WoW Patch 4.1: Rise of the Rehashed Content?

WoW Patch 4.1 has been released and I’m going to be testing it out on the last day of my WoW subscription! This will more than likely determine if I resub and dedicate some time to WoW or leave it be for a while longer. I don’t necessarily want to leave WoW but I’ve become somewhat bored with it’s content. I often find that I get bored of WoW after playing for a few months, end up leaving for a bit but returning. I’ve not been playing for the past two months or so and I’ve spent a lot of time playing other games such as Portal 2, Star Trek Online, Blizzard’s own StarCraft 2 and the closed beta for All Points Bulletin: Reloaded.

Patch 4.1 brings a fair few changes to the game as most patches do (patch notes here), but brings back two previous raids (Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman) as level 85 (tier 2) heroics. Whilst some new content is much appreciated I can’t help but feel I was playing this content mere months ago…I’d much rather be greeted with brand new dungeons instead of something I paid for a while back with level 85 based mobs and bosses surgically implanted in it. The upside to doing these dungeons however is the loot, tasty epic gear (item level 353) that ranks in just below raid (standard: 359/heroic: 372) but above rare (352). With the lack of raiding in my life (pugs and previous guild just failed at them…) I’ve finally got a chance at a wand I don’t want to hide from!

Blizzard seem to have changed their tactics regarding patching, seems we’ll be getting more of these smaller patches rather than waiting longer for larger ones which I’m all up for. I do find myself bored after a while so perhaps this approach to delivering new content will keep things fresh for me. Whilst reading over the patch notes I found myself disappointed that Blizzard still haven’t implemented a Feat of Strength for earning exalted reputation with the Shen’dralar (one…more…Libram…), however…It seems they’ve hidden some of the updates from the standard patch notes! Here you’ll find a list of undocumented changes including said Shen’dralar achievement entitled ‘Agent of the Shen’dralar’…I still think ‘One…More…Lirbam’ sounds better. Seems we’ll also be treated to new number of companion achievements for 100/125 companions gained and FINALLY portals from Shatarath/Dalaran leading to Stormwind/Ogrimmar!

Enough talk, time to load up 4.1, test out some content and own some Tier-2 Heroics!

A couple of Tier 2 Heroics Later…

First off, I enjoyed myself. The new content did make me want to come back and play, enough so that I bought a month’s game time prior to testing out the heroics themselves. (I was rapidly approaching the message stating I was out of game time >.< ) The first thing I ended up doing was tying up a few loose ends from when I last played, namely doing my Tol Barad dailies in order to purchase my Drake of the West Wind! I then set about repeating the children’s week content for my third year in a row meaning I’d obtain my third and final pets from Stormwind and Shattarath!…or so I thought. Turns out they’ve added a fourth pet to each set of quests! An adorable little snail named Scooter and a mini-Marsh Walker named legs! I’m glad that they realise most people have been repeating these quests year after year, and that they’ve decided to keep us entertained with an additional companion for each quest line.

One of the newest additions to WoW, which I was not aware of until queuing for a random, was the ability to earn Valour Points obtained through random heroics per week rather than per day! You can now undertake a series of random heroics one after the other, rather than being restricted to earning 70 valour points once per day. This definitely helps my game play habits as I’ll often come back some nights from work not wanting to spend time doing a heroic just so I can save up valour points. Now I’ll spend my entire weekend farming heroics! Well not quite…but I could if I wanted to =] There’s now a weekly valour cap of 1250. You can earn 980 of these by doing a combination of heroics (Heroics earn 70 per random, Tier 2 heroics earn 140 per random) and make up the remaining 270 through raid content.

So there I was standing in Zul’Gurub for the billionth time and I actually had to be wary of my opponents. I was no longer surrounded by level 60 something mobs, but groups of 85 and above’s! and they were aided by bosses! Sub-bosses! and all manner of ‘bigger mobs’! that were neither boss nor sub-boss! It was fun, refreshing. The dungeons have retained their layout but replaced the mobs, added environmental hazards such as poison clouds and fire and given the bosses new tactics to learn and love  loathe. With these new bosses comes some lovely new gear, my first two T2 Heroics have blessed me with a few new epics. Additionally the epics dropping from bosses are occasionally unwanted, meaning we have better access to maelstrom crystals for those not raiding for\crafting epics to disenchant. This has obviously changed the auction house’s price of Maelstroms, which in turn makes the highest level enchants such as Power Torrent or Peerless Stats more affordable.

If you’ve been waiting for some new content in WoW you should log on and check things out. You’ll find a few new quests, a more realistic way of acquiring epics if you’re not raiding as well as a selection of new companions to adore. The patch doesn’t come without its downsides however as you’ll discover the new sets of cooking/fishing dailies found in Ironforge/Darnassus lack an achievement. I find it puzzling why Blizzard has neglected something so simple from the update that would occupy players who have maxed out those professions for a short while. Saying that archaeology seems to have been granted a few new items and we now have access to a tanking heirloom set. Have Blizzard just rehashed content? Well slightly yes, but there’s a few new things. There’s also a few old things such as the Wintersaber Trainers now having a daily that you repeat 20 times in order to obtain the rare Wintersaber Frostsaber. Guess it’s not going to be so rare anymore, sort of makes you wonder why Blizzard are devaluing their older player’s achievements whilst simultaneously re-releasing old content. Patch 4.2: Rage of the Firelands shouldn’t be too far away however so if you’re not tempted back yet there may be hope. If all else fails The Old Republic shouldn’t be too long now ;)

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WoW it’s Cataclysmic

World of Warcraft, It’s cataclysmic, literally come December 7th. Waters will rise, cities will fall, and all will burn as Deathwing ravages Azeroth. (the date Dec 7th comes from a blue poststating: ‘The next Arena Season will begin for level-85 players approximately one week after the official launch of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’. Thanks to MMO Champion for the news.

But before the expansion is released WoW players will be featured to two separate major updates, the first being technical changes (stats, talent tree’s etc) and the second the world of Azeroth itself. Meaning bizarrely anyone without the Cataclysm expansion will be able to explore the land torn to pieces by a giant dragon. As someone who’s played just prior to the last expansion I’m yet again all hyped up about the changes and the ability to yet again level my warlock!

This expansion for WoW doesn’t have my entire attention; I must admit someone else has caught my eye. In fact I’m rather hoping she and I will have something special not too far from now, she’s the Old Republic. Don’t let her age fool you this gal’s full of life and I expect to be busy with her for quite some time if all goes to plan. I feel rather guilty at the prospect of cheating on WoW after all we’ve spent the past few years together and I’ve even got my third level 80.Sure I’ve dabbled with Star Trek Online but I know where my heart lies, The Old Republic however the descendant of one of my favourite games, Knight of the Old Republic and I can’t let that pass, more on The Old Republic soon.

So will the end of Azeroth actually be the end of WoW? The Old Republic’s already been named the WoW killer and I’m not alone in wanting to try her out of course, but I can’t help but wonder if people are really ready to leave behind nearly six years of their lives just yet, the real battle’s still to come when TOR actually releases. Until then, observe the destruction of Azeroth and ponder a Cataclysmic end to the World of Warcraft.