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Is the beta spellbook layout an improvement?

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When I first log in with the default UI, I always enable all four extra action bars on my screen. I then drag every possible spell I can onto my bars. I figure out what's important later as I beat up various quest mobs, reading tooltips mid-cast and dragging abilities around mid-fight. I suppose I'm just too excited (or impatient) to sit with the spellbook for five minutes.

Yet I still noticed the spellbook changes in the beta. My racials, guild perks, and flying licenses were jumbled up in the same tab as my spell passives, talented abilities, and regular abilities. Without even a search box up, I had to flip through all the tabs multiple times to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

Ghostcrawler posted two weeks ago about the pros and cons of the new beta spellbook design. I don't quite know what four to five tabs he's talking about -- to me, everything appears to be one big mess in the same tab.

Even though the actives are toward the front and the passives are toward the back, having all the spells in one place feels overwhelming. While having everything in one spot solves the problem of Sinister Strike being separated from Eviscerate, now there's a lot of noise as to what you should be using rather than what you could possibly use.

What's a spellbook for? Is it meant to be the dumping ground for all the spells you could possibly use? Or should the spellbook help players figure out which ability chunks they should be using? What if we organized the spellbook with the playstyle of the class or spec in mind?

I like the new talent pane in the beta. When discussing on Twitter other UI elements that could be better, @walkstweets drew up a similar idea regarding the spellbook. I found myself clicking on the spells on the talent summary page as if that were my spellbook instead! There they all were, all the spells I would normally use in my boss-killing action bar.

But I still have to go search for them in the spellbook by turning the pages one by one. Unbound Will is right there! Why can't I just drag it off the talent pane? Currently, I have to spend a few more clicks through the spellbook to find it at the back of the alphabetized active abilities.

Most of all, I wish the guild perk abilities came in one of those fly-out icons like portals or Call Pet -- not the passives like more justice points or faster wipe runs, but usable guild perks like Mass Resurrection or the portable guild bank. I already have an OPie ring just for guild perks.

While the beta's still hot with changes, what do you wish your spellbook did for you?

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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