World of Warcraft's Patch 6.0 went live worldwide on Tuesday. This massive update brought huge changes to the MMORPG in preparation for Warlords of Draenor.
Some of the changes were controversial. Trade chat is filled with peoples' complaints about the new character models, for example. However, many of Patch 6.0's features should be very popular. Here are the best changes in the patch.
Arena Skirmishes ReturnAfter years of absence, skirmishes are back for Arenas. Players can team up with friends or strangers in matches that won't affect their Arena ranking. The feature had been removed around the launch of Cataclysm.
Fans have been clamoring for this change for a long time. Skirmishes allow new players to dip their toe into Arenas, a notoriously hardcore activity. Some of them might be scared away, but others will stick with it. This will help Arena attract new blood even this late into WoW's lifespan.
This is also a great feature for veterans. It enables them to try out new strategies or team compositions without penalty. Skirmishes are a new research tool that will help one of the most competitive parts of the game become even more competitive.
Merged Auction HouseMany servers in WoW suffer from a serious imbalance between the two factions. In some cases, Horde or Alliance players outnumber their rivals by over 10 to 1.
If you belong to the minority faction on a server, you're in a rough spot. Less players means that prices for essential trade goods will be much higher. You have to pay more to get the materials you need for day-to-day activities like raiding.
However, Patch 6.0 merges the Horde and Alliance auction houses together. The seldom-used, neutral auction houses in goblin towns have been combined with the faction houses as well. This doesn't completely correct the imbalance between factions on a server but at least erases one major disadvantage for the underdogs.
Reforging Is GoneReforging was a feature with good intentions. Blizzard wanted players to be able to alter the stats for equipment to make it more useful to their characters. It was a way to make a limited pool of gear suitable for a wide range of classes and specs.
However, reforging just wasn't a very fun addition to the game. It just added another layer of micromanagement to gear. When you received a new gear, you no longer had to worry just about the enchants or gems. You now had to worry about reforging it to hit a certain stat goals. Sometimes these goals meant revising your reforges on other gear. Players had to use third-party calculators to ensure that they reached, for example, the spell hit cap without any misused points.
Now that reforging has been removed from the game altogether, players are more vulnerable to chance with loot drops. If they receive a piece of gear that's not optimal, they can't mold it to their liking. However, at least they'll spend less time staring at numbers and more time playing the game.
Inventory Cleaned UpPatch 6.0 potentially freed up dozens of bag slots for players. It did so through a couple simple changes.
A new Toy Box stores all of your random-ass knick-knacks. Once you right-click a toy, it's consumed and permanently "learned" like a mount or pet. You no longer have to carry around an Orb of Deception or Iron Boot Flask in your bags on the off-chance you'll want to use it.
Crafting materials, another drain on bag space, have become easier to deal with as well. Players can buy a Reagent Bank for 100g where all these materials can be stored. These items can be used for crafting without taking them from this storage. Many reagents also stack up to 200 now so even if they're in your bag, they're much less of a nuisance.
Guild Levels RemovedGuild levels, like reforging, was a feature that sounded good on paper. It gave the guild a common goal to strive for. Everyone was working together to gain experience for the guild so they could unlock perks.
This feature had unintended consequences, though. Some guild masters invited huge numbers of players solely to maximize experience gains. Guilds that had unlocked high-level perks were bought and sold. Players were discouraged from creating brand-new guilds by the significant time investment needed to earn all 25 levels.
While level have been removed, Blizzard kept many of the best aspects of the old system. Guilds still have access to perks like Mass Resurrection and a mobile bank. They just don't have to wait weeks or months for this privilege.