Previews of class changes in Cataclysm

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This page lists the previews of class changes published by Blizzard prior to the release of Patch 4.0.1.

Contents

Death Knight

Tanking as blood

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Death Knights will tank as Blood in Cataclysm | 2010-04-06 21:45 | Ghostcrawler
We're doing our Cataclysm preview on the death knight changes later this week, but we knew one change risked overshadowing all the others, so we figured we'd go ahead and drop the proverbial Blood bomb today.

In Cataclysm, death knights will have a dedicated tanking tree, much like the other three tank classes. That tree will be Blood.

We’ll go into more detail in the upcoming preview, but we wanted to take the opportunity to explain the reasoning for such a big change.

Why the about face? We actually thought the “tri tank” experiment worked out okay. We suspected there would always be a “best” tanking tree, because that’s the way these things shake out, but we hoped it would be close enough that many players could tank with their favorite tree. When we tried out this design for Wrath of the Lich King, we were using it as a test case to see if we wanted to do similar things with the warrior and paladin talent trees.

A lot has happened since that time. We introduced the dual-spec feature, allowing players to have a tanking spec and dps spec that they could switch between. We introduced Dungeon Finder, which makes it easier to find players who want to tank, and even let players level up using a dedicated tank spec. In Cataclysm, we are introducing the concept of passive talent tree bonuses and we think that feature is a lot stronger when the talent tree has a particular focus (such as damage, tanking or healing). For example, it’s safer to give more passive damage to a tanking tree than we can a dps tree. Above all, we were just spending a lot of effort trying to balance three trees (though it was really six trees, since each tree was trying to do two things).

It started to feel unfair to the other tank classes that we had to spend so much effort tweaking three types of DK tanks, and it even started to feel unfair to the DK that we couldn’t focus their tanking experience. One bit of feedback that really struck home was the DK players who said, essentially, “I look at the Protection tree and I’m jealous of all of the cool tools they have to help their tanking. As a DK, I have to pick and choose tanking talents from within a sea of dps talents.” Rather than have a strong focus, the trees felt a little watered down because they were trying to do so much. With Frost as a dual-wield, spell and runic power focused tree, Unholy as a disease and minion focused tree, and Blood as a self-healing, defensive cooldown, tanking tree, we think the focus of each tree is a lot clearer and cooler.

In Cataclysm, Blood will be the death knight version of a Protection tree. It will have passive talent tree bonuses that reflect tanking. It will have tools, such as a Demo Shout equivalent, necessary for tanking. Several of the more fun tanking talents from Frost and Unholy will be moved into Blood. We will be able to revise (or even remove) clunky mechanics like Rune Strike and focus on letting DKs generate threat with their normal Blood tanking rotation.

This is major change, and we understand it will be met with some disappointment from players who really liked the flexibility, those who appreciated the unorthodox talent tree design, or those few of you who really liked Blood dps. Nevertheless, we are convinced that this is the right change for the game.

More exciting death knight news coming up soon in the preview.

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General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Death Knight | Zarhym
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will bring with it several changes to class talents and abilities. In this preview, you'll get a glimpse at some of the new abilities, spells, and talents in store for the death knight class, along with an early look at some improvements we plan to make to the rune resource system.

New Death Knight Abilities

[Outbreak] (level 81)
Outbreak infects the target with both [Frost Fever] and [Blood Plague] at no rune cost. This ability allows death knights to apply diseases quickly when they are switching targets or when their diseases have been dispelled.
[Necrotic Strike] (level 83)
Necrotic Strike is a new attack that deals weapon damage and applies a debuff that absorbs an amount of healing based on the damage done. For context, imagine that the death knight can choose between doing 8,000 damage outright with a certain ability, or dealing 6,000 damage and absorbing 4,000 points in incoming heals with Necrotic Strike -- the burst is smaller, but a larger overall amount of healing would be required to bring the target back to full health.
This ability is meant to bring back some of the old flavor from when death knights could dispel heal-over-time (HoT) effects. It also gives the class a bit more PvP utility without simply replicating a Mortal Strike-style effect.
[Dark Simulacrum] (level 85)
The death knight strikes a target, applying a debuff that allows the death knight to copy the opponent's next spell cast and unleash it. Unlike [Spell Reflection], Dark Simulacrum does not cancel the incoming spell. In general, if you can't reflect an ability, you won't be able to copy it either.

Rune System Changes

While we're satisfied with the way the rune system works overall, we're making a few major changes to the mechanics that will ultimately help death knight players feel less constrained. Here's the rationale behind the changes, followed by an explanation of how the new system will work.

  • In the current rune system, any time a rune is sitting idle, death knights are losing out on potential damage output. By comparison, rogues spend most of their time at low energy levels, and if they're unable to use their skills for a few seconds, that energy builds up and can be spent later, minimizing the net loss from the interruption.
  • A death knight's runes, on the other hand, cannot be used until they are fully active. If a death knight ever goes more than a few seconds without spending an available rune, that resource is essentially wasted. Because the death knight is pushing buttons constantly, it can be difficult to add new mechanics to the class because the player doesn't have any free global cooldowns to use them. We can't grant extra resources or reduced cost, because there is no time to spend them. Missing an attack is devastating, and it's impossible to save resources for when they're most useful.
  • Additionally, each individual death knight ability has a fairly low impact on its own, making it feel like most of the death knight's attacks are weak. The death knight's rotations are also more easily affected by latency or a player's timing being just a little off. At times, it feels like death knights aren't able to take advantage of their unique resource mechanic, which can diminish the fun.
  • The new rune system will change how runes regenerate, from filling simultaneously to filling sequentially. For example, if you use two Blood runes, then the first rune will fill up before the second one starts to fill up. Essentially, you have three sets of runes filling every 10 seconds instead of six individual runes filling every 10 seconds. (Haste will cause runes to fill faster.) Another way to think of this is having three runes that go up to 200% each (allowing extra "storage"), rather than six runes that go up to 100% each.
  • As this is a major change to the death knight's mechanics, it will of course require us to retune many of the class's current abilities. For example, each ability needs to hit harder or otherwise be more meaningful since the death knight is getting fewer resources per unit of time. Some abilities will need to have their costs reduced as a result.

Talent Changes

Next we'll outline some of the death knight talent-tree changes we're planning in Cataclysm. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it should give you a sense of how we're intending each death knight spec to perform.

  • One of the biggest changes we're making is converting Blood into a dedicated tanking tree. While we feel that having three tanking trees was successful overall, it's less necessary in a world with dual-specialization. In addition, the current breakdown isn't as compatible with the Mastery-based passive talent-tree bonuses we want to add (see below). We'd rather spend time tweaking and balancing one good tanking tree rather than having a tank always wondering if they picked the "correct" tree out of three possibilities.
  • Blood seemed like the best fit for tanking. Unholy has always had a strong niche with diseases, magic, and command over pets. Frost now feels like a solid dual-wield tree with Frost magic damage and decent crowd control. Blood's niche was self-healing -- fitting for a tank -- as well as strong weapon swings, which could easily be migrated to Frost and Unholy.
  • Our plan is to move the most interesting and fun tanking talents and abilities to Blood. For example, you will likely see [Vampiric Blood] and [Will of the Necropolis] remain, while [Bone Shield] will move over from Unholy.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Blood
  1. Damage reduction
  2. Vengeance
  3. Healing Absorption: When you heal yourself, you'll receive an additional effect that absorbs incoming damage.
Frost
  1. Melee damage
  2. Melee Haste
  3. Runic Power Generation: This will function as the name implies, and the new rune system will make generating Runic Power more appealing.
Unholy
  1. Melee damage
  2. Melee and spell critical damage
  3. Disease Damage: Unholy death knights will be able to get more out of their diseases, which are integral to the tree's play style.
Vengeance
This new mechanic is designed to ensure that tank damage output (and therefore threat) doesn't fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will grant a stacking Attack Power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character's unbuffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have an Attack Power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Blood tree; these values will be smaller at lower levels.

You only get the Vengeance bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Blood tree, so you won't see Frost or Unholy death knights running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to design tank gear more or less the way we do today; there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so their Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but the goal is that all four tanks will do about the same damage when tanking.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we're looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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Druid

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Druid | 2010-04-10 00:59 | Bashiok
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm we’ll be making several changes to class talents and abilities. Here you will get a glimpse into some of the changes we have in store for the druid. The information you’re about to read is certainly not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview of some of the exciting new things to come. Let’s kick things off by checking out some of the new druid spells and abilities!

New Druid Abilities

Thrash (Level 81): Thrash deals damage and causes all targets within 10 yards to bleed every 2 seconds for 6 seconds. The intent here is to give bears another button to hit while tanking. Talents will affect the bleed, such as causing [Swipe] to deal more damage to bleeding targets. 5-second cooldown. 25 Rage.

Stampeding Roar (Level 83): The druid roars, increasing the movement of all allies within 10 yards by 40% for 8 seconds. Stampeding Roar can be used in cat or bear form, but bears might have a talent to drop the cooldown. The goal of this ability is to give both bears and cats a little more situational group utility. 3-minute cooldown. No cost.

