WoW Previews The Class Changes Arriving In…

WoW Previews The Class Changes Arriving In Shadowlands

 

UPDATE: We have made a few changes to this blog to reflect the accuracy of class abilities in the beginning of alpha. You can find these updates in the Affliction Warlock, General and Discipline Priest, Mistweaver Monk, and Unholy Death Knight sections. Please keep in mind that Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change.

As Azeroth’s champions prepare to traverse into the Shadowlands, they will gain powers both new and forgotten to take on horrors that reside in the realms of death.

Shadowlands Class Philosophy

Classes have evolved throughout WoW’s 15 years of development, and so have our philosophies on class design. With new expansions and an increasing level cap came new spells, abilities, and Talents. While earning new powers is exciting and a natural part of growth in a role-playing game, eventually we began to butt up against the limits of action bar and accessible keybind space, and many of the tools and perks that had once defined certain classes became increasingly widespread, diminishing class uniqueness. To address this in the past, we made changes to Talents with Mists of Pandaria, and even removed several abilities in Warlords of Draenor. In Legion, alongside the introduction of Artifact weapons, we focused on class identity and carving out a distinct fantasy for each specialization to go along with their weapon. Mechanically, this meant revamps to most of our specializations, removing several long-standing class-wide abilities and adding new spec-specific abilities in the process.

Today in Battle for Azeroth, while specializations have unique and flashy abilities, we’ve heard feedback that in some cases we’ve moved too far away from the core of the class that initially sparked players’ interest when they first created their character. At times, there is more that divides two specializations of the same class than there is that unites them.

In Shadowlands, we want to return to the idea that a specialization is about powering up a specific part of a class’s kit, not narrowing down their toolset. In an expansion that is all about choice, we also want to give players more opportunities to make impactful choices to customize their gameplay and express their own vision of how their characters engage in combat. Many specialization-specific abilities and spells that help define the identity of a class will once again be available class-wide, and we’re reintroducing some iconic abilities to give all of Azeroth’s heroes a fighting chance against the dangers ahead. In addition to these changes, players will have their new Covenant class abilities to look forward to, which we preview comprehensively in our Shadowlands: A Look at Covenant Class and Signature Abilities blog.

Today, we’d like to give you a look at some of what’s in store for each class, including our overall goals, some cool new (and returning!) powers, and some key changes to abilities and talents. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of updates—these changes represent a starting point for a dialogue with the community—but this should give you a good overview of what to expect.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Death Knight

Former champions of the Lich King, Death Knights overwhelm their foes with brute force and dark magic. In Legion, Death Knights became very narrowly focused thematically around their spec (for example, Frost Death Knights having an overwhelming majority of their spells be Frost-themed only). In Shadowlands, we are unifying the core Death Knight kit by restoring many abilities back to all specs, including popular utility options from the past.

General Changes

Once these changes are live, all Death Knights will be able to desecrate the ground around them with Unholy magic to deal damage to their enemies with Death and Decay, or neutralize their attacks with Anti-Magic Zone. Furthermore, every Death Knight will once again be able to tap into unnatural powers to temporarily turn themselves undead with Lichborne, or use Raise Dead to summon a ghoulish servant to fight alongside them. The new Sacrificial Pact ability enables Death Knights to perform a forbidden ritual, sacrificing one of their undead minions, siphoning their health and causing them to explode and deal damage to nearby enemies. Finally, the frosty grasp of Chains of Ice will once again bind the enemies of all Death Knights.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Demon Hunter

Demon Hunters were originally added in Legion, at a time when all characters were assigned a specialization at creation and Artifact weapons made each spec feel almost like its own class—and that’s reflected in the Demon Hunter’s design. Though there are a number of similarities between Havoc and Vengeance, we feel we can do more to create some common ground, such as sharing a single resource and certain abilities.

General Changes

All Demon Hunters now share a single resource—Fury—which channels their fiery hatred into relentless demonic attacks on their enemies. In addition, Immolation Aura (originally a Vengeance-only ability) will be available to both specs.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Druid

Druids are the masters of shapeshifting—a versatile hybrid class than can adapt their form to suit a wide variety of situations—and Shadowlands reinforces this core identity by giving them even more flexibility. We’re bringing several abilities back to the class and making others more widely available. Most notably, the Affinity system has been expanded to offer utility abilities along with passive bonuses.

General Changes

All Druids will be able to use Ferocious BiteBarkskinCycloneStampeding Roar, and Ironfur regardless of their active specialization. In addition, Heart of the Wild has returned as a Talent, providing an option for Druids who want to use off-role abilities during combat.

