Well, today’s it folks – if you’ve been waiting for Patch 4.1 and all of the goodness inside, the realms are slowly coming back online and you’re about to get what you’ve been waiting for. Whether it’s a newly redesigned and revamped Zul’Gurub or Zul’Aman, or you’re just looking forward to the Guild Finder, it’s all landing today.
Above is the beautiful trailer that sets the stage for the events in 4.1 – including a little insight into what we’ve been waiting for for a long time: the trolls are antsy and eager to regain their place at the top of the food chain, instead of be forced to be scattered and disorganized as a people.
If you needed a reason to queue up and join the dungeon finder, well…now you have one. Alternatively, if you’ve bemoaned the lack of people in queues and the time required to get a decent group, get ready for some relief. In patch 4.1 Blizzard is poised to unveil the Dungeon Finder: A Call to Arms.
Here’s the lowdown from Blizzard:
In patch 4.1 we’ll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.
Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the “Call to Arms: Tanks” icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu where class roles are selected, and will also display on the UI when the queue pops and you are selected to enter a dungeon. Regardless of your role, you’ll always be able to see which role currently has been Called to Arms, if any.
Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss. Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you’ll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel, and Tiny Sporebat, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the Reins of the Raven Lord from Sethekk Halls, Swift White Hawkstrider from Magister’s Terrace, and Deathcharger’s Reins from Stratholme.
Allow me to use this YouTube video to express my reaction:
This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don’t feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little. While this system gives tanks and healers something extra, the incentive is being provided so that we can help players in the DPS role get into more dungeons, get better gear, and continue progressing.
While the gold, gems, flasks, and elixirs are OK incentives, we knew we needed something more substantial. We had briefly considered Valor Points and epics, but decided that wouldn’t be working toward the goal of helping DPS players progress, and ultimately wouldn’t keep tanks and healers in the Dungeon Finder system for very long. We settled on pets and dungeon-found mounts as they’re cosmetic/achievement items that players tend to try to get on their own, so why not change that up and offer them a chance to get some of those elusive pets and mounts in a way that also helps other players? Even if they don’t get a pet or mount, or get one they already have, the gold and other goodies still feel rewarding enough that it won’t feel like a waste of effort.
We think it’s a pretty solid incentive to get tanks and healers queuing, give max-level players another way to collect the pets and mounts they so desire, and above all, to improve wait times for DPS players sitting in queues. In the case of lower level dungeons, it’s actually not uncommon for DPS to be the least represented role, and so if this new system works out and we’re pleased with the results, we may consider applying this same mechanic to lower level dungeons as well.
Wow. Color me impressed. That’s really something, and personally I think the lure of loot just may work. After all, it worked during Wrath to get people to actually stay and finish The Oculus, why won’t it work here?
Blizzard posted a note over at the official forums about what changes we’ll see in patch 4.1.11; the one that will contain the Tomb of Immortal Darkness. They don’t normally go to such lengths to tell us what’s going on behind the scenes way before a patch like this, but I’m glad they’re being open and honest with us.
All in all though, the changes look good! They’re finally taking Dance Studio out of the game – no one used that anyway, and adding a Random Guild Finder! Awesome!
Also, to encourage people to get out of capital cities, they’re adding a new debuff:
Players in capital cities will receive a 2-hour debuff “Homebody” that increases damage taken and reduces damage and healing given by 10% for every 10 minutes they’re within city limits. We hope this encourages something.
Oh snap! And look, class improvements too! For example:
Druid forms are now considered vehicles, allowing one player to ride on the druid’s back while in any form, even their humanoid form.
and for Hunters:
Ettin’s Grip (new talent) allows the hunter to equip two ranged weapons simultaneously.
(ooc: that would actually be badass. seriously.)
And a few others worth noting:
* Invisible walls have been added around all harmful ground effects.
* All dungeon & raid bosses now have legs. If they already had legs, they got more legs.
* In order to make the Cataclysm expansion appeal to all players’ sense of nostalgia, shaman, druids and paladins may now only queue as healers when using the Dungeon Finder.
* Tank Stimulus: Successfully completing 25 Dungeon Finder runs as a tank will grant you a $400 Federal tax credit. (Requires Form 8863)
Woot! A tax credit! Time to respec my Paladin! And honestly, who doesn’t appreciate more legs? I know I do. I can’t wait for this patch to land!
So now that the world has shattered, Deathwing is free from the elemental plane, there’s a lot of brand new smoldering gaping holes in the ground where lots of cities and zones used to be, and the battle between Horde and Alliance are themselves burning anew, how’s it going?
