Shamans have a long history in World of Warcraft. They were one of the original nine classes available in the initial MMORPG launch back in 2006, and at the time were only available to Horde players (Alliance, meanwhile, had the exclusive rights to Paladins). Nowadays they’re open to both factions, and have a solid place in any raiding party.
For the newest expansion, Dragonflight, Blizzard are completely reworking the talent system. Instead of a pick-from-three option every 5-10 levels, full on talent trees are making a return for the first time since Mists of Pandaria. Each class will have four trees – a core class tree that every spec will be able to access, and three specialisation trees. In addition, all classes will have a number of baseline abilities that any spec will learn automatically. So far we’ve seen the new trees for Rogues, Hunters, Death Knights and Priests – but now it’s time for Shamans to take their turn up at the plate. A full official breakdown is not yet available, but we’ll quickly run down some of the more notable changes.
Like with previously covered class revamps, all Shamans will have access to a number of baseline abilities, unlocked automatically without the need to spend talent points. Most of these are utility skills, like Astral Recall, Water Walking, and Ghost Wolf, but also included are skills with general group utility, like Heroism/Bloodlust, Ancestral Spirit and Reincarnation.
A whole range of abilities are now available in the core class tree, rather than being restricted to a particular specialisation. If you are specced into a particular role, some of the basic abilities will be granted as free talents, otherwise you’ll have to spend talent points to access them. These include Maelstrom Weapon (free for Enhancement), Lava Burst (free for Elemental) and Chain Heal (free for Restoration).
A number of abilities and traits from other sources are making their return as talents – Power of the Maelstrom, which was previously an artifact trait during Legion; Primal Lava Actuators, which was previously a Shadowlands Runecarving Power; Primal Primer, which was previously a Battle for Azeroth Azerite Power; and Primordial Wave, which was a Necrolord Covenant ability in Shadowlands.
For more Dragonflight info check out our preview of the last alpha build, or our rundown of some of the changes coming to professions.