3.2 – The Filler Patch

So we’re getting more information now about the next content patch for WoW , which has been named Call of the Crusade.

This would be a great name if we actually were off on a crusade, but it sounds more as though we’ll be sitting around a warcamp boozing and fighting tame bosses while our characters wait for the next actual phase of the story to occur.

I can’t really get excited about this one. But I’ll be happy to be proved wrong.

So how about that story then?

I’m increasingly frustrated at Blizzard’s ability to set up cool storylines at the beginning of the expansion and then totally fail to deliver on them. We had some great stuff going. What happened after Wrathgate? What exactly is the Lich King up to – we dealt him some kind of a blow, is he not retaliating even when we are IN HIS BACKYARD? We hunted down Mal’ganis (more than once) but where is he now? Oh, and how about Malygos? Was that it?

I had hoped that they’d drop a bit of storyline into every patch but no, it seems as though we’re off on unrelated random goose chases until they feel like dropping patch 3.3 (which is apparently going to be the Icecrown one).

I’m not mollified by pets, mounts, scads of daily quests, and making alting easier. They aren’t bad things per se but they don’t replace the game I actually enjoyed in the expansion.

Having said all this, we have been promised two new quest hubs. Question is, will they be just another ton of daily quests or may we get some cool phasing plotlines as well?

So what’s in 3.2?

From the horse’s mouth (2 new quest hubs):

A new Cult of the Damned camp now sits overlooking the Tournament grounds and spying on the activity below.

Located on an island north of Icecrown, the former tuskarr village known as Hrothgar’s Landing is a mist-shrouded staging point for Sea Vrykul raids upon the ships of the Silver Covenant and the Sunreavers in the waters between the island and Icecrown.

What could this mean for plots? Well, the Cult of the Damned are associated with the Old Gods. However, raiders have just put down Yog-Saron so it isn’t really sounding like a good time for cultists. There isn’t really much else for them to do in the game apart from worship tentacled horrors – which they have done every other time they’ve ever cropped up — so I’m not seeing where this one will lead. Maybe they’re going to try to resurrect him?

edited to add: Thanks everyone for the comments! I’m totally wrong with this and I stand corrected. The Cult of the Damned are the human branch of the Scourge so they’re good to go 🙂

I’m not so sure about the Sea Vrykul either. Or why they’d be making sea raids when Arthas could just send frost drakes.  I don’t entirely see why the Dalaran factions need ships anyway, they have an entire city of mages who can teleport stuff. Hoping we’ll get some semi-reasonable explanation.

Just when you thought you had seen and done it all, the Argent Tournament throws out the gauntlet once more and adds a new line of quests and rewards for players who have become exalted with either the Silver Covenant or the Sunreavers. Earn seals by participating in three additional random dailies and earn brand-new rewards.

New dailies. New tabards, mounts, pets. Yawn. I guess some people will get excited about the mounts, tabards, and pets. Not me though.

It is interesting what they’re doing with the Silver Covenant/Sunreaver reputation though. Up to now, it has been something you gained through other activities. The Argent Tournament gives reputation with those factions, for absolutely no good reason (surely the Argent Tournament should give Argent Crusade rep since they’re running it). And there’s nothing to buy with those reputations anyway.

But no, all it does is give you access to still more daily quests.

A new line of dailies and rewards for players who have earned the title of Crusader will be available with two random seal-awarding dailies.

Some rewards for people who actually enjoy grinding out faction and daily quests. It’s not for me, but I approve of the idea. Reward people by giving them more of the content which they evidently like enough to get the initial requirement.

Crusader as a title requires lots of exalted factions and suchlike. I won’t be getting that on Spinks, as an old character it’s too much hassle for me to work on those city factions. If the quests or rewards turn out to be awesome, I expect one of my newer alts has better reps.

One thing’s for sure, it’ll be a lot of rep grinding for new Death Knights.

Just when you thought you had seen the last of the Black Knight, he makes his astonishing return to the Tournament. Wait, didn’t you kill him?

