In light of the holiday season being upon us, I think it is an interesting idea to try and create a post showing how the number of the day counting towards Christmas is relevant to you, and/or to create 25 consecutive posts in a row as a type of challenge.
I am not sure how particularly successful I will be at this, but who knows, if this seems like an interesting idea to enough people, perhaps it can become a fad?
Day 1: Post Patch Aggression: 4.3 – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Ah, patch days, always a fun time on Azeroth. Troves of people clamoring for new loot. DPS queue times up to insane levels (again). And those wonderful broken and outdated addons that cause issues. So many first world (of warcraft) problems to deal with, so little time. Even after a few days, I have seen a lot from the raid, LFR, priest changes, and new 5 mans to draw a first day conclusion for the new changes in three categories.
Lets start simple, with the priest class:
We are still awesome, our healer brethren even more so than us shadow folk now. Also, if you have a priest, or a priest friend, cast levitate on you and drink a potion of illusion next to someone with Dragonwrath in mount form, you wont be upset!
A much less documented nerf to shadow priests, but the 4 piece tier 12 got sent to the chopping block and is now only a 15% increase to damage on Mind Blast, down from 25%. Nothing that is game breaking, but you wont see as big of numbers on it anymore. Also, mastery is still better than crit, even more now with this change.
While I am all for the egyptian theme of Uldum and gear set, I do not think the VP rewards should be modeled exactly like it, thank you for transmogrifying!
Of course the big to do about 4.3 was the release of Dragon Soul, the last raid instance for this expansion, which features 8 bosses, including Deathwing himself. Dragon Soul itself is a rather simple instance by design, it is set in past Dragonblight (the model looks exactly the same as the one in current day Northrend, no dramatic changes), add to this the Old God chasms from Twilight Highlands, and then a reskinned boss fight in both the Eye of Eternity (spoiler alert) and Gunship Battle from ICC, and you got yourself a great model for creativity and instance design….. I think I am pursuing the wrong career…..
Anyway, the Dragon Soul is a nice breath of fresh winter air compared to the hoarse, acrid smell of Firelands, although I do love the smell of lava in the evening…. smells like, EMERGENCY RIGHT! It has one more encounter than Firelands, and has 3 difficulty settings, normal, heroic and the new Raid Finder, which can allow you to see content at widely varying frequency of difficulty.
A welcomed change of pace from the firelands, for me at least, new content to learn and master. New loot, and who doesn’t love a good trinket here and weapon there? The design of the instance is simple, and the mechanics of the first 4 bosses were easy enough for our guild to go 4/8 the first night with relative ease.
The mechanics might be a little too easy, even on normal. 4 bosses killed in 3.5 hours is about 50 min a boss, I am hoping some of the Deathwing mechanics I have seen prove to be a bit more challenging than ping pong or HOLY SHIT PURPLE KILL IT. Also bad, Mists of Pandaria is scheduled to be released on December 4, 2012, and this is rumor mind you, nothing confirmed by Blizzard. If it is true though, we get to enjoy another year inside the Dragon Soul, reminiscent of ICC, not a good thing.
More of those lovely faceless one models that were great back in ulduar, not so stand-out-ish after the 5th or 6th time reused. Also, Ice Tombs, because Sindragosa is a fight I would rather not revisit again if given the choice, ugh.
Another new introduction in 4.3 was the raid finder, or Looking for Raid as it has come to be known by. The idea behind this was to serve as a learning tool for people who may not have as much time to commit to a raiding guild per se, or to learn the encounters on a lesser difficulty setting before trying them out on normal for the first time, with the loot quality being slightly decreased. Raid finder follows a simple 2 tank, 6 healer and 17 dps composition, that can favor you some days (I was the only mage in the run I got into earlier today), and can not be kind to your class other days (druid tank [me]+ 2 cats + 4 rogues + 3 hunters + 2 enhance shaman). The loot is still improved compared to the end time 5 mans, so its also a better way to gear an alt up while your VP accumulates.
I have 3 DPS and 1 tank class, I was inclined to play my tank for a long time because queues were instant, but I am happy to report that the longest I have waited while queuing as DPS for LFR was 1 minute, while tank queues averaged in the 7-12 minute range. (Oh how poetic justice is sometimes.) Raid finder is also a nice break to the new 5 mans and or trying to figure out what set of transmog gear you want to try on. Also, LFR will not lock you from normal or heroic (soon) Dragon Soul and you can get loot out of both runs, but not in LFR after you have cleared it once per week. A lot of the people I have seen are quite geared heading into there and generally are not douchebags, however….
