WoW Class Updates: Shaman, Warlock, Priest

As we mentioned the other day, Blizzard is in the process of releasing a good bit of information on all 10 World of Warcraft classes, and how they will be updated in the new expansion. First they hit up the Shaman, Warlock and Priest classes. Check out the highlights below, which include links to the full official rundown on the WoW forums. Our comments hopefully give a little extra commentary on what we think about some of the newly announced abilities.


Primal Strike (level 3)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Primal Strike is a new weapon-based attack that every shaman will learn very early in the game. Our goal with this ability is to make leveling as Enhancement rather than as Elemental more viable, since many key Enhancement talents become available at fairly high levels.”

Chad: My favorite spec was always Enhancement, and they are right, the first 30-40 levels playing as that spec were all kinds of horrible. However, after that, things really got fun. If Primal Strike can add some of that enjoyment to the first part of leveling the class, I’m all for it. It can also be seen as a buff to the entire 85 levels of shaman leveling, because it will just be one more melee ability to add to your arsenal.

Healing Wave (level 4)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we’re adding another spell to the class’s direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the ‘new’ Healing Wave to be the shaman’s go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.”

Chad: I don’t do resto. Except with my druid. Still, another spell that can be used for situational healing can’t be anything but a good thing. The more choices the better. It adds an extra dimension to the strategy behind healing as a resto shaman.

Unleash Weapon (level 81)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable.

Here are a few examples of effects we’re considering for this ability:

  • Windfury Weapon – Hurls a spectral version of your weapon at a target, dealing 50% weapon damage and increasing the shaman’s Haste for the next five swings
  • Flametongue Weapon – Deals instant Fire damage and buffs the shaman’s next Fire attack by 20%.
  • Earthliving Weapon – Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman’s next healing spell by 20%.”

Chad: This sounds interesting, especially since a later comment made by Blizzard suggests that using this ability will not remove the weapon enchant. That makes it so much sweeter.

Healing Rain (level 83)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.”

Chad: Additional info added later states that this will not be a channeled ability, thank the Earthmother. As I stated above, one area that shamans were lacking in is some sort of large group heal, and this would be it. Chain Heal doesn’t count since it only heals what, a few people at a time with diminishing returns?

Spiritwalker’s Grace (level 85)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.”

Chad: Casting while moving? I never thought I would see the day! This would be great for Enchancement, since that spec tends to be running around a lot, just like any melee-based class or spec. Healing on the fly would be welcome. These updates make me want to get back into my Shaman again. I wonder if I have the time to get from 70 to 80 before Cataclysm hits…

For more information on this class, including talent changes and additions, modified class mechanics and mastery passive talent tree bonuses check out the full post on the WoW forums.


Fel Flame (level 81)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that’s good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.”

Chad: I just about had a spellgasm. Refreshing the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction are almost enough in itself to make this spell worth using. Oh, and it is instant cast? Maybe I should bring my warlock out of retirement to melt some faces.

Dark Intent (level 83)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Increases the target’s chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.”

Chad: Cool-sounding ability name. ‘Nuff said.

Demon Soul (level 85)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Fuses the warlock’s soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.”

Chad: No relation to the game of a similar title by a publisher called Atlus. Or, maybe there is, and it is a reference to how fighting a warlock in PvP is about as tough as playing Demon’s Souls.

Also of note for warlocks is the Soul Shard mechanics overhaul, via Blizzard:

“This major change regarding Soul Shards was previous announced at BlizzCon 2009. Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be u sed during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat. Soul Shards will not be required outside of combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells. Soul Burn has no mana or health costs and is off the global cooldown. Planned secondary effects are outlined here.

Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.
Drain Life + Soul Burn = Reduces cast speed by 60%.
Demonic Circle + Soul Burn = Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds after teleporting.
Unstable Affliction + Soul Burn = Instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its effect.
Soul Fire + Soul Burn = Instant cast.
Healthstone + Soul Burn = Increases total health by 20% for 8 seconds.
Searing Pain + Soul Burn = Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.”

Chad: Glad to hear about the Soul Shard changes. To be honest, this is a big reason I just gave up on the class all those years ago. I never leveled it past 60 once Burning Crusade hit because I just didn’t want to deal with the Soul Shards any longer. This also looks to add more strategy to how you use the ones you have available during combat.

For more information on this class, including talent changes and additions, modified class mechanics and mastery passive talent tree bonuses check out the full post on the WoW forums.


I’ll let my friend Heidi provide some insight on these new abilities, as she has a level 80 priest.

Heal (level 16)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the “new” Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest’s go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all healing classes.”

Heidi: Lesser Heal and Heal have been pretty much obsolete in any priest rotation since level 20. Flash Heal and Greater Heal have been it, and they are on completely different levels of effectiveness, so it will be nice to have a heal that falls in between.

Mind Spike (level 81)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn’t have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don’t intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-year range. No cooldown.”

Heidi: Mind Spike sounds awesome. In my current shadow rotation everything works fine for my soloing, but when I get into a boss fight or go up against an elite quest mob it doesn’t work so well. I have the three DOTs, then Mind Blast and Mind Flay will kill a single boring mob, but with the long cooldown of Mind Blast, it is never back up when I am done with Mind Flay, so having something else to go to will be cool. It kind of sounds like the Arcane Blast that mages get – the more you cast the higher the damage.

Inner Will (level 83)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can’t have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.”

Heidi: Meh. It is okay, but nothing to jump up and down about. I could be wrong, but I think there is a talent that speeds up instant-cast spells by 10%. I’m curious if they will stack. I guess the speed buff is nice, but it isn’t something that is going to be used in a raid or instance. I see it as more of a PvP thing.

Leap of Faith (level 85)
Blizzard’s Explanation: “Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or “Life Grip”) is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled agro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can’t seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.”

Heidi: This is going to piss a lot of people off. The last thing a melee DPS-er is going to want to have happen is some jackass priest yanking them around. In a raid or heroic, I can’t see it being all that useful. Depending on what type of healer you are, you are either focused on the tank or, if in a raid, you are the raid healer. The description of the spell doesn’t mention if using it drops the agro of the person who you use it on. If it doesn’t and you yank the DPS back, your tank is going to be pissed that his mob just ran 30 yards back to, not only the DPS it was wailing on, but the casters, as well. This is what is going to happen: If a boss is doing some type of AOE and the melee are getting hit, the priest is going to yank them back and they are going to be upset that they are losing out on DPS numbers, because it’s all about the meters, right? It’ll be “Just heal me through it, don’t pull me away.” It will probably be more useful in PvP than anything else.

Overall I’m a bit disappointed. From what I’ve read of the shaman and warlock changes, they seem to be getting a lot more. If the priest was my main, I might be upset at Blizzard, but I’ll hold off my prissiness until I see the mage changes.

For more information on this class, including talent changes and additions, modified class mechanics and mastery passive talent tree bonuses check out the full post on the WoW forums.

That is everything from the first day of class release info (which was Wednesday). Stay tuned for the other classes coming up in the next week or so.

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Chad Awkerman

Chad joined the DualShockers staff in mid 2009 and since then has put much of his time into covering RPGs, with a focus on the Japanese side of the genre, from the obscure to the mainstream. He's a huge fan of iconic games like Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI and Persona 4 yet enjoys the smaller niche titles, as well. In his spare time he enjoys experiencing new beer, new foods and keeping up with just about every sci-fi show on television. He's married to an intelligent, beautiful Southern Belle who keeps his life interesting with witty banter and spicy Cajun cooking.

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