Shaman Nerfed – World LOL’s

With 2.3 on the horizon and most of the WoW playing population eagerly waiting for the new content and various fixes that come along with each patch, there remain a group of stalwart players that are once again dreading it. Of course – I’m referring to the venerable Shaman.

At one time, the Shaman class was an unmistakable hurricane force in world PvP. Feared by all, this versatile hybrid could burst melee like a warrior, kite like a hunter, and nuke and heal in ways that made druids prowl away in shame. They were *monsters* a horde only superclass and long did the alliance dramakin sing to the devs begging for them to be nerfed.

nerf this shaman!

Somewhere around WoW 2.0 – that wish was granted. Worse, like a spurned ex-girlfriend the devs seemed to find new and entertaining ways to include at least one or two new nerfs in each successive patch. Still stinging from a botched (read ignored) review several patches ago and a string of setbacks that whittled away the classes best tools, Shaman seem to truly have a bitch worth scratching. Today, the Shaman is the least played class in the game and the few remaining stalwarts are hugging their totems and raising a QQ that would make a ret-pally blush.

Tenebreon from the Maelstrom server summed things up pretty well in the official class forums:

This started as a reply to Wylde’s thoughtful, mature post about his take on the state of shamans. He touched briefly and gently on one point, the destruction of enhancement PvP that took place in the transition from old world to new world. The original post is HERE:

My reply follows:

I’m not going to be as nice. You touched on one point that I really want to ram down Blizzard’s throat, so here goes.

To start, yes, I’m posting on my warlock. Yes, he is my new main, at least as far as PvP is concerned. My shaman is a Legionnaire with over 60 days /played, had a TUF before getting it was trivialized, and was, for a very long time, the most enjoyable class I’d ever played.

The implementation of TBC and patch 2.0 destroyed a unique, highly enjoyable, viable play style: enhancement PvP. This is unique in the history of WoW, with the possible exception of the demise of the reckoning bomb, “HIT ME IN THE JIMMIES! AGAIN! AGAIN!” paladin. (And even in that case, the spec remained viable, just changed in play style.)

Many- and by many, I mean tens of thousands- of us rolled shamans expressly because we enjoyed this play style. In fact, I would venture to say that the majority of PvP-minded shamans came to the class with this in mind. Most of the most recognizable names in the history of the class arose from this play style and spec. (Quick word association game: I say “Pre-2.0 PvP shaman video,” you say: _____. If you didn’t say “Unbreakable,” try again.)

To shamelessly quote myself, enhancement shamans were, in the eyes of the alliance, the over-powered boogiemen of the battlegrounds, fearsome killing machines that shot lightning from our eyes and fireballs from our arses. And we loved it.

Okay, so that last bit was from Braveheart. But you get the picture. However, come 2.0, that was gone with nary a goodbye.

Why doesn’t it work anymore? There are a lot of reasons:

1) Enhancement PvP was a burst-based spec, through and through. Snare a clothie, pop the bubble, run in, and flatten them. Lather, rinse, repeat; with WF, SS, and ES, it was *typical* for us to be able to kill cloth in one to two swings.

~nostalgic grin~ There was this one time with a shadow priest in AB… Sorry, I digress.

Our burst, though, did not scale with player HP totals. You can’t WTFPwn even a shieldless mage in blues now. Add in resilience and the staggering life totals from arena gear and the situation gets even worse. A single player *cannot* burst down another player unless there is a substantial gear or spec difference; this is the reason for defensive abilities like CloS, TBW, Blazing Speed / Dragon’s Breath, etc on classes that never needed them previously.

Enhancement shamans never received that defense mechanism, never received any mechanism to deal with being kited or CCed, and by consequence fell far behind the curve.

2) Other classes received talents and abilities to deal with their weaknesses in PvP, while enhancement did not. I touched on this above, but it’s a significant problem. Shamans received no form of CC (even weak CC a la repentance), no way to close the gap, and no way to cope with being focus fired. Given that our targets could weather our burst without issue, even in the chaos of BG PvP, this is a crippling problem.

