Blizzard Previews Eight More Hero Talent Trees for The War Within

Blizzard Previews Eight More Hero Talent Trees for The War Within

A few weeks ago, Blizzard shared four Hero Talent Trees from the upcoming expansion for retail WoW, The War Within. This week they’ve chosen to reveal twice as many of these new talent trees, sharing eight more of them.

First, as a reminder, here are the talent trees we saw in the last preview:

  • Keeper of the Grove for Balance and Restoration Druids
  • Dark Ranger for Beast Mastery and Marksmanship Hunters
  • Frostfire for Frost and Fire Mages
  • Oracle for Holy and Discipline Priests

That preview also included several interviews between the developers and World of Warcraft content creators. There are no interviews included with today’s previews.

Elune’s Chosen is a new talent tree that is shared by Balance and Guardian Druids. The keystone talent in this tree is Boundless Moonlight, which deals Astral damage to nearby enemies and has a second effect based on your Druid’s specialization.

Windstalker is a tree that is shared by Feral and Restoration Druids. Its keystone talent is Thriving Growth, which buffs Rip and Rake to add an additional bleed effect to the target and Wild Growth, Rejuvenation, and Efflorescence to add an additional heal-over-time.

As a reminder, here are all of the Hero Talent Trees for Druids:

  • Druid of the Claw for Feral and Guardian
  • Windstalker for Feral and Restoration
  • Elune’s Chosen for Guardian and Balance
  • Keeper of the Grove for Restoration and Balance

Scalecommander is the talent tree for Augmentation and Devastation Evokers. Its keystone talent is Mass Eruption/Mass Disintegrate, which causes Disintegrate for Devastation and Eruption for Augmentation to strike up to 3 targets, and increases their damage by 25% for each missing target below 3.

The mockup also shows us which Evoker specializations will have access to which Hero Talent Trees:

  • Scalecommander for Augmentation and Devastation
  • Chronowarden for Augmentation and Preservation
  • Ruby Adept for Preservation and Devastation

Herald of the Sun is a talent tree that is shared by Holy and Retribution Paladins. The keystone talent in this tree is Sunspot, which causes your next 2 Holy Power spending abilities to place a Sunspot on the target that deals damage or healing over 8 seconds, with 10% of that damage radiating to nearby allies or enemies.

Templar is a new talent tree for Protection and Retribution Paladins. Its keystone ability is Light’s Guidance, which replaces Wake of Ashes for Retribution and Eye of Tyr for Protection with Hammer of Light for 12 seconds after they’re cast. This ability deals Holy damage to up to 5 targets.

Here are all of the Paladin Hero Talent Trees, as shown in the mockups:

  • Herald of the Sun for Holy and Retribution
  • Lightsmith for Holy and Protection
  • Templar for Retribution and Protection

Trickster is a talent tree for Outlaw and Subtlety Rogues. The keystone talent here is Unseen Blade, which causes Feint to grant 2 Combo Points and deal damage to to nearby enemies as well as increasing the damage you deal to them for 5 seconds.

Here are the Rogue Hero Talent Trees we can see in the mockup:

  • Fatebound for Assassination and Outlaw
  • Death Stalker for Assassination and Subtlety
  • Trickster for Outlaw and Subtlety

Diabolist is the new talent tree for Demonology and Destruction Warlocks. The keystone ability for this tree is Diabolic Ritual, a buff you gain for 20 seconds after spending a Soul Shard. Each additional Soul Shard you spend once it’s active will reduce its duration by 1 second, and when it expires, your next Soul Shard spent will summon a demon that does a devastating attack.

We can also see all of the Warlock Hero Talent Trees in the mockup:

  • Soul Harvester for Affliction and Demonology
  • Hellcaller for Affliction and Destruction
  • Diabolist for Demonology and Destruction

Colossus is the talent tree for Arms and Protection Warriors. The keystone ability in this tree is Demolish, an 8-yard AoE attack on a 45 second cooldown.

Here are the Warrior Hero Talent Trees as seen in the mockup:

  • Mountain Thane for Fury and Protection
  • Slayer for Fury and Arms
  • Colossus for Protection and Arms

We have yet to see any of the Hero Talent Trees for Demon Hunters, Death Knights, Monks, or Shamans, but we imagine those will be revealed in due time.

Blizzard – (Source)

The War Within expansion introduces Hero Talents as a new update to World of Warcraft classes. They are an evergreen form of character progression for each class specialization that introduces new powers and class fantasies. Feedback is critical to us as a part of creating an impactful and fun addition to the game, so we are sharing our goals for Hero Talents with the community to get first impressions of them and learn how well we’re meeting those goals.

In this article, we take a closer look at the philosophies around Hero Talents for eight more trees: Elune’s Chosen and Wildstalker Druids, Scalecommander Evoker, Herald of the Sun and Templar Paladins, Trickster Rogue, Diabolist Warlock, and Colossus Warrior.


What Are Hero Talents?

Hero Talents are new, self-contained talent trees that players unlock access at level 71. Hero Talents build on the abilities and talents of current classes and specializations. Players can choose a single Hero Talent tree to activate on a character and these talents can be changed in the same way class talents can be currently changed in the game. There are three Hero Talent trees for each class (excepting druid with four and demon hunter with two).  Each specialization has two Hero Talent trees they can choose between, and each of these trees is available as an option for two specializations.

For example, warriors have three Hero Talent tree options: Slayer, Colossus, and Mountain Thane. Fury has access to Mountain Thane and Slayer, Protection has access to Mountain Thane and Colossus, and Arms has access to Colossus and Slayer.

