Home > World of Warcraft, Wrath of the Lich King > Patch 4.3: “Loving the Lore” or “Hating the Lore”

Patch 4.3: “Loving the Lore” or “Hating the Lore”

I didn’t think I would like WoW again, but the leveling game has been so well improved, I can’t help but marvel at the fluidity of it all. I am also trying something new altogether. I played a Dwarf Paladin for nearly six years, always on the Alliance side, on the US servers. Now I am on the EU servers, playing an Undead Mage, trying out the horde faction. And I have to admit, despite being primarily a solo journey, I am very pleasantly surprised by the ebb and flow of level progression in the lower levels. I am level 38 now, and so far it’s been a blast.

But I am digressing. Patch 4.3 is around the corner. The heroes of Azeroth must once again band together to defeat a worldly threat. And although that has happened countless times before, this time, things seem a little different:

Pros

  • The lore in Cataclysm has a very fluid structure. The story lines flows from starting zones into adjacent and non-adjacent zones, and at least until level 60, there seems to be a harmony to the central narrative.
  • The story takes into account the hero’s progression (that’s you). Arthas has been killed, and Cataclysm areas (both 1-60 and 81-85) consistently allude to the fact that he no longer threatens the world.
  • This progression is further taken into account with the lore for the three 5-mans and the raid encounter in patch 4.3, as the Al’Akir, Ragnaros, and Deathwing’s immediate family: Lady Sinestra, Onyxia and Nefarion have all been struck down. The forces of Deathwing have dwindled.
  • You can’t just kill Deathwing, he has contingencies in place, and he seems to have thought of everything. Even traveling to the past to recover the Dragon Soul to defeat him is impossible, and you must first travel to the future to remove said obstacle. In short, the lore is tied together very well in the four new instances.
  • You get to see the future, what Azeroth will become, should you fail.
  • You get to see the events 10,000 years in the past, events that shaped the today of Azeroth, events that we always heard of in lore conversation, or read about in books. But now you get to experience them first-hand. You fought Illidan in The Burning Crusade, but this time you can with alongside him, you know, before he turned into a massive dick.
  • Transmorgification: Hooray!

Cons

  • There will be three difficulty levels. Blizzard has already started nerfing the Ragnaros encounter. They also say that after the top seed guilds have downed Deathwing, he will be toned down as well. This is all part of the macro-strategy Blizzard is deploying to ensure that a large percentage of their player-base gets to see, experience and vanquish endgame content. I have mentioned before why this strategy may be a mistake, but it appears Blizzard will not change gears in content design in this expansion.
  • Despite the content re-design, Outlands and Northrend were left untouched. So at level 10, when the lore for the Undead storyline is speaking of Arthas being killed by the heroes of Azeoth, at level 70+, you will face him again in Northrend. Lame.
  • There are whole new bosses in the raid encounter, allies of Deathwing that we have never heard of before. That is a little weak. We played Cataclysm for nearly a year, systematically eliminating all that sided with Deathwing one after another. After so much, we get six new bosses thrown at us, ones that (mostly) never entered the fray before.
  • Benedictus was a minion of Deathwing all along? Oh come on!
  • Transmorgification: Couldn’t you have released this feature a little sooner? Only took you seven years!
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  1. mizerboy
    September 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Bronte!!!! Didn’t know you were back playing, we will have to get together sometime on your new server.

    • September 21, 2011 at 5:46 am

      I am, but I am on the EU servers šŸ˜¦

  2. September 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    First, I applaud your use of bullet points.

    Second, continuity of story across expansions hasn’t been Blizzard’s strongest suit. I understand that they want the world to evolve, but they’ve left these fractures because they can’t update everything at once. I suspect this is something that future games will learn from WoW’s mistake.

    Third, I wonder if I will have the time to play again once 4.3 comes out. šŸ˜¦

    • September 21, 2011 at 5:49 am

      @Anjin: First, thank you sir, much appreciated.

      Second, it just sucks that you would put in so much effort and energy into the package, only two leave two glaring holes in Outlands and Northrend. In addition, their explanation was that this content was “too new”. Come on. We’re not stupid!

      Third: You should, especially if you are on the EU servers!

  3. Paul
    September 21, 2011 at 7:01 am

    May be a mistake? The dismal raid usage figures say it definitely is a mistake. Guilds, once they get blocked and fall apart, usually don’t reassemble themselves.

    Getting nerfed content later is unacceptable. Blizzard needs to go back to Wrath-style tuning.

    • September 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

      I think the dismal raid figures are exactly why they’re nerfing content. There are people who can down content on the harder end of the scale… but there are also many more who can’t. Most blogs that I read are reporting just about no progression, whether it’s down to motivation or just hitting their raid group’s skill cap.

      Some folks will complain, but many more will be happy to be making some progress again. This is essential if Blizzard want to maintain interest in what is actually a very short but brutal raid tier, at least until the next patch comes out and the less hardcore can be pointed toward the Looking For Raid tool.

      Bronte, which server? I play on Lightbringer-EU.

