Alright, this may be covered in one of the 100+ page long threads (as a matter of fact I'm fairly certain it is), but I'd like to approach this issue from the sole standpoint of itemization towards hybrid classes; pre and post expansion.
As of right now, any time a Maexxna's Fang, Harbinger of Doom, Servo Arm, etc. drops I get a bid from a shaman or two. Each time I say "Sorry, rogues have priority," and each time I get replies of "BUT I'M GOING TO BE BETTER DPS IN THE EXPANSION." Please can the "It's their DKP! Let them spend it!" responses - I've said from the beginning we're PvE oriented. We try to distribute our loot as such. Even if there's a pending expansion *gasp*
My question is simple :
From your (the beta tester's) experience, are shaman still going to be healbots end-game? Or will they actually be viable DPS? And by this I don't mean, "We can do like 1.5 times as much DPS as we used to! You should see it!" I mean actual, real, viable, damage meter-able raid DPS. The kind that makes your rogues not AFK during trash so they don't get embarassed by a shaman.
Should we switch up our loot distribution to allow them to get some of the more "killer" enhancement gear (for some reason most of them are trying to take dual wield gear)?
edit : Druids are in the same boat, we've just been blessed with druids that are happy to be restore. I'd love to hear about them as well, though :)
I don't think expansion should have any bearing on what you're doing now, especially the way you distribute loot. Just pretend expansion doesn't exist.
Just to clear up where I'm coming from - first of all banking retail loot is probably one of the last things people need to worry about for TBC. Second, maexxna's fang in shaman's hands doesn't help you right now. In rogue's hands it does. If you're farming KT though, I'll humbly eat my words because honestly it doesn't matter at all what you do at this point.
Shamans will be viable DPS in endgame raids in TBC as best we can tell at this point, largely due to the synergy of putting them in a full melee group.
Shamans DPSing in TBC raids, however, will not be using crappy 60 DPS weapons from Naxx, however. A shaman who is asking for a Naxx weapon now wants it to help him level from 61-70. I am not at all saying that's a reason to deny it to them, but you should be clear on what people are looking to get. Personally, I think "progression" has to take on a new meaning at some point as the expansion grows nearer, and a raiding guild should be giving its members the tools they need to get to 70 -- healers in particular. Maybe we haven't reached that point, but it's kind of disingenuous to be sitting in Naxx come, say, late December, saying that you need to give a warrior a 4 DPS upgrade instead of giving a shaman a 15 DPS upgrade in the weapon slot, because shaman DPS isn't part of Naxx progression.
That said, if you keep raiding Naxx until the expansion, shamans will probably be able to get weapons once rogues and such no longer need them, even if you give shamans no priority. We have a shaman with a Maexxna's Fang and Pugio all ready to go for TBC, for example.
I have been wondering this too. Before TBC, as of now, it seems hybrid classes can only perform one role to gain the maximum efficiency in raid encounters (especially the most difficult ones.) i.e. It's best that shamans heal, druids heal, instead of them doing dps...
I haven't done the evaluations myself, but I'm wondering, if feral druids (with +3% melee crit) or moonkin (with +3% spells) can really benefit the raid by providing these auras. But in Naxxramas I don't think a druid can DPS (in these forms) instead of healing.......Perhaps in AQ or less difficult instances (than Naxx), by having a feral/moonkin in the raid is really a good thing.
So will the trend ever change (anyone can predict from your closed beta experience?)? Will Druids/Shamans always have to specc'ed in restoration in order to conquer most difficult (recent) encounters?