World of Warcraft Classic had a big showing at Blizzcon 2023. The Warcraft team introduced its follow-up to Wrath of the Lich King Classic with Cataclysm Classic, and surprised many by revisiting the original classic release. World of Warcraft Classic proper isn’t just getting an update; it’s shaking up class fantasy, new raid, and low level cap of 25 with its Season of Discovery on November 30th. In it, Blizzard promises to make all kinds of combinations of classes and specializations that were literally impossible until now. After getting the chance to check out Season of Discovery at Blizzcon 2023, they were right.
In the Blizzcon demo, every class and race was available, already boosted to 25, ready to dive into the raid, Blackfathom Deeps, with players you met in line for the experience, for my two opportunities, I decided to try out the season’s example class/role combinations, Mage healer and Shaman Tank. For both, trying out the new rune system, which adds new abilities to your character’s toolkit, was easy. They act like enchants that are always available, and you can just pop them onto the associated piece of gear to get that new ability.
For some, they added on to the class’s available spells. For others, they built onto them to fit that new role. For example, when creating a Mage healer, the mage gains three new spells, which each work in tandem. For the Shaman tank, only one ability was added, which worked as an area of effect threat generator, while the other two runes gave the shaman more armor, more health, and threat generation as long as certain abilities were activated. For both, they relied heavily on the class’s pre-existing talent trees to help round them out.
There was also a clear-cut rune for each specialization, so there wasn’t a real chance to mix and match abilities to maximize what each character could do in that new role. That was just the case for healing and tanking, though. There were many more runes for DPS for both. We were also given twelve runes for each class, four for each of the three armor pieces they could be attached to. So there could definitely be more to add more variety to each class.
So how did each of the twisted roles play? Mage healing was tough. For my short time with it, mage healing guzzled through mana, especially during the difficult first boss encounter that tossed my raid around and did a lot of damage to the whole team. Its healing spells were effective. They just required more pre-planning to synergize. That would take more hands-on time to master.
The Shaman tank was a lot more fun than expected. At times, it was hard to keep enemies on my Shaman, with it not having a dedicated taunt ability, but good planning with the other Shaman tank made that part trivial after we started coordinating better. Each experience showed just how difficult the new ten-man raid is. After two attempts, my group reached the third boss, and each brought unique twists to a well-known dungeon to make it into a fun and challenging ten-man raid that can be conquered at level 25. Balancing at times felt off, with the sheer amount of damage going out, but each felt conquerable, not just like they were massive difficult walls for characters at this low of a level.
World of Warcraft Classic is a lot of fun and opens the possibilities of what is capable in one of the longest-running MMOs, and Season of Discovery is adding so much more. Even with just a short hands-on experience and trying out only two of the many possibilities, those two definitely shook up raid compositions, player skills, and the overall experience. Its final state this November is going to be a big draw for many, me included.
World of Warcraft Classic’s Season of Discovery begins November 30, 2023.