The highlight feature of patch 1.9 is quite obviously the Ahn'Qiraj raid zones and the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj event. I don't have much to say on that topic in this edition of Archivist because I've already done it. If you're interested in reading about the Gates event, head over to the Archivist dedicated to that topic.
We haven't covered the Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest chain in depth yet because it was just massive and really deserves its own edition of the column. I have a plan for tackling that. Keep an eye on the site for it!
Linked auction houses
For a little over a year after the game's launch, World of Warcraft didn't have linked auction houses. The Horde's auction house was found in Orgrimmar, and the Alliance's auction house sat in Ironforge. You couldn't do your shopping in Undercity or Stormwind or any other location. You were tethered to the unofficial capital cities of your faction.
Originally, very early in the game's development, all cities had auction houses, but they were not linked. So if you posted an auction in Stormwind, only people who viewed the auction house in Stormwind could buy your goods; people in Ironforge or Darnassus could not. All of those extraneous auction houses were removed because the whole system was pretty dumb, and Blizzard knew it.
Linked auction houses was a leisure-time game changer. The entire playerbase wasn't required to live in Orgrimmar and Ironforge. Thanks to linked auction houses, you could set your hearthstone in any of the three capitals. If you played the game back in 2004 and 2005, you know how important this was. Having the ability to avoid Ironforge was a gift from the gods. Ironforge was one big bundle of lag that added insult to injury by including a huge pit right between the bank and the auction house. Nine times out of 10, you would fall right into that pit trying to travel between the two places. You spent more time crawling out of a hole in the ground than you did actually conducting your business.
Paladin class revamp
Many players like to say that Blizzard doesn't know what it's doing with the game from one moment to the next. They like to say that the developers have no idea what direction they're taking X class or Y feature. In almost every one of those cases, I vehemently disagree. There is one exception: paladins.
The paladin class has been overhauled so many times that all of the major revamps start to run together in my mind. Every expansion has seen a completely new paladin dynamic, and patch 1.9 matched that on a slightly smaller scale. Players nowadays like to mock retribution paladins for being a faceroll spec, but my God. Players should be appreciative that retribution has even that, because it wasn't always true. Paladins have come a long, long way. Here's the ret DPS rotation from 2005:
Cast your Seal.
Cast Judgement (which wipes out your seal).
Re-cast your Seal and then auto-attack while tabbed out until your Judgement cooldown is ready. This is called the AFK Porn Maneuver.
That's it. No strikes, nothing. Crusader Strike, paladins' first melee ability, was taken away in the World of Warcraft beta and was not reimplemented until The Burning Crusade. The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, and then Cataclysm's holy power addition all changed how the class functions on a very base level, and I don't think any other class has been as consistently inconsistent as the paladin class. If you play a paladin main, you need to learn how to play something completely different every year or two. Speaking from experience, it's not always fun.
While we're here, let me teach you a fun trick: Want to know if a paladin has been playing since classic WoW or not? Ask him about his Egan's Blaster and Whitesoul Helm.
Next week on the Archivist
... I'm not sure yet, actually. Let's hear some requests, people!