      • September 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm

        @Leit: I am on The Maelstrom. Add me, it’s the same as the email in the about section on this blog.

    • September 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      @Paul: Believe me I have seen my fair share of guilds fall apart because they came across a raid wall and couldn’t surmount it. I worked very hard on my guild through vanilla and TBC, and despite hitting a few snags, we actually never fell apart. It was only after I graduated and decided to take a break from the game for a few months to focus solely on job-hunting in a crappy U.S. job market was when my successors couldn’t hold it together.

      I never blamed the myself, because I knew how much work it was and what they had to go through to ensure the whole machine continued to work properly.

      I would ask this though: what do you mean by “Wrath-style” tuning. If you are referring to Naxxaramas 2.0, I actually think they made the diametrically opposite mistake by making the instance too damn casual.

      • Paul
        September 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

        Naxx 2.0 may have been too easy — but during that part of WotLK subs sure didn’t collapse like they have in Cataclysm.

        I’ll argue that most people actually don’t want challenging content, regardless of what some may say. What they want is content that makes them feel good about themselves. In the good parts of Wrath, there was content that most people could do, and if there were hard modes they were so overtuned for most people that they could be ignored without damage to the ego. This only really fell apart in ICC, where the gradual nerf more accurately calibrated each team’s level of true competence. Only about 20% of 25 man raid teams managed to down LK 25 even at the 30% buff; I suspect many of those guilds fell apart when the illusion of their competence failed.

        • September 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

          @Drew: That is exactly my point. There is a very tiny fragment of the overall player base that enjoys a rough challenge, and that is the top seed guilds which race to down world bosses. I remember at the launch of WotLK when all world bosses were downed by this one guild 72 hours after the launch of the expansion. What is the freaking point in that?

          I agree that most people are looking to have fun. this does not mean content needs to roll over and die when they approach it. But it also doesn’t mean that every guild that isn’t top-seed runs serious risk of falling apart if it tries to make a run at supremely imbalanced content.

          • Paul
            September 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm

            I’m afraid that the Cataclysm experience shows that most guilds did fall apart when confronted with more difficult content. The number of guilds actively raiding now is only a fraction of WotLK, and many of those that are are new guilds assembled from the detritus of dead WotLK guilds.

            Also: it’s not supremely imbalanced content that kills guilds, it’s content that they think should be easy that is still beyond them. Extremely difficult content is safer to the ego, since there’s plausible deniability. Hard modes in Wrath were fine for the lesser guilds, since they could just say they weren’t interested. In Cataclysm these guilds had no place to hide.

  4. September 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I think Blizzard is missing the boat entirely. The roadblock for your average WoW player to raiding is time. I have absolutely no numbers to back it up, but I would assume that ToC was one of the more successful raids of all time time. Why? It was short and it had no trash. Would it kill them to just release smaller raids? Or section it off in Wings? Like Icecrown, for example, could have been 3 or 4 different “raids”. [Note: I did not raid in Cataclysm, I PvPed until I grew tired and had only minimal upgrades left to achieve without getting into the hardcore Arena scene.]

    • September 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

      I actually fail to understand why trash can’t be avoided or severely minimized (if you are trying to preserve some semblance of “lore” in a fantasy game with spaceships and guns), instead of throwing pack after pack after pack, an endless stream of adds for us to constantly fight and butt our heads against. An hour later, we finally see a boss.

      I agree with you, ToC was very popular back in the day. There was no trash to learn. The bosses were all back-to-back and in the same area, and you could play to have fun, instead of grinding mobs to no end across a massive instance.

      Remember the length of the Black Temple? *shudder*

    • September 26, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      Thing is, instances with no trash have 2 issues. 1: length. Yes, it’s padding, but while many folks are constrained by time, many more feel sort of cheated by short instances. 2: no BoEs. Especially if you want a short instance, you’re going to have issues placing appropriate loot on bosses and still having a reasonable gearing schedule for a raid group. Also, BoEs serve roles both in helping get newly dinged characters up to speed and in mitigating the poor luck of people who simply aren’t getting the drops to fill their slots any other way.

      Black Temple… was released in the same expansion that gave us The Eye, which, while it has A LOT of trash in the boss rooms, is actually a nice compact instance with some choice as to the order in which you prefer to tackle the bosses. I’d look to that pattern.

  5. September 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I don’t get why the Dragon Soul is useful for this.

    From the book’s lore the DragonSoul was crafted by Deathwing, using the power of the other flights but not his own. Thus it had no power over him, and he was the only creature that could destroy it. That is why the other flights fled from him, and why the Human Mage (rhonin?) was later able to use a scale from Deathwing to destroy it. When it was destroyed the other flights had their power returned and were able to drive Deathwing away..

    So an item to which Deathwing is immune will be used to kill him, although it is exists the power of the other flights is diminished? Or is this a back to the future style change, where Rhonin thinks he destroyed it, but we actually steal it, use it to hurt DW and then destroy it so that the flights can get their power back?

    OK, I’m being a bit strict with the lore, or have my wires crossed, but it seems odd.

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