Patch 2.4 has arrived! Hurray! Many things have changed, some minor, some major. It will take time to assess the long term impact of these changes, but what everyone wants to know right now is "What changed for MY character?".
In a nutshell here is goes:
Caster Based Characters
Mana Regen - The mana you regenerate due to your spirit will be affected by the intellect that you have. The more intellect, the more mana you will regenerate due to your spirit. This will be a huge boost to many spell casting classes, but especially priests and druids that have spirit boosting abilities.
Resilience - Resilience has been changed to also cut down on the amount of mana drained by harmful abilities. It will reduce mana draining effects by the same percentage as it reduces the chance to be critically struck.
Spell Haste - Yet another reason has been added to make casters want to stack haste effects. As you up your haste rating, your global cooldown timer will drop. While it starts at 1.5 seconds it is now possible to drop it all the way down to 1 second.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, there is no big nerf to druids in small scale PvP. There are a few changes to the class though and a minor nerf to cyclone. Overall though, druids see minor changes.
Cyclone - Cyclone has had its range dropped by 10 yards, down to 20 from 30. It will also suffer diminishing returns in much the same way as a mage's polymorph ability. This should be a welcome change to all non-druid players in the arenas, where the original use was better than initially intended.
Healing Abilities - Several minor adjustments have been made to druid healing spells. Overall though they seem to equal out, one gets slightly less of the players +healing, another costs less, and a third gains a bonus from empowered rejuvenation talent.
Overall hunters do not see any major changes, just minor ones. For example, improved mend pet rank 1 gains 10% to its ability (rank 2 remains the same), and hunters no longer get free turns with aimed or steady shot if they do not already have their target in their front arc. Other than that though, it is all minor fixes to be more consistent with other classes and how things were intended to be rather than how they were. Nothing to get overly excited over.
Mage's receive a number of updates including what appear to be some nice buffs. The have had their Arcane explosion maximum damage upped, arcane fortitude grants more armor, several spells have had their mana cost lowered and several abilities have been slightly changed. For example improved Blink now grants an increased chance to be missed for a short time after you blink, icy veins will no longer increase the chance to freeze targets but will make you avoid interruption from damage while casting while it is active.
Avenger's Shield - This ability will no longer hit targets under the effect of crowd control that breaks on damage. This is a huge (and welcome) change to paladin tanks as with the semi random nature of the avenger's shield hit allocation, it has always been almost impossible to CC on large groups before pulling.
Turn Evil - This replaces the turn undead (rank 3) ability, and will work on demons as well as undead. It will work in PvP and is subject to diminishing returns in much the same way as a mage's polymorph ability, and lasts 10 seconds.
Priests have several minor changes affecting them. Many of them are just spells having minor adjustments or balance issues. Items like prayer of mending ending when a player leaves or enters an instance, raid, continent or game, chastise rooting a player for 2 seconds instead of disorienting them, mass dispel affecting 10 targets instead of 5 (not sure where this is an issue), and a few scaling issues (spells not being affected properly when using a lower rank). The main things affected are as follows.
Fear Ward - Fear ward is now castable while in shadow form. This change will make all shadow priests happy as they no longer need to drop form and then re-cast it, wasting mana, to benefit their party or group.
Power Infusion - This ability now increases spell haste by 20%, lowers mana cost by 20%, lasts for 15 seconds and does not stack with other haste effects like heroism, bloodlust or icy veins.
Rogues have a few things changing, including improved sprint now always breaking the entangling roots debuff, sap being slightly improved to affect more targets than previously allowed, and some logging changes to cheat death. In addition they have had improved backstab replaced with the following.
Puncturing Wounds - This talent increases your critical strike chance with backstab by up to 30% and by up to 15% with mutilate.
Shamans have seen several small improvements with this patch that should make them happy. They have also seen a few things fixed though that could be interpreted as nerfs, such as flametongue weapon not being able to use multiple ranks, a loss of 1% crit chance on call of thunder (rank 5), fewer charges on earth shield and a few others.
Some of the improvements though are as follows:
Reduced Timers - Totems have had their global cooldown drop to 1 second from 1.5. Ghost Wolf has dropped to 2 seconds form 3. Lastly, tremor totems fire off every 3 seconds instead of 4. All these are minor in and of themselves, however add up to a nice increase.
Toughness - This now also reduces the duration of slowing effects on you by up to 50%. This will be a huge bonus to PvP players and something that shaman players have wanted for a while.
Shamanistic Rage - This is now counted as a physical ability instead of magical. This means it can no longer be dispelled. Previously it was viewed as a waste in PvP as it was always dispelled as soon as it was used. This will allow a shaman much more use of it.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, there is no big nerf to warlocks in PvP, the life tap ability change was removed from the patch. Overall Warlocks (like Hunters) do not see any big changes. The only really big change is that they can now summon players into instances as long as that player meets the entrance requirements for that instance. This is a change that will have many players (not just Warlocks) cheering.
Warriors see a few minor changes (fixes) and two bigger ones. The minor ones are fixing the fact that you could reselect the stance you are already in and lose your rage and set off a global cooldown so that you can no longer do this and fixing whirlwind so that critical strikes with both weapons can trigger flurry and rampage. The bigger changes are as follows.
Cleave - This ability no longer affects targets in range that are under the effect of CC that would break when damaged. This makes the ability far more useful in tight places and should make warriors happy.
Improved Hamstring - This is now affected by diminishing returns in PvP. This will probably upset most warriors, but make many of their victims in the arena quite happy. This should still give them the ability to pound on a target for a short while, but if they can weather the storm they will no longer be affected.
Well, there you have it. Those are what I see as the biggest changes for each class. Are they your picks? Are there some that you think are even bigger or more important? Have your say in our forums.
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