Tag Archives: Patches

A Bit More Bag Space with WoW Patch 7.3.5

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?

Plenty of 30 slot bags on hand since Draenor

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.

Four more slots

I want more, but I’ll take four.

WoW Patch 3.3 Musings

World of Warcraft Patch 3.3 is out today.  There is a big patch download waiting for you and a whole bunch of patch notes to read while that is going on.

In glancing through the notes, a few items jumped out.

Three separate 5-player dungeons — The Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection — containing all new challenges and missions of discovery, await players in normal and Heroic modes.

This could herald the return of the Saturday night instance group to their alliance characters if for no other reason than to continue to be able to say we’ve done all the 5 person instances in Northrend.  Plus it might be interesting to do content that hasn’t been completely analyzed and documented.  Not that it would change our lax pre-instance research, but it would feel a bit different to me.

And I’m not sure what “missions of discovery” are.  A euphemism for “some more quests” or are we talking about something new here?  That phrase only gets used once in the patch notes.

A new feature has been added to the D3D graphics engine to improve texture management (particularly for Windows XP users). If you are experiencing random crashes related to file read errors or out of memory, this new backend may help. To enable the new backend, add the following line to your Config.WTF file: SET gxApi “d3d9ex.”

While I don’t crash constantly in Dalaran any more, I still suffer from what I call the “Dalaran Disease” where I get a texture related crash if I hang out in the city for too long.  Maybe this will fix the issue and I can finally knock-off that fountain fishing achievement.

All level 71-80 Battleground daily quests will now award 25 Arena points in addition to their current rewards.

The welfare epic state continues to grow.  What Blizzard?  Aren’t you going to toss in some arena standing with that as well?  Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Battleground Experience: Battleground experience gained is now based on the level of the player gaining experience, rather than the highest possible player level in that Battleground.

I am truly bummed on this one, since my daughter only shared this information with me last weekend.  We were getting more than 25% of a level in experience per win as level 51 characters in Alterac Valley.  Back to earning experience the old fashioned way by… you know… earning it.  Still, my druid is level 54 now and her hunter is level 55.

Meeting Stones: To use any Meeting Stone, it is only required that the character’s minimum level be 15. There is no maximum character level requirement for any Meeting Stone.

Take that EQ2!  You nerf travel with your veteran rewards, WoW nerfs travel right back at you.  Or something.

Health and Mana Regeneration: These regeneration rates have been increased by up to 200% for low level characters. As a player’s level increases, the regeneration rates gradually reduce, returning to normal rates at level 15.

Spell Mana Costs: These costs have been reduced for almost all lower level spell ranks. In general, if a spell decreased in cost with a higher level rank in patch 3.2.0, that spell now has the decreased cost at all ranks. In addition, spells learned before level 20 with reduced cast times and/or durations have even further reduced mana costs, proportionate to their reduction in cast time or damage.

Okay, I know health and mana management are really painful at lower levels, but I hope we’re not teaching people bad habits.  Oh, and where was this when I actually had some characters under level 20 again?

Haris Pilton now sells a new 24-slot bag! She has stubbornly decided to remain in Shattrath City, so those interested should seek her out there.

If this new bag is still called a Portable Hole I am going to be very grumpy.

But I should have a Corehound puppy waiting for me.  Users of the Blizzard Authenticator got them it seems.

Now which of the items in the patch notes will they have to fix with next Tuesday’s post-patch update?

WoW Patch 2.3 Coming… Slowly

It looks like Blizzard is warming up to deliver Patch 2.3 some time in the near future.  I noticed that a version of it was available for background download last night.

Patch 2.3 includes the somewhat controversial changes to the level 20-60 game that includes a reduction in the experience required to get to level 60, an increase in the amount of experience quests in the level 20-60 range give as a reward, the downgrading of some overland elite bosses, and an adjustment of the 20-60 instances and the drops available in them.

Despite my whine about this being something of a disincentive, like announcing a price cut on a product a month in advance, I think this change is really for the better. 

Three years after launch, the hard core players with lots of time to play have already ground their way to the level cap, probably more than once.  Now is the chance to soften the curve for the more casual player.  Sort of a “friends and relatives” plan to help get them up to the point where they can actually play with some of their hard core friends once in a while and actually have the potential to enjoy the new content offered in The Burning Crusade and the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King.

In fact, and I said this before, I think SOE should take a good, hard look at this idea for EverQuest.  With the level cap there stretching up to 80 soon with the Secrets of Faydwer, the value of those first 50 levels is diminished still further.  While those levels do have their place as an introduction to the lore and landscape of pre-cataclysm Norrath, they primarily serve as a roadblock to accessing the vast majority of the EverQuest content.

But now I am way off my point, which is the fact that Patch 2.3 is available for pre-deployment background download.

Excellent!

Of course, my machine is already having issues, so I declined to let the download go on while I was playing.  Instead I chose the option to download the patch data after I logged off.

The patch itself is sizable, as these minor version number updates tend to be, weighing in at 222 MB.  Sure, that is hardly on the scale of downloading the Vanguard Beta, but it was enough for me to just leave the computer on over night to let it download.

So at 11pm last night the Blizzard downloader started.  I turned off the monitor after seeing in progress a little bit, then headed off to bed.

12 hours later the downloader is 27% into the job, with only 60 of 222 MB downloaded.

60 MB in 12 hours with no other significant CPU or network activity going on.

What is it with Blizzard and patch delivery?  Seriously, three years from launch and this is still an annoyance?  I was bitching about this a year ago.  But with the pre-deployment, I do not have the File Planet option.

I have the downloader set to not throttle downloading.  I have even turned the loathed (by me) peer-to-peer networking on despite its past propensity to randomly kill my network firewall. (And looking at the connection info detail, peer-to-peer has added less than 1 MB to the total downloaded, though my bandwidth has been used to push a lot more data to other people.) 

I have the green “no problems detected” indicator showing.  This download should have been done hours ago.

So Blizzard still does not get a passing grade for patch delivery in my mind.  The pre-deployment background download is a good idea (and something SOE can say they did first), but if all it ends up being is waiting too long for a download before the official patch day rather than on the official patch day, I am not sure they have gotten the point of the whole exercise.

Vivendi just announced spectacular earnings and credited Blizzard and World of Warcraft.  Could the spend a little bit of that largess on polishing the patch deployment mechanism?

[Addendum: It looks like November 13th for Patch 2.3.]