What Counts as Content?

This actually has nothing to do with the article, I just thought it was a cool screenshot

This actually has nothing to do with the article, I just thought it was a cool screenshot

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of days, you have no doubt heard about patch 6.2.3, the latest patch in Warlords of Draenor.  However, as indicated by the number and lack of name of the patch, this newest update will not be a ‘major content patch’.  You can view the full patch notes here.

The patch itself seems to be a smaller one, but after reading it I was struck with the notion that this supposedly small patch actually had a ton of content.  Patch 6.2.3 could arguable be bigger than Patch 6.1 in fact.  In order to explain this, we will need to look at a much bigger question.

What counts as Content?
Most WoW players would define content as stuff to do in the game.  Questing, Dungeons, Battlegrounds, and especially Raids would all be considered content.  Content is further divided down by old content and new content.  Old content typically refers to quests, dungeons, and raids from a previous expansion, but it can also refer to ‘outdated’ and older content in the current expansion (Normal Dungeons and Highmaul would be examples from Warlords).  New content is raids, battlegrounds, zones and whatever else is part of the current expansion and currently being played through by the majority of WoW players.  A patch with content is usually one that introduces a new raid/battleground/dungeon/etc to the game and it typically is written with two numbers as opposed to three (Patch 6.2 versus Patch 6.2.3).

With all this in mind, one would think that deciding what is a content patch and what is not would be relatively easy.  However, this has turned out not to be the case.  Patch 6.1, the first major content patch in Warlords of Draenor was surprisingly light on content for a major patch.  The only new things that the Patch brought were a continuation to the legendary quest, the Garrison Jukebox, some more pet battle stuff, new blood elf models, Garrison bosses, and Twitter Integration.  No new raids or dungeons or battlegrounds to speak of.  No new questlines (other than a short addition to the legendary), no new max level hubs, nothing.  In comparison, Patch 5.1 Landfall brought us the new quest hub in Krasarang Wilds with a host of dailies, story, and rewards, Brawlers Guild, a slew of Pet Battle changes, the continuation of the Legendary Questline, and four new Scenarios.

In reality, Patch 6.1 was incredibly light on content.  Compared to all the other major patches in recent history, 6.1 was more of a hotfix than a content patch. However, that would mean that Warlords only would have one real content patch, 6.2.  Every single other expansion has had at least three major content patches; having just one in Warlords almost makes Warlords an expansion-lite instead of a complete story.

When you look at the original content that patch 6.2.3 brings us, it’s almost as light as 6.1.  A new PvP Season, a new set of Timewalker dungeons (I would consider this new content because of the upgraded rewards), and a mount.  Interestingly though, Patch 6.2.3 brings both dungeons and PvP content, two of the kings of content.

Be without Doubt, this doesn't really pertain to the article either

Be without Doubt, this doesn’t really pertain to the article either

However, there are two changes that patch 6.2.3 brings that I would argue make it a HUGE content patch.

Item Upgrades and Valor are back!
Item upgrades are back! Players will be able to earn and spend Valor to upgrade items from Hellfire Citadel, items created from Baleful tokens in Tanaan Jungle, and all Draenor dungeon drops. All the items you’ve already earned are eligible for upgrades retroactively.
Characters can earn Valor in a number of ways.

  • Completing the first random Heroic Dungeon of the day
  • Completing Mythic Dungeons
  • Completing weekly Bonus Event quests
  • Completing a Raid Finder wing for Highmaul, Blackrock Foundry, or Hellfire Citadel for the first time each week.

Mythic Dungeon Loot Improvements
Mythic Dungeons now have a chance to award items ranging from item level 685 to 725 in 5-item-level increments, with a progressively lower chance as item level increases.
Mythic Dungeon bosses now also have a chance to drop a new Heirloom Trinket that will scale up to level 110.

Neither change is adding new things to do in the game.  But what they are doing, is creating a new incentive to run old content.

Valor points allow players to increase the power of their gear, making it very appealing as another path for gearing up.  The sources of valor points are Heroic Dungeons (first per day), Mythic Dungeons, weekly Bonus Event quests, and LFR wings (first per week).  Many of these sources are considered outdated and are less often run.  But now that there is an incentive to run these things, people will begin running Dungeons and LFR in floods.  Content that was once old will again be current because it once again will have a worthwhile reward. This also will have the added bonus of getting knowledgeable and geared players into LFR, which will improve the speed of those runs.

