Challenge Mode Items and Tier 17 Armor Sets
Warlords of Draenor Alpha Patch Notes Update - May 23
You can find a full version of the notes with more context on the Blue Post Tracker.
Welcome to an early look at patch notes for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion: Warlords of Draenor. The new expansion introduces a wealth of new content and changes. There's also a new patch note format, which we hope will help better convey the reasoning for many of the changes being made and what they mean for you, while providing more background into issues we're trying to solve.
Please be aware that the Alpha patch notes are preliminary and not final. Details may change before retail release and new information will be added for additional features as development continues on the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Note: Not all the content listed may be available for immediate testing or may only be available during a limited testing window during the Alpha.
- New secondary stats: Bonus Armor, Multistrike, and Readiness.
Primary Character Stats and Attack Power
- Weapon Damage values on all weapons have been reduced by 50%.
- New secondary stats added:
What abilities and spells got cut is a very, very difficult question to answer. Every ability is vital to someone, so we don't take this process lightly. We hope that even if we cut your favorite ability, you can see it in the context of our larger goals. It's important to remember that the point of these changes is to increase players' ability to understand the game, not to reduce depth of gameplay.
Death Knight (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Blood Boil has been removed and its effects have been merged into Pestilence.
- Rune Strike has been removed. Blood Death Knights now use Death Coil in its place.
Druid (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Pounce has been removed. Abilities which modified Pounce now modify Rake instead.
- Rake now also stuns the target for 4 seconds when used while stealthed.
- Ravage has been removed.
- Shred is now available to all Druid specializations and now deals an additional 35% damage while stealthed.
Hunter (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Distracting Shot has been removed.
Monk (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Spinning Fire Blossom has been removed.
Paladin (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Art of War has been removed.
- Exorcism cooldown now naturally has a chance to be reset on auto attacks.
Rogue (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Ambidexterity has been removed.
Warlock (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Curse of Exhaustion and Curse of the Elements now affect all enemies within 10 yards of the target, and are no longer mutually exclusive.
- Drain Soul has been removed.
- Malefic Grasp has been removed. Its effects have been merged into Drain Soul, which Affliction Warlocks should use in its place.
- Pyroclasm has been removed. The altered behavior it granted for Chaos Bolt is now baseline to Backdraft.
- Soulshatter has been removed.
Warrior (Forums / Skills / WoD Talent Calculator)
- Berserker Rage no longer Enrage the Warrior, generates Rage or increases Physical damage dealt. It now functions to break and provide immunity from Fear, Incapacitates, and Sap.
- Mortal Strike now replaces Heroic Strike for Arms Warriors.
- Overpower has been removed.
Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns
Another big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there was simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game. To solve that, we knew that we needed an across-the-board disarmament. Here's a summary of the player-cast CC changes:
Buffs and Debuffs
Weakened Armor and Physical Vulnerability were effectively redundant, both filling the role of increasing Physical damage taken by the target. We removed Weakened Armor and widened the availability of Physical Vulnerability and increased its effectiveness slightly.
- Weakened Armor and Physical Vulnerability
- Physical Vulnerability increases physical damage taken by 5% (up from 4%).
- The following abilities no longer apply the Weakened Armor effect.
- Druid: Faerie Fire now applies Physical Vulnerability, increasing Physical damage taken by 5% for 30 seconds.
Raid Utility Balance
- A minor Raid utility ability (to-be-determined) will be added for Hunters.
- Amplify Magic is a new spell available to Mages.
- Amplify Magic amplifies the effects of helpful magic, increasing all healing received by 12% for all party and raid members within 100 yards, and lasts 6 seconds with a 2-minute cooldown.
