Blizzard has finally announced the impending release of Patch 2.3, scheduled for next Tuesday. Season 3 Arena will begin the following Tuesday, giving everyone a one week grace period to get their UIs, builds, and changed abilities straightened out. Every major patch (any patch where the tenths digit in the version number is incremented) represents substantial changes to the game. And with a little bit of preparation, you can be ready to hit the ground running come patch day. Here are a few recommendations:
Guild Member 1 has come online. You tell the guild, ‘Hey, GM1!” Guild Member 1 has gone offline. You tell the guild, ‘Errr…’ Guild Member 1 has come online. Guild Member 1 tells the guild, ‘#$@^&!’ Guild Member 1 has gone offline. Guild Member 1 has come online, ‘does anyone know where I can download essential addon around which GM1 has based his entire Azerothian existence??? Curse is down.’
Don’t be that guy. The guy who doesn’t have all his UI ducks in a row the day the patch is released. While there are exceptions, you should be able to find updates for just about every UI addon you use, all shined up for Patch 2.3. Make a list of what you use, then scout them out ahead of time, bookmarking them for easy reference on Tuesday. If you can, download them at work Tuesday morning before the major sites get slammed. This will make your update process a lot smoother and less frustrating as well as help the download sites distribute the load over time.
Of course, if you use a considerable number of WoWAce addons, you can just set the WoWAceUpdater to run on your way out the door on Tuesday and come home to a multitude of freshly updated addons. Just make sure you don’t neglect any of the non-Ace addons you use that are essential.
One of the most exciting changes for Druids this patch is instant shifting. The “/cancelform” command is now executed client-side in the same way as “/dismount” allowing you to instantly deshift and reshift, all in one button press.
To accomplish this, I recommend setting up a revised stance bar with buttons for each of the stances you find yourself using and creating each macro as follows… Edit: Apparently instant shifting is available from our default stance bar, making the creation of a macro for each form unnecessary (thanks, Kwast). And don’t forget that using an ability from a form that doesn’t have access to that ability will automatically shift you out (thanks, V)! Our stance bar should be seeing a bit less use after this patch.
These changes will allow you to instantly shift from Travel Form to Bear Form to Cat Form, as demonstrated in the video below:
Of course, there are some more … creative uses for this change, including the macro demonstrated in “Cat Dash Fever”, which strings Feral Charge, /cancelform, and /cast Cat Form, all in one macro, allowing you to charge someone and reach them in Cat Form. And who doesn’t enjoy watching a cat skid across a slippery surface only to smack into a wall?
Another significant change is no longer needing to use /stopcasting to help counteract many cases of latency (it still appears to be relevant and important to macros that shift out of a form, use a potion, and shift back). This change makes the Quartz casting bar addon less of a necessity and more of a “nice to have.” I’d write about this in greater detail, but Gwaendar of Altitis has already done a great job, including images that compare today’s stopcasting with what will happen in Patch 2.3. For even more information, check out the great writeup over at Girl Meets WoW.
Plan Your Spec
The change to have +Healing grant free spell damage have many formerly gung-ho healers considering the possibility of dabbling in their spell-damage based tree of choice. Have your new spec planned out and in hand so you can pay a visit to Logrimmar (Night Elf) on Tuesday. I recommend using the WoWHead Talent Calculator to just such a purpose. For those who are curious, I’m going to try out a 13/11/37 build, dipping a little further into Balance at the expense of 3/5 Empowered Rejuvenation and Tree of Life (sorry, Aegis).
Leatherworking is seeing several changes with the next patch, including making consumable (sellable) items grant a greater range of skill points and making a few of the key currently world drop recipes faction-purchaseable. This includes the Drums of Restoration which effectively grant all five of your party members 20 MP5 and increase your chances that you’ll be assigned to the Shadow Priest group (mmmm!!). Maybe I’ll finally get around to trying to top off the last 3 or 4 points of Leatherworking this week. ^_^
Level Your Alts
The changes to the quest rewards don’t kick in until level 30 (the reduced experience per level begins at level 20, though), so try to level up that pet Warlock/Priest/whatever to at least level 30 before the patch is released. Don’t forget to leave her simmering in an inn, though, for full rest exp!
Prepare for Zul’Aman
Dust off those Hibernate and Entanging Roots buttons. If Zul’Aman is anything like Zul’Gurub, it will be to Druids as Karazhan is to Priests with many of the mobs rootable (outdoors) and some sleepable (animals). But be sure to carry 50% more [item]Flintweed Seed[/item] as your Rebirth will be available every 20 minutes instead of every 30. And for when those inevitable wipefests do occur, scout out the repair vendors with whom you have the highest faction so you can take advantage of the upcoming 20% discount on repairs from those with whom you are Exalted. For Aldor, you can repair with Ahemen, the Staff Vendor in the building directly across from the Inn on Aldor Terrace. For Scryer … wait, I’m not supposed to talk to you guys. According to Muda and Sailoreagle, however, you should be able to repair right outside of your inn at the Dagger Vendor, Mahir Redstroke.
Nature’s Swiftness + Soothe Animal
If you haven’t already, be sure to make a macro for mapping these two abilities together. Come Patch 2.3, Soothe Animal will properly consume the effect of Nature’s Swiftness. Not since the bug correction of disallowing Bears and Cats from eating shiny red apples have I been this excited.
For the full patch notes for the build currently on the PTR, click here.
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