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Next stop, frozen hell


Welp.  This is it.  Today is the day that patch 3.3 drops…and after the obligatory extended expanded extended maintenance, we might even be able to actually play tonight.  (Currently, servers are one hour late coming up and the clock is ticking.)  Of course, after you factor in the hours of time it’ll take for some of us to make our heavily customized UIs workable again, the obligatory server wobblies, and the massive lag, we won’t be doing much more than chilling and RPing anyway.  Which, honestly, is just fine!  Tuesday is our informal Wildfire Riders roleplay night in Stormwind anyhow, and there’s Things to be discussed…so as Anna says, why not take patch night to roleplay instead of fighting the lag, instability, and addon hell of trying to instance or raid in Icecrown Citadel?

Anyhoo.  I guess I’m in a bit of a burnout period on WoW, either that or all the crazy stuff going on in Real Life at the moment–demanding job, house move, four-year-old daughter, etc.–is doing a pretty good job of making me feel like I’m in a WoW burnout.  While I’m looking forward to 3.3 and Icecrown, I’m not ZOMGHOLYCRAP enthused about it.  Yes, I want out of Trial of the Big Round Room, badly. I need 41 more badges to get Linedan his fourth piece of T9.25 (the helm) and after that, the place can basically burn down for all I care.  And the only reason I care about that is because the warrior T9 four-piece set bonus reduces the cooldown on Shield Block by 10 seconds.  Shield Block up for 10 out of 30 instead of 10 out of 40?  That’s just sexy right there.  I’m on that like Tiger Woods on a cocktail waitress.

Icecrown Citadel itself, honestly, I know little about except for what Blizzard posted about the “gating” setup for it.  I have not researched any of the fights in advance.  I’m one of these weirdos that can watch videos and read strategies all day, but until I actually get in there and experience the fight, it’s not going to stick.  (My raid officers are going to read this and /facepalm considering I’m a tank–sorry, guys, it’s the truth.)  We’re going to walk in there at some point this week, and I’m probably going to be coming in pretty cold.  And that’s OK.  I pick stuff up fast.

And then there’s this new cross-server PUG dungeon tool whatchamacallit thang.  I’m not so sure about that.  Yes, Blizzard is offering some pretty big carrots to randomly pitch yourself into a group with four people not only from your server, but your battlegroup. But do you remember the last time you went into Alterac Valley and found yourself listening to Istabbdurmom and Mastablasta having an all-caps textspeak argument about strategy (“ALL ON O RUSH DB!!1!”  “LOL STFU NOOB CAP SF FURST”) while Poosniffa sexually harassed your female toon and Neerdraaage kept whispering you “lolololol rp server nurd u sux”?  Imagine that set in the middle of Oculus.  You will have to decide if the title of “the Patient” and a Perky Pug pet is worth running the risk of that.

OK, maybe that’s a worst-case scenario.  The pool of PUG recruits should improve dramatically in quality because of the significant rewards Blizzard is offering to subject yourself to cross-server instancing.  But still, it’s a total crapshoot.  You might end up in a group with a solid bunch of people and have an easy run.  You might end up feeling like you landed in the middle of “Beavis and Butt-Head Play World of Warcraft” and realize all four of your groupmates are probably the result of inbreeding.  Such are the vagaries of random numbers, and such will be your life in cross-server PUGs.  I might not do them on Linedan, since I don’t like PUG tanking in general due to the stress level.  But my DPS alts?  Sure, why not?  I raid with Beltar rarely, and the others never, so this would be a good way to slowly build badges and money.

There are, of course, a ton of other things in the patch–class changes, profession changes, PvP changes, etc.  But really, just like patch 3.1 was about Ulduar and patch 3.2 was about the Trial of the Art Department Originality Fail, patch 3.3 is about Icecrown Citadel.  It’s about closing the storyline of Warcraft III–Arthas Menethil’s betrayal, the fall of the North to the Scourge, the destruction of Silvermoon, Arthas’ flight to Northrend and his becoming the Lich King.  It’s the third reel.  It’s Act V.  It’s time, after all the effort, to mount the final assault upon the stronghold of the Lich King and eradicate the leader of the Scourge from Azeroth once and for all…

…at least until the next raid reset.

