Warlord Zaela

I took a brief fly-by of the Dark Portal on the way to Kara on the beta .. and take a look at this, I ran into an old friend! After the Seige of Ogrimmar I was wondering what would happen to the four Orcs I thought may have had a shot at being Warchief .. its good to know that we will see a bit more storyline for at least two of them (Zaela and Ariok), and can hope for more on the others.

What I wanted to really talk about today was the changes in classes – spells, talents, abilities.  I’ve had a week now to play around with the main class (druid) and a few alts – like Warlocks, Warriors, Hunters etc. I can’t complain about the amount of damage I’ve been doing in dps, or the fact that I had no problems healing Bloodmaul Slag Mines, overall in that respect I have no concerns .. but, I’ve been looking at what has been removed, and what has been given, what has been changed, and the one thing that keeps coming to mind is .. was it or is it necessary?

As far as I understand what Blizzard is trying to do is to streamline your action bar, cut down on the macros most players need and simplify rotations and spell bars. Make the game more playable, and cut down on ability bloat seems to be the meme.

Now I have never used my warrior as anything other than a time filler, and while I may miss going into old raids pulling masses of toons and then popping Avatar and Bladestorm at the same time I suppose I can get used to that. I was though shocked when I logged in and it seemed like most of my spells had dissapeared. It wasn’t quite that bad, and I realised that some were retuned and some gone entirely, the truth is I don’t play a warrior enough to notice to much difference .. except it felt like I really only had 4, maybe 5 spells to use and that those seemed to take ages to build rage and come off cooldown (this is Arms spec I should note). So I waitied patiently for my brother to get his copy of the Beta running to hear his thoughts. His words are not repeatable here, this being polite company and all, but he wasn’t happy with the changes to his tank spec, and was even more offended with the changes to his dps spec. His main initial curses were over the spell removals, he spent quite some time decrying the state of his dps options when he was levelling through the Tanaan Start and getting his Garrison up.

As a tank, he had a few, small complaints, but then again in the one dungeon we tested we blasted through it so fast, and could probably have done with just him tanking and me healing if it came to that .. so neither of us have had a real stress test on that account.

For myself, I have been carefully noting the changes as I experience them, rather than reading them in patch notes. Mostly because seeing how they play out to me is more important than numbers or figures. So, I will start off with a few pet peeves with Moonkin, as I have mostly been seeing that as I quest and explore Frostfire Ridge. In general I am happy, everything I am attacking is dieing and for a change for a start zone I have been able to survive if a second, and occasionally a third mob pounce, huzzah. I am not u sure though I like the changes with celestial alingments. First off the bat that blazing sun and moon above my characters head is incredibly annoying to say the least .. I can see the characters health bar out of the corner of my eye, I don’t need a big blot in the centre of my screen. I am also not sure I like the way that the alignment resets. As it stands on live at the moment you can work yourself to a point that prior to a boss fight you are at full Solar or Lunar Power, ready to unleash the fury of the heavens. On beta though the alignment is continually in motion when fighting, which is ok, its expected if you are taking advantage of it, but after the fight .. and I mean within seconds, the alignment begins to reset to neutral, which I am not ok with.

Barring that change my only concern with Balance is the lack of utility spells from “off-cpec”options. There are definatly some resto or feral spells I will miss having on my toolbar that I always found useful in raiding and group situations  – especially tranquility which was always nice in a pinch, and Symbiosis, which as a DPS druid I enjoyed for myself more than I did as resto (which I enjoyed for the abilities it gave to others).

As for Resto, I have run a single dungeon, and haven’t had to really stress myself with what occured so knowing how I may cope in heroics or raids is something that will be hard to judge. Based on what I have encountered, I haven’t missed innervate .. but I worry consistently that this won’t be the case for raiding. As for the rest of my spells, I like the mushroom changes, and am happy with most of the way things work .. like the lifebloom changes. Im not sure I like the replacement of nourish with genesis, genesis has never been a spell I have been fond of even last time they tried to give it to us. I do miss some of the self protection spells, but we have had another come in to replace that, so I shall wait and try my luck with a less able tank in a dungeon to see how that goes!

I am not a fan of the form consolidtaion .. I like having the seperate icons to turn into seal, stag or stormcrow. Give me three clear buttons, do not give e a consolidated one, and do not make me waste a glyph to make them seperate.

In general though, I feel I can live with these changes to my class. The question that keeps running through my head though is , was it necessary? As a druid I haven’t had enough spells removed to say that it has severly effected my playstyle. So far, what I have done as resto and moonkin, are almost the same as what I had done before. I still have the same amount of button space on their action bars, and now there are just empty slots!

So what are your thoughts? Are you playing much differently and do you think after seeing how things are going, were the changes necessary or not?