In the upcoming “Guardians of the Dream” patch, a slew of changes are set to reshape the gameplay dynamics of various classes in World of Warcraft. From balancing the damage profiles of certain specs to refining talent trees and introducing new abilities, developers are pushing for a more streamlined, impactful, and balanced experience for players. This comprehensive guide details the nerfs and buffs coming to each class in WoW 10.2, offering insights into the developers’ intentions behind each change and providing players with a glimpse into the evolving landscape of the game.
DEATH KNIGHT (Unholy)
Developer’s Goal: Adjust Unholy’s damage profile to balance its high burst capabilities. The intention is to lessen the 3-minute burst, enhance regular rotational damage, and strengthen the 45-second damage windows. Despite the changes, Gargoyle windows remain a strength for Unholy, but the spec should now be more impactful outside of this window.
- Unholy Assault: Now boosts all damage by 20% instead of providing 20% Haste for 20 seconds.
- Raise Dead (Main Ghoul): Damage is upped by 10%.
- Summon Gargoyle: Damage is decreased by 30%.
- Soul Reaper: Damage is upped by 20%.
- Army of the Dead: Ghoul damage is decreased by 25%.
- Ghouls from Apocalypse: They now have separate scaling from the Death Knight, different from Army of the Dead. This allows for individual tuning of Apocalypse and Army of the Dead.
- Apocalypse Ghoul: Damage is upped by 12%.
- Death Coil: Damage is upped by 12%.
- Scourge Strike: Damage is upped by 12%.
- Festering Strike: Damage is upped by 20%.
- Festering Wound: Damage is upped by 10%.
Developer’s Insight: The changes address the excessive haste sources for Unholy, which often led to resource wastage during their opening moves. This aims to provide a more streamlined experience.
Evoker Changes in Guardians of the Dream Patch
- Developers’ Intention: Reduce dependency on hitting high health targets by modifying Mastery: Giantkiller, while also lessening burstiness in PvP and improving adaptability in PvE.
- Overall damage of Devastation boosted by 5%.
- Mastery: Giantkiller‘s effectiveness decreased by 25%. At level 70, 180 Mastery rating now provides 1.5% Mastery (down from 2%). Damage remains consistent until the target has 30% health, after which there’s no decrease.
- Significant enhancements to healing abilities:
- Resonating Sphere now affects the first 3 allies (previously 5).
- Cycle of Life gathers 10% of your healing over an 8-second duration (previously 15% over 10 seconds).
Hunter Changes in Guardians of the Dream patch
Entrapment no longer stacks diminishing returns with other root abilities.
- Developers’ Intent: Strengthen Call of the Wild by removing Aspect of the Wild and providing more talent flexibility.
- Aspect of the Wild is removed.
- New Talent, Savagery: Increases Kill Command damage by 10% and prolongs Barbed Shot by 2 seconds.
- Master Handler redesigned: Barbed Shot reduces Kill Command cooldown by 0.5 seconds every time it deals damage.
- Call of the Wild revamped: Its cooldown is now 2 minutes (from 3 minutes) and reduces Kill Command and Barbed Shot‘s cooldowns by 50% when a pet is summoned.
- New Call of the Wild Choices:
- Activates Beast Cleave for all pets and introduces Stomp ability for all pets summoned.
- Boosts damage by 3% from all summons on the Kill Command target with each use, stacking.
- Thrill of the Hunt and Dire Command are now 2-rank talents.
- Snake Bite removed.
- Developers’ Intent: Make Windrunner’s Guidance more reliable.
- Windrunner’s Guidance redesigned: Wind Arrow reduces Rapid Fire cooldown by 0.5 seconds. Every 8 Wind Arrows prolongs the next Trueshot by 1 second, up to 10 seconds.
- Wildfire Bomb‘ tooltip now accurately mentions its damage reduction after 8 targets.
- Developers’ Note: This is a tooltip update, not a functional change.
- Wildfire Bomb‘ damage is boosted by 40% for the primary target.
- The Aberrus Survival set bonus (4) no longer enhances Kill Command’s damage from Wildfire Bombs.
Druid Changes in Guardians of the Dream patch
Balance Druid changes in 10.2
Innervate: Duration reduced to 8 seconds from 10 seconds.
Developer’s Goal: Aim to diversify Balance Druid talent builds across different content types and improve talent viability. Enhancements focus on simplifying Wild Mushrooms and Fungal Growth into one talent and providing choices between consistent damage (Wild Mushrooms) or periodic burst damage (Orbital Strike). The overlap between Rattle the Stars and Starlord was removed to support resource-saving and spending during Eclipse gameplay.
