The existential crisis of a shaman

I know this is primarily a tanking blog but that involves actually tanking- something I’m usually avoiding (I know I know- I will tank this weekend I promise). So today I need to talk about my shaman – I have a dilemma and she’s in a crisis. It’s not making for happy gaming time.

Poor Luxmi. On paper she is the perfect character for me  i.e. she can hit things safely from a distance and heal herself  (it doesn’t get any better in my book – she is the elite version of the arcane mage – and while on that subject I really don’t get that mages can’t work up even just one healing spell. Really? Not even a “Close wounds abracadabra” or “Re-attach head to body ta dah”?  Doesn’t make sense to me.). However,  the fit is not quite right with Luxmi and I don’t understand – is it her or is it me? When I first started levelling her I was enhancement and  loved all the dual wielding, windfurying and flurrying activity. She was absolutely awesome and I kept on calling my husband over to the computer to see how fast I could kill things (“time me Pete, please, look, I’m doing it again, and again, what do you mean you’re trying to watch the football, oh be like that then”). I honestly thought this is it – leave Paladins alone I told myself (at that time Terema was going through her “if I hit it slow enough the boredom will kill the mob first anyway” phase). I was a shaman. It was in my blood. I loved the fact Luxmi could run in wolf form (made up for the elekk which I couldn’t stand). I loved reincarnation – the way she sprung to her feet immediately after dying – always to die again at the hands of the same mob but that was my fault not hers. And well water breathing & walking on water – say no more. She used to go for daily strolls on the sea just because she could.

But then I discovered dungeons (not that long ago as you know)and I ran into problems. She was in her 60s – out grinding for the Winterspring Frostsaber- which amazingly I got (the only grinding I’ve ever been good at is my teeth) & I used to go in random dungeons to pass the time. I loved the Burning Crusade ones  (for some reason I really took to Hellfire Ramparts – I think because layout-wise it’s very straightforward even for me) but soon I started fretting about melee dps. I was struggling to focus and attack in all the mayhem and got quite a shock when I saw Recount. Damage wise I was doing little more than wagging my finger accusingly at the mobs. For my shaman who could kill things so quickly out in the field she certainly wasn’t covering herself in glory in the dungeons.

So I gave her a sharp rebuke and then a bit of a motivational speech and sent her out to catch a chicken and run up some steps. She responded positively and I felt confident to put her back in the ring. But this time as elemental. First couple of times weren’t great. I used up all my mana on my biggest spells and still had low dps. I was also told in no uncertain terms by one authoritative healer to use more lightening bolt. Tetchily I tried to lightening bolt her but it wouldn’t let me. I guess she was being helpful. Anyway my dps was still poor. And while I liked showing off and saving the day with my stone elemental  I was vaguely unsatisfied.

So then I respecced Restoration (yes I throw my money away at the trainer – I’ve actually set up a direct debit with him now – easier). That went well…once. But I did not like the way Shaman healing works. By then I’d been trying out a holy paladin for a while & I really liked it. Paladin healing  suits me because I like to know what I’m healing when. There is something extremely efficient about a holy Paladin – it’s the equivalent of a firm no nonsense plaster over the knee whereas the Shaman with its earth shield, riptide & chain heals is like a doctor with too many tablets at his disposal (try this, and that, and you over there, try these etc.)

So I was left in a quandary. By now amazingly she was in her 70s & doing Northrend dungeons. I say dungeons – for the first couple of weeks it was nothing but Utgarde Keep day after bloody day. But with hindsight those were the glory days. Because I discovered the addon Elementarist and wow- my dps went through the roof. Sort of. I have to agree to letting Earthquake be part of the rotation. So again mana is a problem. But  I can enjoy the range dps, the different spells, the Ta Dah moments, really she now should be everything I want in an easy stress free dungeon experience. So why then am I now not enjoying her as much as my arcane mage? I don’t get it – she ticks all the boxes – all of them – but in terms of range dps I just wish I’d made her a mage. What am I doing wrong? Do we need WoW alt therapy?

