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Please: The Shaman Dance needs a boost.

CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 212
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?

acdhasarevok57Abi_DalzimamikaGrammarsaladEdvinStummvonBordwehrRik_Kirtaniya

Comments

  • acdhaacdha Member Posts: 15
    Your first idea seems like the most obvious fix to me because the idea of a dancer being locked in place is so self-contradictory. There's a great RP explanation for a significant movement reduction, too: keeping the dance going requires carefully shifting each move in the dance in the desired direction, which is slow and requires complete attention.

    I think the concept of not allowing the summons to be directly controlled is a good distinguishing factor – and that fits well with some novel summons types which players aren't using to controlling – but the default radius is tiny. I think simply increasing that would go a long way towards keeping it from feeling like the rest of your party is doing all of the work.

  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 212
    Leaving them uncontrolled would be fine, if they were powerful enough to be useful, had a more reasonable aggro range, spawned quickly enough to be useful, or didn't disappear with the slightest movement on the shaman's part. Like I said, any of them would work.

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,697
    edited May 2016
    You can currently exploit a design flaw by saving and reloading the game while the shaman does his dance if you time it right (provided there are no enemies in sight). You have then an up to six seconds time frame to freely move around after reloading without causing the summons to disappear.

    I agree that adding the ability to move around with reduced speed while dancing would make this class much more useful. Everything else is already pretty well balanced. On higher levels the shaman has access to more powerful summons via spells or HLAs, so I don't see the limited power of the spirit creatures as a real issue.

  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 212
    That doesn't sound like an exploit I'd want to rely on.

    The spells and HLAs available in the game do nothing to increase the power of the dance. There are a couple decent options for defense, especially since dancing breaks invisibility, but I saw nothing else that a druid doesn't get, while a druid can multiclass with fighter, wear better armor (even by default with Ankheg and dragon hide armors), and more weapon options (especially with fighter levels).

    I used the Console to give my test character max XP and tried to use dance against Illesera the Quick, the first and easiest boss in ToB. At max level, with a 19 con (half orc), with Max HP turned on, and starting with Iron Skins cast, she still took me to half health before she died. Against a tutorial boss. That's not impressive.

    I really want to play a shaman. The need for a healer always limits the party options, and access to shortbows and axes make for an interesting combination. But it's so frustrating how pathetic the class feels.


  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 10,561
    Calemyr said:


    I used the Console to give my test character max XP and tried to use dance against Illesera the Quick, the first and easiest boss in ToB. At max level, with a 19 con (half orc), with Max HP turned on, and starting with Iron Skins cast, she still took me to half health before she died. Against a tutorial boss. That's not impressive.

    Wait, you used a single ability against a TOB boss, and otherwise just stood around doing nothing, and that ability killed the boss and you walked away with half your hit points... and you call that "unimpressive???"

    What other ability, from what other class or kit, can do that??

    ThacoBelltbone1Dev6
  • CalemyrCalemyr Member Posts: 212
    A "boss" you can normally autoattack to death. Illesera, unless you change the difficulty, is a non-factor.

    Also note that that was after upping to max level, with the maximum con, and putting Ironskins on.

  • mf2112mf2112 Member, Moderator Posts: 1,919
    Calemyr said:

    A "boss" you can normally autoattack to death. Illesera, unless you change the difficulty, is a non-factor.

    Also note that that was after upping to max level, with the maximum con, and putting Ironskins on.

    I just tried with a brand new ToB character since I had been curious. 16th level shaman, 87 points distributed appropriately with 16 con. On core rules I had no problem whatsoever, barely broke a sweat dancing. I did cast armor of faith and iron skins first since it does tell you there is a battle coming up.

    On the hard difficulty level I cast armor of faith, iron skins, and regeneration first, then started dancing. Frustrating that conversation breaks the dance so I had to start over. I could only get two spirits at a time. She summoned a couple of wolves and an ogre the spirits had to deal with first so she cast some spells and and then attacked. She got me down to 30 hp out of 86 before the spirits took her out.

