The official release date for the next expansion to World of Warcraft has been announced:
Anne and I have been playing in the beta for awhile now and I can say that it’s going to be a major change to the game. Not just in new content, but in how long-standing features and various class spells work. For example there’s been a lot of effort put into reducing how much stuff uses up bag space. It used to be that if you wanted to collect non-combat pets, of which there’s already a stunning number in the game, you ended up devoting a lot of bank slots to store them and bag slots if you wanted to actually carry them around with you. The same is true for mounts. Balfour, my level 70 dwarven hunter, has three epic riding mounts and three epic flying mounts that I keep on him at all time using up six bag slots in the process. I only need one of each, but I keep three of each so I can randomly chose which of the three I want to use. There’s no advantage to one over any other other than it’s nice to have some variety, but I have to give up four more bag slots to do it. However, in WotLK I won’t have to give up any bag slots as all mounts and non-combat pets become spells I can learn. This will come in very handy when I’m grouped with people who don’t have their epic mounts yet as I’ll be able to use my non-epic mounts to match their speeds. I still have the non-epics, I just don’t tend to carry them with me all the time.
Plus Death Knights will finally be available on the live realms. We’ve been having a blast playing the DKs in the beta. In particular the storyline you go through after character creation has been done remarkably well. When you first created a DK it starts at level 55 with a full set of decent gear and you’re still enslaved to the Lich King, Arthus. You’ll go through a series of quests that teaches you how to use your abilities, slowly gives you all your talent points for the level you’re at, and upgrades your equipment to a decent set of blues. The cool part is that the quests are phased so that the environment changes as you make your way through them in a manner similar to the phased quests in Lord of the Rings Online. There’s been lots of updates to the user interface as well that’ll eliminate at least a few of the mods I regularly use. A built in calendering system for scheduling events and raids as well as keep tracking of in-game events such as the holidays, a built-in threat meter, and a whole bunch of other improvements.
Going to have to start saving our pennies now if we hope to pick it up on launch day.