“When I was a child I spoke as a child I understood as a child I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.” I Cor. xiii. 11.
Remember the Old School? (No, not the movie. Go ahead and ignore that movie scene above.)
Old School was “If you can heal, you heal.” Feral Druids who wanted to tank Ragnaros were mocked. When they celebrated their 10,000 health and armor, pre TBC, they were cheered, then sent to the back to heal. 99% of pre-TBC tanking was done by Warriors. Just look at the Tier 1 (Molten Core), 2 (Blackwing Lair), and 3 (Naxxramas) gear for Shamans, Druids, and Paladins. It allowed to them to heal better, heal more better, and HEAL better still! Three classes relegated to the back row to heal their little healbot hearts out. Oh, cleanse here, purge there, buff and debuff. Very valuable members of the raid. Except never mind that Priests healed better than all of them. You actually didn’t need any of them. Well, the Shaman Fire Resist Totem or the Paladin Fire Resist Aura helped with killing Ragnaros. (That’s how Horde and Alliance did it respectively. And why Alliance guilds got ahead faster: totems are stuck to the ground while auras move with the Paladin. Critical differences that Horde guilds did overcome, before Blizzard ever caved in and everybody can be everything.)
Shamans, Paladins, and Druids. Folks call them Hybrids. Jacks-of-all-Trades, Masters of none. They weren’t the best healers before, but they could heal. And they were necessary. And they all healed. What’s it like now?
Let’s look at active raiding roles today to figure what we’ve got.
Let’s start with Paladins. Let’s start with Retribution Paladins. They’re your melee DPS types, using Seals and Judgements to enhance their basic weapon swings. Heavy hitting two-handers. But do you see a lot of those on raids? Any? I don’t. Because Paladins have two amazing strengths, and they’re mutally exclusive. They can be amazing single target healers, Holy, or they can be amazing AoE, multi-target, Tanks, Protection.
Let’s look next at Druids. Balance Druids. You know, the funny feathered things that dance like Ogres? Horns or antlers? Always seem to be drinking. You see them here and there in raids. Restoration Druids, you know, the old school healer types. You see a few of them too. But, you see a lot more that are Feral, and this time they’re totally adequate to tanking, multiple targets, and DPSing, and very well.
Lastly, Shamans. There’s actually a very equal spread of Shamans, at least Horde side, with regards to talent builds. I’d say there are as many Enhancement Shamans as there are Elemental or Restoration.
As I see it, Paladins are the class least likely to “burn” a target down. Their tanking is a slow thing, gradually reducing their opponents to ash. (Consecrate really should have a bonus against the Undead.) But their tanking can be employed on a lot of targets, and with the Burning Crusade multiple target tanking is required 9 times out of 10. And they’re solid healers for a single target with good mana efficiency. Tanking and Healing.
What can I say about Shamans. An Enhancement Shaman will burn a target down. A single target. #2 on the damage charts last night (after Hydross and Lurker Below downed) was the Enhancement Shaman. (Go team!) And my damage output in Karazhan was really pretty good as Elemental. I’ll blame my gear for not doing better last night. But if every hit is at least 1400 damage to a target, and you get a hit in every 2.5 seconds, and you see a lot of crits for 3000+, is that weak? And I know Resto Shamans are sought after for the chain healing. Melee and Caster DPS, and Healing.
Druids. I really don’t know how well the Boomkins can do now. We had one with us last night. (Checking the combat log, they rocked.) I know first hand what a force of nature they can be both melee DPS and tanking. And healing. Melee and Caster DPS, Healing, and Tanking. Did I forget to mention they can also Stealth like a Rogue?
It would seem the Druids could do it all. Again, I’m not sure how strong the Balance Moonkin is in end-game. But healing, tanking, and melee, if not caster too, DPS, they’re the real deal.
And Paladins? The least. Very strong with what they can do, granted.
Shamans? They can’t tank like the other two. In fact you’d never want to assign a Shaman a tanking role. But they can take punches better than Hunters and the cloth wearing squishies. Strong DPS, of either sort, and Healing.
Why do I like playing my Shaman, as opposed to a Paladin? The ability to do really good melee DPS, and excellent caster DPS. And you got that whole “Master of the Elements” thing going on.
Why do I like playing my Shaman, as opposed to a Druid? That’s where the Old School comes in, I guess.
Shamans upgrade their armor at level 40, going from leather to chain. That’s really pretty cool. Yes, Druids can get the equivalent of an upgrade of leather to plate, but that’s just Dire Bear and Moonkin forms. At level 10, they get the equivalent of chain, with Bear form. So unless they’re in Bear or Moonkin form, they’re in leather gear. Without a shield. Without feint.
Have I mentioned Windfury? It was overpowered once, but it remains powerful despite the nerfbat strikes. That just provides a visceral, immediate, burst damage feel that Druids only get in Cat form, maybe.
And way back, when I rolled my Shaman, I wanted to be something the Alliance couldn’t be. When I rolled horde I made my break with the Alliance, and chose to do something they couldn’t.
I’m an Old School Shaman. And I’m happy to report: We never have to put away our childish things. Oh, we did for a time. But the axes and lightning bolts are back out. And flying.