WoW: Cataclysm Class Previews - Warriors, Death Knights, and Rogues

The changes keep coming as Blizzard has announ

The changes keep coming as Blizzard has announced numerous upcoming changes for the Warrior, Death Knight, and Rogue.  First up in our look at the changes is the Warrior and all the new steel coated death-dealing goodness that the class entails.

New Abilities

First up in our look at the class are a trio of new abilities that the Warrior will gain on the way to level 85.

Inner Rage – This ability is scheduled to be learned at level 81. This is going to be a passive ability that engages whenever a character reaches a full 100 rage, he or she will gain a buff that causes attacks to consume 50% more Rage and do 15% more damage for a short amount of time.  Blizzards stated goal is for it to provide enough of a boost that hitting max rage does not feel like a penalty but a reward.  They also do not want it to be too good that warriors feel they shouldnÂ’t do anything until they hit 100 rage, so it may change along the road to Cataclysm.

Gushing Wound -  This attack is set to be a new style bleed that starts off slightly weaker than Rend but gains strength (up to 3 stacks) as a player moves with it.  It will be learnable at level 83 and is not planned to have a cooldown, cost 10 rage and last 9 seconds.  Sounds like a wicked PvP style ability that may make targets willing to stay put and fight rather than try to get away from you.

Heroic Leap – This is similar to charge but different.  It will be available at level 85 and allows the warrior to leap at their target and apply the Thunder Clap ability to all enemies in the area when they land. Heroic Leap will be usable in Battle Stance and shares a cooldown with Charge, but the Juggernaut and Warbringer talents will allow Heroic Leap to be used in any stance and possibly while in combat. This ability will allow warriors to get into position on a charge and either start DPS or tanking right away while the enemies are stunned.

Class Mechanic Changes

In addition to several new abilities, several of the existing Warrior mechanics are changing significantly.  While they can be seen as buffs or nerfs you really need to hold off final judgement until we see all the changes to classes, mechanics, and stats coming in Cataclysm.

The first big change is Heroic Strike will no longer be an "on next swing" attack, as Blizzard is removing the whole mechanic in Cataclysm. Instead it will become an instant attack, and cost between 10 and 30 Rage. It will not be usable until you have 10 Rage, but if you have more than 10, it will consume up to 30, adding additional damage for each point of Rage consumed above the base 10.  This can be viewed as a good or bad thing, since Warriors will have more exact control over when it occurs and be able to cause more damage with it.  However it could be bad as it is now on the GCD list and will have to be fit into rotations.

Another chance is how Battle Shout, Commanding Shout, and possibly Demoralizing Shout will function more like the death knight's Horn of Winter ability. Specifically, these shouts will cost no resources, generate rage in addition to their current effects, and be on a short cooldown.

Next up is a pretty massive change to Mortal strike.  Mortal Strike will now only reduce healing by 20% down from 50%.  This is due to two things, first healing amounts will be lower in Cataclysm and Blizzard does not want a Mortal Strike debuff to be mandatory in PvP. At this point warriors will probably start screaming about this as a nerf, but with the reduced overall healing it is probably really required so that Mortal Strike is not over powered.

Next up sunder Armor will be reduced to three stacks instead of five, and still provide only a 4% reduction in armor per stack. This means that the max reduction will be down to 12% from 20%. The thought is to have it faster to get up on a target and not effect DPS as drastically if it falls off.  This can be seen as a good thing for DPS Warriors that get stuck doing Sunder if there is no Warrior tank in the group, since they should have an easier time putting it in place and therefore have more time to DPS.

A change that will effect many Warriors DPS rotations is a nerf to Whirlwind so that it only does 50% weapon damage to targets.  On the plus side it hits an unlimited number of targets. This means it will do half current damage but hit everything nearby.  It will likely lose its place in current rotations other than AOE rotations against large groups of enemies, which is really where it is meant to be,

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Along with the new abilities and mechanic changes Blizzard also outlined the new mastery bonuses that warriors will receive.

Arms Warriors will gain extra melee damage, armor penetration, and a Bonus Swing ability.  The bonus swing will be much like the current Sword Specialization talent but apply to all weapons and any attack.  Any time it procs you will instantly swing again and hit for 50% damage.

Fury Warriors will gain extra melee damage, melee haste, and the Enrage Intensity ability.  This is described by Blizzard as every benefit of being enraged being increased. This includes doing more damage/healing/ etc. from abilities like Bloodrage, Death Wish, Enrage, Berserker Rage, and Enraged Regeneration.

