Guess who was lucky enough to get a beta invite? Never mind, I think that answer is fairly obvious at the moment! At any rate, I am sadly the only “Veteran Player” amongst those I usually associate with to get one, so for now I have been exploring solo content rather than subjecting anyone to my healing tests … and what I am seeing so far I approve of. At least for the most part.

While seeing people like Durotan, Kargath, Blackhand has been very nice (yes I’ve been playing Warcraft games since the original RTS),and while getting access to some rare mounts has also been great (I always wanted a rhino), there have been some definite small improvements that have really stood out for me.

Click the link to read on, but be warned, this post is a little more image heavy then usual!

One of those things that has really stood out, small though it may seem, are the UI improvements.  Before all our objectives were simply grouped up, now they are shown separately as quests, or achievements. The area around your characters health bars has been cleaned up as well, and looks a lot nicer for when you want to search out dungeon difficulty or mark enemies.


The way players, npc, items and enemies are now highlighted with different coloured borders .. is effective, though I am not sure if I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I did like it in other games like GW2, but I am not sure if it works with the feel of WoW. I suppose I shall have to just get used to it!

The new in-game map is great, showing as usual quests and other smaller bonus events, but more importantly the map itself can now be zoomed in and out of using the mouse wheel.


I spent several unproductive minutes just scrolling in and out on the map (yes, sometimes I am easily amused), and left when memory of the below clip started screaming in my mind.

I also took a look quickly at one of the older dungeons after seeing notes on wowhead about the new scenarios,  and what they were doing to encourage people to do more than just pelt straight for the end boss. So now when entering you get a quick flash showing your objective centre screen and then a dungeon objective to the side pops up where your quests would show .. and covers what you aim to kill, and a mouse over shows the bonus xp and rewards for completing those objectives. Very nice


For the most part, I am resigned to changes in spells and talents, it happens every major expansion and despite everything I (and others) tend to overcome shortcomings and keep playing anyways, I have become used to relearning healing rotations and methods each time around. In many respects though the changes in basic talent trees this time are not to bad, and with the druid I have no major upheavals on the talent tree list for balance. The warrior on the otherhand wants to know why storm bolt and bladestorm have been swapped? I shall miss being a giant angry swarm of blades now that I cant combine two of my favourite spells!!


I suppose, since I am comparing Old and New, I have to make note of the character models. So far, I am liking the new character models. There are some differences between the old and the new that at first made me say .. WTF? but after a bit those have settled.

For example on Jodrath the druid, the main, the .. well you get the point, on the toon I have played most for the last 7 years, the major difference was in my perception of his “hair” colour and the factthat his eyes have gone from brown to blue. Overall, nothing I can’t live with.


The changes in the warrior (again a Tauren) are much the same, but the contrast shows itself more to me. Mostly because formely the lines and facial markings really made the Warriors face look dark, but without them the black furred warrior appears lighter in some way to me.


After the warrior I thought I would check out the Shaman (an orc), and I have to admit that after doing so with an Orc I did it with a Nelf female, Human Female, Dwarf male and a few of the other new models. While armor does hide a lot of the new features, it did seem to me that the Nelf Female, Human Female and Drenai Models seem little changed .. but that could simply be because I don’t play those combos much so don’t see the startling differences I do witt Tauren, Orcs and Dwarfs.


So overall, yes I am liking the new models. Even if now that I am in a savage land my orc somehow looks less savage and more grumpy.

Finally though let me talk briefly about the questing – which is great, from the Tanaan intro to questing through Frostfire I have been loving every minute of the playable time I have had. The quests and objectives are easy enough to follow, the small events that you run into (similar to those you may have sen in GW2) are fun (if not as group driven as in GW2), and the varying rares, mini-world boss mobs and side quests are incredibly enjoyable.

Just questing around on a few level 90’s has been enjoyable and for the most part I can’t say that I notice anything different with stat squish and how easy/hard it has been to kill things in the general world. I did thouhg create a level one orc mage, and I think that 8 frostfire bolts was about double what it used to take to kill one of those entry level boars (I shall have to verify on live later), so stat squish may effect the lower levels more than the current one – I shall have to test this further as time permits.

So, at the moment , apart from groaning at every server crash or boot, and wondering why Garrosh is still visable .. Beta is looking good, and I have high hopes that WoD may turn out to be one of my favourite expansions!

Quick addendum: After running across several Fel-reaveresque mobs in the start zone I think this shall be one of those expansions I will need to play with the sound on or I shall risk dieing regularly from inattention!