Friday, March 5, 2010

Wish for Cataclysm: Shaman tanks!

I was going to write a post about shamanic healing, but then an idea suddenly popped in my head and I couldn't resist pursuing the thought further.

The background is something like this: I've spent some time levelling my paladin recently. While I've come to enjoy the paladin class a lot more, I still find I'm at odds with the "feel" of the class; The righteous, holier-than-thou warrior. I also got some of the same feeling from my priest when I spent some time playing her recently; a theme based on light and shadow is not what I'm really after. It works for many, and it's okay for me too, but I find I enjoy other themes more.

I enjoy druids. While they have some in-game quirks I'm not too happy about, they're decently cool. Well, I have some trouble with the moonkin form, but I can live with that. By the way, what is the wrath spell anyway? It just doesn't make much sense to me.

But, the healer class I really like from a theme-perspective is shaman. Then the thought trailed further, and I started imagining how it would be if they could tank. It would be awesome if shamans could tank as well! While it wouldn't solve the "tank crisis", it might be one step closer to it.

Anyway, I started thinking what would be necessary to make them tanks. That made me think about the other tanking classes, and what made them tanks. Like feral druids, melee dps shamans and tank shamans would share the enhancement tree as their main spec tree.

Theme

All classes have some themes they range over. In addition, each talent tree has an underlying theme or focus, which usually is a sub-theme of the main class. In that way, each tank has a theme they are tilted towards.

For example: Warriors are, like the name implies, fighters skilled in the use of weaponry. Arms warriors are the iconic fighter with a huge sword or axe that fights with great skill. Fury warriors embody the raging barbarians. Protection warriors are the sword'n'board fighters who also use their shield offensively.

Druid tanks have (obviously) bears as their theme. Protection paladins have ... ehm... Captain America as their ideal? Seriously, though, it's more the protecting, self-sacrificing holy warrior. Death Knights are semi-unique, since they can tank in any tree. The choice of tree have more effect than whether they are tanking or not, though they are slightly tilted towards Frost as their tanking theme (Frost Presence, and frost fever causing the necessary attack speed reduction on enemies).

For shamans, they are themed around the powerful and sometimes destructive elements found in the world. Restoration shamans embody the ocean and water. Elemental shamans are most tilted towards fire, flame and lava, but also storms and lightning. Enhancement shamans are more focused on storms and lightning, with a hint of cold/ice.

For a shaman tank, it would mainly be based on the already existing shamanic theme, but could be further tilted towards ice and cold. It fits with Frost Shock already causing higher threat than the other two shocks.

Holding Aggro

There is nothing more annoying than joining a group and watch the tank unable to keep aggro on anything at all.

Threat

The first important property of a tank, he must be able to hold aggro. However, shamans must also be able to avoid aggro when they're not tanking. Their attacks must cause more threat than they currently do if they want a decent hope of holding aggro. Looking at the other classes: warriors have stances, death knights has presences, druids have forms, and paladins have a "threat spell". That would probably be the easiest way to solve it, give them a spell they can cast to cause additional threat, which lasts until cancelled.

I'm thinking something like "Stormtouched", which looks like they're charging up with electricity when it's cast, and improves all threat caused by something like 60-90%, subject to balance with other tank classes. Not exactly fitting with the earlier mentioned cold theme, though, but fits with the general shaman feel.

Taunts

All tank classes have a single-target taunt with 30 yards range and 8 sec cooldown. They also have a glyph which increases the chances for the taunt to land by 8%. They are all identical, except that the paladin variant causes some damage modified by attack power. Awfully handy, by the way.

In addition, every tank class have a secondary taunt or taunt-like ability, on another cooldown. Warriors have Challenging Shout and druids have Challenging Roar. The two abilities are practically identical except for the rage cost, and taunts all enemies in 10 sec radius, in addition to forcing them to attack you for 6 seconds on a 3 min cooldown. Paladins have Righteous Defense which taunts up to three mobs targeting a friendly ally. Almost always macroed to use the target's target (your ally) as the recipent of the spell, so you can cast it on a mob. Death Knights have Death Grip, which forces an enemy to attack you for 3 sec.

