Updated Tue, Sep 02, 2008 by Messiah
Hello everyone and welcome once again to my World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) Beta Journal. In this entry I am going to discuss the various things that have taken place in my Beta experience recently. Topics I discuss this week are experience changes, Paladin Judgments breaking, subtle changes, mana starvation, and Drak'Tharon Keep.
Valiance Keep, one of your key locations early on
A patch was recently rolled out to the beta server and when it did experience per level required changed drastically. It changed back to a much lower amount required per level, more in line to what the beta started at. For example instead of requiring 2.3 million for 73-74 it dropped to 1.7 million. This meant that when I logged off before the patch I was 72.5 and when I logged back in the next day I was 73.5, Hurray!
This is a great change as they had recently upped it to the higher value, after I wrote about the great experience from questing, and it had made progressing in the zones feel very slow. This change back allows you to actually see your experience bar move once again when you turn in quests that grant 20-30k experience and the experience per level and quest seems much better balanced. I hope it remains at about this level for release.
Along with the great bonus of reduced experience, a very frustrating thing happened with the patch, which severely limits my continued advancement. Paladin Judgments have stopped working! The effect of this is drastic! With no judgments to increase damage, return mana in retribution spec, or to increase threat while tanking, doing anything is limited. In Retribution spec the change is amazing, DPS dropped from over 1100 sustained to barely staying above 600. In protection spec the only saving grace is that between consecration, holy shield and hammer of the righteous I can still hold threat from most players, it is much more difficult though and burns through a lot more mana.
As the beta continues I keep noticing little things that make a huge difference. One such thing will be loved by Paladin tanks, a very simple and minor change to Holy Shield that I never noticed until this week. They changed the timing ever so slightly. Before the spell lasted 10 seconds with a 10 second cooldown. This meant that you had to watch it like a hawk to ensure you were not in a global cooldown (GCD) when it was time to cast it to ensure it was up as close to 100% of the time as possible. The tweaked Holy Shield is now a 10 second spell with an 8 second cooldown. While it doesn't seem like much, it allows you to overlap the spell and ensure you are never without it. While this only effects Paladins, there are other minor tweaks to almost every class that once seen make so much sense. It's very nice to see Blizzard looking so close at everything in the game rather than just the new items.
One of the many great views in Utgarde Keep
An issue that many classes are having due to the many mechanic changes in the game is mana consumption. All the casters that I know are having issues with mana on a constant basis, despite not having them before. An excellent example is a raid healer Shaman that I play with that never runs out of mana in the current game in raids, it seems like he hardly ever drinks. However even in simple content like Utgarde Keep and The Nexus, he now has to site and drink after every fight. The mages that we group with are having similar issues. We can't quite put a finger on what is causing it, but are looking into it, and will keep exploring the issue. It again shows that many of us came into the beta expecting basically a few new spells and 10 levels to blast through and are essentially getting a new game. Which is great! We all love the learning curve, and it is what keeps us coming back.
Lastly, having reached level 74 I was able to get into another new instance, Drak'Tharon Keep. I ran the Keep once to get a feel for it, and will be returning soon so that I can put up a preview guide. Blizzard keeps rolling out the hits with the instances though. This is another insanely fast and fun instance. There are 4 very different bosses in it, separated by only 6-8 groups of MOBs between each. It is a great instance and I can't wait to return.
Speaking of which, my group is signing on now... So, I will see you next week, with more information on Drak'Tharon, Dalaran, and anything else that catches my interest.
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.