Future Race and Class Combinations

As some of you may have known, Ion had recently done an interview with MrGM. Some of the discussion involved future race and class combinations.

There were a few things said in which I felt the need to bring up and discuss, especially from a role player’s perspective.

Game Director Ion Hazzikostas said:

Firstly, I am very happy to hear that not only will the dracthyr be getting other classes, but also that their visage form functions in combat as well!

Now, slightly off-topic here. This is kind of unfair to worgen players. I know, I know the whole argument of “if you want to fight in human form, just play a human then!” I get that and to some extent, I actually agree with that. However, the worgen community has been asking for this for a very long time. I think it’s time to let the players choose what form they can take on as in combat. If they want to be their worgen and go feral, let them have at it. If they want to fight as a human (Or hopefully night elf form… hint hint) let them. It’s about a racial fantasy here and Genn himself has demonstrated that a worgen can freely shift between forms as he pleases.

Back on subject here. It was then spoken in the interview that there are animations that comes with making these classes available for dracthyr. I understand this 100%. It’s a new race, new model thus needing new rigging and animations and that stuff does take quite a bit of time to do however, I sorely need to point out a contradiction when it comes to other race/class combinations.

Back in April, the following was asked to Michael Bybee:

His Response:

This answer bothers the heck out of me. Artwork, yes, I can understand. Animations on the other hand which what it boils down to - that work is already done.

There is an infamous toy known as the Atomic Recalibrator. It puts a disc on the ground where players can constantly run through to change their appearance to a random race and gender. You get to keep this appearance for one hour and it persists in combat. Many times I have changed into a vulpera on my paladin and played around with it out in the open world. Sure, I can’t pick what my alter-ego would look like, but the point is is that I was able to play a race/class combination that does not exist perfectly fine with all the animations in check.

Here is an example of the toy in effect that shows a race/class combination not available yet but can still use abilities exclusive to the class:

I am a fully functioning worgen paladin - for only 1 hour :frowning:

So, when they talk about needing animations… Yeah, no, it’s only true for Dracthyr and their upcoming classes as they were only animated for evoker.

What this actually boils down to are Druid Animal Forms, Shaman Totems, and Paladin Racial Mounts. Yes, they would need new models for these. Of the three classes that isn’t universal, Paladin would be the next choice.

As cool as a race specific paladin mount is, mounts themselves are not crucial to gameplay as opposed to animal forms and totems. If we go back in the timelines, draenei had a human horse for quite a while before they got their elekks. Years in fact IIRC. I am sure many people would be more content to have the class become available without their race specific mount implemented. It doesn’t have to be all at once, mind you. You could just trickle the mounts in over time. As I said, mounts are not crucial to gameplay. Just don’t let it be too much time like you did with Heritage Armors. I think this would make people very happy.

For Shaman totems, I could suggest a band aid solution to this. You could make a generic Alliance and Horde themed set of totems that all the other classes could use… for the time being. Like paladin mounts, individual totem models could be trickled in over time.

Now druids, this one is the doozy. Standard aquatic (seal) and travel (stag) forms can be given to them at the start. People will probably change them anyways via barbershop.
Guardian and Feral forms is what the issue is here. These ones are a must to be completed at the launch of the of the class/race combo. Because of this, I actually wouldn’t recommend making this class available to everyone. Like Cataclysm releasing only worgen and trolls then BFA with Kul Tirans and Zandalari, I believe this class should only be available to certain races (which I will get into).

With that in mind, as Zandalari and Kul Tirans have proven, you do not have to thematically follow that these forms -have- to be a bear or cat.

Ion then later states in his interview:

So there are a few things to take from this. If we really want to talk about thematic things, a lot of stuff is already homogenized.

Let’s take priests for example. Regardless of race, holy priests aesthetics are centered around the use of the Holy Light. In my mind, a Kaldorei priestess would have more of a silvery aesthetic which would be akin to Elune’s culture. Trolls worship the Loa… yet, here we are seeing them cast Light spells. I know the theme is to make the class look holy and what not but the aesthetic of the class itself screams the Faith of the Holy Light.

