Blizzard is walking the walk - they are keeping their promise of more frequent content updates and it's not slowing down. Patch 5.3 notes have been released and it’s currently live on the test realms, less than a month after 5.2 hit. Lets take a look at some of the bigger changes and additions that are on the way.
The War Comes Home
Minor spoilers in this section if you are not up to speed on the Mists storyline.
While Patch 5.2 has us dealing with the return of the Thunder King and preventing his tyrannical reign over Pandaria, 5.3 brings the focus back to Kalimdor. Before Mists of Pandaria launched, Blizzard had stated several times that this expansion cycle would culminate with some sort of assault on Orgrimmar and now Patch 5.3 has players making preparations for this offensive. If you’ve been playing through the Mists of Pandaria content, you’re no doubt aware that many factions are not pleased with Garrosh and his role as warchief. The Darkspear Trolls have decided that enough is enough and have declared a rebellion against Garrosh.
With the rebellion in full swing, Garrosh has dispatched his personal guard, the Kor’Kron across the Barrens and Durotar to stop those who side with the Darkspear. Alliance players will work with their S:I-7 spies to cripple Garrosh’s forces while the Horde will aid Vol’jin in surviving a Kor’Kron attack and push through to the gates of Orgrimmar.
Meanwhile in the Barrens, quests will lead both factions to aid the Darkspear rebellion by attacking the Kor’Kron and disrupting their supply lines. Additionally, players will be able to protect friendly supply caravans traveling through the Barrens which are essentially dynamic quests. Zone wide alerts will notify players when a caravan needs aid and by successfully doing so, additional resources will be awarded to those who helped. On the map below you can see a caravan to the south and other Kor’Kron points of interest scattered about.
Patch 5.3 introduces four new scenarios, Battle on the High Seas, Blood in the Snow, Dark Heart of Pandaria and The Secrets of Ragefire. Battle on the High Seas has me very excited because this will be the first time we see a naval battle in World of Warcraft. In this scenario, you help your faction fend off enemy forces during a high seas skirmish. I am also looking forward to the Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario as it may have some interesting lore tidbits. In this scenario you are sent to help a group of Goblin engineers who have stumbled upon something troublesome while on an archeological dig in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
Heroic Scenarios are also on the way with six currently planned for Patch 5.3. The four new scenarios will each have a heroic mode as well as the existing Crypt of the Forgotten Kings and A Brewing Storm. Heroic Scenarios will require a pre-made group and offer valor in addition to potentially rewarding players with Raid Finder quality gear. These Heroic Scenarios will also offer bonus objectives that if completed, will award additional Valor points.
A new Battleground, Deepwind Gorge, is on the way. Taking place in the Valley of the Four Winds, the Alliance and Horde will attempt to control three mines while protecting their resources from being stolen by the opposing team. Also being added is a new Arena called The Tiger’s Peak. This arena is in the Shado-Pan training grounds of Kun-Lai.
Patch 5.3 also brings with it significant changes to the way PvP gear works. Resilience is being removed from nearly all PvP gear and now all characters at level 85 or higher will naturally have a base resilience of 65%. PvP gear will still have PvP Power while some gems and enchants will offer characters with a bit more resilience. There are many reasons behind this change, notably making it easier to balance since there is just one stat (PvP Power) to tweak as resilience is now baked into each character.
Another large change is an item level cap being introduced in all rated and unrated Battlegrounds as well as Arenas. Essentially all gear greater than ilevel 496 will now be scaled down to 496.
There are other changes planned as well - check out this post on the official site for a closer look as well as the design goals behind these changes.
Two great changes are coming to the Raid Finder system including how bonus rolls will work. First, players can now choose what class specialization they want to receive loot for regardless of which specialization is currently active. For example, if I queue up for a Raid Finder raid as a Warrior Tank, I can choose to receive loot for the Arms specialization should I be lucky enough to get a drop. Speaking of lucky, we’re all about to get a bit luckier. You know how frustrating it is to spend all that time running daily quests to get a chance on a bonus roll only to have it come up short? Well the frustration will soon become less so as bonus rolls that do not award loot will now offer a progressively better chance the next time you make a bonus roll.
Other Patch 5.3 Additions
Here is a list of some other noteworthy changes and additions coming up with 5.3:
For the full, up to date list on all of the upcoming Patch 5.3 changes as well as class balance tweaks, check out the official patch notes here. What are your thoughts on Patch 5.3 and the speed at which these content updates are coming - just right, too fast?
This week’s throwback item: The End of Dreams
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