Out of 36 available specs in World of Warcraft, there are 6 healers, 6 tanks, and 24 DPS. Released in November 2008, the Death Knight has a tank spec and two DPS specs. The Monk came in September 2012, with one of each spec. The Demon Hunter was released in August 2016 with a tank and a DPS spec, making it the first class to only have two specs. (Druids have four, that’s why the total number of specs is still divisible by three.) Will we see another class by the end of 2020?
A new class would need to be different to set it apart from other classes, but how to do that? We already have melee fighters with daggers, one-handed swords, two-handed swords, two one-handed swords, sword and shield, maces and axes (which fill the same slot as the one-handed swords), and bo-staves. We have ranged fighters with bows and guns. We have arcane, holy, void, and nature casters that deal damage and/or heal. What’s missing?
It’s worth noting that spell-casting classes have restrictions on their weapon choices just like fighter classes do. But spell-casters never use their weapon. The weapon stays on back or hip, never drawn in hand unless the player uses an emote to do so. If you’ve played the Dragon Age games, you know how freaking cool it can look when the weapon (usually a staff) is integrated into the spell-casting animations.
You know what that makes me think of? How about a spell-slinging Tank?
Okay, I know many of you who’ve been in the gaming community for a long time are already gearing up your arguments about Tank Mages, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m not suggesting giving a spellcaster’s DPS set to a tank. As a tank, this spec should be concerned with shielding the character and drawing aggro. And there are currently no cloth-wearing tanks, so anyone who prefers to play mostly tanks doesn’t get access to the largest pool of transmogs in the game. (There are also no tanks who wear Mail. That should also get fixed down the road.)
Then, how about an Arcane Healer? And a DPS class that uses non-magical weapons in magical ways? There are so many cool things you could do.
Class Name: Arcanist
Spec 1: Thaumaturgy
Weapon: Staff (two handed) – IMPORTANT, the staff would need to be integrated into the spell-casting in the same vein as the Dragon Age games.
Abilities & Talents: The Thaumaturge can create magical barriers around herself to block or absorb incoming damage. She can also bewitch enemies so they remain focused on her (taunt). She can play tricks with time, making enemies move towards her more quickly, but move away from her more slowly. The Thaumaturge can also use her two-handed staff to great effect, pushing or dealing damage to enemies.
Spec 2: Voodoo
Weapon: Wand & Off-hand
Abilities & Talents: Voodoo can prevent damage and heal damage already taken. It can remove curses and charms, turn foes against each other, and can raise the dead. Unlike existing healers, Voodoo Arcanists could focus on preventing it, by increasing armor rating, reducing incoming damage, reducing the enemy’s accuracy, and so on. The only problem is that this type of support is less visible than outright healing, where people see their nearly-empty health bars get refilled. Blizzard would have to ensure that the class was balanced against content, but also felt strong & useful in gameplay.
Spec 3: Runes
Weapon: 2 Daggers, Thrown & Returned with Magic
Abilities & Talents: Rune-casters enchant themselves and their blades to deadly advantage. They throw their blades in wild patterns, following lines of magic. They enchant their daggers with spells that poison or slow their enemies. With enchanted daggers whirling, the Rune-caster is a force to be reckoned with!