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An Early Look at Druid, Hunter, Mage, and Priest Hero Talents in War Within

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Here's an early preview of Druid, Hunter, Mage, and Priest Hero Talents coming in The War Within!

Hero Talents are a new evergreen form of character progression coming in The War Within expansion. The following post by Blizzard dives into the philosophies around the Hero Talents for the Keeper of the Grove Druid, Dark Ranger Hunter, Frostfire Mage, and Oracle Priest.

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The War Within expansion introduces Hero Talents as a new update to World of Warcraft classes. They are an evergreen form of character progression for each class specialization that introduces new powers and class fantasies. Feedback is critical to us as a part of creating an impactful and fun addition to the game, so we are sharing our goals for Hero Talents with the community to get first impressions of them and learn how well we’re meeting those goals.

Index


What Are Hero Talents?

Hero Talents are new, self-contained talent trees that players unlock access at level 71. Hero Talents build on the abilities and talents of current classes and specializations. Players can choose a single Hero Talent tree to activate on a character and these talents can be changed in the same way class talents can be currently changed in the game. There are three Hero Talent trees for each class (excepting druid with four and demon hunter with two).  Each specialization has two Hero Talent trees they can choose between, and each of these trees is available as an option for two specializations.

For example, warriors have three Hero Talent tree options: Slayer, Colossus, and Mountain Thane. Fury has access to Mountain Thane and Slayer, Protection has access to Mountain Thane and Colossus, and Arms has access to Colossus and Slayer.

There are 11 nodes in a Hero Talent tree. The first of these unlocks with the system at level 71, and you earn 1 talent point per level from level 71 to 80, so you get every talent in the tree by level 80. Hero Talents will have starter builds available, and your saved builds will save your Hero Talent choices as well.


What to Expect from Hero Talents

Each Hero Talent tree starts with a “keystone” talent that introduces the core mechanic and concept of the tree. This could be a new ability, an enhancement to an existing ability or cooldown, or a new buff you can trigger. The bottom talent of each tree is a “capstone” talent that builds on the core themes of the tree or adds new power to the keystone.

Each tree will offer or modify some class utility and include defensive bonuses that are useful to all specializations. We are aiming for all trees to be about equal in the amount of utility and defensiveness they provide. Trees for characters that can take on a tanking role may have some additional defense bonuses that will be less valuable to healers or damage dealers (DPS), such as bonuses to tank talents or cooldowns. Three or four nodes in each tree will be choice nodes where you can choose between two options.

Hero Talents are meant to add enough damage or healing throughput to be significant without being so important that these new talents overshadow your current class and spec tree talents. Most Hero Talent trees add new visual effects to classes, both to communicate what they’re doing and bring their class fantasies to life. However, these are not complete visual reworks – your class and spec are still the same at their core, and that will continue to come through.


Maintaining Freedom to Choose

We want players to be free to choose the Hero Talent tree that has the gameplay, visuals, or flavor that they prefer. Our goal is for both options to feel similarly effective in raid dungeons, Mythic+, and PvP. We're working to avoid abilities or bonuses in Hero Talents that could make a certain tree feel "required" for activities where we can.

We know that for some players, prioritizing total throughput is the most important thing to them, even if the difference between choices seems small. That’s okay but keeping Hero Talent balance close is one of our priorities so that players can play what they prefer and still be viable in any content.


How We Chose Hero Talent Concepts

Since we announced Hero Talents at BlizzCon, it's been great to see all the conversation and speculation surrounding the 39 Hero Talent titles. We'd like to share some of the thinking that went behind choosing those concepts.

Each Hero Talent concept must be appropriate for both of the specs that can use it. Some concepts build on overlaps in abilities or flavors between the two specs that can use it, like Colossus warriors, which are as mighty as Arms warriors and as imposing as Protection warriors. Others create new themes that are appropriate for both specs, like Fatebound rogues.