I’m not giving up on her. I refuse to. For a start I think maybe I need to do more questing with her and get better gear so at least the mana issue can be resolved. I also think there’s something about the current Northrend dungeons I don’t like- there’s that one with the big spider & that other one where everyone attacks you.  I never thought I’d miss Utgarde Keep but I do and vanilla dungeons seem heavenly in comparison. It’s all so claustrophobic in the current ones. But I also think it’s the groups – yes here I go again blaming the groups – it’s never me 😉 . Actually this isn’t about bad groups but it is about really quiet cold groups. I say hello & very rarely get anything back. I say bye – lucky if there’s anyone there by the time I finish typing it. Once a nice group member stayed behind to give me advice on my rotation and that truly was lovely but she was far from typical. There’s a very business-like focused outlook in these Northrend dungeons – is it the justice points or the push to 80 & cataclysm dungeons?It just doesn’t feel like people are there to have fun.  Will it get better? I think I hit a sweet spot in terms of groups and dungeons in my 40s-60s – before that it was sheer horror and now it’s all  cold robotic efficiency.

So maybe it’s that. Or maybe shamans & I are incompatible. I’m just waiting for that one thing that creates a real connection between Luxmi & I. Not sure what it will be. But I’m willing to work on this if she is. I mean it could be worse – she could be a rogue. 🙂

Edited to add – MMO Melting Pot have interviewed me & it can be found here!!!!!! I was really thrilled to be asked and haven’t stopped smiling since!


7 thoughts on “The existential crisis of a shaman

  1. I find it interesting that you had trouble transitioning from Paladin healing to Shaman healing. For me, the two are quite similar. I often describe Shaman healing as “what Paladin healing would be if they fixed it.” I use Riptide and Unleash Elements (wait for it, you’ll get there) much the same way I use Holy Shock and Word of Glory. Think of Earth Shield as your beacon of light: it “casts heals” on your target while you look after the rest of the group, or soups up your single-target healing when you cast directly on the shielded target. The Tidal Waves effect is very similar to the Infusion of Light proc (only more reliable). Healing Rain is just like Holy Radiance, except that you get to pick where it is without moving there yourself (thankfully this will be fixed in 4.3). The 3 basic heals – fast, efficient, big) are as close to a direct copy of paladin heals as you can get (as opposed to something like, say, a druid, that has a unique “fast heal” in Regrowth). Granted, Shammies do get a slightly more reliable/efficient AoE in Chain Heal, but the differences didn’t feel earth-shattering to me. Chain Heal is a smart heal, btw, it will always bounce to the target in range that most needs the heal, if that helps you sort out who will get healed when. To me it just feels like Shamans have a full toolbox, while Paladins have most of one. Priests, meanwhile, have two toolboxes, both overflowing with odds and ends (and I LOVE it). 😉

    All of that being said, for DPS nothing comes close to the unbridled, face-melting joy of being a mage.

    1. To be fair I guess I should have said I was comparing Paladin healing in the 50s to Shaman healing in the 70s!! So probably it’s just more straightforward at that earlier stage anyway. Haven’t got Holy Raidiance yet though have read about it. I think I just loved the simplicity of Paly Healing. I also didn’t have Unleash Elemtents. So I wasn’t really comparing both as I should have – at 85. Agree with you about the dps mage & have now started levelling one on the same server as Bravetank for a bit of light relief from tanking!

  2. i dont know if this is helpfull or not, but aslong as your doing the right prio of your abiliitys and still doing low dmg your doing nothing wrong. Each class have their ups and downs when lvling, unless your tanking then your doing insane dmg all the time.

    I dont know if you have a helpfull site for speccs and rotations/prioritys but usually gives me alot of advice.

    1. Thank you for the link. Not come across that site before. Looks great. I definitely find with my shaman I have to do Earthquake quite a lot to improve my dps and that makes me run out of mana fast. As I mainly play a paladin I’m not used to worrying about my mana!

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