World of Warcraft's Patch 4.3 in Retrospect

With Patch 4.3 released for one week, has the patch been living up to player expecations?

As most of you now know and have been playing, World of Warcraft's Patch 4.3, Hour of Twilight, went live last week. This patch brought many new features for every type of player, from the casual to the hardcore. However, are these features large enough to keep the dwindling subscription numbers from plummeting even more?

The first real content scare a lot of people are concerned with is the relatively easy nature of the new raid content. 4.3 introduced the new "Looking for Raid" feature that was supposed to allow every person who wanted to participate in raids the opportunity to do so. The community looked at this feature as the new standard of "casual" and was expecting to be greeted by a harder than average normal mode.

However, this seems to not be the case, as record numbers of guilds are clearing all of the normal mode raid content in a single week, and begs the question: "How difficult are the heroics going to be?" The general fear here is that, if heroic is tuned properly to be a challenge for the hardcore, those looking at a gauntlet of new bosses on week two are going to be in for a headache of attempts for the next few months. On the other side of the fence, if they aren't as difficult as we've come to expect from heroics, are we looking at a Heroic Madness of Deathwing kills in the next few weeks? Would that even be a proper end to the once Destroyer himself?

Many people fear a sense of disconnect with this final raid instance and wonder if its scale will be as "epic" as Illidan or the Lich King. I, for one, am trying to avoid most internet related spoilers and look forward to witnessing the end of Deathwing myself, but am just not as invested as I once was.

Looking into a lighter side of the Patch, Transmogrification has become a hit with a majority of the players. It's very hard to run into a single character that doesn't have at least one of his gear pieces Transmog'd into his favorite piece. However, this feature makes it incredibly misleading the first time you decide to jump into battlegrounds.

While not going into if it is a good, or a bad thing, it's incredibly unnerving to jump into combat with an enemy, without knowing what you're getting yourself into by looking at his/her character. No longer can you decide the amount of resilience someone might have based entirely on the look of their character. I was repeatedly caught off guard when I saw characters running around in Brutal Gladiator gear and thought I was in for an easy kill, only to end up on the floor, wondering what had just happened. It will be something to definitely keep an eye on as the arena season picks up this week.

The part of 4.3 that has probably seen the most exposure is the three new dungeons added to the game. Jumping into new fights and amazing ilevel gear sets is a great break from the mold of running the Zandalari and 4.0 dungeons that came with the games launch. It's a new environment that works really well to keep the story happening in Azeroth moving forward, and making that weekly Valor Point grind a lot easier to swallow.

And finally, as of this week, the first chance to jump into the Darkmoon Faire has finally arrived on the live server. I haven't spent a massive amount of time here; however, I can say it has become a nice little mini game hub to pass the time while you wait for your friends to log on to raid or PvP. There are simply so many different ways to spend your time, for both profit and pleasure, that the Darkmoon Fair just might be the most successful part of the entire patch.

In the end 4.3 has done a good job delivering everything it has promised to us, with only one quick round of hot-fixes. The majority of the content has been stable and the dreaded downtime of Patch Day seems to be becoming less and less. I just hope the raiding content holds up in the coming months while we wait for more news of the Mists of Pandaria.

Mike "Krelumian" Schaffnit, Staff Writer.

Comments

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oh yeah from great work to complete lazinesss
# Jan 21 2012 at 11:53 AM Rating: Decent
16 posts
from 2004 to 2011 .if u played wow since start, u where living in a mansion in the begining , now, after cataclysm, looks like u are living in a Bathroom.

Not at all exciting
# Dec 08 2011 at 5:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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1,882 posts
My takes on 4.3...

Looking For Raid - Was far too easy. It was pathetically easy. Pathetically forgiving. I am a casual raider who has cleared...well very little tbh. I have maybe five boss kills in Cataclysm. LFR was merely a test of how long you can stay awake to kill all 8 bosses. There was not one point where I felt I was being challenged. It was a severe disappointment because I was hoping to at least have the feel of a raid without the terrific difficulty. It felt like a battleground. Wait for the counter to go down. And everyone goes and does their own thing.

Darkmoon Faire
- Fared fairly better (see what I did there?). Although the minigames were dumb after the first day. Couldn't the tonka fight involve at least having to aim? What about the sharp shooting? The turtle ring toss and the cannon were the only things that came close. Thank goodness this is only once a month. Lets not even talk about how figuring it out...a full set of the rewards will take nearly a year and a half.


Transmoging - I actually like. Although the price is a little hefty. I can see how not being able to identify someone is a bad thing when choosing a target, but if you're going in with low level gear, it actually may work in your favor. Gone are the days of being farmed because you're obviously in non-pvp gear.


Void Storage - Terrible. Its a total disappointment. 25g a piece is just ridiculous. I dumped 1500g just putting my items into there. Only to find out that to transmog I have to have the items in my bag...not void storage. So if I want to shelve an old piece of gear that I don't use, but want to transmog everytime I get an upgrade throw in an extra 25g to pull it out and put it back in. This is remedied by just keeping it in my bank...but defeats the whole purpose of why we would like void storage.


Hour of the Twilight - From a story perspective these dungeons WERE AWESOME. Well, except for the last one. The whole Thrall storyline bores me to death. I'm primarily an alliance player and still see Thrall as an enemy leader. Helping him in the past in Old Hillsbrad made sense, but this attempt at selling him as our savior is...fail. Aren't WE suppose to be saving Azeroth? No. We're just the lackies for Thrall.

From a difficulty perspective I was sadly disappointed. Save for a few boss fights (namely Sylvanas) I found little to no challenge. Most of the boss fights come with a damage buff that makes them a joke to anyone in halfway decent gear (remember, I'm not a raider, so halfway decent gear to me is what you can get from justice points). The troll heroics were hard. The troll heroics were challenging. These ones? Joke. If this is the last major patch before MoP I'm probably going to drop my subscription in a couple of months.
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