Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Patch 3.1 Goodies

So World of Warcraft Patch 3.1 is here. As I predicted. Whatever. I'm really excited. I was hoping for this patch for a long time. There are a lot of things to be excited about and it brings nice stuff for everyone, from hardcore raiders to solo players like myself.

After installing the patch this morning I tried to log in and got the dreaded "Unable to validate game version" error. I almost crapped my pants thinking that the installation got corrupted or something but a quick trip to the official forums helped to calm me down. It's very likely a server issue, as in Blizzard haven't managed to update their servers to the 3.1 version yet. Which is cool with me, I have 1-2 hours of anticipation in which I can do other things, like for example post here.

Now what are the really cool features brought by WoW's patch 3.1? And I'm talking exclusively about things that concern solo players. Although the new Ulduar raid is cool and all, I'm really not interested in that, as I will never participate in it.

Dual Specs. Why would a solo player need dual specs? Well, for experimenting with different specs, of course. And perhaps occasionally joining some PUG in a dungeon and providing the needed utility. In particular, I have decided to overhaul my Paladin. From 60 to 70 I've been having a blast with Retribution but after I got my hands on the Death Knight, the Pally got left in the sidelines. Now that dual specs are here, I'm gonna convert my Pally to Protection. Wowinsider has a nice article on the changes to Protection and it got me really excited.

Before The Burning Crusade I had leveled my Paladin as Protection and it was a pain in the butt. The new Protection is light years ahead of the old and totally different. I'm looking forward to some nice AOE grinding and best of all, a Prot Pally will be a different experience from all other characters I have, i.e. it will be my only tank-with-a-shield. I would also like to keep Retribution as a back-up spec.

In addition to the Paladin, I'm also thinking of grabbing Unholy as my other spec for the Death Knight. Currently I'm having lots of fun with Blood and I really enjoy the spec, but sometimes there is need for some AOE and Blood simply doesn't cut it.

Swimming Mounts. This is one of the biggest little changes to the game IMO. I've been waiting for this forever. I've heard people claiming that it is a retarded move, that mounts should not be able to swim. Well, I disagree. First of all, it's a fantasy game. Anything flies. Even pigs. Secondly, if we have to go by Real Life, horses DO swim, so there. End of discussion. This small change will end the eternal suffering that is the crossing of small bodies of water.

The Changes to Fishing. Fishing is finally becoming a skill worth pursuing. I have fishing on 2 of my alts but haven't bothered leveling it because let's face it: it is one of the most annoying professions to level. However, since a number of interesting vanity pets, as well as a large number of achievements come from fishing, I decided to grab it on my main and really, really master it. Besides, I have a Kalu'ak Fishing Pole waiting just for this. So fishing is said to become easier to level, casts are shorter, you can now fish anywhere regardless of level (hmm... dunno about this, it feels a bit weird to fish in Dalaran at skill level 1), you can learn the next level directly from trainers (books are no longer required), the Artisan Fishing quest is no more (yay!) and rewards from fishing are a lot better now. I plan to level it as fast as possible on my hunter main and then start doing the Shattrath and Dalaran fishing dailies so I can get the vanity pets.

Heathstone Cooldown Lowered to 30 Minutes. Another great change. I think it's a nice touch that this has been implemented. Enough said.

The Argent Tournament. A nice new event that has plenty of rewards for hardcore and casual players alike. I'm especially interested in the new vanity pets, as well as the new equipment. Oh, and the dailies are easy, fun and worth doing, if only for the extra gold.

Free Talent Wipe. This was pretty obvious but it's always nice to get the chance to respec (ALL) your characters for free.

No More Lexicon of Power. Another nice touch. I can't remember how many times I grabbed a glyph from the mail only to find myself out in the boonies where I didn't have access to that blasted Lexicon of Power. Now it's bye-bye Lexi and good riddance!

No More Ammo Bags for Hunters. While the complete elimination of hunter ammo has been postponed for a future patch, we are getting the next best thing: the elimination of ammo bags. Well, ammo bags per-se won't be eliminated, it's just that the haste bonus has been rolled into Auto Shot and ammo now stacks to 1000, meaning that ammo bags can be safely replaced by normal bags and you can just carry about 3-4 stacks of 1000x ammo in your normal bag, for the same effect. Woot! I'm hopeful that the next change to hunter ammo will be its complete removal, and replacement with an equipped item. Such items will probably have different properties (like fire, frost or poison damage)... hopefully. We'll see.

Flint and Tinder are Bye-bye. To me, this was another annoying game mechanic. It's something that was there but I never used it. Now cooks will finally be able to start a fire anywhere, without needing these items. Oversimplification? Perhaps, but it does make cooking a lot more convenient.

Herbing is Faster. It irked me a bit that gathering a herb node was noticeably slower than mining ore. Now it's been fixed. Hurrah!

And that's about it for what excites me this patch. Now if we can only get into the game soon, without long queues and other post-patch issues...

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