WoW – Patch 3.1 on the horizon

Well we’ve had a full weekend to digest the proposed patch notes for the 3.1 Uldar release, and I must say, aside from the new mana regeneration model everything seems to be a step in the right direction.

Just as a recap….

          Uldar raid instance

          New mana regen model

          Dual spec

          Land mounts able to swim

          HUGE class changes

o   Death knight – gargoyle and UB switched

o   Druid – Savage defense, barkskin and NG in tree form

o   Hunter – pet tree changes, no more ammo, survival tree stuff

o   Mage – shatter combos in pve, fire survivability? lol, no more improved water ele,

o   Paladins – BoK, exorcism and shield of templar  

o   Priest – AoE healing improvements (aoePW:S?), shadow survivability

o   Rogue – no one cares

o   Shaman – 4 target CL, totem merges, ele and enh pvp utility

o   Warlock – replenishment, CoR and CoW combined, new talents

o   Warrior – only lose 20 rage changing stances, sunder armor a % now

          New tier set of gear of course

First, after reading about the mana regeneration change it got me thinking about how mana generally works in mmorpgs, which made me want to post about ingame resources, which lead me to he conclusion player skill is directly relational to resource allocation and management, which is a later post I’m working on. =)

That being said, I’ll cover my thoughts on the regeneration changes in a different post, but know I’m completely against it. With that out of the way…. in the larger picture does anything in this list really matter? YES and I’ll tell you why.

With the subsequent patches since 3.0, we’ve seen a conscience effort on Blizzards part to attempt something which has never been done in an mmorpg before, continuing to create a homogeneous system while keeping it’s individual parts unique. This is not an easy, and some believe worthwhile, task on Blizzards end but I believe they are looking at it like an investment for the future. Work hard to make each class useful in pvp/pve now, and use it as a launching point for future rapid development where balancing content should be easier due to fewer variables.

They’re is accomplishing this through extremely minor changes to certain classes/specs. I believe they’ve established around 16 different play styles which function and handle uniquely different, and their final challenge is making the remaining 14 specs unique enough to hold their own.

3.1 is attempting further spec individuality with a couple of important changes. Destruction warlocks and frost mags are getting replenishment which will be huge for their raid utility. Currently there is little need for them as they are pretty equivalent (play style wise) to fire mages, but adding a true replenishment ability will be a welcome addition, pushing the total number of specs with the spell to 5. Blizzard will now be able to count on having some form of replenishment in 10 raids and will be able to balance content accordingly.

The next minor change worth mentioning is chain lightning hitting 4 mobs instead of 3. This will be a fairly large boost to elemental shaman’s utility and raid dps output.  I suspect they will become a powerful aoe damage class, a field they lacked before, bringing them close to or equivalent to their hybrid counter part, balance druids. Though the idea is not entirely original (the shaman community has been clamoring for it for years) it is  minor change that increases spec/class individuality without compromising game mechanics.

It also seems after all these years, Blizzard finally has a definitive direction for priests. So long resigned to a healing “jack-o-all-trades”,  priests are finally emerging as the aoe healing front runners as discipline and holy further refine and specialize their multitude of aoe heals. Between the two specs now, the only type of heal missing would be an aoe heal over time which is apply filled by druids.

The priest community will always complain about under specialization, but I think an aoe healing niche will be good enough in the short term before Blizzard begins consolidating spells to make aoe healing more streamlined. Before we’re done, I’d expect to see holy nova and CoH combined to be tuned around hitting 5 people, but capable of hit 10+ at reduced healing.

Finally enough can’t be said about how badly WoW needs duel specs and any kind of new content. Meaningful progression inspires people to play when they otherwise shouldn’t/wouldn’t. Achievements only allow those who would already be playing something to do (which is a great addition but not enough).

Whether or not duel specs comes out with 3.1, Blizzard taking on this 300 ton gorilla shows they’re commitedness to the causal player which I can respect. Hard economic times are upon us and subscriptions can quickly be the first thing to go if a household is tight and the game in question becomes boring / a grind / or monotonous.

Now if only Blizzard would work on level syncing next so we could enjoy content at all levels. ><

-D^t

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3 Responses to “WoW – Patch 3.1 on the horizon”

  1. ffxidkunite Says:

    yay a mmo blog with a wow post, how original…

    i do give wow credit that they are trying to balance all the classes… but my friends tell me pvp is broken beyond repair. what are your thougths on the mana system like how is it changing? you never answered that

  2. Working on it, also want to make sure I know exactly the implementation before I make a post. In short though on paper, it seems like Blizzard is further dumbing down WoW.

    While it is not the most techinical game out there, it does have many nuances which can be used as a barometer of a player’s skill. Eliminatng thows reduces the skill cap making everyone closer to equal…. so I’m not a big fan.

    -D^t

  3. BTW this is an old post before the test realms opened up… for all new patch note info go to

    http://www.mmo-champion.com/index.php?topic=40602.0

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