World of Warcraft Beta Journal #4

By Scott Parrino 27 Jul 2004 0

Editor's Note: This is the fourth installment of Chris Massey's ongoing beta journal from Blizzard's World of Warcraft. The previous three journals are available by following these links: Journal #1, Journal #2, and Journal #3.

Another Interminable Blizzard Wait

It was bound to happen. The folks at Blizzard are taking their time, and I don?t mean the recent shift in developers for Starcraft: Ghost. World of Warcraft, in beta for some time now, was once rumored to begin shipping to store shelves during the summer. Before that, it was rumored to arrive before Christmas of, um, 2003. As it stands, the rumor has come around full circle and it?s looking (again) like another Christmas release for World of Warcraft. I was positive, some months ago, that World of Warcraft would release the same day as both Warcraft III and the Warcraft III expansion, Frozen Throne, the first of July. Well, it?s mid-July already, and?I?m still only playing the beta. That?s not as bad as it sounds, actually. Of course, I?m not happy to be wrong, but seeing what Blizzard has been doing with World of Warcraft during the beta, I?m almost happy for the wait. Almost!

Breach and Shlandra?soul mates.

Catching up on old quests.

I have Talent!

When the beta first started, talents were set up a bit like the current skill system?acquire points and put them into pools represented only by numbers and colored bars. In no time, the talent system was taken out of the game and Blizzard said nothing more than, ?We?re working on it.? As of the latest patch, the talents are back in place, but only for the warrior and the wage classes. The talent system is now a tree system much like the skill trees in Diablo II. For each class there are three different trees. Players earn a single talent point every time they gain a level and can place these points into different parts of the trees in order to customize their character. Some talents cannot be unlocked without meeting certain prerequisites. For example, a certain number of points may have to be invested into a single talent tree, or a players may be required to have other talents altogether.

?Tis a long way down.

Your life is mine.

The warrior tree is composed of the Protection, Fury and Arms trees, each one accessed by tabs along the bottom of the talent page. Protection talents focus mainly on tanking, i.e., they enhance a warrior?s defense in various ways and generally enable him to take more hate and keep party members alive. Fury talents enhance a warrior?s use of rage. Rage is a warrior?s mana, more or less, but it has to be gathered by fighting?warriors don?t sit around with the mages and regenerate their rage; that would be silly, and ?tis a bit difficult to become enraged while sitting. Fury also adds more damage to attacks, guarantees crits, decreases cool down periods on shouts, and more. Lastly, Arms talents enable warriors to further specialize in certain weapons outside of the simple weapon skill system already in place. In addition to making warriors more astute with the tools of their trade, Arms talents also improve various weapon skills by adding more damage, higher chances of crits, and can even reduce rage decay.

Warrior protection.

Warrior fury.

Warrior arms.

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