World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor™ Patch 6.0.1 Beta
Welcome to an early look at patch notes for the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion: Warlords of Draenor. The new expansion introduces a wealth of new content and changes. There's also a new patch note format, which we hope will help better convey the reasoning for many of the changes being made and what they mean for you, while providing more background into issues we're trying to solve.
Please be aware that the Beta patch notes are preliminary and not final. Details may change before retail release and new information will be added for additional features as development continues on the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Note: Not all the content listed may be available for immediate testing or may only be available during a limited testing window during the Beta.
For more information about Alpha testing and how you can opt in for a chance to participate in the Warlords of Draenor beta test later down the line, check out World of Warcraft®: Warlords of Draenor™ Beta Test Begins! Changes since last update to the patch notes are denoted in red.
Looking for a TL;DR summary of all of the changes? Here you go!
- Character stats have been squished into smaller numbers that are easier to understand. It's important to understand that this is not a nerf as enemies' stats have been squished as well.
- A new row of talents has been added for level 100, and new Draenor Perks earned every other level from 92 to 98.
- Garrisons are a new feature available in Draenor, where you can build a base, recruit followers, and send them on missions.
- Balanced functionality of Agility, Strength and Intellect.
- New secondary stats: Bonus Armor, Multistrike, and Versatility.
- Hit and Expertise have been removed; they're no longer needed in order to reliably land attacks!
- The pacing of healing has been adjusted to allow for more tactical decision-making regarding efficiency and throughput, on both single-target and multi-target heals. Passive and auto-targeted healing have been reduced in effectiveness in order to emphasize the actions and choices of healers.
- Racial traits have been rebalanced so that all races have similar combat performance.
- All classes have had several abilities pruned, with a focus on redundant and less-used abilities to cut down on button and keybind bloat.
- Amount of crowd-control in the game (primarily PvP) has been drastically reduced. Many crowd-control abilities have been removed, and many diminishing returns categories have been merged together.
- Several common buffs and debuffs have been merged, or removed, where they were redundant.
- All characters now learn some important Major Glyphs automatically as they level up.
- Toned down the amount of instant healing in the game by giving cast times to several instant cast heals.
- For Tanks, Vengeance has been redesigned and renamed Resolve.
- Resolve does not increase outgoing damage, but does now increases tank self-healing and absorption based on damage taken.
- Facing requirements (character positioning) on some prominent abilities have been loosened or removed.
- Reduced Mana cost of Resurrection spells to make it a little easier to recover from a wipe.
- Professions no longer have combat benefit perks tied to them.
- A multitude of class-specific changes, things like improved distinction between different Talent specializations, and new Masteries. Consult class-specific sections below for more information.
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Level-100 Talents and Draenor Perks
A new row of talents has been added for level 100. For testing purposes, these are currently accessible at level 90.
Draenor Perks is a new feature that adds rewards for leveling. Over levels 92 to 98, you will earn these new Draenor Perks in a random order. Each class and specialization has a different set of Draenor Perks.
- Level-100 talents have been added for all classes!
- Draenor Perks have been added for all classes, earned every other level from 92 to 98.
You can preview the new talents on the talent calculator at the fansites here. (Please note that the links below will take you to an external website.)
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The Iron Horde army is massive and reinforcements from Azeroth are few. In order to stand a chance, you will need to build an army of your own.
- Undertake an epic quest to build a permanent base of operations on Draenor.
- Find blueprints and materials to expand and customize your Garrison.
- Recruit followers with unique skills and abilities to your cause.
- Send followers on missions to level them up and acquire bonus loot.
- Begin the quest for your Garrison in Shadowmoon Valley or Frostfire Ridge.
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Game System Changes
Character progression is one of the defining characteristics of a role-playing game. Naturally, that means that we're continuously adding more power to the game for players to acquire. After 4 expansions and over 9 years of this growth, we've gotten to a point where the numbers involved are no longer easy to grasp. And worse, much of the granularity that's available is tied up in tiers of older content from Molten Core to Dragon Soul, none of which are really relevant anymore. It's no longer necessary for Borean Tundra quest gear to be nearly twice as powerful as Netherstorm quest gear, even though the two zones are only a couple of levels apart.
In order to bring things down to an understandable level, we've reduced the scale of stats throughout the game, back to as if they continued scaling linearly through questing content from levels 1 to 90. This applies to creatures, spells, abilities, consumables, gear, other items... everything. Your stats and damage have been reduced by a huge amount, but so have creatures' health. For example, your Fireball that previously hit a creature for 450,000 out of its 3,000,000 health (15% of its health), may now hit that same creature for 30,000 out of its 200,000 health (still 15% of its health). In effect, you will still be just as powerful, but the numbers that appear will be more easily parsed.
It's important to understand that this isn't a nerf, and we have special handling in place to preserve players’ existing ability to solo old content. Players will deal bonus damage against lower-level creatures from past expansions, and will take reduced damage from them.
We've also removed all base damage on player spells and abilities, and adjusted Attack Power or Spell Power scaling as needed, so that all specializations will scale at the same rate.
- The amount of stats on items has been reduced to be much lower than before.
- Creature stats have been reduced to compensate.
We've also streamlined the multitude of various types of Haste % and Critical Strike % bonuses.
- Spell Haste %, Melee Haste %, and Ranged Haste % have been merged into a universal Haste %.
- Spell Crit %, Melee Crit %, and Ranged Crit % have been merged into a universal Crit %.
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Primary Character Stats and Attack Power
The "primary" stats, Agility, Strength, and Intellect, are foundations of a character’s power. But they have not been created equally, making it difficult to properly balance them against secondary stats. The leading reason for this is that Agility and Intellect also provide Critical Strike chance, in addition to Attack Power or Spell Power, whereas Strength does not. In order to achieve better balance, we've removed the Critical Strike chance increase from Agility and Intellect. Still, it felt like Agility-based characters should critically strike more often, so we've raised those classes’ baseline Critical Strike chance to compensate.
- Agility no longer provides an increased chance to critically strike with melee and ranged attacks or abilities.
- Intellect no longer provides an increased chance to critically strike with spells.
- The base chance to critically strike is now 5% for all classes. There are no longer different chances to critically strike with melee, ranged, and spells.
- There is a new passive, named Critical Strikes, which increases chance to critically strike by 10%.
- It is learned by all Rogues, all Hunters, Feral and Guardian Druids, Brewmaster and Windwalker Monks, and Enhancement Shaman.
"The "primary" stats, Agility, Strength, and Intellect, are foundations of a character’s power. But they have not been created equally, making it difficult to properly balance them against secondary stats."
We've consolidated the way that Attack Power and Spell Power function and scale, to make those values clearer and correct some scaling issues regarding caster weapons relative to physical weapons.
- Each point of Agility or Strength now grants 1 Attack Power (down from 2). All other sources of Attack Power now grant half as much as before.
- Weapon Damage values on all weapons have been reduced by 50%.
- Attack Power now increases Weapon Damage at a rate of 1 DPS per 3.5 Attack Power (up from 1 DPS per 14 Attack Power).
- Attack Power, Spell Power, or Weapon Damage now affect the entire healing or damage throughput of player spells.
Active mitigation has worked very well as a tanking model. So, moving forward we want to keep the amount of Dodge and Parry on tanks on the low side. This helps prevent encounters from causing very spiky damage on tanks, which generally isn't much fun. Dodge and Parry gains from Strength and Agility are being reduced to help accomplish this. Additionally, items in Warlords of Draenor will not have Dodge or Parry on them as a stat. Some Dodge and Parry can still be gained through class-specific effects.
- The amount of Dodge gained per point of Agility has been reduced by 25%.
- The amount of Parry gained per point of Strength has been reduced by 25%.
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We’re making a number of changes to itemization based on a single philosophy: We want to increase the chance that any given item drop is useful to someone in your group. To support this philosophy we’re making a few changes to stats. Most items found in Draenor will work for all specializations within a given class, so that you never have to grumble when you see, for example, Intellect plate drop in a group that lacks a Holy Paladin.
We’re also reducing the number of role-specific stats: Hit and Expertise are gone, as are Dodge and Parry as stats on items, replaced with a single tank stat of Bonus Armor. Armor and Spirit will be specific to tanks and healers respectively, but all other secondary stats will have universal appeal.
Because of the magnitude of this change, we’re retroactively applying this philosophy to items in Mists of Pandaria. After the pre-expansion patch you may find that some of your items contribute different stats, but they should still be good for your class.
New Secondary Stats Added
- Bonus Armor: Increases Armor and Attack Power for tanking specializations.
- Multistrike: Grants a chance for spells and abilities to fire up to 2 additional times, at 30% effectiveness (both damage and healing).
- Versatility: Increases damage, healing, and absorption done. Reduces damage taken.
- Stats that are not useful to the current class specialization will be grayed out in the tooltip rather than green, and will not be counted on the character stat sheet.
- These stats include:
- Spirit for non-healing specializations
- Bonus Armor for non-tanking specializations
- Strength for Agility/Intellect-users
- Agility for Strength/Intellect-users
- Intellect for Strength/Agility-users
- For example, Intellect on a cloak will be greyed out for all Warrior specializations and they will not receive an increase to Intellect if the cloak is equipped. However, if the same cloak is equipped by a Mage; Intellect will show up in green and they’ll receive the increase to their Intellect.
Mists of Pandaria and Future Items
- Dodge and Parry have been replaced with Bonus Armor. If an item had both Dodge and Parry on it, it has been replaced with an additional useful secondary stat.
- Head, Chest, Hand, Wrist, Waist, Leg, Feet, Weapon, Shield, and Off-hand items that had tanking stats (Dodge, Parry) or healer stats (Spirit) have been replaced with a different universally useful secondary stat.
Warlords of Draenor and Future Items
- Plate Armor pieces will always have Strength and Intellect on it.
- Mail and Leather Armor pieces will always have Agility and Intellect on it.
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Hit and Expertise Removal
Hit and Expertise were not fun stats. They acted to remove a penalty, instead of making you stronger. Most players treated Hit/Expertise caps as mandatory (rightfully so), with failure to reach those caps as a trap of sorts. After adjusting, gemming, and reforging gear to meet that cap, players could then go after the actual damage-increasing stats. We decided to remove Hit and Expertise, and make it so you don't need them. We still want melee specializations to attack creatures from behind when possible, so attacks from the front will have a 3% chance to be parried that cannot be eliminated for non-tanking specializations.
- Hit and Expertise has been removed as a secondary stat.
- Hit and Expertise bonuses on all items and item enhancements (gems, enchants, etc.) have been converted into Critical Strike, Haste, or Mastery.
- All characters now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance for glancing blows, when fighting creatures up to 3 levels higher (bosses included).
- Tanking specializations receive an additional 3% reduction in chance to be parried. Tank attacks now have a 0% chance to be parried vs. creatures up to 3 levels higher.
- Creatures that are 4 or more levels higher than the character still has a chance to avoid attacks in various ways, to discourage fighting enemies that are much stronger.
- Dual Wielding still imposes a 19% chance to miss, to balance it with two-handed weapon use.
- Death Knight
- Veteran of the Third War now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.
- Balance of Power has been removed. A new level-100 talent with the same name has been added.
- Nature’s Focus no longer increases the chance to hit with Moonfire and Wrath.
- Thick Hide now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.
- Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer increases Hit or Expertise.
- Stance of the Sturdy Ox now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.
- Divine Fury has been removed.
- Spiritual Precision has been removed.
- Holy Insight no longer increases the chance to hit with spells.
- Sanctuary now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.
- Elemental Precision has been removed.
- Spiritual Insight no longer increases the chance to hit with Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Hex, or Flame Shock.
- Unwavering Sentinel now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.
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Secondary Stat Attunements
A new concept that we’re introducing is each specialization having an attunement to a particular secondary stat. These take the form of a passive ability that grants a 5% increase to the amount of a specific secondary stat gained. This provides a good starting point for where to focus your secondary stats. Usually, it will be your highest throughput stat (not counting Spirit for Healers, and Bonus Armor for Tanks, which is an optimal secondary stat in most cases). There are exceptions, and raw throughput may not even be the biggest concern in some situations. Treat this as a guideline, not a rule, about which secondary stat to favor.
- All specializations now receive a 5% bonus to specific secondary stat bonuses received from all sources. This bonus is granted through new passive abilities or additional effects added to existing passive abilities.
- Death Knight
- Blood: Multistrike
- Frost: Haste
- Unholy: Multistrike
- Balance: Mastery
- Feral: Critical Strike
- Guardian: Mastery
- Restoration: Haste
- Beast Mastery: Mastery
- Marksmanship: Critical Strike
- Survival: Multistrike
- Arcane: Mastery
- Fire: Critical Strike
- Frost: Multistrike
- Brewmaster: Critical Strike
- Mistweaver: Multistrike
- Windwalker: Multistrike
- Holy: Critical Strike
- Protection: Haste
- Retribution: Mastery
- Discipline: Critical Strike
- Holy: Multistrike
- Shadow: Haste
- Assassination: Mastery
- Combat: Haste
- Subtlety: Multistrike
- Elemental: Multistrike
- Enhancement: Haste
- Restoration: Mastery
- Affliction: Haste
- Demonology: Mastery
- Destruction: Critical Strike
- Arms: Mastery
- Fury: Critical Strike
- Protection: Mastery
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Player Health and Resilience
We’re planning several interconnected changes designed to provide better-tuned gameplay for healers and improve the healing dynamic in PvP.
The high amount of base Resilience and Battle Fatigue in Mists of Pandaria caused characters to feel much weaker in PvP than they did in PvE. To address this disparity, we’re approaching Warlords of Draenor with the goal of shrinking that gap as much as possible. To reduce dependence on Resilience, we needed to increase player survivability against other players, and we chose to do this by essentially doubling (post-squish) player health.
On its own, that increase in health would make players more survivable in the world at large, so we’re also increasing creature damage and the effectiveness of healing spells to balance things out. The net result of these changes is that individual attacks will knock a smaller chunk off of a player’s health pool in PvP, but your survivability in PvE remains unaffected.
Doubling player health gave us room to reduce Resilience and Battle Fatigue, but our goal was to be able to remove them entirely. In order to achieve that, we’re also reducing PvP spike damage across the board by lowering Critical Damage and Critical Heals against players in PvP to 150% of their normal effect (down from 200%). Our hope is that these changes allow us to reduce Base Resilience and Battle Fatigue to 0%. It’s possible that we’ll still find a need for some minor amount of Base Resilience and/or Battle Fatigue, and we’ll be testing these changes extensively and adjusting as needed.
Changes to PvP
- Base Resilience has been reduced to 0%.
- Battle Fatigue has been removed. PvP combat no longer reduces the amount of healing received by participants.
- Critical Damage and Critical Heals in PvP combat now deal 150% of the normal spell/ability effects (down from 200%).
Changes to Health Pools
- Amount of health gained per Stamina point has been doubled. The curve on this calculation has been smoothed out as well, so exact amount varies slightly by level.
- Maximum mana has been doubled at all levels to keep pace with expected increases to maximum health from new Stamina values.
- All consumables now restore twice as much health and mana.
- All creatures had their melee damage doubled. Most creature spells and abilities have had their damage doubled as well.
- All player-cast healing and absorption effects have been increased by approximately 50% in effectiveness. If they heal or absorb a percentage of maximum health, they are instead reduced by 25%. All other noted changes are in terms relative to that.
- For example, if another noted change is that "Mega Heal now heals for 40% more," that means that Mega Heal now heals for a total of 210% of what it used to, which is relatively 40% higher compared to other heals.
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Retuning Healing Spells
One of our goals for healing is to tone down the raw throughput of healers relative to the size of player health pools. Currently, as healers and their allies acquire better and better gear, the percentage of a player’s health that any given heal restores increases significantly. As a result, healers are able to refill health bars so fast that we have to make damage more and more “bursty” in order to challenge them. Ideally, we want players to spend some time below full health without having healers feel like their groupmates are in danger of dying at any moment. We also think that healer gameplay would be more varied, interesting, and skillful if your allies spent more time between 0% and 100%, rather than just getting damaged quickly to low health, forcing the healer to then scramble to get them back to 100% as quickly as possible.
To that end, we’re buffing heals less than we’re increasing player health. Heals will be deliberately less potent compared to health pools than before the item squish. Additionally, as gear improves, the scaling rates of health and healing will now be very similar, so the relative power of any given healing spell shouldn’t climb so much over the course of this expansion. For those concerned about what this means for raiding, don’t worry—we’re taking all of these changes into account when designing Raid content for Warlords of Draenor.
It’s also important to note that spells that heal based on a percentage of maximum health are being effectively buffed by the massive increase to player health pools, so we’re lowering those percentages to offset the effect. That may make them appear to have been nerfed—however, the net result is that those percentage-based heals stay about the same as before relative to other heals.
All of these changes apply to damage-absorption shields as well. Additionally, we're toning down the power of damage absorption in general. When they get too strong, absorption effects are often used in place of direct healing, instead of as a way to supplement it. We will, of course, take these changes into account when tuning specializations that rely heavily on absorbs, such as Discipline Priests.
"We want healers to care about who they're targeting and which heals they're using..."
We also took a look at healing spells that were passive or auto-targeted (so-called "smart" heals). We want healers to care about who they're targeting and which heals they're using, so that their decisions matter more. To that end, we're reducing the healing of many passive and auto-targeted heals, and making smart heals a little less smart. Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets, of course.
Another of our goals for healing in this expansion is to strike a better balance between single-target and multi-target healing spells. We've taken a close look at the mana efficiency of our multi-target heals, and in many cases, we're reducing their efficiency, usually by reducing the amount they heal. Sometimes, but more rarely, raising their mana cost was a better decision. We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face a meaningful choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.
Finally, we're removing the low-throughput, low-mana-cost heals like Nourish, Holy Light, Heal, and Healing Wave, because we think that while they do add complexity, they don’t truly add depth to healing gameplay. (We’re also renaming some spells to re-use those names. For example, Greater Healing Wave is being redubbed Healing Wave.) However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs. Here are some examples from each healer class.
- Druid Higher Efficiency: Healing Touch, Rejuvenation, Efflorescence
- Druid Higher Throughput: Regrowth, Wild Growth
- Monk Higher Efficiency: Soothing Mist, Renewing Mist
- Monk Higher Throughput: Surging Mist, Spinning Crane Kick
- Paladin Higher Efficiency: Holy Light, Holy Shock, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn
- Paladin Higher Throughput: Flash of Light, Holy Radiance
- Priest Higher Efficiency: Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Holy Nova (new Discipline-only version), Penance
- Priest Higher Throughput: Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing
- Shaman Higher Efficiency: Healing Wave, Riptide, Healing Rain
- Shaman Higher Throughput: Healing Surge, Chain Heal
All of this discussion of efficiency may cause most healers to start worrying about mana regeneration and their mana pool. To allay those concerns, we’ve increased base mana regeneration a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels. This will make all of these changes play well even in early content such as Heroic Dungeons and the first tier of Raid content, and also play well in the final Raid tier without mana and efficiency becoming irrelevant due to extremely high regeneration values.
"...we’ve increased base mana regeneration a great deal at early gear levels, while having it scale up less at later gear levels."
That’s a lot of big changes for healers: reduced throughput, a more deliberate pace, less powerful “smart” heals, weaker absorbs, fewer spells, and a new focus on efficiency decisions. We’re confident that we can apply lessons learned from previous expansions to make this the best healer experience yet: more dynamic, less punishing, and frankly a lot more fun.
General Changes to Healing
- Smart heals will now randomly pick any injured target within range, instead of always picking the most injured target. Priority will still be given to players over pets.
- Long-cast-time single-target heals, such as Greater Heal and Healing Touch, now cost roughly half as much as fast-cast-time single-target heals, such as Flash of Light or Healing Surge, and heal for roughly the same amount.
- Every class has multiple area healing spells available, some low throughput and efficient, others high throughput and inefficient.
- Area healing spells are tuned to be less efficient than single-target healing spells when they heal 2 or fewer targets, and more efficient when they heal 3 or more targets.
- Spells with cooldowns or limitations may have higher efficiency than the no-cooldown equivalents.
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Racial Traits (Updated)
We want races to have fun and interesting perks, but if those traits are too powerful, players may feel compelled to play a specific race even if it doesn't suit their aesthetic preference. For example, Trolls' Berserking ability was extremely powerful, and their Beast Slaying passive was often irrelevant, but occasionally tremendously powerful compared to other racial passives. On the other end of the spectrum, many races had few or no performance affecting perks. We also needed to replace or update a number of racials that previously granted Hit or Expertise, since those stats have been removed.
