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.
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"
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:
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.
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.
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.
Channeled, 1.5 min cooldown
Gain 25% of your total Mana instantly, and another 75% of your total mana over 6 sec.
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).
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:
Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles also grant 2% Haste for 6 sec, stacking.
This effect is cleared when you cast Arcane Barrage.
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"
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:
4% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.25 sec cast
Throw a fiery ball that causes moderate Fire damage.
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.
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
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.
5% Mana, 40 yd range, 4.5 sec cast
Hurl an immense fiery boulder that causes massive Fire damage.
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.
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:
Throw a spread of 6 cinders that travel in an arc, and each deal minor Fire damage to enemies they hit.
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"
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:
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.
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.
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.
Your Frostbolts have a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Frozen Orb.
Fingers of Frost
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.
Multiplies the critical strike chance of your spells against Frozen targets by 1.5, and adds an additional 50% chance.
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:
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.
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.
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"
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:
2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
A slow but efficient spell that heals an ally for a moderate amount.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Instant, 3 min cooldown
Enter a pure Holy form for 30 sec, increasing the effects of Serendipity by 200%.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Instant, 2 min cooldown
Let the power of the void flow through you, instantly generating 100 Insanity.
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"
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:
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.
Increases the healing transferred through Atonement by 28% (with Mastery from typical gear).
1.2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
A quick, efficient plea to heal an ally for a minor amount.
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.
0.75% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Smite an enemy for moderate Holy damage.
3.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Blast the target’s mind for strong Shadow damage.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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 Hunter—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.
We begin our early look at class and specialization design with the Hunter. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out a foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Hunter in World of Warcraft.
In many ways, Hunter design in Legion embodies our key philosophies for class change. Hunters have a strong “core fantasy”: they’re masters of tracking prey, experts at sniping enemies with bows and guns from a distance, tamers of wild beasts, and trappers of unsuspecting foes. The challenge with the Hunter class in WoW is that, for the most part, while all three specs deliver that basic fantasy, the distinction between them is fairly minimal. In Legion, we’re focused on better differentiating these specializations to deliver more dynamic and varied experiences.
Among the most gifted hunters, there are those who have from birth felt a profound bond with the creatures of the wild. These beast masters are drawn to the perilous primal world, invigorated by its dangerous and untamed nature. Primitive landscape becomes home. Ferocious predator becomes kin. Whether in the thrill of the hunt or the heat of battle, beast masters call forth a litany of vicious animals to overwhelm prey and gnaw at their enemies’ will.
"Beast masters are drawn to the perilous primal world, invigorated by its dangerous and untamed nature"
Beast Masters were already in a good place overall, but we’ve refined existing abilities and talents to better differentiate them from other Hunters. Previously, Cobra Shot filled all of your free moments in combat, leaving no time for managing your pet, which should be a defining characteristic of Beast Masters. To this end, and to aid in Focus accumulation, Dire Beast is now core to Beast Mastery, allowing you to repeatedly summon wild beasts that generate additional Focus for you through their every attack.
To give you an idea of the Beast Master Hunter in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
30 Focus, 40 yd range, Instant
A quick shot that causes moderate Physical damage.
40 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
Summons a powerful wild beast to attack your target for 8 sec. Each time the beast deals damage, you will gain 4 Focus.
Summoning a beast reduces the remaining cooldown of Bestial Wrath by 15 sec.
Give the command to kill, causing your pet to instantly inflict strong damage to its target.
Your critical strikes have a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Dire Beast.
Mastery: Master of Beasts
Increases the damage done by your pets by 45% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Beast Mastery–specific talent:
Way of the Cobra
For every pet or guardian you have active, Cobra Shot deals an additional 5% damage.
