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Battle for Azeroth Beta Build 26788 Talent Changes

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An overview of the latest talent updates added in this week’s Beta Build 26788.

Welcome to the latest round of talent updates on Battle for Azeroth Beta. This week's build mainly affects Frost Death Knights & Arms / Fury Warriors.

We updated our Battle for Azeroth Class Changes to correspond with all changes listed below, and you can find more information about Battle for Azeroth by visiting our Expansion Hub

Note: The latest Beta Build 26788 does not include the recently-announced changes to MM Hunters, Paladins & Monks.

Death Knight

Frost

  • Abomination's MightAbomination's Might (level 58 talent) removed.
  • Frozen PulseFrozen Pulse (level 90 talent) removed.
  • Hungering Rune WeaponHungering Rune Weapon (level 100 talent) removed, functionality baked into Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon.
  • Inexorable AssaultInexorable Assault is now a level 56 talent (up from 75) and has a new functionality:
    • Gain Inexorable Assault every 8 sec, stacking up to 5 times.
    • Obliterate and Frostscythe consume a stack to deal an additional [ 20% of Attack Power ] Frost damage.
  • Runic AttenuationRunic Attenuation is now a level 57 talent (down from 56).
  • AsphyxiateAsphyxiate is now a level 58 Frost talent.
  • Death PactDeath Pact is now a level 75 Frost talent.
  • Frostwyrm's FuryFrostwyrm's Fury is a new level 90 talent.
  • Freezing FogFreezing Fog is now a level 100 talent (down from 57) + functionality updated:
    • Rime increases the damage of Howling Blast by an additional 100%.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

The next Beta build will include updates to Frost Death Knight. There has been a little more iteration since then (details later), but it will have the bulk of the changes, which are mostly focused on adjustments, rearrangements, or replacements for talents. The baseline spec and core rotation hasn’t changed much – Frost remains a fast-paced, proc-based rotation. The goals for the changes include:

  • Consolidate the multiple self-buff cooldowns available
  • Add the artifact active ability to the talent tree
  • Look for opportunities to update/improve the talent tree

The noteworthy change to the baseline spec is that the self-buff cooldowns have been consolidated:

  • Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon has become what the Hungering Rune WeaponHungering Rune Weapon talent is on live (with tuning adjustments), granting 15% Haste and generating 1 Rune and 5 Runic Power instantly and every 5 sec for 20 sec, on a 2 min cooldown (down from 3 min on live). Now that Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon is on the global cooldown, the full 6 Runes it instantly provided always felt a bit like you were wasting it – shifting it to resources over time to add to a pretty full rotation made sense.
  • Pillar of FrostPillar of Frost has been removed baseline. Since the knockback immunity portion of it was moved to Death's AdvanceDeath's Advance, Pillar ended up being a pretty bland 20% Strength buff. We’ve renamed the talent ObliterationObliteration into Pillar of Frost to keep that name around on the spec.

The next build you’ll see will be just slightly out of date in regards to the Frost talent tree – the most current version is outlined below. Any talents not described are mostly unchanged.

Level 56 row: Inexorable Assault, Icy Talons, Shattering Strikes – primarily single-target/constant value

Inexorable AssaultInexorable Assault has been redesigned – it now periodically grants a buff (stacks to 5) that causes your next ObliterateObliterate to deal additional Frost damage. This additional damage is a flat, separate add to ObliterateObliterate’s damage and doesn’t benefit from Killing MachineKilling Machine (you aren’t intended to play around it + Killing MachineKilling Machine). The talent is mostly passive, but with the added bonus of providing some benefit at the start of an encounter or when you’re off-target.

Level 57 row: Runic Attenuation, Murderous Efficiency, Horn of Winter – this row adds resources/speeds up to the rotation

Runic AttenuationRunic Attenuation now generates 3 Runic Power on a more controllable procs per minute system, instead of generating 1 Runic Power on autoattacks (which didn’t have a good way for us to tune it). It should still feel like pretty consistent resource generation.

