I think I’ve taken my Mists of Pandaria beta access for granted. Normally, I’d be waiting and hoping for beta access to come down out of the sky like manna from heaven, and once received I would be all a-titter about class changes and new content…
That didn’t happen this time around. I had guaranteed beta access thanks to the Annual Pass program, so beta availability wasn’t nearly as grand a surprise as it was in TBC, Wrath, and Cataclysm.
I have been playing, but I’ve been keeping relatively spoiler-free. I’ve touched maybe 1% of Pandaria. Just a few days ago, I finally gave the Pandaren starter quests a go. I’m not in a rush to devour this content, because I know that it is the bulk of what I’ll be playing through for the next year or more.
But class changes are a totally different story, and I’m all over those! Though, my exposure here is also a bit limited, as I’m not leveling my beta characters past 85 or 86, so I will not have access to the shiny new level 90 talents.
The Hunter changes are great. Many have been a long time coming, like no minimum range. Melee weapons are also a thing of the past — no more stat sticks! Also fun: Beast Cleave AOE for Beast Mastery Hunters, Trap Launcher becoming a permanent on/off toggle, Pets can spec into any role (DPS, Tank, or PVPish), and more. Stampede, a level 87 ability, is something I’ve been dying for since The Burning Crusade — finally we can unleash the full fury of our stabled pets in one magnificent burst ability. High damage… long cooldown.
The Paladin changes are a bit of a mixed bag. Retribution can now queue up a maximum of five Holy Power, and Divine Purpose (the random, free “three Holy Power”) is now a talent competing against a Zealotry-like Holy Avenger and a slightly revamped Sanctified Wrath. Inquisition is Retribution-only, and is reverted to it’s 1 Holy Power = 10 Second configuration, meaning we’ll have to refresh it somewhat more often. The upside is that Judgment, Exorcism, and Hammer of Wrath now all generate 1 Holy Power when used — we’ll have a steady income of Holy Power to burn on Inquisition, Templar’s Verdict, and Divine Storm. Yep, Divine Storm now costs Holy Power. It also hits a heck of a lot harder.
There are plenty of other nuanced changes. I won’t list them all here, but I have yet to find a change I positively hate. In many cases, we’re status quo with the two classes above, and in some areas our quality of life has actually improved. Substantially. I’m really looking forward to Mists of Pandaria.