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News from the WWI '08 WoW Dev panel

At WWI, the WoW Dev Panel is underway, and spending a little while talking about the Death Knight class, and other class changes coming in the expansion.

As the panel continues, we'll update this post with more information as we get it live from Paris.

Update: Tons (tons!) of new official Wrath information after the break. Don't miss!

Update: It's over, but we'll be talking about this stuff for a while. Titan's Grip is confirmed -- two-handed dual wielding for Fury Warriors. Hunter pet skill points are out, and pets are getting their own Talent trees. Shaman CC is official, Ret Pallys are getting new itemization, and Rogues are going to be able to sap a lot more. It's all after the break, more analysis coming up soon.
Death Knight
One thing they're talking about is that they don't want to leave the Death Knight in the specific role according to their class -- they don't want to pigeon hole Death Knights by the spec they choose. The speaker plainly said that it's problematic for designers that tanks are forced to either be tank spec or DPS spec -- they want to avoid this restricting dynamic for Death Knights.

He also spoke about class-defining abilities. Runes, right now, have a 10 second cool down. The Armies of Undead are meant to call masses of undead -- invoke the feeling of how Arthas is the Lich King, and able to pull large groups of undead to attack enemies.

The speaker definitely seemed concerned about the tank shortage. They want to avoid pegging a death knight spec as only one spec at a time, so that each character has as many options in play as possible.

For more information, check out our Death Knight analysis.

Hunters
Hunter announcement were huge at the dev panel.
  • Steady Shot will no longer clip autoshot -- the speaker acknowledged that Hunters hurt their own DPS by using their abilities
  • Pets will get "talent trees" - one utility tree, one TANKING tree, one DPS tree
  • A specific ability revealed was "cornered" - your pet does an additional 20% damage when they're at 20% health
For more information, check out our Hunter analysis.

Mages

  • Will get a Frostfire bolt to make Elementalists more viable.
For more information, check out our Mage analysis.

Priests

  • Divine Hymn - Allows priest to cast a hymn (holy tree) that heals party members. If an opponent strikes a party member, they go into a trance. It gives a deep holy priest not only a healing mechanic, but a pretty interestnig emergency ability to use for control
  • Dispersion - Reduce damage 90% regen 6% health/mana per second. 51 point shadow, a way to turtle against incoming attacks and regen. Can move but not cast spells
  • Guardian Spirit - Talent that prevents party member death. Castable cheat death pet. Follows a party member, if party member takes a killing blow, the spirit dies instead. All three are specifically designed to address core priest issues, or solidify their overall role.
For more information, check out our Priest analysis.

Druids

  • Entangling Roots indoors: A lot of druids left out of heroics due to a lack of CC indoors. Diminishing returns off of Cyclone a "curse to the class" because Cyclone has such a short duration. No DR means you'd end up spamming Cyclone every 6 seconds the entire dungeon.
  • Didn't change Cyclone because "it takes too long to cast, didn't want to take Druids out of the action to recast Cyclone over and over, and chain-Cyclone in PvE"
  • Flourish (or nourish?) for druid -- short time cast healing spell, 1.5 sec cast, effectiveness depending on what HoTs are up
For more information, check out our Druid analysis.

Shaman

  • Suffering from "totem spam" -- too many totems
  • Strength of Earth and Grace of Air will be combined
  • Totems will affect the entire raid, not just the party. Woot!
  • Rockbiter is out. Earthliving is the new weapon enchant, will give +healing
  • Flametongue is giving spell damage. Frost more reliably snares
  • Shaman will get Hex, a limited, emergency CC -- Hexed players will have movement control, but no casting ability
For more information, check out our Shaman analysis.

Rogue

  • Fan of Knives, from Warcraft III was a core ability of the Warden, but they thought it fit Rogues more
  • It's a short AoE damage burst when needed (1 minute cooldown was mentioned)
  • Sap bigger spread now. Humanoids, beasts, dragonkin, demons. Another CC help for heroics. "Pretty much anything with a skull and brain inside of it."
For more information, check out our Rogue analysis.

