We casuals are constantly blamed for the "dumbing down" of WoW. The complainers state that we want an easier game and therefore Blizzard is pandering to us. I've babbled on about this before, but I've recently come to a different conclusion. In my house, I'm the casual and my husband is the leet hardcore raider. Which one of us is regularly doing dailies in order to get the Emblems of Triumph for Tier 9 gear? Mr. Raider. Is he PuGging it with casuals or are they all leet hardcore raiding guild runs? The latter. Who complains most in the house about how boring leveling is? The Spousal Unit. The majority of people clamoring for easier leveling and more diverse ways to get their gear are the players with plenty of playtime on their hands. They are the ones speed-leveling multiple characters to 80 in order to fill gaps in their raids. They are the ones that feel that adding two dailies a day to their playtime is easy.
As I have said before, while acquiring Tier 9 badges is certainly within a casual player's grasp, it requires a non-casual time commitment to get gear in a reasonable time frame. If you are playing for a couple hours every day, then you are playing more than most of us "casuals" are. But, the fact is that making the game more accessible to everyone benefits everyone. Look, it's Captain Obvious holding up a "Duh!" sign! Moving on...
Following are highlights of things which affect casuals that actually happened in patch 3.2:
More stacking: I didn't see this in the admittedly copious patch notes, but it seems that the low level pots and meats are stacking in bigger stacks now. The 5 stacks I was forced to send my alts from my Alchemist, combined into 20 stacks when picked up from the mail after the patch. Low level alt bags suddenly got less full.
Mounts: Faster, cheaper, accessible earlier. The world just got smaller and leveling became less travel-ly.
Flying mount clue: Don't know where to buy your flying mount in Outland once you hit 60? As soon as you take a flightpath after leveling to 60, you will receive an email telling you where to go. Spoiler: It's in Hellfire Peninsula.
Wand cooldown: If this was spelled out in the patch notes, I completely missed it. Wands now have an extra cooldown after casting a spell. It took a while for The Spawn to get used to it after the patch while playing Itchee the Gnome Warlock and I'm still having issues.
Vendor prices: Item descriptions for everything in your inventory now include the prices you'll get from a vendor. I love this feature for deciding which greys to delete when my bags get full while questing.
Easy Equipment Comparison: Shift mouseover a piece of gear and you will see a stat comparison. Quest rewards automatically show the same breakdown. You get a clear list of what stats will be affected and by how much, should you choose the new gear over your currently equipped item.
More mailboxes: Old world major cities now have more mailboxes. I particularly like the one located on the path just outside the portal dropoff in Orgrimmar. It's great for when I have to run and spend my AV tokens on combat potions and then pick up the overflow in the mail. AV is still the only BG in which I accumulate any spendable amounts of tokens. We'll get to why this won't change anytime soon below.
Interface changes: There are now exclamation points to point out new features in the Interface menu. The new Features menu includes the Equipment Manager and Talent Preview toggles. I strongly approve of moving Talent Preview from Display to Features, having complained about it before.
Quest Tracker: If something good happened here, it isn't apparent to me. Unlike my original assessment, if I want an informative quest system, I'll reinstall something like Quest Helper.
Crocolisk pet drop increases: There is nothing official from Blizzard about this, but my guildies, Warcraft Pets and I have all noticed that the crocolisk pets are dropping much more frequently from the Bag of Fishing Treasures received after turning in Crocolisk in the City. I still don't have Muckbreath, though I have the other 3. If obtaining the Lil Game Hunter Achievement is on your list, check the daily fishing quest outside of Shattrath for when the quest is available (it differs per server).
Battleground changes and experience: This is my favorite change in the patch. They've made Battlegrounds, faster, less annoying and a way to level up quickly. I love questing. I really do. But the experience gain per time spent is pretty outrageous, particularly in Alterac Valley, where a loss is about a bubble of experience and a win is approximately 2 bubs. I am going to go into this in more detail next column, but if you haven't given BG leveling a try -- you should.
My in-game experience post-Patch 3.2 has been a more pleasant one. My only real issue with playing WoW currently is that I want to play a Goblin now! Yeah, yeah. Patience is a virtue. Blah blah blah. What are your favorite changes since the patch?