Mists Monday

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We interrupted your regularly scheduled posts because it’s ‘Mists Monday’! The nda on last weeks press event has been lifted and there’s lots, and lots, and lots of new information. I sat down and quickly skimmed it all this morning but that’s no way to process so consider this my processing. What does the fourth xpac have in store for us?

Simple stuff
1 extra character slot? Seriously? I’m disappointed with that, I feel like it’s a cop out. 11 slots, 11 classes I can see the logic but I don’t feel the logic. Purely from a personal point of view I have one of every class plus a duplicate class that’s horde side so I already have 11 characters. A lot of people have a banker, I rolled my banker and one of my characters together a long time ago for the extra slot, but it is a bit annoying as when I’m playing that character there’s no guildies to chat with. So really I’d like to have 12 and that’s not counting a monk. Also having a spare slot is great for when you randomly want to go play a different race for the race specific baby pools. I mean I’m not planning on rolling a pandaren monk but I will be rolling a pandaren for the starting area at least. Sure I could go do that on another server but why should I? Servers are pretty fluid things as they are. I’ve been logged in and Eastern Kingdoms has gone down, so everyone in guild in Stormwind has been disconnected but anyone anywhere else is fine. I don’t understand how it works but I do understand networks and data stores and that sort of stuff. The 50 character limit with no server limit would have been the best option and I can’t see why it’s so tough to do. As it is I’m split across two servers and the characters not on my main’s server (without all the profession backup) barely get played at all. Sort it out blizz.

Account achievements
I was, and am, planning a separate post on this. From what I can see from reading various sites there wasn’t a lot mentioned about this. As I’m such an achievement nut information on this is one of the first things I combed through for so I am wishing for more info on this. Achievements being account wide is apparently the next on the list for account wide things. Titles are going account wide and as soon as an alt is the right level then they can wear that title. This isn’t likely to apply to realm first special titles but I don’t have, nor am I ever likely too, ones like those so I’m not worried about that. I could go on here but this post will be long enough as it is, check back Thursday.

Mini games
Farmville is coming to warcraft! Between this and pet battles, providing you can do these while waiting for a queue to pop, no more running in circles in Stormwind. Pet battles looks interesting and something I’ll dip into for any achievements but it’s not a big draw for me. This farm thing where you can potentially grow herbalism nodes or non combat pets is a lot more interesting. The herb thing would be great for the lazy farmer aka me. It’s bound to be on a small scale so as not to make it a big player in the gold making market. However, for wanting herbs to make a flask or two once a week it sounds perfect. Whether it’ll pan out like that I don’t know. If it’s not useful in any way once I get any achievements, pets etc. from it I won’t go back. However, I can see this being a big deal for a lot of casual players who perhaps log on more to chat than for gaming. Don’t get me wrong I like the chatting part I just like the achievement points part too.

Ch-ch-changes
Between glyphs and talents character options are going to look a lot different come Mists. This can only be a good thing. Right now who among us doesn’t hit google to find out the consensus on the class spec? The only time I’ve ever picked my own talents was the first time. My friend who introduced me to Warcraft couldn’t stop laughing as apparently they were dumb choices. What did I know? I picked the ones that sounded good. Since then I’ve googled and then methodically entered the talents/glyphs suggested. The sceptical part of me thinks that there’s always going to be a ‘right choice’ but so far it looks good and so I’m hoping that there won’t be. There’s certainly no consensus yet, whether there will be one situationally we won’t know till beta/release. If there is a ‘right choice’ then I’ll feel obligated to make it but just once I’d like to feel smart and make my own decision. I’d like to try out the different talents, make my own choice, and then stand by it. “I chose this talent because …” and not be wrong. If blizz can pull this off I might take back my disappointment over the character slot issue, or perhaps not.

Classes
The new class is a big part of Mists and it’s my favourite type of class as well. My main is a paladin and my main alt is a druid – I like choice and being able to fulfil any role I choose is perfect for me. I’m a helpful person and so I keep a set of gear for every spec and will swap to it when needed. My pally main spec is healing but every Sunday I tank Firelands as it’s easier to get healers than tanks. My druid is going to be hit hard by the class change of separating the bear and kitty trees. I’m a kitty by preference but due to the need for tanks I’ve tanked a fair bit too. With the Zul heroics I was always forever starting as kitty and then swapping to bear when the tank died to finish the encounter. Will this still be physically possible? Probably. Will it be viable? Not likely. It’ll be like a kitty trying to turn resto now. Yes we can pop tranquillity in an emergency but not a lot else.

