I do not write about World of Warcraft patch updates the way I do the ones that come for EVE Online. Maybe the changes, or the game itself, doesn’t mean as much to me, or maybe the changes in New Eden have more impact.
But this patch is different. This one has a few items in which I am interested. And, at the top of the list is something they mentioned in passing back at BlizzCon, that people who have an authentication scheme hooked up to their accounts will get a boost in the size of their default bag.
This grain of sand has been an irritant to many, that one bag slot has been eternally locked in at 16 slots. It was a fine situation as recently as 2007, but certainly since Wrath of the Lich King and the advent of 20 slot player crafted bags, being stuck with that one sixteen slot bag has felt like a bit of a cruel joke. I’m busy filling up the bank storage on alts with 30 slot bags, but I still have that 16 slot bag mocking me in slot number one.
So now Blizzard could turn that grain of sand into a pearl, to complete the metaphor I started a paragraph back. Now they could make us all rejoice rather than grouse and glare at that archaic sixteen slot.
So imagine my reaction to this line in the patch notes:
Accounts protected by an Authenticator and Blizzard SMS Protect gain four extra backpack slots.
Four slots? That’s it? We now get a 20 slot bag instead of a 16 slot bag? Did I mention how many 30 slot bags I have on hand already?
Color me a bit disappointed at the paucity of this size increase. If Blizzard wants to play the nostalgia card, 2009 bag sizes is not the way to go about it. Or 2007 bag sizes if you want to count the Harris Pilton Gigantique bag from Burning Crusade. The game is littered with larger bags, none of which you can put in that first bag slot. Ugh!
I won’t grouse too much. My main is literally hauling around so much stuff of late that four slots actually matters. But don’t expect me to be too thankful given my overflowing supply of 30 slot bags. I should have known Blizzard was off the mark when it came to bag size when they threw away the name “portable hole” on a 24 slot bag.
Anyway, enough of that.
Also part of the patch is something else I have had my eye on, which is the expanded zone level scaling. Zones throughout World of Warcraft will now scale, withing set parameters, so you need not worry about out-leveling a zone you want to finish… at least not as quickly as before.
The basic story, which I am stealing from the Icy Veins post, is:
- All starting zones scale up to level 10.
- World of Warcraft Vanilla (Eastern Kingdoms & Kalimdor) scales up to level 60.
- At level 58, players can choose between Outland or Northrend (capped at level 80).
- At level 80, players can choose between Cataclysm or Pandaria (capped at level 90).
- Zones still have a minimum level requirement.
- Dungeons also scale
- Quest rewards scale up to your level.
Further details, like the zone listing and minimum level requirements for specific zones are part of that post (or this one at Blizzard Watch which also has the dungeon levels) .
Why am I interested in that? Well, on my long Azeroth “to do” list there are entries about running through some expansions on the Horde side of the world. I’ve already done post-Cataclysm 1-60 and most of The Burning Crusade as Horde, but would like to run through Wrath of the Lich King and Mists of Pandaria on that side of the divide as well. Being able to go straight to Northrend at 58 will be a big help, as will being able to spend 22 levels there. I have a level 57 orc hunter ready to go on that front.
On the other hand, I am not sure how this will play out for anybody coming to the game for the first time. There are still people who do that. My daughter is trying to recruit a dungeon group from some of her friends, most of whom have never played WoW or any other MMORPG. (Still a niche market.)
This does change the nature of the leveling experience yet again and I am not sure if the freedom of action as to which zones you can play through will have enough structure to it to keep people on track. But then the old “if you are level n to n+5 you must be in zone x!” system wasn’t always that great either, and Blizz has gotten better at telling you where you ought to go and all that. We’ll see. The only thing I know for sure is that somebody will hate the change because somebody always hates every change.
In addition to zone and dungeon scaling, all dungeons now use the “personal loot” option, where you no longer roll for loot… or have a master looter… instead the game picks people from the group at random and gives them a loot drop appropriate to their class and spec. Again, I am sure somebody will hate this.
And with dungeon scaling all holiday dungeon events will now be available for anybody level 20 and up. I will have even more shots at the headless horseman’s mount this year.
I was interested to see that, as part of this, Blizz also decided to simplify the whole “I have to buy yet another flying skill” issue by rolling all the simple, level gated flying options into the Expert Flying skill. With that you’re good to go, no more Cold Weather Flying and what not. You still need achievements for Draenor and the Broken Isles, but that unlock is account wide, so if you main has it you’re good with any alts.
With all of that there is also now Ulduar Timewalking and some achievement changes related to that, some class tweaks, a new battleground, updates to the S.E.L.F.I.E. toy (while some other toys have had their ability to cause other players to take actions restricted), and a new WoW Legion quest line that will take you to Silithus.
So that is another WoW update. You can peruse the patch notes yourself and find analysis on all the sites that cover WoW.
I am still waiting for them to fix the spiral ramp up to the flight master in Thunder Bluff to stop it from dismounting you, the way they fixed that stretch in Stormwind that used to do the same when you were riding to the flight master, but I suspect my waiting for that will be in vain.
This being a WoW patch with some significant changes, other people in the neighborhood are also discussing it and what it portends.
Addendum: Bag space upgrade confirmed.
I want more, but I’ll take four.