The creators of World of Warcraft are often praised for their dedication towards keeping their game's content fresh and unique, and the primary way that they do this is through a World of Warcraft patch. If you are new to World of Warcraft, chances are good that you have heard people moaning about the servers being down for patch day, but what is really happening? Every week, the servers go down for routine maintenance, and sometimes, when they come back up again, there is a World of Warcraft patch that needs to be downloaded. This download, usually no more than 300 to 400 mb in size is essentially meant to fix previous problems and often to enhance the game in some way.
What are some of the changes that a World of Warcraft patch might make? The most common form of a patch is known as a content patch, where changes are going to be made to things like the way that the characters do combat, the functionality of an item, non-player character or even the economy of the game. One effect of a content patch might be to adjust the way a spell works or even to open up a new dungeon.
When a World of Warcraft patch has been created, your game will automatically download the patch the next time that you log in and it will automatically install. When you go to open up your game after the patch has installed, take advantage of the patch notes to figure out what is new about the game. In some cases, the patches will be very small, while in others, the changes that they make can be truly impressive. For instance, one recent patch change created the possibility of dual specialization in terms of talents and also allowed all characters to respend their talent points. The patch notes are clearly organized so make sure that you at least skim the sections that are relevant to your character.
Patches are often greatly anticipated and there are many changes that might affect the way that you play your character. Some changes are specific to classes or professions, while other patch changes will affect the entire game. For instance, a forthcoming patch is going to knock down the cost to buy a mount
Another type of patch that you might run into is a hotfix and a hotfix can actually be accomplished without a download or without a server being brought down. These are usually fairly minor changes, though they might be essential when it comes to the balance or the functionality of the game. There are no patch notes, but you can see information on them in the forums, in the Server Alert window as you log in and in the in game message of the day.
Take a moment to make sure that you know what you need to know about the patches in World of Warcraft. This will keep you from being confused when the patches are downloaded and the changes are initiated!