We decided to bring down the couple high outliers, then establish a fair baseline and bring everyone else up to that. We achieved that by improving old passives, replacing obsolete ones, and occasionally adding new ones where needed. Our goal with these changes is to reach parity amongst races.
- Blood Elf
- Arcane Acuity is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike chance by 1%.
- Arcane Torrent now restores 20 Runic Power for Death Knights (up from 15 Runic Power), 1 Holy Power for Paladins, or 3% of mana for Mages, Priests, and Warlocks (up from 2% of Mana). Other parts of the ability remain unchanged.
- Gift of the Naaru now heals for the same amount over 5 seconds (down from 15 seconds).
- Heroic Presence has been redesigned. It no longer increases Hit by 1%, and instead increases Strength, Agility, and Intellect, scaling with character level.
- Crack Shot has been removed (was 1% Expertise with ranged weapons).
- Mace Specialization (was 1% Expertise with maces) has been replaced with Might of the Mountain.
- Might of the Mountain is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike bonus damage and healing dealt by 2%.
- Stoneform now also removes magic and curse effects in addition to poison, disease, and bleed effects, along with reducing damage taken by 10% for 8 seconds. It remains unusable while the Dwarf is under the effects of crowd control.
- Expansive Mind now increases maximum mana, energy, rage, and Runic Power by 5% instead of only increasing maximum mana.
- Escape Artist’s cooldown has been reduced to 1 minute (down from 1.5 minutes).
- Nimble Fingers is a new racial passive ability that increases Haste by 1%.
- Shortblade Specialization (was 1% Expertise with one-handed swords and daggers) has been replaced with Nimble Fingers.
- Time is Money now grants a 1% increase to Haste (up from only attack speed and spell haste).
- Mace Specialization has been removed (was 1% Expertise with maces).
- Sword Specialization has been removed (was 1% Expertise with swords).
- The Human Spirit has been redesigned. It now increases Versatility, scaling with character level.
- Night Elf
- Quickness now also increases movement speed by 2% in addition to increasing Dodge chance by 2%.
- Touch of Elune is a new passive ability which increases Haste by 1% at night, and Critical Strike chance by 1% during the day.
- Axe Specialization has been removed (was 1% Expertise with axes).
- Command now increases pet damage by 1% (down from 2%).
- Hardiness now reduces the duration of Stun effects by 10% (down from 15%).
- Epicurean now increases the benefit of Well Fed effects by 75% (down from 100%).
- Brawn is a new racial passive ability that increases Critical Strike bonus damage and healing done by 2%.
- Endurance now increases Stamina by an amount scaling with character level, instead of increasing Base Health by 5%.
- Berserking now increases Haste by 15% (down from 20%).
- Beast Slaying now increases XP earned from killing Beasts by 20%, instead of increasing damage dealt versus Beasts by 5%.
- Dead Eye has been removed (was 1% Expertise with ranged weapons).
- Will of the Forsaken’s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes (up from 2 minutes).
- Undead can now breathe underwater indefinitely.
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Ability Pruning and Consolidation
Over the years, we've added significantly more new spells and abilities to the game than we've removed. This has led to the complexity of the game increasing steadily over time, to the point we're at now, where players feel like they need dozens of keybinds. There are many niche abilities which could theoretically be useful in some rare case, but usually are not. There are many abilities that we'd be better off not having. We decided that we needed to make a strong push for paring down the number of abilities each class/spec has. That means making some abilities restricted to certain specs that really need them instead of being class-wide, and outright removing some other abilities. It also includes removing some Spellbook clutter, such as passives that could be merged with others, or with base abilities.
However, this doesn't mean that we want to reduce the depth of gameplay, or "dumb it down.” We still want there to be interesting decisions during combat, and for skill to matter. But, that doesn't require complexity; we can remove some needless complexity and still retain the depth and skill variance.
One type of ability that we focused on is temporary power buffs ("cooldowns"). Removing those also helps achieve one of our other goals, which is to reduce the amount of cooldown stacking in the game. In cases where a class/spec had multiple cooldowns that typically ended up getting used together, often in a single macro, we merged them, or removed some of them.
What abilities and spells got cut is a very, very difficult
question to answer. Every ability is vital to someone, so we don't take this process lightly. We hope that even if we cut your favorite ability, you can see it in the context of our larger goals. It's important to remember that the point of these changes is to increase players' ability to understand the game, not to reduce depth of gameplay. We attempt to prune abilities with the intent to reduce the amount of keybind/macro bloat and merging abilities that served a similar purpose but are otherwise redundant together.
- Additional Changes
- Revised the levels at which class abilities are learned to provide a smoother leveling experience.
Please see the Classes Section for changes specific to each class.
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Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns (Updated)
Another big takeaway from Mists of Pandaria is that there was simply too much crowd control (CC) in the game. To solve that, we knew that we needed an across-the-board disarmament. Here's a summary of the player-cast CC changes:
- Removed Silence effects from all Interrupts. Silences still exist, but are never attached to an Interrupt.
- Removed all Disarms.
- Reduced the number of Diminishing Returns (DR) categories.
- All Roots now share the same DR category.
- Exception: Roots on 'Charge' types of abilities have no DR category, but have a very short duration instead.
- All Stuns now share the same DR category.
- All Incapacitate ("Mesmerize") effects now share the same DR category, and have been merged with the Horror DR category.
- A list of which Diminishing Returns category each crowd-control ability belongs to can be found in the forum thread titled: Diminishing Returns in Warlords of Draenor.
- Removed the ability to make crowd-control spells with cast-times into instant-cast with a cooldown.
- Removed many crowd-control spells entirely, and increased the cooldowns and restrictions on others.
- Pet-cast CC is more limited and often removed.
- Cyclone can now be dispelled by Immunity effects and Mass Dispel.
- PvP trinkets now grant immunity to reapplication of an effect from the same spell cast when they break abilities with persistent effects like Solar Beam.
- Long fears are now shorter in PvP, to account for the target also needing to run back afterward.
Additionally, we've significantly reduced the number of throughput-increasing cooldowns and procs, in order to further reduce burst damage. Please keep in mind when reading the specifics of the patch notes that some classes may have lost abilities, or had the power of select abilities reduced. These changes were made in the context of the above goals. Other classes have a reduced crowd-control ability overall. We believe that this entire package of changes will make PvP a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
- Death Knight
- Rune of Swordbreaking has been removed.
- Rune of Swordshattering has been removed.
- Bear Hug has been removed.
- Cyclone now shares Diminishing Returns with Fears, and can be canceled by immunity effects (i.e. Divine Shield, Ice Block, etc.), and can be dispelled by Mass Dispel.
- Disorienting Roar has been renamed to Incapacitating Roar, incapacitates enemies instead of disorienting them, and its effect now shares Diminishing Returns with other Mesmerize effects.
- Hibernate has been removed.
- Maim is now available only to Feral Druids.
- Nature’s Grasp has been removed.
- Nature’s Swiftness can no longer turn Cyclone into an instant-cast spell.
- Solar Beam no longer Silences a target again more than once per cast. Additionally, the Silence effect from this spell now shares Diminishing Returns with other Silences.
- Typhoon now has a range of 15 yards (down from 30 yards).
- Hunter pets no longer have crowd-control abilities.
- Basilisk: Petrifying Gaze; Bat: Sonic Blast; Bird of Prey: Snatch; Crab: Pin; Crane: Lullaby; Crocolisk: Ankle Crack; Dog: Lock Jaw; Gorilla: Pummel; Monkey: Bad Manner; Moth: Serenity Dust; Nether Ray: Nether Shock; Porcupine: Paralyzing Quill; Rhino: Horn Toss; Scorpid: Clench; Shale Spider: Web Wrap; Silithid: Venom Web Spray; Spider: Web; and Wasp: Sting have been removed as pet abilities.
- Concussive Barrage has been removed.
- Entrapment’s Root effect now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Root effects.
- Scare Beast has been removed.
- Scatter Shot has been removed.
- Silencing Shot has been removed.
- Traps and trap launchers no longer have an arming time and can instantly trigger.
- Traps can no longer be disarmed.
- Widow Venom has been removed.
- Wyvern Sting now has a 1.5 second cast time.
- Cone of Cold’s cooldown has been increased to 12 seconds (up from 10 seconds).
- Deep Freeze is now available only to Frost Mages.
- Deep Freeze can now be broken by damage (same amount as Frost Nova).
- Dragon’s Breath now replaces Cone of Cold for Fire Mages and the disoriented effect now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Frost Nova’s cooldown has been increased to 30 seconds (up from 25 seconds).
- Ice Ward’s Frozen effect now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Root effects.
- Improved Counterspell has been removed.
- Presence of Mind can no longer turn Polymorph into an instant-cast spell.
- Adaptation has been removed.
- Fists of Fury no longer stuns a target more than once per cast, but now deals 100% increased damage, and always deal full damage to the primary target with additional targets still being affected by the damage split.
- Grapple Weapon has been removed.
- Ring of Peace no longer Silences or Disarms enemies. It now incapacitates targets in the area for 3 seconds, or until the target takes damage. The ability now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Spear Hand Strike no longer Silences the target if they’re facing the Monk.
- Glyph of Breath of Fire’s Disoriented effect now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Evil is a Point of View has been removed and replaced with Blinding Light.
- Repentance's cast time has been increased to 1.7 seconds.
- Turn Evil's cast time has been increased to 1.7 seconds and now has a 6-second duration in PvP (down from 8 seconds).
- Dominate Mind now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Holy Word: Chastise now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Psyfiend has been removed.
- Psychic Horror now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Psychic Scream is now a level-15 talent, replacing Psyfiend, and has a 45-second cooldown (up from 30 seconds).
- Rapture no longer has any effect beyond removing the cooldown of Power Word: Shield.
- Silence is now available to Discipline and Shadow Priests.
- Void Tendrils’ Root effect now has a chance to break if the target takes sufficient damage.
- Dismantle has been removed.
- Deadly Throw now requires 5 Combo Points in order to interrupt spell casting (up from 3 Combo Points).
- Paralytic Poison has been removed and replaced by Internal Bleeding.
- Internal Bleeding causes successful Kidney Shots to also apply a periodic Bleed effect for 12 seconds, with damage increasing per combo point used.
- Bind Elemental has been removed.
- Earthgrab Totem now shares Diminishing Returns with all other root effects.
- Frostbrand Weapon has been removed.
- Hex’s cast time has been increased to 1.7 seconds.
- Ancestral Swiftness can no longer turn Hex into an instant-cast spell.
- Maelstrom Weapon can no longer reduce the cast time of Hex.
- Tremor Totem is no longer usable while under the effects of Fear, Charm, or Sleep, but its duration has been increased to 10 seconds (up from 6 seconds).
- Bug Fix: Glyph of Shamanistic Rage should no longer cause Shamanistic Rage to incorrectly dispel Unstable Affliction or Vampiric Touch that has been modified by the PvP 4-piece set bonus.
- Blood Horror’s cooldown has been increased to 60 seconds (up from 30 seconds) and now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Curse of Exhaustion has been removed.
- Demonic Breath has been removed.
- Howl of Terror is now a Level-30 talent, replacing Demonic Breath.
- Felhunter: Spell Lock now only interrupts spell casting and no longer Silences the enemy.
- Mortal Coil now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
- Observer: Optic Blast now only deals damage and interrupts spell casting. The ability no longer Silences the enemy.
- Sear Magic’s cooldown has been increased to 30 seconds (up from 20 seconds).
- Succubus: Seduction and Shivarra: Mesmerize now have a 30-second cooldown.
- Terrorguard no longer casts Terrifying Roar when it dies.
- Unbound Will’s cooldown has been increased to 2 minutes (up from 1 minute).
- Voidwalker: Disarm has been removed.
- Voidlord: Disarm has been removed.
- Charge now Roots the target (instead of stunning). The Root effect does not share a Diminishing Return with other Roots.
- Disarm has been removed.
- Intimidating Shout now has a 6-second duration in PvP (down from 8 seconds).
- Safeguard no longer removes movement-impairing effects.
- Warbringer now causes Charge to stun the target for 1.5 seconds instead of rooting it.
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Moving quickly has always been a powerful bonus in World of Warcraft; however, the logic of how various movement speed bonuses stack (or don't) has generally been inconsistent and poorly explained. Under the old set-up, each movement speed bonus would become more powerful when combined with another, so we would limit what can stack with what, and prevent certain abilities from being used when another one is already in effect. We decided to change the movement speed system to make it more transparent, with rules about stacking that are easier to understand, and with fewer restrictions.
Previously, multiple movement speed modifiers on you were multiplicative, meaning that if you had two different +25% movement speed bonuses, they resulted in a total movement speed of 56% (1.25*1.25 = 1.56).
Movement speed bonuses have been changed to be additive. The previous example with two different +25% movement speed bonuses would result in a total movement speed of +50%. The logic governing which bonuses stack with others has been simplified as well.
"Movement speed bonuses have been changed to be additive."
- Movement speed buffs that are self-only or is a passive effect are considered non-exclusive, and will now all stack together additively.
- Movement speed buffs that are temporary or could be applied to other players are considered exclusive, their effects do not stack, and only the highest bonus gets applied (in addition to non-exclusive movement speed buffs).
Additionally, restrictions that prevented a player with a temporary speed bonus from receiving or activating a second temporary speed bonus have been removed. Both bonuses will now apply to the character, but only the one with the highest magnitude will have any effect.
Examples of self-only passive bonuses: Cat Form, Movement Speed enchants, Quickness racial for Night Elves, Unholy Presence
- These will all stack additively with each other.
Examples of shared or temporary bonuses: Angelic Feather, Sprint, Stampeding Roar
- All of these effects can now be applied simultaneously, but only the strongest one will have an effect.
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Buffs and Debuffs
All specializations provide some common buffs and debuffs. These are important to the game because they encourage cooperation, make you stronger when you work together with others, and promote Raid composition diversity. However, we saw room to revise these buffs and debuffs. In addition to the above changes, we revised which buffs and debuffs are provided by Hunter pets. Please see the Hunter Pet Abilities section for a full list of changes.
Two new stats have been added that benefitted all players. Also added were three new debuffs (Weakened Armor, Physical Vulnerability, and Magic Vulnerability) that each benefitted only half of the group. While that could be interesting, the two physical debuffs were redundant, and felt that the two new stats would be better suited as raid buffs. So, we made that replacement.
- Weakened Armor, Physical Vulnerability, and Magic Vulnerability
- Death Knight (Frost): Brittle Bones has been removed.
- Death Knight (Unholy): Ebon Plaguebringer no longer causes Physical Vulnerability.
- Druid: Faerie Fire no longer applies Weakened Armor.
- Paladin (Retribution): Judgments of the Bold no longer causes Physical Vulnerability.
- Rogue: Expose Armor no longer applies Weakened Armor.
- Rogue: Master Poisoner has been removed.
- Warlock: Curse of the Elements has been removed.
- Warrior: Sunder Armor no longer applies Weakened Armor.
- Warrior (Arms, Fury): Colossus Smash no longer causes Physical Vulnerability.
- Warrior (Protection): Devastate no longer applies Weakened Armor.
- Death Knight (Frost, Unholy): Unholy Aura now also provides 3% Versatility.
- Druid: Mark of the Wild now also provides 3% Versatility.
- Paladin (Retribution): Sanctity Aura is a new passive ability for Retribution Paladins which grants 3% Versatility to the Paladin and all allies within 100 yards.
- Warrior (Arms, Fury): Inspiring Presence is a new passive ability for Arms and Fury Warriors which grants 3% Versatility to the Warrior and all allies within 100 yards.
- Monk (Windwalker): Windflurry is a new passive ability for Windwalker Monks which grants 5% Multistrike to the Monk and all allies within 100 yards.
- Priest (Shadow): Mind Quickening now also grants 5% Multistrike.
- Rogue: Swiftblade’s Cunning now also grants 5% Multistrike.
- Warlock: Dark Intent now grants 5% Multistrike instead of 10% Stamina.
- Blood Pact is a new passive ability for Warlocks which grants 10% Stamina to the Warlock and all allies within 100 yards.
Weakened Blows was a debuff that mattered almost exclusively to tanks, and that every tank automatically applied. We removed the debuff and reduced creature damage to compensate.
- Weakened Blows
- The following abilities no longer apply the Weakened Blows effect.
- Death Knight (Blood): Scarlet Fever
- Druid: Thrash
- Monk: Keg Smash
- Paladin: Crusader Strike; Hammer of the Righteous
- Shaman: Earth Shock
- Warrior: Thunder Clap
The Cast Speed Slow was a debuff type that mattered almost exclusively to PvP, and made combat much less fun for casters in addition to encouraging the use of instant-cast spells. We decided that it was best to remove casting speed debuffs.
- Cast Speed Slows
- The following abilities no longer slow the target’s casting speed by 50%.
- Death Knight: Necrotic Strike
- Mage (Arcane): Slow
- Additionally, Slow can now affect more than one target at a time.
- The following abilities have been removed.
- Rogue: Mind-numbing Poison
- Warlock: Curse of Enfeeblement
As part of a push to combine the different types of Haste in the game as much as possible, we merged Spell Haste and Attack Speed into just Haste, which benefits everyone.
- Spell Haste and Attack Speed
- The following abilities now provide a 5% increase to melee, ranged, and spell Haste to all Party and Raid members (previously they only increased spell Haste).
- Priest (Shadow): Mind Quickening
- Shaman (Elemental): Elemental Oath
- The following abilities now provide a 5% increase to melee, ranged, and spell Haste to all Party and Raid members (instead of a 10% increase to only melee and ranged attack speed).
- Death Knight (Frost, Unholy): Unholy Aura
- Shaman (Enhancement): Unleashed Rage
- Rogue: Swiftblade’s Cunning
Some classes received new abilities to provide some of harder-to-find buffs/debuffs, increasing their utility to the Party or Raid.
- Legacy of the White Tiger is now also learned by Brewmaster Monks, granting a 5% increase to Critical Strike chance for all Party and Raid members.
- Moonkin Form now grants increased Mastery instead of 5% to Spell Haste.
- Power of the Grave is a new passive ability learned by Blood Death Knights.
- Power of the Grave grants a bonus to Mastery for all allies within 100 yards.
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Raid Utility Balance
Various classes bring various abilities that provide utility to parties and raids. We talked about one type of utility in the Buffs and Debuffs section, above. However, there are other types of raid utility, and it’s been in need of more attention. In general, raid utility, especially raid-wide defensive cooldowns, had grown too strong. So many classes and specializations had defensive cooldowns that we had to make raid damage extremely high, as raids would be stacking or chaining together multiple cooldowns. We'd like to return to a system where it's the healers who heal through the scary moments, not the damage dealers, for example.
To do so, we’ve established a new baseline level of raid utility that a specialization should bring, and brought everyone to that new standard by reducing the effects of some abilities, or removing some abilities altogether.
- Death Knight
- Anti-Magic Zone now reduces magic damage taken by 20% (down from 40%).
- Tranquility is now only available to Restoration Druids.
- Aspect of the Fox is a new ability for all Hunters.
- Aspect of the Fox: Party and raid members within 40 yards take on the aspects of a fox, allowing them to move while casting all spells for 6 seconds. Only one Aspect can be active at a time. 3 minute cooldown.
- Amplify Magic is a new spell available to Mages.
- Amplify Magic amplifies the effects of helpful magic, increasing all healing received by 10% for all party and raid members within 100 yards, and lasts 6 seconds with a 2-minute cooldown.
- Avert Harm has been removed.
- Stance of the Fierce Tiger’s movement speed increase now affects the Monk and all allies within 10 yards.
"...we’ve established a new baseline level of raid utility...by reducing the effects of some abilities, or removing some abilities altogether."
- Devotion Aura is now only available to Holy Paladins.
- Hymn of Hope has been removed.
- Smoke Bomb now reduces damage taken by 10% (down from 20%).
- Ancestral Guidance now causes 20% of damage or healing to be copied as healing to nearby injured allies (down from 40% of damage or 60% of healing).
- Healing Tide Totem is now available only to Restoration Shaman.
- Stormlash Totem has been removed.
- Each player can use a Demonic Gateway only once every 90 seconds.
- Healthstones now share a cooldown with Health Potions, separate from other potions.
- Rallying Cry now increases health by 15% (down from 20%), and is no longer available to Protection Warriors.
- Skull Banner has been removed.
