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It’s Blizzcon time again! If you are going to Blizzcon (or just watching on TV), and you want something that will represent your ingame Warcraft Character (or Battle Pets), I am making Badges again this year.
Please see the Link above or CLICK HERE to order your very own original Art Badge.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Paladin—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.
We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Paladin. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Paladin in World of Warcraft.
Paladins have deep roots in Warcraft lore as holy knights, protectors of the people, and dispensers of justice. Where a Holy Priest serves as voice of the Light, preaching to the downtrodden and disillusioned, the Paladin serves as hand of the Light, defending the faithful and enforcing divine law like a righteous hammer.
The niche of the plate-wearing holy crusader is well established in Paladin gameplay, with one key exception. Whether Paladins are mitigating enemy attacks, aiding their ailing allies, or delivering punitive justice, it’s in their nature to serve in the thick of the battle. But while Holy Paladins possess the heavy armor and strong defensive ability themes, in practice they spend most of their time behind the frontlines with the more fragile healers. In addition to shoring up the identities of Protection and Retribution Paladins, we’re adjusting Holy Paladin gameplay to bring them closer to the front, where they belong.
Like priests who serve the Light, holy paladins are devout in their faith. After spending much of their lives in hallowed halls studying divine doctrine, those who pledge themselves to a holy order become beacons of the Light for their allies in conflict, taking up the heavy armor and weaponry of justice. Holding the unwavering belief that any battle waged to eradicate evil in the world is righteous, these paladins stands on the frontlines in service to all others dedicated to the cause. The truth and virtue of the Light imbues these sacred knights with the power to revitalize their comrades. If necessary, they even lay down their own lives to serve as martyr for the greater good.
“The truth and virtue of the Light imbues these sacred knights with the power to revitalize their comrades”
We love the unique identity of the Paladin healer and are modifying the gameplay to better support it. Single-target healing from Beacon of Light remains their marquee ability, but other abilities and talents have been adjusted to encourage Holy Paladins to be near the people they want to heal—including melee characters, when necessary. This is incentivized by Lightbringer, a new Mastery, which increases healing on allies near you. This is further reinforced by the addition of a row of Aura talents that provide a variety of localized beneficial effects, and refinements to some spells, such as Light of Dawn returning to being a cone.
Talents will also provide players with options to incorporate offensive capabilities while healing. When allies are in need, Light of the Martyr allows the Holy Paladin to rapidly heal them by sacrificing personal health. Finally, we’re addressing gameplay restrictions caused by Holy Power—in which players often feel forced to use abilities in specific orders or ratios—by removing it in favor of making Mana the primary resource.
To give you an idea of the Holy Paladin in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
A slow but efficient spell, healing a friendly target for a moderate amount.
Flash of Light
4.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
A quick but expensive spell, healing a friendly target for a moderate amount.
Light of the Martyr
2.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
Sacrifices a moderate amount of your own health to instantly heal an ally for a moderate amount.
Cannot be cast on yourself.
Light of Dawn
4.0% Mana, 1.5 sec cast, 12 sec cooldown
Unleash a wave of healing energy before you, healing up to 5 injured allies within a 15 yd frontal cone for a moderate amount.
1.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown
Instantly trigger a burst of Light on the target, dealing moderate Holy damage to an enemy, or moderate healing to an ally.
Holy Shock has double the normal critical strike chance.
Infusion of Light
Your Holy Shock criticals reduce the cast time of your next Holy Light by 1.5 sec or increase the healing of your next Flash of Light by 50%.
Beacon of Light
0.5% Mana, 60 yd range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
Place a Beacon of Light on a friendly target.
Your heals on other party or raid members will also heal the Beacon of Light target for up to 50% of the amount healed. Your Flash of Light and Holy Light on the Beacon of Light target will also refund 40% of their Mana cost.
Proximity to your target causes your spells to heal for up to 30% (with Mastery from typical gear) more.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Holy-specific talent:
Beacon of the Lightbringer
The maximum bonus from Mastery: Lightbringer is increased by 24%, and it now increases your healing based on the target’s proximity to either you or your Beacon of Light, whichever is closer.
The paladin’s tools of war lay bare their motivations. Clenched in one hand is the weapon, a deadly device for exacting righteous judgment. Locked in the other hand is the shield, a symbolic and literal barrier protecting good from evil. Stalwart and steadfast, these protectors are ardent defenders of the Light and all that it touches, and are rejuvenated by its radiance in return. So dedicated they are to their cause that they consecrate the very ground upon which they battle corruption.
“Stalwart and steadfast, these protectors are ardent defenders of the Light”
The Protection Paladin arsenal is already closely aligned with its theme. The primary change is the removal of Holy Power, which didn’t have a lot of depth and mostly amounted to limiting use of only a couple of abilities. Instead, these abilities now have cooldowns to allow for better interaction with other abilities.
We’re also addressing an awkward control issue with Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous. To improve control and depth, instead of two functionally identical (apart from the AoE) abilities, we’ve switched to one that conditionally triggers the AoE while standing in Consecration. Judgment is a good example of an ability that is staying simple—baseline—so as to provide a strong platform for talents and other effects to build upon. For defensive buttons, we’ve replaced Word of Glory with a self-focused spell, Light of the Protector, allowing it to be much more interesting and impactful.
To give you an idea of the Protection Paladin in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
Shield of the Righteous
Melee Range, Instant, 12 sec recharge, 3 charges
Instantly slam the target with your shield, causing huge Holy damage, and reducing damage you take by 25% for 4.5 sec.
Light of the Protector
Instant, 15 sec cooldown
Calls down the Light to heal yourself for 50% of your missing health.
Your autoattack critical strikes cause you to gain a charge of Shield of the Righteous or Light of the Protector.
Mastery: Divine Bulwark
Increases the damage reduction of your Shield of the Righteous by 10% (with Mastery from typical gear), and increases your chance to block melee attacks by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Also increases your attack power by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
30 yd range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown
Hurls your shield at an enemy target, dealing strong Holy damage, interrupting and silencing the target for 3 sec, and then jumping to 2 additional nearby enemies.
Also increases the effects of your next Shield of the Righteous or Light of the Protector by 20%.
Hammer of the Righteous
Melee Range, Instant, 3 sec recharge, 2 charges
Hammer the current target for moderate Physical damage.
If you are standing in your Consecration, Hammer of the Righteous also causes a wave of light that hits all other targets within 8 yds for minor Holy damage.
When you avoid a melee attack or use Hammer of the Righteous, you have a 15% chance of refreshing the cooldown on Avenger’s Shield
30 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
Judge an enemy, dealing strong Holy damage.
Instant, 9 sec cooldown
Consecrates the land beneath you, causing strong Holy damage over 9 sec to enemies who enter the area.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Protection-specific talent:
Instant, 3 sec recharge, 2 charges
Throw a divine hammer that spirals outward from the Paladin, dealing moderate Holy damage to enemies it passes through.
Replaces Hammer of the Righteous
To serve as instrument of the Light is to hold an unshakable faith. Oftentimes the most dedicated paladins become fanatical in their devotion, instruments of retribution against those who dare defy the laws of the divine. These paladins are vengeful guardians of the weak—crusaders judging and punishing the wicked. Their resolute conviction in the divine order of all things assures them that victory is inevitable—but they will fight to the end to ensure that the Light prevails.
“Oftentimes the most dedicated paladins become fanatical in their devotion”
We’re making several tweaks to Retribution to amplify their character. In particular, we’re refocusing most of their core abilities on short-range combat. So many of the Retribution Paladin’s abilities were ranged spells that they started to feel more like a caster than a melee crusader. A new ability, Blade of Justice (along with several new talents) will impact gameplay significantly, bolstering the inherent Retribution themes. Separating them from the other types of Paladins, Retribution Paladins continue to use Holy Power, serving as a strong mechanic for building interesting gameplay.
To give you an idea of the Retribution Paladin in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
Melee Range, Instant, 4.5 sec cooldown
An instant strike that causes moderate Physical damage and grants 1 Holy Power
Blade of Justice
12 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown
Strikes an enemy with the Blade of Justice, dealing strong Holy damage and generating 2 Holy Power
30 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown
Judge an enemy, dealing moderate Holy damage and causing the target to take 30% increased damage from your Holy Power generators and consumers for 6 sec.
3 Holy Power, Melee Range, Instant
A powerful weapon strike that deals massive Holy damage.
3 Holy Power, Instant
A whirl of divine energy, dealing strong Holy damage to all enemies within 8 yds.
Your Crusader Strike and Blade of Justice have a 20% chance to generate 1 additional Holy Power.
Mastery: Hand of Light
Your Crusader Strike, Blade of Justice, Divine Storm, and Templar’s Verdict deal 45% (with Mastery from typical gear) additional Holy damage.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Retribution-specific talent:
30 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Flings a blade of holy light to the target location. Reactivating will teleport the Paladin to the blade and strike nearby enemies for moderate Holy damage.
Replaces Hand of Hindrance.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Paladin class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review tomorrow with a look at Warlocks, Death Knights, and Shaman.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Warlock—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.
We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Warlock. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Warlock in World of Warcraft.
Warlocks are the most volatile and insatiable of spellcasters. Though they often pledge themselves to the service of noble causes and are not innately evil, their desire to understand darker magics and exercise unwavering command over demonic forces breeds mistrust among even their closest allies.
Warlocks peer into the Void without hesitation, leveraging the chaos they glimpse within to devastating ends in battle—their greatest abilities are fueled by the souls they’ve harvested from their victims. They exploit powerful Shadow magic to manipulate and degrade the minds and bodies of their enemies. They employ Fire magic, dropping hellish rain from the sky, to immolate the opposition. They summon and command indomitable demons from the Twisting Nether to do their bidding, or even to be sacrificed as the Warlock sees fit, empowering and protecting the dark caster from harm.
The foundation of the Warlock class has been long and well established in Warcraft lore. However, while Affliction and Destruction Warlocks have maintained consistent, distinguished fantasies, the core identity of the Demonology Warlock has strayed too far from its roots in recent years. A primary goal for Warlocks in Legion is to accentuate the existing motifs for Affliction and Destruction, while returning Demonology back to its roots of summoning, utilizing, and empowering demons.
