World of Warcraft: Legion Class Previews Reviewed (Part 2)
Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
Today, we continue from where we left off last week on Legion Class Previews Reviewed (Part 1). Be sure to check that post out first if you have not done so already. Before I begin, here is a little introduction:
All last week, Blizzard released information regarding class changes coming to World of Warcraft with the release of the Legion expansion. Now, these were only previews of what is to come, but there were plenty of details laid out for how the classes will improve, or change, when the big expansion update hits. In this mini-series of posts, I will do an overview of each class preview and occasionally provide my thoughts on what has been done.
Note: Do keep in mind that the information that follows is only a glimpse at the capabilities of the classes in Legion. All information is subject to change.
In Legion, the World of Warcraft developers seek to strengthen the identities of the game’s 11 classes. To do this, they are putting a lot of focus on the “core fantasy” of each class and their respective specializations. This will mean that some specs will only be streamlined, some specs will be modified to emphasize their unique themes, and other specs will be redesigned to gain an identity that previously didn’t exist or was missing. The intention is to ensure that each spec has an identity, as well as fills a unique aspect of a classes core themes. For today’s post, I shall cover the Warlock, Death Knight, Shaman, and Warrior.
We shall begin today’s previews review with my other primary class, the Warlock. Last week, I mentioned that I mainly played the Paladin class, but at the start of The Burning Crusade I began a journey as a Blood Elf Affliction Warlock. I would later make another Paladin, because I enjoyed the gameplay provided by the Retribution spec.
The Warlock class, in general, has always had very well defined themes. While Demonology has lost its identity in the last couple expansions, Affliction and Destruction have remained focused on the aspects that best represents them. In Legion, the WoW developers are making Mana and Soul Shards standard across all specializations in an attempt to reduce the cumbersome and confusing nature of having multiple resources. Additionally, each specialization is being tweaked to put greater focus on their unique gameplay elements.
For as far back as I can recall, Affliction has always been about dealing damage with DoTs (damage-over-time effects). As each new expansion has rolled out, the WoW developers have attempted to mix in some different abilities and gimmicks into the Affliction arsenal, but it hasn’t always panned out. In Legion, Affliction is being reworked to place a greater emphasis on dealing damage with DoTs, and multi-dotting. Let’s check out the baseline abilities.
3% Mana, 40 yard range, Instant cast
Corrupts the target, causing moderate Shadow damage over 14 sec.
Comment: This would be the Warlock’s traditional DoT making a return. Though, it will no longer be the spec’s primary source of Soul Shards, AND it has lost 4 seconds on its base duration. I don’t see how the duration loss will aid with multi-dotting.
3% Mana, 40 yard range, Instant cast
Inflicts increasing agony on the target, causing huge Shadow damage over 18 seconds. Damage starts low and increases over the duration. Refreshing Agony maintains its current damage level. Agony has a chance to generate a Soul Shard when it deals damage.
Comment: Agony is now the Affliction spec’s source of Soul Shards. Before Legion, Afflictions could only gain Soul Shards from the most recent Corruption, but now Soul Shards can be earned from any Agony that has been placed on an enemy.
- Unstable Affliction
1 Soul Shard, 40 yard range, 1.5 second cast
An especially insidious affliction that deals strong Shadow damage over 8 seconds. If the target dies, the Soul Shard will be refunded. If Unstable Affliction is dispelled, the dispeller suffers strong Shadow damage and is silenced for 4 seconds.
Comment: Unstable Affliction appears to have replaced Haunt as the Affliction spec’s primary Soul Shard consuming ability. This keeps the spec focused solely on dealing damage with DoTs, but now, like Corruption, Unstable Affliction no longer fits the multi-dotting design due to an 8 second duration.
- Drain Life
3% Mana plus 4800 per second, 40 yard range, Channeled
Drains life from the target, causing moderate Shadow damage and restoring 18% of the caster’s health over 6 seconds. Damage is increased by 50% for each application of Corruption, Agony , and Unstable Affliction on the target.
Comment: While I’ve seen many Affliction users crying out to the WoW developers to give them Shadow Bolt as their main filler spell, it is pretty obvious that their desires always fall on deaf ears. Thus brings us to Drain Life, the main filler spell for Affliction.
- Mastery: Potent Afflictions
Increases the damage of Agony, Corruption, and Unstable Affliction by 62.5%.
Comment: While I’m not surprised by the lack of imagination here, how hard would it have been to create a mastery bonus that is more compelling than “increases your damage”?
- Talent: Contagion
(Passive) After cast Unstable Affliction, you can cast a second one for free within 3 seconds.
