Well, I was busy today so you're getting two classes in one. Buckle your seatbelt, because we have seven specs to go through.
The big thing with Monks is that they're getting the Paladin treatment - only the melee dps spec is going to keep the secondary resource, in this case Chi. Also, it looks like Tiger Claw and Jab are getting merged into a single ability, which is good given that Tiger Claw was always kind of the weird ability there.
This is arguably a bigger deal, as there have never been Monks who don't use Chi. It's been pretty central, mechanically, to the class. So let's look at how tank and healer Monks will work without it:
Brewmasters are going to focus more on Dodge and Stagger as ways to reduce the damage they take, focusing less on self-healing or the massive absorption of Guard, which I assume is getting cut.
Ironskin Brew is a new ability that has 3 charges and shares 20-sec recharges with Purifying Brew. This will increase your Stagger amount by a whopping 60% for 6 seconds.
Purifying Brew still purges your staggered damage, but it'll clearly be something you need to balance with Ironskin to make it most effective.
Gift of the Ox remains, but it's now triggered as a chance when you take damage, healing you for 25% health.
Mastery: Elusive Brawler increases your dodge after taking a hit by a baseline of 20% (scaling up with Mastery) until you next dodge an attack.
Keg Smash and Tiger Palm now both cost energy and reduce the cooldown on your Brews, 4 seconds for Keg Smash and 1 for Tiger Palm. Tiger Palm costs 50 energy now, and KS is still on an 8-second cooldown.
Blackout Strike is instant and just on a 3-second cooldown (no energy cost, it seems) and hits the target for moderate damage, sharing a cooldown with Breath of Fire.
Breath of Fire is also free and does minor fire damage, with extra minor fire damage if the target is affected by Keg Smash.
Sample Talent: Elusive Dance
Purifying Brew also grants up to 15% dodge for 6 seconds, based on how much damage was purified.
So they're clearly aligning things so that Stagger is a much more central mechanic - you'll be able to push a lot of damage to the Stagger table but you'll also need to balance that with Purifying Brew. I like to see that Breath of Fire is now somewhat relevant as a big snap-threat ability. Essentially, you'll spend Energy on attacks to reduce cooldowns on your defensive brews and some additional threat for free.
Whoo boy. Only six more specs to go.
The main, central point here is that Mistweavers are going pure-healer. No longer will Mistweavers be able to half-heal/half-DPS. I'm a little surprised about that given that Discipline Priests are so fully committing to that. Mistweavers are the one healing spec I've actually played a decent amount (though never at the level cap,) but what drew me to it was the ability to heal through punching. Let's look at what they got:
Mastery: Gust of Mists will cause instant heals to anything hit by your directly-targeted heals, which I suspect is a good way to let you toss HoTs on your targets even if they're in a rough spot and would otherwise die before the HoT could help them.
Soothing Mist is a passive that causes Effuse (see below,) Enveloping Mist, and Vivify (again, see below) to trigger Soothing Mists. This causes you to continue channeling healing at them until you do something else. Essentially, the idea is that if you just need a little bit of healing to keep a tank up or something, you can cast a heal and just let the Soothing Mist maintain him or her. Otherwise, you might eschew this little bonus in order to cast more substantial heals or to make sure you cover other targets.
Effuse is a quick, efficient heal.
Enveloping Mist seems to work largely the same, acting as a major HoT and increasing healing received from you on the target.
Renewing Mist will be a 20-sec HoT on the target that jumps to a new target if it starts to overheal. It also has a 4% chance when it heals to increase the healing of your next Vivify (again, see farther below.)
Essence Font is a channeled heal that sends bolts of healing to hit 6 allies once a second every three seconds, first healing for a moderate amount and then some more over 8 seconds. Looks like a pretty useful AoE heal.
Vivify is a kind of cleave heal, healing the target and two nearby allies for a moderate amount.
Sample Talent: Mistwalk:
A 2-charge ability that lets you dash to an ally and heal them for a large amount.
Having not really played my Mistweaver during Warlords, I don't know what the state of "Red Crane" healing is right now, but it's always been in this weird place (I wonder about how Discipline will work out, actually.) But there are some interesting moving parts here. I wonder if Soothing Mists will be all that interesting, but perhaps it's not really all that different from how it works now as a kind of filler spell.
They still want to get that Street Fighter feeling to Windwalkers, really making them feel a bit more active and engaging.
