I posted this in SoD's general discussion, but I realize this is the appropriate place for a comment like this:
The lack of multiclassing, dualclassing, and strongholds are major penalties against the shaman. The real kicker, however, is that the thing that makes them unique (the dance) is pretty crap. The shaman can do nothing, nothing
, or they lose everything they've built up and have to start again, and the summons aren't particularly powerful. Often times they come off as painfully weak.
Spontaneous divine casting is cool. There aren't a lot of really good druid spells to begin with, however, so it's not as interesting as a sorcerer. The bonus spells do a good bit to fill in the gaps in the druid spell list, at least.
Personally, I always use BGTweaks anyway, so strongholds aren't a concern to me. They should at least get the Keep as a fallback, however. That one doesn't have major plot requirements (beyond being good in a fight, which a shaman really should be given an infinitely respawning army of spirits).
The one thing that really, desperately needs to be changed, however, is the dance. Right now it's a combination of bad things that go poorly together. Any of these would do:
1) Allow the Shaman to move while dancing. It takes too long to build up a useful group of spirits, and by that time everything in range is already dead and moving destroys your little army. Bards get to move while singing. You can do the Dwarven Defender thing and put a 50% movement penalty on the dance, but no movement at all is beyond stupid.
2) Make the spirits more effective and/or add tiers. I tried a shaman out in the first bits of Throne of Bhaal, which are more or less trivial tutorial fights. The first trial (Gavid and the Price of Murder) is pathetically easy and is a horde mode assault on a set location. This is the perfect situation for a shaman. They were totally ineffective, however. A shaman is very powerful on the levels the grow a tier, but the power of their summons does not increase beyond that. More tiers would make that at least somewhat less painful.
3) More options for summons. Animals and elementals may work as generic options, but alternatives would definitely be desirable. One of the coolest bits of M'Khiin is the fact that her summons suit her character as the one adult in a species of children, cursed with equal parts pity, disgust, and responsibility for her own kind. If you treat the class more as a more generic summoner (with Shaman being the default kit), you could you could have multiple styles of summons to suit more types of characters. I once suggested a kit that tied to the Scion's status as a Bhaalspawn and the lives they have taken in order to survive, but I'd just like to have other themes as nature is frankly pretty boring.
4) Increase the rate at which the summons build up. I don't care if this is higher summon chance, more checks per round, the potential for a "critical" summon that calls multiple summons, or what, but it takes so long to raise a worthwhile force that there will be nobody left within reach. And each individual summon isn't particularly useful.
5) Allow the summons to be directed. The shaman is a summoner-type class with no control over their minions. This is really quite stupid. This slow, immobile, sub-par army of regenerating cannon fodder would at least be useful if you could at least point at what you want them to attack. Instead, they're just wandering around aimlessly, attacking whatever catches their interest and totally mucking up any chance at tactics.
Any one of these would make this new class much more attractive. As things stand now, the dance takes to long to get into gear, creates typically useless fodder, allows for no direction, and everything is lost if you so much as scratch your nose. The nature theme, while not bad, is pretty boring, especially compared to M'Khiin's version.
Anyone agree with me?