Wrath is almost all wrapped up, and while we didn’t know much about it before the expansion, we’ve all certainly experienced the token system that Blizzard implemented as they went along, where early instances drop one kind of badge/token, and then the newer instances offer up new tokens, which can then be exchanged back for the older ones and their rewards. Now that we see the big picture at the end of the expansion, it’s pretty ingenious, actually, and it even allows Blizzard to beef up other parts of the game, as they did with the rewards in the new Dungeon system.
Not that he needs to, but Bornakk steps up on the forums to justify exactly this kind of tiered system. Players complain that Ulduar is “useless” now that you can obtain its badges from lots of different places, but Bornakk says this system is definitely preferable to what Blizzard did in vanilla and BC, which was requiring new raiders to run through all of the old content before seeing the new and shiny stuff. They don’t want the old content to sit useless (and it’s not — lots of guilds are still running Ulduar and even Naxx for the hard modes and achievements), but after the high-end raiders have their fun, it’s important to get everyone else up to speed as well.
Bornakk admits it’s “a tough line to walk,” divining which of the two systems (straight raiding vs. badge earning) works better in which places. But Blizzard will never make everyone completely happy, and I think they’ve done a much better job this expansion in terms of balancing the need to show off all of their content against the need to get players working in their own ways towards gear rewards. In Cataclysm, it certainly seems like endgame won’t be as big a focus — in the beginning, anyway, we’ll all be looking at the old world and what’s changed back then. It’ll be interesting to see if they incorporate the tiered badge system in the rest of the game as well.
World of Warcraft
This is great — it’s probably more WoW playing than I could do in one day, but maybe I’ll try it this weekend anyway. loztaylor has designed a heck of an instance run that rolls through thirteen Heroics and will nab you 53 Emblems of Conquest (along with all of the other spoils of war) in one day. Basically, you’ll be sweeping across the land of Northrend, hitting every Heroic you come across, and if by some chance you’re able to keep the group together the whole time, and keep from passing out from all the WoW playing you’re doing, at the end you’ll end up with 53 Emblems, more than enough to purchase most of the Emblem gear, and almost enough to pick up a Tier piece.
Of course, if you’re wearing a rep tabard, you’ll also rein in a ton of dungeon rep. And if you hit the new Trial of the Champion, you’ll pick up your Champion’s Seals as well. And you’ll have 13 Frozen Orbs to divvy among the group, a few extra Emblems and gold from doing the daily quests, and if you’re good and/or lucky, you might even be able to clear up a few of the achievements or snag that blue proto-drake. Of course, doing this much of anything in the game will probably nab you plenty of rewards. But here’s a tuned route to follow all the way around the world of Heroics. If I can find a willing group of suckers guildies, I think I’ll give it a shot.
World of Warcraft
I was just bemoaning that we haven’t gotten a chance to see patch 3.2′s new raid content yet. It looks like that chance will come sooner than I expected: tomorrow night!
Daelo has just posted a testing schedule for Trial of the Crusader (a.k.a. Crusader’s Coliseum).
North American realms: Lord Jaraxxus, Thursday, July 9, starting at 7 PM EDT
European realms: Eydis Darkbane and Fjola Lightbane, Thursday, July 9, starting at 19:00 CEST
Both of these fights will be available in normal mode (10 or 25) only, not heroic. The new 5-man, Trial of the Champion, will be open “later in the PTR cycle.”
He also notes that Koralon, the new Vault boss, will be up, and you’ll be able to access it if your side has Wintergrasp. Tanking and DPS Patchwerks will make a return. Unlike the patch 3.1 PTR tanking Patchwerk, this one just hits really hard (“as hard as Algalon”), all the time (instead of ramping his damage up over time).
Oh, and one more thing: there is, apparently, no trash at all in this raid. Woot?
World of Warcraft
MMO Champion has posted all of the in-game maps for the new Northrend dungeons. We’d heard a while back that they’d be added in, and though there was no mention of them in the 3.1 patch notes, sure enough, they’re out on the PTR.
They obviously use the same style as all of the other in-game maps, with labels of each area and concept art of the dungeon itself behind each layout. But here’s something we didn’t expect: each map has a skull placed where the bosses are, so with just a glance at the map you can see where the big bad guys are found. Right now, obviously, we know where they all are, but that will be interesting when maps of future instances become available.
And right now, on the world map, areas get drawn in as you discover them, but we’d guess that these maps will be opened up as soon as you enter the instance (you don’t discover parts of an instance, you discover the whole thing). It’ll be interesting to see, next time we explore some new instanced content, just how these maps can affect gameplay.
World of Warcraft