Paladins

  • Ret has poor itemization -- trying to move it over to Warrior/DK itemization
  • Hand of Purity is a new "reactive healing spell" -- PoM style preemptive "healbomb"
  • More non-exclusive blessings -- Freedom and Protection. They won't necessarily be called blessings, but they'll be outside of that category.
For more information, check out our Paladin analysis.

Warrior

  • Wanted to make the class feel more like Warcraft III -- put the Bladestorm Shockwave in, and tweaked Arms and Protection.
  • Shockwave will help with Prot damage problem
  • Titan's Grip is confirmed -- dual wielding 2h weapons. Rossi will love that.
For more information, check out our Warrior analysis.

Warlock

  • Demonic Circle -- scribe a circle on the ground, and then teleport back there when you need to
  • 51 point Demonology is a demon form. "Illidan form" is what Blizz is calling it around the office.
  • In demonform you can spam some AoE Shadowbolts.
For more information, check out our Warlock analysis.
Now moving on to Q&A session...

"Now that every other class has CC, what are you going to do so that Mages are more viable?"

Make sure their damage is competitive. They are "sidelined" by Warlocks now. Intended for Mages to be kings of AoE but Seed of Corruption was too effective. Scale up Mage damage, make sure they can overtake AoE.

Hunter... Plan for New Pets? And new pet slots?

There will definitely be new pets. (No news about new pet slots.)

"You mentioned a Shaman Hex spell which is a .5 second cast time. What is the duration?"

8-10 seconds.

Which races can be Death Knights?

Confirmed all of them. The Lich King doesn't discriminate, he likes them all. You can be a Gnome Death Knight if you want.

Does the Ret focus for Paladins mean you plan to move away from Protection and Holy?

'I definitely want to express we don't ever plan to move away from core things like Holy/Protection." We have to work on the specs that haven't worked well enough. Hand of Purity is one example of trying to enhance Holy.

(confusion about Hunter question) Will pet skill points disappear with pet talent trees?

It's a total rewrite of the Hunter pet system. No more skill points, only pet talents now.

Will Druids be able to use Windfury and Mongoose in forms?

Yes, that's one of the changes. The windfury is no longer going to be WEAPON and going to be BUFF for your PC. Windfury is a buff, not a weapon enchant. It works with forms and poisons and weapon buffs etc.
Will there be some changes made to priests in terms of damage and healing ot balance them against other classes?

Do you mean balance them up or down? Shadow Priests are huge in raids, but they're a big weakness in high-end Arena PvP, we never see them there. Dispersion is the big ability designed to help this, to help them escape from melee. Hopefully that'll do the trick.

Three more questions...

Any plans to make it so warriors don't need to waste 5 talent points to get Flurry for raids?

"We'll see." He acknowledges that the talents pigeonhole warriors, and that they want to be careful not reinforce that. Try to make it so that Death Wish Flurry doesn't turn into dominant raid DPS build. Bladestorm needs to be very attractive for DPS. Titan's grip route is the fury route for DPS, so BS if you're Arms, Titan's Grip if you're Fury. With both viable, the five talent points might not be necessary. They're fine with the flurry points, specifically, though and feels worth it to them. (Crowd is extremely unhappy with that one)

Q: Will cyclone be changed or improved for Balance?

A: No. End of Q&A.

Stay tuned all day for more information on news coming out of the Worldwide Invitational, right here on WoW Insider.

Update: More information from the Q&A panel!

WoW Insider is on the ground in Paris at the Blizzard Invitational bringing you the big announcements and latest Wrath news as it happens. Check out our latest coverage!

Filed under: Druid, Warlock, Worldwide Invitational, Priest, Mage, Hunter, Paladin, Rogue, Warrior, Death Knight, Shaman, Wrath of the Lich King

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