Taunt and "forcing someone to attack you" are slightly different things. The first gives you threat on the enemy equal to the highest threat of whatever the monster has on it's list, and the other merely forces them to attack you without modifying threat, so it's highly likely that they mob will attack someone else when the "forced target" period is over unless you were already high on threat. All threats also have a "forced target" period, usually 3 seconds unless otherwise noted.

Shamans would need a 8 sec cooldown taunt spell. No idea of name for this one.

All shamans have access to Earth Elemental, which is kind of a long cooldown very unique threat.

As for a secondary threat, I don't know right now. It can't be any ability that you use as part of rotation, or you can't offtank. Something unique would be cool, too. I haven't come up with any concept I really like yet.

Survivability

When the tank has established aggro, the next step is to make sure he survives it.

Armor and crittability

When a shaman equips a shield, they get a decent amount of armor. They're still lacking a bit to get to plate levels. A very simple fix here to bring them up to warrior and paladin level is to have Stormtouched increase armor on mail, leather and cloth items by X percent, where X is (plate armor) / (mail armor) coefficients. It should also make the shaman immune to crit from creatuers. This has the problem that you want to be Stormtouched all the time in PVP.

To counter that, you could add a damage reducer such as the -5% damage done that Defensive stance packs. In that way, it becomes a trade-off in the same way as using various presences are. You can PVP in frost presence and have additional damage reduction, but only at a cost. However, resto shamans don't suffer much from that. While that may be okay (resto shamans aren't the most durable in the world of PVP healers, they might use a buff) you could instead attach a -10% crit chance or -10% haste chance to the talent. Now, that would certianly be felt. If you attach negative haste, no shaman would ever use it in PVP. If you attach negative crit chance, some might still use it, but that would sort of be okay. They're now a slightly more defensive hybrid.

Flat damage reduction

The other tanking classes all have some flat damage reduction on their tank-ability, with the exception of paladins who must talent for it. The same solution could be used here: Stormtouched could be talented (deep enhancment) to add up to 6 or 8% flat damage reduction, perhaps more.

Avoidance

Shamans can block, parry and dodge already. However, all the other tanking classes has higher than normal levels. Druids scale with agility, and recieve extra dodge from it too. Death Knights gain additional chance to parry from strength. Paladins block 65% of all incoming attacks from talents alone when Redoubt and Holy Shield is up. Warriors can block extra on demand, and sometimes twice as much as normal.

Since Shamans would also scale with agility, they would already be getting higher dodge levels than normal. Unlike druids, they can parry and block, so they would most likely not need any extra avoidance like druids get extra dodge from agility.

Attack speed reduction

Shamans can get the same attack speed reduction that other tanks get. Earth Shock provides 10% attack speed reduction, and Earthen Power provides an addition 10% for 20% attack speed reduction. It can only be used on a single target, but the same applies to a paladin's judgement which is also an attack speed reduction when talented in Judgements of the Just.

However, the problem is that Frost Shock and Earth Shock are on the same cooldown, so you'd have to choose between attack speed reduction and threat. A fix here might be to allow Frost Shock to provide the same attack speed reduction as Earth Shock, in addition to higher threat. It might also just work to keep them seperate, then requiring the tank to first apply Earth Shock to get the attack speed reduction and afterwards Frost Shock to get threat, provided the attack speed reduction lasted pretty long. At least 18 sec or something.

Compromising like that between threat and survivability is not a very good design, though. No other tank classes (as far as I can think of) has to do that. Compromising between single- or AoE threat is okay, though.

The 20% speed reduction would have to be attached to any ability that that is part of the normal tank rotation.