The second half of this was the increased rewards to Mythic Dungeons.  Again, this will get more players who might not be completing Mythic Dungeons anymore back into them.  Previously older content is made relevant once more.

In addition to all this, there is also the highly controversial moose mount.  Love it or hate it, the moose also acts as a way of keeping content relevant for longer.  The highly desired mount is available for a limited amount of time from a limited source (Mythic and Heroic Archimonde).  Basically, it is another version of the wolf from Mists of Pandaria Garrosh.  The moose will keep players raiding Hellfire Citadel up until the day that the mount becomes unavailable because of it’s desirability. While the moose is just a couple of pixels, it will have the effect of keeping Hellfire Citadel relevant for months and months.

Patch 6.2.3 isn’t bring much in the way of new content, however it is making a huge amount of older content relevant again.  And when you consider all of that content as part of the patch, Patch 6.2.3 starts looking like a major content patch.  I honestly believe that Patch 6.2.3 should really be 6.3.  True, it is missing the massive amount of class tuning that major patches usually have, but it also has more content than previous ‘major content patches’ in this expansion. And in the grand schemes of Warcraft, Warlords could certainly use another major patch to bring it up to par with previous expansions.

Now we just need it to hit live realms!

What slackers! (This also has nothing to do with anything)

Waiting for the patch like….

Patch 6.2 Impressions

6.26.2 has officially dropped, unlocking Tanaan Jungle, shipyards, mythic dungeons, a raid, and much more for the players to explore. Especially since the patch came after a long drought of content, the Fury of Hellfire has been the talk of the community. So what have Fussypants and Yotaan been doing?

 

Fussypants: I have been eagerly awaiting this patch! The new content is great fun to do together with my guild and I really enjoy the ‘Timeless Isle’ nature of Tanaan Jungle. My one complaint is, like most content, it is not really geared towards healers. So consequently, all of my exploration of Tanaan has been with others. Because of this, I am probably not as far along as others with the rep grinding and whatnot. This is of little important though; I am really enjoying exploring the zone. And finding all the hidden treasures has been one of the coolest thing.

 

On the shipyards front, I am less impressed. I wasn’t all that excited about shipyards in the first place and I’m just luke-warm about it now that I have one. My problem is two-fold. First, it seems so hard to get off the ground and start actually getting useful things from the shipyard. The rewards for the naval missions are rather boring and I often can’t get over 80% on the mission success rate. In addition, everything is so spread out! It’s a trek down to the docks, and then another trek between the ship making guy and the ship sending guy. I know this might sound like lazy complaining, but the time really does add up. All together, the shipyard hasn’t really been worth my interest, so I haven’t really done anything with it.

 

But the rest of 6.2 has been superb. I can’t wait to start running some mythic dungeons with my guild and really digging deep into the secrets of Tanaan. Oh, I almost forgot the best change! You can spacebar through the garrison mission animations. I don’t use MasterPlan (and was chuckling when it was down for those two days and y’all were dying) so I was using the default UI which used to take forever. But not anymore! *happy dance*

The most I have done with this place is give my ships silly names, really (Fussypants)

The most I have done with this place is give my ships silly names, honestly (Fussypants)

 

Yotaan: Well, my interest in WoW has been very low lately. I stopped playing for several weeks. Yotaan languished in his garrison, looking for something to do. He heard that Fussypants was busy, but he just didn’t care. Then, news of 6.2 came along. Hmmm, somewhat interesting, but nothing compelling, really. But one significant change gave Yotaan a goal, finally something to work towards. Flying. While I have not been a proponent of flying in the game, it was intriguing enough to go after. And Yotaan ventured out the garrison, doing Apexis dailies and gathering treasures. He even raided with Fussypants once!

 

Now 6.2 has dropped, and there is stuff to do! Honestly, I haven’t gotten very far, but it has been interesting. The on-rails feeling was there to get to Tanaan, but it was an enjoyable set of quests. I am not so sure about the shipyard, and why did have to rescue the rebel orc shipwright? The night elf dude is making my ships! My other quibble is that the story is disjointed if you don’t raid. All of a sudden Gul’dan is in charge, and I don’t know why. Anyhow, it has been great to finally do some new things and see new sights. Yotaan will be working on those reputations to get flying for him and Fussypants. Of course, he will explore all he can and get that flying mount!

