The Best World of Warcraft Class After Shadowlands Pre-Patch
It's been a week since the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands pre-patch arrived with massive changes ahead of the expansion launch. While many players are busy questing through previous expansions in the revamped leveling experience, a number of class changes means the competitive tier list for all roles have shifted significantly.
All classes received updates such as unpruned spells, talents becoming baseline, or even redesigned abilities which change playstyles compared to their Battle for Azeroth iterations. Additionally, the removal of corrupted items further cripples some specs that heavily relied on them to stay on top of the damage charts. Although nothing is unplayable, anyone still trying to raid during the pre-patch should be aware of how each class ranks now based off the most recent log data.
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Tank Pre-Patch Rankings
- Protection Paladin
- Protection Warrior
- Guardian Druid
- Blood Death Knight
- Brewmaster Monk
- Vengeance Demon Hunter
In a surprising twist, Protection Paladin has shot up to 1st place because of the Azerite trait Light's Decree which deals AOE damage during Avenging Wrath. Combined with multiple talents and Azerite traits, Avenging Wrath will be active more often than every 3 minutes which translates into more AOE burst compared to the other tank specs.
Following up, Blood Death Knight has suffered heavily with the removal of the Ossuary talent which reduced the runic power cost of their iconic damage and healing spell Death Strike. More importantly, the Twilight Devastation corruption which fired an AOE beam based off maximum health is also gone and low scaling across remaining spells means the Blood spec will have to settle for a lower position currently.
Healer Pre-Patch Rankings
- Holy Priest
- Restoration Shaman
- Discipline Priest
- Restoration Druid
- Mistweaver Monk
- Holy Paladin
Holy Priest has reclaimed the top spot because of talented and new baseline AOE that continues to synergize well with Azerite traits and their multiple raid cooldowns. Restoration Shaman is right behind since their single-target and AOE spells received increased scaling that makes them much more effective despite increased mana costs.
On the other hand, Holy Paladin's reliance on the Ineffable Truth corruption to keep Avenging Wrath up means dropping to dead last since its removal. Furthermore, Crusader Strike now costs mana which complicates its role in the rotation along with other healing spells. Finally, the addition of Holy Power as a resource means players must spend more time relearning the spec rotation compared to other World of Warcrafthealers.
DPS Pre-Patch Rankings
- Shadow Priest
- Affliction Warlock
- Arcane Mage
- Beast Mastery Hunter
- Frost Mage
- Unholy Death Knight
- Elemental Shaman
- Markmanship Hunter
- Destruction Warlock
- Fire Mage
- Balance Druid
- Survival Hunter
- Outlaw Rogue
- Retribution Paladin
- Frost Death Knight
- Subtlety Rogue
- Arms Warrior
- Assassination Rogue
- Enhancement Shaman
- Windwalker Monk
- Havoc Demon Hunter
- Fury Warrior
- Demonology Warlock
- Feral Druid
While the DPS rankings have shifted the most since pre-patch, Shadow Priest's complete rework and incredible synergy with the Azerite trait Spiteful Apparition reigns supreme in the charts. However, other specs like Arms Warrior and Demonology Warlock that stacked full Expedient corruptions for haste dropped double digits compared to the competition.
In the end, these rankings only reflect recent mythic performance and every class spec remains playable in PvE and PvP currently. Note that the tier lists drastically change once everyone gets access to Covenants, Soulbinds, and other Shadowlands powers.
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Read NextAbout The Author
Daniel was a writer at Game Rant with a minor in Professional Writing. Since a young age, Daniel has been an avid gamer starting with the Mega Man Battle Network series. From there, he branched out to other titles over the years including vanilla World of Warcraft. More than anything, Daniel enjoys a good story that ties world-building and gameplay together as well as multiplayer games with friends. Daniel plays a variety of PC and mobile games including League of Legends and Fate/Grand Order.
What class changes have been the most surprising during the Shadowlands pre-patch?
F0r me, the Shadowlands pre-patch has had quite a few surprises, and one of the biggest was how much I’m enjoying going Single-Minded Fury on my main Warrior. I’ve been a huge Titan’s Grip fanboy since it was introduced back in the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch, and when we were getting our Artifacts in Legion and it became clear we’d lose either TG or SMF, I was vocally pro-Titan’s Grip. After all, SMF isn’t unique to Warriors — Rogues, Shaman, and Death Knights can all dual wield. I took the position then that if we were going to lose one style of combat, it should be the one more classes can do, not the one that was unique to our class.
