Thursday, April 15, 2010

The incoming changes

So all the class previews have already been posted, being the Paladin the last one. And the most dreaded possibly.
In several blogs I've already expressed some of my thoughts: the rune regeneration for death knights, maybe too radical and giving me the feeling the class will be harder to play, the priest healing, really needed another healing spell and that "Chakra" skill? Pure dps classes seem to get all benefits (hunter, rogue, mage). Warriors look a bit uncertain, with the changes to tanking, the buffing of arms... so seems fury is being left behind. Shamans have some gaining and some losing, so seem compensated (although resto seems very buffed despite losing the Cleansing Totem).
Last one has been the paladin. Aoe tanking gets some nerfing but will gain a much needed interrupt. Retri starts with Crusader Strike so is not so painful to level. And holy gains a new healing spell (really needed like priests?) and the spell I love more: Healing Hands. Aoe healing like the paladin is the healing totem. While we have yest to see if the amount of aoe healing is effective, the short range will force the paladin to go near the targets that need that healing. And this links with one of my latests posts: the paladin healer should be in the line of scrimmage, not hiding behind. Still the mobility may reduce effective healing, but we still need to see how all the changes will work.
Anyway, one thing seems to be a downfall is the homogenization of classes, specially tanks, with healers coming close. Why give all tools to tanks? As long as they aren't mandatory in fights there's no need to turn them all into the same class with different looking. Paladins have great aoe aggro but no interrupts and the survivavility is limited (the Ardebt Defender "cheat"), while warriors need more work for keeping the aoe threat but they got better survivality tricks they can use when they feel the need (Shield Wall, Last Man Standing). Until now I haven't found any fight where a certain tank class gets some significal advantage, so why this now?

Anyway it's still too soon and everything are just guessings. Some changes may don't even make it on production servers, others can be totally different. Time will tell.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Old sensations

Leveling the new chars in SAN has brought back old memories. Usually painful ones since I was used to the comfort that a level 80 armed to the teeth gives you. Good gear, all the class skills available, fast mounts (including flying ones), big bags, plenty of money... all of that disappears when you start leveling a new character in a new realm (although you can cheat a bit by making a deathknight to get some starting gear and money easily)

- Sills. Until level 20 or so your skills won't matter much. You can play any role if you go into a dungeon. Verech tanked RFC at level 12 or so... without any aggro generating skills and using Arcane Torrent to pull groups
- Walking. You'll spend a lot of time walking from one side to another. Nowadays things are much easier since you can get a mount at level 20 (and won't cost you a small fortune like in the old times) Still the lack of "quest-hub design" will make you visit the same place several times. Yesterday night Verech had to cross Arathi Highlands from one side (Hammerfall) to another (Stromgarde) three frigging times! in order to complete the sigil questline. Horse helped, but I couldn't help but feel angry since everytime had to clear the way of mobs I just killed some minutes ago to get to the new target
- Fleeing mobs. This is one of the worst ones. I had almost forgot mobs could flee from you. At low levels almost all humanoids flee from you when theyreach 20% health. And it's a pain chasing them to avoid they call some friends to dance on your face. Some classes like paladin got some good tools to prevent the cowards from getting away (Judgement of Justice, Hammer of Justice) but other ones aren't so lucky
- Survivality. An hybrid class with mail armour is easier to keep alive and level than a pure dps wearing cloth. Thanks to several nerfs introduced in the game (eliminating almost all elites outside instances, better hp & mana recovery, tanking classes doing more damage, etc) some quests can be easily facerolled by some classes. In the old vanilla WoW I would have never been able to kill elites with 2 or 3 levels above me or normal mobs with 5 levels above me unless I'd be very lucky (I'm talking about soloing btw) with a prot paladin. Now it's maybe too easy. Other classes, specially ranged ones who don't have a "tank" will suffer more (mage, balance druid) to achieve it even if you're good at kiting due to the lack of skills and spells at these levels
- Reputation. I still remember my first exalted reputation took ages. Back in the days your rep gain depnded on your level, so completing low level quests for reputation yielded very feew reputation and runecloth grinding was th eonly stable way of getting rep with major cities. Although this was changed long ago (giving now a fixed rep quantity) I find it amusing I got my first one before level 30
- Leveling. this is also an old change but with every expansion it has been modified. In the old vanilla days getting to 40 required a good investment in time play. Now in 3 weeks dedicating some time will get you there. Not a bad change but can't help to feel sad seeing how much took me to get to 40 my mains.
- Gear. Wrath finally hit the nail on the head with quest rewards in form of gear. Now you get an object that will suit your class/role most of the times, but in vanilla WoW, until Cataclysm comes, you're still presented with very poor rewards (unless it's some former elite quest), both in number (two options max to choose from) and usefulness (plate with agi and spirit and things like that)

It's good to do all the journey from start, but as I level I think it's going too fast. On one hand I prefer it this way. Low levels (specially when soloing) can be a pain when lacking so many skills and spells and travelling back and forth to the same place again and again (not to mention those pesky quests that make you travel all around the world, hopping from one continent to the other and back thousandfold). On the other hand I feel I'm maybe losing many things behind... but I won't complain, I can always level another toon :)