Emergency buttons

Shamans already have one emergency button, Shamanistic Rage on a 1 min cooldown. It can be kept like it is, though 30% damage reduction for 15 sec on a 1 min cd might be bordering overpowered. They would, however, need one more tank CD, which should not be so powerful that it will upset PVP balance. To balance PVP, the shamanistic rage could be reduced to 20%, and you could have one additional ability on a longer cooldown which could overlap with the other if necessary.

However, they do have another cooldown. Feral Spirit. It provides some healing done to the shaman. However, health received like that doesn't scale good enough to be useful in a serious tanking situation, so it would have to have another ability attached, like increasing healing received. However, there are some designs issues with that. It's a reason the original feral druid talent Berserk was split into two different spells; one which could be used to increase threat and another which increase health (Survival Instincts). You want to be able to use threat cooldowns (increase threat) without having to blow a survivability cooldown so they're available later.

Feral Spirit could, however, be modified to be a threat cooldown. Simply add to it; "the threat caused by the wolves is applied to the shaman if he is Stormtouched". Since the healing is based on AP, it would heal less for a tank than for a dps. All the tank classes also have some way of getting health back on a long cooldown (Warrior: Enraged Regeneration, Druid: Frenzied Regeneration, Paladin: Lay on Hands, Death Knight: Death Pact), so this would be the shaman way.

So, another ability should be added. Powerful enough to be useful, and not so powerful it upsets PVP completely. In addition, it's an advantage if it's a bit unique.

Other tanks have:
  • Reduced damage taken on demand cooldowns
  • : Lots. Shamans already have Shamanistic Rage, so it would be a bad idea to add another ability like it.
  • Reduced damage taken on low health
  • : Will of the Necropolis, Ardent Defender.
  • Increased health cooldowns
  • : Last Stand, Survival Instincts and Vampiric Blood.
  • Increased healing recieved cooldowns
  • : Vampiric Blood, glyphed Frenzied Regeneration.

Something unique would be cool. Can't think of anyting right now, though. Could be something with totems, but it would also have to work on the run. What about an ability that delays 30% of the damage? At least unique, but would be hellish for the programmers to fix.

Abilities


Resources vs cooldowns

Like a paladin, a shaman would have to have his abilities mainly limited by cooldowns, since it's a bad idea to design a tank around going oom all the time.

Mana

Again like a paladin, a shaman would need some way of reliably generating mana all the time. Hitting with Improved Stormstrike isn't good enough, as you can't demand a tank to have enough hit to reliable connect each time. It's tricky to design some way of regenerating mana that isn't too limiting and at the same time not too powerful, and hardest of all, make it scale and work both when the shaman is low- or high-geared for the content he's working on.

Water Shield is fairly reliable for low-geared stuff, but scales negatively with aviodance. The amount would probably have to be increased, though. Besides, I've also toyed with the idea of a new type of shield like lightning and water, Ice shield for tanking. I also think that 'mental shamans should get a new type of shield, like Magma/Lava/Flame/Molten shield.

A suggestion here is to allow Stormtouched (possibly talented) to also grant mana when damaged by direct damage or cleave abilities. Not AoE abilities. To avoid it being abused for healing. If you get aggro, you've got bigger trouble than your mana pool, and in healer gear even stormtouched you're not tough enough to tank serious stuff. It can grant the same amount as Spiritual Attunment, or perhaps slightly more since it's a bit more limiting.

But, granting mana only when you take damage means you'll be constantly mana-starved when you're tanking stuff you're overgeared for. So, you also need an ability which scales with your avoidance. I suggest adding the same benefit of Blessing of Sanctuary, gain 2% mana on dodge, block or parry, to either Stormtouched or Ice shield through talents. You might also add a 3% less damage taken passive ability to Stormtouched through talents, exclusive with Blessing of Sanctuary, so you don't have to buff shamans with Sanctuary at all. After all, since they scale with Agility, they will want Kings.

