Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes We Can wait too long, Hoping for Change from patch 3.08

My apologies for missing Monday and Tuesday this week, I was busy preparing for and attending a little-known event where the position of the leader of the most powerful country in the world is peacefully handed from one man to another. A mere 2 million are estimated to have attended. Not much, really.

Anyway while I was standing in the tightly-packed throng, waiting hours to see history in person, at the other end of the country Blizzard was pushing through the long-awaited patch 3.08, the first since Wrath launched. It's about time. The patch is full of bug fixes and balance changes, many of which Blizzard admitted were problems as much as a month or 6 weeks ago. And we all just had to wait around and live with them while Blizzard took it's sweet time getting the patch out. I know this is logistically difficult for them, but really: you have a million jillion kazillion dollars, you can afford to put the patch out in two parts rather than making us wait for urgent bug fixes while you got the numbers right on a new weapon enchant that no one actually wanted and you ended up pulling from the game (specifically, the +stam enchant).

So it's finally here. As always, you can find an exhaustive list over at MMO-Champion, and it would be futile for me to go into everything here. So what am I excited about?

  • Fan of Knives loses it's cooldown! Word on the street is that we rogues can finally compete with casters on AoE pulls by spamming this. And not a moment too soon, as every single group trash pull, from heroics to Naxx, has worryingly become a mindless, CC-free AoE spam-fest. Rather than tune the trash so it can't be AoE'd down, Blizz has instead had to radically alter every class/spec to give them competitive AoE. Having strong AoE for the rare times you need it used to be a special benefit to bringing a mage (and later, some other classes). Now it is a necessity if you want to get a spot in a group. Overall, pretty lame, but I'm glad to be able to compete better on trash now. The patch also improves FoK's damage when wielding daggers, so that's nice.
  • DK +Defense weapon enchant! I just hit the defense cap of 540 with my Death Knight, but it was quite a struggle, requiring enchants, multiple heroic drops, 2 revered reputations, a number of crafted items, and gemming exlusively for defense. Now I can hit the cap more easily, and balance my stats better (more HP here I come!)
  • DK sigils! These should have been in the xpac from the beginning, honestly. As far as I know, the only available sigils were: a) the one all DKs got in the starter are, b) one that drops in Naxx25, and c) one from pvp rewards. None of them were really that great. Now, we can spend badges on a +defense sigil (even more help for reaching cap!), and do a few easy quests in Grizzly Hills for one of 3 spec-specific dps sigils. Very nice.
  • No more watching a moonkin aoe stun your entire arena team with Starfall stun procs!
  • They didn't put in the DK tanking weapons, nor the stamina weapon enchant! Deleting these was an awesome decision. Putting either of these in would have eliminated choice completely. No tanking DK would ever be interested in a Naxx weapon drop, because he'd have to keep his Blacksmithed tanking weapon. He wouldn't even really want an Ulduar drop. And no other weapon enchant would ever be used by tanks. I was quite disappointed when these appeared in the patch notes a few weeks ago, and quite happy when the devs gave the exact reason of "it would have eliminated choice" for axing them both. The only bummer is that I want a level 80 sword that looks like the Runeblade you get at the end of the DK starting area, and one of the blacksmithing tanking weapons shared the same model. Small price to pay.
  • Enchanting mat prices will balance out a bit more! Shards will rise in value while dusts will drop from their current insane levels.
  • Now make a DK on any server! Granted, this isn't working yet, but it will make it so much easier to join friends on another server casually, or to get my friends up to speed if I change servers. They should really do this with the other classes in some limited way. Like, if you have a level 55 on a server, you can make 1 level 55 of any class on any server, but you can only do it once per level 55 you earned the normal way. It would make it easier for friends to play together.
  • DK survivability not so bursty and cooldown-dependent! They buffed Frost Presence while nerfing our cooldowns, resulting in what I'd consider an overall tanking buff. The other night, I was tanking Heroic Nexus, and on the final boss I took almost no damage for the first 9/10 of the fight while I could keep popping cooldowns one after another, but once I ran out of cooldowns I died in about 3 hits. And my gear is not bad at all. This also fixed the "feature" that DKs were nigh-unkillable in PvP.
  • "Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped." SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME FROM DAY ONE. Letting it go this long was nearly unforgiveable.
  • Druid gear now finally starts to make some sense! Feral Attack Power goes away, as does the need for Bear tanks to use a level 60 or 70 blue +armor trinket over level 80 epics with any other stat. No longer will my guild, without a single feral druid, have to cry every time we kill a boss that can drop a feral staff. Screw you, Illhoof. My entire guild has your hentai staff, but not a single person has actually ever used it for anything but very creative cyberz.

Well, I'm just glad this stuff finally came through. Despite how long it took to hit the live servers, I'm very heartened by what appears to be a rennaisance of Common Sense among the devs. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I think they've finally promoted all those "torture the player" holdovers from EQ (coughTigolecough) high enough in the company that they can't ruin the game design with their outdated philosophy anymore. You also have to give Ghostcrawler a lot of credit.

Thank you, Blizz. Now figure out a way to get this stuff out faster!

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