Rohan beat me to it but I share similar points.
First off, and I think I mentioned this in the past, I sub to WoW for a month or two every 2 major patches, including expansions. So I saw the start of MoP and then I saw 5.2 (Thunder Isle) and then 5.4 (Siege of Ogrimmar). I think it was less than a month for both of the patches but a solid 2 for the MoP launch. Value for money and all that. Plus, I have little intention on raiding, due to time constraints and 2 kids. (Kind of the reason I am not subbed to Wildstar atm…, what with 2 50s and 2 others in their 30s).
Pre-amble. I have a 90 Monk, 90 Shaman, 86 DK, 86 Rogue, 80 Mage, 86 Hunter, 60 Paladin (through RAF boosting no less), 30 Druid, 5 Priest (bank alt) and zero Warriors (because they suck). Also, I really miss the ability to sprint and double jump. You don’t realize it until it’s gone but it makes travel on foot that much more fun.
Back to WoW. Last post I mentioned a lack of changes to heirlooms. Well in actual fact it’s a little worse than I had thought. Heirlooms are bought through 3 methods. Justice Points (now gone), Darkmoon Faire tickets (1 week a month) and Trial of the Crusader (which if my math is correct, 7 days of dailies for 1 piece of gear). JP vendors are gone, so not quite sure how that’s going to work out. The reason given was “due to unsure prices and to avoid buyers remorse”. Let me break that particular point down for you.
Justice Points were dungeon currency. It was maybe 2-3 hours of dungeon runs, very easy to do in order to get an item. I would hazard to call it cheap even, at least the easiest of the 3 methods. So even if it were to be some nominal amount, say 500 gold per item (guild heirlooms are 2500 IIRC), then it begs the question what they expect the new value to be. It’s hard to imagine them being cheaper than current. So you get into conspiracy theories of Blizz pushing their “buy a level 90 boost”. I dunno, the entire thread just seems like really bad PR on a core part of their community (the one who actually bothers with alts).
On the flipside, experience was drastically normalized. I had an 84.5 Hunter on logoff, and on logon, had an 84.99999 Hunter waiting. MoP experience gain is ~50% higher than previous, if not more. Cataclysm should be around the same path, making heirlooms a very quirky item. I think I might be able to do 80-85 in 1 zone now. Will have to try with my Mage at some point.
Ability pruning was a pretty frigging big deal for a Hunter. I’d guess 25% of all skills are gone. As a BM, that leaves 2 buttons for main rotation (Cobra Shot and Arcane Shot) and then some pet cooldowns. It is quite strange. Good strange mind you, as I had hotbars within hotbars. It was an episode of Pimp my Hunter. The UI is much cleaner. Plus with 6.0, every mod broke something, so I’m playing vanilla.
The stat squish is massive, I think my ring is like +15 or some such. I will say that a stat boost itself is less noticeable, as the scale from base is flatter. Hmm, let me try that again. Before this patch, your base damage was a factor of your level and base stats. Base stats at 90 were nothing really, so each piece of gear you added was a tremendous boost to power. A decent ring might give you 10% more. Now it seems that the base value is higher and that gear provides less benefit, let’s say only a 7% boost from the same ring. What this means is balancing is much easier for Blizzard as the player power variance is smaller. It also means that player skill is more important than before as you will have trouble “out gearing” a situation. That’s a paradigm used in Cataclysm, to disastrous effect on subscriptions… so time will tell.
Reforging is gone. Enchanting is barely there. Jewelcrafting took a hit. None of the Professions provide any combat benefits. Haste windows are gone. Snapshotting is gone. It seems like every corner of customization was cut pretty deep. Ask Mr Robot is going to need a new job I’m thinking as the game is currently heavily simplified in terms of stats and rotation. The complications added are now mainly around player skill.
But do I have the same amount of power as before? I’ll say yes for the time being. The leveling power curve was well-adjusted. There’s no more “in between expansions” power gap either, so that’s nice.
New player models, which by consequence also means no character models in some scenes as they weren’t programmed? I dunno if it’s a bug or not but me + parachute = no character.
Bunch of UI changes too. Items you can click are highlighted with an outline, harvesting and quest nodes. Quest overlays are more informative. Hunter stables can take 50 pets (up from 10 last I checked). Aura alerts are still there. Some icon changes. Icons in bags are different, in particular when you are at a vendor. Junk is clearly tagged, though there still isn’t a junk button. Overall a solid improvement (based entirely on the mod community I might add). I’ll still mod the UI though – if only to control the button size ratio.
The models are a bit more fluid in their movement and the style is somewhat consistent with before. The eyes though, they are hollow. It’s like uncanny valley over here but then again, how often do you look at someone’s eyes in WoW?
Also, they are 10 year old models. The game looks like it was made 10 years ago, in particular due to the fact that MoP had no new capital city. If WoD has as new Shatt to play around in, maybe it won’t be as noticeable.
This is an odd one for me since I played 8 years of a Rogue and was stun-locking when you were still in diapers. Pretty much any stun effect that disables you and still allows an enemy to attack you is gone. The ones that get you out of combat but break on damage are still in. Interrupts are still there with their original cooldowns as are root/slow effects. For combat, I have half the damage control tools I had previous, which means I am taking more damage and need to time my skills to be at the tail end of a cast. It’s balanced by the fact that many “casters” require to stand still now to get a spell off, so there’s some delay in damage output. Still, it’s a new way to play and I’m curious as to how the crowds will adapt.
I will be honest here and say that I expected more rather than less. There are massive systematic cuts to combat and player customization, which is like 90% of the game content (excepting Pet Battles). I used to write guides for games and this expansion would have me cut at least a quarter of it. Players have only a fraction of the tools they had before, which is quite jarring. It’s a real “back to basics” push and I can commend it as it’s something I try to do in my own job. The game feels familiar and different at the same time, which is what you want in an expansion. Now let’s open this red door…