Warlock resources have also become too cumbersome, causing confusion that outweighed their depth. To this end, we’re going to once again standardize Warlocks on their most class-defining resources: Mana and Soul Shards. Finally, demons have always served various utility purposes, but most of them are very niche, while the same one or two demons see the vast majority of limelight. We want to re-incentivize demon variety, strengthening the various utilities that each demon supplies, and causing some demons to be favored based on the Warlock’s spec.
Affliction warlocks are masters of shadow-touched powers, but unlike shadow priests—deadliest when pushed to the brink of insanity—these warlocks delight in using fel forces to cause intense pain and suffering in others. They revel in corrupting minds and agonizing souls, leaving enemies in a state of torment that would see them undone in due time. Even the most battle-hardened warriors can be deceived, landing blow after blow against the warlock, only to succumb to their suffering as their very vitality is siphoned away by the dark spellcaster.
“These warlocks delight in using fel forces to cause intense pain and suffering in others”
Affliction Warlocks’ gameplay has always aligned well with their character, but in terms of abilities, we want to avoid the feeling that DoTs are amplifiers for your channeled single-target damage. Applying spells that do damage over time is very core to Affliction, so we want to reinforce these spells as the primary source of damage, with other “filler” spells feeling more secondary. We’re adjusting the Affliction rotation so that DoTs are stronger, and your focus is more on figuring out how best to juggle those DoTs to maximize damage output.
Mechanically, we’re altering how Soul Shards are generated and spent, in part to better deliver on the more DoT-driven damage. Soul Shards are now generated by each Agony you have up on your targets, instead of only by your most recent Corruption cast, to favor placing DoTs on several targets rapidly (multi-dotting). You’ll then spend Soul Shards on an extremely strong DoT in Unstable Affliction, reinforcing the focus on DoTs.
Finally, in keeping with the Affliction theme, Drain Life serves as the main filler spell, instead of Malefic Grasp or Drain Soul. This better matches the Affliction identity because its damage stays secondary to the DoTs, which should be the primary focus of damage, instead of dwarfing them. It also adds significant self-healing, further playing to the Affliction motif.
To give you an idea of the Affliction Warlock in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
3% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
Corrupts the target, causing moderate Shadow damage over 14 sec.
3% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
Inflicts increasing agony on the target, causing up to a huge amount of Shadow damage over 18 sec. Damage starts low and increases over the duration. Refreshing Agony maintains its current damage level.
When Agony deals damage, you have a chance to regain a Soul Shard.
1 Soul Shard, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
An especially insidious affliction that deals strong Shadow damage over 8 sec.
If the target dies, the Soul Shard will be refunded.
If Unstable Affliction is dispelled, the dispeller suffers strong Shadow damage and is silenced for 4 sec.
3% Mana, plus 4,800 per sec, 40 yd range, Channeled
Drains life from the target, causing moderate shadow damage and restoring 18% of the caster’s health over 6 sec.
Drain Life’s damage is increased by 50% for each of your Corruption, Agony, and Unstable Affliction effects on the target.
Mastery: Potent Afflictions
Increases the damage of Agony, Corruption, and Unstable Affliction by 62.5% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of an Affliction-specific talent:
After you cast Unstable Affliction, you can cast a second one for free, within 3 seconds.
By their very nature, demons are leeches on the living universe—but the demonologist has mastered harnessing the power of these malefic beings on the field of battle. Warlocks harvest the souls of their defeated enemies; those specialized in the ways of demonology use this life essence to tap into the Void, pulling all manner of abomination from the chaos of the Twisting Nether. While such a practice is often considered by outsiders to be wicked and reckless, the demonologist maintains absolute control over the summoned creatures. These malignant entities are fully beholden to—and empowered by—the will of the warlock, until banished to the realm from whence they came.
“The demonologist has mastered harnessing the power of malefic beings on the field of battle”
While all Warlocks maintain the power to summon demons, Demonology is distinguished by the ability to call forth waves of demons to overwhelm the opposition, and also to further empower the demons they summon. Over the years we strayed too far from this design, to the extent that Demonology gameplay was defined more by the Warlock becoming a demon. Legion provides a fitting opportunity for us to realign the spec around its core function of mastering control of demons, not transforming into them.
We also recognize that Demonology had a large array of intertwined mechanics that weren’t intuitive, and they’ve undergone a greater degree of redesign as a result. For those who played Demonology during Warlords of Draenor, the gameplay will feel quite different in Legion. Beta test feedback will be essential in helping us to ensure that the new spec feels strong and enjoyable and that we’ve accomplished our goal of returning Demonology to its foundations.
To give you an idea of the Demonology Warlock in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
6% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
Sends a shadowy bolt at the enemy, causing minor Shadow damage. Generates 1 Soul Shard.
Summon 2 ferocious Dreadstalkers to attack the target for 12 sec.
Hand of Gul’dan
1 to 5 Soul Shards, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Calls down a demonic meteor full of Wild Imps which burst forth to attack the target for 12 sec.
Deals up to a strong amount of Shadow damage to all enemies within 8 yds and summons up to 5 Wild Imps, based on Soul Shards consumed.
6% Mana, 1.5 sec cast, 12 sec recharge, 3 charges
Empowers up to 3 of your active demons with dark energies, increasing their Haste and health by 50% for 12 sec.
Prefers stronger demons first.
Mastery: Master Demonologist
Demonic Empowerment also increases the damage of your demons by 50% (with Mastery from typical gear).
2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
Inflicts impending doom upon the target, causing absolutely massive Shadow damage after 20 seconds
Generates a Soul Shard when it deals damage.
2.5% Mana per sec, Channeled
Your demons crackle with demonic energy. Every 1 sec, all enemies within 10 yds of any of your demons take minor Shadow damage.
Each time Demonwrath deals damage, it has a 15% chance to generate a Soul Shard.
May be channeled while moving.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Demonology-specific talent:
6% Mana, Instant
Causes all of your Wild Imps to be violently yanked toward the target, and then explode, dealing moderate Shadow damage to all enemies near them.
Warlocks who command the power of destruction favor incantations of pure chaos and aggression in battle. In this regard, they’d find a stronger kinship with fire mages than warlocks of other disciplines—if not for their propensity to make use of magic deemed detestable by all mage orders. The destruction warlock is well-versed in discharging a dizzying array of shadow, fel, fire, and chaos magics upon opponents that rattle souls and conflagrate bodies. They require little motivation for the havoc they wreak, happy to revel in the destruction they cause—thrilled at any opportunity to watch the world erupt in discord around them.
“Warlocks who command the power of destruction favor incantations of pure chaos and aggression”
Destruction mechanics are in a solid place overall and are already a good match thematically, so we’re taking the opportunity in Legion to provide additional polish on existing gameplay. While resource mechanic functionality isn’t being drastically overhauled, we’ve changed Burning Embers back to Soul Shards. Not only does this return consistency across all Warlock specs, it also reestablishes the Soul Shard as the iconic source of Warlock power.
To give you an idea of the Destruction Warlock in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
6% Mana, 40 yd range, 2 sec cast
Draws fire toward the enemy, dealing moderate Fire damage.
6% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Burns the enemy with fire, causing minor Fire damage and an additional strong Fire damage over 15 sec.
Immolate critical strikes have a 30% chance to generate a Soul Shard.
Triggers an explosion of fire on the target, dealing moderate Fire damage and generating a Soul Shard.
Also causes Backdraft, reducing the cast times of Incinerate and Chaos Bolt by 30% for 5 sec.
2 Soul Shards, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
Unleashes a devastating blast of chaos, causing huge Shadow damage. Chaos Bolt always critically strikes and your critical strike chance increases its damage.
8% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 20 sec cooldown
Mark a target with Havoc for 8 sec, causing your single target spells to also strike them. Limit 1.
Mastery: Chaotic Energies
Your Destruction spells deal up to 40% (with Mastery from typical gear) additional damage, randomly.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Destruction-specific talent:
4.8% Mana, Channeled, 12 se cooldown
Launches 15 bolts of felfire at Immolated enemies within 40 yds, over 3 sec. Each bolt deals moderate Fire damage.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review later today with a look at Death Knights and Shaman.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Death Knight—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 Death Knight. 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 Death Knight in World of Warcraft.
The first new class introduced to World of Warcraft after its launch, Death Knights came into the fray with an identity unmistakably tied to the Wrath of the Lich King story. The Death Knights of Acherus, their cold bodies lifted from the grave in the Scarlet Enclave, were commanded by the Lich King and Highlord Darion Mograine to slaughter every villager in Tyr’s Hand, New Avalon, and Havenshire, and to sack Light’s Hope Chapel, decimating both the Scarlet Crusade and the Argent Dawn.
Ultimately, as a result of such uncompromising ambition, the Lich King was betrayed by Highlord Mograine in an act that freed the Death Knights from their servitude. Under Mograine’s leadership they formed the Knights of the Ebon Blade and began joining the ranks of the Horde and Alliance forces bound for Icecrown Citadel to end the reign of Arthas, the Lich King. Though now free from the Lich King’s grasp, these once virtuous champions remain knights of darkness, wielding runeblades of death and destruction and mercilessly stealing the very life essence of their enemies.
We always want to reflect the Death Knight origin story and identity in how they play. The biggest area where we see room for improvement is in their resource system. Runes are a very iconic resource, but their functionality has always been convoluted. In Legion, we’re making Runes more straightforward by removing their division into separate Blood, Frost, and Unholy types. Death Knights now have six unified Runes to spend, with a maximum of three recharging at any one time.
With this change, it’s also important that we preserve the existing gameplay familiarity of Death Knights by making mostly minor changes to core ability functionality and cost—we don’t want the Rune change to create a situation where the best Frost rotation is just Obliterate, Obliterate, Obliterate. Finally, we’re reducing ability overlap between specializations, giving each a single disease with a unique trait and creating a talent tree that’s largely populated with spec-specific talents to better distinguish them.
In undeath, some death knights find a special affinity for the blood and bone of the living. They carve into their enemies, sustaining themselves with deadly sanguine strikes, while using the bloody, shattered remains of the dead to fortify their own defenses. These crimson-soaked knights bend the very rules of mortality to control the frontlines of the battlefield.
