Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
Today, I thought I would showcase one of the most important facets of the My WoW Clone project. This is the portion of the project that I am most excited about, because it requires the most creative thought. It is also one of the most challenging, because it involves taking a class that exists and doing something different with it. This could be mechanically, thematically, etc. In this post, I will be introducing the My WoW Clone version of World of Warcraft’s Shadow Priest.
Before going into some of the other topics I have planned for this series, I thought it would be a good idea to provide an example you could use to visualize those concepts. The example, in this case, would be a Shadow Priest. I have taken the Priest class, broken it down into its base components, and rebuilt it using the principles of class design used in my imaginary MMORPG. As I explore these ideas, you’ll be able to see where they may have influenced the redesign of the Priest class. In time, I will introduce other classes, and they won’t all come from World of Warcraft.
I started with the Shadow Priest because I had clearly defined goals I wanted to achieve with its redesign. These goals affected the abilities the specialization would gain access to, how those abilities interact with each other, and how they would be affected by talents. I wanted to avoid the problem that WoW seems to be facing currently, which is that each specialization only has one way it can be played. Additionally, talents don’t do enough to alter the playstyle, or affect the rotation, of any particular specialization. These are key mechanical flaws that I wanted to change for the Shadow Priest (and, of course, future classes I redesign).
The Shadow Priest is a being who has fallen into darkness. This is a person who has been driven mad by their faith, but is somehow fueled by this madness. A Shadow Priest is capable of taking on a Shadow Form, which negates the use of holy spells, especially those of the healing variety. However, some of the holy spells are corrupted, becoming forces of darkness just like the Shadow Priest. Enemies of this madman are subjected to painful mind attacks, lingering pain, and the occasional visions of shadowy figures.
The above description is the idea that guided my redesign of the Priest. In short, a Shadow Priest turns away from the light, corrupting it by embracing the darkness. This was inspired by the Priest’s level 90 talents in Warlords of Draenor (can be seen here). Three different healing spells (Cascade, Divine Star, and Halo) that are from the holy school of magic unless a player specializes in Shadow. Then, those same three spells become damage spells from the shadow school of magic.
I applied this concept to my redesign of the Shadow Priest, but tweaked it somewhat. Select spells that were originally holy spells could be converted into shadow spells if a player chose the Shadow specialization. However, this conversion from holy to shadow would only occur when the player toggles on the Shadow Form. This would allow the player to access the original holy spells. Though, due to their chosen specialization (spec), the holy spells wouldn’t be nearly as effective.
The biggest change I made in my redesign was moving the Shadow Priest away from its traditional DoT-focused design into a baseline burst damage spec. I didn’t take away Shadow’s capacity to deal DoT damage altogether. I merely moved a lot of that playstyle into talents, and provided more of what was originally there. This decision gives the spec at least two meaningful ways to be played instead of just one. The rotations could be further tweaked with other talent choices, which is a plus.
A noticeable addition that I made to the My WoW Clone Priest class is the introduction of the resources I have called Faith and Madness. The second of these two is obviously inspired by the Insanity resource being introduced to WoW’s Legion expansion, but I originally intended to use Shadow Orbs. I wanted to have a builder/spender resource mechanic for the class, and create a version that would work for Holy and Discipline, too. Ultimately, I found the idea of a resource gauge to be better than a Combo Point-ish mechanic. If I want the DoTs to generate the resource I don’t want it to be based on a crappy proc chance (ex. Affliction Warlock’s Agony spell in Legion Alpha).
If you’re expecting to see a lot of new spells in this redesign, you’ll likely be disappointed. That isn’t to say there are no new spells, but most of what is there I borrowed from what already exists to create a good foundation. Some spells have been tweaked, others have been changed completely, and a few spells that were previously only available to a single spec have been made available to all three. For the most part, it will feel like the class is no different from the one that already exists yet, at the same time, there is enough there to make it feel new (-ish). There are probably a few changes I neglected to mention, but you can check out the class overview for yourself.
Before I bring this post to a close, I want to let you know that the Priest redesign is far from complete. I had some ideas I wanted to explore, and I got them out of my head. However, as one might expect from actual game design, I had to modify my ideas. There was some legit critical thinking and some math that needed to be done. It was really weird, and not at all what I was expecting.
While the redesign is far from complete, it can (and likely will) be expanded upon in the future. Though, there are another 35 specializations (including the two for Demon Hunter) in World of Warcraft. So, the Priest may get some love every once in a while. I am fully willing to take suggestions for additions and changes from anyone that would like to provide them. If I can make them work, maybe you’ll see them appear on the page.
What do you think of the Shadow Priest redesign? What differences are you noticing between My WoW Clone and WoW? What build would you use if you could play the My WoW Clone Shadow Priest? Join the discussion below.
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Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.
War Fist out.