The Affinity Talents associated with each specialization (Balance, Guardian, Feral, and Restoration) also gain an additional utility ability. Balance receives Typhoon, Feral gets Maim, Guardian gets Incapacitating Roar, and Restoration can use Ursol’s Vortex.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Hunter

Masters of the wilderness, Hunters draw on a variety of tools such as specialized ammunition and traps that alter the environment to their advantage. Those who master the strategy of chaining their abilities and coordinating opportune attacks with their bestial companions will unleash their full lethal potential. In general, we feel the core Hunter class kit is well-realized across all of their specializations, yet each plays in a unique fun way. As a result, Hunters’ core damage rotations will remain familiar in Shadowlands, but several iconic abilities will return and many Talents will be updated.

General Changes

Arcane ShotEyes of the BeastHunter’s MarkKill ShotScare Beast, and Tranquilizing Shot will be available for all Hunters to use regardless of their active specialization.

To prepare for the fight ahead, all Hunters will have their stable size significantly increased to hold many companions including the new creatures they discover and tame in the ethereal wilds of the Shadowlands.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Mage

Mages manipulate many schools of magic but focus their power on one in particular. We feel it’s important for every Mage to have access to spells from the Arcane, Fire, and Frost schools, especially for utility purposes, even if their damage rotation draws primarily from a single source—and to support this, we’re making more spells from all three schools class-wide. In addition, we felt that the Arcane Mage damage rotation lacked a focal moment that results in a big payoff. As such, the combat rotation is undergoing a significant redesign that looks to add this while retaining the overall flow and feel of the spec.

General Changes

Arcane ExplosionFireblastFrostbolt, and Mirror Image are once again available to all specializations, and Fire Ward and Frost Ward return to bolster Mages’ defenses.

Alter Time also comes back from the past, allowing Mages of all specs to show off their temporal mastery. When cast, this spell gives the Mage the ability to return to their initial location, with the same health and mana, after casting it a second time or after a short duration.

All Mages can also learn a new Talent, Focus Magic, which grants an ally a slight bonus to their spell critical hit chance; in addition, when the ally critically hits with a spell, the Arcane Mage receives the same boon for a short period of time.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Monk

In preparation for their perilous journey into the Shadowlands, Monks return to the Peak of Serenity to study, train, and hone their skills. Several abilities from the original version of the class return to all specializations to reinforce their identity as masters of martial combat. In addition, each specialization will receive a unique Celestial cooldown ability reconnecting them with the mystic nature of Pandaria.

General Changes

Expel HarmFortifying BrewSpinning Crane Kick, and Touch of Death are now available for all Monks to use. Additionally, Touch of Death returns to its original design, killing an enemy with less health than the Monk. Each specialization also gains a unique benefit by dealing damage with Touch of Death.

All three specializations will also be able to summon their Celestial to the battlefield with Invoke Xuen, the White TigerInvoke Niuzao, the Black Ox; and Invoke Yu’lon, the Jade Serpent (previously Talents).

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Paladin

Devoted servants of the Light, Paladins tap into its holy power to protect their friends and vanquish their enemies. In the original version of the game, Paladins had several categories of spells that transcended their specializations, such as Seals, Blessings, and Auras. While we feel that not all of these categories of spells make sense for the modern game, having those categories defined the Paladin class. We want to restore that feeling of shared spell categories with the unification of the Paladin resource system, and the restoration of several iconic abilities including Auras. While a few of these abilities are situational utility, they play well into the Paladin’s archetype as a holy avenger and bane of the undead.

General Changes

Blessing of SacrificeHammer of WrathSense UndeadShield of the RighteousTurn Evil, and Word of Glory will be available to all Paladins, regardless of their specialization.

Holy Power returns as a resource for all Paladins to use to fight off attackers and defend their allies. Abilities such as Crusader Strike and Hammer of Wrath grant Holy Power on use, which can then be spent to call upon the most powerful forms of the Light—including Word of Glory and Shield of the Righteous—to vanquish foes and protect allies.

As champions of the Light, all Paladins can use powerful Auras to safeguard and enhance their allies. Concentration Aura returns to all Paladins, reducing the duration of interrupts and silences. A redesigned Retribution Aura allows Paladins to avenge fallen allies with a short burst of Avenging Wrath, giving these holy warriors the strength to vanquish evil or keep their remaining allies on their feet. Crusader and Devotion Auras are also available to all Paladins.

