The Anatomy of WoW
Now that Wrath is out, what do you think about taking a look back in time and see how WoW evolved over the last few years. There’s dozens of additions we take for granted since we got used to these features, but most of them are so positive and show how everything can be changed and improved in a myriad of ways.
Can you imagine WoW today without daily quests? Without guild banks, flying mounts or Biscuits? Remember the days when warlock and hunter pets followed us on the ground while we were flying, when there weren’t any battlegrounds or arenas? When warlocks could beat rogues, when quest givers didn’t show up on our minimaps? When meeting stones served as a sort-of LFG tool, when I spoiled the entire post by giving you a summary at the beginning?
Keep reading for a list of changes which shaped WoW to be the most popular MMO game on the market!
- Chat bubbles have been added to the game. Now when a player or NPC uses a /say or /yell chat command, it is displayed in the game screen by default as a chat bubble as well as in the chat log.
- Added minimum level requirements to all instances to prevent exploitive behavior. The minimum levels are very generous and should not affect the normal course of gameplay.
- The Player versus Player Honor System is now active. Players will be able to gain rankings based on their PvP performance, with lucrative rewards for those who distinguish themselves on the field of battle!
- Added diminishing returns to some spells when used in PvP
- Patrolling scouts that can see through stealth and invisibility have been added to Darnassus, Stormwind City, Undercity and Thunder Bluff. The good old days when rogues could easily sneak in.
- Battlegrounds arrive! The Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley Battlegrounds are now available.
- “Team Contribution Points” has been renamed to “Honor”
- Dishonorable kills - Gained by killing a trivial Civilian NPC. Now has a negative impact on a player’s honor. Enough dishonorable kills will reduce a player’s rank to zero.
- Everyone’s favorite Alliance quest, “Deep Ocean, Vast Sea” now gives a substantial coin reward in addition to the choice of item. Blizzard’s attempt to “fix” possibly the most annoying quest ever. Don’t ask me how I remember WI writing about it more than two years ago. And I’m playing horde!
- Players can now target other players in a raid by clicking on their name in the raid window.
- Players can no longer mail or auction an item that they’ve just disenchanted. Darn!
- There is a new way to enter the battleground queues: Battlemasters!
- There is a new option upon the login screen. If you click the “Remember Name” checkbox on the left side of the screen, the game will automatically fill in your account name when it starts up.
- Pets will now enter passive/follow mode when their masters mount.
- You can now only have one Flask affecting you at a time.
- If you shift-click on an item link while you are entering chat text, the item link will now be pasted into your text.
- Arathi Basin added
- The debuff limit has been increased to 16 (from 8).
- “Dressing Room” Interface available! If you control-left click on any item, item reference (vendors, quests) or item link (chat), a UI panel will appear showing your character wearing that item.
- You can create the directory Interface\Icons, and any 32×32 .blp or .tga files you put in there will be available in the icon list for your macros. It’s listed because I didn’t even know I could do that!
- You can now repurchase up to 12 items that you have sold to a vendor. There is now a buyback tab on all merchants that you can select to repurchase the last 12 items you sold since you last logged in.
- Multiple Battleground Queues
- When a player leaves a battleground before it concludes, they will be unable to re-enter any battleground queue for 15 minutes.
- Add-ons, Macros and Keybindings can now be saved on a per character basis, so you can have different characters load different add-ons/macros/keybindings.
- Linked Auction Houses. No need to check AH in each city anymore.
- Added the ability to link enchanting recipes in chat.
- Weather effects introduced
- Quest Experience to Gold Conversion at Level 60: previously, quest experience was wasted if one completed a quest at level 60. In this patch, any quests done at maximum level will have their experience reward converted to a healthy amount of gold, thus adding additional incentive to completing those quests in your log once you hit 60.
- All spells/abilities that remove existing effects (e.g. Dispel Magic, Cleanse, Remove Curse etc…) will now verify that there is an effect that can be removed before casting.
- Relics have been introduced to the game. These are class specific items for Druids, Paladins, and Shaman which can be equipped in the ranged slot.
- Temporary item buffs (e.g. poisons, sharpening stones and shaman weapon buffs) will persist through zoning or logging out.
- Key rings have been added to the game.
- There is now a new raid warning chat channel available to raid leaders and assistants.
