Sunday, April 29, 2012

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Beta - A Wild New Patch Appears!

This week, a new patch was released for the Mists of Pandaria beta test. As typical patches go, this was released on Tuesday. But why am I posting about it today? Well, it's mostly because this build is incredibly unstable. For a couple days people were consistently suffering from client crashes, initially starting with crashes immediately upon logging in, to crashes periodically as new patches were released in an attempt to fix the issue. However, even with the issue resolved, world servers are crashing with increasing frequency, so it was very hard to get any information from the current beta build. Fortunately, it was stable enough that I was able to experience some of the new content the patch brought. Here's what I discovered:

Logistics, UI, and Character Templates
  • Pet battles are now "available" but not quite operational. It was partially the reason this build was extremely unstable initially.
  • Because pet battles were put in, pets and mounts are no a separate menu independent of the spellbook. It does not initially come bound to a key, so check the buttons at the bottom of the UI to find it or bind it to a key.
  • The spellbook has changed a bit (again). It is now more like the live version of the spellbook, although all the class spells are in the tab with your specialization (alphabetized and sorted by active/passive abilities). Non-class abilities are in the normal, respective tab (including guild perks).
  • In the spellbook, there are "Core Abilities." This is bugged and not finished - it will only show Warrior abilities.
  • Some parts of the user interface aren't properly working. For instance, Warlocks can't see their Soul Shards (in Affliction spec) where it used to show, making it much harder to track.
  • Character copies and templates got reset. If you ran out, feel free to make more. It's also possible to make a character template at the character selection screen. However, there are some apparent bugs related to it.
  • Jade Forest's General Chat doesn't seem to work.
  • Macros seem to fail still. It is possible to circumvent the issue by putting a "!" before each ability name, however.
Character/Quest/Zone Progression 
  • The level cap is unchanged. It remains at level 87.
  • It is now possible to change specializations, talents, and even clear your glyphs with the trainer. All of these services are available at a cost and each must be reset individually (which is why it's pretty cheap).
  • However, changing specializations resets your talents. It even removes the spells from talents from your actionbars, so don't bother paying to reset talents.
  • Pet "specialization" can now be chosen for Hunter pets. It isn't quite complete yet, but it should work in a way similar to choosing a player's specialization. Unlike before, any pet can have any specialization. This means a Wolf can now have access to Cunning abilities.
  • The Krasarang Wilds is now open. This is a level 86-87 zone that can be done as an alternative to Valley of the Four Winds.
  • Some quests have been fixed, such as Wisdom of the Ages (or so I heard) and the Jade Witch. Some, however, have not (the Wyrmhorn Turtles in Valley of the Four Winds can still crash the client).
Dungeons and Guilds
  •  It is no longer possible to queue for a Random Scenaario (as none have been implemented and it caused issues with the Dungeon Finder).
  • Temple of the Jade Serpent is still a bit buggy. For instance, resurrection abilities don't always seem to work and loot tables are far from completed, if not missing. Also the dungeon is apparently much harder and can still crash the game.
  • A new dungeon is open to test: The Stormstout Brewery. However, it is a bit buggy, as you can see below:
  • Some other bugs or issues, besides the flying around, include mobs evading after they've been knocked off the instance and missing loot.
  • Guild Experience is even easier to acquire now. All quests grant 60000 Guild Experience each, regardless of the level of the quest (yes, even the level 1 quests grant 60000 Guild Experience).
  • Guild Experience to level a guild up seems to be lower than normal (probably to speed up progression to test the new perks).
Bugs and Glitches
  • Hunter's Call Beast (now Dire Beast) has been fixed. It now properly has a cooldown, but is a reasonably strong ability in its own right.
  • Runes of Teleportation are no longer needed to use portals (or at least are no longer consumed upon using one).
  • The pet size bug seems to have been fixed as well.
  • Even though hotfixes have once again made the beta playable, it's still possible to crash randomly, so be on the lookout for that.

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