Leaks and World Changes:
The pre-BlizzCon leaks took most of the sting out of the announcement that Azeroth would be changing quite a bit, but I still think it is worth commenting on.
First of all, I think Blizzard did the leaks on purpose. There are so many changes that I Blizzard wanted to prepare people. It also makes people excited for the expansion, and helps sooth some of the back lash that might come from some of the more significant design changes.
I like the idea of them revamping classic Azeroth. It makes sense from the players perspective and from the designer's perspective. I've now level 4 toons through Azeroth and have started a 5th. Believe me, I am not excited to do it again. For Players, this may make leveling pun again because you get to see new stuff. It gives us a a reason to try a new class, and hopefully makes it easier to level with out having to travel across the world to complete a quest or get to a new leveling zone. For Developers, it should help attract new players. Leveling has to be a big barrier to attracting new players. The content is 5 years old, and the game doesn't really begin until Northrend any more. If I was a new player it wouldn't seem all that attractive to me to go through 70 or 80 levels of out of date content just to get to a place where there are people. Its a win/win.
For Max level toons they are increasing the level cap to 85 and opening 5 new zones for players level 80 and higher. It's nice that they they are going back and reusing some of the inaccessible lands on the map but there is one change here that I like the most. All of the new lands will be accessable through Deepholm, one of the new areas. I was not looking forward to the long flights from Hyjal to Uldum or riding a boat between the contants.
Though I have to say one of my reactions to this change was a little unexpected. I now want to play Horde. I'm not talking about abandoning Graylo or the Alliance in general, but there is a lot of content out there that I haven't seen, and I may not get to see it after the expansion. So, I have an urge now to level a couple of horde toons, but probably not to 80. I mainly want to see the starting areas and check out the primarily horde zones like the Barrens and Thousand Needles. So I will likely level a couple of horde toons to 20 or so to see the starting zones. I've already done a Blood Elf so that is one down. I'll probably also try and level one to 60 or so. It doesn't sound like Outland or Northrend will change much so I probably won't need to take a toon past 60 right away.
It would have been really interesting to be in the room and hear them make all of these changes. I can only imagine what the shock of thousands of people felt like. If you've read the reports then you know that these changes are huge. They are basically eliminating 6 stats by combining them into other stats or talents. Creating a new stat called Mastery. They're are completely revamping out some of the stats are used by some classes. Here are the highlights as I saw them.
- Spell Power - Gone!!! It's now being included in with Intellect.
- Mp5 - Gone. It is being converted to Spirit.
- Spirit - Is a regen stat only useful to healers.
- DPS Mana Regen - Based upon Int now?
- Mastery - According to MMO Champion "Makes you better at what you do."
What is are we (and caster DPS in general, he is a mage) losing? Spirit is a marginal stat that no one wanted. Mp5 is an even worse stat that people wanted even less. We're not really losing Spell Power, it's just being combined with the marginal stat of Int to make it more relevant. Since we don't balance Int, Spirit, or Mp5 as it is so we aren't loosing any complexity. In fact, we are gaining complexity, because we will have to worry about Mastery.
I only have two worries coming out of this topic. The first is regarding regen. I assume that regen is still going to be important for DPS, I just wonder how we are ment to manage it. My second worry is how this will affect how we gem our gear. Spell Power is the only red gem stat the we currently want. Blue doesn't really have anything we want, and Yellow has a ton of useful stats. If they don't redesign how gems work then we won't have any stats we want from red. Stam will be the only desirable stat from Blue. Yellow will have Int, Crit, Haste, and Hit. Hopefully they will move Int to red, and make Mastery a blue gem stat.
This is a new ability that will work through the professions and allow you to modify the stats on your gear and I the sound of it. If I understand the mechanics correctly, we will be able to reduce one stat on our gear to add a little bit of another stat that is not already on the item. For example, if the item currently has stam, int, crit, and hit on it you could reduce the amount of hit on the item and add some haste to it.
This is awesome. This will make managing our caps a whole lot easier. Just think of all the current items with tons of Hit Rating on them. Those items be come more desirable because you can now convert some of the excess hit into a more desirable stat.
Once they first started listing the new racials for Worgen and Goblins I started to get a little jealous.
- Viciousness - +1% damage
- Dark Flight - +70% run speed for 10 seconds. 3 minute cooldown
- Abberation - Length of Curses and Diseases reduced by 15%.
- Flayer - Skinning skill increased by 15 and allows you to skin faster
- Two Forms - Purely cosmetic
- Best Deals Anywhere - Always receive the best possible gold discount, regardless of faction.
- Pack Hobgoblin - Calls your personal servant allowing you bank access for 1 min. 30 minute cooldown.
- Better Living Through Chemistry - Increases Alchemy skill by 15
- Rocket Barrage - Launches your belt rockets at an enemy, dealing scaling fire damage. 2 minute cooldown.
- Rocket Jump -Activates your rocket belt to jump forward. 2 minute cooldown.
- Time is Money - Cash in on a 1% increase to attack and casting speed.
The good news is that they plan on revamping the old racials as well. Hopefully they are along these same lines and just as awesome. Otherwise your going to be sing a ton of Worgen and Goblins running around. There would be no reason ont to switch.
Professions - The big change here is the addition of level stat gains when you craft Rare or Epic items. For example, if you craft a green item it will only give you 1 skill point but crafting a Blue item may give you 2 or 3 skill points. This should make leveling professions easier and less costly. They also said that they are looking to make Gathering Professions and Fishing more fun.
No Spell Ranks - In the future you will only train a spell once and its damage and mana cost will scale with your level. Not earth shattering but nice. We won't have to run all the way back to a trainer when we level up anymore unless we get access to a new key ability. It's not really surprising given how they changed the way mana costs are determined.
Hunters - They will no longer use Mana and will now use a new resource called Focus. It will behave very similarly to Energy. Not a big impact on me since I don't play a hunter, but thought it was big enough that I should mention.
Warlock - The shard system is getting completely revamped. As a part time lock the changes look good to me, but I will leave it up to the real warlocks to really evaluate these changes. Basically, you will only have 3 shards and they will work like the DK rune system. Shards will only be used in combat to enhance spells.