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Instant Cast Heals
Over time, healers have gained a bigger and bigger arsenal of heals that they can cast while on the move, which removes the inherent cost that movement is intended to have for them, while also limiting players’ ability to counter healing in PvP. This left Silences and crowd control (which we’re trying to curb) as the only ways to actually limit an enemy player's healing output. We're still preserving the option to instantly heal, but are reducing the number of instant-cast healing abilities overall. Raid and dungeon encounter damage during high-movement phases will be adjusted accordingly.
- Wild Growth (Restoration) now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
- Uplift (Mistweaver) now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
- Eternal Flame now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast) for Holy Paladins.
- Guarded by the Light (Protection) now also makes Word of Glory and Eternal Flame instant cast.
- Light of Dawn now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
- Sword of Light (Retribution) now also makes Word of Glory and Eternal Flame instant cast.
- Word of Glory now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
- Cascade now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast) for Discipline and Holy.
- Halo now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast) for Discipline and Holy.
- Prayer of Mending now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
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There are many effects in the game which deal periodic damage over time (DoT) or healing over time (HoT). Historically, these have typically done something called “snapshotting”; they were based on your stats at the time that they were cast, and that was used for calculating their effect for their full lifetime. In Mists, if a warlock casts Corruption on an enemy while Heroism is active, that DoT will continue to tick rapidly based on the temporary haste effect, even after Heroism fades. This has led to some gameplay that has both good and bad sides.
Snapshotting encourages refreshing those periodic effects when your stats are high, such as when a temporary buff procs. On the upside, there's a high amount of skill involved in maximizing that. On the downside, it's not intuitive, and the skill ceiling is so high that few can reach it without the use of specialized add-ons. To make matters worse, the benefits of maximizing periodic snapshotting is so high that it creates a balance problem. Players maximizing periodic snapshotting (primarily through the use of add-ons) do drastically more damage than intended. If we balance around taking full advantage of snapshotting, then the players who aren’t doing so would fall unacceptably far behind in damage output.
Ultimately, we've decided that snapshotting isn't a productive mechanic for the game. The vast majority of periodic effects in the game that snapshotted no longer do so. The only exceptions are ones that do damage based on a percentage of a previous ability's damage (such as the Ignite from a Fire Mage's Fireball, or the periodic damage on a Windwalker Monk's Blackout Kick), as they inherently act as a delayed damage multiplier to those abilities. Temporary effects which buff the damage or healing of other spells specifically will continue to do so for their lifetime; for example, Unleash Flame (which increases the damage of the shaman's next fire spell by 40%), when used on a Flame Shock, will continue to increase the damage of the periodic effect for its entire lifetime, despite being consumed when the Flame Shock is cast.
"The vast majority of periodic effects in the game that snapshotted no longer do so. The only exceptions are ones that do damage based on a percentage of a previous ability's damage..."
We still of course want skills and their use to embody interesting choices, and intelligent and skillful use of abilities.
- Periodic damage and healing effects now dynamically recalculate their damage, healing, Critical chance, multipliers, and period on every tick.
Skilled players will still be able to take advantage of temporary power buffs like trinket procs, and you'll still want to cast your hardest hitting spells within those proc durations. The benefits just won't extend outside the trinket procs’ duration. As such, this high-skill gameplay is there, it's just rewarded more consistently. For example, a Priest’s trinket procs and an already active Shadow Word: Pain will begin dealing more damage the instant the proc effect occurs, but will return to normal when the proc duration ends. Skilled players will be able to play within these proc durations to maximize effect, but it won’t be as detrimental to output to anyone who isn’t actively and skillfully using them to their full extent.
We also made another change to periodic effects. Haste has long affected the tick rate of periodic effects, and their duration has been rounded to whole numbers of ticks, in order to mostly preserve the original duration of the spell. This lead to Haste breakpoints where having specific amounts of Haste would cause certain periodic effects to gain an extra tick. Part of gearing your character involved trying to reach those Haste breakpoints, but not go over by too much. This was a fairly tedious number to manage, which was again mostly handled by add-ons and guides. With some new tech we’re now able to calculate the effect of Haste on tick time dynamically. Any fraction of a full period left at the end of an effect will do a tick of damage or healing in proportion to the remaining time. In other words, there are no more Haste breakpoints; Haste now smoothly and accurately affects periodic effects for the entire duration.
"In other words, there are no more Haste breakpoints; Haste now smoothly and accurately affects periodic effects for the entire duration."
This also opened up the opportunity to revise how we handle refreshing periodic effects. For the vast majority of spells and abilities, we had a standard rule that any refresh would add the new cast's duration after the next tick of the existing effect. In simpler terms, you can refresh anywhere between the last and second-to-last tick of a DoT or HoT with no loss. Warlocks had a special passive that changed this logic to allow refreshing with no loss anywhere in the last 50% of a DoT. We liked the flexibility that this provided; though felt it was a bit too powerful. No longer tied to whole tick times, we chose to extend the mechanic that Warlocks had to all classes, but reduce it to 30%. Everyone can now refresh their periodic effects anywhere in the last 30% of the duration for full benefit, and no lost tick time.
- Recasting periodic damage over time and healing over time effects that are already on the target now extends those effects to up to 130% of the normal duration of the effect.
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Tank Vengeance, Resolve, and PvP
The changes to tanking made in Mists of Pandaria turned out quite well, overall. But there were a few rough parts that we're going to smooth over. The biggest one is the offensive capabilities of Vengeance. We like that tanks can provide meaningful DPS to their group, however, it swung wildly based on the fight, even surpassing the dedicated damage dealers occasionally. To solve this, we're going to remove the offensive value of Vengeance, but preserve the defensive value, by making it increase the effect of your active mitigation buttons, instead of Attack Power.
- Vengeance has been removed and replaced with a new passive ability, Resolve.
- Resolve: Increases your healing and absorption done to yourself, based on Stamina and damage taken (before avoidance and mitigation) in the last 10 seconds.
Then, to keep tank DPS meaningful, we'll be raising their damage, since it would be meager with no Vengeance Attack Power (Vengeance accounted for 70-90% of a tank's damage on high-tank-damage fights in Mists). To do that, we're increasing the damage of several prominent tank abilities. For plate-wearing Tank specializations, Riposte has been redesigned to convert Critical Strike into Parry, a defensive stat. That also helps keep secondary stats balanced in offensive value for them.
- All tanking stances and similar effects now increases threat generated by 900% (up from 600%).
- Riposte is a passive ability for Blood Death Knights, Protection Paladins, and Protection warriors.
- Riposte now gives the character Parry equal to their Critical Strike bonus from gear.
- Death Knight
- Mastery: Blood Shield now also passively increases Attack Power by 8% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.
- Mastery: Primal Tenacity now also passively increases Attack Power by 8% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.
- Mastery: Elusive Brawler now also passively increases Attack Power by 8% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.
- Brewmasters no longer deal 15% less damage.
- Mastery: Divine Bulwark now also passively increases Attack Power by 8% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.
- Mastery: Critical Block now also passively increases Attack Power by 8% (percentage increased by Mastery), in addition to its current effects.
Tanks in PvP
Finally, we have the topic of tanks in PvP. Apart from a few niche cases like flag carrying; tanks have been intentionally non-viable in serious PvP for several expansions now. The reason for this was simple: fighting against tanks was very frustrating, not fun. They were near-invincible, had numerous CC abilities (primary stuns), but did little enough damage to not be able to kill you (in most cases, anyway). By excluding them from PvP, we preserved the enjoyment of the rest of the playerbase. However, that has the obvious downside that people who prefer to play tanks are excluded from doing so in PvP.
We decided that we could do better, and satisfy everyone involved. Our other changes to tanks in Warlords of Draenor got us most of the way there. Tanks’ damage will already be tuned to be somewhat weaker than damage dealers, but not trivial. We’ve already removed the additional CC that they had during the CC Disarmament and Ability Pruning. All that remains that makes them frustrating to fight against is their invincibility. So, we’re causing tanks to take increased damage in PvP, so that the net result is that they both deal and take somewhat less damage than damage dealers.
- Tanks now take 25% additional damage while engaged in PvP combat.
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Quality of Life Improvements
Strict facing requirements can be frustrating to deal with, especially in hectic Raid combat or PvP environments. In order to ease this frustration, we decided to remove or significantly loosen the facing requirements of all attacks that required the player to be behind their target.
- Druid: Ravage no longer requires the Druid to be behind the target.
- Druid: Shred no longer requires the Druid to be behind the target.
- Rogue: Ambush no longer requires the Rogue to be behind the target.
- Rogue (Subtlety): Backstab can now be used on either side of the target, in addition to behind the target.
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Being able to quickly understand what an ability does by glancing at the tooltip is of paramount importance to learn how to play with a given class or specialization. We’ve taken an extensive look at the tooltips for all class abilities, and revised them to be as clear and concise as possible.
In some rare cases, we’ve removed mention of niche information that we don’t think is needed. If that's the case, please note that a change to the ability's tooltip does not mean that functionality has changed. If the change in question is not mentioned in the Patch Notes, there has been no change to the ability.
- Tooltips for nearly all class abilities have been revised for increased clarity.
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Another area of gameplay that we polished is how characters are able to sustain their own health, primarily when frequently killing enemies, such as in solo questing.
- Death Knight
- Dark Succor is no longer a Major Glyph and is now a passive ability learned by all Death Knights at level 60.
- Healing Touch now heals for 50% more when self-cast for Balance Druids.
- Predatory Swiftness now also increases the healing done by Healing Touch by 50%.
- Kill Shot now heals the Hunter for 15% of maximum health if it kills the target.
- Survivalist is a new passive ability learned by Survival Hunters at level 10.
- Survivalist increases the Hunter's chance to Multistrike by 10%. Additionally, the Hunter gains 15% health over 10 seconds after killing a target.
- Conjured Refreshments now restores 100% health and Mana over 20 seconds, regardless of level.
- Afterlife now always summons a Healing Sphere when an enemy is killed.
- Glyph of Afterlife has been removed and its effects are now baseline for Afterlife.
- Supplication now also increases Flash of Light’s healing by 50%.
- Devouring Plague now heals for 2% of maximum health per tick (up from 1%).
- Recuperate now heals for 5% of maximum health per tick (up from 3%).
- Maelstrom Weapon now also increases the direct healing of affected spells by 20% per application.
- Glyph of Healing Storm has been removed and its effects are now baseline for Maelstrom Weapon.
- Healing Surge now heals for 100% more when cast on self for Elemental Shaman.
- Drain Life now heals for 1.5% of maximum health per tick (up from 1.0%).
- Harvest Life now increases the healing from Drain Life to 3% of maximum health per tick (up from 2.5%).
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The original intent behind Reforging was to offer a way for players to customize their gear, but in practice it offered little in the way of true choice. Players attempting to optimize every piece of gear were well advised to look up how they were supposed to reforge an item in an online guide or tool that had already determined the optimal choice. It added yet another step to the list of things that must be done to a new item before it was ready to be equipped, reducing the joy of getting an upgrade into a chore.
If an upgrade drops, we want you to be able to equip it with a minimum of fuss. It is for those reasons that we’re removing Reforging from the game.
- The Reforging system and associated NPCs have been removed from the game.
- All existing items that were reforged have been returned to their original un-reforged state.
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Combat resurrections are an extremely powerful tool that players have while in combat. Naturally, we apply some limitations. In Mists of Pandaria, that limit was 1 resurrection during a given raid boss encounter for 10-player modes and 3 for 25-player modes. With Flexible difficulty introduced in Patch 5.4, we erred on the forgiving side, and gave Flexible Raids 3 resurrections regardless of raid size.
In Warlords of Draenor, the Flex tech has expanded to more difficulty levels, and we needed a new system to handle combat resurrections more fairly. We knew that continuing with a constant 3 would encourage using the smallest possible raid sizes, while scaling with hard breakpoints would discourage specific group sizes just under those points. Additionally, the limit is not shown anywhere in-game, so it can be easy to lose track of how many resurrections the raid has available (or even know that the limit exists).
So we’ve built a new system to be more transparent, and improve usability.
- During a boss encounter, all combat resurrection spells now share a single raid-wide pool of charges that’s visible on the action bar button.
- Upon engaging a boss, all combat resurrection spells will have their cooldowns reset and begin with 1 charge. Charges will accumulate at a rate of 1 per (90/RaidSize) minutes.
- Example 1: A 10-player raid will accumulate 1 charge every 9 minutes (90/10 = 9).
- Example 2: A 20-player raid will accumulate 1 charge every 4.5 minutes (90/20 = 4.5).
- A charge will only be deducted when a combat resurrection is successful (when the target accepts the resurrection).
- Raid frames now show a debuff indicating that a dead player has a pending combat resurrection available.
- Outside of raid boss encounters, combat resurrection spells retain their normal cooldown behavior.
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We made several improvements to the Glyph system. While leveling, characters unlock Glyph slots at several specific levels. However, in order to get glyphs, characters need to visit an Auction House (and potentially pay way more gold than an average character of that level has yet), or know a Scribe from which to request them. To solve this, we've made characters learn some Glyphs automatically as they level. Additionally, we now have the ability to make some glyphs exclusive with each other, or require specific specializations.
- Many glyphs have been removed, and many new glyphs have been added.
- Exclusive categories have been added for some glyphs. Other glyphs from the same category cannot be applied at the same time.
- Some glyphs are now exclusive to a specialization.
- All classes now learn some of their Major Glyphs as they level. Recipes for these Glyphs have been removed.
- At level 25, the following Glyphs are automatically learned by characters of the appropriate class:
- Entangling Roots, Fae Silence, Ferocious Bite, Maul, Omens, Cat Form, Liberation, Pathfinding, Frost Nova, Blink, Fortuitous Spheres, Rapid Rolling, Victory Roll, Harsh Words, Flash of Light, Alabaster Shield, Dazing Shield, Avenging Wrath, Templar's Verdict, Levitate, Holy Fire, Fade, Deadly Momentum, Stealth, Flame Shock, Thunder, Frost Shock, Healing Wave, Spiritwalker's Grace, Siphon Life, Drain Life, Demon Training, Ember Tap, Long Charge, Victory Rush, Bloodthirst, Gag Order
- At level 50, the following Glyphs are automatically learned by characters of the appropriate class:
- Might of Ursoc, Nature's Grasp, Rebirth, Rejuvenation, Savagery, Mending, Chimera Shot, Black Ice, Polymorph, Spinning Crane Kick, Denounce, Divine Storm, Word of Glory, Reflective Shield, Smite, Mind Blast, Recuperate, Totemic Recall, Fear, Executor
- At level 60, the following Glyphs are automatically learned by characters of the appropriate class:
- Shifting Presences, Unholy Command, Death Grip
- At level 75, the following Glyphs are automatically learned by characters of the appropriate class:
- Death and Decay, Dash, Faerie Fire, Healing Touch, Master Shapeshifter, Misdirection, Slow, Frostfire Bolt, Water Elemental, Breath of Fire, Mana Tea, Fists of Fury, Light of Dawn, Final Wrath, Double Jeopardy, Penance, Renew, Dispersion, Ambush, Cheap Shot, Lightning Shield, Eternal Earth, Healthstone, Bull Rush, Enraged Speed, Shield Wall
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Some of our goals with Professions in Warlords of Draenor are to make them more of a personal choice, and less of a mandatory “min/max” selection. To that end, we're removing the direct combat benefits of Professions. Additionally, we've made it easier to level Mining and Herbalism. Healing Potions have gone mostly unused lately, compared to combat stat potions. We chose to solve that problem, along with a problem with Warlock utility, by having Healing Potions and Healthstones share cooldowns.
- Herbalists can now harvest herbs throughout the game world without hard skill requirements. The yield an Herbalist will be able to harvest from each node is now determined by skill level.
- Miners can now harvest mineral nodes in outdoor areas of the game world without hard skill requirements. The yield a Miner will be able to harvest from each node is now determined by skill level.
- Healing Potions no longer share a cooldown with other potions, but instead share a 60-second cooldown with Healthstones. The cooldown will not reset until the player leaves combat.
- Movement Speed enchants now increase Movement Speed by 10% (up from 8%).
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Death Knight (Updated)
A number of changes were made for Death Knights. Several cooldowns were made spec-specific. Frost and Unholy's rotations remain unchanged for the most part. Blood received revisions to their Active Mitigation design to bring them up to par with changes to other Tanking specializations. Runic Power generation of Anti-Magic Shell was standardized, to make it more understandable and balanced.
See the Ability Pruning section above for a discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Death Knights, this focused on removing abilities that were redundant, cooldown reduction, or abilities that were not used often.
- Blood Parasites has been removed.
- Blood Strike has been removed.
- Dark Command is now only available to Blood Death Knights.
- Dual Wield is now only available to Frost Death Knights.
- Frost Strike replaces Death Coil for Frost Death Knights.
- Obliterate replaces Blood Strike for Frost Death Knights.
- Necrotic Strike has been removed.
- Raise Dead is now only available to Unholy Death Knights.
- Rune of Cinderglacier has been removed.
- Rune of the Nerubian Carapace has been removed.
- Unholy Frenzy has been removed.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
The biggest change here is the merger of Blood Boil into Pestilence. This change effectively turned Roiling Blood into a passive ability; which we replaced with a new talent, Plaguebearer. For Blood specialization, we removed Rune Strike and are adjusting the cost of Death Coil so that it can be used in Rune Strike’s place.
Another change was to polish up the effect of diseases on the damage of other abilities. Diseases now do enough damage on their own to warrant using them. Having diseases act as multipliers on the damage of other abilities became extraneous and cluttered up the tooltips of those abilities. Those multipliers have been removed, and consolidated their benefits into the corresponding base spell. These changes also results in a slight reduction to ramp-up time.
- Horn of Winter no longer generates Runic Power, has no cooldown, and lasts 1 hour.
- Blood Boil has been removed and its effects have been merged into Pestilence.
- Pestilence now deals damage to all enemies within 10 yards, and spreads any diseases on targets hit to the other targets hit.
- Army of the Dead now deals 75% less damage.
- Master of Ghouls has been removed and its effects have been merged into the baseline Raise Dead ability for Unholy Death Knights.
- Threat of Thassarian has been removed and its effects have been merged into Might of the Frozen Wastes.
- Rune Strike has been removed. Blood Death Knights should now use Death Coil in its place.
- Death Coil now costs 30 Runic Power (down from 40 Runic Power), and has a 40 yard range for both hostiles and allies.
- Sudden Doom no longer reduces the cost of Death Coil.
- Roiling Blood has been removed and replaced with Plaguebearer, a new Level-56 talent for Death Knights.
- Plaguebearer causes Death Coil and Frost Strike to extend the duration of Frost Fever and Blood Plague, or add a stack of Necrotic Plague.
- Pestilence now deals 50% more damage, but no longer deals additional damage for diseases being present on the target.
- Pillar of Frost now increases Strength by 15% (down from 20%).
- Obliterate now deals 25% more damage on both main and off-hand weapons, but no longer deals additional damage for each disease present on the target.
- Scourge Strike no longer deals additional damage for each disease present on the target. The ability now deals 100% Physical weapon damage, and 50% Shadow weapon damage. These two effects can independently critically hit.
In Mists of Pandaria, Frost Death Knights suffered from rotations that were designed to allow flexibility in ability usage, so that you could pool some resources in order to make decisions about which ones you spent and in which order. Dual Wield vs Two-Handed had different rotational priorities, with different strengths and weaknesses. However, tuning ended up such that you reached a point where you just had to spend all of your resources as fast as possible to avoid wasting any, and all of that depth went out the window. For Warlords, we’ve adjusted the tuning of several abilities and passives, to ensure that that doesn’t happen again, and the rotational decisions and skill are maintained.
The goal is that Two-Handed Frost Death Knights favor their physical damage, slicing through their enemies with heavy Obliterates, whereas Dual-Wielders favor blasting their foes with frost damage, but both overlap considerably to maintain a cohesive specialization.
- Frost Strike’s damage has been increased by 100%, but its Runic Power cost has been increased by 5 (up to 25 Runic Power in Frost Presence, and 40 Runic Power in other Presences).
- Icy Talons now increases attack speed by 20%
35% (down from 45%), and haste by 5% (up from 0%).
- Might of the Frozen Wastes now increases the damage of Obliterate by 50% (up from 40%) and melee damage by 35% (up from 30%) while wielding a two-handed weapon, and increases the damage of Frost Strike by 50% (up from 35%) while dual-wielding.
- Razorice now deals 4% additional weapon damage (up from 2%), and increases Frost damage by 2%
4% per stack (down up from 3%).
- Obliterate's damage has been increased by 30%.
