Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WoW patch 3.1 goes live today

As far as patches go, 3.1 is one of the biggest I've seen in the four years I have been playing WoW. Thusly the patch notes are too big to post here I think, and the official site isn't updated with them yet (of course), so suffice to say that a lot of things have changed.

Of all the changes I think I like the addition of the Argent Tournament the best, with the addition of Ulduar a close second.

The Argent Tournament Begins!
- As the might of the Scourge wanes under the pressure of Azeroth’s
heroes, the Argent Crusade have taken a foothold in Arthas’s back
yard. Off the northeastern coast of Icecrown, the Argent Crusade
have sounded the call for the most bold and brave adventurers of the
Horde and Alliance to take part in the Argent Tournament.
Representatives of all ten faction capitols, from Undercity to
Exodar, have traveled to the tournament grounds to find champions
among their heroes who will prepare for the inevitable battle
against the enemy of all living beings, the Lich King.
This is especially good for achievement chasers and alt-a-holics like myself (and before you ask, yes I am playing WoW again -- more on this later) because running race quests from their starter areas was really super boring. Even if you could complete a given quest in 1.2 minutes, it ate up a lot of time with all the running around and you made no money while doing any of it. With the introduction of this tourney, you can not only now more easily become exalted with a given race, but you can make some money and gain access to new mounts, pets, and epic weapons. Not too shabby.

Ulduar is perhaps the most anticipated aspect of the patch by the majority of the player base. Six months of raiding Naax, the Eye of Eternity (which I still have never set foot in), and the Obsidian Sanctum people are more that ready for something new. I logged back into WoW on Friday and was greatly surprised at how empty WoW felt throughout the weekend. Easter I think had very little to do with it consider how busy WoW normally is on holidays. People were burned out and were probably off doing other things waiting for this patch. I talked to a friend on Friday and he said he wasn't expecting the patch for another couple of weeks, so I imagine we should be seeing a bunch of people logging back in today.

Next on the list of new and shiny is the dual-spec system, though without the promised new equipment switcher that was to come along with it. Many players will find this to be absolutely essential, but not all. I plan on using it for my Shaman (Elemental and Enhancement), my Death Knight (Unholy and Blood), and my Druid (Feral and Resto), which I've started playing again over the weekend.

On the down side there are a horrendous number of changes, and nerfs to the Death Knight class again. Six months and Blizzard is still wallowing through class change after class change chasing the mythical balance beast. It's beginning to look like a grail hunt to me. Seriously, look at the line items for the Death Knight, then look at all the other classes.

Out of combat mana regeneration took a huge 40% reduction as well. Strangely enough, in combat mana regeneration is staying the same however. Does that make any sense what so ever to anyone? Color me blind, but if Blizzard thought (and they have said as much) that mana regeneration had become too trivial, then someone explain what the heck mana regeneration out of combat has anything to do with anything. Isn't the mana regeneration you receive while fighting what is of primary importance? Of course this means different things to different classes. Healing classes will be affected by this more than offensive casters, which makes the situation even more odd. Yes Blizzard, lets beat on the players that are the most rare these days. Remember the "tank shortage" in Burning Crusade? Well welcome to the Wrath of the Lich king, here is your healer shortage.

In any event it's going to take me quite some time to absorb all the changes. So expect to hear more about this patch in the future.