More 6.0 Observations

A few days in and we’ve definitely got a feel for the new flavor of WoW.   Yesterday I talked about the many immediate changes that bombarded us in the first minutes we logged in, but now the details can be absorbed a bit better.

Class changes are interesting.  The only thing I had to do on Saintvache was choose two new talents.  His action bars went nearly untouched.  I could not say the same for Tumunzahar, Siori, and Liouxpold.  Perhaps it’s an Alliance thing.  Speaking of classes, many people found Burnt Glyphs in their possession now.  Rest assured that’s just for Glyphs that are no longer in the game.

I completed the Iron Horde invasion on the Horde side, and while I don’t know the details of what is to follow, I really hope it isn’t done now.  I came out of it with a title and a new pet, but incredibly underwhelmed.  That and agitated because Thrally-Sue (which I think I’ll call him far more often now) had to be the one running around on the front line.  Really?  There couldn’t be anyone else?  The guy had a whole expansion dedicated to him (Deathwing was merely supporting cast) and still we get him shoved down our throat.  Not to rant too much, because up until the later parts of Cataclysm I actually liked Thrall.  It’s just that Blizzard has overplayed him.  Getting back to the Iron Horde, it seemed pretty linear and to the point.  I’ll have to flip over and give the Alliance side a try before I really assess it but I can’t imagine it is all that different.

One no longer has to spend so much time in Pandaria.  I logged into a toon and found it sitting at 100% XP, but hadn’t dinged yet.  There’s no way in Dire Maul I would ever let that happen.  The OCD in me would have to ding before I logged.  Particularly because that’s less than exploratory XP.  That’s more along the lines of “you dinged because the wind changed direction.”  Now, to confirm this is the case, I played for a little while and had six bubbles in half an hour.  At 88.  Hrm, this place really might not be that bad anymore.

The final nugget of “huzzah” is stacking.  Imagine my surprise when I had the bank open and decided to top up my stack of Dreamfoil and sell the rest.  Suddenly I had a stack of 28!  I began playing around with this immediately, finding eventually that stacks cap at 200 now.  Between that and the Toy Box my bags are bordering on empty (and the bag sort feature is fantastic).  But what it really excites me for is my guild banks.  For Claws, it just means having a cleaner bank.  For the auctioneer in me, it means more room to store goodies.  I mean, just look at the difference in one tab.

Bank

It wasn’t 100% good news, though.  On top of shelling out gold for some face lifts (I think I spent about 200g or so in total.  Obviously someone with more 90’s than I spent even more), I found that some gear held onto its transmogrification, while others reset.  Needless to say, many of my toons look incredibly goofy so I will have to correct that when given the chance to.

I’m sure many people knew about these changes already, from playing the PTR or reading about it.  For me, I have been incredibly removed from these details of the game as I’ve been merely puttering in it for the past few months.  I vaguely kept tabs on what’s going on and really didn’t read the changes ahead of time (of course I knew about character models).  Thus, it’s all a surprise.  It feels like a good surprise, and I have a feeling I’m not the only returning player to think so.

Waking Up To 6.0

Patch 6.0 is now live and with it came many changes, but none more than the vast amount of visual ones.  Almost everyone I spoke to yesterday was headed straight for the Barber Shop to see what they had to work with.  Many weren’t keen on what they saw when they logged in, while others didn’t mind the initial look when things went live around 1:30 EST.  Personally, Tum was far more angry than I wanted.  To be honest, almost all of the dwarves are surly/angry looking.  Not that it doesn’t fit the race, because it most certainly does.  It’s just that it wouldn’t hurt to have one lighthearted option.  As you can see by this image, I did the best I could with what I had.

New Tum
Initial one on the left, new on the right.

I had to change Saintvache as well, as logging on to him I was blinded by an albino.  I just wish we had more hair options for the Tauren.  As for the rest of the team, I’ll check them in due time.

