So Bolvar has this crazy idea on how the next tier of hero classes in World of Warcraft could work in a way that makes them challenging and fun to unlock.
With Death Knights, you could roll one as soon as you had a character over level 55. Presumably, this was so you would have some degree of experience with in-game mechanics before getting to play a new and powerful class that starts at a higher level.
I think, fundamentally, this is still a good idea. It gave veteran players a nice bonus when the expansion dropped, and new players something to work toward.
The class fit the lore theme of the expansion, and it addressed an in-game need for more tanks. I think future hero classes should follow this design model.
- This obviously can't be implemented for Mists of Pandaria. I will assume it could be implemented in the next expansion. I assume the next expansion will raise the level cap to 95.
- Character slots will be an issue. I will assume Blizzard will finally remove the realm-based character slot cap, and simply limit each account to 50 characters, on one realm, or on many realms, period.
Since I don't know the theme of the next expansion, I'm going to present four options. One or more could be implemented at a time. The idea is to give the game more high-level hybrid classes that can tank and/or heal in addition to filling a DPS role.
The new hero classes will be presented as an amalgam of existing classes. They will be logical "multi-classes" that, in fact, have already been presented in-game in the form of various NPCs, and are now available to player characters.
They will require the player to level one character of each amalgamated class to level 85. Once they have unlocked the class level requirements, they will be able to create the new hero, which will have a similar starting zone experience to the Death Knight, and which will begin at level 85 and leave the starting zone at or around level 90.
The new multi-class hero will be comprised of classes that only fill a single or dual-role. In other words, there's no point multi-classing from a Druid, Paladin, or Monk - they already can fill every role.
New Hero Classes:
Requires a level 85 Warlock and Rogue to unlock.
An obvious amalgam of the Rogue and Warlock class, the Demon Hunter combines two pure DPS classes into a Hero class that can tank, heal, and DPS. Perfect for an expansion featuring the Burning Legion as an antagonist.
In-Game NPC Examples:
Illidan Stormrage, who clearly demonstrates the abilities of both a Warlock and a Rogue in-game.
Leather - Agility gear for tanking/dps, Intellect/Spirit gear for healing.
Dual-wields swords, maces, and axes. DPS, Healing, and Tanking versions of these weapons already exist in-game.
Dual-wield tanking with emphasis on evasion and stamina for mitigation, dual-wield melee DPS, and healing via fel energy.
No Tauren, Draenei, or Pandaren
Obviously, this class gives up most of the ranged caster abilities of the Warlock, but can maintain many of the affliction-based damage mechanics and ability to enslave demon mobs. This class should not maintain a full-time demon minion, but should probably summon one on a cooldown. With regards to Rogue abilities, it should maintain the ability to use stealth and vanish, and should replace poisons with the affliction spells from the Warlock class. Lockpicking should be abandoned.
Requires a level 85 Death Knight and Mage to unlock.
A natural progression towards the pinnacle of Scourge-based power, the Necromancer is a well-established class that has evolved from both Mages and Death Knights in lore but has previously been forbidden from players. It is a natural fit in an expansion featuring the Scourge.
In-Game NPC Examples
: The Lich King, Kel'thuzad
Staves, 1h Swords, Daggers, and Maces, and Off-hand items
Unholy tanking - assumes the form of a lich for mitigation and threat modification, ranged DPS, shadow healing
All but Pandaren
The Necromancer has shed the plate armor of the Death Knight and instead draws his strength from a more complete embrace with the powers of undeath. He retains the ability to raise undead allies, and, in fact, does so with greater frequency and variety than a Death Knight. Combined with his studies of the arcane, he can rain death and destruction on his foes from afar, and then raise his vanquished enemies as allies. He can heal himself and his companions through a combination of shadow energy and necrotic spells, as well as transferring life energies from his opponents.
Requires a level 85 Hunter and Priest to unlock.
An elite warrior and guardian class that has served the oldest races of Azeroth for millenia, the Sentinel combines the deadly ranged abilities of the Hunter with the potent light and arcane-based magics of the Priest. It is a natural fit in an expansion heavy with Elvish lore; perhaps one based around Azshara as an antagonist.
In-Game NPC Examples:
Tyrande Whisperwind, Shandris Feathermoon
Mail - Agility gear for Tanking/DPS, Int/Spirit gear for Healing
Tanking: Dual-wield maces, axes, and swords. DPS: Ranged weapons. Healing: 1h maces, axes, swords and shield off-hand
Tanking via dual-wield melee, emphasis on parry and dodge for mitigation, DPS via ranged weapons, and light/arcane based healing
There are ample examples in Warcraft lore to draw from for this class, and there is the added bonus of giving another class a reason to use Int/Spi mail armor besides the Shaman. The Sentinel will abandon the full-time pet abilities of the Hunter in an exchange for the restorative arcane and light-based abilities of the Priest.
Requires a level 85 Warrior and Shaman to unlock.
The perfect blend of melee combat and elemental power, the Gladiator is born from the Orcish arena tradition and represents the apex of martial combat. This class can fit in just about any expansion, but would work well in one where Horde and Alliance animosity is emphasized.
In-Game NPC examples:
Varian Wrynn, Thrall, Magni Bronzebeard, Rehgar Earthfury
: Plate - STM for Tanking, STR for DPS, INT for Healing
Dual-wields - 1H swords/axes/maces for tanking, 2H swords/axes/maces for DPS, 1H swords/axes/maces for Healing
Dual-wield Tanking, emphasis on parry, dodge and stamina for mitigation, Dual-wield "titan's grip" for melee DPS, and Dual-wield healing, with emphasis on keeping combat-triggered buffs up for elemental healing, similar to the holy Paladin haste buff from casting Judgement.
The Gladiator may have abandoned the totems of the Shaman, but has himself become a force of nature, using the strength of the elements to enhance his martial prowess. As a healer, he is expected to be in the thick of combat, and will be most efficient healing his allies while he metes out damage to his enemies.