    Considering that it was a solo shaman, even as poor a boss as Illasera is, I was impressed.

    subtledoctor
  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,002
    I agree that this ability should be improved, but I'm glad Beamdog took a conservative approach and erred on the side of weakness. It's good that they didn't accidentally make a dominant, one-note class (which is how I would describe the initial version of Shadowdancer), and they can tweak it in a positive direction now without causing a major stir. In the meantime, Shamans are interesting and not unplayably weak.

    By the way, I thought I had found a neat application of the Shamanic Dance in BG2,
    I had my solo Shaman stand out of reach of Thaxll'ssillvia and just keep summoning spirits.

    but the spirits were so weak that it was completely useless. I probably let that run for an hour before giving up.

    mf2112tbone1
  • magisenseimagisensei Member Posts: 316
    I agree that the Shaman should be rebalanced in some way.

    My ideas differ somewhat in that it should be more shaman like in what they do and act. Shamans are a "pipe line" to the spirit world but non of their abilities effect the undead which is just odd. These undead creatures have been escaping true death for years and anything that can call upon spirits and souls should scare the heck of the undead as it essentially should end their existence. Make shaman spells and abilities effect all type of undead such that as the shaman levels up eventually even lichs will have a bit of fear when facing a shaman that can call your own mortal spirit against you. Of course this might make the cleric turn undead redundant but Shamans are spirit callers and their abilities should naturally effect all undead creatures as well.

    As for the dance - yes I am not thrilled at the length (sometimes it takes a long time for anything to appear even at high levels 20+) and power of the summons but the oddity of this is that here I am dancing calling all these summons - essentially spirits - and who is not scared of ghosts that can actually cause harm - poltergeist anyone.

    My idea when the shaman is dancing - the shaman creates a spirit shield barrier - all living/undead creatures attacking suffer -2 to hit/damage/save; 1+1d2 damage/round (increases by+1 per 4levels) must be in attack melee range - all creatures living and undead must save vs breath weapon or run in panic at the spirits that surround the shaman making up the shield each round; there is a 10% chance +2%/level that non magical missile weapons are stopped by the spirits.

    I used a shaman with globe barriar (HLA) ability so my shaman could dance in relative safety.

    Shaman spells -it would be nice if some of them were unique buffs for the party instead of individual spells.

    And of course as everyone else has stated - more spells - the druids in BG have the worse selection of spells available compare this to IWD and its so very different.

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 1,901
    There is only one thing I would change, for Icewind Dale only: in that game, the chance to summon a spirit should keep increasing after level 20. In Icewind Dale, a lot of things that are capped at level 20 in Baldur's Gate are instead capped at level 30, like caster levels.

  • TarlugnTarlugn Member Posts: 203
    Instead of standing still, the dance would be so much more entertraining if the shaman would indeed dance about. I first thought of shaman wandering off randomly, but realized typical dances have pretty strict patterns on the number of steps and turns, notwithstanding disco dance and the like were hand motions are fairly often present. There you go, hire a choregrapher to design a credible shaman dance for you!

    Totally unrelated song:

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=O_49H_N43jQ

    Zaghoul
  • Well based on the data here: http://baldursgate.wikia.com/wiki/Shaman

    The problem is the Shaman doesn't gain much after level 20. So levels 21-31 gain nothing but a few high-level abilities and that's all. There's 10 of those so at level 27 you gain nothing beyond that.

    Druids beyond level 20 gain a bunch of resistances multiple times plus increasing slots to cast more spells. http://baldursgate.wikia.com/wiki/Druid

    Essentially the spirit dance at level 31 should be better than level 20 and not the same.

  • AnterosAnteros Member Posts: 37
    Sorry for the necro, but is there a reason why the Shaman doesn't use the same summoning ability as the Totemic druid? It's so much more reliable especially at low level.

    tbone1
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 4,742
    @Anteros it's just a different ability. The totemic summons are considerably stronger at the same levels, but they're also limited in duration and number you can call each day. With some careful management you can use an infinite stream of shamanic spirits to kill even considerably tougher opponents (though that can take a long time).

