With the PTR patch notes out for patch 5.2 it is time to look at the looming class changes and what they will mean to each character. Listed here are the changes from the PTR 5.2 patch notes and some brief comments on some of the changes to the classes.
Death Knight Changes
- Death Knight
- Death Siphon now heals for 150% of the damage dealt (was 100%).
- Conversion now costs 5 Runic Power plus 5 per second thereafter (was 10 Runic Power plus 10 per second).
- The Bloodworms summoned by Blood Parasite now have 200% more health.
- Reaping now also applies to Icy Touch.
Summon Gargoyle no longer costs Runic Power.
- Gargoyle Strike now deals Shadow and Nature damage (was Nature only).
- Ebon Plaguebringer now causes Plague Strike to inflict Frost Fever, in addition to its other effects.
For Death Knights one of the key changes is a simplification for Unholy and the application of diseases. Ebon Plaguebringer will now apply both disease debuffs making it far simpler to keep up these effects throughout a fight.
Another significant change is that the Summon Gargoyle ability is likely moving to become a free ability on a cooldown rather than having a high runic power cost. This is due to the fact that it does not do all that much damage anymore and players are starting to find other abilities to spend their runic power on.
- Cyclone now has a 30-second cooldown for Feral Druids. In addition, it will now share diminishing returns with Banish, Seduction, Bind Elemental, Hex, Freezing Trap, Wyvern Sting, Gouge, Sap, Hibernate, Paralysis, Polymorph, Ring of Frost, Repentance, and Quaking Palm.
- Shattering Blow now has a 1.5-second cast time to align correctly with the Warrior version of this ability.
- Displacer Beast has been redesigned. It now triggers Cat Form and grants 50% increased movement speed for 4 seconds after teleporting, and no longer activates Prowl.
- Cenarion Ward now grants 100% increased healing.
- Frenzied Regeneration now scales 10% more efficiently with attack power.
- Tooth and Claw now scales 10% more efficiently with attack power.
- Mastery: Nature's Guardian now provides 20% more armor per Mastery rating.
- Rejuvenation now costs approximately 9% less mana.
- Revive and Mark of the Wild now cost 55% less mana.
- Faerie Swarm can now snare more than one target at a time.
- Mass Entanglement now has a 30-second cooldown (was 2 minutes).
- Typhoon now has a 30-second cooldown (was 20 seconds).
- The Treants summoned by Force of Nature now deal more damage and healing, and the Force of Nature tooltip will report the capabilities of these summoned pets.
- Soul of the Forest
- Balance: Now generates 40 Lunar or Solar energy upon leaving Eclipse.
- Feral: Unchanged.
- Guardian: Generates 3 additional Rage per Mangle.
- Restoration: Now grants 70% Haste on the next spell cast after the Druid casts Swiftmend.
- Nature's Vigil now has a 90-second cooldown (was 3 minutes), and now increases damage and healing done by 10% (was 20%).
For Druids the changes are more fixes and adjustments rather than all out changes. The boost to force of nature is a nice change that should provide some utility, while the huge nerf to feral druids ability to cyclone loses a lot of CC power for them. A change that I really like is that mass entanglement is down to a 30 second cooldown from 2 minutes, this could really help survivability in battle grounds and arena situations.
- Bestial Wrath may now be activated when there is no line of sight to the Hunter's pet.
- Silencing Shot now has a 24-second cooldown (was 20).
- Binding Shot no longer has a Focus cost.
- Wyvern Sting no longer has a Focus cost, and its cooldown is now 45 seconds (was 60 seconds).
- Glyph of Marked for Death has been removed, and its effects are now baseline.
- New Glyph: Glyph of Liberation. This glyph now causes Disengage to heal the Hunter for 5% of maximum health when used.
- Invocation now removes Evocation's cooldown and reduces its channeling time and duration by 50%. A completed Evocation now grants 15% increased damage (was 25%) for 1 minute (was 40 seconds) after an Evocation is completed. Passive mana regeneration is reduced by 50% only while Invoker's Energy is active.
- Greater invisibility now has a 90-second cooldown (was 2.5 minutes).
- Frostbolt cast by Mirror Images now deals 50% more damage.
