Class Changes in Shadowlands Expansion

Last updated on Nov 16, 2020 at 09:00 by Stan 3 comments

In this overview, you will find a comprehensive list of all class changes and the general class philosophy of the Shadowlands expansion.


Shadowlands Class Changes

On this page, you will find more details about Blizzard's class philosophy for the Shadowlands expansion and overviews of the individual class changes that are coming in the pre-patch.

You can find all class-specific changes linked below. They will go live with the Shadowlands pre-patch goes live on October 13 (US) or October 14 (EU).


Shadowlands Class Philosophy

Many tools and perks that had once defined certain classes became increasingly widespread over the years, diminishing class uniqueness. To fix this in the past, the developers made changes to talents with Mists of Pandaria, and removed several abilities in Warlords of Draenor. In Legion, they focused on class identity and carving out a distinct fantasy for each specialization to go along with their Artifact weapons, which resulted in the removal of several long-standing class-wide abilities and adding new specialization-specific abilities in the process.

In Battle for Azeroth, they have moved too far away from the core of the class that initially sparked players' interest when they first created their character, and in Shadowlands, they want to return to the idea that a specialization is about powering up a specific part of a class's kit, not narrowing down their toolset.

Shadowlands is about player choice and the goal is to give players more opportunities to make impactful choices to customize their gameplay and express their own vision of how their characters engage in combat. To achieve this, many specialization-specific and iconic abilities that help define class identity are coming back and will be class-wide.


Area-of-Effect Ability Changes

Large pulls have become a prevalent tactic in much of the game, which made it hard for many classes to find a clear role. As a result, Blizzard revisited the maximum number of targets that many abilities can hit in Shadowlands, which results in nerfs to many AoE abilities.

The general philosophy is to allow melee classes to excel in situations with four to five targets and ranged casters perform better against five or more targets.

See individual class sections for a list of specific spells.


Spell Variance

Most non-periodic abilities on all classes will have a small amount of variance on the damage or healing of each individual use.

This was standard behavior in WoW form many years (and has its roots in familiar mechanics from many RPGs), but recently was lost as a side effect of some under-the-hood mechanical changes. Blizzard is restoring this behavior to bring back the small bit of texture, and avoid the result where using the same spell repeatedly results in exactly the same 3- or 4-digit numbers every time. The amount of variance is about 5%, so that the impact on total performance, over he course of a combat with many events, is negligible.


Spells Taken Off the Global Cooldown

Blizzard has taken some "burst cooldowns" off the global cooldown (GCD) in Shadowlands. Burst cooldowns are abilities that increase your damage or healing output every 2 to 3 minutes.

Here is a list of abilities that have been moved off the global cooldown:

  • Death Knight — Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost, Empower Rune Weapon Icon Empower Rune Weapon.
  • Druid — Berserk Icon Berserk, Celestial Alignment Icon Celestial Alignment, Incarnation: Chosen of Elune Icon Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, Incarnation: King of the Jungle Icon Incarnation: King of the Jungle, Innervate Icon Innervate, and Ravenous Frenzy Icon Ravenous Frenzy.
  • Hunter — Coordinated Assault Icon Coordinated Assault, Trueshot Icon Trueshot, and Aspect of the Wild Icon Aspect of the Wild.
  • Mage — Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power, Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins.
  • Monk — Energizing Elixir Icon Energizing Elixir, Mana Tea Icon Mana Tea, Serenity Icon Serenity and Storm, Earth, and Fire Icon Storm, Earth, and Fire.
  • Paladin — Avenging Crusader Icon Avenging Crusader, Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath, Crusade Icon Crusade, Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger.
  • Priest — Spirit Shell Icon Spirit Shell.
  • Rogue — Adrenaline Rush Icon Adrenaline Rush, Shadow Blades Icon Shadow Blades, Vendetta Icon Vendetta.
  • Shaman — Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance.
  • Warlock — Dark Soul: Instability Icon Dark Soul: Instability, Dark Soul: Misery Icon Dark Soul: Misery.
  • Warrior — Avatar Icon Avatar, Recklessness Icon Recklessness.

Healing Reduction Effects Doubled in PvE

To increase the impact of "Mortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds" and similar healing reduction effects in PvE situations, Blizzard has doubled the magnitude of these effects against non-player enemies. The value of these efects will remain the same against players.

  • Hunter, Monk, WarriorMortal Wounds Icon Mortal Wounds now reduces healing taken by 50% (25% against players).
  • RogueWound Poison Icon Wound Poison now reduces healing taken by 8% per stack (4% against players).
  • WarlockMortal Cleave Icon Mortal Cleave/Legion Strike Icon Legion Strike now reduces healing taken by 20% (10% against players).

Shadowlands Talent Changes

Due to the level squish, you will gain access to a new row of talents at Level 15, 20, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50.



  • 16 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands release.
  • 11 Oct. 2020: Rearranged sections.
  • 08 Oct. 2020: Updated for pre-patch.
  • 27 Sep. 2020: Monk's Energizing Elixir no longer incurs a GCD.
  • 09 Sep. 2020: Innervate and Mana Tea removed from GCD.
  • 05 Sep. 2020: Added doubling of healing reduction effects.
  • 02 Sep. 2020: Added GCD section.
  • 31 Aug. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35598 and 35679 class changes.
  • 16 Aug. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35522 class changes.
  • 07 Aug. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35432 class changes.
  • 01 Aug. 2020: Updated with the latest Beta 35360 class changes.
  • 28 Jul. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35256 class changes.
  • 25 Jul. 2020: Updated with Spell Variance.
  • 18 Jul. 2020: Updated with Beta Build 35167 news.
  • 15 Jul. 2020: Updated with Alpha Build 35078 news.
  • 03 Jul. 2020: Updated with Alpha Build 34902 and 34972 news.
  • 20 Jun. 2020: Updated with links to Build 34821 class changes.
  • 15 Jun. 2020: Class changes history updated with Alpha Build 34714 news.
  • 09 Jun. 2020: Class changes history updated with a link to the Alpha Build 34615 news.
  • 25 May 2020: Class changes history updated with a link to the Alpha Build 34490 news.
  • 14 May 2020: Class changes history updated with latest Alpha build.
  • 08 May 2020: Updated with class changes history.
  • 28 Apr. 2020: Included AoE ability changes.
  • 21 Apr. 2020: Page added.
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