The Battle for Azeroth alpha test for the next expansion to World of Warcraft has been in full swing for about a week now. As expected, dataminers and testers have been busy learning all about the content and features that we can expect going forward. We’re going to take a look at five of what we feel are the most interesting new things coming with BfA, none of which have anything to do with lore so, rest assured: This is a spoiler-free zone for the expansion.
1. Attack Power Over Weapon Damage
During the recent datamining extravaganza, it was noticed that many class abilities that previously have scaled with weapon damage are instead linked to the Attack Power. Together with the weapon Warforging being capped at +10, it appears to be aimed at the issue of balancing between the specs that scale well with weapons and those that don’t.
Previously physical-oriented classes could be made or broken with a good weapon over casters, for whom it is less of an issue.
2. Bleeds & Poisons Scale with Haste
Another change noted in the Battle for Azeroth Alpha is that Bleeds and Poisons now scale with Haste which should make Feral Druids, Assassination Rogues and Warriors happy out there. WoWHead has a very nice explanation of what that would change:
Throughout Legion, Bleed effects have not scaled with haste. However, in Battle for Azeroth all bleeds now scale with Haste. Hopefully, this will make haste more valuable for these specs. Here are some of the details we've found:
- The overall duration of the DoT doesn't change. For example, Rake always lasts for 15 seconds.
- However, the tick time of the DoT decreases with Haste. For example, Rake ticks every 3 seconds baseline, getting some haste will reduce the tick time below 3 seconds.
- The damage per tick does not change.
3. Hunter Pet Changes
One of the biggest complaints in the Hunter community besides the Legion class design has been the loss of uniqueness and utility among the Hunter pets. In the current expansion many pet families such as Rodents or Mechanicals or Wolves have no ability of their own, making them inferior to the families like Moths or Birds of Prey which can offer one.
BfA aims to change this situation with the upcoming pet revamp. All pet families have received new abilities that either offer an extra defensive CD, dispel, slow, Mortal Wounds or heal (specific to Spirit Beasts). In addition, each pet specialization receives its own bonus and a CD of its own:
- Ferocity: Bloodlust + the Hunter & the pet gain 3% leech passively
- Cunning: Master’s Call + the Hunter & the pet gain 8% increased movement speed passively
- Tenacity: an active ability that reduces all damage the Hunter & the pet take by 20% for 6 sec (3 min CD) & passive that increases the Hunter’s & the pet’s health by 10%
However, the new system comes with a catch. On the alpha, all pet families have only one spec assigned to them and can not be swapped into another. I.e. your Spirit Beast will always be in Tenacity, Bat will always be in Ferocity and so on. Since all specializations seem to have Spiked Collar, the damage pets do in each spec would be equal, but you would still need to bring a variety of pets if you want to use the utility of different specs in different situations.
4. New Animations - Warlocks Rejoice!
Most classes are receiving tweaks to animations, not the least of which are Warlocks, the only caster class left out of the animations revamp in Legion. You can see how their spells will look in BfA, though as always, this is subject to change given the alpha status of testing at the moment.
During Battle for Azeroth, several classes will have new animations based on some new talents that have been discovered during alpha testing. Classes and talents (with new animations) include:
- Druid - Tiger Dash and Hibernate
- Death Knight - Thoughtseize
- Demon Hunter - Dark Slash and Chaos Brand
- Hunter - Rapid Fire, Wildfire Bomb, Arctic Bola and Chakrams
- Warlock (see above) - Soul Fire, Hellfire, Deathbolt, Dark Soul and Rain of Fire
- Rogue - Expose Armor
If you’d like to get a look at the new animations mentioned above, speed on over to WoWhead for a handy compilation. If you’d rather see them all in one place, check out this video from Bellular Gaming:
5. Early Class Changes & Raid Buffs
One of the things many players have mourned during Legion is the stripping away of class raid utilities. Battle for Azeroth seems to be bringing at least a form of that type of utility back with buffs.
Mages, Priest and Warriors will provide primary stat buffs. In the current version of the alpha, Mages have Arcane Intellect that increases intellect by 10% for an hour. Priests use Power Word: Fortitude to increase Stamina by 10% for an hour. Lastly, Warriors have Battle Shout that increases Strength and Agility by 10% for an hour.
Scribes will be able to create three different scrolls that emulate the primary stat buffs for raids and parties that lack the classes that can provide them. The scrolls that can be made will have a slightly reduced effectiveness, but offer the same modifiers to raid parties:
- War-Scroll of Intellect - increases Intellect by 7% for 30 minutes.
- War-Scroll of Fortitude - increases Stamina by 7% for 30 minutes
- War-Scroll of Battle Shout - increases Strength and Agility by 7% for 30 minutes
At the moment, two classes will be able to provide Damage Modifiers in raids. Rogues have the Expose Armor ability that “exposes weaknesses in the target’s armor, increasing damage taken by 5% for one minute”. Demon Hunters apply Chaos Brand that increases “magic damage taken by 5% for one minute”.
These are just a few of the big changes coming in Battle for Azeroth, though you can bet a lot more are yet to be discovered. Most notably, we’re keen to find out more about Azerite Armor and the Heart of Azeroth necklace. What are you most looking forward to learning more about?