- All Abilities: Damage boosted by 2%.
- Nature’s Grace: Now gives 10% Haste, reduced from 15%.
- Power of Goldrinn: Damage upped by 20%. Position switched with Starlord in Fractures in Time.
- Starlord: Moved to Power of Goldrinn‘s previous spot in Fractures in Time.
- Rattle the Stars: Redesigned to be a consistent passive, cutting the cost of Starsurge and Starfall by 10% and upping their damage by 12%.
- Orbital Strike: Redesigned to call a celestial bombardment, dealing Astral damage and applying Stellar Flare for 16 seconds. Generates 30 Astral Power, impacts in a 40-yard line, and has a 90-second cooldown. It’s now an alternative choice to Wild Mushroom.
- Fungal Growth: Removed. Wild Mushrooms has integrated the Fungal Growth effects.
- Wild Mushrooms: Damage cut by 20%. Fungal Growth‘s damage over time reduced to 60% of Wild Mushroom damage (previously 70%) and now lasts 10 seconds, increased from 8 seconds.
Feral Druid Changes in 10.2
Developers’ Goal: Minor adjustments to Feral gameplay. The intention is to balance Apex Predator‘s effectiveness in single and AoE scenarios and redesign Ashamane’s Guidance to be more consistent, especially in conjunction with the updated Berserk design. This redesign also aims to reward players for maintaining critical bleeds.
- Apex Predator: Its chance to activate adjusts based on the number of targets. It remains roughly the same against four targets.
- Cat’s Curiosity: Replaced by Saber Jaws. This new talent amplifies the extra damage from Ferocious Bite based on the extra energy used, increasing it by 40%/80%.
- Ashamane’s Guidance: Redesigned for Incarnation: Avatar of Ashamane. During its effect and for 30 seconds afterward, Rip and Rake enhance the damage enemies receive from your abilities by 3%.
Restoration Druid Changes in 10.2
Developers’ Intention: Reduce the potency of Flourish while amplifying the strength of fundamental heal over time spells to emphasize the baseline healing toolkit.
- Cenarius’ Guidance: During Incarnation: Tree of Life, a Grove Tending is summoned every 10s. Incarnation: Tree of Life’s cooldown decreases by 5s when Grove Tending dissipate.
- Incarnation: Tree of Life: Now also enhances Wrath, making it deal 20% more damage and have an instant cast.
- New Talent, Liveliness: Increases the speed of damage over time effects by 25% and healing over time effects by 5%.
- Circle of Life and Death: Removed.
- Various Healing Adjustments: Increase in healing for several abilities, including Grove Tending (30% increase), Regrowth (20% initial, 42% over time), Rejuvenation (25%), Wild Growth (15%), and Cenarion Ward (25%). Some reductions in Grove Guardian healings and Spring Blossoms.
- Damage Adjustments: Wrath and Starfire damage was boosted by 90%.
- Abundance: Maxes out at 12 stacks.
- Mana Costs: Sunfire’s mana cost reduced from 2.4% to 1.8%.
- Flourish Changes: Reduction in extension and rate increase of heal over time effects. Specific reductions when triggered by Convoke the Spirits.
- Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible Set Bonuses: Adjustments to the 2-piece and 4-piece set bonus healing rates.
- This overhaul is aimed at refining the healing toolkit’s balance for Restoration Druids.
Paladin Changes in Guardians of the Dream patch
Holy Paladin changes in 10.2
- General healing reduced by 3%.
- Holy Light healing boosted by 40%.
- Flash of Light healing increased by 30%.
- Daybreak now restores 2000 mana per Glimmer at level 70, down from 3000.
- Reclamation’s mana restoration for Crusader Strike and Holy Shock is now up to 12%, decreased from 15%.
- Glimmer of Light healing and damage now rise by 4% per target, down from 6%, but its damage is enhanced by 10%.
Priest Changes in Guardians of the Dream patch
- Power Infusion: Haste decreased to 20% from 25%, and its duration is now 15 seconds, down from 20 seconds. This change was made as the ability was too potent, especially in conjunction with certain specialization cooldowns.
- Shadow Word: Death: If it doesn’t kill a target, it now causes damage to the Priest based on 8% of their max health, rather than being based on the damage dealt.
- Tithe Evasion: The damage reduction of Shadow Word: Death to the Priest is now 50%, down from 75%.