Hero Talents also retain your combat role and the gear that you use so that you're not competing for new types of gear. For iconic Warcraft character archetypes, we wanted to be sure that we could deliver on their fantasy with World of Warcraft’s classes. Blademasters just wouldn’t be Blademasters without abilities like Wind Walk and Mirror Image, but those abilities don’t fit in a warrior’s toolkit.

Lastly, there are several iconic character archetypes that are strongly tied to specific races and factions, such as Keeper of the Grove or Mountain Thane. It’s exciting to embody these storied archetypes, but we want to ensure that characters of every race and faction can see themselves as those archetypes. We’re open to feedback on what feels good for your characters versus what is frustrating.


Gameplay and Hero Talents

We have several goals for what it feels like to play World of Warcraft with Hero Talents. Here are some of our guiding principles for how they affect your capabilities, your rotation, what you pay attention to in combat, and your user interface.

We like to say on the team that our goal for Hero Talents gameplay is for them to make you “what you are, but more.” We know that many of you have long histories with your favorite classes, and you play them because you like their gameplay and the spells and abilities that matter in their rotation, whether it’s the spinning plates of Affliction, the cycles of Arcane, or the frenetic reactivity of Fury. Hero Talents don’t override what matters to a class. You should feel like you’re playing your spec with a twist or a boost and not as if the things you care about have become unimportant or been replaced.

A Hero Talent tree might add new behavior or bonuses to an existing ability, like Keeper of the Grove’s bonuses to Force of Nature and Grove Guardian treants. They might occasionally reset the cooldown on abilities or replace spells with more powerful versions. They might make it easier to maintain important buffs or grant additional resources at key moments.

One thing that we’re keeping a close eye on is complexity. Classes in WoW have a lot of abilities and talents, and there’s a lot to learn about each one. We want Hero Talents to add new fun without creating new burdens, either in customizing or playing a character. Most Hero Talent trees do not add new buttons that players will need to add to their action bar or find a new keybind for. There will be additional opportunities for players to express their skill, but we’re trying not to add things like complex maintenance buffs that increase the cognitive load for everyone playing a class. Most of the choices a player will make about how complex they want their rotation to be will continue to be made in their class and spec talent trees.

Some Hero Talents do require you to take certain talents in your class or spec trees to access their powers. This is often because those talents fit the flavor and theme of that specific Hero Talent tree. The Mountain Thane warrior tree enhances Avatar and Thunder Clap, Templar paladin gives extra power to Wake of Ashes, and Elune’s Chosen druids can cast a particularly strong Fury of Elune. However, a Hero Talent tree will only ever require or enhance a small number of class or spec talents. It's important to us that there still is freedom in customizing your class build.


Show Us the Hero Talent Trees!

Over the coming months, we’ll continue to share full designs for Hero Talent trees from The War Within. We’re excited to hear what you think of them.

Below, you’ll find the Hero Talents for the Keeper of the Grove Druids, Dark Ranger Hunters, Frostfire Mages, and Oracle Priests.

Specializations: Balance and Restoration

Keepers of the Grove take inspiration from Cenarius' mighty children to protect the balance of nature and safeguard the Dream. They channel the power of the Dream to make their spells especially potent and summon empowered treants to protect their allies and crush their enemies.

KEEPER OF THE GROVE KEYSTONE

Dream Surge: Force of Nature grants 3 charges of Dream Burst, causing your next Wrath or Starfire to explode on the target, dealing Nature damage to nearby enemies. Damage is reduced above 5 targets.

Grove Guardians causes your next targeted heal to create 2 Dream Petals near the target, healing up to 3 nearby allies. Stacks up to 3 charges.

KEEPER OF THE GROVE ROW 1

Treants of the Moon: Your treants cast Moonfireon nearby targets about once every 6 seconds.

Expansiveness: Your maximum mana is increased by 5% and your maximum Astral Power is increased by 20.

