Patch 3.3 went live today, I patched my client (which took 4 attempts) last night and awoke this morning to find the unanticipated, but much expected connection problems. With a patch this big and this awaited for, did we really think that there would be a smooth problem free patch day? That’s beyond optimistic if you ask me.

What do we expect with Patch 3.3?

Now that it has hit, and as I am typing this; the realms are coming back online, what will we see when we log in? The patch notes give it all in a nice list form, but I’ll do a run down of some of the big additions and changes.

Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Halls

The new 5 man dungeons and heroic dungeons, containing 3 ‘wings’ in which you fight along side either Jaina (Alliance) or Sylvanas (Horde) in order to gain access to the Lich King himself. Items from these instances come at iLevel 219 for the normal, and 232 for the Heroic versions.

Icecrown Citadel: The Frozen Throne

The new raid instance for both 10 and 25 man groups, with heroic tuning for both also. Fighting along side the Ashen Verdict and the champions of your faction you will push through the citadel until facing off against the Lich King himself (when he is no longer hiding behind his gating methods). Many months will pass by whilst taking on the armies of the Lich King, so the Ashen Verdict must keep their supplies rationed, meaning you will only get limited attempts on some bosses before they must retreat out for the week.

Cross-Realm Dungeon Finder

The new Dungeon Finder tool, which allows grouping cross realm and give many rewards, including a new non combat pet to players who use it.

Getting Started and Quest Tracking

New changes to the beginning experience and to the map (now including quest tracking within the game UI) to improve the experience of players.

This is just some of the stuff, the rest is viewable in the patch notes. Please enjoy patch 3.3!

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Today we have something a bit special, a guest post by Matt “Matticus” Low on the difference in healing between Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel.

I should underscore the fact that my only experience in Icecrown Citadel has largely been on the PTR. As such, the healing numbers and damage numbers could be different by the time the patch is pushed through live. I do not know if any changes or tuning will be made to the various encounters to ease or harden the bosses.

Suffice it to say, there is a marked difference between healing in normal or heroic Trial of the Crusader and Icecrown Citadel.

For one thing, it’s not spiky. Gone are the days when the tank can get rocked in half a second or less where the only thing that would save him was a clairvoyant Power Word: Shield. As it stands right now, it’s possible for current tanks to get 1 or 2 shot depending on the encounter in ToGC. This is largely due to the amount of avoidance that most tanks have. Chill of the Throne is a blessing for healers in disguise.

Consistency vs Inconsistency

The damage is manageable. Heals can be timed to the point where you can land them right after a hit on tanks.

“Weapon swing, heal, weapon swing, heal, weapon swing, heal, we- Oh, special nuke, Power Word: Shield”.

The incoming damage is fairly consistent and you’re not going to experience any spikes from 20k to 45k on the same tank or anything like that (with the exception of boss abilities).

AoE is… well, AoE

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the whole heal the raid mechanic isn’t going to leave any time soon. Expect several auras or boss abilities that will hurt the entire raid. The environment is reminiscent of Sunwell when Resto Shamans and Holy Priests were the leaders of healing. Don’t expect this to be super avoidable stuff either. It’s no longer a question of avoiding the fire. It’s a question of who do I heal first so that they don’t die?

No dozing off on trash

You could get away with sleeping while clearing trash in Naxxramas and Ulduar (to an extent). But the trash mobs contained therein will be a test on their own. I don’t say this to try to scare you or build up hype. I’m doing this so that you can be prepared and gain an idea of what to expect. Our buddy Gluth has been converted into several trash packs complete with zombie chow and 90% health chomps. You’ll be fighting other Val’kyr who are related to the Val’kyr Twins in some fashion.

First ever healing oriented raid boss

There has never been an encounter like it. For once, we healers get to play a central role. Instead of killing a raid boss we get to heal a raid boss. I’ve already instructed my guild to keep a stockpile of bandages on them in case they haven’t. In the past, healers would chip in with DoTs or instant cast damage spells on the boss whenever they had time. Now it’s time for DPS to return the favour and squeeze off bandages during periods of no combat.

Again, I want to mention that this is the PTR and it’s used primarily to determine bugs in mechanics and the zone. Numbers can always be tweaked and adjusted later. It’s possible that damage dealt by bosses could be amplified.

Icecrown can’t come quick enough. I’ll be waiting.

Matt writes for a number of blogs such as his own World of Matticus and WoW.com, be sure to check him out

What’s with the gate?

November 24, 2009

With patch 3.3 coming soon and information being released on how Icecrown citadel will be gated in terms of progression, I thought I’d write a post about instance gating through out the history of World of Warcraft.

Within the game there has always been some way that content has been ‘limited’. Whether it be because of a long tedious attunement chain; such as the Onyxia Attunement in Vanilla WoW, or through server wide collection, such as the gates of Ahn’Qiraj or Sunwell. Blizzard has always had some way to ensure that content isn’t destroyed within the first day of it being released.

Now with Wrath of the Lich King, the new system seems to be staggered boss releases and limited attempts. This way allows casual and hardcore guilds alike to have the same amount of attempts and the same amount of bosses no matter the time that is given to the instance. Seems like a good idea right? The problem arises when rewards are given for clearing entire instances with no wipes, or even no deaths. This has caused a backlash from every facet of the WoW community, as one disconnect or wrong move can destroy a guilds chances at progression for the entire week.

Although, it seems Blizzard learnt from their mistakes in Trial of the Grand Crusader; as it has been said that there will be no loot incentive based on the number of attempts the raid has left on the bosses in Icecrown.