Unlike now, Vanilla WoW isn’t exactly known for being completely balanced. With how good the devs have become when it comes to walking the tightrope, it’s worth looking back on the infamously overpowered abilities that defined the Vanilla WoW metagame. Because if you’re complaining how unfair certain skills are, then imagine how mad you’d with these.
Thankfully, you won’t find them in today’s WoW Classic private server.
In Vanilla WoW, this ability, which grants the Paladin invulnerability from all sources, lasts for 12 seconds. Aside from being used to tank, some Paladins can also use it to escape by casting it and then using a hearthstone, which is only worth a few WoW Classic gold, afterward. And because this was a time before skills like Mass Dispel and Shattering Throw, there was really nothing you could do if the Paladin was intent on getting away.
In World of Warcraft, there’s the diminishing returns mechanic, which means the duration of an offensive spell’s particular effect gets halved the next time it is cast on the same target and then reduced to 25% before the target becomes fully immune.
The game didn’t have this at the time of Frost Shock’s heyday, a spell whose cooldown is shorter than its slow effect duration of 8 seconds. As if that’s not bad enough, Frost Shock also deals a good deal of damage.
More of a status ailment mechanic that could be exploited than skill, the issue with Fear in WoW Vanilla is that the damage threshold needed to break it isn’t a certain amount of cumulative damage, but a certain amount of damage in one sitting. Players then used damage-over-time spells so as not to break Fear.
On top of that, while there are lots of classes with access to this status ailment, the Warlocks that inflict it have no cooldown. What a horror!
Cheap Shot + Kidney Shot
This Rogue combo gave the class the ability to stun a player for a total of 10 seconds – a timeframe long enough to kill an enemy player. While it consumes a considerable amount of combo points, rogues can always drink thistle tea to pull this combo off.
Blind + Preparation
In some ways, it’s similar to the previous Rogue combo, but this is deadlier. This is done this way:
- Cheap Shot (Vanish) twice
- Wait for the duration and leave combat and re-stealth
- Sap – this removes Diminishing Returns
- Wait for the duration, restealth, use Preparation, which resets skill cooldowns
- Rinse and repeat
With this combo, rogues can take out all sorts of enemies, especially players(gamer to gamer).
Curse of Elements or Shadow
These skills were considered overpowered because in-game mechanics allowed gamers or players to suffer negative resistances instead of them just dropping to zero. This means more damage dealt with by a particular elemental source. Thankfully, however, this has been changed.
A skill that scaled with weapon damage but had a much shorter cooldown that ignored weapon attack speed, Mortal Strike became a lethal skill when paired with the Arcanite Reaper, a massively powerful yet extremely slow axe. All of this, however, was fixed after weapon attack normalization, which means skills now have to follow weapon attack speeds.
This is a shaman weapon enchantment that gives the target a 20% chance to attack two extra attacks on hit. Those chances didn’t have an internal cooldown, so the effect being triggered can also cause the skill to trigger the effect again and again within itself. On top of that, this was before weapon attack normalization was implemented!
To further kill the skill off, it was given a 3-second internal cooldown. However, somebody discovered that a different rank of Windfury stacks with another Windfury of a different rank, and the two buffs of the same spell didn’t have the same internal cooldown. This, however, has since been fixed in Burning Crusade.
Will of the Forsaken
In the beta of World of Warcraft classic, this made Undead players immune to charm, sleep, and fear. But come the actual release, Undead players were re-classed to humanoid. To make sure Undead players still had watered-down access to that legacy trait, Blizzard Entertainment gave them the racial trait called Will of the Forsaken, which cured and made them immune charm, sleep, and fear for 20 seconds. Obviously, it was too long and gave them an unfair advantage, so it was eventually cut down to 5.
This is a spell that can literally be a one-shot spell if you use Presence of Mind, which removes the cooldown of the next spell, Arcane Power, which boosts spell damage at the cost of more mana, and trinkets, which increases magic damage even further.
World of Warcraft is still not perfect today, but it sure is much fairer now than it used to be. Heck, even in WoW Classic, they wouldn’t bring this back. Now, aren’t you glad that’s the case? Unless you want to try these overpowered exploits yourself.