Thursday, 16 September 2010

4.0 Background Downloader up and PTR fun!

As you can see from the title and recent updates on and MMO-Champ, the first part of the 4.0.1 patch is available on the background downloader! In other words, OMG CATA IS COMING. Looks like we're definitely on course for November release date.

I haven't started this download yet, though, as I'm currently finishing up downloading the PTR! After much discussion with guildies and friends about talent tree changes, gem changes, and basically how crazy everything will be for raiding once the patch hits, I decided I had to check it out for myself and see how things were. The PTR is pretty massive (about 16GB) so it's taken a while, but I like the option with the new launcher to load the game while it's still downloading.

I'll be testing things out a lot more once it's fully downloaded and over the weekend as well. When I last logged on it was all fairly choppy but that's likely because I hopped on as soon as it would allow me to. The character copy was surprisingly quick (few hours, tops, despite a supposed 4-day waiting period), so I hopped on to check on my druid and also adjust basic UI features (a large portion of my action bar keybinds are not the default ones).

Some first impressions:

  • We can't fly in Azeroth yet, but I was able to mount up on my flying mounts! The druids in Moonglade weren't phased by the sight of my frostbrood drake, however. You can jump and the mounts will flap, but they won't lift off.
  • Already feeling nostalgic for my tree form. The cooldown Tree of Life currently takes you to the current Tree form model, though I imagine that will change at some point (though perhaps with a later patch in Cata? I'm not certain). I guess my little Teldrassil Sproutling will have to keep me company even more often now so I can keep my tree spirit with me.
  • Haven't been able to test healing yet in a dungeon or raid setting, but playing with the new spells has been interesting. The reduced duration on the Regrowth HoT will take some getting used to. It's a bit odd having Regrowth as my fastest cast now (on Live my fastest is Nourish, at 1 to 0.9 seconds depending on Nature's Grace procs... even faster with 25m haste buffs and heroism). 
  • The Efflorescence graphic is a mixture of pretty (leaves drifting upward) and vaguely threatening (wait, you want me to stand IN the green voidzone-appearing area??).
  • Current gear stats at level 80 seem to be holding - at first glance all of my stats seem to correlate (though have a slightly larger mana pool (edit: I did not look closely at this the first time, I have a much larger mana pool!)), and my spellpower looks to be correlating to my spellpower in Tree form on live.
  • Lifebloom no longer returns mana, so I'll have to adapt how I use my Omen of Clarity procs (also - OoC is indeed a learned talent). Nice little in-game Power Auras-style graphic for the OoC procs.
  • Also rolled a little level 1 hunter while waiting for the character copy - focus is so much nicer than mana! Maybe my hunter will get some attention again when Cata hits.

I'll get some proper time in and post more information after it's all finished downloading and I can actually navigate without the game being choppy, etc. I'll also try to get some screenshots (of things like the Efflorescence proc). I also need to find some new glyphs as my glyphs are currently half-empty now (missing most of the Prime spots).

In other fun, what will you be rushing to get done before Cata hits? My guild is currently pushing to finish off our LKHM25 kill, which we'll hopefully have done before 4.0 hits (particularly as I think everything will descend into chaos, at least for a week or two, when that lands, from simply talent tree changes alone, let alone everything else that's coming!).

Personally, I've been trying to grab a last few achievements and things. I'm still trying for the Raptor mount in ZG, though it still eludes me - I'm glad I at least managed to get the Tiger, though, as that's the one I really love. I've been pushing a bit to try to finish off the Zandalar rep as well, but it will take some dedicated farming I think. I'm a fair bit into Revered, but still a bit far off! I haven't tried properly for the Baron mount, but may be something I look into if I have the spare time.

I did manage to successfully complete my Winterspring rep finally though! I spent a day grinding out the last Revered-to-Exalted stretch, which fortunately was livened up some by teaming up with a couple of other players who were out there doing the same thing. Teaming up is a good idea - stops everyone stealing each other's mobs and can provide nice relief to the grind. My Winterspring tiger was my 100th mount as well, so a nice couple of rewards at the end of it all!

So what are you hoping to finish before Cata or 4.0 hit?

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