3) Finally, the nature of “real” PvP changed drastically. As a class / spec with limited closing mechanisms, no CC, and very limited survivability, we extraordinarily dependent on being able to get the first shot in on an unaware or distracted target and swing the fight in our favor from the outset.

That simply doesn’t work in the arena. A decent team will know where you are, and also know that if you are so much as slowed, your contribution to the match will be quite effectively and suddenly ended. This makes for a rather nasty combination with the proliferation of defensive and escape mechanisms granted other classes in 2.0; there is no class in the game at this point that cannot render an enhancement shaman ineffectual, bar only (perhaps) a holy priest.

Maybe these things sound familiar. They’ve all been QQed about before, at great length and many times since TBC beta began. Hundreds if not thousands of posts have been made asking for solutions to one or more of these problems.

“Please give shamans CC, we’re the only class without!”
“Please give shamans anti-CC, we’re getting murdered out here!”
“Please give shamans a way to deal with getting focus fired, we’re so squishy!”

I’m sure all three of these topics are represented within the first three pages of both the US and EU forums, so I won’t belabor the point here.

So what?

I’ll just return to my original point:

Blizzard destroyed a unique play style in their treatment of enhancement shamans in 2.0 and TBC. Thousands of players were effected by this set of decisions, and, for many, it was enough to drive them from the class or from the game entirely. Those who remained in the game had, in some cases, *hundreds* of hours of time devoted to their characters invalidated, all without a by-your-leave.

I, for one, am still pissed. Does 2.3 contain buffs to enhancement shamans? Yes. Do those buffs address any of the crippling problems outlined above and make it such that the class spec is once again usable for what so many of us rolled it for? NO. Enhancement PvP is still dead. The closest proxy?

Ret paladin. How’s that for delicious irony?

/rant off

Edit: No, I’m not requesting or recommending a return to the days of 1-2 shotting people; several repliers have gotten that impression. The point is that now that we can no longer do that, we need talents and abilities that will allow us to actually survive a sustained DPS fight. Other burst classes received exactly that sort of buff; enhancement did not.

So what do you think? The official class forums are filled with angry Shaman claiming that unless the class is fixed – and fixed soon – they will either abandon their toons or abandon the game altogether. With no real visible relief in sight are Shaman justified in abandoning the class? Are they in the same boats Druids used to be? So gimped into their hybrid role that they can’t do anything effectively? Has the class truly not kept up with the rest of the game – or are Shaman simply pining for their bygone glory days?

Only time will tell – but with nothing positive being reported from the test realm and with a fairly hard date for 2.3 burned into the collective consciousness of the playing public – patch day may be another dark day indeed for one of WoW’s most recognizable and revered classes.

Growl’s Guide to Taming Rak’shiri

Hey Folks, Growl here – and today we’re going to talk about bagging one of the rare cats of Azeroth, the sublime striped beauty, Rak’shiri from beautiful Winterspring.

Now Rak’shiri for those of you that haven’t seen her is a big white saber cat with aqua stripes. See her there – a real beut ain’t she?

Rak'shiri

Nothing like seeing those glowing green eyes staring out at you from the dark I can tell you that much – crikey!

Anyway – enough of that. First things first – to get Rak’shiri, you need to be in your 57th season (or level 57 for you folks that don’t grok Ar-Pee) and it helps if you have an addon that can show you your coordinates on the world map. Growl uses and recommends Titan Panel for this, but there are lots of options.

The next thing you need in fair amounts is patience – I can’t stress this enough. Rak’shiri is a rare spawn that shows up approximately every eight hours or so. Some of you will follow this guide and nab her on the first try. Others won’t be so lucky and it could take days. If you plan to lay in a semi-permanent camp for this fine cat, I’ve scouted a good spot for you already and will detail the location later on.

So first things first – get your fuzzy-loving self to Winterspring.

Remember though, this is a high-stakes tame in contested territory (for those of you on a PvP server) and the area you’re hunting in is positively *full* of other deadly cats. Make sure to bring plenty of bandages and don’t forget to bring along a stack of meat or fish. After all you’re likely going to need to accomplish not *one* but *two* tames to successfully camp Rak’shiri. Why two tames? Because unless you plan on abandoning your existing pet in favor of Rak’shiri, a temporary companion is highly recommended.