Protective Growth: Your Regrowth protects you, reducing damage you take by 8% while your Regrowth is on you.

KEEPER OF THE GROVE ROW 2

Choice Node: Power of Nature & Durability of Nature

  • Power of Nature: YourForce of Nature treants no longer taunt and deal 20% increased damage. Your Grove Guardians increase the healing of your Rejuvenation, Efflorescence and Lifebloom by 5% while active.
  • Durability of Nature: Your Force of Nature treants have 50% increased health. Your Grove Guardians Nourish and Swiftmend spells also apply a minor Cenarion Ward that heals the target over 8 seconds the next time they take damage.

Cenarius’ Might: Casting Starsurge or Starfall increases the damage of your next Starsurge or Starfall by 10%, stacking up to 2 times. Casting another spell cancels this effect.

Casting Regrowth, Wild Growth, or Swiftmend increases the healing of your next Regrowth, Wild Growth, or Swiftmend by 10%, stacking up to 2 times. Casting another spell cancels this effect.

Choice Node: Grove’s Inspiration & Persistent Enchantments

  • Grove’s Inspiration: Wrath and Starfiredamage increased by 12%. Regrowth, Wild Growth, and Swiftmend healing increased by 6%.
  • Persistent Enchantments:Orbital Strike applies Stellar Flare for 20 seconds and Primordial Arcanic Pulsar grants Celestial Alignment for 2 additional seconds. Reforestation grants Tree of Life for 2 additional seconds.

KEEPER OF THE GROVE ROW 3 

Choice Node: Bounteous Bloom & Early Spring

  • Bounteous Bloom: Your Force of Nature treants generate 3 Astral Power every 2 seconds. Your Grove Guardians’ healing is increased by 20%.
  • Early Spring: Force of Nature cooldown reduced by 10 seconds. Grove Guardians cooldown reduced by 3 seconds.

Choice Node: Power of the Dream & Control of the Dream

  • Power of the Dream: Force of Nature grants an additional stack of Dream Burst. Healing spells cast with Dream Surge generate an additional Dream Petal. Cenarius’ Might increases spell damage or healing by an additional 5%.
  • Control of the Dream: Time elapsed while your major abilities are available to be used is subtracted from that ability’s cooldown after the next time you use it, up to 5 seconds. Affects Nature’s Swiftness, Incarnation: Tree of Life, Force of Nature, Celestial Alignment, and Convoke the Spirits.

Blooming Infusion: Every 5 Regrowths you cast make your next Wrath, Starfire, or Entangling Roots instant and increases the damage it deals by 100%. Every 5 Starsurges or Starfalls you cast makes your next Regrowth or Entangling Roots instant.

KEEPER OF THE GROVE CAPSTONE

Harmony of the Grove: Each of your Force of Nature treants increases damage your spells deal by 3% while active. Each of your Grove Guardians increases your healing done by 3% while active.

Specializations: Marksmanship and Beast Mastery Hunter

You have made a pact with dark magic and have embraced hatred and necromancy for your own personal benefit. Strike from the shadows and assault your enemies with necrotic/shadow empowered abilities. Enemies who fall from your abilities further empower your dark energies.

DARK RANGER KEYSTONE

Black Arrow: Fire a Black Arrow into your target, causing it to take Shadow damage every 2 seconds for 16 seconds. Each time Black Arrow deals damage, you have a chance to reset the cooldown of Aimed Shot or Barbed Shot. 30 second cooldown.

DARK RANGER ROW 1

Ranger’s Finesse: Aimed Shot and Rapid Fire deal 15% increased damage. Barbed Shot and Kill Command deal 15% increased damage.

Dark Hounds: Each time Black Arrow deals damage, you have a chance to manifest an undead hound to charge your target and deal Shadow damage.

Death Shade: When you apply Black Arrow to a target, you gain the Deathblow or Hunter’s Prey effect.

