Thursday, December 07, 2006

WoW Patch 2.0.1: A Breath of New Life

Well I must say that for a patch that didn't introduce any new content it sure seemed to breathe some life into a game that had been on standby till the expansion. The delay of the expansion had caused some major repercussions within World of Warcraft which effected both players and guilds. Most high end raiding guilds were having problems fielding raids when the expansion would make a majority of their effort wasted in a couple months. Others who were simply hanging onto the game until new content were disappointed they would have to wait for another two months and decided to quit until January.

However, the numbers I've seen in my battlegroup and server seem point to a trend that this patch brought a lot of people back to the game before the expansion. I've spent the last couple of days playing in a small 5 man premade group and doing Arathi Baisin and Warsong Gulch. When the cross realm queue was working I've seen close to 160 games for each of these battlegrounds. Alterac Valley games were also decently high in number since a majority of the epic PVP gear requires marks of honor from there.

My guild has almost become a PvP guild overnight with a majority of our healers choosing the highest damage specs over the standard raid healing. It seems very few people were that interested in sacrificing 20gp a night to learn the Vael encounter when they can simple wait a month for better gear. Now everyone has a chance to earn the epic PvP gear sets which are quite honestly equal to Tier-2. The amount of honor per piece is a bit high but seems doable to even casual players which were turned off to Battleground PvP by the ranking system. I had about 190 kills last night and my honor total for this morning was around 3,000. Most epic pieces cost betwen 13,000-20,000 honor with the epic weapons being about double that.

I know a lot of PvE and casual guilds are now PvPing because I'm seeing a lot of new trends in the battleground.

1) A lot of pre-made guild teams who seem to be inexperienced at PvP

2) Most people playing now seem to be wearing mixtures of the Tier-1/Tier-2 set instead of the blue PvP set.

3) A lot of pre-made teams are ignoring some of the well-known strategies for battlegrounds
- No one guarding flags in Arathi Baisin
- Zerging into the opposite faction's base without trying to control the center in Warsong Gulch.

4) People spamming general chat in Ironforge/Ogrimmar advertising their PvP group.

I'm also seeing a lot of talent experimentation going on and I am noticing that PvP seems a bit more on equal grounds with the new talents. Some classes are still overpowered in certain regards but it honestly seems that the talent changes have made it so everyone is on equal footing when fighting.

1) Paladins can now do damage like a decently equipped warrior if they are retribution spec. Combined this with their stuns and shields and you have a deadly combo. Number one thing I saw in battleground that surprised me was that most paladins can now kill a warlock in the time of their divine shield. 12 seconds of invulnerable allows them to crusader strike twice and judge seal of command twice while being immune to all damage.

2) Hunters are now powerful against casters and melee classes. Silence Shot and Scatter Shot combined together are deadly when timed against casters correctly. Freezing Trap is no longer a real factor with its long arm time. Some smart alec hunters were already using Zulgurub snakes since they are now tamable. The seem to have a poison spit ability but I am not 100% sure on this. All I know is "Snakes, I hate Snakes?"

3) Mages have gotten a huge boost to the fire tree. Every time I died suddenly in a battleground with no idea what happened there was a mage behind me. Fireballs now seem to hit for above 1500 even if the Mage is only moderately well equipped.

4) Feral Druids are now a bit dangerous. Their damage in cat form is higher and their damage mitigation in bear form is also very nice. A lot of my teammates were noticing that they were doing more damage meleeing against tier-2 warriors then a druid in bear form. Also the new Tree of Life form has a nice healing bonus but cannot be realistically used in PvP.

5) Most warriors I saw were now immune to disarm and now gained rage/hitpoints whenever they were stunned. This basically just makes it even harder for rogues to fight them though I was surprised to see a couple side effects. One fight I saw a warrior with barely any life get hit with scatter shot which gained him rage and life enough to intercept the hunter and execute. Also warriors with the Endless Rage talent really seemed to constantly have rage.

6) Warlocks still pwn people with their fears and dots. I noticed that the rate which dots appeared on my characters was still a bit slow. I'm surprised to see no one has used the new cast sequence command yet to link all their instant cast dots to one key. Oh well I am sure it will happen pretty soon. The new doomguard pet was around in force and I got to experience its intercept ability first hand.... multiple times. It now seems to be a tie between the succubus and doomguard for most dangerous pet.

7) Duel-wielding Shamans took some getting used to but it didn't seem as overpowering as I first thought. I know a lot of shamans will like the build for grinding but it seems only moderately dangerous in PvP. Getting hit by high damaging shocks still seems the better way of delivering the burst damage necessary to kill people.

8) I didn't really notice many changes fighting against priests and rogues though it did seem that rogues were getting perfectly timed stunlocks more often. Any rogues out there can tell me if the new talents make it easier to keep people stun locked?

All in all this patch really did more for PvP then the last patch with its world PvP objectives. It seems the developers are learning that while some people enjoy PvP most people are going to ignore it unless there are good rewards or no risk. With the old ranking system players had almost no chance of getting anything beyond the blue pvp armor set unless they spent more then 6 hours a day winning battlegrounds. This effectively blocked the awards for any players that had PvE raid obligations or a real life. With the new patch the PvP rewards became available to all players which effectively unlocked new content.


Drinkitt of Cho'gall said...

It's possible that with mutilate being a good 41 point assassination talent, more people are picking up vigor (+10 Energy) along the way and that's helping their stunlock a bit.

Also, with Cloak of Shadows being a good 41 point subtlety talent, more people are picking up Hemo, which is a good stunlock build.

I'm not aware of any other changes that would make stunlocking easier.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's been a positive patch all around. (Breaking every add-on notwithstanding.) And, definitely, with the onerous honor rank system being ditched, PvP and it's rewards have never been more accessible.

Anonymous said...

So far it looks like ill be getting less requests to "bring my alt to the raid" and I can finally get a decent 2hander for my warrior :D

Anonymous said...

any idea about exchanging the mark of honor with xp after patch 2.0 ?

Anonymous said...

actually the new warlock pet is the felguard, not the doomguard.

pontus said...

It feels more like "doom" when the goddamn pet intercepts you and attacks you for like 1k damage with "The Black Book". And for the rogue tree the old improoved kidney shot has been radicaly changed so that you cannot reduce its cooldown. However if you kidney shot anyone and have the talent he gets like 9% more damage delt to him. And as drinkitt said that people is picking up a Hemo build since new talents has boosted allmost every tree and ability. And as for the hunters,,, The beast within talent has made Hunters extremely good versus warlocks, sent my pet on one yesterday he could not do a thing, my pet ate him =/.

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