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by Published on 2015-11-10 01:02 PM

Update (1:30 PM EST): Added PTR build

Patch 6.2.3 PTR - Build 20716
Build 20716 will be deployed to the PTR realms soon.



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Spell Changes
Originally Posted by MMO-Champion
Companions



Legion Class Preview Series: Warlock
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Warlock—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.

We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Warlock. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Warlock in World of Warcraft.

Warlocks are the most volatile and insatiable of spellcasters. Though they often pledge themselves to the service of noble causes and are not innately evil, their desire to understand darker magics and exercise unwavering command over demonic forces breeds mistrust among even their closest allies.
Warlocks peer into the Void without hesitation, leveraging the chaos they glimpse within to devastating ends in battle—their greatest abilities are fueled by the souls they’ve harvested from their victims. They exploit powerful Shadow magic to manipulate and degrade the minds and bodies of their enemies. They employ Fire magic, dropping hellish rain from the sky, to immolate the opposition. They summon and command indomitable demons from the Twisting Nether to do their bidding, or even to be sacrificed as the Warlock sees fit, empowering and protecting the dark caster from harm.

The foundation of the Warlock class has been long and well established in Warcraft lore. However, while Affliction and Destruction Warlocks have maintained consistent, distinguished fantasies, the core identity of the Demonology Warlock has strayed too far from its roots in recent years. A primary goal for Warlocks in Legion is to accentuate the existing motifs for Affliction and Destruction, while returning Demonology back to its roots of summoning, utilizing, and empowering demons.

Warlock resources have also become too cumbersome, causing confusion that outweighed their depth. To this end, we’re going to once again standardize Warlocks on their most class-defining resources: Mana and Soul Shards. Finally, demons have always served various utility purposes, but most of them are very niche, while the same one or two demons see the vast majority of limelight. We want to re-incentivize demon variety, strengthening the various utilities that each demon supplies, and causing some demons to be favored based on the Warlock’s spec.


Affliction
Affliction warlocks are masters of shadow-touched powers, but unlike shadow priests—deadliest when pushed to the brink of insanity—these warlocks delight in using fel forces to cause intense pain and suffering in others. They revel in corrupting minds and agonizing souls, leaving enemies in a state of torment that would see them undone in due time. Even the most battle-hardened warriors can be deceived, landing blow after blow against the warlock, only to succumb to their suffering as their very vitality is siphoned away by the dark spellcaster.

"These warlocks delight in using fel forces to cause intense pain and suffering in others"

Gameplay
Affliction Warlocks’ gameplay has always aligned well with their character, but in terms of abilities, we want to avoid the feeling that DoTs are amplifiers for your channeled single-target damage. Applying spells that do damage over time is very core to Affliction, so we want to reinforce these spells as the primary source of damage, with other “filler” spells feeling more secondary. We’re adjusting the Affliction rotation so that DoTs are stronger, and your focus is more on figuring out how best to juggle those DoTs to maximize damage output.

Mechanically, we’re altering how Soul Shards are generated and spent, in part to better deliver on the more DoT-driven damage. Soul Shards are now generated by each Agony you have up on your targets, instead of only by your most recent Corruption cast, to favor placing DoTs on several targets rapidly (multi-dotting). You’ll then spend Soul Shards on an extremely strong DoT in Unstable Affliction, reinforcing the focus on DoTs.

Finally, in keeping with the Affliction theme, Drain Life serves as the main filler spell, instead of Malefic Grasp or Drain Soul. This better matches the Affliction identity because its damage stays secondary to the DoTs, which should be the primary focus of damage, instead of dwarfing them. It also adds significant self-healing, further playing to the Affliction motif.

To give you an idea of the Affliction Warlock in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
  • Corruption
    • 3% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
    • Corrupts the target, causing moderate Shadow damage over 14 sec.
  • Agony
    • 3% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
    • Inflicts increasing agony on the target, causing up to a huge amount of Shadow damage over 18 sec. Damage starts low and increases over the duration. Refreshing Agony maintains its current damage level.
    • When Agony deals damage, you have a chance to regain a Soul Shard.
  • Unstable Affliction
    • 1 Soul Shard, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
    • An especially insidious affliction that deals strong Shadow damage over 8 sec.
    • If the target dies, the Soul Shard will be refunded.
    • If Unstable Affliction is dispelled, the dispeller suffers strong Shadow damage and is silenced for 4 sec.
  • Drain Life
    • 3% Mana, plus 4,800 per sec, 40 yd range, Channeled
    • Drains life from the target, causing moderate shadow damage and restoring 18% of the caster’s health over 6 sec.
    • Drain Life’s damage is increased by 50% for each of your Corruption, Agony, and Unstable Affliction effects on the target.
  • Mastery: Potent Afflictions
    • Increases the damage of Agony, Corruption, and Unstable Affliction by 62.5% (with Mastery from typical gear).

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of an Affliction-specific talent:
  • Contagion
    • Passive
    • After you cast Unstable Affliction, you can cast a second one for free, within 3 seconds.


Demonology
By their very nature, demons are leeches on the living universe—but the demonologist has mastered harnessing the power of these malefic beings on the field of battle. Warlocks harvest the souls of their defeated enemies; those specialized in the ways of demonology use this life essence to tap into the Void, pulling all manner of abomination from the chaos of the Twisting Nether. While such a practice is often considered by outsiders to be wicked and reckless, the demonologist maintains absolute control over the summoned creatures. These malignant entities are fully beholden to—and empowered by—the will of the warlock, until banished to the realm from whence they came.

"The demonologist has mastered harnessing the power of malefic beings on the field of battle"

Gameplay
While all Warlocks maintain the power to summon demons, Demonology is distinguished by the ability to call forth waves of demons to overwhelm the opposition, and also to further empower the demons they summon. Over the years we strayed too far from this design, to the extent that Demonology gameplay was defined more by the Warlock becoming a demon. Legion provides a fitting opportunity for us to realign the spec around its core function of mastering control of demons, not transforming into them.

We also recognize that Demonology had a large array of intertwined mechanics that weren’t intuitive, and they’ve undergone a greater degree of redesign as a result. For those who played Demonology during Warlords of Draenor, the gameplay will feel quite different in Legion. Beta test feedback will be essential in helping us to ensure that the new spec feels strong and enjoyable and that we’ve accomplished our goal of returning Demonology to its foundations.

To give you an idea of the Demonology Warlock in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
  • Shadow Bolt
    • 6% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
    • Sends a shadowy bolt at the enemy, causing minor Shadow damage. Generates 1 Soul Shard.
  • Call Dreadstalkers
    • 2 Soul Shards, 40 yd range, 2 sec cast, 15 sec cooldown
    • Summon 2 ferocious Dreadstalkers to attack the target for 12 sec.
  • Hand of Gul’dan
    • 1 to 5 Soul Shards, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
    • Calls down a demonic meteor full of Wild Imps which burst forth to attack the target for 12 sec.
    • Deals up to a strong amount of Shadow damage to all enemies within 8 yds and summons up to 5 Wild Imps, based on Soul Shards consumed.
  • Demonic Empowerment
    • 6% Mana, 1.5 sec cast, 12 sec recharge, 3 charges
    • Empowers up to 3 of your active demons with dark energies, increasing their Haste and health by 50% for 12 sec.
    • Prefers stronger demons first.
  • Mastery: Master Demonologist
    • Demonic Empowerment also increases the damage of your demons by 50% (with Mastery from typical gear).
  • Doom
    • 2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
    • Inflicts impending doom upon the target, causing absolutely massive Shadow damage after 20 seconds
    • Generates a Soul Shard when it deals damage.
  • Demonwrath
    • 2.5% Mana per sec, Channeled
    • Your demons crackle with demonic energy. Every 1 sec, all enemies within 10 yds of any of your demons take minor Shadow damage.
    • Each time Demonwrath deals damage, it has a 15% chance to generate a Soul Shard.
    • May be channeled while moving.