Tank Vengeance and Resolve
To keep tank DPS meaningful, we'll be raising their damage, since it would be meager with no Vengeance Attack Power (Vengeance accounted for 70-90% of a tank's damage on high-tank-damage fights in Mists). To do that, we're increasing the damage of several prominent tank abilities, as well as having tanks also gain increased Attack Power from Mastery and Bonus Armor, in addition to the stat’s existing benefits. For plate-wearing Tank specializations, Riposte has been redesigned to convert Critical Strike into Parry, a defensive stat. That also helps keep secondary stats balanced in offensive value for them.
- Riposte is a passive ability for Blood Death Knights, Protection Paladins, and Protection warriors.
- Riposte now gives the character Parry equal to their Critical Strike bonus from gear.
- Heart Strike damage has been increased by 30%, but no longer deals additional damage for each disease present on the target.
- Heart Strike has been removed. Blood Death Knights should use Pestilence in its place.
The maximum number of charges that can be accumulated for Savage Defense has been reduced to make its uptime more consistent between short and long periods of tanking.
- Ursa Major is a new passive ability for Guardian Druids.
- Lacerate now generates 5 Rage, has no cooldown (down from a 3-second cooldown), and the periodic bleed effect triggers every 1 second (down from 3 seconds). but no longer has a chance to reset Mangle cooldown.
- Savage Defense can now accumulate 2 charges (down from 3 charges).
- Glyph of Savagery has been renamed Glyph of Savage Roar, and now grants a free 5 Combo Point Savage Roar when leaving Prowl, instead of allowing Savage Roar to be used with 0 Combo Points.
We have some extensive changes for Balance Druids. One of our guiding principles with game design is that things should be "easy to learn, hard to master". We're not particularly happy with the Moonkin rotation because it was actually hard to learn, and easy to master (especially with regards to periodic damage effects no longer snapshotting). Energy and Eclipse mechanics were not intuitive for many newer players. Once you became accustomed to the rotation, there wasn’t much additional depth to mastering it; maintain two DoTs, hit these other two buttons whenever they light up, and spam one of two buttons in between. In order to try to make it easier to learn, but also add some gameplay depth and challenge we're making a significant revision to the rotation. The list of changes is quite dense, so here’s a summary of the changes.
Summary of changes to Balance:
- Balance Energy is a bar that automatically cycles back and forth between Lunar and Solar sides, like night and day. The closer to one end that the bar is, the more damage that side's spells do.
- Balance Druids now have four rotational spells.
- Starfire: Lunar direct damage spell
- Cast when the Lunar side is stronger
- Wrath: Solar direct damage spell
- Cast when the Solar side is stronger
- Moonfire: Lunar periodic damage spell. While closer to Solar, this button is replaced with Sunfire, a Solar periodic damage spell.
- Maintain both effects where possible
- Starsurge: Direct damage spell that benefits from whichever side is stronger. Has up to 3 charges, and buffs the damage of the next few Wrath or Starfire.
That's the basics of the new Moonkin rotation. There’s room for improvement beyond that, learning to optimally maintain both periodic damage effects with the strongest Eclipse effect, timing Starsurges to optimize the benefit of its buff, make use of Starfall and Hurricane for area damage, and taking advantage of the strengths of each side (such as Moonfire and Sunfire having significant differences now). Here are the full details of the changes.
- Balance Energy system has been redesigned. Balance Energy is a bar that cycles back and forth between Lunar and Solar sides, like night and day, with a 30 second cycle time (from Lunar to Solar and back to Lunar).
- Balance Energy is no longer generated through spells, talents, or other effects anymore.
- Eclipse has been redesigned.
- Eclipse inspires the Druid with the power of the moon and the sun, causing the damage of Lunar and Solar spells to be increased by up to 30% based on how close Balance Energy levels are to the appropriate side.
- Example: With 0 Balance Energy, the damage bonus is evenly split between Lunar and Solar, and the Druid receives a 15% increase to damage for both spell types. With 80 Solar Energy, the Druid receives a 27% damage increase to Solar spells and a 3% damage increase to Lunar spells.
- Mastery: Total Eclipse now increases the maximum damage bonus of Eclipse by 12% (increasing with Mastery).
