So, first off, given my schedule slippage on this column, I'm making it biweekly instead of weekly.
Secondly, holy crap patch 5.0 is here!
My time on Beta was limited to Monk, Pet Battles, and some crash-coursing with my mains. This patch is the final (for now) changes to the talent/spec system before Mists of Pandaria comes out proper. In case you haven't been following, Talents are now additional abilities that you can choose one of three at certain levels. All of the talent spec abilities are now covered in the specialization window and, once you choose, you learn the abilities automatically as you level (the same with the general abilities, making class trainers more or less obsolete).
My thoughts after trying all my characters out?
Overall, I love it.
I still don't like Shaman Totems going from buff guardians to cooldown abilities, as I like being able to set and forget. However, in the end it doesn't mess with my rotations too much. Elemental still rocks, Enhancement still slightly less so. I LOVE healing with Resto now that I have Riptide at low-level.
I love all of my Hunter's new toys, such as Dire Beast and Murder of Crows.
My Shadow Priest ROCKS now that she conserves mana better.
My Feral Druid is a bit harder to manage now, but I need to get more used to the new rotation before I pass great judgement on it. My Balance, on the other hand, is still very effective if not much different than before.
In addition to my Boomkin, the Warrior, Mage, and Rogue are largely unchanged.
My Warlock, Paladin, and Death Knights on the other hand - Oh my god their playability just shot up hundreds of percents! They all benefit from the new "Core Abilities" tab which suggests a starting rotation, though Lock and Pally get an extra bonus from new resources. My Ret Pally had been working on Holy Power since her creation in Cata, but she could never build enough of it up fast enough to really use it (and had little to actually use it on). Now, there's the perfect balance of gain and loss. And my Demonology Lock, holy crap! Gaining Demonic Power and receiving Metamorphosis as a level 10 class essential as opposed to a 31-point toy makes a huge difference in the class and makes her fun to play again!
I also love the account-wide mounts and achievements. Well, almost. I think it's a little weird to give my Alliance toons the Ally equivalent of a Horde-Only achievement when I've never been anywhere near the Ally version (I have a Venomhide Ravasaur, not a Winterspring Frostsaber). But with Loremaster, Exploration, and Holidays spread out amongst all my toons naturally, those milestones seem closer than ever.
The next WoW Wednesday is scheduled for the day after Mists launches - which just so happens to be Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, so no update until Thursday. Not that I can afford Mists right now anyway, but Pandaren will be available to all subscribers, so I can at least comment on something.
EDIT: I forgot! Two more things:
Cross-Realm Zones BAD (took me about an hour to complete quests in Silithus that should have taken ten minutes tops because of all the competition from out-of-realm players).
Guild EXP Boost GOOD (For two years I barely got one bar into Guild Level One. Now we're Level Three and counting in two weeks).