Now, you can choose to use Water Shield for tanking. It should be like a paladin using Seal of Wisdom: Handy in some cases like when you're overgearing stuff, but strictly unecessary for tanking stuff of your gear level or higher.

Spells and talents

Looking at exisiting abilities and how they can be used in tanking:

(Frost) Shock

Shocks, in particularly frost shock, should be a major part of the rotation, every 6 second. It should also be possible for some benefit (like a druid taking Improved Mangle) to take Reverbation, but only give arbitrary benefit. In effect: It's one valid choice among several, not a ton better for getting max threat.

The downside of Frost Shock is that it is a spell, and thus uses spell hit rather than melee hit. A talent or glyph might add 9% hit to Frost Shock (or some other number), making it require only the normal melee hit to reliably hit.

Stormstrike

Stormstrike should be a major part of the rotation, every 10 sec. Since Stormstrike does more damage with slower weapons, I've given that special regard in the Itemization section below. The +nature damage taken debuff doesn't give any benefit to the shaman tank rotation I've imagined, so there should be a secondary benefit to it. Since you still want dps enhancement shamans to focus on nature damage, one suggestion is to allow the next 4 frost attacks you deal to it to yield 20% higher threat.

Fire Nova

Fire nova would most likely be a major part of the rotation. 10 sec base cooldown, 8 sec glyphed. It should not provide so much threat increase to the rotation that you *have* to glyph it. However, it's not enough in itself to hold AoE threat, so some other ability would also be required.

Magma totem

Magma totem, as far as I know, has it's own threat table, making it useless to gain threat while tanking. It could be changed when you use it with Stormtouched, but I think it's a better idea to leave it as it is. If you require it as a part of a rotation, you need to have a massive mana gain somewhere (since it's very expensive) and effectively say that "shaman tanks never buff spellpower with Flametongue totem". I'd rather keep it as it is now. You could still throw it down to help dps, but it's doesn't help you from a threat perspective.

Lava Lash

Lava Lash should remain only usable with an off-hand weapon, and should thus not be a part of the tank rotation.

Wind Shear

Wind Shear need to get the part about "reduces threat" removed when it's used while Stormtouched.

New spell: Ice Shield

I'm thinking of adding a new type of tanking shield. It can last as long as the other shields, but since you will be taking damage a lot more often, it will need to be refreshened much more often. It should still be mana-free, so there's no problem refreshening it before it has run out except spending a GCD. With 4 charges it, it will last a minimum of 6 seconds with an internal 2 sec cooldown.

A question is whether it should also trigger on other stuff than just getting hit. For example: It can be added to the existing talent Static Shock that you can also expend charges of Ice Shield when hitting the enemy, but that no more than one orb can be expended every 2 sec for any reason. This to make sure it lasts at least 6 seconds, and thus can be a part of a rotation.

Now, the question is how you fix it's damage. It must generally be worse than Lightning Shield for dps, except in special circuimstances. However, if it's worse than Lightning Shield for dps (and thus threat), why would tanks use it?

I've got some ideas. One is to make it cause AoE damage when a charge is expended. The damage could be 1/3th of Lightning Shield, making it better in just some circuimstances for dps. Also recall that Lightning Shield is further buffed by the Stormstrike debuff. Then many tanks would use LS for single-target fights and IS for multiple-target.

Another idea is to attach some minor defensive benefit to it, like holy shield improves block chance. That would make every single shaman tank use it for almost all purposes. For example 5% less damage taken (like Blade Barrier).

Yet another idea is to simply say that it produces high threat, so that the threat produced exceeds Lightning Shield even on single-target fights.

New spell: Icicle

You also need at least one more spell to get a proper rotation. There are several ways to think around this one, but I've got a proposal.

Icicle could be a baseline spell, meaning all shamans get it. It has no cooldown. It should be mainly used for tanking (and perhaps resto soloing). The base damage is low, so that it has lower priority in regard to threat than Stormstrike, Frost Shock and Ice Shield.

