A Casual Look at WoW Patch 3.3

  • Date: 11-10-2009 Views:

    KeyWords: World of Warcraft, WoW, patch 3.3, new rule, dungeon

  • Summary: If you are a World of Warcraft player, by now you've probably heard about the latest patch in development - the one that serves as the grand climax to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion (or is it?). For casual players like me (and maybe you as well), this comes as somewhat of a concern. Will we be able to explore all of the new storylines and content offered to us in this upcoming build? Or will we have to sacrifice precious time that we normally allocate for sleep in order to see everything? Fear not!

Allan A Casual Look at WoW Patch 3.3
By Allan

Though a grizzled, old veteran donning war-torn robes and a gnarled staff in the MMOG scene, Allan is more like a level 5 squire in a simple tunic wielding a tin blade when it comes to the realm of writing articles. Nevertheless, he is here to train his typing fingers and bring you news and interesting perspectives on things you might not have known you even cared about.


If you are a World of Warcraft player, by now you've probably heard about the latest patch in development - the one that serves as the grand climax to the Wrath of the Lich King expansion (or is it?). For casual players like me (and maybe you as well), this comes as somewhat of a concern. Will we be able to explore all of the new storylines and content offered to us in this upcoming build? Or will we have to sacrifice precious time that we normally allocate for sleep in order to see everything? Fear not! I have roamed through the WoW PTR in search for such answers, as well as checking out all of the "casual-friendly" implementations we can expect to arrive come patch day. Indeed, this one in particular caters well to our crowd.


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


Disclaimer: Since the PTR is never actually the final product, some of the things I could discuss may be removed completely. Nevertheless, this is highly unlikely.
Cross-Server Dungeons and Raids

Besides the actual new dungeons and raids themselves, this is undoubtedly the most significant change to come in the latest patch, as well as the most significant improvement for casual players (in the latest patch). Remember those days where attempting to put a PUG (pick-up group) together was even less exciting than playing through Ninjabread Man (if you haven't played it, don't)? In fact, remember when putting such a group together sometimes took even longer than the instance itself?! Well, consider those days over! Now you can queue up for a dungeon or raid (somewhat revised from the original system), and it will place you within a well-balanced and gear-appropriate group - the usual three DPS, one healer, and a tank. As per the title of the section, this is all done cross-server style, picking from people found within your particular battlegroup. When this was introduced for battlegrounds back in the day, it alleviated those dismal queue times. It should do the same here.


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


So how exactly does this queue process work now? Before you could only queue up for three raids and/or dungeons at a time. Now though, there is a giant checklist that allows you to customize which dungeons you'd like to get into, and which dungeons you'd rather not. They decided to separate the dungeons from the raids as well, with each panel having their separate "rules" of entry. The raid section is more of a "raid browser." You can throw yourself into the cross-server scene by selecting the raids you wish to run, and either find a raid searching for more people, or wait for one to pick you up. In all honesty, it's what you've seen before with the LFG feature, except applied to raids only.


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


Dungeons though - they're a little different. You can either be very selective by checking off the particular dunegons that you can stomach and/or last through, or you can be adventurous and use the "Random Dungeon" feature. And it does just that, it queues you up and places you within a random dungeon. In fact, you could even be placed into a dungeon group for one you've already been saved to. Pretty nice, eh? They've also given an arbitrary daily dungeon reward (ditching the old pick up a quest for a particular dungeon and do it - now it's a weekly raid instead) which gives you money and marks based on how "random" your group really is. Basically, Blizzard is encouraging you to become risk takers. 


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


Like every good thing, there will probably be ninjas/exploiters/griefers that go and ruin it all for us. And this is probably a concern for you. The way I see it, cross-server instances allow for more anonymity which makes people like that flourish. Once again, Blizzard seemed to have thought ahead on this issue.

- Rolling for loot is now more class specific - i.e. a class like Hunters will be disabled from rolling on items with spellpower. (Take that, ninjas!)
- Each dungeon or raid that is slightly more difficult than average has minimum gear requirement. You will be prevented from queuing for this should you be under this.
- BoP loot trading also works with eligible players from different realms (sort of like before, but now it works cross-server as well).


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


- Vote kicking is now in place, enacted by majority, should you want to remove an annoying party member. The only loophole I can forsee to this would be if four of the party members were all friends, and you were stuck with them. But this is just a rare scenario as it is.
- Should someone leave, disconnect, or get kicked from the group, the leader can choose to continue, in which case the system will attempt to refill the slot. So all of your worries of getting stuck in an incomplete, yet saved instances are somewhat abated. At least you have a better chance of grabbing another person.


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


Overall, this will be a big victory for the casual players. On a final note though, a player can only be searching for one topic at a time. This means you can no longer simultaneously search for a dungeon, raid, battleground, or arena.

Achievements and New Loot Rules

With every major patch, Blizzard likes to add difficult and rewarding achievements tied to the new content, as well as the old. Once again, there is a whole new set of them for the added dungeons and of course, the Icecrown Citadel itself. Unfortunately, most of the achievement rewards are tied to the new raids, but hopefully with the new cross-server instances, this won't be an issue anymore, right? They all seem to be titles so far, with the easier one being "The Kingslayer" from the 10-player mode. Seems epic enough to me, especially for a casual player. I'll settle.


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


They've also decided to make a slight change with loot rules. If you have an enchanter in the group (I believe one is required, but I couldn't confirm this), an additional option will appear in the loot box, indicating the item to be disenchanted (along with Need for the dice, and Greed for the gold icon).


Full SizeWoW Patch 3.3 Screenshot
World of Warcraft Gallery


Now, I don't know about you, but me and my lazy self will always take my greeded items and dump it into the nearest vendor's pocket. Disenchanting them is nice, but that takes time, and some people even charge for it! Now you can choose to have the item disenchanted on the spot, which saves you a trip to the Auction House or two if you're looking for such materials.