Just recently we’ve written a piece about the 3 most important things we expect from WoW Shadowlands alpha and guess what – these things were confirmed to be featured in the upcoming test even before the official start. While we can’t say a lot about the Big Bad of the expansion or have an in-depth talk about the Covenant system until we get our hands on it, we can run down through WoW Shadowlands class changes. Blizzard already posted a lengthy text featuring each class in the game, and how it will change when the news World of Warcraft expansion will land.
Disclaimer: we won’t be covering each specialization and talent change. Instead, we’ll list overall class changes tied to all specs. If you’re interested to learn more about your favorite spec changes in WoW Shadowlands alpha, be sure to read the full post by Blizzard in the official page.
In WoW Shadowlands, Death Knights will have a big role and the class changes are designed to bring back the essence of what made Death Knights great in the first place. This includes many spec-specific abilities becoming class-wide.
During the test, all Death Knights will either be able to use Unholy magic and deal damage with Death and Decay, or neutralize incoming magic damage with Anti-Magic Zone. Furthermore, every Death Knight will once again be able to turn themselves undead with Lichborne or use Raise Dead to summon their own ghoul. Sacrificial Pact will be revamped and will allow Death Knights to sacrifice their undead minions and restore some health (or blast an enemy with some damage). Finally, Chains of Ice will now become available to all specs of Death Knight.
Overall, all WoW Death Knight class changes are designed to boost the overall utility of the class.
While this is a fairly new class, some changes to Demon Hunters will also be made to further enhance the gameplay of this action-packed class. According to Blizzard, each spec of Demon Hunter felt like a separate class so the idea is to unify Havoc and Vengeance. Fury will become a resource used by both specs, while Immolation Aura which was previously only available to Vengeance will become available to Havoc Demon Hunters as well.
Druids were always super flexible but during a couple of recent expansions, Blizzard tried to force Druids to fill certain roles. During the WoW Shadowlands alpha class depruning, Blizz gave all Druids a lot more options making abilities such as Ferocious Bite, Barkskin, Cyclone, Stampeding Roar, and Ironfur class-wide.
In addition to these changes, Druids of Azeroth will see the expanded Affinity system which will give some utility abilities along with passive bonuses. The Affinity Talents associated with each specialization (Balance, Guardian, Feral, and Restoration) will gain an additional ability. Balance receives Typhoon, Feral gets Maim, Guardian gets Incapacitating Roar, and Restoration can use Ursol’s Vortex.
We can kid ourselves as long as we want but the biggest and the most important change for hunter class during WoW Shadowlands alpha is the return of the best ability in World of Warcraft which is Eyes of the Beast.
In addition, there are a few more abilities that will become available for all hunter specializations – Arcane Shot, Hunter’s Mark, Kill Shot, Scare Beast, and Tranquilizing Shot. And that’s pretty much it… In fact, Blizzard stated that the core Hunter class kit is well-realized across all of their specializations, yet each plays in a unique and fun way. As a result, Hunters’ core damage rotations will remain familiar in Shadowlands, but several iconic abilities will return and many Talents will be updated.
In WoW Shadowlands alpha Mages might get the biggest amount of change. It certainly feels that way because all mages will get an insane amount of abilities. Previously, Blizzard tried to restrict Mage spells to their specialization, but in Shadowlands Fire mages will be able to blast Arcane or Frost magic and vice versa. This will mean that the combat rotation will undergo a significant redesign that should feel more interesting.
In addition to spells like Arcane Explosion, Fireblast, Frostbolt, Mirror Image, Fire and Frost Wards, all mages will also be able to once again use Alter Time which is an old ability that got removed back in Legion. As the name states, this ability allowed mages to travel back in time and return to their initial location, with the same health and mana, after casting it a second time or after a short duration.
Monks in Shadowlands alpha will return to their mountain to train and re-learn their previously removed abilities. Expel Harm, Fortifying Brew, Spinning Crane Kick, and Touch of Death in WoW Shadowlands will be available for all Monks to use. In addition, Touch of Death will return to its original design. In addition, all monk specializations will be able to summon their Celestials without talents.
As with many other hybrid classes, Paladins of any spec will get access to other spec abilities expanding their tool kit a lot more. Skills like Blessing of Sacrifice, Hammer of Wrath, Sense Undead, Shield of the Righteous, Turn Evil, and Word of Glory will be available to all Paladins, regardless of their specialization.
We should also mention Paladin Auras as these will no longer be tied to a specific specialization. All paladins will be able to select between Concentration, Retribution, Crusader and Devotion Auras.
Finally, Blizzard decided to unify the resource for all paladins allowing Protection, Retribution and Holy paladins to gather and spend Holy Power in order to dish out damage or protect your allies.
Priest class was getting weird with a couple of recent expansions. To be fair, Shadow spec was becoming its own class and Blizzard wants to bring back these void waving Priests back into the fold with WoW Shadowlands alpha.
This means that the two conflicting ideas won’t be separate anymore and will allow all Priests to harness holy and void energy. This means that abilities such as Mind Blast, Mind Soothe, Power Infusion, Shadow Word: Death, and Shadow Word: Pain will be available for all Priests. In addition, Blizzard also allows Power Infusion to be cast on allies.
The main problem with Rogue class was that every spec felt a bit too thin compared to the Rogues of the past. In Legion, Blizzard tried to distinguish each of the specs from each other and give them a unique identity. This resulted in dividing the core Rogue kit amongst the three specializations… No more!
In WoW Shadowlands, Blizzard wants to give all Rogues access to various options previously available for certain specs. One such example is poisons from Assassination spec. From now on Subtlety and Outlaw Rogues will be able to coat their blades with instant, Crippling, and Numbing Poisons allowing them to prepare before any new engagement.
Totems for every spec are back! Shocks for every spec are back! Weapon Imbues for every spec are back! Do we need to say anything else? Like Rogue, recent Shamans felt a bit thin compared to the class we fell in love with in the past. Now, Blizzard is trying to give these previously separated abilities to all specs and expand the options the players have while playing Shaman.
In Shadowlands, Chain Heal, Chain Lightning, Healing Stream Totem, Flametongue Weapon, Flame Shock, Frost Shock, and Lightning Shield will be available for all Shaman to use regardless of their specialization. Searing Totem also returns as an ability for all Shaman to use, which bombards nearby enemies with fireballs for a short duration.
The main change about the Warlock is the return of Curses. Previously, Warlock felt like a bit of a different mage – blasting enemies with various spells and all that jazz. And so, Blizzard decided to bring back something that only Warlocks would be able to do… All Warlocks will be able to afflict their foes with Curse of Tongues, Curse of Recklessness, Curse of Weakness, and Curse of Doom.
In addition, due to class depruning, the developers of World of Warcraft are bringing back Demonic Circle that should enable some cool and unique ways to interact with the world (or annoy the crap out of your dueling partner).
And last, but not least – Warrior. Blizzard stated that they want to restore utility to all three Warrior specializations by bringing back many iconic abilities that are useful across the game. Abilities such as Execute, Hamstring, Ignore Pain, Shield Block, Shield Slam, Slam, Spell Reflection, and Whirlwind are now available to all Warriors to use regardless of their active specialization.
There are also some old returning abilities such as Challenging Shout (mass Taunt) and Shattering Throw (devastating damage against foes protected by an absorption shield) in WoW Shadowlands alpha.
All in all, it’s nice to see a lot of these changes and we hope that they are here to stay. It’s also super cool to get all these changes from Blizzard itself rather than some shady data mining site. Looks like the lessons from Battle for Azeroth were learned and Shadowlands might become one of the greatest expansions in WoW’s history. Only time will tell…