World of Warcraft (WoW)

Class Skin Concept: Expanding Class Fantasy to New (& Old) Class/Race Combos [Paladin Customization for Sunwalkers, Prelates, Blood Knights & more!}

Hey everyone

Recently, Keyboardturner and I have been brainstorming a variety of ideas on how to expand on Class Customization.

Shadowlands introduced a ton of new racial customization, but what if that same concept could be applied to our classes?

There are tons of in-lore examples of different NPC-variety classes and with the Community's massive support of the Racial Customization, we (and many members of the Community) think Blizzard should do the same for Classes.


Class Skins:

The idea of a 'Class Skin' is a purely cosmetic overlay that would change the icon, name and spell FX of ones class. Ideally, your class 'name' would also change but for the sake of PVP or even raid-mouse overs, there would be a clear indication of what your 'base class' really is.

The idea isn't locked to a single class either – it's Spell FX theme could span across multiple classes (see Sunwalkers below)

Best Bandshot of 2021

The goal with these class skins would be to provide specific race-class combos a way to feel unique to their class, while still fitting within the lore. This could also allow for new race-class combos to be playable, while expanding some of the older, untouched class-lore for others!

For the sake of concept, we've decided to focus on the many types of Paladins that exist within the lore and some of the 'Class skins' that could exist for them.

While we won't go into full detail on the actual spell FX concept, UI overlay or the unlock scenarios, I will present the examples we've completed below starting with the Sunwalkers.


Sunwalkers (Tauren / Highmountain Paladins)

Fire-wielding Sunwalkers embracing the might of An'she

The Sunwalkers were the first 'radical idea' for the Paladin class, expanding the lore beyond 'Knight wielding Holy power' (even the Blood Elves gave off evil-vibes of that concept in early BC) so in my opinion, the Sunwalker's would be a top candidate for a custom Class skin.

Iconic Spells with a fiery, Tauren theme to them. Divine Shield Sunwalker's Aegis) would create an orb of rippling fire (similar to the Fire Mage FX)

The idea here is that the Sunwalker Class Skin could apply to Tauren/Highmountain Paladins, Priests and Balance Druids. Their spells would take on a more raw, fiery appearance and their spell icons would slightly alter to reflect something more fitting to a devotee of An'she.

My idea (not shown) was that casting 'Avenging Wrath' (called Blaze of An'she) wouldn't spark big angel wings behind the character but rather a glowing, fiery totemic backpiece, encompassing the Sunwalker in a blaze of holy-fire.


Nightblade / Moonblade (Night Elf Paladins)

Night Warriors and Priestesses of Elune coming together to create a new Order

Perhaps one of the most highly requested unavailable Paladin races, the idea of a Night Elf Paladin pulling their strength directly from Elune is something we've seen in WoW a few times before (notably, Legion).

The idea here was to provide them with both a 'standard Elune devotee' class skin with a secondary option that leaned more heavily into the Night Warrior themed aesthetic that we see Tyrande use.

Avengers Shield (Divine Moonglaive) would change appearance and appear as an ethereal Glaive that's thrown towards enemies


Valewalker / Crane Guard (Pandaren Paladin)

At first discussion, this was the one idea that I felt deviated a little too far from the Paladin fantasy and made me furrow my brow. After discussing it further, the idea not only grew on me but became my favorite concept.

Two of Pandaria's most respected Orders have come together to create a new line of defenders for their lands

In the wake of the Vale's regrowth and the expulsion of the Black Empire in BFA, the August Celestials have taken up a new mantle within their order to protect and defend their land using the magic of the Vale.

In the South of Pandaria, the Order of the Crane expanded their temple's teachings with 'Crane Guards', an armored Monk who utilizes the teachings and magic of Chi-ji, the Red Crane.

Chi-ji Monk meets Holy Warrior concept

The idea here is the Vale Walker would essentially utilize the Holy Light as any Paladin would, but the Crane Guard use a modified spell FX kit with more red and orange themed abilities themed around the Red Crane.

These visuals, combined with the martial art style combat animations would allow for a very unique and new-age style of Paladin. This specific spell-kit could also be applied to a variety of Pandaren classes like Priest, Mage and even Monk.


