A new sub-patch is coming our way in the near future to World of Warcraft and we’re going to finally see something we’ve always wanted to in World of Warcraft; a native 64-bit client. That’s right folks; get on the edge of your seat, because soon your WoW will be running with a point-oh-oh-oh-eight percent increase in efficiency as the client begins to utilize the 64-bit architecture that, if you have a native 64-bit operating system, will see some slight improvements. Actually, while the benefits aren’t known (benchmarking has yet to be done), it will allow those who own beefy rigs to finally take advantage of their excess ram and better streamline game calculations.
The point here is that you shouldn’t get your hopes up that this will somehow be the snake oil to make WoW run twice as fast as it does now (so don’t go screaming at Blizzard if it doesn’t make it into the full patch). You’re probably asking why, and the simplest answer is as follows: if you have a beefy enough computer to take advantage of any of the 64-bit improvements then you’re probably already pulling more than 60FPS (turn vsync off to bypass the 60FPS limit) to begin with so any extra is just gravy. That is, unless of course we see a game engine upgrade coming in Mists of Pandaria.
The other big news item coming is cross-realm raids that will allow a team of more than five to complete dungeons, battlegrounds, and more as a larger group than the default five. This is neat on multiple levels, but won’t support the raid finder at launch. A lot of lower level twink guilds (specifically level 70) can now form level 60,70, or 80 raids for the older content and have enough members from across realm. Groups of friends can take their guild group on their server and any miscellaneous friends on other servers into the battleground with them or, guilds that come short for a dungeon run, can snag a few team mates from another server.
As sort of a “try before you buy” measure, guilds can also recruit much easier from other servers without forcing a server transfer to do a test run. This will prevent a lot of unnecessary server transfers for would-be guild applicants. Totally cool!
The balance changes rolling out with 4.3.2 look to take out the nerf stick against some classes. Mages will see a six percent decrease on Fireball and Pyroblast while Vengeance is no longer triggered by damage from other players decreasing Paladin effectiveness as a tank in PvP. Hunters on the other hand see some massive buffs with 35% more attack power to Aspect of the Hawk and Deterrance applying a damage reduction buff (30%). They do see a few tweaks with Black Arrow being spaced out a bit more and Lock and Load no longer benefiting (or being consumed by) Arcane Shot.
Players will not be able to win multiple copies of the same item from the same boss in the Dungeon Finder removing the whole players winning two tokens off of one boss. Count that as a total win for those annoyed by players who roll need on anything and everything.
The biggest commentary I have from this patch is that while removing Vengeance from PvP will hurt, I much rather see the PvP version go bye-bye than to see it nerfed for balance in PvP which would affect its performance in PvE. I can’t really comment on how overpowered prot Paladins are in PvP (although Vengeance becomes buggy when a Prot Paladin is focus fired and they gain all of the attack power very, very quickly), but at least this change didn’t sour the PvE side of things.
To wrap things up, remember not to hold your hopes out for a 64-bit client and not expect any great performance increase that Blizzard is attempting to hide from you should it not come out this patch. You’ll be able to queue up with allies from other realms shortly. Mages will have a minor nerf and Hunters are getting a bit of love.
What are your thoughts? Should Vengeance stay for PvP or should we see the skill gone? Any thoughts on when Blood DKs will get nerfed? Leave your interesting and thoughtful comments below.