[Wild Mushroom] (Level 85): Grows a magical mushroom at the target location. After 4 seconds the mushroom becomes invisible. Enemies who cross the mushroom detonate it, causing it to deal area-of-effect damage, though its damage component will remain very effective against single targets. The druid can also choose to detonate the mushroom ahead of time. This is primarily a tool for the Balance druid, and there will be talents that play off of it. No cooldown. 40-yard range. Instant cast. Maximum of 3 mushrooms which can be stacked on each other for major damage. You can also talent it to slow down the target after they explode;

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to the new abilities listed above, we intend to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics with which you’re already familiar. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of our goals for each spec.

  • All heal-over-time spells (HoTs) will benefit from crit and haste innately in Cataclysm. Hasted HoTs do not reduce their duration, but instead add additional HoT ticks. Haste will also benefit Energy generation while in cat form.
  • Unlike the other healers, Restoration druids will not be receiving any new spells. They have plenty to work with already, and our challenge instead is to make sure all of them have a well-defined niche. A druid should be able to tank-heal with stacks of Lifebloom, spot-heal a group with [Nourish] and [Regrowth], and top off lightly wounded targets with [Rejuvenation].
  • We want to add tools to cat form and depth to bear form. If a Feral cat is going to fill a very similar niche to that of a rogue, warrior or Enhancement shaman, it needs a few more tools -- primarily a reliable interrupt. Bears need to be pushing a few more buttons just so the contrast between tanking and damage-dealing is not so steep.
  • Barkskin will be innately undispellable.
  • We will be buffing the damage of [Mangle] (cat) significantly so that when cat druids cannot [Shred], they are not at such a damage-dealing loss.
  • Druids will lose [Abolish Poison] with the dispel mechanics change, but Restoration druids will gain Dispel Magic (on friendly targets) as a talent. All druids can still remove poisons with [Cure Poison] and remove curses with [Remove Curse].

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • Tree of Life is changing from a passive talent to a cooldown-based talent, similar to [Metamorphosis]. Mechanically, it feels unfair for a druid to have to give up so much offense and utility in order to be just as good at healing as the other classes who are not asked to make that trade. We are exploring the exact benefit the druid gets from Tree of Life. It could strictly be better healing, or it could be that each heal behaves slightly different. You also will not be able to be banished in Tree of Life form (this will probably be true of Metamorphosis as well). Additionally, we would like to update the Tree of Life model so that it feels more exciting when you do decide to go into that form. Our feeling is that druids rarely actually get to show off their armor, so it would be nice to have at least one spec that looked like a night elf or tauren (and soon troll or worgen) for most of the time.
  • We want to make the Feral cat damage rotation slightly more forgiving. We do not want to remove what druids like about their gameplay, but we do want to make it less punishing to miss, say, a Savage Roar or Rake. The changes here will be on par with increasing the duration of Mangle like we did for patch 3.3.3.
  • Balance druids will have a new talent ability called Nature’s Torrent, which strikes for either Nature or Arcane damage depending on which will do the most damage (or possibly both), and moves the Eclipse meter more (details below). The improved version of Nature's Torrent also reduces the target's movement speed. 10-second cooldown.
  • Restoration druids will have a new talent called [Efflorescence], which causes a bed of healing flora to sprout beneath targets that are critically healed by Regrowth.
  • We plan on giving Feral cats and bears a [Kick]/ [Pummel] equivalent -- an interrupt that is off the global cooldown and does no damage. We feel like they need this utility to be able to fill the melee role in a dungeon or raid group, and to give them more PvP utility.
  • We want to make sure Feral and Balance druids feel like good options for an Arena team. They need the tools to where you might consider a Feral druid over an Arms warrior, or a Balance druid over a mage or warlock. Remember that the PvP landscape will probably look pretty different for Cataclysm with a focus on rated, competitive Battlegrounds.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Balance
  1. Spell Damage
  2. Spell Haste
  3. Eclipse: We are moving [Eclipse] from a talent into a core mechanic of the class and making it less random. Balance druids will have a new UI element that shows a sun and a moon. Whenever they cast an Arcane spell, it will move the UI closer to the sun, and buff their Nature damage. Whenever they cast a Nature spell, it will move the UI closer to the moon, and buff their Arcane damage. The gameplay intention is to alternate Arcane and Nature spells (largely [Starfire] and [Wrath]) to maintain the balance.
Feral (Cat)
  1. Melee Damage
  2. Melee Critical Damage
  3. Bleed Damage: Feral druids will receive two sets of passive bonuses depending on whether the druid is in cat or bear form. Bleed Damage will be improved for cats. Savage Defense is the current bear mechanic for converting crits into damage absorption and will be improved for bears.
Feral (Bear)
  1. Damage Reduction
  2. Vengeance
  3. Savage Defense: Feral druids will receive two sets of passive bonuses depending on whether the druid is in cat or bear form. Bleed Damage will be improved for cats. Savage Defense is the current bear mechanic for converting crits into damage absorption and will be improved for bears.
Restoration
  1. Healing
  2. Meditation
  3. HoT Scale Healing: HoTs will do increased healing on more wounded targets. The mechanic is similar to that of the Restoration shaman, but with HoTs instead of direct heals. In Cataclysm, we anticipate druids using a greater variety of their spells so there is a distinction between healing and HoT healing.
Vengeance
This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s unbuffed health. For boss encounters we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Feral tree and the druid is in bear form -- these values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Feral tree and are in bear form, so you won’t see Balance, Restoration, or Feral druids in cat form running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today -- there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so the Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is that all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind, what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these changes as well as others continue to develop in response to testing and feedback.

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Hunter

General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Hunter | 2010-04-09 16:00 | Nethaera
With the upcoming World of Warcraft: Cataclysm many game elements will be changing, and each class will be receiving a number of tweaks. Here, we will explore the changes that are being made to the gun-wielding, pet-training hunter. The information you’re about to read is certainly not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview of some of the exciting new things to come. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the new hunter abilities!

New Hunter Abilities

[Cobra Shot] (level 81): A new shot that deals Nature damage instead of Physical damage. This ability will share a cooldown with [Steady Shot]. This will give hunters an alternative to Steady Shot on heavily-armored targets, and we will have talent incentives in the Beast Mastery tree to make this a signature shot.

[Trap Launcher] (level 83): When used, the next trap can be shot to a location within 40 yards. This provides the current [Freezing Arrow] treatment to all traps and, as a result, we will be removing the current ability Freezing Arrow. 1-minute cooldown. No global cooldown.

[Camouflage] (level 85): The hunter enters an obscured state that prevents him or her from taking ranged damage. The character would still be subject to melee or area-of-effect attacks, and dealing or taking damage will break the Camouflage effect. The hunter can move and set traps when under Camouflage, and will receive a damage bonus when attacking while under Camouflage (which will then break the effect).

Resource Mechanic Change

Here we come to the meat of the upcoming hunter changes.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to the resource change and new abilities listed above, we intend to make adjustments to some of the other abilities and mechanics you already know well. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we’re going for with each spec.

  • A major change coming for the hunter is the removal of ammunition. Guns, bows, and crossbows will now do damage without consuming ammunition at all. There will be no more ammo slot on the hunter’s character display. Any ammunition that a hunter has at the time of the change will become gray sellable items. Existing quivers will be converted into large bags—though each hunter can only have one and non-hunters will not benefit from this change—and we will not be making any additional quivers.
  • Pet management will also change. Hunters will now have two types of attainable pets: active pets and stored pets. Hunters will be able to have up to three active pets (perhaps five for Beast Mastery specialized players) and will have the ability to switch among these pets any time they are out of combat, without going to town. They will also be able to have a large number of pets in storage at the stables. In order to swap a pet from active to passive, a hunter will still need to visit their local Stable Master. However, this should afford ample storage for the many Spirit Beasts wandering the lands of Azeroth.
  • Additionally, hunters will now start with a race-appropriate pet at level 1 and will be able to tame a different pet at level 10. We are also changing many pet family abilities to provide important buffs and debuffs. The intention is to allow the hunter to be able to swap pets and fill a position if a certain role is missing from the group. The goal is to have all pets provide a damage increase that is very similar and no greater than any other pet. Some examples of the changes we are making to the pet families are listed below:
    • Wind Serpents: Will provide a debuff that increases the amount of spell damage taken by an enemy (similar to a weaker version of the warlock ability Curse of Elements).
    • Ravagers: Will provide a debuff that will increase an enemy's Physical damage vulnerability (similar to a weaker version of the warrior ability [Blood Frenzy]).
    • Hyenas: Will provide bleed damage (similar to a weaker version of the druid ability [Mangle]}).
  • Stings and other periodic effects will now benefit from haste and critical strike ratings. Hasted damage-over-time abilities do not lose duration, but instead add additional damage ticks.
  • [Viper Sting] will now restore 9 Focus every 3 seconds.
  • We are reinforcing hunters as a ranged class. To this end, the class will now start with ranged abilities at level 1, and we will be removing some melee abilities, such as [Mongoose Bite].