In order to better balance the scaling rates and value of secondary stats for Unholy Death Knights, we reduced the power of their passive Unholy Might ability, and added a new passive ability to make Multistrike more effective.
- Necrosis is a new passive ability for Unholy Death Knights.
- Necrosis causes Multistrikes from Festering Strike, Pestilence, Plague Strike, Scourge Strike, and Soul Reaper to also deal a burst of Shadow damage. The amount of burst damage is based on Attack Power, not the damage from the triggering Multistrike.
- Unholy Might now increases Strength by 10% (down from 35%).
Active Mitigation was a very successful design that was inspired by Death Knights' tanking style. However, it went beyond that, and Death Knights themselves were somewhat left behind in that regard. We made several changes to bring up the interactivity of Blood combat. This includes making Death Strike cause healing based on attack power, but be affected by the new Resolve passive (see Tank Vengeance and Resolve above), which gives it the traditional increase from recent damage. Plus, Rune Tap is being significantly improved, to become a strong Active Mitigation button.
Additionally, we removed Dodge and Parry from gear, and expect Blood Death Knights to value Haste and Crit as important secondary stats. In order to achieve that, we made Riposte give defensive value to Critical Strikes, and Scent of Blood give defensive value to Multistrike. To solve GCD-capping issues and increase the value of Haste, we also removed the passive rune regeneration increase from Improved Blood Presence. Finally, we tweaked the targeting AI of Dancing Rune Weapon, and fixed it up to properly copy most Talents that you know.
- Blood Rites now also causes auto attack Multistrikes to generate 15 Runic Power. The Death Strike damage increase it provided has been moved to Veteran of the Third War.
- Crimson Scourge now increases the damage of Pestilence by 50% (up from 10%) and now also increases the damage of diseases by 30%.
- Dancing Rune Weapon’s summoned Rune Weapon now remains fixated on the Death Knight’s target at the time of summoning, and copies the effects of Talents that are tied to the Death Knight, such as Blood Boil, Frost Fever, or Asphyxiate. Should the original target be dead or otherwise unavailable, the Rune Weapon will switch to assist with the Death Knight’s current target.
- Death Strike now causes healing that scales in effectiveness with attack power, instead of based on damage taken in the last 5 seconds. This healing is affected by Resolve.
- Heart Strike has been removed. Blood Death Knights should use Pestilence in its place.
- Improved Blood Presence now increases all damage dealt by 15%
20%, instead of increasing rune regeneration rate.
- Rune Tap has been redesigned. It now reduces all damage taken by 50% for 3 seconds. It also now has 2 charges, with a 40-second recharge time.
- Will of the Necropolis has been redesigned. It now automatically triggers an immediate, free Rune Tap when you take damage that reduces you below 30% health. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 30 seconds.
- Glyph of Rune Tap has been redesigned. It now reduces Rune Tap’s recharge time by 10 seconds, but reduces the damage reduction it provides by 20%.
- Scarlet Fever has been removed. Its effects have been merged into Scent of Blood.
- Scent of Blood has been changed. It now causes Pestilence to refresh diseases, and increase the healing of your next Death Strike by 20%, stacking up to 5 times.
- Veteran of the Third War now increases your
critical strike chance, Multistrike chance, haste, and Stamina by 10% (up from 9% to Stamina only), reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%, increases the damage of Death Strike by 100%, and grants 1 Runic Power per second while in combat.
Since the Ghoul pet is now Unholy only, that presents a problem for Death Pact. We revised Death Pact to not require an undead minion, but work a little differently. We left it at 50% heal, which is effectively a 33% buff to it from before (see Retuning Healing Spells and Player Health and Resilience above), and added a healing absorption shield for 50% of the amount healed instead. It should now be a more effective heal for staying alive immediately, but with the downside of needing to heal through the healing absorption shield before being healed any further.
- Death Pact no longer requires an undead minion, and instead places a healing absorption shield on the Death Knight for 50% of the amount healed.
There were also a few other miscellaneous changes. The Runic Power generation of Anti-Magic Shell was standardized, to make it more understandable and balanced. Level-60 and Level-75 talent rows have swapped places, so the important rune regeneration talents could be acquired earlier. Conversion was changed to cost different amounts by specialization, instead of reducing Runic Power generation differently by specialization. This way, Runic Power beyond what you spend on Conversion is not penalized.
- Anti-Magic Shell now restores 2 Runic Power per 1% of max health absorbed.
- Desecrated Ground now also makes the Death Knight immune to Roots and Snares.
- Conversion no longer has an initial tick, and now costs 30
15 Runic Power/second for Blood, 10 Runic Power/second for Frost, and 20 Runic Power/second for Unholy.
- Level-60 and Level-75 talent rows have swapped places.
- Level-60 rune regeneration talents can now be triggered by all Runic Power spenders
- Blood Tap now generates one charge for every 15 Runic Power spent.
- Runic Empowerment now has a 1.5% chance to trigger per Runic Power spent.
- Runic Corruption now has a 1.5% chance to trigger per Runic Power spent.
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See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Druids, we focused thinning out the niche and abilities that were not used often. We made sure to retain abilities for Druids to function in off-spec roles, since that flexibility is a defining characteristic of the class.
- Barkskin is now available to Balance, Guardian, and Restoration Druids.
- Enrage has been removed.
- Faerie Fire is now available only to Feral and Guardian Druids.
- Innervate has been removed.
- Lacerate is now available only to Guardian Druids.
- Leader of the Pack no longer restores Mana and is only available to Feral Druids.
- Mana regeneration has been increased by 100% for Feral and Guardian Druids.
- Mangle (Cat Form) has been removed.
- Maul is now available only to Guardian Druids.
- Might of Ursoc no longer automatically activates Bear Form and is now available only to Guardian Druids.
- Nature’s Swiftness is now available only to Restoration Druids.
- Nourish has been removed.
- Owlkin Frenzy has been removed.
- Rip is now available only to Feral Druids.
- Survival Instincts is now available only to Feral and Guardian Druids.
- Swipe is now requires the Druid to be in Cat Form and is available only to Feral Druids.
- Symbiosis has been removed.
- Thrash is now available to all Druid specializations (was Feral and Guardian only).
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
For consolidation of abilities, we merged several passive abilities. One notable change is the merging of the Ravage into Shred, and Pounce into Rake; saving a couple keybinds that were only used in conjunction with Prowl. The loss of Symbiosis primarily impacted Druid survivability, as many of the abilities received through Symbiosis were defensive cooldowns. To compensate for that, we improved Barkskin (for non-Feral Druids) and Survival Instincts (for Feral and Guardian Druids).
no longer provides pushback protection, but its cooldown has been reduced to 30 seconds.
- Cat Form now increases movement speed by 30% (up from 25%).
- Infected Wounds has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Mangle and Shred for Feral and Guardian Druids.
- Lifebloom can no longer stack, and its healing has been increased to compensate.
- Omen of Clarity (Feral) now affects all Druid spells and abilities.
- Rake now also stuns the target for 4 seconds if used while stealthed, and is only available to Feral Druids.
- Pounce has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Rake.
- Regrowth now has a duration of 12 seconds (up from 6 seconds), but no longer refreshes its duration on targets at or below 50% health.
- Revive’s mana cost has been reduced by 87%.
- Rip now has a duration of 24 seconds (up from 16 seconds), but its duration is no longer extended by Shred.
- Shred no longer requires the Druid to be behind the target (See also: Facing Requirements.) and is now available to all specializations. Shred now deals 35% more damage in addition to having double the normal chance to critically strike while stealthed.
- Ravage has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Shred.
- Skull Bash no longer increases the mana cost of the victim’s spells.
- Starfall no longer cancels when mounting. However, it can no longer hit stealthed or invisible targets.
- Survival Instincts no longer requires or forces the Druid into Cat or Bear Form, and now reduces damage taken by 70% (up from 50%) with a 2-minute cooldown (down from 3 minutes), and can have up to 2 charges (up from 1 charge).
- Thick Hide has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Bear Form.
- Bear Form now increases armor by 330% for all Druid specializations, and no longer increases Haste and Critical Strike from items by 50%, but instead causes Haste to reduce the global cooldown
- For Guardian Druids, Bear Form now also reduces magical damage taken by 25%, reduces chance to be critically hit by 6%, and reduces chance for attacks to be parried by 3%.
- Tiger’s Fury now lasts 8 seconds (up from 6 seconds) and is usable during Berserk.
- Track Humanoids has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Cat Form.
- Travel Form now automatically transitions between Aquatic, Land, and Flight forms depending on the Druid’s location.
- Glyph of the Stag now teaches the Druid a separate shapeshift ability, Stag Form. Stag Form allows the Druid to act as a mount for party members and will not switch between different Travel Forms.
- Wild Mushrooms no longer become invisible.
Guardian Druids had increased Armor as their Mastery for a while now. However, one of the new secondary stats available to all tanks is Bonus Armor. We didn't feel that the difference of being additive vs. being a multiplier was significant enough to warrant keeping their Mastery around. Additionally, active mitigation hasn't played out as well for Guardians as it has for some other tanks.
We decided to redesign the Mastery for Guardian Druids to something that compliments the Avoidance-heavy nature of Savage Defense, and also to improve the usability of Tooth and Claw for more consistent damage reduction. Note that Primal Tenacity's calculation uses the damage before any other absorbs you have, and before Tooth and Claw's effects, so that it isn’t negatively affected by any of the changes.
The maximum number of charges that can be accumulated for Savage Defense has been reduced to make its uptime more consistent between short and long periods of tanking. Rage for Guardian Druids has been problematic throughout Mists of Pandaria. Most of their rage generation was extremely passive, and most of their button presses either didn't affect their survivability, or only trivially did so. We made changes to Haste and Critical Strike, to try to solve these rage generation problems, and improve their rotation. We also added Ursa Major, in order to give a defensive value to the new Multistrike stat.
- Guardian Druids' Mastery (Nature’s Guardian) has been replaced with a new Mastery: Primal Tenacity.
- Mastery: Primal Tenacity causes the Druid to gain a Physical absorb shield equal to 12% of the attack’s damage when they are hit by a Physical attack. Attacks which this effect fully or partially absorbs cannot trigger Primal Tenacity.
- Ursa Major is a new passive ability for Guardian Druids.
- Ursa Major causes Multistrikes from auto attacks, Lacerate periodic damage, and Mangle to grant the Druid the Ursa Major effect. Ursa Major increases maximum health by 2% for 30 seconds. When the effect is refreshed, the remaining portion is added to the new effect.
- Auto-attacks now generate 5 Rage (down from 10.9 Rage).
- Bear Form no longer increases Haste and Critical Strike from items by 50%, but instead causes Haste to reduce the global cooldown.
- Faerie Fire no longer has a chance to reset Mangle's cooldown.
- Maul now costs 20 Rage (down from 30 Rage).
- Mangle now generates 10 Rage (down from 15 Rage).
- Lacerate now generates 2 Rage, has no cooldown (down from a 3-second cooldown), and the periodic bleed effect triggers every 1 second (down from 3 seconds).
- Primal Fury now generates 5 Rage (down from 15 Rage) when you dodge or non-periodically critically strike (up from only Auto Attacks and Mangle).
- Savage Defense can now accumulate 2 charges (down from 3 charges).
- Soul of the Forest (Guardian) now increases Mangle’s Rage generation by 5 (down from 10).
- Thrash now generates 1 Rage every time it deals direct or periodic damage, has no cooldown (down from a 6-second cooldown), but no longer has a chance to reset Mangle's cooldown.
- Tooth and Claw can now accumulate 2 charges, its effects stack on the target, and are affected by Resolve.
Feral Druids received one major change, and few tweaks beyond what's been mentioned above in Ability Pruning and Facing Requirements. Combo Points are now stored "on the player", meaning that when you switch targets, any accumulated Combo Points remain with you. Primal Fury was changed to let it affect area attacks as well. Critical strike chance of Ferocious Bite was changed in order to increase the value of Critical Strike. Glyph of Savage Roar was reworked to better achieve its intended effect.
- Combo Points for Feral Druids are now shared across all targets, and are no longer lost when switching targets.
- Ferocious Bite now has double the normal chance to critically strike against bleeding targets (instead of having an additional 25% chance to critically strike).
- Primal Fury now also grants a combo point for area attacks that critically strike the Druid's primary target.
- Glyph of Savagery has been renamed Glyph of Savage Roar, and now grants a free 5 Combo Point Savage Roar when leaving Prowl, instead of allowing Savage Roar to be used with 0 Combo Points.
One of our guiding principles with game design is that things should be "easy to learn, hard to master"."
We have some extensive changes for Balance Druids. One of our guiding principles with game design is that things should be "easy to learn, hard to master". We're not particularly happy with the Moonkin rotation because it was actually hard to learn, and easy to master (especially with regards to periodic damage effects no longer snapshotting). Energy and Eclipse mechanics were not intuitive for many newer players. Once you became accustomed to the rotation, there wasn’t much additional depth to mastering it; maintain two DoTs, hit these other two buttons whenever they light up, and spam one of two buttons in between. In order to try to make it easier to learn, but also add some gameplay depth and challenge we're making a significant revision to the rotation. The list of changes is quite dense, so here’s a summary of the changes.
Summary of changes to Balance:
- Balance Energy is a bar that automatically cycles back and forth between Lunar and Solar sides, like night and day. The closer to one end that the bar is, the more damage that side's spells do.
- Balance Druids now have four rotational spells.
- Starfire: Lunar direct damage spell
- Cast when the Lunar side is stronger
- Wrath: Solar direct damage spell
- Cast when the Solar side is stronger
- Moonfire: Lunar periodic damage spell. While closer to Solar, this button is replaced with Sunfire, a Solar periodic damage spell.
- Maintain both effects where possible
- Starsurge: Direct damage spell that benefits from whichever side is stronger. Has up to 3 charges, and buffs the damage of the next few Wraths or Starfires.
- Cast when able to follow up with a few strong Wraths or Starfires.
That's the basics of the new Moonkin rotation. There’s room for improvement beyond that, learning to optimally maintain both periodic damage effects while maximizing their damage, timing Starsurges to optimize the benefit of its buff, make use of Starfall and Hurricane for area damage, and taking advantage of the strengths of each side (such as Moonfire and Sunfire having significant differences now). Here are the full details of the changes.
Details of changes to Balance:
- Balance Energy system has been redesigned. Balance Energy is a bar that cycles back and forth between Lunar and Solar sides, like night and day, with a 40 second cycle time (from Lunar to Solar and back to Lunar).
- Balance Energy is no longer generated through spells, talents, or other effects anymore.
- Eclipse has been redesigned.
- Eclipse inspires the Druid with the power of the moon and the sun, causing the damage of Lunar and Solar spells to be increased by up to 30% based on how close Balance Energy levels are to the appropriate side.
- Example: With 0 Balance Energy, the damage bonus is evenly split between Lunar and Solar, and the Druid receives a 15% increase to damage for both spell types. With 80 Solar Energy, the Druid receives a 27% damage increase to Solar spells and a 3% damage increase to Lunar spells.
- Mastery: Total Eclipse now increases the maximum damage bonus of Eclipse by 12% (increasing with Mastery).
- The damage of damage-over-time effects changes dynamically as Eclipse changes.
- Astral Communion now increases the rate that Balance Energy cycles by 300% while channeled.
- Astral Storm has been removed.
- Celestial Alignment has been redesigned.
- Celestial Alignment causes the Druid to enter Celestial Alignment, a state where Balance Energy cycle is paused, all damage done is increased by 20%, and all Lunar and Solar spells benefit from the maximum Eclipse bonus. While in Celestial Alignment, Moonfire and Sunfire will also apply the other spell’s periodic damage effect. Lasts 15 seconds with a 3 minute cooldown.
- Hurricane now has a range of 35 yards (up from 30 yards), but is only available to Balance and Restoration Druids.
- Incarnation: Chosen of Elune now increases spell damage by 15% while active (was a 25% increase to Arcane and Nature damage, but only while Eclipse is active).
- Lunar Shower has been redesigned and renamed into Astral Showers.
- Astral Showers calls upon greater Lunar and Solar energy to permanently empower the Druid's Moonfire and Sunfire spells.
- Moonfire's periodic damage effect duration is increased by 100%.
- Sunfire's periodic damage effect is now applied to all enemies within 5 yards of the target.
- Moonfire now has a base duration of 20 seconds (up from 14 seconds), but is no longer extended by Starfire and Starsurge critical strikes. Upon reaching 100 Lunar Energy, the next Moonfire deals 100% additional initial damage.
- Shooting Stars now adds 1 full charge of Starsurge and Starfall when it triggers, and now has a 5% chance to trigger when the most recent Moonfire or Sunfire deals periodic damage. This chance is doubled on critical strikes.
- Soul of the Forest (Balance) has been redesigned.
- Soul of the Forest (Balance) now increases the damage bonus from Lunar and Solar Empowerment by an additional 15%.
- Starfall now shares charges with Starsurge, and has no cooldown of its own. It also now hits all nearby enemies (up from 2 nearby enemies).
- Starfire now has a 3 second cast time (up from 2.7 seconds).
- Starsurge now has 3 charges and a 30 second recharge time (instead of a 15 second cooldown). Starsurge now also grants Lunar or Solar Empowerment.
- Lunar Empowerment causes the next 2 casts of Starfire to deal 30% more damage.
- Solar Empowerment causes the next 3 casts of Wrath to deal 30% more damage.
- Sunfire is no longer its own spell and replaces Moonfire on the action bar whenever Balance Energy is on the Solar side. Sunfire now has a base duration of 24 seconds (up from 14 seconds), but is no longer extended by Wrath and Starsurge critical strikes. Enemies may still suffer from both Moonfire and Sunfire’s periodic damage components simultaneously. Upon reaching 100 Solar Energy, the next Sunfire deals 100% additional initial damage.
- Wild Mushroom (Balance) now begins snaring enemies immediately when summoned, lasts 20 seconds, and can no longer be detonated to deal damage.
- Wild Mushroom: Detonate has been removed.
Tranquility has an amazingly strong effect (pour a ton of healing into the whole Raid/Party), but had excessive complexity for a relatively simple task (5 different targets per tick, a short HoT, stacking, varied strength by raid size). So, we simplified it significantly. It still will be used just as it always has been.
- Tranquility now heals every Party and Raid member within range every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. It no longer places a periodic effect on each target. The total amount of healing it generates in Raids should be approximately the same as before this change.
Restoration Druids got a few changes as well. In Patch 5.4, a glyph was introduced where you could choose to attach your Efflorescence to Wild Mushroom, instead of to Swiftmend. That was a rousing success and the glyph was taken by nearly all Restoration Druids. It felt like a much better situation to us so we decided to remove the glyph, and bake that gameplay in permanently. Genesis and Wild Mushroom: Bloom fill a similar need for burst healing, so Wild Mushroom: Bloom has been removed; leaving Wild Mushroom to focus on the Efflorescence effect.
Secondly, while we are fine with the playstyle where a Restoration Druid blankets their Raid in Rejuvenations, the Swift Rejuvenation passive made that too strong, and limited their scaling with Haste. We removed that passive to encourage using other spells more, but still allow Rejuvenation blanketing as a viable playstyle. Omen of Clarity got changed to not trigger more often with Tree of Life as it was too strong in our new healing model. Soul of the Forest was also redesigned to fit better with Restoration and Genesis based on the new design for periodic effects.
- Genesis has been redesigned.
- Genesis now consumes all of the Druid's Rejuvenation effects on party or raid members within 60 yards and applies the Genesis effect to them instead. Genesis heals the target for an amount equal to the remaining healing from the consumed Rejuvenation effects over 3 seconds.
- Living Seed now heals for 50% of the critical heal (up from 30%).
- Incarnation: Tree of Life no longer enhances Lifebloom. Instead, it also enhances Rejuvenation, increasing its healing by 50%, and reducing its cost by 50%.
- Heart of the Wild (Restoration) now increases healing done by 35% (up from 25%).
- Omen of Clarity (Restoration) can now only be triggered by the most recently applied Lifebloom, and now causes the next Regrowth to be free.
- Soul of the Forest for Restoration Druids has been redesigned.
- Soul of the Forest (Restoration) when casting Swiftmend, the Druid gains Soul of the Forest. Soul of the Forest reduces the cast time of the next Healing Touch by 50%, or increases the healing of the next Regrowth or Rejuvenation by 100%, or increases the healing of the next Wild Growth by 50%.
- Swift Rejuvenation has been removed.
- Wild Mushroom (Restoration) now has a 30-second cooldown, lasts for 30 seconds, provides periodic healing to nearby allies, and no longer collects Rejuvenation overhealing.
