Friday, October 9, 2009

For the Love of Small Victories

So the glut of information from the 3.3 PTR has already started rolling in. I do already have toons there (Jezriyah and Detusked on Horde, Tuskless on Alliance -- hit a sister up, I'm horrible at finding people to actually test stuff with) but I hadn't done much so far. Last night I grabbed hold of my boyfriend and demanded he copy something over so we could nose around the new content.

We suited up our shiny new premade toons and plunged into the Forge of Souls. The group was abysmal -- a resto shaman who kept yelling at me for being too far away so his chain heals on me weren't hitting the tank, a pally tank who didn't understand the word 'kite', and another ret pally who was wearing holy gear ("For the duration increase"... duration of what, I didn't bother asking). But we were all premades in full T9 and it was the non-heroic instance, so we kind of steamrolled it anyway. I'll be getting together a semi-competent group and going in on heroic soon to get a better feel for it.

The lorey bits in the beginning are awesome, at least Hordeside. Sylvanas has heard of how uber you are and is glad to have you along. She gives you a rundown on the mission should you ask for it, and sends you on your merry way. (Yes, I did run in and do the lorey bits on Jez before giving up and making a premade.)

I won't go into the fight mechanics and the like, since the group comp didn't allow for much study of it. The one thing I noticed most was... well, this.

We have made some changes to the way creature and character nameplates display in the game and would like to get feedback from those of you on the public test realms. There are three significant changes you should notice:

• The range at which you can see the nameplates is now much longer.
• You can no longer see the nameplates through objects which block line of sight.
• Instead of the nameplates trying to sort themselves, they just overlap. We think this makes them more useful for very large groups (example: Onyxia whelps).

That comes straight from Zarhym -- who is, officially, my new best friend.

The overlap, granted, can be a bit questionable depending on the size of the mobs and whether you're single-targeting or AoEing them. But the improved range is completely. Fucking. Awesome.

I'm a marksman, in the strictest sense of the word. I am ranged. I am at my most comfortable when I'm as far away from my target as I can possibly be while still sticking to the boss strategy. Unfortunately, the range on nameplates is much shorter than my maximum pew-pew range, so I usually end up either coming in closer than I'm comfortable, or frantically tab-targeting (I know, I know) to pick out my next target.

On the 3.3 PTR, I can stay back as far as I want from a group of four mobs, and their nameplates are not only visible and easily clicked, but also do not take up more screen real estate than the mobs themselves. It was glorious.

It's funny. Of all the awesome things coming through in this patch, all the stuff I should be foaming at the tusks for -- this is what sticks out and makes me squee.

So how about you crazy cats? What's been your favorite tiny, "inconsequential" change that either hugely helped your gameplay or just plain made you super happy?

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