Seriously, earlier this week, most of us went to bed on Monday with one Azeroth – old Azeroth, the one we’ve known, many of us, for the past 6 years – and we woke up the next day to the world breaking while the servers were down. When the servers came back up, we got a brand new world, brand new zones, new character class and race combinations, and more. We essentially got a brand new game.
So how are you adjusting? Still overwhelmed with all of the changes? Already happily leveling your new gnome mage or tauren paladin? Or maybe you’re still keeping your head down and waiting for the fuss to blow over and the queues to dial down so you can get into your server? Sound off in the comments!
So it might still be a little early to ask the question we always ask after every major content patch or series of changes, but we’re going to ask it anyway: How’s that patch 4.0.1 working out for you?
See that image up there? If you haven’t been paying attention, Druids lost the ability to permemently stay in the Tree of Life form, and to boot, they lost the familiar old stubble-legged tree that we’ve come to know and love. Now, when they turn into a tree, they become the model you see above (with different colors to match their character appearance) and can only stay in the form for 30 seconds. Makes staying in tree form during boss fights pretty difficult, don’t you think?
In 4.0.1 we essentially all got a brand new game. Add-ons are still largely broken for a large part, the UI and graphics have been updated remarkably, Archeology has been added to the game, and all in all the groundwork has been laid for Cataclysm to be released.
In the interim though, what do you think? How have your characters been adjusting to the changes? Any highs or lows to report? Are all of your add-ons still busted or did you make it through the changes unscathed? Sound off in the comments!
Today’s the day folks – patch 4.0.1 lands today, and with it every single one of us gets to learn how to play all over again. Significant changes are afoot in the new patch, including brand new talent trees, new currencies, new talents and specs, and just about everything else required to lay the groundwork for Cataclysm. Patch 4.0.1 will be the last significant overhaul patch prior to the expansion, although we’ll likely see at least one more prep-patch that includes some events and activity leading up to the big event come December.
If you haven’t logged in for a while, this is the patch to log in for – partially so you don’t have to re-download it when Cataclysm comes out, but partially so you can familiarize yourself with all of the myriad changes that have been made up to this point so you’re ready when the expansion hits.
Oh, you want to see the patch notes? Head here or click through the jump.
With Blizzard officially announcing the release of Cataclysm, the question now becomes when does 4.0.1 drop? There has been much speculation based on the hidden patch notes, what has been live on the PTR, what’s available and tested on Beta, etc. So many rumors, but no concrete evidence. One Tuesday we’re all going to attempt to log in and see that we have on our hands a hefty wait time while the game patches.
So many changes are awaiting all of us when path 4.0.1 becomes live on the servers, but what does this mean to the players? First, the talent changes we’ve all been hearing about will finally be a reality. Which means all of the players will be learning how to play their characters all over again. Playing the game will suddenly be brand new for all of us, all over again.
What achievements are you trying to score before they become Feats of Strength? Anything you’re terribly sad to see go? Are there changes you’re glad to see happen? Or are you one of those who are not at all lured by achievements at all and thus are just ready for Cataclysm to release already?
After a long wait and lots of doubt, Blizzard finally rolled in the new Worgen female models into the latest iteration of the Cataclysm beta, and they certainly look fiercer and more complete than the previous ones did.
Over at WoW Insider they have a gallery of several of the new models, and there are scowly, growly faces abound – which kind of matches up well with the male models, I think.
But enough about what I think – what do you think? Has Blizzard finally ditched the “super-sexy” approach to just about every female model in the game? If you’re inclined to play female characters in-game, will you roll a female worgen? Sound off in the comments!
After today’s maintenance, Horde and Alliance players will find that the updated instances for Operation Gnomeregan and Zalazane’s Fall will be available to enter, so Horde players can head into the Echo Isles to retake the Troll homelands and put an end to Zalazane’s tyranny, and the Gnomes and their allies can muster their forces to retake the Gnomes’ home city of Gnomeregan.
Wowhead found a treat for us in the most recent Cataclysm model update, including some new models for Ysera, Thrall, and the Guardian of the Ancient Kings! Also in the new update, models for tons of new drakes and mounts, a new surveying tool that will be used with Archeaology, and more. Ysera’s model is above, although right now she’s essentially a recolor of Sylvanas with some horns added – it’s likely she’ll see a few more tweaks before release. After all, Alextraza is based off of the same model that Sylvanas is, but they’ve both been tweaked a bit so you can definitely tell them apart.
There are tons of NPC and other object models as well, including weapons and guild items, so it’s worth looking at if you’re curious what the visual dynamic in Cataclysm will resemble.