Monday, September 3, 2012

Unsung Heroes (or the Shaman Blues)

Mataoka surveys the lay of the land...and finds it all uphill.

The patch has been live almost a week now. Most of my writer/blogger cohort have weighed in on the changes, the delights, happy surprises, and the not-so-good ones, and being the Johnny-Come-Lately I am, here are a few of my thoughts, too. I may say what you expect, and I may not.

Working on my new "concrete/sequential" self, try to go in some sort of order.

One's "Main":

I never really understood this fully, but now I do, at least a bit more. For those of you who have been playing since the beginning or near beginning of the game, you have a very different sense of avatarial identity. You have "mains." Being oblivious to this, not only did I level Mataoka as an enhancement shaman blithely and with a heavy dose of "noob-norance," I started many other characters as I sunk deeper into time in Azeroth. That first real character went from zero to hero (aka Level 80) in four months. And that whole time, I really learned nothing, and the next two years have been spent learning and unlearning what I do or don't know.

I did not understand the traditional healer/tank dynamic duo. I did not understand the "end game" objectives. I did not understand that battlegrounds can be serious business. I did not understand servers, or sides, or gear scores. It took almost two full years before I really absorbed what Elitist Jerks was trying to tell me, and rotations, and stats. I am no where near a theorycrafter, but now I can at least balance the character's statistical checking account, and put a few coins of gold in a guild bank for a rainy day.

And for my shaman, it is a rainy day.

I know--the changes are good. I know. I know I will learn to get back on the metaphorical horse again, but I am feeling what so many players have felt in the past over changes, and I realize these emotions are purely that - emotions. The developers at Blizzard were not trying to personally insult me, or anyone else who plays an enhancement shaman (the dedicated few of us -- warlocks in trouble? Don't believe it. They were just lying low until their big debut: The numbers may have been there that the warlock population was low, but damn, enhancement shamans felt more rare than Westfall chicken's teeth).

I looked over her numbers, and over 3K of agility was wiped out in one fell swoop. The action bar I had carefully memorized like piano keys were wonky- the sharps and the flats ran off with the hammers and strings.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

And while Mataoka is struggling with jealousy over her sisters' charming and delightful new spells--Murder of Crows for Haanta, and ravens for Zeptepi (see a theme here?), and gorgeous, rich spells for Kellda the Warlock, amazing animal forms for Momokawa the Druid, and oh - mages. Ceniza is laughing all the way to the guild bank in delight over her many options of spells and mischief-making abilities. Rogues can pick-pocket not only loose change, but fun spells, too. Everyone seems to be laughing and rejoicing at the party, except for Mataoka, and...Luperci. To me, the shamans and the paladins are going to be the ones who clean up the mess, throw out the empty beer bottles, sweep up the ashes and cigarette butts and rats-who-look-like cats.

Being a shaman is serious business.

But then again, it always was. Shamans are the go-to class after a raid group has filled the top rogue spot and the top caster spot, the second-class citizens, an afterthought it seems. For those of you who play shamans, you may disagree with me, and howl in indignation, but I only say this from my original perspective: I started a shaman because someone suggested it to me who knows me better than anyone, and it was a perfect fit. And, I have no regrets. But all the other classes, save perhaps protection paladins, got some really fun stuff, and they always do. And dammit, I want some fun, too! I don't mind the change in the totems, but now I'm so worried about what and where they are, and how much they're helping or hurting, I can't seem to focus on much else. Couldn't the totems still come out in powerful groups? (Guess I have to make a macro now to compensate...) Couldn't I fight in my ghost wolf form? Couldn't I hit a spell and draw down the elements from the earth and sky instead of a "plonk/thud" sound? Blizzard: why, why oh why can't shamans have cool tricks, too? And gear?! Don't get me started. I'm sorry, but most mail gear is designed well for hunters, and the helms and gear for shamans are sometimes damn dorky. Can't I haz wings too? 

(Wipes away a tiny, self-pitying tear. Again.)

Well, hell. Now what?

This heartened me this morning: ---hey, maybe my missing mojo with a Thor fantasy!

And it reminded me of this:

(And I know I wasn't the only one who was feeling a bit wonky: )

I feel like I need to make a case for myself, and any readers out there, for why they should still play a shaman, be it elemental, enhancement, or restoration.

I entered Azeroth for light and magic. Perhaps it's gaming fatigue, and facing the harsh fact that she may not be that much fun for me right now. I'm digging deep, folks, so if you have some offering of hope for this somewhat broken shaman, feel free. I'm going to go log into my priest or mage now, while Matty goes scrub totem toilets.

Postscript: I don't know who these folks are/were, but I am going to find out. Bet they were paladins or shamans:

Theme Song: The Biggest Lie I Ever Told/The Beautiful Girls

Update: I had this bookmarked for awhile, and though it is for restoration, it makes sense for other specs, too:


  1. I hope Matty finds her way, although I have an Enhancement Shaman she kind of went AWOL in a snit when carrying around a big two-hander was no longer acceptable. Now she just sits around town making money and pretending she's a wolf.

    She sends /hugs to Matty, who unlike her will find her way!

    1. That just goes to show that these changes sometimes just feel damn arbitrary and, dare I say it, unneccessary. Players have been through generations of this in Azeroth, and I kind of feel like I haven't 'paid my dues' enough to complain. I just wish they had given shamans one damn, even if gimmicky, fun thing. And they wonder why players leave, or justify it when they do. Instead of the scrolls, or the tanking/healing goody bags, or the bones they throw, just some solid fun for everyone, every class, would be a decent direction. This just means I was right in my alt-ness, so if they love doesn't come for one, there's another one waiting in the wings.


      Thanks Tome.

  2. Your frustration send disheartened are so eloquently written I almost have tears in my eyes. Though it makes me 10 types of happy that some things I write are bringing you amusement. When 90 comes you will be laughing. You'll see.

  3. Oh Matty, I believe you've never heard of Turalyon and Aelria. Take a closer look at those plaques in Valley of the Heroes in Stormwind. You know that big guy in the middle... holding the broken sword? That's Turalyon, leader of the expedition into Outland (which is where he disappeared), he was also 2nd in command to Anduin Lothar and that broken sword he holds Lothar's sword. Aleria is Slyvannas's sister (there are 3 Windrunner sisters) and also a hero from the Outland Expendition (which actually all the statues of people were part of). She and Turalyon were an item and both went missing. Only ones still missing from the "Sons of Lothar", as Khadgar, Danath Trollbane and Kurdran Wildhammer are all alive and well.

    If you visit Honor Hold you will actually meet Turyalon and Aeleria's son (half human/half high elf). You will also see in the center of the town a giant stone monument with a plaque from Turyalon exclaiming: "In remembrance of the Supreme Allied Commander, Anduin Lothar: A man who would sacrifice everything in the defense of his king, his people, his home...
    Let our enemies know our names. Let our allies honor our passing. We are the Sons of Lothar."

    He's of course one of my favorite characters next to the guy who was his mentor and where I got my name from I chose so many years ago.

    /end nerdlore

    1. Oh, Lothar! Thank you so much! See? I am but a mere tourist in Azeroth, complete with bad Hawaiian shirt and socks with my sandals...okay - so here is what I am going to do - take a little tour and give this information the honor it deserves.

      /nerds rule


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