This actually was going to be used for something else a week or so ago, but it didn’t end up going that way and I wanted the article to be read.
On the whole, it feels like Deathwing has already brought a personal cataclysm and world-changing chaos to each of my characters. I don’t mean to say that this change is all bad. Like the revamping that will hit each zone of Azeroth come Cataclysm; many talents, abilities, interfaces and more have been added, improved or plain removed from the game.
- 310% flying is now in reach of everyone with 5,000 gold (4,000 rep discount). A lot of people, myself included, haven’t been lucky in getting a group to finish hard mode runs to get their 310 drake before patch.
- 100 Gold for dual spec. Been wanting to try healing but haven’t wanted to cough up 1,000 gold or lose that DPS main spec? At 100 gold, dual spec is now available to most players who want to diversify their characters.
- No more spell ranks! Finally we have reached a point where that one alt with an off spec will no longer get spammed with RankWatch every time it joins a group. Once you learn a spell or ability it will scale as you level so you don’t have to remember to make sure the most recent version is sitting on your bars.
- Shorter talent trees just feel a little bit empty. Not getting a point every level is a bit disappointing while leveling. Also, due to the shorter trees, characters under level 69 cannot get their “31” point talent. This leaves several classes and spec’s somewhat gimped of spells they used to have while leveling. My 64 warlock greatly misses haunt. As of 4.0.1 and before cataclysm, as level 80′s we’re unable to reach very helpful talents in other trees.
- The time for healers getting dungeon queues is higher than before. The time it takes to replace a tank is also delayed as tanks are hesitant to join instances with threat being somewhat inconsistent still and a general unfamiliarity with new abilities. Although not as bad as the 40+ minute que times to get into a battle ground the first couple weeks of the patch, most times I’m trying it’s still 25-50% longer than it was before. Maybe people are just unconcerned about PVP until rated bgs?
- Bugs, glitches and lag. All this is normal with large or content patches, but a couple of weeks or so after patch and I’m still experiencing random bugs. My warrior’s +5% crit buff has not displayed since patch and the inability to load dungeons at random, for examples.
The … Everything Else.
A lot of these changes are taking some getting used to, some more so than others. A lot of people are almost completely lost with their Holy Paladins. Everything about Holy’s new healing model is different and so far feels wrong to me. I’m not supposed to be using Holy Shock so much. Why am I running out of mana when I spam Flash of Light? Wait!? Why is Holy Light hitting like a toy truck, instead of the bus it used to be? All in all, the changes make healing as a Paladin much more dynamic and probably aren’t a bad thing, but right now, it’s just too weird. On the other hand, Holy Power and Templars Verdict feel right at home in my retribution spec. Just a few heroics and a couple of dummy attempts and I’ve brought my DPS up about 25-30% from my first attempt at figuring out the rotation. The new system is more fun and engaging than before. Ret pallies aren’t just face rollers anymore. Equally as strange to me as healing in Holy is my marksman hunter. Focus? Isn’t that what my pet uses. Smells a bit like rogue energy but somehow doesn’t really play out the same way. Most of the time I want to hit whatever my strongest ability thats off CD is, and that works terribly when I run out of energy. Even though I haven’t quite gotten used to the system, it does make much more sense than a hunter using mana to… shoot from a gun or fling an arrow? The biggest change to me of all my characters is probably to my death knight though. Before patch 4.0.1, I was specced blood DPS and frost tanking. Now I’m frost DPS and blood tanking. I attempted to group up most of the 10 mobs I needed for the weekly wintergrasp PVE quest and found myself almost out of health. Frost doesn’t offer nearly the self-healing of the former blood spec. I’m using strikes that I didn’t even have access to before and guess what? I’m digging it. I haven’t quite had the guts (or time, as I tell myself) to get into a dungeon or raid as blood tanking, so we’ll have to see how that one goes.
Not all of my classes feel so strange though. Fury dps feels just like fury dps used to feel, but on steroids. Not to mention the overall DPS increase after the last damage pass, the new raging blow / enrage system just flows well and makes sense. I can’t say I can complain about 18k heroic strike crits. As polished as the new fury warrior is, Balance druids might be even more smooth. The new eclipse system with its improved UI is a great change and makes it a lot easier to push out consistent DPS. It is particularly useful as a leveling druid, with the eclipse buff not draining away so fast, it can actually be used effectively while questing or in dungeons. Tanking druids biggest change is the loss of easy-mode AOE, gone with a cooldown put on swipe. Bears are back to tab targeting and yes, kitty DPS is still hard to do well.
This patch offers an immense amount of non-content to explore. Although some players are finding themselves pressured or confused by the changes; many see the classes as being reimagined, fresh and inspired. It’s almost like playing a new World of Warcraft. And, while the old was still pretty darn fun, change is good.