Forums » The Shaman

The Aesthetic Problem with Shaman

    • 637 posts
    November 11, 2018 11:06 AM PST

    The term “class fantasy” is a term many WoW players are familiar with. Other similar terms include class aesthetic, themes, flavors, iconography, etc. In general, classes should have their own distinct aesthetic and draw from distinct lore themes. Unfortunately, I feel as though the shaman class in Pantheon fails to do this.

    The Shaman as it is presented on the class page is currently an amalgam of themes. It employs the shamanistic ideas of ancestors and spirits for many abilities, but just as many other abilities are tied to elemental magic (earth, fire, air, water). The latter aspect is something I feel is holding the class back from truly coming into its own. There are already at least two other classes that wield elemental magic offensively, and I feel that the elemental magic theme is hampering other critical – and far more iconic – themes of a shamanic class.

    Ancestor worship. Trances. Visions. Spirits (of animal and human variety). Souls.

    These are all core components of shamanism as a concept and yet they do not seem fully realized in the Pantheon Shaman.

     

    What I Would Change

    First of all, we have two healers with animal companions – the Druid and the Shaman. This feels samey and cliché. One of them should lose the constant animal companion. Although I personally would prefer that Druid did not have a constant animal companion (at least let us pick other animals and do not tie it solely to the Halfling Ward Masae…), I think it would make the most sense to eliminate it for Shaman.

    Instead, we can take the concept of spirit animals and apply it to a host of class abilities. Rather than a constant animal companion, the Shaman can call upon specific spirit animals to grant particular buffs to allies or debuffs to enemies. Some examples:

    -          You call upon an Elk Spirit, who runs through the party and charges allies with swiftness.

    -          A Swan Spirit flies overhead and blesses you with grace and serenity, lowering aggro for any within the AoE and granting a Dexterity buff.

    -          The roar of a Spirit Bear invigorates allies, granting damage reduction and increased vitality.

    And so on. You get the idea. This concept is already present in some current Shaman abilities. For example, the ability “Grip of the Crags” calls upon ancestor spirits of the Mountain Dwellers to increase strength and stamina. Although I am unfamiliar with the graphical effect of this ability, I think to truly emphasize the Shaman class’s theme of spirits and ancestors, the particle effects should NOT employ rocks but rather spiritual energy. Perhaps a ghostly, glowing effect around buffed players’ arms and shoulders, or a ghostly form of a Mountain Dweller itself.

    Now let’s look at another ability: “Wreath of Coals”. This one is emblematic of the “aesthetic problem” the Shaman class has. It has no connection to shamanistic themes; it is simply a fire-based DoT spell. If we remove association with magical elements, the spell could instead become something like this:

    -          Peer into your enemy’s past and draw out the spirits of those they’ve hurt before, granting them a brief time to exact revenge. Deals X damage over Y seconds and increases the enemy’s vulnerability to Z magic.

    Suddenly the ability is much more interesting from a flavor perspective and distinct from something that a Wizard or a Summoner might cast.

    Other conceptually muddied abilities include “Sting of the Scorpion”, “Fang of Harune”, “Reptilian Veil”, “Mark of the Fireclaw”, and a few other nature and element-based boons and banes. These are far too similar to magic employed by Druids, Wizards, and Summoners, and they are preventing the Shaman class from feeling distinct.

    A core mechanic of Shaman spells currently are the elemental boons and banes. Instead, I would suggest playing off the idea of trances. A Shaman can traverse the axis mundi and enter differently attuned trances that either provide great boons to allies or banes to enemies. This would allow the aesthetic and lore concepts of the above-mentioned abilities to shift more toward trance states and away from nature and elements.

    Pantheon Shamans also employ a resource called Vision. Currently, Vision is something that increases as they perform healing abilities on allies. As a Shaman’s Vision expands, their spell-casting speed increases. This mechanic is a great avenue to tweak other abilities around the concept of shamanistic visions. Think oracles, rather than elemental masters.

     

    TL;DR

    Shamans in Pantheon are too similar to other classes and not “shaman-y” enough. To really make the class shine, they need a rework of ability themes and aesthetics so that they are more focused on traditional shamanistic concepts of spirits, trances, and visions, rather than nature and the elements.

     

    --

    Credit to Temmi for some excellent ideas in our Discord discussion!

    • 132 posts
    November 11, 2018 12:10 PM PST

    Did someone summon a Temmi? =D

     

    I'm definitely in strong support for everything here. I'd love love LOVE to see Shaman move away from being a third elemental class. Let Wizards and Summoners have that. Let Archai the race embody that. Let Druids be nature. Shaman has the potential to be something much more distinct and flavorful, and allowing it to host primarily elemental abilities seems a huge waste of creative potential.

