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I've been away since 2010, what's new
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Yes, I realize a huge amount may have changed in 4 years. Wife and I had a couple kids, so we stopped playing. They're old enough now that we have a tiny bit of free time we can use to play again, so we're giving it a try. Last we played was toward the end of the WotLK expansion, not long before Cata came out. We had 80s (me a Shaman, her a Mage) that we were doing semi-casual-raiding with our guild (which seems to have disappeared after all these years). We had decent gear and were doing endgame content, never got to kill Arthas, they hadn't released that yet, but it happened only a few days after we left IIRC (of course).
So, first off it appears that I don't need to buy the cata expansion at all? It seems to be letting me do cata content, and level to 85, but I'm not entirely sure. Is this true? It also looks like we can make pandaren toons, is the pandaren expansion only to level from 85-90? Is there any further content? I can't find anything conclusive (though I may be looking in the wrong spots, more on that later).
Another question about leveling from 80-85 - Do I get to experience the Cata content as it happened when it originally came out? IIRC a lot of places in the world broke open and lava and fire and anguish and etc... Was that a one-time thing, or do I get to see it all happen again by following the quest lines? I just started the underwater stuff, it seems to be along those story lines, but I'm not sure. The story seemed to indicate that horde and alliance would be working together to sort that out, but I've been ganked a couple of times already by high-levels... so I'm not sure how that plays out.
So, the spec tree is completely different, no more tree it looks like, just pick a general spec and that's it? Talents are an extension of spec that actually lets you customize (slightly) it appears... And glyphs are further customization?
Mastery - I can't find a good definitive explanation of this - is wowwiki not really maintained anymore? It seems to have mixed information from cata and the latest expansion.
Also, in-general when looking around for Wow info, I used to be able to pretty much find every piece of info I needed from either wowwiki or wowhead here. It looks like wowhead is still doing its' thing, but has the community outside of the game (like the wikis and such) diminished? Or just moved somewhere else?
My shaman seems to work quite differently - a lot of spells are different, and totems seem to work entirely differently, they don't stick around long. I suppose I have to watch some videos or something of shamans doing their thing, but it's just very different, heh.
It looks like pets have some sort of mini-game?
Mounts are shared per account? (that may've existed before, I can't remember)
Is the overall play still similar, level to cap, then dungeons/raid to gear up? (I know you can do dungeons whenever, but I'm just saying in-general how people play).
It's been a funny experience playing after being away for so long - I could hardly remember the buttons even, haha. Was just spamming the same damage spell fighting mobs, 'cause I couldn't remember what else to do. Back in the day I was a pretty decent raid healer and good backup DPS if we had too many healers (but when did that ever happen?). It's weird to feel like a noob again.
Anyway, thanks for reading my wall of text; and any answers you have.
1. They rolled Vanilla, BC, LK, and Cata into the core game now. All you would need to do is buy MoP. MoP gives you the 85-90 content and the ability to make a monk class.
2. Not really sure by what you mean "experience the Cata content like it came out". Basically when they released Cata, they destroyed some zones, made some zones pretty, etc. Changed a LOT of the old questlines, etc. The horde and alliance worked together to kill deathwing...kinda sorta....still at war with each other.
3. Pretty much. The talents give you different options, glyphs are not as important as they used to be.
4. Mastery depends on your spec. For a resto shaman, it makes your heals on targets sub 30% life HUGE, for elemental, it causes you to shoot extra spells at no cost....when you read each class/spec mastery info it tells you more info.
5. Pretty much wowhead, icy-veins, tankspot, askmrrobot,
6. Shaman totems became more situational when they removed the generic buff spells from the game and made them auras. Now if you need to heal during big dmg, you throw your healing tide totem, and your stone bulwark totem to take less dmg. It takes some getting used to but the new totem mechanics are nice.
7. Yup. Think pokemon.
8. They released that during cata if i remember right. Nice having all your mounts across all your toons.
9. The game has always started at level cap. Most people grind to 90, head out to the Timeless Isle for free welfare epics and then hit Looking for Raid.
I think I summed it up pretty well in my comment here...
Thanks for the advice, both posters :)
I know the others answered it fairly well but in regards to wowwiki; it is no longer updated, use Wowpedia for more information.
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