- Improved Counterspell has been removed.
- Glyph of Fire Blast has been replaced with Glyph of Inferno Blast. Glyph of Inferno Blast causes damage-over-time effects spread by Inferno Blast to spread to 1 additional target.
- Blazing Speed can now be triggered at will.
- Cold Snap now heals the Mage for 15% of maximum health when used (was 30%).
- Ice Floes now has a 45-second cooldown (was 1 minute).
- Scorch now costs 3.5% of base mana (was 0.1%).
- Arcane Blast's mana cost has been increased to 1.66667% of base mana (was 1.5%).
- Frostbolt now deals 24% more damage, but its debuff no longer increases subsequent Frostbolt damage.
- Water Elemental
- Freeze no longer does damage, and only provides Fingers of Frost on a successful freeze.
As you can see there are a whole lot of changes coming for mages, most of them appear as nerfs, however some are actual increases. Frost mages gain some damage from their mirror images, but lose some healing from cold snap, and lose the increased boost to damage after a frost bolt but frost bolts themselves now deal more damage in general.
- New Level-60 Talent: Ring of Peace
- Ring of Peace forms a 8 yard sanctuary around the target for 8 seconds, causing all enemies in the area of effect to be silenced and disarmed.
- New Windwalker and Brewmaster ability added at level 30: Nimble Brew. Nimble Brew removes all stun, fear, and root effects, and reduces the duration of those effects if they are re-applied by 60% for 6 seconds. It has a 2-minute cooldown.
- Chi Wave now does 100% more damage and healing, and no longer costs Chi, but now has a 15-second cooldown.
- Zen Sphere now has a limit of 2 (was 1), now detonates when either the recipient reaches 35% health or the Zen Sphere is dispelled, and no longer costs Chi.
- Chi Burst now does 100% more damage and healing, no longer costs Chi, and now has a 30-second cooldown.
- Path of Blossoms has been removed.
- Deadly Reach has been removed.
- Paralysis is now a physical, non-magical effect, and can no longer be dispelled, grounded or reflected, and its base range has been increased to 20 yards.
- Tiger's Lust and Touch of Karma no longer have a Chi cost.
- Tiger's Lust can no longer be used on targets that have other temporary speed increases active.
- Charging Ox Wave now has a 30-second cooldown (was 60 seconds).
- Dampen Harm can now be used while stunned, and its cooldown will now begin when used, not when the effect ends.
- Healing Elixirs now heals the Monk for 15% of maximum health (was 10%).
- Chi Torpedo now deals 15% more damage.
- Healing Spheres now have a duration of 1 minute. Healing Spheres generated by Mastery: Gift of the Serpent now have a duration of 30 seconds.
- Life Cocoon can no longer be dispelled.
- Zen Focus, the 4-piece Mistweaver set bonus, is now more responsive.
- It is no longer possible to use Thunder Focus Tea while silenced.
- Healing Spheres will now heal for 50% of their original value if they expire without being picked up. This healing will factor in relevant Mastery.
- Xuen will now fixate on the Monk's original target.
- New Level-75 Ability: Storm, Earth and Fire
- The Windwalker can summon up to 2 elemental duplicates that mirror damaging abilities that the Monk uses while they are active. For each spirit summoned, the Monk's damage is reduced: 1 spirit causes the Monk and the spirit to deal 60% of the Monk's normal damage, while 2 spirits will cause the Monk and both active spirits to deal 40% of the Monk's normal damage. Each spirit lasts until the ability is canceled, or that spirit's target dies or otherwise becomes unavailable.
- Combo Breaker is now a passive ability granted at level 15 that grants a 12% chance to make the Monk's next Blackout Kick or Tiger Palm cost no Chi.
- New Mastery: Bottled Fury -- Increases the damage bonus provided by Tigereye Brew by .2% per Mastery per stack.
- Tigereye Brew now increases damage by 1% per stack (was 2%), but is now improved by Bottled Fury.
- Tigereye Brew now gains 1 charge after spending 2 Chi (was 4 Chi).
- Tigereye Brew will now stack to 20, but only 10 charges can be consumed per activation.
