Are you ready for the Mists of Pandaria?
In this newsletter we cover some of the changes you’ll run into with the latest expansion for World of Warcraft. One of the most notable changes is the complete overhaul of the character talent system.
- All classes have been updated with a new talent trees, improved abilities, and spells (accessible throughout levels 1-90).
- Many old talents have been converted to specialization abilities. (For example, Druids now have access to a fourth class specialization: Guardian [Bear tanks and Cat DPS are completely separate talent builds].)
- New spells are now learned automatically. Class trainers are only needed to change talents, glyphs, class specialization, or to utilize the dual specialization feature.
Blizzard played up the Cataclysm expansion as a groundbreaking release that would change everything, but the truth is that the character build changes were nothing compared to what is happening the new Mists of Pandaria expansion.
The gigantic talent trees and new skills weÔÇÖve become used to receiving every two levels or so have been replaced with six separate choices spread across the course of 90 levels.
In an effort to simplify things, Blizzard has decided to remove the choices that everyone ÔÇ£should makeÔÇØÔÇª After all, what seasoned shadow priest doesn’t take Vampiric Touch? What balance druid doesn’t spend that crucial talent point to take Moonkin Form? Does any of this sound Familiar? Blizzard did say this back in in Cataclysm, but this time, the designers meant it.
Ultimately, if the goal was to make things easier on the players and to make this a choice in which they don’t need to extensively research a character talent build, Blizzard seemed to have missed the mark with CataclysmÔÇª
According to Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street (lead systems designer) the basic points driving the new philosophy for the Mists of Pandaria talent system are that Blizzard wants to move away from cookie-cutter trees. ÔÇ£Blizzard wants its players to be able to access new abilities and combinations that they never had before, like a shadow priest being able to cast the (now discipline priest spell) Power Infusion.ÔÇØ
This means the designers want to create a system where there is no wrong choice, and a system where every talent is just as valid as the next. These new talent trees they introduced are absolutely counter to the intent of simplification.
Granted, not every player is going to be top-tier raider, but even casual players aren’t idiots. Each and every player is going to take a look at the new-for-Mists of Pandaria talents and instinctively know that what is a right choice and what is a wrong choice. That being said thoughÔÇª No one wants to be that guy/gal with the messed-up tree – like it or not, we’re all judged by other players based on those choices we make. No matter how long you’ve been playing, I guarantee you’ve heard someone belittle someone else over some in-game choice that they’ve made.
In short, Blizzard didn’t get rid of cookie-cutter talent trees. They simply created the need for far more cookie-cutter builds: One per raid encounter, another for heroics. And yet another for soloing. Maybe one more for PVPÔÇª
BUT Is this a bad thing?
Getting rid of easy choices is a great idea. But if the designers want you to believe that any talent or benefit that doesn’t have a number can’t be theory-crafted, they’re wrong. It happens now. And it’s going to happen when MoP launches. Without the right build, you may find yourself spinning your wheels in an attempt to hone your perfect build and if you’re a top raider, you’ll still going to be doing more researchÔÇª instead of less.
ZygorÔÇÖs guides include all the strategies you need to go into every boss battle with confidence, knowing what to expect and how to always be one step ahead in each encounter. It will even include specific tips and tactics for specific roles, including tanks, dps, and healers.
“Casuals,” “Casual Raiders,” or just “Newbies,” will have cookie cutters to fall back on. Bottom line is the player can spend as much time researching fights, as they want to fine tune their build, even if that preferred amount of time is zero. Remember, theory-crafting isn’t an exact science. It’s an educated guess. The right guide can help take most of the guesswork out making these choices.
Ultimately, though Blizzard didn’t accomplish their goal of removing cookie-cutter builds and really complicated things for the hard-core player by forcing us to rethink our build structure. What Blizzard did do is create a whole new, better system with appeal to a broader audience; one more reflective of the current user base. Sure, hard choices have to be made, especially choices centering around utility. If World of Warcraft is to have any talent system at all, it should be closer to the one we’re getting than the one we have had in the past.
If you are running the World of Warcraft 64bit client, be sure to remove the files from your WoW folder before launching the game today. When the launcher attempts to apply the 4.3.4 patch, it will corrupt the game just as it did when they pushed the 4.3.3 patch.
