The first patch cuts the deepest

It’s now about 3 months since Wrath was released and the first patch is a disappointment. As I write this, our EU warcraft servers are being patched up for patch 3.08. I wouldn’t recommend following that link to the patch notes unless you are very bored. It’s basically a long list of minor changes to items and class abilities.

So we have a balancing patch. Aside from the usual opportunities to make some gold by spotting where any crafted items have changed, there is absolutely nothing to get excited about.

The only thing I can find remotely interesting is that my crafted helm is getting retroactively upgraded and will probably now be way better than the nice purple helm I picked up on Saturday. And my warlock will no longer have to go to the arse end of beyond to make ebonweave cloth.

Balancing vs Content

Balance is definitely good. If we could all agree on what balance meant that would be even better but everyone likes balance; and we all tend to define balance as our class being on top. Bug fixing is good too. Bug fixing which also affected balance is even better.

There are a few nerfs in this patch also, and people always take these things to heart even if they can privately agree that it may have been needed. Priests and Druids catch a nerf to their raid healing — none of my druid friends are actually bothered about this, and most of the priests tend to agree that spamming one spell to heal the raid was dull in any case.

The funny thing with the priests is that Blizzard did something similar in TBC. Prayer of Mending originally had no cooldown, but because people were spamming it in PvP, a cooldown got added in the first balance patch. You’d think they’d learn.

However, this is not the patch that Warcraft needs right now. People are getting bored, it’s the time to add some new content. The big question is going to be when the first CONTENT patch is due. We’re starting to get some information about the next raid instance but no idea on the timings.

On a broader sense, it’s probably a good thing for the MMO genre that Blizzard is slow to patch. It gives other games a chance to get more content out in the interrim and lure gamers away for a few months.

There are worse ways to play than to try all the new content sequentially.

So, things to do during maintenance

Try the new demo for Galactrix Puzzlequest. I loved Puzzlequest and look forwards to making many long train rides go by quickly by playing this on the DS. It is a more complex game than the original but a sign that the design is solid is that my play experience on the demo went:

  1. Huh, what’s this all about? The complexity, it burns!
  2. This is impossible
  3. Grr, the computer is cheating
  4. Hah! Take that computer, I still lost but it took much longer
  5. My first win! Was a bit lucky but maybe it isn’t impossible
  6. This is easy. Does it have a hard mode?