World of Warcraft: Getting a grip on 8.0’s class changes

As the first day of Patch 8.0 proved to be impossible to actually access — why break tradition, really? — I had to wait until last Wednesday to get into the game and see what Blizzard did to my core trio of World of Warcraft classes. Here’s what I found:

Beast Master Hunter

I had gone from hating the BM build in Legion to maining it, so obviously I had found a great balance that worked for me. Any changes were going to break this flow, but the question was, how bad?

So far, it isn’t that terrible at all. In fact, there’s a lot to like here. I’m excited that I’m able to have both barrage and murder of crows simultaneously, as both are my favorite BM skills. Goodbye Hati and hello a second pet from my stable, which turns out to be Oz, the spirit wolf that I tamed way, way, way back in Wrath. With my spirit moose, I have a peculiar theme going on here.

Combat flow has changed. Now there’s barbed shot, which with crows means that I’m slapping on two quick DoTs on at the onset of any fight. I’ve gained a spitting cobra (anything for more pets!) and another defensive ability (survival of the fittest), but otherwise it’s more or less the same rotation. The only thing that displeases me greatly is that some skills, like bestial wrath, are now on the GCD, and that just trips me up every time I go to use a previously instant spell. I took her out for a spin and didn’t have any problem taking down elite mobs and the like.

All in all, it’s a class that I can take into Azeroth and feel like I’m going to be effective while having fun.

Unholy Death Knight

Blizzard has a REALLY annoying habit of changing up key pets for classes between expansions, and as someone who gets attached to my critters, these seemingly arbitrary adjustments are frustrating. I got TWO of these this time around, and both really irk me.

Unholy DKs have, for some reason, gotten rid of the abomination (who really grew on me) and gone back to the ghoul (who I have transformed into a geist). Even worse, in my opinion, is that air support has reverted from the truly awesome valkyrie back to the gargoyle. Whyyyy. Why.

Anyway. It’s good to see Unholy Blight return, as I’ve always liked that spell for AoE chaos. Defile is a great talent with a lot of synergy with another talent (grip of the dead) and scourge strike. I still have apocalypse, I still have army of the dead, and I still have outbreak. Those are the most important skills for me right now, so that’s all well and dandy.

I’m not a fan of the nerf to wraith walk, so I decided to trade that for death pact and gain another heal. I have no idea how brutal the start of BFA is going to be, but it never hurts to have a full array of defensive skills at the ready.

All in all, my DK still plays pretty much as she had throughout Legion, and that’s a very good thing. I just miss my big fat guardian and my angel air support.

Demo Warlock

Demonology got the short end of the shift in Legion and made me all but hate playing a Warlock in that spec. Pretty much nobody liked it, which is why it’s seeing extensive renovations for BFA. First impressions? I’m on board with this demon-summoning pain machine.

Two great changes out of the gate: I now regenerate three soul shards automatically between combat and also passively keep summoning wild imps. That helps get combat off to a great start in my book. The trusty Felguard and Dreadstalkers are there (along with the aforementioned imps), but now I also have a Vilefiend (above) and Demonic Tyrant to add to the mob. The total effect gives that pleasing “gang up on the bad guys” feeling that I love from pet classes, and it definitely flows much better.

I’m glad to see the old demonic empowerment gone, and the new demonbolt is pretty interesting in that it can eventually be insta-cast thanks to the imps. I’m very much looking forward to playing this class in the expansion, and I hope that it’ll emerge as one of the strong contenders for my affection again, as I used to love my demo lock back in the day.

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