Though there is not a lot of real headline news coming from Blizz these days, we did finally get a bit more data-mined information about Patch 8.2.5, along with the announcement that a new build will soon be deployed to the PTR. There was hardly anything earth-shaking to be found in this data dump, but it is at least somewhat satisfying to know Blizz is still moving the expansion along.
8.2.5 is what Blizz used to call a “minor” patch, and they have certainly lived up to that so far with this one. It would be hard to get any more “minor” and still legitimately call the changes a patch. (Wowhead has a good summary of everything we know so far about the patch.) Still, I have paid attention to a few forthcoming changes.
Worgen model updates. (Also Goblin, but I am not interested in those.) As my main these days is a female Worgen, I have been waiting for this literally for years while Blizz has dithered and hinted and promised and delayed. Now that it is almost a reality, I feel kind of let down. For one thing, the new female Worgen look a bit too “pretty” for my taste — come-hither batting eyelashes, coquettish smile. Leave that sort of thing to the lightweight human females, I say! Worgen should be fierce, no-nonsense warriors (in the generic sense of the word). The females should be as tough as, say, female Klingons. They absolutely should NOT look like they are about to invite their bff’s over to all paint their nails and try on makeup together! What’s next — pink armor with unicorns and daisies on it?
Speaking of armor, while Blizz has finally got around to updating the Worgen models, apparently they could not be bothered to give us some decent heritage armor for them at the same time, as they have done for nearly all the other updated races. No, what we got from Blizz was another one of their “soon™” statements, which of course is what they gave us for years regarding the character models.
The one thing I wanted to happen with the new models is for that ridiculous constant snuffling to be gone, but I have not seen anything mentioning it one way or the other. Especially with the new “Ooh, look at how girly I am!” appearance, keeping that gross snuffling just does not fit.
Bee mount. I think the only two questions about this are first, what kind of a long drawn out tedious grindy quest line will Blizz make us do for it, and second, will Blizz cave to the Horde whines and make it — or a way cooler version of it — also available to them?
Party sync. I am cautiously optimistic about one part of this and realistically suspicious about the other. Here is Blizz’s explanation of it thus far:
During this PTR we’re experimenting with a new mode that makes it easier for players in a party to do quests and play together: Party Sync. When players activate Party Sync, everyone in the party becomes aligned to the same quest state, including phases. By mousing over a quest in your tracker, you can see who is on the quest, what their progress is, and who’s ready to turn in the quest. There’s something else we’re going to try out on the PTR, a “replay” quest feature. This will allow players who have already completed certain quests to replay those quests with their friends for rewards that are appropriate to their current level, regardless of the original level of the quest.
We’re also relaxing level restrictions on queueing for instanced content with your friends. This allows lower-level players to queue for content in their level range, and higher-level players can choose to join them by having their level scaled down while they’re in the instance. This feature will be available for dungeon instances for PTR Week 1, with PvP instances being flagged in the following weeks. Please note that unlike Timewalking, when your level is scaled down via Party Sync you will temporarily lose access to abilities and powers (such as Azerite traits) with requirements that exceed your reduced level.
Being able to revisit quest lines you have already completed, in order to quest with a lower level friend, sounds like a good idea. Even better, players can choose to activate this feature or not. So far so good.
But I am not clear (and possibly that is Bizz’s intent) on the other part of it — the scaling down for lower level instances. Is this, too, a player toggle choice, or will it be automatic? (Blizz has a nasty habit of starting out with player choice then morphing into a state of “that which is not forbidden is compulsory”…) Does it mean the end of being able to carry a low level friend through lots if instances? At what point will the idea of “lower level” kick in — for example, will it apply to current normal/heroic/mythic dungeons? If you are a hotshot ilevel-430 player and wish to carry some sub-120 level friends through normal dungeons to help them level, will you now lose your ability to do so easily?
That trust thing, Blizz — your words on this so far have the unpleasant ring of doublespeak, very similar to the “Cool new mount equipment slot!” scam.
Cosmetic glyphs for hunters: Meh. On paper kind of a cool idea to be able to sort of select the kind of Dire Beast being summoned, but let’s be honest here, how many hunters really take the Dire Beast talent any more, even for M+. It has rather puny power, and its short cooldown means you need to pretty much spam it constantly to get any measurable benefit from it. After trying for several weeks to use it in my M+ build, I finally gave up because it was just too damn annoying to use for minimal if any advantage.
Nerf to primary stat gems. I honestly do not know if this is a good or a bad change. Basically, the Leviathan’s Eye primary stat gem will be nerfed from its current +120 primary stat buff to +100. On its face this seems bad, but I am all for it if it means gear with gem slots will lose some of their overpowered status — currently it is not unusual, for example, for a gemmed 400-ilevel piece of gear to be more powerful than even a 30- to 40-ilevel upgrade without a gem. If, as reported, Blizz is also downgrading the influence of secondary stats on gear, then it might be a positive move.
The one change I most ardently desire for the next expansion is a huge simplification of the gear system. We need to get back to a state where a gear level increase is always an upgrade. Period. I am abso-effing-lutely fed up with having to run high-powered computer simulations to decide if I should equip new gear or not. I am sick and tired of having the “bag” ilevel higher than the “equipped” ilevel. It’s insane, and it just feels bad!
War campaign conclusion? The latest build contains a hint or two that 8.2.5 will feature the last installment of the the expansion-long War Campaign. While I think so far this has been a decent vehicle for advancing the BFA story line, I also think there has not been much that substantively addresses the original sin of this expansion — full Horde complicity in the heinous war crime of burning Teldrassil. And no, Saurfang’s Macbethian angst means nothing, since he by his silence has enabled Sylvanas and thereby given tacit approval to her criminal action.
If indeed the War Campaign is about to end, then at least for me the Horde must be held fully accountable for its actions. I will not take kindly to some contrived Alliance “bad action” that leads to a stupid “We have all sinned, so let us now forgive and forget and be friends forevermore” type of conclusion. Again, just my opinion, but Blizz crossed a line with the way they got to the Burning of Teldrassil, and they need to redeem themselves for this in a way that is just as dramatic and morally far-reaching as Sylvanas’s and the Horde actions.
Additionally, I will see it as a cop-out if the finale to this righteous Alliance war is “resolved” by some “save the planet” joining of forces. It would be wrong to simply forgive-and-forget the burning of innocents because we all have to pull together to
fight global climate change save Azeroth’s core.
Blizz got itself into this mess by going overboard on the pre-expansion drama, and they need get itself out of it with an equally-dramatic conclusion. No wussing out.
OK, that was my emotion for the day. And the week. Enjoy your weekend, see you on the other side.