Panzercow hits 3.3. 3.3 hits back.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been pretty short on blogfodder. I’ve been going through a mild burnout with the game and been dabbling in EVE Online and Dragon Age instead. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my friends in game, raiding with The Anvil, all that fun stuff. But things had stalled a bit.
For Linedan, the satisfaction was bleeding out of raiding. Trial of the Crusader was, frankly, nothing more than a one-hour expedition to dispense 15 badges. Trial of the Grand Crusader was nothing more than Trial of the Crusader with the red numbers on my screen turned up to ridiculous levels…and maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about taking a fight that we usually roflstomp on normal (Beasts) and having it pimpslap us into the ground on heroic that just grates me a bit. I don’t get mad at my raid, I just get annoyed with Blizzard for undertuning ToC so badly that they left a cliff wall the size of El Capitan between normal and heroic. I could, and should, RP with him more, but Lin is not exactly Captain Happy Fun Tiems in his personal interactions. Besides, a schedule change has left me unable to attend Noxilite’s Monday night storytelling/guild meetup in the Barrens.
With Beltar, it was kind of the opposite. He doesn’t have a regular raid. He’s largely a roleplay character these days, and a great one. But at the same time, I am serious about advancing him gear-wise. On the rare occasions I can raid with him, I do. That doesn’t happen often, though…and once you’re through the solo quest content, which he mostly is except for some Icecrown stuff, and you’re already wearing a mix of stuff from a few Naxxes 6-7 months ago and some loot-trashcan pieces from the rare Ulduar, what then? So while I’ve been having fun roleplaying him, I often wonder just what the little guy could do if he was geared up like Linedan was.
And then there’s my stable of alts–Illithanis (80 BM hunter), Moktor (80 orc death nugget), my up-and-comers like Sakula (77 troll shaman and ladies’ man) and my prot warrior experiment Latisha (currently 68, and yes, she’s wearing Outland slut plate). They need some love too. But after the fourth or fifth time, even Storm Peaks gets old. What to do with them after cap? All of them are sub-Naxx geared. They’ll never get into raids–too much of a gear gap to overcome, I’m needed as a tank where I am now, and I don’t have time to raid on any more than two characters as it is. So why put forth the time?
Enter Patch 3.3: Fail of the Lich King. (Yes, I know it’s “Fall of the Lich King.” Look at the font on the logo when you open your Launcher and tell me it doesn’t look like “Fail of the Lich King,” dammit.)
Suddenly, most of these problems have been solved.
Linedan has a new raid to play with. No more Trial of the Big Round Room With Two Settings, Too Easy and Too Hard. Welcome to Icecrown Citadel, and kids, let me tell you, it kicks so much ass it’s painful. I rang up over 200 gold in repairs in there over the weekend and we only downed one boss (Lord Marrowgar)…and I don’t care. It’s fantastic. You’d better bring your “A” game, because Arthas is not playing flag football. Crowd control is back, with a vengeance…most of the trash pulls we’ve seen so far are between six and nine mobs. (Priests, time to get your shackles out for more than just private fun in the cloisters.) Lord Marrowgar is challenging but doesn’t seem to be over-the-top impossible once you use a little brainpower and figure out a good movement/tanking strategy. The two fights we’ve seen so far on 25-man require three tanks–oh frabjous joy for a raid that carries four tanks every week, fewer people forced into their secondary role!
And for a second, ditch the mechanics, ditch the loot…this is Icecrown, people. That’s Arthas up there. That’s the Big Bad who’s been hovering over the Warcraft franchise for nigh on ten years now. The special guest stars are everywhere…Tirion Fordring, Saurfang the Elder (and his son, in a way), Bolvar Fordragon, Muradin Bronzebeard. Lore whores and roleplayers like me are loving this. It looks good. It sounds good. It is good.
And then there’s the five-mans. Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, Halls of Reflection. I’ve only run them once, on normal, with one other attempt (unsuccessful) at the HoR gauntlet on heroic. Forge of Souls looks big, but actually is fairly small and linear, and doesn’t appear too awful hard, though all these instances are considerably harder than existing level 80 5-mans, both normal and heroic–think Magister’s Terrace for the difficulty jump. Pit of Saron is my favorite, a giant outdoor quarry full of Alliance and Horde slaves, with some awesome NPC interaction, funny boss fights (leper gnomes with mohawks FTW), a nasty but cool gauntlet, and twists near the end.
And then there’s Halls of Reflection. Any instance that can simultaneously have me gushing at how awesome it is and literally screaming in frustration is probably doing something right. HoR is brutal on tanks from a technical standpoint. The first boss fight in there left me with an aching wrist and exhausted…and then I had to turn around and flee for my life while holding off waves of undead with the Lich King his own mother-humping self coming to eat my face. The final gauntlet in HoR is simultaneously brilliant and frustrating, at least if you’re a warrior or a bear.
What about Beltar and the alts? Looking for Dungeon, baby. Random heroics. It works brilliantly. You can accumulate badges at a ridiculous rate, and at least so far, the idiot quotient seems to be quite low. Most people I’ve run with have been quiet, and none have been RPers, but they’re mostly at least competent enough to get the job done. The tanks and healers I’ve run with have, for the most part, actually been quite good. Oh, and how ridiculous is “a ridiculous rate?” Ridiculous as in, in one weekend, Beltar has gotten two pieces of Tier 9 (gloves/shoulders), a new gun from heroic Coliseum, a bronze drake from CoS, and the Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement. In one weekend.
So the final score for WoW over the past four days?
Thursday: Icecrown Citadel 25-man on Linedan, downed Lord Marrowgar.
Friday: Icecrown Citadel 25-man and Trial of the Crusader 25-man on Linedan. Full clear on ToC, didn’t quite get Lady Deathwhisper in ICC but we’re doing better.
Saturday: Trial of the Crusader 10-man (full clear, 5 for 5 on one-shots), Onyxia 10-man, Naxx 10-man (weekly raid quest, just Anub’rekhan) and ICC 10-man on Linedan with Lord Marrowgar one-shotted. Plus a couple random heroics on Beltar, and all three of the new 5-mans on normal with Linedan.
Sunday: 7 random heroics on Beltar, two on Moktor my DK, one on Linedan.
Soooo…what do you guys think? Think I’m burned out any more?
I’ve got a bunch more 3.3 posts mentally lining up. One on the LFD system and its quirks, one on the five-mans in which I fully accept that Halls of Reflection has made me its bitch and I don’t mind, and one on Icecrown’s first two bosses with a little about strategery and a little about tanking. Stay tuned.