DARK RANGER ROW 2

Choice Node: Dark Empowerment & Grave Reaper

  • Dark Empowerment: When Black Arrow resets the cooldown of an ability, gain 15 Focus.
  • Grave Reaper: When a target affected by Black Arrow dies, the cooldown of Black Arrow is reduced by 12 seconds.

Choice Node: Embrace the Shadows & Smoke Screen

  • Embrace the Shadows: You heal for 15% of all Shadow damage dealt by you or your pets.
  • Smoke Screen: Exhilaration grants you 3 seconds of Survival of the Fittest. Survival of the Fittest activates Exhilaration at 50% effectiveness.

Dark Chains: Disengage will chain the closest target to the ground, causing them to move 40% slower until they move 8 yards away. 

DARK RANGER ROW 3

Intense Darkness: When Trueshot or Call of the Wild is active, Black Arrow deals damage 50% faster.

Shadow Surge: When Multi-Shot hits a target affected by Black Arrow, a burst of Shadow energy erupts dealing moderate Shadow damage to all enemies near the target. This can only occur once every 6 seconds.

Choice Node: Darkness Calls & Shadow Assassin

  • Darkness Calls: All Shadow damage you and your pets deal is increased by 10%.
  • Shadow Assassin: Kill Shot has a 15% chance to generate a charge of Aimed Shot or Barbed Shot when used on a target affected by Black Arrow.

DARK RANGER CAPSTONE

Withering Fire: When Black Arrow resets the cooldown of Aimed Shot or Barbed Shot, a barrage of dark arrows strikes your target for Shadow damage and increases the damage you and your pets deal by 10% for 6 seconds.

Specializations: Fire and Frost

Frostfire Mages harness a fusion of fire and ice magic to burn and freeze their enemies. Their use of elemental magic empowers them, enabling devastating combinations of spell casts and increasing their output by manipulating temperatures.

FROSTFIRE KEYSTONE 

Frostfire Mastery: Your damaging Fire spells generate 1 stack of Fire Mastery and Frost spells generate 1 stack of Frost Mastery. Fire Mastery increases your Haste by 1% and Frost Mastery increases your Mastery by 1% for 12 seconds, stacking up to 8 times each. Adding stacks does not refresh duration.

FROSTFIRE ROW 1

Choice Node: Imbued Warding & Meltdown

  • Imbued Warding: Blazing Barrier also casts an Ice Barrier at 25% effectiveness for Fire. Ice Barrier also casts a Blazing Barrier at 25% effectiveness for Frost. This also affects your Mass Barrier.
  • Meltdown: You melt slightly out of your Ice Block and Ice Cold, allowing you to move slowly during Ice Block and increasing your movement speed over time. Ice Block and Ice Cold trigger a Blast Wave when they end.

Frostfire Bolt: Launches a bolt of Frostfire at the enemy, dealing Frostfire damage, slowing movement speed by 50%, and causing additional Frostfire damage over 8 seconds. Frostfire Bolt generates a stack of both Fire Mastery and Frost Mastery. Replaces Frostbolt for Frost and Fireball for Fire. 2 second cast time.

Choice Node: Elemental Affinity & Flame & Frost

  • Elemental Affinity: The cooldown of Frost spells is reduced by 10% for Fire. The cooldown of Fire spells is reduced by 30% for Frost.
  • Flame and Frost: Cauterize resets the cooldown of your Frost spells with a base cooldown shorter than 4 minutes when it activates for Fire. Cold Snap additionally resets the cooldown of your Fire spells.

FROSTFIRE ROW 2

Isothermic Core: Comet Storm now also calls down a Meteor at 100% effectiveness onto your target’s location. Meteor now also calls down a Comet Storm at 150% effectiveness onto your target location.

Choice Node: Severe Temperatures & Thermal Conditioning

  • Severe Temperatures: Casting Frost or Fire spells increases the damage of your next Frostfire Bolt by 6%, stacking up to 5 times.
  • Thermal Conditioning: Frostfire Bolt’s cast time is reduced by 10%.