- A user interface alert now displays upon reaching 10 stacks of Tigereye Brew.
- Mastery: Elusive Brawler now provides 25% more Stagger per Mastery rating.
Monks have significant changes coming in patch 5.2 including several new abilities and many abilities change significantly. The number of changes are significant, but not unexpected since the class is so new and still finding its niche and its balance in the game.
Windwalkers get a cool new ability called storm, earth, and fire that allows you to summon up to two spirits that fight for you. They decrease your personal damage but boost your overall damage output by 20%. It seems like a great idea since windwalkers needed a DPS boost. For Brewmasters to boost to the effectiveness of mastery in allowing you to stagger more is a welcome boost since Brewmasters tend to take a lot more damage than other tanks, this allows you to spread it out even more evenly to ease healing.
- Hand of Purity now reduces all incoming damage by 10% in addition to its other effects.
- Eternal Flame's periodic heal now provides 100% more healing when self-cast.
- Judgment now costs 5% of base mana.
- The base damage of Consecration has been increased by 789%, and it now scales less efficiently with attack power by approximately 11%.
- Power Word: Solace has been redesigned.
- Power Word: Solace replaces Holy Fire. It deals the same damage and interacts with other spells and abilities in the same manner, but is instant, costs no mana, and restores 1% of maximum mana on each cast.
- Dominate Mind now has a 1.8-second cast time (was 2.5 seconds).
- Angelic Feather now has a 6-second duration (was 4 seconds).
- Body and Soul now has a 3-second duration (was 4 seconds).
- Glyph of Holy Fire has been redesigned. It now increases the range of Holy Fire, Smite, and Power Word: Solace by 10 yards.
- Focused Will now reduces damage taken by 15% per stack, with a limit of 2 stacks.
- Spirit Shell no longer benefits from Mastery, and now properly includes the benefits of Divine Aegis and critical effect chance.
- Rapture now provides mana equal to 250% (was 200%) of the Priest's Spirit, but no longer benefits from Spirit provided by short-duration bonuses.
- Preparation is now a baseline ability learned at level 68.
- Versatility has been removed.
- New Level-90 Talent: Marked for Death
- Marks a target and instantly generates 5 combo points. When that target dies, Marked for Death's cooldown is reset. This talent has a 1-minute cooldown.
- New Level-60 Talent: Cloak and Dagger
- Ambush, Garrote, and Cheap Shot now have a 30-yard range, and will cause the Rogue to teleport behind the target.
- Burst of Speed now costs 30 Energy (was 50 Energy), can be used in Stealth, and always grants increased movement speed in addition to breaking snare effects, but no longer breaks root effects.
- Shuriken Toss now causes the Rogue to throw shuriken instead of auto-attacking for 10 seconds after Shuriken Toss is used.
- Deadly Throw can now interrupt spellcasting when used at 3, 4, and 5 combo points, and upon interrupt prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4, 5 and 6 seconds respectively (was 5 combo points and 6 seconds).
- Nerve Strike now reduces the effectiveness of healing provided by the target by 25%.
- Shadow Focus now reduces ability energy costs by 75% while stealthed (was 100%).
- PvP set bonuses have been changed:
- Vigor is now the 4-piece set bonus and increases maximum energy by 50 (was 10).
- Deadly Brew is now the 2-piece set bonus, and its effects remain unchanged.
- Vitality now increases attack power by 30% (was 25%).
- Blade Flurry now deals 75% less damage.
- Sanguinary Vein now increases the damage the target takes by 20% (was 16%).
Combat sees potentially the biggest change, as the big old nerf bat hits them pretty hard. Blade Flurry now does 75% less damage than it did before. This is actually not a bad thing for anyone but the combat rogues. Blade flurry was really broken and did so much damage that pretty much all rouges had to spec to combat to be competitive. In multi-target situations This means everyone is on level ground again, as Blizzard has already stated that Combat will gain some damage to other abilities to make up for this nerf.
- Elemental Mastery now has a 1-minute cooldown (was 2 minutes).
- Shamanistic Rage is now available to Elemental Shaman as well as Enhancement Shaman.
- Conductivity no longer requires that the target be within the area of effect of Healing Rain.