- Wild Mushroom: Bloom has been removed.
- Swiftmend no longer causes Efflorescence.
The level 90-Talent row for Druids was designed to encourage hybrid gameplay. We decided that, while you shouldn't have to give up a significant amount of your primary role throughput in order to gain the off-role benefit, you also don't need to gain an actual benefit to your primary role throughput benefit either. We've reduced the power of their primary role benefit, making them roughly neutral in their effect on your primary role. Note that the increase to off-role healing from Nature's Vigil is not actually a buff (see Retuning Healing Spells and Player Health and Resilience above).
- Dream of Cenarius
- Balance: The talent has been redesigned for Balance Druids and now causes Moonfire and Sunfire casts with Lunar or Solar Peak to also heal a random injured ally.
- Feral: Increases the healing of Healing Touch and Rejuvenation by 20%, and causes them to also heal the Druid when cast on allies.
- Heart of the Wild no longer provides an increase to Hit, Expertise, Stamina, Agility, and Intellect while active.
- Nature’s Vigil, while active, increases single-target damage and healing caused by healing spells by 30% (up from 25%), and all single-target damage spells also heal a nearby friendly target for 40% of the damage done (up from 25%). Its healing now targets allies within 40 yards of the Druid (instead of within 40 yards of the target).
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See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning or consolidating class abilities.
Hunters have lacked a strong distinction between the different specializations. What we mean by that is that the Hunter specializations all had rotations that felt similar, with Marksmanship and Survival having the most blurred identities (Beast Mastery felt well rooted in the pet). Hunters were also some of the most afflicted by button bloat. To address these problems, we opted to make changes to each specialization's rotation, primarily through removing abilities, and making some of them unique to each spec. This means things like Aimed Shot being the primary Focus dump for Marksmanship, instead of Arcane Shot or Serpent Sting being available only to Survival. Hunters also had a large number of cooldown abilities, which we've also cut down (some of which we moved to the talent tree, competing with other active buttons).
- Arcane Shot is no longer available to Marksmanship Hunters. The talent Thrill of the Hunt received a change to preserve its value to Marksmanship Hunters.
- Thrill of the Hunt now also reduces the cost of Aimed Shot when active, to preserve its value to Marksmanship Hunters.
- Aspect of the Hawk has been removed.
- Aspect of the Iron Hawk has been renamed to Iron Hawk, and now passively provides a 10% reduction to all damage taken.
- Cower has been removed as a pet ability.
- Hunter’s Mark has been removed.
- Kill Shot is no longer available to Survival Hunters.
- Master Marksman has been removed.
- Piercing Shots has been removed.
- Rapid Recuperation has been removed.
- Stampede is now a level-75 talent, replacing Lynx Rush.
- Lynx Rush has been removed and replaced by Stampede.
- Steady Focus has been removed.
- Rabid has been removed as a pet ability.
- Rapid Fire is now available only to Marksmanship Hunters.
- Improved Serpent Sting has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into a redesigned Serpent Sting.
- Viper Venom has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into a redesigned Serpent Sting.
- Serpent Sting has been redesigned based on Serpent Spread and is now available only to Survival Hunters.
- Serpent Spread has been renamed into Serpent Sting.
- Serpent Sting now causes Multi-Shot and Arcane Shot to also apply a Serpent Sting poison dealing instant and periodic damage.
- Cobra Shot no longer extends the duration of Serpent Sting.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
- Cobra Strikes now has a 20% chance to trigger (up from a 15% chance), but now only grants 1 charge each time it triggers (down from 2 charges).
- Frenzy has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Focus Fire.
- Focus Fire now naturally grants the Hunter's pet the ability to gain Frenzy.
- Go for the Throat has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Invigoration.
- Invigoration now also grants 15 Focus to the Hunter's pet from auto-shot Critical Strikes.
- The Beast Within has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Bestial Wrath.
- Bestial Wrath now naturally includes the effects of The Beast Within.
- Lock and Load's effects have been incorporated into Black Arrow.
- Black Arrow’s cooldown is reset if it is dispelled.
- Mend Pet and Revive Pet now share the same button and changes based on the condition of the Hunter's pet.
- Thrill of the Hunt now has a 6% chance to trigger for every 10 Focus spent (instead of a flat 30% chance).
has a 20% chance to trigger (down from 30%).
Rotation Depth and Talents
We’ve changed the combat rotations of each Hunter specialization (primarily through Ability Pruning) with the goal of them being a platform to build upon with talents. To facilitate this, we’ve modified several talents to add additional rotational depth. Hunters had many talent options which added abilities to their rotation, but most of them had quite simple usage, with little interaction with your rotation or other abilities. Now, there should be more of a variety; still some simple talents, but also some talents that create a more engaging combat rotation.
- Barrage now has a 20 second cooldown (down from 30 seconds), costs 60 Focus (up from 30 Focus), and its damage has been increased by 100%.
- Murder of Crows has been changed. Its duration, cost, and cooldown have been reduced by 50%. It no longer has a shorter cooldown when used on low health targets. Instead, its cooldown is reset if the target dies.
- Fervor has been replaced with a new passive ability, Steady Focus.
- Steady Focus increases Focus Regeneration by 50% for 10 seconds after using Cobra Shot or Steady Shot twice in a row, or after using Focusing Shot.
One of the most difficult abilities to decide to cut was Aspect of the Hawk. It began to feel fairly meaningless, since it was used virtually all of the time in combat, so might as well have just been passive. We decided to cut Aspect of the Hawk, and bake in its benefit to the other abilities. The remaining aspect abilities are all utility only, and are being moved off the stance bar and made toggles.
Overall, Hunters should see a drastic reduction in the number of active buttons, and have a clearer distinction between the different specializations. With some of these changes, you may find yourself favoring a different specialization. Keep in mind that Draenor Perks, earned from levels 91 to 99, will serve to further distinguish the different specializations.
- Aspect of the Cheetah and Aspect of the Pack both now share a 10-second cooldown and no longer appears on the stance bar.
- Glyph of Aspect of the Beast: The ability taught by this Glyph no longer appears on the stance bar and is now on the global cooldown.
- Glyph of Aspect of the Cheetah: No longer triggers any cooldown on Aspects.
One of our new secondary stats Multistrike, is strikingly similar to the Wild Quiver Mastery for Marksmanship Hunters. To address this similarity, we replaced Wild Quiver with a new Mastery: Sniper Training. Marksmanship Hunters that favored Mastery before will want to favor Multistrike for a similar feel. For their new Mastery, we wanted to add some depth to their moment-to-moment gameplay, and compliment Critical Strike. In order to do that, we brought back the concept of Sniper Training.
We also changed the design of Chimera Shot (and fixed its name), in order to better capture the intended flavor. Finally, we added an interaction between Careful Aim and Rapid Fire (and indirectly Aimed Shot through a Draenor Perk), so as to add a bit more depth to their gameplay.
- Bombardment now reduces the cost of Multi-Shot by 25 Focus (up from a 20 Focus reduction to cost).
- Mastery: Wild Quiver has been removed.
- Sniper Training is a new Mastery for Marksmanship Hunters, replacing Wild Quiver.
- Sniper Training activates when the Hunter stands still for 3 seconds, giving them the Sniper Training effect for 6 seconds, increasing damage, shot range, and critical strike damage by 4% (increased by Mastery).
- Chimera Shot has been renamed Chimaera Shot. It is now a two-headed shot that hits two targets, costs 35 Focus (down from 45 Focus), and deals Frost or Nature damage, but no longer heals the Hunter.
- Careful Aim now also provides its effect against all targets when Rapid Fire is active, and increases critical strike chance by 60% (down from 75%).
Apart from rotational changes through Ability Pruning, changes for Survival Hunters mostly center on Lock and Load. We changed how Lock and Load is triggered to increase the value of Multistrike, provide gameplay depth and the ability to pool damage more. Also note the new passive ability, Survivalist, which increases multistrike chance by 10%, in order to give Survival Hunters some baseline Multistrike chance.
- (Line moved to Ability Consolidation and Refinement.)
Black Arrow now deals 60% more damage, inflicts Shadow damage every 3 seconds (up from every 2 seconds), has a duration of 18 seconds (down from 20 seconds), and triggers Lock and Load on Multistrike hits.
- Explosive Shot now costs 15 Focus (down from 25 Focus).
- (Line moved to Ability Consolidation and Refinement)
Lock and Load's effects have been incorporated into Black Arrow and have been redesigned.
Lock and Load now causes the next Explosive Shot to not trigger its cooldown, but no longer causes it to be free or reset the ability's current cooldown. This effect can stack up to 5 times.
- Survivalist is a new passive ability learned by Survival Hunters at level 10.
- Survivalist increases Multistrike damage by 20%
the chance to Multistrike by 10%, and causes the Hunter to gain 15% health over 10 seconds after killing a target.
Hunter Pet Abilities
We did a comprehensive pass on Hunter pet abilities. As mentioned above in Crowd Control and Diminishing Returns, all full crowd-control abilities have been removed from Hunter pets and replaced those with new abilities, including spreading some that were previously restricted to exotic pets. Additionally, Hunters can now tame beasts from new pet families.
- Hunters may now tame beasts from 3 new pet families.
- Rylak (Exotic)
- Several raid buffs provided by Hunter Pets have been changed into auras that are automatically applied to the Hunter's party or raid.
- Abilities unique to each hunter pet family has been revised to provide a standard buff, debuff, or ability.
- Combat Resurrection ability: Crane, Moth, Quilen
- Mortal Wounds debuff: Carrion Bird, Devilsaur, Riverbeast, Scorpid
- Increased Spell Power buff: Serpent, Silithid, Water Strider
- Increased Strength/Agility/Intellect buff: Dog, Gorilla, Shale Spider, Worm
- Increased Critical Strike Chance buff: Devilsaur, Quilen, Raptor, Shale Spider, Water Strider, Wolf
- Temporary Haste buff: Core Hound, Nether Ray
- Increased Haste buff: Rylak, Hyena, Sporebat, Wasp
- Increased Mastery buff: Cat, Hydra, Spirit Beast, Tallstrider
- Increased Stamina buff: Bear, Goat, Rylak, Silithid
- Increased Multistrike buff: Basilisk, Chimaera, Core Hound, Dragonhawk, Fox, Rhino, Wind Serpent
- Increased Versatility buff: Bird of Prey, Boar, Porcupine, Ravager, Rhino, Worm
- An ability that increases dodge chance of the pet by 30% for 10 seconds: Bat, Monkey
- An ability that reduces damage taken by the pet by 50% for 12 seconds: Beetle, Crab, Quilen, Rhino, Shale Spider, Turtle
- An ability that Reduces the movement speed of the target by 50%: Chimaera, Crocolisk, Silithid, Spider, Warp Stalker
- The following pet families provide an ability that puts the pet in stealth mode slowing its movement speed by 50%. The first attack from stealth receives a 20% bonus to damage: Cat, Spirit Beast
- The following pet families provide an additional ability.
- Chimaera - Froststorm Breath: Causes Froststorm damage to all targets in front of the Chimaera over 8 seconds.
- Core Hound - Molten Hide: Causes Fire damage to attackers.
- Devilsaur - Feast: The devilsaur feasts on a nearby Humanoid or Beast corpse within 5 yards, healing it for 20% of its maximum health and restoring 20 Focus over 5 seconds.
- Direhorn - Reflective Armor Plating: Deflects all spells cast in front of the Direhorn for 6 seconds.
- Rylak - Updraft: Slows the fall speed of both itself and the hunter for 30 seconds.
- Spirit Beast - Spirit Mend: Heals the target ally instantly, and additional healing over 10 seconds.
- Water Strider - Surface Trot: Allows the Hunter and the Water Strider to walk across water.
- Worm - Burrow Attack: Deals Nature damage to nearby enemies over 8 seconds.
There were also a few other changes, primarily for quality of life and rotational consistency.
- Aimed Shot no longer interrupts Auto Attacks, and can be cast while moving.
- Dismiss Pet now ignores line of sight.
- Explosive Trap now places a periodic-damage effect on each target within the radius of the explosion, rather than a persistent effect on the ground.
- Growl now has a 30-yard range.
- Hunter Pets now have a 1-second global cooldown.
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See the Ability Pruning section for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Mages, we removed several of the unused and niche abilities from each specialization that didn’t use them primarily.
- Arcane Barrage replaces Fire Blast for Arcane Mages.
- Arcane Blast now replaces Frostfire Bolt for Arcane Mages.
- Arcane Explosion is now available only to Arcane Mages.
- Blizzard is now available only to Frost Mages.
- Conjure Mana Gem has been removed.
- Evocation is now available only to Arcane Mages.
- Flamestrike is now available only to Fire Mages.
- Ice Lance replaces Fire Blast and is now only available to Frost Mages.
- Pyromaniac has been removed.
- Shatter is now available only to Frost Mages.
- Mage Armor is now a passive effect and is available only to Arcane Mages.
- Frost Armor is now a passive effect and is available only to Frost Mages.
- Molten Armor is now a passive effect and is available only to Fire Mages.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
Most of the Mage abilities required little consolidation. The most notable change here is turning Armor spells into passive abilities for each specialization.
- Mage Armor is now a passive effect and is available only to Arcane Mages.
- Frost Armor is now a passive effect and is available only to Frost Mages.
- Molten Armor is now a passive effect and is available only to Fire Mages.
- Combustion no longer deals direct damage or stuns.
- Frostbolt can no longer be used to heal the Mage's Water Elemental.
- Ice Floes no longer has a restriction on base cast or channel times for spells (formerly only worked on spells with a base cast or channel time of less than 4 seconds).
- Ignite now deals the same total damage with a 1 second period (down from 2 seconds). Base duration changed to 5 seconds so that duration when refreshed remains 6 seconds.
- Mirror Image is now a level-90 Talent, replacing Invocation.
- Polymorph variants except for Polymorph: Sheep are now all learned as spells and grouped in a flyout on the Spellbook instead of being a Minor Glyph that alters the visuals of Polymorph: Sheep.
The Mage class has good specialization distinction when it comes to their single-target rotations, but utility and area-of-effect spells were heavily shared between specializations. Commonly, these spells were redundant as well. We made many of their spells specialization-specific (as described in Ability Pruning above). And probably most significant, we made changes to several existing Talents.
Presence of Mind was extremely strong for instant crowd control (CC), which we wanted to curtail. Rather than completely remove Presence of Mind or make it not affect CC abilities, we made it a base Arcane spell, where we don't expect that it will be a problem, since Arcane has less CC than the other Mage specs already. In its place, we've added a new talent, Evanesce. It may seem out of place on a movement-focused talent row at first. In practice, we expect that the similarity will bear out as Mages use it instead of moving away from avoidable damage.
- Presence of Mind is no longer a talent, and is now learned by only Arcane Mages.
- Evanesce is a new Talent available at level 15, replacing Presence of Mind.
- Evanesce causes the Mage to fade into the nether, avoiding all attacks for 3 seconds. This spell has a 45-second cooldown, replaces Ice Block, is not on global cooldown, and may be cast while a cast-time spell is in progress.
Going along with our goals to reduce cooldown stacking across all of the classes, we decided to remove Alter Time's DPS contribution. Alter Time has a number of clever movement and utility uses, but in practice it was mostly being used for additional uptime of offensive cooldowns. Mages also had many redundant forms of survival utility, so we moved a utility-only version of Alter Time into the Talent tree, replacing Temporal Shield.
- Temporal Shield has been removed and replaced by Alter Time.
- Alter Time is now a level-30 Talent, replacing Temporal Shield.
- Alter Time now lasts for 10 seconds (up from 6 seconds), has a 90-second cooldown (down from 3 minutes), and no longer affects the Mage’s mana, buffs, or debuffs.
A few of the abilities reset by Cold Snap were made spec-specific, or could be overridden with Talents, so we expanded what it can affect to compensate.
- Cold Snap now also resets the cooldown of Presence of Mind, Dragon's Breath, and Evanesce.
Ice Ward was changed to make it more competitive with the rest of its talent row.
- Ice Ward now causes the next 3 attackers (up from 1) to trigger a Frost Nova.
The Mage Bomb level-75 Talent row, the Bomb row, was also problematic. We chose to add the Bombs to all Mages' rotations in order to spice them up a bit, to provide rotational variety. That succeeded, and we're overall happy with how they interact with your rotation in a single-target situation, but they also came with the prospect of multi-dotting (applying your damage-over-time spell to many enemies, individually), which we don't feel is an appropriate fit for Mages. Additionally, in order to make all 3 Bombs useful to all specializations, we had to lose some of their spec-specific perks. And, even more importantly, many Mages did not like DoT gameplay at all.
In order to solve all of these problems, we decided to merge the 3 current Bomb Talents into one that changes based on spec. That allows us to reintroduce spec-specific perks to each Bomb, and makes room for some non-DoT alternatives.
- Nether Tempest, Living Bomb, and Frost Bomb now all share the left-talent slot and is available based on the Mage's specialization.
- Frost Bomb has been redesigned.
- Frost Bomb now lasts 12 seconds, has no cooldown, and explodes every time the target is hit by the Mage's Ice Lance while frozen. The damage per explosion has been reduced by 75% to compensate.
- Living Bomb can once again be applied to multiple targets, can be spread by Inferno Blast, and has a 1.5-second cooldown. More of its damage has been moved into its explosion.
- Nether Tempest can now only be on 1 target at a time (down from unlimited), but its secondary damage now hits all targets in range (up from only 1), deals 100% of the primary damage (up from 50%), and its damage can now be increased by Arcane Charges.
- Unstable Magic is a new Talent that's available at level 75, and occupies the middle-talent slot.
- Unstable Magic causes Arcane Blast, Fireball, and Frostbolt have a chance to explode on impact, dealing an additional 50% damage to the target, and all other enemies within 8 yards.
- The right-talent slot for level-75 has a new Talent that varies by specialization.
- Blast Wave: Cause an explosion of fiery force around the target enemy or ally, dealing Fire damage to all enemies within 8 yards, and dazing them, reducing their movement speed by 70% for 4 seconds. If the primary target is an enemy, they take 100% increased damage. Replaces Frost Nova. Instant cast ability with a 25-second cooldown and 2 charges.
- Ice Nova: Cause a whirl of icy wind around the target enemy or ally, dealing Frost damage to all enemies within 8 yards, and freezing them for 4 seconds. If the primary target is an enemy, they take 100% increased damage. Replaces Frost Nova. Instant cast ability with a 20-second cooldown and 2 charges.
- Supernova: Cause a pulse of Arcane energy around the target enemy or ally, dealing Arcane damage to all enemies within 8 yards, and knocking them into the air. If the primary target is an enemy, they take 100% increased damage. Replaces Frost Nova. Instant cast ability with a 25-second cooldown and 2 charges.
One of the most problematic Talent rows in the game has been the Mage level-90 row. The primary theme of the row was mana, which only Arcane Mages actually cared about. Bonus damage was added in, making it functional for all Mages, but muddled in its goals. Additionally, some of them just weren't fun to play with. We've revised the row to be purely about damage, and made them have less maintenance cost. Arcane Mages will have enough mana regeneration without these Talents to perform well.
- Incanter's Ward has been removed and replaced by Incanter's Flow a new level-90 Talent.
- Incanter's Flow: Magical energy flows through you, increasing all spell damage done by 5% per stack. While in combat, the magical energy builds up to 5 stacks over 5 seconds and then diminishes down to 1 stack over 5 seconds. This cycle repeats every 10 seconds.
- Invocation has been removed and replaced by Mirror Image.
- Mirror Image is now a level-90 Talent, replacing Invocation. Mirror Images now inherit 100% of the Mage’s Spell Power (up from 5%), last 40 seconds (up from 30 seconds), and have a 2-minute cooldown (down from 3 minutes).
- Glyph of Mirror Image has been removed and its effects have been incorporated into Mirror Image.
- Rune of Power no longer replaces Evocation, no longer increases mana regeneration, and now lasts 3 minutes (up from 1 minute).
Frost Mages enjoyed newfound PvE viability in Mists of Pandaria, and we intend to continue that into the future. However, we do want to clean up some rough spots, especially around their valuing of secondary stats, and the amount of instant-cast spells in their rotation. The Frost Armor and Shatter changes increase the amount of Haste/Critical chance that they can acquire on gear before they start hitting soft caps. The Shatter change also lowers the value of Critical Strike for a bit. The changes to the level-75 Talent row meant that having a Bomb spell is no longer guaranteed, so we changed the way that Brain Freeze is triggered. Ice Lance’s non-frozen damage was doubled to make up for no longer having access to Fire Blast and reducing redundancy in the process.
