As I type this, the Wrath of the Lich King beta realms are down and being updated with a new beta build: 126.96.36.19985. And I am busy downloading all 458MB of the client patch. As usual, I will be live-blogging this build as I check it out, although I may have to stop early.
 And now I’m done! Feel free to read my adventures at your leisure. [/edit]
Although the realms are still down, we are already hearing something about the contents of this patch. MMO Champion has updated their character talent calculators, for instance, and I noticed that Improved Hunter’s Mark no longer mentions melee attack power at all, as implied by Blizzard’s post on stacking effects yesterday.
I’m sure there are lots of other important hunter talent changes in there — I am expecting this new build to finish up the hunter changes that didn’t quite make it into the last build, and add a whole bunch of new changes to boot — but I haven’t finished looking through them yet.
On the pet front, WotLK Wiki is saying that Rhinos now have a Stampede skill. I’ll have confirmation and details on that as soon as the realms are up. Speaking of which, my client download just finished!
*cough* It really helps if I hit ‘Publish’ rather than ‘Save’ when I’m ready to, you know, Publish.
Well the realms seem to be up, but not exactly speedy and I’m getting some really interesting console error spew about missing textures. (And it’s a bad idea to hearthstone when you are half a mile above Zul’Drak, by the way.)
My stabled rhino does indeed now have a family skill:
Stampede (Rank 5): Your rhino slams nearby enemies within 10 yards, causing 47 to 63 damage and knocking them back 15 yards. (Melee Range, Instant, 1 min cooldown)
A knockback! I know a lot of hunters were hoping for that one.
And HEY! My level 71 carrion bird became level 72 when I pulled him out of the stable. It looks like stabled pets now do a level check when you pull them out. (He showed as level 71 in the stable intreface.) I had heard that this might be in this build, but it seems to be true. Nice!
Speaking of rhinos, the Tenacity pet talent tree has changed as expected. Charge has replaced Dash in the first tier of talents for Tenacity pets. It also remains in the third tier of Ferocity talents. The descriptions and details of the two locations appear to be identical. I don’t see any other changes to the pet talent trees.
Likewise I’m not seeing many changes in pet skills, although I’ve only looked at 13 of them so far. But Furious Howl is back to boosting attack power instead of damage. It also lists a flat add (+148 AP) but since it only has one rank I assume that that is actually a calculated value.
The map for Crystalsong Forest has changed rather a lot, but unfortunately while flying out of Dalaran I passed into Icecrown (which still isn’t open) and ended up in Warsong Hold. I’ll have to go back and see if there are any creatures there yet. But hey, look like I can finally use my flying mount in Borean Tundra! That’s good news.
Okay, time for a break. I should be back in about an hour or two to finish looking over the skills and check the zones for new pets. In the meantime, if you see anything cool please let me know!
I’m back! So on to Crystalsong! This zone now has named areas that can be discovered, but I still don’t see any NPCs about, and certainly no beasts. That’s a pity. I really hope it gets some wildlife soon.
I also learned that it is not a good idea to take a flying shortcut over Wintergrasp right now. As soon as I entered the Wintergrasp Combat Zone I dismounted and fell — onto an unclimbable slope above cliffs of death.I as lucky to be able to slide partially down the slope and across the zone boundary so I could remount, but according to the poor Horde stuck in the zone, once you are inside the ring of mountains you have to win to get out.
Storm Peaks is apparently still closed as well, so it looks like I have no new beasts to find and tame tonight. So much for that!
So I think I’ll call it a night. I’ll finish up retesting pet skills, but it looks like most of the changes in this build are hunter-related instead of pet-related. Well, except for Stampede, and the Furious Howl range and effect, and stabled pets auto-leveling …