“These crimson-soaked knights bend the very rules of mortality to control the frontlines of the battlefield”
The core abilities for Blood should be familiar, though we’ve touched them up to bring added clarity to the specialization. Each core ability now better leverages that sinister command of blood and bone to fuel your survivability. In particular, we’ve changed Death Strike to cost Runic Power instead of Runes. This results in a more clear choice of resource expenditure; you can’t lock yourself out of being able to heal if you spend a Rune at the wrong time, and also gives Runic Power generation a bigger impact.
Instead of Rune Tap, we’re positioning Bone Shield to be the primary complement to Death Strike for active defenses to better tie into the fantasy and provide more flexibility. Marrowrend is a new attack which allows you to rotationally generate Bone Shields. To provide gameplay contention between Runes of a single type, Blood Strike now generates additional Runic Power on top of the standard amount gained for spending a Rune.
Here’s a basic look at the core defensive and offensive combat abilities for Blood Death Knights:
1 Rune, Melee Range, Instant
Instantly strike the enemy, causing moderate Physical damage and infecting the victim with Blood Plague.
Generates 10 bonus Runic Power.
A disease that deals minor Shadow damage and heals the caster for 1% of their maximum health every 3 sec for 30 sec.
2 Runes, Melee Range, Instant
Smash the target, dealing strong Physical damage and generating 3 charges of Bone Shield.
Surrounds you with a barrier of whirling bones that reduces all damage you take by 25%. Each damaging attack consumes a charge. Lasts for 30 sec or until all charges are consumed.
40 Runic Power, Melee Range, Instant
Focuses dark power into a strike that deals strong Physical damage and heals you for 50% of all damage taken in the last 6 sec (minimum 7% of maximum health).
If you are below 35% health when this is cast, all Runic Power is consumed, increasing the potency of the healing effect.
Mastery: Blood Shield
Each time you heal yourself with Death Strike, you gain 40% (with Mastery from typical gear) of the base amount healed as a Physical damage absorption shield.
Also increases your Attack Power by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Death and Decay
1 Rune, 30 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Corrupts the ground targeted by the Death Knight, causing moderate Shadow damage over 10 sec to targets within the area. While you remain within the targeted area, your Blood Strike will hit all nearby enemies.
Your successful autoattacks on targets infected with your Blood Plague have a 25% chance to reset the cooldown on Death and Decay.
To give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this core rotation, here’s an example of a Blood-specific talent:
15 Runic Power per sec, Instant, 1 min cooldown
A whirl of bone and gore batters nearby enemies 3 times per second to deal minor Shadow damage, healing you for 1% of your maximum health per strike.
Combining martial prowess with supernatural cold, frost death knights leave their enemies chilled to the bone—and broken of the will to fight. Unlike mages who learn to harness frost magic to great effect, these death knights are born of it, rime gripping their decaying hearts. These frozen undead warriors wield dual blades to strike with ferocity and inflict deathly cold upon anyone who would stand against them.
“These death knights are born of frost magic, rime gripping their decaying hearts”
The mechanics of the Frost Death Knight are quite solid and we don’t want to do too much to change that. You’ll notice that the core combat abilities listed below are largely familiar. One small area where we found room for improvement, however, is in Killing Machine’s passive interaction with the core rotation. While the automatic critical strikes it provides feel good, it’s often better to ignore its proc in favor of spending resources as fast as you can, as your damage output suffers if you wait for the different resources required for using Obliterate and Frost Strike to become available. Killing Machine now only affects Obliterate, and making wise use of its effect should feel more meaningful.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Frost Death Knights:
1 Rune, 30 yd range, Instant
Blast a target with a frigid wind, dealing minor Frost damage to that target, and minor Frost damage to all other enemies within 10 yds, infecting all targets with Frost Fever
A disease that deals minor Frost damage and has a chance to grant the Death Knight 5 Runic Power every 3 sec for 30sec.
2 Runes, Melee Range, Instant
A brutal attack with both weapons that deals massive Physical damage.
20 Runic Power, Melee Range, Instant
Chill your weapons with icy power, and quickly strike the enemy with both weapons, dealing massive Frost damage.
Your Obliterate has a 45% chance to cause your next Howling Blast to consume no Runes, generate no Runic Power, and deal 300% additional damage.
Your autoattacks have a chance to make your next Obliterate automatically critically strike.
1 Rune, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Radiate extreme cold, dealing moderate Frost damage to all enemies within 10 yards of you over 10 sec.
Mastery: Frozen Heart
Increases all Frost damage done by 40% (with Mastery from typical gear).
To give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this core rotation, here’s an example of a Frost-specific talent:
1 Rune, Instant, 12 sec cooldown
Summon glacial spikes from the ground that advance forward, each dealing moderate Frost damage to enemies near their eruption point.
While free from the Lich King’s grasp, some death knights still embody the ever-corrupting nature of the Scourge plague that once threatened to consume Azeroth. No matter their allegiance or cause, they remain defilers of life; and nowhere is their callousness more on display than when threatened. Inflictors of the most aggressive of diseases—and masters of raising unhallowed minions from the ground—these unholy death knights are vicious melee combatants, capable of striking with the force of an undead legion and unleashing pestilence that would bring their foes to ruin.
“Unholy death knights are vicious melee combatants, capable of unleashing pestilence that would bring their foes to ruin”
Unholy is receiving slightly more mechanical changes than Blood and Frost, to better realign with their unique identity. We want to ensure that Unholy continues to be the spec with the most active use of diseases. In this regard, we recognize that Festering Strike lost its luster over time and have developed a new mechanic to ensure the ability remains integral in the Unholy rotation.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Unholy Death Knights:
1 Rune, 30 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
Deals minor Shadow damage and surrounds the target in a miasma lasting for 6 sec that causes the target and all nearby enemies to be infected with Virulent Plague
A disease that deals moderate Shadow damage every 3 sec for 21 sec. It erupts when the infected target dies, dealing moderate Shadow damage, split evenly between nearby enemies.
The disease also has a 30% chance to erupt each time it deals damage.
2 Runes, Melee Range, Instant
Deals massive Physical damage and infects the target with 1 to 3 Festering Wounds.
A pustule-ridden lesion that may be burst by Scourge Strike, dealing moderate Shadow damage and generating 3 Runic Power.
1 Rune, Melee Range, Instant
An unholy strike that deals strong Physical damage and strong Shadow damage. Triggers a single stack of Festering Wound, if it is present on the target.
30 Runic Power, 40 yd range, Instant
Fires a blast of unholy energy at the target, causing strong Shadow damage to an enemy, and restoring 10 Energy to your Ghoul.
Your autoattacks have a chance to make your next Death Coil cost no Runic Power.
Instant, 1 min cooldown
Transform your Ghoul into a powerful undead monstrosity for 20 sec. The Ghoul’s abilities are empowered and take on new functions while the transformation is active.
Death and Decay
1 Rune, 30 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Corrupts the ground targeted by the Death Knight, causing moderate Shadow damage over 10 sec to targets within the area. While you remain within the targeted area, your Scourge Strike will hit all nearby enemies.
Increases all Shadow damage done by 50% (with Mastery from typical gear).
To give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this core rotation, here’s an example of an Unholy-specific talent:
All Will Serve
Your Raise Dead spell summons an additional skeletal minion, and its cooldown is removed.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review later today with a look at Shaman.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Shaman—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 Shaman. 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 Shaman in World of Warcraft.
For millennia, since the primitive tribal cultures of Azeroth and Draenor, the natural elements of the physical universe have been celebrated, feared, and even worshipped. Mystics sought communion with the earth, air, fire, and water, and learned to tap into their raw power. In time, these spiritual guides came to understand that nature’s elemental forces aren’t wholly benevolent, but have, in fact, been locked in an unending conflict of chaos and primal fury that once consumed the physical realm. So began the calling of the Shaman, to bring balance to these volatile energies, leveraging their intensity to mend wounds . . . or inflict them.
The use of totems is integral to the Shaman archetype, and we’re addressing some persistent issues with their mechanics. For a long time there have been significant constraints associated with totems, like the fact that they can only be dropped at the Shaman’s feet, or that they only have 5 health, or that no more than one of the same elemental type can be active at one time. While these constraints were intended to ensure that totems felt unique, they ultimately drove us to creating strange tools to allow the Shaman to bypass such constraints, such as Totemic Projection or Totemic Persistence. In Legion, we’re eliminating this awkwardness and simply removing the constraints.
Totems of the same nature type can now be summoned together, allowing you to have Healing Stream Totem and Healing Tide Totem up at the same time. Elementals are no longer tied to totems, but are guardians that follow and assist you. Totems’ maximum health will always equal a percentage of your maximum health. In addition, totems that need to be placed at a specific location will be directly placed using a targeting reticle. If you want to place Earthgrab Totem in the middle of a big pack of nasty orcs, you can do that without having to run into that nastiness or use a separate spell to throw the totem there. In general, totem mechanics are concentrated around temporary effects (either beneficial or hostile) in a localized area, as opposed to “maintenance buff” cooldowns you need to make sure are up at all times.
Finally, we’re bringing needed clarity to Shaman resources, particularly to move away from disguising a couple key resources as buffs. Lightning Shield charges for Elemental Shaman, Maelstrom Weapon charges for Enhancement Shaman, and Mana have all been replaced for Elemental and Enhancement with a new resource: Maelstrom. Mana is a fitting Restoration Shaman resource and will remain for that spec.
Certain shaman have dedicated themselves above all else to forging a deep bond with the elements. They have peered beyond the Elemental Plane, gleaning visions of an ancient past where manifestations of volatile energies once raged unimpeded across primordial Azeroth. Through careful study and dedication, the elemental shaman is able to channel such power into destructive magical surges. Through the body of the shaman flows bolts of lightning, as if from storm, and bursts of fire, as if from molten earth. They manipulate the land itself and summon spirits of earth, fire, and storm to their aid. To battle an elemental shaman is to taunt the very forces of nature.