I don’t think that reasoning was bad, but I do think I’d lost sight of how much fun it is to go full on buzzsaw with two relatively fast one hand weapons. Similar to how Frost DK is more fun using a Two Hand weapon for me, and how I’m very glad that it’s back, I’m loving using two fast weapons with SMF. And I’m absolutely thrilled with the various abilities that are cross-spec now, like Ignore Pain and Shield Slam — I rarely use them, but they’re really great to have when you need them. But I expected those to be fun and cool to have back — I absolutely did not think I’d go SMF when it came back. I thought it would be a nice change for players who liked it before, not that it would become my go to spec on my main.
This all has me thinking, though — what changes have you been finding a surprise as you play the Shadowlands pre-patch? What’s the returned ability, or new option, or what have you that you simply weren’t expecting, for good or for ill?
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Patch 9.1.5 Release Date is Novemeber 2nd/3rd!By Staff
UPDATE: Blizzard have changed the intro text for the blue post, noting that Legion timewalking will NOT come with the patch launch, but will instead be arriving in early December.
Blizzard have just announced the 9.1.5 release date! We also get the official previews for the patch systems, including the Mage Tower and Legion timewalking articles posted today.
The 9.1.5 content update arrives November 2! When it launches, the Legion Timewalking bonus event will immediately begin, and you'll be able to freely switch Covenants, as well as take advantage of all the new customization options and quality of life changes.
NEW: The 9.1.5 content update arrives November 2! When it launches, you'll be able to freely switch Covenants, as well as take advantage of all the new customization options and quality of life changes. The Legion Timewalking Event will run for two weeks the first time it arrives in early December.
Continue the fight against the Jailer and freely bear the colors of the Covenant of your choice. Enhance your character's look with all-new customization options for select Allied Races. Also in this update, go back in time to the Broken Shore for Legion Timewalking and take on the challenges of the Mage Tower once more!
9.1.5 Content Update Preview
The 9.1.5 Content Update is coming soon. Read about the variety of new features coming your way. [LEARN MORE]
Conquer the Mage Tower in Legion Timewalking
The Mage Tower returns in Legion Timewalking, bringing back epic solo challenges and awesome rewards for those who conquer them. [LEARN MORE]
New Weekly Bonus Event: Legion Timewalking
Travel back in time to rediscover Legion dungeons, the challenges of the Mage Tower, and more in this Bonus Event. . [LEARN MORE]
New Character Customization Options
Get access to new character customizations for select races allowing you to create a new version of your hero to take on the dangers of Azeroth.[LEARN MORE]
9.1.5 Content Update Notes
Learn more about the changes and new additions for the 9.1.5 Content Update in our notes. [LEARN MORE]
Quality of Life Improvements
Island Expeditions: Queue Solo or With a Party
Players who want to take on Island Expeditions are now able to queue for them solo or with a party to enter Normal, Heroic, or Mythic difficulties. There are a bounty of awards just waiting to be plundered.
Allied Race Unlocks
Allied races such as the Kul’Tiran humans, Mechagnomes, and Dark Iron Dwarves, which had a dungeon requirement to unlock them, will no longer need to complete the associated quest to gain access to these races. Players will be able to skip it instead.
Show off your complete transmog outfit to chat or online by easily sharing a link to it from the Dressing Room. Players will be able to mouse over these items to see how they can be collected, if they’ve already collected the appearance, or if it’s an appearance that is accessible to the character viewing it.
PvP Gear Power Adjustments
Lower item-level PvP gear will now scale to a higher item-level in PvP situations than before. This should reduce the power level gap so that new characters can feel that they're able to compete in Battlegrounds and Arenas more readily. This change will not affect high item-level PvP gear.
Want to know more about upcoming content updates, including what's next in the Shadowlands saga? Keep an eye on https://worldofwarcraft.com/news to get the latest information. Thank you for playing!
Class Changes in Shadowlands Expansion
Shadowlands Class Changes
On this page, you will find more details about Blizzard's class philosophy for the Shadowlands expansion and overviews of the individual class changes that are coming in the pre-patch.
You can find all class-specific changes linked below. They will go live with the Shadowlands pre-patch goes live on October 13 (US) or October 14 (EU).
Shadowlands Class Philosophy
Many tools and perks that had once defined certain classes became increasingly widespread over the years, diminishing class uniqueness. To fix this in the past, the developers made changes to talents with Mists of Pandaria, and removed several abilities in Warlords of Draenor. In Legion, they focused on class identity and carving out a distinct fantasy for each specialization to go along with their Artifact weapons, which resulted in the removal of several long-standing class-wide abilities and adding new specialization-specific abilities in the process.