Comment: This would be a cool talent to take that would allow multi-dotting with Unstable Affliction.
The most significant change made to the Demonology Warlock is the removal of Metamorphosis. I think I can safely say that everyone should have expected this change. If you were expecting Warlocks to keep Metamorphosis, even after the announcement of the Demon Hunter, then you are either overly optimistic, or not particularly observant. This change isn’t all bad, though. The WoW developers have made a point of putting greater focus on the calling forth of demons, and maintaining a cluster of different beasts at one time. Let us review.
- Shadow Bolt
6% Mana, 40 yard range, 2.5 second cast
Sends a shadowy bolt at the enemy, causing minor Shadow damage. Generates 1 Soul Shard.
Comment: Oh, look! The very thing that Affliction players have been asking for…
- Call Dreadstalkers
2 Soul Shards, 40 yard range, 2 second cast, 15 second cooldown
Summons 2 ferocious Dreadstalkers to attack the target for 12 seconds.
Comment: This sounds like a cool ability designed to really cement the fantasy around the Demonology Warlock. I would probably play this spec for this ability alone… if I had any desire to play WoW again.
- Hand of Gul’dan
1 to 5 Soul Shards, 40 yards range, 1.5 second cast
Calls down a demonic meteor full of Wild Imps which burst forth to attack the target for 12 seconds. Deals Shadow damage to all enemies within 8 yards, and summons a Wild Imp for each Soul Shard consumed.
Comment: This ability is pretty crazy. Depending on how quickly a Warlock is able to recover lost Soul Shards, the number of Wild Imps could get out of hand. Oooo, accidental pun.
- Demonic Empowerment
6% Mana, 1.5 second cast, 12 second recharge, 3 charges
Empowers up to 3 of your active demons, prioritizing stronger demons, increasing their Haste and Health by 50% for 12 seconds.
Comment: This seems like an oddly built ability, because of the relatively short recharge and the moderately high charge count. Though, Demonology Warlocks may end up having to recast this often enough to buff their bigger demonic beasties. I wonder if this affects your primary demon pet as well?
2% Mana, 40 yard range, Instant cast
Inflicts impending doom upon a target, causing massive Shadow damage after 20 seconds. Generates 1 Soul Shard on damage.
2.5% Mana per second, Channeled (mobile)
Every second, all enemies within 10 yards of one of your demons suffers Shadow damage. Each time this ability deals damage, there is a 15% chance you’ll generate 1 Soul Shard.
Comment: This might actually be one of the funnier abilities in the game. Warlocks can essentially run around like maniacs channeling AoE damage through their many demons. Imagine the machinima possibilities.
- Mastery: Master Demonologist
Demonic Empowerment also increases the damage of your demons by 50%.
Comment: I know I said that damage increases are a boring choice for a mastery bonus, but at least this one is adding an effect to a prominent mechanic and not mimicking the base effect of Spell Power or Attack Power.
- Talent: Implosion
6% Mana, Instant
Causes all of your Wild Imps to be violently yanked toward the target and explode, dealing Shadow damage to all enemies nearby.
Comment: The best part of this ability is the name, to be honest. It’s perfect.
As far as the WoW developers are concerned, Destruction is in a really good place. However, since Soul Shards have been made standard across all Warlock specs, some tweaks are likely to emerge. Though, it appears that more polish than outright change is being made to this spec, but appearances can be deceiving. Let us review.
6% Mana, 40 yard range, 2 second cast
Draws fire toward the enemy, dealing Fire damage.
Comment: Pretty straight forward.
6% Mana, 40 yard range, 1.5 second cast
Burns the enemy with fire, causing Fire damage and additional Fire damage over 15 seconds. Immolate critical strikes have a 30% chance to generate a Soul Shard.
Comment: Fire burns!!
2% Mana, 40 yard range, Instant cast, 8 second recharge, 2 charges
Trigger an explosion on the target, dealing Fire damage and generating 1 Soul Shard. Also causes Backdraft, reducing the cast time of Incinerate and Chaos Bolt by 30% for 5 seconds.
Comment: A useful ability one will not one to spam. Also, no one must stand downwind of a Destruction Warlock or else be caught in their backdraft. Lawls!
- Chaos Bolt
2 Soul Shards, 40 yard range, 2.5 second cast
Unleashes a devastating blast of chaos, causing huge Shadow damage. Chaos Bolt always critically strikes. Critical strike chance increases Chaos Bolt damage.
Comment: This ability seems unchanged from what it was before. Now, it just costs Soul Shards instead of embers.