There are a lot of options in Winterspring when it comes to finding a temporary pet. So keep on the lookout as you travel. Good options that are very close to Everlook include the Shard-Tooth Bears and Winterspring Owls. If you don’t mind a bit of travel (and if you’ve enough level for them) any of the graceful, Frostsaber Huntresses or Frostsaber Stalkers found near Rak’shiri’s hunting grounds are also excellent companions.

Once in Everlook, talk to Azzleby and stable your existing pet. Check your bags one last time for meat/fish and prepare to move out.

Azzleby Ready? Good – mount up and lets go find Rak’shiri!

First off, best thing to do is know where you’re going – so lets do a bit of map recon. Open your world map and mark a waypoint around 51.14. That’s the spot I recommend you set your camp up on. The route is simple – just follow the road south to Frost Saber Rock. There are depressions east and west of the road. Both are full of cats. The westerly valley is the one we’re after.

Now a word of warning: while never a particularly traveled environ, Winterspring is even more devoid of other players now that the Burning Crusade is live. That said, it’s still advisable for those on PvP servers to keep their professional sense of paranoia on at least medium alert. Not only are there are stealthed Wintersaber Stalkers nearby (so watch out for them) – but the scent of a rare pet attracts other hunters…particularly those from the opposite faction.

Map of Winterspring

So – once you arrive and clear out one or two of the stealthed cats, you can mount the crest of the small hill around 51.13 – 51.14.

This is a good point for your high-hide. None of the big cats path through the hill and you have a commanding view of the deceptively empty valley to your north.

Okay – here’s where the patience part comes in. Remember that 8 to 10 hour spawn rate? Right. Get comfortable. A number of big cats prowl the western depression. Most are the solid white Wintersaber Huntresses or Stalkers. From time to time though, a black striped Wintersaber will path into view and get your heart racing.

Be calm – make sure to check your target – you’re looking for the tell-tail silver dragon icon to mark your quarry. When you catch the big azure striped cat he’ll likely be pathing straight toward you (or away.) Use caution – that peaceful snowy lowland is a furry valley of fang filled death. The HillStealthed Frostsaber Stalkers fill the valley around Rak’shiri’s patrol path. For lower level hunters, simply setting foot off your hilltop will invite an immediate attack. Unless you’re worried about your quarry getting sniped by another hunter or killed by some clueless schmuck, hold your position and watch the rare cat patrol its territory. With some careful killing or creative use of feign death you can work your way into taming distance. The rest is fairly simple – drop a freeze trap – concussive shot – and start taming.

Taming Rak'shiri

Taming a rare spawn like Rak’shiri is one of the best parts of being a hunter. While rare spawn pets no longer have special skills or faster attack speeds, many, like Rak’shiri have skins that are unique in the game.

In fact, the only other big cat that shares the same skin as Rak’shiri is the mighty Shy Rhotam – who is the target of a Horde only quest – and almost impossible for Alliance characters to tame.

Tips For Making Your Hunt Successful

  • Create a simple macro to make your hunt easier – bind it to a key for spamming while you’re camping: /target Rak’shiri
  • Park your character on our camp spot and log off. Play an alt or spend some time with the spouse. Check back at the top of each hour. While it’s tough to guess Rak’shiri’s actual spawn cycle – checking back on a regular interval lets you live your life while also camping this rare spawn
  • If you *can* – check for Rak’shiri right after server maintenance or nightly server resets. These actions should restart the spawn timers. It’s also a good time to catch the big cat and not have to worry about other hunters beating you to the tame.
  • If you’re a skinner – and don’t mind killing some time farming – clear the valleys of all the cats. Lots of rugged leather to be had. Killing the Wintersabers won’t make Rak’shiri spawn any faster, but the leather can be sold or crafted. Use the time to practice jump-shots or level weapon skills.

There you go folks – while Aunty Growl can’t guarantee you’ll find Rak’shiri on the first try – ifyou follow this guide, you’re guaranteed (eventual) success! Stay focused, stay positive and try not to squee too loud the first time you see those bright emerald eyes gazing back at you!
Successful tame of Rak'shiri