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Old 06-23-2019, 10:24 AM
Menel'dirion Menel'dirion is offline

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Default Class Skins

So there has been talk of class skins being introduced in 9.0. The talk goes from idle speculation to "leaks" on reddit. Up to you how much of it you believe.

I wanted to go into the different theories on class skins, the pros, the cons, the implications, the possibilities and the limitations.

The basic premise is that rather than actually releasing a new class (or in addition depending on what source you look at), Blizzard could re-sking existing classes, changing up the visuals slapping on new names and fantasies.

- Opens up new possibilities of character fantasy that were previously thought unviable.
- Will not disrupt class balance
- Could allow for multiple class skin options to be integrated over course of expansion, not unlike Allied Races.


- Technically, they don't actually add anything new to the game


Taliesin Proposal: Taliesin focused on Racially Specific class skins, such as Spell Breakers being an option for blood elves being based on protection paladin, or Tide sages being an option for Kul Tirans based on Shamans. In some ways, I'll admit I found his thinking somewhat limited.

Reddit AMA: According to this "leak" (take with salt to taste) class skins are planned for 9.0, including Necromancers based on Warlocks (another possibility Taliesin proposed as well), Dragonsworn based on Druids, and Dark Shaman based on Shaman. I find that last one quite unimaginative, but I could see it working. More on that later.

Some things you might think are set in stone, but might not be in this case. For instance, since Class Skins have no actual bearing on class balance, they have no bearing on faction balance either. So giving Trolls and Zandalari alone a Shadow-Hunter Class skin based on Shamans, for example, would not make the Horde over powered since Alliance has access to the base class at least. However, for the sake of parity, Alliance should get exclusive access to a class skin that they like, so something like Priestess of the Moon based off of Hunters would be appropriate. Note, these are both random examples, not suggestions.

On the other hand, armor class really is non-negotiable. If it's based on a mage it has to use cloth. If it's based on a Paladin it must wear plate. The same goes for effective range. If it's based on a Warrior it must be melee. If it's based on a mage it must use cloth.

Weapons might have a bit of wiggle room, but only just. The effective range of the weapons a class skin has access to must be the same as the effective range of its base class. Also how the weapons are wielded must remain the same (1h/2h/dual wield/off-hand/shield) But, within that limitation, I'd say the difference between using similar weapons should be no big deal. If a class based on shamans uses swords instead of maces, I don't think the World (of Warcraft) will end.

Pets offer possibly more wiggle room. If a class has pets, then the class based on them will also need access to pets, but they need not necessarily be the exact same sort of pets. The example that most people go to for this concept is Necromancers based off of Warlocks, subbing in undead for demons. Similarly, I could see a hunter variant who tames humanoids (similar access to pets, whereas taming dragonkin or constructs would be severely limit one's options).

With those limitations in mind, what can we do with this. Going down the list alphabetically

- Death Knight
Armor Class: Plate
Effective range: Melee
Weapons restrictions: 2h or dual wield.
Pet access to a summonable pet with very limited ability, ability to summon extra pets or temporary army of pets
Roles: Tank, melee dps.
This one is pretty difficult. I honestly don't have any good ideas. I think that if this sort of thing were to be implemented, they'd probably start with base classes, not hero classes, but it's worth thinking about.

- Demon Hunter
Armor Class: Leather
Effective Range: Melee, but with short ranged attacks as well.
Weapons Restrictions: Dual Wield
No Pet access
Roles, melee DPS
Special considerations: Temporary transformations. Short Range AOE Spell Casting. Ability to glide.
See Death Knight. Honestly, if I were to do a dragonsworn, I'd base it off a Demonhunter. You temporary transform into a dragon and breath fire instead of eyebeams. I could also see this one being the Shadow-Hunter, but I haven't fleshed out that idea fully yet.

- Druid
Armor Class: Leather
Weapons Restrictions: 2 handed weapons, 1 handed weapons, off hand items, barred from shields and dual wielding.
Role: Any
No Pet Access
Special Considerations: spec dependent long term transformations integral to gameplay.
the Reddit AMA claimed it would be Dragonsworn, and that works. I could see a Transformer transforming between different types of Mechs (your tank form is literally a tank). Or an elemental savant (Balance=Fire, Resto=Water, Guardian=Earth, Feral=Wind).

- Hunter
Armor Class: Mail
Weapons Restrictions: 2 handed weapons, dual wield melee (that doesn't actually work mechanic wise in my experience), 2h ranged weapons (currently exclusive access).
Role: Ranged DPS Melee DPS
Strong Pet mechanics
Taliesin suggested Dark Ranger here, and in this case I agree with him. I'd switch the pet pool to humanoids (based on the Dark Ranger Ultimate ability from TFT), give it some darker themes to ability names and visuals and call it a day.

