World pvp will be back – and I think it’ll be a problem for many. For years now, pvp realms have been about as dangerous as Bambi due to instant teleports and the lack of anything really to get up to in the world, added to the ability to fly and therefore get away. In Mists, lots of the quests are in neutral hubs – theres even one inn in Binan Village where the commander of the allied forces (general dickweed or whoever it is) is sat handing out quests 6 feet from the commander of the horde expeditionary force (the awesome and apparently unkillable Nazgrim.) They argue constantly, it’s fun. If you like standing on a pile of corpses while stunned, unable to hand your quests in.
The ability to phase the realms together when they are low population is going to exacerbate this issue. If you rolled on a PVP realm and then got tired of it or whatever, you probably thought when you read the above you could wait til it was quiet to go questing. Not so. The new phasing/realm compression means it will potentially never be all that quiet ever again. Exactly how busy blizzard will set as the default is currently unknown but it’ll be noticably more difficult to avoid getting ganked by going questing at 9 am on a monday morning or whatnot..
That is also going to apply to the power levellers on release. The tried and tested release levelling tactic is to power ahead of everyone else and have the zones to yourself. Not happening this time out – all the realm first chasers are going to wind up compressed in a zone together, unable to escape the crowd, in fact being their own crowd.
Gearing – I started levelling in DS normal gear mostly, with some off pieces and a herioc DS item or two (plus the legendaries, thanks again awesome guildies!). At level 88 I’d yet to replace anything. Some of it was almost as good, but poorly itemised and obviously minus gems and enchants. Some drops in the 5 mans have been marginally better but really not worth the hassle of enchanting etc for very minor sloping sidegrades. Once you hit the mountain and the yaungol areas, then the green gear starts to become a bit more enticing and the blue stuff is bona fide upgrades. Really though you could probably make your raid gear last the whole way. Why you’d want to is another question. Short version – expect your current gear to last til 88/89.
Time to level – If it goes live like it is now, you’ll ding 90 within 16 hours /played or so if you just sit there and quest with the odd dungeon thrown in. (Assuming you don’t spend a lot of time corpse running/being griefed.) It’s also a bit of a come down to go from fighting Deathwing for the fate of the world to clearing out some fat panda farmers field of rabbits. Especially when they kill you. >.<
Pet battles – are awesome. The floating combat text tells you all you need to know, when you use an attack that your opponent is weak against it’ll tell you, the pets level nice and fast at first then slow down afterwards and the whole thing is very well put together. Plus there are 500 of the bastards to find, which will take some time. You can put your existing pets in cages and flog them on the AH too, ker ching! You can also capture wild pets once you’ve kicked their heads in a bit – I am Ash Ketchum and theres nothing you can do about it. :p Whatever you do avoid dung beetle though, he’s a mean, vicious, a natural born killer.
Pandas – are ok, I guess. The ally/horde both having the same race thing feels odd. Theres a bit of potential for PVP flagging yourself/getting yourself murdered by guards by accidentally stabbing what you think is a friendly panda but I am on a pvp realm and have vanish so live that won’t matter to me much.
Other new races – nothing special, really. Lizardmen, Yakmen, Fishmen etc with a slight asian theme. The Sha are a nice touch though, even if they are mostly just blacklit trash mobs from Arcatraz.
Professions – enchanting seems pretty good. The initial upgrades from the current stuff seem excessive, but that’s part of the fun. 170 haste on boots, 170 hit on gloves for 4 dust and so on. 3000 damage on hit (spell or melee) for one shard – all nice upgrades and very early on. Cooking is still being worked on. The JC/Cooking/fishing dailies from Cata work at giving skill ups per day still, which is nice. The cooking daily currency is updated and can still be used, also a nice touch.
Dungeons – spammable, gimmicky, comical is how I would put them. Obviously designed with wrath sensibilities in mind. Giant rabbits, drunk monkeys, fighting living beer alementals, a talking goldfish, running towards archers with a bale of hay target on your head etc etc as well as the more standard fare or dragons and such.