Level 58 row: Winter is Coming, Asphyxiate, Blinding Sleet – crowd control

AsphyxiateAsphyxiate has replaced Abomination's MightAbomination's Might in the talent tree, and now all 3 Death Knight specs have access to this single-target stun cooldown. Abomination's MightAbomination's Might wasn’t very reliable and wasn’t even always desirable as a random single-target proc stun.

Level 60 row: Avalanche, Gathering Storm, Glacial Advance – primarily AOE/scales up with #targets

AvalancheAvalanche has been redesigned to trigger from casting Howling BlastHowling Blast with RimeRime active, and is intended to be the simple passive option on the row.

Level 75 row: Permafrost, Wraith Walk, Death Pact

Death PactDeath Pact has replaced the version of Inexorable AssaultInexorable Assault from live, giving both damage specs access to this survivability talent.

Level 90 row: Freezing Fog, Frostscythe, Frostwyrm’s Fury – primarily AOE/scales up with #targets

Freezing FogFreezing Fog is planned to be unchanged from live. The version you’re going to see soon includes an additional mechanic (which is probably being removed), that was added in order to make it fit better when it was on a different talent row.

Frostwyrm’s Fury is the artifact active, Sindragosa's FurySindragosa's Fury, with a slightly different name so that it doesn’t sound too similar to Breath of SindragosaBreath of Sindragosa. Its cooldown is 3 min instead of 5 min (like the artifact active) – a shorter cooldown as a talent feels better to be usable more often and allows it to be better tuned against its competitors without requiring a large damage reduction in PvP due to being a huge single damage event.

Level 100 row: Icecap, Pillar of Frost, Breath of Sindragosa – Damage modifiers/works in most situations

IcecapIcecap now affects Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon instead of Pillar of FrostPillar of Frost, reducing its cooldown by 3 sec (pending tuning) when it triggers.

ObliterationObliteration (the talent on live) has been renamed Pillar of Frost as mentioned earlier, and has the same mechanics on the same 1.5 min cooldown.

Breath of SindragosaBreath of Sindragosa is mostly unchanged. However, worth noting is that its 2 min cooldown lines up better with the new Empower Rune WeaponEmpower Rune Weapon, which now also has a 2 min cooldown.

Note: Runic EmpowermentRunic Empowerment has been tuned down from 1.8%->1.5%. The spec often just had way too much resources to spend. This is the spec’s primary pacing controller and we’ll continue adjusting it in the future to what feels good.

Thanks for all the continued feedback.

Level Talent 1 Talent 2 Talent 3
56 Inexorable AssaultInexorable Assault Icy TalonsIcy Talons Shattering StrikesShattering Strikes
57 Runic AttenuationRunic Attenuation Murderous EfficiencyMurderous Efficiency Horn of WinterHorn of Winter
58 Winter is ComingWinter is Coming AsphyxiateAsphyxiate *new* Blinding SleetBlinding Sleet
60 IcecapIcecap AvalancheAvalanche Glacial AdvanceGlacial Advance
75 PermafrostPermafrost Wraith WalkWraith Walk *new* Death PactDeath Pact *new*
90 Gathering StormGathering Storm FrostscytheFrostscythe Frostwyrm's FuryFrostwyrm's Fury *new*
100 Freezing FogFreezing Fog ObliterationPillar of Frost Breath of SindragosaBreath of Sindragosa

Druid

Balance

  • StarlordStarlord is now a level 75 talent (was 90).
  • Twin MoonsTwin Moons is now a level 90 talent (was 75).
Level Talent 1 Talent 2 Talent 3
15 Nature's BalanceNature's Balance Warrior of EluneWarrior of Elune Force of NatureForce of Nature
30 Tiger DashTiger Dash RenewalRenewal Wild ChargeWild Charge
45 Feral AffinityFeral Affinity Guardian AffinityGuardian Affinity Restoration AffinityRestoration Affinity
60 Mighty BashMighty Bash Mass EntanglementMass Entanglement TyphoonTyphoon
75 Soul of the ForestSoul of the Forest StarlordStarlord Incarnation: Chosen of EluneIncarnation: Chosen of Elune
90 Stellar DriftStellar Drift Twin MoonsTwin Moons *new* Stellar FlareStellar Flare
100 Shooting StarsShooting Stars Fury of EluneFury of Elune New MoonNew Moon *new*

Priest

Holy

  • ApotheosisApotheosis (level 100 talent) updated:
    • Enter a pure Holy form for 20 sec. (down from 30 sec), increasing the cooldown reductions to your Holy Words by 300% (up from 200%) and reducing their cost by 100%. Cooldown: 2 min (down from 3 min).