- Starfire now has a 3 second cast time (up from 2.7 seconds).
- Moonfire now has a 16 second base duration (up from 14 seconds), but is no longer extended by Starfire and Starsurge critical strikes.
- Sunfire now has a 16 second duration (up from 14 seconds), but is no longer extended by Wrath and Starsurge critical strikes. Additionally, Sunfire is no longer its own spell. Sunfire replaces Moonfire on the action bar whenever Balance Energy is on the Solar side. Enemies may still suffer from both Moonfire and Sunfire’s periodic damage components simultaneously.
- Lunar Shower has been redesigned and renamed Astral Showers.
- Astral Showers calls upon greater Lunar and Solar energy to permanently empower the Druid's Moonfire and Sunfire spells.
- Starsurge now has 3 charges and a 30 second recharge time (instead of a 15 second cooldown). Starsurge now also grants Lunar or Solar Empowerment.
- Starfall now shares charges with Starsurge, and has no cooldown of its own. It also now hits all nearby enemies (up from 2 nearby enemies).
- Shooting Stars now adds 1 full charge of Starsurge and Starfall when it triggers, and now has a 2.5% chance to trigger on Moonfire and Sunfire periodic damage. This chance is doubled on critical strikes.
- Hurricane range has been increased to 35 yards (up from 30 yards).
- Astral Storm has been removed.
- Wild Mushroom (Balance) now begins snaring enemies immediately when summoned, lasts 20 seconds, and can no longer be detonated to deal damage.
- Wild Mushroom: Detonate has been removed.
- Celestial Alignment has been redesigned.
- Astral Communion now increases the rate that Balance Energy cycles by 300% while channeled.
- Euphoria has been removed.
- Insect Swarm has been redesigned and renamed Stellar Flare.
- Soul of the Forest (Balance) has been redesigned.
- Soul of the Forest (Balance) now increases the damage bonus from Lunar and Solar Empowerment by an additional 30%.
- Equinox has been replaced with a new talent, Balance of Power.
- Sunfall has been replaced with a new talent, Euphoria.
- Several Glyphs and Draenor Perks will be redesigned in a future build, and so are currently TBD.
- Glyph of Omens
- Glyph of Sudden Eclipse
- Empowered Starfall
- Enhanced Mushrooms
- Enhanced Starsurge
- Enhanced Storms
Omen of Clarity got changed to not trigger more often with Tree of Life; it was too strong in our new healing model. Soul of the Forest was also redesigned for Restoration and Genesis to fit better with the new design for periodic effects.
- Genesis has been redesigned.
- Genesis now consumes all of the Druid's Rejuvenation effects on party or raid members within 60 yards and applies the Genesis effect to them instead. Genesis heals the target for an amount equal to the remaining healing from the consumed Rejuvenation effects over 3 seconds. Healing from Genesis counts toward Wild Mushroom as if it was from Rejuvenation.
- Omen of Clarity (Restoration) can now only be triggered by the most recently applied Lifebloom.
- Soul of the Forest for Restoration Druids has been redesigned.
The level 90-Talent row for Druids was designed to encourage hybrid gameplay. We decided that, while you shouldn't have to give up a significant amount of your primary role throughput in order to gain the off-role benefit, you also don't need to gain an actual benefit to your primary role throughput benefit either. We've reduced the power of their primary role benefit, making them roughly neutral in their effect on your primary role. Note that the increase to off-role healing from Nature's Vigil is not actually a buff (see Healing and Player Health above).
- Dream of Cenarius
Each Hunter specialization received a revision to the burst-damage-cooldowns they have access to. All specializations now have one burst-damage-cooldown available baseline, and can add to that through talent choices.
Beast Mastery Hunters retain Bestial Wrath. Rapid Fire is a good fit for Marksmanship, and we improved it. For Survival, we wanted to both increase the prominence of their traps, and give them a new damage cooldown. So, a new trap called Bear Trap has been created to fit that role. Note that Bear Trap's base cooldown can be reduced by other passive abilities and perks, such that it has roughly a 2 minute-cooldown afterwards.
