World of Warcraft Patch 3.3 is the last patch of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion before the game changes forever with Cataclysm. Although, with the coming expansion, one cannot help but wonder if this loot will still be worth the effort in a few months. Blizzard has made this mistake with the original Naxxramus release when they launched it just a few months before Burning Crusade came out. Players basically ignored the content in favor of the expansion, which had better gear that overshadowed that found in Naxxramus. Hopefully, Blizzard learned their lesson.
So, here are the top five things to look forward to in World of Warcraft Patch 3.3:
5. Shadowmourne (two-handed axe)
As many of us know, Legendary Weapons in WoW are not easy to come by. The two-handed axe Shadowmourne will be something for the elite guilds to strive for. It should provide the DPS classes with something really cool to swing around. With the Death Knights rolling against the Warriors, and the Warriors rolling against the Paladins, and of course the Hunters rolling on everything, this should be a very highly sought after item. The axe offers some great stats and has a very cool design, almost like the Frostmourne sword. You can also get Shadow’s Edge, another two handed axe that will drop in Icecrown. This weapon looks like it represents closure for Death Knights of this expansion. It is the ultimate weapon for them. Unfortunately, Blizzard seems to have a hard time making two handed swords for Death Knights; they are few and far between. The only kicker is that players want to wield Frostmourme when they defeat the Lich King. We have to settle for an axe instead.
4. Tier 10 Armor Sets
Nothing beats checking out the previews of the Tier 10 armor sets. At this point, it is more about the look of the armor than the actual stats for me. The Shaman set that just leaked today looks awesome and is the first set of armor that has hooked me on visuals alone. It seems like Blizzard has taken player concerns into account and is actually trying to make armor look a little more rugged and powerful. Paladins have had it the worst with their sets of Power Ranger Armor. This time around, what they’re getting actually looks kind of cool; no doubt a welcome change. Check out the leaks and previews on the intrawebs. The Tier Ten sets are looking good and have more of a rugged style than some of what we have seen in the past. Hopefully Blizzard will give us a lot of ways to get these armor sets with an upgrade to the emblem system and scaled raids.
3. Quest Tracking Feature:
Hehehe TOO LATE! Sorry Blizzard no one is looking forward to this. Anyone who has recently leveled a character has used Quest Helper. It has to be the number one downloaded add-on for your game. A feature that shows “general direction” isn’t going to help anyone. I know, after five years, you likely had to put it in, but this one hits me as too little too late. Warhammer did it a year ago, and Quest Helper has been around for a while. The only reason someone might be looking forward to this is that they have never played the game before. Then they might find it useful in leveling.
I suppose it needs to be an official in game feature though, finally. I know many people view WoW as the innovator in MMOs. I disagree here. WoW really did not do anything insanely creative with their game. They simply took the best ideas that were out there, packaged them better than anyone else and built a game that had a smooth play system. WoW was built on the backs of Ultima, EverQuest, and Dark Age of Camelot. All of the good ideas from these games were filtered and added into Warcraft from day one. WoW has the luxury of taking game play designs and systems and having the time to perfect them before they enter the game. Now with the patches and expansions, Blizzard has an endless canvas to see what new ideas are out there, make them their own in WoW and implement them without fear of flaws or break downs in the game. I joke about the quest tracking feature, but Blizzard continues to keep their game competitive by making good ideas better, no matter where they came from.
2. New Five Man Dungeons
This seems to be the best feature that Blizzard has added with Wrath of the Lich King. The Heroic Dungeon system is run by everyone with daily quests and great ways to get gear for your guild mates who don’t raid. Now we have things like The Forge of Souls and the Pit of Saron to look forward too. Hopefully Blizzard will fully augment this system in 3.3 to have challenging and fun dungeons for players to run. The best addition to the five man experience was the Trial of the Crusader five man heroic dungeon. It gave decent gear and emblems as well as a fun fight in only thirty minutes of game play. These events are perfect for players who do not have a lot of time on their hands to play and can only log-in a few short hours a week. It allows them to stay somewhat competitive and get a great fight in with little time. Hopefully the five mans in 3.3 will give players this same burst of game play without having to be logged in for four hours to complete an epic raid.
1. The Lich King
One of the biggest improvements in Wrath of the Lich King was more involved storytelling, specifically through the Lich King. He kept popping up in different quests and scenes causing trouble and giving you his minions to fight. Now it is time for sweet revenge.
With Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, the Lich King became an iconic character in the game universe. Now Arthas will face millions of players worldwide as they try to bring him down. Having the ability to face him in scaled ten-man or twenty-five-man raids will make the experience fun and exciting. It will also bring some closure to the threads they’ve laid for months.
My only concern is how the timing lines up against Cataclysm. My guess is that we will see 3.3 sometime in early 2010, possibly even the end of 2009. If this is correct we will get a good solid year of game play out of Patch 3.3. Mike Morheim said at Blizzcon that Cataclysm would launch in 2010, along with Starcraft II. So the question is how much will Patch 3.3 be worth once Cataclysm comes out? My guess is very little beyond the memories.
If history has shown us anything it is that with new expansions comes the quick search for new gear. It is things like the achievement system that gives WoW some more ground for players other than just searching for loot. Hopefully the Lich King encounter will be as epic as ever, hopefully it will have a cool cut scene in the ending. Something that makes players excited to try it again, beyond just the search for loot. Blizzard did a good job putting the character throughout the expansion and now players can step up and take a shot at the legend. Let’s hope it is worth it.