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

We've seen a lot of feedback on ApotheosisApotheosis (and level 100 generally) after the talent swap. 2 changes in next build:

--Duration 20s and cooldown 2min (from 30s and 3min). The shorter cooldown is likely worth a lot more than 10s of added duration, in terms of how you usually want to use it to deliver strong healing for a situation that doesn't necessarily last 30 seconds.

--The bonus is +300% rather than +200%. This matches the strength that it has on live when Light of the NaaruLight of the Naaru is taken. ApotheosisApotheosis didn't need to be weakened outright, and can have the synergy with Light of the NaaruLight of the Naaru baked in, now that you can't take both.

Shadow

  • Dark AscensionDark Ascension (level 100 talent) got updated.
    • Immediately activates a new Voidform, then releases an explosive blast of pure void energy, causing [ 160% of Spell Power ] Shadow damage to all enemies within 10 yds of your target.
    • Cooldown: 60 sec (down from 1.5 min), Generates 50 Insanity (up from 30).

Warlock

Affliction

  • DeathboltDeathbolt is now a level 15 talent (was 90).
  • HauntHaunt is now a level 90 talent (was 15).

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

We're going to swap HauntHaunt (was lvl 15, now lvl 90) with DeathboltDeathbolt (was lvl 90, now lvl 15) in the talent tree in the next build. This fulfills a desire (mentioned several times here) to be able to play a NightfallNightfall + HauntHaunt or Drain SoulDrain Soul + HauntHaunt build, which a lot of players think is fun (and is fair feedback).

The reason we made the last round of talent swaps, which saw NightfallNightfall and Drain SoulDrain Soul move to level 15, and Shadow EmbraceShadow Embrace and HauntHaunt move to level 90, was to satisfy a different desire (as players mentioned even in this thread) to allow Drain SoulDrain Soul and Grimoire of SacrificeGrimoire of Sacrifice to be taken together, as both are identity, feel, and greatly gameplay changing. That also seemed reasonable.

Separately, that also had the benefit of allowing NightfallNightfall and Drain SoulDrain Soul to be acquirable earlier at lvl 15, since they are both great leveling talents and good to have early.

To make room for NightfallNightfall and Drain SoulDrain Soul on the lvl 15 row, we chose to move Shadow EmbraceShadow Embrace and DeathboltDeathbolt together (as opposed to Shadow Embrace and HauntHaunt) because Shadow EmbraceShadow Embrace and HauntHaunt are pretty similar - they both provide a damage taken debuff with or near 100% uptime. That's still true, but it seems better overall to live with that, look for opportunities to improve/replace Shadow EmbraceShadow Embrace in the future, and support a NightfallNightfall + HauntHaunt build.

So the new layout looks like:

Row 15: NightfallNightfall, Drain SoulDrain Soul, DeathboltDeathbolt
Row 90: Shadow EmbraceShadow Embrace, HauntHaunt, Grimoire of SacrificeGrimoire of Sacrifice

On the topic of talent tree layouts in general for all specs - it's always a list of competing, sometimes contradictory desires, all of which are valid to some varying degrees:

  • "All talents on a row should be equal"
  • "Some talents should better in some situations"
  • "Talents on the same row shouldn't clearly be better in single target or AOE vs other talents on the same row"
  • "Difficult to use talents should be a little more rewarding than easy to use talents"
  • "Talents shouldn't be too similar to each other"
  • "Players should be allowed to pick whatever talent they find the most fun"
  • "The strongest talent should probably be the most fun one"

And so on. It’s often not possible to satisfy all requirements, so it becomes sort of finding the best configuration that satisfies as many desires as possible, and iterating on improvements for the future.

