Class Preview

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Shamans were the first to get a look at what was in store for their
class in the Cataclysm expansion and Blizzard certainly did not
disappoint, dishing out a myriad of promising ideas including an
arsenal of new spells (most available at relatively low levels)

  • style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">Primal
    Strike - Available at level 3
    this spell is a weapon-based
    attack that was added to make leveling as Enhancement more viable. Most
    players tend to level Elemental, as it is currently the easier leveling
    method. This new strike may be the key to allowing players to level
    whatever spec they choose with ease.
  • style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Healing
    Wave - Available at level 4
    the name of this spell can be
    deceiving, as it is not the Healing Wave Shamans know and use so well.
    The Healing Wave Shamans have access to now will be renamed, making
    these two spells much akin to Priest’s Lesser Heal and
    Greater Heal. Implementing two distinctive Healing Wave spells should
    give Shamans more of an interactive experience while healing, allowing
    them to choose which healing spell is appropriate for the situation.
  • style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Unleash
    Weapon - Available at level
    81 this spell is something like a
    Paladin’s various Judgment’s as it will allow the
    Shaman to unleash the power of the Shaman’s weapon enchants
    (Windfury Weapon, Flametongue Weapon, Earthliving Weapon) for
    additional effects. Dual-wielding Enhancement Shamans will be able to
    use the effects on both of their weapons. The spell is instant cast and
    has a 30 yard range with a 15 second cooldown, and promises to give
    Shamans of all specs a little extra boost.
  • style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Healing
    Rain - Available at level 83
    this is a brand new area effect
    HoT that will bring down rain in a selected area (think Tranquility)
    healing all players within it. Shamans have always been powerful AoE
    healers, but this spell has the potential, depending on how powerful it
    turns out to be, to put Shaman healers on a level all their own.
  • style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Spiritwalker’s
    Grace - When this
    self-targeted buff is
    active, the Shaman’s spells are no longer interrupted by
    movement and possibly even by their own attacks.

    I say more? This is an amazing new spell that will give a serious
    advantage to Shamans. Bust out your mugs to collect the tears that
    inevitably will be shed by other classes.

Other changes that look should make Shamans squeal with joy include:

  • Totem of Wrath will be
    replacing Flametongue Totem. The dropping of
    Totem of Wrath will buff the group’s Spellpower by 4%.
    Elemental Shaman will have access to a talent that will allow all Fire
    totems to provide 10% Spellpower. This is something Elemental Shamans
    have been clamoring for for ages and it appears that Blizzard has
    finally answered their prayers. Elemental Shamans will no longer be
    constrained  to which Fire totem they choose to drop.
  • Enhancement global cooldowns
    will be freed up to make the spec more
    dynamic to play. To do this Blizzard is thinking of increasing the
    cooldown of Lava Lash, so Shaman have time to work in other abilities.
    While this will mean that Lava Lash slides a little further down the
    usefulness totem pole, overall this idea could be promising and perhaps
    offer a boost in DPS. I am interested to see what Blizzard has in store
    here, as there is much potential for great failure or success.
  • Earthquake will be added as
    a deep Elemental talent for targeted and
    persistent AoE. This will be a much welcomed addition as Elemental
    shaman tend to have poor AoE abilities compared to other ranged
    classes. Hopefully Earthquake will allow Elemental Shamans to compete
    with other ranged classes in group settings. Anything has to be better
    than Magma Totem….right?

Like a pimple before a big date there is one glaring point of bad
joojoo in the ball of awesomeness that is the Shaman preview; Cleansing
Totem will be removed from the game. Before you can recover from that
sucker punch let me hit you with another, Shaman will no longer be able
to remove poison, or disease. Instead Shaman will be given Cleanse
Spirit which will remove curses, and if you happen to be specced into
the Restoration tree, magic. To add insult to injury the spell will be
wasted even if it’s cast and there is nothing to remove. This
is for lack of a better word, lame, perhaps even lame x 2.

Overall Shamans have much to look forward to if this preview manages to
stick. The class will enjoy changes that will alter the way Shamans are
played, hopefully keeping the class fresh and allowing them to remain
on par with other classes. Many player demands have been met,
and I believe that every Shaman spec will be more viable for play.
While there are some blemishes amongst the changes (no more Cleansing
Totem /cry), I think it’s safe to say that it’s a
great day be a Shaman indeed. To read the full Shaman preview and form
your own opinions click href="">here.

Warlock Class Preview

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Finally the wait is over
and much like Shamans, Warlocks will have a few new spells up their sleeves
that are deliciously Warlocky.

