Monday, February 11, 2008

WoW patch notes 2.4

WoW patch 2.4 is coming soon, we just don't know when. :) But the World of Warcraft under development webpage at least gives us some info on what to expect. Please note that all this information is still subject to change after testing on the public test realms, and also is probably incomplete. So, what are the major features of patch 2.4?

The major content addition is a new area called Sunwell Isle, north of Silvermoon City. Yes, you got that right, that's in old Azeroth, not Outlands. But the area is going to be for level 70 characters, including a new reputation to grind, a new 5-man dungeon named Magister's Terrace, and a new 25-man raid dungeon named Sunwell Plateau. I'm not quite sure how people are supposed to get to Sunwell Isle. I hope there is some sort of teleport, because while being close to a Horde city, it is damn far from any Alliance location. Note that this is the first 5-man dungeon patched in since Maraudon, which somehow balances the addition of yet another raid dungeon I will never see. Sunwell Plateau will be harder than any existing raid dungeon. We can discuss for hours the exact percentage of people who'll ever get to see it, but "small" is a fair description of it.

But apparently even Blizzard noticed that there are more people doing PvP nowadays, and less doing raid dungeons, especially the harder 25-man raids. Thus the existing 25-man raids have been made more profitable and easier to access. 25-man raid bosses now drop more gold and more tokens. Attunement has been removed for Mount Hyjal and the Black Temple. Kael'Thas and Vashj can now be killed without killing the other bosses in the dungeon. But I assume the difficulty remains the same, so while you can *try* the end bosses without having beaten all the others, your chance of success remains slim. But maybe I'm just being cynic here, and Blizzard actually made the 25-man dungeons a bit easier without saying so in the patch notes. One can always hope.

Apart from raiding and the new 5-man dungeon, Sunwell Isle will also be a hub for daily quests. The limit of how many daily quests you can do per day has be raised to 25, which is a lot. Fishing daily quests also have been added to the game. Daily quests have turned out to be extremely popular, because they are both more interesting and more profitable than farming the same mob over and over. Kudos to Blizzard for realizing the popularity and giving us more of what we like.

There are various changes to all classes and all professions, too many to mention. Usually they tend towards the reasonable, for example a new enchanting recipe that splits Void Crystals into two Large Prismatic Shards. As void crystals were actually *cheaper* than even just one large prismatic shard, this addition should balance prices a bit better (you might want to sell your large prismatic shards *now*). Or added meat cooking recipes of 250 skill, so you can now level cooking up to 300 without catching fish. Many professions have new epic recipes added, but as these drop in Sunwell Plateau, they will be rather rare.

Another practical addition is a teleport to the Caverns of Time for people who have already a bit of reputation with the Keepers of Time. For people who respec often, the cost for that has effectively been lowered, because you now don't need to relearn spell ranks for talent spells you previously had but gave up. A big PvP change is that the diminishing returns of killing the same player repeatedly in a battleground are gone. That not only will give you more honor from the same time spent in a battleground, but also you get the honor now immediately. The annoying "estimate" of honor gained, with having to wait for the next day before you can spend it, is gone. If that is still not enough honor, there are rumors that the daily battleground quests will be changed to be repeatable, that is you get the gold only once, but can get the added honor many times a day. has more of the unconfirmed details of patch 2.4.

There is also a big UI change, to the combat log. If you ever had a look at the current combat log, you probably noticed that it wasn't all that useful. Too much information scrolling by too fast, especially if you are in a group or raid. The combat log can now be filtered, so if for example you just want to see what hit you, you can find the information easily. The new combat log is also supposed to work well together with addons, allowing mods to do more.

All in all a very nice patch with something for everybody. Which should buy Blizzard a bit more breathing space for developing Wrath of the Lich King. People tend to get bored when waiting too long for an expansion, and a big content patch should keep them busy playing instead of leaving.

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