There are 11 nodes in a Hero Talent tree. The first of these unlocks with the system at level 71, and you earn 1 talent point per level from level 71 to 80, so you get every talent in the tree by level 80. Hero Talents will have starter builds available, and your saved builds will save your Hero Talent choices as well.

What to Expect from Hero Talents

Each Hero Talent tree starts with a “keystone” talent that introduces the core mechanic and concept of the tree. This could be a new ability, an enhancement to an existing ability or cooldown, or a new buff you can trigger. The bottom talent of each tree is a “capstone” talent that builds on the core themes of the tree or adds new power to the keystone.

Each tree will offer or modify some class utility and include defensive bonuses that are useful to all specializations. We are aiming for all trees to be about equal in the amount of utility and defensiveness they provide. Trees for characters that can take on a tanking role may have some additional defense bonuses that will be less valuable to healers or damage dealers (DPS), such as bonuses to tank talents or cooldowns. Three or four nodes in each tree will be choice nodes where you can choose between two options.

Hero Talents are meant to add enough damage or healing throughput to be significant without being so important that these new talents overshadow your current class and spec tree talents. Most Hero Talent trees add new visual effects to classes, both to communicate what they’re doing and bring their class fantasies to life. However, these are not complete visual reworks – your class and spec are still the same at their core, and that will continue to come through.

Maintaining Freedom to Choose

We want players to be free to choose the Hero Talent tree that has the gameplay, visuals, or flavor that they prefer. Our goal is for both options to feel similarly effective in raid dungeons, Mythic+, and PvP. We’re working to avoid abilities or bonuses in Hero Talents that could make a certain tree feel “required” for activities where we can.

We know that for some players, prioritizing total throughput is the most important thing to them, even if the difference between choices seems small. That’s okay but keeping Hero Talent balance close is one of our priorities so that players can play what they prefer and still be viable in any content.

How We Chose Hero Talent Concepts

Since we announced Hero Talents at BlizzCon, it’s been great to see all the conversation and speculation surrounding the 39 Hero Talent titles. We’d like to share some of the thinking that went behind choosing those concepts.

Each Hero Talent concept must be appropriate for both of the specs that can use it. Some concepts build on overlaps in abilities or flavors between the two specs that can use it, like Colossus warriors, which are as mighty as Arms warriors and as imposing as Protection warriors. Others create new themes that are appropriate for both specs, like Fatebound rogues.

Hero Talents also retain your combat role and the gear that you use so that you’re not competing for new types of gear. For iconic Warcraft character archetypes, we wanted to be sure that we could deliver on their fantasy with World of Warcraft’s classes. Blademasters just wouldn’t be Blademasters without abilities like Wind Walk and Mirror Image, but those abilities don’t fit in a warrior’s toolkit.

Lastly, there are several iconic character archetypes that are strongly tied to specific races and factions, such as Keeper of the Grove or Mountain Thane. It’s exciting to embody these storied archetypes, but we want to ensure that characters of every race and faction can see themselves as those archetypes. We’re open to feedback on what feels good for your characters versus what is frustrating.

Gameplay and Hero Talents

We have several goals for what it feels like to play World of Warcraft with Hero Talents. Here are some of our guiding principles for how they affect your capabilities, your rotation, what you pay attention to in combat, and your user interface.

We like to say on the team that our goal for Hero Talents gameplay is for them to make you “what you are, but more.” We know that many of you have long histories with your favorite classes, and you play them because you like their gameplay and the spells and abilities that matter in their rotation, whether it’s the spinning plates of Affliction, the cycles of Arcane, or the frenetic reactivity of Fury. Hero Talents don’t override what matters to a class. You should feel like you’re playing your spec with a twist or a boost and not as if the things you care about have become unimportant or been replaced.

A Hero Talent tree might add new behavior or bonuses to an existing ability, like Keeper of the Grove’s bonuses to Force of Nature and Grove Guardian treants. They might occasionally reset the cooldown on abilities or replace spells with more powerful versions. They might make it easier to maintain important buffs or grant additional resources at key moments.

One thing that we’re keeping a close eye on is complexity. Classes in WoW have a lot of abilities and talents, and there’s a lot to learn about each one. We want Hero Talents to add new fun without creating new burdens, either in customizing or playing a character. Most Hero Talent trees do not add new buttons that players will need to add to their action bar or find a new keybind for. There will be additional opportunities for players to express their skill, but we’re trying not to add things like complex maintenance buffs that increase the cognitive load for everyone playing a class. Most of the choices a player will make about how complex they want their rotation to be will continue to be made in their class and spec talent trees.

Some Hero Talents do require you to take certain talents in your class or spec trees to access their powers. This is often because those talents fit the flavor and theme of that specific Hero Talent tree. The Mountain Thane warrior tree enhances Avatar and Thunder Clap, Templar paladin gives extra power to Wake of Ashes, and Elune’s Chosen druids can cast a particularly strong Fury of Elune. However, a Hero Talent tree will only ever require or enhance a small number of class or spec talents. It’s important to us that there still is freedom in customizing your class build.

Show Us the Hero Talent Trees!

Over the coming months, we’ll continue to share full designs for Hero Talent trees from The War Within. We’re excited to hear what you think of them.

Below, you’ll find the Hero Talents for Elune’s Chosen and Wildstalker Druids, Scalecommander Evoker, Herald of the Sun and Templar Paladins, Trickster Rogue, Diabolist Warlock, and Colossus Warrior.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and sharing more as we progress.

Visit our first and second preview articles to learn more about additional Hero Talents in development.

About the Author


I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.

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