    Having played with lower level shamans a considerable amount I'll also note for @JuliusBorisov that the statistics on the chance of summoning given in the Adventurer's Guide are clearly incorrect - summons are definitely not created at the rate expected for a shaman in BG1 / SoD (and from the comment above I suspect that remains true right up to level 20 - where there should be a 75% chance per round of a spirit appearing). I also think the distribution expected between different levels of summons isn't correctly reflected in the game, though as I've never got to level 3 and 4 creatures it's harder to be certain about that.

    JuliusBorisovThacoBelltbone1
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 3,753
    edited March 2018
    Some the new kits for shamans bring some new takes on the class. I've run all of these, with the first two being them most different in function: The StormCaller summons lighting bolts instead of summons and he can move at the same time. The SpiritWalker uses his dance to transform into a half corporeal spirit (three choices) in which each has various different abilities (very powerful). The WitchLight Shaman has (different summons w/ undead specters at 12) a stronghold that is now open to any.

    With any of the shamans, one can move a just a little, if timed just right, where the shaman can move a step or two. I use this often hidden around corners so the summons attack the enemy, and then readjust to get the summons in the line of sight.
    EDIT:Meant StormCaller not walker, heh. ;)

    Post edited by Zaghoul on
  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,071
    Zaghoul said:

    Some the new kits for shamans bring some new takes on the class. I've run all of these, with the first two being them most different in function: The StormWalker summons lighting bolts instead of summons and he can move at the same time. The SpiritWalker uses his dance to transform into a half corporeal spirit (three choices) in which each has various different abilities (very powerful). The WitchLight Shaman has (different summons w/ undead specters at 12) a stronghold that is now open to any.

    With any of the shamans, one can move a just a little, if timed just right, where the shaman can move a step or two. I use this often hidden around corners so the summons attack the enemy, and then readjust to get the summons in the line of sight.

    There's also the Dreadful Witch from I Hate Undead Kitpack. She can't summon spirits but gets tons of nasty curses.

    Zaghoul
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 3,753
    @Raduziel Sorry, ;) definitely another good take on the shaman class. It is good to see new ideas coming out for this great class. :)

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,071
    edited March 2018
    @Zaghoul Not a problem. I made a poor marketing for some kits from this pack, the Witch included. And the Shaman class is rarely discussed, so I had few opportunities to talk about this kit.

  • SedaSeda Member Posts: 31
    La canción de bardo (suerte), ¿mejora la danza chamánica?

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 3,950
    I still haven't played shaman, the class doesn't really interrest me (though I have faked in some of its spell to a druid, cause they are cool).

    One thing that makes me now want to play the shaman, is that I've read that they stand around too much. I don't like that idea so much. If I were a modder of decent quality, I would re-create the dance so that spirits are summed instantly (1 per round) but instead the shaman wrangle with control over them so that each turn they have a chance to "break" from control and become hostile, kinda like a summon elemental spell for arcane. The more levels in Shaman, the less likely they will break free, similar to how wildmages gain more benefical and less detrimental effects as they level. As long as the Shaman dances, they keep summoning spirits but also retain their higher ability to keep control, ie 50% less likely the spirits break free or similar. As they stop dancing, the lose a buff to summoning control but the spirits remain there, but now the shaman can walk around and cast spells/attack/drink potions etc. This means that if a shaman would stand for ie 3 rounds, summon 3 spritis (one per round), and then stop dancing, each round there ability to break free increases.

    This would make the shaman a dangerous class where you have to measure gains vs pains. For each fight you have to do calculated estimations on how many spirits you dare to summon, because even if you win the fight, the summons may turn on you. The shamans should have a class spell "Banish spirits" or similar (similar to the death spell to banish undead/summons, but only for spirits) that take up a normal spell slot, a sort of "get out of jail" free card that lets them banish spirits. But due to having few spell slots, they again have to estimate and choose carefully if they want to invest a spell slot for this spell. So let's say spell level 1 banishes 1 spirit, spell level 2, 2 spirits etc. So a level 20 shaman can invest a level 7 spell slot to banish 7 spirits after a fight before they turn hostile.

    Now that would be a shaman I would want to play!
    @subtledoctor @Raduziel, can't you make this kit for me? ;) (just joking)

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