Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mists of Pandaria: Patch 5.1 Review

This week Blizzard released the first content patch, Landfall, for MoP. While there are several fun additions to the game, some needed fixes and balances (depends on who you talk to about class changes, as players despise nerfs on anything they play), there are also some questionable changes and omissions.

I do enjoy the removal of a raid group to enter the old raids such as MC, BWL, and Naxx, as well as the additions to pet battles that drop off raid bosses. I spent a couple hours last night solo'ing MC on two of my 90s in search of pets, as well as tagging along with guildies to clear Naxx and BWL; we have plans to topple AQ40 over the weekend. My goal is to capture all these drops and snag Mr. Bigglesworth, who I was fond of killing at the start of every Naxx run in Wotlk. Having not been in Naxx for years, last night's run was nostalgic for me; I wouldn't have been there without an incentive, as I don't really get into transmog.

In the future, I look forward to the Brawler's Guild. The price on invites through the BMAH are too high for me, but members of my guild have already joined and will shell out invites once they're able. If anything, as more people get into the guild and invites are less of a demand, the steep price will drop. I believe they start at 10k. Plus, there's always the chance I receive one on an NPC drop in the new daily zone.

Yes, Blizzard added more factions (one for Horde, one for Alliance), and they require dailies. The length of the rep grinds have been lessened via purchasable commendations from each faction's quartermaster, once a player reaches revered. The effects are account bound. I don't do dailies on my alts, though I'm considering Cloud Serpents on my hunter with this patch--I never use flying mounts on my druid. The 100% rep increase is larger than I suspected. I exalted Cloud Serpents two days early; I will exalt Shado-pan a week early. I might even go back and grind both Klaxxi and Golden Lotus, which I abandoned at revered. It'd still be nice if the tabards at exalted were BOA and gave rep gains in heroics up through honored or something, but at this point, I'll take what I can get.

I like the new daily area in Krasarang. It's centered around the factions' campaigns to control Pandaria, including strategic points that can be taken by players similar to the towers in Hellfire Peninsula. On a PVP server, it's never dull. I even spent a solid hour on a wall in Domination Point nuking any Horde that came within distance while using typhoon to keep enemies off my ledge. I believe the RP and PVE servers were experiencing a glitch that flagged players; I read it was hotfixed yesterday.

While instances of world PVP are thriving, PVP balance continues to be its usual mess. Since nerfs were across the board, nothing really changed. Gimped classes stayed gimped, OP classes stayed on top, and the devs' decision to allow the use of silence to stop a shammy from dropping a totem, among other nerfs, is baffling. CC is still rampant, as are bots--I'm hesitant to try the updated Wintergrasp and Tol Barad because of this. MMR exploits weren't addressed other than setting all teams back to a 2200 rating. On PVP servers connected by CRZ, levelers must still remain vigilant of gankers in areas like the Dark Portal and expect serious traveling delays; I doubt there's a solution to this other than eliminating CRZ. Regardless of such nuisances, I enjoy seeing an active Azeroth, as opposed to my dwindling server...

There were a lot of complaints about the new UI feature for CC that lights up the screen and action bars. I tried to disable this feature and was at least able to remove all but my action bars turning dark. Though I can see how this feature would help a beginner, I already have my trinket and escapes keylogged and memorized, so it's no help to me at all.

The new scenarios are far and away more compelling than the originals, definitely what I had expected of them from the beginning, yet it's unfortunate they're not needed by geared 90s, other than a source for achievements (*update: in a recent hotfix, Blizz upgraded the bonus at the end of scenarios to drop gear more often and sometimes contain epics). I did them once. Maybe, if they pop at random, I'll do them again when I have a fresh 90 sometime in the future. If I get bored by LFR or heroics, I might queue as well, for I think I will be taking advantage of the new gear upgrade system once I've collected all the VP gear I can off quartermasters.

As for the continued story arch in 5.1, one thing about MoP that has irked me from the moment I hopped on my goblin mage and heard Garrosh say, "Paint the land red with Alliance blood," is the warchief's flat character; more and more he seems like a villain from a B-movie. Yelling everything as if Samuel Jackson on meth, he speaks in cliches. His motivation is lost in translation, and if the only thing driving Garrosh is a lust for power, it's really not that interesting. He is even hypocritcal: in Stonetalon, he kills one of his orcs for dropping a bomb on a city then does the same to Theramore. The warrior's code he lived by, something that was appealing and added dimension to his character, is nonexistent.

Given the direction he takes in the scenario, "Dagger in the Dark," Garrosh isn't even that smart; the writers have turned him into a mindless, paranoid brute that just so happens to be the warchief. For me, it makes no sense that Vol'jin is the lone faction leader within the Horde opposed to Garrosh, so it looks bad on the others as well. As far back as Cata, Garrosh calls the undead an abomination and refers to Sylvanas, who I always assumed was as cold-hearted as she was cunning, a bitch. What does she do? Stammers and little else.

All in all, I think 5.1 took as many step forwards as it did back. The most promising of the changes were to solo play, and I've found, in the overall scheme of the game, we're mostly where we started (I still have yet to even glimpse Galleon, let alone defeat him). However I enjoy MoP, I won't say there isn't room for improvement; some of the issues I've discussed are game-breaking for other players. At this stage of the expansion, I'm still gleeful to have things to do, because around every corner is a reminder of how bored I was throughout Cataclysm as I sat in a capitol and waited on a heroic.

2 comments:

  1. How did you turn that cc crap off? I hate it, especially tanking, it blinds me. Overall I give the patch a 7/10. I feel they need a better way to gear up, the dailies are killing me, and the extra rolls in LFR are a joke.... but saying all this I still love it.

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  2. You turn the screen alert off in the combat options, but your action bars will continue to turn dark. And I'm also sick of dailies, even though I only do one set a day--I read there's more coming in 5.2. Farming is getting annoying too, but I still enjoy everything else MoP has to offer.

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