8% Mana, 40 yard range, Instant, 20 second cooldown
Mark the target with Havoc for 8 seconds, causing your single target spells to all strike it. Limit 1.
Comment: An interesting spell that could spell someone’s doom if used properly. Wait! Doom is a Demonology spell.
- Mastery: Chaotic Energies
Your Destruction spells deal up to 40% additional damage, randomly.
Comment: WHAT?! An awful bonus made worse due to the involvement of RNG. Bad WoW developers. Bad!
- Talent: Channel Demonfire
4.5% Mana, Channeled, 12 second cooldown
Launch 15 bolts of felfire at Immolated enemies within 40 yards for 3 seconds, dealing Fire damage with each bolt.
Comment: I think “Demonfire” on its own would have been a better name. The effect of the ability sounds crazy, though.
Suggestion: Soul Shards
While I’m glad to see Soul Shards are the standard resource for the Warlock class, I preferred the functionality of the Burning Embers mechanic much better. Soul Shards, as they are, are too similar to Combo Points, Chi, and other resources that already exist. Burning Embers was a unique mechanic that could have been utilized in a more ingenious manner.
My suggested change would be to make Soul Shards function more like Burning Embers. There would be two interrelated resources; Soul Essence and Soul Shards. Abilities would have the capacity to generate either resource. Having both resources built into the mechanic would eliminate some of the unnecessary RNG related effects with abilities like Agony, Demonwrath, and Immolate.
- Warlocks have 5 total Soul Shards.
- Each Soul Shard is like an individual resource bar that requires 10 Soul Essence to be filled.
- One Soul Shard receives Soul Essence at a time.
- Soul Essence acts as another method to generate Soul Shards that is more viable than the many RNG related methods available.
- Agony could be redesigned to generate a small amount of Soul Essence each time it deals damage, instead of a chance to generate a Soul Shard.
- Demonwrath could be redesigned to generate 1 or 2 Soul Essence each time it deals damage, instead of a 15% chance to generate a Soul Shard.
- Immolate could be redesigned to generate some Soul Essence on each critical strike, instead of a 30% chance to generate a Soul Shard on a critical strike.
- Shadow Bolt, Doom, and Conflagrate would still generate 1 Soul Shard (or 10 Soul Essence).
Next up, we have the Death Knight! This is a class that I always thought had a cool concept, a straightforward and simple design, but I could never get a Death Knight to max level. I don’t know what it was, but it never happened. Anyways, moving on.
As awesome as the Death Knight class has been since their introduction in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, their gameplay has, according to the WoW developers, suffered due to an overly complicated resource management. So, the developers have modified the Runes resource so that they are all one unified type, and no longer divided by Blood, Frost, and Unholy. The other side of this is that only 3 depleted runes will recharge at a time. I don’t know if this is better, but at least players won’t have to worry three different rune types.
There are a number of other things, but they can be explored as we review each specialization. So, let us begin.
The Blood Death Knight is being retooled to some extent to accentuate the theme of using blood, bone, and gore to bolster their survivability. This specialization will no longer be using Rune Tap as a primary tanking tool. Instead, Blood DK’s will make use of Bone Shield acquired through a new ability. Runic Power will also become more meaningful for the spec as it now powers a core ability in its toolkit. Let us review.
- Blood Plague
(Debuff) A disease that deals Shadow damage and heals the Death Knight for 1% of maximum health every 3 seconds for 30 seconds. It is applied by Blood Death Knight abilities.
Comment: Blood Death Knights will now exclusively use Blood Plague. You can see it has the added benefit of a healing effect that it may not have had before.
- Blood Strike
1 Rune, Melee Range, Instant
Strike an enemy, dealing moderate Physical damage and infect your foe with Blood Plague. Generates 10 additional Runic Power.
Comment: Blood Strike has been brought back. w00t! No more dumbass Blood Boil spam (maybe).
2 Runes, Melee Range, Instant
Smash the target, dealing strong Physical damage. Generates 3
chargesstacks of Bone Shield.
Bone Shield: Surrounds the Death Knight with a barrier of whirling bones, reducing all damage taken by 25%. Enemy attacks consume stacks of Bone Shield. Lasts for 30 seconds, or until all stacks are consumed.
Comment: You’ll notice in the blog post that the term the author uses in place of stacks is “charges”. I replaced this word in my description because this created confusing language when the word “charges” is already being used for abilities with multiple charges. Clarification is important here.