  • style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">Fel
    Flame - Available at level 81
    this spell takes a page from Mages and uses Shadowfire to do some quick
    hitting damage. The spell uses the lower of the two resistances (Shadow
    or Fire) on the target to calculate damage. It also refreshes the
    duration of Immolate and Unstable Afflication making a little less work
    for Warlock players. All this is fine and dandy, and sounds remarkably
    cool, but lets get down the the most important aspect of this spell;
    GREEN FIRE. Seriously who doesn’t want to pew pew things with
    green fire?
  • style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">Dark
    Intent - Another page ripped
    straight from the mage book this spell is available at level 83 and
    increases the target players critical chance with periodic damage or
    healing spells. Sure you could buff the nearest healer with this, but
    Warlock on Warlock buffing is far more sexy.
  • style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">Demon
    Soul - Available at level 85
    this spell will give Warlock’s a new reason to keep out their
    demons. When used this spell fuses the Warlock’s soul with
    his or her demon (talk about a personal relationship), providing the
    Warlock with a self-burst cooldown dependent on which demon is being
    used. This spell looks promising to add that little bit of an instant
    oomph to Warlock damage.

Warlocks everywhere should be giving a standing ovation as Blizzard
will finally be implementing the much anticipated Soul Shard change
that was first announced at Blizzcon 2009. Below are the details on
this awesome change:

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Class Preview: Warlock
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Soul Shard Overhaul
This major change regarding Soul Shards was previously announced at
BlizzCon 2009. Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but
instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards
that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional
shards during combat. Soul Shards will not be required outside of
combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing
you to use the secondary effects of some spells. Soul Burn has no mana
or health costs and is off the global cooldown. Planned secondary
effects are outlined here.

* Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.

* Drain Life + Soul Burn = Reduces cast speed by 60%.

* Demonic Circle + Soul Burn = Increases movement speed by 50% for 8
seconds after teleporting.

* Unstable Affliction + Soul Burn = Instantly deals damage equal to 30%
of its effect.

* Soul Fire + Soul Burn = Instant cast.

* Healthstone + Soul Burn = Increases total health by 20% for 8

* Searing Pain + Soul Burn = Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain
by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.

Next you will find a list of some of the warlock spell and talent
changes for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes,
but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.

Some other exciting changes Warlocks have to look forward to are:

  • Curse of Agony and Doom will
    be changed to Bane spells. Bane spells will be magic instead of curses
    allowing the Warlock to cast one Bane spell and one Curse on a target.
    Warlocks will no longer have to make the choice to sacrifice their DPS
    for utility.
  • Warlock DoTs will now
    benefit from crit and haste innately. Haste will no longer reduce a
    DoT’s duration, but will add more ticks to the DoT. When
    reapplying the final tick can no longer be clipped but will instead add
    duration to the spell. This is an amazing change, and will make life as
    a Warlock just a little easier. Having to endlessly watch timers to be
    sure not to cut out the final tick of a DoT to ensure max DPS is more
    than a little tiresome.

I really had to look hard to find any negatives in the Warlock changes
(so not a bad thing), and honestly the thing that was most
disappointing was the lack of a new demon, or at least an option to
change the look of your demon. I think a new demon of some type was
expected and to not see it on the preview was a big let down, however
there is still time before release so keep your fingers crossed! I was
also pretty unhappy with the fact Hellfire will no longer do damage to
the Warlock. While I’m certain that healers everywhere will
be pleased, Blizzard is effectively taking away the Warlock’s
ability to avoid repair bills. Unless they plan to buff Hellfire to
compete with the other more impressive AoE spells in a
Warlock’s arsenal, this change seems to me to be totally

What does this mean for Warlock’s in Cataclysm? If these
changes hold Warlock’s can expect to spend more time enjoying
pew pewing and less time micro managing. Not to mention they will have
access to more bag room than ever before since they will no longer have
to cart around tons of Soul Shards. Overall Warlocks look like they
will remain a pretty powerful class, that will easily hold
it’s own against other DPS classes. Oh, and GREEN FIRE!

To read up on all the changes proposed for Warlock’s and form
your own opinions on them click href="">here.

Priest Class Preview

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many long hours of waiting the Cataclysm Priest class preview was
released late last night. The last of the first bunch of three it
certainly had a lot to live up to, especially with Priests everywhere
waiting with baited breath for it’s arrival. Did the Priest
preview live up to all the hype, or did it fall flat compared to the
amazing previews before it?