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • Beast Mastery hunters will have a new talent called [Careful Aim], which increases the damage of the next Steady Shot or Cobra Shot, but also increases the cast time of these abilities. The intention is to make the combination of spells into a decent damage opener, especially in conjunction with the new ability Camouflage.
  • Beast Mastery hunters will also have talents that make Cobra Shot superior to Steady Shot, such as [Longevity] reducing the cast time of Cobra Shot to 1.5 seconds.
  • [Rapid Recuperation] will cause Rapid Fire to give 20/40/60 Focus immediately and will cause Rapid Killing to generate 3 Focus per second.
  • Efficiency will reduce the Focus cost of Chimera Shot, Aimed Shot, and Arcane Shot.
  • [Thrill of the Hunt] grants Focus when you land a critical strike.
  • [Hunter vs. Wild] increases the hunter’s Focus generation when his or her pet is snared, stunned, or rooted.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Beast Mastery
  1. Ranged Damage
  2. Haste
  3. Pet Damage: Many of the passive benefits to pet damage will no longer be available in the Beast Mastery talent tree. However, these will be provided through the new Mastery mechanic.
Marksmanship
  1. Ranged Damage
  2. Armor Penetration
  3. Double Shot: The hunter will have a chance to launch a free attack off of the global cooldown for 50% damage.
Survival
  1. Ranged Damage
  2. Ranged Critical Damage
  3. Elemental Damage: Hunter abilities such as traps, Black Arrow, and Explosive Shot will do elemental damage of the following types: Improves the Arcane, Fire, Frost, Nature or Shadow damage of abilities like traps, Black Arrow and Explosive Shot.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and ask that you provide your initial thoughts and feedback on what was presented here. Please keep in mind that what you’ve just reviewed is a work in progress and as we move closer to the Cataclysm beta, you’ll see these planned changes as well as others continue to develop in response to feedback and testing.

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Mage

General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Mage | 2010-04-10 06:57 | Bashiok
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we’ll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you’ll get an early look at what's in store for the mage class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New spells

[Flame Orb] (available at level 81): Inspired by Prince Taldaram's ability in Icecrown Citadel, this spell allows the mage to cast a flaming orb that travels in front in a straight line, sending beams that cause fire damage to passing targets. Once it's cast, the mage is free to begin casting other spells as the Flame Orb travels. While the spell will be useful to any spec, Fire mages will have talents that improve it, possibly causing the Flame Orb to explode when it reaches its destination.

[Time Warp] (level 85): Grants a passive Haste effect much like [Bloodlust] or [Heroism] to party or raid members. Time Warp will be exclusive with Bloodlust and Heroism, meaning you can’t benefit from both if you’ve got the Exhaustion debuff, though the movement-speed increase will still work even when under the effects of Exhaustion.

Curtain of Frost (level 83): Creates a line of frost in front of the mage, 30 yards from end to end. Enemies who cross the line are snared and take damage. The mana cost will be designed to make Curtain of Frost efficient against groups, not individuals. This spell is intended to give mages a way to help control the battlefield, whether the mage is damaging incoming enemies (Blizzard can be channeled on top of Curtain of Frost) or protecting a flag in a Battleground. 15-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Changes to abilities and mechanics

In addition to introducing new spells, we're planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you're familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • [Arcane Missiles] is being redesigned to become a proc-based spell. Whenever the mage does damage with any spell, there is a chance for Arcane Missiles to become available, similar to how the warrior’s [Overpower] works. The damage and mana cost of this spell will be reworked to make it very desirable to use when available. This change should make gameplay more dynamic for the mage, particularly at low levels.
  • We are planning to remove spells that don't have a clear purpose. [Amplify Magic], [Dampen Magic], [Fire Ward], and [Frost Ward] are being removed from the game, and we may remove more.
  • The ability to conjure food and water will not become available until higher levels (likely around level 40), as we're making changes to ensure mages generally won’t run out of mana at lower levels. Once mages learn how to conjure food and water, the conjured item will restore both health and mana.
  • [Scorch] will provide a damage bonus to the mage's fire spells. Our goal is for Scorch to be part of the mage's rotation and a useful damage-dealing ability, even if someone else is supplying the group with the spell Critical Strike debuff. Scorch will provide the mage with more specific benefits, which can also be improved through talents.

Talent changes

  • [Arcane Focus] will now return mana for each spell that fails to hit your target, including Arcane Missiles that fail to launch. We want Arcane mages to have several talents that play off of how much mana the character has and give the player enough tools to manage mana.
  • The talent [Playing with Fire] will reduce the cooldown of [Blast Wave] when hit by a melee attack, instead of its current effect.
  • [Pyromaniac] will grant Haste when three or more targets are getting damaged by the effects of your damage-over-time (DoT) fire spells.
  • The [Burnout] talent will allow mages to cast spells using health when they run out of mana.

Masteries

Arcane
  1. Spell damage
  2. Spell Haste
  3. Mana Adept: Arcane will deal damage based how much mana the mage has. For example, Arcane mages will do much more damage at 100% mana than at 50% mana. If they begin to get low on mana, they will likely want to use an ability or mechanic to bring their mana up to increase their damage.
Fire
  1. Spell damage
  2. Spell Crit
  3. Ignite: All direct-damage fire spells will add a damage-over-time (DoT) component when cast. The flavor will be similar to how Fireball works; however, the DoT component will be much stronger.
Frost
  1. Spell damage
  2. Spell Crit damage
  3. Deathfrost: Casting Frostbolt places a buff on the mage that increases the damage for all frost, fire, and arcane spells. The only damage spell that won't be affected by this buff is Frostbolt.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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Clarifications

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Re: Cataclysm Class Preview: Mage | 2010-04-10 17:42 | Ghostcrawler
Flame Orb is not channeled. It may have a cast time, but after that is fire and forget. We want to try the line idea because there aren’t any spells that work that way currently. Giving it a target to follow makes it feel more like a fancy dot – useful perhaps, but nothing that feels really new. It will be balanced for single-target damage, but if you can launch it in such a way that it will hit multiple targets, then you’re just being awesome.

Wall of Fog is not channeled. We don’t know yet how wide it will be, but wide enough so that it feels more like a trip-wire than an area like Frost Trap.

We like the basic gameplay of Hot Streak. With lower crit rates all around, we hope that it will feel more like a bonus when it’s up rather than a penalty when it refuses to stay up. We may lower the magnitude overall for the same reason.

On Arcane Missiles, the basic spell is pretty cool. The problem is the way the spell works makes the current design hard to balance. It’s either too expensive and low damage or the opposite problem. This is particularly true at low level, and meanwhile we think the mage experience at low level is also a little too repetitive. The change is that you can’t hit Arcane Missiles whenever you want. The icon is just grayed out. However, when you deal damage, you have a chance to get Arcane Missiles to light up and then you definitely want to hit it. At higher levels Fire and Frost may eventually phase it out in preference for other spells, or if we like the mechanic, it may be something even Fire and Frost do, just less often than Arcane.

On the topic of mastery bonuses, understand that this is a new design for us and very few people have seen them in action yet. We run the risk of specific masteries being so generic that the mastery stat isn’t interesting or so complex that what players really like about playing a certain spec gets turned on its head. This is the kind of thing that will require a lot of iteration and the reason we’re trying to cover the whole gamut of relatively complex to relatively simple to see what feels right.

The reason behind Deathfrost (Frost mastery) isn’t to get Frost to spam Frostbolt more. It’s to get mages to spam Frostbolt less. If you hit nothing but Frostbolt, you’re wasting the Deathfrost bonus.

We’re shifting food and water to higher level because we don’t want players to have so much down time at lower level. We’re not trying to make it harder to level; we’re reducing the need to drink or eat so we’re bumping the actual food and water (though it’s really foodwater in the case of mages) higher.

The intent behind Mana Adapt (Arcane mastery) is that Arcane currently has a pretty fun mana management game going, at least at relatively high level. We thought it would be fun to extend that concept even further to where Arcane mages that use the mechanics to keep their mana high would do higher dps. I find many of the predictions that Arcane is doomed in PvE based on the very limited information you have at the moment to be quite premature.

On Time Warp vs. Bloodlust, we are really trying to give groups flexibility in who they bring to 10 player raids to an even greater extent than we did in Lich King. We heard over and over that shaman still felt like the one mandatory class in any raid. The more we hear “now there will be no reason to take me over X class / spec” the happier we will be. The reason should be that you’re a good player, not that your mere presence makes everyone else perform better. It’s fun to feel more powerful in a group – we get that, and we aren’t going to completely marginalize group synergy. But it needs to come secondary to the skill of the players involved.

