IllikaalIllikaal Pray Area
edited February 2022 in Sparring Grounds
The purpose of this thread is for me to lay out the issues that I feel Shamans have, alongside voicing my frustrations with the classlead process when there are so many of them. I'm also going to use this thread to document the responses received for Shaman related classleads if and when they get rejected (assuming they aren't laughable).

When Shamans were first released, they had a lot mechanics in the kit that contained really unhealthy gameplay that was both unfun to play and play against, alongside several abilities that were far too overtuned. There were also a number of abilities that didn't really see much use because of how weak and unusable in any realisitc sense they are. All of these problems got solved, or were attempted to be solved over the years that ultimately resulted in a long series of nerfs (albeit much needed ones) with hardly anything ever given back to compensate for it.

This has left Shamans in state at present where it feels like the routes we have are just a bunch of half-finished means to kill someone. To clarify, I specifically mean where 1v1's are concerned as I believe Shamans function fine in groups. I'm going to do my best to succintly break down the routes, the tools that are meant to help them, and why they are problematic below.

-The Stranglethorn
Associated abilities: Vinelash, Slam, Claw, Stone(?) Feather, Bear, Spider, Leafstorm(???), Strangle.

General idea here would be to vinelash nothing but ginseng affs so they are under threat of being stormtouched and subsequently bashed to death (fun gameplay). Presumably, if they never double eat, they get stuck with haemo, the bleed from vinelash and bear familiar stack up, claw fetish activates and thorns are now unremovable, boost your slam and strangle them to death. Leafstorm's boosted effect deals some bleeding damage to help make them bleed more. Pretty much this is the noob/squishycheck cheeseroute.

The Problem: The first one is having mostly mana_sip, a decent mana pool, and mana_boon to be able clot almost endlessly. As long as you keep your bleeding low at all times and don't let it get out of control, none of the above happens. This route was also weakened due to the stormtouched changes. You can simply prioritize it if you ever get it, as long as you keep your bleeding low. The target will always be able to pull the thorns out as claw will never
activate. Even so, one can hold their breath while being strangled, if you can ever strangle them if they are smart enough to touch a flame tattoo because it'll never proc otherwise. One could argue just to use spider, but you can predict when it will web you as its every 6th attack and you can prepare your flame to avoid it 100% of the time.

-The Omen
Associated Abilities: Infest, Spines, Premonition, Omen, Feather, Divulgence(Paranoia).

Omen is straightforward. Stick any of the affs required and try to use it to burst them down. Ideally, you want at least

The Problem: There's a problem right now with Omen not being threatening enough to kill people who know how to manage it. This is due to a number of problems, the first being that people with artifacts have much greater health recovery potential that simply do not take enough damage to die. The changes to stormtouched contributed to this due to it being a curable affliction now compared to it being based on the fetish being active or inactive. It was necessary for Stormtouched to remain on the target from the point the omen is cast, and even a few seconds after it landed to deal enough damage to kill someone with high levels of artifacts. This is exacerbated by the longstanding fact that in order for an Omen to be even remotely threatening, you have to do a specific set of abilities beforehand (unless the target is made of wet paper) and if a single one of them gets interrupted via shielding or any sort of hinder, it ruins the combo the person is all but guaranteed to survive. Finally, because of the nature of when and how an Omen is cast, the target usually doesn't have any afflictions on them during the windup time which makes it significantly easier for them to leave the room without punishment. Another thing I will add here is that someone can quite literally never get stormtouched even though it's vital to help finish the target, but we'll get to that when we talk about Reclamation. So assuming nobody gets stormtouched, you want the 3 on-demand afflictions (infest, blight, and paranoia). In short, because of the way things are right now, this is often an unreliable way to kill or finish someone due to how easy it is to escape from, disrupt, and really outright survive due to the shaman being unable to do the damage needed in a number of cases.

-The Reclaimer
Associated abilities: Feather, Shell and or Eye, Overload, Sporulation, Divulgence, Staticburst.

The fork to 'punish' the target for when they are avoiding eating 2 of the same pill in a row. You want to stick the impatience and hopefully, keep it buried while you pad on more mentals. Ideally while your shell is active. Use divulgence and staticburst over and over until you get some decent RNG for either padding purposes, or actual phobias when the stars align.

The Problem: The only reliable way Shamans have to pad impatience is with Overload, but it feels bad to use it just to deliver stupidity in the event they have paresis. You need 5 phobias on the target, and Shamans only have 2 ways to deliver phobias them at all: Divulgence (1 unhidden affliction at a time at 1.81 at its fastest) and Staticburst (2-3 unhidden/hidden random mentals speed pending on energy). Fortunately, staticburst smart afflicts, but relying on it alongside divulgence as the sole delivery methods often results with the target having a pile of mental afflictions that we can't really do anything with. Some of them end up doing cool things in some niche situations, others do next to nothing. Your offense is largely reliant on RNG you can do absolutely nothing about, with your bread and butter abilities serving as maintaining the baseline for the RNG to even be viable. I've personally struggled to reclaim people who are curing properly in absurdly long fights. Here in particular, it feels like there are tools that should be here that aren't to help close out the fight.