The Priest class like the two classes before it was introduced to
several new spells that are in my personal opinion the most likely of
the three classes to see major changes before Cataclysm is actually
released. The pending spells are as follows:

  • Heal - Available at level 16
    and being introduced to make the existing Heal more useable since it
    becomes mostly obsolete at higher levels. Heal is intended to be the
    Priest’s go-to direct healing spell unless a bigger heal is
    needed. Heal is in essence Blizzard’s attempt to give Priests
    more spells to choose from when healing.  It should also help
    perpetuate Blizzard’s attempts to turning Priests into more
    rounded healers. This could be a good or bad thing for the class,
    I’ll personally make the judgment call when I see it in
  • Mind Spike - Available at
    level 81 this spell is supposed to give a much needed fix to the Shadow
    Priests among us. The spell does Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff
    on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. This spell
    has the potential to be great, finally giving Shadow Priests a way to
    do some quick damage where a normal rotation just won’t cut
    it, and also provides the Priest with a go to spell when their normal
    Shadow spells get locked out. Honestly though Mind Spike sounds a lot
    like Frostfire Bolt, and Fel Flame introduced in the Warlock preview.
    To say the least I’m a little discouraged at
    Blizzard’s lack of imagination here.
  • Inner Will - Available at
    level 83 This buff is exclusive with Inner Fire and increases the
    Priest’s movement speed and reduces the mana cost of
    instant-cast spells. Obviously a spell meant to use on a more
    situational basis, Inner Will will should give Priests an extra edge on
    high movement fights or PvP, while still allowing them to make use of
    Inner Fire in other situations. All part of making Priests a little
    more interesting to play.
  • Leap of Faith - Available at
    level 85 and if it makes it into the expansion without any changes it
    will probably be one of the most epically abused spells of all time.
    When used Leap of Faith will pull a party or raid member to the
    Priest’s location. I think this spell is a little
    underwhelming for level 85 but when used correctly this could be a
    great way to rescue group members who are having a noob moment. In all
    honestly though all I can keep thinking about is the hilarity that is
    sure to ensue if this spell is actually released.

Other notable (and good) changes that may be heading to a Priest near
you are:

  • Discipline Priests will be
    getting Power Word: Barrier, which is supposed to be something like a
    Power Word: Shield. This is pretty awesome and I’m sure Disc
    Priests will be pleased they will have another option other than
    shielding players one by one. Perhaps it will make Disc Priests more
    viable for raid healing?
  • Holy Priests that cast
    Prayer of Healing, Heal or Renew three times in a row will enter an
    improved healing state (Holy Form?). Ok this talent sounds pretty
    awesome as is, but I think the awesomeness of it could be greatly
    improved by granting the Priest who enters this state, let’s
    say, laser beam eyes or something. As we all know, laser beams coming
    out of random orifices makes everything better.  I am curious
    if when in this state the Priest will have restrictions on what they
    can cast much like Shadowform or if they will be free to cast at will.

Like the classes previewed before it, the Priest class preview has
it’s share of not so savory tid bits:

  • Hasted HoTs and DoTs will
    benefit from Haste and Crit innately, giving them a shorter period in
    between ticks. So basically Priests are still going to have to worry
    about clipping the end of their HoTs and DoTs. I think it would have
    been a much better idea to make changes here similar to the Warlock
    changes, cutting down on Priest micromanaging.
  • Divine Spirit and Pray of
    Spirit are going the way of the dinosaur and will be taken out of the
    game in an attempt to balance all aspects of game play. The Spirit buff
    is something that (in my opinion) really set the Priest class apart and
    seeing it go is a sad thing indeed. The only good thing is that Priests
    will have one less buff to worry about. At least they aren’t
    taking away any other buffs that set the Priest class
    apart….oh wait.
  • Misery will also fall into
    extinction according to the preview in an attempt by Blizzard to allow
    players to be able to gear themselves around a Hit cap that
    doesn’t change depending on who is in your group. It seems to
    me that Blizzard is taking away everything that makes a Priest, a
    Priest. At least they aren’t taking away
  • No changes to Lightwell were
    announced in this preview. I think many Priests were looking forward to
    seeing this now pretty useless talent being made into something
    awesome, and the absence of it from this preview is more than a little
    disappointing. There is still time to spare, and hopefully we will see
    changes announced sometime in the future. If no changes are planned
    perhaps it would be prudent for Blizzard to simply remove the talent
    from the tree.

The Priest class preview was to say the least underwhelming. It was the
least exciting of the previews currently released and compared to the
previews that came
before it, I believe Priests are getting more than a little of the
short end of the stick. Don’t get me wrong, there are some
amazing changes here that will put the Priest class as a whole in the
right direction, but I just don’t think it will be enough.
While healing Priests are pretty solid as a whole, Shadow spec is and
has been struggling for some time now.

Shadow spec needs some serious raid synergy and a giant boost to their
DPS and that simply was not addressed here, instead Shadow Priests will
be getting a shiny new spell that *might* put a little dent in the
problem. Thankfully this is just a brief preview of what is to come,
with more changes and additions likely in the future. So Priests cross
your fingers for good things to come. To read the full details on the
Priest class preview and form your own opinions click href="">here.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.