(you have no idea how tough it was not to call this post Preparation-W)
Well, word has come from on-high that the Pre-WotLK Patch (2.5 presumably) is due in the coming weeks. Of course what coming weeks means is always something of a moveable feast but the smart money is on mid-October (just after Blizzcon '08) for a mid-November release of Wrath of the Lich King.
With this announcement the speculation over a pre-Wrath World Event has been picking up speed. The Burning Crusade retail release was preceded by the Dark Portal Opens Event (seen by some as a missed opportunity) and it seems that there will be a similar plan for WoW's second expansion. Already there are clues in the Beta for those who look for them or are reading between the lines, and WoW Veterans may recall a similar themed event from the past.
So, what should you be doing in the weeks leading to the Wrath Launch proper? Well, Eyonix kindly listed a few things which will be release along with 2.5:
We have outlined some of the larger features scheduled to release with the patch below:
New class spells and talents
Barbershops in capital cities
Zeppelin towers outside of Orgrimmar and Tirisfal Glades
Two brand-new Arenas featuring challenging new layouts, terrain hazards, and moving obstacles
Hunter pet skill revamp
New profession: Inscription
As mentioned above, this is not a comprehensive list, just some of the major highlights. We’ll post the full patch notes as soon as they’re available. Regarding Inscription, please note that all Burning Crusade players will be able to select Inscription as one of their two professions and level up to a skill level of 375 with it. Upon the release of Wrath of the Lich King, players who purchase and install the expansion will be able to continue leveling in Inscription and the other professions beyond 375.
So the month prior to WotLK provides for a perfect opportunity to level Inscription if you don't want the profession on your new Deathknight.
In other news, Arena Points will not carry over into lvl71+. Wryxian mentioned today that your Arena Point tally will reset the moment you hit lvl71, so no saving up for those pesky lvl80 Epics against lvl70 opponents. No news yet on whether the same will be true for Honour Points, my assumption is that they won't be reset but Blizzard may not agree with me.
The major topics over the WOW-Blogosphere for the following weeks, baring what comes out of BlizzCon, will probably be on what to do before Wrath hits. Aylii, guestblogging at World of Matticus is speculating that the content patch will spell doom for raiding because the current end-game is balanced for mechanics which will not exist in the new build, such as Downranking and Crushing Blow Avoidance. I think s/he has a point, and it should be interesting to see how it shakes out. The months before 2.0 featured a resurgence of the Battleground PvP system due in part to the new talents, and also to the changes to the Honour system to a cumulative earned point rather than relative system. Those looking for something to do will probably spend most of their time in the BG's or Arenas. The end of Season 4, or a very short Season 5, could be on the cards for people to try out and may provide an opportunity for previously unfavoured Specs to gain PvP notoriety and an ever elusive title.
Those who choose to persevere with raiding will be pleased to know that they won't be upgrading all their epics as soon as they step into Northrend. From a glance at MMO-Champion's loot list you'll be looking at an upgrade for your items at lvl70+(Tier Level), i.e. your Tier 6/Season 3 gear won't be upgraded until lvl76 Dungeon loot, Tier 5 at lvl75 etc. The exception to this may well be Tanks due mainly to the threat scaling mechanics changes, but Tier 5 should very easily take you through to 73 dungeons (Galoheart is keeping a close eye on the tanking side of things).
More will no doubt be known by October. Expect a World Event to keep up interested in the gap to Wrath, possibly encouraging us to take another look at old-world dungeons, and till then start stockpiling those 'erbs.