I’ve been back for a few days now and had time to let the dust settle and mull over the news about the Cataclysm class reviews, which is pretty much what everyone’s talking about at the moment. So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to our panel of experts for a class by class walkthrough of the forthcoming changes. I’ll start off with the Mages.
We’re getting Heroism! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAA!
What? You need more? Sheesh. Ok, we’re also getting the Flame Orb spell that Prince Taladaram’s so fond of, our very own Disco Inferno so we too can turn any raid or group into a Blue Oyster Bar. A new fire-and-forget AoE damage dealer? Yes please! It’s possible that points in the fire tree are going to make this thing go BOOM when it reaches the end of its path, and that in combination with Flamestrike and Living Bombs on everything in sight with insta-cast Pyroblasts going off everywhere and massive Ignites ticking over just sort of made my eyes glaze over and I started to drool…
BY FIRE BE PURGED! THIS WORLD WILL END IN FLAMES!
*cough* Sorry. Oh and there’s going to be some sort of new Frost Wall spell that slows people down and causes mild inconvenience and makes you forget where you put your pen and Zzzzzzzzz…..
Moving on swiftly, the Mastery bonuses! Arcane is getting a pretty neat new mechanic where your spells do more damage based on how much mana you have. I understand that mana pools are going to be nerfed across the board in Cataclysm, but still… I have a mana pool that makes Holy Paladins feel defensive, so this should be an interesting mechanic. The Fire Mastery bonus is a little boring on paper. It looks pretty much like they’re removing Ignite as a talent and making it the Fire Mastery bonus instead. Except bigger. Much, bigger. Like Ignite on steroids. So.. boring on paper, but BIG numbers, which fits the Fire tree quite nicely since it’s all pretty much just about setting the entire world on fire and purging the wicked and righteous alike with the cleansing flames of destruction, then striding over the ashes like a God of Fiery Justice and…
*cough* Sorry. Did it again. Oh yes, Mastery bonuses. Frost gets Deathfrost! Ooooh… sounds scary, like FROST and DEATH at the same time! What’s it do? Glad you asked. It makes casting Frostbolt give you a buff that increases the damage of all your spells… except Frostbolt.
Let me just boil that one down for you. You put all your talents into the Frost tree, which buffs the damage of all your Frost spells, because it’s… you know… the Frost tree. This gives you the Deathfrost mastery bonus, which increases the damage of all your spells except for the main nuke you cast to get the bonus and which all of your talents are designed to support. But hey, all those spells you only bother casting when they proc for free because you’ve got exactly zero talents that boost them, they might not be so pitifully weak now.
Moving back to Arcane, one thing leaves me scratching my head in puzzlement. Since Arcane Missiles are being removed and made into a proc-based attack that lights up whenever it feels like and which any spec can use (ohai, Deathfrost!), what exactly is the Arcane Rotation going to be? Ok, what they describe for Missiles is pretty much the way Missile Barrage works now anyway, you spam Arcane Blast until Missile Barrage lights up and let it rip when you have four stacks of Blast. But a lot’s going to depend on the proc rate. At a guess I’d imagine that Arcane will have talents that boost the proc rate to more of less what it is now anyway (40%) and the other trees have a lower proc chance, say 15% or 20%. I guess we’ll see.
So in a nutshell, Arcane is getting a neat new “I HAZ MOAR MANA AND MOAR PEW PEW HUUURRRR!!!” mechanic, Frost remains the “meh!” spec of choice and Fire is shaping up to be the spec you choose when you definitely, absolutely have to kill every last motherfucker in the room.
And we’re getting Heroism! BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAA! Yeah, fuck you, Warlocks!
Silence, puny Mage! You will learn to fear your betters before I’m done with you! For I am The Mighty Jingles! I CANNOT BE DENIED!
Taking over the world and enslaving all sentient species is hard work, let me assure you. Especially when the Mages start getting ideas above their station, which is why I’m especially happy with the Warlock class review since it takes all the good stuff the lesser spellcasting class gets, improves them and gives them to us!
Like Frostfire Bolt. Nice spell, but in order to make it more evil and Warlocky, let’s make it do Shadowfire damage instead. And make it refresh the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction too. Oh and make it instant cast as well. Now call it Fel Flame. Finally, feast on all the tears of Frostfire Mages everywhere. Muhahahahahaha!
While we’re on the subject, Focus Magic. Curse you, Mage scum! You never give me your Focus Magic and 3% crit buff! Well we’ll just have to make our own. Let’s call it Dark Intent, and anytime it procs we get a nice tasty damage buff. And since it clearly needs to be better than anything those poxy Mages have, we’ll make it stack three times too! Muuahahahahahaa!