8 responses

  1. Sanderth

    The new random dungeon system they’re implementing has me both enthused and more than a bit frightened at the same time, for most of the reasons you pointed out. More often than not, PuG’s are already the primary way any of my characters get gear, since none of the groups I hang out with are large enough to consistently do a raid; thus I guess I’m already used to spinning the roulette table and seeing what kind of PuG I get. Somehow, though, this feels like an even larger gamble, and the while the rules they set in place can make it less likely to deal with bad players I can also see all the ways they could go wrong, too. A group leader who throws a temper tantrum or a group that randomly decides to boot you could get nasty really quickly and leave you with an unfinished Heroic.

    On the other hand, I’m trying to console myself with the thought that in places like AV, we’re dealing with the PvPers from other servers, not the regular players. Maybe we can hope they’ll be a little bit more mature. Other than that, I don’t have much else to comment. Icecrown Citadel is another raid instance I’m very unlikely to see the inside of, so there’s little for me to say about it.

    December 8, 2009 at 16:36

  2. Blah

    The last boss in the first wing has an extremely small number of attempts, set to 5 attempts total per lockout at the beginning. If you don’t read up on anything else, read up on the last boss of each wing.

    December 8, 2009 at 16:44

    • I thought it was the last boss of the second and third wings, and the last two bosses of the fourth? I’ll have to go back and check…for some reason, I’d had it in my head that the first wing bosses did not have limited attempts. You’re probably right, in which case, for that one, I will have to do my homework.

      December 8, 2009 at 16:46

      • Verdus

        It’s only Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and Arthas that are saddled with limited attempts. The Lower Spire, the section up to the Deathbringer that we’ll be limited to for a few weeks, does not have any such bosses.

        December 8, 2009 at 18:03

  3. Well, apparently the Lich King is safe until April….. http://www.wow.com/2009/12/09/second-wing-of-icecrown-to-open-in-28-days/

    December 9, 2009 at 06:40

  4. Sanderth

    Having run the three new 5-mans last night, I can say we have discovered with confidence our new enemy: The Bronze Dragonflight

    At least that’s the best explanation I can think of for why the moment Jaina went up to Frostmourne the entire instance froze and our characters were stopped in time by lag, unable to get out of the room, cast abilities, hearth out or anything. Stuck in lag-induced stasis in the Halls of Reflection for all eternity; dammit, Nozdormu.

    Aside from that, the new 5-mans seem rather fun, and a lot more cinematic in quality than most. I’m definitely looking forward to when I can play them without the lag.

    December 9, 2009 at 12:27

  5. Illi

    Personally, I don’t think the cross-server random LFG pick-ups are going to be quite as bad as you fear.

    I gave it a go last night, Aust’ time. Opened up the interface, signed in, and waited. Two minutes later it invited me to join the new instance. The Nexus loading screen starts up, and a few seconds later I’m in the instance entryway. Everyone else is standing around in Ulduar and ToC ilvl gear, we say our “Hi guys” over /party chat, and go and start the pulling. 14 minutes and constant chain-pulling later, Keristratsza is down, and we’re all seven badges better off. Everyone thanks everyone in /party, and we all hearth out.

    Now, this may have been a freak, fluke first time, but I’m not sure – especially since the system is supposed to keep overall ilvl in account. Now I’m not saying that gear = skill, but if your Uld+ gear is being used to at least partially expect to be being groups with people with a similar achievement/skill level. I’m planning on spending a day this weekend chain-LFGing heroics, so I shall see how indicative my first random cross-server pick-up was.

    … As opposed to the reg Forge of Souls I ran afterwards, entirely a FM Dalaran general chat pick-up. Not going to get into it, but… *sighhhhhhh*

    December 9, 2009 at 17:29

  6. Considering how horrible the instance server fail was last night, I was actually surprised at how friendly and polite everyone was when we wouldn’t get an instance and still get the debuff.

    December 9, 2009 at 18:15

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