It seems another writer for Massive Online Gamer missed a deadline, so I will be publishing not one but two articles in the next issue. My reaction when I found out was something like this:
Dissatisfaction and Patch 4.3:
Blizzard continues to taunt us with more glimpses of patch 4.3, which has finally hit the public test realms. One that caught my eye was the preview for the rogue-exclusive legendary daggers, Fangs of the Father.
The acquisition of these daggers requires a lengthy quest chain involving a black dragon whelp purified of the Old Gods’ corruption during an already existing quest chain in the Badlands. This was one of the more memorable new quest chains brought by Cataclysm, and it looks like Wrathion, the whelp in question, will be a very interesting character.
To my utter dismay, however, you will not be able to even start the quest chain without doing the new Dragon Soul raid. Since Blizzard has already stated that none of the items needed for the legendary chain will drop in the Raid Finder, I’ll assume this means you need to do normal mode to start the chain as well.
This will now make two major, potentially world-changing story arcs in Cataclysm that I’ve completely missed out on because I’m not a top member of leading progression guild.
I play this game for the lore (stop laughing; it’s true), and I find this completely unacceptable. I’m all for legendary items being exclusive, but lore should be for all. It’s the equivalent of going to a movie theater and then being told you can’t see the end of the movie unless you and all the friends you came with can each solve a series of puzzles, and only then, only you get to see it, and your friends can only watch a video of it you post on YouTube the next day. No theater would ever get away with that, so why should Blizzard be able to?
I’ve often been the first to defend Cataclysm from its many bashers, but I’m coming to the conclusion that people may be right when they say it’s been a terrible expansion for the casual player. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m missing out on a huge amount of content this expansion, and so are most of the people I know in the game.
All this is leading me towards a growing dissatisfaction with the end game. All I have left to do anymore is run heroics with no end goal in mind. While it’s true that I didn’t get to do a huge amount of raiding in Wrath, at least the weekly quests ensured that I got to do it with some degree of regularity, and it gave me a clear goal in the game. I was running heroics to get gear to raid more and more effectively. Nowadays I’m just chasing my proverbial tail.
In Wrath, too, most of the important lore was easy to access — in five-man dungeons or the relatively easy first wing of Icecrown Citadel.
Part of this is just my usual burnout which occurs and then fades every few weeks, but partly, I’m really getting sick of the way the game is segregated.
There is but one beacon of hope on the horizon, and that is my next topic:
The Raid Finder:
The great hope of casuals everywhere, Blizzard’s last chance to redeem this expansion from the perspective of the casual player (or at least this casual player). It’s a gamble, but if it works out as well as the Dungeon Finder, it will revolutionize this game for the better.
Blizzard has just released their official Q&A and preview for the Raid Finder. Now, this is a case of them mostly telling us what we already knew (it works just like the Dungeon Finder, it’s 25-man only, it’s easier and has lesser gear), but a few revelations jump out.
One is that, in the Raid Finder, the Dragon Soul raid will be split into two wings with four bosses each. I really like this idea, as asking people to do eight consecutive bosses is a very tall order, especially for players with limited schedules.
One thing that makes me less happy is that players will only be able to access Dragon Soul via the Raid Finder. This disappoints me, as I had been hoping to use it for everything from Firelands to Ulduar, but Blizzard does have several good reasons for doing this–the older raids weren’t designed with the Raid Finder in mind, whereas Dragon Soul will be.
Finally, and most oddly, players will theoretically be able to run Dragon Soul as often as they like through the Raid Finder, but once they kill a boss, they will be ineligible for loot from that boss — regardless of whether or not they received any for the first kill — for the rest of the week. This is basically an attempt to throttle gear progression and simulate the raid lockout on normal modes so Raid Finder doesn’t become a quick route to full raid gear sets. I see their point with this, and since loot is a means to an end for me, I don’t care that much, but I think they ought to add some impetus for killing the bosses if we can’t get loot from them after the first go. Valor points, maybe.
Blizzard hasn’t and can’t yet answer the greatest questions about the Raid Finder: whether it will prove popular, whether raids will be able to down PUG bosses. For the answers to those, we’ll just have to wait and see. But damn, I hope it works.
…Zanzil’s got big plans for this one!
This is pretty irrelevant, but I’ve been very impressed with some of the outfits for 4.3. Especially the ones for NPCs, like the Middle Eastern-inspired outfit Wrathion is sporting up there, or Tyrande’s stellar (pun intended) new look.
Also, in addition to new tier sets (such as the pleasantly creepy priest one), images of the next sets of PvP gear have been leaked, including an absolutely stunning paladin set.
Normally, all I see on the official site is people whining about new gear, but everyone seems to agree that this may be the greatest armor set ever put into the game, even beating the famed Judgment Armor. People are even reading all sorts of deep symbolism into this armor, that it represents the fragility of man or the knife-edge balance of good and evil.