As you probably know Patch 3.3 has hit the PTR, and we have a new set of patch notes and undocumented changes to look over. It's not surprising to me that the patch notes are fairly brief. Reportedly Patch 3.3 is the final chapter in Wrath of the Lich King and I would hope that they have the classes pretty much where they want them by now. That said there are a couple of things to discuss.
Icecrown Citadel - Obviously the new raid instance and 5man dungeon are the primary features of the new patch. Not much is known about the raid, but Blizzard has released some information regarding the 5man. You can find it here.
It sounds pretty cool from the limited information provided, but I do have one question. I really want to know how the fight against Arthas will play out at the end of Halls of Reflection. Obviously we can't kill him because that will be done in the raid, but I hope they have a better explanation than, "HoR was just a set back," like they did with Kael.
That said, I don't have a problem with them recycling bosses in this way as long as it fits the story, and provides a play opportunity that wasn't widely available before. To illustrate the difference, lets look at two examples.
Kael'thas is an example of good recycling. The Tempest Keep version of Kael is a very fun and difficult fight that few players saw let alone complete. Making a 5 man version of the fight made sense from a lore perspective because you made a strong boss weaker and therefore vulnerable to a 5man group. Plus, it allowed the majority of players that couldn't see him in the raid to get a taste of one of the best TBC fights. This one made sense from a lot of angles.
Anub'arak is an example of bad recycling. They took a heroic boss that a majority of raiders had already seen, scaled him up a bit and made him a raid boss with little explanation. This move didn't expose players to content they hadn't seen before because Anub'arak was already widely available, and from a lore perspective it feels like Blizzard thought, "We need someone to end the raid with. How about Anub?"
Hopefully the two versions of Arthas will be more like Kael and less like Anub.
Pet Avoidance - Now reduces the damage your pets take from area-of-effect damage by 90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players. - Sounds like a PvE buff and PvP nerf. It makes sense to me. Raid Boss AoE hits a lot harder than player AoE. You want the pets to survive in raid, but to be killable by players. Its not that big of a deal but nice for us.
Nature's Grace - now procs from non-periodic spell criticals. (Old - All spell criticals) - I'm a little confused at what this means. When I first read it I thought it was a tool tip change so Blizzard won't get a lot of complaints about Moonfire DoT crits not procing Nature's Grace. Allison Roberts over at WoW.com thinks it will also prevent Hurricane and Starfall from procing Nature's Grace. (source MMO-Champion)
We will have to test it on the PTR, but I still think my original interpretation was correct. I just don't see why Hurricane and Starfall procing Nature's Grace would be a big deal. However, if Allison is correct its not a big deal. Nature's Grace will still be up 75-90% of the time.
EDIT: Erdluf, and the EJ forums make some good points I had forgotten. Hurricane doesn't proc Nature's Grace currently. The damage from Starfall has two pieces. The splash damage is AoE damage and does not currently proc NG. The damage from the stars is direct damage and should still be able to proc NG. Of course it will need to be tested to be 100% sure, but this is very likely just a tooltip change.
Genesis - now increases the damage and healing done by your periodic spell damage and healing effects. (Old - All periodic damage) - This really is a just tooltip change to clarify that this talent won't buff Feral DPS.
Mimiron hard mode is done.
I don't normally report on individual boss kills anymore, but this is one of the special ones that is likely to stand out for me. I love the fight but LoE's attempts on him were very frustrating. First off, we lost a lot of our core raiders right as we started doing him. This forced us to take a bit of a step back and not put as much time on him as I would like. It even lead to a misunderstanding that caused me to cuss out one of my guild leaders (sorry Sev). After we finally started to put some serious work into it our attempts always seemed to be one step forward and 2 steps back. Countless times we would have 5-10% enrage wipes and then not be able to get to phase 4 for 3 or 4 attempts in a row. It was very frustrating to constantly see such progress followed by such failure.
It really all goes back to my post about the Illusion of Success. Though we were getting to phase 4 every 4 or 5 attempts we were still having big issues with phase 3 and killing it fast enough. It took all of those failures to figure out how best to coordinate when and were to drop the head. In the end we killed him with only 30 minutes left in our raid, and it gave me that warm tingly feeling that only a few bosses can give.
Great job guys.
(Edited by Flamedor)