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New WoW Patch Brings Cross-Server Instances 342

ajs writes "World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion was staggered into 4 phases. The fourth and final phase, patch 3.3, was released on Tuesday. This patch is significant in that it will be the first introduction of one of the most anticipated new features in the game since PvP arenas: the cross-realm random dungeon, as well as the release of new end-game dungeons for 5, 10 and 25-player groups. The patch notes have been posted, and so has a trailer. The ultimate fight against the expansion's antagonist, the Lich King a.k.a. Arthas, will be gated as each of the four wings of the final dungeon are opened in turn — a process that may take several months. The next major patch after 3.3 (presumably 4.0) will be the release of Cataclysm, the next expansion."
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New WoW Patch Brings Cross-Server Instances

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  • by iamapizza ( 1312801 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @05:27AM (#30375298)
    I really like the cross-server instances feature, it's going to cut down my dungeon wait times from 8 hours to a few minutes, but looking at a few other points on the patch notes, it's like they're just making the game easier and easier.
    • Knockbacks no longer dismount players
    • To use any Meeting Stone, it is only required that the character's minimum level be 15. There is no maximum character level requirement for any Meeting Stone.
    • Creatures attacking a player from behind can no longer cause players level 1-5 to be dazed, and have a reduced chance to cause players level 6-10 to be dazed
    • These regeneration rates have been increased by up to 200% for low level characters.
    • More mana regen, lower mana requirements
    • Any party member may mark targets
    • Etc etc

    So their aim seems to be to get players to level up faster... but I feel that's taking away some of the fun of the game.

    • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @05:31AM (#30375308) Journal

      You have a point, but I think there's a little more to it than this. I suspect that they're speeding up the levelling process because they're going to add another five levels onto the top come the next expansion. My impression has always been that Blizzard have a definitive idea how long it should take a player to go from level 1 to the maximum level, and that they try to keep this constant through expansions. So, not long after the release of Burning Crusade, we had a nerf to the 1-60 levelling process (with 60-70 still being a substantial gap). Then 60-70 was nerfed shortly before Lich King hit. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the 70-80 xp grind had a nerf shortly before or after 4.0.

    • by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @05:32AM (#30375310) Homepage Journal
      I'm sorry but after getting 3 characters to 80, leveling just is not fun anymore... I feel most of the fun is at max level now.
      • by imamac ( 1083405 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @06:08AM (#30375442)
        Whereas for me the leveling is incredibly fun. But I just started playing 3 months ago and have one level 43 character, one in the mid-20s and half a dozen others in the teens. I imagine they are /trying/ to strike a balance between people like you and people like me.
      • by Genocaust ( 1031046 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @06:41AM (#30375582)
        I've actually got 4 characters at 80, another at 73, and the next runner up at about 66. Leveling is what I enjoy.

        The end game gear grind, however, is not fun. Don't get me wrong -- I love to experience new content, I don't, however, like to keep re-experiencing it at the mercy of the RNG hoping I get the item(s) I need. Yes, badges mitigate this, slightly, but in the end you're still grinding the same one or two instances until a new one gets released.
        • The end game gear grind, however, is not fun. Don't get me wrong -- I love to experience new content, I don't, however, like to keep re-experiencing it at the mercy of the RNG hoping I get the item(s) I need. Yes, badges mitigate this, slightly, but in the end you're still grinding the same one or two instances until a new one gets released.

          What do you mean slightly? You can purchase tier 9 items for every slot of your character with badges.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      They don't want to have a very long experience gap between new players and "regular" players. You get to grind your way up to 90, getting up to 80 gets easier. That's the way it's always been, so everybody can complain about how "easy" it's become but really they're just trying to keep people together. It's not "fair" but it's a game, if the endgame was a target that kept moving further and further away for new players it'd eventually become some place they'd never reach.

    • by Fross ( 83754 )

      Any changes to levels below 10 are inconsequential, that's about 3 hours of playtime. Removing the dazing effect and increasing regeneration just helps out new players, and i presume Blizzard is trying to recruit new players/subscriptions rather than just alts.

      The meeting stone level requirement is effectively a nod toward boosting - given that low levels go past so quickly now, it's actually quite difficult to find a proper party for a mid level dungeon like maraudon, uldaman or that sort of thing. I gue

      • "it's actually quite difficult to find a proper party for a mid level dungeon like maraudon, uldaman or that sort of thing."

        But the title of this article solves that problem....
    • So the fun of the game is having to run across the world when you're too high level, stocking up on drinks and waiting for mana to regen, stupid clerical crap like tossing around who's leader so they can mark stuff?
    • by Fozzyuw ( 950608 )

      it's like they're just making the game easier and easier.

      If by easy, you mean faster to level, is there something wrong with that? Now, if only the instance server will stop crashing on the last boss of the Heroic dungeon. lol 3 times I failed to get the heroic daily bonus because of the server crash (I gave up trying) and once I got locked out of a decent Halls of Reflection heroic because the server crashed. lol, I only laugh at the irony of when it crashs. It seems to know when I will succeed and stay stable every other time. =P It's just growing pains,

    • Level on meeting stones was stupid. Nothing like going to run a newbie through a lower level dungeon for some leveling gear, only to get there when you're 70 or 80 and get a "you can't use that stone, only for levels 40-50".

