The newest huge pre-expansion patch is coming to World of Warcraft.  Patch 5.0.4 should be live on the servers sometime Tuesday morning August 28th, 2012.  This is the Mists of Pandaria pre-patch and as with any other pre-expansion patch there will be a massive number of changes introduced in it. 

What are the biggest and most important changes coming to the game though and how will they affect you?  That’s what we are going to look at in this article as there are just way to many changes to look at all of them in-depth.

You may also want to check out 5 Important MoP Changes, and some of these are in this patch ahead of the release of MoP.

Mana Changes

The amount of mana that casters have available to them will now be capped. The amount varies by class and spec as well as by level. For more information check out the article on Understanding Mana Pools and Mana Efficiency in Mists of Pandaria and the section on mana in 5 Important MoP Changes.

Talent Changes

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An example of a warriors talent tree with the new system in place.

The talent system is being completely redone for Mists of Pandaria, and this patch releases that system to the players.  Gone are the talent points you earned every few levels and multiple point talents in a tree system.  Now in place is a system that grants you 1 new ability from a choice of 3 every 15 levels.

This is a huge topic though so tune in this week for more information on it, in an article focused on just the new talent system. 

If you can’t wait for that, check out this look at the system from when it was first announced: WoW Talent System Overhaul - Mists of Pandaria and Talent System 2.0.

Update: Check out our guide to all the changes in the talent system here: WoW Talent System 2.0 ( Patch 5.0.4 ).

Glyph Changes

Glyphs have changed yet again with this patch and forthcoming expansion.  Gone are prime glyphs and we are left with just major and minor glyphs.  Major glyphs are now the powerhouse glyphs offering powerful spell changes or utility bonuses.  Minor glyphs are now mainly about fun little changes or cosmetic options like changing the kind of tree you turn into as a druid.

Make sure you check out all your glyphs and grab the ones that make the most sense for your spec in the new patch.  Many of your old ones will still be useful, but many have changed drastically and may no longer be the best you could be using.

Class Changes

This is a huge change and one that could shock many players out there that are not in the Mists of Pandaria beta or have not bothered to jump onto the 5.0.4 PTR to test them out.  Pretty much all the classes have changed dramatically.   There are many changed or completely new spells and abilities which also means that most classes and specs have completely new or heavily revised attack, tanking, or healing rotations.  For most players it may feel like playing a whole new class.  Sure many abilities you know and love will still be there, but the priority of use and interaction with other abilities have changed.

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Druids will now be even more unique in that they have 4 different specs.

While impossible to go through each and every class here, I will list some examples of drastic change, but in general be prepared to spend a while getting used to your class again and learning your new rotations.

Examples of Changes:

Druid – Druids change more than most simply due to the fact that they now have four different specs instead of the three that everyone else has.  Feral is now just for cat based DPS druids and a new Guardian spec has been created for tanking druids that focus on bear tanking.

Warlocks – Warlocks are another class that sees heavy changes.  Each spec now has a unique secondary resource to boost powers and affect their spells.  Soul Shard remain for damage and utility for Affliction warlocks. Demonic Fury is the new resource for Demonology and Unstable Embers are for Destruction warlocks.  Both are built up by casting normal rotational spells and can then be used to cast huge damage spells.  In addition to a second resource Warlocks can all summon any demon and are not limited by spec.

Scenarios – The Battle of Theramore

With patch 5.0.4 we will get to see the first of the new Scenarios being implemented in the game.  These will be a separate scenario for each of the Horde and the Alliance and will be based around the attack on Theramore by Warchief Garrosh.  This will tie in with the world events leading up to the release of Mists of Pandaria and will not be available until shortly before MoP launches.

Cross Realm Zones

Another feature that is coming with the patch that has some interesting bonuses is the cross realm zone feature.  This will allow certain non-busy zones to be marked by Blizzard as cross-realm enabled.  Once enabled players from multiple realms will all be able to interact in that zone.  This could be a great thing for players leveling new characters as it allows you to actually group up with other players in lower level zones. 