While all hunters feel a calling to the wild, some serve as a reflection of its brutality. To them, the hunt is defined by unrelenting ferocity, where survival means facing one’s enemy eye-to-eye... and is always accompanied by merciless bloodshed. Weapons of great range are abandoned for instruments of close-quarters combat. Survival hunters are instinctive and crafty on the prowl, employing loyal beasts and laying deceptive traps to see their enemies undone. For these hunters know that to truly understand what it means to survive, one must first become familiar with the cruel face of death.
"The hunt is defined by unrelenting ferocity, where survival means facing one’s enemy eye-to-eye"
Not only do Survival Hunters use melee weapons instead of ranged weapons, they’re also now the only Hunters that make use of traps—other specs will receive forms of crowd control and AoE damage suited to their distinct characteristics. Survival Hunters will snare and bleed their enemies, fighting them in close quarters with their trustworthy companion to maximize the brutality of the hunt. They have no direct control over Focus regeneration, but instead pool it up during successive Mongoose Bites to further amplify the damage they inflict.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Survival Hunters:
5-40 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown
Hurl a harpoon at your target and pull yourself toward them, rooting them in place for 3 sec.
20 Focus, Melee Range, Instant.
A vicious slash, dealing moderate Physical damage.
35 Focus, Melee Range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
Tear a wound in the target, dealing heavy damage over 12 sec.
Developer Comment: We promise it will do good damage!
Melee Range, Instant, 10 sec recharge, 3 charges
A brutal attack, attempting to sever the enemy's limbs, dealing strong Physical damage.
Each consecutive Mongoose Bite dealt within 3.5 sec of the last will deal 50% increased damage, stacking up to 6 times.
20 Focus, Melee Range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
You and your pet attack the target simultaneously, each dealing strong damage.
If the target is attacking you, your pet's attack will deal 50% increased damage and threat. If not, your attack will deal 50% increased damage.
30 Focus, Instant
Maims the target, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
Mastery: Hunting Companion
Your pet’s attacks have a 20% (with Mastery from typical gear) chance to grant you an additional charge of Mongoose Bite.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Survival-specific talents:
Instant, 1 min cooldown
Instantly grants you 3 charges of Mongoose Bite.
Marksmen, too, shroud themselves in the perils of the untamed wilds, perfecting the use of weapons that are deadliest from great range. They’ve maintained little interest, however, in gaining the loyalty of the many beasts inhabiting these crude landscapes. Instead, the marksman blends into the surrounding environment, surveying behavior of all manner of predator and gleaning deadly methods for stalking their own prey. A sniper in hiding, the marksman unleashes arrows and bullets with deadly precision, exposing the weakness in whoever—or whatever—passes through their crosshairs.
"A sniper in hiding, the marksman unleashes arrows and bullets with deadly precision"
The Lone Wolf gameplay introduced in Warlords of Draenor proved extremely popular with Hunters, and that play style fit perfectly with our vision of Marksmanship Hunters as master archers and snipers, relying on their skill and precision with weapons rather than animal companions. All Marksmanship Hunters now gain Lone Wolf by default, ranging through the wilds without a pet beside them. On the resource front, the Marksman now gains Focus from the use of Arcane Shot. And, as a note for those who enjoyed the previous version of Survival gameplay, we have moved certain abilities, such as Black Arrow and Lock and Load, to Marksmanship-specific talents.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Marksmanship:
40 yd range, Instant
A quick shot that causes moderate Arcane damage, and generates 5 Focus.
Targets hit by your Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot have a chance to be marked with Hunter's Mark for 6 sec.
30 Focus, 40 yd range, Channeled
Rapidly fires a shot at up to 3 targets affected by Hunter's Mark, dealing strong Physical damage. Usable while moving.
Also exposes vulnerability in the target, snaring them by 15%, and increasing Aimed Shot damage done to the target by 25%. Lasts 10 sec, and stacks up to 3 times.
50 Focus, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
A powerful aimed shot that deals strong Physical damage.
