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World of Warcraft General Article: Looking at 3.3

By Joe Iuliani on December 14, 2009

World of Warcraft patch 3.3, The Fall of the Lich King, was released this past Tuesday and there was much rejoicing. It's like Christmas came early for the WoW Crowd. Everybody take a moment to thank Santa Blizzard.

WoW had been reaching that tedious point in the game where there seemed to be nothing new for an 80 to accomplish. I suppose that's mostly because there was nothing new for a level 80 to do. Patch 3.3 brings the litany of minor changes that come with every patch. There are minor tweaks to about every aspect of the game. No patch would be complete without gear improvements, most notably tier 10, high-end level players now have something tangible to strife for.

I would like to focus on what I feel are the most significant improvements to the game.

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Looking for Dungeon

The new improved looking for group.

This is a great improved feature for WoW. If you are one of the orphans of split and disbanded guilds, this is a tremendous asset. Now you can join a group of disowned brethren from across servers. This has drastically reduced the time spent waiting for a group to form. Even as an under geared Moonkin, I was able to find a group within minutes. Once you are in a group, a player need only click on the icon for the to be teleported straight to the dungeon. No more fighting over a summoning stone.

Even rolling for loot is has become streamlined in 3.3. With the disenchant feature, a player can select this choice from the old need or greed. If you win your disenchant roll, you will receive the components from the item you rolled on. No more waiting around for an enchanter to show up, or wasting BOP items to just be sold for gold.

Another incentive for using the Looking for Dungeon feature are bonus tokens. The first heroic dungeon of the day = two Emblems of Frost, while the first normal dungeon earns two Emblems of Triumph.

Quest Tracker

In Borg-like fashion Blizzard has assimilated outside features into WoW. I’m sure there are those who claim they have stolen from another game. However you phrase it, the feature is here now, and it’s one less add-on that you will need to install. Sorry Quest Helper. The new Quest Tracker feature essentially shows players where on the map they need to find their objectives. Quests will be numbered on the side of the map, and their corresponding number will be shown. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the game. For those who are making new characters, it streamlines the process. It may take some of the fun out of exploring the game, but let’s face it, for most folks it’s just a race to 80 at this point.

New Instance: Ice crown Citadel

The new instance content in patch 3.3 comes in two varieties: a five-man dungeon complex composed of three wings (The Frozen Halls) and a raid (Icecrown Citadel). On the dungeon side, players will initially only be able to access the Forge of Souls - the first wing of the Frozen Halls. Essentially this in an attunement, and will grant players access to Pit of Saron. Players can access the Pit in two ways - via the dungeon portal directly, or through a teleporting device at the end of the Forge of Souls to be transported to the Pit directly. The latter method adds a nice feeling of continuation. The same applies for the Halls of Reflection. When a group clears the Pit of Saron, its members will be able to either go through the now unlocked gate at the end, or use the dungeon portal in the portal room. The raid instance, Icecrown Citadel, has no attunement. Spread over four wings not including the Frozen Throne. This citadel features twelve encounters, ranging from a multi-boss encounter to a gunship battle (at least according to news and the trailer), and finally the Lich King himself!

New Faction

Ahsen Verdict, hooray another faction unto which to grind reputation. Although the faction rewards aren’t too bad this time. There are some nice rings to choose from. Apparently completing a quest chain will bring to (Friendly) and an upgrade is available at Honored.

Opinion

3.3 gives WoW players a much needed energy infusion to the game. I consider myself a pretty loyal player, having logged in almost every day since the launch, not including vacations. Prior to 3.3, I skipped logging in for about a month. The game had become stagnant. If you were not part of a decent guild, finding players to assist you was becoming a hassle. I think every gamer knows the joys of PUGs. The cross server feature of Looking for Dungeon has certainly sped up the pace of trying to get some dungeons done for the day. Sure there are the same problems with pugging, but at least the pool in which to choose from is greater. You don’t run the risk of running into that same tool on your server who just doesn’t get it. The new dungeon and item content has roused some of the slumbering guilds out there as well.

People are knocking the dust off of their characters and attacking Ice Crown with a renewed vigor. Although game play is moving much more quickly than before, with decent gear becoming more reasonable to obtain, this is just a patch and I worry that the same apathy will befall WoW before too long. Well at least it’s something to keep us busy for a while before Cataclysm strikes.

Have some 3.3 stories to share with the forums, have you had any success or nightmares with LFD? Share your comments with your fellow readers.

For full 3.3 patch notes click here.

Check out the trailer, here.

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