Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Who Moved My Bacon? Class Changes Through Rose-Colored Goggles

Ah class changes. Every Porker worth his level 80 main feels a twinge of dread when Ghostcrawler and his blue posse begins announcing the "exciting improvements" for our beloved classes.

Change is scary for good reason--there will always be relative nerfs. We're all competing for raid spots or battleground honor kills so even though each class gets shiny new abilities, there will always be the stinky spec. And everyone's afraid it'll be their turn to scrape the bottom of the performance barrel.

But here at the Pig HQ we don't like to get our blood pressure too high by worrying or whining. We faced the class changes instead with a FTW attitude. Call us brainwashed by those zen-like mice but here's our take on why each class will rock our socks off come Cataclysm.

Death Knight
Necrotic Strike returns from the depths of the PTR to strike fear in the hearts of all healers. I also expect death knights to shed their reputation as mindless battleground newbs with the new baseline spell Dark Simulacrum. The spell will force all death knights to study the abilities of other classes--a learned advantage l33ts take pride of.

I lament the death of the perma-tree form, but at least druid tanks will now break free from their Swipe spam stupor. Stampeding Roar is also one of the most OP abilities I can think of for Warsong Gulch so expect druid-centric pre-mades camping that particular battleground.

w this class will become the adventurer-of-all-trades. Their new active pet switching system is so efficient for leveling, and will make them ultra viable for any raid composition. The switch to energy also looks promising because of giveback abilities that refresh the resource on hit (i.e. no more mana burn deaths).

The closest thing to a PvP God class. As if their frost spec didn't rule enough in battlegrounds, Blizz added the damned if you cross, damned if you don't Wall of Fog. The old school nod to Diablo 2 with the flame version of the Frozen Orb also puts the Mage class on top of my must-have alts in Cataclysm.

Healing Rain and Spiritwalker's Grace more than make up for
the loss of the iconic Cleansing Totem in line with the dispel mechanics changes. The resto shaman mastery is also one of the more powerful among healing specs due to higher health pools in Cataclysm and hints from Blizzard that raid encounters will require careful triage.

Awesome screenshots with our new level 85 guardian angels! LOL. But seriously, these cooldown "pets" should give paladins another layer of survivability. Ret, the maligned child of yester expansions, also seems to be getting some dev love with the Crusader Strike change. And a new disruption tool via Blinding Shield is wicked good for all three paladin specs.

Come over here! Priests take a cue from Scorpion with their max level Leap of Faith that pulls allies from the pummeling of their lives (or that easily avoidable fire). The Discipline spec also ramps up its shielding arsenal with Power Shield: Barrier. Just hearing that word is ownage, coming from the tradition of Final Fantasy where barri
ers are the sickest prevention spells around. Something tells me PS: Barrier will live up to its name.

Rogues will no longer reap the hate of all classes. In fact, I expect them to be the best friends of the plate melee classes due to their handy Smoke Bomb. Heck, they'll make HoR a piece of cake (Yeah, yeah we'll overgear that dungeon by that time but you get my point). Discarding the dagger-only skills also broadens the rogue weapon choice exponentially. Double-claw assassins here I come!

24 additional slot bags and a chance to blow up that mage within three Soulshard uses. Warlocks are now toting some heavy guns if their DoTs aren't up for the job. The Demon Soul transformation is also the stuff gamer's dreams are made of - becoming one with a Succubus... yum...

The next expansion brings an ultra macho move to the Warriors with a stun-causing Heroic Leap. The promise of reduced rage costs across the board also bodes well against rage starvation that happens more often than it should. A couple of bleed and passive damage talents round out the changes.

Phew, that took the wind out of me. In fact I'm getting dizzy wearing these rose-colored goggles while reading walls of blue text. So before I lose strength and go into /grumpy mode like a starved QQer, I'm heading to Taco Bell for some grub.
Adios amigos!

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