WoW: Shaman or Hunter?

Much like Tobold I’ve been lured back to World of Warcraft by all the hype surrounding the Cataclysm expansion and, again much like him, I’m torn between deciding on what class to play. My current thoughts are to start up either a new Shaman or Hunter, both Draenei of course.

Even though I’ve remained subscribed to WoW, I haven’t played much in the last couple of months mainly due to the fact I’ve been checking out betas like Aion and Champions Online and playing EVE Online. It’s no secret that I’m pretty giddy about the prospect of the content revamp that comes with Cataclysm though and, for some reason, it’s just gotten me back in the mood for WoW. I’m not sure how long it will last but right now it would certainly tied me over until Aion comes out. I just feel like playing something fun and casual (plus it has the added bonus that it will run on my laptop seeing as my desktop is acting dodgy – low system requirements FTW).

I can’t quite face going back to my Warrior even though I feel like I should get him up to level 80. I’ve kind of grown a bit bored of him and I think a new alt would be quite refreshing and I’ve narrowed my selection down to either a Shaman or Hunter. Although I’ve played a Shaman before, I stopped around level 22 because I found all the totems too much of a headache to manage. They cluttered up my toolbars and it really did my head in (I’m a super-organised, control freak kinda guy). However, with the new totem bar that came out in patch 3.2 I think could deal with the totems quite easily. Otherwise my main attraction to the Shaman is being able to play a melee class that can also heal or nuke and that just plain sounds like fun.

The Hunter is my other prospective class. Although I’m tempted to hold off and wait and roll a Worgen Hunter, I really like the idea of trying them out as they are completely unlike any other class I’ve played before (essentially tanks or healers). Plus Cataclysm may be a long way off so I don’t feel like I should hold my breath just waiting for Worgens. I don’t really know much about Hunters though aside from the fact they can shoot guns and use pets. I’ve seen a few using melee weapons like polearms or dual wielding but I heard that was a pretty rubbish way to play. Any Hunter pros care to comment?

So I’m currently browsing the talent calculators and official WoW forums along with Google Images for some inspiration to help me make up my mind. Shaman or Hunter? My mind says Shaman but my heart says Hunter. What do you think? Anyone got any tips or advice?

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  1. Shaman. Lovely class. I plan to go back for Cataclysm, considering levelling a whole new shaman just because they are SO much fun to play. Yes, micro-managing the totems can be a bit of a pain at times, but you get used to it and before you know it you are popping them all over the place.

    Playing a resto shaman in a BG can be an insane amount of fun, even though you can quickly become a target because of the Chain Heal-animation. I also loved healing during raids, being loved by the melee.

    I don’t know how the new totem bar looks, Blizzard’s own UI has always felt lacking compared to all the great mods out there. Download a few and see which fits your style of play, then have a go at a shaman. Then again, I can’t stand playing a hunter, so I guess I am a bit biased.

  2. Longasc says:

    I would play the Hunter after they got “focus” instead of Mana (reminds me of LOTRO). I prefer Warlocks as pet class, tbh. I cannot… what, Petter cannot stand Hunters either? Yeah, there are too many Night Elf Hunters! One should roll Horde just to kill them off! :)

    Hunter melee is weak to start with, and gets weaker later. They don’t really need it anyways.

    Shamans are VERY versatile and fun and can serve as melee/caster dps or healer. Hybridity is an advantage nowadays. Chain Heal and Chain Lightning are very effective for instances and even more so for raids.

    My friend Steve plays this shaman on Azshara: – he says the new totem UI is quite nice and stopped using his old totem mod. He still uses a totem timer or something like that though. I can ask him if you need any specific advice.

  3. Andrew says:

    Play an enhancement shaman, and remember to dual wield ASAP. Once you hit 30 things get stupidly amusing. It’s a really well designed spec.

    • Gordon says:

      Sounds fun. Didn’t they used to have a spec for 2h weapons?

      • Psynister says:

        Enhancement is the weapon related spec for both 2h and DW.

        And ASAP for DW means level 40, but you should actually wait to do it until 43 unless you really love missing. ;)

        But yeah, 30 is the breaking point where you become freaking elite, as that’s when you get Windfury Weapon. Use a big, slow as you can possibly find, two-handed weapon and windfury things for about twice their max hp.

        If you go shaman, let me know and I can give you a whole lot more information on specifics. I’m going to shut up before I overload another one of your threads with info though.

