Cataclysm class changes and their impact on roleplay


All this being said, some of these Cataclysm changes will certainly affect our roleplay. Let's take a look behind the jump and get a little deeper into it.

Death knights

Death knights are getting a
whole bunch of new toys, and they all look fun. But the big news for our dead-and-loving-it brothers and sisters is that if they're going to be a tank, they're now going to be blood-specced. How much does that matter?

Blood death knights are usually associated with some kind of vampirism (though, as with anything roleplay-oriented, that's just a generality). It's all that hot blood mojo, like
Vampiric Blood. We will no longer be seeing the cold-as-ice frost tanks or sorcerous unholy tanks. Unholy is going to remain being a spec about diseases, magic and pets, so we won't see any big changes to the roleplay of unholy death knights, but we might see frost become a little more John Woo-oriented depending on how strongly Blizzard emphasizes dual wielding in the tree.


Druids have got some equally
startling changes coming for their roleplay. The news that the Tree of Life form will be a cooldown instead of a full time shapechange is going to have immense effect. I know several druids who have roleplayed a sort of plant-ascension and thus who have now become a metaphysical part of the World Tree. While I think the cooldown will still mostly work for that kind of story, not being an around-the-clock planet elemental could be a bummer for some roleplayers.

In the same line, though,
Efflorescence will go a long way toward reinforcing a druid's connection to the earth. Whenever a target is the recipient of a Regrowth critical heal, a bed of flora will grow beneath the target. We don't know yet what that flora is going to look like but I'm guessing it will look at least a little like the effect from Lifeblood. There's a bunch of little roleplay tricks you can use with this new visual, and it'll be an interesting aesthetic addition to the class.


More than any other class, Hunters are going to have a
huge, radical change in the way they're played. If you are at all a roleplay literalist, you probably took the fact that hunters use mana as indicative of their genre and story. While hunters were certainly no kind of mage or warlock, they were still somewhat a mystic vocation. After all, they used mana to do their work, taking on and subsuming various bestial aspects.

In Cataclysm, however, hunters will use
Focus as a resource. Who else uses Focus? That's right -- the very pets that hunters have used for the duration of the entire game. My interpretation of this is that hunters will be much, much more empathic and imitative of their pets than ever before. Hunters won't simply be magic-users; instead, they are much more deeply involved with bestial behavior and feral instincts. They draw on the same power as the animals they run with.


Mages don't have many core mechanics changing that would alter their roleplay. But they do gain an interesting new ability in
Time Warp. This is the first chrono-magic introduced into the hands of player characters. And sure, it's meant to replicate the power of Heroism or Bloodlust, but they could have named this spell "Magic Adrenaline" for all intents and purposes. (Slow could have been considered time magic also but is somewhat less overt than Time Warp.)

Where did this new magic come from? Has the
Kirin Tor brokered some sort of deal with the Bronze Dragonflight? Did Rhonin share some previously obfuscated occult secret? No matter the root source of Time Warp, it means that every mage PC now has some amount of time-affecting magic. The roleplay impacts of this development will be eagerly explored by almost every roleplay troupe, I would guess. Jaunts through time wouldn't be new to the World of Warcraft, but they could become much more common.


I love
Life Grip as much as the next guy, but I'm not sure it qualifies as a genre change for priests. Do you have any ideas about what the class changes for priests might mean for roleplay?


Like priests,
rogue changes are mostly a big list of tweaks and changes. But there's two things that rise to the top as small roleplay changes. First, since rogues won't rely on particular weapons quite the same way they used to, there may be fewer "weaponmaster" concepts in which a rogue is completely obsessed with a single fighting style. Of course, if someone chooses to roleplay his rogue as if obsessed with only using a single type of weapon, it's not like having other choices available would strip away that genre option.

And, of course, there's
Smoke Bombs. Now the rogue-as-ninja archetype is complete. (And if you want to roleplay Batman, rogues are totally the way to go.)


Most of the roleplay changes we've talked about so far are about single abilities -- Smoke Bomb or Time Warp, for example. Some of the mechanic changes, though, mean a much different genre for characters like the hunter. We'll pick up more about these Cataclysm changes next week, when we look at warriors, shaman, paladins and warlocks.