I was hoping for more information on tanking changes but so far I’ve not found more than a reference to it. Thankfully for me it was about paladins which was good and once again it mentioned more about active defence. World of glory is off the global cd and now I just have my fingers crossed that it doesn’t have a cd either. I love to solo but that 15 second cd kills it for more difficult content. Let me sacrifice damage for healing if I choose and I will be one happy soloing paladin come Mists.

Anyway, back to the new class. The big news is that auto attack has been added back in. When I read that this morning I was in two minds over it. There’s no auto attack, or at least I don’t think there is, certainly not as a Bounty Hunter anyway, in swtor. At first this is a bit strange as if I have too much heat (continuing with the BH comparison) then I can’t hit any abilities and I just stand there getting hit until I can press a button again. However, it does make you a smarter player earlier I think. I use my cd’s a lot in swtor whereas apart from raiding I don’t touch them much, if at all, in warcraft. As a BH I’ve had to kite mobs and plan when to use cooldowns during questing. Whereas who even pays proper attention in warcraft? However, given that all the other classes have auto attack the monk not having it would have been a bit hard to balance.

The monk’s resource system has also been changed. It might be called chi but it sounds a lot like combo points therefore making the monk’s system basically be like a rogue or kitty druids. Note I said basically as those two systems on the surface are the same and when playing are as different as rage and mana. I hate my rogue and love my kitty. Only time will tell how the monk plays. It certainly looks interesting and I will definitely be levelling one with a view to playing it. Not as a pandaren though, too cliched.

Give me those points
Scenarios and challenge modes, well I’m a bit concerned. I’ve been playing probably (ok definitely) too much warcraft lately but I’m an achievement nut. You can’t dangle something like this in front of me and not have me want to complete it. So yeah I’m feeling very positive about these additions. More different content is great as it makes a change from the regular grind. More different content is also bad as there’s only so much time to play and how will I fit it all in? I guess I’ll have the whole expansion to try and do it in depending on how the medals work. From reading I’m not sure whether it’s based on brackets of what other groups have done or from completing it in a given time. If it’s the first then it’ll be hard to break into later in the expansion so I can only hope it’s the second.

Mega damage
It’s like blizz read my post the other day. No obviously not but I am so pleased that they went this route. Retuning old content would have taken too much valuable time out of development and this way I can keep soloing more and more. There’s no downsides to this tact aside from it eventually getting silly and computers having strokes at processing such huge numbers. I can now look forward to Mists without trepidation. This is what I was really worried about. Any of the other changes that they might make to the achievement system I could have got used too. Not being able to solo more and more (or maybe even less) and I would be a very sad panda. I want all the achievements and to collect all the mounts/pets/titles etc. and getting groups for old content isn’t easy, getting competent groups is even harder. As harsh as it is doing it yourself is sometimes the best option.

Raiding
I am a raider (killed Deathwing last Friday for the first time on normal!) so I’m not a hardcore raider (still psyched over that kill though) but there being lots of content looks good and bad. I’m new to raiding and I’ve only been raiding regularly since Dragon Soul (*cough* yes this tier) and so I don’t know how my raid group will deal with multiple raids. How do raids group do that? Do we start with one, complete it and move on to the next? Have different nights for different raids or a different raid each week? More raids is good, raiding is fun, I just hope we can complete it all before the patch 5.1 comes out. We’re slow but we have fun and for me that’s more important. I am going to have to ask my RL today how they’ll handle the multiple raid thing I really want to know.

Dungeons
Ok confusing raid thoughts and to be honest my thoughts on heroics aren’t much better. I will complete them all and I will run them all for the achievements and gear. As this is a personal thing I don’t have any concerns about it so there isn’t much to say. Aside from they look awesome! The new pandaria dungeons look brilliant, different, fun, cool. I want to go play now. In contrast the new Scarlet Monastery and Scholomance might fall flat which is definitely a shame. In my warcraft wishlist post I spoke about wanting blizz to use old content hooks and not just bring out new thing after new thing. The Scaret Crusade is a huge part of warcraft and something I definitely want to see new lore with. That’s just it though I want to see new lore. I guess it all comes down to how they remake them. If it goes the way of Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep I will run the old versions one last time and then look forward to the new. If it’s just a recolour like Zul with changed for changed sake rather than new I will not run them by choice.