I understand some mages really like Fire Ward or Dampen Magic. Perhaps “no clear role” wasn’t the best choice of words, but we are trying to remove mechanics from the game that we think aren’t really cutting it. When asking players to put more buttons on their action bars from these new spells, we only think it’s fair to try and get some bar space back from the least interesting spells. Don’t worry so much about balance at this stage. Many things will need to be tweaked. Worry more about whether it ever felt like a fun decision to use these spells.

For everyone focusing on the RMP Arena comp, I really think you’re going to see a shift to more PvP concerns in Cataclysm being about Battleground balance. There will still be players playing Arenas for sure, but a lot of the players currently doing Arenas are going to shift to rated BGs instead.

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Paladin

Holy Power

Paladins have received a new resource system, similar to Rogue's combo points called Holy Power. It is gained by using various spells, such as [Holy Shock], [Crusader Strike], and [Hammer of the Righteous], while being consumed by spells such as [Word of Glory], [Light of Dawn], [Shield of Righteousness], and [Templar's Verdict]. Up to three stacks of Holy Power is applied, and it will stay available for 30-seconds in and out of combat.

Paladin Holy Power UI.jpg

General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Paladin | 2010-04-14 14:05 | Nethaera
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm we’ll be making several changes to class talents and abilities across the board. While this list only outlines some of our plans for the paladin class, we want to give you a look at the new high-level abilities and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with each talent spec.


New Paladin Spells

Blinding Shield (available at level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure's ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.

Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a [Healing Stream Totem]. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.

[Guardian of Ancient Kings] (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

Next you will find a list of some of the paladin spell and ability changes, followed by our intentions for improving each talent tree for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes, but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.

  • [Crusader Strike] will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1. We think the paladin leveling experience is hurt by not having an instant attack. Retribution will be getting a new talent in its place that either modifies Crusader Strike or replaces it completely.
  • [Cleanse] is being rebalanced to work with the new dispel system. It will dispel defensive magic (debuffs on friendly targets), diseases, and poisons.
  • [Blessing of Might] will provide the benefit of [Wisdom] as well. If you have two paladins in your group, one will do [Kings] on everyone and the other will do Might on everyone. There should be much less need, and ideally no need, to provide specific buffs to specific classes.
  • [Holy Shock] will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • We want to ease off the defensive capabilities of Retribution and Holy paladins slightly. We think the powerful paladin defenses have been one of the things holding Retribution paladins back, especially in Arenas. One change we’re considering is lowering Divine Shield’s duration by a couple of seconds. Having said that, Retribution does pretty well in Battlegrounds, and Battlegrounds will be a much bigger focus in Cataclysm since they can provide the best PvP rewards. Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.
  • We feel Retribution paladins need one more mechanic which involves some risk of the player pushing the wrong button, making the rotation a bit less forgiving. In addition, we want to add to this spec more PvP utility. Right now the successes of the Retribution paladin in PvP seem to be reduced to either doing decent burst damage, or just being good at staying alive.
  • We want to increase the duration of [Sacred Shield] to 30 minutes and keep the limit to one target. The intention is that the paladin can use it on their main healing target. That said, we would like to improve the Holy paladin toolbox and niche so that they don’t feel quite like the obvious choice for tank healing while perceived as a weak group healer.
  • We want to add to the Holy tree a nice big heal to correspond with Greater Heal. [Flash of Light] remains a fast heal, but will be more expensive to justify the cast speed. [Holy Light] will be the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. [Beacon of Light] needs to be changed so that its benefit is letting the paladin heal two targets at once, not letting the paladin get two heals for the mana cost of one. It’s intended to save GCDs and targeting time, not mana.
  • Holy paladins will use spirit as their mana regeneration stat.
  • Protection paladins need a different rotation between single-target and multi-target tanking. Likewise, we're looking to add the necessity to use an additional cooldown in each rotation.
  • [Holy Shield] will no longer have charges. It will be designed to improve block chance while active, and will continue to provide a small amount of damage and threat.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Holy
  1. Healing
  2. Meditation
  3. Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more.
Protection
  1. Damage Reduction
  2. Vengeance
  3. Block Amount: We want to keep the kit of the paladin as a tank who blocks a lot. So by contrast, the warrior tank will sometimes get critical blocks, but the paladin will absorb more damage with normal blocks.
Retribution
  1. Melee Damage
  2. Melee Critical Damage
  3. Holy Damage: Any attack that does Holy damage will have its damage increased.
Vengeance
This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn't fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character's un-buffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree. These values will be smaller at lower levels. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today – there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we're looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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Clarifications

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Paladin | 2010-04-14 17:02 | Nethaera
Here's a bit more clarification on some of these changes. Also, please keep in mind that this is merely a preview and we'll still have more to go in testing up to and including any other changes that aren't listed here in the preview.

We've updated the Flash of Light reference to make it a bit more clear in the original post as follows.

  • Flash of Light remains a fast heal, but will be more expensive to justify the cast speed. Holy Light will be the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light needs to be changed so that its benefit is letting the paladin heal two targets at once, not letting the paladin get two heals for the mana cost of one. It’s intended to save GCDs and targeting time, not mana.

In addition we’re changing the paladin heal design to match that of the other healers. Holy Light is the middle heal. It’s very efficient, but not particularly fast and doesn’t have a lot of throughput. Flash of Light will be the faster heal that costs more mana. (Currently paladins sort of flip the model around by having a fast, efficient heal.) Holy paladins can talent into an additional heal that is like a giant Holy Light. It might take three of these big heals (or two crits) to get a tank from death’s door back to 100% health.

Currently on live, Beacon of Light is a tool that allows paladins to target more than just the main tank. In Cataclysm if it just doubles their healing, it is going to be overpowered. We have two ways we might handle this and we’ll experiment to see which feels better. The first is that Beacon only works on some heals, such as Flash of Light or Holy Light (but not the big one). An alternative idea is that Beacon increases the mana cost of a heal cast on a beaconed target, since you’re essentially getting a double heal. Under this model, Beacon itself would cost no mana.

Also on the live realms currently, paladins have huge mana pools and massive throughput. The trade-off is that they are excellent single target healers and much weaker in other roles. We want paladins to be slightly more interchangeable with other healers. In Cataclysm, you should be able to have a Holy priest on the tank and a Holy paladin on the raid. We’re not sure we’ll back off of the current healing roles completely, but we definitely want to add more breadth to those whose roles are currently too narrow.

As for the Guardian of Ancient Kings. First, it's important to understand that this is not a pet nor does it have a pet bar associated with it. Second, it's also not meant to last for very long. So, it's not a pet in the traditional sense. It's a friend in need when you need it, but not a permanent companion.

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Paladin | 2010-04-14 17:57 | Nethaera
Things are going to be a bit vague yet since many ideas (as you can read in the preview and my follow-up) are still ideas that we want to try out. Also, from reading the various posts in all of the class previews, we're running into a few misunderstandings that will hopefully clear up with time and additional information. One of those misunderstandings is in regard to certain abilities either being perceived as too PvP centric or not PvP centric enough. We'll do what we can to correct these perceptions and expand upon this information as we go along. There is a fine balance being done that is looking at creating a variety of tools for each class that are neither purely situational nor a part of every rotation.

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Priest

General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Priest | 2010-04-08 06:57 | Zarhym
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we'll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you'll get an early look at some of the changes in store for the priest class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, as well as an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New Priest Spells

[Heal] (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the "new" Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making [Flash Heal] the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest's go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

[Mind Spike] (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn't have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting [Mind Flay] on a target afflicted with [Shadow Word: Pain]. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don't intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown.

[Inner Will] (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with [Inner Fire], meaning you can't have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

[Leap of Faith] (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or "Life Grip") is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can't seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to introducing new spells, we're planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you're familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).
  • We want to bring back [Shadow Word: Death] as an "execute" -- something you do when the target is at 25% health.
  • While we want to keep the priest's role as a well-rounded healer, we also want to make sure the class is a viable tank healer, which is something priests moved away from a little in Wrath of the Lich King. Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we've also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage.
  • [Divine Spirit] and [Prayer of Spirit] will be removed from the game. As Spirit will be the primary mana-regeneration stat, we don't want it to vary as much between solo, small group, and raid play. [Blessing of Kings] and [Mark of the Wild] will not boost Spirit either.
  • Mana will be a bigger consideration for all healers. We aren't trying to make healing more painful; we're trying to make it more fun. When the cost of a spell isn't an issue, then casting the right spell for the job is less of an issue because you might as well just use your most powerful spell all of the time. We are, however, getting rid of the five-second rule, because we don't want to encourage standing around doing nothing. We're also going to cut back on the benefits of buffs such as Replenishment so priests (and all healers) don't feel as penalized when those buffs aren't available.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • We want to improve Discipline's single-target healing capacity. One key is to make sure shielding isn't always a more attractive option than healing.
  • We want to improve Holy for PvP healing. One way to do this is to make sure that Heal's throughput is similar between both specs.
  • We want to improve Shadow for short fights and reduce its susceptibility to school lockouts.
  • Discipline will finally be getting Power Word: Barrier as a talented ability. Think of it like a group Power Word: Shield.
  • We want to make Holy a little bit more interesting to play. One new talent will push the Holy priest into an improved healing state when he or she casts Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The empowered state varies depending on the heals cast.
  • Since the Shadow tree has a lot of passive damage-boosting abilities -- something we're trying to avoid in Cataclysm -- we will need to replace several of the tree's talents. One idea is to play off of the new Shadow Orbs mechanic (see Mastery section below), possibly allowing you to consume an orb to increase damage from Mind Blast or reduce Mind Spike's cast time.
  • Misery will no longer affect spell Hit chance. We want players to be able to gear themselves around a Hit cap that isn't variable depending on group composition.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Discipline
  1. Healing
  2. Meditation
  3. Absorption: Improves the strength of shields such as Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Barrier.
Holy
  1. Healing
  2. Meditation
  3. Radiance: Your direct heals add a small heal-over-time component to the target.
Shadow
  1. Spell damage
  2. Spell Crit
  3. Shadow Orbs: Casting spells grants a chance for Shadow Orbs to be created that fly around you and increase your shadow damage. This will help lower-level characters feel more like "Shadow priests" before they obtain Shadowform.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we're looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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Clarifications

