Since World of Warcraft is nearly two decades old, the natural progression of character abilities and talents over numerous expansions has led to focuses on “specializations” in the game instead of “classes.”
To combat this, Blizzard released an initial set of changes today that it’s considering for each class and all of their specializations. These are aimed at “unpruning” classes to make characters more associated with their class than their specialization.
Each specialization inside a class became unique, which has caused some specs from the same class to not feel like they have similar origins. For Shadowlands, Blizzard has been vocal since BlizzCon about its intentions to make specializations supplementary to a class’ kit instead of making them restrictive.
The term “unpruning” gets its name from the ability “pruning” that’s happened over the game’s history. As a way to try to adjust for power changes in WoW over time, developers moved some abilities to class-specific talents as a way to simplify the game to a degree. But the move also limited player creativity.
Each class is set to receive an assortment of different changes, according to Blizzard’s recent post. But the overall sentiment is that Blizzard will be taking a step back from the “pruning” process of old.
Many abilities that were discarded or restricted to certain specializations are being reverted back to baseline options for players. While these changes aren’t final, they’re the start of what seems to be an overhaul for WoW while Blizzard looks to hone some of the excitement its player base got from playing Classic in the fall and in preparation for the release of a new expansion later this year.