I have a theory. It might be bunnies.
Given Blue's statement that there will be a 1.13 patch with the PVP system and all, I have a very very strong sneaking suspicion that I know or at least have a good guess what their plan is. If so, it's good, simple, straight forward, and awesome.
Okay, the patch on beta right now has all the neccessary lockouts that a person that ISN'T flagged to access TBC content will be locked out. So there's nothing really stopping them from pushing the current beta patch live as content patch 1.13. It would contain the new PVP system, the total hunter makeover, the new spell art and graphics, the AQ20 and other spell ranks buyable on trainers at lvl 60, and so forth. The only difference would be the *LIVE* level cap would still be 60. You would get a free respec, and be able to view all the 41-pt talents, but you can't access them until the Ex-pack is live and on your account - you'll be limited to the 31 point talents on all trees. Because the level cap is still 60, you can see all the post-60 material on trainers, but can't buy it because you can't level up past 60 until you get the ex-pack released and on your account. The new content would be live but unaccessable without the ex-pack: Northern Plaguelands, you'd be unable to zone past the portal. Alliance wouldn't be able to zone into Exodar via the boats - in fact blizz may simply not enable the Exodar boat at all on live. The Dark Portal would have it's newly upgraded look, but you couldn't zone into outlands.
It's logical, it's tidy, and it's neat. And it would still have lots of goodies for us all to play with. We'd have snazzy new loading screens with the new races on them. Hunters would be changed to 1 agi per 1 AP, but the hunter-specific gear would be all updated to less agi and more +AP and the ranged weapons would be upgraded appropriately like they are on Beta. You'd have access to the new PVP honor system and the new PVP rewards systems. The character panel would be updated with the new dropdown lists of statistics. It would include the new Resilience, Spell Penetration, Critical Rating, and related new mechanics. Hunters could rejoice at all the new LVL 55 ammo and arrows on the bowyers and gun vendors and buy the new rank of Mend Pet.
It would be enough of a content patch to let people get settled into the new post-expansion mechanics and game changes. But it also would mean that when people buy the Ex-pack, they can zone right into the new content after upgrading their accounts - no need to patch! Because all the content information would already be live. The Ex-pack account upgrade would flag the account for the lvl 70 level cap instead of lvl 60, so they can access the new talents, level up, train newer higher skills, zone into the new instances, boom and boom.
Yes... it's so tidy and neat. I think that's what they will do.
I could be mistaken but I don't recall my lvl 20 Pally on live servers ever having this ability. GO GO TANKADIN! 15 second cooldown, minimal mana cost, like an AOE taunt only you have to specify a person your defending. (-) on the hotkey bar, description text in the lower right.
The new spell art for Blessing of Wisdom. Might is just a couple of angel wings. That's as far as I've gotten my pally on beta thus far.
Oh and I added some shots from Nagrand to the screenshots file.
- Beta Update: October 26th, 2006