“Through the body of the shaman flows bolts of lightning, as if from storm, and bursts of fire, as if from molten earth”
Elemental Shaman already have a strong, thematic ability repertoire. We’re retaining much of that existing gameplay in Legion, while smoothing the rough edges. The previously mentioned switch to Maelstrom as a resource is most significant. Elemental Shaman will build Maelstrom through their Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, and Chain Lightning, and spend it on abilities like Shocks and Earthquake. This change also allows us to remove the cooldown on Shocks, since they instead compete for resources. Shock usage is now more flexible for Elemental Shaman, such as using more of their Maelstrom on Flame Shock to DoT multiple targets. Another notable change is the return of Elemental Overload as their Mastery; Molten Earth never lived up to our hopes, being too non-interactive and confusing.
To give you an idea of the Elemental Shaman in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
40 yd range, 2 sec cast
Fires a bolt of lightning at the target, dealing moderate Nature damage, and generating 15 Maelstrom.
40 yd range, 2 sec cast, 8 sec cooldown
Hurl molten lava at the target, dealing strong Fire damage. If your Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will deal 50% additional damage. Generates 15 Maelstom.
0 to 20 Maelstrom, 45 yd range, Instant
Sears the target with fire, causing minor Fire damage and then an additional minor Fire damage every 2 sec. Lasts 10 to 30 sec based on Maelstrom spent.
10 to 100 Maelstrom, 45 yd range, Instant
Instantly shocks the target with concussive force, causing massive Nature damage, based on Maelstrom spent.
Your Flame Shock damage over time has a chance to reset the cooldown of Lava Burst and cause your next Lava Burst to be instant.
Mastery: Elemental Overload
Grants a 40% (with Mastery from typical gear) chance for Elemental Overload to occur. Elemental Overload causes a Lightning Bolt, Chain lightning, or Lava Burst spell you cast to trigger a second, similar spell on the same target that causes 75% of normal damage and Maelstrom generation, and no threat.
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of an Elemental-specific talent:
40 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Summons a Maelstrom Totem near the target for 15 sec that repeatedly attacks an enemy within 30 yards for moderate Nature damage. Every time the Maelstrom Totem attacks, it will generate 5 Maelstrom for you.
Intense communion with fire, earth, air, and water isn’t exclusive to the elemental shaman. In many ways, enhancement shaman similarly bond with nature and leverage its power on the battlefield. What distinguishes them in their training—and in their connection with the elements—is their combat methodology. These shaman favor empowering their physical attacks with elemental energies and facing their adversaries up close. They don’t shy from the frontlines, wielding magically augmented weapons, potent elemental attacks, and totems that shape the tide of battle.
“These shaman favor empowering their physical attacks with elemental energies and facing their adversaries up close”
The identity of the Enhancement Shaman is cool, but we don’t feel that the mechanics do well to establish that. We want this spec to be more than a melee-range Elemental Shaman, while having a distinct “Battle Mage” feel. Enhancement’s niche focuses on dishing out devastating spells and punishing strikes at melee range to destroy their enemy. Rather than leaving you with a multitude of buttons, many of which are inconsequential, we’re emphasizing empowering your weapons and allies in the fray. Enhancement Shaman become increasingly deadly as they build their power through Maelstrom generation. They must be careful not to let it overflow, while maintaining enough to utilize their most dominant attacks at critical moments.
To give you an idea of the Enhancement Shaman in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
10 yd range, Instant
Assault your target with earthen power, dealing moderate Nature damage, and generating 15 Maelstrom.
10 yd range, Instant, 12 sec cooldown
Scorch your target with fiery power, dealing moderate Fire damage, and enhancing your weapons.
Each of your weapon attacks cause up to minor additional Fire damage, based on weapon speed. Lasts 16 sec.
Each of your main-hand attacks has a 7% chance of triggering three extra attacks, dealing minor Physical damage.
30 Maelstrom, Melee Range, Instant
Charge your off-hand weapon with lava and strike your target, dealing strong Fire damage.
Energize your weapons with lightning and deliver a massive blow to your target, dealing heavy Physical damage.
When you deal damage with a melee weapon, you generate 5 Maelstrom.
Each of your attacks has a 2% chance to cause Stormfury, resetting the cooldown on Stormstrike, and causing your next Stormstrike to cost 50% less Maelstrom and to trigger no cooldown.
Mastery: Enhanced Elements
Increases the chance for Stormfury and Windfury to trigger by 5% (with Mastery from typical gear), and increases all Fire and Nature damage done by 40% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of an Enhancement-specific talent:
60 Maelstrom, Instant, 20 sec cooldown
Shatter a line of earth before you, causing strong Physical damage and knocking enemies to the side.
Some shaman find a serene affinity for the restorative properties of water. These shaman do not necessarily seek the Light or turn to the divine, yet they feel a profound spiritual connection with the source from which all mortal life took root. So strong is their connection with water that the shaman is able to restore life and heal afflictions. They balance this with a command of the other elements, finding harmony in nature and purifying their allies as a tidal surge washes across a sandy shore.
“Restoration shaman feel a profound spiritual connection with the source from which all mortal life took root”
Restoration mechanics are informed well by the themes of the spec, and we want to avoid disrupting what healers already like about it. What has changed has primarily been in terms of tweaking their gameplay in more fun directions. There’s now slightly more emphasis on targeted healing, and slightly less on Chain Heal spam. We’ve also significantly improved their talents, offering more impactful and varied options. Additionally, Restoration gains the most from the removal of totem restrictions.
To give you an idea of the Restoration Shaman in action, here’s a basic look at their core combat abilities:
2.1% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
A slow but efficient wave of healing energy that restores a moderate amount of a friendly target’s health.
4.1% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
A quick but expensive surge of healing energy that restores a moderate amount of a friendly target’s health.
5.6% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
Heals the friendly target for a moderate amount, then jumps to heal the most injured nearby party or raid members. Healing is reduced by 30% after each jump. Heals 4 total targets.
1.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
Restorative waters wash over a friendly target, healing them for a moderate amount and an additional moderate amount over 18 sec.
Blanket the target area in healing rains, restoring a moderate amount of health to up to 6 allies in the area over 10 sec.
Healing Stream Totem
1.7% Mana, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Summons a Water Totem at the feet of the Shaman that heals an injured party or raid member within 40 yards for a minor amount every 2 sec. Lasts 15 sec.
When you cast Chain Heal or Riptide, you gain the Tidal Waves effect, which reduces the cast time of your next Healing Wave by 40% or increases the critical effect chance of your next Healing Surge by 40%. Stacks up to 2 times.
Mastery: Deep Healing
Increases the potency of your healing spells by up to 60% (with Mastery from typical gear), based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more).
Additionally, to provide a glimpse at how some talents may build upon this, here’s one example of a Restoration-specific talent:
Create a surge of water that flows forward, healing all friendly targets in a wide arc in front of you for a strong amount.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review tomorrow with a look at Warriors, Monks, and Druids.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Warrior—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 Warrior. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Warrior in World of Warcraft.
Warriors are the quintessential fearless fighters on the battlefield, and their pure martial prowess inspires courage in allies and despair in enemies. Experts in all manner of melee weaponry and possessing incredible physical strength and skill, Warriors are perfectly suited to serve as frontline combatants and battlefield commanders.
Warriors are thematically informed by our own history, dating back to ancient clashes when close-quarters, shield-and-sword combat was the backbone of battlefield strategy. Warriors in WoW are steeped in this tradition, with each specialization filling distinct niches.
One notable goal we have for Warriors in Legion is to significantly expand their customizability through talents, especially for Arms and Fury. If the below core abilities seem sparse, it’s to leave room for more from talents than ever before. Both specs now have five rows of core throughput talents (mostly different between Arms and Fury, too), with a strong mix of active rotational abilities, passives, procs, cooldowns, and other interesting effects. You’ll find old favorites like Overpower, Heroic Strike, and Opportunity Strikes, returning classics like Avatar, Dragon Roar, and Storm Bolt, along with a host of brand new talents. We look forward to seeing the combinations that you put together.
Across culture and kingdom, men and women who demonstrate great physical aptitude are transformed into mighty warriors through tests of strength, endurance, and fighting capability. Their friendships are forged not in the classroom, tavern, or workshop, but in the dueling pits and on the arena floor. As a childhood of sparring defines a warrior’s destiny, so too does one’s choice of weapon determine their role on the battlefield. Arms warriors gravitate toward two-handed weapons instinctively. It’s more than a matter of preference—it speaks to the character of the wielder. Arms warriors are patient in a fight, waiting to capitalize on moments when an opponent is left exposed. Two-handed weapons allow them to deliver devastating, overpowering blows, fully exploiting their enemies’ weaknesses.
“Arms warriors are patient in a fight, waiting to capitalize on moments when an opponent is left exposed.”
The defining character traits of Arms Warriors already mesh well with their gameplay, but there’s room for more flavor. In Legion we’ve opened up a wider variety of potential gameplay styles based on your talent choices, as discussed above. We also replaced their Mastery with Colossal Might, which increases the effectiveness of Colossus Smash, playing into their theme more directly. As before, Arms Warrior Rage generation comes from auto-attacks.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Arms Warriors:
20 Rage, Melee Range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
A vicious strike that deals strong Physical damage and reduces the effectiveness of healing on the target for 10 sec.
15 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Slam an opponent, causing moderate Physical damage.
Melee Range, Instant, 45 sec cooldown
Smashes the enemy’s armor, dealing massive Physical damage, and increasing damage you deal to them by 20% for 6 sec.
10 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Attempt to finish off a foe, causing strong Physical damage to the target, and consuming up to 30 additional Rage to deal up to massive additional damage. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
Slam, Whirlwind, and Execute have a 20% chance per target hit to reset the cooldown on Colossus Smash.
Mastery: Colossal Might
Increases the damage of your Colossus Smash by 50%, and causes it to increase damage taken by an additional 50%.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Arms-specific talents:
Increases the duration of Colossus Smash by 200%, but halves its effectiveness.
On the battlefield and in the arena, the most feared combatants are often the furious berserkers who lust for battle and thirst for blood. Through a lifetime of training and sparring, these merciless warriors have become masters of carnage—often wielding a weapon in each hand to maximize the destruction. Even without the protection of a shield, the fury warrior leaves little opportunity for an opponent to strike without suffering grievous wounds in return—delivered in a whirlwind of blades that dooms anyone its wake. Brute force becomes a breathtaking display when fury warriors relentlessly dive into the fray.