- Frost Armor now grants an 8% chance to Multistrike instead of 7% Haste.
- Shatter now multiplies Critical Strike chance by 1.5 (down from 2).
- The Brain Freeze effect now increases Frostfire Bolt's damage by 25%
15%, and can now stack up to 2 times. It also no longer triggers from the Bomb Talents, and instead has a 10% chance to trigger from Frostbolt casts. Each Multistrike of Frostbolt increases that cast's chance by an additional 25%. (Total of 60% on double-Multistrikes).
- Ice Lance’s base damage has been increased by 100%, but its damage multiplier against frozen targets has been reduced by 50%.
- Glyph of Frostfire Bolt is now available only to Fire Mages.
- Glyph of Icy Veins now causes Icy Veins to provide 35% chance to Multistrike instead of 20% Haste.
Fire Mage's rotation is looking solid with the new Draenor Perks. However, their cooldown strength could use a buff.
- Combustion's damage has been increased by 100% and replaces Deep Freeze for Fire Mages.
In order to make room for more Haste effects to apply to Arcane Blast, we raised its cast time and damage slightly. We also made Arcane Charges last longer, to aid in questing and encounters.
- Arcane Blast's cast time has been increased to 2.25 seconds (up from 2 seconds), damage has been increased by 12.5% to compensate.
- Arcane Charges now last 15 seconds (up from 10 seconds).
- Arcane Missiles can now accumulate 3 charges (up from 2 charges).
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The brand-new class for Mists of Pandaria, Monks, turned out to be a ton of fun. Brewmasters stayed fairly solid all expansion long. Windwalkers needed a few tweaks here and there, especially to their Mastery, and still have a few shortcomings that we hope to improve, but overall worked quite well. Mistweavers had a bit of a rollercoaster ride, veering between weak and strong over the course of the expansion. Most of our changes to Monks will focus on Mistweavers, to try to get them just right.
See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Monks, the pruning focused on niche abilities. One removal of note is that of Healing Sphere. The active ability to place a Healing Sphere was particularly awkward to use, but overpowered if used perfectly. So we removed it, and replaced it with Healing Surge for Windwalkers and Brewmasters.
- Avert Harm has been removed.
- Clash has been removed.
- Dematerialize has been removed.
- Power Guard has been removed.
- Sparring has been removed.
- Spinning Fire Blossom has been removed.
- Stance of the Sturdy Ox now replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger for Brewmaster Monks.
- Stance of the Spirited Crane now replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger for Mistweaver Monks.
- Swift Reflexes has been removed.
- Zen Meditation is no longer available to Mistweaver Monks.
- Healing Sphere has been removed. Abilities that can summon Healing Spheres, Mastery: Gift of the Serpent (Mistweavers), Gift of the Ox (Brewmasters), and Afterlife (Windwalkers) can still summon Healing Spheres.
- Surging Mist is now available to all Monk specializations. It costs 30 Energy in Ox or Tiger Stance, and continues to cost mana in Serpent Stance and Crane Stance. However, it only generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
Monk ability consolidation is fairly straightforward. It includes merging of some passive abilities, and removing unneeded abilities that didn’t create the gameplay depth they had been intended to.
- Teachings of the Monastery has been removed. Its effects modifying Spinning Crane Kick has been incorporated into Stance of the Wise Serpent.
- Brewmaster Training has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Sturdy Ox.
- Desperate Measures has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Sturdy Ox.
- Combo Breaker has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
- Combat Conditioning has been removed. Its effects have been incorporated into Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
- Power Strikes now triggers every 15 seconds (up from every 20 seconds), and also triggers from Surging Mist (for Mistweavers only), but no longer triggers from Crackling Jade Lightning.
- Resuscitate’s mana cost has been reduced by 80%.
- Spinning Crane Kick now always generates 1 Chi, and no longer reduces movement speed.
- Paralysis now always lasts 60 seconds against creatures, regardless of facing.
- Disable is now available only to Windwalker Monks.
- Uplift now follows standard area-of-effect capping rules, diminishing in effectiveness beyond 6 targets.
- Zen Meditation is no longer available to Mistweaver Monks, and no longer redirects harmful spells cast against party and raid members.
- Zen Sphere no longer has a target limit.
About midway through the expansion, it became clear that mana was not valuable for Mistweavers. We tried some adjustments to solve that, but it proved too large of a change to make at the time. We chose to just live with that problem for the time being, and tune them around not really caring much about Spirit or mana (once they reached epic gear).
Now that we have the time to tweak things for Mistweavers to acquire new gear, we're making changes to get them in the right spot. Initially, we experimented with giving Mistwavers a 1-second global cooldown (GCD) akin to that of the Rogue to give them a faster combat feel. However, it's proven difficult to balance. Haste is attractive to healers because it lowers not just cast time but GCD as well. Therefore, Monks valued Haste much less than other healers. We explored a few options, but ultimately landed on changing the core GCD for Mistweavers from 1 second to the standard 1.5 seconds, which you will be able to reduce with Haste. This will feel jarring at first, but we're confident that it's for the best, long-term.
- All abilities available to Mistweavers now have a 1.5-second global cooldown (up from 1 second).
- Stance of the Fierce Tiger now reduces the global cooldown of the Mistweaver Monk’s abilities by 0.5 seconds.
- Stance of the Sturdy Ox now reduces the global cooldown of the Mistweaver Monk’s abilities by 0.5 seconds.
- Focus and Harmony is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks, causing Haste to reduce the global cooldown, and causes Attack Power to be equal to 100% of Spell Power.
- Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer provides this Spell Power to Attack Power conversion.
- Crackling Jade Lightning's throughput has been increased by 100%, but it no longer generates Chi for Mistweaver Monks. Additionally, it is free in Stance of the Wise Serpent.
- Chi Brew now grants 1 charge of Mana Tea (down from 2 charges).
- Ascension now increases maximum Mana by 20% (up from 15%).
- Detonate Chi is a new spell available to Mistweaver Monks, instantly detonating all Healing Spheres, and causing each of them to heal a nearby ally within 12 yards of the sphere with a 15-second cooldown.
- Healing Spheres now heal an ally within 12 yards (up from 6 yards) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal healing, when they expire.
- Soothing Mist's healing has been increased by 100%, its GCD has been reduced to 0.5 seconds, but no longer heals immediately, and no longer generates Chi.
- Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer increases Haste from items by 50%.
- Summon Jade Serpent Statue now has a 10-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds).
- Thunder Focus Tea no longer costs Chi, causes the next Renewing Mist to jump up to 4 times (instead of causing the next Uplift to refresh the duration of Renewing Mists on all targets). Its effect on Surging Mist remains unchanged.
- Jade Mist is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks, causing them to gain 5% more of the Multistrike stat from all sources, and also causes Renewing Mist and Rising Sun Kick to have a chance equal to Multistrike chance to not go on cooldown when used. This effect cannot trigger on the next Renewing Mist or Rising Sun Kick.
Another issue with Mistweavers is that of Eminence, which has never really played out how we had hoped. The intent with Eminence was to create an alternate play style to fulfill the fantasy of healing through dealing damage, since we knew a lot of players had that fantasy, and a new class was the perfect opportunity to satisfy that.
Having two play styles in one spec (Eminence, and traditional Mistweaving, healing primarily through casting heals) proved challenging to balance, because we don't want players to take the best parts of both and stack them into an unintended superior spec. The most notorious of these cases was "Jab-Jab-Uplift". In order to solve this problem, we're giving Mistweavers two stances. Stance of the Wise Serpent will continue to be the stance from which to do traditional Mistweaving. The new Stance of the Spirited Crane will be the stance to use for Eminence. You can swap stances at will, with only the cost of a GCD and any current Chi that you've accrued. The intention is that Crane Stance allows Mistweavers to trade healing for damage; it should fall somewhere in the middle between being a full healer, and being a full damage dealer.
- Stance of the Spirited Crane is a new ability for Mistweaver Monks, which replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger, and provides the following effects.
- The Monk gains Eminence, causing all damage dealt to also heal nearby allies.
- Eminence now causes a nearby target to be healed for 50% of all damage caused by the Monk and includes auto attacks.
- Stance of the Wise Serpent no longer provides this benefit.
- Crackling Jade Lightning channels 150% faster, generates 1 Chi each time it deals damage, but costs 300% more mana.
- Blackout Kicks grants Crane's Zeal, increasing Critical Strike chance by 20% for 20 seconds.
- Blackout Kick causes Eminence to heal 5 allies instead of 1, but heals for only 20% of damage dealt instead of 35%.
- The Monk gains a stack of Vital Mists for every Chi consumed. Vital Mists reduces the cast time and Mana cost of the next Surging Mist by 20% per stack up to a maximum of 5 stacks.
- Muscle Memory has been removed.
- Serpent’s Zeal has been removed.
- Vital Mists has been removed.
- Rising Sun Kick is now available to Mistweaver and Windwalker Monks. However, it does not cause Mortal Wounds for Mistweavers.
- Stance of the Fierce Tiger now causes Rising Sun Kick to cause Mortal Wounds, instead of it causing Mortal Wounds naturally.
- The following abilities now require Stance of the Wise Serpent for Mistweavers:
- Enveloping Mist, Renewing Mist, Soothing Mist, Uplift
- The following abilities now require Stance of the Spirited Crane for Mistweavers:
- Blackout Kick, Jab, Rising Sun Kick, Tiger Palm
Healing Spheres have been improved. You'll no longer waste them when running over multiples at once when you only need a little healing. We significantly improved the Mistweavers' Healing Spheres effect when they expire. We also made Afterlife's Healing Spheres consistent with the rest of the class.
- When a player runs through multiple Healing Spheres at once, only as many as needed to heal the player to full health will be consumed (instead of all of them if the player is injured at all).
- Healing Spheres summoned by Mastery: Gift of the Serpent (Mistweaver) now heal an injured ally within 12 yards (up from 6 yards) for 100% (up from 50%) of their normal effect when they expire, and scales with Spell Power instead of Attack Power.
- Healing Spheres summoned by Afterlife (Windwalkers) now heals for the same amount as other Healing Spheres (instead of healing for 15% of maximum health).
Shared Ability Changes
There were several changes that affected multiple Monk specializations. We’d like to see Monks using Transcendence more often, so its usability has been improved (some baseline, and some in a Draenor Perk). For Touch of Death, we like that it’s a unique execute being usable only once, but found it impractical to use on bosses and have improved its usability. For Tiger Strikes, we buffed it to grant Multistrike ability which it was similar to already, and extended it to work with all Monk specializations. To better balance the damage of Brewmaster versus Windwalker where both share many of the same abilities, we removed the damage increase provided by Tiger Stance, and increased the damage of melee abilities to compensate.
- Stance of the Fierce Tiger no longer increases damage dealt, also includes the benefits of Combo Breaker and Combat Conditioning, and is replaced by another stance for Brewmaster and Mistweaver Monks.
- Brewmaster: Stance of the Sturdy Ox replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
- Mistweaver: Stance of the Spirited Crane replaces Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
- Tiger Strikes is now available to all Monk specializations, and has a chance to trigger on successful auto attacks and their Multistrikes. It has an 8% chance to trigger while using a two-handed weapon, and a 5% chance to trigger while dual wielding.
- When triggered, Tiger Strikes now grants a 25% increase to Multistrike for 8 seconds instead of a 50% increase to attack speed and double attacks for 4 attacks.
- Touch of Death is no longer available to Mistweaver Monks, and is usable on targets that have 10% or less health remaining, or have less current health than your maximum health. The rules against players remain unchanged.
- Transcendence: Transfer no longer has an energy or mana cost.
For Energy-based gameplay to function well, the primary limitation on ability usage should be Energy, not time. That breaks down when a rotation becomes limited by available GCDs, rather than by Energy. Windwalkers were hitting this “GCD-cap” too easily, causing scaling problems as they geared up, and removing rotational choices. To solve this problem, we’ve made a few tweaks that will slow down their rotation slightly; but still allow Windwalkers who enjoy the GCD-capped playstyle to have options available to focus on Haste and Energy regeneration. Individually, these may sound like significant nerfs, but Windwalker damage has been adjusted to compensate for these changes. The goal is to address the issue with GCD-capping while not reducing DPS.
- Combo Breaker now has an 8% chance to trigger, per effect, per Jab (down from 12%).
- Jab now costs 45 Energy while in Stance of the Fierce Tiger.
There are a couple of additional changes for Windwalkers. Storm, Earth, and Fire, got buffed to make it smoother to use. We also buffed Fists of Fury because we felt that the ability wasn’t giving a strong enough damage boost given its restrictions and impact on the Monk's rotation.
- Stance of the Fierce Tiger now increases all damage done by 20%.
- Fists of Fury now deals 100% increased damage, and always deal full damage to the primary target; additional targets are still affected by the damage split.
- Storm, Earth, and Fire no longer has an energy cost, and is off global cooldown.
For Brewmasters, Gift of the Ox has been modified to allow it to scale defensively with the new Multistrike stat. The Black Ox Statue has been modified to aid Monks in establishing threat on new enemies instead of shielding allies. We also removed the Misfire effect, as it did not live up to its original idea, and was unnecessary.
- Black Ox Statue no longer casts Guard on allies and now has a 10-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds). Black Ox Statue now passively attracts the attention of all enemies within 30 yards, causing a minor amount of threat each second.
- Dizzying Haze now has no Energy cost, but no longer causes the target's melee attacks to sometimes misfire.
- Elusive Brew now increases dodge chance by 45% (up from 30%).
- Gift of the Ox now has a chance to trigger only from auto attack Multistrikes, instead of from all auto attacks. It has a 100% chance to trigger while using a two-handed weapon, and a 62.5% chance to trigger while dual wielding.
- Stance of the Sturdy Ox now increases Stamina by 40% (up from 20%).
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See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Paladins, the pruning focused on removing niche abilities, and trimming cooldowns.
- Avenging Wrath is no longer available to Protection Paladins.
- Divine Favor has been removed.
- Divine Plea has been removed. Mana costs for Paladins have been adjusted accordingly.
- Guardian of Ancient Kings is now only available to Protection Paladins.
- Hand of Salvation is now only available to Protection Paladins.
- Holy Light has been removed.
- Inquisition has been removed.
- Seal of Righteousness is no longer available to Holy Paladins.
- Seal of Truth is no longer available to Holy Paladins.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
There were a few mergers of passive abilities, and some tweaks to a couple of abilities.
- Divine Light has been renamed Holy Light.
- Daybreak now heals all allies within 10 yards for 15% of Holy Shock's healing (instead of 75%, split between each ally).
- Grand Crusader now triggers from any avoidance, not just dodge and parry.
- Hand of Sacrifice is now off global-cooldown.
- Judgment is now naturally free for Holy Paladins, and naturally generates 1 Holy Power for Retribution Paladins.
- Judgments of the Bold has been removed.
- Redemption’s mana cost has been reduced by 95%.
- Selfless Healer no longer causes Bastion of Glory to apply to Flash of Light. For Holy Paladins, it now increases the healing of Flash of Light on others by 35% per stack (up from 20%). For Retribution and Protection Paladins, the effect on Flash of Light remains unchanged.
- Sword of Light now increases damage by 25% (down from 30%).
- The Art of War’s effects have been merged into baseline Exorcism.
- (Moved to Holy Changes)
Tower of Radiance’s effects have been merged into baseline Beacon of Light.
We made several changes for Holy, to go along with other larger system changes to compensate for the removal of Guardian of Ancient Kings from Holy, and merged its benefits into Divine Favor. In order to follow through on our change to merge all types of Haste %, we removed the Spell Haste % from Seal of Insight to a Holy-only passive, so that it didn't also increase Protection's baseline Haste by 10%. Our changes to healer mana and mobility also indirectly increased the value of Selfless Healer by a large amount, so we brought it back down to be even in power with the other talents on its row. We also raised the range of Denounce to be consistent with other spells. Lastly, we adjusted the critical strike chance of Holy Shock, to increase the value of Critical Strike for Holy Paladins.
- Avenging Wrath now also increases all of the Paladin’s healing by 20% for its duration.
- Beacon of Light now has a small Mana cost.
- Denounce's range has increased to 40 yards (up from 30 yards).
- Holy Shock now has twice the normal chance to critically strike (instead of having an additional 25% chance to critically strike).
- Infusion of Light now also passively increases Haste by 10%.
- Seal of Insight no longer increases spell Haste by 10%.
- Selfless Healer for Holy no longer causes Judgment to grant Holy Power. It also is only usable on Flash of Light, no longer on Holy Light or Holy Radiance.
- Tower of Radiance’s effects have been changed and merged into baseline Beacon of Light.
- Tower of Radiance now causes Flash of Light and Holy Light on a Beacon of Light target to refund 40% of the spell’s Mana cost instead of generating 1 Holy Power.
For Protection, we tweaked Eternal Flame in order to reduce its massive self-healing amount, and provide better balance between talents on that row. We also added a new passive, Shining Protector, in order to give defensive value to the new Multistrike stat. Holy Wrath’s damage and cooldown were also increased, and Sanctified Wrath changed to buff it further, in order to give Protection Paladins more burst threat and damage, while retaining its core damage-splitting identity.
- Bastion of Glory no longer affects the periodic healing of Eternal Flame. It still affects the direct healing portion of the ability.
- Shining Protector is a new passive ability for Protection Paladins.
- Shining Protector: All heals you receive have a chance equal to your Multistrike chance to trigger Shining Protector, healing you for an additional 30% of the triggering heal.
- Holy Wrath’s damage has been increased by 100%, and its cooldown increased to 15 seconds (up from 9 seconds).
- Sanctified Wrath for Protection Paladins has been redesigned.
- Sanctified Wrath (Protection) now increases the damage of Holy Wrath by 100% and causes it to generate 1 Holy Power.
We made a few additional changes to Paladins. We revised the functionality of Hammer of the Righteous a bit, such that its performance is about the same, but its tooltip is much clearer. We also made Stay of Execution much more attractive to use as an emergency button. We also revised how Eternal Flame interacts with Holy Power, and allowed it to once again trigger Illuminated Healing. One big change for Retribution that isn't mentioned here is the removal of Inquisition (see Ability Pruning), which will have a notable effect on their rotation.
- Eternal Flame’s periodic healing effect has been changed. Its duration now scales with Holy Power, instead of its healing. Its effect at 3 Holy Power remains unchanged.
- Hammer of the Righteous now deals 50% Physical weapon damage (up from 15%) to the primary target, but the primary target is no longer hit with the Holy damage.
- Illuminated Healing can once again be triggered by Eternal Flame.
- Seals no longer cost any mana.
- Stay of Execution (the Holy version of Execution Sentence) now deals its healing in a large burst at first, and then decreasing over time (reversed from before).
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Priests received several significant changes, mainly focused on reining in Discipline's damage absorption shields, improving quality of life for Discipline and Holy specializations, and solving single-target damage issues for Shadow.
See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Priests, pruning focused on removing redundant off-role abilities, trimming cooldowns, and removing niche abilities.
- Binding Heal is now only available to Holy Priests.
- Evangelism is now available only to Discipline Priests.
- Hymn of Hope has been removed.
- Heal has been removed.
- Inner Fire has been removed.
- Inner Focus has been removed.
- Inner Will has been removed.
- Rapture has been removed.
- Renew is now available only to Holy Priests.
- Shadow Word: Death is now available only to Shadow Priests.
- Discipline and Holy Priests can add a self-damaging utility to Holy Fire through a new Major Glyph.
- Spirit Shell is now a level-75 talent, replacing Divine Insight for Discipline Priests.
- Strength of Soul has been removed.
- Train of Thought has been removed.
- Void Shift has been removed.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
Priests had quite a few bits of complication strewn throughout their spells which we polished out.
- Greater Heal has been renamed to Heal.
- Borrowed Time’s effects have been merged into baseline Power Word: Shield for Discipline Priests.
- Borrowed Time has been redesigned. It now increases the Priest's stat gains to Haste from all sources by 40% for 6 seconds.
- Devouring Plague now always costs 3 Shadow Orbs, and now heals the Priest for 100% of all damage it deals, instead of healing per tick.
- Holy Fire now lasts 9 seconds (up from 7 seconds).
- Shadowform no longer allows any healing spells to be cast but also no longer has a restriction on casting other Holy spells.
- Vampiric Embrace now heals all party and raid members for 10% of damage done, and this healing is no longer split between targets (up from 75% of damage done, split between targets).
- Lightwell’s healing effect is no longer canceled if the target takes enough damage.
