With WoW’s ninth expansion almost upon us, the first week of Dragonflight’s pre-patch was released on Tuesday in preparation for the transition from Shadowlands to Dragonflight. This week had no new questlines, however, but instead introduced some major changes to UI and the talent system. A UI overhaul was overdue, but I’ll need to warm up to the re-introduction of talent trees.
A Modern, Updated Interface
This is a great change! The minimap looks way cleaner, and with the action bars now being stacked, it eliminates the needs for some add-ons which did the exact same thing. A small but nice change with the minimap – it’s now bigger with more room along the sides for add-on buttons. I was always struggling to position them just right so that I could still see the dungeon finder and mail icons. It’ll take me some time to get used to the stacked action bars, which gives way more empty space on the screen. It’s a good thing, the old UI always runs the risk of looking overcluttered.
Being able to customize the position of nearly everything on the UI and HUD is a nice touch. Within edit mode, every item such as quest objectives or the buff bar, can be moved. It may make the most sense to me to keep most of these groupings in their original places, but every gamer has different preferences and it’s great to be able to have the choice. Players love customization, even if we don’t intend to use most of it. It’s just reassuring that we could.
Re-introducing Talent Trees!
I’m going to be honest, I have not been keeping up with WoW news lately and I’m just not sure about this new-fangled throwback to vintage talent trees. I did notice that, upon logging into WoW for the first time in months and dreading the talent point reset that comes with every pre-patch, that my talents were already picked for me. That suits me just fine, seeing as I’ve done no research into what’s changed and how these new talent trees are an improvement from the “old” system. I can guess that, with more choices and more talent points to spend, this updated system will allow for more choices and possible combinations.
From the picture above, we can see that there are two separate trees – class-specific and class specialization-specific. At first glance, there are many talent choices I don’t recall being available to a Beast Mastery Hunter before the pre-patch, while the Beast Mastery tree has many familiar talents. This may just be a re-shuffling of talents to redefine what it means to play a Hunter at the core, while Hunters that choose the specific Beast Mastery talent path have the same talents available to them as they always have. A BM Hunter is a BM Hunter, while “Hunter” may be a different thing to different players who are free to choose from a wider array of options, as long as they still fall into the Hunter constraint. Maybe I’m thinking about this too much, and Blizzard just wanted to refresh the system. Another nice but small detail is the updated class specialization window.
Overall, these are good changes that help to make WoW feel more modern and no longer like a game released in 2005 (though it still has plenty of that.) I look forward to the second week of the Dragonflight pre-patch, which will hopefully introduce a new questline!