Blizzard has posted an update about World of Warcraft: Shadowlands class changes that we can expect to see, or at least changes in the Shadowlands alpha.
In the past, as the game progressed and classes were updated, new abilities were constantly added. It reached a stage where players sometimes had limited keyboard space and faced ridiculously complicated rotations. To combat this, Blizzard began pruning away at the classes and streamlining the specs. While this did make sense, many players have come to feel that Blizzard has taken it a bit too far, with Battle for Azeroth specifically criticized for classes that felt stripped of all flavor and fun.
Unpruning and player choice seem to be Blizzard’s priorities in its Shadowlands class design. Blizzard acknowledges player concerns that classes may have changed too much from the core of what initially attracted players to a given class in the first place. So in Shadowlands, we can expect to see certain abilities that have become spec-specific — but that are seen to define the identity of the class — become class-wide again. We can also expect a return of many “iconic” abilities, as well as a few new abilities.
Shadowlands class changes
A lot of the proposed Shadowlands class changes are genuinely exciting, if a little overpowered sometimes. Frost Death Knights as well as Windwalker and Brewmaster Monks will once again be able to choose between two-handed or dual-wielding one-handed weapons. However, Fury Warriors seem to have been forgotten with this change. The Monk ability Touch of Death is returning to its original design — killing an enemy with less health than the Monk — which should make monks beyond deadly again. Hunters are getting Kill Shot, nearly as deadly. Warlocks are getting curses back. We’re also seeing the first hints of those resource changes that were mentioned in the closed alpha announcement: Demon Hunters will share the resource Fury, while the resource Holy Power returns for all Paladins.
I will admit to being slightly nervous about the statements made about the specs being too removed from each other. With my being a Beast Mastery Hunter specifically, the thing that matters most to me are my pets. One thing I loved about my class in Legion was the “zoo build,” being able to arrange talents such that I could see many of my stabled pets during fights. But the zoo build was broken in Battle for Azeroth, and I don’t see any indication that it might make a return yet. Hunters are getting an increase in stable size in Shadowlands, but personally I don’t see much point of an even bigger stable filled with pets I never see. BM Hunters are peculiarly getting a new ability that summons a cobra instead.
Visit Blizzard’s blog for a comprehensive list of class changes. As we’re still in the very beginning of the alpha, nothing is set in stone right yet. Expect to see a lot more changes to our classes before World of Warcraft: Shadowlands goes live.
These changes to the classes, combined with the Covenant system and abilities, at least mean one thing: Shadowlands is unlikely to be boring. Unbalanced, possibly, but never boring.