As usual, we're always open to feedback.
Level Talent 1 Talent 2 Talent 3
15 NightfallNightfall Drain SoulDrain Soul *new* DeathboltDeathbolt *new*aw
30 Writhe in AgonyWrithe in Agony Absolute CorruptionAbsolute Corruption Siphon LifeSiphon Life
45 Demon SkinDemon Skin Burning RushBurning Rush Dark PactDark Pact
60 Sow the SeedsSow the Seeds Phantom SingularityPhantom Singularity Vile TaintVile Taint *new*
75 DarkfuryDarkfury *new* Mortal CoilMortal Coil Demonic CircleDemonic Circle
90 Shadow EmbraceShadow Embrace *new* HauntHaunt Grimoire of SacrificeGrimoire of Sacrifice
100 Soul ConduitSoul Conduit Creeping DeathCreeping Death *new* Dark Soul: MiseryDark Soul: Misery *new*

Warrior

Arms

  • TraumaTrauma (level 45 talent) removed.
  • Fervor of BattleFervor of Battle is now a level 45 talent (was 90).
  • MassacreMassacre is a new level 45 talent, in place of MassacreMassacre (functionality updated).
    • Execute is now usable on targets below 35% health.
  • AvatarAvatar is now a level 90 talent (was 45).

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

In the next Beta build, you'll see a few changes for Arms that should address the Rage economy issues pointed out in threads like this one. The baseline pacing is slightly lower than intended, and talents can cause too big of a swing in either direction (slowing down or speeding up the pace).
  • Rage generation from auto attacks is increased by ~16%.
  • TacticianTactician's proc chance is increased to 1.4% per Rage spent (it was 0.9%).

This adds more button presses to the rotation regardless of your talent build, and pushes OverpowerOverpower more than other abilities to avoid creeping too close to "Slam-spam" territory. The moment we’re trying to eliminate as much as possible is the, “I have enough Rage to Slam right now, but I don’t know if I’ll have enough to Mortal StrikeMortal Strike afterwards unless I have a swing timer.” These changes add enough Rage, and enough OverpowerOverpower procs, to make that a rarer occurrence.

However, pumping more Rage into the rotation doesn't solve the problems with certain talent setups that have been highlighted here. There are a handful of Rage management talents that have big impacts on the spec's feel and flow, but it is easy to accidentally put together a build that is either starved or flooded.

This makes the purpose of each row clearer. 45 is all about spending more Rage. The row will have a more predictable impact on total button presses over time, while each talent still has a distinct impact on moment-to-moment gameplay.

Similarly, the 90 row is now all about cooldowns. Putting AvatarAvatar and Deadly CalmDeadly Calm against each other limits the pacing swing between different talent setups, as well as lowering overall burst potential (something at which Arms already excels). Having strengths is important, but pushing them too far can lead to feeling like you’re a one-trick pony.

Finally, two more related tweaks:

Mortal StrikeSkullsplitter was adding too much activity, relative to the other options on the 15 row. Even with this change, it is still the most active choice for players who enjoy being closer to GCD-locked.

Rather than adding AvatarAvatar to Anger ManagementAnger Management, we've opted to keep it simpler on the surface while still having all three 90 talents interact with it in different ways: In For The KillIn For The Kill is directly buffed, AvatarAvatar feeds extra Rage into Anger ManagementAnger Management, and Deadly CalmDeadly Calm makes it easier to set up for the more regular Colossus SmashColossus Smash windows.

Oh -- we're also trying out a different animation for OverpowerOverpower

As always, thanks for the feedback and discussion!

