Cataclysm Class Changes: Rogues, DKs, Cat Druids, Warriors and Enhancement Shaman.
First thing’s first: I’m not going to comment on the specifics on some of the numbers here (Inner Rage, I look at you. And the damage of Heroic Leap too); its just a preview, and nothing is set in stone yet. I will, however, be commenting on the new abilities and some of the new mechanics in brief. In addition, I’m only commenting on the classes I feel familiar enough to comment on (any melee class that isn’t Ret or a Hunter. If you are a Hunter wondering about, among other things, the Focus change, you can read Rilgon’s overview of the implications here).
Rogues are getting a few new nifty things in Cataclysm; firstly, Combo Points will no longer be mob-specific for Slice and Dice and a new, small HoT that uses Combo Points called Recuperate. This means that you can use Combo Points from the recently deceased. And before you ask, Blizzard has not yet specified what the range of this will be.
Coupled with this new mechanic is a new ability called Redirect, which allows a Rogue to transfer any active Combo Points to his current target. Now, I have no idea what active means in Blizzard’s description; it could be Combo Points that are on still-living mobs, or it could apply to the recently-deceased as well (very unlikely). This will make Mutilate much, much better at target switching, a chronic problem the spec has had throughout WOTLK.
At 83, Rogues will get a skill called Combat Readiness, that will decrease damage taken by 10%, last 6 seconds, stacks up to 5 times, and have it’s duration refreshed when a new stack is added. Stacks are gained by being hit while the buff is up. This move, along with Dark Simulacrum, Gushing Wounds, seem to be reinforcing the fact that PVP will take a bit more than burst in Cata; it’ll also take carefully watching what buffs your opponent has/what debuffs you have as well. It also means that Rogues won’t be completely fucked if Vanish and Evasion are on CD.
Lastly, in terms of abilities, Rogues’ 85 skill is going to be a move called Smoke Bomb. This, effectively, creates a bubble that stops anyone inside it from being targeted by single-target abilities by anyone outside the bubble. The implications for this in PVP are many, and I won’t go into detail on those, but in PVE I can definitely see Rogues becoming the new BC Hunters; if there are casters in the group up ahead, you can just pull and drop a Smoke Bomb and watch the casters come running towards you.
Talent and spec wise, Blizzard is planning on removing any non-interesting weapon specializations from every class (read: everything but Sword Spec/Hack and Slash) and have Hack and Slash/Sword Spec for Warriors apply to every weapon type. In addition, Blizzard is going to attempt to make Rogues depend more on ability damage and less on poisons/auto-attacks. How they’re going to do this without making Rogues feel spammy, or even giving them enough Energy to do so, is uncertain, but its certainly promising. Oh yeah; Blizzard also wants to make throwing weapons poisonable. Wheeeeeee.
Feral Druids (Cats)
Here comes a whole lot of nothing folks! Kitties and Bears are going to get a group-wide limited-duration mobility buff called Stampeding Roar that boosts the movement speed of any buddies within 10 yards of you by 40% for 8 seconds. It’ll be on a 3 minute cooldown, and looks fucking hawt. If the range was a bit bigger, it’d be so deliciously OP…
Regarding a few general mechanics that are changing that have a significant impact on the way Cats play: firstly, all HoTs and DoTs, with a few exceptions like Deep Wounds, are going to innately benefit from Haste and Crit. Yes, Rake will be able to crit without T10. More awesome.
So yeah, Kitties are getting new rotation-based abilities. And Jesus Christ, we really don’t need them. Blizzard has also said that they want to make the Cat rotation more forgiving, particularly in regards to Savage Roar falling off and the huge damage difference between Mangle and Shred.
And Kitties are getting a Kick. Yeah, that’s a sweet mental image, isn’t it; a Cat trying to kick something. You’re welcome. 😀
Warriors had a bit of a weird class change post, and I’ll try to hold off on too much judgment, but lets just say it might take some balancing.
First off is Inner Rage, which is obtained at 81. Inner Rage is a passive ability that is activated when you reach 100 Rage; when you do, all your abilities start to cost 50% more Rage and you do 15% more damage for “a short period of time.” This better have a really fucking awesome animation (read: turn green and grow twice your size) or I will be disappoint. Also, the 15% damage might need tweaking for such a steep Rage cost.
At 83, Warriors get a stacking bleed called Gushing Wound that refreshes its duration, if below 3 stacks, and gains a stack every time the bleeding target moves. At 3 stacks, it’ll be stronger than Rend; at 1 stack it’ll be worse. Great for PVP, and marginally useful for PVE, though we have yet to see any Cata bosses, in ICC it’d be good for, at least, Marrowgar, Lich King, Putricide, and a few others.