Inevitably you will run into “that guy” or “that girl”. You know, the one that does 10k dps as ret as rolls on (AND WINS) intel/spirit gear over healers, or the one who consistantly complains about how nice it would be if they got x item, or better yet, the one who threatens to leave or pull a bunch of mobs unless they are raid leader. Crazy, but yet all three of these have happened to me in under 48 hours.
The Insanely Ugly:
Raid Finder Russian Roulette. So we zone in, and proceed to pull the first pack of mobs before Morchok, then one hunter decides to leave for unknown reasons. Suddenly, its chaos abound, 2 mages have just left and were replaced by 2 warlocks. Now since there are 5 warlocks in the group, 3 of them leave and are replaced by a hunter, rogue, and arms warrior. The arms warrior isnt arms however, he accidently queued as arms and is really a tank in pvp gear. Now the healers are up in arms over people being in the run with pvp gear and 3 of them leave. Its another 5 minutes before the healer spots fill, and so on, and so on, and so on….
By the time the raid is restructured, one trash pack has been pulled and and I am 30 minutes into the run I thought would take an hour tops.
Role Bonus Rolling. Ret paladins winning spirit rings? I thought the role check was meant to give a bonus to people who actually benefit the most from the stats on the item, not just because you can use it. I foresee a lot of derailed runs in the future by mages winning spirit weapons or <insert other loot drama OMG reason here>. Pro tip: Run with your real ID friends or people from the guild to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable.
Gated Progression: Clearing the first 4 bosses in 40 minutes must mean we aren’t ready for the wonders of Ultraxion and Lootship 2.0, right!? Fall of Deathwing Option in raid finder is grayed out for the time being.
Aside from Dragon Soul, 4.3 also brought about 3 new 5 man instances with them, with improved (378) loot. (Goodbye ZA/ZG, see you in 5.1….. maybe….). They are End Time, Well of Eternity, and Hour of Twilight, all instances relating to lore and the interference of the Twilight’s Hammer in events of Azeroth’s past. These runs are worth 150 VP a piece and can get you to your cap of 1000 for the week without have to run anything else, raids or trollroics. There are a few interesting enciunters in the 5 mans, that I would personally love to see in a raid someday, a lot of the encounters are pretty straight forward however, a simple tank and spank.
New 5 Mans:
You will be missed ZA and ZG, Oh! Is that a new 378 helm and shoulder item for my alts there? I do think we can be friends after all, End Time. Your guild is running heroics again, hooray instant queues with good people. Improved or sidegrade loot for your (raiding) main, a full set of upgrades for your alt(s) from a 5 man. Also, killing Jaina. Again. And again. Aaaaaand again…..
Murozond. Seriously, I wish this was a raid encounter. Reset time is by far the coolest in game mechanic in Cataclysm and I think having it implemented in a raid setting could be very fun.
Queue times are back to being crazy again for us dps roles. As dps get their gear from VP and the instances, expect to see the time drop again much like it did with ZA/ZG, perhaps even faster since there aren’t any mounts in these runs.
Trash. Hey how about that trash? Reckless abandon turned out to be a bad thing, as blazenly charging into End Time and Hour of Twilight on my not as geared tank, proved fatal. Crowd Control is advised for people venturing in there for the first time.
I honestly could not think of something terribly hideous in the new 5 mans, unless you become overly annoyed with thew length of the Mannoroth and Varothen encounter, everything else seems to be in check for me.
Last, but certainly not least is the highly anticipated and sought after Transmogrification and Void Storage additions. All of that extra space being taken up in the bank by old sets of gear and collectables can now be cleaned out for access to more relevant items. Myself, much like a lot of people, spent a good deal careening through old instances in raids for gear that I would much rather be seen in compared to the current artwork in game. And here Illidan, Kael, Archimonde, and Vashj thought they weren’t popular raid attractions anymore. Although, it does kind of irk me a bit when I see someone in a random who transmogged into BoA gear…
Transmogrification and Void Storage:
I can finally look how I think my character should look, and directly reflect how I want to be (in game)! Most instances through wrath can be soloed, and if not, you and a friend or guildie can quickly run through for loot you two should want to obtain for reskinning.
While money is not an issue, the cost of items going into void storage and to transmog each time run a bit high, though I suppose it serves as another money sink aside from the multiple traveler mounts in game and new 397 items on the AH.
The pink really clashes with the lime green and white.
This guy is wanted on numerous violations of decency and obstruction of justice by the fashion police. There is currently a 15,000 gold bounty on information on the whereabouts of said person.
Thats about it for my initial impressions of the patch, I really hope the heroic encounters prove to be a nice challenge to keep my attention while Mists of Pandaria is being developed. What about you folks, what is the thing that you like about 4.3 the most? Are you happy to (finally) be out of Firelands? Are there things brought about by 4.3 that irk you as well?