I refer, of course, to a week of Patch 5.0.4 and not a week in Hawaii.

 

The patch dropped last Tuesday and I’ve now had a chance to play a bit. So, what do I think of the changes? I’ve got a few impressions and thoughts based on the classes/specs I’ve played so far…

 

Hunter

Satu was the first toon I talented and tried out this week. My wife spent quite a bit of time reading about Hunters on Wednesday (she had the afternoon off work). It seems a lot of folks on beta have been touting Beast Mastery as the highest DPS spec currently. I’ve mostly been Marksman recently, but figured I’d try out BM. The rumours seem to be true and while I haven’t actually tested MM myself yet, BM feels like it’s in a pretty good place.

 

Paladin

While I have setup Jez’s Protection talents, I’ve not actually tanked anything on her since the patch. I have however played around with Ret and my initial impressions are positive. The rotation doesn’t feel too bad and her damage has increased fairly significantly (I swear she was doing a solid 5k dps more than before the patch). One thing I really can’t get over is the removal of auras. Having had an aura as long as I’ve had a Paladin, I feel dirty not having one. This would probably be eased some if your currently active seal showed up as a buff, which it doesn’t.

 

Priest

Nothing really to report here yet. I’ve set up Wizzadora’s Discipline talents, but not even touched her Holy spec. I’ve not run anything with her this week but from what I’ve seen testing on dummies things feel fairly consistent with how they were before the patch.

 

Death Knight

Vixetta hit 85 10 days before the patch so I made the decision to grind her up to 4,000 JPs and park her until it dropped. Most of my time this week has been spent playing her and I’ve gone from just scraping through the gear requirement for heroics to tanking Dragon Soul LFR. The DK changes don’t seem to be too massive, the rotation is still fairly consistent with pre-patch but with a few tweaks. I’m rather enjoying playing her and feel there’s even the potential for her to become my preferred tanking toon!

 

Warrior

Of all the my characters I’ve played this week, Wizzbit feels the most akward. I’ve read a couple of guides (Noxxic, Icy Veins) and I’ve got the setup right, but when I’ve run dungeons with her, I just can’t seem to get the rotation to work for me; it feels clunky and awkward, she’s constantly rage-starved and I seem to always be waiting for something (other than rage-dumps) to come off cooldown. This is really a shame because, while I haven’t played Wizz much this expansion, I did really enjoy Fury. I suspect part of the problem is that she’s severely undergeared (due to lack of play) and that if I fixed this things would start to click into place. However, right now, I’m not enjoying playing her enough to spend the time to gear her up.

 

Rogue

Lastly my Rogue, Gomjabbar. I’ve been levelling her with my wife’s Paladin and she’s currently up to 84. While there have been quite a few changes to Rogues (poisons are a spell now!) the core gameplay is still the same and the levelling has been smooth. I quite like the Rogue and am kinda interested to see how well she plays when properly geared since she’s already doing quite silly damage in levelling gear.

 

 

General Thoughts

I really like what Blizzard have tried to do. While I thought I’d miss the old talent trees, I’ve pretty much already forgotten about them. The new talent system might be a little simplistic for some but the goal of removing “mandatory” talents is a noble one and while there are still some options that are clearly more powerful than others, I can see Blizzard is trying to smooth these out so that you really can pick the ability that sounds cool rather than the one you need to have. This is a great change for the game and should, hopefully, make it that much more enjoyable.

With the exception of the Warrior (which may just be me) the class changes feel fairly natural. Most DPS specs seem to have 2 discrete rotations; one for single-target and one for multi-target. This is a great change and I’ve setup my action bars accordingly.

In most cases, you seem to need far less buttons on your bars now which is great as, let’s face it, it was getting pretty cluttered. In most cases, you seem to have 4/5 main damage abilities, one of which is generally a proc. You’ve then got a selection of cooldown personal damage boosters (usually 3-4 of these), a couple of crowd control abilities and some group utilities. This, to me, feels like really good design… Each class (and to a lesser extent, spec) retains its individuality through the name and look of its abilities. However there’s enough similarity in the setups that you can fairly easily slip from one class/spec to another without having to learn everything over.

 

My wife seems fairly happy with the changes too. She was trying out her Mage over the weekend and was shocked by just how much her damage has increased. She was seeing 20k sustainable with spikes of around 50k. She’s also seen that Hunters get Stampede at 87 and has gone from only ever having 1 pet to taming everything in sight (as long as they look cool!)

All in all, I’m looking forward to what other new stuff the expansion is going to bring.