- Ancestral Swiftness now increases spell haste by 5% and melee haste by 10% (was 5%/5%).
- Glyph of Purge now adds a 6-second cooldown to Purge.
- Stone Bulwark Totem now absorbs 25% more damage.
- Unleashed Fury Flametongue now increases Lightning Bolt damage by 20% (was 30%), and Lava Burst damage by 10% (was 0%).
- Primal Earth Elemental and Primal Fire Elemental now deal 20% more damage.
- Elemental Blast now has a chance to increase the caster's Agility for Enhancement Shaman.
- Glyph of Flame has been redesigned. This glyph now causes the Shaman to heal for 50% of the damage dealt by Flame Shock.
- Flame Shock's duration has been increased by 25%.
- The Felhunter ability Spell Lock is now an interrupt, and no longer applies a 3-second blanket silence.
- Blood Fear has been redesigned. This ability is now cast on the Warlock, and causes melee attacks that strike within the next 60 seconds to fear the attacker. When cast, the ability has 1 charge, costs 20% health to activate, and has a 30-second cooldown.
- Soul Leech now provides an absorption shield instead of healing.
- Sacrificial Pact now requires the pet to sacrifice 25% of its health to activate (was 50%).
- Kil'jaeden's Cunning is now a passive talent, and its activated ability has been removed.
- The passive damage from Archimonde's Vengeance no longer has a visual effect.
- Grimoire of Sacrifice now increases the damage of abilities by 20% (was 25%) for Destruction, and 45% (was 50%) for Affliction.
- Grimoire of Sacrifice now provides the spell Whiplash instead of Seduction when a Succubus is sacrificed.
- Glyph of Burning Embers has been removed, and its effects are now baseline for Destruction Warlocks.
- Glyph of Soul Shards has been removed, and its effects are now baseline for Affliction Warlocks.
- New Glyph: Glyph of Ember Tap. This glyph increases the healing gained from Ember Tap by 50%.
- New Glyph: Glyph of Drain Life. This glyph increases the healing gained from Drain Life by 30%.
There are several changes here that affect my favourite Warlock spec, the Affliction spec. The big oses are that the Felhunter spell lock ability is now only an interrupt, removing some short term silence ability. The damage reduction from Grimoire of Sacrifice is not something I am looking forward to since that is a key part of an Affliction warlocks damage, however it really did overpower all other talents at that tier so the nerf is not completely unexpected. A nice change is that Glyph of Soul Shards is now part of being an Affliction warlock, meaning we have one more glyph spot open.
- Shockwave now has a 40-second cooldown (was 20 seconds), striking 3 or more targets will reduce its cooldown by 20 seconds.
- Second Wind now causes a Warrior that has been reduced to 35% health or lower to regenerate 2% of their health per second (was 3%), and now generates 15 Rage over 10 seconds (was 20 Rage).
- Warbringer now reduces the target's movement by 50% for 15 seconds (8 seconds in PvP) in addition to its other effects.
- Shield Barrier now scales approximately 10% less efficiently with attack power.
- Storm Bolt now deals 125% weapon damage (was 100%).
- Enraged Regeneration now costs 30 Rage (was 60).
- Glyph of Death from Above no longer increases the damage dealt by Heroic Leap.
- Taste for Blood has been redesigned. It now causes the Warrior to gain 2 stacks of Overpower (maximum of 5 stacks) when Mortal Strike deals damage or the target dodges, and no longer interacts with Heroic Strike. It now requires level 20 (was level 50).
- Slam now deals 220% weapon damage (was 190%).
- The base damage of Shield Slam and Revenge has been increased by 150%, but these abilities now scale approximately 10% less efficiently with attack power.
Warriors see several changes coming their way, including one to an ability that many players have been screaming about for a while. The nerf to Second Wind is one that warriors will cry about for a while, but really was needed for a long while already. The amount of self healing that a warrior can do currently is just obscene. The warrior class is about being a big, tough, take no crap warrior, not being a healer. This is a great start to reducing the healing that Warriors can do, especially in PVP which is one of the areas that this was truly broken in. Now if only they would fix the amount of healing DK’s can do as well…