Patch 5.1: Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!

Patch 5.1 goes live today, and with it comes some new content and features. Some of the content is stuff I’m interested in, and some of it is not. I’ll get into that in a minute.

For a more comprehensive list of hunter-related changes, check out Tabana’s Patch 5.1 This Week post over at WoW Hunters Hall.

New gear and the Item Upgrade system

New gear usually tops the list with any new content patch, and we get a double dose of that, so-to-speak, with four new pieces (waist, boots, ring, trinket) available at either Honored or Revered with the new factions (Alliance – Operation Shieldwall / Horde – Dominance Offensive) along with the introduction of the Item Upgrade system. If you’re unfamiliar with the Item Upgrade system, read the summary of new features in 5.1 over at MMO-Champion.

From my perspective as a raider in a guild that only started raiding two and a half weeks ago, new gear is great. My opportunities for drops in normal raids have been extremely limited – 3 bosses down, 4 total kills – so my gear set is currently made up of more Valor items, Mogu’shan LFR pieces, and even 463 gear than I would like at this point. As such, without looking at any theorycrafting, I can see that the boots – at the very least – could be an upgrade over the Sha of Anger quest boots. I’ll have to look at the other three pieces before I make decisions on them.

The big thing for me, though, is the Item Upgrade system. I’m ready to log in and upgrade my weapon, like, yesterday. Mr. Robot also has a blog post today about the item upgrade system, although it looks like it may be a short while before the features are fully implemented there. I’ll be interested in knowing, going forward, whether item upgrades will be better than valor purchases for certain items.

I think the item upgrade feature is great – it provides continued uses for VP once the “OMG I’ve got to buy this item” phase of each tier starts to ebb, and it allows people who are having bad luck with drops or are in a guild that is slow in its raid progression (both situations that I’m dealing with at the moment) to continue to progress personally with their gear.

New faction(s) and dailies

On the other end of the spectrum, the new Alliance faction, Operation Shieldwall, brings – along with its Horde counterpart – a bevy of new daily quests. This is where the title of my post comes into play, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek way.

Tongue-in-cheek, because I knew that this would happen.

Since raiding with my friends is my endgame, it’s likely that I’m not the primary target of this faction from Blizzard’s standpoint. Like the Molten Front grind in 4.2 (and the deluge of dailies in Mists of Pandaria already), this is part of Blizzard’s attempt to expand upon the escalating Alliance vs. Horde story that exploded with Theramore in 5.0 and has since moved to Pandaria, providing more content and ways to get gear for those non-raiders/non-PvPers/lore-&-questing lovers who still play their max-level toons every day. So I understand that, and salute what they’re doing in that regard.

However, because I’m in a casual guild that hasn’t jumped on progression like I would have liked to in this tier, I’m stuck in a weird place… where I started working on maxing out my reputations (and Valor-capping) from the first week of the expansion, which meant dailies dailies dailies, and jumping into Raid Finder as each new instance opened, and have bought/made BoE gear for myself, and have been ready to go for a while now. And so I’m in this place where I’ve seen all the raid content in Raid Finder, but I’ve only seen the first three bosses in Mogu’shan Vaults on normal mode, but I’ve been doing dailies for two months now, and the last thing I really give a damn about is the Alliance-Horde conflict/story at this point. But I’ll do them because, you know, new shinies…

In reality, though, this may simply be a personal problem. Blizzard releasing more content – whatever it may be – more quickly is something that needs to happen in the greater scope of things. And my choice of guild is my choice, and given the scope of my efforts to be ready to raid seven weeks ago but not being able to run with Nos until more than a week into November, it’s not Blizzard’s fault that their design for VP and casual end-game players has made me sick and tired of their design for VP and casual players*.

*The funny thing is, when I’m playing my warrior – with whom I do not raid – I generally don’t mind the daily grind, particularly now that I am done with dailies on my hunter. For the warrior, the dailies thing is perfect, and now that I’m not doing those same dailies two or three times per day, I enjoy them on him. But on the hunter, I’ve got dailies burnout big-time.

All of that to say, I am not looking forward to doing a half-dozen new dailies each day for Operation Shieldwall. But I will. Because, you know, gear. And because I’ve killed 37 normal or LFR bosses (and used at least 7 coins) since November 8th without a single usable drop. So I probably need those boots.

Hunter class changes

The big change for me here is that Aspect of the Fox has been removed and Cobra/Steady can always be cast on the move. I’m not a Marksman, but Aimed Shot can also be cast on the move if you glyph it.

This change will hopefully result in a very slight DPS increase for Survival. I’ll be honest – with the number of instant casts we have, I’ve found that I rarely have to cast CS on the move. Usually, there is a Lock and Load up, or Dire Beast/Black Arrow/whatever is off cooldown, or I simply have enough focus to throw a couple of Arcane Shots out there, while I move to where I have to drop my flame on Feng, for instance. However, there are times when this could be a great thing (Get Away! phases during Lei Shi in Terrace come to mind). I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out over the next several days.

Once again, for a full list of changes, check the post at WHH linked above. I don’t play Beast Mastery or MM, so I won’t comment on all of the changes.

Closing thoughts

This is not a comprehensive 5.1 post, but I wanted to share some thoughts on where 5.1 sits with me personally. Overall, I’m glad it’s happening today, because I want the ability to upgrade some pieces and to earn some new pieces of gear. I’m not thrilled about the new faction and dailies, but there’s nothing I can do about that. I still don’t care about pet battles, and the Brawler’s Guild seems to be prohibitive as far as getting invites goes (and provides no epic gear), so I’m not excited about either of them. But I’ll be interested to see how the new hunter mechanics impact our ability to be effective as a class at higher levels of raiding, as well as how they affect my play personally.

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Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc. Comments are welcome!


2 Comments on “Patch 5.1: Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!”

  1. Good thoughts. I am looking forward to 5.1 as well. I’m liking the Black Prince quests also.

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