I’ve been thinking a lot about the classes I’ve played in World of Warcraft over the years and the differences between them. Up until my return to play Mists my main had always been a balance druid or Boomkin as they are affectionately known by most. But ever since the significant redesign of the spec for Cataclysm it has felt wrong to me. So I ended up with my Draenei shaman as my new main, with the added bonus that I liked the healing and caster damage specs for this class.
Shamans started as the horde mirror class for paladin so there are some leftover oddities from that era such as a taunt spell and a buff to increase threat, although they cannot effectively tank anymore. They can also wield shields in the offhand, which makes for some great costume options! The first character I played in WoW, on a friend’s second account, was actually a Tauren shaman so I have a long connection with this class!
The elemental (caster dps) spec is actually a lot more interesting to play these days than perhaps it was in the Wrath era. A small chance of double casts of spells and instant lava bursts make for great pyrotechnic displays in combat. The talent for the enhanced element pets is a great new feature.
The restoration healing spec has always been interesting to play with good area heals and some heavy single target heals. Newer abilities like a totem to equalise the health of all those nearby (communist healing ;-) ) and the earth shield automatic heals are useful and unique tools for the class.
Ascendance gives a major boost to damage output, allowing the caster to briefly chain cast lava bursts for spectacular burst damage. Perhaps my favourite newer ability for either spec though is spiritwalker’s grace. Being able to cast heals while running around is such a useful ability for this class. It has proven invaluable in several of the Mists heroic dungeons that I’m now experiencing.