It wasn’t just character models that changed.  From what I saw last night and this morning, nothing sparkles anymore.  No quest items, no nodes. Nothing!  Instead, you’ll get a faint outline that gets stronger once you mouse over it.  Even characters gain an outline now (green for friendly, red for not) when targeted, though I’m sure there’s an option to turn it off.  Still, at a glance it took me a second to complete a couple of quests because I was looking for the shiny.

Action bars have obviously changed, with some spells removed and others simply changed.  But speaking of spells, they even look better visually.  The animations are fantastic, though I’ve only seen Paladin, Mage, and Warlock.  Once again, I’ll get to them in due time…or simply see them amidst my travels.

This isn’t even documenting some of the bigger changes that came with the patch either.  Things like the new level UBRS, the Iron Horde invasion (which I’ve started Horde side…so far so good), Garrisons, Premade Groups in the Dungeon Finder, all the class changes, etc.

With the game seeing an increase of over half a million players, this patch is well timed.  Many of the changes brought the game up to relatively modern standards and introduced a lot of things the players have been yearning for, for quite some time.  Will it translate to more than 7.4 million players and sustain them for a while this time?  Hard to say, but you can’t say the new expansion isn’t setting up to take a big swing at it.

How To Play Your 90…Sort Of

Thanks to Warlords of Draenor, we’re looking at a fresh batch of 90’s with some regularity.  This will spike further when the game actually comes out (because some players want the physical version of the game, or the deluxe version).  In a move that I applaud, Blizzard has come out with some Crash Course videos.

Even for players who already have a 90 of said class, this isn’t a bad little cheat sheet as it were.  Trust me, some players won’t know these things despite it being their main toon.  For new players, or folks with an unfamiliar class, these are fantastic starting points.  Unfortunately it only helps to boost the dps pool and even then you’re looking at only half the specs.  I realize Blizzard could only devote so much time and energy into the concept, but it’s disappointing.  I know healing and tanking can’t really be taught in a 90 second video, but even the other dps specs are left out in the cold.  If you want to be a fire chucking Mage, Blizzard can’t help you.  Only Arcane.

Of course this is the world of instant media and information and we can very well look these things up.  When I boost my Druid, I will most certainly be studying Feral and Resto much more closely.  I know to do this. These videos don’t quite feel like I’m the demographic.  It feels like they’re aimed more at new players than anything, and in such a regard should have taken the time to show all the specs.  Again I admit tanking and healing tutorials are much harder and cramming one into 90 seconds would be tough, it still could be achieved in it’s very basic form.

The question is then would we like the healers and tanks we would be getting out of it?  Someone who tries to tank at 90 for the first time is going to be in much worse shape than someone who has done it previously, or even 85-90.  Or even respecced at 90.  At least said player still has a grasp of her class in the first place.  Same goes for a healer.  And they catch even more grief if something goes awry.

It seems to be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, scenario.  But as someone with a healer and a bit of an out of practice tank, I would like to see them (Blizzard) at least encouraging people to try the roles.  Even one of these videos dedicated to something other than dps would have been a good idea.  Show players what they can do at a basic level and instead of saying “look at your abilities and glyphs and wing it,” put an emphasis on places like the forums and wowhead even (since they link to it in the armory anyway).  Having people try and fail (or equally succeed) is better than not even showing them the option in the first place.

30 Days (April) – Favourite Class

The two classes I play the most are Priest, and now Paladin (used to be Rogue).  They are easily my “go to” when it comes to doing certain tasks.  Strangely enough, neither one is my favourite.  In fact my favourite class in WoW is one that I’ve never even gotten to 30.

Larf

Yep, Druid.  I’ve talked about the class before and mentioned my fondness for it, yet for some reason I’ve not taken the time to level one. I love Feral, and healing, the complete connection to nature…I remember complaining back when Trolls could not be Druids and I rolled one the moment I could.  He’s 16.  I can’t explain it.  Fortunately, I’m finally going to rectify that as after much deliberation it will be my Tauren Druid that I boost to 90.  It’s long overdue that my favourite class gets to be experienced properly and not just as a lowbie and through the lore.