- Mass Dispel: Its cooldown has been increased to 2 minutes, up from 45 seconds, to balance its high utility and power.
- Improved Mass Dispel: This is now a PvP Talent. It reduces the cooldown of Mass Dispel by 60 seconds, and no longer impacts its cast time. It’s been replaced in the Priest talent tree by Mental Agility.
- New Talent – Mental Agility: This reduces mana costs for several dispel abilities by significant amounts.
- Rhapsody: Now, it only emphasizes Holy Nova when at maximum stacks during combat.
Discipline Priest Changes in 10.2
Objective: Developers aim to simplify Discipline’s damage rotation and reduce the complexity of burst healing. This ensures a more seamless gameplay experience, allowing priests to concentrate on Atonement management and prioritizing ally healing.
- Schism: Redesigned to be passive. It now modifies Mind Blast to amplify spell damage to the target by 10% for 9 seconds.
- Shadow Covenant: Also redesigned to be passive. Using Shadowfiend or Mindbender engages a pact that alters Halo, Divine Star, and Penance into Shadow spells, enhancing their damage and healing by 25% for varying durations.
- Mind Blast: Cooldown increased to 24 seconds from 9, and its damage has been boosted by 30%.
- Dark Indulgence: Modified to grant Power of the Dark Side instead of an extra Mind Blast charge.
- Inescapable Torment: Damage upped by 60%, and its triggers and talent point requirement have been adjusted.
- Power Word: Solace: Removed from the game due to its frequent cooldown causing rotational clutter.
- Harsh Discipline: Redesigned to trigger from Power Word: Radiance, enhancing Penance’s capabilities.
- Sanctuary: Smite mitigates the next 80% of damage from an enemy.
- Ultimate Penitence: A powerful Penance-focused skill with protective measures.
- Heaven’s Wrath: Reduces Ultimate Penitence’s cooldown with each Penance bolt.
- Overloaded with Light: Enhances Ultimate Penitence to heal more allies and apply a shortened Atonement.
- Penance: Both damage and healing increased (15% and 30%, respectively).
- Power Word: Barrier: Barrier: Now reduces 20% of all damage, down from 25%.
- Atonement: Healing percentage adjusted, and its efficacy increases outside of raids.
- Flash Heal: Healing increased by 40%.
- Power Word: Shield: Absorption upped by 10%.
- Divine Aegis: Now a 1-point talent.
Monk – Mistweaver Changes in WoW 10.2
- Life Cocoon: Healing boosted by 33%.
- Soothing Mist: Healing increased by 40%.
- Enveloping Mist: Healing raised by 25%.
- Misty Peaks: Chance to trigger now 2.5/5%, down from 5/10%.
- Enveloping Breath: Heals up to 5 targets, down from 6.
- Invigorating Mists: Healing increased by 25%, with reduced healing beyond 5 targets.
- Burst of Life: Healing doubled.
- Vivify: Direct healing upped by 30%.
- Clouded Focus: Boosts healing and decreases mana cost of Vivify and Enveloping Mist by 15% per stack, down from 20%.
- Ancient Teachings: Range extended to 40 yards from 30 yards.
- Ancient Concordance: Now costs 1 point.
- Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible (2) Set Bonus: Redesigned to increase healing of Renewing Mist, Soothing Mist, and Enveloping Mist by 12%.
Rogue Changes in Guardians of the Dream patch
- All four Rogue talent trees are being updated in the “Guardians of the Dream” expansion. The changes address concerns like improving pathing, increasing tree interconnectedness, adjusting talent tiers, removing 3-point nodes, and emphasizing utility over minor DPS boosts in the Class tree. Alongside these, new talents are introduced, and certain existing talents are reworked.
- Significant adjustments made to Class talent positions and connections.
- Sap has been made a baseline ability.
- Shiv’s damage is increased by 20%, but its energy cost is increased, and its cooldown is lengthened.
- Featherfoot: Enhances Sprint’s movement speed and duration.
- Superior Mixture: Boosts the movement speed reduction of Crippling Poison.
- Graceful Guile: Provides an additional charge to Feint.
- Stillshroud: Halves the cooldown of Shroud of Concealment.
- Vigor: Its position has changed, and it now comes as a 2-point talent, enhancing maximum Energy and regeneration.
- Deadly Precision: Changed to a 1-point talent without altering its value.
- Nightstalker: Its position has shifted and now boosts damage while in Stealth mode.
- Reverberation: Enhances Echoing Reprimand damage more than before.
- Deadened Nerves: Increases physical damage reduction.