“Brute force becomes a breathtaking display when fury warriors relentlessly dive into the fray.”
Fury is a thematically grandiose take on the classic warrior archetype, and in Legion we want the gameplay to convey this better. To help deliver on the fantasy of a relentless death-dealer, we’ve bolstered their gameplay around quickly building Rage and then going wild with Rampage. In particular, Enrage is now considerably more powerful, doubling your attack speed (and thus Rage generation, since the majority of Rage is still generated by auto-attacks), along with increasing damage based on Mastery. Similar to Arms, a multitude of talent options will expand your combat abilities in a wide variety of ways.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Fury Warriors:
Melee Range, Instant, 4.5 sec cooldown
Attack the target in a bloodthirsty craze, dealing moderate Physical damage, generating 10 Rage, and restoring 5% of your health.
Bloodthirst has an additional 40% chance to be a critical strike.
Bloodthirst critical strikes or activating Berserker Rage will Enrage you, increasing attack speed by 100% and damage taken by 30% for 6 sec.
10 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
A mighty blow with both weapons that deals a total of strong Physical damage.
Only usable while Enraged.
50 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Unleash a series of 5 brutal strikes over 2 sec for a total of massive Physical damage.
Rampage always deals damage as if you were Enraged.
30 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Attempt to finish off a foe, causing a total of massive damage Physical damage. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
Mastery: Unshackled Fury
Increases damage done while Enraged by 28% (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 Fury-specific talents:
15 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Furiously slash at the target, dealing moderate Physical damage, and increasing your Haste by 5% for 10 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.
Like their counterparts, protection warriors are virtually bred for physical dominance, having been raised in the art of close-quarters combat—but their measured approach to battle is what distinguishes them from their comrades-in-arms. They demonstrate an uncanny knack for blade and shield, nullifying an opponent’s advances and creating opportunities for counterattacks. For the protection warrior, being the toughest soldier on the front means nothing if allies are left vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. Stalwart defenders are integral to the success of any military campaign—the protection warrior seeks to be an unbreakable wall.
“For the protection warrior, being the toughest soldier on the front means nothing if allies are left vulnerable to the enemy’s attack.”
Protection gameplay ties strongly to Warrior lore and exemplifies the very foundation of the tank role in the game, so we’re primarily focused on fine-tuning their mechanics. Shield Block and Shield Barrier in particular often created a trap choice for players. We’ve replaced Shield Barrier with a new ability, Ignore Pain, which massively reduces damage taken (up to a cap based on maximum health) and functions as your primary defensive Rage-spender. It doesn’t compete as much with Shield Block, and thus provides you with distinct tools in your arsenal to apply to different situations. In terms of Rage, Protection Warriors now primarily generate Rage through taking damage, supplemented by a baseline Rage income from ability usage. This plays well with Ignore Pain as their primary Rage-spender; it’s most useful when you’re taking a lot of damage, which is also when you’ll have a lot of Rage to use on it.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Protection Warriors:
Melee Range, Instant
A direct strike, dealing moderate Physical damage.
Devastate has a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Shield Slam.
Melee Range, Instant, 9 sec cooldown
Swing in a wide arc, dealing strong damage to all enemies in front of you.
Generates 4 Rage.
Your successful dodges and parries reset the cooldown of Revenge (cannot occur more than once every 3 sec).
Your Devastate and Revenge cause the target to bleed for strong Physical damage over 15 sec.
This effect is cancelled if the target reaches full health.
Instant, 6 sec cooldown
Blasts all enemies within 8 yards for moderate damage and reduces their movement speed by 50% for 10 sec.
Melee Range, Instant, 9 sec cooldown
Slam the target with your shield, causing strong Physical damage.
Generates 6 Rage.
30 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Instantly deals moderate Physical damage.
This ability is not on the global cooldown.
10 Rage, Instant, 12 sec recharge, 2 charges
Raise your shield, blocking every melee attack against you for 6 sec. These blocks can be critical blocks.
Shield Slam deals 30% additional damage while Shield Block is active.
40 Rage, Instant
Fight through the pain, ignoring 90% of the next massive amount (based on maximum health) of damage you take.
Instant, 25 sec cooldown
Raise your shield, reflecting spells cast on you and reducing magical damage taken by 30%. Lasts 5 sec or until a spell is reflected.
Mastery: Critical Block
Increases your chance to block by 10% (with Mastery from typical gear) and your chance to critically block by 30% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Also increases your attack power 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 Protection-specific talents:
Shield Slam extends the duration of Shield Block by 2 sec.
Shield Block increases the damage of Shield Slam by an additional 30%.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Warrior class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our series later today with a look at Monks and Druids.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Monk—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 Monk. 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 Monk in World of Warcraft.
Monks were introduced in Mists of Pandaria, and their story is woven directly into the expansion’s rich and vibrant lore. Monks bring a unique martial arts style to any fight, and harness an exotic form of magical energy that’s unfamiliar to those who practice other arcane arts. They seek spiritual balance in life and in combat, and as dangerous as Monks can be on the battlefield, they’re rarely looking to pick a fight without just cause. They view the world through a different lens, finding power through serenity and inner peace—then expressing it through artful combat techniques and powers that mend life. Perhaps most surprisingly, Monks are also adept at producing powerful brews they consume to aid them in battle.
In Legion, we’re focusing on making sure Monk abilities and gameplay better match the class’s vivid backstory. We’re also looking at abilities that already lend themselves well to the Monk’s character, but whose mechanics are in need of polish.
The brewmaster is a quirky character, though dangerous when underestimated. Brewmasters may seem to struggle with balance as they chug their concoctions in the middle of a fight, but this unpredictable behavior is far from foolhardiness. Most opponents barely have time to process the erratic nature of the brewmaster’s fighting tactics before they find themselves laid low—possibly the result of a keg smash to the head. When an opponent actually manages to land an attack, it’s often unclear how much the brewmaster feels it . . . if at all.
“The brewmaster is a quirky character, though dangerous when underestimated.”
The gameplay for Brewmasters hasn’t quite fit their archetypes to this point. Rather than being the tricky martial artists, staggering around with an evasiveness that frustrates their opponent while being a little squishy when taking an unmitigated blow, Brewmasters have been more focused around large absorption shields and clutch self-healing. Our new design approach is to get more gameplay depth out of their strong, thematic abilities. Instead of Chi as a resource, which had little depth for Brewmasters, we’re switching to charges on Brew abilities that other abilities still interact with.
Here’s a basic look at the core defensive and offensive combat abilities for Brewmaster Monks:
Instant, 20 sec recharge, 3 charges
Increases your Stagger amount by an additional 60% for 6 sec.
Shares charges with Purifying Brew.
Instant, 20 sec recharge, 3 charges
Instantly purifies all of your staggered damage.
Shares charges with Ironskin Brew.
Gift of the Ox
When you take damage, you have a chance to summon a Healing Sphere visible only to you. Moving through this Healing Sphere will heal you for 25% of your maximum health.
This chance is increased the lower health you are.
Mastery: Elusive Brawler
Each time you are hit by a melee attack, you gain 20% (with Mastery from typical gear) Dodge, until your next successful Dodge.
Also increases your attack power by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
40 Energy, 15 yd range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown
Smash a keg of brew on the target, dealing strong damage to all enemies within 8 yds and reducing their movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
Reduces the remaining cooldown on your Brews by 4 sec.
50 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
Attack with the palm of your hand, dealing minor damage.
Reduces the remaining cooldown on your Brews by 1 sec.
Melee Range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
Thwack the enemy with your weapon, dealing moderate Physical damage.
Shares cooldown with Breath of Fire.
Breath of Fire
Instant, 3 sec cooldown
Targets in front of the caster take minor Fire damage. If affected by Keg Smash, they will also burn for minor Fire damage over 8 sec.
Shares cooldown with Blackout Kick.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Brewmaster-specific talents:
Purifying Brew also grants up to 15% Dodge for 6 sec, based on the level of Stagger damage purified.
Mistweavers are unique among those who heal. The energies they channel are mysterious, oftentimes misunderstood by commoners—who rarely travel beyond the borders of their homelands—as some form of folk medicine. But those who weave the mists wield the power of life’s essence, using a mixture of preventative and restorative spells to mend their allies’ wounds. The inner tranquility that guides mistweavers allows them to sustain their healing for long periods of time, and gives them the strength to care for multiple injured allies.
“…those who weave the mists wield the power of life’s essence, using a mixture of preventative and restorative spells to mend their allies’ wounds.”
Our goal with Mistweaver Monks is to accentuate the existing characteristics that define them, and resolve some core gameplay issues. In simple terms, this means we’ve redesigned their abilities so that you can directly use the spells you want rather than having to set up an excessive amount of other abilities first.
The most prominent example of this was Renewing Mist, which served primarily as a setup for Uplift; we’ve reworked Renewing Mist to stand on its own, and replaced Uplift with a couple of new spells: Vivify and Essence Font. In addition, a new passive Soothing Mist mechanic gives Mistweavers a unique healing style with variable efficiency, over which you have more direct control.
We’re also focusing Mistweavers solely on healing, rather than supporting a type of mixed attack-healing gameplay that felt awkward and ultimately didn’t live up to our goals for the spec—it was unintuitive, and chiefly useful as a mana management tool. Lastly, Mistweavers will now use Mana, not Chi, as a resource, since it reduced choices and restricted gameplay in many situations.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat healing abilities for Mistweaver Monks:
Mastery: Gust of Mists
Your targeted heals also cause a gust of healing mists, instantly healing the target for a minor amount (increasing with Mastery from gear).
Your Effuse, Enveloping Mist, and Vivify also trigger Soothing Mist.
After casting these spells, you continue to channel healing mists into the target, healing them for a minor amount every 0.5 sec, until you take any other action.
Need efficient healing? Cast any heal and let Soothing Mist continue to provide free healing as long as you feel comfortable!
Need high-throughput healing? Cast any heal and move onto the next target in need of healing, without spending time on Soothing Mist.
