Blizzard Entertainment has released the latest patch for the beta of World of Warcraft. The patch, weighing in at 190 MB, includes three major changes.
First is the introduction of a "Talent" system, similar to that used in the Diablo series. Players get one talent point each time they level up, which can be invested in abilities that enhance one of their existing powers or skills. Unfortunately, this patch only offers the system for Mages and Warriors, which will likely unbalance player-versus-player combat for a while.
Second is the implementation of a series of "Auction houses" where players can trade items. Currently, these houses can only be found in the capital of each race, and trading is restricted to one's own faction; however, the town of Booty Bay has an auction house where Alliance-Horde trade is possible. The system is not as versatile as the regional auction system from the unofficial Cosmos enhancement, but it is official--meaning it will be part of the final product--and works automatically with the game's postal system.
Third is a change to the controversial "Rest" system, reducing it to only two tiers: Rested, which gives players 200% experience, and Normal (100% experience). Rested only lasts for around 30 "bubbles"--roughly 1.5 levels--and "bubbles" are regained at a rate of one for every eight hours of logout time. This effectively eliminates the Rest system as an option for everyday players.
A number of other minor changes are also included in the patch. A new "Guard" system allows players to call for help from NPC guards enemies attack a village. The level cap has been raised to 50, and the game graphics have been upgraded with hand-drawn maps, decaying player corpses (complete with race-specific skeletons), and a graying-out of the entire world when a player dies.