- Echoing Reprimand: The charge of the combo point has been revised.
- Marked for Death: Its cooldown, combo point generation, and damage boost have been adjusted, with a shortened effect duration but a reset mechanism if the target dies within its effect.
These adjustments aim to streamline the Rogue’s talents and abilities, offering more utility and flexibility while balancing the damage output.
Subtlety Rogue Changes in 10.2
- The Subtlety talent tree has been similar to Outlaw’s in terms of underused talents and rigid pathing.
- The gameplay has been mostly satisfactory, but there are concerns about the Energy and combo point overflow and the high uptime of key cooldowns like Shadow Dance. This has led to a flat damage profile, whereas Subtlety should have moments of burst.
- The team aims to address these issues by tweaking resource generation and other gameplay mechanics.
- A lot of talent position and connection adjustments have been made.
- Shadowstep and Black Powder are now baseline abilities.
- Energy costs of Backstab and Shadowstrike have been increased, but Shadowstrike damage also has been enhanced.
- Eviscerate‘s damage has been boosted by 10%.
Major Talent Adjustments:
- Shadow Techniques: Modified combo point generation mechanics and reduced Energy generation.
- Find Weakness: Moved to Subtlety and now bypasses more armor.
- Shadow Blades: Now affects all attacks, and its bonus damage has been changed.
- Ephemeral Bond: Increases healing received.
- Shadowcraft: Enhances Symbols of Death’s impact on Shadow Techniques.
- Goremaw’s Bite: Inflicts Shadow damage and modifies finishing moves.
- Stunning Secret: Enhances Kidney Shot’s impact and area of effect.
- Warning Signs: Boosts Haste during Symbols of Death.
- Shrouded in Darkness: Modified to maintain Shroud of Concealment after exiting its zone.
- Several talents, like Gloomblade, Planned Execution, Improved Shadow Dance, Shadowed Finishers, Shadow Focus, Deepening Shadows, Perforated Veins, Lingering Shadows, Deeper Daggers, and Finality, have seen adjustments in their point requirements, effects, or values.
- The Rotten: Now applies its bonuses to all combo point-generating attacks and no longer generates combo points.
The changes reflect a comprehensive revision of the Subtlety Rogue class, emphasizing a more flexible talent tree and addressing gameplay balance concerns.
Assassination Rogue Changes in WoW 10.2
- Assassination is recognized for potent single-target damage. Two primary concerns are its weak AoE performance and its unchanging damage outcome when scaling to harder content like Mythic raids. Changes are made to enhance AoE, especially before accessing top-tier talents, and provide distinct AoE gameplay for Assassination. Also, they intend to make room for improved player performance in high-end World of Warcraft content without adding complexity for average players.
- Numerous talent adjustments and repositioning have been made.
- Shadowstep becomes a baseline ability.
Key Talent Changes:
- Sudden Demise: Enhances bleed damage and delivers fatal damage under specific conditions.
- Caustic Spatter: Makes Mutilate apply a splash poison effect.
- Path of Blood: Increases max Energy.
- Envenom: Duration cut by 1 second.
- Improved Shiv: Boosts nature damage.
- Venomous Wounds: Energy restoration enhanced.
- Elaborate Planning, Improved Poisons, and Bloody Mess: Changed to 1-point talents with adjusted effects.
- Thrown Precision: Adjusted to enhance Fan of Knives‘ crit chance and ensure critical strikes apply weapon poisons.
- Seal Fate: Moved and changed to always trigger from critical hits.
- Internal Bleeding: Rupture now also applies its effect.
- Crimson Tempest: Overhauled with changes to damage, duration, and targets.
- Exsanguinate: Redesigned with both active and passive versions available for testing.
- Flying Daggers: Boosts Fan of Knives damage.
- Venom Rush: Adjusted energy refund.
- Vicious Venoms: Modified damage and energy cost.
- Poison Bomb: Increased affected area.
- Zoldyck Recipe and Scent of Blood: Adjusted point values.
- Arterial Precision: Enhanced bleed damage.
- Dragon-Tempered Blades: Alters weapon poison application frequency.
- Indiscriminate Carnage: Redesigned to enhance Garrote and Rupture when used from Stealth.
These changes reflect a substantial overhaul for the Assassination Rogue, emphasizing improved AoE capabilities and gameplay adaptability in various content levels.