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Demonology-specific talent:
  • Implosion
    • 6% Mana, Instant
    • Causes all of your Wild Imps to be violently yanked toward the target, and then explode, dealing moderate Shadow damage to all enemies near them.


Destruction
Warlocks who command the power of destruction favor incantations of pure chaos and aggression in battle. In this regard, they’d find a stronger kinship with fire mages than warlocks of other disciplines—if not for their propensity to make use of magic deemed detestable by all mage orders. The destruction warlock is well-versed in discharging a dizzying array of shadow, fel, fire, and chaos magics upon opponents that rattle souls and conflagrate bodies. They require little motivation for the havoc they wreak, happy to revel in the destruction they cause—thrilled at any opportunity to watch the world erupt in discord around them.

"Warlocks who command the power of destruction favor incantations of pure chaos and aggression"

Gameplay
Destruction mechanics are in a solid place overall and are already a good match thematically, so we’re taking the opportunity in Legion to provide additional polish on existing gameplay. While resource mechanic functionality isn’t being drastically overhauled, we’ve changed Burning Embers back to Soul Shards. Not only does this return consistency across all Warlock specs, it also reestablishes the Soul Shard as the iconic source of Warlock power.

To give you an idea of the Destruction Warlock in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
  • Incinerate
    • 6% Mana, 40 yd range, 2 sec cast
    • Draws fire toward the enemy, dealing moderate Fire damage.
  • Immolate
    • 6% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
    • Burns the enemy with fire, causing minor Fire damage and an additional strong Fire damage over 15 sec.
    • Immolate critical strikes have a 30% chance to generate a Soul Shard.
  • Conflagrate
    • 2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 8 sec recharge, 2 charges
    • Triggers an explosion of fire on the target, dealing moderate Fire damage and generating a Soul Shard.
    • Also causes Backdraft, reducing the cast times of Incinerate and Chaos Bolt by 30% for 5 sec.
  • Chaos Bolt
    • 2 Soul Shards, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
    • Unleashes a devastating blast of chaos, causing huge Shadow damage. Chaos Bolt always critically strikes and your critical strike chance increases its damage.
  • Havoc
    • 8% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 20 sec cooldown
    • Mark a target with Havoc for 8 sec, causing your single target spells to also strike them. Limit 1.
  • Mastery: Chaotic Energies
    • Your Destruction spells deal up to 40% (with Mastery from typical gear) additional damage, randomly.

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Destruction-specific talent:
  • Channel Demonfire
    • 4.8% Mana, Channeled, 12 se cooldown
    • Launches 15 bolts of felfire at Immolated enemies within 40 yds, over 3 sec. Each bolt deals moderate Fire damage.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review later today with a look at Death Knights and Shaman.
by Published on 2015-11-10 01:03 AM

Challenge Mode Recap
Lots of people are excited about the new challenge mode, so we put together a recap of what we know so far. You can also find it on the Legion menu on the front page.

Blizzcon Slides


Changes from Warlords
  • Challenge mode dungeons will no longer scale players down to a fixed power level.
  • There are no longer Bronze, Silver, and Gold timers, just one timer that is roughly the same as Silver would have been.
  • The leaderboards will focus on the highest difficulty level you have cleared, not times.
  • There won't be unique cosmetic items this time, but instead different Artifact appearances.

Keystones
  • A charged Challenger's Keystone is used to start the Challenge Mode dungeon.
  • Keystones come from world quests, with everyone able to obtain one each week. There may be opportunities to get additional ones as a bonus.
  • Keystones have a power level that determines the difficulty and reward.
  • The higher the power level gets, the more damage the enemies do and the more health the have.
  • Higher level keystones will have some additional affixes. For example:
    • Enemies enrage at 30% health remaining, doing 100% increased damage.
    • Additional enemies appear in the dungeon.
    • Enemy corpses explode and do damage shortly after death.
    • The party takes constant damage over time in the dungeon.
  • Keystone affixes will be the same for the entire region each week, so there is no need to try and find an optimal keystone.
  • When you successfully clear the dungeon before the timer expires, your keystone is upgraded to the next level.
  • If you fail to clear the dungeon before the timer expires, your keystone is depleted.
  • Depleted keystones can still be used to start additional runs, but those runs won't give a loot chest at the end.
  • If you do beat the timer on a depleted keystone run, your keystone will be upgraded and empowered again, so you can attempt the next difficulty level for loot.
  • For example: if you are trying Level 6 Halls of Valor and just barely fail, you will get a Level 6 quality reward chest for your group at the end of the run, but you now have a depleted Level 6 Halls of Valor keystone. You can try again and if you manage to beat the time, you will upgrade your keystone to a fresh empowered Level 7 keystone that will give you loot.

Dungeons and Loot
  • The system will start slightly above Heroic Dungeon difficulty.
  • The difficulty of challenge mode dungeons should be able to scale endlessly.
  • There will be a cap on loot quality being increased from difficulty:
    • For example, if a Tier 20 challenge mode dungeon is very hard to complete, they may cap the loot potential there, even if there are a couple of groups that can go a little higher.
    • This is somewhat like how current challenge modes have a gold timer that is designed to be attainable by virtually any reasonably balanced group. Players can try for even faster times for prestige or leaderboard ranks, but there aren't any more rewards.
  • You get a jackpot at the end of the week with loot quality based on your best run, which will be significantly higher than loot from regular runs.
  • There is a possibility of getting a lucky upgrade from the regular runs, but at some point your main goal will become the weekly chest.
  • If you are a skilled fully Mythic geared player, you will be able to do a very high tier challenge mode dungeon and they want to give you a chance to get loot comparable to that.
  • Loot will be in a range of item levels, somewhat like what Mythic dungeons offer in Patch 6.2.3. While there is a chance to get items equal to the best ones from Mythic raids, that is not the default expectation.
  • Challenge mode dungeons complement high end raiders gameplay, not replace it.
  • For players who do Normal difficulty raiding, but actually prefer a smaller group setting, this could replace raiding.
  • Challenge mode dungeons won't be part of the random matchmaking system.
  • Guilds, social circles, and group finder will be where you find players.
  • Having an unused keystone is a desired commodity, so people will be lining up to use your Keystone on a Sunday.


Blizzcon - Legion Developer Interview
Vanion had the opportunity to speak with J. Allen Brack at Blizzcon.


Content
  • The WoW team has never been larger, there are 250 people on the team now.
  • The team really wanted to decrease the amount of time between expansions, so in Warlords they went with one major content patch. Not having the breadth of content and different patches like they had in previous years ended up being a mistake and is something they are going to change with Legion.
  • Legion should have a cadence of content that makes the game feel like it is changing a little bit more than it has in the past.

Legion Gameplay
  • The Broken Isles intro will release 4-6 weeks before Legion.
  • The storyline will explain why Ashbringer and Doomhammer end up in the player's hands.
  • The Prestige system will reward hardcore PvP players with cosmetic rewards that allow them to show off how hardcore they are about PvP.
  • The early Demon Hunter access should let people try it out and decide if that class is for them and if it will be their main.


Legion Class Preview Series: Paladin
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Paladin—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.

We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Paladin. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Paladin in World of Warcraft.

Paladins have deep roots in Warcraft lore as holy knights, protectors of the people, and dispensers of justice. Where a Holy Priest serves as voice of the Light, preaching to the downtrodden and disillusioned, the Paladin serves as hand of the Light, defending the faithful and enforcing divine law like a righteous hammer.

The niche of the plate-wearing holy crusader is well established in Paladin gameplay, with one key exception. Whether Paladins are mitigating enemy attacks, aiding their ailing allies, or delivering punitive justice, it’s in their nature to serve in the thick of the battle. But while Holy Paladins possess the heavy armor and strong defensive ability themes, in practice they spend most of their time behind the frontlines with the more fragile healers. In addition to shoring up the identities of Protection and Retribution Paladins, we’re adjusting Holy Paladin gameplay to bring them closer to the front, where they belong.