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Re: Cataclysm Class Preview: Priest | 2010-04-08 07:30 | Ghostcrawler
A few quick clarifications:

Neither [Inner Fire] nor [Inner Will] has charges. The decision is on which armor you want up at the time.

Preventing dot clipping is something we want to do in general. It obviously benefits Shadow priests just as much as warlocks.

The idea behind [Mind Spike] is that you can't always settle into your normal, and high-ramp up rotation. It's also useful when you have to move or get school locked.

The closest analogue to [Power Word: Barrier] is the DK [Anti-Magic Zone], but it has some important differences, such as a way to counter it in PvP (since it absorbs all damage, not just magical damage).

The idea behind the Holy "cast three in a row" talent (it's called "Chakra") is that we've always positioned Holy as a versatile healer. This talent lets you shift into different modes. If you need to be a tank healer, cast three single target heals and your single-target healing is now better. Cast three area heals, and you can be a temporarily specialized group healer. We're going to try to play this mechanic up with a cool UI to try to get that "I'm almost in the zone" feel. We'll let it apply to as many types of spells as we can, perhaps even Smite for those times when nobody's taking damage.

We pulled Misery because we are pulling every group benefit that improves hit. It's annoying to have to swap your gear in and out depending on who shows up for your group. In general we're going to push even harder in Cataclysm for bringing people you like to play with, not bringing people who have awesome buffs. The answer to almost every question of "But why would they bring me?" should be "Because you know what the hell you're doing."

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Re: Cataclysm Class Preview: Priest | 2010-04-08 19:03 | Zarhym
A few points of clarification:
  • We've seen some confusion about Mind Spike. The intention is that you can’t always get your full DoTs up on a target in time before it’s dead. Shadow priests sometimes aren’t sure what to do on, for example, a fight where a boss suddenly spawns an add that you’re supposed to quickly burn down and then go back to the main boss. Mind Spike is what you do to that add. As a rule of thumb, if it’s going to die in under 15 seconds, then go with Mind Spike. Otherwise get your DoTs up and go into your longer rotation.
  • The movement speed from Inner Will stacks with the boot speed bonus. It won’t stack with some movement buffs like say Body and Soul.
  • We know a lot of people are looking for answers about Lightwell. We're reviewing the talent and spell functionality, but do not have any details to share as of yet regarding its future.

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Rogue

General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Priest | 2010-04-09 06:57 | Bashiok
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we'll be making several changes to class talents and abilities across the board. Here, you'll get a glimpse at what's in store for the rogue class, including a look the new high-level abilities and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the rogue's different talent specs.

New Rogue Abilities

[Redirect] (available at level 81): Rogues will be getting a new ability to help them deal with changing targets. Redirect will transfer any active combo points to the rogue's current target, helping to ensure combo points aren't wasted when swapping targets or when targets die. In addition, self-buff abilities like [Slice and Dice] will no longer require a target, so rogues can spend extra combo points on those types of abilities (more on this below). Redirect will have a 1-minute cooldown and no other costs.

[Combat Readiness] (level 83): Combat Readiness is a new ability that we intend rogues to trigger defensively. While this ability is active, whenever the rogue is struck by a melee or ranged attack, he or she will gain a stacking buff called Combat Insight that results in a 10% reduction in damage taken. Combat Insight will stack up to 5 times and the timer will be refreshed whenever a new stack is applied. Our goal is to make rogues better equipped to go toe-to-toe with other melee classes when [Evasion] or stuns are not in play. This ability lasts 6 seconds and has a 2-minute cooldown.

[Smoke Bomb] (level 85): The rogue drops a Smoke Bomb, creating a cloud that interferes with enemy targeting. Enemies who are outside the cloud will find themselves unable to target units inside the cloud with single-target abilities. Enemies can move inside the cloud to attack, or they can use area-of-effect (AoE) abilities at any time to attack opponents in a cloud. In PvP, this will open up new dimensions of tactical positional gameplay, as the ability offers a variety of offensive and defensive uses. In PvE, Smoke Cloud can serve to shield your group from hostile ranged attacks, while also drawing enemies closer without the need to rely on conventional line-of-sight obstructions. Smoke Cloud lasts 10 seconds and has a 3-minute cooldown.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

We're also planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you're already familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we want for each spec.

  • In PvP, we want to reduce the rogue's dependency on binary cooldowns and "stun-locks," and give them more passive survivability in return. One major change is that we'll put [Cheap Shot] on the same diminishing return as other stuns. The increase to Armor and Stamina on cloth, leather, and mail gear will help with this goal as well.
  • In PvE, even accounting for active modifiers like Slice and Dice and [Envenom], a very large portion of the rogue's damage is attributable to passive sources of damage. Yes, they are using abilities for the entire duration of a fight, but we want to reduce the percentage of rogue damage that comes from auto-attacks and poisons. More of their damage will be coming from active abilities and special attacks.
  • We would like to improve the rogue leveling experience. Positional attacks and DoT-ramping mechanics will be de-emphasized at low levels and then re-introduced at higher levels for group gameplay. We are also providing rogues with a new low-level ability, [Recuperate], to convert combo points into a small heal-over-time (HoT).
  • To complement the change to combo points, non-damage abilities such as Recuperate and Slice and Dice will no longer have target requirements and can be used with any of the rogue's existing combo points, including combo points remaining on recently killed targets. This will not affect damage abilities, which will still require combo points to be present on the specific target you want to damage. To coincide with this, the UI will be updated so that rogues know how many combo points they have active.
  • [Ambush] will now work with all weapons, but will have a reduced coefficient when not using a dagger. When opening from Stealth, all rogues will be able to choose from burst damage, DoT abilities, or a stun.
  • As we've done recently with some of the Subtlety abilities, we want to make sure more rogue abilities aren't overly penalized by weapon choice. With a few exceptions (like Backstab), you should be able to use a dagger, axe, mace, sword, or fist weapon without being penalized for most attacks.
  • [Deadly Throw] and [Fan of Knives] will now use the weapon in the ranged slot. In addition, we hope to allow rogues to apply poisons to their throwing weapons.
  • We are very happy with [Tricks of the Trade] as a general mechanic and as a way to give rogues more group utility, but we don't want it to account for as much threat transfer as it does now.

New Talents and Talent Changes

In Cataclysm, the overall feel of each of the rogue's talent trees will change, as we would like each tree to have a clearly defined niche and purpose. The talent details below are meant to give you an idea of what we're going for.

  • Assassination will be more about daggers, poisons, and burst damage.
  • Combat will be all about swords, maces, fist weapons, axes, and being engaged toe-to-toe with your enemies. A Combat rogue will be able to survive longer without needing to rely on Stealth and evasion mechanics.
  • The Subtlety tree will primarily be based around utilizing Stealth, openers, finishers, and survivability. It'll be about daggers, too, but less so than Assassination.
  • In general, Subtlety rogues needs to do more damage than they do today, and the other trees need to have more tools.
  • Weapon-specialization talents (for all classes, not just rogues) are going away. We do not want you to have to respec when you get a different weapon. Interesting talents, such as Hack and Slash, will work with all weapons. Boring talents, such as Mace Specialization and Close Quarters Combat, will be going away.
  • The Assassination and Combat talent trees currently have a lot of passive bonuses. We plan to dial back the amount of Critical Strike Rating provided by these trees so that rogues still want it on their gear.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Assassination
  1. Melee damage
  2. Melee critical damage
  3. Poison damage
Combat
  1. Melee damage
  2. Melee Haste
  3. Harder-hitting combo-point generators
Subtlety
  1. Melee damage
  2. Armor Penetration
  3. Harder-hitting finishers

The initial tier of rogue Mastery bonuses will be very similar between the trees. However, the deeper that a player goes into any tree, the more specialized and beneficial the Masteries will be to the play style for that spec. Assassination will have better poisons than the other two specs. Combat will have very steady and consistent overall damage. Subtlety will have strong finishers.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we're looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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Shaman

General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Shaman | 2010-04-07 16:00 | Nethaera
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we'll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you'll get an early look at some of the changes in store for the shaman class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New Shaman Spells

[Primal Strike] (available at level 3): Primal Strike is a new weapon-based attack that every shaman will learn very early in the game. Our goal with this ability is to make leveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fairly high levels.

