Last week, WoW Rookie looked at the first batch of Blizzard's Cataclysm class previews. How will the expansion affect leveling shamans, warlocks and priests? Since then, the rest of the class announcements have come pouring in to a torrent of applause, cheers, jeers, crushed hopes and soaring spirits from new and experienced players alike. This week, we'll recap the rest of the class change previews and serve up links to the announcements plus WoW.com's hot, fresh analyses for those of you hungry for more details.
Death Knights The big news for death knights is blood's becoming the dedicated tanking tree. "We'd rather spend time tweaking and balancing one good tanking tree rather than having a tank always wondering if they picked the 'correct' tree out of three possibilities," Blizzard says. Also in the works for DKs is a retuned rune system that aims to help you feel less constrained by the rune mechanic as a whole.
- Read the DK preview announcement.
- Dig into our in-depth analysis of what the DK changes hold in store.
We'll look at more of the Cataclysm class changes that affect leveling players after the break.
Druids Unlike the other healing classes, druids won't be learning any new heals in this expansion. That doesn't mean there's no big news for healing druids, though. Tree of Life, the big, defining shape-change for resto druids, is shape-changing itself into a cooldown-based talent similar to warlocks' Metamorphosis. With dispel mechanics changing across all classes, druids will lose Abolish Poison, but restoration druids will gain Dispel Magic (on friendly targets) as a talent. All druids will still be able to remove poisons with Cure Poison and curses with Remove Curse.
Changes to ferals will help you keep up with the Joneses. From interrupts to tanking tools, cats and bears will be getting new tools to lend variety to their play and help them better fill their niches.
- Read Blizzard's druid preview announcement.
- Dig into our in-depth analyses for balance druids or feral druids.
Hunters Cataclysm brings cataclysmic changes to hunters. We'll see hunters move off a mana-based system to a new mechanic called focus. Something else will be missing from your bags, too: ammo.
Hunter pets are getting plenty of grooming, as well. You'll be able to "carry" three pets at a time now (only one out at a time), with the capability of storing many more. You'll start with a race-appropriate pet at level 1 and get to tame another at level 10. Pet family abilities will change in order to provide a variety of buffs and debuffs, letting you swap your pets to fill the gap of abilities or roles missing from your groups. (Blizzard's hunter preview offers a nice sampling of examples.)
Mages Low-level mages will finally be let out of the kitchen come Cataclysm, as Blizzard removes the ability to conjure food and water until somewhere around level 40. You won't run out of mana, though, with changes designed to keep you plugging along. Once you do finally learn to conjure food and water, your meals will restore both health and mana.
In other changes affecting leveling mages, Arcane Missiles will become a proc-based spell. Whenever you do damage with any spell, there's a chance that Arcane Missiles may become available (sort of like warrior's Overpower). Scorch scoots to the forefront with changes meant to make it more a part of every mage's rotation. Your spell book will be cleaner in general, as Blizzard removes limp spells such as Amplify Magic, Dampen Magic, Fire Ward and Frost Ward.
Paladins Paladins will receive considerable retuning in Cataclysm, some discussed in Blizzard's preview and others still to come. Crusader Strike will become a core ability available at level 1 -- hooray for instant attacks! Speaking of core spells, Holy Shock will become a core healing spell for all paladins. Ret pallies will see some much-needed complexity injected into their rotations. Healers will get an entirely retooled new mix of heals. Prot tanks will find different rotations for AoE than for single-target tanking. And bubble-hearthing? Well, that may be going the way of the dodo, as well.
Rogues Gone are the days of agonizing over which weapon goes with which spec and -- oh, $%@#, you just got a great blue drop that's a totally different type. Weapon specialization talents (for all classes, not just rogues) are going away. "We do not want you to have to respec when you get a different weapon," Blizzard says. "Interesting talents, such as Hack and Slash, will work with all weapons. Boring talents, such as Mace Specialization and Close Quarters Combat, will be going away."
Ready for more good news? "We would like to improve the rogue leveling experience," Blizzard continues. "Positional attacks and DoT-ramping mechanics will be de-emphasized at low levels and then re-introduced at higher levels for group gameplay. We are also providing rogues with a new low-level ability, Recuperate, to convert combo points into a small heal-over-time (HoT)."
Warriors The warrior preview added to what we already knew about expected rage normalization and Heroic Strike changes. Mortal Strike will take a hit (down to a 20% reduction in healing), while other classes with similar debuffs will be tuned even lower.
Your old friend Sunder Armor gets simplified down to three stacks from five, and some shouts will evolve into something more like the death knight's Horn of Winter -- no resource cost, generates rage in addition to effects, short cooldown.
What else is changing in Cataclysm? Find out what we know so far in WoW.com's Guide to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
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