     

    Additionally, in a world such as Terminus that is so fragmented and is such a mishmash of different cultures and eras, having a class like this would create an amazing little outlet for lore, specifically pertaining to the history of the world. Offering Shaman the ability to see the past, understand the present, and glimpse the future as oracles (or to at least endeavor to unlock those secrets) would enable some amazing quests methinks.

    • 1368 posts
    November 11, 2018 5:40 PM PST

    Naunet said:

    Shamans in Pantheon are too similar to other classes and not “shaman-y” enough. To really make the class shine, they need a rework of ability themes and aesthetics so that they are more focused on traditional shamanistic concepts of spirits, trances, and visions, rather than nature and the elements.

    While I can agree wtih your assessment that the class does not feel 'shaman-y' enough I can look past that if how the class plays works well enough.

    • 9 posts
    November 12, 2018 3:13 AM PST

    Alot of interesting ideas Naunet. I especially like the summoning old spirits vibe. Hope we get to see some of your stuff get implemented, even if indirectly ofc :)


    This post was edited by Quadesh at November 12, 2018 3:13 AM PST
    • 1438 posts
    November 12, 2018 6:32 AM PST

    I also prefer a shaman oriented in ancestors, poisons, diseases and time-ish than bringing the elemental aspect in them. I think elementals are good at what they are, summoning and raw magic.

    • 1368 posts
    November 15, 2018 9:20 AM PST

    MauvaisOeil said:

    I also prefer a shaman oriented in ancestors, poisons, diseases and time-ish than bringing the elemental aspect in them. I think elementals are good at what they are, summoning and raw magic.

    Way back when (4.5 years ago now) my take on the type of Shaman I preferred was more akin to a Witchdoctor than a priest.  It was much more towards the side of necromancy and the darker side of nature (poisons, diseases, debilitating potions/concoctions)  I'm still holding out for a very strong alchemical bent to our Pantheon Shaman such that some strong potions can be created that can supplant or reinforce existing spells. And not just drinkable potions, but ones you can throw to have an AoE or splash effect.

    • 518 posts
    November 15, 2018 1:33 PM PST

    I like it Naunet!  I always picture a Shaman being either the Witchdoctor type mentioned by others, or the Native American spirit guide type.  Using herbs and incents to make hallucinations or speaking with/summoning spirits and taking people on spirit journies.  I've always hoped for a game to use the latter, having the ultimate buff/debuff class with a spirit pet that can also use "spirit journies" as either a teleportation or group invisibility.  Making NPCs hallucinate they're being shackled or grasped by spirits as CC or slows and basically giving their allies energy boosting herbs and healing salves.  That's what I think of when I think "shaman".  But the EQ shaman remake is cool too.  *shrug*

    • 347 posts
    November 17, 2018 12:49 AM PST
    Fantastic post; great points!
    Fp;gp
    • 10 posts
    December 3, 2018 5:25 PM PST
    I don't like the idea of the pet. I really like the idea of spiritual orientation; hallucinations, trances, journeys and so on. I like the shaman more than any other class but it's awkwardly positioned somewhere between druids and wizards. The naturalistic and the elemental. I think a more true, more accurate design would be centered around these other concepts because they better define what it means to be a shaman.

    Thanks OP for posting. Hope the devs kick this around and change something. Cheers!
    • 2 posts
    January 8, 2019 11:16 PM PST

    Since I heard about this game from a friend of mine who introduced me to EQ, I have been excited to see how the Shaman class will take shape. I agree that a shift away from an elementalist style to a more spirit/ancestor/poison/healing style would greatly benefit the class and make it feel more unique. World of Warcraft has done a great job of making an elemental focused shaman class, but I think a lot of us would love to see something different here. 

    • 260 posts
    January 9, 2019 1:46 AM PST

    I'ld have to agree with the preference of the shaman loosing their constant companion. 

    Shamans commune with spirits and can get in touch with them frequently. Saving more permanent companions for druids and pets for summoners makes more sense.

    Spirits and other entities beyond the world of flesh and bones, come and go. Can be called upon or ventured to (as shamans do). 

    I hope the dev's will turn this class around, but I don't have high hopes for that happening.