[Healing Wave] (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we're adding another spell to the class's direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed [Greater Healing Wave], and the intent is for the 'new" Healing Wave to be the shaman's go-to heal. [Lesser Healing Wave] and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

[Unleash Elements] (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable.

Here are a few examples of effects we're considering for this ability:

  • [Windfury Weapon] – Hurls a spectral version of your weapon at a target, dealing 50% weapon damage and increasing the shaman's Haste for the next five swings.
  • [Flametongue Weapon] – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman's next Fire attack by 20%.
  • [Earthliving Weapon] – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman's next healing spell by 20%.

[Healing Rain] (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

[Spiritwalker's Grace] (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it's necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to adding new spells, we're planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you're familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • Restoration shaman and other healing classes will need to pay attention to mana more than they've had to during Wrath of the Lich King. Spirit will be the Restoration shaman's primary mana-regeneration stat.
  • We're making changes to which classes and specs are able to dispel magic, diseases, curses, and poison, largely for PvP purposes. Shaman will have [Cleanse Spirit] as a baseline ability, but it will only remove curses. Restoration shaman will have a talent that will improve Cleanse Spirit so that it also removes magic. Shaman will no longer be able to remove poison.
  • [Cleansing Totem] will be removed from the game, as we want dispels to be a decision for players, not something done mindlessly. To that end, all dispels will cost slightly more mana, and you will waste the spell if you cast it when there is nothing to remove. (Currently, the dispel is only cast when there is something to remove, which encourages spamming 'just in case.") We will balance PvE dispelling with this new model in mind.
  • [Totem of Wrath] now will replace [Flametongue Totem] for all shaman, and dropping this totem will buff the group's spell power by 4%. Elemental shaman will have a talent that lets all Fire totems provide +10% spell power, allowing them to drop [Searing Totem], [Magma Totem], or [Fire Elemental Totem] without losing their spell-damage buff. The 4% and 10% buffs will be exclusive with each other and with the warlock's [Demonic Pact], so you can't benefit from all of them at once. We're also considering letting Elemental drop Searing Totem at range.
  • We want to free up Enhancement global cooldowns to make the spec more dynamic to play. We're considering, for example, increasing the cooldown of [Lava Lash] so shaman have time to work other interesting abilities into their rotation.

New Talents and Talent Changes

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Elemental
  1. Spell damage
  2. Spell Crit
  3. Elemental Overload: Your direct-damage spells have a chance to proc a less powerful 'bonus" version of the spell. This will work much like the current Lightning Overload talent, but would also apply to Lava Burst.
Enhancement
  1. Melee damage
  2. Melee Haste
  3. Nature Damage: This will provide a passive bonus to the Nature damage dealt by the Enhancement shaman.
Restoration
  1. Healing
  2. Meditation: The amount of mana you regenerate in combat as a function of your Spirit.
  3. Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target's health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.

Also of note, you only get one set of passive talent tree bonuses: the tree in which you’ve spent the most points. Sub-speccing in another tree will not net you those bonuses in addition.

Last but not least, it's the intention of Primal Strike to let shaman play as an Enhancement at low levels. Currently when leveling in this spec, you end up just using Lightning Bolt a lot so you feel like an Elemental shaman instead. At a higher level, Primal Strike gets replaced by Storm Strike. They share a cooldown so Enhancement just won’t ever use Primal Strike after that, in the same way that Prot warriors don’t use Sunder Armor once they have Devastate or Feral druids don’t use Claw once they get Mangle.[1]

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we're looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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Q&A

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Re: Cataclysm Class Preview: Shaman | 2010-04-07 19:21 | Nethaera
We know there are a lot of additional questions and we'll do our best to answer what we can. Keep in mind, this is merely a preview of things to come.
Will Maelstrom Weapon include Lava Burst?
That’s the plan currently.
How can Elemental Overload proc Lava Burst when Lava Burst already hits so hard in PvP?
We’re going to change almost every number in Cataclysm to adjust for everything from single ranks of spells to larger health pools to new combat ratings. With much higher health pools, hopefully burst damage will go back to being a tool and not the only way to win matches.
What happens to the Lightning Overload talent?
It provides a bonus to Elemental Overload.
Elemental doesn’t want to drop Searing Totem at range. We want to drop Magma Totem.
Searing Totem needs to do more single-target damage than Magma. That said, if we’re happy with the ability to occasionally place totems at range there is no reason it couldn’t apply to any totem. Imagine, “After using this spell, the next totem you drop will appear at the feet of your target.”
Will Elemental have to spend talent points just to get the Spirit to hit conversion?
It will be bundled with another attractive talent, such as Elemental Precision.
Will Unleash Weapon work with Frostbrand?
Yes. We just provided some examples.
Is Healing Rain channeled?
No, it's not a channeled spell.
Is Earthquake channeled?
Probably, but we’ll see.
Will Unleashed Weapon consume your enchants?
No.
Does the 10% spell power buff from Elemental scale with the shaman or the target’s spell power?
It will scale with the target the same as Demonic Pact and other buffs that bring the same benefit.
Are you supporting two-handed weapons for Enhancement?
Once you start to get into the dual-wield talents, then Enhancement is a dual-wield tree.
You didn’t address Enhancement survivability or mobility or X and Y!
This was just a preview and is not a comprehensive list of every change. Much more will be revealed in beta and much will change during beta.
You didn’t answer the most important shaman question! What about [Sentry Totem]?
The Cataclysm is a time of great upheaval. Deathwing’s return to Azeroth tore a hole in the fabric of the universe that tragically resulted in the ultimate and irrevocable destruction of all Sentry Totems. Level designers are contemplating a shrine for the Sentry Totem near that of Uther the Lightbringer. We know shaman players will greet this news with grief, but as with all class changes we’ll have to get into beta before anything is final.
Please make the "nature damage" for the enhance tree "elemental damage" so our bonus for putting points in isn't only affecting our nature damage.
We actually went with Nature damage for that reason. We thought all Elemental damage might end up just feeling like “damage.”; Since Nature damage is only a portion of your damage, choosing between an item with say haste versus mastery (i.e. Nature damage) might be more interesting. With a lot of mastery, you might actually favor other talents or different spell rotations. All of this just theoretical at this point and the passive talent tree bonuses are likely to see much iteration in beta.

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Warlock

Unexpected addition

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2010-06-11 01:16 | Ghostcrawler
Trolls and dwarves can be warlocks. It's official.

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Soul Shards

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0. [BlizzCon 09] Classes, Items, and Professions | 2009-08-22 00:47 | Wryxian
The soul shard system is receiving a massive revamp, and will now become a core feature of the warlock class. Soul shards will no longer act as an inventory item, but rather exist as a resource, and appear below the warlock's health and mana bar. A new spell, Soul Burn, will be the only warlock ability to cost a soul shard, and will empower most of your other spells to behave differently. For instance, when combined with Fear it causes the spell to become instant. Other examples include: guaranteeing your Searing Pain spell three critical hits, increased horror effect and additional healing from Death Coil, and instant summoning from your summon demon spell. Soul shards will regenerate quickly upon leaving combat, and you may also be able to use drain soul as a "soul shard evocation."

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General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview - Warlock | 2010-04-07 19:52 | Zarhym
In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, warlocks will receive changes to their class talents and abilities. Outlined below are some of these changes. Keep in mind that this is an early preview and that these modifications are still under development, so you may see further adjustments to the listed changes as we get closer to launch. That said, here is a first look at these new warlock spells and abilities!

New Warlock Spells

[Fel Flame] (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability [Frostfire Bolt], in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of [Immolate] and [Unstable Affliction]. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that's good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.

[Dark Intent] (level 83): Increases the target's chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.

[Demon Soul] (level 85): Fuses the warlock's soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.

Soul Shard Overhaul

This major change regarding Soul Shards was previously announced at BlizzCon 2009. Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat. Soul Shards will not be required outside of combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells. Soul Burn has no mana or health costs and is off the global cooldown. Planned secondary effects are outlined here.

  • Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.
  • [Drain Life] + Soul Burn = Reduces cast speed by 60%.
  • Demonic Circle + Soul Burn = Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds after teleporting.
  • [Unstable Affliction] + Soul Burn = Instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its effect.
  • [Soul Fire] + Soul Burn = Instant cast.
  •  [Healthstone] + Soul Burn = Increases total health by 20% for 8 seconds.
  • [Searing Pain] + Soul Burn = Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.