 

Fussypants: Oh yeah, I forgot about that, thanks for reminding me Yotaan! I also thought that the ‘And Gul’dan said Let there be Fel, and there was Fel, and Gul’dan saw the Fel was Good’ switch was rather abrupt. We go from fighting the Iron Horde all expansion to suddenly hello! Burning Legion!

Also why did the Alliance have to go get that orc guy anyways? We have countless engineering feats (Stormwind Harbor, Deeprun Tram, Skyfire, to name a few) so why couldn’t we build a simple dock and some ships? We recruit the orc and then he just disappears? I think that might have been Blizzard’s way of showing the collapse of the Iron Horde, but they could have come up with a better reason for the Alliance to recruit the orcish shipwright.

 

So what did you guys think of 6.2?

 

Note: Fussypants and Yotaan are going on vacation for a bit, so there will not be a blog post next week. Us writers need a summer too!

Patch 6.0: Iron Tide or Iron Puddle?

https://i0.wp.com/bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/blog_header/mg/MGD943QHKTJS1413251328414.jpgIts been about a week since the patch dropped, which is a long enough time to come up with an informed and not knee-jerk reaction to the changes.  So here it is; Fussypants and Yotaan’s responses.

Fussypants: To sum up the entire patch experience for me… lackluster.  Before I sound like some whiner on the forums though, let me explain.

This is what I saw when I first logged in.  My poor action bars!

This is what I saw when I first logged in. My poor action bars!

The first thing I noticed when I logged in was that my action bars were missing a ton of spells.  I didn’t realize how much was being taken away until I saw the reality of it.  So, the first hour or so, was just me remaking my action bars and re-choosing my talents.  I was upset, intrigued, and excited by this change, because I now have five new play styles to relearn.  But this also means that my Pally’s Selfless Healing is no more, and my Disc Priest’s Atonement is not the powerhouse it once was.  But for a game such as WoW to go on, change is inevitable.

After I managed my action bars, it was off to the barber shop for me for some plastic surgery.  To put it bluntly and shortly, all my characters were wrong.  My gnome seems to have gained an affinity to axe murdering and cats, while my draenei looks blank faced.  My night elf seemed too harsh looking, but my undead was pretty spot on.  Needless to say, this is all getting it’s own article!

Next came the toys/reagents tab.  Those changes are life savers, lemme tell you!  Over one hundred spaces were freed on each character, and my bags are gloriously empty!  (My only complaint; let jewelcrafting gems be allowed into those reagent tabs too please!)  I actually managed to fill my reagents tab on my bank alt, so it looks like I will be doing some AHing.  Speaking of AH, I’m liking the merging.  I haven’t tried it out yet (due to the crazy fluctuating markets), but I’m liking the amount of stuff on it!

I have a lot of junk, but I can't get rid of it because I might need that!!

I have a lot of junk, but I can’t get rid of it because I might need that!!

So, for the most part, I really enjoyed the UI updates.  They were much needed, and much appreciated.  However… I don’t think the PvE scene was as successful.

So.  The LfA tool.  It’s… uh… a good start? I’ve never used (or even seen OQ) so this is a completely unbiased view.  I like that its only 25 groups per page, but I wish that you could page through instead of clicking refresh, so that you have the option to come back to groups you are tentative on.  I do not like the HUGE filter that it has though.  In my opinion, the raids should be broken down into more categories.  For example, these should all be separate filters that groups can list under: SoO, ToT, HoF & ToeS, MSV, Open World Bosses, Others.  That way, one can find their Ordos group much better instead of paging through hundreds of SoO groups.

Also, I predicted this to an extent, but there is a bit of elitism.  My lower ilvled characters never get accepted into anything (I literally spent an hour on my ilvl 528 resto druid trying to find a group that would take me),  but my higher ilvled ones can get into any group.  I’m not keen on this at all; there should be some incentive for bringing along those with lower ilvls.  On top of this, I want to be able to whisper the group leader before I apply.  There are times when I want more info on a certain group that I might not want to join, but I can’t just ask the leader to clarify.  This one’s a much smaller pet peeve.

I’m luke-warm on the whole LfA thing right now.  I don’t personally see it as the most convenient method for pugging, but I know it will change a bunch before WoD drops, so again, not too worried.  What does alarm me slightly is healing.

