Thursday, October 29, 2009

What patch 3.3 really changes

World of Warcraft has been patched quite often in the last 5 years, and even big content patches aren't all that rare. Which is why generally patches aren't exciting me much any more. Sure, adding more dungeons and raid dungeons is nice, but ultimately the new dungeons will play pretty much like the old ones did, just with better rewards. And I'm way past getting all bothered because Blizzard "nerfs" this or that class by changing the effect of some talent from 4.3456% to 3.9876% bonus. Having said that, I'm extremely excited about patch 3.3, not because of all this usual stuff, but because of the major changes to social engineering that are in that patch. The big question is: Will patch 3.3 be the patch in which Blizzard after 5 years of countless attempts finally gets the looking for group functionality right?

To summarize the new system in a short feature list, this is what patch 3.3 does to the LFG system, according to MMO Champion:
  • Join as a Group or Solo
  • Cross-Realm Instances/Grouping
  • Instance Teleporting
  • Smarter Group Matching
  • Daily Random Dungeons
  • Repeat Random Dungeons
  • Choose Multiple Dungeons
  • Vote Kick system
  • Lovin’ the PUG Bonuses
  • Looking For Raid
  • Need Before Greed Updated
  • Group Disenchanting
Plus the LFG chat channel will again be disconnected from the LFG system, so maybe finally people will stop using the Trade chat channel to find groups. All this sounds extremely promising, and way more than I had initially hoped for when Blizzard announced cross-server dungeon functionality. These changes make *sense*, for example rewarding people for joining a PuG is the perfect response to PuGs being unpopular.

Of course we will still have to see how all this works out. But at the very least the changes should make finding a group at the level cap a lot easier, and more rewarding. And if I dare to hope, maybe I might even be able to find level-appropriate groups for level-appropriate dungeons for my lower level alts! As I said, Icecrown and all, nice, but ultimately that's just yet another content patch. But if the new LFG system works well, this will have a profound and long-lasting influence on how World of Warcraft is played. Here's hoping.

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