I was having a meltdown about warlock changes. That combined with what seemed to me to be a lack of warlock info coming out of the beta, I decided to download the PTR. This was purely to satisfy my neurosis that I would never be able to play my lock again and WoW would be forever dead to me. Something I dread actually.
2 attempts, exceptional band-width hogging (which my husband was NOT happy about), 25 hours of downloading and a video card driver update later I was finally on.
**by the way I highly recommend that you update your drivers before Cataclysm**
I appeared in Feralas right next to Thousand Needles. From my Dire Maul farming (see previous post). Immediately the first earthquake hit. I was excited and terrified at the same time. I am standing at the spot that is supposed to be flooding! Holy Shit! I have to get out of here! Back in reality my brain processed the info and realized that there are no land changes going on here. After that the earthquakes were just really cool to experience :)
I took the long way and trotted my ass to Theramore to take the boat. My goal was IF and a target dummy.
First, no add-ons. Arranging my screen to be a little closer to my normal button mashing skills became first priority. I understand you can copy your add-on folder to the PTR folder, but after all the hassle I had gone through just to get this thing going I'm not worried about it.
Feeling Up Your 'Lock
Finally in IF. Second was training. Discovering what I had and what I needed. Warlock training and profession training.
After that target dummy practice. I got a feel for the spells I still had, and the new ones I had acquired. I am not a theorycrafter. I don't crunch numbers. I'm sorry I can't give you any specifics regarding spell mechanics and all the ins and outs of what's going to be great and what's going to suck. I can throw out a few things here though.
My second night on the PTR I did hit an instance. It was nice and calm and was probably the longest H Nex I've run in a long time. That was perfectly ok with me. I think we were all just feeling it out. Soulburn; using a shard to impact a spell. I didn't use this much. I think I'm still used to being shard-conservative. At 80-81 the number of spells you can affect is actually pretty small. I think there were 3 uses for it, none of which I found very useful right off the bat. Soul Harvest; The spell you cast to get shards back, looks and acts just like mage evocate. Bane of Havoc was OK. You cast it on one target then hit others. Kinda interesting, but because it's working on another target I didn't get a "feel" for it. It was off working its magic while I was doing other things. I hope this will get more fun as I get used to it. The thing I really got a kick out of was the proc for Soul Fire. Being Destro I don't use it much. I have no proc for it and the cast time and use of a shard have kept it out of my rotation. It was cool to be able to use it again. Along with that comes a Power Aura type screen flash. There was also one for Backdraft. I found the graphics for both to be unobtrusive and kinda cool looking. All fiery and stuff. So I'm happy. It will not replace your Power Aura though. All in all I found that my rotation did not change considerably and the feel is still quite similar. That was what I had set out to do. The only thing I was not happy with was the loss of spell power conversion on the Glyph of Life Tap. The new glyph lowers the cool down. There is no more spell power gain. Booo!
So I texted a friend I knew was on the PTR and asked him to come play. He gave me his toon names and I hit "O". Nothing. Hmm ok how do I get the social up, the friends list, all that jazz. I finally typed /who and the box came up. I still don't know what letter is supposed to bring that up. When he came on I did a shift-click to see where he was and got this with his name "Hunters". So I say what's that? Are you more than one? He says that's my guild. Oh Guild!! Yes gotta get me one of those. I joined the "Warlock" guild, local 357 I'm sure :) and hit shift-G. Nothing. WTF how do I get my guild social up now...grrr. I find it on my bar and upon mouse over discover that it is "J" not "G". What? Weird but ok, random alphabet choices. As I recollect you can still hit "P" for your professions and your spell book,"N" for talents and glyphs, and "C" for your character sheet. I told you I was a professional button masher.
The Guild UI is now a separate entity. It is no longer connected to your friends and raid tabs as it is now. It has 2 tabs currently, one for guild members and one for MoTD and other information. There is also a handy sort to sort by professions and other things. All very useful. I am hoping to speak to the "Warlock" GL about some of the guild leader options as well as the calendar and event options. I don't know how much is currently implemented.
|Guild Interface (Achievement, Professions & MoTD)|
The Social now only has friends, chat, raid listed...and no button to bring it up yet lol. Yes this stuck with me. I don't know how many times I pushed the button to try and get the window up and nothing happened.
(edit: You can pull this up using "O")
|Social (Friends, Who, Chat & Raid tabs)|
The Character sheet I found to be really cool. It now has a box that slides open to the side with all your stats. Each stat section can be moved up or down the line depending on what you want to see, or can be closed down if you don't want to see it at all. Pets and mounts are no longer here. I missed getting this pic for you :(
The Profession sheet or spell book I found the most confusing. It now contains tabs for your professions, mounts, pets and other miscellaneous things. It seems to be the place to put things that don't go anywhere else. The professions tab was a bit confusing at first, but I attribute that to the fact that while it said I had them they were not available to use until the second night I got on. Then I had to re-train all my cloth and enchantments to make them active. Time consuming and something I hope we will not have to do with Cataclysm. It was also a huge money sink, so I wouldn't expect so. It was probably just a PTR thing. The button to open my enchanting book was there. It is no longer located on the first page of the spellbook. I did find it handy that all my professions, including secondaries, were all on the one tab by themselves.
|Spellbook (Spells, Profs, Pets, Mounts & Companion Pets)|
All in all I found my time on the PTR to be worth the headache of the download. I assuaged my warlock fears and found that the majority of the changes coming are very clean and useful. I also found that the changes were not so drastic that I couldn't figure it out fairly easily. The jump from the current UI to the new will seem minimal. I think we will all be happily plodding along in Cataclysm in no time.