A thourough research, alt+tab guides, was held yesterday and today. I’ve tried all the classes in the field during Army of the Light emissary quests and assaulted dummies in Pandaria hubs.
Here’s my report.
First of all, healing will not be a thing of this article. The arsenal of healers did not experience too many radical changes, and I’ll be testing its worth in group content like dungeons and raids – during the expansion itself.
While almost all of my healers are gonna be leveling as DPS, there’s one exception: Aurinko the Priest, because I’m not planning to go Shadow while Insanity mechanics exist in game. She tried questing in Holy, and her DPS as such is amazingly great. I’ve swiped out the pack of 5 mobs with ease and surprisingly quickly. Also I was able to pummel an elite mob with no trouble. It’s quite a viable leveling option. I may try Discipline too, but why care switching specs when you’re decent in your played healing one?
The second thing that can be described in few words are tanks. Tanking doesn’t differ from what we had in Legion, so there’s no worries about rotations. Their biggest flaw considering leveling is that tanks are lacking DPS in scales. I’ve engaged an elite Argus mob with my warrior, and while she couldn’t penetrate my defence, picking at her solo was the most boring thing I did during my session. I gave up after taking 20% from the demon which took ages, and then just jumped into my exosuit to burn her down. I even doubt taking my monk as Brewmaster leveling – I felt so much underpowered. In other words, if you opt for an active and quick combat, tanks are not your choice. Yes, they are supposed to aggro dozens at once to speed things up, but that’s not always possible in questing. Verdict: group content.
Now, on to DPS class by class.
Fire – is pretty much the same. Bombarding a dummy revealed that I have many instant Pyroblast procs, so they are pretty quick and powerful. It’s yet to try some tweaks in AoE gameplay, but overall I’m happy. It’s gonna be my Dark Iron Dwarf spec.
Frost – I’ve summoned a water elemental, and my poor Gnome drowned in its bulk. Dismissed water elemental and chose the talent where I will not summon it. Gameplay is pretty much the same, although I replace a nova instant nuke with a freeze ray. Basic Frostbolt is unexpectedly powerful. Micromantica needs to get used to the new nuke, but her rotation is almost the same. Considering there were not major issues with Frost Mage in Legion, she’s happy.
Arcane – there is much more control over Arcane Missiles, and that surely is a big improvement. If Myde someday will step forward, she’ll feel better than Legion experience. Until expansion lulls, she’s dismissed – the core idea of paying constant attention to mana pool is not my thing.
Described in healing section. Holy is Aurinko’s current choice for both solo and group content, and I’m not into Shadow.
Affliction – Blizzard lost me in Legion when they implemented the need to apply multiple Unstable Afflictions and wasting mana for every spell. None of these issues were addressed in BfA version, so it’s time to say goodbye. I could only mention one great thing: a talent to make Corruption DoT constant without the need to refresh it.
Destruction – this is Faerella’s spec to go in every type of content. Powerful, crystal clear and logical, and with brand new animations on top. Everything stays like in Legion, and it was quite solid to proceed with.
Demonology – I’ve spent half an hour getting the idea, and I must say that this is FUN. You summon millions of demons now, and the spec name finally justifies itself! The rotation leaves some space to think, yet it’s quite easy and straightforward once you get the priorities. It’s a mere pleasure to play, yet maybe not a leveling option for me. Summoning a literal ARMY for another 10 bear asses feels a bit overdone :) It’s a viable option for raids though, ensuring a battle of epic proportions.
Havoc – Melaris has lost several cooldowns due to class changes, so her burst somewhat shrinked now. Otherwise everything stays as it stays – a mobile, swift and agile style.
Balance – lots of options to overload your panels with extra damaging abilities. The renewed talent tree allows me to stay in Legion style which I were more than happy with, so Helu walks into BfA largely unchanged.
Feral – Brutal Slash, despite its nerf, is still a more powerful combo builder than Shred, so it stays in solo rotation. I like that spell! Jammu feels that now you have to make use of 2 speed cooldowns, and she’s not happy with that. Outside of them she waits for abilities to be cast, so it’s an annoyance. Why not bake one of the cooldowns into basic energy regeneration and leave us with a boost we’ll never know. Haste is her gear priority from now on.
Windwalker – not so many changes for Paitsu’s DPS spec. It’s quite ok to play with, and if I feel that Brewmaster is too weak in the field, I will switch to Windwalker by all means and with pleasure.
Assassination – something’s very wrong with my favorite spec, and this wrong is: Haste. Energy regeneration sucks so much – you spend 1-2 seconds constantly with nothing to cast, even when all your talents are about haste and energy regeneration. Dismissed for now. I’ll be missing it.