- Bear Trap is a new ability for Survival Hunters.
- Bear Trap places a trap with duration of 1 minute that immobilizes the first enemy that triggers it for 8 seconds and deals heavy bleed damage over 20 seconds. Damage from other sources may break the immobilization effect. The ability has a 4 minute cooldown.
- Careful Aim now also provides its effect against all targets when Rapid Fire is active.
There were also a few other changes, primarily for quality of life and rotational consistency.
- Aimed Shot now deals 20% more damage, no longer interrupts Auto Attacks, and can be cast while moving.
We decided to merge the 3 current Bomb Talents into one that changes based on spec. That allows us to reintroduce spec-specific perks to each Bomb, and makes room for some non-DoT alternatives.
- Nether Tempest can now only be on 1 target at a time (down from unlimited), but its secondary damage now hits all targets in range (up from only 1), deals 100% of the primary damage (up from 50%), and its damage is now increased by Arcane Charge.
- Unstable Magic is a new Talent available at level 75, in the middle Talent slot.
Frost Mages enjoyed newfound PvE viability in Mists of Pandaria, and we intend to continue that into the future. However, we do want to clean up some rough spots, especially around their valuing of secondary stats, and the amount of instant-cast spells in their rotation. The Frost Armor and Shatter changes increase the amount of Haste/Critical chance that they can acquire on gear before they start hitting soft caps. The Shatter change also lowers the value of Critical Strike for a bit. The changes to the level-75 Talent row meant that having a Bomb spell is no longer guaranteed, so we changed the way that Brain Freeze is triggered. We also changed Brain Freeze's effect, in order to give Frost mages another cast-time spell in their rotation.
- Frost Armor now grants an 8% chance to Multistrike instead of 7% Haste.
- The Brain Freeze effect now increases no longer makes Frostfire Bolt damage by 25%, and instant, but it can now stack up to 2 times. It also no longer triggers from the Bomb Talents, and instead has a 10% chance to trigger from Frostbolt casts. Each Multistrike of Frostbolt increases that cast's chance by an additional 45%. (Total of 100% on double-Multistrikes).
- Glyph of Icy Veins now causes Icy Veins to provide 35% chance to Multistrike, instead of 20% Haste.
Rotation for Fire Mage is looking solid with the new Draenor Perks. However, their cooldown strength could use a buff.
- Combustion damage has been increased by 100%.
- Soothing Mist healing has been increased by 100%, its GCD has been reduced to 0.5 seconds, but no longer heals immediately, and no longer generates Chi. for Mistweaver Monks.
- Summon Jade Serpent Statue now has a 10-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds).
- Thunder Focus Tea no longer costs Chi, causes the next Renewing Mist to jump up to 4 times (used to cause instead of causing the next Uplift to refresh the duration of Renewing Mist on all targets). Its effect on Surging Mist remains unchanged.
To better balance the damage of Brewmaster versus Windwalker where both share many of the same abilities, we removed the damage increase provided by Tiger Stance, and increased the damage of melee abilities to compensate.
- Stance of the Fierce Tiger no longer increases damage dealt.
- Tiger Strikes is now available to all Monk specializations, and has a chance to trigger on successful auto attacks and their Multistrikes. It has an 8% chance to trigger while using a two-handed weapon, and a 5% chance to trigger while dual wielding.
- When triggered, Tiger Strikes now grants a 25% increase to Multistrike for 8 seconds instead of a 50% increase to attack speed and double attacks for 4 attacks.
For Brewmasters, Gift of the Ox has been modified to allow it to scale defensively with the new Multistrike stat. The Black Ox Statue has been modified to aid Monks in establishing aggro on new enemies instead of shielding allies. We also removed the Misfire effect, as it did not live up to its original idea, and was unnecessary.
