Are resto shamans the new “bench class”?

I’ve rarely read as heartfelt and powerful a post on WoW as Vixsin’s editorial on the place of Resto Shamans in really top guilds today.

If you don’t know of Life in Group 5, it’s written by Vixsin, a resto shaman healer with a very, very hardcore, top guild. They’ve been working on Heroic Ragneros in the Firelands – a kill which Paragon completed recently with no shamans at all in the group. And as Vixsin progressed through the end-game content, she started to wonder if the reason why was that, no matter how dedicated and competent the player, her class was actually not capable of holding its own:

Night 2 came along and over half of our 9-person healing team sat on the chopping block. And the first ones to go were … the 2 Resto Shaman. Not because of skill, or seniority, but because we are Shaman. It was hardly surprising, but nonetheless, it felt like being punched in the gut. It marked the first time that I have ever, in my raiding career, been sat because of my class.

And the interesting thing about it was … I understood why. Running through the rational side of my brain was the list of reasons why it wouldn’t be as easy a fight for me as it would be for another healing class

This is a long post, but it’s worth reading through in its entirety. Vixsin goes through the entire situation, from the controversy and blue reaction to the Paragon kill, to her own personal experience, to what can and should be done about the situation.

It’s easy to dismiss any player’s complaints about their class as “whining” or “QQ”, but the fact is that particularly at the top end, WoW is a very competitive environment full of extremely motivated, hard-working people giving their all to be the best. Notable class disparities really hurt that – they discourage players who are otherwise at the top of their game. And it’s really interesting to read such a well-argued and powerfully emotional piece from someone who is, frankly, so far ahead of me (and most of us, I suspect) in her level of gameplay.

What do you think of the Paragon “no shaman” kill? Is there something that needs to be fixed here?

_Quote taken directly from Vixsin’s post.

Find Life in Group 5 at http://lifeingroup5.com_

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Fruitloops And WoW: What Do They Have In Common?

Imbalance, that’s what. And this is something I didn’t expect to see from Blacksen. He’s looking at the recent spate of players leaving WoW, observing it and its causes from the view of a top player who’s been around for a while – and his post reads as pretty damning against Blizzard and WoW’s current state. And as a challenge to Blizzard.

Blacksen’s been asking his friends who’re unhappy with WoW why they’re unhappy. He’s using those points of view as base points to examine what state WoW’s in, and he’s found several problems the game’s facing and have been brewing a while. They range from an aging playerbase to gaming mechanics that are imbalanced, changing too fast and undermined by a two-expansions-old Blizzard mission statement.

Going forward, I hope that Blizzard reintroduces a sense of responsibility in balancing new abilities, specs, and encounters, even if that means making the hard and unpopular decisions. You set yourself up for this one though, Blizzard – the “bring the player, not the class” and all the talk about the “hybrid tax”, and all the hypocritical and inconsistent balancing in between. Please: get the game stable, get things balanced, and give people things that make them feel individually important in raids. It’s doable, and I’m sure they’re up for the challenge.

This isn’t just another “WoW’s crap” post, nor is Blacksen looking at the short terms of what’s wrong with the game now. The problems he highlights are well considered. I’ve come away feeling that yes, these are all problems bubbling under WoW’s surface for the long term. But in asking Blizzard to fix it he’s not giving up on the game Blacksen comes across as a loyal if exasperated player who still believes Blizzard can fix this, and the players are behind them. If they do it right.

What about you – what do you think WoW’s biggest, long term problems are and why? Is it an aging playerbase, imbalanced mechanics or something else?

_Quote taken directly from Blacksen’s post_

_You can find Blacksen’s Blacksens’ End homepage here_

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