World of Warcraft 1.4 Update: New Features & Fixes

Scarcely a fortnight after releasing World of Warcraft 1.3 (WoW), Blizzard has released another major, feature-rich update to the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG). WoW 1.4 adds scores of new features for character classes, professions, and races, as well as new interface enhancements, changes to items, bug fixes, and numerous other changes.

The most widely awaited change is the Player vs. Player (PvP) Honor System. The PvP Honor System awards players honor rank based on their success in fighting other players, be it on a PvP server, a Player vs. Environment (Normal) server, or Role Playing server.

Other major new features include:

The beginning of "Childrenis Week" in Stormwind City starts at the beginning of May. Visitors to Iron Forge may have noted the non-player character (NPC) John Turner asking for donations to help war orphans, and this will now have contextual relevance within the game.

Gurubashi Arena events will take place every three hours. The Gurubashi Arena is an area in the Stranglehorn Vale territory where PvP combat is automatically turned on whenever a character enters the arena.

Blizzard describes the Arena events as follows: "Every three hours starting at midnight, a pirate with too much treasure on his hands will drop a chest in the center of the arena. Whoever can open the chest first gets the contents! Of course, the arena is a PvP Free for All area, so there might be other players who are trying to open it first..."

Lastly, the company has added sporadic elemental invasions to the Silithus, UniGoro Crater, Azshara, and Winterspring territories. Players can, if they wish, convene to combat the incursions. Others may wish to run for cover.

The one Mac-specific change in the update is that the keyboard shortcut to quit the game has been changed to Command-Option-Q to work around an issue with PowerBooks.

For a full list of the many, many other new features and changes, refer to the patch.txt file in your main World of Warcaft directory.

World of Warcraft is priced at US$49.99 ($45.99 - Amazon), and requires a monthly maintenance fee. The 1.4.0 update is free, and downloads are handled through the in-game patching system. You can find out more information about World of Warcraft at the WoW site.

As of this writing, Blizzard is bringing servers back online from the update somewhat slowly.