This can also be said with Zandalari paladins as another example. It’d kind of be cool if certain race/class combinations would have unique aesthetics down the line. Though something like that is like a side project and doesn’t really have relevance to this subject in particular.

Narratives. This seems to be a big issue when introducing a class/race combo. When they released Warlocks, there weren’t really any narratives to that, nor to mages, priests, and rogues. Though if we want to take Ion’s philosophy on dracthyr and why they are getting new classes, why can’t other races do this as well?

What is stopping someone from going up to a paladin and say, “Hey, I want to know the ways of the Light. Can you teach me?”

The answer is nothing. I’ve actually seen this done in role play and have actually experienced it myself. I have a character who is a worgen hunter that was from Westfall that got bit by a feral worgen in Duskwood. Her name is lil ole Sadie Mae! Her family grew up faithful to the Holy Light and it was part of her identity. Eventually with character development, she decided that she wanted to learn how to wield the Light and become a paladin. It was a very fun rp actually!

PALADIN

Alliance

  • Night Elves - This has been one of the biggest requests of the fanbase. Delas Moonfang became a paladin in Legion. She could easily teach other Night Elves the same!
  • Gnomes - I’ll admit my lore is a bit dusty when it comes to gnomes. Though gnomes can be priests. Their close counter parts, the dwarves, can be paladins. What is stopping a dwarf from teaching a gnome how to be a paladin?
  • Worgen - A bit controversial due to paladins being “imbued” with the Light and how it protects them from curses and disease. Blizzard was highly against Worgen monks because monks find tranquility within themselves and so worgen would never be able to find that inner peace because of the bestial urges and rage within. Yet, we still got monks! Of course, we can turn to the priest class on this one. Worgen priests are a thing. If they can call upon the Light to heal, why can’t worgen call upon the Light to infuse them as a plated warrior of the Light?
  • Kul Tiran - Sure they have more of a spooky culture but I would think that since the end of BFA, Kul Tirans would branch out, perhaps rekindling ties to other parts of Azeroth.
  • Mechagnome - Their advanced technology has gathered knowledge from the patrons of Azeroth and adapted the use of paladin magics to their brethren. This could also be done for both shaman and druid.

Void Elves - Alright… so… this is probably the most controversial one. I will address the elekk in the room here. Most people want this combination to fulfill their High Elf fantasy. In the world of role play, most void elves are portrayed as High Elves. Very few role play their character as an actual void elf. People want their high elf pallies. Of course per Blizzard, we aren’t high elves, we’re void elves (Well, technically we are a high elf but that is a whooole other argument). It’s like how worgen are from Gilneas when some people, like my Sadie Mae, is from Westfall. With that, we have to take what Blizzard’s intentions are no matter how much we want otherwise.

Now to get to narratives. Void and Light don’t mix. It’s how we get Fel. HOWEVER! In the recent patch with Alleria, we witness a void elf casting consecration.

This leads me to believe that a doorway is open to eventually let Void Elf paladins be a thing. I actually role play a void elf priest named Valyrianna who can call upon the Light. Like an undead priest, doing this would bring her a sense of harm and cause her whispers to flair. Again, fun stuff in the RP world. So what if we have the same concept here with other void elves? Even though they were outcast and followed that shadowy path, what if they still had strong ties to the faith of the Holy Light? We have priests already but what if calling the Light they have some sort of drawback narratively for doing this?

Just a thought.

