I’ve had several discussions as of late with people over Ventrilo about the shaman class. I have been leveling my shaman lately because as usual, I get bored with the same dungeons or I’m scared of healing, or whatever and so I need a distraction and I pick one and go with it.
One of the things I love about my enhancement shaman is the ability for him to fulfill so many roles at once. The ability to switch roles and temporarily assist with roles, in my opinion, is unsurpassed by the enhancement shaman. I’ll elaborate.
There are many classes that are considered hybrid classes, 6 of 10 of them, and while many of them can serve many functions there are very few that transition flawlessly between many of the roles at once. I noticed this especially when also working on my druid recently. The druid could not take the physical hits while in boomkin form, then he’d have to switch out to heal himself, losing his armor bonuses and damage increases. The best way was to load myself with HoTs before combat if I thought I was going to take lots of damage, but this means switching in and out of boomkin form often and it’s not very convenient. Shadow priests can run into similar issues, but vampiric embrace means you get healed for some of the damage you do, so if you learn to kite around better your DoTs will help keep you healed. Shadow priests can still use PW:Shield in shadowform as well.
The enhancement shaman though, can cast heals in his most powerful form. And in fact tossing out additional heals in times of massive AOE or whatever is quite easy without a huge loss to DPS thanks to Maelstrom Weapon. This talent allows you to basically instant cast any healing spell. With self-healing on you can for example chain heal right in rotation and it will heal you then bounce off the other melee. You can also watch for procs and toss them out on other that may need heals at that time, also works with healing rain for additional AOE heals in tight situations. This makes it very easy for the enhancement shaman to toss out heals while maintaining most their DPS, as it will only use a global cooldown with 5 stacks of Maelstrom. Even with just a few stacks, cast times are reduced significantly.
Additionally to the heals a shaman can cast out on the go, enhancement shaman have many defensive abilities for high personal survival. Feral spirit wolves heal as they attack, if you are taking lots of damage, tossing the wolves out assists with your Maelstrom weapon heals or you may be able to avoid self-healing using just the healing from the wolves. So you get an increase in DPS as well as healing coming back to you! Sweet deal! Additionally, the wolves taunt and stun their targets and can provide a 60% run speed buff for the shaman for 15 seconds. This helps if you need to GTFO fast!
The feral wolves combined with Shamanistic Rage can allow you to temporarily tank in some situations. I have had situations where for whatever reason a tank has gone down in the middle of a fight, if it’s close enough to the end of the fight, my shaman using this ability has been able to withstand the blows and survive through self-heals from Maelstrom weapon as well as the spirit wolves. Of course, there’s also the Earth Elemental too. But the reduction in incoming damage and free offensive abilities allows you to maintain DPS while effectively “tanking” for that duration. Enhancement shaman have pretty high dodge rates as well.
One added benefit though not super critical, is that since the enhancement shaman combines both melee and spellcasting, it makes it possible for an enhancement shaman to be out of melee but still doing damage, something that more pure melee classes have a harder time doing. In fights like Corla in BRC, the shaman can take one of the beams if the group is melee heavy and doesn’t have ranged DPS to fill the role. Since enhancement shaman get a conversion of attack power to spell power, their spells still allow them to DPS, though at a much lower rate, but some DPS is still better than maybe a rogue from a range.
A good enhancement shaman can be the ultimate hybrid in my opinion. Knowing when to pop the cooldowns can mean the difference between a wipe and a dead boss. Understanding the power of these talents and abilities will leave your shaman nigh unstoppable.
There have been many group quests over the course of my shaman’s leveling experience and attempts at these quests with my shaman proved successful where attempts to solo on other classes failed.
I have now picked up dual-spec for my shaman, but the power of enhancement is one that I will enjoy and appreciate for a long time.