Ulduar: Patch 3.1.0 was the first major patch after launch, and along with it came Ulduar and the start of the Argent Tournament. And the Argent Tournament meant that we all learned to joust, which seemed to be a love-it or hate-it feature. I fall a bit more on the hate-it side. Jousting wasn’t exactly difficult, it just required a bit of practice, so the difficulty wasn’t the issue at all. I just didn’t care for the actual mechanic. I would much rather have done those quests with my regular class skills.
But the one good thing about the Argent Tournament was all the neat items you could purchase with the seals from the event. Racial pets, weapons (I particularly liked the turkey slicer-esque gnome item) and mounts were all available from the tournament, so it was great for collectors like myself. The pets were even BoE so you were able to transfer pets across factions… awesome!
Ulduar itself is easily still the best raid in the entire expansion. It was huge, outdoors, and expansive, so it didn’t feel like the traditional hallway with bosses. In some ways I thought it resembled Karazhan in design, size, and the detail of the dungeon. Plus the vehicles and trash before Flame Leviathan were a new and fun mechanic. I still enjoy doing that portion of Ulduar during weekly raid quests.
Trial of the Crusader: This patch left me feeling a bit “meh”. At this point, players were getting tired of jousting, and the raiders needed new raid content, so… we got an instance and a raid in the Argent Tournament arena! Oh yeah, and there was more jousting.
I don’t have much more to add to this… at this point I had moved on to leveling my alts. But players were overall ready and anxiously awaiting the…
Icecrown Citadel: Oh Icecrown, we waited for so long to get into your icy halls. ICC, due to the gradual buffing system as the weeks went by, became the most accessible end-of-expansion raid ever. This of course caused controversy among the hardcore raiders, but at the same time I think that it was understandable to an extent. After all, many players had been following Arthas’ story since Warcraft III, so it’s fitting that the end of that story was accessible to as many people as possible, at least on normal difficulty. I still to this day have only seen a few bosses in ICC due to time constraints, but what I have seen is impressive.
The other big feature introduced with this patch was the new Looking-For-Dungeon system, another controversial subject. I think the premise behind LFD was a good one. I think there were legitimate issues there that they were trying to correct. In my own guild, we always seemed to have enough folks to run 1 or 2 heroic groups nightly, but invariably there was always a person or two left over. We try to rotate folks in and out of heroic groups anyway to ensure that everyone gets to go, but that still leaves those without a group with dead time where they’re just waiting. In a way, the LFD tool was a godsend. Now those guildies didn’t have to spend an hour trying to get a heroic PUG on the server; they could be in an instance in 5-15 minutes!
On the other hand, as with anytime that you combine the internet with anonymity, LFD also became a source of frustration: people rolling need on things they didn’t need, people making rude remarks about party member’s performance or gear, DPS rushing the tank and pulling mobs, tanks stressing the healer, people just being jackasses in general. There is no real motivation for players to treat each other in a civil manner. At this point, I don’t use LFD for dungeons, unless it’s to pick up a 4th or 5th player to round out a guild group, or if it’s for an event boss. Many of my guildies and friends feel the same way.
The ICC raid launched on December 8th, 2009. Cataclysm will launch on December 7th, 2010, a year after ICC, so players are more than ready for the Cataclysm. Before we say goodbye though, let’s look back at the areas that we spent the past two years in. WotLK, for anything else you can say about it, was certainly a beautiful and heartfelt expansion. There were many a cold winter’s night that I spent playing this game… and the game itself reflected that time of year so well.
Enjoy this video from Wowcrendor!