Now that I’ve gotten home from one epic Blizzcon, let’s go over some substantial changes coming to raiding in 6.0!
Spec is everything:
One of the biggest announcements for Warlords was that armor pieces will now change stats according to spec. Plate is plate, mail is mail, leather is leather, cloth is cloth. Here’s an example: I have a Pandaren monk who starting 6.0 will have leather with agility stats in my Windwalker spec. If I change to my other spec, Mistweaver, it will change agility into intellect the moment the spec cast bar completes! Same goes for Brewmaster, which would shift to armor emphasis as a tanking stat. This change also includes Tier bonuses for each spec as well! What impact does this have on WoW? It means a few things: raids will gear up faster, with no more hunter mail drops that an elemental shaman can’t use for their primary spec. A cat druid will no longer skip on intellect gear, its leather armor pieces will change stats for all roles! There will still be non-armor gear (such as trinkets) that will be role specific, but as a whole this will be a very welcome change to how gear works. My Ret Paladin can actually consider tanking without being in tanking armor that is more suitable for two or three raid tiers prior. Alternate PvE specs will likely get a lot more use now that players can try out new roles on a more competitive ilvl. Imagine having your 4 piece set bonus and switching to Prot! This change will also apply to PvP, which is a welcome change for many classes.
Speaking of PvP, a very welcome change is coming that will have people using the same Arena gear. No longer will you struggle in rated Arenas while you earn enough Conquest points to become competitive. Along with the resilience changes in Mists of Pandaria, this poises PvP to be skill based. Do you prefer flexing your PvP gear muscles in the outside world? That gear is still available for purchase, but will not function in ranked games.
You may be wondering, what about gems and enchants? They are on almost every piece of gear! You know what is on every piece of gear? Reforging! So much gold and bag space for switching specs. Fear not, for Blizzard has taken steps to make sure these obstacles are minimal:
1) Reforging: Removed! Blizzard felt it was too much of a penalty without enough fun to it. It caused people to hesitate on gear, fearing the cascade effect that so many of us are familiar with.
2) Gems: Less items will have gems, but they will increase in potency. I like this change because it makes gems feel special and more manageable for switching specs.
3) Enchants: These have also been reduced, which will make us feel them more as well as make gear less expensive to play with different specs.
4) What about Jewelcrafters’ and Enchanters’ pocketbooks? Blizzard stated that they will be creating new ways for them to make money, minimizing the economic impact for those professions.
A couple of other things. As I mentioned above about Brewmaster, armor will now be the primary tanking stat as Blizzard really likes active mitigation going forward. Hit, and expertise will no longer be a factor as they have been removed! The sigh of relief in the room when this was announced was universal. It appears that Blizzard’s philosophy for this expansion is to really remove obstacles and things that are useless wastes of time (looking at you hit and expertise) so we can maximize our time playing. Next up we will be discussing the exciting raid size and name changes! What are you most excited about?
Montoya here, sharing some speculation I’ve been making concerning the new WoW expansion, which we will learn about soon.
After reflecting on Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, I realized there was quite a foundation being laid for Demon Hunters as a future playable class :
1. There is an achievement for finding a Demon Hunter in Darkshore “Ghosts in the Dark”.
2. There is a long quest chain with a Blood Mage that has us bring a Demon Hunter back from the dead, who nobly makes a big sacrifice right afterwards.
3. In Felwood, a Demon Hunter named Feronas Sindweller is a kill target for a quest. We soon find that he has been killing demons rather than druids, as he had been accused. He then proceeds to show us what most NPCs, and all of BC, seem to ignore: Illidan sought power, not to conquer or lord over others, but rather, to help his people and prove himself to Night Elves, particularly Tyrande. He did these things, however, with a reckless attitude (poor Lord Blackforest).
All of these were added in Cataclysm, which makes me wonder about the possibility of a Demon Hunter class in the next expansion. However, I find that there are a few things in the way:
1. Demonology Warlocks have become more and more like Warcraft III Metamorphosis Demon Hunters over time. A book in Stormwind explains that a human warlock, Kanrethad Ebonlocke, has learned and taught the secrets to Illidan’s transformation.
2. The Warlock challenge set in Mists of Pandaria is clearly Illidan themed, which, combined with the Demonology Warlock changes, makes me wonder if Blizzard is folding Illidan and Demon Hunters into the Warlock class. This would be an alternative to Demon Hunters having their own theme and class (with the obvious exception of not using warglaives).
3. In patch 5.2, the Warlock Green Fire quest was introduced, in which the Warlock visits Black Temple in present day and witnesses a conversation between two members of the Black Harvest, Ebonlocke and Jubeka. They discuss witnessing Illidan’s end; however, before Ebonlocke divulges information about it, the conversation conveniently shifts to something else in the middle of his thought.
4. Cheng, a Pandaren monk, makes a comment that can be taken multiple ways. He says “Yes, I am a monk, though I always dreamed of being a demon hunter.” What was the intent behind this flavor text?
While Demon Hunters could be folded into Warlocks, their combat and flavor could also be made distinct from one another. Unlike Warlocks, Demon Hunters exist to destroy the Legion. They use the Legion’s power against itself. Warlocks do not seem to have this focus at all; rather, they just utilize whatever powers are available to augment themselves. Demon Hunters blind themselves, receive tattoos in order to see Demonic magics and utilize the tattoo patterns Sargeras introduced to empower Illidan. As far as making 3 specs, tanking or healing could easily be achieved with some creative Fel magic and weapon mechanics.
So what does this evidence point to? Illidan is likely coming back. Chris Metzen recently tweeted, ”No. I think there’s a spark of him out there somewhere… Muahaha…” in response to someone asking if Illidan’s return referred to his appearance in the 4.3 dungeons. With, or prior to Illidan’s return, will Demon Hunters be a new class? Or will their theme be absorbed into Warlocks? What was the purpose of laying all this foundation in Cataclysm and dropping hints in Mists of Pandaria? While this is all speculation based on hints dropped in-game the last couple of years, we may find out in a few weeks with the upcoming expansion reveal at Blizzcon. Perhaps “The Dark Below” will be revealed, giving us further details.