In Battle for Azeroth, they have moved too far away from the core of the class that initially sparked players' interest when they first created their character, and in Shadowlands, they want to return to the idea that a specialization is about powering up a specific part of a class's kit, not narrowing down their toolset.
Shadowlands is about player choice and the goal is to give players more opportunities to make impactful choices to customize their gameplay and express their own vision of how their characters engage in combat. To achieve this, many specialization-specific and iconic abilities that help define class identity are coming back and will be class-wide.
Area-of-Effect Ability Changes
Large pulls have become a prevalent tactic in much of the game, which made it hard for many classes to find a clear role. As a result, Blizzard revisited the maximum number of targets that many abilities can hit in Shadowlands, which results in nerfs to many AoE abilities.
The general philosophy is to allow melee classes to excel in situations with four to five targets and ranged casters perform better against five or more targets.
See individual class sections for a list of specific spells.
Most non-periodic abilities on all classes will have a small amount of variance on the damage or healing of each individual use.
This was standard behavior in WoW form many years (and has its roots in familiar mechanics from many RPGs), but recently was lost as a side effect of some under-the-hood mechanical changes. Blizzard is restoring this behavior to bring back the small bit of texture, and avoid the result where using the same spell repeatedly results in exactly the same 3- or 4-digit numbers every time. The amount of variance is about 5%, so that the impact on total performance, over he course of a combat with many events, is negligible.
Spells Taken Off the Global Cooldown
Blizzard has taken some "burst cooldowns" off the global cooldown (GCD) in Shadowlands. Burst cooldowns are abilities that increase your damage or healing output every 2 to 3 minutes.
Here is a list of abilities that have been moved off the global cooldown:
- Death Knight — Pillar of Frost, Empower Rune Weapon.
- Druid — Berserk, Celestial Alignment, Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, Incarnation: King of the Jungle, Innervate, and Ravenous Frenzy.
- Hunter — Coordinated Assault, Trueshot, and Aspect of the Wild.
- Mage — Arcane Power, Icy Veins.
- Monk — Energizing Elixir, Mana Tea, Serenity and Storm, Earth, and Fire.
- Paladin — Avenging Crusader, Avenging Wrath, Crusade, Holy Avenger.
- Priest — Spirit Shell.
- Rogue — Adrenaline Rush, Shadow Blades, Vendetta.
- Shaman — Ancestral Guidance.
- Warlock — Dark Soul: Instability, Dark Soul: Misery.
- Warrior — Avatar, Recklessness.
Healing Reduction Effects Doubled in PvE
To increase the impact of "Mortal Wounds" and similar healing reduction effects in PvE situations, Blizzard has doubled the magnitude of these effects against non-player enemies. The value of these efects will remain the same against players.
Shadowlands Talent Changes
Due to the level squish, you will gain access to a new row of talents at Level 15, 20, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50.
- 16 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands release.
- 11 Oct. 2020: Rearranged sections.
- 08 Oct. 2020: Updated for pre-patch.
- 27 Sep. 2020: Monk's Energizing Elixir no longer incurs a GCD.
- 09 Sep. 2020: Innervate and Mana Tea removed from GCD.
- 05 Sep. 2020: Added doubling of healing reduction effects.
- 02 Sep. 2020: Added GCD section.
- 31 Aug. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35598 and 35679 class changes.
- 16 Aug. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35522 class changes.
- 07 Aug. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35432 class changes.
- 01 Aug. 2020: Updated with the latest Beta 35360 class changes.
- 28 Jul. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35256 class changes.
- 25 Jul. 2020: Updated with Spell Variance.
- 18 Jul. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35167 news.
- 15 Jul. 2020: Updated with Alpha Build 35078 news.
- 03 Jul. 2020: Updated with Alpha Build 34902 and 34972 news.
- 20 Jun. 2020: Updated with links to Build 34821 class changes.
- 15 Jun. 2020: Class changes history updated with Alpha Build 34714 news.
- 09 Jun. 2020: Class changes history updated with a link to the Alpha Build 34615 news.
- 25 May 2020: Class changes history updated with a link to the Alpha Build 34490 news.
- 14 May 2020: Class changes history updated with latest Alpha build.
- 08 May 2020: Updated with class changes history.
- 28 Apr. 2020: Included AoE ability changes.
- 21 Apr. 2020: Page added.
Class changes pre patch shadowlands
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