I've said all this to basically say - I feel that a lot of the core kit for Shaman is suffering from a myraid of issues that can't be fixed with classleads alone. This is worsened by the fact that it can sometimes feel impossible to know what the administration's scope of what they want the class to be in terms of identity and how they want to balance it is. The class doesn't suffer in groups, has great utility, supportive, incredibly powerful room control and defensive abilities. I think that a number of the abilities in primality are suffering from being attached to the old kit and abilities that have subsequently fallen into the wayside after one thing or the other got nerfed. The following abilities, I feel, are the ones that need touchups in some way.

Ice: Useless since spiritbane was removed as an omen affliction.

Claw: Useless as explained in Stranglethorn. It's not even necessary in groups.

Bear: Limbs and bleed as is do nothing for me

Spider: Weakened as described in Stranglethorn. Gives disfigurement randomly when you can always just smoke for it??? Cougar and Serpent tend to be much better hinderers. Wyvern even has use for helping with an Omen as it does the most damage.

Slam: Long balance for delivering nothing but fallen unboosted. Boosted is okay for 1v1 ideally, but useless due to what
was described in Stranglethorn. Also, footnote for Quicken later.

Infest: Boosted effect is okay for some uses, even though unnecessary since you can just deliver up front and be fine
most times. Footnote for Quicken later.

Blight: Same as Infest(boosted), even thought blight feels extremely useless in and of itself. The damage isn't threatening unless they run long distances, but it is of course curable especially if they're trying to run in most cases. Footnote for Quicken.

Scourge: Scourge is okay as a generator. The boosted effect is what I have a problem with as its really just never worth using.

Vitiate: Vitiate is actually great. Once again, the boosted effect is what's questionable to me. It unironically works out okay in this case because it eats an anabiotic which sorta helps with healing reduction.

Strangle: Explained above. Perhaps has capacity for boosted effect.

Vinelash: I'll be the first to say it. This ability is trash. It's sort of okay when you hide the aff, but being able to pick a venom and having it be revealed at 2.58 balance just doesn't feel good. I'd rather just scourge if I need to generate energy while trying to pile affs and hope for the best. Boosted effect is basically only good for raw damage, but I mean, we have lightning and stormbolt for that.

Leafstorm: Made obsolete by Hammer. Hammer is faster at its base speed than Leafstorm is its fastest speed. Boosted effect also basically useless.

Chainlightning: Super cool mini AoE ability. The boosted effect though...it's almost never worth using, especially because the affs transferred are random, to random targets. I don't have any real complaints about this because I know it's for groups, but that boosted effect just feels weird. I don't know if it can be reworked to somehow have 1v1 applications.

Stormbolt: I personally do not use Stormbolt ever because Magic potence + high int causes Lightning's DPS to far outdo Stormbolt's. The stun and base damage on it are nice for players without artifacts, otherwise it's a really sub-par ability. Boosted effect is cool but it's really hard to put into practice in any meaningful way outside of trying to cheese and bash someone to death.

Effusion: This is a weird one that's great but not that great at the same time. The sensitivity on demand is vital for amping Omen and your followup attack enough to finish your target for certain. It strips blindness and deafness too, which we cannot capitalize on in any way. This basically means you should really only ever use this ability just before your omen lands and no other time, especially due to its hefty EQ cost. Because of this relegation, you don't ever want
to use the boosted effect due to diminishing returns on stun, and your Omen's stun is more important than this one ever could be. But at the same time, the stun and everything else is useful in groups so it's something.

Equivalence: I actually think for the most part this is a solid ability in and of itself despite the recent nerfs that it took. The base ability and boosted effect work together perfectly to counter some burst headed your way. Still, although it's a great ability, very niche and doesn't get much mileage.

Quicken: All of that brings me to Quicken. You consume 5 energy so that your next 3 primality abilities are cast at max speed, and are boosted as well. That might sound great, but considering that some abilities do not have boosted effects, or have effects that you do NOT want to boost, or have boosted effects that could prove to be detrimental depending on what you're trying to do, you can see how this basically limits your quicken pool to basically ever being Sporulation, Overload, and Staticburst. In my experience with the right setup, you need only stick Infest on a target while running Nature's Blade to get more mileage AND control out of your abilities vs Quickening. You also cannot gain energy at all while you are quickened, when you can using the other method. All of that said, Quicken is supposed to be this great
ability that gets outperformed when you don't use it.

Naturaltide: Finally we arrive at Naturaltide. The only thing worth tiding tend to be Overload (used alongside Sporulation for padding), and or Infest/Blight meant to be released alongside the other. Because you don't want to naturaltide too often because you will slow yourself down, it's meant to be a shotgun-like ability. The problem is, out of all the abilities listed, only 3 of them are worth using for any realistic reason.

The TLDR Summary: A huge number of primality abilities feel really bad to use and lack cohesiveness. The rest of the usable abilities pidgeonhole us into using one single route that is half-assed, which is meant to force a fork with yet another route that feels even more half-assed. It feels impossible for me to know what direction the class needs to go, because when classleads are submitted in good faith no matter how reasonable they try to be, they're often met a response resembling "This isn't within the scope of what we want for the class." without any further elaboration. It is literally IMPOSSIBLE for us to know what the administration want for a class but none of that ever gets voiced to the public, so we have to take shots in the dark that often stick you back in the loop of frustration if you miss.

@Keroc I'd appreciate it if you'd shine some light here, or offer any input.

Until then, I will do as I stated above and document Shaman classleads here to try and unravel the mystery of 'the scope' of Shamans.
"And finally, swear to Me: You will give your life to Dendara for you are Tiarna an-Kiar."
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