Did you get what you wanted from 3.1?

July 31, 2009 at 1:48 pm (Patch 3.2, World Events)

With 3.2 due out very soon, patch 3.1 is really winding down. It seems like we’ve come a long way from the days of levelling up, gearing up in heroics, and guilds finding themselves clearing Naxx in their first couple of lock outs. 3.2 dawns on a very different world (of Warcraft) from the one we started with, but are you done with 3.1?

Ulduar

In my view Ulduar has really vindicated Blizzard in terms of the raiding scene. It’s proved hard enough and enjoyable enough to keep most of us going back. I would say if anything there has been too much Ulduar content. Few guilds heave their Rusted Proto-Drakes, or have completed the really tricky hard mode achievements. Many more casual guilds, including my own haven’t cleared all the content, or got their full Tier 8. There would be room for another few months of raiding.WoWScrnShot_073109_140921

Back in the day we’d have seen all the regular raiding guilds move on to the next tier while the rest of us languish in Ulduar for another few months before hitting Tier 9 content. This time around it seems like Blizzard don’t want us to gear up in Ulduar, we’re supposed to push on through badge gear and “normal mode” raids straight into the next tier of content. So Ulduar really is looking like it will be left behind.

The first legendary healer weapon since Atiesh dropped by the waydise. A relatively quick patch, a slow weapon to collect from 25 man only raids, and offered in a conspicuously mid tier raid. Even with a stat makeover to make it good in tier 9 content, I would say Valanyr will be one of the more forgettable legendaries. Inevitably a few will still farm for it, but it’s missed it’s chance to have the impact of a Thunderfury or a Warglaives of Azzinoth.

I think it’s fair to say that Flame Leviathan was better than most people feared. I know some dislike it, but I found it very well balanced on the hard modes, and a lot of fun even after repeated clears. I’d put it up with Mimiron as my favourite boss of the instance. It makes for a very impressive opening to the instance, and a bit of variation in terms of the role you can play.

Achievements and the Argent Tournament:

Achievements got old real fast. I think somewhere around the Argent Crusade I stopped caring. I like mounts, pets and titles probably more than the next guy, but achievements for their own sake quickly lost my interest in 3.1. If an achievement drives you to try new content like Glory of the Hero then that’s great. Too many achievements only reward points, and a quick bit of guild spam and I think I’ve really grown out of that.

Another thing that perhaps got old rather quickly is the Argent Tournament. Don’t get me wrong, I love the theme and look forward to the raid but I almost think the Tournament as a whole would have benefited by being withheld until just a couple of months before the next patch comes out. That way it’s something new and gets us fired up for the Argent Coliseum rather than having time to get old. Jousting was fun when it came out, I think perhaps it’s rather dull now. With jousting to come in the new 5 man dungeon I think maybe Blizzard have had the tournament out a little too long.

Storyline

Ulduar has done a much better job carrying me along with the storyline. I’ve not killed Algalon just as I didn’t kill Illidan. The difference is that this time at least I’m raiding the instance, so I feel much more involved. I felt I understood what was going on in Ulduar, and so when the story got revealed online I was motivated to follow it. Compare that to Illidan back in Black Temple which I never raided. Is Illidan even dead? I honestly don’t know. Despite playing Warcraft III regularly. I have not the faintest idea what happened in Black Temple. In Ulduar I understand it, good job Blizzard.

Professions

3.1 saw new Inscription glyphs and a lot of them are nice. Particularly I think of Guardian Spirit, Penance and Pain Suppression for us Priests. The other professions benefited a little less so. There are crafting recipes in Ulduar but given that the materials for them drop in 10 man hard mode, or 25 man content they really aren’t available to most players in the way professions are when you first ding 80. I really dislike the way crafting professions are continued through raiding in patches. I enjoy professions, and I feel they stop having any kind of major impact post the initial expansion which is a shame. The new enchants are raid only drops for the recipes, and they really aren’t in great demand, the same goes with Tailoring drops etc which are in demand, but only a few people get the opportunity to make them. Inscription in 3.1 was Professions done right, but I think every other profession really missed out.

The one thing I think was done right with regards to professions in raids was the opportunity to Engineer, mine, or herb mobs for really nice results. The items you could get were worth between 100g and in some cases two or three thousand for motorcyle parts. Freya’s Cache is another example. I really enjoy handing that out to players, and the rewards are really fun, not overpowered, just a really nice addition. More of this please!

Heirlooms

Whilst they didn’t come out in 3.1, Players have only recently started levelling alts through WotLK content in any serious numbers, and with that Heirlooms have been a massive success. During this patch I’ve levelled a Hunter and Death Knight both to 80 and both with heirloom items. Many many characters I’ve seen as I level up are rocking heirloom shoulders and weapons. I’m building up quite the stash of account bound items and I really enjoy using them. It’s fast, quick, and lets you focus on questing and levelling rather than finding yourself caught in gear troughs where your levelling slows right down because you can’t find a good weapon. A nice addition to the game. I wonder, if we might see Guild Heirlooms at some point which are bound to the guild and could be lent out to new players.

Overall I think I’d say 3.1 has been short and sweet. It has moved the game forward a tremendous amount from the first brave days of WotLK. The content has been really good, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been left to languish. Unlike Naxx I really feel that whilst I’m ready for new content, I’m very aware of all the stuff I haven’t had a chance to do this time around. Have you got what you wanted from 3.1?

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