Finally I don’t have to stare at Ragnaros again. That could honestly be the whole post. It won’t be though. It’s always weird getting to the end of an expansion, as the end is in sight. Well an end. We know Warcraft is going to go on long after Deathwing is nice and dead, but this story that we have been experiencing for over a year now has entered its final phase, and with it come a whole host of tweaks to the game, for better or worse. Now that the final tweaks are out, we can now look at Cataclysm as a whole now; and see how it took the reins given to it by Wrath of the Lich King. Grade the expansion I guess, as this should be it, save any small Assault on Ruby Sanctum type raids that are tacked on at the end to pad out the content.
First though, we should talk about 4.3 on its own. They added a good deal of features I am enjoying a lot, really with few drawbacks. I think I should talk about how this patch affects my main, and what it means for me. Ret Paladins received some changes in the patch, which I kind of like. Paladins for a while now have been big threats in the execute phase of a boss fight. This is due to the fact our execute move, Hammer of Wrath has had an insanely good crit chance. The talent Sanctified Wrath used to increase the crit chance of Hammer of Wrath by 20/40/60% before 4.3, making us an angry hammer machine during execute time or Avenging Wrath uptime. This was always fun, basically guaranteed spikes of damage at those times, but Blizzard decided that this way of doing things was not the best way for Ret Paladins. That talent changed the crit bonus to 2/4/6%, effectively neutering out execute phase DPS. However to ameliorate the hurt this nerf brings, we have received a buff to our two-handed weapon specialization, which is nice as it helps with everything we do. However the best change to our class is the buff to Blessing of Might. Instead of giving everyone in our party/raid 10% more attack power, we now provide 20% attack power to melee. This includes our hammer-wielding asses, which is amazing because it is one of those things that scales with gear, making it the perfect end-of-expansion buff. The end result of these changes seem to create the same DPS for me, however that DPS is more evenly put throughout a fight and not relegated to our timed stints of full on Magic Hammer destruction. I honestly like this, as it allows me to feel like I am contributing more to the fight. It always sucked enough lately that simply being a Ret Paladin as opposed to a Fury Warrior fucked my raid in terms of damage. Now at least I can kid myself into thinking I bring something more.
More general features have been tacked onto the game besides class changes. Let’s talk about Raid Finder. Now imagine the whole 5-man LFD introduced in Wrath of the Lich King, but crammed into a 25-man hooplah. This normally spells disaster, as raids are something that need some fucking communication. 10 or 25 strangers running headlong into Deathwing’s mouth is not something that one takes lightly. I mean fuck, even the 5-man Troll dungeons were often a waste of time for a pug that had no clue what they were doing. It’s weird though, Blizzard pulled it off. I have done the LFR a few times now and really it is fun. While by no means a complete raid experience in the sense that communication really is not required, which can turn off the more hardcore crew, it provides the gear and boss kill opportunity for those of us who do not feel like putting 12 hours a week into wiping because Jerk-off Mageyfuck sneezed at the wrong time and Warlord Zon…Zon something kills you all because the ball just hit a wall. Though honestly, I have seen less crying from the raid community than I am used to seeing when something is made easier. I expected the shit to hit the fan with this, like when it was announced 10 and 25’s were going to have the same gear. I have seen a few complaints from people who probably forgot a long time ago what fresh air feels like, but they seem to be in the minority. You know why this is right? Because the raiders are doing LFR also.
Heroics. There are new ones. Three to be exact. Two dungeons feature Nozdormu. One of them two Nozdormus. Nozdormi? I don’t know. They remind me of Wrath heroics, as in not a fucking lesson in frustration. They are far shorter than the marathon that is Grim Batol, nor do they punish you for playing them like ZA or ZG did. They even have fun storylines that flow into the final raid, much like those three final Wrath heroics. Actually more that final Wrath heroic. Fighting in a green quarry didn’t seem like it had so much to do with the story. Or a forge. Actually the those two heroics in Wrath were really more of a violent guided tour through the Lich King’s war machine. It’s like visiting a World War II weapons factory with you know…more undead.
That was quite the tangent. Anyway, End Time’s final boss may be the best 5 man encounter ever. Well of Eternity is so lore rich it hurts, and Hour of Twilight…has Thrall? I have really come to hate Thrall. Also getting that 378 gap gear for your raider is good, as well as being able to easily gear an alt in case you want options for raiding later. It’s the accessibility returning that Blizzard shied away from when Cata came out, and I am glad to see it back. Granted having a bunch of people leave the game no doubt helped this come back, but I will take my wins where I can get them. It also doesn’t hurt that these dungeons are just damn fun, with boss fights that keep me engaged as a DPS (sometimes), different set pieces that lend gravity to your quest, and a difficulty that isn’t overbearing. This is the sort of stuff that will keep me playing until everyone is running around as a #sadpanda.
Transmogrification. Awesome. That’s really all I can say about it. I have been running around since patch day in Purple Judgement with a Warmaul of Infused Light and I couldn’t be happier. It’s nice having old sets making themselves seen again. It brings a variety of styles into the game that has never been present. People still have the awesome gear, but it can look however they want it to. I am a fan.
Dragon Soul itself…I only beat one boss in 10-man so far. So I am not sure I can really speak to it yet. Our raid is on break until after the New Year, give us all some time to recharge our batteries. So…Darkmoon Faire? I haven’t really done that either. I tried it for a bit, and I got annoyed with it as I do a real carnival. I guess we’re done talking about the patch then. I am halfway sure I missed something important about 4.3, but I cannot think of it right now. Anyway, I plan on talking about the expansion as a whole soon, probably after I finally get that Assassin’s Creed review done. Until next time…again I lack a pithy sendoff.