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WoW, Casually: Things to know about upcoming patches


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

The above video has absolutely nothing to do with WoW or upcoming patches or even gaming. It's just a feel-good video that is currently at the top of my current YouTube favorites. Besides, everybody's doing it. Now, onward to the actual content...

So, rumor has it that patch 3.3.3 will be out either next week or the week after. The PTR seems stable-ish and the downloading of much of the patch has already been happening. So, let's talk about what we have to look forward to in the patches before Cataclysm, particularly 3.3.3.

Starting backward, I'm really excited about the pre-expansion events that will be happening. I expect that at least some of the reclaiming of Gnomeregan or the Echo Isles will happen in the last patch before the expansion. That, along with the other fun teasery things we will be getting from here on out, put me in even more of a tizzy about Cataclysm. Also in the time after 3.3.3 and before the expansion, we'll be getting at least one new raid in the Ruby Sanctum (if you have time for raids) and some small changes in Wintergrasp.

Patch 3.3.3

No more Battleground Marks

Even if you're not into PvP, you probably have a whole bunch of mostly useless Marks of Honor cluttering up your Currency Tab. In the next patch, you will no longer accrue those tokens of time spent in BGs and will instead gain honor according to whether you won or lost, among other factors.

Marks for Honor

Your marks aren't just going to vanish, however. You will be able to turn them in for honor. As of this writing, the PTR gives you 185 honor, way down from the 2000 that it first gave. This is a really big deal to me. I always have more Alterac Valley marks than I can do anything with and if we were able to store more than 100 at a time, I'd probably have hundreds rather than having them just rot in my mailbox. Regardless, I will soon be able to turn them in for gobs of honor and go on a PvP shopping spree.

Random Battleground Finder

I was having a blast with the PvP leveling when it was first introduced; but after trying out the Random Dungeon Finder, I put aside battlegroundish things and had a blast leveling and gearing up in dungeons. In 3.3.3, Blizzard will be implementing the Random Battleground Finder, which is going to send me scurrying back to my PvP button. I won't be back for XP and the honor will be awesome, but I really want to see what this will do to the whole Battleground dynamic. Will the queues be shorter or longer? Will people coordinate better, worse or the same? What BG will be the one that gets dropped instantly? I want to know! Expect a column here devoted to the system, complete with tips and tricks for each BG, a week or two after 3.3.3 comes out. I understand if you don't believe me, however. I've promised it before.

Holiday Boss PUG Finder

I really like the changes happening for holiday bosses and I wish they had been put in place at the beginning of the year. In the next patch, you will be only be able to queue for the current holiday boss (if there is one) in the Random Dungeon Finder. You and your pals/buds/total-strangers can kill the boss as many times a day (no summoning), but will only get a chance at the super rare, unbelievably sought after loot once a day. Rather than dropping off the boss, like the rest of the holiday gear, you will get a chance to receive it in your special holiday loot that you will receive the first time you kill a holiday boss each day. So no more rolling against other people for the really, really good stuff.

Dungeon Finder Changes

Blizzard is tweaking the Dungeon Finder in 3.3.3 and I think the changes will be good for those of us with limited playtime. Notably, the deserter debuff will be increased to 30 minutes, so your play session won't be interrupted as much by people dropping out when they don't like what came up randomly. Also, the level requirements will be more forgiving, so you can requeue more often with players who have leveled ahead of you. This will really come in handy when you find that sweet PUG that you want to hang with for a few rounds. Any group member (not just the leader) will be able to requeue the group as well, allowing you to choose to tag along or drop.

Frozen Orbs will be Greed only

Anyone following our advice in Drama Mamas is already rolling need on orbs at all times anyway (after telling everyone to do the same), but Blizzard is officially going to do something about the ninjas in the next patch. You will not be able to roll Need any longer on Frozen Orbs. This is a great move and I hope they continue to think along these lines for future items like this.

Frozen Orbs will be worth something

Captain Obvious says that the reason why Blizzard made the above change is because they made these chilly globes worth something. You will be able to trade them in to Frozo the Renowned in Dalaran for some very lovely crafting goodies.

Other things you should knowI am really excited about this "minor" content patch and the fun stuff that will come after. Hopefully it will stave off my intense need to make a Goblin or 6. And I can't wait to help those feisty little cans of cuteness reclaim at least part of their homeland. No, I don't know where this obsession with little characters came from. I had the most delightful gnome rogue in EQ named Peenk, so I'll blame her. Until next week... barring another round of being sick and tired.

WoW, Casually is a column for those of us who are playtime-challenged. We've got your guides for choosing the best class, finding a casual guild, keeping your account safe and choosing the best addons for casual play. But wait there's more! If you have questions or tips about how to get the most out of your limited playtime, please send them to robin AT wow DOT com for a possible future column.

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