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New hero classes? July 20, 2009

Posted by rusquel in General.
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It is certainly the scuttlebutt around town that a new hero class will be unveiled at the upcoming BlizzCon 09, when the next expansion will be previewed (or at least we’ll be thrown some tidbits like a trailer ot something). Of course, once you get past the arguments for and against whether Blizzard will release a new hero class, or even if they will mention the next expansion (Cataclysm? Maelstrom? Emerald Dream?). But assuming they do…

What will the new hero class be? World of Matticus has a good series of guest posts about it. As Lodir pointed out, the starting zone for DKs was awesome. Sure – not everyone’s cup of tea (especially when you get your hands on the monstrous power that is a new DK all you want to do is go smash some face in, instead of mucking about with a storyline). But that took a whole lot of effort. The scripting, the instancing, the questlines and quest-writing are all quite high quality, and it was quite a rude shock to go from that to tooling around the EPL/WPL doing the old school quests.

What I liked:

  • The way that talent points were ‘earnt’. Sure – it wasn’t overly difficult, but it was more fun that just going ‘Bam! Here’s 46 talent points. Go nuts!’
  • The storyline. Love it or hate it, where else do you get such a lengthy quest-chain that has a good dash of lore and actually decent writing in it? At least not in the Old World. And it was blessedly free from the random interlocutory quests that would send you off to go skin gorillas or something. Can’t you see I’m trying to save the world here? Go skin them yerself!
  • Having a separate ‘homebase’. It always felt a bit empty (and I cursed its lack of a mailbox) but it was cute having us all tucked away in our own flying fortress.
  • Getting a mount 5 levels before everyone else (and for free)!!! Wheeee!!!

What I didn’t like:

  • Having a separate ‘homebase’ that was miles from civilisation if my hearthstone was on CD. Dumb I know, but I have ported to the Ebon Hold, and then realised that I didn’t have enough cash for training more times than I care to remember.
  • Starting at level 55. I know you need a toon at level 55 on your account first, but I think DKs would be better if you had to get to 80 before you could roll one. I know – people who can’t play their class at 55, probably won’t be able to play it at 80, but it would stop the attrition that you so commonly see (at least in levelling guilds) or people hitting 55 then ‘disappearing’ to roll DKs. Dinging 80 is an achievement whether you got all 80 levels on one toon, or 55 on one, and 15 on another, but I would prefer it this way. Maybe by 80 you’ve grown to love your class just that little bit more, and might not be so swift to abandon them for a DK. I also think that after seeing the DKs covering Dalaran like a rash, and the repeated cries on Trade channel proclaiming this raid/guild/group to be “full of DKs” you might think twice before re-rolling.

That about sums it up – that last point is the clincher for me. Frankly I would love it if i needed a level 90 toon in the next expansion to get the new hero class. It will force me to play through all the quests, and learn the new raids and dungeons from the perspective of my current class(es) before I can roll up some heroic class and lay waste Azeroth. This isn’t a punishment (like making a hero class start at level 1 – that is stupid) it’s just a way to see the game through to the level cap on one character, with one class’s strengths and weaknesses before starting an alt.

Either way, the question of what the hero class will be remins up in the air? Healer? DPS? Tank? The first seems to be a popular cry from raid and guild leaders at least, who scramble to fill healing spots with decent players. Of course, if the hero healing class was too OP (yes, like DK tanking) then it would be the only healer a raider would want to bring. Another DPS seems extremely unlikely (certainly not melee DPS) and a tanking class would also be less likely, given how recently DKs came out. It all seems to point to either ranged DPS or healing (or a comination of the two).

Yet DKs also have a very different style for using abilities, runes + runic power. One accumulates like rage when abilities are used, the others are like combo points are and used up by certain abilities with a short CD before becoming available again. How could you remove a healing class from the interplay of health and mana? They tried (a bit) with warlocks, but honestly, healing = mana. It will be truly interesting (if Blizzard release a new hero class) how the mechanics of it will work.

Only time will tell.

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