Questions by Benjamin
“Machail” de la Durantaye (CM for
AoC at Ten Ton Hammer)
and Cody "Micajah" Bye (Managing

Answers by Evan
Michaels, Game Designer for Funcom

The priests have arrived! Full of pomp, circumstance, and enough rage
to rip out your heart, the Ten Ton Hammer staff members are proud to
present the first of the Age of Conan class interviews featuring the
Priest archetype! To start things off, we opted to begin with the most
“hands-on” of all the priests in AoC, the Bear
Shaman. As always, Evan Michaels gives us the latest details on the
Bear Shaman and helps us better understand what this bloody priest is
all about.

Ten Ton Hammer: In a
recent interview, you stated that the Bear Shaman will probably be a
more melee-oriented class compared to its priestly brethren. In the
current form, how will Bear Shaman’s heals work, and what
sort of healing ability will he have compared to the other priest

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan Michaels: All
of the Priests have comparable healing abilities, even though their
method of bestowing those abilities on their group differs quite
dramatically. Bear Shaman are, as you stated, very melee-oriented and
both facilitate and boost their healing capacity by dealing damage via
melee attacks and combos.


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title="Bear Shaman"> src="/image/view/78292"

The Bear Shaman

Ten Ton Hammer:
It’s also been stated that Bear Shaman have pretty incredible
melee-based DPS. Is this true? How do they rank in the grand scheme of
the melee DPS classes?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Bear Shaman do
quite impressive DPS when focusing on it, and will deal damage
somewhere between that of a Conqueror and the Rogue classes. The trick
with the Bear Shaman is, of course, balancing the needs of their group
with their offensive potential.

Ten Ton Hammer: Bear
Shaman seem to be a completely new twist on the standard healing class
equation. Do you feel that the Bear Shaman will be one of the more
popular classes, least popular, or will they simply fall in the middle
of the road of popularity?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: I feel that
the Bear Shaman will eventually become a reasonably popular class,
however it is not one I would consider "easy" to play, per se. To play
a Bear Shaman well, one must be extremely active and have very keen
situational awareness. Due to this, I have a hunch it is one of those
classes that will grow on people over time as they become more
comfortable with the game's intricacies.

Ten Ton Hammer: Bear
Shaman can wear medium armor, and are the only priests that can do so.
What kind of advantages and/or disadvantages will wearing medium armor
cause? Did you give them this ability mainly to protect them in melee

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Yes, Bear
Shaman have been intentionally designed to be a bit "tougher" than the
other Priests simply due to the fact that they are the only one of the
three who are plunged into melee combat with their opponents--even in
group situations. While the other Priests rely heavily on crowd control
and using open space to their advantage, Bear Shaman pretty much have
to take the brunt of punishment when things take a turn for the

Ten Ton Hammer: To the
casual observer it seems like Bear Shamans will be extremely powerful
in PvP, wielding both potent melee attacks and with the ability to heal
themselves through their combat encounters. How do you propose to
balance Bear Shamans compared to the other classes?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Bear Shaman
have proven to be reasonably popular in our PvP tests for the reasons
you mentioned, however they aren't invincible and have a few weaknesses
when compared to other melee classes. Although they have the ability to
deal substantial damage while healing, they are also handicapped by the
need to balance their health, mana and stamina pools
simultaneously--while most other classes only have to concern
themselves with two of those three elements. Additionally, they
probably have the smallest toolset of the melee classes when it comes
to dealing with ranged opponents.

Ten Ton Hammer: 
It has been mentioned that armor sets scale along with level.
Guardians, for example, can wear medium armor at level 10, and then
plate at level 60. What level can Bear Shamans begin wearing medium

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Bear Shaman
can wear medium armor pretty much right out of the gates, starting at
level 10.

Ten Ton Hammer: People
have assumed that the Bear Shaman will eventually be able to take the
form of an actual bear? Is this true? What kinds of advantages /
disadvantages are inherent in this sort of transformation? Will it only
last for a certain amount of time?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Although it
may disappoint some, Bear Shaman will not actually take the physical
form of a bear during gameplay. Instead, they channel spirits into
various manifestations and aspects of the wilderness. These elements
are harnessed in-game via three different types of buffs, "Spirit
Totems," "Claw Totems," and "Manifestations." Of these three lines, one
may only have a single of each running at any given time, with a
handful of choices at the Bear Shaman's disposal.

For instance, when selecting a Claw Totem, the Bear Shaman could choose
between the following types:

  • "Claws of Stone", which grants a chance of increasing the
    defenses of the Bear Shaman.
  • "Claws of Corruption", which causes melee attacks to
    inflict additional poison and unholy damage whilst also cursing the
    target, causing others hitting that target to inflict additional damage
    as well.
  • "Reaper Claws", increases melee damage whilst also having a
    chance to proc a bleeding wound on the target which can stack up to 3
  • "Claws of Life", which grants melee attacks by the Bear
    Shaman and his allies a chance to slightly heal their wounds.

 Ten Ton Hammer:
In many other MMORPGs, Shaman have always been the
“buffing” champions. They have the largest number
of buffs and debuffs available. Will this remain true in Age of Conan?
What sort of buffs and debuffs will players have access to?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: The Bear
Shaman does not have an excess number of buffs, having a fairly similar
amount compared to the other Priests. However, as mentioned, they have
many abilities such as their Claw Totems or Spirit Totems which can
benefit their team in a rather active way. Bear Shaman enhance and
support their team by being up in the fray--crushing and weakening
their opponents--rather than standing back and watching the action from

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything else you can tell us about the Bear Shaman?

style="font-weight: bold;">Evan: Personally, I
feel that the Bear Shaman is an extremely unique class that brings with
it a gameplay experience very unlike anything players may be used to
expecting from a "healer". As someone who has played healing classes
rather heavily in other games, I can say from personal experience that
the Bear Shaman is a very different experience from what I had been
used to.

That said, I find the
class to be extremely fun due to its fast-paced gameplay and tendency
to reward situational awareness and quick reactions based on changing
circumstances. While the Bear Shaman may not be the first choice for
someone used to playing "stand at the back" types of healers in other
games, it will most likely be a very enjoyable experience for those
interested in a more "hands-on" survivalist.

What are your thoughts on
the Bear Shaman? Is it what you expected? href="">Let
us know on the forums!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016