- Death Strike
40 Runic Power, Melee Range, Instant
Strike an enemy with focused dark power, dealing strong Physical damage and gaining health equal to 50% of all damage taken in the last 6 seconds (min. 7% MaxHP). If used while below 35% health, all Runic Power is consumed to increase the potency of the healing.
Comment: This is an interesting tweak. Though, I don’t know why the base healing effect isn’t something more straightforward like a flat percentage of max health, a percentage of damage done (likely above 100%), or based on the amount of Runic Power consumed.
- Death and Decay
1 Rune, 30 yard range, Instant, 30 second cooldown
Corrupts the ground, causing Shadow damage to enemies in the area. While the Death Knight stands within the area, Blood Strike will also damage all nearby enemies. Lasts 10 seconds.
Comment: I think the Paladin has an effect like this with Consecration. This is no longer a unique effect.
- Crimson Scourge
(Passive) The Death Knight’s autoattacks against enemies afflicted with Blood Plague have a 25% chance to reset the cooldown of Death and Decay.
- Mastery: Blood Shield
Increases Attack Power by 20% (for reasons…), and causes 40% of healing generated by Death Strike to be converted into a Physical damage absorption shield.
Comment: I still don’t see the need to increase the Attack Power of tanks. Does Strength/Agility not do this already?
- Talent: Bonestorm
15 Runic Power per second, Instant, 1 minute cooldown
The Death Knight is surrounded by a whirlwind of bone and gore, dealing Shadow damage 3 times per second to nearby enemies and gaining 1% of maximum health per hit.
Comment: This is pretty badass. This could be a powerful “Oh Shit” button for Blood tanks.
The Frost spec is pretty cool. That’s enough puns. One of the major changes coming in Legion is that the functionality of the Killing Machine buff is being reworked so that it no longer interacts with Frost Strike. This is being done to ensure that its benefits are used effectively and often. Let us begin.
- Frost Fever
(Debuff) A disease that deals Frost damage and generates 5 Runic Power every 3 seconds for 30 seconds. It’s applied by Frost Death Knight abilities.
Comment: Frost Death Knight’s think they’ll kill someone with a cold? As if!
- Howling Blast
1 Rune, 30 yard range, Instant
Blast a target with frigid wind, dealing Frost damage to it and all enemies within 10 yards of it. All damaged foes are afflicted with Frost Fever.
Comment: Yes. Frost Death Knight’s still blow.
2 Runes, Melee Range, Instant
A brutal attack with both weapons, dealing massive Physical damage.
Comment: Unlike Frost’s other abilities, there isn’t anything cool about Obliterate. Get it?
- Frost Strike
20 Runic Power, Melee Range, Instant
Netflix andChill your weapons with icy power, dealing massive Frost damage with both weapons.
Comment: This is an ice ability.
(Passive) The Death Knight’s Obliterate has a 45% chance to trigger Rime, which causes the next Howling Blast to be free, deal 300% additional damage, but generate no Runic Power.
Comment: An additional 300% damage! How can anyone not be excited about Rime? No reason.
- Killing Machine
(Passive) The Death Knight’s autoattacks have a chance to make your next Obliterate critically strike.
- Remorseless Winter
1 Rune, Instant, 30 second cooldown
The Death Knight radiates cold, dealing Frost damage to all enemies within 10 yards for 10 seconds.
Comment: I believe this was a talent once. I guess the developers wanted to this be a Frost exclusive.
- Mastery: Frozen Heart
Increases all Frost damage done by 40%.
Comment: I hate these kinds of talents so much. They are so boooooooooorr…
- Talent: Glacial Advance
1 Rune, Instant, 12 second cooldown
Summon glacial spikes that advance forward, each deal Frost damage to enemies near the eruption point.
Comment: I don’t know if this is as cool as it sounds, because the wording of the description is kind of odd. Does it mean the spikes won’t deal damage as they advance?
Of the three Death Knight specializations, Unholy is apparently receiving the most changes. The WoW developers are building this spec to have a greater focus on diseases than before. One ability in Unholy’s kit, Festering Strike, is being redesigned to regain the luster it has lost over the years. Let us review.
- Virulent Plague
(Debuff) A disease that deals Shadow damage every 3 seconds for 21 seconds. The disease erupts when the target dies, dealing Shadow damage to all nearby enemies, divided evenly. The disease has a 30% chance to erupt when it deals damage.
Comment: This sounds gross, but it is going to get worse soon.
1 Rune, 30 yard range, Instant, 6 second cooldown
Deals shadow damage to enemy, and surrounds it in a miasma that lasts for 6 seconds and infects any enemies within the area to become infected with Virulent Plague.