Next you will find a list of some of the warlock spell and talent changes for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes, but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

  • All warlock damage-over-time (DoT) spells will benefit from crit and haste innately. Haste will no longer act to reduce the DoT's duration, but rather to add additional ticks. When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer "clip" the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how [Everlasting Affliction] currently works.
  • Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom will be converted into [Bane of Agony] and [Bane of Doom]. Bane spells are considered magic instead of curses. This means you will be able to cast one Bane (e.g. Bane of Agony) and one Curse (e.g. Curse of Elements) on a single target.
  • [Hellfire] will no longer deal damage to the warlock.
  • Imps will lose [Fire Shield], but will gain a new ability, Burning Ember, which is a stacking DoT.
  • The succubus melee range will be increased. The succubus will no longer have [Soothing Kiss], but will instead have [Whiplash], which knocks back all enemies within 8 yards.
  • Voidwalker [Torment] will do increased damage and generate a lot of area-of-effect (AoE) threat. [Suffering] will become a single-target taunt.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • [Pandemic] will now cause [Drain Soul] to refresh Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony on targets below 25% health.
  • The ability [Fel Domination] will be removed (because Soul Burn accomplishes the same effect).
  • Demonology will gain a new direct-damage spell, Demon Bolt. Demon Bolt will add a debuff that improves the damage done by the demon to the target.
  • We plan to add a new talent, [Impending Doom], which will give certain spells a chance to reduce the cooldown on [Metamorphosis] and Bane of Doom.
  • Metamorphosis will no longer be subject to demonic crowd control. Furthermore, abilities available only while under the effects of Metamorphosis will be altered to put more emphasis on the warlock's own spells.
  • [Shadowburn] will now do additional damage to targets below 25% health.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Affliction
  1. Spell Damage
  2. Spell Crit
  3. Shadow DoTs: The damage caused by Shadow damage-over-time spells is increased.
Demonology
  1. Spell Damage
  2. Spell Haste
  3. Demon Damage: The damage caused by pets and Metamorphosis is increased.
Destruction
  1. Spell Damage
  2. Spell Critical Damage
  3. Fire Direct Damage: The damage caused by Fire direct damage spells is increased.
Well that concludes this Cataclysm preview for the warlock class. The development of these changes will continue to evolve in the coming months. Please be sure to provide any feedback and thoughts you might have on what was covered here.

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Clarifications

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Re: Cataclysm Class Preview - Warlock | 2010-04-07 19:52 | Zarhym
Here are a few points of clarification on some of the popular questions or concerns we're seeing.
  • On regenerating shards in combat, we will add a mechanic to regen shards if we find that we need to in order to handle variable combat length. We haven’t added one yet because we really want to emphasize locks using shards at the right time and not as fast as they can with then an [Evocation]-like spell to bring them back again. These are supposed to be special moments in a fight -- think [Bloodlust] perhaps -- and not used every 20 seconds on cooldown (or whatever the cooldown ends up being).
  • Demon lovers, we haven’t ruled out adding a new demon, but we want to be very careful here. We’ve had a hard enough time finding niches for some of the current ones. So we first want to make sure existing demons are cool before we’re faced with Q&A several months from now asking why the new demon either isn’t cool enough, or why warlocks no longer use, say, their felhunter because of the new demon.
  • The intent for [Hellfire] is for it to be a specialty of Demonology warlocks. Affliction would use [Seed of Corruption] and Destruction would use [Rain of Fire].
  • Succubus details:
    • Whiplash works similar to Freeze on the mage’s Water Elemental. It requires a targeting reticule. It isn’t just a melee ability that the succubus uses at-will.
    • As a clarification, we are removing Soothing Kiss, not [Seduction]. Soothing Kiss increased the chance the target would attack something else. Seduction is the crowd control more commonly associated with the Succubus, and it’s not going anywhere. ;)
  • We did mean to cover doomguards and infernals, but they didn't make it into our preview. Our plan is that you can summon a doomguard or infernal as a cooldown-based pet, much like the shaman elementals, without having to give up your current, permanent demon. If we add a new demon it will likely be one of these cooldown-based ones, and not a permanent pet like the imp, voidwalker, succubus, felguard or felhunter. We’re just not convinced there is a niche for a new permanent demon (and perhaps not even a temporary one).
  • Flying mounts and female Metamorphosis forms are great ideas and something we’ve had on the wish list for a long time. We can only create so many new creatures during a single expansion, and getting one of these might mean fewer new creatures in outdoor worlds or dungeons. It’s just a trade-off and sometimes you have to make hard calls. We’ll keep them on the list though.
  • We do like the idea of allowing warlocks to re-skin their demons and have been talking about possible ways to implement this. I have no concrete information for you at this time beyond that.
  • When it comes to naming demons, this has always been one of those sacred cows, where the hunter gets to name their pet because he loves his pet bear, but the warlock considers the demon to be something disposable -- a tool.
  • The Demon Bolt debuff will only affect the warlock's demon, not other demons. We wanted a Demo-themed nuke that made it feel like the pet was part of the damage.
  • For Soul Shard bags, we will probably do something like remove all the shards, reduce the bag size (a little) and convert it to a normal bag. This would be a one-time conversion. We'll probably get rid of the recipes, as we wouldn't want other classes to go out and get shard bags just to get a free bag.

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Warrior

General preview

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Cataclysm Class Preview: Warrior | 2010-04-08 16:01 | Bornakk
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will bring with it several changes to class talents and abilities. Here you will get a glimpse into some of the changes we have in store for the warrior. The information you're about to read is not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview for some of the exciting new things to come.

Cataclysm Warrior Abilities

[Inner Rage] (Level 81): Reduces the cooldown of Heroic Strike and Cleave by 50% for 15 sec.

Gushing Wound (Level 83): (Removed) This ability will apply a bleed effect to the target. If the target moves, the bleed gains an extra stack and refreshes its duration, up to a maximum of three stacks. The ability is currently planned to have no cooldown, cost 10 Rage, and have a 9-second duration. Gushing Wound is designed to be weaker than Rend (warrior ability) with one stack, but better with three stacks, which will be reached when fighting a moving target.

[Heroic Leap] (Level 85): Leap through the air towards a targeted location, slamming down with destructive force to deal (1 + 0.5 * AP) damage on all enemies within 8 yards.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to learning new abilities, you'll see changes to other abilities and mechanics with which you're already familiar. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • [Heroic Strike] will no longer be an "on next swing" attack, as we are removing this mechanic in Cataclysm. To keep the niche of Heroic Strike as a Rage dump, it will become an instant attack, but will cost between 10 and 30 Rage. This ability will not be usable until you have 10 Rage, but if you have more than 10, it will consume up to 30, adding additional damage for each point of Rage consumed above the base 10. Other abilities, such as [Cleave], [Execute], and [Maul] (for druids) will work similarly. The goal is to provide players with an option where if you can't afford the Rage, you don't push the button, but if you have excess Rage, you can push it a lot.
  • [Battle Shout], [Commanding Shout], and possibly [Demoralizing Shout] will work more like the death knight's [Horn of Winter] ability. Specifically, these shouts will cost no resources, generate rage in addition to their current effects, and be on a short cooldown.
  • [Whirlwind] will hit an unlimited number of targets, but only for 50% of weapon damage. The intent is for this ability to be used in multi-target scenarios and not on single targets.
  • Overall, heals cast by players in Cataclysm will be a lower number relative to players' health than the current game. So to make the [Mortal Strike] debuff less mandatory but still useful in PvP, Mortal Strike will reduce healing by only 20%. All equivalent debuffs, including the Shadow priest and Frost mage debuffs, will be for 20% less healing. At the moment we aren't considering giving this debuff to anyone else, though we will certainly consider PvP utility for historically under-represented specs that use other mechanics.
  • [Sunder Armor] will be reduced to three stacks instead of five, and still provide only a 4% reduction in armor per stack. We want to make this debuff easier to apply and less of a damage swing when it falls off.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • The Furious Sundering talent in the Fury tree will make the Sunder Armor ability cause 25/50% weapon damage and reduce the threat generated by 50/100%.
  • The Mace and [Poleaxe Specialization] talents in the Arms tree will be removed. These provided just passive stats, which are not the kinds of talents we want to design in the future. We will keep the Sword Specialization talent, but it will be changed to a talent that applies to all types of weapons.
  • As a Fury talent, [Booming Voice] will increase the Rage generated by shouts.
  • While we like how [Titan's Grip] plays, we recognize some warriors liked the Fury tree because of the really fast swings that dual-wielding one-handed weapons could provide. Therefore, we're planning to try out a talent called [Single-Minded Fury] that is parallel to Titan's Grip and will provide a large boost to the damage of a pair of one-handed weapons.
  • Several talents that reduce the Rage cost of abilities will be changed to focus on increased damage for those abilities instead.
  • The new Arms talent called Disarming Nature will make successful disarms cause the target to cower in fear for 5/10 seconds.
  • Another new Arms talent called [Blitz] will make the [Charge] ability hit for extra damage. The amount will possibly vary depending on the distance travelled.
  • Improved Pummel (Removed), a Fury talent, will cause a successful interrupt to generate 10/20 Rage.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Arms
  1. Melee Damage
  2. Armor Penetration
  3. Bonus Swing: This is similar to the Sword Specialization talent that is currently in the game, but Bonus Swing will work on all attacks and with all weapons. You have a chance to proc a free, instant weapon swing that hits for 50% damage.
Fury
  1. Melee Damage
  2. Melee Haste
  3. Enrage Intensity: Every benefit of being enraged is increased. This includes doing more damage/healing/ etc. from abilities like Bloodrage, Death Wish, Enrage, Berserker Rage, and Enraged Regeneration.
Protection
  1. Damage Reduction
  2. Vengeance
  3. Critical Block Chance: As we mentioned in the stat changes preview, block rating is changing to a chance to block 30% of a melee swing's damage. Protection warriors have a chance that the block will be a critical block and block for 60% of a melee swing's damage instead. There will likely be talents available to push the amount blocked even higher.
Vengeance
This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn't fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character's un-buffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree. These values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Protection tree, so you won't see Arms or Fury warriors running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today – there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so their Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is for all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we're looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