Mastery: Combo Strikes increases the damage of abilities when they are not the repeat of the previous ability - it's the anti-spamming/button-mashing mastery.
Tiger Palm now costs 50 Energy and generates 2 Chi, as well as potentially making your next Blackout Kick cost nothing. It's basically the new Jab.
Blackout Kick only costs 1 Chi now, doing moderate damage.
Rising Sun Kick no longer increases damage taken by your attacks, but simply does lots of damage and reduces the target's healing received.
Fists of Fury seems mostly the same, though with no stun and baseline ability to use it on the move.
Spinning Crane Kick now costs 1 Chi.
Storm, Earth, and Fire now looks MUCH easier to use, as it's a simple toggle, with the Earth and Fire spirits finding their targets without any need of direction.
Sample Talent: Hit Combo:
Each successive attack that triggers Combo Strikes will increase damage by 1%, stacking 10 times.
This is pretty similar kit, though I suspect Brews will now be for Brewmasters only. Still, the pieces fall into place differently now. I think there will be a kind of tricky Tetris to maximizing Combo Strikes when you have lots of Chi to generate for your high-Chi abilities like Fists of Fury and Rising Sun Kick. Could be fun!
The loss of Chi for tanks and heals, and the apparent loss of Brews/Teas for heals and DPS, does take a bit of the class unity out of the equation. I'm glad to see Tiger Palm taking the place of Jab, as the current/old incarnation is kind of just an annoying thing you have to do constantly (though, being free for Brewmasters meant you always had something to do while waiting for Energy to regenerate.) I'm sad to see Fistweaving go, as I think it was one of the really cool, distinctive features of the spec, and differentiated it a lot from Restoration Druids as HoT-focused healers. Still, the viability of a DPS/Healer hybrid spec has always been dubious - though given that they're committing to it so much for Discipline Priests, it's a little surprising to see them abandon it for Mistweavers.
Ok, phew. That's Monks. Half-ish way there! Now...
Druids are getting a few spec redesigns, but the most interesting thing is that they want to take a new approach to the druidic versatility. Instead of shifting into other forms and feeling awkward with action bars you don't recognize, it looks like there will be more things that you can use from other specs within your comfortable preferred forms, like a talent Row based on Affinities - Balance Affinity granting extra range to attacks and spells, Feral Affinity granting extra movement speed, Guardian Affinity reducing damage taken, and Restoration Affinity giving you Ysera's Gift - I believe you'll be able to choose between the other three specs' affinities.
But let's get into specs!
Balance is getting a radical redesign, and I've conferred with my Balance Druid friend, who likes what he sees. Also, it looks like your spells will all have 45-yard ranges, which is pretty cool.
The Balance Meter is gone, and it looks like Mana is as well. Instead, Balance Druids will use Astral Power as their main resource, building it and spending it.
Moonfire is your classic Moonfire, but is now usable in Bear Form (really more relevant for Guardians.) Notably, without a Balance Meter you can use this whenever you please.
Sunfire is also largely the same, but it's a separate spell from Moonfire,
Lunar Strike is your slower-casting Arcane nuke, dealing strong damage to the target and minor damage to nearby enemies. It also generates 15 Astral Power.
Solar Wrath is a faster, Nature damage spell (basically Wrath) dealing moderate damage and generating 9 Astral Power.
Starsurge looks like it'll be the main single-target spender of Astral Power (costing 40), dealing "massive" Astral damage and granting one stack each of Lunar and Solar empowerment, the former increasing the damage of the next Lunar Strike and the latter increasing the damage of the next Solar Wrath by 30%. These buffs can each stack up to three times.
Starfall is now a ground-targeted instant AoE that deals strong Astral damage over 8 seconds and increases the damage of Moonfire and Sunfire on affected targets by 30%.
New Mastery: Starlight:
Increases damage of Starfall and Starsurge and the effect of the Empowerments they grant by 30%.
Damn, son, this is a redesign, and one that actually makes a ton of sense. You're totally in control now, it still has the DoT theme and the Sun/Moon theme, but now it's really Sun/Moon/Stars. It seems elegant and way less of a pain in the ass to play. Basically, you Sun and Moon the target until you can Start them, which makes your Sun and Moon stuff better.
Whoops, forgot Sample Talent: Blessing of the Ancients:
A buff that you click to swap between two options (that's unusual and clever!)
