Now that is back to working, let's talk about World of Warcraft. Today, 6.0.2, which is the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch called The Iron Tide is patched in. Today's patch notes don't differ from anything I've already covered, but they sure are nicely organized, and all of the points are now expanded upon. Even though the information is the same, revisiting them to learn more about what's going on with 6.0.2 is highly recommended. Why? Maybe you don't understand what the stat squish means or maybe you just want to read up on the new world event. All images in this article are from the fine folks in the /r/WoW subreddit, since I need to degragment my hard drive, resub and patch before I can get pretty pictures myself. Oh, defragment? Yeah. If you're rocking something that's not Windows 8 or OSX, and you don't have an SSD, check out this post from Araxom, who is on the Blizzard Customer Support Team. With these final preparations coming for Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard is now including Mists of Pandaria in the base game for World of Warcraft. 

If you don't want to wade through the extremely lengthy patch notes, but want more than what I've put here or what I've previously written about, we've got you covered here at Ten Ton Hammer. John gives you the quick and dirty in this week's “Here Comes The Boom” as he breaks down who's the winners and who's the losers with this patch hitting. For a brief overview without my personal commentary, David has put together A Simple Guide to the Iron Tide for ya. Since this is Kind of a Big Deal (patent pending), you might see more than one person at TTH talking about this Iron Tide ordeal. So, let's go through these notes by section.

New character models. Blizzard has been showing these off as teasers for some time now, and we finally get them in action. Well, unless you're a Blood Elf, Goblin, Pandaren or Worgen. I know we've mostly heard about Blood Elves, but the other three aren't receiving updates with 6.0.2, either, it's just that Blood Elves seem to be worried the most about whether or not they're pretty enough. With these new models also come new emotes, making Azeroth a place where everyone can be pretty. Not just you Blood Elves out there.

New world event: The Iron Horde Incursion. Maybe you've already seen images all across the internet with a screen full of players on aerial mounts flapping away at the gates of what's to come. If you haven't, just know that players are ready and waiting for what's about to happen. As Nethergarde and Okril’lon have already fallen, players should focus on concentrating their ranks in the Blasted Lands in order to retake Azeroth from the invaders. This event includes the three new bosses added to Upper Black Rock Spire added in for a limited time. If you don't want to go on alone, now is the time to check out the revamped Group Finder, where you can create a group or join in one a premade one. Blizzard has expanded upon what players can experience with the overhaul in their Looking for Adventure blog post.

Chances are, your server probably looks a lot like /u/IPSIeudoINIym's

Notes on the updated Quest Log are short and sweet. While not much is said here, these are some nice quality of life improvements not to be skipped over. Since the quest log is now integrated into the world map, it'll be easier to figure out where to go to do what you need to do. I thought this was already a thing, but I guess that was an addon thing I had. One nice thing that Blizzard does is realize what addons work well and incorporate them into the core game. Blessed be by the gods of Azeroth, “some” quest items will no longer hog precious inventory space and can be accessed directly from the on screen Quest Tracker. Last but not least, the quest tracker will now automatically sort your quests for you based on your proximity to them. This will be pretty amazing when entering a new zone, since you won't have to worry about manually resorting them. I need to write this faster so I can resub, because this sure has me pretty stoked.

Inventory improvements. I had to fight all temptations to follow that up with more exclaimation points than a fourteen year old girl texting her besties. All items in your inventory now have a border around them, so you know what level of rarity they are by glancing at them without needing to mouse over. A sigh of relief has been heard across Azeroth as tradeskill items now stack up to 200, which was previously a measly 20. A Toy Box has been added, which is a new tab on your character screen. Eligible toys you currently have (stuff without charges) can be added into your box and accessed across your entire account. Anything newly acquired will be automatically added in. You'll also be able to see what you can potentially collect, the same way mounts and pets are catagorized in their respective tabs. Bags can now be assigned a type, so all of your gear goes into one bag, and so on. You can perform a “clean up” on your bags, where you can tell them to sort themselves. A new Reagent Tab has been added to banks, and a new tab is available to purchase for Void Storage, which will give players an additional 80 slots. Whew. That's a lot just for one area.

New raid structure. Now, each difficulty has its own lockout, separate from the other types (normal, flex, heroic, etc). Flex is now normal difficulty for raids, so the flex tab has been removed from the Dungeon Finder. Sizes and difficulty levels have been overhauled for 6.0.2, bringing the new ones to the following: Raid Finder (LFR): 10-30 players; Normal mode: 10-30 players; Heroic mode: 10-30 players; Mythic mode (new level): 20 players.

Something something quoting ravens here

Boosted characters gets one small line: “Newly Boosted Characters now start on the front lines in the Blasted Lands, doing whatever they can to stop the Iron Horde pouring out of The Dark Portal.”

