World of Warcraft's 5.3 Escalation update introduces new scenarios, gameplay changes

It's always fun to say that WoW is "rolling out" a new patch, as if Pandaria's hardships are manufactured and deployed via a conveyor-belt production line. So the Horde and the Alliance are sniping at one another again, yes, but what does this mean for you , the player? There are many upsides to all the conflict, including but not limited to: new scenarios, reduced XP needed in leveling, changes to loot rolls, and while we're at it, probably just more loot in general.

Thank goodness the blog 's been compiling all this information in what's only a slightly overwhelming manner. Players can go deeper into the conflict-ridden plotline with a new series of level 90 quests in everyone's favorite world PVP battleground, the Barrens . Meanwhile, four new scenarios have been added, each with a separate heroic mode. Heroic modes have also been added to two existing scenarios.

But if you're still leveling and nowhere near heroic-ready? Good news! The amount of XP needed to get from levels 85 to 90 have been shaved down by 33%. My rogue, who I'm fairly sure I left sitting morosely around the eggplant-rich farms of Valley of the Four Winds, will probably be happy to hear this. Additionally, low-leveled miners and herbalists won't need to visit those cruddy old continents to skill up any more—they can now do that while keeping up with the cool bears in Pandaria.

Loot specialization's also a new thing, allowing for more control with off-spec loot drops. Also, the ever-important pet battles have received some fixes. Finally, as per usual, don't forget to check up on what's changed for your character's specific class .

The full details are over at the WoW blog . The new slew of features has already been implemented on the servers, so all you'll need to do now is run your launcher, download the good stuff, and meet your guildies in-game for some renewed tussling over loot drops.