Preview on 3.1

spell_shadow_manaburnMMO-Champion has released a few previews on what they have in store for us in 3.1 here, and I must say that it looks interesting. Some things I like, and some things I feel will be detrimental to us Shades in the raid environment. Let’s take a look at some. MMO-CHampion has grouped these by class, but I feel it is more worthwhile here to put them by subject, as there is quite some synergy.

Mana Regeneration

Blizzard did not like the fact that mana-using DPS classes kept running out of mana, while healers (especially priests and paladins) could cast on for extended periods of time without risk of going out of mana at all. To do this, they are decreasing the amount of mana gained while outside the 5-second-rule (and out of combat), while buffing talents that allow part of your mana regeneration to continue in combat (such as Meditation for priests).

This means a buff to a lot of DPS classes who need mana, as they are casting all the time. It is also a buff for druids, among others, who heal continuously. Special mana regeneration abilities will be nerfed (such as Divine Plea now reducing healing done by 50%, and the Tankadin’s Spiritual Attunement. Blizzard also wants Clearcasting proccs changed to have about the same result, but not encouraging using it to cheat a few seconds in to the 5-second-rule. Most likely they will change it into an ability along the line of “returns the mana cost of the spell over X seconds” instead of making it free of cast.

A thing that is going to hurt us in that department is that while Replenishment is considered mandatory for a raid to function by Blizzard, other classes will now get that ability added too. Frost Mages get replenishment in exchange for removing the Improved Water Elemental talent, and Warlocks get replenishment as an effect on the Improved Soul Leech talent.

Abilities changed and gained

As asked for previously, Divine Spirit will now be a base ability for priests. This means we get another raid buff, but it did not mention whether Prayer of Spirit (the raid-buff) will be available as well. Else we will go back to having to buff everyone separately with Divine Spirit. The Discipline priests gain an ability in stead of this talent which puts a Power Word: Shield like effect on an entire raid. This sounds interesting indeed!

In order to buff Shadowpriests in PvP, our Shadowform now reduces magical as well as physical damage, and Dispersion will remove snares. These are nice abilities in PvP indeed, but I am even more excited how this will help me in PvE on “Not dying from stupid random stuff”.

How other classes are made happy

Ammo for hunters is now a non-stacking item that is not consumed; probably similar to the relic slot effectively, or maybe a stack of ammo has durability (just like throwing weapons). Either way, it prevents hunters from having a million rounds of ammo in their bags just to get through a raid evening. It also make engineers cry, who made a small livelyhood at lower levels supplying ammo.

Warlocks especially have been given a good work-over, but no word yet on the Soul Shard department. Many of their talents have been made more useful, and new ones added. Siphon Life for instance, is no longer a separate ability but places this effect on Corruption. This resembles our own Devouring Plague rather closely. Drain Soul can produce Soul Shards even if the target does not die. This means that warlocks who are low on shards could effectively drain a few creatures dry instead of having to massacre an entire area just to get a pocket full of shards.

Also, warriors may be happy: not only is stance dancing a lot less penalized than before, Blizzard is looking into giving them rage from Blocks, dodges or parries. This helps rage-starved raid tanks a lot, I believe.

Paladins get Kings as a baseline blessing. This frees up 5 talent points on basically all Tankadins and a few healing or retribution paladins I know. Exorcism now damages all targets, but automatically crits on undead and demons – yowza! Besides allowing Paladins DPS to remain higher after Naxxramas, I can see some interesting techniques where a healadin might force a crit on an undead mob to get a bonus from one of his “crit-related talents”.

Shamans have their chain lightning hit 4 targets now, and they have been groomed and preened as their totems have been “streamlined”. That is to say, Poison Cleansing and Disease Cleansing totems are now 1 totem, as are Mana Spring and Healing Stream totems.

Conclusion

All in all, all classes have been giving a serious make-over, and I am excited to see how much (and in what form) we will see on the PTR and then in patch 3.1! The summary above does not include all classes, because not all changes actually mean anything to me (Rogue and Death Knight for instance I have very little knowledge of) but follow the link to MMO-Champion above, and you can see what is in store for your favorite class.

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