Lightblade / Shadow Knight (Forsaken Paladins)

Perhaps the most requested (next to Night Elf Paladin) unavailable Paladin Race, the Forsaken Lightblade concept is essentially a new-age order of Paladins within Lordaeron, perhaps lead by Leonid Barthalomew.

In contrast to the Lightblade, the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow has created a new guard within their Order that utilizes the Shadow in tandem with the Light.

The Order of Tyr's Guard on the left work in unison with the Shadow Knights of the Cult of Forgotten Shadows (they really need an acronym)

The idea here isn't to have the Forsaken wielding Void magic as a Paladin, but rather fully embracing the old lore of the Cult and their beliefs within the light.

Both Lightblade and Shadow Knight would be a unique name for the Forsaken, but the Lightblade would essentially use as-is Paladin spell FX while the Shadow Knight utilizes a unique spell kit that incorporates both shadowy magic and light (think Moira from Overwatch). This spell kit would also be available to Forsaken Priests.

Lead by Calia Menethil and Alonsus Faol together, these two concepts would open up a highly sought after class concept without fully destroying the ideals of Paladinhood and the Forsaken belief system.


Riftblade (Void Elf Paladin)

Blood Elves can be Paladins – why can't Void Elves?

Giving both default Paladin options and the Void themed kit allows players to fully embrace their Void or High Elf character

The idea here is one that builds off the old Blood Knight Lore. Back in the day, Blood Elves drained magic from the Naaru M'uru to acquire their power which later lead to the collapse and creation of a Dark Naaru. The concept here was to build upon that old idea of using energies from the Naaru to acquire Light-based powers, but flip it upon itself to drain those energies for Void themed powers.

Lots of Void themed abilities with some of the space/cosmic energy FX used by the Ethereals. Umbral Nullification, for example, could create not a 'shield' around the Paladin by a Void Portal to absorb oncoming damage

This, of course, could lead to a rift within the Ren'dorei and lead some to lean more towards the light-side of the Naaru while others fully embrace its dark, twisted form.

The concept on the left (above) would essentially grant Void Elves a base-Paladin skin (for all those High Elves out there) while still leaning into the Void themed with the idea of a 'Void Paladin'.

The Riftblade spell kit would easily transfer to Void Elf Priests, Mages and even Warlocks to give them all a 'Void theme'


Tideguard / Embersworn (Kul'Tiras & default Human Paladin)

Drustvar Templars on the left and Tidesage Crusaders on the right

Kul Tiras introduced two new concepts that would make for perfect Paladin concepts. The first and most obvious one was the Tidesage Class concept (Tideguard).

With the Kul Tiras people putting their faith mostly within the sea itself and Tidesages seen in nearly every aspect of their island culture, why not make a 'Paladin Order' from it. This spell kit would introduce water themed spell FX and would of course apply to Mages, Shaman, Priests and even Monks!

Take the idea of the Tidesage (arcane-wrapped, watery abilities) and apply it to the Paladin class.

The second concept here builds on the Order of Embers within Drustvar – witchhunters!

Using Steel, liquid fire and silver, these ancient Templars have dedicated their watch to fighting back the evils of the Drust. The idea here would be to expand on the Tauren Sunwalker kit and give it to an Alliance Class Skin, without taking all of the sun-themed abilities.

These would essentially be fire-holy Templars with a variety of iconic Paladin FX mixed with a new age 'Emberknight' feel to it.

Taking the base visuals from Sunwalkers (minus the tribal/tauren themes) and giving them to KT Humans for a true Witchslayer Templar

Important note: Regular Humans would have access to this too as there are normal KT humans too


Lightfang / Lightguard (Worgen Paladin)

Gilneas worshipped the Light just as Lordaeron did and there has been a few Gilnean/Paladins mentioned throughout the years. The idea here is to simply introduce a new Class-race combo without much of a themed visual kit.

New Age Worgen Paladins on the left and a Knight of the old Gilnean Templar order on the right

They worship the same Holy Light as their Stormwind/Lordaeron cousins, but we wanted to create a visual concept for 'Old Gilnean Templars' and a 'New Age Worgen Paladin' hence the variation in names.


Blood Knight / Sunblade (Blood Elf Paladin)

Sunblades who embrace the Light and the Sunwell and Blood Knights who vow to keep it in check.

The idea here should be straightforward: Blood Knights have been in lore forever, even though their story changed at the end of BC.

