It's been nearly two weeks since patch 2.3 went live, so I thought it might be helpful to talk about the impact it has had on my guild and get some feedback from other officers about their experiences. What has been the best thing in 2.3 for you? What's just plain awful? Here's my take on it.
Thumbs Up: Zul'Aman
Zul'Aman has been a blast for my guild. Most of us enjoy the 10-player raids better than any other group size, so we were really looking forward to this one. Even though it's a bit of a Zul'Gurub rehash lorewise, Zul'Aman has a different feel to it than any other raid. The bosses aren't just standing there blithely unaware of your incursion. The dynamic trash and countdown timer make clearing the whole raid interesting instead of mindlessly slogging through static pulls to get to the bosses. The difficulty seems spot-on, if a little on the challenging side for Tier 4 guilds (but that's the intention, right?). Done right it should be a relatively quick run with some nice loot and badges for everyone. This raid will be a pleasure to run week after week. I hope future raids are more like this one!
Having said that, it's been a challenge scheduling all our raids.
There just aren't enough nights in the week anymore, especially given Zul'Aman's short timer. We've had to make Karazhan a full run on late Sunday afternoon instead of breaking it up over two weeknights. A lot of people have everything they need from Kara, but it's still a great run for newcomers and alts, and the badges flow like water. We're left with only one night for 25-player content, but most people seem okay with that. Even though we've had a lot of success in the big raids lately, those runs are sometimes more trouble to organize than they're worth. The 10-player runs go much smoother and usually wind up being more fun.
Thumbs Down: Guild Banks
Don't get me wrong: Having a guild bank is awesome. I've been asking for this feature for a long time and I'm glad Blizzard finally gave it to us. Heck, you can even use your bank to play minigames with some clever item shuffling. However, the bank system needs a lot of work.
First and most alarming is a bug that WoW Insider reported a few days ago. My top concern about banks was their security, and this bug is pretty much the worst case scenario. There's a workaround for guild leaders, but it requires a lot of personal attention. Blizzard needs to fix this asap -- it's one of those bugs that never should have gone live. It is currently scheduled to be fixed "in an upcoming patch."
My second complaint is with the interface. People love to modify Warcraft's basic UI to suit their needs, but even so the basic interface is clean and attractive compared to most other MMOs. So it never ceases to amaze me that the guild control interface is so clunky and unintuitive. Why can't I just right click on a rank and delete it? Why isn't there a "Promote All" or "Demote All" button? The guild bank adds a whole other layer of clunkiness. Every time you add a new vault you have to adjust the permissions for every rank. It's a lot of needless clicking.
I'm also encountering a lot of UI bugs while making these adjustments. Maybe it's just one of my add-ons interfering, but my rank UI wants to change every rank to GL after about 5 or 6 seconds. I have to make my bank permissions adjustments and save them before the rank name auto-changes, or else I have to go back in and rename it. The UI also doesn't like it when I change the number of stacks a rank can withdraw from the bank. It refuses to change the number unless I'm just adding digits to the existing number. So if a rank has a permission of 0 and I want to change it to 5, I have to type 05 instead of 5. If the rank has a permission of 10 and I want to change it to 0, it stubbornly refuses to make the change.
Finally, the vault prices are still outrageous. It's not hard to farm gold these days, but huge sums of gold are Blizzard's timesink alternative to actual content, and I'm getting tired of it. I mean, they could have implemented a long, epic questline to earn an epic flying mount, but instead it's just a massive gold-farming expedition. And the same is true with guild bank vaults: Give us content to bring us together and have fun accessing the vaults, not an eye-popping bill. I realize that content takes time to produce, but epic mounts and guild banks are something that virtually every player is interested in, so to me that would have been production time well spent.
Thumbs Up: Heroics for Everyone
Haters will say that this just gives noobs access to content they're nowhere near prepared for and makes Heroics virtually un-PuG-able. But honestly, did you want to grind up to Revered for every faction on every single alt? As someone who rerolled a Blood Elf paladin after a few months at 70 with my Tauren hunter, I really wasn't looking forward to that grind. Now I can enjoy this content with my guildmates without the hassle. There are a number of people in my guild who just don't have the time for these grinds, and now we have new content to dive into together. Sure, some of them are a bit overwhelmed by the difficulty at first, but there's only one way to improve your game, and that's to tackle something tough. No one becomes a better player by running guildmates through Scarlet Monastery. Heroics are a great place to train for raiding, since most of these runs make Kara look like a stroll down Lollipop Lane.
This patch brought many changes to the game, but those three were the big ones for my guild. How about you, fellow officers? What's your take on 2.3?