  4. Hunters are fun solo classes. They’re also a mechanic somewhat unique to WoW. Other games have tried to do pet classes but none have quite nailed the success of Warcraft’s Hunter. Take a browse through Petopia and Mania’s Arcana blog if you need inspiration.

  5. Hudson says:

    I would not… at all

    This will die off around level 18 or so.

    Do the new character thing next year and hit up a new MMO this month :)

  6. Scarybooster says:

    The game is hurting for Shamans and with the new totem hotkeys your UI is clear now and totems fly down smooth. Hunter is easier to solo I think but I love my Spacegoat Shaman. End game you will fing groups so easy looking for healer or elemental shaman. Shaman is your best bet for long lasting fun

  7. Hudson says:

    Shamans are the bomb I will admit that :) Go for it! Shaman!

  8. Kaldeem says:

    I wouldn’t roll shaman, the class has serious problems. Even with the latest HP buff and totem bars. If you like raiding then you can get away with it, but for pvp, enhancement is gimped, do to no CC and with the removal of earth sock’s interrupt, you have to add wind shock to your bar witch is pretty much useless IMO, it does no dmg and and lowers your burst because it takes up a GCD were normally you wouldn’t care because it would have been your ES. As an Ele shaman you will get burst down almost as fast, if not faster than if you were Enhanc. Yes Ele is the way to go for pvp bg’s, but in Areans you will never get above 1500, speaking in 2’s bracket. In 3v3 you fair better, but don’t put out as much as Rogue, Paladin, Mage, Warlock etc, in dps and your lack of CC’s will hurt your team. So then your locked into Resto. If you don’t mind healing then your golden. I have a 80 elem shaman full hateful 763 resilience. I don’t pve that much if at all, so I can’t speak for Raiders. I just know that pvp in for for the shaman is quite boring in end game. But if your just going to level and pve and maybe gank a few people while questing hardly any class dose it better than shaman.

    80 druid-TFC
    80 shaman-TFC
    70 dk-TFC
    70 rogue-TFC
    71 warrior-TFC
    60 paladin-TFC
    70 Hunter-KT

    P.s Go Paladin or Hunter, If I could level solo via pvp I would play my pally to 80, or even my 70 hunter on KT

  9. Kaldeem says:

    Oh, In my real honest opinion I would go with Hudson’s advice. I just uninstalled Wow after hearing of the Xpac.

  10. Draxi says:

    Been leveling a Shammy lately so I must say after about level 30 Enhancment becomes pure awesome. I have been attracted to level a hunter ever since I saw the original cinematic (the dwarf with the big gun!!!) but still haven’t found the time. Since my main is a warlock I guess I am reluctant to play another pet class.

    Personally I see myself going Paladin for pre cataclysm and hunter after cataclysm. As for you I would suggest Shaman since you want to play a worgen hunter after. Enhancment shammies can really bring the pain in “pve single target no need to CC” scenarios.

    • Gordon says:

      I’ve got a Paladin alt but as I’ve already got a Warrior and a Priest I feel like I’m not really getting access to anything new. Shaman or Hunter seem like really difference classes to those that I’ve played before.

  11. Marchosias says:

    I would “me three” the sentiment to just not play. BUT if you must… I would go Orc Hunter or Undead Warlock – but as a classic pet player, I’m somewhat biased. I never really liked my Shaman, dunno why.

  12. Psynister says:

    Which you pick depends on what you want to do in the game. Hunter is still the easiest class in the game to solo level with, and they are very strong options in PvP (they dominate both 19 and 29 BG brackets, and hunter/priest is still the best 2v2 arena team for 19 and 29 as well).

    A hunter that ever uses his melee weapon(s) intentionally and in favor of using his bow/gun should delete immediately, uninstall, and cancel their subscription. End of discussion. You equip the weapons, but you do it for the stats that they give you, not for attacking. Period. A hunter’s polearm isn’t called a polearm, it’s called a Stat Stick (technically a stat stick is a staff, but whatever), because that’s the role that it fills.

    Personally, I find the Hunter to be a bit too much easy mode, and it turns into boredom real fast.

    While Hunter is the easiest class to solo with, a Shaman is equally easy. Kaldeem’s looking at the Shaman’s PvP capabilities from a high level and an arena point of view. If you’re looking to do that then his advice is sound. If you’re not focused on PvP or if you prefer Battlegrounds over Arena, then Shaman is an excellent choice.

    I’ve got a shaman that I have done a lot of PvP with and my wife has a shaman that she’s breezing through levels on as we “speak” (literally). Both of us are Enhancement, and we both do most of our leveling solo. To discount the Shaman’s health or armor is crap. You’ve got totems for a reason and they make up for their assumed weaknesses.

