Shadowlands Update -- Some Spells No Longer on GCD

Hello everyone.

In the next update to the Shadowlands Beta and PTR, we’ve taken a number of spells categorized as “burst cooldowns” off the global cooldown (GCD). Here are some more details on how we’ve come to this decision, as well as our intentions about this category of abilities.

By “burst cooldowns,” we mean spells like Avenging Wrath or Arcane Power whose primary purpose is to increase your damage or healing output every two to three minutes. The proper use of these major abilities can turn the tide of battle in your favor, and while they’re all mechanically powerful, our goal is that choosing to use them should also feel satisfying and epic. We look to abilities like Metamorphosis, Stormkeeper, and Void Eruption as successful examples of this, where animations, visual effects, and numerical payoff align to create a satisfying keypress that amply justifies incurring a global cooldown and creates a high point in the flow of combat.

Many of our burst cooldowns currently fall short of this standard. The solution for some of these has been to add an additional effect to activation (for example: Blade Flurry for rogues or Ascendance for restoration shamans), while for others it has been to combine the functionality into another active ability (for example: the recent handling of Unholy Frenzy for death knights), but there are still many abilities today that do nothing other than increase stats or resource generation.

We’ve heard clear feedback that incurring a global cooldown to do nothing but enhance subsequent button presses is unsatisfying, and we agree. While our goal remains making it so that when abilities are on the global cooldown, they feel compelling as standalone actions, in the meantime we want to avoid hindering smooth combat rotations. As such, we’re removing several abilities from the GCD and, in some cases, rolling back changes we’ve made in an attempt to make the GCD feel worthwhile. Below is a tentative list of relevant abilities that are being removed from the GCD:

Class Abilities coming off the GCD
Death Knight Pillar of Frost, Empower Rune Weapon
Druid Berserk, Celestial Alignment, Incarnation: Chosen of Elune, Incarnation: King of the Jungle, Innervate, Ravenous Frenzy
Hunter Aspect of the Wild, Coordinated Assault, Trueshot
Mage Arcane Power, Icy Veins
Monk Mana Tea, Serenity, Storm Earth and Fire
Paladin Avenging Crusader, Avenging Wrath, Crusade, Holy Avenger
Priest Spirit Shell
Rogue Adrenaline Rush, Shadow Blades, Vendetta
Shaman Ancestral Guidance
Warlock Dark Soul: Instability, Dark Soul: Misery
Warrior Avatar, Recklessness

We appreciate your feedback on this issue, and we appreciate your patience as we work to improve these abilities in the future.


Kiss me please


This is a great step in the right direction but I feel it’s missing a few. Dancing Rune Weapon for Blood DKs one! It’s falls in that category of “you press it and it only buffs subsequent abilities”…but worse, it only lasts 8s and 1.5s (with no haste) of that is sitting around doing nothing!

I also feel like Dark Transformation for Unholy DKs falls in the same category.


Monk: Mana Tea, Invoke Chi-ji, the Red Crane and Invoke Yulon, The Jade Serpent please, these are mirror cooldowns to Avenging Wrath, Avenging Crusader and Holy Avenger for Holy Paladins


Great changes, but I would love if Innervate and Mana Tea were on this list as well.


Frenzied Regeneration for Bears pls!

Great changes and going forward in the right direction.


No demoralizing shout. This still feels really bad to hit as a defensive CD or offensive one.


nothing for MM hunter at all while other classes get all their spec’s major CDs off the GCD very nice


Please consider healer CDs that feel just as bad for the exact same reasons. Incarnation Tree of Life (the only Incarnation that didn’t get taken off GCD) and innervate for resto druids, for example.


yes kinda strange not including trueshot, considering how awkward it is to press the ability then immediately move into a cast time, the gcd has severely hindered the flow of our burst

especially when you consider that icy veins is being taken off of the gcd

trueshot in general needs to be looked at, it is not functioning whatsoever as a satisfying burst cooldown compared to the many other burst cds in the game, and it being on the gcd is contributing to this. after the focus nerfs (costs + replacement of a talent) it almost feels pointless to even press trueshot


This is an excellent change!

I’d still like to see Light of the Protector (now becoming Word of Glory) come off the GCD for Protection. As a primary defensive ability, it’s always felt rough being GCD-locked.


I understand that you’re focusing on throughput CDs with this, but can we discuss defensive and mobility spells currently on the GCD that really shouldn’t be?

Namely for paladins: Divine Steed, Shield of Vengeance, Eye for an Eye, and potentially Divine Shield/Blessing of Protection (although idk how you feel about immunities).

Also, I think Blessing of Seasons and Seraphim would be considered purely stat increasing CDs.


What about Beast Mastery’s Bestial Wrath??? Aspect of the Wild is a great Cooldown but Bestial Wrath is always being used by us.


Thanks for the changes! I think this philosophy is a reasonable stance to take. I didn’t feel bad pressing AotW in BFA, due to Primal Instincts. With PI removed, it’s not an interesting button on its own anymore, so I agree it falls into the category you’re describing. I personally would have made the Barbed Shot charge from PI baseline and taken BW off the GCD, but you do you.

I’m curious what you guys are thinking about certain defensive CDs still being on the GCD (e.g. Exhil).


If you’re going to put Avenging Crusade off the gcd then Invoke chi-ji, the red crane should be off the gcd too. They are basically the same button with the only difference is you get chi-ji to come out and do a small amount of damage which you’re not pressing chi-ji for damage you’re pressing it for healing.


Dancing Rune Weapon needs to be on that list if Avatar, Wings, and Berserk are.

Surprised to see you give up on this though. There were many ways to make those abilities feel like the ones mentioned such as Metamorphosis etc.

Still, as long as Dancing Rune Weapon gets on that list, I wont complain. It is nice to have tank defensives off the GCD with the way combat’s pacing has sped up over the years.


Lol… yeah. All of Ret’s Defensives are on the GCD :slight_smile: Mobility too…


It would be better to remove Bestial Wrath from the GCD instead of Aspect of the Wild (or both) Specifically because of an overlap that happens where Bestial Wrath comes off cooldown and you need to refresh Frenzy. Refreshing Frenzy is generally more important so you end up wasting the cooldown reduction that barbed shot gives to Bestial Wrath and it feels real bad.

What about Trueshot? Also taking Exhilaration off the GCD would be a fantastic change


Sweeping strikes not on the list :frowning:


Nothing for Unholy DK ?

What about Apocalypse, Unholy Frenzy, Dark Transformation, Wraith Walk, Raise Abomination/Army of the Death, Death Grip and Unholy Blight ?

Unholy DK is one of the specs that is affected negatively by the gcd the most, and I’m probably not going to play it if it doesn’t get any changes to the GCD in Shadowlands. Spending 10 seconds pressing your cooldowns isn’t fun.
Mindblowing to me that you forgot that one.