And at 85, you get the skill that causes the Warrior forums to erupt in QQ (read: Heroic Leap). Yes, the skill everyone was clamoring over during the WOTLK beta has now led to countless fucktards bitching about how their 85 skill is a Charge and Thunderlcap. Newsflash, dickface; our 80 skill was FUCKING HEROIC THROW. GET THE FUCK OVER IT. Thanks. 😀 Also, Blizzard recently stated that it “hits for very serious AE damage and applies the Thunder Clap debuff. We keep it under control with a 2-3 min cooldown.”
Now, here comes the interesting part; Heroic Strike, come Cata, and any on-next-swing attack, is going to be an on-the-GCD instant swing that’ll cost 10 Rage at minimum and 30 Rage at maximum, and will do more damage the more Rage it consumes. So, if you have 40 Rage, it’ll cost 30; if you have 10 Rage, it’ll cost 10. This sounds like a well-needed boost of complexity to the Fury rotation, and I’m sure Prot Warriors can appreciate not coming down with carpal tunnel as often as they reportedly do via smashing the fuck out of HS.
In addition, every shout but Demo will not generate Rage instead of consuming it and will have short cooldowns. Basically, they’re all now Horn of Winter. More complexity into the Fury rotation, yay!
Enhancement Shaman are getting some neat tricks come Cata. Firstly, to improve leveling Enhancement, Blizzard is adding an ability called Primal Strike into the Shaman’s arsenal. Primal Strike is attainable at level 3, and is replaced by Stormstrike once that’s available, but it should make leveling Enhancement much more enjoyable.
At 81, all Shaman get Unleash Weapon, which has a different effect based on your temporary weapon enchant; for Windfury Weapon, it’ll boost your Haste for your next five swings; for Flametongue, it’ll boost the Fire damage of your next ability by 20%. 15 second cooldown, instant cast, and a 30 yard range. HOLY SHIT ENHANCEMENT GETS A RANGED ABILITY THATS NOT A SHOCK AWESOME. Definitely going to be a keystone of the endgame Enhancement rotation in Cat.
And Lava Burst is going to work with Maelstrom Weapon in Cata. :O
At 83, Enhancement Shaman get a heal that they don’t give a fuck about, and at 85 they get another skill they probably won’t give a fuck about; Spiritwalker’s Grace is still up in the air regarding melee swings interrupting casts. And Craig already talked about the caster implications of SG, so go read that if you’re really curious.
As a general thing, Enhancement is also planned to have more free GCDs in Cata in order to have a more interesting rotation… Or something. Here’s a thought; make melee swings not interrupt spell casts for Enhancement via a talent and make Lightning Bolt the Steady Shot/Slam of Enhancement. Or something.
Yeah, I’m playing an Unholy Death Knight named Lennos on Ravenholdt, home of the infamous Coldbear, my inspiration for making a Kitty Druid. And he’s quitting the game. I am a sad.
Anyways, at 81, DKs get Outbreak, which instantly puts both Blood Plague and Frost Fever on the target at no Rune or Runic Power cost on a 1 min CD. Made for target switching and PVP. Because Pestilence in PVE wasn’t enough…?
At 83, DKs get another PVP skill called Necrotic Strike. This skill will leave a debuff on the target that absorbs an amount of healing based on the damage done. Fuck PVP skills.
And at 85, DKs get another PVP skill and a marginally useful PVE skill called Dark Simulacrum. This skill causes you to use the next spell that your target casts against it. However, if the spell can’t be Spell Reflected, it won’t be copyable. Fuck PVP, again.
Blizzard is also planning on revamping the Rune system significantly, with the intent of making DKs less GCD-locked and more forgiving if you don’t use Runes immediately. Honestly, I have no idea what this change really means, so go read it for yourself. The tl;dr version, according to Blizz, is stronger weapon strikes and a change in a lot of skill costs in order to compensate for the reduced resources per unit of time.
So, my thoughts? Well, DKs and Warriors might be good; its kind of a wait-and-see thing. Rogues I’m very optimistic about; assuming Blizzard does it right, it’ll let skilled Rogues rise up even more over the shitheads. Kitties are exactly the same as they were in WOTLK plus a limited duration Aspect of the Run Fast, and Enhancement Shaman are looking to be shaping up to be just a little less hectic. Overall: good. /endwalloftext