In no particular order, here are some of the things I love about the game these days, whether small change or large.
1) Mount speed scales with skill – so if you really like that striped orange kitty cat from Darnassus, you can still ride it as your max speed mount. Likewise if you love the clean purity of the Snowy Gryphon, but always felt forced to use a mount that had a faster speed.
I really like that change. I’ve always thought what a shame it is, once you’d earned those higher level skills, that you were retiring a once-beloved mount because of stats.
2) Professions matter – It’s nice, this early into the expansion, that if you’ve got a crafting profession, it is worth your time early on to level it and make gear. The Blacksmiths, Leatherworkers and Tailors can craft some mighty fine gear that is equippable at a nice, low entry level. It’s also interesting that the Plate tanking sets made by Blacksmiths are equippable at slightly lower levels overall then the DPS equivalents… subtly encouraging tanks to be better geared early on than DPS, maybe?
On the same subject, it’s nice that Engineers can now make Bows as well as Guns, for those that like the feel of an item as much as it’s stats, and Jewelcrafters can actually make Fist Weapons of decent potency, equippable at a low character level as compared to their item level, making them quite handy for those of us with Rogues or Enhancement Shamen.
3) Quest designs encourage more pew pew, less vroom vroom. It’s not used all the time, but it’s nice that sometimes when you’re sent out on a quest chain, the quest completion and assignment of a new quest happens out in the field, without calling you all the way back. I’ve come to enjoy those moments when I complete a quest’s objectives, only to have the turn in appear on my active window, and the next step of the quest be given to me right there whle I’m still where I need to be to keep going. There is a lot more gating on quests, where you have to finish every single quest available before anything new will be offered, but at least some effort has been made to let you keep on chugging forward with fewer pit stops back at base.
4) Zones feel like they have a story that builds up to a satisfying conclusion. Now more than ever, in playing through the redesigned zones, more of them feel as if there is a cohesive main story, and as you play through the quests, things build up nicely, ending in some major confrontation – with commensurate rewards. The first time I played through the revamped Redridge Mountains on Alliance side, I was amazed at how different it all was.
As a side note, I love how the Redridge Mountains quests on Alliance side seem to insinuate that what they did there is why you get those quests in the field later. In Redridge Mountains, you are sent to go pick up a gnomish field communicator, and once you’ve got it and it’s repaired, that is how ‘base’ contacts you for quest updates and follow ups.
Later on, in Vashj’ir or any other zone where you get those same style follow ups, with someone back at ‘base’ magically knowing you finished a quest and telling you what they want you to do next… is it assumed you still have the communicator, and everyone you meet has a sending unit and knows your code? Good thing it didn’t break when your ship got sunk, huh? Is there a way to turn it off, or are you transmitting what you’re doing all the time?
Can I turn it off when I go to the bathroom? Some things I’d rather not have the quest givers know. It’s nice that we’re chatting and everything, but let’s keep just a little mystery to the relationship, whattaya say?