The idea of the Sunblade concept would be to keep the original purpose of the Blood Knights in the wake of the Sunwells purification, causing a rift to form between them and the Paladins who take back the mantle of Blood Knight. The idea here was to incorporate some fiery elements to their abilities to give them a 'Sunwell flare' without taking too much from the Embersworn/Sunwalkers.

Red Spell FX themed abilities to act as a crimson-mirror to the iconic Paladin moves and throwback to BC

The new concept here would be to take the more recent aggressions of the Light – Shadowlands, Xera, AU Yrel – and bring that concept back. Blood Knights swear up a new oath to keep the Light in check, rather than suffer under it (without going full evil like they were in BC), giving contrast to any sort of plot that Turalyon pokes back up in as Regent of Stormwind.


Flamekeeper (Wildhammer and Dark Iron Paladin)

So this idea is a bit of a double-concept within the same race.

For Dark Irons, these would pull on the flame spellkit from Sunwalkers (with a more fiery, darker tone) and embrace the idea of 'worshippers of the Molten Core' as their Faith. With the teasing of action within the Firelands happening in the AR questline, these Dark Irons have taken up an oath to the primal powers of the Firelands while still maintaining their faith in the Light, creating a literal Flame Paladin.

Wildhammers and Dark Irons using Fire and Faith as defenders of their people

For the Wildhammers, I wanted a more radical idea.

Maybe the Wildhammer have viewed Fire as an enemy for so long – the explosion of Blackrock Mountain hundreds of years ago (and the expulsion from Grim Batol), the Dragons in the Second War with the Horde, the Cataclysm and Deathwing.

But after seeing their mountain cousins and fiery cousins brandishing their faith as a weapon (with the latter using both faith and fire), the Wildhammers have taken up a new mantle as wielders of the Sacred Flame ; a more shamanistic, tribal feel to the Paladin class (sunwalkers for Alliance without the Sun?) hence the less-plate Mog.


Prelate (Darkspear and Zandalari Paladin)

In BFA, we met the Zandalari Prelates and there stands no reason why they didn't teach their Darkspear cousins how to wield the Light of the Loa!

Yes, that is a Darkspear in Zandalari heritage. What of it?

The Prelates main themed kit would be using holy light with a more focused theme on the Loa themselves. The idea here wouldn't be that they call upon their powers from a single source – like the Prelates of Rezan once did – but rather calling upon the might of multiple Loa.

Notice the spell FX aren't just using default spell FX but more akin to the Craneguard FX. Instead of orange or red, these ones would be yellow, indicating that multiple spell kits can be used across different class skins without too much overlap

Bonus idea would have themed spell FX match the Zandalari racial that lets you choose your Loa for the Buff. 'Fury of the Loa' could turn to a visual representing said Loa – a golden tiger roar FX if you worship Kimbul, or a Deathmask and golden bones appear if you have the Bwonsamdi buff


Vindicator (Lightforged Draenei and Draenei Paladins)

The idea here wouldn't to stray too far in terms of Spell FX (perhaps more glowing gold with crystalline themes) but focus the idea on the Naaru aligned Paladins and them being the most ancient of the playable Paladin races.

Similar spell icons with more of a Prime Naaru focus on the Lightforged, while giving the Draenei a simplified Draenic theme

For Mechagnome, Gnome and Goblin Paladin, see comments (ran out of picture room)

This is, of course, just a few examples of class skins Blizzard could embrace. The idea would be to provide some kits that are specific to one or two races (Sunwalkers, for example) and others that could be taught and spread amongst a variety of races (a Drustvar Witch kit that any mage, warlock, shadowpriest or druid could learn)

Let's hope the absolute praise and positive reaction of the Race Customization lets Blizzard know that these sorts of cosmetics are exactly what the Community wants.

Ultimately, we just want to look cool on our characters and express who our characters are and I think what we got in SL with Covenant abilities and themes and racial customizations could be just the tip of the customization-iceberg.

Thanks for reading another long-ass thread

Full Credit for the visuals goes to Keyboardturner.

We both worked together on this and collaborated on Mog ideas, spell icon/names and Class skin themes but the layout and all the visual work you see above is 100% her (and yes she gave me permission to post this for her here)

Further details found on the original twitter thread here.

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