- Pain Suppression no longer reduces the target’s threat by 5%.
- Dispersion and Vampiric Touch no longer restores mana.
- Base mana regeneration rate for Shadow Priest has been increased by 200%, Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch mana costs have been reduced by 50% to compensate.
- Evangelism no longer affects the damage or mana cost of spells. Damage of affected spells have been adjusted to compensate.
- Shadow Word: Pain’s initial damage is now considered direct damage, not periodic damage.
- Shadowy Apparitions and Shadowy Insight are no longer able to trigger from this initial direct damage.
- Divine Hymn now heals all party or raid members instead of a variable number depending on raid size. Its healing has been adjusted to compensate.
- Focused Will now triggers from any damage taken instead of being limited to being the victim of any damage above 5% of total health or being critically hit by non-periodic attacks.
Level-90 Talents and Atonement
Atonement was the original damage-to-healing conversion ability, but grew out of control during Mists of Pandaria. We decided to reduce its effectiveness, to bring it more in line with our goal of it being an option to trade significant healing for significant damage (ending up somewhere between a full healer and a full damage dealer). Another place where Discipline's absorbs were too strong was in their interaction with the level-90 Talents, especially in large Raids. Near the end of Mists of Pandaria, we uncapped the AoE healing of that Talent row; that has proven to be a mistake in Discipline's case, not just because it caused the level-90 Talents themselves to heal for too much, but rather because the gigantic overhealing that that produced translated into gigantic Divine Aegis absorbs.
- Atonement now heals for 25% less than before.
- Cascade’s Mana cost has been reduced by 67%.
- Discipline and Holy: Cascade now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast, see also: Instant Cast Heals), heals for 50% less, and no longer damages enemies.
- Shadow: Cascade no longer heals allies.
- Divine Star’s Mana cost has been reduced by 67%, and now follows standard AoE capping rules.
- Discipline and Holy: Divine Star now heals for 50% less, and no longer damages enemies.
- Shadow: Divine Star no longer heals allies.
- Halo’s Mana cost has been reduced by 67%, and now follows standard AoE capping rules.
- Discipline and Holy: Halo now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast, see also: Instant Cast Heals), heals for 50% less, and no longer damages enemies.
- Shadow: Halo no longer heals allies.
For Holy Priests, our biggest concern is with the Chakras. We think that Chakras are the defining abilities of Holy Priests, but that they haven't lived up to their potential. We decided to move more of their effectiveness from their raw throughput buff (which felt like a penalty for being in the wrong chakra, rather than a bonus for being in the right Chakra) into their bonus effects, and the Holy Word spells that they grant. Please note that all Priest healing spells have been retuned to account for the loss of throughput increases from Chakras. We also returned Renew to a normal 1.5-second global cooldown (GCD), so that Renew blanketing is still possible, but less ideal without Haste. Finally, the ability for Power Word: Shield to critically strike or Multistrike is now baseline for all Priest specializations instead of just Discipline so that it continues to be a viable choice for Holy at higher gear levels.
- Divine Providence is a new passive ability for Holy Priests.
- Divine Providence increases the amount of the Multistrike stat gains from all sources by 5%, and increases the damage and healing of Multistrikes by 20%
- Cascade no longer refreshes the duration of Renew for Chakra: Serenity.
- Circle of Healing's cooldown is now 12 seconds (up from 10 seconds).
- Chakra: Chastise no longer grants a chance for Smite to reset Holy Word: Chastise’s cooldown.
- Chakra: Sanctuary no longer increases healing of area-of-effect spells. It now causes healing spell casts to reduce the remaining cooldown on Circle of Healing by 1 second instead of always reducing the cooldown by 2 seconds.
- Chakra: Serenity no longer increases healing of single-target spells.
- Power Word: Shield may now critically strike or Multistrike.
- Divine Aegis no longer grants Power Word: Shield a chance to critically strike.
- Divine Fury has been removed. (See also: Hit and Expertise Removal.)
- Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
- Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
- Power Word: Shield now has a chance for a critical effect based on critical strike chance and can Multistrike based on Multistrike chance for all specializations.
- Purify, Halo, Cascade, and Divine Star can now be cast while in Spirit of Redemption form.
- Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.
Shadow Priests had one large problem toward the end of Mists of Pandaria: single-target damage. Their AoE and multi-DoT damage was some of the best around, so they still ended up competitive on most fights. But, in any fight that was mostly single-target, they felt lacking. Additionally, one of the new stats we're adding in Warlords of Draenor, Multistrike, is almost exactly what their current Mastery, Shadowy Recall, does for DoTs. So, we took these two problems and came up with a change that we think will solve both of them. The result is a new Mastery, which primarily increases single-target damage. Shadow Priests who want to focus on single-target damage can aim for Mastery in their gearing; or, when multi-dotting is more valuable, prefer other secondary stats over Mastery.
- Shadow Priest’s Mastery (Shadowy Recall) has been replaced with a new Mastery: Mental Anguish.
- Mastery: Mental Anguish: Increases the damage of Mind Blast, Mind Spike, Mind Flay, and Mind Sear by 20%.
- Devouring Plague now always costs 3 Shadow Orbs.
- Spiritual Precision has been removed. (See also: Hit and Expertise Removal.)
The cooldown of Mind Blast has also been adjusted to make Haste more valuable for Shadow, and removes Haste breakpoints.
- Mind Blast’s cooldown is now reduced by haste, but its base cooldown is now 9 seconds (up from 8 seconds).
Several talents were split into different versions by specialization. We revised the effectiveness of some of these talents to better balance talent choices on their row. We also swapped the Level-15 and Level-60 talent rows so players are presented with core Priest themed abilities earlier in the leveling process.
To get back to a balanced place, we've reapplied the AoE caps to the level-90 Talents, making them consistent with all other AoE heals, and reduced their effectiveness across the board. We’ve compensated for this in the tuning of Priest baseline heals.
- Level-15 and Level-60 talent rows have swapped places.
- Divine Insight’s effects have been split based on specialization.
- Discipline: The effect is now based on Spirit Shell.
- Shadow: This effect is now named Shadowy Insight.
- From Darkness, Comes Light has been split into two abilities depending on the Priest's specialization.
- Surge of Darkness (Shadow) now has a maximum of 3 charges (up from 2) and can now also trigger its effect from Devouring Plague, but its chance to trigger has been reduced to 10% (down from 20%) to compensate.
- Surge of Light (Discipline, Holy) activation chance has been reduced to 8% (down from 15%).
- Power Infusion now grants 25% Haste (up from 20%), but no longer increases damage (down from 5%).
- Solace and Insanity has been split into Power Word: Solace for Discipline and Holy, and Insanity for Shadow.
- Insanity has been changed to cause consuming Shadow Orbs to transform Mind Flay into Insanity for 2 seconds per Shadow Orb consumed.
- Twist of Fate now only triggers from healing for Discipline and Holy Priests, and only triggers from damage for Shadow Priests.
First, there are a couple of quality-of-life changes for Prayer of Mending and Angelic Feathers. Next is a fix for a problem with Void Tendrils, where it lasts its full duration against creatures that had no way to attack it, such as in certain Raid encounters (note that the health reduction is to keep it where it was in health, compared to player health doubling). We also removed the Mana generation from Shadowfiend, in order to simplify it to being a burst-damage-cooldown. And last but certainly not least, we're making Holy Nova an efficient AoE healing spell for Discipline Priests.
- Angelic Feathers now increases movement speed by 60% (down from 80%). If cast on players, will always prefer the casting Priest over others, then pick the player closest to the targeted location. If there are no players where it is targeted, it will still create a feather that can be picked up, as before. Additionally, when collecting multiple feathers, the duration will be extended instead of replaced; up to a maximum of 130% of base duration.
- Enlightenment is a new passive ability for Discipline Priests.
- Enlightenment increases the critical healing chance of Prayer of Mending by 10%, and increases stat gains to Critical Strike from all sources by 5%.
- Holy Nova is no longer available through a Major Glyph, and is instead a Discipline specialization spell. Its mana cost has been lowered and its healing increased. It is intended as the efficient area-of-effect (AoE) healing spell for Discipline Priests.
- Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests can now be on the same target, and can be on multiple targets from the same Priest, but the ability has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast). (See also: Instant Cast Heals)
- Shadowfiend no longer restores mana.
- Mindbender now restores 0.75% mana per hit (down from 1.75% mana).
- Void Tendrils now have 10% of the Priest’s health (down from 20%), and damage dealt to the rooted target is now also dealt to the Void Tendril itself.
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See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Rogues, a couple of abilities were changed to be specialization specific where they were redundant, did some thinning on cooldown.
- Disarm Trap has been removed.
- Fan of Knives is no longer available to Combat Rogues.
- Rupture is no longer available to Combat Rogues.
- Shadow Blades has been removed.
- Shadow Walk has been removed.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
Rogues received several mergers of passive abilities. There's also additional cooldown thinning with the change to Tricks of the Trade.
- Assassin’s Resolve now increases damage by 15% (down from 20%).
- Blindside’s effects have been merged into baseline Mutilate.
- Burst of Speed now costs 25 Energy (up from 15 Energy).
- Crimson Tempest's periodic damage now has rolling periodic behavior, meaning that remaining damage from the previous application is added into the newly-applied periodic-damage effect.
- Cut to the Chase’s effects have been merged into baseline Envenom.
- Deadly Throw no longer has a minimum range.
- Energetic Recovery’s effects have been merged into baseline Slice and Dice for Subtlety Rogues.
- Envenom now increases poison chance by 30% (up from 15%).
- Find Weakness’ effects have been merged into baseline Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot for Subtlety Rogues.
- Garrote now ticks every 2 seconds (up from every 3 seconds). Damage has been adjusted to compensate.
- Killing Spree no longer increases all damage done for the duration. Its damage has been increased to compensate.
- Master of Subtlety’s effects have been merged into baseline Stealth for Subtlety Rogues.
- Relentless Strikes’ effects have been merged into Ruthlessness for Combat Rogues. It remains a separate passive for Assassination and Subtlety Rogues.
- Restless Blades’ effects have been merged into Ruthlessness.
- Safe Fall’s effects have been merged into baseline Fleet Footed.
- Tricks of the Trade now has no energy cost and no longer increases damage caused by the target by 15%.
- Venomous Wounds’s effects have been merged into baseline Rupture for Assassination Rogues. It no longer triggers from Garrote and now always triggers when Rupture deals damage (up from a 75% chance).
The biggest change for Rogues is a fundamental change to how Combo Points work. They're now shared across all enemies; you can swap targets and you won't lose your Combo Points.
- Combo Points for Rogues are now shared across all targets and they are no longer lost when switching targets.
- Redirect has been removed.
Bandit's Guile is an interesting mechanic that is important to Combat gameplay, but wasn't working out quite as well as we think that it could. In particular, there's basically no way to adjust when you're going to be in Deep Insight, other than stopping your rotation (and thus wasting energy, combo points, temporary effects, cooldown time, etc.). So, we're making an adjustment to Revealing Strike and Bandit's Guile. The intention here is that you can use Revealing Strike in place of Sinister Strike when you want to delay Deep Insight (such as to line it up with a specific upcoming fight mechanic), and have little lost damage besides the overall Deep Insight uptime. We don't expect this nuanced rotation adjustment to be used by all Combat Rogues, but having a little more control over the pace of your rotation will be useful to some.
Also worth noting here is the removal of Ambidexterity. This was done to reduce the amount of damage coming from auto attacks for Combat Rogues. We’ve increased the damage of their active abilities to compensate and make them more rewarding.
Finally, we changed Main Gauche to accentuate the importance of the off-hand weapon for Combat.
- Revealing Strike now grants Sinister Strike a 25% chance to generate an extra Combo Point (up from 20%)
deals 20% more damage, but no longer advances Bandit's Guile.
- Ambidexterity has been removed.
- Main Gauche now deals off-hand weapon damage. Its damage has been increased to compensate.
Area-of-Effect Attacks (Assassination, Combat)
Among some other changes to improve Rogue AoE damage, we made a couple of baseline changes, and added a few Draenor Perks that impacts their AoE.
- Blade Flurry can now trigger poisons.
- Seal Fate now also grants a combo point for area attacks that critically strike the Rogue's primary target.
Honor Among Thieves is an extremely powerful ability, but has the downside that it adds significant disparity between character power while soloing and while in a group. We made this change to bring up the soloing Subtlety Rogue, without having a significant impact on their performance while in a group. The passive ability Sinister Calling also received significant change to better balance scaling rates, the value of secondary stats, improve Multistrike for them, and add rotational depth.
- Backstab can now be used on either side of the target, in addition to behind the target. (See also: Facing Requirements)
- Hemorrhage’s periodic damage is now based on attack power (instead of the initial strike's damage), and ticks every 2 seconds. Damage has been adjusted to compensate.
- Honor Among Thieves can now also be triggered by critical hits from the Rogue's melee Auto Attacks.
- Sinister Calling now increases Agility by 15% (down from 30%), and the amount of Multistrike bonus received from all sources by 5% (in order to act as Subtlety’s Secondary Stat Attunement). And finally, when the rogue Multistrikes with Backstab or Ambush, they also twist the blade, causing all Bleed effects to advance by 2 seconds, triggering an instant tick.
Subterfuge has proved too powerful, and frustrating to play against in PvP, so we decided to reduce its defensive capabilities, while preserving its offensive power. We changed the Subterfuge period to allow the use of stealth abilities without actually stealthing you, similar to Shadow Dance.
- Subterfuge now allows you to use abilities that require stealth for 3 seconds after leaving Stealth, instead of actually staying stealthed for 3 seconds.
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See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Shamans, we removed some niche abilities, and also split out a few abilities by specialization.
- Ancestral Awakening has been removed.
- Ancestral Vigor has been removed.
- Burning Wrath has been removed.
- Chain Heal is now available only to Restoration Shaman.
- Earth Shock is now available only to Elemental Shaman. Enhancement and Restoration Shaman should use Frost Shock in its place.
- Earthliving Weapon has been removed.
- Elemental Focus has been removed.
- Feral Spirit's Spirit Wolves no longer have the Spirit Bite ability.
- Healing Wave has been removed.
- Lava Burst now replaces Primal Strike for Elemental and Restoration Shaman.
- Magma Totem is now available only to Enhancement Shaman.
- Mana Tide Totem has been removed. Restoration Shaman Mana costs have been adjusted to compensate.
- Primal Wisdom has been removed. Enhancement Shaman mana regeneration has been increased by 100% to compensate.
- Rockbiter Weapon has been removed.
- Spiritwalker’s Grace is no longer available to Enhancement Shaman.
- Static Shock has been removed.
- Searing Flames has been removed.
- Flametongue Weapon damage has been increased by 40%, and Lava Lash damage has been increased to 280% weapon damage (up from 140%) to compensate.
- Water Shield is now available only to Restoration Shaman, and replaces Lightning Shield.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
Shaman had a number of extra abilities that were consolidated to provide a smoother rotation flow. Mana regeneration and mana costs for Elemental and Enhancement were made compensate for abilities removed via Ability Pruning. The removal of Weapon Imbues was significant. There was always one right answer for each specialization, and so we made the appropriate Weapon Imbue passive to each spec, or tuned abilities around its removal.
Finally, there’s the removal of Rolling Thunder. In concept, this is a simple merger of Rolling Thunder into Fulmination, but also with some consolidation of its effects; the mana recovery component was removed along with other mana changes, and the random chance was removed while maximum stack size was increased to compensate. The randomness in Rolling Thunder became redundant, because there already was a source of randomness in Elemental Overload now that Multistrikes trigger it.
- Ancestral Spirit’s mana cost has been reduced by 95%.
- Elemental Fury has been removed. Elemental Shaman now naturally have critical strike damage increased to 250% of normal damage.
- Echo of the Elements has been redesigned. The Shaman's spells and abilities have a chance to trigger Echo of the Elements, causing their next short-cooldown spell or ability to not trigger a cooldown.
- Elemental: It may be used on Frost Shock, Earthquake, or Lava Burst.
- Enhancement: It may be used on Fire Nova, Lava Lash, or Stormstrike.
- Restoration: It may be used on Unleash Life, Purify Spirit, or Riptide.
- Elemental Oath and Unleashed Rage have been removed.
- Grace of Air now also provides 5% Haste to all party and raid members.
- Flametongue Weapon and Windfury Weapon have been removed.
- Enhanced Weapons is a new passive ability available to Enhancement Shaman, causing main-hand weapon attacks to have a chance to trigger 3 extra attacks, and off-hand weapon attacks to deal additional fire damage.
- Lava Lash’s damage done is no longer increased by Flametongue Weapon, and its damage has been increased to compensate.
- Flurry’s duration has been increased to 30 seconds.
- Frost Shock no longer generates additional threat.
- Greater Healing Wave has been renamed to Healing Wave.
- Healing Tide Totem now heals all party or raid members, but amount healed per target has been reduced to compensate.
- Lava Lash now spreads Flame Shock to up to 6 nearby enemies (up from 4 enemies).
- Rolling Thunder has been removed.
- Elemental Shaman Mana regeneration has been increased by 50% to compensate.
- Fulmination now causes Elemental Blast, Lightning Bolt, and Chain Lightning damage and multistrike damage to always generate an additional Lightning Shield charge, up to a maximum of 15. Earth Shock will consume any charges beyond 1, dealing their total damage to the enemy target.
- Shamanistic Rage no longer reduces Mana costs while active.
- Thunderstorm no longer regenerates Mana.
- Totems will no longer cause hostile creatures to enter combat with the Shaman based on proximity.
- Unleash Elements has been split into different versions based on specialization.
- Unleash Elements is now available only to Enhancement Shaman, and now increases attack speed by 60% (up from 50%), and increases the damage of the Shaman’s next Fire spell by 40% (up from 30%), but no longer deals direct damage or requires an enemy target.
- Unleash Flame has been made into a separate ability available only to Elemental Shaman, and now increases the damage of the Shaman’s next Fire spell by 40% (up from 30%), but no longer deals direct damage or requires an enemy target.
- Unleash Life has been made into a separate ability available only to Restoration Shaman, and now heals an ally and increases the effect of the Shaman’s next direct heal by 30%.
- Unleashed Fury now provides similar benefits, but applied as buffs to the Shaman instead of debuffing an enemy. For Enhancement Shaman, it now grants 5% increase Multistrike chance instead of causing auto-attacks to trigger Static Shock.
- Water Shield now only triggers from melee attacks.
- Mana costs for Restoration Shaman have been adjusted to compensate.
- Resurgence no longer requires Water Shield to be active.
Elemental and Enhancement Changes
For Elemental and Enhancement, we had a few problems to solve. Enhancement suffers from having their damage split among so many damage sources that none of it feels impressive. We changed the damage of several abilities to try to reorganize their damage into fewer, more impactful abilities, while keeping the net total the same. For a long time Elemental Shaman was one of the specializations most impacted by movement, at a time where other casters were increasingly able to cast while moving.
In Warlords of Draenor, we're pulling back on the ability for many casters to deal damage while moving, and that includes Elemental. They will still have some ability to deal damage while moving, through Shocks, Unleash Weapon, and instant Lava Bursts. For Chain Lightning, we wanted to reduce the impact of Haste soft capping, and so changed Shamanism to increase damage instead of reduce cast time. Additionally, we simplified Wind Shear by removing its impact on threat, which no longer matters.
- Ascendance for the Enhancement specialization now changes the Shaman's auto attacks and Stormstrike to deal Wind-based physical damage that bypasses armor.
- Earth Elemental deals 90% less Auto Attack damage but generates 1000% more threat.
- Elemental Precision has been removed. (See also: Hit and Expertise Removal.)
- Feral Spirits’ damage has been increased by 300%.
- Fire Nova now has a cooldown of 4.5 second (up from 4.0 seconds).
- Flurry has been redesigned. Melee haste effects now reduce the global cooldown and cooldowns of Earth Shock, Fire Nova, Flame Shock, Frost Shock, Lava Lash, Static Shock, Stormstrike, and Unleash Elements.
- Lava Lash now has a cooldown of 10.5 seconds (up from 10 seconds).
- Lightning Bolt can no longer be cast while moving by default. Effects like Spiritwalker’s Grace can still make the spell able to the cast while moving.
- Magma Totem’s damage has been increased by 100%, and now ticks faster with Haste.
- Maelstrom Weapon’s chance to trigger has been reduced by 20%.
- Primal Earth Elemental's Pulverize ability no longer deals damage.
