WoW Wednesday – The First Rule of…
by Meredith Watson
Less than a month after the release of Mists of Pandaria it has been announced that a new content patch is on the Public Test Realm. This is surprising as Blizzard doesn’t normally update WoW so soon after an expansion. Frankly it usually takes them ages to update. Is it any coincidence some other triple A titles have content patches or expansions due soon? Is Blizzard finally playing keeping up with the Joneses?
Officially, with 5.1.0, the Pandarian campaign will begin which is the attempt to make the game feel as if Horde and Alliance are still at war. They always have been but were somewhat united in the common goal of ridding Azeroth of evils such as Illidan the Betrayer, Lich King and Deathwing. Now that there isn’t the common thread we’ve gone back to fighting each other. And nothing says war like more daily quests. Am I right? Yes, you read that right. More daily quests as well as two new factions associated with the Pandarian campaign. Alliance will be getting Operation: Shieldwall, which reeks of gnome but is more likely a nod to Mass Effect 3. The Horde’s new faction will be the Dominance Offensive which doesn’t reek of anything except maybe tauren poo and bloodlust. Players will be able to kill NPCs and other players for commissions which will contribute to upgrading bases or recruiting guards to protect captured territory.
There will also be some changes to the pet battle system with 5.1.0. Battle stones will be added which come in two flavours and two qualities. A general battle stone will be able to upgrade any pet whereas family specific battle stone can only upgrade a pet of a specified family. A flawless battle stone will upgrade a pet to rare and the polished battle stone upgrades the pet to uncommon. In addition to battle stones there are quite a few improvements and fixes to the pet and mount journal.
The Brawler’s Guild will also be a new addition come 5.1.0. Two new fighting rings have popped up in Orgrimmar and Stormwind allowing players to test their solo PvE skills against “some of the toughest creatures in the World of Warcraft”. As players prove their skill they will increase their rank within the Brawlers Guild unlocking rewards and activities. It is possible to be a spectator in these arenas while waiting your turn or, from the sounds of it, just for fun. Clearly, this is Blizzard’s take on Fight Club. The Secret World has a version that is PvP and Age of Conan has a PvE version. While Brawler’s Guild isn’t a ground breaking feature it should still be entertaining.
If this is your first night at Brawler’s Guild, you have to fight.
Some of the sites that specialize in data-mining of the public test realm have offered up their finds such as the Vol’jin and Windsteed mount get a new look, party hats (can only assume holiday event related), some new Darkmoon Faire models and a few achievement changes. There are also some new potions which can only be used in the brawl area added as well as some new companion pets, a new type of cloth and consumables.
One thing Blizzard has consistently done over the years is tinker with the classes and this patch is no different. Steady Shot and Barrage are now usable while moving. Hunters are slowly taking over Azeroth. Hide and watch. Mages are getting a little nerf concerning mage armour and spell steal. It isn’t that big of a deal however – with just a mana cost increase for spellsteal and an absorption reduction for mage armour. To be fair mages, at least arcane mages, barely use any mana as it is. Shockingly, it seems holy priests are getting a little love this patch which almost never happens. Disarm takes a little hit as well which should annoy the warriors and rogues.
The most exciting thing, for me at least, with 5.1.0 is the introduction of a Black Temple scenario. Some sources are saying it is a warlock only and some are saying it is for everyone. I so hope it is for everyone but if not I will finally make a warlock and level it past ten. I would love to return to the Black Temple. I have such fond memories of playing a level 70 holy priest and seeing Illidan and Wilson * for the first time. Either way whether a scenario for everyone or just warlocks, the lore nuts are having a field day. And of course Akama will be tied into all this somehow-possibly as his own faction.
Except for the insane amount of new dailies (20ish) I am quite looking forward to this patch. How the Pandarian campaign will pan out is anyone’s guess. As it stands now with Mists of Pandaria it certainly doesn’t feel as if war is imminent or raging all around us. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still animosity between factions coming from the players themselves. It seems like just yesterday I was spit on by a nasty little goblin. Oh wait.
*Wilson was the name of the Skull of Gul’dan in Azerothian Super Villains -a World of Warcraft machinima series by Ian Beckman. I suggest watching all six episodes. Great stuff.