I’ve tried out almost all my characters.  My mage felt very different without Alter Time, mage bomb, and Evocation, but I could definitely get used to her.  There is a clear rhythm and logic to the game play and I like it.  My 80 something Fury warrior is even more stoked, as I no longer feel rage starved or weak.  Loving that!

But what I’m not loving is healing.  I’ve healed on both my disc priest and my holy pally, and neither felt right to me.  In fact, healing on both felt distinctly wrong.  My priest had no rhythm, no build up to it.  To me it seemed spam Smite for Archangel, then spam Prayer of Healing until the Archangel runs, and Holy Nova whenever around people (by the way, Holy Nova is the bestest spell ever).  Its boring, its only three spells, and it felt unfinished.  All my big CD massive heals abilities are gone, and I feel lost without them.

WoWScrnShot_121113_210844
My paladin was even worse!  The changes to SH made me far less mobile and less bursty, which was my favorite play style.  Other than that, the class didn’t lose too much else, but I feel so weak!  I can spam Divine Light (a long casting ‘big’ heal) all day, never run out of mana, and barely heal anyone.  I was struggling to keep up in UBRS, a dungeon that I should be out gearing.  I’m really not happy.  My pally is going to get some massive talent changes soon, I can feel it.

To put it in more general, less class specific terms, DPS seems overpowered (two shotting things I never could on my mage) and healing seems very very weak (barely able to keep up a tank while on my pally).  Raiding seems harder because the heals just cannot keep up, but solo playing is easier than ever.  Everyone is more turret-like, but the new encounter (UBRS) demands a pretty high amount of movement.  Its all discombobulated!!

Moving on to the pre expansion event itself; the Iron Horde Invasion.  Better known as the Iron Horde House Visit or the Iron Horde Tea Party.  All joking aside, this was my least favorite part of the patch.  I’ve done the quest line once, and have no inclination to do it again.

It was boring!  The Iron Horde was a pushover; I could pull twenty of those guys and come out with more health than I started with.  The quests were boring and uninspired.  Kill guys. Kill spies.  Poison ogres.  Talk to king.  This had the potential to the the most awesome atmospheric expansion event yet, but all it turned out to be was a short, boring, forgettable, and ultimately lame quest line.  I had such high hopes, and I’m enough of a Blizzard fanboy that I would have settled for almost anything.  But this?  This was… lifeless. Lack luster.  Stale.

And the dungeon, eh it was ok.  Some annoying mechanics (hello first boss dude), some nice perks (no corpse run!), some nice loots (550 gear? Yeah, I’ll take it) but other than that, it was forgettable.  And the fact that is just sort of ended with no explanation, yeah not so cool.  I was unimpressed.  There were no boss lines I remember, no cool gimmicks, and a pretty cliche and reused environment.  I just… blah….

Long story short, I was underwhelmed by patch 6.0.  The UI changes were great, but the story and the ‘pre expansion event’ were honestly lame.  Maybe I’m being too critical, and please tell me if that’s the case, but I was not impressed.

Yotaan:  Okaaaay…  My impressions are not quite as strong as the young Fussypants here.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much with this pre expansion patch.  I do remember fondly the Wrath pre expansion patch and that was tons of fun.  I enjoyed the world wide interruption of the Scourge – it really felt epic (an overused word.)  The two pre expansion patches since were not nearly as exciting.  Additionally, enough people complained about the Wrath event that Blizzard was not going to repeat that scale of an event.  So, I suppose I had lowered expectations.

I actually liked the pre expansion patch intro quests.  Sure, the quest line was a little short, but the story, at least on the Alliance side, was good.  The dwarf lady seeking revenge on the ogre’s with poisoning!  Not an expected storyline at all!  My timeless gear only monk did have to be a little careful fighting the Iron Horde so I think it tuned for the boosted 90’s.

The UBS dungeon was a great start but a poor finish.  When I first ran it, I did not know when we ended.  The 5 of us ran around to make sure we didn’t miss a boss.  A little research was needed to confirm that was as far we could go. This needs to be made much more clear by Blizzard.

As for the squish, UI changes, and ability changes, that’s really just part of game – it changes with every expansion.  I like the changes every time because it becomes a new game again and I know that what we have now will be totally different as the expansion unfolds and my characters advance.

 

So what did you guys think of the patch?