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Primary abilities

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Primary abilities (introduced with patch 4.0.1) were class and specialization-specific abilities, with a single primary ability awarded to your character upon selecting a specialization. Primary abilities were exclusive not only to your class but also to your specialization, and tended to be powerful abilities key to that specialization, offering offensive, defensive or healing capabilities, or in some cases the chance to summon a permanent companion. Primary abilities were the only class abilities limited to a specific spec, aside from talent abilities found on the higher tiers of the pre-5.0.4 talent trees.

With patch 5.0.4 the nature of specializations and abilities was changed, with numerous class abilities being restricted to only certain specializations. Although almost all of the previous primary abilities are still available, they are no longer designated as such in-game, and are now among many abilities exclusive to a given spec. Additionally, some of the below primary abilities have been made available to all characters of that class regardless of specialization, such as [Shadowstep]. Consequently, the term "primary ability" is no longer in use.

For a full list of class and specialization abilities, see the abilities page for the desired class, eg Warrior abilities.

Primary abilities

Class Specialization Primary ability Effect
Death Knight Blood [Heart Strike] Instantly strike the target and up to two additional nearby enemies, causing 100% weapon damage plus 819 on the primary target, with each additional enemy struck taking 25% less damage than the previous target. Damage dealt to each target is increased by an additional 10% for each of your diseases present.
Frost [Frost Strike] Instantly strike the enemy, causing 110% weapon damage plus (277 * 110 / 100) as Frost damage.
Unholy [Scourge Strike] An unholy strike that deals 100% of weapon damage as Physical damage plus (624 * 100 / 100). In addition, for each of your diseases on your target, you deal an additional 12% of the Physical damage done as Shadow damage.
Druid Balance [Starsurge] You fuse the power of the moon and sun, launching a devastating blast of energy at the target. Causes 1272 to 1756 Spellstorm damage to the target and generates 15 Lunar or Solar energy, whichever is more beneficial to you.
Feral [Mangle] (Bear Form)
[Mangle] (Cat Form)
Mangle the target, inflicting damage and causing the target to take additional damage from bleed effects for 1 min. This ability can be used in Cat Form or Bear Form.
Restoration [Swiftmend] Consumes a Rejuvenation or Regrowth effect on a friendly target to instantly heal the target for 5229.
Hunter Beast Mastery [Intimidation] Command your pet to intimidate the target, causing a high amount of threat and stunning the target for 3 sec. Lasts 15 sec.
Marksmanship [Aimed Shot] A powerful aimed shot that deals 100% ranged weapon damage plus (RAP * 0.48)+776.
Survival [Explosive Shot] You fire an explosive charge into the enemy target, dealing RAP*0.273+453 Fire damage. The charge will blast the target every second for an additional 2 sec.
Mage Arcane [Arcane Barrage] Launches bolts of arcane energy at the enemy target, causing 1044 to 1274 Arcane damage.
Fire [Pyroblast] Hurls an immense fiery boulder that causes 1291 to 1639 Fire damage and an additional 872 Fire damage over 12 sec.
Frost [Summon Water Elemental] Summon a Water Elemental to fight for the caster.
Paladin Holy [Holy Shock] Blasts the target with Holy energy, causing 1399 to 1515 Holy damage to an enemy, or 2629 to 2847 healing to an ally, and grants a charge of Holy Power.
Protection [Avenger's Shield] Hurls a holy shield at the enemy, dealing 2802 to 3424 Holy damage, silencing and interrupting spellcasting for 3 sec, and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Affects 3 total targets.
Retribution [Templar's Verdict] An instant weapon attack that causes a percentage of weapon damage. Consumes all charges of Holy Power to increase damage dealt.
Priest Discipline [Penance] Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing 699 to 789 Holy damage to an enemy, or 2352 to 2656 healing to an ally instantly and every 1 sec for 2 sec.
Holy [Holy Word: Chastise] Chastise the target for 564 to 632 Holy damage, and disorients them for 3 sec.
Shadow [Mind Flay] Assault the target's mind with Shadow energy, causing 501 Shadow damage over 3 sec and slowing their movement speed by 50%.
Rogue Assassination [Mutilate] Instantly attacks with both weapons for 150% weapon damage plus an additional 201 with each weapon. Damage is increased by 20% against Poisoned targets. Awards 2 combo points.
Combat [Blade Flurry] While active, the rogue's attacks strike an additional nearby opponent, but energy regeneration is reduced by 20%. Lasts 15 sec.
Subtlety [Shadowstep] Causes you to step through the shadows and appear behind an enemy target. Your next Ambush or Garrote delivered within 10 sec will deal 30% additional damage, and your movement speed is increased by 70% for 3 sec.
Shaman Elemental [Thunderstorm] You call down a bolt of lightning, energizing you and damaging nearby enemies within 10 yards. Restores 8% mana to you and deals 1529 to 1745 Nature damage to all nearby enemies, knocking them back 20 yards. This spell is usable while stunned.
Enhancement [Lava Lash] You charge your off-hand weapon with lava, instantly dealing 200% of that weapon's damage to an enemy target. Damage is increased by 40% if your off-hand weapon is enchanted with Flametongue.
Restoration [Earth Shield] Protects the target with an earthen shield, reducing casting or channeling time lost when damaged by 30% and causing attacks to heal the shielded target for X. This effect can only occur once every few seconds. 9 charges. Lasts 10 min. Earth Shield can only be placed on one target at a time and only one Elemental Shield can be active on a target at a time.
Warlock Affliction [Unstable Affliction] Shadow energy slowly destroys the target, causing 1115 damage over 15 sec. In addition, if the Unstable Affliction is dispelled it will cause 2007 damage to the dispeller and silence them for 5 sec. Only one Unstable Affliction or Immolate per Warlock can be active on any one target.
Demonology [Summon Felguard] Summons a Felguard under the command of the Warlock.
Destruction [Conflagrate] Instantly deals fire damage equal to 60% of your Immolate's periodic damage on the target.
Warrior Arms [Mortal Strike] A vicious strike that deals 150% weapon damage plus 423 and wounds the target, reducing the effectiveness of any healing received by 10% for 10 sec.
Fury [Bloodthirst] Instantly attack the target causing (AP * 62 / 100) damage. In addition, the next 3 successful melee attacks will restore 0.5% of max health. This effect lasts 8 sec. Damage is based on your attack power.
Protection [Shield Slam] Slam the target with your shield, causing 1872 to 1966 damage (based on attack power) and dispelling 1 magic effect on the target. Also causes a high amount of threat.

Patch changes