My Chars

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Patch 3.0.2 First Impressions

First of all let me say the new patch graphics, entry screen, new loading screens - everything looks good. In terms of looks, this patch is a winner. I tried setting the new shadows to highest setting and it looked nice but my frame rate dropped from 75 fps to 15 :) So I gave that up. But everything else looks fantastic.

The new UI elements all worked well and were nice. The mount/pet interface took me time to understand due to server lag issues which prevented me from playing but once that cleared up it became clear what was going on. The new Achievements screen was a lot of fun to play around with. I was a bit annoyed by all the new "[x] has achieved " messages in the chat window. I didn't find a way to turn them off, even though I ticked off the appropriate box in the chat settings. Probably a bug which I hope will be solved.

Addons - I started with all turned off and started turning them on one by one. Even though I had updated them using the Curse Client, I still had a few which I had to manually update (beta version was not updated, release version was old) and even then a few did not work correctly even then (Outfitter :( ). Still I hope the authors will quickly update all of these.

However I started playing late and with all the playing around with addons, getting to know the new UI and trying to get a few new achievements (Shave and a Haircut :)) time passed quickly and I found myself near the end of the time I could play and still without any talents.

Now to the interesting stuff (for mages :)). I took my 0/58/3 build I outlined in my previous post and learned the new talents, then went to practise a bit on a practise dummy in Ironforge. BTW I have to say the new practise dummies are a fantastic idea, will help a lot in theorycrafting and understanding relative merit of various builds. Too bad I couldn't level my melee skill on them - at least even after a minute of hitting one I didn't get any skill points :( Just make sure you pick on a level 70 one to test your talents - a friend picked a level 80 one by mistake and couldn't understand at first why all his attacks were missing/resisted :)
Right away I noticed my damage per Fireball was not higher compared to my Frostbolts before the patch, and the crits were actually lower. This was an increadible disappointment. Another big issue was mana regen - it was very low and I was running OOM very quickly.

I teleported to Darnassus and flew to Felwood in order to try out the spells on low level mobs (the Timbermaw mobs which I had been grinding for rep). It felt really bad. Before the patch, I was one or 2-shotting these mobs with Frostbolts and was basically able to run around and never drink because my regen was higher than my usage. Now, I was still one or two shotting mobs but my mana was running our insanly fast. I have no idea how full Fire can be now used for anything with such high mana usage and low regen, but now I better understand why beta mages were QQ-ing about mana issues. I am sure as Arcane or Frost I will not have these problems but I was really hoping to have some fun with Fire, plus with the other two trees my DPS will go down even more.
I am also worried about the relatively low damage my fire spells were doing, while it's true my spell power dropped due to missing the Arcane tree talents which increase damage, my fire spells specifically should still have been doing more damage. Adding the occasional instant Pyroblast and refreashing Living Bomb might be good for DPS but will make my mana issues even worse.

BTW the Timbermaw repeatable turn-in quest gave me 330 rep now istead of 165 before the patch, so this was seriously buffed by Blizzard. Nice, will be it much easier to get to Exalted :)

I'm going to try installing an updated Recount and if it works spend as much gold as required to fully comapre my DPS and damage and mana usage on practise dummies for several specs. I'll start with my current spec and compare to a 0/0/61 full Frost build. If I have mana troubles with full Frost, I think I'll give up on my mage for a while and play with just my druid and priest :(

Speaking of my other chars, I haven't even started looking at them... sigh, so much to do, so little time... :D

In spite of the intial server + lag problems, addon and talent troubles and misc small bugs I would say this patch is a huge success. The new content is captivating and while I will be disappointed not to top the damage meters any more, I still expect to have lots of fun - maybe even more than before :)

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