I ran across a thread over on the public forums that I thought deserved a little discussion. Atalzanger asks why can’t shamans tank 5-man content. The answer from Netherea is what we would expect on the official forums–sticky issue, lots of balancing, not viable at this time–however, what would be the implications to making the shaman a 5-man only dungeon beast, and would the changes be worth it?
Sure, it sounds easy, but anytime you add a talent tree to the game, you also have to consider factors that go beyond the individual player and affect the world at large.
Every talent tree must be considered against NPC’s and other PC’s. Surely you’ve heard the QQ from both PvE and PvP enthusiasts when a favored talent was radically altered because it was causing an unfair advantage on the other side of the fence. Every available talent has to be balanced against how that ability will be used in all settings, not just the one you’re aiming for.
Particularly in trying to limit Shaman’s to 5-man content, there would be serious issues. Since raiding instances and 5-man content are currently doing a yo-yo type effect–heroic gear, to purchase raid gear, to access more heroics–where would the line be drawn on talents to ensure that shamans are not raid capable? Once you have the gear, you theoretically should be raid capable, so the limitations would have to be included in the talents themselves, but if that is the case, wouldn’t you also be preventing shamans from “higher tiered” heroics?
Every role has a piece of gear. Shamans currently share their gear type–mail–with hunters only, but all other plate classes–paladins, death knights and warriors–are also able to wear this gear type and are tank-capable as well. Mail pieces are already currently itemized for three distinct roles–physical damage (enhancement shamans and hunters), ranged spell damage (elemental shamans), and healing (restoration shamans). There is already a certain amount of complaint in the itemization priorities between enhancement shamans and hunters. While they both provide physical damage, their stat allocation is different requiring some of their gear to overlap, while other pieces are solely for each respective class.
Adding a fourth type of itemization for mail gear would be a difficult proposition, and whether wasted in terms of loot tables. When would shaman tank gear drop? When would it stop (because we’re trying to restrict to 5-man tanking role only)?
Although it may not be considered apples to apples, its also worth considering the fate of bear tanks in their itemization. Druids are the only tanking class that does not wear plate-mail currently. As such, they are the only class that requires a non-plate drop in order to pick up tanking gear. However, because of their talented mechanics, they don’t require what other classes would consider “tank-specific” gear, and often are competing with rogues, and feral dps to gain gear. They also have some rather interesting best in slot pieces–often PvP gear has been considered best in slot for feral druids, especially in terms of weapons.
While bear tanks might be perfectly happy with their gearing options (hey, they can still do some dps by just switching forms–much better than most of their plate-wearing brothers anyway) it is my opinion that because they are a the sole tanking class not wearing plate, their itemization needs have yet to be streamlined to their best benefit. I can only see shamans wishing to tank being stuck in a similar situation–either their “protection” talents would have to be specifically designed to allow the use of current gear tables, or they would have to be talented to allow them to wear plate.
Who Cares About That — It’ll be Awesome!
While you might not consider the changes a great impedement–either because you’re willing to wait, or you don’t really care, as long as you get to play your class your way (Hey, paladin tank here, I get it!)–the chances of it happening are still pretty much nil in my opinion. While a racous outcry from the shaman community might make change an opinion, would shaman’s really tank?
I took a rather quick and sloppy perusal over at Armory Data Mining to see what percentage of the current tanking classes are actually tanks. It’s honestly hard to tell except for paladins and warriors, and of those two classes, 40% of warriors had some type of tank spec, while 30% of paladins had some type of tank spec. Assuming similar type numbers for DK’s and druids, about 1/3 of players with tank specs available have one.
Get that, only 1/3 of players who have access to a tank spec are willing to even take one–and that’s with dual spec available! Even if we bump it and say 1/2 of players take a tanking spec as one of their two specs. Considering that that game was released with one tanking class and their are now four why is there a tank shortage?
People don’t want to tank! It’s not the mechanics, the class, or the limited availability, come right down to it, and the number of players who enjoy tanking on a regular basis is few and far between. What would be the benefit of adding another tanking class? I don’t think it would appreciably raise the number of tanks available by any margin.
And take a look at the people who play shamans. You have the choice of healing, ranged or melee dps with your and 76% of shamans are ranged (healers or dps). They don’t stand toe to toe with the boss–they like standing in the back flinging lightning and healing the group. A very small percentage of shamans like to get toe to toe with the boss, and they don’t even wear a shield! If I was WoW and was looking at what tree to make a protection like tree, enhancement would be the natural inclination–however, enhancement shamans are actually pretty well balanced, and it would honestly be a shame to tinker them into some broken half-breed to fill a need that doesn’t really exist.
While I’m all for people playing their class their way, shamans aren’t broken and they don’t need fixing (yes, I’m aware of the scaling issues with elementals, but I think they may be intentional honestly >.<). I don’t see petitioning for changes that aren’t needed, and won’t provide a tangible benefit to the community. While I tanked a dungeon or two on my shaman in vanilla, it wasn’t terribly exciting, and I think the directions that shamans have grown in have been exciting and very much fitting of their role. When I think shaman, it’s almost always as a spiritual advisor type or a warrior on a holy quest kinda thing, of which neither role screams “I stand between my friends and certain doom!”