If you forget to remove these files, the patch will apply and then the launcher will tell you there was an internal error and instructs you to contact technical support. If this happens, remove the files and re-run the launcher – it will perform a game repair and then re-apply the patch.
I will update this blog post once Blizzard has posted a new 64 bit client.
UPDATE: The 4.3.4 64 bit client is now available from the following Blizzard Post:┬áhttp://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3988300405
Blizzard pushed the 4.3.3 patch for World of Warcraft today. Knowing the patch was being released, I decided to go ahead and let the launcher apply the patch before the maintenance was complete (need to be ready to go when the servers are back up, of course). However, when the progress bar hit the near 100% mark, I got a message on my screen stating that the patcher had hit an internal error and instructed me to contact Blizzard technical support. Unsure exactly what caused this, I moved all of the 64-bit client files out of the WoW directory and re-ran the launcher. At this point, I got a message stating that data corruption was detected and the launcher was repairing the game. Once the repair was complete, it started the 4.3.3 patch over again – this time it completed successfully.
In short – if you are running the 64-bit game client, I would suggest you remove the 64 bit files before you run the launcher to get the 4.3.3 patch. The following files should be removed from your WoW install directory:
Once these are removed, the patch should complete without error. This problem was confirmed by Blizzard Support in the following blue post:┬áhttp://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4079625547
The official post does not mention the Scan-64.dll file, but since it was installed as part of the 64-bit client, I removed it as well. The official 64-bit client post from Blizzard currently lists the 4.3.3 patch for x64 as “coming soon”. Hopefully it doesn’t take too awful long – Wow-64 runs much smoother on my machine (running Windows 7, 64 bit) than the 32 bit version.
Update: The 4.3.3 64-bit client is available for download. The Blizzard official post about it is here:┬áhttp://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3988300405
The official Blizzard blog was updated recently. The bad news is, that there’s not going to be a BlizzCon this year. Instead, we’ll get something called the “Battle.net World Championship Event”.
Here’s the quote from Blizzard:
Blizzard Entertainment is proud to announce the 2012 Battle.net World Championship, a major global eSports event featuring some of the best pro-gaming competition in the world. Slated to take place in Asia toward the end of 2012, the Battle.net World Championship will host this yearÔÇÖs StarCraft II and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship tournaments. Blizzard gamers and eSports fans from around the world will be invited to attend and witness some of the most skilled pro players on the planet battle it out for cash and glory.
WeÔÇÖre excited to be showcasing Blizzard eSports on a truly global stage this year. We’re also heavily focused on getting Diablo III, Mists of Pandaria, and Heart of the Swarm into playersÔÇÖ hands as soon as possible. In light of our jam-packed schedule, weÔÇÖve decided to hold the next BlizzCon in 2013.
More details about the 2012 Battle.net World Championship and BlizzCon 2013, including specific dates and locations, will be coming in the months ahead.
This seems a little odd to me, why completely cancel an extremely popular event. It’s not cheap to host/set-up but it’s great advertising and people are more than willing to pay the hefty fees to attend.
Hopefully though, this will result in us getting Diablo III, Heart of the Swarm and Project: Titan a lot earlier. But this is Blizzard we’re talking about, anything can happen.
More news when we have it!
Diablo III developer Jay Wilson has updated the official blog with a very interesting post about “System Changes”.
While working on Diablo III we’ve been called out for messing around with systems too much, that the game is good as-is and we should just release it. I think that’s a fair argument to make, but I also think it’s incorrect. Our job isn’t just to put out a game, it’s to release the next Diablo game. No one will remember if the game is late, only if it’s great. We trust in our ability to put out a great game, but we’re not quite there yet. In addition to finishing and polishing the content of the game we’re continuing to iterate on some of the core game systems. So all that said, I’d like to provide everyone an update on some of the systems we’re currently working on.
There’s much reading to be done, I find it extremely interesting (I particularly like the decision to remove Scrolls of Identification) and Blizzard are doing a good job of keeping the Diablo III hype-machine running at full capacity.
You can read the full blog here:
As soon as there’s a release date (or even just a release “window”) I’ll let you know.
Bashiok’s Twitter feed was updated earlier today with a post that confirmed Blizzard are working on porting Diablo 3 to consoles.
There’s no mention of which consoles but I think the Xbox 360 and PS3 are a safe bet.
We’ll be sure to post more news regarding all things Diablo 3 as soon as we have it.