Level Talent 1 Talent 2 Talent 3
15 War MachineWar Machine *new* Sudden DeathSudden Death SkullsplitterSkullsplitter *new*
30 Double TimeDouble Time Impending VictoryImpending Victory *new* Storm BoltStorm Bolt
45 MassacreMassacre *new* Fervor of BattleFervor of Battle RendRend
60 Second WindSecond Wind Bounding StrideBounding Stride Defensive StanceDefensive Stance
75 Collateral DamageCollateral Damage  *new* WarbreakerWarbreaker *new* CleaveCleave
90 In For The KillIn For The Kill *new* AvatarAvatar Deadly CalmDeadly Calm *new*
100 Anger ManagementAnger Management DreadnaughtDreadnaught *new* RavagerRavager

Fury

Level Talent 1 Talent 2 Talent 3
15 War MachineWar Machine Endless RageEndless Rage Fresh MeatFresh Meat
30 Double TimeDouble Time Impending VictoryImpending Victory *new* Storm BoltStorm Bolt
45 Inner RageInner Rage Sudden DeathSudden Death *new* Furious SlashFurious Slash *new*
60 Furious ChargeFurious Charge Bounding StrideBounding Stride WarpaintWarpaint
75 CarnageCarnage MassacreMassacre *new* Frothing BerserkerFrothing Berserker
90 Storm of SteelMeat Cleaver *new* Dragon RoarDragon Roar BladestormBladestorm
100 Reckless AbandonReckless Abandon Anger ManagementAnger Management *new* SiegebreakerSiegebreaker *new*

Previous Talent Changes

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Why do they keep juggling these talents every few weeks and months (Looking at you for example, Warrior!). Do they even have a concrete plan at all or is it just "Let's just try this and see what happens"?

 

Where's the CREATIVITY and PASSION at?

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6 minutes ago, Yridaa said:

Why do they keep juggling these talents every few weeks and months (Looking at you for example, Warrior!). Do they even have a concrete plan at all or is it just "Let's just try this and see what happens"?

 

Where's the CREATIVITY and PASSION at?

I think the reason is that they have followed community's suggestions for expansions now and they've lost a bit reasons and scope of talents etc. Their internal team are more worried about customer feedback that gameplay integrity. That's imho, the reason.

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2 hours ago, Reullapool said:

I think the reason is that they have followed community's suggestions for expansions now and they've lost a bit reasons and scope of talents etc. Their internal team are more worried about customer feedback that gameplay integrity. That's imho, the reason.

I like this post. I think you nailed it.

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4 hours ago, Yridaa said:

I like this post. I think you nailed it.

My opinion: yes and no:

Yes - Blizzard is listenting to community and has lost their path.

No - They just listen due to missing understanding/creativity for warriors. It's not just Arms-Warrior, Fury and Prot it's the same. As you stated - where has the creativity and passion gone?

I dont say it's an easy job. In fact, I think it's quite difficult. Do class-design and fit it into PvE (solo-, grp- and raid-environment) as well as PvP (open world, arena, bg)...this is not easy at all. So i don't jugde them by shifting around the talents and try their best. At least they're trying something.

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10 hours ago, Reullapool said:

I think the reason is that they have followed community's suggestions for expansions now and they've lost a bit reasons and scope of talents etc. Their internal team are more worried about customer feedback that gameplay integrity. That's imho, the reason.

That falls under the problem of "damned if you do, damned if you dont," sprinkled withh some "catch 22".

Dont listen to the community, be berated in the forums for it.  Listen to the community and the specs and classes start to lose feel or function.  

Sometimes they need to grab the old Almonds and try something new.  Freshen it up.  Still listen but it is their game after all.  

I like the approach thusfar.  A lot of shuffling, but reimagining a class/spec/talents cannot be that easy, then balancing afterwards....

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Personally I think all the classes that are getting blue attention are improving a lot and we are getting great explanations on changes too. At this point the only thing dev team can be blamed on is the decision to remove artifacts (which obviously made the resulting class gameplay extremely different and hollowed out in general but is essential to create new gameplay) and the inability to be everywhere at once.

Classes that did not get much design / blue post attention yet (shamans in general, non-boomkin druids and non-protection paladins, for example) tend to be the worse off right now compared to Legion as they mostly received nerfs to their (over?)powerful abilities without actual redesigns to give new direction to the classes and thus play mostly the same as Legion but weak(er).

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