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Highlighting Class Changes in Patch 5.0.4

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm by Justin Cavender

Thanks to Blizzard and MMO-Champion, here are some class changes to look forward to in patch 5.0.4.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

Class Changes

Certainly one of the biggest changes coming in 5.0.4 is the new talent system, and with that comes a ton of changes and new spells and abilities, but before we get to that, a number of changes have been made that can impact how you play your class. These range from minor to major, but almost all specs have altered rotations, and a few have been completely redesigned. Once the patch launches be prepared to spend a little time reacquainting yourself with each ability, and setting your action bars up. Here are just a few of the highlights to be aware of.

Death Knight (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Presences have changed. Frost Presence now doubles Runic Power generation, and each specialization learns a passive effect that should cause that specialization to favor the corresponding Presence for general use. Necrotic Strike, as well as the new talent Death Siphon, both cost a Death Rune, meaning that they can only be used when one of your runes has been transformed to Death.

Druid (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The Feral specialization has been split into Feral (for Cat-focused druids) and Guardian (for Bear-focused druids) specializations. Each of the four specializations has a more distinct and different set of tools, but all of the spells available to the specialization are now useful. For example, Feral and Guardian druids can cast Healing Touch for a useful amount of healing, and Balance and Restoration druids can make better use of the Cat Form and Bear Form abilities they have.

Hunter (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
There is no longer a minimum range for the class. The ranged weapon slot has been removed from the game; hunters now equip their ranged weapon in the main hand weapon slot. Hunters now benefit from Expertise as their ranged attacks can be dodged. Any type of pet can now choose any specialization (Ferocity, Tenacity, or Cunning).

Mage (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Mages received many changes intended to flesh out rotations and make them more interesting. Arcane mages now have a more complex rotation. Fire mages now have tools to control the random nature of their spells. Frost mages are now considerably stronger at sustained damage dealing, and now viable in PvE. Much of the crowd control and survivability that was unique to Frost has been spread to the whole class, or made available to all specs as talents.

Paladin (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Paladins now have several ranged abilities, though remain primarily melee combatants. In-line with streamlining raid buffs (more on that below), Auras have been removed, and the buff focus is now on Seals. Paladins can now store up to 5 Holy Power at a time, but still can only use up to 3 on each Holy Power spender.

 Priest (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Mana pools are fixed for all casters (more on this below). Chakras are now more similar to warrior stances. Changes have been made to Discipline to further support the damage absorption playstyle. Shadow priests now have Shadow Orbs as a resource, which can be generated by some of their basic spells, and spent on either strong damage or crowd control.

 Rogue (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Poisons are now Spellbook abilities that affect both weapons at once. Poisons are divided into two categories, Lethal (Deadly or Wound Poison) and Non-Lethal (the rest), and you may have one poison of each type active at once. Many abilities that used to be restricted to a single specialization are now talents and available to all specializations; so you can have a Shadowstepping Combat rogue or an Assassination rogue with Cheat Death. Dagger speeds have been normalized such that the niche of the “fast dagger” intended for the off-hand no longer exists. Any dagger should be fine to equip in either hand.

Shaman (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Totems no longer provide long-term buffs. Some of the old passive effects are now innately provided by the shaman. Totems instead have short-term situational benefits. In light of this the totem multidrop UI has been removed, though all totem spells are now sorted under draggable elemental flyouts in the Spellbook.

Warlock (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
Each warlock specialization has a unique secondary resource which allows them temporary surges in power. Affliction warlocks focus more on layering multiple periodic damage effects, and amplifying their effects, and use Soul Shards rotationally for strong damage, or occasionally for utility as before. Demonology warlocks now have a new Demonic Fury resource, instead of Soul Shards, which is built by casting their normal spells. Destruction warlocks now use Unstable Embers as a resource, which is built up slowly through casting their normal spells, and spent in bursts of massive damage. Warlocks no longer use armor spells, instead gaining additional armor and bonus health passively. All demons deal similar damage and are no longer linked to a specific spec. Doomguard, Infernal and Soulstone cooldowns reset upon wiping to a raid or dungeon boss.

Warrior (Forums / Skills / Talent Calculator)
The design of Rage has changed to function more like a valuable resource. Warriors no longer naturally gain Rage from taking damage, but instead generate Rage with their primary attacks, such as Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, and Shield Slam. Stances also now share a single action bar, rather than changing your action bar, and abilities are no longer restricted by stance. In addition, the benefits of the stances have changed considerably, with Berserker Stance allowing the warrior to gain some Rage from taking damage, Battle Stance making the warrior gain additional Rage from dealing damage, and Defensive Stance focused on survivability.

For some of us, next Tuesday can’t come soon enough! Which change excites you most about your class? Leave your comments below!

You can follow Justin on twitter @Edgyarmo

    • Warrior Need Food

      One day Blizzard will get rage right. Doesn't look like it'll be this patch though.

      • Snackbar

        I'm looking forward to Bladestorming as a prot warrior. I like this rage change. Before we always had the problem of no rage or max rage. this forces tanks to be good and make decisions that will either save the day or lead to a wipe.

        It looks like all tanks are being changed. Gone are the days of run into mob, aoe threat, get snack, repeat. I'm looking forward to the challenge and getting Avatar on my warrior at 90. I can't keep it for prot but I have to do it at least once. Sounds too cool.

    • Mr. The Plague

      I'm pretty excited about hunters not having a minimum range anymore. It always seemed so silly not being able to shoot a target point blank. I always thought it should do more damage the closer you were to the target.

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