17
Oct
08

3.0.2: Echoes of Boom!

So World of Warcraft patch 3.0.2: Echoes of Doom is finally upon us, and through some absurd miracle I’ve been able to download it without hitting my monthly bandwith limit yet. My thoughts on the patch are.. mixed, at best. There’s some things good, some things really bloody great and.. well.. some things that are significantly beyond crap. It was expected, and as a sign of my pessimism it’s not been quite as bad an experience as I expected, but I still feel just a tad short-changed by the whole thing.

Patch day was, as expected, rather.. unstable – old Earthen Ring (also popularily called “the Hamster”) was really creaking at the seams throughout wednesday and it was still a fair bit slow and unresponsive at times throughout thursday. It’ll stablilize of course – we’ve been through all of this before – but with people telling me that most other servers weren’t as bad off, I can’t help but wonder whether Blizzard actually ever managed to sort out the gremlins that seemed to haunt it since day one.

So, starting off – Achievements are fun, yes. I admit this. I utterly broke my bank getting the Dragon of Ugly in the picture there (in my defense, I’d managed to mix up my memory to the point where I was half expecting one of the awesome-looking Proto Dragons), but atleast now I have a plethora of rides to pick from without clogging my inventory. My Winterspring Frostsaber and War Hippogryph remain my primary means of travel, of course, but it’s nice to have alternatives just for fun.

Glyphs are definitely interesting – I managed to find a Glyph of Blurred Speed for only two gold on the auction house and have since found certain amounts of glee in the prospect of running on water out of own power rather than bringing a pet Shaman or Shaman-on-a-Bottle with me for it.

I was hoping to try the new shadow engine included, but for some reason my framerate has been significantly crap even normally – it utterly caves in on itself when I enable the shadows even at lowest setting. I’m not sure where exactly all the performance goes (I expected a GeForce 7900 to perform better than this, really) but knowing my shaky machine, it’s probably got more bottlenecks than a bottle factory.

The change to raids and instances was.. interesting. I can understand why the change was there (though I’d admit it was potentially just a tad overkill) and what the intention was with it, but I can also understand people feeling disappointed with no longer having a challenge. Suddenly tearing down Netherspite so quickly that he never went into a second beam phase was pretty insane, and all of Karazhan was on that level – Zul’Aman wasn’t much better with us ripping a hole through it something fierce and going from no timed chests last week to all four with some eight minutes to spare post patch.

This doubled with tank classes having gotten a significant passive threat increase and doing far more damage – our Paladin tank has mentioned feeling that between the instance nerf and the double over threat boost making threat essentially a non-issue, there’s a significant lack of challenge going until Wrath shows up.

Which brings me to 3.0.2 and tanking, which is a whole new ballpark with the patch. Protection Warriors, Protection Paladins and Bear Druids have all gotten their threat shot through the roof. Rogues, not being a by-Blizzard designated tank class, have not. Coupled with the significant loss of avoidance from diminishing returns, I’ve had a feeling of being slightly useless post patch, where I’m just some random damage (and not even awesome at it) compared to being this Night Elven Army Knife of Amazing Utility I used to be.

Now, it’s not a complete death blow – I still got.. well.. decent enough threat to match damage dealers on my level, atleast so long as they understand that I don’t have the insane threat output of the proper tank classes. It takes a bit more tricky movement and setting up however as once an enemy goes for the paladin tank, they won’t be getting off there anytime soon. Even if you so drag the things away by sheer force. I also definitely feel a fair bit more fragile than I used to – it’s not like I suddenly exploded or had Cheat Death trigger mid-Karazhan, but my health bar didn’t feel as solidly determined to stay high as it used to.

I did manage to off-tank Attumen without incident while the Paladin was holding onto Midnight to be slain, so it wasn’t horrible. But I’ve had this subjective feeling of loss.

Of course, I do know that I’m still lacking the whole level 80 bit – 10 more talent points will do their share of improvement, as will Fan of Knives. I can already say that I love having Vanish (lack of reagent makes it feel more usable, too), Evasion, Sprint and all on only two minutes of cooldown, with Premeditation on only 20 seconds. The new incarnation of Setup is just lovely, too – works very nicely when soloing melee as well.

I also have to say I love Dismantle – the sound, the look, everything.

Ultimately.. I feel.. incomplete. 3.0.2 changed some things without giving the whole package. With my focus and specialization being what it is, I’ll need level 80 to take full advantage of everything new that’s offered. All I can do is wait and see where things’ll land in Wrath with level 80. Less than a month away, perhaps I’ll feel more complete once I’m there.

As customary with a major patch, Blizzard also managed to break a fair bit of user interfaces. After a day of tweaking and looking for solutions, I managed to get some simpler mods I couldn’t find updates for working again – Hear Kitty and my own personalized TreeHugger UI both just required adjustments for the change to the GetComboPoints() function and that the PLAYER_COMBO_POINTS event had been changed to UNIT_COMBO_POINTS. My own version of LanguageCycle needed an additional reference to make a SetTextColor() call and soforth. I got to indulge in the fun of figuring out how to make the Ace3 DogTagUnit library able to retrieve information from ImmersionRP – a mod that’ll need some serious repairs to keep working (and with the maintainer having dropped it, I’m guessing I’ll have to figure those out myself).

I’m still waiting for simpleMinimap to be updatedl provided it will be, and Cartographer will likely need a fix too – trying out the new Cartographer 3 in the meantime which is.. really cool, but also really unfinished. Moving from Bartender3 to Bartender4 wasn’t much of a hassle at all.

I’m still planning to see if I can find time to rewrite TreeHugger UI to use oUF in the hopes that it’ll make it more optimized than my atrociously CPU-wasting code. But that basically needs both the time and the urge, and with everything else happening we’ll simply have to see when that comes.

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3 Responses to “3.0.2: Echoes of Boom!”


  1. 1 Nishlamena
    October 17, 2008 at 18:23

    ImmersionRP still lives. Seagale said someone is going to make it compatible with the new patch and WoTLK.

  2. 2 Seagale
    October 18, 2008 at 00:21

    Shannae has published a WotLK-compatible version of IRP here:

    http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info10273-ImmersionRPContinued.html

    Apparently it throws up a couple of harmless error messages but otherwise works just fine. I’ll be helping her fix those errors soon.

    Nice to know you’re still around, Nhani. I’ve been missing our RP community lately. Say hi to Darkshine and the rest for me, please!

    Love,
    Seagale.

  3. 3 Nhani
    October 18, 2008 at 07:01

    Hey hey!

    I didn’t know anyone was actually continuing it – I was kindof expecting to go the LanguageCycle way of figuring out what they changed with the UI myself so I could keep using it at least.

    From what I could gather, part of the issue is that Blizzard made the Button structure no longer include or inherit the FontString structure but instead having GetNormalFontObject() and SetNormalFontObject(font) – my LanguageCycle tweak had this issue and none others, really.

    I know they changed the tooltip somehow too, but I’ve been relying on TinyTip and now CowTip for that and just tweaked those instead of using the ImmersionRP tooltip functions 😉

    Anyhow, nice to hear from you. I’ll let my local bunch know about IRP still having some kind of life to it 😉


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