Echoes of Doom went live on WoW europe servers last week and I’ve had some time to check out all the new features. Basically the patch is a preview of the upcoming expansion pack Wrath of the Lich King, and includes major new gameplay features though no new content. That will all come on Nov 13th when Lich gets released. Echoes of Doom offers tons for players to do in the meantime however.
There are countless other changes that are all documented in the patch notes (for example Northrend is now viewable on the world map, and there are zeppelin towers being built for transport there when the expansion is released), but the major changes players met upon logging into Echoes of Doom were the revamped talent trees, the achievements system and the inscription profession.
When I logged in the first thing I noticed was all of my talent points had been reimbursed and I had access to the new 51 point talents.
After a week of play it’s quite obvious that these talents have made level 70 characters far more powerful than they had been before, and a lot of the end game content is now laughably easy compared to how it had been.
A few days ago I joined a random group and cleared Zul’aman in 75 minutes, including the ‘timed event’ where the raid needs to complete 4 bosses against the clock, whereas my (casual) guild had been struggling to clear Zul’aman for weeks before the patch hit. Other guilds on my server reported 3-hour clears of Black Temple that would have taken a few days beforehand.
The new talents shook up the pvp aspect of the game as well, with previously all-powerful classes like rogues and restoration druids finding themselves at the mercy of hugely buffed paladins and mages. My first encounter into a battleground felt like the first time I’d ever played the game, because I didn’t know the capabilities of my opponents anymore. My character is a restoration druid (a class many thought to be overpowered) but I soon learned the hard way that the new king at the moment is the retribution paladin, and I foresee the top combos on the arena ladders will change radically as time goes on.
As I previously mentioned, the inscription profession is also now live in the game, allowing players to upgrade the individual spells of their characters. At the moment players can attach two major “glyphs” and three minor ones to their characters spells, but will have the option of adding more when Lich comes out.
Last but not least, Blizzard introduced the fantastic achievements system in the patch, which rewards players for great feats like completing all quests on each continent in the game, as well as fun ones like re-enacting Leeroy Jenkins infamous raid wipe(this achievement will earn you the title ‘Jenkins‘ to display proudly over your characters head).
The achievements system is a clever scheme by Blizzard, as it gets all players regardless of how long they have played back exploring the old content in order to complete their achievements. Dusty old raids like Molten Core, Upper Blackrock Spire and Onyxias Lair are being revisited on a daily basis by players increasing their achievement points, which is impressive considering the content is over four years old at this stage.
There are over 900 listed achievements of all varieties to keep players busy building up points. It’s unspecified what the points will be used for at the moment, though I suspect we will be able to trade them in for weapons and armour in Lich King.
Some other notable features are a new in-game calendar that lets guilds plan and sign up for raids, a threat meter (of sorts), new storage for mounts, pets and currency (battleground marks, heroic badges and such), and a ‘barber shop‘ in each city which lets you customise your character for a fee.
Despite the re-learning curve in pvp and some bugs that need to be ironed out (a particularly annoying one is the eating/drinking bug), I’m enjoying the new features very much as well as the Hallows End event which began at the same time as the patch.
Here’s some more links I’ve collected about the patch:
Official patch notes
Essential addons for Patch 3.0.2
Complete list of achievements
What are Glyphs?
Raiding has never been easier than in 3.0.2
Ret Paladins to be nerfed “to the ground”
Labels: wow, wrath of the lich king