Holy
Like priests who serve the Light, holy paladins are devout in their faith. After spending much of their lives in hallowed halls studying divine doctrine, those who pledge themselves to a holy order become beacons of the Light for their allies in conflict, taking up the heavy armor and weaponry of justice. Holding the unwavering belief that any battle waged to eradicate evil in the world is righteous, these paladins stands on the frontlines in service to all others dedicated to the cause. The truth and virtue of the Light imbues these sacred knights with the power to revitalize their comrades. If necessary, they even lay down their own lives to serve as martyr for the greater good.

"The truth and virtue of the Light imbues these sacred knights with the power to revitalize their comrades"

Gameplay
We love the unique identity of the Paladin healer and are modifying the gameplay to better support it. Single-target healing from Beacon of Light remains their marquee ability, but other abilities and talents have been adjusted to encourage Holy Paladins to be near the people they want to heal—including melee characters, when necessary. This is incentivized by Lightbringer, a new Mastery, which increases healing on allies near you. This is further reinforced by the addition of a row of Aura talents that provide a variety of localized beneficial effects, and refinements to some spells, such as Light of Dawn returning to being a cone.

Talents will also provide players with options to incorporate offensive capabilities while healing. When allies are in need, Light of the Martyr allows the Holy Paladin to rapidly heal them by sacrificing personal health. Finally, we’re addressing gameplay restrictions caused by Holy Power—in which players often feel forced to use abilities in specific orders or ratios—by removing it in favor of making Mana the primary resource.

To give you an idea of the Holy Paladin in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
  • Holy Light
    • 2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
    • A slow but efficient spell, healing a friendly target for a moderate amount.
  • Flash of Light
    • 4.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
    • A quick but expensive spell, healing a friendly target for a moderate amount.
  • Light of the Martyr
    • 2.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
    • Sacrifices a moderate amount of your own health to instantly heal an ally for a moderate amount.
    • Cannot be cast on yourself.
  • Light of Dawn
    • 4.0% Mana, 1.5 sec cast, 12 sec cooldown
    • Unleash a wave of healing energy before you, healing up to 5 injured allies within a 15 yd frontal cone for a moderate amount.
  • Holy Shock
    • 1.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
    • Instantly trigger a burst of Light on the target, dealing moderate Holy damage to an enemy, or moderate healing to an ally.
    • Holy Shock has double the normal critical strike chance.
  • Infusion of Light
    • Passive
    • Your Holy Shock criticals reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light by 1.5 sec or increase the healing of your next Flash of Light by 50%.
  • Beacon of Light
    • 0.5% Mana, 60 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
    • Place a Beacon of Light on a friendly target.
    • Your heals on other party or raid members will also heal the Beacon of Light target for up to 50% of the amount healed. Your Flash of Light and Holy Light on the Beacon of Light target will also refund 40% of their Mana cost.
  • Mastery: Lightbringer
    • Proximity to your target causes your spells to heal for up to 30% (with Mastery from typical gear) more.

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Holy-specific talent:
  • Beacon of the Lightbringer
    • Passive
    • The maximum bonus from Mastery: Lightbringer is increased by 24%, and it now increases your healing based on the target's proximity to either you or your Beacon of Light, whichever is closer.


Protection
The paladin’s tools of war lay bare their motivations. Clenched in one hand is the weapon, a deadly device for exacting righteous judgment. Locked in the other hand is the shield, a symbolic and literal barrier protecting good from evil. Stalwart and steadfast, these protectors are ardent defenders of the Light and all that it touches, and are rejuvenated by its radiance in return. So dedicated they are to their cause that they consecrate the very ground upon which they battle corruption.

"Stalwart and steadfast, these protectors are ardent defenders of the Light"

Gameplay
The Protection Paladin arsenal is already closely aligned with its theme. The primary change is the removal of Holy Power, which didn’t have a lot of depth and mostly amounted to limiting use of only a couple of abilities. Instead, these abilities now have cooldowns to allow for better interaction with other abilities.

We’re also addressing an awkward control issue with Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous. To improve control and depth, instead of two functionally identical (apart from the AoE) abilities, we’ve switched to one that conditionally triggers the AoE while standing in Consecration. Judgment is a good example of an ability that is staying simple—baseline—so as to provide a strong platform for talents and other effects to build upon. For defensive buttons, we’ve replaced Word of Glory with a self-focused spell, Light of the Protector, allowing it to be much more interesting and impactful.

To give you an idea of the Protection Paladin in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
  • Defensive
    • Shield of the Righteous
      • Melee Range, Instant, 12 sec recharge, 3 charges
      • Instantly slam the target with your shield, causing huge Holy damage, and reducing damage you take by 25% for 4.5 sec.
    • Light of the Protector
      • Instant, 15 sec cooldown
      • Calls down the Light to heal yourself for 50% of your missing health.
    • Redoubt
      • Passive
      • Your autoattack critical strikes cause you to gain a charge of Shield of the Righteous or Light of the Protector.
    • Mastery: Divine Bulwark
      • Increases the damage reduction of your Shield of the Righteous by 10% (with Mastery from typical gear), and increases your chance to block melee attacks by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
      • Also increases your attack power by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
  • Offensive
    • Avenger’s Shield
      • 30 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown
      • Hurls your shield at an enemy target, dealing strong Holy damage, interrupting and silencing the target for 3 sec, and then jumping to 2 additional nearby enemies.
      • Also increases the effects of your next Shield of the Righteous or Light of the Protector by 20%.
    • Hammer of the Righteous
      • Melee Range, Instant, 3 sec recharge, 2 charges
      • Hammer the current target for moderate Physical damage.
      • If you are standing in your Consecration, Hammer of the Righteous also causes a wave of light that hits all other targets within 8 yds for minor Holy damage.
    • Grand Crusader
      • Passive
      • When you avoid a melee attack or use Hammer of the Righteous, you have a 15% chance of refreshing the cooldown on Avenger’s Shield
    • Judgment
      • 30 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
      • Judge an enemy, dealing strong Holy damage.
    • Consecration
      • Instant, 9 sec cooldown
      • Consecrates the land beneath you, causing strong Holy damage over 9 sec to enemies who enter the area.

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Protection-specific talent:
  • Blessed Hammer
    • Instant, 3 sec recharge, 2 charges
    • Throw a divine hammer that spirals outward from the Paladin, dealing moderate Holy damage to enemies it passes through.
    • Replaces Hammer of the Righteous


Retribution
To serve as instrument of the Light is to hold an unshakable faith. Oftentimes the most dedicated paladins become fanatical in their devotion, instruments of retribution against those who dare defy the laws of the divine. These paladins are vengeful guardians of the weak—crusaders judging and punishing the wicked. Their resolute conviction in the divine order of all things assures them that victory is inevitable—but they will fight to the end to ensure that the Light prevails.

"Oftentimes the most dedicated paladins become fanatical in their devotion"

Gameplay
We’re making several tweaks to Retribution to amplify their character. In particular, we’re refocusing most of their core abilities on short-range combat. So many of the Retribution Paladin’s abilities were ranged spells that they started to feel more like a caster than a melee crusader. A new ability, Blade of Justice (along with several new talents) will impact gameplay significantly, bolstering the inherent Retribution themes. Separating them from the other types of Paladins, Retribution Paladins continue to use Holy Power, serving as a strong mechanic for building interesting gameplay.

To give you an idea of the Retribution Paladin in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
  • Crusader Strike
    • Melee Range, Instant, 4.5 sec cooldown
    • An instant strike that causes moderate Physical damage and grants 1 Holy Power
  • Blade of Justice
    • 12 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown
    • Strikes an enemy with the Blade of Justice, dealing strong Holy damage and generating 2 Holy Power
  • Judgment
    • 30 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown
    • Judge an enemy, dealing moderate Holy damage and causing the target to take 30% increased damage from your Holy Power generators and consumers for 6 sec.
  • Templar’s Verdict
    • 3 Holy Power, Melee Range, Instant
    • A powerful weapon strike that deals massive Holy damage.
  • Divine Storm
    • 3 Holy Power, Instant
    • A whirl of divine energy, dealing strong Holy damage to all enemies within 8 yds.
  • Conviction
    • Passive
    • Your Crusader Strike and Blade of Justice have a 20% chance to generate 1 additional Holy Power.
  • Mastery: Hand of Light
    • Your Crusader Strike, Blade of Justice, Divine Storm, and Templar’s Verdict deal 45% (with Mastery from typical gear) additional Holy damage.

Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Retribution-specific talent:
  • Lothar’s Might
    • 30 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
    • Flings a blade of holy light to the target location. Reactivating will teleport the Paladin to the blade and strike nearby enemies for moderate Holy damage.
    • Replaces Hand of Hindrance.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Paladin class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review tomorrow with a look at Warlocks, Death Knights, and Shaman.

Blue Tweets
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
PvP
WoW is a huge game full of quests, dungeons, raids, crafting, PvP and more. The game provides great content for a wide variety of people. (holinka)
The expectation is that WoW PvP will be as good as any standalone PvP game. It's a great challenge and I love it! (holinka)
The popularity of our PvP is often compared to standalone PvP games like MOBAs or shooters. This is evidence of a very passionate community. (holinka)

Ultimately, we want you and your friends to come together over your enjoyment of WoW. It's the reason we work so hard to make the game. (holinka)
The truth now, how awesome will Legion be exactly?
We will do all we can to make it as fun as possible but you will be the ones who decide how we did. (holinka)
Surely, what's your personal opinion though if you were to compare legion in it's current form to all the pervious expansions?(PvP)
blech, I don't like judging my own work. Fees weird. (holinka)

Lore
Hello Mr. Kosak, maybe you can answer my question: If Malfurion is the first druid, does that mean Cenarius isn't a druid?
What about green dragons? They're mortal, and Malfurion has been described as the first druid but also the first mortal druid.
Green dragons were immortal until the events of Cataclysm and the unmaking of Deathwing, as I understand it. (DaveKosak)

Misc
At least get the Starburst Flavor poll results up there as well MMO-C!!! Pink takes it by 4%!!! Outrageous! https://t.co/EQWRQzrMuI (holinka)

BlizzCon Grab Bag Giveaway
Didn't go to BlizzCon? No problem! We're giving out some fabulous mystery bags to 5 lucky winners in our BlizzCon Grab-Bag Giveaway, each containing hundreds of dollars of cool Blizzard merchandise, including convention-exclusive items! Head over to our BlizzCon wiki and click on the BlizzCon Grab Bag Giveaway banner to enter.

by Published on 2015-11-09 07:03 PM

Legion Class Preview Series: Mage
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Mage—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.

We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Mage. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Mage in World of Warcraft.

In terms of spec definition and overall design changes, Mages lay in contrast to the classes we’ve talked about so far in this series. Mages are in a very strong place compared to most classes, both thematically and mechanically. There’s a lot of distinction among Arcane, Fire, and Frost Mages, with each type of caster specializing heavily in a single school of magic, and each of the three schools having strong themes and consistent properties. Arcane magic warps time and space, and controls the flow of mana; Fire magic unleashes destructive force that spreads chaotically; and Frost slows and controls, setting foes up for devastating strikes.

The changes we’re making are more to prop up existing gameplay for all skill levels and provide some quality-of-life improvements. As a simple example, Summon Refreshment now automatically provides you with a stack of food if you’re adventuring out on your own, or a table of refreshments when in a party or raid.


Arcane
Mages of the arcane are diviners of secrets, balancing the ebb and flow of incredible mystic energies. Unparalleled skill is required to manipulate the volatile forces of the universe. These practitioners push their magical knowledge to its very limits—often to the brink of their own exhaustion, and at great risk to the world around them. Those who master this craft are capable of releasing a barrage of unrelenting power upon their enemies, drawing upon replenishing energies to maintain their assault for as long as the battle demands.

"Mages of the arcane are diviners of secrets, balancing the ebb and flow of incredible mystic energies"

Gameplay
Arcane Mage abilities and gameplay already deliver on the spec’s fantasy quite well, so most changes are in the vein of polishing what’s already there. First, for added mechanical clarity, Arcane Charges are now an actual resource located underneath your Mana bar instead of a stacking debuff. The functionality is still very much the same, but this change should make their accumulation and use more distinct. The one significant gameplay change is that Arcane has a new Mastery, which increases your maximum Mana by a percentage, and increases the damage bonus from Arcane Charges. This should make the Mastery feel a bit more interesting by allowing more aggressive Mana usage as your Mastery improves, and feel more empowering, ultimately giving you much more control over your rotation.

Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Arcane Mages:
  • Arcane Blast
    • 5% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.25 sec cast
    • Blasts the target with energy, dealing moderate Arcane damage and generating an Arcane Charge.
    • Arcane Blast’s damage is increased by 50% per Arcane Charge, and its Mana cost is increased by 100% per Arcane Charge.
  • Arcane Missiles
    • 40 yd range, Channeled
    • Launches five waves of Arcane Missiles at the enemy over 2 sec, causing minor Arcane damage per wave. Generates an Arcane Charge.
    • Arcane Missiles’ damage is increased by 50% per Arcane Charge.
    • Arcane Missiles has a chance to be activated after each of your damaging spell casts. Limit 3 charges.
  • Arcane Barrage
    • 0.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
    • Launches bolts of arcane energy at the enemy target, causing strong Arcane damage. Consumes all Arcane Charges.
    • Arcane Barrage’s damage is increased by 50% per Arcane Charge, and it hits 1 additional nearby target per Arcane Charge for 50% damage.
  • Evocation
    • Channeled, 1.5 min cooldown
    • Gain 25% of your total Mana instantly, and another 75% of your total mana over 6 sec.
  • Mastery: Savant
    • Increases your Mana regeneration rate and maximum Mana by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
    • Arcane Charges increase the damage of affected spells by an additional 10% (with Mastery from typical gear).
  • Displacement
    • Instant, 1.5 min cooldown
    • For the next 4 sec, casting Blink will not trigger its cooldown

Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Arcane-specific talents:
  • Quickening
    • Passive
    • Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles also grant 2% Haste for 6 sec, stacking.
    • This effect is cleared when you cast Arcane Barrage.


Fire
While any worthy mage is an unparalleled expert in the use of magic and heavily dedicated to their craft, those who master the forces of fire tend to be a little more audacious than their peers. If a threat stands before them, the answer is always to neutralize it in a glorious blaze. A lifetime dedicated to the study of fiery forces only fuels their pyromania, and these mages take pride—even pleasure—in igniting their enemies in wild bursts of flame. Mistake their affinity for watching things burn as a lack of self-control at your own peril.

"These mages take pride—even pleasure—in igniting their enemies in wild bursts of flame"

Gameplay
Similar to Arcane, Fire already exudes its core identity, so our changes are focused on gameplay adjustments. Ultimately, you will have more freedom in what buttons you press and more control over the Heating Up mechanic, which is core to Fire Mages. In particular, the Inferno Blast ability was trying to fill two roles: spreading Ignite, and forcing a Hot Streak from a Heating Up. We’ve opted to move the spreading to an innate property of Ignite and have taken Inferno Blast off the global cooldown so that you can more freely and intuitively use it to trigger a Hot Streak.

Another major change is the redesign of Combustion. It’s an incredibly complex skill, hard to understand for most people, and has the potential for either ridiculous success or critical failure, with the odds being extremely random and very hard to gauge much of the time. We’re redesigning it into something that fits into the Fire rotation in a clear and consistent way.

Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Fire Mages:
  • Fireball
    • 4% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.25 sec cast
    • Throw a fiery ball that causes moderate Fire damage.
  • Hot Streak
    • Passive
    • Getting 2 direct-damage critical strikes in a row will make your next Pyroblast or Flamestrike spell instant cast, and cause double the normal Ignite damage.
    • Developer Comment:
      • You may not start a new streak (aka, gain Heating Up), while a Hot Streak is already active
      • It was never our intention for players to sit with a Hot Streak active, then keep fishing for another Heating Up before throwing instant Pyro out—in general, we don’t like the game telling you to press a button when you shouldn’t
  • Inferno Blast
    • 2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 12 sec recharge, 2 charges
    • Blasts the enemy for moderate Fire damage. This damage is always a critical strike.
    • Inferno Blast is not on the global cooldown, and can be cast while casting other spells.
  • Pyroblast
    • 5% Mana, 40 yd range, 4.5 sec cast
    • Hurl an immense fiery boulder that causes massive Fire damage.
  • Combustion
    • 10% Mana, Instant, 2 min
    • Engulf yourself in flames, increasing your critical strike chance by 100% for 10 sec.
    • Also grants you Mastery equal to your Critical Strike stat.
  • Mastery: Ignite
    • Your target burns for an additional 30% (with Mastery from typical gear) over 9 sec of the total direct damage caused by your Fireball, Inferno Blast, Scorch, Pyroblast, and Flamestrike. If this effect is reapplied, any remaining damage will be added to the new Ignite.
    • Every 2 sec, your Ignites may spread to another nearby enemy.

Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Fire-specific talents:
  • Cinderstorm
    • 1% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 8 sec cooldown
    • Throw a spread of 6 cinders that travel in an arc, and each deal minor Fire damage to enemies they hit.


Frost
Frost mages stand apart from their colleagues, in that their chosen school of magic focuses on maintaining supreme control over the capabilities of their enemies. Mages who command frost perform chilling displays on the battlefield, rendering foes immobile as they bombard them with ice. Often, the blade never reaches the caster before the bitter cold takes hold. The frost mage exudes frigid power as icicles form around them, foreshadowing the wintry demise of those who stand opposed on the field of battle.

"Mages who command frost perform chilling displays on the battlefield, rendering foes immobile"

Gameplay
Frost Mages are very effective casters, and there’s already a lot to like about this spec. Frost’s defining traits and abilities are cohesive, the mechanics are understandable, and there are plenty of opportunities for players to explore unique gameplay at a variety of skill levels. Rather than making any dramatic changes to how a Frost Mage plays, we’ve focused more on fixing one particular outlier in their Spellbook: Frostfire Bolt. After removing the fire portion of the spell, it began to feel like just another Frostbolt, and we started to wonder how a spell supposedly combining frost and fire wasn’t just producing a puddle of water at the feet of the enemy. We’ve removed Frostfire Bolt and made Frozen Orb part of the core spell kit in its place, which better lends itself to the identity of the Frost Mage.

Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Frost Mages:
  • Frost Bolt
    • 4% Mana, 40 yd range, 2 sec cast
    • Launches a bolt of frost at the enemy, causing moderate Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 30% for 15 sec.
  • Frozen Orb
    • 10% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown
    • Launches an orb of swirling ice forward, dealing minor Frost damage every 1 sec to all nearby enemy targets for 10 sec. Grants the Mage 1 charge of Fingers of Frost when it first reaches a target.
    • Targets damaged by the Frost Orb are slowed by 30% for 2 sec.
  • Ice Lance
    • 1% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant.
    • Quickly fling a shard of ice at the target, dealing minor Frost damage.
    • Ice Lance damage is doubled against frozen targets.
  • Brain Freeze
    • Passive
    • Your Frostbolts have a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Frozen Orb.
  • Fingers of Frost
    • Passive
    • Your successful Frostbolt hits have a 15% chance, and your Blizzard and Frozen Orb ticks have a 5% chance to grant you the Fingers of Frost effect.
    • The Fingers of Frost effect causes your next Ice Lance to act as if your target were frozen, and deal 140% increased damage.
  • Shatter
    • Passive
    • Multiplies the critical strike chance of your spells against Frozen targets by 1.5, and adds an additional 50% chance.
  • Mastery: Icicles
    • When you damage enemies with Frostbolt, 45% (with Mastery from typical gear) of the damage done is stored as an Icicle with you, for 30 sec. Also increases the damage that your Water Elemental deals by 45% (with Mastery from typical gear).
    • Up to 5 Icicles can be stored at once. Excess Icicles that are generated will be automatically launched. Casting Ice Lance causes any Icicles to begin launching at the target.

Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Frost-specific talents:
  • Glacial Spike
    • 1% Mana, 40 yd range, 3 sec cast
    • Conjure a massive spike of ice, and merge your current Icicles into it. It impales your target, dealing massive damage, plus the damage stored in your Icicles.
    • Requires 5 Icicles to cast.
    • Also freezes the target in place for up to 4 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    • Passive: Ice Lance no longer launches Icicles.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Mage class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our series next with a look at Paladins.
by Published on 2015-11-09 02:33 PM

Ion Hazzikostas Interview, Class Blog Post Times, Hunter Changes Feedback

Legion Class Preview Series: Priest
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Priest—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.

We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Priest. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Priest in World of Warcraft.

Priests have a strong identity as spiritual practitioners who harness divine power to inspire and protect allies, heal the injured, and cure the ailed. But while this clearly holds true for Holy Priests, these ideas are less fundamental to Discipline Priests—and the ideals and beliefs of Shadow Priests are antithetical to those of Holy Priests.

Despite these differences, Priests of any spec share one key thing in common: unwavering faith in something from which they draw great power. What delineates specializations is the source of that power. In Legion, we’re going to explore that dichotomy in greater depth than ever through the gameplay for each specialization.


Holy
After spending much of their lives in temples studying ancient doctrine, preaching the tenets of their faith, and pledging their full devotion to the divine powers they follow, the most adept priests leave their houses of worship to serve on the battlefield, as shepherd to flock. There, they use their holy powers to bless allies and mend wounds. And while most stay behind the frontlines to aid their comrades, these holy champions are also capable of smiting foes and carrying out sacred justice. They’re also morally opposed to the use of Shadow and Void magic—rather, they are exemplars of the incredible grace and power of the divine and the Light, and even death cannot fully stop their healing capabilities.

"The most adept priests leave their houses of worship to serve on the battlefield, as shepherd to flock"

Gameplay
Given the innate purity of the spec, we want to ensure that Holy Priests continue to have a large repertoire of compelling healing spells. The Chakra system was cumbersome, requiring additional setup to optimally use most spells and restricting how much you could fluidly shift between healing methods. We have removed it in favor of a more dynamic play style focused around Holy Words. New Holy Word spells are designed to feel absolutely miraculous, having huge effects balanced with long base cooldowns. The new passive effect of Serendipity allows those long base cooldowns to be reduced, letting you use them more frequently. Finally, in keeping with the resolute beliefs of the Holy Priest, they can make no use of Shadow spells. Smite, Holy Fire, and Holy Word: Chastise are the instruments used by Holy Priests to inflict damage upon their enemies.

Here’s a basic look at the core combat healing abilities for Holy Priests:

  • Heal
    • 2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
    • A slow but efficient spell that heals an ally for a moderate amount.
  • Flash Heal
    • 3.5% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
    • A fast but expensive spell that heals an ally for a moderate amount.
  • Holy Word: Serenity
    • 4.0% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown
    • Perform a miracle, healing an ally for an absolutely massive amount.
  • Prayer of Healing
    • 8.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
    • A powerful prayer that heals up to 5 injured allies within 15 yards of the target for a strong amount.
  • Prayer of Mending
    • 2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 10 sec cooldown
    • Places a spell on a party or raid member that heals them for a moderate amount the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to another party or raid member within 20 yds. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec. after each jump.
  • Holy Word: Sanctify
    • 5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 1 min. cooldown
    • Release miraculous light into a target location, healing up to 6 allies within 10 yards for a huge amount.
  • Renew
    • 2.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
    • Fill the target with faith in the Light, healing them instantly for a minor amount and then a large amount over 15 sec.
  • Serendipity
    • Passive
    • When you cast Flash Heal or Heal, the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity is reduced by 6 sec.
    • When you cast Prayer of Healing or Prayer of Mending, the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify is reduced by 6 sec.
    • When you cast Smite or Holy Fire, the cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise is reduced by 6 sec.
  • Mastery: Echo of Light
    • Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 25% (with Mastery from typical gear) over 6 sec.

Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Holy-specific talents:
  • Apotheosis
    • Instant, 3 min cooldown
    • Enter a pure Holy form for 30 sec, increasing the effects of Serendipity by 200%.


Shadow
The Light in which many priests bathe is brilliant and effervescent, granting them immense divine power. But the brightest light casts the darkest shadow—and from within this blackness, a rival power dwells. Shadow priests fully embrace this opposing polarity, their faith equally resolute as their holy counterparts—but focused on shadowy magics and mental manipulation. Like all priests, they dedicate much of their lives to worship—but they derive their power from the Void, straying dangerously close to the domain of the Old Gods. To truly understand such ancient, corruptive influence is to be driven mad. This is the state in which these dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits.

"These dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits"

Gameplay
We’ve long alluded to the Old God influences of Shadow Priests in their spells and abilities, and we’re making that more distinct in Legion.
A new resource, Insanity, provides a better fit for Shadow, having more granularity and gameplay that emphasizes the immense but fleeting power that the Void offers. Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, and Vampiric Touch will build Insanity. Reaching maximum Insanity will transform Shadowform into Voidform, giving the Shadow Priest access to stronger Void magic, but it is unable to be maintained indefinitely. This should make for interesting gameplay as Shadow Priests try to maintain the height of their Insanity as long as possible to prey on the minds of their enemies.

While not under the effects of Insanity, Shadow Priests continue to rely heavily on abilities that inflict sustained damage over time. Finally, having turned away from the Light, Shadow Priests eschew such spells as Heal, Flash Heal, and Prayer of Mending. Power Word: Shield and Shadow Mend are their primary healing tools.

  • Voidform
    • Passive
    • When you reach 100 Insanity, you enter Voidform, transforming your Mind spells into Void spells, and increasing your Shadow damage by 30%.
    • While in Voidform, you gain 2% Haste every 1 sec. This Haste will also persist for 20 sec after Voidform ends.
    • Voidform causes your Insanity to constantly drain, faster and faster, until completely drained, and Voidform ends.
  • Mind Flay
    • 40 yd range, Channeled
    • Assault the target’s mind with Shadow energy, causing minor Shadow damage over 3 sec and slowing their movement speed by 50%.
    • While in Voidform, transforms into Void Flay, which also extends Shadow Word: Pain by 3 sec.
  • Mind Blast
    • 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 9 sec cooldown
    • Blasts the target’s mind for strong Shadow damage.
    • Generates 15 Insanity.
    • While in Voidform, transforms into Void Blast, which has a 4.5 sec cooldown, and also extends Vampiric Touch by 3 sec.
  • Vampiric Touch
    • 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
    • A touch of darkness that causes huge Shadow damage over 24 sec, and heals the Priest for each point of damage dealt.
    • If Vampiric Touch is dispelled, the dispeller flees in Horror for 3 sec.
    • Each time Vampiric Touch deals damage, it generates 3 Insanity.
  • Shadow Word: Pain
    • 40 yd range, Instant
    • A word of darkness that causes minor Shadow damage instantly, and an additional huge amount of damage over 18 sec.
    • Each time Shadow Word: Pain deals damage, it generates 3 Insanity, and has a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Mind Blast.
  • Mastery: Madness
    • Increases the damage and Insanity generation of your Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, and Shadow Word: Death by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).

Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Shadow-specific talents:
  • Oblivion
    • Instant, 2 min cooldown
    • Let the power of the void flow through you, instantly generating 100 Insanity.


Discipline
Some priests pride themselves on pragmatism. They understand that light casts a shadow, that darkness is defined by light, and that true discipline stems from one’s ability to balance these opposing powers in services of a greater cause. While these priests possess many holy virtues to aid their allies, they also dabble in the dark arts to debilitate their enemies—always exercising immense discipline to keep themselves away from the brink of insanity. Many would say the ends justify the means; scriptures both virtuous and vile should be studied and understood to protect the congregation.

"True discipline stems from one’s ability to balance opposing powers in services of a greater cause"

Gameplay
The power of absorption mechanics has created a gameplay issue for healers that we’re looking to address in Legion. Discipline Priests have been so effective in their role of preventing damage that it has sometimes left other healers yearning for an opportune time to throw out a clutch heal. To alleviate that issue, we’re tempering Discipline’s emphasis on shields in lieu of a reimaged Atonement mechanic.

Discipline Priests are now more clearly defined by their use of both Holy and Shadow magic, and that extends to how they function in combat. Sacrificing a portion of healing ability and having a reduced focus on absorption spells, they gain a significant contribution in damage. Still filling a healer role in group content, they aim to strike a balance between healing allies and damaging enemies in a unique gameplay style. Discipline Priests have strong cooldowns with Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression, along with Rapture, a new cooldown that temporarily removes the cooldown of Power Word: Shield.

Here’s a basic look at the core defensive and offensive combat abilities for Discipline Priests:

  • Atonement
    • Passive
    • Plea, Power Word: Shield, and Shadow Mend also apply Atonement to your target for 15 sec.
    • When you deal spell damage, you instantly heal all targets affected by Atonement for 50% of the damage done.
    • Developer comment: Healing is not split between Atonements—the more allies you have Atonement on, the more total healing that a damage spell will cause.
  • Mastery: Absolution
    • Increases the healing transferred through Atonement by 28% (with Mastery from typical gear).
  • Defensive
    • Plea
      • 1.2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
      • A quick, efficient plea to heal an ally for a minor amount.
    • Shadow Mend
      • 3.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
      • Wrap an ally in shadows which heal them for a large amount, but at a price.
      • The ally will take minor damage every 1 sec, until they have taken half that amount of total damage from all sources, or leave combat.
    • Power Word: Shield
      • 3.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
      • Shield an ally, absorbing a large amount of damage. Lasts 15 sec.
      • While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be delayed by damage.
    • Power Word: Radiance
      • 7.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
      • A burst of light heals a friendly target and their 5 nearest allies for a moderate amount, and applies Atonement for 50% of its normal duration.
  • Offensive
    • Smite
      • 0.75% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
      • Smite an enemy for moderate Holy damage.
    • Mind Blast
      • 3.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
      • Blast the target’s mind for strong Shadow damage.
    • Penance
      • 2.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Channeled, 9 sec cooldown
      • Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing huge Holy damage over 2 sec.
      • Channelable while moving.
    • Revelation
      • Passive
      • Your Smite and Mind Blast casts have a 30% chance to reset the cooldown on Penance.
    • Shadow Word: Pain
      • 2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
      • A word of darkness that causes minor Shadow damage instantly, and an additional huge amount of Shadow damage over 18 sec.

Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Discipline-specific talents:
  • Grace
    • Passive
    • Increases your non-Atonement healing and absorption by 30% on targets with Atonement.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Priest class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review later today with a look at Mages.
by Published on 2015-11-09 08:37 AM

Legion Class Preview Series - Hunter and Overview

Class Blog Post Times
Zarhym shared what time of day the class blogs will be released!



Ion Hazzikostas Interview
We had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas (Lead Game Designer) at the Blizzcon this year.


Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Legion Pre-Expansion Patch
  • The Broken Shore scenario picks up exactly where the cinematic leaves off.
  • There is a massive joint Horde and Alliance assault on the Tomb of Sargeras.
  • In the patch before Legion, there will be a demon invasion of our world, with invasions happening all over the world.
  • The forces of Azeroth decide that they need to launch a counterattack and cut off the corruption at its source.
  • Players will get on ships and arrive at a beach assault that has different stages. The stages are completed by the raid group as a whole, you are destroying Legion fortifications, killing demons, killing their major lieutenants and generals as you fight your way up the hill from the beach to the foot of the Tomb of Sargeras. When you get there, there will be some fateful and eventful things that they don't want to spoil yet, but you do not completely succeed at stopping the Legion invasion. All of this will be playable during the pre-expansion patch.
  • The Broken Shore scenario is flexible, scaling anywhere from 1 to 20 players, so when there aren't as many people starting later in the expansion it will wait for a few minutes and then start, maybe with additional NPCs to keep the epic feeling.
  • The pre expansion patch is on a similar timeline to previous expansions.
  • There will be a pre-release patch coming out a few weeks prior to the Broken Isles becoming accessible, which will include the invasion events.
  • Anyone who has pre-purchased Legion will be able to make their Demon Hunter and play through their starting experience during this patch.

