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Saturday, December 13, 2008

What Patch 3.0.8 holds for casual players

Patch 3.0.8 is on the horizon and there are a lot of interesting changes coming our way. Leveling will become even more convenient, some fundamental gameplay changes are being made and classes are being adjusted... again. While these changes affect everyone, I'll be going over the ones that will particularly matter to those of us with limited playtime.

(Edited to add:) What you won't see here is Dual Specs. They are scheduled for Patch 3.1.

Although this info is currently on the PTR (or Public Test Realm for those of you not into acronyms), this does not mean that it is final. A lot of things could change before this patch goes live, but as things stand, here is a list of changes to be ready for.

Mounts for everybody!

If you are into Achievements or just didn't like the mount choices you had, you can look forward to riding any mount your faction has access to in the upcoming patch. As a Tauren Druid, I never liked the Kodo and have often wished for more options. That having been said, if I do get a pretty hawkstrider, it will just be to sit on my mount tab. I just don't see my noble Tauren lady riding something so frou frou.

Even more Death Knights

I am on record for loving the new Death Knight class. As of Patch 3.0.8, there is now an 8th reason to make a DK: having a higher level character to play with your friends on other servers. Currently, you can only make a Death Knight on the same server that you have a level 55 character, but after the next patch, you will be able to make a DK on any server as long as you have a level 55 somewhere. This is great if you have friends strewn across servers, but don't want to spend a long time leveling up a new character to hang with them.

More graveyards, faster death travel

Hardcore players are already decking out their level 80s in purples, but many more casual players are still leveling up mains and alts in the old world. (I certainly am.) With 60 new graveyards being added to both of the old continents, dying will become much less inconvenient. And as if that weren't enough, everyone's runspeed while dead has been increased. So gank away griefers! I'll just run back and blink away before your emote macro has completed.

Tapping will get easier

"All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped." I'm not sure why they changed this particular game mechanic after so long, but I only see this as a positive change. Basically, in order to get the experience and loot from a mob, you and your groupmates currently need to actually do damage to a mob. This means that casting a DoT, which takes a tick before it does damage, or a debuff currently will not actually mark the creature right away as yours even though it will now attack you. So you may get aggro, but someone else may have tapped it and will get the kill. But after the next patch, any spell that catches your target's attention will tag it as yours for experience and loot -- as long as you and your teammates kill it. This isn't really a huge change, in my opinion, but you should be aware of it when questing in heavily populated areas.

Many class changes

I won't go over them all here, but there are a lot of class changes coming for most classes. Hunters got nerfed. Death Knights got buffed. Mages got adjusted. You should really take a look at the patch notes to see what is in store for your favorite class -- make sure you look both under your class's section and in the Bug Fixes section. Also, keep an eye on WoW Insider's class columns for further analysis as we get more information on the changes.

Well, I'm off to work through the rest on my mage and possibly get my druid on an exercise regimen so that those Blood Elf bimbos won't be quite so cruel to me in the future.