Since Warhammer’s release (which was 6 months ago already!), my main has been my shaman, Nazgum. Over the course of those 6 months my spec (and playstyle) has changed quite a bit. I’m just moving on to a new version so what better time to take a journey back to see how I got to here.
Nazgum v1.0: Healer
Whatever group Nazgum runs: Guild leader (I think) and regular warband leader as a shaman. Can and has healed half a warband on his own.
For about the first 3 months that warhammer was out I played a shaman pretty much how you would expect them to be played; as a healbot roaming the RvR lakes in a warband. I basically aimed to keep my Willpower as high as I could and I ran with the tactics Discipline, Extra Special Mushrooms, Restorative Burst and Dat Makes Me Dizzy.
How did playing a healer work out? In one word. Awful. I’m a PvP player, and as I see it there are essentially three options to PvP in Warhammer: Solo, in a small group, or in a warband.
Attempting to solo as a pure healer is useless. You do no damage. Really. You can just take your damage skills off your toolbar. You also have very low survivability. Not exactly a winning combo. With the above tactics and a focus on Willpower there was few fights I would win.
What about a small group? Group vs Group should be fun. It would be, except it never happens in Warhammer. If you actually manage to find a group of 6 willing to go out there and roam the lakes you will be sorely disappointed to discover there is no opposing groups of 6 for you to fight – just warbands and stragglers seeking to rejoin their warbands.
So that just leaves warbands. Playing a healer in a warband is essentially wack-a-mole with squared. A square changes color you click it with a HoT. Not much fun. The amount of Crowd Control abilities in warband fights adds a lot of frustration as well. You get silenced and die. You get disabled and die. And worse, you’re often a first target and few allies seem interested in trying to protect you.
The short summary is, no matter how I tried to play as a pure healer, it was often frustrating and rarely fun.
Nazgum v2.0: Kiter
Nazgum, because I usually idle in someone or other’s vent even when I’m soloing just so I have some background noise, and any announcement of “Hey, there’s Nazgum all by himself, go get him” is usually followed by ten minutes of profanity and hilarity.
At about the 3 month mark from release I was done with warbands. I realized there is no way they could provide the entertainment I wanted. So I decided to take a second look at what abilities I have, and try and spec into a very self-protective role. I switched my tactics to Discipline, Extra Special Mushrooms, Git Outta Here! and RUN AWAY!. I dropped Willpower and instead focused on Toughness, Initiative and Wounds.
I took a few laps around the RvR lakes and.. it was like a totally different class. A good class. Not only was I nearly impossible to bring down, I could actually get kills as well! Gork Sez Stop became my new best friend and with it I shifted to playing almost entirely solo. In 1vs1 I was a beast, easily downing any Tank or Ranged DPS class. Even Witch Hunters usually weren’t much trouble. White Lions were my only real bane.
But there was still the problem that I killed slow. Very slow. I needed to rely on Gork Sez Stop for damage and players who knew to stop would result in a long fight. It also started to lose its entertainment value. Sure I could win fights, but it was repetitive and didn’t offer much variety. I would basically do the same thing every fight. I liked that my character was viable solo now (and teamed with a witch elf or marauder we would be a vicious duo), but there still must be a better way…
Nazgum v3.0: DPS
Hahaaaa. Death at the hands of a healer…tis a rare event that usually involves a computer malfunction. (Unless your name is Nazgum.)
Way back when I was a pure healer, I never even considered trying a DPS spec, because my survivability was so low I knew it would just result in a faster death for myself. But after getting a little bored with kiting I wanted to try something new. I kept a pretty good focus on survivability with my stats (600 wounds/intelligence, 400 toughness/initiative), and switched my tactics up to Mork Is Watchin’, Divine Fury, Hurts, Don’t It? and Git Outta Here!.
Wow. I had no idea shaman could actually do decent damage. This new spec has made the game a lot more fun for me again, especially because it provides more variation to my fights. My damage abilities belong on my toolbar now! There’s a lot of buttons to select from now! But fights are also more risky! My survivability is way down and I need to learn to be more cautious as this spec.
I usually play solo or in a duo nowadays, and I wanted to see how my healing held up, so I teamed with Snafzg. Usually when I duo with a dps it works pretty well, except when the other side has a healer, as I can’t contribute enough damage to ensure we down them. Not this time. Me and Snafzg put out quite the DPS together, and we went on a pretty nice tear in Chaos Wastes in front of the Order warcamp fighting mostly 2vs3 before eventually being brought down
So that’s where I’m at now with Nazgum, and it’s quite enjoyable. Hopefully this spec lasts me until 1.3 when apparently Shamans are getting a bit of needed surgery on their Mork/Gork mechanic =)