    This post was edited by Barin999 at January 9, 2019 1:46 AM PST
    • 65 posts
    January 9, 2019 10:45 PM PST
    Look at it for the practicality. The shaman pet is a spirit animal. And they are there to help give a little more dps and when the shaman is probably solo to help them keep mobs off of them? The Druids pet helps them not by damage but as ability modifier. Increases healing to target and such. Yeah they are are two healer pet classes but are so completely different play styles. I like how both of the classes are. I wouldnt change a thing.
    • 290 posts
    January 12, 2019 10:09 AM PST

    As a likely shaman main, I have to disagree strongly.  First off, the design of the druid and shaman pets is completely different.  The druid pet is a non-combat companion that is tied into many of the druild spells.  The shaman companion is a combat pet that (as far as we know) doesn't really do much besides attack.  Although I would be in favor of a mechanic similar to the flanking mechanic that loremasters in LOTRO had.  [https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Lore-master]

    As to your main point about elemental magic being unconnected to shamanism, I personally like the idea of shaman having a spiritual connection to the world and being able to use that to perform elemental and earth-themed magic.  Given that elemental/earth abilites are such a big part of the shamans' toolkit, I would venture to guess that VR has a plan for exploring the connections between shaman and elemental spirits.  

    • 1368 posts
    January 14, 2019 2:36 PM PST

    zoltar said:

    The shaman companion is a combat pet that (as far as we know) doesn't really do much besides attack.

    While it is true the Shaman pet will be able to engage in combat, the description hints to something more:

    Agewalker's Companion

    Every Shaman begins their journey with a Spirit Companion, usually in the form of a Spirit Wolf Cub or a Spirit Bear Cub. In this form, the Spirit Companion will stay by your side, but will not interact with your enemies or the environment in any way. At level 10, the Shaman will lead their Spirit Companion through a Rite of Passage, turning the cub into its adult form. In this state, your Spirit Companion begin aiding you in battle at your command. It will also grow in strength as you do, gaining access to a host of unique abilities along the way.

    I'm one that hopes the highlighted portion is not just combat related...unless the DPS of the pet is of a noticeable amount as to adequately contribute to the group output so the Shaman can focus on healing if it is the sole priest in a group.

    • 290 posts
    January 17, 2019 8:57 AM PST

    Touche.  I guess what I'm getting at is that the Druid pet is purely cosmetic and thematic.  When you boil it down, it's just the druid casting spells.  Whereas the shaman pet is a true pet.  Although you may command it, the shaman pet attacks on its own.  It can be damaged and healed.  You have to worry about its positioning and the likelyhood of it drawing agro.  None of that is the case with the druid pet.  

    • 1368 posts
    January 17, 2019 11:27 AM PST

    zoltar said:

    You have to worry about its positioning and the likelyhood of it drawing agro.

    I wonder if pets (all pets, not just the Shaman pet) will draw aggro to the owner by proxy.  By this I mean there you are heading across a zone doing what you can to avoid aggro and your pet, following the pathing 'rules' might pass too close to a hostile NPC and get aggro which then passes to the pet owner. I hope this will not be the case.

    • 2290 posts
    January 17, 2019 2:05 PM PST

    zoltar said:

    Touche.  I guess what I'm getting at is that the Druid pet is purely cosmetic and thematic.  When you boil it down, it's just the druid casting spells.  Whereas the shaman pet is a true pet.  Although you may command it, the shaman pet attacks on its own.  It can be damaged and healed.  You have to worry about its positioning and the likelyhood of it drawing agro.  None of that is the case with the druid pet.  

    Druid pet isn't purely cosmetic, they are a seperate entity; Hirode spells will be cast by the pet which means the druid can dual cast some things (like target two different people at the same time for different heals). Also: I am almost 100% sure Joppa has said the shaman pet will be untargetable and any aggro it would generate will go toward the shaman. 


    This post was edited by Iksar at January 17, 2019 2:07 PM PST
    • 1 posts
    February 10, 2019 11:25 PM PST

    I'm glad I'm not the only one confused by the focus on elemental for Shaman abilities. When I first read the class description, I expected more spirit/energy and potentially time/history spell emphasis and less .. fury of the elements. I even imagined some focus on mana/mental/energy/spirit transfer, balance, siphoning, etc. I could even see time/history abilities affecting the battlefield/opponents instead of lightning or water or nature. Also, I don't mind the idea of a perpetual spiritual pet, but I'd like some choice in the variation. 

    IDK, but overall, I do I agree that there's an aesthetic disconnect. DL, Druid, Enchanter, Cleric all have very strong UNIQUE thematic elements. I don't see that for Shaman besides their mechanics. I just think that there's a richness that's missing for the Shaman to be tied to time/history/spirits right now. 

    • 222 posts
    February 11, 2019 8:36 AM PST

    Amen. Honestly, I've thought for some time that there is an over-reliance on elemental themes in the classes, and I think making a few alterations to the Shaman would go a long way to help remedy that. I'm totally on board with these ideas.

