All the news in the last week has been about patch 4.3. Understandably, we've all been going through a lot of excitement. Heck, we're even going to fight Deathwing soon. Amidst all the hubbub, though, casual and rookie players must be asking, "What's in this patch for me?"
Huge content patches don't always mean anything new for rookies and casuals, since new raid tiers are often so busy with new 10-man and 25-man bosses that non-raiders can be forgotten. This is not the case in patch 4.3; for that matter, 4.3 might be the most exciting patch for casual players in a long time. Let's count the ways in which patch 4.3 will be awesome for the rest of us.
Spoiler warning: Behind this here cut, there may be spoilers, not like the racing kind that hold tiny little cars down to the ground, but of the might-give-away-content sign. Thou hast been warnethed.
Transmogrification is one of the most exciting, interesting parts of patch 4.3. Essentially, you'll be able to collect old pieces of gear and then alter the appearance of your current gear to look like the stuff in Void Storage. Long story made short: You'll be able to make your new armor look like favorite pieces of old gear.
The reason this is such a big deal to rookies and casuals is that now we have a motivation to go revisit old content. Ancient raids and dungeons are spontaneously made relevant again, because now actually want obsolete gear to drop.
Building up full sets of old gear can (and will) take weeks, nearly as if you were farming the content while it was contemporary. Instead of getting together with 39 of your closest friends, though, you'll be able to plumb the depths of Molten Core with a very, very small group. Many classes can solo ancient content just fine, though you'll need some friends for certain boss mechanics.
Exciting and interesting gear can come from 5-man instances, world drops, and many other nooks and crannies of the game. The exciting thing about mogging isn't just that you get to play dress-up (though you do, and that's awesome); it's that the old content is suddenly relevant again.
Details are a little slow in trickling in, but this much is clear: Darkmoon Faire is getting updated with all kinds of new stuff. We're talking about new activities, new pets, new games to be played.
Darkmoon Faire has traditionally been solo content. You essentially become a carnival bounty hunter, collecting body parts from all around Azeroth. You bring those items back to Darkmoon Faire and are rewarded with amazing gear.
While the new Faire probably won't follow that exact same pattern, you definitely expect the revamped Darkmoon to have plenty to keep a new or casual player occupied. Some of the old tier gear that is no longer available supposedly will land as Darkmoon Faire rewards, and we already know that new mount will be available, as well as pets like the Darkmoon Balloon and Darkmoon Turtle.
To get a good idea of how much revamp is being performed on the Faire, look at this list of list of achievements Wowhead dug up. That's just for Darkmoon Faire. This is going to be huge.
Perhaps the most important thing added in patch 4.3 for small-group players are the three new dungeons. When Icecrown hit the ground in Wrath of the Lich King, three new dungeons helped raiders get caught up to the necessary gear level to kill Arthas. Just as importantly, the new dungeons allowed rookie and casual players take part in the fight, even if they couldn't set aside the time to raid.
Something similar is happening in patch 4.3. The three 5-man dungeons will lead up to the raid battle, providing new gear. As reported by our own Mat McCurley, the End Time dungeon can be run in about 20 minutes.
That means that if you want to keep progressing your gear, you won't have to spend all evening on each set of dungeons. That makes these new dungeons one of the most casual-friendly updates in a long, long time.
More to come
The PTR just came up. We're even now just sorting through the flood of available information, and we'll keep updating you each week with what you need to know. But rest assured that patch 4.3 seems to have plenty for every style of play.
Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to everything you need to get started as a new player, from how to control your character and camera angles when you're just starting out, to learning how to tank, getting up to speed for heroics and even how to win Tol Barad.