Comment: Unholy has gone full zombie. You never go full zombie.
- Festering Strike
2 Runes, Melee Range, Instant
Deals Physical damage to an enemy, and infects it with 1 to 3 Festering Wounds.
Festering Wound: A pustule-ridden lesion that deals Shadow damage and generates 3 Runic Power when popped.
Comment: I told you. It got worse! GROSS!
- Scourge Strike
1 Rune, Melee Range, Instant
An unholy strike that deals Physical and Shadow damage, and pops one Festering Wound present on the target.
Comment: It just keeps getting grosser. Also, this ability should just deal Shadow damage. There’s no reason for it to deal both Physical and Shadow.
- Death Coil
30 Runic Power, 40 yard range, Instant
Fire unholy energy at an enemy, dealing Shadow damage and restoring 10 Energy to your Ghoul.
Comment: Sudden Doom is still a key part of Unholy’s repertoire.
- Dark Transformation
Instant, 1 minute cooldown
Transform your Ghoul into an undead monstrosity, which causes Ghoul’s abilities are empowered and assume new functions. Lasts 20 seconds.
Comment: Making your undead pet undead-er.
- Death and Decay
1 Rune, 30 yard range, Instant, 30 second cooldown
Corrupts the ground, causing Shadow damage to enemies in the area. While the Death Knight stands within the area, Scourge Strike will also damage all nearby enemies. Lasts 10 seconds.
Comment: A little copy-pasta and we have an ability I have already listed. The only difference is that the AoE buff affects Scourge Strike now.
- Mastery: Dreadblade
Increases all Shadow damage done by 50%.
Comment: …rrrrriiiiinnnng! Honestly, the developers could do better.
- Talent: All Will Serve
(Passive) The Death Knight’s Raise Dead spells summons an additional skeletal minion, and no longer has a cooldown.
Comment: That’s cool. More boneys is always good.
Just like the Death Knight, the Shaman was a class that I was very intrigued by due to its varying gameplay elements, and distinct specializations. Unlike the Death Knight, though, I managed to level a Shaman like crazy. I played the Elemental spec exclusively while I played my character. I had a good time, except with the totems. They could be a pain to use every now and again.
Speaking of totems, the WoW developers do an awful lot of talking about them in the Shaman preview. They are an integral part of a Shaman’s gameplay, but, as I’ve state, they have never been the easiest to use due to lingering issued with their design. In Legion, many of these issues are being addressed, but there is a lot more information regarding totem changes than I will address here.
A couple important changes that are being made for the Shaman relate to its two damage specializations. They are losing Mana as a resource and gaining a new resource to replace it, called Maelstrom. This new resource is being implemented to act in place of two buffs: Light Shield stacks for Elemental, and Maelstrom Weapon stacks for Enhancement. Restoration still retains access to Mana. Let us review.
As mentioned above, the biggest change to Elemental Shaman is the introduction of the Maelstrom resource. It is generated through Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, and Chain Lightning, and then unleashed upon an unsuspecting person through the Shocks and Earthquake. Additionally, this spec’s Molten Earth mastery has been replaced due to not being as good as the developers would have liked. Let us review.
- Lightning Bolt
40 yard range, 2 second cast
Fires a bolt of lightning at an enemy, dealing Nature damage and generating 15 Maelstrom.
Comment: The storm turret is back in full form!
- Lava Burst
40 yard range, 2 second cast, 8 second cooldown
Hurl molten lava at an enemy, dealing Fire damage. If Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will deal 50% additional damage. Generates 15 Maelstom.
Comment: Lava Burst! Now, with more burst!
- Flame Shock
0 to 20 Maelstrom, 45 yard range, Instant cast
Burns an enemy with fire, causing Fire damage, and then additional Fire damage every 2 sec. Lasts 10 to 30 sec based on Maelstrom spent.
Comment: I don’t recall Flame Shock benefiting from Light Shield charges, but I guess this could work.
- Earth Shock
10 to 100 Maelstrom, 45 yard range, Instant cast
Blasts an enemy with concussive force, causing Nature damage increasing by Maelstrom consumed.
Comment: I’ve always enjoyed the concept of building up Earth Shocks power, and then blasting someone into smithereens.
- Mastery: Elemental Overload
Grants the Shaman a 40% chance to trigger Elemental Overload. Elemental Overload causes Lightning Bolt, Chain lightning, or Lava Burst to trigger a second, similar spell that causes 75% of normal damage and Maelstrom generation, and no threat.
Comment: Much like the Demonology Warlock’s loss of Metamorphosis, this change is not a surprise. If Multistrike was being removed, there is no way Elemental Shaman weren’t getting this mastery back.