Horde:

  • Orcs and Mag’har Orcs - Tricky one this is. Needless to say, this one has me a little stumped for a narrative. I am sure someone more well versed in orcish lore could come up with something on this. Though for Mag’har, I could see it being one of Yrel’s converted orcs that later escaped?
  • Trolls - Same as the Zandalari trolls. Power comes from the Loa. Easy peasy.
  • Undead - Same kind of theory with Void Elves. Plus we have an undead paladin in game via the Argents.
  • Highmountain - Since integrated into the Horde, they learned about the Sunwalker culture and decided to join them.
  • Vulpera - You have a bit of a flex here and it’s a prime opportunity to actually expand their lore. Vulpera are desert dwellers. Perhaps you could create something with their culture that’s related to the sun?
  • Goblin - Another tricky one. Stumped me but I am sure there can be something.
  • Nightborne - After being secluded for over 10,000 years, the Nightborne has integrated themselves into the Horde. With Thalryssa’s marriage to Lor’thremar, perhaps some of the Nightborne wish to learn and adopt the culture of the Sin’dorei. Maybe even take reverence of the Sunwell.

Pandaren - Perhaps a new Celestial or something? I am not really good with Pandaren lore if I am to be honest.

SHAMAN

Alliance

  • Human - These people are exploring their ancestral cultures and stumbled upon shamanism. I think Arathorian lore comes into play with this. Or perhaps, Kul Tirans can introduce their culture in exchange for our humans teaching how to be a paladin.
  • Night Elf - Primalists introduced us to night elven shaman. There could be more out there!
  • Gnome - Perhaps something with those pesky sand gnomes we saw in Burning Crusade during that drum quest? Can expand on that!
  • Void Elf - Eh, I don’t really see them suited to be a shaman personally no matter what way you spin it.
  • Lightforged Draenei - Like how the Highmountain would learn how to be a paladin from the tauren Sunwalkers, LF could learn to be a shaman via draenei.
  • Mechagnome - See paladin list.
  • Worgen - See human. Their harvest witches could probably pick up on the Kul Tiran culture and teach the ways of shaman through it.

Horde

Honestly for Horde, Nightborne, Blood Elves, and Undead don’t really seem like good candidates on the narrative side. If anything, giving Alliance more shaman races to be on par with Horde would be most fitting rather than letting everyone be the class.

On the same retrospect, you could just unlock them all for the sake of “play any class on any race” like you’ve done with the others. Though if you’re going strictly on narratives for shaman, then I’d just make it equal on Alliance side for shaman. Alliance has 5 races that can be shaman (Pandaren, Dwarf, Dark Iron, Draenei, Kul Tiran) while horde has 9 (Pandaren, Orc, Mag’har, Troll, Zandalari, Tauren, Highmountain, Vulpera, Goblin).

Alliance currently has 5 races that can be paladins (Human, Dwarf, Dark Iron, Draenei, Lightforged) while the Horde has only 3 (Blood Elf, Zandalari, Tauren). Balancing out paladin and shaman could be quite ideal here.

DRUIDS

As I stated before earlier, I truly do not believe that this class should be available to every race. However, in a call back to the interview with Ion, not every druid needs to be a Druid of the Grove or part of the Cenarion Circle. This was proven through the Zandalari and Kul Tirans. They were given unique lore and unique forms, thus why I feel that identities are crucial here.

As cool as it would be to see an Undead druid shift into a decaying bear or cat, lore wise… I can’t see it. If Blizzard goes with the whole “make every class available to all races” then I will just deal with it. I’ve seen a lot of worse things in the world of role play (I am looking at you Lightforged vampyr draenei!) xD

Alliance has 3 races that can be druids (Worgen, Night Elf, Kul Tiran) while the Horde has 4 (Tauren, Highmountain, Troll, Zandalari)

Here is my list on who would be great candidates for the druid class:

  • Human - No brainer on this one. We’re surrounded by Kul Tirans, Worgen, and Night Elves. Wouldn’t be hard to adopt one of the cultures.
  • Dwarf and Dark Iron - They’ve taken on shamanism, I can see them taking on a role of a druid and learning nature magic as both are adept in magics. Could be a shaman that wanted to explore the wilds more?
  • Mechagnome - Yes, Mechagnome. To answer Ion’s question on what would a mechagnome look like culturally, I can imagine as them mimicking druids of our culture, transforming themselves into mechanical animals to fulfill their roles.
  • Blood Elves - Points to the Botanica instance
  • Nightborne - Points to High Botanist Tel’arn in the Nighthold
  • Vulpera - As stated with paladins, this could be an opportunity to expand their lore a little bit. They already know shamanism so nature magics are not unfamiliar to them.
  • Pandaren - Again on the Celestial thing. I can see them taking on a Xuen like cat form for feral and perhaps an ox for guardian. Zandalari and Kul Tirans broke the bear/cat meta.

