I have to say I am at a loss about the Shaman class tree. Having only recent access to the beta, but having followed the talent trees since they were available on WoWhead. I am really trying to understand what happened when it came to this class tree. I also regularly play a Warlock, Death Knight and a Rogue. I can say unequivocally those trees are substantially better.
In what ways? Well, simply those trees are better defined, better built and seemingly less random. In each of those trees there is clear delineated path for each of the specs. It’s clear to see where the Frost talents, the Subtlety talents, the Affliction talents are at. This is not the case with the Shaman tree, it’s almost like everything was placed at random. I don’t feel good at all going through it, the choices I’m making is to just retain utility not “enhance” my Elemental spec. In every other tree I can make choices that are not related to my specs that give me greater utility. Every part of the Shaman tree I am fighting to get back my base toolkit. How did this happen?
It’s also time to have a conversation about totems, you have decided to emphasize talents that boost totems. My response is what totems? It has been the decision of the designers to de-emphasize and strip totem utility for, what 4-5 expansions, now? You have eliminated buff totems, you have eliminated throughput totems, you have eliminated utility and effect totems. But, now I supposed to feel excited about spending talent points on buffing them?
I acknowledge that Resto still has had some quite useful totems, Healing and Mana Tide are awesome totems. But, for Enhance for Elemental you have fundamentally stripped them of their gameplay. Outside investing a spec. talent point, they have access to nothing on a base kit. And you have designed it so situational utility has to be paid for in general talent points.
So I have to ask again, what the hell are you thinking? Really, I’m struggling to understand how this tree looks like this, how it looks like half the work was done to bring us a tree with talents scattered all over the place. I don’t have that feeling about any other tree I have looked at. Even with Druid trees, who have just as much button bloat, if not more. I can clearly pick talents and ability that emphasize the abilities of Resto, Balance, Guardian etc… and what I would plan to play offspec. THAT IS NOT PRESENT FOR SHAMAN.
I know you have claimed that you are done with major changes, but seriously there is a lot of work left to do for Shamans. The class tree needs to be rebuilt in a way that follows the others, a clear delineated path for each spec, and the ability to seek cross-over utility. Again, with the 3 other classes I play regularly I can do that. I can build survivability into my Frost DK, by taking Blood DK talents. I can pick Subtlety talents that improve my Assassination rogue. So I know it’s possible.
It’s time to fundamentally change your approach on Shamans. If our class identity is controlling the elements and using totems, totems need to be rebuilt to be impactful choices. I understand that a lot of it got changed over time, because bleeding edge players were doing stupid things to clear end-game content. But, you used that as a catch all excuse to destroy your totem design. Shaman players should be excited to drop their marquee totems. Right now, I am not and I surmise the whole community feels the same.
I would suggest aiming to make a iconic totem for each spec, the focus of each part of the class tree. I think the clear choice for Enhancement will always be Windfury, I don’t play it a lot, but the feedback here has been it’s quite underwhelming. I would say Lava Totem is going to be the choice for Elemental, I’ve played around with it and it just seems under-tuned. Again, this needs to be an exciting moment, a powerful effect. I heal enough as resto to say that I am quite fond of Healing Tide totem, but I think that needs to be the idea to build the spec around.
If it isn’t clear, I think a lot of the community is asking for what the other classes got. Because in all frankness this tree looks like things were just shoved in random places and pushed out the door. Maybe with the intent to change it, but while other classes got revamps, as far as I can tell this has stayed the same. I mean there is a talent for leech and avoidance. What? Why? What part of the shaman playstyle has ever emphasized leech and avoidance? This is just but one example of a lot of inscrutable decisions. C’mon ladies and gents do better…