- Talent: Maelstrom Totem
40 yd range, Instant, 30 sec cooldown
Summons a Maelstrom Totem near the target for 15 sec that repeatedly attacks an enemy within 30 yards for Nature damage. Every time the Maelstrom Totem attacks, it will generate 5 Maelstrom.
Comment: Do you like Maelstrom? Well, we put a Maelstrom Totem with your Maelstrom, so you can generate Maelstrom while you generate Maelstrom.
While it is nice that Elemental Shaman have been given access to the Maelstrom resource, the specialization this was really meant for is obviously Enhancement. This specialization has been given a host of new abilities and redesigned so that its core toolkit keeps the Shaman in melee range. There are some interesting changes ahead. Let us review.
10 yard range, Instant
Assault an enemy with earthen power, dealing Nature damage, and generating 15 Maelstrom.
Comment: The former weapon enhancement has been turned into a short-range attack that generates a good chunk of Maelstrom. The only problem I have it’s not melee ranged.
10 yard range, Instant, 12 second cooldown
Scorches an enemy with fiery power, dealing Fire damage, and enhancing your weapons for 16 seconds. While enhanced, each weapon attack causes additional Fire damage.
Comment: Another weapon enhancement turned into a short-ranged attack. However, this one retains its previous enhancement qualities.
(Passive) Each main-hand attack has a 7% chance to trigger three extra attacks.
Comment: I’m surprised that this ability didn’t become a multistrike buff during Warlord of Draenor. Maybe that’s a good thing?
- Lava Lash
30 Maelstrom, Melee Range, Instant
Charges the Shaman’s off-hand weapon with lava and strikes an enemy, dealing Fire damage.
Comment: Lava Lash hasn’t changed much. Except for requiring Maelstrom now.
60 Maelstrom, Melee Range, Instant, 16 second cooldown
Energizes the Shaman’s weapons with lightning and delivers a massive blow to an enemy, dealing Physical damage.
Comment: Now, I haven’t had an issue with too many things with the shaman, so far. However, the way Stormstrike and Rockbiter are built is ass-backwards. This ability deals physical damage, but the weapons are charged with lightning. Shouldn’t it be doing nature damage? Also, Rockbiter should be a melee range physical damage attack with a minimal cooldown. Just saying. It makes way more sense.
- Maelstrom Weapon
(Passive) The Shaman generates 5 Maelstrom each time it deals damage with a melee weapon.
Comment: When will this passive not be proccing?
(Passive) The Shaman’s attacks have a 2% chance to trigger Stormfury which resets the cooldown of Stormstrike, reduces its Maelstrom cost by 50%, and causes it to incur no cooldown.
Comment: That is a fairly low percentage for such an interesting passive. Perhaps it procs more often with high Haste and Windfury procs.
- Mastery: Enhanced Elements
Increases the chance for Stormfury and Windfury to trigger by 5%, and increases all Fire and Nature damage done by 40%.
Comment: This mastery could probably do without the “increases damage” effect. Though, the other benefit gained through this mastery is painfully small. If it affected only Windfury, that could be interesting.
- Talent: Sundering
60 Maelstrom, Instant, 20 second cooldown
Shatters a line of earth before the Shaman, causing Physical damage and knocking enemies to the side.
Comment: And I will shatter mountains with the power of the mighty Maelstrom!
While the Elemental and Enhancement specializations have received significant changes to their toolkits and rotations, Restoration has very little, if any, modifications to its playstyle. The only caveat that was provided by the Shaman preview is that the WoW developers are trying to move this spec away from spamming Chain Heal and focus on single-target healing. While this is a fairly weak reason, as they have done very little to change its functionality, Chain Heal remains Shaman’s primary group heal. Anyways, let us review.
- Healing Wave
2.1% Mana, 40 yard range, 2.5 second cast
A slow but efficient wave of healing energy that restores a friendly target’s health.
- Healing Surge
4.1% Mana, 40 yard range, 1.5 second cast
A quick but expensive surge of healing energy that restores a friendly target’s health.
- Chain Heal
5.6% Mana, 40 yard range, 2.5 second cast
Heals a friendly target, and then jumps to heal the most injured nearby party or raid members. Healing is reduced by 30% after each jump. Heals 4 total targets.
Comment: If the developers didn’t want Restoration Shaman to spam this ability, why haven’t they put this ability on a short cooldown? Doing so could bring the mana cost way down, bring the total healing way up, and allow for the introduction of some interesting passives and talents.
