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World of Warcraft patch 5.0.4 implements Pandaria talent system, major class changes

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Blizzard's massive 5.0.4 update for World of Warcraft hit servers today, bringing significant overhauls to the MMO's talent system and class design as a forerunner for Mists of Pandaria's release on September 25.

The new talent layout (opens in new tab) places higher specialization emphasis on certain core, class-defining abilities and reflects the significant class alterations previewed by Blizzard throughout the year. Hunters with no minimum ranges? Warriors no longer generating Rage from taking damage? Arcane Mages with more complex rotations? Crazy. What's next, area-wide looting?

Well, yes, actually. A single right-click now scoops up all loot from nearby slain monsters, boosting leveling efficiency and severely diminishing the onset of sore kneecaps from stooping every two seconds.

Before your head spins in amazement like a well-timed Whirlwind, know that cross-realm zones also arrived to rescue underpopulated zones with round-the-clock player presence. If you're grouping up with said players, check out the two Scenarios -- expanded, more complex group quests -- available for each faction when they switch on a few weeks before the expansion's release.

We've scraped the surface of 5.0.4's significance, but as always, Blizzard provided the full patch notes (opens in new tab) for our perusal. A handy survival guide (opens in new tab) exists as well.

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?