Through The Mist: 5.1 Landfall Overview

Through the Mist is a regular column from Luke Le Page covering everything World of Warcraft. If you’d like something covered in a future column, drop us a line!

As I’m sure most of you are aware Patch 5.1 went live yesterday. David was kind enough to announce the full list of changes – as you can see it was a fairly significant patch with a number of bug fixes as well as some added content.

The most significant inclusion for the average casual player is perhaps the first steps of the Pandaria campaign. The content can be almost exclusively completely without flagging for PvP, which for many players is a positive thing (there were a number of threads on the official forums from concerned PvE players as to whether they could participate in the campaign). The mobs for the daily quests also award Black Prince rep so it’s worthwhile getting straight into the new content even if you’re not at honoured for the additional quests for the Wrathion chain.

I ran through the initial quests with my guild mates yesterday as well as completing the two new Alliance scenarios.  I have to say that this is the first time, with the possible exclusion of the Death Knight starter quests (that I can currently think of) in WoW’s lifespan where I can see the growth of an NPC character through quests. Without giving too much away for those who have not done it, King Varian Wrynn displays a number of characteristics I would not have ascribed to him previously. This bodes well for the future of this expansion and the Pandaria campaign itself.

Another major change for the average player is the introduction of item upgrades. Players can now upgrade the majority of items (both PvE and PvP). Upgrades vary in costs and the exact amounts can be seen in the patch notes. Having already upgraded a couple of items I can tell you it is relatively easy and the stat changes are made quite obvious before you finalise the process.

Probably the biggest change with this patch comes in the form of the Brawler’s guild. Whilst I personally like the concept of the Brawler’s guild I am not entirely happy with the way in which Blizzard have implemented it. Participation is via invite only – these invites can only be bought off the Black Market Auction House or from rare spawn Horde and Alliance NPC’s in the new PvP areas (I am unclear as to whether these NPCs flag you for PvP or not). Additionally you can be invited by someone with the appropriate rank within the Brawler’s guild. For the average player there is going to be a long, long wait before they will see this content. On my server, which has a fairly poor population and progression rate, invitations are already over 60k gold on the Black Market AH. The NPCs that drop invitations are heavily spawn camped. Hopefully Blizzard will continue to increase the amount of invitations and the way in which they can be obtained.

Pet battles have also received some attention, the user interface now has added functionality that makes it easier to sort, select and use pets. We can now also see the quality of a pet during a battle. This is handy for knowing what to catch but it takes the fun out of researching pet families so that you can work out quality yourself during combat based off their stats. We also saw the addition of new pets to older raid instances (which now incidentally no longer need raid groups to enter). A single run of Molten Core saw me snag the Corefire Imp and a Blackwing Lair run rewarded me with Chrominius and the Untamed Hatchling so the drop rates seem quite good.

I won’t go into the many class changes as I’m sure many of you are more familiar with the classes that received nerfs or buffs than I am. Rogues once again saw fairly minor changes.

UI wise we have seen the addition of a “banner” when under the effects of crowd control. This has received some fairly negative feedback – personally I think it’s an excellent addition by Blizzard and means one less add on.

As many people expected the new Warlock quest chain was omitted from 5.1 and is now slated to be released in patch 5.2.

As some of you are aware I am off on holidays for the entirety of December, so this will be my last column for a little while, I was hoping to get into more detail on the changes but last minute preparations coupled with my recent engagement have left me rather busy.  So merry Christmas and enjoy Patch 5.1!

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