For Mistweavers, it’s OK to have open global cooldowns between heals—Soothing Mist fills these gaps.
1.8% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
A fast and efficient spell, healing the target for a minor amount.
6.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2 sec cast
Wrap the target in healing mists, healing them for a huge amount over 6 sec, and increasing healing received from your spells by 30%.
3.5% Mana, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
You surround the target with healing mists, restoring a huge amount of health over 20 sec.
If Renewing Mist causes any overhealing, it will travel to the most injured ally within 20 yds.
When Renewing Mist heals, it has a 4% chance to increase the healing of your next Vivify by 50%.
8.0% Mana, 40 yd range, Channeled
Unleash a rapid twirl of healing bolts at up to 6 allies within 25 yds, every 1 sec for 3 sec.
Each bolt heals the target for a moderate amount, plus an additional moderate amount over 8 sec.
5.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Cause a surge of invigorating mists around the target, healing them and their 2 nearest injured allies for a moderate amount.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Mistweaver-specific talents:
40 yd range, Instant, 20 sec recharge, 2 charges
Instantly dash to an ally, and heal them for a large amount.
Among monks, none have mastered the martial arts as the windwalkers have, and few across Azeroth can fight with their grace. Windwalkers possess unparalleled physical finesse, and are capable of overwhelming their enemies with a dizzying flurry of punches and kicks. Their skill comes primarily from a lifetime of intense training and discipline, but the power they exhibit is shrouded in more mysticism than meets the untrained eye. The combination of their peak physical conditioning, state of inner calm, and leveraging of mystical chi makes windwalker monks a true force to be reckoned with.
“Windwalkers possess unparalleled physical finesse, and are capable of overwhelming their enemies with a dizzying flurry of punches and kicks.”
Powerful themes fuel the Guardian Druid, but the gameplay falls short of delivering on them. In particular,
Similar to Brewmasters, here we focused on getting more depth out of less complexity. Windwalkers’ new Mastery, Combo Strikes, encourages mixing a variety of abilities, which provides a constant gameplay hook that influences every ability they use and draws inspiration from classic fighting games. In addition, we’ve polished Storm, Earth, and Fire to remove some cumbersome mechanics. Windwalkers still use a combination of Energy and Chi, along with a heavy dose of short cooldowns.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Windwalker Monks:
Mastery: Combo Strikes
Your abilities deal 25% (with Mastery from typical gear) more damage when they are not a repeat of the previous ability.
50 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
Attack with the palm of your hand, dealing minor damage and generating 2 Chi.
Tiger Palm has an 8% chance to make your next Blackout Kick cost no Chi.
1 Chi, Melee Range, Instant
Kick with a blast of Chi energy, dealing moderate Physical damage.
Rising Sun Kick
2 Chi, Melee Range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown
You kick upwards, dealing strong damage, and reducing the effectiveness of healing on the target for 10 sec.
Fists of Fury
3 Chi, Melee Range, Channeled, 20 sec cooldown
Pummel all targets in front of you, dealing massive damage over 4 sec. Deals reduced damage to secondary targets.
Can be channeled while moving.
Spinning Crane Kick
1 Chi, Channeled
You spin while kicking in the air, dealing moderate damage over 1.5 sec to enemies within 8 yds.
Storm, Earth, and Fire
Split into 3 elemental spirits, suited to attacking 3 or more enemies. Each spirit deals 50% of normal damage and healing.
The Monk directly controls the Storm spirit, while Earth and Fire spirits mimic the Monk’s attacks on different nearby enemies.
Lasts until toggled off, or either Earth or Fire are destroyed.
Developer Comment: Now a simple toggle—no targeting necessary! Spirits will automatically seek out nearby enemies to attack while you attack your target.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Windwalker-specific talents:
Each successive attack that triggers Combo Strikes in a row grants 1% increased damage, stacking up to 10 times.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Monk class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our series later today with a look at Monks.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Druid—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 Druid. 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 Druid in World of Warcraft.
Guardians of nature who seek to preserve balance and protect life, Druids have unmatched versatility on the field of battle. This is in part because druidism is much more than a fighting discipline—it’s a way of life steeped in traditions so ancient that even the origin of their kind is preserved largely in mythology passed on through millennia.
Druids harness nature’s raw energy for an incredible breadth of offensive and defensive abilities, as well as to restore life to the wounded. Through communion with nature and the demigod Cenarius, Lord of the Forest, Druids are supernaturally endowed with the gift of shapeshifting, allowing them to take the form of all manner of nature’s creature and access powers as distinct as they are diverse.
Known for hybrid utility and shapeshifting, Druids have four diverse and well-established specializations. In Legion, we’re focusing on empowering Balance gameplay, strengthening the cohesion of Guardian abilities and their fantasy themes, and renewing Druids’ overall trait of shapeshifting between forms to fulfill distinct functions.
Making use of multiple forms for different situations has been difficult for many years, either due to a lack of access to the “off-spec” talents that make your alternate forms feel strong or because the process itself has felt overwhelming and convoluted. To help solve this issue, we’re taking a new route by replacing Heart of the Wild with a full row of Affinity talents, which essentially allow every Druid to choose an off-spec from the remaining three specializations.
Affinities provide two benefits: first, a passive ability that is useful at all times, even to your main role; second, access to multiple key abilities to use in associated shapeshifting forms. To give you a sense for how choosing your Affinity will impact gameplay, regardless of what form you’re in, here’s a look at the passive abilities they grant:
Astral Influence: Increases the range of all spells, abilities, and autoattacks by 5 yds.
Feline Swiftness: Increases movement speed by 15%.
Thick Hide: Reduces all damage taken by 10%.
Ysera’s Gift: Constantly heals the Druid, or allies when the Druid is at full health.
Unlike Heart of the Wild, Affinities are not temporary buffs. This enhanced access to an off-spec, delivered through a cleaner game mechanic, empowers Druids of any specialization to make interesting situational combat decisions.
The elements that carve form into the universe are fluid forces of nature. Some beings seek to bend the power of these natural elements to their will. Druids, however, worship the protecting spirits of nature. Long ago, nature’s equilibrium was thrown out of balance, leaving the world vulnerable to catastrophic events, including the first invasion of the Burning Legion.
By leveraging the sacred powers of the moon, the sun, and the stars, balance druids access arcane and nature magics—made more potent still through shapeshifting, when the spellcaster takes the form of the moonkin—to aid in the fight against imbalance that threatens the natural order of all things.
“Balance druids access arcane and nature magics to aid in the fight against imbalance that threatens the natural order of all things”
Balance Druids have had a variety of cyclical rotations over the years. The core design problem in all of these cycles is that they’ve forced players into watching closely for UI cues and casting spells in largely predetermined orders. The Legion design is focused on providing a flexible combat experience, where you can use abilities as you’d like, and each has a specific purpose. The Eclipse Bar has been completely replaced by an Astral Power resource, which is built and spent, and provides a platform for abilities to create interesting, engaging, and powerful effects. Balance gameplay will center on maintaining your DoTs, generating Astral Power with a mixture of Lunar Strike and Solar Wrath, and spending Astral Power on either Starsurge or Starfall.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Balance Druids:
45 yd range, Instant
A quick beam of lunar light burns an enemy for minor Arcane damage and then an additional strong Arcane damage over 18 sec.
Usable while in Bear Form.
45 yd range, Instant
A quick beam of solar light burns an enemy for minor Nature damage and then an additional strong Nature damage over 14 sec to the primary target and all enemies within 5 yards.
45 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
Call down a strike of lunar energy, causing strong Arcane damage to the target, and minor Arcane damage to all other enemies within 5 yards.
Generates 15 Astral Power.
45 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Hurl a ball of solar energy at the target, dealing moderate Nature damage.
Generates 9 Astral Power.
40 Astral Power, 45 yd range, Instant
Launch a surge of stellar energies at the target, dealing massive Astral damage.
Also grants you Lunar and Solar Empowerments, which increase the damage of your next Lunar Strike or Solar Wrath by 30%, respectively. You can accumulate up to 3 of each Empowerment.
60 Astral Power, 45 yd range, Instant
Calls down waves of falling stars that damage enemies at the targeted location. Deals strong Astral damage over 8 sec.
Enemies in your Starfall take 30% additional damage from your Moonfire and Sunfire.
Increases the damage of Starfall and Starsurge, and the effect of the Empowerments that they grant by an additional 30% (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 Balance-specific talents:
Blessing of the Ancients
Gain a Blessing of the Ancients, activating or swapping between one of the two following beneficial effects:
Blessing of Elune – Increases Astral Power generated by Solar Wrath and Lunar Strike by 50%.
Blessing of An’she – Grants 3 Astral Power every 2 sec.
Feral druids also seek to curb imbalance in nature. They observe the fantastic intricacies of the physical world and the delicate fabric in which all living creatures are given purpose. Whether on land or in the sea, in a lush jungle or an uncultivated desert, death is part of the cycle which sustains life. Nature is an eternal dance between predator and prey.
As a shapeshifter, the feral druid endlessly pursues a greater understanding of this truth. They seek a visceral connection to the wild, and in combat take the form of a deadly feline predator. Feral druids become ferocious, agile stalkers—ripping, biting, and bleeding their enemies dry. The forces of chaos are tamed by the druid’s primal fury.
“Feral druids become ferocious, agile stalkers—ripping, biting, and bleeding their enemies dry”
Feral Druids have a solid gameplay foundation that complements their fiction. Design changes in Legion are tempered, and we’re paying the most attention to talent options that provide a wider array of combat customization. Making Savage Roar optional in the talent tree in Warlords worked well to open up gameplay opportunities. We’re taking this approach further by flipping it around—Savage Roar is now a talent choice matched against two compelling alternatives that cater to different play styles.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Feral Druids:
40 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
Shred the target, causing moderate Physical damage to the target. Awards 1 combo point.
Damage increased by 20% against bleeding targets.
While stealthed, Shred deals 20% increased damage, and has double the chance to critically strike.
35 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
Rake the target for minor Bleed famage and an additional strong Bleed damage over 15 sec. Reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% for 12 sec. Awards 1 combo point.
