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An optimists roundup: Things I'm excited about in Patch 2.4

Amanda Dean

Every new patch to World of Warcraft brings buffs, nerfs, new content, and sweeping changes. The game has evolved tremendously from when I first started playing two years ago. I was thrilled with Hunter changes and leveling tweaking in patch 2.3. Sure there are plenty of things to be unhappy about, but I'm a "glass is half full" kind of girl. Read on for a roundup of the top ten changes I'm most excited about.

Seriously, the old one was kind of lame. Perhaps the old icon could have been cool if the lightning bolts to the side were yellow instead of pink. We'll leave the Hammer of Justice icon to the Paladins. The new icon captures the power of the Stormstrike ability and looks much more Shamanistic. I can't complain a bit about a totem timer. instant cast Ghostwolf isn't bad for two talent points either. Maybe it's because I'm Resto specced, but of all my level 70s, it's my Shaman I love the best.

I really like that Blizzard is making an attempt to recognize their UI shortcomings and correct them. The new UI will include a threatmeter and a customizable combat log. This change mirrors some common addons for players, and Blizzard reports that the changes are facilitate rather than eliminate interface modifications.

I've found the flight time from Orgrimar to Tanaris for CoT instances to be an excellent time to take my dogs for a walk. It takes forever, and then there's the jog across the zone to the CoT. True, there's already a summoning stone there, but at least two poor players have to make the trek.

Some people love this change, other people hate it. Since I do not raid, I'm in the former camp. I invested in Blacksmithing to make the Lionheart Blade, because I love it above all other swords. I expected to be able to upgrade it to the Lionheart Champion, but Lionheart Executioner seems out of reach. True, I'll pay an excessive sum for the Nether Vortexes (if this change even goes live), but it will be worth it. (Please let this fly, Blizzard, pretty please).

I'm kind of tired of waiting for honor to roll before I can get my shiny new gear. Diminishing returns have consistently caused an overestimation of my honor gains and I've been repeatedly disappointed when it's off by thousands of honor. With new changes, I will be instantly gratified for my PvP activities.

Alright, so the closest my Hunter is ever going to get to this beauty will be in the center of Shattrath where it's wielder will likely be posed. Still, it's awesome to see a new Legendary weapon. I will be very jealous of it, not because of the stat and DPS bonuses, but because the proud bearer of this weapon will be able to carry five bags.

Alright, it's still not perfect, but Blizzard is trying to make this battleground more bearable. I'm thrilled that both flags will be trackable. As it stands WSG is a huge time sink compared to the amount of honor I typically get out of it, even for a win. I trust that blizzard will tweak the time it takes for the damage debuff to begin. I also hope that the changes to Alterac Valley satisfy both sides so that everyone will stop protesting and start queuing up.

Admittedly, I will never set hoof inside the Sunwell Plateau, but I'm glad that it's there. I will most likely poke my nose around Magister's Terrace at least once or twice. I'm not a major lore junky, but I do love the visuals in new zones. My understanding is that Sunwell Isle is designed to give Alliance players a peek at Blood Elf Architecture. For me, I think it'll be a nice change from the drab purple tones in Netherstorm. New quests and instances are good, but pleasant to the eye is also important to me. Since Arena Season three came hot on the heels of patch 2.3, I'm excited that once the Sunwell comes, Season four won't be too far behind.

I have a confession to make. I didn't get my epic land mount until the day that the Burning Crusade came out. I was playing undead priest at the time. Gold was much more difficult to come by back then. I saved up my marks and I wanted to be the first person to get an epic warchicken. The first thing I did after I loaded the expansion was to dash into the hall of legends to lay claim to my fancy, feathered mount. I was heartbroken that it wasn't there. How could they not have a battlebird? I settled for the Red Skeletal Warhorse and moped off into the Dark Portal. The priest is now a retired level 70. If the Swift Warstrider was black instead of white, I would consider suspending her retirement.

This is defiantly the best of all. I love battlegrounds. I love honor. I love not having battleground marks of honor decaying in my inbox. That makes this new quest a win win win situation for me. Since my current characters include two Tauren and a Blood Elf Paladin who has no intentions of dismounting her Charger for a giant chicken, I won't need my marks for the Warstrider. I'll be saving up for honor, glory, and shiny new epics.

To be fair, as a Shaman, I have been a little bit intoxicated on the delicious Warlock tears that have been flowing so freely lately. But relax everyone, this is just the test realm and absolutely nothing on it is set in stone. There's still plenty of time to nerf Shaman and distribute Mortal Strike to all classes. There will be changes as Blizzard dials it in and the last PTR build will be different from the Patch 2.4 that goes live. I can't wait to see what else the developers come up with, but I find there's plenty here to be happy about.

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