Mastery: Sniper Training
Critical strike damage and range of all shots is increased by 12.5% (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 Marksmanship-specific talents:
Lock and Load
Attach an explosive charge to Aimed Shot, dealing strong additional Fire damage to the target and all enemies within 4 yds.
Your ranged auto attacks have a 5% chance to trigger Lock and Load, causing your next 2 Aimed Shots to cost no Focus and be instant.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of the Hunter class in World of Warcraft: Legion. This first look should give you a good sense of what you can expect from this series, though not every class is undergoing this level of change; some are receiving updates that will be more subtle—a sharpening of rough edges—rather than the broad reimagining of the fantasy as we’ve demonstrated with Hunters.
Tomorrow, the series continues with previews of Priests, Mages, and Paladins. Stay tuned!
Legion Class Preview Series – Overview
Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
Welcome to the first of several blogs focused on classes in the upcoming Legion expansion!
Our first big step when we begin working on classes for any new expansion is to decide on our high-level goals. New expansions, which send players to whole new lands and often transform entire game systems, give us a chance to explore extensive changes that we think will have a significant positive, lasting impact on the game.
In Mists of Pandaria, for example, our primary aim was to revamp the talent system to give players more meaningful choices. For Warlords of Draenor, we turned our attention to the 100 levels worth of accumulated spells and abilities, full of redundancies and crowding out players’ action bars, and focused our efforts on pruning and consolidating abilities to make each class’s kit leaner and meaner—while still leaving room for future additions.
Going into Legion, our guiding purpose is to strengthen the distinctive identity of each of our 12 classes and their specializations. The scope of these efforts includes making cosmetic improvements, enhancing existing abilities, adding new abilities, replacing too-generic abilities with more iconic ones, adjusting rotations to better reflect spec identity, and even completely redesigning some specs to carve out a strong identity where previously there was none.
In the coming days, we’ll be sharing more details about the direction of each class in Legion, discussing their updated designs and sharing a look at their core combat abilities. It’s important to note that the base spells of a specialization represent a foundation upon which talents and Artifact traits will be built. Talents in particular will add a tremendous amount of depth—in Legion we’re quadrupling the number of spec-specific talents, which reinforce the distinction between specializations giving players interesting ways to customize their characters to suit their play styles.
We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback and discussing these changes with everyone in the weeks ahead, and we’re excited to get this information out before our broader beta phase to make sure we have as much time as possible to iterate and carry on the conversation.
Legion Class and Systems Community Amphitheater Discussion
Several of the developers came to chat after the Game Systems panel today. This did not appear on the Virtual Ticket.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
All of the caster Artifact weapons that look they are 1H do have off-hands.
The further you are behind on the Artifact as you go through the expansion, the easier it is to place new traits into your Artifact. It is pretty quick to get mostly caught up when switching specs. If you are trying to maintain off-specs you can do that to a certain degree. It only becomes a burden if you are trying to keep many specs all topped off at once.
Alts will also have catch up mechanism for Artifacts.
It used to be a bigger problem to have a melee heavy raid in the past. The problem isn't solved right now, but it is better than it used to be. Having lots of melee does make it a little harder to learn a new boss. The data shows that people switch specs more from melee to ranged than ranged to melee because of that perception. Melee does need to do more damage than ranged on Patchwerk style fights to deal with the problem.
Timewalker raids are cool idea, but their time has not yet come. Maybe in the future. The team is talking about revisiting some of the old raids in a new way.
The team is fixing the boss movement issues in Patch 6.2.3. Thank the engineers!
Healers should always have something to do. In Legion when you are doing group PvE content you will notice that you can do a lot more damage than you could before when you choose to spend globals and resources on it. When you are overgearing the content, the damage you do in your spare time will go from close to meaningless (now) to being a useful contribution to the raid (in Legion).
You should be able to level as a healer, so when you are playing solo you should be able to do substantial damage. Druids having Thorns again will help, things attacking you will take substantial damage.
