As with most patches the next major patch to World of Warcraft is set to bring with it numerous changes to the classes. Patch 5.4 is still in the PTR and as such is subject to adjustment before it goes live, however there are already many interesting changes lined up. Some classes are set to see many significant changes with this patch. While others classes like the Monk will see very few changes, which will make those players happy since they have seen many changes in the recent past.

Here are some of the key changes come in Patch 5.4 for each class as current from the PTR as of Aug 24th. Since the release of Patch 5.4 is set for Sept 10th, there should be relatively few changes before release.

Death Knight

There are several big changes coming to the Death Knight this patch.  The biggest three are the following though:

  • Several abilities now no longer cost Runic Power, freeing up that power for other uses.  The big two are Icebound Fortitude and Dancing Rune Weapon.  The first allowing Death Knights to get a little more survivability without having to spend their power (or to have it in the first place).
  • Riposte is a new passive ability that helps Death Knight and Warrior tanks.  It raises their crit chance for 20 seconds by 75% of their parry and dodge rating any time they parry or dodge.  This will boost the damage a DK or Warrior tank can put out and therefore help them with threat.
  • Lastly, anti-magic zone has been changed.  The damage reduction is now down to 40% (from 75%) but no longer has a cap on how much it can absorb.  This means it will last longer time wise and potential protect more players for more damage over time, but will not protect them from as much of a percentage from big hits.


The Druid class has many big changes coming in patch 5.4, so many in fact that it could fill a whole article all by itself.  Just a few of the biggest however are:

  • Several spells and talents have been redesigned and simplified as many players found them confusing.  Key examples are Dream of Cenarius and Soul of the Forest, which were good abilities but because of multiple effects for the different specs were hard to understand for some players.
  • Innervate now grants 50% of the druids spirit as mana every second for 10 seconds instead of a flat 10% mana boost.  This makes the mana gained from caster based druids higher than previously granted but lower from feral or guardian druids.
  • Restoration druids gain a new ability called Genesis, which affects all players within 60 yards and accelerates their rejuvenation effects on them by 400%.  This will allow Druids to use their Rejuvenation spell as more of a quick healing spell than a longer term HOT spell.
  • Bear form will now grant 40% extra stamina from all cloth and leather items which is aimed at countering the fact that druid tnks take more damage than other tanks.
  • Wild Mushroom for Restoration Druids now only summons a single mushroom instead of 3. The single mushroom heals for as much as the 3 used to in the past, and when re-cast the accumulated healing bonus moves to the new mushroom.


This patch brings several changes to hunters, however many of them are more minor than other classes changes.  There are several changed that do affect the class more than other changes, they are:

  • Arcane Shot now does 125% ranged weapon damage instead of the old 100%, but costs 50% more than previously.
  • Silencing Shot is no longer a talent and is now a Marksman hunter only ability.
  • Hunters now have a new Counter Shot ability that counters a spell being cast but does not cause a silence.
  • Binding Shot moves from a Marksman hunter ability to a talent to replace silencing shot.  This gives all hunters a little more CC ability but a little less anti-caster ability.
  • Readiness has been removed from the game as the Devs viewed it as a boring ability.
  • Revive pet no longer requires you to have a line of sight to your pet. This will make it much easier to use in PVP situations while staying safely in cover.
  • Stampede will now do much more damage in PVE than it does in PVP situations.


Mages see only minor changes to their class.  For all specs there are a few AOE abilities get minor DPS increases in PVP situations. Frost mages also have their whole mastery bonus changed.  Instead of an increase to damage against frozen targets frost spells now work in pairs boosting the damage of each other based on your mastery, fingers of frost boosts ice lance and brain freeze boosts frostfire bolt. The goal with Frost seems to have been to lower the control aspect slightly so that it is easier to deal with in PVP.


There are only minor tuning changes to the monk class and nothing earth shattering to worry about. For example these are a few of the minor changes:

  • Tigerey Brew for Windwalkers increases damage by 6% per stack instead of 1% but is unaffected by mastery, so is really pretty close to the same.
  • Chi Brew now restores 2 Chi on a 45 second cooldown instead of a 90 second cooldown. It also generates stacks of the appropriate brew per spec: 5 elusive, 2 mana, or 2 tigereye.


Paladins will be subjected to a number of changes in patch 5.4.  While some are minor, some will have a major effect on how the class plays.  Some of the bigger changes are as follows:

  • A new talent called Evil is a Point of View has replaced Burden of Guilt.  This talent allows Paladins to use Turn Evil on players and beasts.  This grants paladins a way to fear and control players in PVP situations.  Turn Evil now has a 15 second cooldown.
  • The existing Sacred Shield talent has been changed significantly. It can now be active on more than one target at a time, but has a mana cost and 3 charges witha a 10 secon recharge per charge.
  • Guardian of the Ancient Kings now is down to a 3 minute cooldown..
  • Seal of Insight no longer returns mana, however Divine Plea has been buffed to return more mana and Holy Shock is now significantly cheaper to cast.


There are a few changes for priests in the new patch, most are minor however there is at least one big one coming, that affects shadow priests.  The change is that shadowform loses its 15% reduction to damage but provides a 60% boost to armor.  This will increase the overall damage that that a shadowpriest takes.


There are a few minor changes to rogues, the most significant being to recuperate, nightstalker, and evasion. 

  • Recuperate now restores 4% of max health every 3 seconds instead of 3%.
  • Nightstalker now boosts damage dealt while stealthed by 50% instead of the old 35%.
  • Evasion increases your dodge chance by 100% instead of the old 50%, but lasts for 10 seconds instead of 15 seconds. However it is now on a 2 minute instead of 3 minute cooldown.


Shamans have several minor adjustments most of which are not that big but do have some effect on the class.

  • Astral Shift now has a 90 second cooldown, down from 2 minutes.
  • Healing Tide Totems heal for 50% more.
  • Conductivity has been reworked and now lengthens the duration of Healing Rain by 1 second per ability used.
  • A fairly significant change is that chain heal will no longer decrease in effectiveness with each jump, it used to decrease by 30% per player it jumped through.


The warlock class sees several small changes in patch 5.4 and a few major ones.  The biggest being the three listed here:

  • Additional CC for all warlocks as Howl of Terror is now a baseline skill.  A new talent replaces it in the talent tree called Demonic Breath.  This is a cone effect that snares targets that are hit providing additional control.
  • Ki’jaden’s Cunning has been reworked to only allow the casting of some spells while moving but no longer slows you down.
  • Demonic gateways now apply a 60 second debuff instead of the existing 15 seconds.  This means they will be less useful for movement fights as you can only use them once per minute instead of 4 times per minute.


 Warrior see several abilities change and improve.  Most are pure buffs and focus on increasing the warriors survivability.  The key changes are as follows:

  • Riposte is a new passive ability that helps Death Knight and Warrior tanks.  It raises their crit chance for 20 seconds by 75% of their parry and dodge rating any time they parry or dodge.  This will boost the damage a DK or Warrior tank can put out and therefore help them with threat.
  • An increase to most self healing abilities.  Impending victory now heals 20% instead of 15% and enraged regeneration now heals 10% instead of 5%.
  • Intervene now breaks roots and snares when used.
  • Hamstring no longer is on a global cooldown.


You can find all of the PTR patch notes that cover all of the class changes here: PTR Patch Notes. You can find even more information in Ghostcrawlers blog about the upcoming class changes here: Dev Watercooler: Dissecting Patch 5.4 Class Changes.

Let us know what you think about all the class changes coming in patch 5.4. Do you think they are changes for the better or worse, make your comments below.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.