Friday, 11 December 2009

Patch 3.3 impressions

Patch 3.3 is out and having had a few nights to play, here are my impressions of the new goodies.

Weekly Raid Quest
The old daily heroic quest giver now gives a weekly raid quest to kill some boss in a raid instance, this week on Aszune we had to take down Anub'Rekhan in Naxxramas. The reward was 5 Emblems of Frost and 5 Triumph. This appears to be a nice feature, we get to bosh old raid instances which are long forgotten. The run took only 10 minutes, was fun and profitable.

There is also a Looking for Raid tool to companion the new weekly quests, although I eventually found it hidden away in the Raid tab on the social panel, /lfr also brings it up. Given there was only 2 people looking for Naxx raids, I suspect the looking for raid tool is too well hidden at the moment, so pugging will have to be done via a global chat channel.

Dungeon Finder
After doing the weekly raid quest, I gave the new Dungeon Finder tool a spin. This promises to whisk you into a random heroic or dungeon of your choice, with a group formed from cross-server members, and give Frost for the first random instance and bonus Triumph thereafter. The tool itself appears solid, I was able to quickly queue for a random heroic. Even at peak time of 9pm I got into a party within 5 minutes, so the matching is good.

However there are issues. Having chosen Oculus for us, the familiar zoning screen appeared, then we were ejected back out again and the depressingly familiar "Additional instances cannot be launched" message came up. The response of the other party members was to drop the party, and I ended up with the Dungeon Deserter debuff and unable to queue again for 15 minutes. Luckily Blizzard are aware of this, but it is a somewhat predictable scenario with everyone running heroics and I am disappointed they didn't think this one through. Not giving the deserter buff when you are ejected through no fault of your own would be a pretty obvious start!

Blizzard Gear Checks?
Later I was in a party and brought the Dungeon Finder tool up again. Interestingly some of the alts in the group appear to cause certain instances to be locked out, giving a message of "player must obtain better gear" and actually identifying each player who is considered to have inadequate gear.

I can certainly have some fun with this one, imagine getting into groups with other players then using Dungeon Finder to "check" their gear as it were. Halls of Reflection locked? Maybe someone isn't quite up to scratch yet. Violet Hold locked? Get ye back to the questing, rubbish alt! As a way of embarrassing guildies, this will be an excellent tool :)

New 5 Mans
Patch 3.3 comes with 3 new 5 man instances and a nice quest chain which takes you through them. The Forge of Souls is a nice instance with some newish boss mechanics. The Pit of Saron was very cool, with a uniquely fun gauntlet and a suitably cool end boss.

There is also some nice loot in the instances, I personally am looking to upgrade my belt and boots to Spiked Toestompers and Belt of Rotted Fingernails (yuck). There is a nice ring I could use until I rep up with Ashen Verdict, but the trinket looks a little weak, proccing as it does with that least useful stat for Enhancement of Armour Penetration.

New Raid
Bored of a small, circular room? Wish there was more to raiding? Well lucky you, now there is, an actual new raid instance complete with stairs. Last night Elder Brethren had a crack at the 10 man, they lasted 3 minutes 26 seconds on the longest attempt on Marrowgar, so Icecrown Citadel appears to be quite tough on 10 man. I have yet to try although those who went last night got around 900 Ashen Verdict reputation, so even wiping is useful.

An Actual Raid Faction!
Similar to the Violet Eye in Karazhan, the new Ashen Verdict faction has a series of rings at friendly, which are quite frankly amazing. Unfortunately we start at neutral so must kill a fair amount of trash to get one, but I am really glad there is a point to killing trash again, as the Karazhan rings was one of the fun aspects of Kara.

Epic 251 weapon
Already being sold on the AH and Trade, the Battered Hilt is drawing the attention of entrepreneurs everywhere. This starts the Quel'delar quest chain which promises an iLevel 251 weapon at the end, the quests take part in the new 5 mans and around Azeroth so are entirely doable. It drops in the new 5 mans on heroic, so those selling it are making a quick buck, but I won't be paying for it. Certain guild members may be forking out I suspect. The item was also dropping more than it should have done on patch day, and has since been nerfed to a 1-2% rate.

New Buttons To Press
For DPS Shamans we get the new and improved Fire Nova spell to try to fit onto the action bar. I was trying this out last night as a filler spell when everything else was on cooldown - it certainly makes things a bit more interesting as I now have to place the fire totem carefully, and makes it very irritating if the tank moves the mobs out of range of my carefully-placed totems. From reading Elitist Jerks I probably need to respec to get 2/2 Improved Fire Nova to up the damage, but in AOE situations Fire Nova spamming and Magma Totem was very powerful.

The cooldown on the Fire Elemental totem has been slashed to 10 minutes, the cooldown on Reincarnation is down to 30 minutes, which proved very handy for repeated wipes in The Pit of Saron. I mean would prove useful, of course we never wiped ;-)

New Totem Art
My Troll and Orc cousins now have their very own totem designs. Unfortunately the only other Shamans I have grouped with have been Tauren, and Kam is Tauren, so I've only seen the bog-standard design. Still, I shouldn't be ungrateful because it will make grouping with other Shamans more interesting and varied, and that's a good thing. I'm also quite attached to the old Tauren totem poles so I don't mind keeping them.

New Disenchant Loot Option
One of the loot options, along with Need or Greed, is Disenchant, if you have an enchanter in the party (presumably of the right level to DE an item). You can hit the DE option and a DE roll happens, at the same priority as Greed. Whoever wins the DE roll has the item auto-magically disenchanted and they receive the shards or dust. This is a really awesome change, especially for the random greens which nobody wants any more. Now Kam has a fair amount of dusts and essences and has a chance at an Abyss Crystal every run, and I don't need to bother getting the greens DEed after a run any more.

Some Other Stuff
A new fishing competition, new vendor non-combat pets, a change in the ready check noise (most annoying), quest objectives on the main map, BoA faction helm and shoulder enchants (although they won't go on heirloom items), and much more besides. I've really only scratched the surface of what is on offer in 3.3, so I look forward to a lot more. Thus far it's been really fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The new totem art is sweet -- my Shaman is a Tauren so I've got the old-school totems, but last night I ran some heroics with a Troll Shaman guildie, and the Troll totems look amazing. It's also helpful to be able to easily distinguish which totems belong to which shaman, with just a quick glance during a busy fight.

About the Random Raid -- ran it last night with my guild. On our server, it was XT in Ulduar. Quick and easy. I'm really happy they added this feature.

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