Online gaming wouldn’t be as alluring and exciting if it hadn’t been for the continual upgrades and changes. The Shadowlands expansion is no exception. There has been a number of changes pertaining to both individual classes and the system as a whole. In this guide, we have outlined the main adjustments and transformations that have occured. To find out what are the best Shadowlands classes – take a look at this guide.


Belonging to a certain class has always been pivotal in the World of Warcraft. Class is something you identify with and build your game strategy around, choosing particular specs and talents that harmonize well. 

Thus, in the Mists of Pandaria, players could only develop talents confined to previously chosen specialization (spec). In the Warlords of Draenor, the choice of abilities was substantially reduced to upscale the efficacy of play (less buttons to press). The Shadowlands is bringing on a set of new game philosophy changes. We go back to the roots with classes as the central part of your gaming identity.

Noteworthy: each class can be developed to par with the rest. There are no best Shadowlands classes. With sufficient diligence and skill, you can achieve great results piloting any of them. 

Global game changes

Individual classes have been subjected to change in abilities and talents, but a number of conceptual alterations have been introduced to the wider scope of the game. That is:

  1. Level Squish. There has been a massive change in leveling, namely, they have been squished, with the 60th being the highest possible. Climbing up the level ladder has been made faster and easier, depending on which story you choose to play through.
  2. There is now a 5% variance on healing and irregular damage abilities. It changes every time you apply it on an individual basis. 
  3. Healing debuffs in PvE have been significantly increased, if not doubled. This change is non-existent in PvP though. The latter remains the same.
  4. Group buffs have been reduced to fifty percent.

Shadowlands: abilities unpruned

Back in 2019 the representatives of the Blizzard Entertainment reported that unpruning would be made crucial in the Shadowlands expansion. They kept their word. It is so, indeed. The base classes have been bestowed with the deluge of abilities that are connected to the specs, but not confined to it. Some have been made redundant entirely. It’s important to be nuanced here: spec choices are meant to uphold the class rather than keep it constrained.

Global Cooldown Control (GCD)

The developers at Blizzard have previously declared that some epic abilities were lacking time to appear visually epic. This has been fixed by the Shadowlands cooldown control, which is manifested as either a supplementary over-the-top visual effect or two abilities being connected in functionality. There have already been some issues with a set of talents, so that Blizzard were forced to single them out of the global cooldown control system.

Area of Damage Effect

Previously, players were able to hit quite a wide range of mobs around them. It has now changed to reverse the game to a more strategic approach. An array of varying target caps has been introduced. These are bound to make playing way more exciting and unexpected. It is now necessary to work out a plan of combat that is going to be used to kill mobs and bosses in an efficient manner.

Core system changes

  1. Covenants. Based on their belief system and personal philosophy, players will have to choose one of the four available covenants. Each one is associated with a specific set of abilities and talents granted to players individually and as a whole (class signature ability). You may ally with Necrolord to walk the path of demise or join in with Kyrian to spread light and purity. Enter the league of Night Faes if you seek connection to nature and its powers, or gather forces with the sentries of Venthyr. 
  2. Soulbinds. Characters may now be connected (soulbound) to a number of NPC unique for each chosen covenant. Once bound, a number of special abilities will be open, namely, conduits, damage and utility traits and signature ability augment traits. Conduit purchases can be made with Anima, a new resource players have yet to obtain.
  3. Torghast. A completely new type of dungeon where players can find Anima and access class and covenant abilities pertaining to it. The access is granted temporarily while you are in fact in Torghast.
  4. Legendary items. The Forge of Domination and resources from the Torghast dungeon will allow players to create unique legendary items and gear for their individual needs. 

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