Five things I liked about WOTLK

I liked this post over at Tank like a girl and decided to make my own version of it. Even if WOTLK wasn't my favourite expansion, I still think that it improved the game in some ways. So, without further ado, my five favourite WOTLK changes (with the reservation that I might have forgot about something that I really liked, in which case I'll probably feel the urge to edit it in later).

1. Raid ID extensions

This is one of those features that didn't get a lot of press as far as I'm aware, even though it transformed the face of raiding quite considerably. Probably there wasn't much discussion simply because people couldn't think of anything to complain about. It was truly an improvement for everyone: hardcore guilds could choose to skip farming to push progression that little bit harder if they wanted; super-casual guilds that never would have been able to make it through all of Ulduar or Icecrown Citadel in a week were actually able to see the end bosses of those instances. "Medium" guilds like my own benefitted from having a choice as well, instead of having to wade through the first couple of bosses every week while lacking the speed and efficiency of a more hardcore guild and thus never having much time left to work on new bosses.

I suppose the one "downside" one could list is that having to kill all the bosses every week used to add to the epic feeling of having to overcome big obstacles, but that particular aspect of challenge is something that even I don't really miss.

2. Guardian Spirit

I was quite skeptical when I first saw this new top talent for holy priests. It seemed powerful for sure, but also extremely situational. I did struggle to get myself to use it first - with a three-minute cooldown it was way too easy to get trapped in the "must save it for later" line of thinking where that "later" never comes. However, the first time I managed to save our kite tank's life in Naxx ten-man (he had been a bit too slow and got debuffed by the locust swarm), I knew that I was in love. The whole "giving healers survival cooldowns" mechanic has generally worked out nicely in my opinion, truly adding something unique and fun to our already large arsenal of spells.

3. Dual spec

I actually don't even use my main's dual spec - at first she was holy/shadow but then the raid leaders always picked someone else to dps when it came up, so I went holy/disc for PvP, but quickly grew tired of it after the introduction of the dungeon finder, as I didn't want to PvP badly enough to sit in the considerably longer battleground queue instead of lining up for an instance.

However, several of my alts have made good use of it. For example I could never really decide whether my druid was to be feral or resto and respecced her quite a lot back in BC - now she can be both and change within a couple of seconds. When I levelled my shaman as enhancement, I also gave her a resto dual spec as soon as it became available and enjoyed the convenience of getting to practice restoration in instances without feeling completely gimped while questing.

4. The item icons you get while quest tracking

Sometimes it's the simplest of things... I don't know which patch added this, but when you track a quest now and said quest has you using a quest item, that item also shows up as an icon next to your tracker, so you can click on it easily without having to dig through your bags every time you need to use it. When my boyfriend pointed this new feature out to me I was simply stunned. Amazing!

5. The Sons of Hodir

I know they've received a lot of flak for being grindy and juvenile, but I genuinely liked the Sons of Hodir. I think the quest line to unlock them as a faction is great fun, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I found all their silly quest titles rather amusing. Until the release of the Argent Tournament, Dun Niffelem was also the only proper hub for daily quests in Northrend - I still don't know what Blizzard was thinking when they placed most of the early dailies in seemingly random locations all over the map - bleh! I got six characters to exalted with the Sons and I'm proud of it. I just think they were wasted on being tied to shoulder enchants. They definitely should have had some sort of tie-in with Ulduar, especially since the quest to reconcile them with Thorim simply ends when he gets abducted by Loken. Seriously, after all the trouble I went through to get them to forgive each other, they can't even be bothered to send anyone out to search for him? Silly giants.

I might make a list of things that I didn't like as well later on, but I'll have to think about that one a bit longer, as a lot of WOTLK changes just left me feeling ambiguous more than anything else.


  1. Raid ID extensions were definitely a great addition. Maybe top ten. I cannot think of any downside to it or and negative side effect. Allowing people with smaller blocks of time to still advance is a good thing.

    Dual spec is a raid-saver. It has allowed me to clear content I could not have otherwise, when I'd sometimes need to switch specs between fights.

  2. Since you've already added some good ones (dualspec may be the best invention since sliced bread), here're 5 more:
    - proper gear itemization and multiple choices on quest rewards. No more weird combinations of stats in gear (somehting that started in TBC but still you could find weird items) and finally a choice to select the most useful gear for you on quest rewards. While not all roles are always covered, the change really makes quest attractive again in order to gear up until you hit 80.
    - proper quest hubs. No more dragging your ass across continents and completing dungeons to find some days later another questgiver that sends you to the place you've been playing days ago.
    - normal flying mounts speed increased. About damn time!
    - phasing. Do I need to say more?
    - LFD. Yes, it will spark controversy, but the problem is the people who act as dickheads, not the LFD tool per se. Sometimes the dungeon chosen may be not 100% accurate (undergeared people tossed into PoS or HoR), but finally a proper tool to get into a group.

  3. The multiple-choice quest rewards and quest hubs were already introduced in BC. And as far as itemisation goes, I really found it hard to find really good quest rewards in the lower WOTLK levels precisely because they were really weirdly itemised, so I don't agree on that having been improved.

    Good point about the normal flying mount speed; I always thought it was weird that normal flying actually made you go more slowly than running on the ground. However, lately I've always been able to buy epic flying for all my characters the moment they hit 70, so it hasn't affected me much.

    Phasing and LFD are both things that I feel slightly ambiguous about. LFD is obviously great for getting instance runs, but we all know about the downsides. And phasing... I hate how it separates people. Also, the way it's supposed to show the world changing with your actions is also a bit dodgy at times in my opinion - for example it made a lot more sense for the Wrathgate to be stuck in perpetual preparation for war than to be eternally burning with the NPCs screaming in panic.