First impressions: WoW patch 4.2 brings new loot, dailies, raids and the ability to move characters on the selection screen [UPDATED]
Goblins everywhere are rising to the top of players' characters lists (where they rightfully belong). WoW's huge Firelands raid patch (4.2) is hitting live servers this morning, and while it does add a new 10/25-man raid, a brand new daily quest hub that we'll progressively unlock by aiding their cause, a legendary staff, and an epic story with Azeroth's resident badass Thrall, I'm probably more excited about being able to finally meticulously order my characters in order of their sentimental importance.
This was a change that Blizzard snuck in under my radar, and I expect a lot of players will be surprised to see arrows next to their toons' names on the chracter select screen when servers finally come up and everyone is able to log in. Clicking the arrows simply moves them up or down the list accordingly. Nice and simple.
Why all the big hubbalub over a tiny feature, you ask? Well, this is the sort of change that I only expect hardcore MMO players to fullly appreciate. When you're selecting characters from a list several times a day for years, the fact that your most frequent selections are scattered between lumpy undead corpses you haven't touched since Silithus was a threat starts to grate. I for one am happy to finally lower my level 60 undead rogue down to the forgotten depths he belongs at, and rocket my goblins and trolls to the top. Take that, Forsaken jerks!
New daily quests in Hyjal
A lot of servers are still down at the time that I'm writing this post, but once your server comes online (and you've patched enough addons that you aren't getting spammed with a wall of error messages), you'll want to head up to Hyjal to find the new daily quest hub. The message boards in capital cities all have a breadcrumb quest that'll lead you to the exact location if you're high enough level. Once there, you'll get a quest to help an NPC army open a portal to the Firelands--it's a simple kill waves of minions quest that culminates in a simple boss battle and some jibba jabba from Malfurion Stormrage. Lore junkies'll love it, but the rest of us just want to hurry up and get ahead of the rest of the patch day pack.
The Hyjal quest hub is still surprisingly peaceful on my realm: Alliance players were fighting alongside Horde without even glancing at each other. Don't expect it to stay that way for long, though--early questers are usually so focused on beating content that they're happy to ignore one another, but the gankers will be on later tonight. If you can get on now and start the quest chain, I'd highly recommend it. Otherwise, be ready for some epic pvp fights tonight!
The new currency is Marks of the World Tree, rewarded from quests in the new hub. The first few quests have you fly around the zone defending different NPCs from attack; they took be about 15 minutes to defeat and then I'd unlocked the first phase of the daily quest hub. There are only three daily quests available at first: one to kill enemies and summon a ghost wolf to howl over their corpses and one to collect berries. Upon completion, you get a follow-up quest to go summon a kill a felhound nearby.
The quests are all very simple, straightforward stuff and not very exciting. I ended up with 12 Marks of the World Tree, with a quest to collect 20 to unlock the next tier of daily quests, like the Argent Tournament functioned in Lich King expansion. It looks like you can gain four Marks a day through the three daily quests (which will likely rotate), so we should be able to unlock the new tier of daily quests by Thursday if you stop by every day. And you should: it's super quick to do, and you know your guild will want you to be attuned and ready to raid asap! After all, there's a whole heap of new loot waiting for you all inside Firelands.
UPDATE: There is another quest chain available in capital cities (found near the portal to Cataclysm zones) that sends you to Hyjal to meet with Thrall near Nordrassil. It leads to a long cinematic with a ton of lore and some crazy fire-dragons that I don't want to spoil with screenshots. All in all, this is an 11-step quest chain that takes you to all of the new Cataclysm zones for unique encoutners. Without giving away the details, you absolutely must play this if you care about lore at all. Even if you don't, it's worth your time for the fun group encounters along the way and the ilevel 365 epic cloak you get at the end.