Challenge Mode Dungeons
  • The difficulty of challenge mode dungeons should be able to scale endlessly, but there will be a cap on how high the loot goes.
  • For example, if a Tier 20 challenge mode dungeon is very hard to complete, they may cap the loot potential there, even if there are a couple of groups that can go a little higher. This is somewhat like how current challenge modes have a gold timer that is designed to be attainable by virtually any reasonably balanced group. Players can try for even faster times for prestige or leaderboard ranks, but there aren't any more rewards.
  • The goal is to have leaderboards for the new challenge mode dungeons, focused on the highest tier you clear rather than how fast you are doing it.
  • If you are a skilled fully Mythic geared player, you will be able to do a very high tier challenge mode dungeon and they want to give you a chance to get loot comparable to that.
  • Loot will be in a range of item levels, somewhat like what Mythic dungeons offer in Patch 6.2.3. While there is a chance to get items equal to the best ones from Mythic raids, that is not the default expectation.
  • This will complement high end raiders gameplay, not replace it. For players who do Normal difficulty raiding, but actually prefer a smaller group setting, this could replace raiding for them.
  • Each player will be able to get one keystone per week. There may be opportunities to get additional ones as a bonus, but one will be the baseline.
  • If you fail to beat a timer on a run that you have initiated, your keystone is depleted. The depleted keystone can still be used to start additional runs, but those runs won't give a loot chest at the end.
  • If you are trying Level 6 Halls of Valor and just barely fail, you will get a Level 6 quality reward chest for your group at the end of the run, but you now have a depleted Level 6 Halls of Valor keystone. You can try again and if you manage to beat the time, you will upgrade your keystone to a fresh empowered Level 7 keystone that will give you loot.
  • The team wants to avoid frustrations such as having a tank disconnect and being done for the week, but they didn't want players to take the same keystone and run the same dungeon over and over for all of the rewards.
  • The quality of the loot you get from the weekly jackpot is going to be significantly higher. There is a possibility of getting a lucky upgrade from the regular runs, but at some point your main goal will become the weekly chest.
  • There aren't going to be unique challenge mode armor sets, but it is likely that there will be Artifact appearances tied to the challenge mode dungeon system.

Raiding
  • Raid sizes are staying the same, with Mythic at a fixed 20 player size.
  • Cross-realm Mythic raiding unlock time will depend on how long a tier is lasting and where things stand overall for the game.
  • By default, Mythic raids will remain closed to cross-realm raiding at release. Part of that is to preserve the server first races, as well as a sense of guild identity.
  • The idea of a top guild on a specific server is one of the few server specific things that remains and the team wants to make sure it stays and keeps a sense of prestige. At some point it will make sense to unlock cross-realm raiding.
  • The game will have two raid zones at launch and a number of content patches following that.
  • The team is talking about moving away from single monolithic raids that are very large and having a tier that has a couple of separate raid zones that complement each other.
  • Rather than having one 13 boss raid like Hellfire Citadel, what if there was a 6 boss raid and a 7 boss raid, somewhat like Serpentshrine and Tempest Keep. This would allow for more options, diverse environments, and flexibility.

Questing and Reputations
  • There are going to be a wide variety of rewards from the world quests. Some examples include gold, experience, Artifact Power, crafting materials, things that benefit your class order, rare mounts, rare pets, and gear.
  • Doing organized raiding will be the most consistent source of high quality gear, followed by dungeons, followed by stuff in the outdoor world.
  • The world quests on your map will exist without picking up a quest from the emissaries in your class hall. You should be able to see how much time remains before they are gone. The emissary quests are just there to give you some structure.
  • You can do as many of the world quests as you want. At some point you will start clearing out your map and you will have to wait for new ones to appear.
  • The quests that offer more attractive rewards aren't going to appear as frequently as the smaller quests. Most players will pick and choose what is most exciting to them and leave the rest alone.
  • It shouldn't feel mandatory to clear out all of the world quests. The emissary quests help you to know when you have done enough.
  • In Legion, reputation is earned more like it is Tanaan and Mists of Pandaria. The team wants to get away from the more grindy kill reps where you just spend hours in a group AoEing things.
  • There may be one or two reputations that require grinding, something like the Timbermaw, but most will not be like that anymore.
  • The main way you will earn reputation is the emissary quests. You might get thousands of rep from the emissary quest, but individual world quests might give you 50 or 100, allowing you to work towards them faster if you want to.
  • Reputation rewards will be pretty standard, some convenience items, some cosmetic, some power items, while still avoiding the Mists of Pandaria model that required reputation and Valor. The items are likely just going to cost gold and be unlocked by reputations.
  • If two different level players attack a mob, it will almost exist in two states. A level 102 player would see a mob as level 102 and the level 106 player will see the mob as level 106. Most of the time when you are leveling you don't worry about actual numbers, just percentages. The mob will do more damage to the level 106 player than the level 102 player, but the percentage of health it takes off of both players will be the same. The goal is for you not to even notice it is there.
  • While the leveling zones will scale, you won't be able to join friends in the middle of the main quest line in another zone. The idea is for you to both progress through a zone at the same time, regardless of level.

Artifacts
  • The team is pretty far along with all of the Artifacts at this point. They are aware that some players that have a spec that they play that doesn't perfectly match what they want out of their Artifact. Frost Death Knights have asked for a choice between a 2H and a Runeblade. Choice is nice, but it would come at the expense of the identity of the Artifact.
  • You will be able to transmog your Artifact to look like something else, but you can't transmog something else to look like your Artifact.
  • In terms of transmogging to legendary items, a world where everyone has transmogged to Warglaives or Thunderfury isn't right. Those weapons were designed with an iconic look and to be rare. It is still an open question though.
  • Artifact fist weapons are definitely a concern. The team is making sure sheathing works better with them, as well as making them more visible with your combat casting animations.

Misc
  • The team knows that droughts in content are the worst thing for players, but their focus is on getting Legion done as soon as possible.
  • You won't be able to earn flying in Patch 7.0. The world is being built with flying in mind and players will definitely be able to fly later in Legion. Players can begin working on the flying achievement in 7.0 though.
  • It seems likely that another Heirloom upgrade level is coming in Legion, but they aren't sure if they will do it immediately in Patch 7.0.

Legion Hunter Changes Feedback
One of the developers responded to the Hunter changes feedback on Reddit tonight.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
While i do know that the base design of artifact weapons can transmoggable i feel some specs like priest, warriors, hunters look .... iffy and not great if there could be a patch and rework some of the design choices then that would be good
Do you mean a patch which changes the art of the base item? Thats very unlikely to happen. (andrewchambers)

I'm a bit sad that all the awesomeness that belonged to demonology warlocks went to Demon Hunters I've played a Demo Lock since forever and all the aspects that made me like this class so much are going to be removed. No longer Metamorphosis and Demonic Leap, etc.

Maybe everything that made me play a Demo Lock was all the Demon Hunter like abilities they possessed. I'm now torn between keeping playing a shadow of my former main demo lock or make a demon hunter my main.