    • 290 posts
    February 15, 2019 5:33 AM PST

    Iksar said:

    zoltar said:

    Touche.  I guess what I'm getting at is that the Druid pet is purely cosmetic and thematic.  When you boil it down, it's just the druid casting spells.  Whereas the shaman pet is a true pet.  Although you may command it, the shaman pet attacks on its own.  It can be damaged and healed.  You have to worry about its positioning and the likelyhood of it drawing agro.  None of that is the case with the druid pet.  

    Druid pet isn't purely cosmetic, they are a seperate entity; Hirode spells will be cast by the pet which means the druid can dual cast some things (like target two different people at the same time for different heals). Also: I am almost 100% sure Joppa has said the shaman pet will be untargetable and any aggro it would generate will go toward the shaman. 

     

    This is very speculative, although I guess you could say the same thing to me.  But my best guess is that the Hirode abilities will essentially be like instant cast abilities for the Druid.  You won't be able to give a command to Hirdoe while you're casting another spell.  Thus, Hirode is purely cosmetic/thematic.  

    I'll have to look for that info about the shaman pet. 

    • 290 posts
    February 25, 2019 7:30 PM PST

    Iksar said:

    zoltar said:

    Touche.  I guess what I'm getting at is that the Druid pet is purely cosmetic and thematic.  When you boil it down, it's just the druid casting spells.  Whereas the shaman pet is a true pet.  Although you may command it, the shaman pet attacks on its own.  It can be damaged and healed.  You have to worry about its positioning and the likelyhood of it drawing agro.  None of that is the case with the druid pet.  

    Druid pet isn't purely cosmetic, they are a seperate entity; Hirode spells will be cast by the pet which means the druid can dual cast some things (like target two different people at the same time for different heals). Also: I am almost 100% sure Joppa has said the shaman pet will be untargetable and any aggro it would generate will go toward the shaman. 

     

    I just watched the Druid stream for the first time.  Unless something signfiicant changes, the fox is completely cosmetic.  The druid has to put the fox abilities on his own spellbar.  He uses his own mana to cast them.  Functionally, they work exactly like any non-pet spell.  

    edit: that being said, I fully expect the pet abilities to be given their own bar at some point.  


    This post was edited by zoltar at March 1, 2019 5:18 PM PST
    • 20 posts
    May 16, 2019 1:02 AM PDT

    Naunet said:

    - snip it all -



    Hmm, see there are two aspects to it.
    While it is true that the definition of a real world Shaman is Spirits and Visions, in D&D (which all MMOs base their classes upon) it is a fair bit different though they still draw inspiration from real world Shamans of course.

    In Dungeons & Dragons they have built further upon them than mere Spirit Guides and Healers:
    They share skills with Druids and Cleric.
    You have two types of spirits which Shamans can call upon:
    - You have your animal spirits. A hawk spirit would, as an example, employ properties from Wind making it to a lesser extend a Wind Spirit.
    - You have your Spirits of the Land. Actual Spirits of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water (and what else have you).

    As such the elements have, for a long time, been tied to the Shamans in videogames. It has, sadly, always come with a very weird mix.
    Typically they are regarded as a utility class and to a lesser extend healing class or they are regarded as a healing class with some damage abilities thrown in to the mix or a combination of all three of them. The main part tho, is that most of them (if not all) have elemental magic at their core.

    Let's not forget that all shaman spells derive their damage from Nature damage (not fire, wind, water or earth). The Aspect of the spell is simply the Spirit of the Land from which they draw their spiritual energy from. The actual spell itself is of Spiritual nature.
    Nature damage is not to be taken as the literal word "Nature" meaning that green thing which lives outside of cities and is quite wild often (and mistakenly) linked to Druidism. It is simply a natural type of damage rather than a specific damage such as Fire, Ice, Earth, Wind or Arcane form of Damage.
    Sadly, quite a lot of MMOs has a tendency to use Nature for various things or mix it together.. Like WoWs Nature category encompasses Poisons, Healing and Damage in a wide variety of spells and even classes.

    Although I do agree that more clarification would probably help people in this matter.
    I don't think a complete overhaul of class animations is necessary, but maybe tooltips and spell explanations should/could be altered to a more "shamans employ the spirit of x/y/z to aid them summoning forth spiritual energy/magic to a/b/c".
    Inventing an entire new school of magic would require extensive redoing of the game as resistances would have to be added, tested, modified. Gear would need to (possibly) employ and/or drop with the new stats which at this point.. Is probably a bit too late.


    This post was edited by Ashreon at May 16, 2019 1:09 AM PDT