- Raid leaders now have a Ready Check button on their raid interface.
- The party leader can now reset a dungeon instance from the interface.
- You can now bind the mousewheel to button actions.
- Cross-Realm Battlegrounds
- New floating combat text has been added to the game with a number of options. You can see when you take damage, when you are healed and how much, when you acquire and lose auras and much more. You can turn on the new options in the newly revised options screen. One of the most used addons — SCT, just got obsolete!
- Honor system completely revamped (no more ranks etc.)
- Marks of Honor earned from battlegrounds can no longer be turned in for reputation or honor.
- Nagrand and Blade’s Edge arenas introduced
- All pets will now receive a percentage of their master’s armor, spell damage, spell resistances, attack power, and stamina.
- Low-level spells cast by high-level players will receive smaller bonuses from +healing and +spell damage.
- New item property “Resilience” has been introduced. Resilience reduces your chance to be the victim of a critical strike, and reduces the amount of damage critical strikes do to you.
- HoTs from different sources will now stack (i.e. multiple druids can cast the Rejuvenation spell on 1 target).
- In PvP, Crowd Control effects will last no longer than 12 seconds instead of the full duration, with a chance of a heartbeat resist. It was later reduced even further to 10 seconds.
- A new Looking For Group tool designed to assist players in finding groups for instanced dungeons and quests will now be available.
- Renataki’s Charm of Trickery, Gri’lek’s Charm of Might and several other received similar changes. Also, dozens of other items were changes in various ways, such as Thistle Tea.
- Healthstones and summoned warlock pets will no longer cost a soulshard to summon in the Arena preparation area. All summoned items and pets will be dismissed on leaving the arena.
- New interface options: Open Loot Window at Mouse and Disable Lua Errors
- You can now link recipes into chat.
- Active corpses or objects (ones with loot on them) now can be selected and looted, even if they are underneath another corpse that does not have loot on it. It was especially annoying when AoE grinding - it was nearly impossible to loot all corpses.
- Spells that have reagent costs will show the number of uses left in the lower right corner of the action icon, just like consumable items on the action bar.
- The fishing timer has been reduced from 30 to 20 seconds and it now takes less time to fish. In addition, the fishing timer can no longer run through its duration without a fish biting.
- Fishing has been removed from Arathi Basin and Alterac Valley. Possibly the first change to battle AFKers.
- Gathering skills no longer fail when you have reached the maximum skill possible.
- You can now interact with wanted posters while mounted. I’m sure many of you find this trivial, but it was an important change for me.
- Druid Epic Flight Form introduced
- Skettis, Netherwing and Ogri’la introduced. The addition of daily quests killed the gold making strategies more than it killed the gold selling industry.
- The Ruins of Lordaeron Arena added
- Screenshots captured using the Print Screen key are now saved in JPG format.
- Inspect distance has been increased to 30 yards (from 10 yards).
- Dodge Rating: Low level players now calculate dodge from dodge rating at the same rate as level 34 players. Level 10 rogue soloed VanCleef.
- Arena changes: the cyclone in the Nagrand Arena has been removed and a tightrope in the Blades Edge Arena that connects the main bridge to the columns added.
- Battleground matchmaking system implemented. Seems to be working only with premades, and does a poor job at that anyway.
- Warlock and Hunter pets will now be automatically dismissed when you summon a mount. These pets will return on dismount. Pets used to follow us on the ground when we used flying mounts and even aggroed the creatures, until they finally “fixed” the issue.
- Tranquilien Reputation Items: Some of the items on this vendor were disenchantable. They no longer are disenchantable. Most of you don’t remember this I guess, but it was a serious moneymaker back in the days.
- In-game mail containing money will now have a one hour delay and is no longer instantaneous. Auction House generated emails for successful auction sales are still instantaneous. In addition, you are now able to right click a player name to report them to GMs for spam. Please note that reporting any other issues through this method may result in them not being processed correctly. Several changes to fight gold spam and gold selling with questionable results.
- Many flight paths have been adjusted to be shorter, faster flights. It used to be something like this when I took a flight from Thunder Bluff to Camp Taurajo: CT, Crossroads, Ratchet, CS, CT.