This was the somewhat weak storyline that we got with the Argent Tournament. Wait, didn’t we kill him? Yes and wait, aren’t we fighting against the most powerful necromancer in the universe who happens to have his base IN THIS ZONE? This would bother me less if the very first quest I’d been given in Northrend had not sent me out to burn the bodies of casualties of war so that they couldn’t be revived as undead. How quickly we forget.

Raids and Instances

From Bornak:

    • 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.
    • 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 modeled with Alliance- or Horde-specific themes

OK, minor change in how hard modes are going to work. Instead of there being something you do in the encounter to set the hard mode, you’ll actually zone into a hard mode instance. And if you really really really like this Coliseum, you could run it 4 times a week! (I’ll be in the corner, slitting my wrists.) There are also extra rewards for not wiping which may please the hardcore.

The 5 man in particular isn’t sounding very thrilling. In an astounding change of direction, instead of us running into a room and killing a boss, the boss will now run into the room where we’re standing. I’m curious as to how they’ll pitch the difficulty of this one. Will it be fairly easy so that new 80s can use it to gear up, or will they aim it at raiders who already have Ulduar gear and tons of experience?

In any case, the new tier of armour and weapons means that it’s likely going to be better than Ulduar gear. I cannot get excited about this raid instance, but maybe they’ll do something cool and blow me away.

And why is the Argent Tournament building raid instances instead of fighting the Lich King? This is just going to bug me.

Levelling Perks

Mounts become cheaper and more accessible. More heirloom gear (bind on account stuff that you can send to an alt, and that has stats which adjust to the character’s  level) will give even bigger xp bonuses.

These are all reasonable changes. People don’t have to use the heirloom gear if they don’t want to and there’s no point making newbies go through the mount cash grind that was partly designed to keep old characters busy at the level cap.

Class Tweaks

Ghostcrawler has started a series of in depth discussions on class issues recently. I think this is brilliant. As a player, I very much want to know what devs plan to do with my class. If only because it gives me the chance to swap characters if it’s going in a direction I don’t like.

We know that druids are getting some new forms, and we also now know more about upcoming shaman changes. They look to be more ‘quality of life’ issues than huge redesigns. But I’m glad to see them, and looking forwards to seeing what warriors have in store. (Whatever it is, expect a huge outcry.) I wonder if they’ll look at block in this patch or if it’ll get left for the next expansion.

20 thoughts on “3.2 – The Filler Patch

  1. The big things to me are the mount changes and the Shaman update. I’ve playing with a low level Paladin alt at the moment so getting a mounts sooner and easier is great.

    I also think the Shaman Totem Bar is going to be great for the class. Someone that put me off Shamans was a huge number of hotkeys everywhere. May not impact every player but it’s a nice thought and gesture.

  2. Wow, you sound burnt out to me. Blizzard are promising lots of new stuff, and you are basically turning your nose up at it before it’s even been released.

    Maybe time for a break?

  3. “There are also extra rewards for not wiping which may please the hardcore.”

    No… not really. Very gimmicky mechanic, IMO. The hardcore generally want more nasty-hard encounters, not different ways of doing the same thing.

    • Yeah, I see this back-firing. Now someone wiping a farm-run kill by accident goes from costing everyone 5 minutes and a repair bill to costing the group some loot.

  4. The Cult of the Damned is the human branch of the Scourge. Their leader isn’t quite as dead as that of the Twilight cultists.

    The totem change might be enough to get me playing my shaman again, for maybe a week.

  5. It does sound somewhat uninspired. The whole concept of the Argent Tournament never did make much sense to me…uh, OK, we’re within sight of the citadel of the Lich King, engaged in a bloody battle and slowly grinding forward after the setback at Angrathar…so let’s build a R&R camp and joust ourselves silly! I’m imagining a line of well-trained jousting Crusaders on hawkstriders heading toward Icecrown Citadel while Arthas laughs his ass off. Chicken Cavalry, HOOOOO!

    It’s definitely a filler, and largely designed to keep people interested in the Argent Tournament after the allure of the jousting rep grind wears off (which for me, took about two weeks). I’d like to see them expand on the Silver Covenant and the Sunreavers even more, personally…let’s see some story and questing involving the “cold war” in Dalaran between the two factions.