- Mage
Armor Class: Cloth
Weapons Restrictions: 2 handed melee weapons, 1 handed melee weapons, 1 handed ranged weapons off hands. All weapons are really just stat modifiers in this case, and not at all useful in combat.
Role: Ranged DPS, some control abilities.
Technically, we could reskin the special effects, call them a sorceror, a Void Mage, or whatever and push it out there. If I wanted to be more imaginitive though, I'd go with Tinker, with spells being replaced with rockets and gadgets and what not. Maybe sub out wands with pistols.

- Monk
Armor: Leather
Weapons: dual wielding 1h melee, 2h melee
Role: Tank, Healer, melee dps
The tendancy towards unarmed combat actually does not need to translate over. I'd go for Blade Master. Access to Orcs and Draenei (and Allied Race Variants).

- Paladin
Armor: Plate
Weapons: 1h with shield or off-hand, 2h
Role: Tank, Healer, Melee DPS
This one's rough. I could see a Warlord, with an emphasis on leadership and buffing.

- Priest
Armor: Cloth
Weapons: 1h melee with off hand, 1h ranged with off-hand, 2handed stat stick.
Role: Healer, Ranged DPS.
Here, I'm actually kinda thinking Bard. Lots of good buffing and crowd control. Sub out staves with 2h instruments and wands with hand-crossbows.

- Rogue
Armor: Leather
Weapons: dual wielding Melee
Role: melee DPS
Special: Stealth focus
The mundane nature of it makes it somewhat difficult to riff on. I could see a spy, where stealth is based on disguises. I could also maybe see something specialized that would take a whole lot more imagination than I've put into it.

- Shaman
Armor: Mail
Weapons: dual wield melee, 1h with shield, 1h with off-hand, 2h.
Role: Melee/ranged dps; healing
Special: Totems, minor long term transportation for travel.
the Reddit AMA claimed this would be Dark shaman, and I find that utterly unimaginative. I can pretend my shaman is a dark shaman without a skin. ON the other hand, if they did it right, such as subbing out restoration water spells with blood spells, I might be all over it. I was thinking of making these guys tinkers, changing their totems into machines that fill the same role.

- Warlock
Armor: Cloth
Weapons: single handed melee/single hand ranged with off hand item but no dual wield; 2 handed weapons. All Stat sticks.
Role: Ranged DPS
Heavy on pet mechanics
Necromancer seems to be pretty well agreed upon. you could change it up, but necromancer really seems to be the obvious answer.

- Warrior
Armor: plate
Weapons: 2 handed melee, dual wield melee (with 2h weapons no less), shields.
Role: melee DPS , Tank
Moreso than rogue, the banality of this one is really hard to riff on. I honestly have nothing

But what have you got? What suggestions? Am I wrong in any of my points? What considerations do you have?

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Old 06-23-2019, 04:10 PM
Jon Targaryen Jon Targaryen is offline

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If I may quote myself:
Originally Posted by Jon Targaryen View Post
Couldn't we have Necromancers simply by re-skinning Warlocks? Change the Fire damage to Frost, replace the Demon summons with undead summons, rename the spells and change their animations and we've got a class with a new flavor but without the balancing issues.
So yeah, I like it.

I'd also like some kind of westernized Monk.

Last edited by Jon Targaryen; 06-23-2019 at 04:14 PM..
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:28 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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Been advocating for these for years.

Brought to you by Sanguine Enterprises.

My Worldbuilding:

Last edited by Mutterscrawl; 06-23-2019 at 04:34 PM..
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Old 06-23-2019, 08:08 PM
Deicide Deicide is offline

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I think they should update the glyph system into some kind of skill variants talent-like system where you can select a skill, then select which of the cosmetic variants you learned is to be active.

Like, imagine that Hunters start with Arcane Shot, but learn Fire Shot, Void Shot and other cosmetic variants that, at most, change the type of damage caused. You could learn variants through glyphs (permanent adding to your options), questlines, achievements or other sources, and your progress is account-wide.

A warlock could do a questline to learn necromancy, gaining one or more undead types to call instead of your demons.

Some skills could have race-restricted variants, maybe even start with the racial versions before they could learn the standard version. Like Lightforged draenei starting with holy-based shadow spells, or shamans and priests getting racial versions of certain spells (Spirit form for shamans should totally depend on race).

This could start as a simple system, but later kits could be introduced to change whole specs.

If they go directly into class skins, however, I don't see it being done for more than two or three classes per expansion. Maybe it would only cover certain specs (like shadow priest becoming a kind of holy vindicator), instead of whole classes, which could then have more options per expansion.
- Sorry for any typos; english's not my primary language.

- A better signature coming soon(ish).

Last edited by Deicide; 06-23-2019 at 08:17 PM..
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:29 AM
Sonneillon Sonneillon is offline

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Given their lack of ability to pull off the sub races in a timely fashion, I wouldn't get your hopes up.
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