Also to Ion’s question about Goblin druids. I can totally see explosives tied up to them, sparks flying off of them, whole nine. I think it would be quite comical… Narratively, this fits in the category with Undead. Cool but yeaaaah no.

Demon Hunters, Evokers, and Death Knights should stay the way they are. I have seen a desire for more demon hunter combinations but this is a class I don’t really play so I am at an impasse on it. Keep in mind, we now see Man’ari paladins running around. Lightforged Warlocks and Shadow Priests, Void Elf holy priests, and other combinations that already do not make sense. So never say never!

Let me know what you think!

Sources:

EDIT: Also, this was brought to my attention pertaining to Goblin Druids:

22 Likes

I wholly agree with this. Giving players more options is good all around and worth the effort and lore massaging. It’s especially egregious that Earthen Death Knights were teased at Blizzcon and enabled in Alpha before being removed with Beta.

9 Likes

This is an echo of a larger trend which I do not understand as a player.

Shadowlands introduced massive new amounts of character customization, universal approval, universal support for it to continue expanding and adding more at whatever pace Blizzard could achieve. And instead, it got announced going into Dragonflight that it was not a priority and was stopping completely. Why?

Similarly, class and race restrictions, Originally Warriors and Hunters, later we saw Warlocks expanded to all races in 10.1.5 etc. Similar pattern, universally praised, been long requested, and at the time all communication indicated it was a long term goal to eventually include all classes available to all races, at a pace that lore narrative worldbuilding could accommodate.

And now the announcement is that that philosophy is not continuing. Again I am just confused and asking why? Players know that these things take time, and resources, nobody expects you to snap your finger and enable them fully tomorrow. But hearing that active development on them as a goal is being halted and completely 180’d just sucks. Players have been waiting patiently for months if not years at this point for their favorite class or race to be available to play the combination they’ve wanted for ages.

What can we as players do to stop this pattern? I dont think players should need to tell you on a weekly basis that “yes we still like you working on this thing, keep doing it, don’t stop active development on expanding character customizations and race/class restrictions”. That seems ludicrous, but when players universally praised and supported these decisions, and then waited patiently, repeating it ad-nauseum is about the only further thing I can see that we could be doing. But based on the behavior so far, it seems doubtful that even if we had been doing that, that it would’ve been listened to and changed the result. I dont want development on these areas to stop, slow them down, scale back if you need to, but indefinite pause/stasis is how things get lost and never followed through.

Okay you aren’t ready to expand druids to all races, fine. Add the races 2 at a time then or something, why is it an all or nothing approach? Why are we letting perfect be the enemy of incremental improvement positive good? It doesn’t make sense, it doesnt reflect player desires, it’s just confusing and frustrating with seemingly no explanation.

13 Likes

(I agree with all of the OP’s race/class combos)

I don’t personally agree with Earthen DKs, I get they were teased but I don’t see the narrative. Perhaps in future there could be lore that thee Earthen that couldn’t be woken up are infused with a form of rebirth/necrotic magic to fix stuff the Machine couldn’t; however I do not believe off rip Earthen DKs make sense whatsoever.

1 Like

Another note about the whole paladin thing in which I actually forgot to mention:

THE TYR’S GUARD

3 Likes

My dream:

Pandarem should have unique animal forms based on their culture.

And the appearance of the mage tower should have a version of a pandaren.

Spoiler:

9 Likes

I genuinely love this! All upcoming druids should have unique forms that are tied to their culture. That is why, if anything, they would be the last class to be added.

5 Likes