Eleven-Four

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Kiryn's place for rants about stuff. (version 6.0)

Mists of Pandaria – First Five Levels

September 27th, 2012 at 18:53

If you play, come visit Yinfeng (Silver Wind) on Feathermoon. We will probably be going Horde side this time, as we played through the new Wrath AND Cataclysm content on Alliance before, and this offers an opportunity to do a lot of new stuff.

As happens every time I come back to WoW, I start off with default UI. Very rapidly come to the realization that I cannot play like this for more than a few hours. Every interface looks stale and dated. The information I need is too small, surrounded by way too many useless graphical elements rather than being crisp and clean and functional, and is arranged as far away from everything else as possible.

My action bar icons are tiny little bits of color in this sea of gray tile and gryphons, with the actual useful buttons lopsided on the left with a bunch of useless menu and bag buttons on the right that I will almost never press. My health bar is this thin green bar surrounded by more gray in the top left corner, while my buffs are thrown over in the top right corner, forcing me to be looking all over my screen rather than having everything I need in one place.

The biggest annoyances are things I can do nothing about. I have to actually right-click on things to loot them? Where’s my Interact key? Why can’t I double-click on things in my bag to use them — it’s not like double-clicking does anything. It shouldn’t be hard for them to add that functionality.

Why do I HAVE to hold down shift or ctrl or whatever in order to see the gear comparison? The two of us were so sure that was an option that you could reverse, like auto-loot, that we spent a few minutes poring over the interface options before eventually giving up and concluding that it wasn’t in there.

I am rearranging my UI to be as similar to Guild Wars 2 as possible. No more than 5 main rotation attacks, on big huge buttons slightly to the bottom left. No more than 5 side abilities, one of which heals me and one of which has a really long cooldown. Make the map square and bigger, move it to the bottom right. Put my health/energy/chi in the bottom center between the two bars, with my buffs and debuffs just above the right bar. I’ll probably use F1 through F5 for Chi-using skills, unless the class ends up wanting me to stance dance often.

Here’s a pic in progress. I haven’t gotten the cast bar or party frames set up yet, and I don’t have any skills on the F keys so that bar is invisible right now. I’d still like to move my quest log into the upper right corner and make my chat log a slightly less in-your-face opacity, but it’s functional for the moment. I like having the buttons big enough that I can see the great artistic detail that went into them.

(Pitbull, Bartender, Chinchilla, rChat in this screenshot, also using Quartz and Bagnon for things you can’t see.)

I’ll have to avoid using Q or E for anything at all, sadly (unless my monk gets some kind of movement ability, which seems likely, to put on a hidden Q dodge key) which is a waste of keyboard real estate, but otherwise I’m going to confuse myself terribly. I can probably use tilde to swap the 1-5 bar between two different states (damage and healing?) to simulate the GW2 weapon swap.

That out of the way, Monk is reasonably interesting so far. At first I was like “okay, so I spend energy to get combo points on myself — isn’t this just paladin holy power without mana?” but then unlike combo points OR holy power, I do not spend all of them to use finishing moves, but instead I spend them more like death knight runes, one or two at a time.

I have been saying for a long time that I wanted a non-mana healing class, but from what I’m seeing of these addon options, the monk’s healing “stance” uses mana just like druids do when they’re not in beast form. Way to be creative, blizz.

I ended up with a cape reasonably early that goes down long enough to cover my tail, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the plus side, the cape is animated properly rather than sticking out to avoid my tail like it does on the draenei. On the other hand, what’s the point of having a tail if I don’t get to look at it? I wish I didn’t have to go into the options menu to turn my cloak on and off, but I don’t really want to install an addon just for that.

Oh, but I finally put my finger on why I hate the pandaren face so much. It doesn’t look like the face of a real creature. It’s frozen into that static plastic grin all the time, and all I can think about when looking at it is that I’m a female dwarf dressed up as the panda-themed mascot for a high school sports team, about to put on a cheerleader’s outfit and go get some teenagers excited about football. This isn’t really appropriate attire for a fantasy adventurer.

With monks available for all races, I’ll probably swap to an orc monk once we’re out of this starting area. I don’t know if I can keep using this stupid-looking character long enough to check out the new content.

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