I'm not going to go over all of the character and class changes. I'll be here all day writing if that were the case. Just know your class has been changed. Your stats have been squished, glyphs have been reworked, your abilities are more streamlined, your trees have changed and everything else. For the long version, see the blog post linked to at the beginning of this article. Want a shorter version? Blizzard was nice enough to give us a bulleted list for a TL;DR recap:

  • Character stats have been squished into smaller numbers that are easier to understand. It's important to understand that this is not a nerf as enemies' stats have been squished as well.
  • Balanced functionality of Agility, Strength and Intellect.
  • New secondary stats: Bonus Armor, Multistrike, and Versatility.
  • Hit and Expertise have been removed; they're no longer needed in order to reliably land attacks!
  • The pacing of healing has been adjusted to allow for more tactical decision-making regarding efficiency and throughput, on both single-target and multi-target heals. Passive and auto-targeted healing have been reduced in effectiveness in order to emphasize the actions and choices of healers.
  • Racial traits have been rebalanced so that all races have similar combat performance.
  • All classes have had several abilities pruned, with a focus on redundant and less-used abilities to cut down on button and keybind bloat.
  • Amount of crowd-control in the game (primarily PvP) has been drastically reduced. Many crowd-control abilities have been removed, and many diminishing returns categories have been merged together.
  • Several common buffs and debuffs have been merged, or removed, where they were redundant.
  • All characters now learn some important Major Glyphs automatically as they level up.
  • Toned down the amount of instant healing in the game by giving cast times to several instant cast heals.
  • For Tanks, Vengeance has been redesigned and renamed Resolve.
  • Resolve does not increase outgoing damage, but does now increases tank self-healing and absorption based on damage taken.
  • Facing requirements (character positioning) on some prominent abilities have been loosened or removed.
  • Reduced Mana cost of Resurrection spells to make it a little easier to recover from a wipe.
  • Professions no longer have combat benefit perks tied to them.
  • A multitude of class-specific changes, things like improved distinction between different Talent specializations, and new Masteries. Please consult class-specific sections below for more information.

Class changes do make up a majority of the notes, but we're not done yet! Professions have been lessened, Mining and Herbalism easier. Herbalism no longer has a hard number cap for collecting. Health potions, which have been used less frequently as hit point numbers escalated out of control now share cool downs with Warlock Healthstones, even post-squish, but do not have the same cooldown as other potions. Movement speed enchantments are now 10%, up from 8. Transformation effects now stack, with the highest priority one visible. This means you can now have effects and use your shapeshifts, druids and Worgens.

WoW's latest wallpaper -- Hey Blizz, can we get some WoD stuff now??

Raids, Dungeons and Scenarios changes. Valor and Justice points have been removed. Any remaining that characters had have been refunded at 47 silver per point. Items players previously spent these points on can now be purchased with gold, including Heirlooms. Personal Loot mode for raids has been expanded, which means that if a player “wins” loot, it goes to them. You'll be able to see any loot you win off the boss or chest before the loot goes to your inventory. Siege of Orgrimmar on LFR mode automatically will be set to Personal Loot. Speaking of Siege, its achievements have been relabled to match the new difficulty structure, with retroactive awards to players who have already completed them. Players will no longer be able to complete the “Ahead of the Curve” and “Cutting Edge” achievements for defeating Garrosh Hellscream.

PvP, Battlegrounds, and Arenas changes. Additional safeguards to prevent accidental PvP flagging are now in. Season 15 has launched. Conquest points are converted over to Honor points. Any Honor points above the 4,000 cap have been refunded at the rate of 35 silver per point. Season 15 items will now cost Honor points instead of Conquest, unless they have a rating requirement. Those items are no longer available for purchase (someone tell Blizzard that I'm really confused here? Thanks).

Items have had quite a few changes, but there are a few noteworthy ones. I mentioned earlier that Heirloom items are now available for purchase by gold and no points. However, the Heirloom system is being reworked, which will come at a later point. For now, the Justice points vendors have been removed, making the Darkmoon Faire the place to purchase these. For more information, see this forum post by Bashiok. Darkmoon vendors now offer shield and offhand items, with class restrictions removed from Heirlooms as a whole. If Heirlooms don't work for you, that new, sweet cross-faction Auction House system should. Nevermind those pesky Goblins. Now you won't need a middleman.

The UI has received several quality of life improvements. Log into the game to get a walk through with the new “What's New” feature, which can also be accessed by going to the Game Menu and selecting What's New. Guilds no longer have levels. Sorry for all of you who worked so hard to max out that achievement, but I will rejoice in the fact that I can now make an alt and not be barraged with guild invite spam before I can message someone from my guild to invite me. I tried telling several people how annoying that bullshit was, but they would reply that I'm the one who needs to lighten up, like it's my fault they're spamming. Thank you Blizz for putting an end to that super annoying tactic.

I think that's enough of me ranting, as I slowly approach two thousand words here. Sorry, y'all. Sometimes, I just can't help myself. Don't forget, if you want the full story, head on over to the official site for the patch notes in their entirety. Also don't forget John's quick summary or David's short guide. Happy hunting in Azeroth, all of you Alliance Babes and Hordelettes!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Vendolyn's been playing MMOs since 1999, although Vendolyn in-game often becomes a long-term shelved alt. When she's not gaming, she's likely marathoning some questionable TV show or babbling about music to no end. She really likes goats.