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More leaks from the Alpha forums on Shamans, Warriors, and Death Knights

Deathknight.info has just posted another batch of info from the Alpha forums, this time with Wryxian and Slorkuz talking about Shamans, Warriors, and Death Knights. Primarily, they focus on the tanking abilities of Death Knights and Warriors and delve into some possible improvements to the Shaman Enhancement tree in WoTLK, including possible new talents:

Shamans

Enhancement Shamans, says Wryxian, will probably see further review. It looks like a lot of the new Enhancement talents will see some changes as well:

  • Weapon Specialization (which gives special abilities based on which weapon type the Shaman uses) will likely be removed
  • Improved Shamanistic Rage (which made Shamans using SR immune to all movement impairing effects and stuns at 2 points) will also probably be removed.
  • Wryxian mentioned a possible replacement for Weapon Specialization: Each melee critical hit would give a stacking buff that reduces cast time by 20% and lasts for 15 seconds. That would mean that at 5 stacks, you'd get a free instant cast spell.
  • Feral Spirit, the 51 point enhancement ability that summons ghost wolves to aid the Shaman, may be getting a second look as well.

For Enhancement DPS, they hope that totems and shocks make up for the lack of melee abilities to keep it interesting, though they may consider a new melee move for Shamans as well. In addition, he promises new totem changes soon.

Read on for some juicy information on Warriors, Death Knights, and Blizzard's vision for tanking in WoTLK.

Warriors

For Warriors, Wryxian offers some insight into the new tanking philosophy. He says that the new high end gear will be designed to add a significant amount of AP to Protection Warriors in order to boost DPS and threat. Between that, and new and revamped abilities and talents, tanking should be a different experience in Northrend for all classes.

Death Knights

Slorkuz's commentary on Death Knights centers around the Blood tree, primarily. The Blood tree, he says, will be a good leveling build because of the amount of healing, but the ideal is that it be as desirable as the other trees in its own way. Frost will be good for crowd control and burst damage, and Unholy for debuffs, but the Blood tree should also be desirable to groups and raids, perhaps through healing.

To this end, they are considering revamping Blood Presence to provide group healing and regeneration. They are also considering adding a dependable party strength buff proccing ability, although they don't want to push it so far that Blood Knights are forced into the melee group like Enhancement Shamans have been in the past.

He also provides some further insight into Death Knight roles in general. Through the use of Frost Presence, every Death Knight should be able to tank, and while each tree has its own individual tanking talents, none of them should feel mandatory. In addition, Death Knight tanks should not feel gimmicky. A tanking Death Knight shouldn't have to sulk at the back of the raid until their gimmick fight shows up.

In addition, he reiterates that every tank should feel like they can DPS. It's a bit harder to completely revamp the existing Protection trees to be DPS-capable because of expectations, he says, but Death Knights can expect to be built from the ground up to be flexible. Either way, every tank class should expect the gap between them and the DPS to be much smaller, both while they're in tank gear and even more so if they switch into their DPS gear.

Final Thoughts

I have to admit that as much of a Death Knight fanatic as I am, I've been getting discouraged lately as I try and fail to create a "tanking build" for a Death Knight. You just can't grab every good tanking talent as a Death Knight without grabbing a lot of seemingly superfluous DPS talents, and you'll never have enough points to get them all. Even now, I can't completely shake the feeling that they'll eventually need to revamp at least one tree to be the tank tree if Death Knights are going to see any real use as anything other than last resort tanks at most levels.

But at the same time, they do seem to be genuinely dedicated to making every Death Knight tree a true hybrid tree. Blizzard seems to have a plan that's coming across very well in these posts, a plan to make tanks less talent dependent and more flexible. If they can pull this off, I think it'll be a very solid strike against the tank shortage that seems to be afflicting the game currently, and a way to make playing more fun for all tanks, and probably everyone else as well.

Blizzard's talking the talk, and doing it well. It should be interesting to see if they can follow through with the implementation.


Filed under: Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Rumors

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