It should have a debuff of some kind, and the best would be to allow the debuff to stack up to five. I'm thinking Lacerate, a damage dot stacking up to 5. Shamans already have a ton of utility, they don't need one more buff to bring along. However, to avoid it to become a part of Enhancement rotation, it can be used only while you're wearing a shield. Think about it as "cause your shield to sprout icicles at your target".

I'm thinking it should also work with Maelstrom weapon. The problem is that maelstrom weapon requires you to stack it up to full (5) before you cast Lightning Bolt / Chain Lightning, otherwise you start casting (even fast), which resets your current swing timer and reduces avoidance to 0 for it's duration. That would make for a very steep learning curve for any newbie shammy tank.

I suggest that it works like this: Icicle consumes Maelstrom Weapon, and causes X damage to all enemies within 10 yards for each buff in the maelstrom stack. It scales lineary. That means that you don't lose any dps (AoE or otherwise) by using a stack early (in fact, that's the main use), you don't get any special benefit by waiting until it's stacked up to 5, and you will loose dps and threat if you don't use it when it's at a full stack.

This also have a secondary benefit: Since Icicle is used relatively often in the rotation, you clear the maelstrom charges very often. This prevents the tank from using Maelstrom weapon to heal himself a lot, unless he's willing to sacrifice a lot of threat for it. Even saving up and using heals to keep yourself up, it will be a veeeery minor increase in incoming heals on any raid encounter.

Weapon enchants

You could have the shaman use the normal temporary weapon enchants (Windfury or Frostbrand and Flametongue, perhaps), or create specific tanking temporary weapon enchants. Not thought much about it.

Initial threat

A shaman can use Chain Lightning to gain some initial threat on up to three mobs, Lighting Bolt and Frost Shock for a single mob. They might have problems generating initial AoE threat like a warrior using Thunder Clap and Shockwave, a druid using Swipe and a death knight using Death and Decay or Howling Blast. However, paladins have a bit of the same problem; Their AoE threat rocks, but it has a slight ramp-up time. Shamans would be able to use Fire Nova for their initial AoE threat, and then rely on Icicle / Maelstrom Weapon slash AoE and Ice shield.

Rotation

The rotation priority would be something like:
  1. Keep up Ice Shield, 6s+ "CD"
  2. Icicle if at full stack of Maelstrom Weapon
  3. Stormstrike, 10s CD
  4. Frost Shock, 5-6s CD
  5. Fire Nova, 8-10s CD
  6. Refresh Ice Shield if it's low on charges, to avoid several some CD refreshing at the same moment that Ice Shield fades
  7. Icicle otherwise

Might need some adjustement, but something along those lines. You could also argue that you would want to Icicle a lot early to get up stacks. Same thoughts as for druid tanking: Handy, but threat is usually better by using Faerie Fire (feral) and Mangle on every cooldown.

Other stuff

Other thoughts I came up with while comparing tanks.

Gap closer?

Druids and warriors have various abilities to get into melee fast, gap closers. Death Knights have a reverse gap closer, brigning the enemy to them instead. Paladins don't have that, which might be why their normal taunt deals damage. Shamans can probably also work fine without a gap closer. The problem is that you don't want to make Enhancement shamans too sticky in PVP, they are already relatively sticky. While it would rock with another pull like Death Grip, it's probably not necessary.

Utility

Shamans have a ton of utility already. No reason not to bring them along for their lack of utility.

Dps

As noted above, a shaman tank would have to be lower on dps than their dps friends in the enhancement business. Part of this is solved by having to compromise talents like feral druids too, another is to simply make them use a single weapon and shield instead of dual-wielding. Might just do the trick. If you attack the -10% haste or crit, it helps even more.

Itemization

Shamans can't equip swords, a very commonly used tank weapon. They also derive no benefit from Strength, which all the plate classes do. Druids have their own weapons.