Blessing of Elune: Increases Astral Power generated by Solar Wrath and Lunar Strike by 50%.
Blessing of An'she: Grants 3 Astral Power every 2 seconds.
(Seems like a toggle between single-target and AoE.)
Feral looks far less dramatically different.
Shred, Rake, Rip, and Ferocious Bite seem rather similar to how they work now. Ferocious bite gets a doubled crit chance against bleeding targets.
Omen of Clarity is still there.
Primal Fury gives you extra combo points when a combo-generator crits (not counting DoT effects.)
Mastery: Razor Claws increases Cat From bleed damage.
Sample Talent: Jagged Wounds
Your Rip, Rake and Thrash deal the same damage, but 33% faster.
So definitely not reinventing the wheel for Feral druids. They're still basically the bleed-focused Rogue spec.
Right now, Guardian Druids are perhaps the dodgiest tanks (though I'd have thought Monks, thanks to Elusive Brew, but to be fair I haven't tanked on my druid in a while.) They want to reorient Guardians back toward high armor, health, and health regeneration.
Mangle remains as a Rage generator. Lacerate also remains, giving you a chance to reset your Mangle cooldown. Thrash is still there.
Notably, Moonfire is now usable in Bear form, which I think will work very nicely as a pulling ability.
Defensive abilities are where this gets more interesting:
Ironfur costs 40 rage and increases armor by 100% for 6 seconds. Yes, 100% additional armor. Plus, multiple uses of this ability may overlap - I don't know if that means the duration, or if you can get several times your armor value. Pretty serious business.
Mark of Ursol has the same cost and reduces magic damage taken by 30% for 6 seconds.
Frenzied Regeneration costs 10 Rage and has a 20 second recharge for 2 charges. It now heals you for 100% of the damage taken over the last 6 seconds (minimum of 5% of your max health,) which seems to make it a very useful reactive ability - one you might save up "oh crap" moments.
Mastery: Nature's Guardian now increases your max health and healing received (in addition to attack power - which in case I forgot to put it there, is true for all tank masteries.)
Sample Talent: Rend and Tear
Lacerate's bleed now reduces the damage you take from the target and increases the damage you do to the target, both by 3% per stack.
So this actually looks like a really solid structure for Bear tanking. Dodging was always a weird thing for Guardians to focus on, and I like the heavy-armored tough-as-a-literal-bear style they're returning to. Guardian Druids should have the highest health of tanks, which seems right.
Homestretch. Ok, they mostly like the way Restoration works now, as it's had a strong flavor and gameplay. The main thing they wanted to do was make the Mastery more interesting.
Mastery: Harmony increases your healing by 10% (plus mastery) for each of your Restoration HoTs on the target.
Healing Touch looks mostly the same.
Regrowth has a 60% increased crit chance.
Rejuvenation seems the same.
Lifebloom is limited to a single target (if it already is, sorry. I don't really play healers.)
Efflorescence is targeted at a location, which I think is how it is now.
Swiftmend is a big heal on a 30 second cooldown.
Wild Growth heals big at first, but diminishes over its seven seconds.
Living Seed is triggered by crits with Swiftmend, Regrowth or Healing Touch, triggering when the target is next attacked for 50% of the triggering heal's amount.
Omen of Clarity gets procced by Lifebloom (4% chance,) making the next Regrowth free.
Sample Talent: Flourish:
An instant spell with a 1 min cooldown that extends the duration of all of your HoTs on friendly targets within 60 yards by 10 seconds.
I honestly cannot tell if Restoration is different at all, but again, I don't play it, so... yeah.
Despite the variety offered by the class, I've found myself less and less drawn to Druids over the various expansions. But the changes here to Balance and Guardian might turn that around. Both of those specs look way more fun to play in the Legion iterations. I'm particularly glad to see Balance shifted more toward active control than simply "playing the UI" as Blizzard referred to the current system.
With Druids and Monks now taken care of, that leaves only one currently existing class for tomorrow - Rogues. I wonder if we'll be getting one of these for Demon Hunters. I know they're still finalizing the way that Vengeance tanking is going to work, so I think it's unlikely we'll see a Demon Hunter blog for a while. Still, Rogues should get some cool stuff tomorrow, especially with Combat Rogues becoming Outlaw Rogues and Subtlety getting re-oriented toward Ninja-hood.
And if you've read this far, thanks for your patience!