Content galore
There appears to be a lot of quests coming up (how will that be incorporated into the loremaster achievement?) and there’s more zones than we knew about. They look shiny, they sound shiny and I just hope they stay shiny. First run through after all questing in cata was a blast. I attempted to take my 7th level 80 through Hyjal and gave up after the first quest, I just couldn’t face it again. I loved cata and Mists looks cool but now I’m a bit sick of a lot of cata. With all the new ways to play I’m hoping that I won’t have time to get sick of anything in Mists as I’ll have to rotate what I can do in order to fit it all in.

Professions
Not a lot of info on these. My big question is what is the new skill cap? I’m assuming it’s 600 but correct me if I’m wrong I don’t think that’s been stated anywhere. Inscription is clearly getting a big overhaul with the removal/change of a lot of glyphs. How that will work with what you know and don’t know is the big question. Obviously anything defunct will be removed but say you know 10 defunct ones, will they give you knowledge of the 10 new ones, or will you have to research for those? Cooking is getting specialisations or is it? I’m not too clear on whether once you have one of them it precludes you from the others or if they can all be done given time. As someone who’s done the rep farm from hated to exalted and back again for those mutually exclusive factions for the achievements, nothing they could come up with bar impossibility would stop me from getting them all. Archaeology is getting some sort of tie-in with a new faction? The Lorewalkers. The mechanics haven’t been mentioned as having been changed so it’s likely the same grind though.

What else?
There’s no big bad. Oh yes there is. It’s *drum roll* – Garrosh Hellscream, erstwhile Warchief of the Horde. I’m actually really excited about this. I feel like this sort of direction is good for the game. We actually get to affect change, or do we? Yes we will remove Garrosh as Warchief but in this raid ‘Siege of Origimmar’ is presumably not a one time deal. We’ll be able to kill him/remove him over and over and over. Much like how the Lich King died and was replaced by Bolvar, you can still go kill the Lich King again and again and again. It’s a different setting but the same deal with Garrosh. Perhaps not so different after all.

Oh wait one last thing – LFR and loot rolls. This player loot roll thing sounds interesting. I dislike having to run LFR every week for many reasons but one reason is the inequality of it. I play my best in LFR and 99% of the time top whatever chart I’m in (aside from if I’m tanking) and this isn’t always down to gear. Yes my paladin healing set is quite good as I’ve got normal Dragon Soul drops. My druid is still rocking the Molten Front witch-harvester though and aside from a couple of LFR drops is in dungeon gear. So I shouldn’t really be topping the dps chart should I? I know I shouldn’t, not when you have players with Dragonwrath or Fangs of the Fathers or even LFR weapon drops. Anyway back to topic, I play my best, and then I lose my weapon or token to someone who was afk, or sometimes even not the right spec, as I’ve had holy gear go to retadins before. Now I say my weapon/token, it’s not mine of course, and I wouldn’t have a problem at all if it was like my normal raids where everyone pulls their weight. Removing that competitive element and even adding in ability to get an extra shot at drops is the best thing blizz could do with LFR. No longer will I have the pain of watching Maw of the Dragonlord go to the healer that did 5k hps, or worse to the balance druid who was also bottom of dps. If they’re doing less because they need the upgrade more that’s one thing, if they’re doing less because they’re not putting the effort in that’s another.

Oooh yeah dailies and stuff. They’re adding in a Wintersaber kinda deal for mounts – I’m there and then there’s the usual factions for rep and rewards. Some interesting ideas as I mentioned above with tokens for extra loot drops. Not any concrete info on valor points or equivalent yet. Personally I think that the system in T13 with their being tokens and then valor to supplement what eludes you is the best way forward. Don’t fix what’s not broken. The 10/25 man raid lockout though is something I agree that they should look at again. While it will confuse all those idiots who can’t remember that they’re locked on Baradin Hold, so long as the gear is equal (unlike in wrath where bis was a mix of both) then it can only be good for the game. Ok I admit it I want the different lockouts again for shots at the 25 man achievements for ICC and Ulduar. However, I do not, I repeat do not, want them to bring back different achievements (well the same) for 10 and 25 man. Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! It’s a pain for 10 man achievement nuts.

Conclusion
It’s Mists Monday yay! Lots of info, lots of shiny pictures and videos and coolness. I’m sure I’ve missed something out as there’s a lot to take in. However, my reaction to what news we have had (apart from that stupid 11 slot deal) is overwhelmingly positive. Naturally I signed up for the annual pass to get in on the beta, so pretty please blizz when’s the beta? Or better yet when is Mists coming out? If I was a betting type of person I’d place my money on September time. However, of course I hope we don’t have to wait that long. I started playing the January before cata came out, so towards the end of wrath. Cataclysm is my expansion, the one where I found my feet. I’m going to be ready for Mists of Pandaria whenever it drops.

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