I propose balancing shamans around tanking with a +agility, slow dps weapon. Two reasons for that. First, it provides better damage = more threat on Stormstrike. Second, you don't want to have to add even more weapons into the game, in particularly not weapons that only a single sub-spec will put to use. So, to close the gap tanking weapons provide, you'll have to add some ability, talent or glyph that provides a shaman with the necessary stats to close the gap since he's not using a tank weapon. Death Knights, which are balanced around tanking with dps weapons, have Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle (2-handed weapons) and Rune of the Nerubian Carapace (1-handed weapons) for that purpose. It could be a temporary weapon enchant for shamans, but I don't see any reaons why you don't want them to use the normal weapon enchants.

I'm crazy, right?

Why did I write all this?

It was a fun thought experiment, and allowed me to think throughly about what makes or breaks a tank.

I don't think it'll be implemented for Cataclysm. It's probably too late in the design process for Blizz, and the chances that some Blizz employee will read this post and totally fall in love with the idea is very low. The chances that said emplyee will actually put it into Cataclysm is even lower, hovering around winning the national lottery.

But... it was fun. And admit it, it would be completely awesome. Thrall can tank (Battle for Undercity), every shaman should be allowed to share that fun!

[EDIT] I've written a follow-up post, after all the comments on this topic.

25 comments:

  1. Can't wait to hear your thoughts, Gravity. If you like thought experiments like this, mind you.

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  2. I sorta think be careful what you wish for. I think for druids two roles sharing the same tree (feral dps and feral tanking) causes issues, particularly around itemization and stuff like tier sets.

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  3. Yeah, I guess that'd be a problem. I'm 100% sure I don't see all problems connected with the idea... good thing it's not me who's making the decision, yes?

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  4. I read the idea in the train the other day and agreed it had some merit, but I preferred the concept to have a Shaman tank in mail. To make them an offtank, so they're designed to not be viable as MT alternative (ie. no plate armour buffing like you suggested).

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  5. Shaman's were viable off tanks in many situations back in Vanilla.

    They'll never get to fill the role of a 'light tank' again in my personal opinion. Blizzard has made comments in this regard many many times over the last 3 years.

    A few of your ideas are interesting, and most of the rest are just silly, but well thought out nonetheless.

    The one thing *I* wish for Shamans to reclaim in Cataclysm is some decent PvP oriented 2 Handed weapon talents. I miss my Hand of Ragnaros chain Windfury crits in Vanilla WSG. :(

    Enhancement suffers a lot from lack of viability in PvP since TBC came out, and I'd dearly love to see people fear Shamans wielding 2 Handed weapons a bit more like the old days again... if only to keep the heat off us for a while so we can actually kill people in BGs without getting ripped to shreds in 4 seconds for a change.

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  6. First off just found your site, and I'm pretty happy about it. Now, I really like the idea, but I think you down played the totems a bit. Stoneskin totem already increases armor, a talent could let that buff the shaman to plate level and be uncritable while still giving the same bonus to other players, there could also be a health version of Mana Tide Totem, that gives a quick burst of health in an emergency, Stonebiter weapon could be changed to increase parry and increase threat at higher level, there's so many great possibilities, but these are just my ideas

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  7. Just to throw a few things in. I love the idea of shaman tanks, having been playing an elemental shaman lately. The couple ideas I have had kinda expand on the fire nova mechanics without adding too much other stuff to the rotation. You could have an AOE taunt coming out of your stoneclaw totem on a cooldown that would force things to attack you. If you were to add new spells, how about an imbue shield type spells. You could cast an inflame shield spell that causes huge threat to anything that hits your shield. Maybe give it charges, and have a panic button that uses the charges and blasts everything in front of you for damage depending on how many charges there are. A talent that decreases the armor effect stoneskin totem gives to others and increases it for you. A glyph for frost shock to hit an additional target for half damage but full threat. Hell, just a one point talent that a frost shock acts like a taunt would be a good start. Whirlwind totem - everyone within 30 feet gain 1,2,3% dodge. Anyways, just some ideas. I love your site, thanks!

