Patch 3.3 – The Holy Grail of WoW Patches?

I’ve been holding out high hopes for patch 3.3 for a good month or two now. In that time frame, I’ve ascended from long-time raider through loot council member and now GM of our guild. I’ve watched as people have come and go, either from RL issues (notably a couple of folks being extremely ill/sick; here’s wishing them good luck on recovery) or from burnout due to the bore-fest that is ToC.

I logged on Tuesday evening fully expecting not to raid at all that night, due to lag (where there was a good amount of, especially in Dalaran), instances not loading (which did occur), or the server not being up at all (which was the case when I logged on, but it was up within 5 minutes). Instead, we managed to clear 2 of the 4 available bosses and got in a try or two on the gunship battle before calling it for a night. Wednesday we returned to ICC and finished off the last 2 available bosses, with Deathbringer Saurfang being a bit of a cockblock, but we figured it out (lol sacrifice low armor folks that get marked :P). As a whole, the fights weren’t too difficult; should go smoother next week now that we have a better idea of how the fights work. Our 2 10 man groups made quick work of the dungeon, but were pleased by some of the upgrades that dropped (I passed on a really nice resto belt to one of our resto shaman mains, even though I was healing at the time).

Before our raids last night, I decided to try the new LFG out for the first time. Of course, with my ever-so wonderful luck, the first dungeon I got put in was Occulus. It turned out to not be a big deal, because the group I got steamrolled the whole thing in 20 minutes…heh, I remember running it a year ago and steamrolling it then with guildies, and back then it was nowhere near as nerfed. Other runs I got (HoS, Gundrak) went as smooth as you could hope for from a PUG. I was queuing as dps, and the wait time was no more than 2-3 minutes; for a tank or a healer, I suspect it’s nearly instant. The bonus badges you receive will make the random dungeon feature wildly popular; I’m still farming up the last bit of badges needed to round out my lolFurious PVP set (since I’m not hardcore about running arena, but enjoy WG/BG pvp).

The next wing of ICC won’t be open until January 5th, so until then, all we have to play with in ICC is just the first 4 bosses we’ve already downed. Some folks are going to be disappointed about that, but I view it as Blizzard’s way of saying “Hey, the holidays are almost here…chill out and do other stuff or just take it easy on WoW for now”, heh.

Despite the gating, I believe 3.3 is shaping up to be one of the better patch releases we’ve had in WoW, which is a wonderful thing considering how meh 3.2/ToC was. Hard to say if this patch will be considered the best that Blizzard has put out, because right now it’s a pair of rose-tinted glasses after putting up with ToC for 3+ months. Even though I’m dragging ToC through the mud, we did a farm run of it last night and scored another Death’s Choice along with a Reign of The Dead…exactly the items I was hoping would drop.

ICC isn’t without it’s bugs, though. Last night, the 10 man group I was in had our airship get stuck in mid air way far away from the landing platform after defeating the gunship encounter, so we had to hop off the ship and go splat in order to take the teleporter. Also, don’t let someone teleport to the rampart between Deathwhisper and the gunship battle; we had someone do that and they ran back and fell down the elevator, only to bug up the place and cause people entering the dungeon to get warped up to the rampart and get gibbed. This also occured when anyone would take the elevator up; get in combat halfway up and you end up warping the raid up one by one, usually to their deaths. Very annoying.

Icewell Radiance hasn’t rendered our tanks as squishy as I had expected. I can see that so far, Blizz has accomplished what they set out to do: Smooth out the damage tanks were taking to make healing more strategic rather than “OMG SPAM NUKE HEELZ 4 TANK PLZ”. I’ve been resto for most all of our ICC excursions, and I’ll say that healing the boss fights here is much easier than healing that asshat in ToC known as Gormok. If this is the direction they want to take healing in Cataclysm, then I give my approval. Tanks are going to QQ over the changes since they won’t avoid 50%+ of attacks directed their way, but healers will be thanking Blizzard for making their lives a LOT easier.

Aside from the lore and bits of humor, I wasn’t particularly impressed by the new 5 mans. They are fun, though, and provide some more places to go for folks that have beaten previous heroics into the dirt. Items from these new heroics will complement triumph badge gear well, making the process of gearing alts/new mains even easier than ever. Ulduar and Naxx are nothing more than badge/shard pinatas at this point due to the combination of new drops from the IC heroics + triumph badge loot. I’m not complaining one bit, though; this will let me round out my paladin’s gear (namely his ret set) and I’ll be able to catch my warrior up, too, especially since I’ll be able to dps for groups on him now rather than feel forced to need prot as a second spec. I can play prot and do ok at it, but I’m much more in my element on a warrior as dps.

Harkening back to my last post here…we’ve gone from barely having 20 folks online for raids to having damn near 30 now, between folks coming back and new recruits pouring in this week. Obviously, I suspect the patch as being the major catalyst for that. I wonder how many of the returnees will be around come March/April when Arthas takes a dirt nap and we start working on heroic modes…

Long story short: So far, so good regarding 3.3. Here’s hoping that trend continues.

  1. Mikey
    December 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks for this best of luck on your future raids.

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