All Paladins will also have access to more Talents that allow them to manipulate and spend Holy Power. The Divine Purpose Talent will be available for all Paladins to select and standardized for all specializations, allowing their abilities that spend Holy Power to have a decent chance to make the next Holy Power-spending ability free and increase its damage or healing output. Holy Avenger allows the generation of huge bursts of Holy Power in a short window, while Seraphim allows the Paladin to spend their Holy Power to increase their secondary stats for a moderate amount of time.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Priest

Priests call upon the Light to heal their friends—and tap into the Void to eradicate their enemies. In recent expansions, Priests’ specializations became polarized around these two ideas, with Holy and Shadow tapping only into their respective schools of power. In Shadowlands, we want to move back to a world where even though a Holy Priest excels in their connection with the Light, they are still able to harness some Shadow magic to deal with foes. Likewise, even though Shadow Priests focus on harnessing Void energies, they are still able to draw on the Light to protect themselves.

General Changes

Mind BlastMind SoothePower InfusionShadow Word: Death, and Shadow Word: Pain will be available for all Priests to use regardless of their active specialization. Additionally, Power Infusion can now be cast on allies.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Rogue

Throughout WoW’s history, Rogues have always had a broad utility toolkit for damage, control and survivability. But, during the development of Legion, we felt a need to distinguish each of the specs from each other and give them a unique identity. This resulted in us dividing up much of the core Rogue kit amongst the three specializations, making each feel a bit thinner than before. For Shadowlands, we’re working to correct this problem by restoring many iconic Rogue traits to the base class, while preserving much of what’s novel about each specialization.

General Changes

The three specializations of Rogues share the teachings they’ve learned while mastering their vicious skills. Assassins teach the basics of Poisons, allowing Subtlety and Outlaw to once again coat their blades with InstantCrippling, and Numbing Poisons. The lost art of a well-placed Shiv in a target’s side allows a concentrated version of poison to infect the target for a short duration. Pick Pocket will frequently uncover new ingredients that can be mixed into their Crimson Vial, augmenting its power the next time the Rogue drinks it.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Shaman

As a class, Shaman have long had some of the most distinctive categories of spells in the game—Totems, Shocks, Shields, Weapon Imbues, and Chain spells—but over time, some have become the domain of specific specializations. In Shadowlands, we’re giving these types of abilities back to the entire class. As a player levels up, they’ll be exposed to the many ways a Shaman can interact with the elements to overcome challenges. Over time, the Shaman will discover which of these tools they have the strongest affinity for, and which abilities they’d like to focus on as they master the elemental forces.

General Changes

In ShadowlandsChain HealChain LightningHealing Stream TotemFlametongue WeaponFlame ShockFrost Shock, and Lightning Shield will be available for all Shaman to use regardless of their specialization. Searing Totem also returns as an ability for all Shaman to use, which bombards nearby enemies with fireballs for a short duration.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Warlock

When designing Warlocks for Shadowlands, we had a few core goals. As part of our effort to distinguish classes as a whole, we’re bringing back Curses that Warlocks can use as proactive, situational tools—satisfying to use in special cases, but not something they should feel obligated to use when fighting every enemy. Abilities like Demonic Circle offer unique ways to interact with the world and combat spaces.

Spec-wise, we’re making relatively minimal changes to Demonology and Destruction, as we feel their core rotations and talent options fit well with our goals for Shadowlands. With Affliction, we’re making larger changes to bring the specialization’s gameplay more towards managing damage-over-time effects, rather than saving up for a major burst moment.

General Changes

All Warlocks will be able to afflict their foes with Curse of Tongues, Curse of Recklessness, Curse of Weakness, and Curse of Doom. In addition, Warlocks can manipulate space with Demonic Circle.

Tongue Tied is a new Talent that empowers spells lobbed at targets suffering from Curse of Tongues, causing them to seal the victim from receiving healing effects, forcing them to succumb to all incoming damage for a moderate amount of time

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

Warrior

Clad in heavy armor and wielding brutal weapons, it’s often forgotten that Warriors are also hybrids, equally adept at dealing damage and protecting their allies on the frontline. We want to restore utility to all three Warrior specializations by bringing back many iconic abilities that are useful across the game. In addition, several Talents have undergone revision for each spec to increase build diversity and gameplay variety.

General Changes

ExecuteHamstringIgnore PainShield BlockShield SlamSlamSpell Reflection, and Whirlwind are now available to all Warriors to use regardless of their active specialization. Furthermore, Challenging Shout and Intervene are returning, and all Warriors can use them to turn the tide of battle. Shattering Throw is also back, with a new twist—it will deal devastating damage against foes protected by an absorption shield.

Lastly, Double Time and War Machine can now be utilized by all specializations as a Talent.

Shadowlands class updates are still in development and subject to change. Keep an eye on worldofwarcraft.com for the latest.

Death Knight | Demon Hunter | Druid | Hunter | Mage | Monk | Paladin | Priest Rogue | Shaman | Warlock | Warrior

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