Sunday, August 31, 2008

Shaping up for WoW 3.0

Maybe it's the natural progression of the beta, or maybe it's a sudden push to get patch 3.0 done before too many players leave for Warhammer, but either way, the current beta build has done a bit to polish up some major features.

Isn't that the cutest little pink pig-tailed Death Knight you ever did see?

I made Cheerydeth a pink pig-tailed gnome for irony, but even I will admit that her new haircut may be over the top. Her bangs (or whatever those things are) actually cover her eyes in her profile picture above her health bars. :)

Still, the good news is that the barber shop is up and running, and Cheery's now got a pair of big old hoop earrings (which exist in Wow currently), and the "cute" hairstyle. If "cute" gets on my nerves, there's another one with longer dangly braids that's kinda like the Dwarven hairstyle, or I could always go back to the original. Also, it appears that pink is safely remaining a choice for gnome DK's after all (it was disabled in an earlier build, and I couldn't use the hair color toggle on Cheery, not that the barber shop was working well at all at the time).

In a related story, there's supposedly a banshee-like reverb effect on Death Knights now, toggleable on the sound options menu. I couldn't really hear a difference, and I'm not prepared to have Cheery's voice change on me after so much time /played anyway, so I clicked it off.

Inscription v1.5

I last messed with Inscription a month ago, and they've now finally added actual glyph recipes (and the ability to advance past 125 skill). Well, kind of added.

Druid glyphs are in and require skill-level appropriate ink to create. I don't actually have a druid, and level 1 druids don't have any glyph slots (World of Raids says they first open up around level 15). Most other class glyphs have what I presume to be placeholder reagents that, for no real reason, include Mageroyal (which I don't have that much of). There are recipes up to/past 400 skill, but Blizzard forgot to add the Master/Grand Master level skill unlocks, so Cheery is currently stuck at 300/300. I will say that the pigment system (previously called pomaces) gets old when you need one more skill point off of a yellow recipe and you get one attempt per five herbs, especially since you need five of the SAME herb. Ah well, I only had to do a little bit of supplemental farming on top of the stash of herbs I had from leveling herbalism.

I couldn't make any glyphs for Cheery because there aren't DK glyphs yet, but I did make a glyph for Greenwiz. I right clicked it and was able to add it to one of the three major glyph slots in his spellbook. Then I had to find something tall to jump off of to take damage so I could tell if it was working (which it wasn't). The things I do for this blog!

It's worth noting that thee actual glyph says it has a 1 hour cooldown, but I'm pretty sure that's just for re-applying the same glyph to your spellbook. It's hard to tell how expensive re-glyphing will be; at first glance, it looks a lot closer to the cost of potions than the cost of enchantments, but I suspect that most recipes do not have finalized materials yet, and the "rare" pigments are hardly used at all in beta. Still, I suppose Blizzard felt they had to do something to save the raiding crowd from themselves (I can already see the threads complaining about the cost of re-glyphing for each boss fight), and thus the cooldown.

P.S. If anyone has a druid on the US PVE beta server (Northrend) and wants some free glyphs (I had to make a bunch of them to level), send an in-game mail to Cheerydeth. Offer good while supplies last. Player vs Developer productions takes no responsibility for bugged or non-functional glyphs, or for any future buffs/nerfs to said glyphs.

Coming Soon to a PTR near you?
Like I said up top, these improvements to stuff that hasn't really been working in beta to date could be coincidence. It's also possible, however, that they're considering getting the PTR's for patch 3.0 up and running ASAP (perhaps even BEFORE Warhammer's Sep 18th retail launch?), and decided to push on these features now to get some minimal closed beta testing in on them beforehand.

The current build is a lot less crashy than the previous one. While there are some bugs in a few of the 77+ questlines, but the game is definitely getting close to finished with the 70-80 content. If we're really rounding out the misc features like the barber shop and inscription now, it is possible that all but the raid portions of the expansion are actually going to be in place within the next month or so. (As far as I know, there is no raid content testing yet, but level 80 hasn't actually been available for that long yet.)

It looks like we are looking at a PTR for patch 3.0 in September, perhaps a live launch for 3.0 in late October (I don't think they'd mess with the revamped Brewfest), and quite possibly a retail launch for Wrath in early-mid November. I hadn't been expecting any earlier than late Nov/early Dec, but things are starting to fall into place in the Wrath beta now. Perhaps Soon (tm) will ACTUALLY be soon (or at least sooner than we thought).

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