Currently when leveling a new character much of the world feels like a waste land.  You rarely run into anyone other than when you are in a capital city, or in an instance of some sort (PVE dungeon or PVP battleground).  Being a MMO it would be nice to actually see and play with other people in the regular world once in a while, and this change should allow that.

AOE Looting

As a player that likes herding together enemies and AOE’ing them down I really love this change.  AOE looting allows you to click on one enemy and it loots everything in range all at once for you.  This greatly increases loot speed while leveling, even if it will fill your bags with crap faster, since it grabs everything and you may not have.

Head Slot Enchants

Don’t go looking for your head slot enchant anymore when you get a new helm, they are gone from the game.  All past enchants are now cleared from items and the enchants are no longer purchasable.  While I am sad about this change, there is nothing we can do about it.  Just be aware and don’t waste time hunting for that new enchant.

Currency Conversion and Changes

A lot is going on with currenty this coming expansion and to get ready for it all in game currency is being dropped to a lower level. With this patch all valor points will be converted to justice points and all conquest points will be converted to honor points with no hard cap until the expansion. Also no valor or conquest points will be available to be earned until Mists of Pandaria launches. In addition all valor or conquest items will be available for justice or honor instead.

When Mists of Pandaria does launch there will be vendors for valor, justice, conquest, and honor items. However the long term goal for valor points is that it be used to upgrade items rather than buy raid level items. More will be released closer to the 5.1 patch though once MoP is out.

All Races available to play

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All races will be available to play for everyone.  This means no longer with players with just the basic game be limited in their choice of races, they can now play goblins, blood elves, worgens, draenei, or pandaren, just like players that own all the expansions.  Most races will be available right away, but the Pandaren will not show up until the Mists of Pandaria expansion is released in September.  This is a nice change though, as players that jump into the game with a free started edition cannot try the races they really want to play, rather than be limited.

Account-wide Changes

This is a change that has been asked for many times over the years.  Players have really wanted their pets, mounts, and achievements to be available to more than just one character.  The pet and mount sharing is very cool so that you don’t have to spend obscene amounts of gold on each character just to get that mount that you like.  The pet part is great too since you can have the vanity pets you like available to all characters all the time.  This becomes important to players that get into the Pokemon based pet battles, which I still shake my head at but whatever…

The biggest part of this change is the achievements.  It has always seemed silly to most of us that you had to earn achievements on each character.  The issue being that achievements obviously never showed your ability or what you had really accomplished in game as a player when someone looks at your current character because you had other characters that could have better achievements.  This change makes it much easier to look at a player’s character and get an idea of what the player as a whole is about.  This makes it easier for guild masters to recruit or players to check each other out when looking for raid, instance, or PvP members.  All in all a much needed change.

You can find more details in Ghostcrawler's blog about it here: Bringing Achievements to the Account Level.

User Interface Changes

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The new PVE queue system.

There are many different user interface changes being made to the game that will show up with this patch.  There are obvious ones like the new talent screen, but there are many others as well.  Just a few include:

  • The new core abilities tab in your spell book that shows what you should be using for your spec.
  • A new character creation screen with a much more user-friendly layout.
  • A new mount and pet screen
  • Consolidated buffs in the UI
  • Vendors all now have filter options to make finding items easier.
  • A new PVE queue tool that places all PVE queues in one area making it easier (and possible) to queue for multiple things at once.
  • A new help system that has a lot more hints for what things do.  If it annoys you, you can turn it off by clicking on the “I” in the top corner of any of the help screens.

You can find more information here: Mists of Pandaria Beta: UI Changes Preview.

Even more changes in Patch 5.0.4!

As you can see there are a whole slew of changes coming, even if the only ones coming are the ones listed above, which they are not.

You can find out even more by looking at the Patch 5.0.4 PTR patch notes now, or the official notes when they are released Tuesday.


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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.