While stealthed, Rake will also stun the target for 4 sec.
30 Energy, 1 to 5 Combo Points, Melee Range, Instant
Finishing move that causes massive Bleed damage over 24 sec. Damage increases per combo point.
25 Energy, 1 to 5 Combo Points, Melee Range, Instant
Finishing move that causes damage per combo point and consumes up to 25 additional Energy to increase damage by up to 100%.
When used on targets below 25% health, Ferocious Bite will also refresh the duration of your Rip on the target.
Critical strike chance doubled against bleeding targets.
Omen of Clarity
Your autoattacks have a chance to reduce the Energy cost of your next Cat Form ability by 100%.
You gain an additional combo point when you critically strike with a combo-generating attack.
Damage over time cannot trigger this effect.
Mastery: Razor Claws
Increases the damage done by your Cat Form bleed abilities by 60% (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 Feral-specific talents:
Your Rip, Rake, and Thrash abilities deal the same damage as normal, but in 33% less time.
Like their feral brothers and sisters, guardian druids attune themselves to nature through the animal kingdom. They commune with the wild to understand how life perseveres through adversity. They know that the creatures who survive are often those built to best protect themselves and their kin. In this, the guardian druid finds a deep and harmonious value in the steadfast—all the while recognizing that sturdiness requires an aggressive stance when danger comes near.
Taking the form of a great bear, the guardian druid becomes a massive wall of fur, claw, tooth, and rage, aided by the forces of nature, standing between allies and any opposing threats.
“Taking the form of a great bear, the guardian druid becomes a massive wall of fur, claw, tooth, and rage, aided by the forces of nature, standing between allies and any opposing threats”
Powerful themes fuel the Guardian Druid, but the gameplay falls short of delivering on them. In particular, Guardian Druids have had a strong emphasis on avoidance, dodging attacks more than almost any other tank, with abilities accentuating that. However, this doesn’t mesh well with the image of the tough and sturdy bear. We want Guardian Druids to survive through their sheer tenacity, thick hide, massive resilience, and strong regeneration. To this end, we’ve redesigned several parts of the Druid combat ability toolkit to instead focus on those core defensive ideas—health, armor, mitigation, and regeneration—while deemphasizing dodge.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Guardian Druids:
Melee Range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
Mangle the target for strong Physical damage, reducing the target’s movement speed by 50% for 12 sec. Deals 20% additional damage against bleeding targets.
Generates 5 Rage.
Melee Range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
Lacerates the enemy target, dealing moderate Bleed damage and an additional moderate Bleed damage over 15 sec. Stacks up to 3 times.
Lacerate has a 25% chance to reset the cooldown on Mangle.
Instant, 6 sec cooldown
Strikes all enemy targets within 8 yards, dealing minor Bleed damage and applying Lacerate for an additional moderate Bleed damage over 15 sec.
40 yd range, Instant
A quick beam of lunar light burns the enemy for minor Arcane damage and then an additional strong Arcane damage over 12 sec.
Usable while in Bear Form.
40 Rage, Instant
Increases armor by 100% for 6 sec.
Multiple uses of this ability may overlap.
Mark of Ursol
40 Rage, Instant
Reduces magical damage taken by 30% for 6 sec.
10 Rage, Instant, 20 sec recharge (2 charges)
Heals you for 100% of all damage taken in the last 6 sec over 6 sec (minimum 5% of maximum health).
Mastery: Nature’s Guardian
Increases your maximum health and healing received by 40% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Also increases your attack power 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 Guardian-specific talents:
Rend and Tear
Your Lacerate bleed now also reduces the target’s damage done to you, and increases damage you do to the target, by 3% per stack.
The many gifts provided by nature must sometimes be reciprocated. Restoration druids seek order in the world by tending directly to its many life forms. Friend to flora and fauna alike, restoration druids celebrate birth and growth. Where there is decay, they bring rejuvenation. Where there is abatement, they summon regrowth. Life not only needs protection—it needs nourishment.
To foster this harmony, the restoration druid builds a bond with the things that grow, gaining inspiration from the flower’s bloom, the seed’s sprout, the mushroom’s spores, and the tree’s growth. Like nature, the restoration druid perseveres through patience and persistence, the foundation upon which all life is built and sustained. They use this power to mend wounds and provide persistent remedies that keep their allies from falling.
“Friend to flora and fauna alike, restoration druids celebrate birth and growth”
Restoration Druid themes are clearly defined, and there’s a lot of cohesive flavor to love in how the spec plays. As a result, we’re making minimal changes. Their Mastery had the most room for improvement, having basically become a passive effect. We’ve redesigned it to emphasize layering healing-over-time effects, favoring more engaging gameplay, while also catering to the Restoration themes.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Restoration Druids:
Your healing is increased by 10% for each of your Restoration heal over time effects on the target.
2% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
Heals a friendly target for a moderate amount.
3.7% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
Heals a friendly target for a moderate amount and another minor amount over 12 sec.
Regrowth has a 60% increased chance for a critical effect.
1.9% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
Heals the target for a moderate amount over 15 sec.
2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
Heals the target for a moderate amount over 10 sec. When Lifebloom expires or is dispelled, the target is instantly healed for a moderate amount.
Lifebloom can be active only on one target at a time.
4.3% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
Grow a healing blossom at the target location, restoring a moderate amount of health to three injured allies within 10 yards every 2 sec for 30 sec.
Only 1 Efflorescence can be placed at a time.
1.6% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Instantly heals a friendly target for a large amount.
Welcome to our World of Warcraft: Legion class preview series. In this entry, we’re exploring the Rogue—to find out what’s in store for a different class, check out the overview.
We finish off our early look at class and specialization design with the Rogue. In these blogs, we’ve been exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Rogue in World of Warcraft.
Rogues fend for themselves, looking for fights in which they dictate the terms. They’re the shadows in the night that remain unseen until the right moment comes to strike—then they dispatch an opponent with quick blade work or a deadly toxin snuck acutely into the bloodstream. Rogues are opportunistic thieves, bandits, and assassins, but there’s an unparalleled art to what they do.
As with Hunters, the three Rogue specializations have long suffered from a lack of distinct identity. What truly sets an Assassination Rogue apart from Subtlety? And just what is a “Combat” Rogue anyway? Aren’t all three pretty focused on the art of combat? With that in mind, we’re making some bold changes that take each spec in a much more pronounced direction. We’re finding what makes them each special and amplifying their fantasy by creating abilities and talents unique to each spec that better align with their core theme.
One of the favorite tools of the assassin is a pair of daggers coated with vicious poisons. The damage they inflict is deceiving at first—the initial wounds often seem survivable, even superficial. Then the toxins set about their business. Wounds don’t close, and blood loss continues unabated. Assassins begin their work stealthily, choosing their targets and methods of engagement carefully—but once committed to a course of action, they stick to their target until the job is done rather than disappearing into the shadows to avoid their quarry’s blows.
“Assassins begin their work stealthily, choosing their targets and methods of engagement carefully”
For Rogues, no specialization describes itself better than Assassination, which also remains closely aligned with its existing fantasy. And we’re further enhancing those themes through their gameplay. First, this is now the only Rogue spec with access to poisons and bleeds, making much of your damage a little more delayed, but nonetheless massive. In addition, Venomous Wounds triggers based on a combination of bleeds and poisons now to accentuate that gameplay. Assassination is home to the most volatile combo-building. Mutilate is already effective in this regard, but Seal Fate needed some improvement—it now can trigger from both hands with Mutilate.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Assassination Rogues:
45 Energy, Melee Range, Instant, 15 sec cooldown
Garrote the enemy, causing strong damage over 18 sec and awarding 1 combo point. Silences the target for 3 sec when used from Stealth.
55 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
Attack with both weapons, dealing strong Physical damage. Awards 2 combo points.
35 Energy, 1 to 5 Combo Points, Melee Range, Instant
Finishing move that drives your poisoned blades in deep, dealing instant Nature damage and increasing your poison application chance by 30%. Damage and duration increased per combo point.
25 Energy, 1 to 5 Combo Points, Melee Range, Instant
Finishing move that tears open the target, dealing bleed damage over time. Lasts longer per combo point.
When you critically strike with a melee attack that generates combo points, you gain an additional combo point.
You regain 10 Energy each time you deal Bleed damage to a poisoned target.
Mastery: Potent Poisons
Increases the damage done by your poisons by 70% (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 Assassination-specific talents:
Your finishing moves grant 20% increased damage done for 4 sec.
OK, not exactly. The lack of a clear theme for the Combat Rogue really gave us an opportunity to reimagine the spec in Legion, to ensure that they have their own depth of character and a unique fighting style that sets them apart from the other Rogue specs.
“To survive in such a world, outlaws must become master swordsmen in toe-to-toe combat—and they can’t shy away from fighting dirty”
Outlaw rogues are the unscrupulous scoundrels of Azeroth. Operating outside the law, they bend the rules and distort the truth to get what they need. While they share plenty in common with other rogues, these outlaws have little use for tact or discretion, happy to engage in a tavern brawl or spontaneous duel, rarely patient enough to wait in stealth for the opportune time to engage. To survive in such a world, outlaws must become master swordsmen in toe-to-toe combat—and they can’t shy away from fighting dirty. If blade fails to cut too deeply, the outlaw takes advantage of a concealed pistol, catching the enemy by surprise with a quick blast.
To achieve the “swordmaster” fantasy we’re going for with the Outlaw Rogue, we’re giving them several new and upgraded abilities, such as Saber Slash and Pistol Shot. We’re also deemphasizing Stealth, with Ambush being their only remaining opening move. Stealth will still provide its core Rogue utility, but Outlaws are more comfortable fighting toe-to-toe with a sword than skulking about. Finally, we’re ensuring that Outlaws retain several signature abilities from Combat, such as Adrenaline Rush and Blade Flurry. These abilities provide a good basis on which to build new and distinct flavor. A wide variety of talents enhance the fantasy further with themes of the swordmaster, brawler, or even pirate.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Outlaws:
50 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
Viciously slash an enemy, causing moderate Physical damage and awarding 1 combo point. Saber Slash has a 35% chance to strike an additional time, granting additional damage and combo point, and making your next Pistol Shot free.