30 Days (April) – First Class

Ps

I need to answer this one in two parts, because I consider myself to have two answers to it.  The first class I ever rolled was a Paladin, and he was Human.  Unfortunately, he hadn’t completed any quests before I got a message from the guys who got me to play in the first place; “Um, sorry.  The guild is Gnomes and Dwarves only.”  It took years for me to ever level a Paladin and I blame that moment.  I kid, of course…about the blame part anyway.

So having answered the question, it doesn’t really seem fair that a class I couldn’t even do a quest with would be my first.  That’s why I consider the class I rolled right after to really be my first.  My Priest.  I read up on the class (since my buddies needed a healer and I could at least take a shot based on my City of Villains experience), and WoWWiki said something to the effect of “if you can handle the blame for everything, then choose a healing priest.”  So I did.  He started Herbalism/Alchemy and took on all that the game had to offer.  He was Holy and had no trouble healing in the Deadmines, but got his butt kicked while wandering Ashenvale.

Prior to dual-specialization many people went Shadow and then at level cap flipped to Holy or Disc in order to heal.  My first class taught me what would be common for me in every character I made afterwards, and that is that there was no such thing as dual-spec or respeccing as far as I was concerned.  I took the spec I wanted out of the gate and I rode it to the finish.  In the case of what I consider to be my very first class, I’ve ridden 90 levels as Holy and spent a fair share of that time question.  But I’ve been in the dungeons, too.  Heck, Tum might’ve even healed you once or twice.

5.2 Thoughts

Property of Warcraft Pets
While you wait for the second round results of the Transmog contest (sorry, work slipped in the way…I should’ve looked at the calendar when I set the round two dates), which will be up later today, I figured now is as good a time as any to share some thoughts on the next big patch.

Isle of the Thunder King
This interests me, though I have a long way to go before I get to it.  In the same context of the Isle of Quel’Danas, it’s the new Daily Quest Hub.  Alas, I think it’s still going to have a Molten Front feel to it and I know that’s not going to go over well with many players.  That one can choose whether to do PvE or PvP quests is a nice touch.  Also, parts of the island become available based on a Realm level rather than an individual one.  That has mixed potential, but we’ll have to wait and see. 

Blacksmiths
We still don’t have dailies for every profession, which I think is absurd.  However, the Smiths are getting some love.  Proceed far enough on the Isle of the Thunder King and you’ll come upon the Lightning Forge.  Apparently this will allow for the creation of some very unique items, including old weapons that I’m guessing have been removed from the game over time.  Oh, Moggers are giddy with anticipation…or just me.

New World Bosses
I’ve always liked World Bosses and I’m sure the folks farming the Sha would love something different. Two bosses will be coming in 5.2.  One is part of the phased island, but it seems Oondasta the giant armoured dino will be found north of Kun-Lai Summit right from the get go.  Also with this comes a slight change to the World Bosses themselves.  Blizzard refers to it as “Tap to Faction.”  If your faction tags the mob, so long as you take part you have a chance for loot -whether you were in the initial raid or not.  However, you can only earn said loot once a week (and the bosses will spawn more frequently).

Pet Battles
-Pet bandages are now bind to account…thank goodness.  This will most assuredly save me some bag space (they also stack to 25) instead of having several on several toons. 
-The Nether Roach will no longer die during an Apocalypse.  I mean, it was unique and fun that it was the one that could, but roaches be roaches.
-Players earn xp for pet battles as well, so long as the battle is within five levels of your highest level pet (so for most of us that would be any pet battle in the 20-30 level).
-PvP Pet Battles can also drop Battlestones now.  Interesting.  It would be more ruthless if you had a chance to win one if it was in your opponent’s inventory.  Stealing it outright would cause pandemonium, but being able to receive an equivalent to the one in their bags would be fun. 
-If you flee a battle, the pet you were fighting no longer disappears, but the fleeing squad will suffer some damage.  I like that.  Penalty for a tactical retreat and it makes sense if you’re running from the critter that it doesn’t disappear.
-Elite Battle Pets.  Oh my.  I know people where these will become the bane of their existence.  They spawn by themselves, too, so I suspect Pet Battlers are going to be in for one hell of a fight.  But, if you can beat them all you’ll receive a Red Panda pet (yep, the one up top there)

Buy The Farm
Even now that Tumunzahar has started questing out there, the whole farming thing does nothing for me.  Not even for potential gold profit.  Seriously, get it away from me.  Having said that, I know exactly how popular it is and the chance to own the deed for the land you’ve been cultivating is no doubt exciting to those indulging.