Lastly, Protection Warriors gain extra damage reduction, vengeance, and a critical block chance.  Vengeance is a new mechanic being added to all tanks to ensure their threat and damage dealing ability does not fall behind DPS classes.  Vengeance will apply a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done to them up to a maximum of 10% of the character unbuffed health.  The critical block ability will allow protection warriors to have a chance to block 60% of an incoming attacks damage instead of the normal 30%.

Overall

Overall the Warrior changes seem pretty cool and most seem as if they add to the class.  There are some obvious contentious points here such as the Whirlwind and Mortal Strike nerfs , however whirlwind really should only be used against mass targets, and the mortal strike change can not really be judged until we see how healing and damage changes. On the flip side abilities like inner rage and heroic strike have the potential to allow greater burst damage.

You can find the original post from Blizzard here: Cataclysm Warrior Preview.

Keep going to the next pages for the Death Knight and Rogue previews.

 

Next up for the class preview are the Death Knights and there are some pretty big changes coming here.  In addition to the class abilites and mechanic changes there are some big talent tree changes as well. 

New Abilities

There are several new abilities that Death Knights are going to have access to past level 80, they are as follows below.

Outbreak – Outbreak is a new way to infest targets with diseases. It will be available at level 81 and lets a Death Knight apply both Frost Fever and Blood Plague at no rune cost. This is a huge change as it will allow DK’s to get diseases up on a new target quickly in one step and still have all the runes they need to start a full DPS rotation right off the bat.

Necrotic Strike - Necrotic Strike is a new attack that Death Knights will gain access to at level 83.  It is an attack that deals weapon damage and applies a debuff that absorbs an amount of healing based on the damage done. It is described as instead of doing 8,000 damage it would do something like 6,000 but absorb the next 4,000 healing done to the target. 

In effect it is much like a Mortal Strike, since the damage done is not high, but the healing required to get the target back to full health is fairly large.  I for one thing this is an awesome looking new ability for PvP that will give Death Knights a really solid ability while still allowing them to feel different than other classes with a Mortal Strike type ability.

Dark Simulacrum -  This ability will be gained at level 85 and is kind of similar to a spell reflect further enhancing the Death Knights anti-caster abilities.  Mechanic wise it is different than a spell reflect since it is really a debuff applied to the Death Knights target that copies a spell that they cast and sends it back at them, the original spell still hits the Death Knight.  If a reflect wouldnÂ’t normally work, neither will this. It seems like a good effect in both PvE and PvP, although the burst nature and player killing ability seems more tuned to PvP against casters.

Class Mechanic Changes

The big change with the class mechanics coming is the way the rune system will work.  While the system works, Blizzard feels it could be better.  They want Death Knights to feel less constrained by the system and allow them to do more with it.

The first part of the change is that essentially each type of rune will now be considered one rune that goes from 0-200% full.  This means that if you use both blood runes, the first one will start filling before the second, but you can use it as soon as the first one if full. Instead of six separate 10 second times you know have 3 10 second times that have an overflow to 200%. 

While it could sound like a null change, it can make a huge difference to how the class plays.  Over time you will have less runes available to be used since the first one of each type must fill before the next one starts.  As a result Blizzard also stated that abilities are going to have to be retuned to do more to compensate for the lower availability of the runes.

It has also been stated that haste will play a part in how fast runes fill, but no numbers have been provided yet.  This will be a big tuning issue to resolve and it will be interesting to see what the cap will be for Haste on DKÂ’s in Cataclysm, because in theory it could become the most important stat so that you drive the rune refill fast enough to use abilities constantly between the global cool downs.

Talent Tree Changes

The big talent tree changes were announced earlier this week by Ghostcrawler and are fairly substantial.  Essentially Frost becomes a dual wield spec, Unholy a DPS / Pet Spec, and Blood the tanking Spec.  IÂ’ll let Ghostcrawlers words speak for them self here:


We're doing our Cataclysm preview on the death knight changes later this week, but we knew one change risked overshadowing all the others, so we figured we'd go ahead and drop the proverbial Blood bomb today.

In Cataclysm, death knights will have a dedicated tanking tree, much like the other three tank classes. That tree will be Blood.

WeÂ’ll go into more detail in the upcoming preview, but we wanted to take the opportunity to explain the reasoning for such a big change.

