Blizzard is finally out of dead silence, and there begins a shower of news. Alpha access is ready to arrive during this week to check out the first Bastion zone leveling and corresponding dungeon. Torghast and 1-50 leveling is also coming in April.
With that, players will naturally get an access to the updated classes to play through the content, and Blizzard developers have released a comprehensible list of changes, as long as class philosophy design post.
The baseline is: unpruning in MoP and WoD + utmost spec distinction in Legion washed away overall flavor and identity – in short, things that unite the class are now scarce to the extent that 3 specs feel like totally different classes. So now they’re trying to fix this.
As far as I got it, in most cases we do not receive a major spell rotation overhaul (despite obvious and multiple talent palette swaps) – but many spells from other specs will become available to every spec. The idea is to make class feel like it can manage every branch of power, yet the major rotation stays the same: based on current spec.
So what caught my attention class by class:
Frost Death Knights and Windwalker Monks will finally get back an option to wield 2H weapons! This is most welcome to me, because I always hated the idea to dual-wield in Frost. And monk’s couple of totally useless swords is ridiculous – a wooden bo (with a pandaren mug attached) is what gives me the class flavor. Yay!
Death Knights in general get an access to ghouls, death and decay for AoE. All Monks will have touch of death spell which once again insta-kills a creature with less health than a monk – the best utility for leveling, questing and maybe old raid farming.
Demon Hunters will use the same energy bar now called Fury in both specs (what’s in a name?..) and both will have access to Immmolation Aura, a spell canonical since Warcraft III.
Druids will share a number of spells – which won’t let, say, a Balance druid turning into a bear to be left with 1 active ability as it is now. This is meant – and will – make them feel like they’re masters of shapeshifting, not masters of having 3 totally useless shapes.
The major overhaul here is Balance!! Eclipse pendulum returns, and I couldn’t greet that more, because current pattern is frankly boring – now we’re back to, well, Balance between the Sun and the Moon(s)! Starfall is once again not a targeted spell, but will shower the area around druid – again, a thing canonical ever since Warcraft III.
All Hunters will get back Hunter’s Mark (which always was a nuisance imo), but Kill Shot aka Execute finisher is most welcome back! Survival Hunters get a flat buff to several abilities – I presume the semi-melee idea stays, although they also get Arcane Shot and Kill Shot.
All Mages will share Fireblast, Frostbolt, Arcane Explosion – this is meant to make them feel like masters of all elements. As long as Arcane Explosion is not in my Frost rotation, but a quick way to take out trash in legacy raids, I’m good.
Paladins will now all share the same resource pattern, but most importantly: Auras are back!! It’s something I really forgot about, but it gives an amazing class flavor.
All Priests will now be fighting with both Light and Shadow magic: Shadow Words: Death and Pain become available to all of them. Aaand… is it me, or Void Eruption + Surrender to Madness is now a new, non-obligatory talent? If Void Eruption mechanic can be skipped via normal gameplay, I could give the spec another chance! I’m also good if it’s a dangerous, but again, non- obligatory finisher.
Nothing too special is planned for Rogues, except that poisons will become available to everybody – naturally, more powerful for Assassins.
Shamans will lose an extra Maelstrom bar and now deal with buff accumulation and cooldowns management? There’s a lot going on their camp, I will need to test it and can’t tell whether it becomes more enjoyable in Elemental and Enhancement. All specs will get totems. Fire totem is back – yay for class flavor because I forgot how totems look like, and no for being an extra nuisance to track. All specs get chain heals and chain lightnings.
Warlocks get Curses back! Affliction’s Unstable Affliction spell no longer stacks and no longer requires soul shards, so I may give this spec another go.
Finally, Warriors… all specs will now have “shield” abilities? I wonder how that works – can we wield shields and lose damage output, or what? FYI, there’s nothing I could greet more than a DPS spec with a shield – as Gladiator stance was a semi-spec in Draenor.
All in all class changes look promising. In some cases I am happy as hell, and in some cases I wish they left the Draenor -> Legion pruning and spec distinction in its current state, but I always greet changes to stale rotations.
As always, we need to feel how it works in real game, not on paper.