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  8. The simplest (and vanilla viable way shamans held threat) was a simple weapon buff--rockbiter. I would probably fold some additional work into this and keep the same style since weapon buffs are an integral part of the Shaman class as it already stands.

    Interesting read, and as I was recently told, Shamans HAVE been tanking, even in Anub'arak. If I remember I'll go dig through my comments and find the You Tube video for you ^^

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  9. Sharicasmi on the Chrommagus (sp?) server is already a great Shaman tank. He has quite a bit of health and armor when using tanking offset pieces... It may not be equivalent to the MTs you see in most raids, but he proves that it can be done.

    The only issue he seems to run into is generating enough threat by himself. He usually has Rogues or Hunters MD/Tricks to him to be able to hold threat properly. This could probably be fixed by altering Rockbiter weapon to greatly increase threat, and maybe even provide extra armor/stamina/avoidance as Blizzard sees fit.

    When you think about it, Rockbiter weapon just dies off after you get the other weapon enchants and you never see it again.

    With a change to Rockbiter, and maybe a few talents thrown into the Enhancment tree to coincide with other tanking talents (like the old talent that increased the effectiveness of shields for Shamans...), we could see a rise in OT/Lightweight Shaman tanks.

    - Halibél of US-Mannoroth

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  10. Dont even say stuff like this, iff they get tanking as a choosable path then we will become a full blown hybrid and all other specs will be toned down, do not want! Plus tanking is snore

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  11. I'm missing a tanking shield spell in your idea. LIke healers have a earth shield. Tanking shamans could have a self shield that increases threat and armor for instance.

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  12. Yeah, I didn't read the entire post (way too long), just wanted to comment that I personally disagree a bit with your idea that tanking should be centered around the ice/frost side of elements. I think it should be more like this:
    Healing = Water
    Elemental = Fire
    Enhancement = Wind
    Tanking = Earth

    If you look at it that way, a tanking possibility for shamans would actually complete the class a fair bit.

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  13. Wow, I've never gotten so many comments on a post before. Either a lot more people than I thought are following my blog, or this post got linked from somewhere else.

    In fact, replies are so numerous that I'll create a dedicated post replying to them.

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  14. Shaman tanking is a fantastic idea and one that a lot of the playerbase wishes to see. You've done a fantastic job with this write up, the only criticism I would have is that the theme of ice for tanks has already been employed quite heavily for DKs (Icebound Fort. etc etc). There is a great deal of room to maneuver when it comes to shamans I think, so another element could be used to make them more unique. Possibly theming them around landslides/mountains, possibly even plate tectonics would work very well and keep shamans different from other classes, as well as shaman tanks different from other specs.
    Once again great write up!

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  15. Nice long post. I can't say I agree with all your ideas, as Stormtouched seems like too much of a mega-talent and I would have gone with an earth element theme myself. However its a great way of showing how it could be done!

    I felt since vanilla that Shamans should be able to be tanks. After all Thrall, the paragon of Shamanism, goes around wearing a set of epic plate armour!

    In vanilla Shamans were a kind of parallel to paladins, yet pallys had plate armour and a proper tanking tree. It never made much sense. Especially since I *did* manage to tank successfully in early instances like Scarlet Monastery. Without a shield no less. It was a serious disaapointment when I got to 60 only to find out all I was good for in a raid was spam healing.

    In short: I'd love to see it happen, but it probably won't. I think it would need more than some hefty talent reworking, I think it would need a class reworkign from the ground-up, which isn't likely. They ballsed up Shamans from the beginning and it still haunts us. Maybe if they put in a secondary talent system (akin to Archaelogy but more class-specific) such as becoming a 'Master Shaman' it may open us a possibility. Until then, we can but dream (and glare jealously at Thrall).