Why the about face? We actually thought the “tri tank” experiment worked out okay. We suspected there would always be a “best” tanking tree, because that’s the way these things shake out, but we hoped it would be close enough that many players could tank with their favorite tree. When we tried out this design for Wrath of the Lich King, we were using it as a test case to see if we wanted to do similar things with the warrior and paladin talent trees.

A lot has happened since that time. We introduced the dual-spec feature, allowing players to have a tanking spec and dps spec that they could switch between. We introduced Dungeon Finder, which makes it easier to find players who want to tank, and even let players level up using a dedicated tank spec. In Cataclysm, we are introducing the concept of passive talent tree bonuses and we think that feature is a lot stronger when the talent tree has a particular focus (such as damage, tanking or healing). For example, itÂ’s safer to give more passive damage to a tanking tree than we can a dps tree. Above all, we were just spending a lot of effort trying to balance three trees (though it was really six trees, since each tree was trying to do two things).

It started to feel unfair to the other tank classes that we had to spend so much effort tweaking three types of DK tanks, and it even started to feel unfair to the DK that we couldn’t focus their tanking experience. One bit of feedback that really struck home was the DK players who said, essentially, “I look at the Protection tree and I’m jealous of all of the cool tools they have to help their tanking. As a DK, I have to pick and choose tanking talents from within a sea of dps talents.” Rather than have a strong focus, the trees felt a little watered down because they were trying to do so much. With Frost as a dual-wield, spell and runic power focused tree, Unholy as a disease and minion focused tree, and Blood as a self-healing, defensive cooldown, tanking tree, we think the focus of each tree is a lot clearer and cooler.

In Cataclysm, Blood will be the death knight version of a Protection tree. It will have passive talent tree bonuses that reflect tanking. It will have tools, such as a Demo Shout equivalent, necessary for tanking. Several of the more fun tanking talents from Frost and Unholy will be moved into Blood. We will be able to revise (or even remove) clunky mechanics like Rune Strike and focus on letting DKs generate threat with their normal Blood tanking rotation.

This is major change, and we understand it will be met with some disappointment from players who really liked the flexibility, those who appreciated the unorthodox talent tree design, or those few of you who really liked Blood dps. Nevertheless, we are convinced that this is the right change for the game.

Overall I like this change.  While it was cool that all three trees “could” tank, it made it very confusing for non-DKÂ’s as to what was going on.  All other tanking classes had one dedicated tree and it makes sense to consolidate the best abilities to one tree for DKÂ’s as well. It will allow Blizzard to move all the best tanking abilities to one place and improve how the class plays each role.

When the tanking from any tree was first brought about it was so that a DK could be what they chose and still tank.  With dual spec available to players that isnÂ’t really an issue any more, since players that want to tank will have a tank spec and a DPS spec.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Along with the new abilities and mechanic changes Blizzard also outlined the new mastery bonuses that Death Knights will receive.

Blood DKs will be the new tank build and gain extra damage reduction, vengeance, and Healing Absorption. Vengeance is a new mechanic being added to all tanks to ensure their threat and damage dealing ability does not fall behind DPS classes.  Vengeance will apply a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done to them up to a maximum of 10% of the character unbuffed health. Healing absorption is a new ability that will place a kind of bubble on you that will absorb some incoming damage after you have healed yourself with an ability.

Frost Death Knights will gain additional melee damage, melee haste, and runic power generation. Not much was said about the runic power generation, but the name alone implies that you will either generate if faster passively or through abilities. 

Lastly, Unholy Death Knights will gain additional melee damage, melee and spell critical damage, and additional disease damage.  The disease damage is the critical one here since so much of an unholy DKs abilities are structured around their diseases.

Overall

Overall the Death Knight changes look pretty solid.  Making each talent tree do a distinct thing will bring them inline with other classes and make them less confusing and more focuses.  Giving them a few more PvP abilities should allow them to compete more evenly with Warriors in arena PvP.  I love the new way to apply diseases with one hit rather than wasting runes and global cooldowns in your rotation. The only down side is runes being available less often, however since diseases can be applied without runes, and abilities will do more, it may not be as big a deal as it first appears.

You can find the original post from Blizzard here: Cataclysm Death Knight Preview.

Keep going to the next page for the Rogue preview.

Last but not least of the classes that I am going to look at is the melee monster class, the Rogue.  Rogues have been pretty stable for a long while, but watch out there are a bunch of changes coming their way.