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Q&A

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Re: Cataclysm Class Preview: Warrior | 2010-04-08 18:20 | Bornakk
Here are some follow ups based on what is being discussed.
Will the rotation for a Fury Warrior just be Bloodthirst and Slam with Heroic Strike to burn off rage?
We think Fury is going to end up needing another attack in there for single-target fights. Furious Sundering was intended more as having to Sunder being less of a penalty, but at only 3 stacks, it may not end up being a big deal and we don’t want Fury to feel like they have to purchase a talent that they may not always use. We don’t want Whirlwind to be a good button against single targets however. It essentially gets “free” damage against groups of targets when it’s effective at using against single targets. It’s okay if warriors still do more damage in fights where they can use Cleave and similar attacks often, but right now it’s too extreme.
Are one-handed Fury warriors going to be competing with rogues for one-handed weapons?
This is unlikely. Rogues and shaman will want one-handers with Agility, while warriors and death knights will want them with Strength. I won’t be surprised when one of these classes picks up the other’s weapon as it could be an upgrade simply based on the damage, but it won’t be optimal.
Why are warriors not getting some kind of AoE tanking tool?
We think the newly buffed Thunder Clap plus Shockwave are sufficient abilities for AoE tanking. The design of Vengeance should make sure that threat generation doesn’t start to slip behind as the dps characters gear up. It’s not our intention that tanks face a constant struggle to generate enough threat, even in group situations, but we also don’t want threat to be totally irrelevant either. The danger for tanking too many creatures should also be tank death not threat management.
Is only Sunder Armor being changed?
Rogue Expose Armor and other abilities that apply a similar debuff are being changed accordingly. They will all provide the same debuff at 12% armor reduction.
What about rage loss when changing stances?
We still want the act of changing stances to require more consideration than just clicking two buttons to use the ability you want. One idea we are going to explore is that you don’t lose rage when you change stances, but you won’t gain additional rage for a short period of time after changing. This lets you say swap to do an Execute without losing your rage bar, but still keeps the idea that shifting constantly comes with inherent efficiency risks.
Is the intent of Gushing Wound that warriors constantly ask for targets to be kited around?
No, it’s intended to be a bonus when you’re in an encounter where the target either moves around a lot (Ex. BONNNNE STORMMMM-ing Marrowgar) or just has to be moved around a lot (say Lich King). Warriors shouldn’t have the expectation of forcing every PvE opponent to move but it would be entertaining to watch this (from a third party perspective). :)

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Q&A with Ghostcrawler

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Re: Cataclysm Class Preview: Warrior | 2010-04-08 07:56 | Ghostcrawler
You said nothing to address the vastly different ways 1-handers will generate rage compared to 2-handers and how you will close the damage gap between them.

Are you talking about Arms vs. Fury? That's not that hard. Arms can have a talent to let them generate more rage with a two-hander or require less rage for their attacks.

Are you talking about 2H Fury vs. 1H Fury? The Single-Minded Fury talent could literally say "Your one-handed weapons do damage as if they were two-handed weapons." The talent gives us a dial and we can tune it up or down for whatever we need.

It's much easier to make dual-wielding one-handers and dual-wielding two-handers do equitable damage than it is to make dual-wielding one-handers and using a single two-hander do equitable damage, if that makes sense.

Why? Both I can understand, but why exclude threat management? Why is tank death more engaging than threat management? The former primarily involves one or maybe two members of the group, the latter is engaging to everyone.

I understand the appeal of threat management from a logical sense, and your point about it being engaging to everyone is compelling, but in application we find that it's one of those things that a lot of players just don't find fun. The UI doesn't do a great job of explaining threat, and even if we could build a UI to portray it in a more exciting way (which to be fair, we probably could) it's still a pretty intangible concept compared to damage and healing so I'm not sure it would feel great even then.

Many DPS players don't like the mechanic that there's this higher level of damage they could achieve if only they weren't constantly being throttled by this one dude up in front. It often ends up feeling not like the group is overcoming a challenge together, but that the dude in front needs to get his act together. It just makes tanks feel weak. When the raid dies because the boss hammered the tank, then that feels cooperative because it's the raid vs. the boss. When the raid wipes because the warlock got aggro, then it feels like it's the tank vs. the warlock (or maybe the raid vs. the warlock or the raid vs. the tank).

We always see a lot of negative feedback from tanks when they feel like they can't hold aggro. To be sure some of that is relative when the warrior sees the paladin generate more threat, but it's also a pretty constant source of friction for tanks when they feel like they don't have the tools they need for the job. You can write that off as casuals who just want free epics, but I think we see "we can't generate enough threat" feedback more than we see "please nerf this boss; he's too hard" feedback.

Really, we're talking about relative degrees though. No warrior tank should be able to Thunder Clap and then go get a beer because they're going to then maintain aggro no matter what. In the situations where that happens today I think it's because of overtuned abilities like Tricks or Misdirect (or sometimes tank abilities themselves).

Perhaps put more succinctly, a lot of tank players just seem to find the survival game more fun than the threat game.

I know that's slightly off topic, but I respect Vontre's opinions and wanted to go into a little more detail.

They should've just combined the three specializations into one from the start rather than remove Poleaxe and Mace spec's entirely. I'm sorry, but Blizzard, you screwed us on this one. Both Poleaxe and Mace spec's gave us more DPS than the extra swing proc from Sword spec and you nerfed that by screwing with its proc.

I'm sure we'll end up saying similar things several times this week, but if it helps, imagine that every number in the game either doubles or gets divided by half at random. In other words, you don't know how much damage or even how much crit a (theoretical, since we're curtting it) Poleaxe spec talent would provide you anymore. You don't know whether cutting it is a buff or a nerf. Since you aren't armed with that information, all you can really provide is whether the chance to get an extra swing is more fun than a talent that just increases your damage.

I can understand some of the confusion. When we do patches like 3.3 or even 3.3.3 then it makes sense to view everything through the lens of the current status quo. This isn't one of those patches. You are gaining more levels. Stats are changing. Many things are changing. Don't assume that numbers that we don't strictly call out will stay at all the same. In fact, you can probably assume the opposite. :)

Mechanics probably will stay the same unless specified otherwise. For example, you don't need to go as far as to say "Who knows if warriors will even use axes in Cataclysm?" They almost certainly will. But speculating on whether axe spec or sword spec would cause more damage in Cataclysm is fraught with risk.

To clarify, will Inner Rage only affect the rage cost of abilities if we are at 100%? If so I see this only as a plus. I read it as such, meaning it would only affect the one ability used when at 100% rage and would only come up if we were constantly hitting 100% again and again.

Inner Rage isn't supposed to feel kiss / curse. It's supposed to feel like a limit break or similar video game analogy. When I get to 100 rage, I go into overdrive mode and cause even more damage. Rather than hitting max rage being a problem (because I'm wasting resources I could be gaining) it's something fun instead.

We put in some of that extra explanation because we don't want warriors to feel like the right way to play is to do nothing until they have 100 rage and then start having fun. It's supposed to feel like getting a string of crits or eating a big hit or something translate into higher damage for a short time.

So if I'm understanding this correctly. Single-minded fury will basically turn a 1H into a 2H. So a 1H's weapon speed will get slowed down and the damage ranged increased, and maybe the stats on it increased as well. I guess that's the only way it'll work otherwise you'll see a lot of fury complaints saying I have to go 2H cause 1H spec sucks or vice versa.

No, the whole point is to get to use the faster one-handed weapons. The talent just needs to boost the damage so that it feels competitive with Titan's Grip.

References

  1. ^ Nethaera 2010-04-07. Re: Cataclysm Class Preview: Shaman. Archived from the original on 2010-10-22. Retrieved on 2010-04-08.