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Unexpected Favorites from 5.0.4

August 31, 2012
by

I spent lots of time reading up on druid changes in the last few months.
Guess what I didn’t read up on … anything else.

So logging into all of my alts over the last few days has been a constant flood of surprises.  I’ve been playing around with a little bit of everything, but I’ve really been shocked at what I’ve been having the most fun with so far:  Shadow priests and Hunters.  Who is this person?  This person isn’t me.

I’ve never disliked Shadow, but I was always the sort that preferred to level as Disc whenever I could, and who almost always had two healing specs on my priest.  But with the changes to Shadow’s rotation and – Ok, I’m not ashamed to admit it – the completely amazing Glyph of Shadow Ravens to replace those ugly old Shadow Orbs, I’m loving the new aesthetic and feel of Shadow.  The rotation is a little simpler than it used to be in some respects, though there are new things to keep track of (namely, refreshing Shadow Word: Pain, which I’m having a hell of a time remembering to do).

I also love that the flexibility of the talents in the new system allow me to have a Disc spec and a Shadow spec on my priest, each of which I’m capable of using for PvE or PvP situations.  Before, a lot of the reason I’d have 2 of the same spec on a character was because of the changes I needed to make depending upon whether I wanted to heal a raid or run a few battlegrounds.  Now it’s a lot easier to use one set of talents for both scenarios – or, if I do need to change a talent, I can do so individually rather than having to wipe the whole tree.  I’m loving this system.

The other class I’m having a lot of fun with is (inexplicably) hunters.  Before any of you hunters out there get the idea that I’m bashing your favorite class – I’m not, I promise.  I have an 85 hunter and I’m honestly not even sure how that happened.  One day she was roaming the wilds of Azuremyst taming her first ravager, and in what felt like about a week she was max level.  Despite the efficiency of hunter leveling, though, I was never really that interested in the class.

But oh how all that has changed in the last 48 hours!  On Tuesday night, I was hanging around the training dummies with a few guildmates as we tried to get our add-ons and action bars in shape.  We ran into another guildmate, a Beast Mastery hunter, and she started showing me a few of her new spells.  Murder of CrowsDire Beast to summon a random beast that comes to fight by your side!  And now, holy crap tameable fen striders?!  The wasps in Zangarmarsh were one of the reasons I rolled a hunter in the first place, and now I can have a fen strider?  Where do I sign?

Watch out, Tippi Hedren!

Apologies again to any long-time hunter mains out there who are less thrilled about the class changes than this uninitiated outsider, but I have never been this excited about playing a hunter before.  Blizzard has taken all the things that were really cool about the Demon Hunter class in Diablo 3 and translated those abilities to WoW.  I’ve actually created a baby hunter so that I can try leveling from scratch with all these amazing new changes.

All in all, this patch has been a lot more fun than I expected it to be.  I was worried that there would be a lot of complaints from the playerbase about the new system, and there certainly have been some.  But I’m also seeing a lot of people who are having a blast with the new stuff we get to play with, and who don’t seem to mind the silliness and flashiness of our new abilities.  WoW has always had a sense of humor about itself, and I love the way the game developers balance that humor with the more serious aspects of the game.

Are you enjoying patch 5.0.4?  What is your favorite new ability that you’ve tried so far?  Have you run into any “unexpected favorites?”

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2012 9:13 am

    Hmm … I might have to check out my hunter now. So far all I did was log in so her achievements and pets would register on the account …

    • August 31, 2012 7:06 pm

      I haven’t made it on to at least half of my alts yet – except to get credits for achievements / mounts / pets. I’m hoping there are more surprises yet to come. 🙂

  2. August 31, 2012 12:52 pm

    Fen Striders?? When did this happen lol – I need one! My one and only hunter is around level 65 and so far she turned out to be one of those “unexpected favourites”. I never knew they could be so fun and often wondered how I didn’t roll one earlier.

    I have to admit that when I played her after the patch hit I was mostly upset and disappointed. But it had very little to do with hunter abilities and everything to do with the current imbalance in PvP >.< I really wasn't expecting unkillable healers or godly paladins.

    In general, I'm stoked about a lot of the new abilities – I love the healing treants on my druid in particular. When I'm in treant form it looks like I summoned three ebil twins to do my healing bidding 🙂 I'm hoping that they'll be balanced to be just as good healing-wise as other abilities in the tier – I'd have a hard time giving them up.

    • August 31, 2012 7:08 pm

      I have seen a few blog posts around confirming that fen striders are, in fact, tameable since the patch (I get the impression that hunters assumed this was going to happen after the actual xpac release).

      I haven’t tried any PvP yet, so whether my optimism about the new talents will hold out through that experience remains to be seen. Like you said, though, imbalance is pretty much going to be our way of life until 90.

      I love the idea of ebil twin treants! 😀

  3. Squelchy permalink
    August 31, 2012 1:41 pm

    Heh. I have a secret baby hunter on SoE. Maybe I should level her.

    • August 31, 2012 7:08 pm

      I’d be happy to see you around regardless of which toon you’re on. 🙂

  4. Moonspeaker permalink
    August 31, 2012 6:34 pm

    Something that I have not seen mentioned by anyone: When you switch spec (ie balance to resto) you don’t lose all your many anymore!

    • August 31, 2012 7:09 pm

      YES! I got such a kick out of this when I was playing around with my druid’s specs this week. It knocks you down by about 25% of your mana, but that’s so much better than going down to 0. Great quality of life improvement.

  5. Moonspeaker permalink
    August 31, 2012 6:52 pm

    And another pleasant surprise, courtesy of Cynwise http://cynwise.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/queue-for-battlegrounds-and-dungeons-at-the-same-time/

    You can queue for BGs, Raid Finder and Dungeon Finder all at the same time!

    • August 31, 2012 7:10 pm

      Another YES! I read Cyn’s post this morning and could NOT be happier about this change. Finally!

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