We understand that these changes may cause some hard choices, but hopefully once you get to play it you will find the spec equally enjoyable, just maybe for different reasons. (andrewchambers)

... and yes, Survival has Wing Clip...
But do they have volley that is the true ultimate question!
It may come back as a talent for the other specs, doesnt make sense for survival having a melee weapon. (andrewchambers)
Also instead of arrows, it could be say a ton of javelins. but either way i just want volley again
Thats a pretty hot idea actually, ill sleep on it (andrewchambers)
did you pull any inspiration from diablo 2's Amazon?
Honestly no, there was more than enough awesome in wow to pull from. (andrewchambers)

RAPTOR STRIKE LIVES ON
Funny story, it wasnt called Mongoose Bite originally, until watcher "announced" the melee survival spec at gamescon, then you all asked for it to come back. I couldnt change its name fast enough! (andrewchambers)

I'm really interested to see how you guys are going to manage to make Survival Hunter different. There's a large amount of melee already in the game and it covers a lot of available design space. It sounds like we'll be incredibly bursty like a rogue, but hopefully we'll be a little more survivable (due to mail) yet still hard to lock down (two damage sources plus master's call and movement options).
if we werent able to make it feel unique we wouldnt have pulled the trigger on it. Traps and pets help alot. (andrewchambers)

Is there a reason why Survival's 'Flanking Strike' has the exact same text and effect/cooldown as Beast Mastery 'Kill Command'? I wasn't sure if that was an error or intentional for them to be the same.
Slightly out of date, we are constantly working in this stuff. It will be an attack with you and your pet attacking at the same time. (andrewchambers)

So, rangers in GW2 have an ability with 1h swords, I think it's their 2 skill, where on the first press they leap backwards out of melee range, and on the second press within a few seconds, leap back into melee range and attack the target.
Disengage + Harpoon. (andrewchambers)

thanks for bringing Mongoose Bite back, but is there more to the Survival rotation that building up vast charges of MB ? I know you can't share too much, but some idea would be nice !
Its more split 50/50 between hectic weaving between MB and other skills while trying to proc more charges, and more steady useage of other skills while waiting for MB charges to build up. Its hard to express gameplay in words. (andrewchambers)

these changes are making me consider rolling a hunter alt to check it out, BM sounds right up my alley
Glad to hear it. I also just finished a pass on Dire Beast so that it summons the correct animals for all the old zones too. Exhausting, but Hunters need love too! (andrewchambers)
Whoa wait what? Are you saying Dire beast will not be a random Beast from anywhere in the World, but will be a random Beast from the Exact zone you are in? If that's the case, RP players are going to love this!
Thats correct (andrewchambers)
So, question on Dire Beast. Since it's BM's only chance to regain focus now, are we extra-extra-extra-screwed on fights where our pets simply can't reach a valid target? This happens every now and then (sometimes bugs/glitches, sometimes valid pathing issues like the target flying) and I'm not sure its avoidable in WoW's engine. It's going to really suck if we've got the same limitations as a melee class when these situations arise.
Fair point, may look into a solution that doesnt require Beast to attack, maybe just a focus per second while guardian active kinda deal. (andrewchambers)
Maybe have some kind of pet communication channeling ability where you and your pet communicate and that generates focus? I'm kinda unsure, that seems like quite a predicament.
Personally hate channeled abilities unless its things like Arcane Missiles. Will be sone very active talent options for focus generation to make up for this if you need it. (andrewchambers)
Has this been adjusted so we might not, say, summon an elekk somewhere small and indoors and suddenly not be able to see our target anymore due to giant elekk butt?
Ive scaled everything as best i could, if you see sonething thats too big let us know. (andrewchambers)

I dreamed that black arrow was going to debuff targets and if they died with the debuff they came back as skeleton, just like in WC3.
I think youre going to like what you see. (andrewchambers)

Will Survival be getting an interrupt?
Of course.
I assume it will be a short cooldown one like most other melee, and not 20+ seconds like most ranged interrupts.
Yea, more like Pummel. (andrewchambers)

Is Barrage still sticking around or is it rip?
Sticking around, but will be more AOE focused like it looks (andrewchambers)

Does the MM mastery still have the condition of standing still or is it just a passive bonus now?
No more standing still requirement. Trade off though is you have to stand still while casting aimed shot. Fits the fantasy better. (andrewchambers)
Will there be a talent choice to opt out of that? I don't like cast times and having to stand still. Since MM seems to be supposed to be the spec for the fans of the old SV spec I think there should also be an option to include the mobile feeling of it.
Probably, think lock and load combined with aimed shot. (andrewchambers)

Please tell me that with Survival getting Wing Clip back that one of the talent options will be something like the old Improved Wing Clip or maybe a more reliable version of the old Counterattack. Those were abilities that really felt great in the old 0/21/30 PVP spec back in Vanilla when I got Grand Marshal. Also, hunters have very low armor and dodge (and no parry) compared to vanilla, will that improve at least for Survival if they are going to be in melee now?
We arent really at that tuning point yet but will get there. Improved WC was cool, ill see if the pvp guys would be interested. (andrewchambers)

With some of these old abilities coming back, any chance for Eyes of the Beast? The one that the hunter channeled to control their pet and use its abilities for ~1 minute?
I can look into it, from an engineering standpoint it was a total mess and really broken. If we can re-engineer it safely then maybe, but no promises. (andrewchambers)

Love it - any word on MM utility without a pet like Roar or Master's call? Passive heals etc. has this been figured out or still in the works?
Snares are an integral part of your rotation now. If survivability in the wild is an issue we will address it, but i want you to feel very high risk/high reward. (andrewchambers)
Awesome! Also please tell me the purple shots Sylvanas was shooting in the cinematic is the new arcane shot??! Would be so cool to have better visuals on the shots themselves. Thanks for hanging out and answering questions.
Sounds pretty cool, ill ask our VFX guy. (andrewchambers)

In the BM changes, there's a note saying that "summoning a beast reduces the cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 15 seconds." With Dire Beast having a 10 second cooldown, it seems like you'd be able to Bestial Wrath up indefinitely. Is this intended or will Bestial Wrath be given a longer cooldown/lower duration to compensate for that?
BW should feel like its up more aften but not indefinitly. All just tuning points for us to work on now we have the foundations solid.
Is the frenzy / focus fire (and go for the throat/invigoration) dynamic gone for Beast Mastery as well?
Yes. Didnt like how it felt to interact with the pet in this arbitrary fashion. (andrewchambers)

Hunter defenses have always been based around not getting hit- as a melee class thats not gonna be a viable option. What sort of defences utilities are we gonna see to offset that?
If survivability during combat is an issue we will resolve it with some form of passive. Unsure if thats actually necessary yet, they have a lot of cc and pet based mitigation. (andrewchambers)

I have a question. Or concern, I suppose, about BM Hunter. I know that the fantasy is all about beasts and controlling them (and also that the preview was just to give us an idea of concept) but I feel a bit worried that Cobra Shot was the only ability I saw that actually makes use of the gun. I'll still have an assortment of meaningful attacks with my gun that aren't auto attack, right? I like focusing on pets but I don't want Blizzard to overdue it and make the spec about nothing but pets + cobra shot and the badass hero with the gun be incidental while the pets get the whole spotlight. Beastmastery is about teamwork.
This is only the core spells, and talents will build on it. (andrewchambers)

Does Survival have a way to build focus? from what we've been told so far there doesn't appear to be a focus builder.
No, but while using MB youre pooling focus. If this is an issue we may make RS a builder, either baseline or talented, but so far it works well. (andrewchambers)

Not to undermine all your hard work, but... any chance we could get a glyph for dire beast to summon a pet from our stables? As beast mastery, I almost always have a spirit beast out. It would be cool to see some of the non-spirit beasts I have from time to time since they never get much use.
Theres tech required for this but its already in the works, likely built into a talent. (andrewchambers)

You answering all these extra questions has really put some extra faith into the Blizz machine. I won't lie, I've been pessimistic for a while about you guys. But even if I'm not thrilled about changes when it comes to one of my preferred classes, it's nice to get some actual communication from you guys. Please keep it up!
I cant promise that we can be this reactive all the time, all these changes take up most of our efforts, but we really want to ensure you are all heard. I lurk here daily. (andrewchambers)

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