Details of the Icecrown Citadel raid in patch 3.3 have been released. Some random thoughts
- it sounds awfully like Naxx in structure. 4 quarters, 3-4 bosses each. That's probably a good thing but I'm just wondering, if the architecture is basically similar, if sometimes you'll be raiding and you have to stop and ask which raid you're doing. Still it's sound as a concept and I much prefer the 4 quarters style of Naxx to the linear approach of Molten Core.
- it seems good lore-driven content again after the rather dubious (lore-wise) offerings they've given us in 3.2. I think it's helpful and immersive to feel like you're fighting a heroic nemesis as opposed to farming a recycled 2005 mob.
- staggering the release doesn't surprise me at all. I've noticed for some time that the 3 patches of wotlk don't actually fit the development cycle. If there's approx 18 months between expansions we should get one every 6 months. In fact we got 2 in the first 6 months. Unless they decide to do a 4th content patch they have to spin out 3.3 until Cataclysm is just about ready.
- every method of slowing players down has been hated by players. This cap on attempts on the end bosses is the latest in a long line of stalling methods which include fire resistance gear, reputation grinds, attunements, raid comp problems (eg 4 horsemen in Naxx 40 needing 8 tanks). While people don't like this one almost all of the other methods were even more hated.
They don't want you to finish the game. They certainly don't want you to finish 3.3 in December when Cataclysm still needs another 9-10 months.
- I actually like the incremental buff more than what it replaces (wholesale raid nerfing). The dumbing down of raids in patches has always been immensely unpopular and there's been a feeling among hardcore players that Blizzard has sold out to the casuals every time. At least they're stating up front that the casuals will be getting access over time. It's actually a far more honest approach.
- the zone wide buff will make farming and soloing in the Icecrown zone very effective.
- opting out of the buff is not in fact a gameplay feature. It is a Forum Wars feature disguised as a gameplay feature. If anyone complains about content being dumbed down forum warriors can say "just click the buff off dude" and shut them up.
If anyone actually does click the buff off in game they will be faced with the following conversation:
Guild Leader: why do you die all the time and do half the dps of anyone else even when not dead?
Gaming Purist: I clicked the buff off man, gaming should be a challenge.
Guild Leader: Good luck with your search for a new guild then, bye!
I still won't be re-installing WoW before the next expansion but I certainly plan to tourist this place once I get Cataclysm.