This was the focal point Blizzard drove home at Gamescom when Legion was announced. They went into more detail and got much more specific at BlizzCon 2015. That said, some fans were quick to note the new philosophy Blizzard is promoting is a departure from the long said “Bring the Player, not the Class.” I say it’s about time personally. Blizzard needed to make all 36 Specs feel unique and they are using Legion to do that.
Of course, there are some changes to each class and spec that will be met with disdain who are…”sensitive” to their favorite class. The changes that are being made are an effort to ensure all 36 specs fit the fantasy aspects of them. Let’s go over the known changes so far for all the classes:
- Order Hall will be Acherus, which was introduced back in Wrath of the Lich King along with the class.
- The Runic Power system has been reworked so that Death Knights are less constrained: Instead of Blood/Unholy/Frost Runes they are just Runes now. Cooldowns are also being reduced or removed for some specs.
- The Frost Spec Passively has more Ruinic Power to work with as a pure Melee DPS Spec. The Frost Spec’s Artifact Weapons are also crafted after the shattered remains of Frostmourne.
- This is actually old news but with Warlords of Draenor, the limit on how many Death Knights you can have on a server was removed at the beginning of the expansion. You can now have several Death Knights on the same server if you want.
- New Hero Class introduced in Legion, The Demon Hunter has two specs: Havoc (Melee DPS) and Vengeance (Tank). They are also race exclusive to Night Elves (Alliance) and Blood Elves (Horde).
- In order to create a Demon Hunter, you must have a level 70+ character on your account (Shouldn’t be too hard for new players thanks to paid boost to 90/100. LOL). In addition, you can only have one Demon Hunter per server (for about 3 expansions, LOL).
- Demon Hunters wield the class-exclusive War Glaives weapon type introduced in Legion. Blizzard may or may not give Demon Hunters access to Swords and Axes after Legion, hasn’t been decided yet.
- Demon Hunters will have Metamorphasis, which had been on Demonology Warlocks since Cataclysm as part of that spec’s overhaul.
- Guradian and Feral Druid models have been reskinned so that they wear their Artifact Weapons while transformed. They got alot of love this time around.
- Guardian Druids, like the other existing Tank Specs dodge less and absorb more. Their health has been buffed to compensate.
- Balance Druids will be getting the iconic Scythe of Elune as an Artifact Weapon.
- Innervate is coming back but for Balance Druids only.
- Guardian Druids will be able to do Feral Spec-level damage in Cat form when not actively Tanking.
- The most radically changed class, each spec now functions completely different.
- Marksman has no pet but has increased damage to compensate.
- Marksman also gets Alleria Windrunner’s Bow as an Artifact Weapon.
- Beast Master will eventually allow Hunters to passively control two pets at the same time.
- Survival is now Melee with a Pet.
- NEW: Gnome Hunters are being introduced in Legion! In addition, existing Hunters will be able to “tame” mechanical pets.
- Arcane is FINALLY relevant (Blizzard hopes).
- Fire Mages will get Felo’Melorn, the sword Kael’Thas Sunstrider used when he fought Arthas atop the Frozen Throne.
- No Word yet on new Portal/Teleport Spells.
- Class Hall is, strangely on The Wandering Isle (Pandaren Starting Zone).
- Brewmaster Monks are being streamlined to absorb damage better.
- As was revealed at Gamescom, Retribution Paladins get the iconic Ashbringer as their Artifact Weapon. It is also confirmed Tirion Fordring dies at the end of the Ashbringer Artifact Quest Chain, naming you the new Ashbringer.
- Protection Paladins, like the other existing Tank Specs will be able to seamlessly switch between Tanking and inflicting damage. Tanks will be able to inflict increased damage depending on the situation.
- Holy and Protection Paladins will no longer use Holy Power as a secondary Resource.
- As the Heal-Centric Class, the Holy and Discipline Specs are getting their offensive power buffed. Questing as a Holy/Disc Priest is now far less painful. Holy/Disc Priests are no longer just 1-3 click spectators: They are now expected to contribute DPS during encounters.
- Atonement is being tweaked to have a mixed emphasis of attacking and healing.
- Power World: Shield is getting nerfed HARD. No more PW:S Spam!
- Holy is being tweaked so that Heals over Time heals more health per tick.
- Chakra is gone.
- Not to be left behind, Shadow has be rebuilt completely. It’s less about Shadow and more about Insanity, which is the the spec’s primary resource. Insanity is generated like rage with some skills and spent with others. The Shadow Priest gains tendrils and other aesthetics the greater their insanity.
- Combat has been renamed Outlaw.
- Assassination has a stronger emphasis on burst damage.
- As was revealed at Gamescom, Enhancement Shamen get the iconic Doomhammer as their Artifact Weapon.
- Only Restoration Shamen use Mana now ala Mistweaver Monks. Enhancement and Elemental Shamen use a new resource called Maelstrom that will work similar to the Demon Hunter resource.
- All three Warlock Specs are being tweaked to feel even more different from each other.
- Demonology Warlocks are FINALLY getting some love: Metamorphasis is going to Demon Hunters. In exchange, Demo Locks get access to more Demons and can now passively control multiple Demons.
- Demo Locks will now be able to buff Demons before sending them to the front lines.
- Mana and Soul Shards are the only resources used by all three specs.
- Cooldowns for many Fury Abilitities have been completely removed. Whirlwind at will!
…And there you have it. This is just a tenative list. I will add to this over the coming months as more info is revealed. I expect the floodgates to be opened when the Beta goes live. All that’s left is to wait and see.
A few general things of note across most classes:
- As I said at the top, Blizzard has done an about face on their longtime “bring the player, not the class” philosophy. The new racial textures for the old races were the main draw in Warlords of Draenor. In Legion, it’s all 36 specs being overhauled.
- Cumbersome rotations and mechanics were cut from all classes and specs in favor of making them more efficient.
- Thanks to some of the Artifact Quest Chains it’s confirmed The Lich King is joining the fight against the Burning Legion using The Knights of the Ebon Blade as his eyes and ears.
So, yeah. I expect more to be made known in the beta. Videos of some of the Artifact Quest Chains have surfaced on MMO-Champion, giving folks a chance to see how you get the artifact for your spec. I reccommend checking them out.