Patch 3.3 LIVE

Patch 3.3 hit live servers this week, and was relatively smooth for a patch day. I love my guild leaders for not scheduling a main 25 raid for us on Tuesdays, so we get a bit of a cushion from UI rebuilding and laggy servers.

Most notably Patch 3.3 introduces:

1. Icecrown Citadel (Tier 10) 10 and 25 man raids and a new 3-wing 5 man dungeon The Frozen Halls.

2. Dungeon Finder and random heroics with PuG’d party members from your server’s battlegroup.

The Rogue class changes also bring with them some adjustments to our game play. You can read an update to the EJ Simple Questions/Simple Answers here. The basic combat spec changes to 20/51/0 and is edged out by Mutilate for top DPS in PvE encounters.

I had my first opportunity to run ICC 25 man last night. Our guild was the second on the server to clear all four available bosses in one raid night despite our Wednesday start. In 2 hours and 15 minutes of raiding we cleared through Deathbringer Saurfang then finished with the weekly Instructor Raz raid quest in Naxxramas.

Some notes on ICC:

1. Gorgeous music. Yeah, I know. I don’t play with music on all the time either. But you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t zone in early, and take a second to listen.

2. The Rogue Quartermaster is a gnome! Hell yeah represent….uh. I mean yeah the Tier 10 set looks bad on that rogue, too. 😉

3. GUNSHIP IS AWESOME – It goes down in my book as the most fun vehicle fight…ever, ever, ever. Jet packs, cannons, faction fighting. It’s a blast. Even if our chest was bugged and we didn’t get any loot or emblems for completing it last night, lol.

4. Take the time to watch what happens between after you kill Deathbringer Saurfang. Tragic.

So excited to see what else the Citadel has to offer. So far, so good. I know better than to complain about the ease of defeating these encounters. This is still normal guys. Heroic hasn’t opened yet. 😉

Happy Raiding! And Happy Holidays!

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Patch 3.3 – Icecrown Citadel Raid Access

I’m back from sunny FL to the wonderful cold, autumn rains, and the big buzz in the WoW raiding community today is all focused on Daelo’s post about Icecrown Citadel and Blizzard’s plan for Boss availability and attempt limitation in the instance.

Here is the post in full as well as a link to the original:

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=21038229051&sid=1

Icecrown Citadel testing has been progressing very well over the last few weeks, and this has been a huge help to the encounter design team. I want to thank everyone who has logged onto the PTR and tried the encounters there.

As we’re now getting closer to the release of 3.3.0, I wanted to talk about our plans for access progression within Icecrown Citadel. Icecrown Citadel is going to be broken up into four distinct sections: The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls. We plan on releasing these four sections of Icecrown Citadel over time and not all immediately when patch 3.3.0 goes live. At this point I can’t give precise dates for these release dates as they are determined by when patch 3.3.0 goes live. Once dates are known with more certainty, I’ll update the community so they can plan appropriately.

The first section that opens will include the Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Deathbringer Saurfang encounters. Progress beyond that point will be prevented for several weeks. Then the Plagueworks will open with Rotface, Festergut, and Professor Putricide becoming available. After another period of time, the Crimson Hall will open and you can then fight the Blood Princes and Blood-Queen Lana’thel. The final Frostwing Halls unlock then occurs after that, making Valithria Dreamwalker, Sindragosa, and the Lich King available. We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace.

There are other elements that gate access along the way. Players may not attempt any Heroic versions of 10 player encounters until they have defeated the Lich King in a 10 player raid. Similarly, players must defeat the Lich King in a 25 player raid before they can attempt a Heroic 25 player encounter. So players must master every normal difficulty encounter in Icecrown Citadel before attempting Heroic difficulty.

The Lich King may not be attempted until Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, and Sindragosa are defeated. Furthermore, the Heroic difficulty of The Lich King encounter may not be attempted in any week unless the three aforementioned encounters have been defeated in Heroic difficulty that week.

The Ashen Verdict provides reinforcements and material for players to assault Icecrown Citadel, but this support is not endless. Raids will have a limited number of attempts total each week to defeat the four most difficult encounters in Icecrown Citadel: Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. As these boss encounters are unlocked, the number of attempts available per week will increase. The initial number of attempts provided for defeating Professor Putricide is only five. When Blood-Queen Lana’thel unlocks, the amount of total attempts remaining will increase to 10. Then when Sindragosa and the Lich King unlock, 15 total attempts will be available to defeat all four bosses. After a raid has exhausted their attempts for the week, the Ashen Verdict must withdraw their support and the four most difficult bosses all despawn and become unavailable for the week. The limited attempt system is a feature of both Normal and Heroic difficulty.