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  16. As someone who played a shaman in the earliest stages and back when "shamans take no damage *thumbs up*" (I refer you to this documentary: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/11/28/), I remember tanking because I was the only one who used a shield in my group. Oh the many deaths and many successes we enjoyed! I'd love to go back to those days only do so officially. Especially as I like being useful and love playing a shaman but I'm not a great healer (but an excellent tank). I wish your idea was more than a wish!

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  17. Replied to all comments, except yours, Shane White. Didn't see yours at the time of posting.

    http://healerenvy.blogspot.com/2010/03/hot-topic-shaman-tanks.html

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  18. Way back in Ye Olde Worlde of Warcrafte, Shamans WERE a tank alternative. They had Mail and a Shield, they also had high threat instant attacks (Earthshock) and no Threat reduction. Unfortunately they were weak tanks so blizzard in it's all knowing wisdom did not buff their abilities but went the other route, stripped out the high threat attacks and put in threat reduction talents. I wish they had not. My Shammy was originally rolled to be a tank and it was taken away. I would love to see the rise of the Shammy tank, but I'm not holding my breath.

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  19. http://www.youtube.com/user/sharicasmi

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  20. I did not see this mentioned so here goes:

    I think shields should not be over looked. Why not have the weapon enhancements or "shields" be applied to offhand Shields? Once you equip a shield in Enh then it acts like cat and bear forms. Then Rockbiter is added to the shield with a nice tanking plus (like the ones talked about in a comment above).


    That said, I mentioned Shaman Tanking during the Wrath Beta and was shot by many arrows with a big fat "NO" on them! (T_T).

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  21. Shamans should still be similar to paladins. If you look at census results on alliance and horde, you will see paladins are used more on both sides. You would see a little more variability with classes and races if shaman could tank. I feel this would be in part to a person feeling that they could pick a shaman and be a complete hybrid that can do it all. At the movement I feel that shaman are considered one of the most fun to play, but limited to what they can do in heroics and through to end game. Yes people today have multiple 80's, but you have to still pick one as your main to spend the time on gearing them up. Blizz does worry about things being "fun" and a shaman tank has fun tattooed all over it! Even if they were not the "top" tank that week, it would be hard to peel me off the "fun" tank, to play the "best " tank

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  22. sorry i do not agree with the idea.

    1) you do not think there are enough tank classes?

    2) The healing ability shamans have over palys when it comes to raid heals is not even close.

    So basically you want a class that is best at healing / tanking an can also be as good as a mage for caster dps?

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  23. Lol Who said they have to be best for Tanking? They would be wearing Mail and they would be Serving as an OT where as a Paladin serves as a MT. and Ele doesnt mean they will be better dps as a Caster Lawl. The better the Skill the better the dps. as in Healing also, It all depends on the Skill. So dont sit there and say that He is trying to make it seem Like Shamans will be the Best or the most OP Class

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  24. Nicholas BurroughsJanuary 1, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Get glyph of stoneclaw totem which gives about a shield 4 times the amount the totem shields your other totems which for me is about 18k and shamans have another reduced damage spell with a short cdown

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  25. I've read your thoughts very carefully and some of them are really interesting, but nevertheless, I think Blizz don't want Shamans to tank, especially after some of my natural friends showed how to make it, so they would have had enough chances to collect good ideas. Another problem is: "Do people really want to see something crazy like this?". Actually, most gamers wouldn't. I think it's a very special idea, but it should rest as a good idea and those who try to tank should feel like doing something different, otherwise everyone does it and every player who knows WoW more than one ore two years can guess how it will end. It's boring and another funny thing which was destroyed by Blizzard. So, that's just my oppinion, which is coined by my tanking activities as shaman but maybe someone get's inspired. Just to see what is possible yet http://www.youtube.com/user/Merotheq?feature=mhee

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