My post about Halloween is forthcoming, promise.
Instead, I have an even scarier announcement: I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again. THE HORROR.
Yes, it’s true. My fellow TMZers and I have been playing WoW since its original beta, way back when. Typically I’d play a lot for a few months, then take a break, then come back. My most recent hiatus has been about a year and a half. I have to say, the game has changed so much in that time.
First of all, holy crap the water looks great!
Second of all, the latest patch brought about a big change in talent trees: instead of earning a new talent point every level and putting it in whichever tree suited your fancy, the player is forced to announce a specialization and can only put talent points into that tree until she or he has amassed 31 in that tree. While on the one hand this is restricting and may make many double-dipping builds impossible, it really adds a lot to the game by giving specializations core abilities to characters at earlier levels. As a Paladin tank, I found it absurd that I had to invest 21 (or 31, whatever it was) points into Protection just to get Holy Shield, my basic damage reduction and threat ability. That would be level 30 or 40 before I was able to get a core ability, and that’s with spending 0 talent points in other trees. I’m not sure at what level the new abilities are bestowed at in 4.0, but my guess is it’s lower than level 30… and that’s a good thing.
All of this re-working of the talent trees significantly impacted my ability to just jump in and play the game. In fact, I would say I’ve spent about half my time in-game either A.) Picking Talents and buying the new Spells; or B.) Configuring my user interface; or C.) Learning just what my new abilities do. It may sound stupid, but having to re-do the interface for all of my characters is a huge reason why I don’t play more characters. Since I’ve configured the interface for my paladin and my rogue, I’m guessing that those are the two characters that I’m going to be playing. Not that I don’t love my death knight or my mage, but they just lucked out.
There have been a number of changes for both of these characters, but the paladin changes are much more substantial, at least as far as Protection is concerned. The old Wrath 969 rotation is out the window, replaced with a 939 rotation. This new rotation is the result of a new paladin resource: Holy Power. Holy Power is basically combo points for paladins: it is built from using Crusader Strike and other abilities, and can be expended for healing (Word of Glory) or hitting-like-a-truck damage (Shield of Righteousness). The basic idea is that you alternate between doing Crusader Strike and Judgement/Avenger’s Shield/Holy Wrath, taking a break only to slam your shield into the bad guy’s face. There’s a good video by Doxa that illustrates this new paladin tanking rotation, both single target and multi-target.
I stumbled upon the video from a thread on Maintankadin, a great resource for paladin tanks. I watched it twice and went to work on some target dummies. I alternated between trying to fix my @#$%ing interface and mastering this new rotation. It was a long morning, but I think I’ve got the new rotation down. Plus, I added a cool wings that grow on my interface as I get more stacks of Holy Power, shiny!
So ten hours and perhaps three hours of actual gameplay later, I’m back. I really want to get back into tanking, which I love. It’s quite a rush, which is funny since I don’t normally enjoy being the center of attention. Anyway, I think that I’ll dive into the psychology of being a tank later. Right now, I’m just glad to be back. Now I just need to get all of my friends to play on the right server. Grr.
I’m looking forward to Cataclysm, but again, I don’t want to dive into that just yet. I need to get my feet wet with actually tanking with my paladin and ganking with my rogue. That way I can get a better feel for what’s changed.