Frostfire Infusion: Your Frost and Fire spells have a chance to trigger an additional bolt of Frostfire, dealing Frostfire damage. This effect generates Frostfire Mastery when activated.

FROSTFIRE ROW 3

Excess Frost: Reaching maximum stacks of Frost Mastery causes your next Phoenix Flames (Fire) / Flurry (Frost) to also cast Ice Nova at 200% effectiveness. When you consume Excess Frost, the cooldown of Meteor (Fire) / Comet Storm (Frost) is reduced by 5 seconds.

Frostfire Empowerment: Your Frost and Fire spells have a chance to activate Frostfire Empowerment, causing your next Frostfire Bolt to always critically strike, explode for 80% of its damage to nearby enemies, and be instant cast.

Excess Fire: Reaching maximum stacks of Fire Mastery causes your next Fire Blast (Fire) / Ice Lance (Frost) to apply Living Bomb at 150% effectiveness. When this Living Bomb explodes, reduce the cooldown of Phoenix Flames by 10 seconds (Fire) / gain Brain Freeze (Frost).

FROSTFIRE CAPSTONE

Flash Freezeburn: Frostfire Empowerment grants you maximum benefit of Frostfire Mastery and refreshes its duration. Activating Combustion or Icy Veins grants you Frostfire Empowerment.

Specializations: Holy and Discipline Priest

Gain insight into the future and use it to protect and empower your allies. Future sight grants the Priest the ability to grant multiple different and unique beneficial effects to their allies.

ORACLE KEYSTONE

Premonition: Divine the future, and gain access to a spell that gives you an advantage against your fate. Replaces Power Infusion. 1 minute cooldown. Instant Cast.

  • Solace: Increases your target’s healing received by 25% for 10 seconds.
  • Insight: Increases your targets magic damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds.
  • Glory: Increases your target’s physical damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds.

ORACLE ROW 1

Preventative Measures: Increases the damage absorbed by Power Word: Shield by 10% and the healing done by Prayer of Mending by 10%.

Preemptive Care: Increases the duration of Atonement by 1 second and increases the duration of Renew by 3 seconds.

Choice Node: Waste No Time & Miraculous Recovery

  • Waste No Time: Premonition causes your next Power Word: Radiance, Heal, or Prayer of Healing to be instant cast and cost 15% less mana.
  • Miraculous Recovery: Reduces the cooldown of Power Word: Life by 3 seconds and allows it to be usable on targets below 50% health.

ORACLE ROW 2

Assured Safety: Power Word: Shied applies 1 stack of Prayer of Mending to your target. Prayer of Mending casts apply a Power Word: Shield to your target at 20% effectiveness.

Choice Node: Prompt Deliverance & Divine Feathers

  • Prompt Deliverance: Reduces the cooldown of Purify by 2 seconds.
  • Divine Feathers: When an ally walks through your Angelic Feather, you are also granted 100% of its effect.

Foreseen Circumstances: Pain Suppression reduces damage taken by an additional 10%. Guardian Spirit lasts an additional 2 seconds.

ORACLE ROW 3

Grand Reveal: When your Power Word: Shield is fully absorbed or your Prayer of Mending heals, gain a stack of Grand Reveal. At 150 stacks, gain an additional charge of Premonition.

Choice Node: Perfect Vison & Versatile Divinations

  • Perfect Vision: Reduces the cooldown of Premonition by 10 seconds.
  • Versatile Divinations: Premonition can now trigger the Brilliance and Urgency effects.
  • Brilliance: Restores 5% of your target’s maximum mana.
  • Urgency: Increases your target’s Haste by 12% for 10 seconds.

