World of Warcraft

What if we got new specializations instead of new classes?

wow3 - What if we got new specializations instead of new classes?
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So far we've gotten three new classes, but we're quickly running out of established classes to add. Even looking at other systems with similar class designs, we can add maybe some kind of bard or just another flavor of spellcaster. Even the Demon Hunter could barely support two specs, despite being something expected since the start.

Part of the issue is that older classes are often quite broad. The core fantasy of the warrior is "guy who fights with weapons toe to toe". The core of Rogue is "sneaky", and the core of Mage is really just "uses magic".

So what if instead of trying to find a gap to wedge in a new class, instead Blizzard stuck with the classes we have, but started adding new specializations to them? Since a spec is smaller than a class, they could probably add two or three each expansion and still use less resources than making a full class.

One idea that sticks out to me is making the Spellbreaker a tank spec for Mage. Use magic to reduce the damage coming in, with their unique feature being the ability to take less magic damage than other tanks, and prevent magic damage to everyone else even better than a DK. They get a few melee attacks from the spec, and can cast spells faster and without being interrupted. A good portion of their kit would still be ranged, allowing them to throw spells and AoE like any other Mage when they can't be in melee. Mana becomes their defense resource, being rapidly consumed by Mana Shield and going up and down much like an Arcane Mage.

Another interesting idea to me would be some kind of throwing weapon based Warrior spec, adding another physical ranged DPS to compliment the hunter. Maybe with a talent setup that makes them want to switch between being close and far, or maybe with a shorter range than most ranged specs. Dual weilding throwing weapons would be the best for dps, but perhaps you could go for one and a shield to be tougher in PvP for a minor damage loss.

If Blizzard did this, what specs do you think they should add? Should they add tanking/healing specs to pure dps classes? What would a rogue tank spec look like? Or maybe Shaman could finally get all four elements with a stone tank spec? Which classes should get healing specs, if any?

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Edit: List of potential specs for each class based on stuff I've read here:

Death Knight: They're already a pretty neat package with Blood/Frost/Unholy, and adding ranged or healing to the mix doesn't feel right fit their theme, being all about death and their runeblades.

Demon Hunter: Probably needs an expansion to what the class is. Perhaps some demon hunters start experimenting and come up with a ranged spec using thrown weapons or bows. Mix of physical and shadow damage. Perhaps drawing from the Shadow Hunter theme a bit?

Druid: Already has 4.

Hunter: I've always liked the Warden, and Hunter would probably be the best fit to add them to. Melee tank, evasive and mobile and easily able to fight from range if needed with thrown weapons.

Mage: Spellbreaker cloth tank mentioned above still sounds best to me, but a time healer could be neat as well. Just might be too finicky to balance without making it feel like just another generic healer.

Monk: Dragon/lightning themed RDPS, perhaps using thrown chakrams/glaives with the occasional big lightning channel.

Paladin: I think another tank spec would fit the Paladin theme very well, perhaps a fallen paladin to mirror the Shadow Priest? Shadow spells, reduce damage by affecting the minds of your enemies or by alerting reality or creating illusions. Cthulhu paladin basically.

Priest: Light Priest, a holy themed RDPS. Neither melee or tanking fit well for a priest. summon Naaru and blast foes with holy fire.

Rogue: Combat evasion tank, or Alchemist healer that throws potions and such around.

Shaman: Earth tank spec, still using other elements like the other specs but rounding out the four elements.

Warlock: Vampire themed healer, drains life from enemies to give to allies. Would be a sort of hybrid damage/healer like discipline.

Warrior: Thrown weapon user mentioned above.

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