    • I think they could make it work. Remember for original Naxx, how they wouldn’t let just anyone in, and you needed to prove yourself before the Argent Dawn (get higher rep and/or pay them) before they’d let you zone into Naxx? I see it as (and I’m sure they can write it as) “We can’t fight the Scourge toe-to-toe, they out-number us, and every man we lose in a door-to-door battle through Icecrown will rise against us. We’ve got to make this a surgical anti-Arthas strike. But we can’t risk letting our champions fall in the attempt as rise as champions of Lich-King, so we’re going to make sure that whoever we send will be as prepared as possible.”

      Think about it: Ulduar-geared raiders are a rare resource. If a full 25-man T8-geared raid died in IceCrown Citadel and went over to the Scourge, the second raid wouldn’t have a prayer of beating a “Scourge-ified raid group” and Arthas.

      Actually, that’d make an awesome boss in Icecrown. Some “group of valiant crusaders from all the paths of Azeroth” (a raid group like our own), whom we (lore-wise) fought beside in Ulduar, walked into Icecrown straight-away, got ganked, and now serve as the 3rd boss encounter of Icecrown. Our 25-man raid has to take on a 10-man “possessed”/undead raid group, complete with 3 healers, 2 tanks*, a mage, a rogue, a hunter, and 2 other DPSers. In the 10-man raid, we’re fighting a 5-man group.

      * – Not sure how this mechanic would work exactly.

  6. Haven’t finished reading what looks like a great post, but I wanted to jump on the “Cult of the Damned” thing real quick.

    Klepsacovic is right: The Cult of the Damned are the group from Warcraft III, originally led by Kel’Thuzad (from Naxx), that consisted of human wizards, necromancers, and thugs that brought the original plague to the Eastern Kingdoms and created the undead Scourge. There are a bunch of 68-74 quests involving them in BT and HF (rooting out traitors working for them, their infection of Alliance/Horde villages and the magnataur, etc.), and I think a few IceCrown and Zul’Drak quests for the Argent Crusade either mention them or send us to gank their leaders. Point is, they’re at least somewhat integrated with the “kill the Scourge” theme we’ve had from 68 onwards.

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  8. This patch does seem to be filler, unless it turns out that the last boss of the raid is actually a disguised Deathwing, who tells players that he’s going to res Malygos and team up with Infinite!Nozdormu and Nightmare!Ysera to be the baddie for next expansion. Not that there’s any real reason why Deathwing would want to win the Argent Tourney, but who knows?

    The one thing that I find interesting about the patch is the extreme focus on rewards that will still be good next expansion. We don’t outlevel mounts, minipets, titles, or tabards. Players are still going to want new heirlooms for new alts. Throw in a teleport to the tourney ground and a squire that serves as a mobile bank, and you’ve got some goodies that might still be worth getting years down the line.

    • “Not that there’s any real reason why Deathwing would want to win the Argent Tourney, but who knows?”

      I laughed 🙂 ((What I really want is to be ….. a lumberjack!))

      I take your point also about Blizzard experimenting with more permanent rewards. That is an interesting slant. And especially since they’re also experimenting with permanent rewards that are time-limited (such as the various protodrakes and ZA bear).

  9. Well free content is better then no content at all. All of them cant be winners. I think we’re leading up to some nice mounted battles, and some other good stuff. Blizz almost lost me, then they brought in phasing, and some interesting quests that made me think morally. I think WoW will be ok, well until WoW 2.0 comes out.

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  11. The Cult of the Damned are not only the living arm of the scourge.

    They’re the communist living arm of the scourge, drawing members from the alliance peasantry who are tired of forever being stuck on the bottom rung of a feudal system and are being offered a world where everyone is equal in death.

    Which is kind of nifty.

    I also like the sound of the faction themed armor sets. Since most of tier sets appear designed for a human model, you get a lot of weirdness when you stick ’em on the horde. Especially on orcs and trolls.

  12. I just can’t bring myself to get excited about the prospect of another content patch already. I *just* felt like I could start winding down a little bit with regards to Ulduar, we just started working on hard modes and now all of this whirlwind just has me feeling like all of the sudden I have to go at full speed again.

    I just hope that it stays on the PTR for a good bit of time =(

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