So, about thirty seconds after I watched that trailer last night I heard about the 3.2 PTR Patch Notes. In it's own way, this was a wave of unstoppable water. For a patch that seemed only to be an interim between the next big slew of content... the changes it brings are, quite frankly, staggering:
- Experience from Battlegrounds. I have lost count of the number of people who've wanted this. It is possibly THE most significant change to the game in the last four years, and it will mean you have total flexibility in the way you level. It also means if you don't want to level you can just stop but still enjoy the content. You pay 10g and you switch experience off or on. You gotta wonder if it was really that simple, why did it take so long... I suspect Warhammer was enough of an incentive to make it happen. It will also mean that I NEVER have to play against a twink in a low level BG ever again. For that fact alone, we salute you Blizz :D
- Complete BG Revamp. So not only is there a new BG, but ALL the old ones get a revamp to make them faster and less hassle. I assume that Blizzard hopes this will reignite the interest in Arenas as well. Part of me thinks this could easily have the totally opposite effect, and that this could spell the end of Arenas completely. I don't need my friends to be online when I play, I can just play with 10/15/40 other random people and still get a decent level of PvP gear regardless. As we're now seeing with the End Game content, having the best gear is not really neccersary. Having the right gear is more than enough.
- Conquest Badges from Heroic Instances. So, we're back to the situation that we were on the Island of Dailes and Sunwell: you don't need to run Ulduar 25 any more, or indeed ever. It's just there for those people who want to see the content, it's totally irrelevant for gear. Of course it would have been irrelevant anyway, it's just how Blizzard keep the content relevant for the vast majority. However I have to say, the timing of this seems off. Yes, in shock news I find myself thinking that content is being devalued far faster than it has been before. No this is not a bad thing for me, far from it, meaning I can gear all my alts to a very good standard. But I do feel sorry for those people who will see this as a kick in the Achievements.
- The Future of Instancing. 5 man normal/heroic. 10 man normal/heroic. 25 man normal/heroic. Heroic instances all with Hard Modes. So, that's nine types of instances, ALL WITH THE SAME TOKEN REWARD. Never was your gaming experience so varied. Or dependant on skillz ^^ It's going to sound the death knell for the player who's not quite good enough. You can't just scrape by any more, you will have to bring something to the table. Or you can just pose in your Tier 8 gear in Dalaran and reminisce about the Good Old Days. The choice is yours.
- Class Changes that Actually Make Sense. Hunter Traps now have separate 30 second cooldown categories: Fire (Immolation Trap, Explosive Trap and Black Arrow), Frost (Freezing Trap, Frost Trap) and Nature (Snake Trap). A hunter can have one trap of each category placed at one time. I'm still having the vapours over this, PvP just got a great deal more interesting :D A customizable totem bar will now be available for shaman allowing the storing of 4 different totems. These totems can be placed on the ground at once in one global cooldown for the combined mana cost of all 4 totems. Blimey. That's a great idea, why didn't they think of that earlier???
- Profession Changes. All potions stack to 20. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Chef's Hat's actually been made useful (and quite right too for 100 bloody awards). Players with 300 or higher cooking have a chance to find a Waterlogged Recipe in the Bag of Fishing Treasures awarded by the Northrend fishing dailies. This item can be traded to other players and rewards several Dalaran Cooking Rewards when turned in. I think new recipes will not be far off either, PvP food is a distinct possibility, or possibly levelling food. Don't scoff, if I'd said six months ago that Blizz was gonna do all of this you'd have laughed at me... Oh, and for you pet lovers... 8 new pets have been added (not including Argent Tournament rewards). Raptor Hatchlings can be found on rare and elite raptors throughout the game world. In addition, an Obsidian Raptor Hatchling can be purchased from Breanni in Dalaran. My fawn comes a step closer...