40 Energy, 20 yd range, Instant
Draw a concealed pistol and fire a quick shot at an enemy, dealing moderate Physical damage and reducing movement speed by 50% for 6 sec. Awards 1 combo point.
Slice and Dice
25 Energy, Instant
Finishing move that consumes combo points to increase attack speed by 40%. Lasts longer per combo point.
Lunging finishing move that causes damage per combo point and has increased range.
Your off-hand attacks have a chance to generate 15 Energy. Slower weapons have a higher chance.
Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point spent to grant a combo point.
Mastery: Main Gauche
Your main-hand attacks have a 44% (with Mastery from typical gear) chance to trigger an attack with your off-hand that deals minor Physical damage.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Outlaw-specific talents:
Free uses of Pistol Shot granted by Saber Slash now generate 1 additional combo point, and deal 50% increased damage.
Subtlety rogues are the masters of the shadows, and they strike unseen. They don’t have the lethal poison-tipped daggers of the assassin or the brawling prowess of the outlaw, but their acumen on the battlefield and ability to hide in plain sight are unrivaled. Some claim the art of subtlety looks like malevolent shadow magic—but no matter from where their power is derived, these rogues are capable of performing devastating assaults on their enemies, slipping away unharmed to strike again without detection. Most rogues train their entire lives to learn how to walk in the shadows—subtlety rogues were born there.
“The subtlety rogue’s acumen on the battlefield and ability to hide in plain sight are unrivaled”
As the true masters of stealthy gameplay, we’ve pushed Subtlety further toward making heavy use of Stealth as their primary combat mechanic. The new version of Shadow Dance allows Subtlety to weave in and out of Stealth rotationally. Meanwhile, Shadowstrike provides incredible mobility for attacking from Stealth. Finally, to further reinforce the matter of their relationship with sinister Shadow magic, Subtlety makes use of a new ability called Nightblade, which applies Shadow damage over time.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat abilities for Subtlety Rogues:
40 Energy, 30 yd range, Instant, Requires Stealth
Strike through the shadows, appearing behind your target and dealing strong Physical damage. Awards 2 combo points.
35 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
Stab the target, causing moderate Physical damage. Damage increased by 30% when behind your target. Awards 1 combo point.
25 Energy, 1 to 5 Combo Points, Melee Range, Instant
Finishing move that infects the target with shadowy energy, dealing Shadow damage over time and reducing movement speed by 50%. Damage and duration increased per combo point.
35 Energy, 1 to 5 Combo Points, Melee Range, Instant
Finishing move that disembowels the target, dealing increased damage per combo point.
Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to activate Stealth. For 3 sec, this Stealth will not break when you autoattack or take damage. When this effect occurs, a Shadow Decoy will appear nearby, confusing your enemies.
Developer Comment: This will function differently in PvP, granting the use of abilities that require Stealth, but not actually providing Stealth.
Your autoattacks have a chance to generate a combo point.
Increases the damage done by your finishing moves by 55% (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 Subtlety-specific talents:
You gain an additional 40 Energy when you enter Stealth.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Rogue class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’re looking forward to hearing more feedback and sharing in ongoing conversations with the community regarding these and all of the other changes we’ve discussed in this series, 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.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you in the Legion beta!
Overwatch is making its official debut on Twitch this Thursday, October 15… and you’re invited!
Join a duo of aspiring heroes, Haylinic and Ellohime, as they team up with our developers to fight for the future LIVE from Blizzard HQ. During these inaugural streams, you’ll have a chance to see over 90 minutes of unedited real-time gameplay from not one, but two perspectives—plus, you’ll get a first look at what you can expect from the upcoming Overwatch beta. (Wicked!)
Patch 6.2.3 Preview
Patch 6.2.3 is on the way, bringing some changes to hold us over until Legion:
Cataclysm dungeons are getting Timewalking: Grim Batol, Stonecore, Lost City of Tol’vir, The Vortex Pinnacle, Throne of Tides, and End Time
Pit of Saron and Magister’s Terrace are also getting Timewalking.
An Infinite Dragonflight mount (Infinite Timereaver) has a chance to drop from any Timewalking dungeon boss.
Cross-Realm Mythic Raiding will be enabled.
Valor has returned! It is earned from Heroic and Mythic Dungeons, various Bonus Events, and your first Raid Finder run each week.
Mythic dungeons will be the most lucrative source of Valor.
Mythic dungeons can drop a Heirloom Trinket that will scale to level 110.
Items can be upgraded by 10 item levels.
Defeating Archimonde on Heroic difficulty or higher will reward the Grove Warden mount (for a limited time)!
Mythic Warforged items can be even higher item level now, anywhere from 685 to 725 in five item-level increments.
Baleful items can also be higher item level, anywhere from level 655 all the way to 695.
Warlords Season 3 is coming, with Warmongering Aspirant gear at PvP item level 715, Warmongering Combatant gear at 730, and Warmongering Gladiator gear at 740.
Patch 6.2.3 will be making its way onto the PTR soon, and we wanted to provide you with some insights on what it has in store.
We’ve made no secret of our desire to expand the role and importance of dungeons in World of Warcraft as we move full speed ahead toward Legion. We look forward to sharing more of our plans in that regard during BlizzCon 2015 next month. At the same time, we’ve heard from many players that they wanted more reasons to run dungeons in Warlords, so we’re pleased to announce this small patch, which is focused on reinforcing the reward systems around our existing dungeons as well as expanding the scope of the Timewalking feature that we introduced in patch 6.2.
Timewalk With Me: New Timewalking Dungeons Get ready to go back in time to experience six iconic dungeons from Cataclysm with this new Timewalking bonus event. You’ll be able to face the foes within Grim Batol, Stonecore, Lost City of Tol’vir, The Vortex Pinnacle, Throne of Tides, and End Time once more and reap the treasures within.
To round out our Timewalking journey, we’ll also be adding the Pit of Saron to the Wrath of the Lich King Timewalking bonus event and the Magister’s Terrace to the Burning Crusade Timewalking bonus event.
Lest we forget, there’s just one more bit of news that’s bound to draw you into the vortex to do a little Timewalking. Players will now have a chance to loot a rare Infinite Timereaver mount from any Timewalking boss.
Developer Insights One of the most common requests we’ve heard ever since introducing Timewalking was for there to be some way to obtain an Infinite Dragonflight mount, since it’d fit perfectly with the theme of time manipulation, aside from being just plain cool-looking. We agree. Inspired by Murozond, the final boss of the End Time dungeon that is included in the Cataclysm Timewalking rotation, the Infinite Timereaver will be a rare drop from any dungeon boss during all of the Timewalking events.
Cross-Realm Mythic Raiding With the patch we’ll also be introducing Cross-Realm Mythic Raiding. You’ll now be able to join with friends, fill that one last spot, or have an easier time recruiting to backfill missing raid slots, allowing you to take on some of the most difficult encounters in Warlords of Draenor.
Valor for the Valorous With the patch we’ll be bringing back Valor as a currency. You’ll will be able earn Valor once more by taking part in Heroic and Mythic Dungeons, from various Bonus Events, and via the first run through Raid Finder each week. To upgrade, visit your friendly neighborhood ethereal to upgrade gear up to five item levels at a time, up to two times per piece of gear.
Developer Insights Dungeon content shines when its difficulty is appropriate to players’ power level, so Mythic dungeons will be the most lucrative source of Valor for players who have items from Tanaan or Hellfire Citadel. For those who are still gearing up to tackle Mythic dungeons, or who prefer to use queued matchmaking, Raid Finder wings and the first Heroic dungeon each day will also provide Valor, as will most of Seer Kazal’s weekly event quests. Ethereal Voidbinders have made their way through time and space to Stormshield and Warspear, as well as returning to Orgrimmar and Stormwind, to allow players to use this Valor to upgrade their gear by up to 10 item levels. We decided to go with item upgrades rather than a Valor vendor because item upgrades offer power that complements items from other sources rather than competing with them.
Gift of the Grove Warden Soon, players who dare to face the fearsome might of Archimonde will receive an added bonus. For a limited time, defeating Archimonde on Heroic difficulty or higher will reward players with a mysterious fragment of dark power that begins a quest. When you bring this fragment to the druids of Moonglade, you’ll learn a little more about what’s in store for Azeroth, and the druids will give you a majestic Grove Warden mount in thanks for your efforts. This quest won’t be available forever—our current plan is to retire the quest in an update some time before Legion’s launch, so grab some friends and head to Hellfire Citadel while you can.
More Bigger Better: Item Rewards We’re expanding the range of item quality for players within Mythic Dungeons and Tanaan Jungle. Players who take part in Mythic Dungeons will have a chance to gain items up to item level 725, and players who receive Baleful items will now have a chance to gain items up to item level 695. Players in Mythic Dungeons will also now have a chance to loot a new Heirloom Trinket that will scale to level 110.
Developer Insights Running a dungeon is a bit more exciting when there’s a chance you might get a direct item upgrade, versus simply earning a predictable amount of currency per run. Thus, we’re also expanding the power of Warforged items in Mythic dungeons—rather than a static +20 item level bonus when a Mythic dungeon item is Warforged, there will be a chance for even greater increases in power. The very luckiest players might even obtain item level 725 versions of the dungeon drops, with increasingly better odds of 720, 715, and so forth, fully spanning the range from 685 to 725 in five item-level increments. We’re also applying this system to Baleful items from Tanaan itself, which can now range in quality from item level 655 all the way to 695. Raiding, crafting, and PvP will remain the most reliable sources of the best gear available, but we’d like to create the chance for surprise when you’re adventuring out in the world or in dungeons.
Arena Season 3 We’re also preparing to end Warlords Arena Season 2 and transition to Warlords Arena Season 3. We’ll have more details to share on this transition between seasons and the distribution of rewards in the near future.
Developer Insights With Arena Season 3 we’ll be introducing new gear, including Warmongering Aspirant gear at PvP item level 715, Warmongering Combatant gear at 730, and Warmongering Gladiator gear at 740.
Make sure you keep an eye out for the complete patch, 6.2.3 notes and we’ll look forward to seeing you on the Public Test Realm.