The Love Hate Relationship with MoP Changes

Posted Tue, Jun 05, 2012 by Messiah

As with every expansion that comes along to the World of Warcraft, Mists of Pandaia will bring many changes to the game.  While all of the changes are viewed by the developers as good things, the reactions from us as players is always varied.  There are changes that each player will really like, and some that they will really despise. 

Today I want to discuss two changes that are coming in Mists of Pandaria that are pretty basic changes to the game.  Both are aimed at simplifying the game and helping players out.  Yet one I really like and one I really hate. 

The changes in question are:

  • The addition of a new core abilities screen in your spellbook.
  • The removal of head enchants from the game when Mists of Pandaria launches.

Let me explain each in a bit more detail, and what Blizzards intentions and reasons apparently are, and then move into which I like and which I hate and why.

No more head enchants in Mists of Pandaria

This change is the removal of something that has been in the game for a long while, and is explained by Ghostcrawler below:


Head enchants are gone.We decided that putting head enchants on the various faction vendors wasn't working well with our design intent for the factions. There is a lot of max-level quest content in MoP, much of it focused around the reputation with the new factions. I think it's really cool stuff -- worlds away from the old Argent Dawn scourge stone days. :)

In previous expansions, the head enchants on the faction vendors served to force players into that content. You couldn't even choose which reputation to pursue -- you had to pursue the one with your specific head enchant. Our design intent for MoP is to give players options in how to play, and the head enchant design wasn't compatible with that.

Once we decided to no longer offer new head enchants, we made the older ones non-functional or else players would feel like they had to go back to older content or be missing out on power. This way, helmets are just no longer enchantable and you'll have one less required step to get a piece of loot ready to wear.

Shoulder enchants can now be provided by scribes, so those still exist, but they are also not part of the faction reputation system.

What is so bad about removing head enchants?

I will start off with the change I don’t like, the removal of head enchants.  There are many things that I just don’t like with this change, not the least of which is that it removes something from the game. 

I know that since most of them were fairly easy to get anyway, almost everyone had them, but some players didn’t and that is a key point. Since they were simple to get with some basic effort, but some players didn’t actually take the time to get them, many players used them as a form of a player check for new players looking to raid with them.  If someone could not bother to get the reputation required for the best head enchant for their class, then would they really put the effort required into raiding?

I also don’t like it because it feels like one less thing you need to do.  I know that it was a simple matter of going to the right vendor (once you had the reputation required with them) and picking up an enchant for your new helm when you got one, but it was part of the process.  It became part of the excitement of getting a new helm, just like any other piece of gear.  The first step was getting the gear, then you needed to gem it, enchant it, reforge it, and possible even transmogrify it.  I feel that it put you more in touch with your gear having things to do with it once you got it, and now that is all gone.

Even worse, all of the old enchants will simply just disappear when Mists of Pandaria launches.  So, all those enchants that you worked for and paid for, simply vanish.  Sounds on par with all the money I make that disappears for taxes each year with nothing to show for it.  Way to Go Blizzard.

Even if the argument that Blizzard lists that there will be enough reason to go and dailies without forcing people to just to get head enchants is valid, then why not just made them enchants.  By that I mean allow enchanters to enchant helms.  It takes them away from the vendors and being tied to reputation with factions, but still leaves them in the game.  Seems like a simple solution to me.

New core abilities screen coming in Mists of Pandaria

This change introduces a new screen to the game as one of the tabs in the spellbook.  It aims to help explain the basic things you should be using as a character of that class and spec. 

While this may seem self-evident to those that have played the game for a long time, it isn’t always to new players.  Characters have many different abilities and for someone new to the class or spec it may not be immediately evident which abilities are the most useful, or which should form your core rotation.


A new screen that shows the core abilities, although in this case I worry that Reckoning (the Paladin taunt) is not listed.

Why do I like the new core abilities screen

This change really appeals to me, even though I don’t feel that I need it or will use it, I like it a lot.  One thing that I don’t feel World of Warcraft has ever done very well is to teach players which abilities they should use and why.  With so many different abilities provided to each class I can see how some players get confused, especially new MMO players.

I (and most experienced gamers) take it for granted that they need to do some research and check out some sites to be able to play a game like WoW well.  You need to understand all the stats, math, abilities, and interactions to play at a level that will allow you to succeed in heroics or raids.  The average player that just plays the game, may never realize that spell A is meant as their primary damage spell and that spell B isn’t that important.  After all if the game never tells them that and they don’t know they need to look it up outside the game, how could they.

A great example of this was a Paladin I ran into in a LFG run that was tanking, but didn’t know what seal he should be using, and had never heard the word taunt before!  He had the abilities, but never knew he was supposed to use them.  I know, this is an extreme example (and I swear true!  Worse it was a heroic), but think about it, there isn’t anything in the game that teaches you that, is there. 

Even for players that know what they are doing, I kind of like the screen.  With many players now running 4 or more alts that are at the raiding level and even more as characters just to play with friends with, level for fun, gather, or other activities, it can be easy to forget exactly what each one is doing.  This screen provides a quick and simple rundown of your core abilities as a instant refresher.  A 10-15 second glance here before you start playing and you will be “ah, ok, that’s what this character does”. I know, most players wont need it, but for the few that do, it’s a fast reminder.

While simple and not needed for most players, it will really help those that do need it.  Better yet, it in no way affects those that don’t need it.  It is a separate tab, and if you know how to play, you just never look at it and everything stays just the same as it always was.  Those are the kind of changes I like.

Messiah’s Last Word

As you can see, I really don’t like one change and really do like the other.  Hopefully, with my reasoning laid out above you can see why that is for each one, even if you don’t agree.

OK, I’ve had my say, now it’s your turn.  What do you think of these changes, do they help or hurt the game, do they help or hurt your experience in the game?  Make your opinion known by commenting below.

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