- Searing Totem's Searing Bolt now has a 2-second cast time (up from 1.5 seconds), but casts faster with Haste, and its damage has been increased by 120%
- Shamanism no longer reduces the cast time of Chain Lightning, but instead now increases the damage of Chain Lightning by 100% (up from 70%).
- Spiritual Insight no longer increases the chance to hit with Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, Hex, or Flame Shock. (See also: Hit and Expertise Removal.)
- Stormstrike now has a cooldown of 7.5 seconds (down from 8 seconds).
- Wind Shear no longer affects threat.
- Windfury Weapon no longer has a 3-second internal cooldown.
Elemental Overload and Molten Earth
One of the new secondary stats Multistrike, functions very similarly to Elemental Overload. We wanted to keep Mastery and Multistrike feeling distinct, but also know how iconic and important Elemental Overload is for Elemental Shaman. So, we decided to merge the two together with Multistrike driving Elemental Overload, and give the Elemental specialization a new Mastery. For the new Mastery, we wanted to strengthen the Elemental Shaman’s connection to earth energies, and added damage that continues while the Shaman is moving. The summary of all this is that if you liked Mastery before, favor Multistrike instead for the same effect. Or try out the new Mastery: Molten Earth. Chain Lightning and Earthquake were also improved significantly to offset the fact that Elemental Overload was a massive buff to it, but Molten Earth is not.
- Elemental Overload is now a regular passive ability and is no longer increased by Mastery. It grants 35% increased Multistrike damage and healing, and an additional 20% to Multistrike chance. It also increases the amount of the Multistrike stat gains from all sources by 5%, serving as Elemental’s Secondary Stat attunement.
- Molten Earth is a new Mastery for Elemental Shaman.
- Molten Earth causes the Shaman’s damaging spells to incite the earth around to come to their aid for 6 seconds, repeatedly dealing Fire damage to their most recently attacked target.
- Chain Lightning’s damage has been increased by 50%.
- Earthquake’s damage has been increased by 33%.
Restoration Shaman had the most passive and smart healing of any healer, and so received some reductions in that area, along with buffs elsewhere to keep them competitive.
- Chain Heal now heals each chain target for 10% less than the previous target.
- Conductivity is no longer triggered by damaging spells for Restoration Shaman, or by healing spells for non-Restoration Shaman.
- Elemental Blast now also grants increased Spirit for Restoration Shaman, in addition to the random secondary stat. Spirit amount granted is equal to double the random secondary stat amount.
- Multiple Earth Shields can now be applied to the same target.
- Earthliving Weapon now increases healing done by 5% (instead of increasing healing Spell Power by a flat amount).
- Healing Stream Totem’s mana cost has been reduced to 10% of base mana (down from 23.5%), and its healing has been reduced by 50%.
- Riptide’s healing has been adjusted to put significantly more of it into the initial heal. The initial heal amount has been increased by 70%, while the periodic healing amount has been reduced by 20%.
- Tidal Waves now reduces the cast time of Healing Wave by 20% (down from 30%).
- Unleash Life no longer increases the healing from Healing Rain but its direct healing has been increased by 100%.
- Glyph of Chaining no longer causes Chain Heal to have a 2-second cooldown.
- Glyph of Totemic Recall now only increases the mana returned from recalling your totems by 25% (down from 75%).
We also made a couple quality of life improvements to Shaman Shield spells.
- Lightning Shield now persists through death.
- Water Shield now persists through death.
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Warlocks received some polish but remain relatively unchanged. They saw the most change of any class in Mists of Pandaria, and so were in need of less revision this time around.
See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Warlocks, that primarily focused on removing niche abilities.
- Curse of the Elements has been removed.
- Demonic Rebirth has been removed.
- Drain Life is no longer available to Destruction Warlocks.
- Harvest Life has been replaced with a new talent called Searing Flames for Destruction Warlocks.
- Searing Flames reduces Ember Tap's Burning Ember cost by 50%, and increases its healing by 50%.
- Metamorphosis: Void Ray has been removed.
- Seed of Corruption now replaces Rain of Fire for Affliction Warlocks.
- Twilight Ward has been removed.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
Soulburn had several extremely niche spell amplifications which were removed. We distinguished Hand of Gul’dan and Chaos Wave further by removing the snare from the former and improving the snare of the latter. Beyond that, there was a simple consolidation of some abilities.
- All of the various Soulburn effects are now learned together with Soulburn, instead of at different levels.
- Drain Life no longer gains a benefit from Soul Burn.
- Health Funnel no longer gains a benefit from Soul Burn.
- Unending Breath no longer gains a benefit from Soul Burn.
- Hand of Gul’dan no longer snares the enemy.
- Chaos Wave now reduces enemy movement speed by 50%.
- Decimation’s effects have been merged into baseline Soul Fire and Shadow Bolt.
- Fel Armor’s effects have been merged into Blood Pact.
- Grimoire of Supremacy pets now generates 20% more Demonic Fury.
- Malefic Grasp has been removed. Its effects have been merged into Drain Soul, which Affliction Warlocks should use in its place.
- Nightfall’s effects have been merged into baseline Corruption for Affliction Warlocks.
- Pyroclasm’s effects have been merged into baseline Backdraft.
- Seed of Corruption and Soulburn: Seed of Corruption can no longer both apply to the same target.
We felt that Warlocks brought too much unique Raid utility, so decided to tone down Healthstones and Demonic Gateway. We moved Healing Potions and Healthstones into a cooldown of their own, and made them usable once per combat.
- Demonic Gateways no longer have charges (up from being limited to 5 charges). Every Party or Raid member can use them once every 90 seconds (up from 45 seconds). The maximum distance apart they can be placed is now 40 yards (down from 70 yards).
- Healthstone's cooldown will now not reset until the player leaves combat. Healing from this ability is now a flat amount (instead of a % of maximum health) and can no longer be a Critical Effect.
For Affliction, we're happy with their rotation. But, Drain Soul was causing them to be too strong in situations where they had a steady supply of small creatures to kill. We reduced the effectiveness of its on-kill effect in order to solve this. Additionally, Soul Swap was changed to cost 1 Soul Shard to push it into its intended role of being a more expensive but faster method of applying your periodic damage effects, and better balance it against Haunt.
- Drain Soul now creates 1 Soul Shard (down from 4 Soul Shards) when the target dies.
- Haunt now increases periodic damage by 30% (down from 35%).
- Soul Swap now costs 1 Soul Shard (up from none).
- Soulburn: Soul Swap costs a total of 2 Soul Shards (up from 1).
We were unsatisfied with Grimoire of Sacrifice for Demonology. Fundamentally, it did not fit Demonology’s theme to sacrifice their pet, full time. We had toyed with ideas where it acted as a temporary cooldown for Demonology, but have decided to replace it with a new talent, which is more theme-appropriate, and fits well against the competition in that talent row. We also tweaked the design of Master Demonologist, in order to solve some edge cases, and simplify and clarify its effects.
- Mastery: Master Demonologist has been slightly changed. It now passively increases all damage by 6% regardless of form. While in Metamorphosis, it further increases the damage of Touch of Chaos, Chaos Wave, Doom, Immolation Aura, and Soul Fire while by 12%.
- Demon pets controlled by Demonology Warlocks now deal 20% more damage.
- Grimoire of Sacrifice is no longer available to Demonology Warlocks and has a new talent, Grimoire of Synergy in its place.
- Grimoire of Synergy: When the Warlock or their demon deals damage, there is a chance to trigger Demonic Synergy, granting the other one 15% increased damage for 15 seconds.
We've reduced the ability for ranged damage dealers to deal damage while moving in Warlords. Kil'jaeden's Cunning became a problematic talent because its mobility made Warlocks much stronger compared to other casters. We redesigned how the ability works to be more powerful in bursts instead of always affecting only some spells.
- Kil’jaeden’s Cunning has been redesigned. Kil'jaeden's Cunning calls upon the cunning of Kil'jaeden to permit movement while casting Warlock spells. This spell may be cast while casting other spells and lasts 8 seconds with a 1-minute cooldown.
- Fel Flame was removed.
Finally, there are a couple of miscellaneous changes. For Drain Life, we reduced the base healing somewhat, but massively increased the effectiveness of the Glyph which increases its healing, so as to help open up more potential Drain Life use in ideal situations. And lastly, we simplified Shadowburn a bit.
- Drain Life now heals for 30% less than before.
- Shadowburn no longer generates any mana.
- Glyph of Drain Life now increases the healing of Drain Life by 100% (up from 30%).
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See the Ability Pruning section above for discussion of why we’re pruning class abilities. For Warriors, we focused on removing abilities that were redundant, and making some tweaks to their rotations.
- Berserker Stance has been removed.
- Cleave has been removed.
- Deep Wounds is now available only to Protection Warriors.
- Demoralizing Banner has been removed.
- Flurry has been removed.
- Mocking Banner is now available only to Protection Warriors.
- Mortal Strike now replaces Heroic Strike for Arms Warriors.
- Rallying Cry is no longer available to Protection Warriors.
- Recklessness is now available only to Fury and Arms Warriors.
- Shield Wall is now available only to Protection Warriors.
- Throw has been removed.
- Thunder Clap is no longer available to Fury Warriors.
- Whirlwind is now available only to Arms and Fury Warriors.
Ability Consolidation and Refinement
- Battle Shout now lasts 1 hour and no longer generates Rage.
- Blood and Thunder’s effects have been merged into baseline Deep Wounds for Protection Warriors.
- Commanding Shout now lasts 1 hour and no longer generates Rage.
- Single-Minded Fury’s effects have been merged into Crazed Berserker.
- Titan’s Grip’s effects have been merged into Crazed Berserker.
- Crazed Berserker now increases all damage by 30% (up from 20%) while using one-handed weapons.
- Hamstring now costs 10 Rage and deals 20% weapon damage, in addition to the movement speed slow.
- Meat Cleaver’s effects have been merged into baseline Whirlwind for Fury Warriors.
- Seasoned Soldier now increases damage by 10% (down from 15%).
- Sword and Board’s effects have been merged into baseline Devastate.
- Thunder Clap now costs 10 Rage, and also reduces the movement speed of nearby enemies by 50% for 6 sec.
- Ultimatum’s effects have been merged into baseline Shield Slam.
Warriors have always had stances; they’re very important to the feeling of being a Warrior. In order to make stances more meaningful, and ease keybinds, we made stances have their own action bars, and re-added stance restrictions on abilities. However, we also made it so that you’ll automatically be shifted into the appropriate stance if you try to use an ability that isn’t usable in your current stance. One important difference between this and previous incarnations of Warrior stances is that these abilities are rotational, not utility cooldowns. Stances are now more for different gameplay modes (dealing damage vs. tanking). There shouldn’t be cases where you find yourself swapping stances, use an ability, and then immediately swapping back.
- Warrior Stances now once again have their own action bars.
- Attempting to use an ability that requires a different stance will now automatically switch to that stance.
- Colossus Smash now requires Battle Stance.
- Recklessness now requires Battle Stance.
- Sweeping Strikes now requires Battle Stance.
- Activating Defensive Stance now puts Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Whirlwind, Slam, Raging Blow, and Wild Strike on a 6-second cooldown.
- Devastate is now available to all Warrior specializations (was Protection only) and requires Defensive Stance or Gladiator Stance.
- For Arms and Fury Warriors, Devastate has a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Revenge.
- Revenge is now available to all Warrior specializations (was Protection only), and requires Defensive Stance or Gladiator Stance.
- Shield Barrier is now available for all Warrior specializations (was Protection only) and requires Defensive Stance.
- For Arms and Fury Warriors, Shield Barrier can be used without a shield.
We wanted to fix a few problems with Warriors. Prominently, we still weren't happy with Arms' rotation (and neither were many players), so we've made some more changes. The goal is to remove needless complexity while simultaneously adding more depth. As mentioned in the above section on Ability Pruning, Overpower and Heroic Strike have been removed for Arms Warriors.
In addition, we weren’t satisfied with the Mastery for Arms. The intended flavor for Arms is about hitting with few, big, and heavy weapon strikes. Strikes of Opportunity actually went opposite of that, adding frequent little hits. We’ve replaced Strikes of Opportunity with a new Mastery which accentuates their intended design.
- Battle Stance for Arms Warriors now generates 115% more Rage from auto-attacks and Critical Strikes now generate double Rage.
- Defensive Stance for Arms Warriors now generates 50% as much Rage from auto-attacks as in Battle Stance.
- Arms Warriors now generate Rage from taking auto-attack damage. Each 1% of health taken as damage will generate 1 Rage, up to 5 Rage per hit.
- Mastery: Strikes of Opportunity has been removed, and replaced with a new ability, Mastery: Weapons Master.
- Mastery: Weapons Master increases the damage of Colossus Smash, Mortal Strike, and Execute abilities by 20% (increasing with Mastery).
- Colossus Smash now costs 20 Rage, deals 225% increased damage, and no longer increases the damage of Slam.
- Enrage is no longer available to Arms Warriors.
- Execute for Arms Warriors now costs 10 Rage, and consumes up to 30 additional Rage to deal additional damage.
- Mortal Strike now costs 20 Rage (instead of generating 10 Rage).
- Overpower has been removed. Arms Warriors should now use Rend and Whirlwind instead.
- Rend is a new ability for Arms Warriors.
- Rend causes bleed damage over 18 seconds, and a final burst of bleed damage when the effect expires. Costs 5 Rage.
- Slam has been removed. Arms Warriors should now use Rend and Whirlwind instead.
- Sweeping Strikes now costs 10 Rage (down from 30 Rage).
- Sudden Death has been removed.
- Unbridled Wrath has been removed.
Burst Damage Cooldowns
As with other classes, we wanted to reduce cooldown stacking. Cutting Skull Banner did a ton to help that across the whole game. But for Warriors specifically, we needed to make further changes, including merging some of the personal benefit of Skull Banner back into Recklessness. Also, to make up for Throw being removed, we modified Heroic Throw to be more frequently usable.
- Heroic Throw is now a high-threat ability, generating 300% extra threat, has a 6-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds), but now has a 15 yard minimum range.
- Recklessness now increases Critical Strike chance by 15% (down from 30%) and increases Critical Strike damage by 10% (up from 0%).
- Shattering Throw no longer reduces the armor of the target; it only does damage and breaks immunities.
- It also is no longer learned via any specialization, but instead through a new Major Glyph, Glyph of Shattering Throw.
Haste for Warriors
Haste has long been a problematic stat for Warriors, usually being of little value. As part of our commitment to ensuring all secondary stats are valuable (except Bonus Armor for non-tanks and Spirit for non-healers, of course), we're making a significant change to Warriors, to ensure that Haste has strong, competitive value. We're giving all Warriors a new passive, which lets haste affect their global cooldown, and the cooldowns of their very-short-cooldown rotational abilities.
- Headlong Rush is a new passive ability for Warriors:
- Headlong Rush: Haste reduces global cooldown and the cooldowns of Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Shield Slam, and Thunder Clap.
Protection Warriors have received a few notable changes. First, we removed Dodge and Parry from gear, and expect Protection Warriors to value Haste and Critical Strike as important secondary stats. In order to achieve that, we made Riposte give defensive value to Critical Strike. The aforementioned Headlong Rush also helps for valuing Haste.
- Blood Craze is a new passive ability for Protection Warriors.
- Blood Craze causes Multistrike auto attacks to trigger a Blood Craze, which regenerates 3% of the Warrior's health over 3 seconds. When this effect is refreshed, the remaining duration is added to the new effect.
- Riposte has been redesigned.
- Riposte now gives the Warrior Parry equal to their Critical Strike bonus from gear.
- Unwavering Sentinel now also reduces the chance for attacks to be parried by 3%. (See also: Hit and Expertise Removal.)
A few Warrior talents also were in need of revision. First, Second Wind was problematic; it was sometimes too weak, and sometimes too strong. We chose to change it from a passive health regeneration effect to the new Leech effect, so that low-health Warriors have to maintain combat in order to benefit, instead of kiting, hiding, or otherwise playing defensively. Enraged Regeneration was changed to account for the removal of Enrage from Arms.
The level-45 talent row was removed for crowd-control disarmament reasons, and also wanted to allow you to choose more rotational complexity through talents. We replaced the row with new talents, many of which are specialization-specific, giving you a variety of playstyle choices for your Warrior.
For the level-60 and level-90 Talent rows, certain combinations were proving problematic. We decided that Stormbolt would better compete with Shockwave and Dragon Roar, and that Bladestorm would better compete with Avatar and Bloodbath, so swapped Stormbolt and Bladestorm's positions. We also adjusted the effects of a few talents in order to make them more competitive with the talents on their row.
- Bladestorm is now a level-90 Talent, swapping places with Stormbolt.
- Bladestorm no longer allows use of Shouts except Demoralizing Shout while active. It does still allow the use of Taunt, Enraged Regeneration, Shield Wall, and Last Stand.
- Enraged Regeneration now heals for 100% more but the amount healed is no longer increased by being Enraged.
- Dragon Roar’s damage is no longer reduced when hitting more than 1 target.
- Mass Spell Reflection’s cooldown has been reduced to 30 seconds, but it now replaces Spell Reflection.
- Second Wind no longer directly heals the Warrior while active. Instead, Second Wind grants the Warrior 10% Leech while active, which causes the Warrior to heal for 10% of all damage and healing done by the Warrior while active.
- Stormbolt is now a level-60 Talent, swapping places with Bladestorm.
- Staggering Shout has been removed and replaced with 3 new talents that vary by specialization.
- Arms: Taste for Blood: Each time Rend deals damage, gain 3 Rage.
- Fury: Furious Strikes: Wild Strike costs 15 less Rage.
- Protection: Heavy Repercussions: Shield Slam deals 50% additional damage while Shield Block or Shield Charge is active.
- Piercing Howl has been removed and replaced with a new talent, Sudden Death.
- Sudden Death causes auto-attack hits to have a 10% chance to make the next Execute free and useable on any target, regardless of health level. These Executes do not consume additional Rage to deal additional damage.
- Piercing Howl is now available to all Fury Warriors as a baseline ability.
- Disrupting Shout has been removed and replaced with 3 new talents that vary by specialization.
- Arms: Slam: Slam an opponent, causing 100% weapon damage. Each consecutive use of Slam increases the damage dealt by 50% and Rage cost by 100%. Requires Battle Stance.
- Fury: Unquenchable Thirst: Bloodthirst no longer has a cooldown.
- Protection: Unyielding Strikes: Devastate reduces the cost of Heroic Strike by 6 Rage for 6 seconds, stacking up to 5 times. Once this effect reaches 5 applications, its duration will no longer refresh.
Fury Warriors received a few additional changes. In particular, Heroic Strike has been removed for Fury Warriors, and modified Wild Strike to fill the role of quick excess Rage dump. We also made a revision to the Critical Strike chance of Bloodthirst to make them less crit-dependant. A new glyph has been added which gives Fury Warriors a choice for a notably different playstyle. Auto attack damage had become too high, so we also moved some damage from that into Execute (which has been changed to deal damage based on Weapon Damage, instead of just Attack Power). In order to make sure that you’re able to spend all of your resources within each Colossus Smash window, we added an extension to it onto Raging Blow. Plus, we've updated some to spell alerts to improve usability.
- Bloodsurge’s effects have been merged into baseline Bloodthirst and no longer reduce Wild Strike’s global cooldown. Its spell alert has moved to the top slot instead of the left and right slots, and now has 2 charges (down from 3 charges).
- Bloodthirst now replaces Heroic Strike for Fury Warriors.
- Wild Strike now has a 0.75 second baseline global cooldown, and costs 45 Rage.
- Bloodthirst now has 30% additional Critical Strike chance (instead of double the normal Critical Strike chance).
- Crazed Berserker no longer increases auto attack damage. Instead, it also causes Execute to hit with the off-hand weapon.
- Raging Blow now extends the duration of Colossus Smash by 2 seconds, and has a spell alert on the left and right slots.
- Glyph of Colossus Smash is a new glyph available to Fury Warriors. The glyph increases the duration of Colossus Smash's effect to 20 seconds, but reduces its effectiveness.
Enrage and Deep Wounds
With the introduction of one of the level-100 Warrior Talents, which deals Fire damage, We also expanded Enrage to affect all damage, not just Physical damage, and increased its duration slightly so that it can cover burst windows like Colossus Smash adequately. We're also making a change to the design of Deep Wounds, to try to limit is effectiveness in PvP, without hurting its effectiveness in PvE.
- Mastery: Unshackled Fury (Fury) now increases all damage (up from only Physical damage).
- Deep Wounds now lasts 15 seconds, or until the target is healed to full health.
- Enrage now increases all damage (up from only Physical damage).