Absorbs are a little bit less powerful, have longer cooldowns, and there are less of them in Legion. Paladins won't be causing absorb shields anymore, as their mastery has changed. Discipline mastery has also changed.
Active mitigation is still a big part of what you do, but it went in too strong. If you messed up the active mitigation you died, so it mattered too much.
Active mitigation should be designed to where the expert player can get more out of it but the newer player isn't awful. It is less about managing your resources and more about using the right button at the right time and the magnitude of the effects are going down a little bit. It is still a very large part of what tanks do.
All of your long cooldowns like Shield Wall will count as if active mitigation is running while they are running.
Tanks have buttons that give tank or offense functionality, but the team is tried to do more things that have both. If you are trying to DPS really hard as a tank, that should translate to being a good tank at the same time.
Resolve is gone. The abilities that relied on it have been redesigned to not rely on it anymore. For Brewmaster, the active mitigation buttons either give you a gigantic Stagger buff or cleanse your Stagger. You want to use them in tandem.
People say that there is nothing to do in Warlords, but that isn't really true. There is nothing to do that gives a rewards that you care about. In Legion, the goal is to make the outdoor world, quests, dungeons, and raids all have things that you care about so that there are reasons to do them at max level.
The transmog system will include old quests that have been removed. There is a chance a few quests were modified that shouldn't have been, but they will handle those on a per quest basis.
Classes and Fantasy
The team is putting a lot of focus into improving the fantasy of each class, so you really feel different, unique, and caught up in your class's fantasy.
Visuals, animations, and sounds for many classes have also been improved.
Survival, Shadow, Demonology, Subtlety, Combat, Discipline are all getting big changes.
The team originally was going to keep the changes under control, but this ended up being one of the expansions with the most changes to classes after development got going.
When we see the beta, players shouldn't look at balance yet. There hasn't been numbers tuning. Give feedback on the play style and fantasy instead.
If a few classes are too strong, the team doesn't want to buff everyone else to that level because all of the encounters would have to be adjusted. Over the years they have tended to do this anyway, which makes older content easier and easier. The power inflation isn't great.
Nerfs get a lot of attention and the buffs (which there are more of) don't get nearly as much attention.
When every spec has something unique, distinct, and different that only they can do, it accentuates the idea that you are special to the world.
There are enough numbers being rolled in combat that any RNG evens out, it is more about there being a little bit of unpredictability to respond to in combat.
Lots of the major glyphs that are being removed are being added in to the core ability.
Currently there are a lot of rows that offer you three similar options to choose from, making it feel like it doesn't matter what you pick. This is going away by moving them into different rows, so you could take multiple mobility talents or multiple AoE healing talents. Really hardcore players may change their talents from encounter to encounter to get different capabilities.
There will be more impactful talents. Rogues have five rows with straight throughput improvements. Every spec has four or five rows of straight throughput improvements.
The additional spec specific talents help class fantasy and help to make them feel more impactful. In Legion around 2/3rd of the talents are spec specific.
Some talent rows now have multiple types of talents rather than all of them being the same. For example, a row could have a new ability, proc, or passive rather than three new abilities. This lets you control how complex or simple your gameplay is. Fury is a good example, as the core rotation with no talents is very simple, but there are a ton of options for added engagement through talents. You can take five additional active abilities you would use in your rotation (not long cooldowns).
The team will try to address the need to switch specs per encounter with talent choices.
Death Knights had a lot of balance changes over time. They had unique mechanics, like DoT snapshotting with Unholy. Those things have gone away now, so part of what made Unholy special is gone.
Something they are trying now is Festering Wounds. When the Death Knight hits a target, they will apply debuff and when they use a different ability that wound will pop. You might hit them and apply three or five, or pop three of them all at once.
The fantasy of a Death Knight pulling corpses from the ground to do their bidding is great, but in the game it doesn't feel like that when you are playing, so the team wanted to give them a unique mechanic.
