Patch 5.1 splashed onto the shores of Pandaria yesterday afternoon, and with it came a few big changes to the game. Some of the changes were great, while others fall short (by a lot). Here's my take on 5.1.
With patch 5.1 Blizzard has heard the player feedback about rep grinds and implemented a way to increase your reputation leveling speed. Upon reaching revered with a Pandaria faction players will be able to purchase commendations for that faction, unlocking a 100% bonus to reputation gains for that faction for all characters on the account.
While this change is only a bandage that doesn't address the real issue with the repetitive faction grinds, it's a welcome change for players needing relief from a never-ending daily quest grinds. This change comes just in time, since patch 5.1 adds even more faction dailies for the Horde and the Alliance.
Probably the most anticipated change in the patch will be the additional of a secretive fight club that players can join (if they can manage to get an elusive invitation). Players can purchase an invite from the Black Market Auction House or get one as a drop from one of the rare faction NPCs in Krasarang. If you aren't able to purchase an invite, someone else who is already in the Brawler's Guild can also invite you.
Personally, I don't see the appeal of the Brawler's Guild - it seems to me like a developer just thought of it on a whim as a reference to a good movie. But, this fight club reference has garnered a lot of hype since it's announcement, and I know that on my server the rare spawns that drop the invitation are hotly contested.
More Daily Quests
Yes, with 5.1 comes a host of additional daily quests for the players that have been craving additional daily quests to distract them from the lack of actual content in the game.
With the Horde and the Alliance forces landing on the shores of Krasarang, we will be asked to fight for the honor and glory of our factions by completing daily quests... boy, where do I sign up.
Pet Battle Updates
5.1 brings a few much needed changes to the pet battle UI. Pets will now be denoted by the color of their rarity in the battle UI frame (good). Additionally, the pet journal allows more sorting functionality (also good). My issue with the update is that they didn't go far enough! Some really great mods had been created for showing pet battle quality inside of battle. The greatest thing about the mod I was using is that not only did it show the quality, but it showed if you already owned the pet AND if it was an upgrade for you. The updated Blizzard UI doesn't show whether a pet is an upgrade, meaning you need to open up your pet journal and manually search for every individual pet to check if it's an upgrade. Same thing on mouse-over of wild pets - the tooltip will show you own the pet, but not what quality is in your journal.
New Item Tooltips
In a study from the school of fixing things that aren't broken, Blizzard decided to update the layout of item tooltips for the first time in 7 years. The old layout grouped primary stats at the top of the item, sockets in the middle, and secondary stats at the bottom of the item. For some reason it was decided that a better approach would be to smash the primary stats and the secondary stats together - so instead of having something that's easy to read and functional, we get a tooltip with a jumble of information that isn't easy to read at a glance.
Compare for yourself - do you hate the new tooltips as much as I do?
The patch also adds item upgrades - personally, I'm indifferent to this feature, but I think it may turn off some casual players. At most I think it adds an unnecessary level of complexity to gearing your character. A player now needs to know what gear is BiS, what to gem it with, what to enchant it with, what to transmogrify it to, what stats to reforge, and now, whether or not to upgrade it... sometimes, less is more.
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Those are my reflections on 5.1. So, what did everyone else think of the patch?