Outlaw Rogue Changes in WoW 10.2
- While Outlaw has offered fun gameplay in Dragonflight, it faced issues like rigidity, lack of pathing options, tension between early DPS and utility nodes, and too many mandatory core skills. Adjustments have been made to address these, including moving some talents to baseline, redesigning others, and introducing new talents to diversify gameplay.
- Grappling Hook, Blade Flurry, Roll the Bones, and Restless Blades have become baseline abilities.
- Prey on the Weak is now a part of Outlaw and renamed to Sting Like a Bee.
- Airborne Irritant: Blind affects more enemies during Blade Flurry but with reduced duration.
- Crackshot: Enhances Between the Eyes when used from Stealth.
- Underhanded Upper Hand: Provides synchronization between Slice and Dice, Blade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush, and Stealth abilities.
- Between the Eyes‘ critical effect now buffs the Rogue.
- Thief’s Versatility, Fatal Flourish, Deft Maneuvers, Swift Slasher, Ace Up Your Sleeve, and Triple Threat have been adjusted or relocated.
- Improved Main Gauche remains a 1-point talent.
- Weaponmaster talent has been removed.
- Improved Adrenaline Rush, Ghostly Strike, Dreadblades, and Killing Spree have undergone significant changes, impacting cooldowns, effects, energy costs, and damage.
The changes intend to enhance Outlaw Rogue’s flexibility, providing a broader range of strategies for players while balancing the potency of its abilities.
Shaman Changes in Guardians of the Dream 10.2 Patch
- Enhancement Shamans: Restores 150 mana, down from 250.
- Restoration Shamans: Restores 150 mana, down from 350.
- Elemental Shamans: Restores 100 mana, unchanged from 150, at level 70.
- Primordial Wave: Spell damage boosted by 500%.
- Healing Stream: Healing raised by 20%.
- Healing Surge: Healing increased by 30%.
- Healing Wave: Healing upped by 30%.
- Primordial Wave: Now replicates Healing Wave at 40% effectiveness, down from 60%.
- Cloudburst Totem: Accumulates 20% of healing done, down from 30%.
- Ascendance: Duplicates 80% of healing, down from 100%.
- Mana Tide Totem: Increases mana regeneration by 80%, down from 100%.
- Resurgence: Restores 20% less mana.
Warlock Changes in Guardians of the Dream 10.2
- Grand Warlock’s Design: Redesigned to reduce the cooldown of Summon Darkglare by 30 seconds.
- Developers’ Note: Aimed to redistribute power in Demonology’s rotation and make Nether Portal and Demonic Tyrant more independent.
- Gul’dan’s Ambition: Redesigned to summon a Pit Lord for 10 seconds after Nether Portal ends.
- Grand Warlock’s Design: Redesigned to reduce the cooldown of Summon Demonic Tyrant by 30 seconds.
- Ner’zhul’s Volition: Demons from Nether Portal now deal 15/30% increased damage.
- Demonic Knowledge: Reduced chance for Hand of Gul’dan to generate a Demonic Core to 10% from 15%.
- New Talent – Volatile Fiends: Increases damage for
Implosion and Bilescourge Bombers and gives a chance to summon a Bilescourge Bombers.
- Summon Demonic Tyrant: Redesigned to increase the duration and damage of various demons.
- Reign of Tyranny: Redesigned to improve Demonic Tyrant based on active imps and demons.
- Inner Demons: No longer summons additional demons.
- Demonic Core: No longer baseline but gained from Demonbolt.
- Damage increases: Shadow Bolt by 30%, Demonbolt by 15%, and Vilefiend by 15%.
- Bloodbound Imps: Removed.
- Developers’ Note: Aims to decrease the movement penalty and make certain spells feel more impactful.
- New Talent – Chaosbringer: Increases the damage of Chaos Bolt, Rain of Fire, and
- Chaos Bolt: Damage increased by 15%.
- Grand Warlock’s Design: Redesigned to reduce the cooldown of Summon Infernal by 60 seconds.
- Madness of the Azj’Aqir: Removed.
Demon Hunter Changes in Guardians of the Dream
Updates for talent changes are underway but not ready for testing. The focus will be on improving talent trees, addressing underused talents, and revising certain utility and damage abilities.
As the “Guardians of the Dream” patch unfolds, it’s evident that developers are striving to enhance the player experience by addressing longstanding issues and optimizing gameplay across multiple classes. The alterations, ranging from minor tweaks to significant overhauls, indicate a concerted effort to provide balanced gameplay, diversified strategies, and more engaging class mechanics. This review will be updated when Blizzard rolls out more information about the 10.2 patch class changes.