Hearthstone game designer Max McCall recently responded to criticisms of Shamans in the game via Battle.net, assuring fans that their comments are being heard and it is something they're looking into.
"We are keeping an eye on Shaman decks and we'll see how they develop," he starts, before outlining the different kinds of Shaman decks: the aggressive ones with a Pirate package and no Jade cards; the slightly slower ones that with Pirates and Jade cards; and the slowest ones with Jade cards and no Pirates. "All of those decks are strong, but they are all weak against Dragon decks (like Priest and Warrior) and Reno decks. If you're tired of losing to Shamans, play Reno Warlock. In some ways, that is fine: Shamans are popular, but there are strategies that are good against them."
"In other ways, it is less fine," he explains. "Collectively, Shamans are popular; you play against a Shaman about one game in four. Now, the reason that a 'balanced' metagame is desirable isn't because 'balanced' metagames don't have dominant strategies. They are desirable because you play against different classes more frequently, which means you have a wider variety in the types of Hearthstone games that you play. Playing Shaman isn't a dominant strategy - again, they lose to plenty of decks - but it is still boring to play against the same class over and over again."
"And even though the Shaman decks have distinct differences, those differences are small. If you played against Warlocks one game in four, but half of your Warlock opponents were playing slow Reno control decks and the other half were playing aggressive minion decks, those games would feel very different from one another. On the other hand, when you lose to Tunnel Trogg, Totem Golem, Feral Spirit three times in a row, it doesn't matter if some of those Shamans had a Pirate package or if one of them had Jade cards. Your games still felt very homogenous and weren't that fun especially the third time around."
McCall summarises by saying that "classes can be problematic even though they do not win too often," but Shamans are more popular than Blizzard would like right now, and if this continues they will address it. Instead, they would rather like people to use strategies to exploit their weaknesses, which would in turn decrease their popularity.
Do you think Shamans are an issue?