- Black Ox Statue no longer casts Guard on allies and now has a 10-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds). Black Ox Statue now passively attracts the attention of all enemies within 30 yards, causing a minor amount of threat each second.
- Dizzying Haze no longer causes the target's melee attacks to sometimes misfire.
- Avenging Wrath now also increases all of the Paladin’s healing by 20% for its duration.
We wanted to improve Seal gameplay for Protection and Retribution, so have made a few changes in that regard. Protection had three Seals, but only used Insight due to its defensive value. We’ve moved that defensive value into a passive for Protection Paladins, and expect them to primarily use a mixture of Seal of Truth and Seal of Righteousness now. To provide better gameplay between Seal of Truth and Seal of Righteousness, and effectively remove a button, we made Seal of Righteousness transform Crusader Strike into Hammer of the Righteous.
- Inner Light is a new passive ability for Protection Paladins and provides a chance for each melee attack to heal the Paladin.
- Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous are no longer separate spells.
- Seal of Insight no longer gives melee attacks a chance to heal the Paladin.
For Holy Priests, our biggest concern is with the Chakras. We think that Chakras are the defining abilities of Holy Priests, but that they haven't lived up to their potential. We decided to move more of their effectiveness from their raw throughput buff (which felt like a penalty for being in the wrong chakra, rather than a bonus for being in the right Chakra) into their bonus effects, and the Holy Word spells that they grant. Please note that all Priest healing spells have been retuned to account for the loss of throughput increases from Chakras. We also returned Renew to a normal 1.5-second global cooldown (GCD), so that Renew blanketing is still possible, but less ideal without Haste. Finally, the ability for Power Word: Shield to critically strike or Multistrike is now baseline for all Priest specializations instead of just Disciplins so that it continues to be a viable choice for Holy at higher gear levels.
- Cascade no longer refreshes the duration of Renew for Chakra: Serenity.
- Circle of Healing cooldown is now 12 seconds (up from 10 seconds).
- Chakra: Sanctuary no longer now increases healing of area-of-effect spells. It now causes healing spell casts to reduce the remaining cooldown on Circle of Healing by 1 second instead of always reducing the cooldown by 2 seconds. by 10% (down from 25%).
- Chakra: Serenity no longer now increases healing of single-target spells. by 10% (down from 25%).
- Divine Aegis no longer grants Power Word: Shield a chance to critically strike.
- Power Word: Shield now has a chance for a critical effect based on critical strike chance and can Multistrike based on Multistrike chance for all specializations.
Several talents got split into different versions by specialization. We revised the effectiveness of some of these talents to better balance talent choices on their rows.
- From Darkness, Comes Light has been split into Surge of Light for Discipline and Holy, and Surge of Darkness for Shadow for Shadow.
- Solace and Insanity has been split into Power Word: Solace for Discipline and Holy, and Insanity for Shadow.
- Surge of Light's activation chance has been reduced to 10% (down from 15%).
There are a few other miscellaneous changes.
- Angelic Feather now increases movement speed by 60% (down from 80%). If cast on players, will always prefer the casting Priest over others, then pick the player closest to the targeted location. If there are no players where it is targeted, it will still create a feather that can be picked up, as before. Additionally, when collecting multiple feathers, the duration will be extended instead of replaced; up to a maximum of 130% of base duration.
In our efforts to reduce cooldown stacking across the game, we chose to remove the damage increase from Tricks of the Trade. And second, we decided to loosen the weapon requirements on Assassination. It's important to note that we still intend for daggers to be the optimal choice for Assassination Rogues, but this change will help Rogues who want to try out Assassination but don't have two daggers.
- Assassin’s Resolve no longer requires daggers to function.
- Dispatch can now be used with fist weapons or one-handed swords, dealing 331% weapon damage (instead of 480%) when used with those weapons instead of a dagger.
