World of Warcraft is a much different game now than it was when it released in November of 2004. Even though it revolutionized the genre in m,any ways, there was still plenty of room for improvement. Blizzard has made a number of changes, additions, and updates over the years – many of them making WoW a much better game. These eight features in particular were huge improvements.
Remember when you used to play WoW? I know you did. Remember how you’d spend hours trying to find the perfect shoulders to match your chest piece just so you could put them on in town? We all did it, and it was a huge pain. Enter transmogrification (in patch 4.3), which allowed players to find armor they liked, and apply that look to whatever armor they were wearing as gear. It not only improved the look of many characters, it made gathering out raid sets worthwhile again.
Whether you were grinding totems in Winterspring or Scourgestones in Eastern Plaguelands, looting could be a real pain. You’d mow down group after group of enemies, and then spend longer clicking on corpses than you did killing them in the first place. Blizzard addressed this annoyance in the pre-patch for the Mists of Pandaria expansion, when they added AoE Looting as a feature. Now you could click one mob, and get all your nearby loot at once.
In the early days of WoW, farming for reagents could be a pain. Bank space was always at a premium, and if you were really into crafting, you could find yourself having to make some hard choices about what you were going to store. When patch 6.0.2 launch in October of 2014, it changed all that by adding a 98-slot tab to the bank that was only for crafting materials. Even better, it also added a button that would automatically deposit any and all reagents from your inventory to that tab. It was a huge boon for crafters throughout Azeroth.
The New Talent System
While plenty of people are critical of the new talent system that was introduced in the Mists of Pandaria, it’s actually been a great addition to the game. Although the old system appeared to have more choice, it was really just an illusion. There was always one optimal build, and players who didn’t use it were often told to respec, or simply left out of raids and dungeons. The new system is simpler, easier to understand, and actually lets you customize your character without gimping it.
Anyone who played WoW in the early days remembers how hard it could be to find to find a group to do anything. If you didn’t have a guild or a group of friends, you were sitting in town spamming chat trying to build a party to go do dungeons or more challenging quests. The arrival of the group finder let you automate that process, and join a group (and a dungeon) from anywhere in the world. The Looking for Raid tool expanded that functionality to include raids, and made it possible for people who were not in raiding guilds to actually see raid content.
Although cross-realm play began in battlegrounds in patch 1.12, it was much later that cross-realm play came to the rest of the parts of the world. Now you can play with less lag, and can even group with players from other realms to quest and do dungeons. This has helped with population control in zones, and allowed players to have a better in-game experience. Connected realms also share an auction house, meaning more options for players looking to buy.
If you’ve been a raider in the past, you know the frustration of having too many people for a 10-man raid, but not enough for a 25-man. Someone would always have to sit out, and sometimes you’d end up with arguments or hurt feelings over who got left out. Mists of Pandaria brought flex raiding to the game, and changed this dynamic forever. Enemies scale dynamically based on how many players are in the raid, from 10 to 30 players. This meant you could start a raid with 11, add 4 as you go, and bring in that late-arriving DPS for the last boss if you wanted.
Dual Talent Specs
If you’ve picked up World of Warcraft since patch 3.1 rolled out in April of 2009, it’s hard to explain just how much the implementation of dual talent specs changed the game.Prior to this change, you were basically locked into your role. If you were a tanking warrior, you were always a tank. If you wanted to DPS, it meant you were heading back to town and paying an ever-increasing respec fee to change your build. You’d also have to completely redo your talents, as none of your builds were saved. Suddenly hybrids could swap specs at will, tanking warriors could actually do some DPS while soloing, and you could pack around a PvP build if you wanted. It was an enormous, fundamental change to playing the game, and it made the experience far better.