- In the Black Morass, gnomes are now able to run through the water like other races. It was hilarious watching them cry about it: they had a point but I still laughed my ass off.
- Druids in Swift Flight form can no longer loot herb nodes. I’m not sure that actually was ever fixed… Phae?
- PvP Trinkets: Insignia of the Alliance, Insignia of the Horde, Medallion of the Alliance, and Medallion of the Horde have all been redesigned. The trinkets for all classes now have the same effect: Dispels all movement impairing effects and all effects that cause loss of control of your character.
- Voice Chat feature available. I tried using it once, didn’t work, haven’t tried since.
- Reporting players as being AFK in battlegrounds by right clicking has been added. Not that it helped.
- Auction House generated emails for successful auction sales will now have a one-hour delay and is no longer instantaneous. Another anti gold-selling feature which only caused additional inconvenience to 99% of their player base.
- Meeting Stones can no longer be used to summon players that do not meet the level requirements.
- Players are no longer able to change armor once an arena battle has begun.
- NPC’s with level appropriate quests will now always appear on your minimap as yellow exclamation points. In addition flight masters that you have not yet gotten the flight point for will display on the minimap as a green exclamation point.
- When you inspect another player, you can now see their talent choices as well as their equipment.
- All players now have a tracking bubble on their minimap. From that menu you can select a specific type of vendor or npc to look for or you can select a specific tracking type if your character has tracking.
- Game objects that you can interact with will now sparkle and display their name over the object to make them more obvious. Questgiving objects will now display an exclamation point above them when they have a quest for you. Quest completion objects will display a question mark. It used to be a real bitch finding certain objects when even Wowhead couldn’t help.
- The Requirement for Heroic Keys has been lowered to Honored. Right after I farmed rep on both chars.
- Players can now track fishing nodes. Doesn’t change the fact fishing is still an incredibly dull tradeskill.
- Significant changes to Alterac Valley, most notably adding reinforcements.
- Battleground daily quests added
- Random Daily Dungeon quests have been added for both the heroic and non-heroic instances
- Pets will try to get behind their targets when engaging in melee combat. It didn’t turn out as good as it sounds, but I’d say it was a positive change in most situations.
- Client spell cast requests are now sent to the server even if your player is already casting another spell. This eliminates the need for /stopcasting in macros to compensate for latency.
- Almost all items and enchantments that provide bonus healing now also provide a smaller number (approximately 1/3) of bonus spell damage. If you ask me (and you better be), this was one of the best changes ever.
- Many leveling improvements have been made for the old world, most notably the amount of experience needed to gain a level has been decreased between levels 20 and 60
- Guild Banks introduced
- The various Hallow’s End broom mounts now have their proper real-time (rather than game-time) duration of 14 days. It kinda killed my gold making plans which I’m okay with, but I’ll never forgive Blizz for not giving us a permanent broom.
- You can now link quests into the chat log by Shift-Clicking on the quest name in the quest log.
- Resilience has been added to all Retribution Paladin PvP gear. If you’re asking yourself why it wasn’t there in the first place, nobody knows. Took two arena seasons for paladins to get resilience.
- Attunements no longer required for Hyjal, Black Temple and Karazhan. Opened up these raids to a lot of new players. Although the ones who finished the attuments QQed about it, overall it’ was a positive change in my book.
- Players can now turn in one of each battleground mark for an honor reward.
- Diminishing returns on honor for kills eliminate, and honor is instantly calculated.
- The Sunwell Isle. The biggest and most badass quest hub which I’m sure will see a decent number of players even in future.
- Apprentice Riding and mounts are now available at level 30
The last patch before Wrath also brought plenty of changes and additions - most of it should be considered as expansion-material.
- Barber shops
- Hit Rating, Critical Strike Rating, and Haste Rating now modify both melee attacks and spells.
- All “old” raids significantly nerfed
- New calendar feature
- Mounts and non-combat pets no longer take our bag space
- Quests can be shared with party members at any distance, and also by linking it in party chat
- Druids and Shaman can now use items while shapeshifted
Whether or not Wrath has enough new features I’ll leave up to you to decide, but I’m interested in hearing what you think made the most impact on World of Warcraft as we know it today: was it daily quests, arenas, or something I left out; did something made you come back to WoW even after you quit? What change was the most significant for you?