Thursday, October 16, 2008


So, those of us playing in the EU finally got the patch - only to be greeted by unstable realms that keep crashing. I did get a couple of minutes to take Alierah on a short test run, and so far I like most of the changes.

General Changes

First, having macros saved on the server instead of locally is really nice. No need to worry about backing them up when reinstalling the game, no need to keep my laptop and PC macros synced. This is long overdue, and even though it won't matter to most people I'm very happy with it.

The calendar and barber are nice. That's about all I can say about them... They'll both probably see some limited use, but for the most part will be irrelevant (for me. If you have an obssession about your hair, have fun). The achievements look like they'll be providing lots of wasted time, though. Maybe not the really crazy ones, but I can definitely see myself doing the world expoloration and dungeon achievements.

Threat warnings are nice for a couple of reasons. Even though I use Omen, it requires other people in your group to have it as well. Now there's something that "always" works. Also, I'm assuming a lot more info about threat is available through scripting, which means that Omen (and other threat meters) should be able to get much more accurate results and not require everyone to have them installed.

Focus control and being able to set a key to cast a spell directly on your focus are very welcome changes. Looks like I'll have to rethink my Nostromo bindings and work it in somehow.

UPDATE: Ooh, I just noticed something. There's an option to track low-level quests! How awesome is that? And why didn't anyone tell me?

Priest Changes

Logging in to Alierah, I was faced with having to choose a spec. I ended up chickening out and going Shadow again - you can see my spec here. After visiting the trainer, and getting Hymn of Hope and Devouring Plague, I was on my way out to Hellfire Peninsula. Hymn of Hope looks like it'll come in handy for instances, but it's a Holy spell so it doesn't mix well with Shadowform*. Devouring Plague is pretty neat - pretty similar to Shadow Word: Pain, with the added bonus of healing. While I'm not sure I'll use it as part of my "usual" solo sequence (to preserve mana), it'll come in handy when I need to heal (along with Vampiric Embrace and the bonus damage from Shadowform, it should get me back on my feet in no time) or when there's more than one mob beating on me. Hey, if I get Vampiric Touch I can almost be like a Warlock with all those DoTs.

UPDATE: After actually playing with it a bit more, I realized that the CD on Devouring Plague is 24 seconds, so you can't have it on more than 1 mob at a time... On the other hand, I started using both Devouring Plague and SW:P in my fights, and still don't have any mana problems.

The other side of the "racial issue" is losing Mana Tap (true for all Blood Elfs, not just priests). Not such a big deal, since it really didn't drain that much mana to be noticeable, but it has some "unwelcome" side-effects. As it happens, I was trying things out against mobs that gain 75% damage reduction to the type of damage of the first spell cast on them. With Mana Tap, I could start with that causing them to get a lot of Arcane damage reduction, and then burn them down with Shadow spells. Now, the only spells I have "available" are Shadow. Either that or I keep switching in and out of Shadowform. Still, not really a big deal, since this kind of mob isn't what I'd call common.

And now we get to the good parts. First, my damage has gone up, and it has nothing to do with the spell power. Mind Flay can crit now, shadow priests around the world rejoice. Second thing, which is all kinds of awesome, I didn't see mentioned anywhere - wands no longer trigger the GCD. Yes, you heard me right - no more having to stop wanding and waiting 2 seconds before you can cast a spell. Just hit that spell button any time and you're good. This makes me so happy, you can't imagine. Finally, it seems like my mana is in a much better state now - I keep finishing fights with almost full mana. This is probably due to the change in spell mana costs and the removal of spell ranks, but I'm not complaining. Being able to throw more spells in a fight without having more downtime is definitely a good thing.

So that's it for now. I'll go try to log in again, and see if I find something else interesting to mention. Y'all should do the same instead of wasting your time reading this. ;-)

* It's also channeled now, so not ideal for soloing. Yes, I know Mind Flay is also channeled, but since HoH is more of an emergency button I don't think it's wise to count on being able to bubble when you need it.

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