And finally, those wierdo Demonologists are going to be able to merge their souls with their demons, gaining a burst cooldown that varies with which demon is active when it’s used. It all sounds a bit perverted to me, but that’s Demonology for you. Freaks!
The big news of course is that Soul Shards are finally getting an overhaul, they’re no longer going to be something that screws us when we don’t have any, but rather something that we can use for buffs when we do. A number of our existing spells are going to be buffed rather dramatically when we consume a Soul Shard with them which beats the hell out of the existing mechanic where a number of our spells can’t be used at all if we don’t have shards.
Finally our Mastery bonuses are going to increase damage, increase damage and increase damage, in that order. So, pretty boring, but all extra pew pew so no-one’s complaining. So to summarise the most important point emerging from the Warlock class review:
Fuck you, Mages! Here Warlocks, have a pony.
Ishnu A’lar, readers, Shinano here with the Druid class review news. First, let’s take a look at all the new Resto spells.
Right, now we’ve covered those, onto… wait, what? Nothing? Well to be fair, between Wild Growth, Nourish, Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Swiftmend, Natures Swiftness, Healing Touch and Regrowth, we Trees really don’t need yet another heal in our arsenal. Regrowth is getting a buff with a critical Regrowth heal causing a bed of healing goodness to sprout at the feet of whoever it hit for an additional HoT, which is pretty neat. Cat and Bear on the other hand could use a little more depth and utility, so that’s exactly what they’re getting.
Thrash is an AoE bleed effect, and various talents are going to increase damage done to bleeding targets. In addition, Bears are getting a group burst movement spell (Stampeding Roar) and both Cats and Bears are going to finally get a spell interrupt off the Global Cooldown. Changes to Mangle and Savage Roar are going to make Cat dps priorities a little more forgiving and Bears, in common with all tanks, are getting Vengeance, a Mastery bonus which scales their attack power with damage taken. This is actually a pretty nice idea, given how tank threat scales poorly compared to dps at higher gear levels.
Meanwhile, the Boomkin are receiving Wild Mushroom, which is pretty much an instant cast, no cooldown Proximity Mine. Eclipse is becoming the Boomkin Mastery ability, which buffs Arcane or Nature damage related to how heavily you’re casting Arcane or Nature spells. While we’re on the subject of Mastery bonuses, the Resto bonus will be HoT scaling, which increases the power of your HoTs relative to how badly wounded your target is, and Cats are going to see increased Bleed damage. All well and good.
Which brings us onto the Elephant in the room. Tree of Life becoming a cooldown-based ability.
Blizzard argue that shifting into Tree of Life should provide a buff to our healing that it currently doesn’t, and if they buffed healing while in Tree without giving it a cooldown then we’d be an overpowered healing class. Therefore, they say, in order to give Tree of Life any point other than the merely cosmetic it needs to provide some sort of buff to healing and that therefore needs to be on a cooldown to avoid being overpowered. A good argument, allow me to retort.
Going into slightly more depth, let’s just look at that tooltip in slightly greater detail. Tree of Life:
Reduces the mana cost of your healing over time spells by 20% and grants the ability to shapeshift into the Tree of Life. While in this form you increase healing received by 6% for all party and raid members within 100 yards, and you can only cast Restoration spells in addition to Innervate, Barkskin, Nature’s Grasp and Thorns spells.
20% reduction on mana costs for HoTs and 6% more healing for everyone? I’m not entirely sure what Blizzard define as a buff to healing, but if that isn’t one then I’m playing the wrong spec. Oh but there’s more, let’s take a look at Improved Tree of Life:
Increases your armor contribution from items while in Tree of Life Form by 133%, and increases your healing spell power by 10% of your spirit while in Tree of Life Form.
Call me a bluff old traditionalist but if it looks like a buff to healing, smells like a buff to healing and acts like a buff to healing, I’m going to go ahead and just call it a buff to healing. I’m old fashioned like that. If they make Tree of Life a cooldown they’re going to have to buff the healing done by normal Night Elf form by something like 10% at least, as well as reduce the mana cost of every one of our HoTs by 20% in order for this change to not be a nerf to us when we’re not in Tree form!
Now, I’m sure that they’re probably planning to do exactly that, but that begs the question WHY? It’s not broken, you don’t need to break it in order to fix it! And quite apart from anything else, I just so happen to love my “purely cosmetic” (even though it categorically isn’t!) Tree of Life! I’m a druid, I shapeshift, therefore I am. It’s what I do!
Well, they’ve stated that they might add a minor glyph that allows us to retain the form of Tree of Life without the functionality that the cooldown (whatever it ends up actually doing) allows, and until I see something concrete about that, I’m with Keeva!
Hands off our Trees!
More Class Review goodness to follow…