- Mutilate can now be used with fist weapons or one-handed swords, dealing 137% weapon damage (instead of 200%) when used with those weapons instead of a dagger.
- Sinister Strike now deals 188% weapon damage when used with a dagger (instead of 130%).
- Tricks of the Trade now has no energy cost and no longer increases damage caused by the target by 15%.
Worth noting here is the removal of Ambidexterity. This was done to reduce the amount of damage coming from auto attacks for Combat Rogues. We’ve increased the damage of their active abilities to compensate and make them more rewarding.
To better balance the scaling rates and value of secondary stats for Subtlety, we reduced the power of their Sinister Calling passive ability.
- Sinister Calling now increases Agility by 15% (down from 30%).
- Earth Elemental deals 90% less Auto Attack damage but generates 1000% more threat.
- Using Unleashed Fury with Windfury Weapon imbue active now increases Multistrike chance by 5%.
- Tidal Waves now reduces the cast time of Healing Wave by 20% (down from 30%).
- Unleash Life no longer increases the healing from Healing Rain but its direct healing has been increased by 100%.
For Affliction, we're happy with their rotation. But, Drain Soul was causing them to be too strong in situations where they had a steady supply of small creatures to kill. We reduced the effectiveness of its on-kill effect in order to solve this.
Kil'jaeden's Cunning was a problematic talent. We've reduced the ability for ranged damage dealers to deal damage while moving in Warlords. Kil'jaeden's Cunning became much stronger relative to other casters. We redesigned how the ability works to be more powerful in bursts instead of always affecting only some spells.
- Kil’jaeden’s Cunning has been redesigned. Kil'jaeden's Cunning calls upon the cunning of Kil'jaeden to permit movement while casting Warlock spells. This spell may be cast while casting other spells and lasts 15 seconds with a 2-minute cooldown.
We wanted to fix a few problems with Warriors. Prominently, we still weren't happy with Arms' rotation (and neither were many players), so we've made some more changes. The goal is to remove needless complexity while simultaneously adding more depth. As mentioned in the above section on Ability Pruning, Overpower and Heroic Strike have been removed for Arms Warriors. In their place, Slam now costs less Rage, and Execute has been revised to provide more dynamic gameplay throughout the whole fight while still retaining its identity of a low-health finisher.
In addition, we weren’t satisfied with the Mastery for Arms. The intended flavor for Arms is about hitting with few, big, and heavy weapon strikes. Strikes of Opportunity actually went opposite of that, adding frequent little hits. We’ve replaced Strikes of Opportunity with a new Mastery which accentuates their intended design.
- Mastery: Strikes of Opportunity has been removed, and replaced with a new ability, Mastery: Weapons Master.
- Executioner is a new passive ability for Arms Warriors.
- Executioner causes the Warrior's auto attack hits to generate an additional 40 Rage against targets with less than 20% health remaining. Additionally, the Execute ability no longer requires the target to be below 20% health to use, but its Rage cost is increased by 100%.
- Colossus Smash no longer increases the damage of Slam.
- Mortal Strike now generates 20 Rage (up from 10 Rage).
- Slam now costs 15 Rage (down from 25 Rage) and no longer has additional effects when Sweeping Strikes is active.
Fury Warriors received a few additional changes. We made a revision to the critical strike chance of Bloodthirst to make them less crit-dependant. A new glyph has been added which gives Fury Warriors a choice for a notably different playstyle. Auto attack damage had become too high, so we also moved some damage from that into Execute (which has been changed to deal damage based on Weapon Damage, instead of just Attack Power). Plus, we've updated some to spell alerts to improve usability.
- Bloodthirst now has 30% additional Critical Strike chance (instead of double the normal Critical Strike chance).
- Crazed Berserker no longer increases auto attack damage. Instead, it also causes Execute to hit with the off-hand weapon.
- Glyph of Colossus Smash is a new glyph available to Fury Warriors. The glyph increases the duration of Colossus Smash effect to 20 seconds, but reduces its effectiveness.