Thursday, August 18, 2011

Patch 4.3 - Two Days Later: A "Huge" Patch

It doesn't work like this.
Blizzard spilled the beans in German, no less, about the plans for Patch 4.3  And all the sudden, every web site in the game industry had notes to add to that.  Let's get to the revealed details and then look to overall analysis.

The Deathwing Raid
It's time for DW to meet his maker, apparently. There's nothing else really going on, I suppose. So why not?

MMO Champ suggests that the appearance of this raid makes it very likely that 4.3 will be the last patch before the next expansion. I beg to differ, and point squarely at The Ruby Sanctum as a precedent. Furthermore, it's really well-documented at this point that DW has a boss he is answering to and that boss is an Old God. We don't necessarily need to scrap with him this expansion, but to say we are simply not going to see him this time would be short-sighted until Blizzard announces otherwise.

There is no word on how many bosses there will be or where it will happen. A separate report suggests that at least part of the Deathwing fight will take place with the entire raid up on his back as he cruises through the stratosphere.  This is cool enough. I have long pictured that DW is just too much monster to corner in his lair and that the fight would take place out in some instanced version of the world.

Three new 5-Man Instances
That are reportedly not recycled. Bully for Blizzard there. Strong hints were made that one would occur in the Caverns of Time. Once upon a time, a trip to the War of the Ancients was proposed, but there is no indication that this is it.   These instances had better have decent helm and shoulder upgrades for Merinna.

(Hey! My auto-spellcheck suggests this is really a word)
Looking back at our Ethereals, it turns out they will actually appear in the upcoming patch.  Warpweaver Hashom there will allegedly take your present gear and make it look like another piece.  Basically, if you don't like the look of Tier 12, you can transmogrify your set to look like Tier 3, or Tier 7, or whatever. There are a lot of rules, however. And many have not yet been decided upon.

  • Transmogrification can only work within the armor class. No mages will be running around dressed like Death Knights as a result of this.
  • It is restricted to class as well. No warriors will be running around dressed like Death Knights either.
  • They are considering restricting the models available to gear that has already been obtained
  • No word on how much this might cost
  • You'll only be able to transmogrify something into the shape of something else yr carrying in your inventory at that particular moment.
  • Whatever transmogrification appears in patch 4.3 is going to be somewhat limited, it seems. There are blue posts all over the forums saying, "This is something we'd like to do but probably won't be available right away."
  • One of those things they are "working on" is injecting old tier sets back into the game. I read one blue post who hinted that the Darkmoon Faire could be used for this purpose. That seems like a good idea. Can't think of the last time I had any purpose whatsoever to care that the Faire was back in town.

Raid Finder
They have not said that it is not going to be a cross-server Raid Finder, but then, they haven't said that it will be that either. Of course, if it isn't a cross-server system then how would it be any different from what they have in place now?

Realistically, the random dungeon queue has come barely an inch short of shattering any belief in the goodness of humanity that I once possesseed. A random raid queue could very well push me over the line into complete madness. MADNESS!

There is much time for Blizzard to try and convince me of this feature, but my first reaction to this idea is "No way am I going near that."

Void Storage
A new type of bank for storing old armor so that one could free up space in the regular bank.  The devs aren't sure what the definition of "old equipment" is yet, however,  or about the cost. They have determined that it will have 100 to 150 slots and will automatically strip away any enchants, gems or crafter's name attached to the gear.  Ideally, I guess it will be the place you put all those old tier sets you pick up from the Darkmoon Faire

Meh. I'm largely disappointed. This feels like a heaping pile of ui and feature upgrades, but not a lot of real content.

New five-man instances are a welcome step of course. I'm about to have a freak-out if I tour Heroic Shadowfang Keep again (Too much trash).

As noted in my previous post, I was really hoping for some more story this x-pac. For example, the discovery of Ulduar in Northrend was technically something of a left turn in the overall fight against the Lich King, and yet it was interesting, fit the setting and was really super-epic. Going into 4.3, we've put down the Twilight's Hammer; The evil elemental lords Al'Akir and Ragnaros are dead; and not much else has gone on. Thrall had hisself a little adventure, but the state of Horde and Alliance is basically unchanged since the beginning of the expansion. I really wish they had done more than that. Or that they would announce they are going to do more about that.

These new features: Yesterday, when I read the first announcements, I had some serious questions about how Transmog and Void Storage were going to work and having read the forums a great deal, I've learned more and am just not terribly impressed with it.

First up, all these "we're working on something like that, but it won't be ready for launch" notes by the blues says to me that they are really rushing out some half-baked work here. The whole thing reeks of that crappy thing other software companies do by announcing a feature that they'll spend the next year and something turning into the useful thing we'd hoped for.  Hey! Don't you guys have an expansion in planning for next year? Why don't you just work on it for another 12 months and show it to us then?

Next, I... I just can't get that excited about these things.  Patch 4.3 will come out and I'll spend 15 minutes twiddling around with the look of my gear and then I'll be pretty well done with it. I actually do enjoy the looks of my characters-- don't get me wrong. But, especially with the limited options that will be available, I can't imagine spending very much time at the Transmogrifier.

As for Void Storage... it seems underdeveloped too. I realize that there are deeply technical problems that have restricted the size of our available storage space. And now we're going to need a ton more space if we go back to old raids to collect all the pieces of gear we don't have or deleted because we didn't have the space. But, meh... this really ought not be a major priority. I don't think you'll be able to stick your hoard of uncut gems in there. They haven't said anything about being able to put those holiday sets of clothes in there. No word about all that junk I've been collecting from archaeology either (and I mean the "rare" junk that one might actually enjoy holding onto).

Finally, I know this is not a "fair" gripe. But, ultimately, I just want more content and am still not terribly happy with what they are offering here. I know there are different teams of programmers working on content and features, so it's a fallacy to demand less features and more content. But, but ... but... all signs point to WoW going stale on the scarcity of playable content. Nobody ever quit the game because they didn't have enough bank storage, after all.

1 comment:

  1. I see it as a good thing. Especially on RP servers. Reusing or recycling old models. Not letting the model artists' work gone to waste. Adding more "individuality" in the appearance of your characters. Encourage players to run old contents for the gears and looks.