Notable Class Stuff
Pretty much every class (at least the ones I am familiar enough with) has some sort of notable changes going on.  I would suggest checking out the notes for what’s coming to your favourite role.  Warriors losing a 10% damage reduction for defensive stance is certainly one of the ones that jumped out at me. 

Green Fire!
Speaking of class stuff, Warlocks are dancing in the streets…if they’re into dancing.  The opportunity for Fel fire spells is finally coming to pass with the quest line now in-game.

New Toon On A New Server – What To Do?

As of late I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to how to best maximize opportunity when you create a new character on a new server.  This is based entirely on no heirlooms and no plans to transfer a character either.

The first thing I always do on a new server is select Enchanting as one of my Professions.  There is easy money to be made and for the most part if you can level it as you go it isn’t very difficult to maintain.  Also, you now have an option for that BoE gear that lacks useful stats and isn’t worth keeping for any type of transmogrification value.

I’ve taken Tailoring as my other profession on occasion because let’s face it, bags are awesome.  But that’s something I realize a secondary character can have.  Instead, I suggest a gathering profession.  In sheer coincidence two of my top three toons are Enchanting and Herbalism.  Picking herbs as you go along is as easy as mining would be.  Sure mining gives you the bonus of also being able to smelt bars should they be worth more than the ore on said server.  But, at this stage of the game, I would bypass both in favour of Skinning.

The funny thing is, I never create Skinners.  I have one out of over twenty toons but I would change that now.  First off, the boost from the profession is great for dps -even casters.  Also, using myself as an example I’ve highlighted the real reason it’s a good idea now.  No one is skinning.  Leather prices are pretty high from start to finish, so here’s a chance to capitalize on it.

So we have Skinning and Enchanting as our Professions, but that is putting the cart before the horse.  We need a race and class.  Honestly, your race is entirely your own decision.  However, off the top of my head the only race that won’t work is a Tauren and you’ll see why in a moment.

The first class I considered was a Rogue.  Being on a server with a few Horde toons and not having a Rogue when on my Alliance server I have an 85 one is killing me with every lockbox I get.  There is money to be made there and in that same train of thought there are plenty of locked chests out in Azeroth.  However, after I thought this through I realized for the average person Rogues are actually difficult to play.  Also, while the lockpicking is handy, there’s a better choice here.

As you’re leveling, you’re probably either PvPing, dungeoning, or questing.  Okay, truth be told you have to be doing one of the three.  If questing is your choice method, then you’re traveling a great deal.  Sure, the mount tiers are available earlier than ever, but there’s still a better way.  In fact, even with flying mounts and top speed there is another method folks seek out: Mage ports.

Indeed, a Mage is the best choice for your first toon on a new server.  Travel is a no brainer.  When you start learning to Teleport to the various cities (and subsequently Portals as well), you can set your hearth in a completely different location (such as the town near your current quest area) and you reduce travel speed and quest time and level faster.  And Mage Portals bring in a pretty penny.

In a dungeon, playing a Mage is not terribly difficult -especially at low level.  We’re not talking end game here, since this is a new character.  So as long as you learn the basics you’ll be fine.  We’ll not even comment on PvP.  There are far too many players that see my Frost Mage and vow to kill him on the spot.  A lot.  Once in a while they succeed, too.

So a Mage with Skinning and Enchanting is the combination I would recommend if you’re creating a new character on a new server (and now you can see why I said Tauren wouldn’t work for the race).  Not only is it a good class for leveling, time wise, but this combination allows you a relatively easy means of generating gold as you level.  Add in Cooking, as you should for every low level character these days for the daily quest xp, and you’ll be laughing.