Choice Node: Divine Providence & Fatebender

  • Divine Providence: Increases the duration of your Premonition effects by 2 seconds.
  • Fatebender: Premonition’s effect is increased by 30% if the divined spell is different than the previous Premonition.

ORACLE CAPSTONE

Clairvoyance: Premonition has a low chance to grant you Clairvoyance.

  • Clairvoyance: Grants your target and two nearby allies all the effects of Premonition at 100% effectiveness.

Get more thoughts and insights from our developers along with World of Warcraft creators:

Marca de Lo Salvaje- Druid (Spanish)

Jellybeans- Hunter (English)

Portal Para Dalaran- Mage (English)

Taliesin and Evitel- Priest (English)

You can also join the Warcraft Priests Discord to dive deeper into more discussions and theory-crafting.


We look forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing more as we progress in development.

Visit our previously published article to learn more about the San’layn Death Knight, Chronowarden Evoker, Lightsmith Paladin, and Mountain Thane Warrior Hero Talents.

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I think these are great and the current trees are as well. However, if you're trying to max DPS (or HPS) then I don't see how you are able to have any clue about what performs the best.

Maybe I'm missing something but how will you ever be in a situation where you don't just pick the SIM solution if you're trying to max DPS?

idk... waxing a bit i guess

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1 hour ago, Staff said:

ORACLE KEYSTONE

Premonition: Divine the future, and gain access to a spell that gives you an advantage against your fate. Replaces Power Infusion. 1 minute cooldown. Instant Cast.

  • Solace: Increases your target’s healing received by 25% for 10 seconds.
  • Insight: Increases your targets magic damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds.
  • Glory: Increases your target’s physical damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds.

I don't like it.

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Just now, Prophet001 said:

I think these are great and the current trees are as well. However, if you're trying to max DPS (or HPS) then I don't see how you are able to have any clue about what performs the best.

Maybe I'm missing something but how will you ever be in a situation where you don't just pick the SIM solution if you're trying to max DPS?

idk... waxing a bit i guess

I mean, that's just how it's always been and will always be. Someone will do the math and find out what is best and most people will go with that because it is the mathematically best option. Sure some people will do something different, whether because they don't care or because they think they're some sort of hipster, but that's just how systems like this will go in WoW and most MMOs.

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1 hour ago, Q said:

Very interesting, wish they would have listed Sentinel and  Pack Leader so we could compare specs.

 

Edited by Highfather

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Depends solely on the player's playstyle and the scenario of content on self progression imo.  Yes, there will be those that will just plug what is SIM and go along.  Then there are players like Rextroy that are in their own category to themselves and do a deep dive on a given spec/class.

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Most of these are so boring. 5% increase to this, 3% to that, 10% to that. That isn't interesting. Hero Talents was the one thing that was to get excited for in TWW and it's looking pretty lackluster so far. I'm hoping I'm proven wrong.

Edited by Syrick
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      As for myself, I haven't committed to a future direction yet, in game or out of game. I still think there's a lot of passion in me for this game and this community, I just need a few months off to figure it all out after redlining it for 3 years straight. Maybe I'll be a part of the RWF elsewhere, maybe I'll reform with a some friends as a chill(er) nighttime guild for the new expansion (any ex-raiders that made it this far hit me up).
       
      With heartfelt thanks and best wishes,
      Lozy
      GM/Founder of BDG
       
    • By Stan
      A Warlock managed to get their hands on Fyr'alath, yet, puzzlingly, their Felguard can't use it even with the Glyph of Felguard.
      The Glyph of Felguard is supposed to let the Felguard wield any random two-handed axe, mace, sword, or polearm from the Warlock's inventory. But for some reason, it just won't work with Fyr'alath the Dreamrender, as you can see in the screenshot below.

      You're probably wondering how the Warlock even looted Fyr'alath the Dreamrender in the first place, right? You can roll for the item when it drops on Mythic Difficulty as opposed to other difficulties where it drops as personal loot.
      Source: Reddit
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