    Add to that amazing burst damage comparable to a Ret Pally, stronger reflective damage than a prot paladin, more powerful and more mana efficient heals than a holy paladin, and more utility than almost every class in the game, and you’ve got yourself an amazing class called Shaman.

    And besides, that swirling black vortex of face owning windfury just makes you smile every time you see it.

    Personally, the Shaman is one of my favorite classes to play because they are powerful and versatile. They have a lot of class quests that add to the character if you’re into that kind of thing, and those class quests also give a lot of extra experience in early levels from doing them.

    • Gordon says:

      Awesome info, thanks a lot! I think it’s a shame that Hunter’s have such poor melee abilities – I was kinda hoping to be able to try something a little different and melee alongside my pet :(

      • Tesh says:

        Well, there *are* those Hunters who focus on Melee and get pets to back them up. It’s fun for a change of gameplay style, even if it’s not as effective as hiding behind a tank pet and playing the ranged DPS role.

        I’d suggest a Hunter for another reason, though; to try and catch some of those pets that might be made extinct by the Cataclysm and get some screenshots. A Draenei with Echeyakee, for example, might be pretty cool.

        I do find it funny that you, Tobold and I (and probably others) have all solicited opinions on what to play in WoW.

        Of course, I have an ulterior motive of giving away a book, but still, it seems like the Cataclysm announcement has a lot of people looking to take one last spin through Old Azeroth.

        I’m seriously considering firing up another ten day trial or two to get screenshots of the starting zones for posterity and comparison when the Cataclysm hits. As a game design geek and game industry artist, I’m keenly interested in what they actually *do* to the world.

    • Kaldeem says:

      Word up on that, I love elemental pvp in BG’s. Srsly chain lighting is sick I have 3k spell power(with TOW) and I’ve in more than one case killed 3 alliance (w/o TOW I don’t really use TOW in bgs, unless playing guard at a tower or something.)with chain lighting in none-premade bgs.

      *TOW= Totem of Wrath

  13. plummet says:

    Hunter is FTW. Shaman don’t get the new totem bar UI until level 30- that’s 8 more levels you would have to suffer through. My shaman is stuck at 25- got bored of doing bad damage. The way to have most fun with hunter, IMO, is beat mastery. With the new pet talents and different pet options, hunter keeps you coming back for more. You can melee if you want (really, you can) but it won’t be as much damage, and you might get some funny looks. At 30 you get Aspect of the Beast which increases you and your pet’s melee damage by a certain %. If you do melee, go for a slow 2h. And i think 1 agility gives more AP than 1 strength. You can easily solo quest elites…just pop bestial wrath and mend pet.

  14. [...] who doesn’t like sounding off and offering an opinion of what someone else should do in World of [...]

  15. Whatsmymain says:

    I’ve played both classes to 80 and to be honest it depends on what you are looking for in this new character. I’ve found the hunter to be the superior solo class in almost all regards. Additionally I’ve found that when playing a hunter I experience more of the world around me. I’m not 100% focused on the target in front of me but the world around me.

    On the shaman aspect… Regardless of what spec you play with (I leveled Elemental) Shamans are a pretty powerfull force to be reaconed with but you may struggle with soloing group quests. The advantage of shamans is that you bring more to a group if you decide to do instances. You kind of mentioned you wanted to break away from the healer role but playing a shaman lets you have the ability to heal in a pinch.

    Honestly they are both great classes and get a movement boost at 16 which can help making running across zones less painful. My advice is that if you are leaning towards solo play go with the hunter. If you tend to try and do all of the instances you may be better going with a shaman… unless you absolutely never want to heal again then stick with the hunter.

  16. [...] saving me the trouble, incidentally.)  Tobold is off the wagon again, soliciting opinions, and Gordon over at We Fly Spitfires is looking to try a new experience (to him, anyway).  Of course, as night follows day, Syncaine upholds his honor and calls everyone [...]

  17. Jaedia says:

    Alright you found me on Twitter, and I happen to be hooked on the hunter class :p so roll a Worgen hunter!

  18. Ryang says:

    Good luck hunters are as said fun solo classes, each spec has its perks. Also id like to note im so sick and tired of people saying that once you kill a hunters pet they freak out, look for Ryang 57 Hunter on Frostwolf and ill prove you wrong all day and night. Not bashing shamys theyre cool too i have one….somewhere they are very versitile and on a pallys level of sexy awesomeness.

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