1.5% Mana, 40 yard range, Instant cast, 6 second cooldown
Restorative waters wash over a friendly target, healing them instantly, and then healing an additional amount over 18 seconds.
Comment: A long duration HoT on a short cooldown. What is the purpose of the short cooldown if the duration is so damn long?
- Healing Rain
4.3% Mana, 40 yard range, 2 second cast, 10 second cooldown
Blanket an area in healing rains, restoring health to up to 6 allies in the area for 10 seconds.
Comment: This ability would be more interesting if the duration of the effect did not match the cooldown. It can’t rain all the time.
- Healing Stream Totem
1.7% Mana, Instant cast , 30 second cooldown
Summons a Water Totem at the feet of the Shaman that heals an injured party or raid member within 40 yards every 2 seconds. Lasts 15 seconds.
Comment: The description still reads “at the feet of the Shaman,” but aren’t the totems supposed to be ground-targeted now?
- Tidal Waves
(Passive) When the Shaman casts Chain Heal or Riptide, it triggers the Tidal Waves effect, which reduces the cast time of the next Healing Wave by 40% or increases the critical effect chance of the next Healing Surge by 40%. Stacks up to 2 times.
Comment: This is a passive that was put in place, or modified, to bring the Shaman in line with the WoW developers new “vision” for the spec. Placing a short cooldown on Chain Heal could make this passive more compelling, and maybe prevent Shaman players from relying on it too heavily.
- Mastery: Deep Healing
Increases the potency of the Shaman’s healing spells by up to 60%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more).
Comment: I don’t know how I feel about this talent. It’s on the the edge of being compelling and boring. Boring because of it being a straight healing increase, but compelling due to it becoming stronger on targets with lower health. A quandary it is.
- Talent: Wellspring
2.4% Mana, 30 yard range, 1.5 second cast, 12 second cooldown
Creates a surge of water that flows forward, healing all friendly targets in a wide arc in front of the Shaman.
Comment: I’ll send you ALL to WELL.
The Warrior appears to be in a great spot these days, and in Legion they will remain that way. However, they will be given a number of brand new talent options for better customization and build diversity. This is especially true for both Arms and Fury.
The Arms specialization, as mentioned before, is receiving most of its major changes through the many new talents that will be made available in Legion. Additionally, the mastery has been changed to place greater focus on the use of Colossus Smash. Let us review.
- Mortal Strike
20 Rage, Melee Range, Instant, 6 second cooldown
A vicious strike that deals Physical damage, and reduces the effectiveness of healing on the target for 10 seconds.
Comment: How can one describe mortality? End with death.
15 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Slams an enemy, causing Physical damage.
Comment: Hulk SLA- no, wait. That’s not right.
- Colossus Smash
Melee Range, Instant, 45 second cooldown
Smashes an enemy’s armor, dealing Physical damage, and increasing the damage the Warrior deals to the target by 20% for 6 seconds.
Comment: Colossus SMASH! Shit! Still not right!
10 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Attempt to finish off a foe, causing Physical damage to an enemy, and consuming up to 30 additional Rage to deal additional damage. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
(Passive) Slam, Whirlwind, and Execute have a 20% chance per target hit to reset the cooldown on Colossus Smash.
- Mastery: Colossal Might
Increases the damage of the Warrior’s Colossus Smash by 50%, and causes it to increase damage taken by an additional 50%.
Comment: Well, that’s one way to make player’s feel like Colossus Smash is important. Lawls.
- Talent: Titanic Might
(Passive) Increases the duration of Colossus Smash by 200%, but halves its effectiveness.
Comment: If a Warrior stacks a large amount of Mastery, this talent could be pretty good. The duration of the Colossus Smash buff is increased to 18 seconds, but its base effectiveness is reduced to 10%. With the bonus from mastery, as shown above, the damage bonus would only be reduced to 35%.
The gameplay of the Fury Warrior is being tweaked somewhat to further emphasize their over-the-top take on the Warrior archetype. Their primary buff, Enrage, has received a redesign to make it more powerful. It also benefits from the new mastery bonus which makes the Warrior even more powerful while Enraged. Let us review.
Melee Range, Instant, 4.5 second cooldown
The Warrior attacks the target in a bloodthirsty craze, dealing Physical damage, generating 10 Rage, and restoring 5% of maximum health. Bloodthirst has an additional 40% chance to be a critical strike.
Comment: This one little ability has an awful lot going on at once.
(Passive) Bloodthirst critical strikes, or activating Berserker Rage, will Enrage the Warrior, increasing attack speed by 100% and damage taken by 30% for 6 seconds.