Outlaw – still not a fun of my swordplay interrupted with a clumsy pistol shot. Nay.
Subtlety – the one and only spec for me now. It’s quick, very effective, and now served with a rich talent choice. Only to think about it, I’ve never touched the spec before Legion. It is simply awesome.
Marksmanship – another complete overhaul of Marksmanship spec. It’s only four basic rotation buttons today, two builders and two spenders. And even this small number feels very crumpled. The major idea is to balance around ~50 focus – there, I said it. Balance, as in Druid Balance. This is strange how it largely resembles the previous Balance spec versions of druids – remember this rolling ball? I basically imagine this ball on the current Hunter’s Focus bar. Needs to be tested and tested to make a final decision about it. Maybe I will get used to it, but it’s a bit tense now.
Survival – ooh, that’s definitely a big thing going on. Some giant strides were made towards the stalker fantasy, and it’s just great. Ranged options were added, so now only a couple of strikes and auto-attacks are melee. The rotation rolls around maintaining a couple of DoTs on the target, as well as weaving in your powerful spear strikes. And yes, it definitely is exciting to play. I will make the final decision after I play it in the field a bit. For now it looks as a strong and interesting hunter option. Bravo, Blizzard!
Beast Mastery – they’ve addressed my major Legion issue. All you did in your rotation was yelling, not shooting. Now you’re a guy with a gun again. And still I quit after a couple of minutes – it’s simply boring compared to the other two.
Enhancement – excellent. Was it GCD added, but it made the playstyle quite comprehensible. In Legion all you did was facerolling. Now ability management is present, and choices are to be made. Despite that, it doesn’t feel slow at all – another wasted second, and you’re overcapped with Maelstrom energies. Constant casting, pro-active fighting style, no time to get bored. What’s left to test is survivability – in Legion shaman were paper dolls.
Elemental – excellent. I was happy enough with them in Legion. Yet they implemented a minor tweak that improved everything greatly: Earth Shock / Earthquake now cost exactly 60 Maelstrom, not the previous range of 50-100. So basically you don’t have to manage this now: as soon as you have enough, you do the thing. It makes the spec so much more comprehensible and easier to play.
One more issue in Legion was a slow pace of acquiring Maelstrom power. You could pick a mob with your ‘plink’ abilities and never have a chance to plant your most convincing strike before they died. As a result, leveling felt slow and underpowered. Not an issue anymore. You gain Maelstrom fast enough to effectively finish out the mobs.
Frost – everything is the same here. But Haste addressed, you don’t wait for abilities to come anymore, it’s very quick now. Make me able to wield zweihanders again, and we’re good :)
Unholy – not a fan of pet specs, I didn’t play it or test it.
Retribution – everything is the same here.
Arms – now feels like a feeble attempt to mimic Fury. And yet speed is not there. They reintroduced one more (annoying) strike in the rotation, so now it’s crammy, unsatisfying. Dismissed with no regret or intent to return.
Fury – is perfect now. A careful talent choice has turned me into a non-stop killing machine. Talent choices allowed me to exclude even the smallest gaps between attacks, so once in battle, you strike, strike and strike, never giving an opponent a chance to answer. Amazing.
- I’m glad that they didn’t touch some of the classes that felt right in Legion (Death Knights, Paladins, Druids).
- Many classes were tweaked to make them a lot more enjoyable to play (Warriors, Shaman, Mages).
- As for regrets, there are few. My favorite Assassination and Affliction options are buried for tonight – luckily I have replacements at the ready.
- Personally I need to test drive Hunter, Mage and Shaman in questing, but in general the changes are positive, and I’m ready for Battle for Azeroth.
4 thoughts on “Pre-Patch 8.0. Class Changes Overview”
How powerful is the AoE stun from Blizzard on your Frost Mage?
I think that I read that it can be cast and re-cast and hold your mobs in place while you shoot them down. Is that how it is working?
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Is it a new thing? Blizzard, like other Frost abilities, just slows enemies down.
Only Frost Nova deals some very slight AoE damage and freezes enemies in their tracks, it has 2 charges. It is strongly recommended to use Ice Lance immediately after because it “shatters” the target, dealing immense damage in that case.
I think it would be a major imbalance thing in PvP if it were true with Blizzard.
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I guess I’m totally wrong. I believe I was reading about mythic plus and the high value of having a frost mage along for the purpose of Blizzard. I thought it was a stun but maybe a slow; which would be handy for mobs that blow up and stuff.
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I have to agree on Shamans. They feel pretty solid since the 8.0 patch. I might not neglect my poor shaman in BfA if things stay close to how they are now.