New Abilities

Redirect – The first of the new abilities will be gained at level 81, and allow rogues to transfer any active combo points to the rogue's current target, helping to ensure combo points aren't wasted when swapping targets or when targets die. Also self-buff abilities like Slice and Dice will no longer require a target, so rogues can spend extra combo points on those types of abilities.  This will be on a short 1 minute cooldown and has the potential to up rogue DPS a little in PvE. 

Where it can really shine though is arena PvP where fast DPS switches are killer.  A rogue can now stack 5 combo points on one target then switch them to another target for a huge DPS burst on that new target.  It has the potential to be deadly in PvP.

Combat Readiness - Combat Readiness will be a new defensive ability that when triggered will grant a stacking buff that reduces damage taken by 10% and stacks up to five times.  It will last 6 seconds and have a two minute cooldown.  Ideally it would allow rogues to survive some burst DPS while their evasion is on cooldown or they are not able to stun their opponent.

Smoke Bomb – This is a new AOE type ability that becomes available at level 85.  The rogue will be able to drop a Smoke Bomb, creating a cloud that interferes with enemy targeting. Enemies inside the cloud can still target other targets inside the cloud, and enemies outside can target others outside, but you can not target into or out of the cloud. AOE spells will still hit players since targeting is not required. This will create a whole bunch of tactical situations where you can use it in PvE or PvP. It will last 10 seconds and be on a 3 minute cooldown.  This ability has the potential to be a game changer in both PvE and PvP.

Class Mechanic Changes

There are a few big changes being made to rouges to improve their leveling ability and feel.  The first is that positional requirements are going to be reduced so that you are not forced to constantly try to get behind a target when you are the only person fighting them.  Blizzard will simplify the requirements while leveling, but re-introduce them near end game so that players get used to them for working with groups.

The other leveling improvement is the addition of a new minor HoT called Recuperate where you can trade in your combo points for a small amount of healing.  The thought being that this will allow Rouges to keep going at a steadier pace while leveling.  To be able to cope with this the UI will change a little so that you can see how many combo points you have even while you do not have an enemy targeted.

Next up Blizzard wants to reduce the requirement to use specific weapons for specific attacks.  This means that with a  few exceptions (such as backstab) you will be able to use any weapon you want for any attack.

Also Blizzard has stated that they are not happy with how much damage rogues do by their passive abilities, like poisons and auto attacks.  They will be changing this so that the rogues abilities do more damage while their passive abilities do less.  The overall damage will stay similar, just be more controllable when it goes out in bursts.

Lastly, Tricks of the Trade will be getting a nerf to transfer less threat.  While they state they like the mechanic, it is too good as it stands.  This means that it will be transferring less threat in the future.

Talent Tree Changes

There are several changes coming to the talent trees and some general feel changes.  The tree will now be aligned as follows.

Assassination will now be more about daggers, poisons, and burst DPS.

Combat will be more about direct toe-to-toe combat with any weapon other than daggers.  In addition combat rogues will be able to survive longer and take more damage without relying on stealth or other eevasion mechanics.

Subtlety will be maily about stealth, opening moves, finishing moves and survivability.  While it will be focused on daggers it will not be as focused as assassination.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Along with the new abilities and mechanic changes Blizzard also outlined the new mastery bonuses that Rogues will receive.

Assassination will gain additional melee damage, melee critical hit damage, and extra poison damage.  This should even up the lower damage output from daggers in general to put out a higher overall level of DPS.

Combat Rogues will gain addition melee damage, melee haste, and harder hitting combo point generating abilities.  This will mean that they can output more steady DPS than the other builds.

Subtlety Rouges will gain additional melee damage, armor penetration, and harder hitting finishing moves.  This will make subtlety rogues better at burst damage to finish off opponents.

Overall

Let me start by saying that as a main tank in my guild I love the idea of smoke bomb!  The idea that a rogue can force enemies to come in close where you can deal with them is just amazing.  It should get rid of a lot of the issues with LOS pulls.  On the down side, as a healer in arenas, I hate rogues to begin with, now IÂ’m going to have to stand close to my target to ensure I can see them to heal them, right where the rogue can slap DPS on me as well. Ouch!

Allowing rogues to use whatever weapons they want will help a lot of rogues since right now they have to switch builds and play style based on which weapons they are lucky enough to get while leveling, or even when raiding.  This frustrates many rogue players who may like combat but get dagger drops, or vise versa.

The changes to the leveling experience may also be a big boost for rogues as many players get frustrated with the down time involved in leveling a rogue when compared to other classes like a feral druid.

You can find the original post from Blizzard here: Cataclysm Rogue Preview.

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