Comment: The massive damage taken debuff is probably the reason for the huge healing buff on Bloodthirst.
- Raging Blow
10 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
A mighty blow with both weapons that deals Physical damage. Only usable while Enraged.
Comment: I wonder, how likely are Fury Warriors to spam the bajeezus out of this ability?
50 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Unleashes a series of five brutal strikes over 2 seconds, dealing Physical damage. Rampage always deals damage as if the Warrior were Enraged.
Comment: First, what would be the point of having Raging Blow if Warriors have this ability? Second, what is the point of the second sentence? This ability is not likely to benefit from the 100% attack speed, because it is already doing 5 attacks in 2 seconds. So it must be for the bonus earned from the Mastery.
30 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
The Warrior attempts to finish off a foe, causing massive Physical damage. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
Comment: Why is this different than the Arms version? I don’t see the necessity. Perhaps, Fury has too many other things going on.
- Mastery: Unshackled Fury
Increases damage done while Enraged by 28%.
Comment: So, yeah. The second sentence of Rampage is only important because of the benefit from the mastery. It makes little sense otherwise.
- Talent: Frenzy
15 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
The Warrior furiously slashes at an enemy, dealing Physical damage, and increasing Haste by 5% for 10 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.
Comment: As if Fury Warriors needed more speed related buffs. Lawls.
If there is a class/specialization in World of Warcraft that best represents the tanking role, it would be none other than the Protection Warrior. They are sword and board masters that utilize their shields with great effect. In Legion, the WoW developers have replaced Shield Barrier with a new ability due to some conflicts its existence caused. Ignore Pain, the Warrior’s new primary defensive ability, will act as a major Rage-spender. Rage will be primarily generated through damage taken, and supplemented by ability usage. Let us review.
Melee Range, Instant
A direct strike, dealing Physical damage. Devastate has a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Shield Slam.
Comment: Free, spammable, melee attack. Noice.
Melee Range, Instant, 9 second cooldown
The Warrior swings in a wide arc, dealing damage to all enemies in front of it. Generates 4 Rage. Your successful dodges and parries reset the cooldown of Revenge (3 second internal cooldown).
- Deep Wounds
(Passive) The Warrior’s Devastate and Revenge cause the target to bleed over 15 seconds. This effect is cancelled if the target reaches full health.
Comment: That removal condition seems pretty unnecessary.
- Shield Slam
Melee Range, Instant, 9 second cooldown
Slam the target with your shield, causing strong Physical damage. Generates 6 Rage.
Comment: SLAM ZE SHIELD!
- Heroic Strike
30 Rage, Melee Range, Instant
Instantly deals moderate Physical damage. This ability is not on the global cooldown.
- Shield Block
10 Rage, Instant, 12 second recharge, 2 charges
The Warrior raises his shield, blocking every melee attack for 6 seconds. These blocks can be critical blocks. Shield Slam deals 30% additional damage while Shield Block is active.
- Ignore Pain
40 Rage, Instant
The Warrior fights through the pain, ignoring 90% of incoming damage from all sources, up to an amount equal to 25% of max health.
Comment: The new defensive ability seems a lot like Shield Barrier, except that it isn’t explicitly stating that it is absorbing damage, which it totally is. I’m guessing the WoW developers don’t want you to know that.
- Mastery: Critical Block
Increases the Warrior’s chance to block by 10% and chance to critically block by 30%. Also increases your attack power by 20% (for reasons…).
Comments: I thought it was kind of clever that Block rating was removed so that it could be folded into a stat that doesn’t always provide a compelling effect. Of course, without Mastery, critical blocks would likely not exist.
- Talent: Shield Discipline
(Passive) Shield Slam extends the duration of Shield Block by 2 sec. Shield Block increases the damage of Shield Slam by an additional 30%.
Comment: If you like blocking and beating people with your shield, pick up this talent to get more of that.
What do you think of the classes presented here? Do you like the direction they are taking? What would you like to see changed? What information do you not have yet? Join the discussion below.
You can find “Legion Class Previews Reviewed (Part 1)” right here. It covers the Hunter, Priest, Mage, and Paladin.
You can find “Legion Class Previews Reviewed (Part 3)” right here. It covers the Monk, Druid, and Rogue.
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War Fist out.
Posted on November 20, 2015, in Gaming and tagged Blizzard, Classes, Death Knight, Game Design, Gaming, Legion, MMO, MMORPG, PC Games, Shaman, Video Games, Warlock, Warrior, World of Warcraft, WoW. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.