Saturday, September 15, 2012

Why do you play your spec? - Shaman

I leveled my shaman with the intention that she would be a healer. And since I was using heirlooms and I didn't want to mess with collecting two sets of gear I had made Mnementh's off-spec Elemental. I managed and I mostly managed because I spent my time healing in dungeon finder. I just couldn't seem to get elemental at all. Although to be fair I didn't really try to hard either. The dungeon que was always much faster when I was looking to heal than if I was trying to dps so I spent my time running around in resto spec. I even quested that way. It wasn't too difficult. Threw earth sheild on myself and keep casting lightening bolt until something died. Actually worked better for me than to try and kill anything as elemental.

I kept pushing though until I reached Northrend and than I stopped. This wasn't fun so why was I doing this? It's a kind of revelation. The reason to play wow is because it's fun. I'm not saying that having things too easy makes it fun because overcoming challenges can be fun. But pushing though something that was pure torture isn't how I want to spend my time. If I didn't like playing my shaman now why did I keep thinking it would get better? Why did I think that the idea of casting would eventually become something I'd enjoy? I only have to look at the classes I had at max-level to realize that I don't enjoy being a caster as much as I like being melee. Sure I can heal, I even like healing, but I don't like being a caster as much as I like being melee.

So I took my Shaman to Dalaran and the trainers there and raided my other toon's gold stash to help purchase and make an agility set. I wasn't able to get a complete set and I only had one new weapon but I hoped it'd be enough to get me started. I spent some time trying to learn how to spec and about the rotation and than trained and fixed up my action bars before heading back to questing in Howling Fjord. I also fell in love with my shaman. She still needed a lot of work but I seemed to be able to kill mobs quicker and move though the quests faster. It was also more fun for me. I like bright lights and flashy spell animations. Enhancement shamans have a lot of those. There's an ability that looks like a little tornado, lunging attacks, spinning, ghost wolves, lightening bolts, and fire nova. There's a lot of abilities to maintain and they all seem to have an accompanying animation. In a way it almost reminds me of the old protection paladin rotation. Press the button when it comes off cooldown, there should always be something, and certain abilities have priority.

It was also at this time that I realized shaman healing and I weren't getting along very well. There's a lot of interaction between the different spells a shaman casts and you have to cast them in very specific ways to get the most from each ability. It's very different from healing with a holy paladin where you cast a spell and it heals and you might or might not get a proc and certain spells with give you holy power. Shamans have to think about casting earth shield on the tank, who gets the hot, who to cast chain heal on to heal most effectively, and how many charges or the faster heal are left. And than there's finding the rest place to put healing rain but to make sure it's always up unless no ones taking damage, and lot of other things. I'm not saying holy paladins have it easy and have nothing to think about but healing on Hortis was so much more natural to me than trying to figure out what I was doing with my shaman.

I have another shaman friend who told me that from her experience shaman healers where either amazing or struggled to push out mediocre heals. I told her I was in the mediocre heals category. She thought it was funny because she felt I was really good on my holy paladin. I think it's pretty amazing that Blizzard had goals about making sure all heals had a similar toolkit but still played really different and they were able to do just that.

I still love being a shaman but I also knew she wouldn't be my main. I feel that only being able to play one-spec really limits what I can do. I don't enjoy saying, sure I'll heal but if this fight only needs 2 healers instead of 3 I won't be dpsing since I can't. Or saying sure I'll dps, or you're looking for a healer, sorry, I can't do that. I like being able to play at least 2 of the specs well and to enjoy playing them. But I also had another reason for not making Mnementh my main and that was the number of my friends who did play shamans. My guild already has a really good enhancement shaman who plays resto really well. I had a friend who invites people from my guild to her raids who plays a resto/elemental shaman. And finally another friend and guildie who plays a resto/ele shaman as well. I love my shaman but I was also happy with my other toons so Mnementh is very much an alt.

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