There will be no explicit rewards for defeating the Lich King with a specific number of attempts remaining as there was with Trial of the Grand Crusader. There will also not be an achievement to complete Icecrown Citadel without being defeated by a boss encounter, or letting a raid member die. (i.e. A Tribute to Insanity).

In the weeks and months after all twelve encounters are unlocked, additional attempts against the final four boss encounters become available. This represents the Ashen Verdict growing more powerful and gaining a stronger foothold in Icecrown Citadel. To further help raids, Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will begin to provide assistance by inspiring the armies attacking Icecrown Citadel. This is represented as an additional zone wide spell effect applied to all players that will increase their hit points, damage dealt, and healing done. This effect will also increase in effectiveness over time. Players may opt out of the spell’s effect if they so wish.

My thoughts:

1. I actually have no problem with the Gating concept. It seems to fit well with the story they are attempting to build with the Ashen Verdict. It also saves guilds from feeling like they have to devote 24 hours to the raid instance for “first” kills. Although that would probably be the argument that top world and regional guilds would have against the “gating” idea.

2. A limit of five attempts seems a bit ridiculous. People are in raiding guilds because they enjoy raiding. If our time is too limited, you have the problem of boredom and losing core team members. Basically here, I just hope they know what they are doing and the potential pitfalls.

3. The buff that will gradually increase is a built in nerf. I don’t see the point of limiting the instance and building in a nerfing mechanic.

4. I’m still excited to see Icecrown Citadel. I’ve avoided too much spoiler information because I want to enjoy it. However, I’ll have to start researching boss abilities to ensure that my role is covered for my guildmates in our limited attempts.

5. I’m really glad they removed the Insanity and Immortality type of achievement. I dislike the dissention it could cause for raid teams. Making what should be farming run stressful and aggravating. This mechanic has not affected my guild yet in ToGC since we are still working on Anub, but I know it wasn’t fun for friends I have in other top guilds.

As always, it will be interesting to watch both the community feedback and the instance itself unfold. What an explosive 5th anniversary. 🙂

 

 

 

Patch 3.3 – The Icecrown Citadel

The information is pouring out from the PTR for Patch 3.3. In what is probably the final content patch for The Wrath of the Lich King expansion, we will finally get to face The Lich King and his Scourge horde in the final battle for dominance in Northrend.

Initial screenshots of the new 5 man dungeon and aspects of the new raiding tier are being released, and gear models and set bonuses have been datamined over at mmo-champion.com. The new raid instance is featuring the ability to toggle between Normal and Hard Mode encounters via the user interface, rather than the multiple lockouts available with the current Tier 9 content, Call of the Crusade. Also being introduced, Weekly Raid Quests. Now you can overnuke Sartharion for more than just another raiding commute machine. Character copies and premade characters are available for those wishing to test content and be spoiled.

Here’s the breakdown on what 3.3 will mean for the Rogue class in the next patch (source mmo-champion):

Rogue

  • 4 piece Tier 10 – Gives your melee finishing moves a 13% chance to add 3 combo points to your target.
  • 2 piece Tier 10 – Your Tricks of the Trade ability now grants you 15 energy instead of costing energy.
  • Dual Wield: Rogues now know this ability upon logging into the game at level 1.
  • Stealth: This ability no longer has multiple ranks. While active, the single rank of this ability (available at level 1) allows rogues to move at 70% movement speed.
  • Vanish: For the first half second after this ability is used, neither Vanish nor Stealth can be broken by taking damage or being the victim of a hostile spell or ability.

I want to have a positive outlook, but the Tier 10 set bonuses seem pretty lackluster when compared to the deadly poison energy regen and rupture crits of Tier 8. Also, not totally trusting the whole fixing vanish thing. But I’ll save my conspiracy theories for another day. 😉

Possible Vanish fix announced for 3.3

So after 4+ years

http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=20136596247&pageNo=3&sid=1#44

From Blizzard dev and forum poster Ghostcrawler:

“We have a change for Vanish in place for 3.3. You will get to try it out soon ™. As promised, if it proves a significant buff to rogues, we may have to compensate elsewhere. Just because it hasn’t worked as intended doesn’t mean it will be balanced when it does.”

The wording of this statement actually makes me wish they’d leave things alone. 😉