Some Genuine Excitement

18 06 2009

I’ve been having some WoW blahs recently. The alt I was levelling hit 80 and is now pretty well geared. I got my DK the Argent Hippogryph, which has left me with a desire to never ever touch daily quests again. Like many people, however, I have been reading the tidbits that have leaked out about the content in the “next major content patch,” The Call of the Crusade. If you haven’t read any of it yet, here’s the part I want to talk about today. (Source)

In the next major content patch, the construction of the Crusaders’ Coliseum on the Argent Tournament grounds will be complete, and it will hold new challenges for players. We’d like to share some details on the new dungeon, which represents the next tier of content for the game, but keep in mind that this is still in development and subject to change. The Crusaders’ Coliseum will include:

  • New epic 10- and 25-player raid dungeon with five encounters, with each encounter being unlocked one week at a time
  • A more intuitive structure for harder encounters. This raid dungeon will have four different versions: 10-player, 25-player, 10-player Heroic, and 25-player Heroic, with each one using a separate lockout.
  • Each of the Heroic mode instances has a new tribute system that will limit players on the number of attempts they get in the Coliseum each week to present a greater challenge for the most battle-hardened heroes. Additional rewards can be earned depending on the number of attempts left in the tribute run each week when the final boss is defeated.
  • New 5-player dungeon with three encounters that will include Champion’s Seals as each one is defeated
  • New tier of armor and weapons that are modelled with Alliance- or Horde-specific themes

At first, I was shocked. 4 different raid IDs in one (with only 5 encounters?) instance. As it settled in, I can see that this is pretty in line with Blizzard’s philosophy. I think this is a change in the right direction. It will eliminate the ability for guilds to ‘give up’ progressing through hard modes and revert to a normal mode of a boss because you have to down the boss to continue. Although the difficulty level of “Heroic” mode is still somewhat vague, I imagine it will be similar to Ulduar hard modes. Although – is this the end of incremental hard modes like Yogg and the good old Sartharion? If the entire instance is on hard mode, it seems unlikely that you’d be able to choose the difficulty in any way after you zone in. This is somewhat disappointing to me, as I enjoyed the mechanic of three drakes, three trees, etc.

200px-Vesperon

I'm so lonely...

Addressing my concerns

With some of the news of 3.2, Blizzard has indeed addressed some of my concerns. For one, they continue to tinker with the mechanics of raiding, which at least assures me that they are unsatisfied with the current model. Having raid difficulty match the system of difficulty of 5-mans (normal is easy, heroic is harder) will make it easier for new players to understand the mechanics of the end-game. Currently, it’s a bit of a mess as to what’s hard and what’s easy. Then there’s the tribute run – a good idea, I think. Anything extra that will give replayability to new raids is a welcome addition, in my books.

My sword looks just like your sword

One complaint that I haven’t talked about much is the reusing of item models. Shoulders, helmets, weapons – there are so few models (colour-coded for normal or 25-man) going around. For instance, my Aesir’s Edge is a recoloured version of a guildie’s Rune Edge. Introducing faction-specific models will help a little bit, but I still question why Blizzard started using so many similar models? This never happened in BC or Vanilla (to my recollection, feel free to correct me) whether the item models were ugly or awesome.

Mmm…badges

I approve of new 5-mans. I’ll run it for badges a lot, and that’s cool. I hope it’s MGT #2, meaning that it’s actually remotely challenging.

So… what next?

I feel that this patch (3.2) is a step in the right direction, but that’s all it is with the information revealed so far. A new content patch coming out with only a 5-boss raid? Gutsy move by Blizzard. Focusing on the Argent Tournament, I think, is a mistake. It’s probably the least interesting aspect of the game right now. If we’re running around doing errands for them, or fighting in a coliseum, well… shouldn’t we be out saving the world from crazed dragons or evil liches? A tournament is fun and all, but it’s not up to the high standards of intrigue that usually go on in a raid (see: Illidan, the whole Sunwell thing, the AQ40 storyline).

I also hope they have plans to release another raid relatively soon after this patch goes live, because 5 bosses (if their difficulty level is on par with Ulduar, or even to the relative increase in difficulty from Naxx) won’t last very long. For me, WoW lives and dies on its raid content. Everything else is icing on my 15$ a month cake.

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