Totem is confused and chasing the wrong mob, but Searing Totem does it too.

Healing - I just don't heal anymore. Blizzard keeps changing the values of the three main healing spells,  but has consistently failed to make all three healing spells viable for use. In Pach 4.06, Greater Healing Wave was unacceptably slow and expensive. In Patch 4.1, Healing Surge became too expensive and small to be effective. I'm not sure what they did in Patch 4.2 because I quit healing instances before that. The mana-recharge abilities have been tweaked up and down each patch too. I no longer know what to do with this mechanic.

I can't stress this enough and I've said it all over my blog before: I'm tired of developers "fixing" things. I'm tired of having to relearn a specc. And I'm tired of settling for a healing specc that is much less fun than it used to be.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)

The elemental AoE rotation is much too complicated. It doesn't work unless you target a number of different mobs and has four or five different spells to use, all with different CDs. I want (effective) AoE that affects an area, and doesn't need to be specifically targeted to radiate out of one mob. Frustration is putting Flame Shock on a mob that dies before you can reach across your keyboard and hit the bind for Fire Nova.

What’s on your wish list for your class?

Untether the Fire Elemental:  I think he needs to be an integral part of elemental shaman dps and thus wandering around, controlled like other pet classes. Things are more fun with the Fire Elemental comes to play. 

Totems that Don't Suck: Like I said, shorter duration, bigger effects. The passive bonuses are all redundant. Make totems matter.

What spells do you use the least?

Hoo Boy, here is a list: 

Spiritwalker's Grace - The CD is too long. I know that I can use it at one key moment in a fight, but when the same thing happens 30 seconds or one minute later, I'll be sucking wind. In the end, since I can't use it consistently, I hardly use it all.

Unleash Elements - The concept is good, but theorycrafting reveals that for any elemental or restoration specc usage, it does not contribute enough dps or hps to justify its mana cost. It could be used for burst effect, except I would want to be able to charge more than one spell and the 15 second CD prevents that. Maybe it needs a bigger effect. If I unleashed elemental and saw a bigger number as a result, I would probably be happier with it.

Earth Elemental Totem - The Earth Ele has no reason for being. He's not strong enough to "emergency tank" anymore. He doesn't do enough damage to swap him in for a fire elemental. He's not on my bar.

Healing Spells - As mentioned previously, I don't feel that the array of healing spells available to the resto shaman are effectively balanced for viability. Developers made a huge deal out of giving all the healing classes "more spell choices," but you still can't design those choices to be something I'd really want to use. Each patch, something changes and each patch I have to reorganize my keybinds.

Spirit Link Totem - I guess this was intended for use in a well-planned raiding because I can't find a way to effectively use it in a 5-man dungeon. It's dependent on the cooperation of the other players, and since I can't count on that, I can't count on Spirit Link Totem.

Earthquake - Not enough damage, with a long CD that prevents being able to recast it if the mobs decide to walk out of the earthquake zone (chasing the tank, or coming towards the healers or something). Arrrrgh, and it's way too mana-costly.  60% of base mana is an outrageous mana cost for a spell that tickles the mobs for a few seconds before the tank leads them out of the field because he can't see through the onscreen spell effects. 

Yikes, did you see how I named every new Shaman spell they introduced in Cataclysm? That was not "planned," but I made the list and there it is. 

This is awkward: I very much love my main character. But I think if I were rolling a new character, I would not choose Shaman anymore. Definitely not as a healer, though I'm not sure I would play any healer in game right now. 

1 comment:

  1. The Daily Blink cartoon last week, showed the Shaman lever going..up, down, up, down, up, down. Merinna, you have just confirmed the comedy.