Talents may give them multiple pets, different pets, stronger pets.
Frost is still very similar to live and Blood is somewhere in the middle.
Blood Death Knights having the different rune types is part of what made it easy to play. You would just push whatever buttons were lit up, as the runes controlled what you could use. Now you will have more options and control over how to use your runes.
Moonkin is inspired by the current state of the spec, but is now a brand new spec.
The current spec is based on a cycle of moving a bar back and forth on your UI. You are spending your time playing with the UI rather than the game.
The moving back and forth on the bar is going away, replaced with abilities that build and spend a resource with different strengths and weaknesses.
It should still hit the main Moonkin fantasy, as it is still heavy on DoTs, still has Moonfire, Sunfire, Starfall, and all of the unique Moonkin things.
Innervate is returning, but not to Resto Druids. If they had it, they would want to use it on themselves, which isn't very interesting.
Innervate is coming back to Balance Druids as their specific utility, so they won't have Stampeding Roar anymore.
tampeding Roar will be for Feral and Guardian only.
A powerful single target version of Mark of the Wild is coming back for the Resto Druid cooldown.
Rejuvenation in Cat Form is going away.
Predatory Swiftness is staying.
Feral isn't seeing a ton of changes, but they are getting lots of new talents.
The base Druid has less skills from the other three roles, but there is a new talent row that allows you to pick Balance, Feral, Guardian, or Restoration, and get a whole suite of abilities for that role and it makes you actually good at it. You get much more than the watered down version you had before and you get to pick which one you are good at instead of okay at all of them.
You could be a Guardian druid that switches to Cat form to do more damage when you aren't the active tank. You can also be a Moonkin, as if you take the Balance Affinity talent as Guardian, you get Moonkin form.
Storm, Earth, and Fire is supposed to make Windwalkers really good at three target damage, even when the targets aren't grouped up.
Windwalker single target damage was a little bit too low for a while during Warlords, they brought it up some, but it is still not one of the best performers.
The new Storm, Earth, and Fire is something they are doing to solve how hard it is to use the current version.
Someone looks at the skill and doesn't understand how it works and decides they will figure it out later. This is bad because it is important to doing good damage as a Windwalker.
The new Storm, Earth, and Fire is being simplified and made more intuitive. It will be a simple toggle, somewhat similar to Blade Flurry.
You turn it on and split into three, turn it off and you recombine into one. They won't attack the same target as you, but they will find something nearby to attack. You do lose the customizability of assigning targets, but it will do something useful at all times.
The new Atonement mechanic is very different than the older ones. It is a mix of using damage and healing abilities to mark allies with a buff as you heal them and then heal those people as you damage enemies with Atonement spells, so you have to weave both together at all times.
Discipline may be one of the more complex healers.
Disc priest's endless PW:S spam had to go! It was bad for them and bad for everyone.
Shadow Priests don't have Flash Heal or Heal anymore, but they do have Shadowmend, which is a new spell that is twice as good as Flash Heal in terms of how much it heals for, but over the next 10 seconds half of that heal fades away. If the target takes damage it comes off of the Shadowmend damage first, so if the target is constantly taking damage it is a really strong heal.
Both Shadow and Discipline will have Shadowmend.
Shadow will also keep PW:S.
Holy priests used to have the biggest single heal in the game and the team wanted to move them back in that direction.
Chakra is gone
They redesigned the way the Holy Word: Serenity system works.
Holy Word: Serenity is now the biggest single target heal in the game, it has a substantial cooldown but will heal roughly half of the health bar of the target. A crit would be a full heal.
Holy also will have Prayer of Healing and Discipline will not.
Shamans have mana, but it doesn't do anything for them. Mana is gone unless you are a Restoration Shaman! It has been replaced with a new resource called Maelstrom. It is built up through using abilities and then used on certain abilities. It is somewhat similar to the Demon Hunter resource but themed for Shamans and what they do.