      Lack of daze from 1-5 just makes sense, you're trying to stroke that skinner box.

    • by PFactor ( 135319 )
      "but I feel that's taking away some of the fun of the game." For whom?
    • by ProppaT ( 557551 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:45AM (#30376858) Homepage

      Making it too easy? It was too easy from day one and they haven't made any strides to really up the difficulty. To WoW developers, adding grind is upping the difficulty...you know, instead of doing something like add strategy to a game that's designed around a bunch of people in a group all hitting their attack button at the same time. That kinda worked with Diablo (and was part of what made it great to some extent), but this is a different beast entirely. In fact, I'd blame the watering down of the entire genre on WoW. The last time I decided to take SoE up on a free month of EverQuest to check up on my old characters, I was kinda disgusted at how much they've tried to dumb down the game to try and draw over people who've gotten bored with WoW.

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @01:12PM (#30378342)

        Could someone hand that guy an "insightful" mod? He hit the nail so directly that the head is now no longer visible anymore.

        WoW basically "ruined" the MMO world for those of us who wanted an MMO where a success actually meant something. At least more than "you managed to sit down for 5 hours and hit the same buttons over and over, good job!". There is rarely a challinging moment in WoW. Put time in, get reward out. If you're not good at it, all that means is that more time is required and maybe a different approach (e.g. instead of doing the raid you can't get a group for, farm some tokens and buy the gear with them instead).

        And since it's the most successful of all MMOs (at least counting subscriber numbers), it's the role model for MMOs now. Everyone creates basically a copycat version of WoW. Invariably you have easy leveling with a very limited amount of player decision influencing it (try comparing it to the skill decision and implant/outfit system of Anarchy Online to see what I mean), solo playing 'til the end and no penalties for fucking up. And while this surely makes playing a lot more accessable and easier, it makes me wonder... why should I play if I know I already won?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ahabswhale ( 1189519 )
        True. EQ was totally brutal but when my guild accomplished something there was real elation there. I never felt anything close to that in WoW. I will say that I never like multi-hour corpse runs cuz the server dropped half your clerics in the middle of a raid but I guess that contributed to the feeling when you were victorious. It's sad to here they nerfed it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Vohar ( 1344259 )

      This is one of the many, many posts from people who can't separate difficulty from tedium. Nothing in this post has anything to do with difficulty. Or leveling, for that matter. It's all about taking out the boring elements like sitting around waiting on mana before you're high enough in level to have abilities to manage it. Plus, it's only for levels 10 and below. That's only the first day or two of play.

      And marking targets? Seriously? You're complaining about that as a means of leveling players faster? Th

    • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @01:09PM (#30378306)

      I have to agree sadly. Functional things that make organizing things easier - like cross-realm dungeons for example, are always welcomed changes. However, it seems like Blizzard is constantly dumbing things down over time. Heck IIRC in Cataclysm they're not even going to have any stats aside from your basic STR/SPI/INT/STA on items, which is meant to "Reduce confusion".

      Between the dumbing down of the instances, dumbing down of itemization, CONSTANT gear resets via moving badges so that everyone running dirt easy heroic content can always have gear on equal footing as everyone else, it's just gotten insane.

      And mind you, I'm not being a complete elitist on the "easy badge gear" issue. Yes, I do think that people running harder content should have better gear, but it also works in reverse. I really haven't touched the game much in the last 3-4 months (mostly for the reasons cited above), so all my gear is typically stuff from Naxx25/Maly25/Sarth25 with a smattering of some Ulduar25 gear. Good stuff, but not the current top notch. Result of all this easy badge gear though is that any group expects EVERYONE to be sporting Tier9 equivalent gear for just about anything. You have people literally wanting 2800+ "gearscores" to run into a Naxx10 run.

      Overall, the whole thing has just gotten to the point where I don't care to play anymore. Raiding has gotten boring - I want to raid for a challenge not a weekly "grab my epics and leave" session. Running heroics truly has turned into a treadmill - rather than running instances for strategic upgrades we're stuck running the same stuff over and over as they nudge the badge rewards up just a lil higher again.

      IMHO things like achievements and such were a good idea - something to give everyone things to work towards. I log into WoW now though and it feels more like I'm in a themepark called WoWLand than the game I used to play. It's like an amusement park meant to be just an imitation of Azeroth - let people hang out, get fake toys, and experience "attractions" in the form of instances rather than an actual challenge.

      Oh well. At least Dragon Age was fun to play through (and actually challenging). Here's hoping Bioware will continue to deliver and not fall into the same pit as Blizzard.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I log into WoW now though and it feels more like I'm in a themepark called WoWLand than the game I used to play. It's like an amusement park meant to be just an imitation of Azeroth - let people hang out, get fake toys, and experience "attractions" in the form of instances rather than an actual challenge.

        That analogy is completely on the mark.

        They're trying to cater more and more towards the ADHD kids, who will immediately jump ship to the next shiny game that comes along, rather then take care of thei
  • by WeirdCat ( 1136961 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @08:26AM (#30375976)
    Is it possible to trade with players from other realms via this cross-realm instances? Possibly players could even schedule a meeting in the lesser frequented instances.
    • by borizz ( 1023175 )
      I think (haven't tried it) you can only trade stuff that dropped in that instance and has the blue "This item can be traded for 2 hours" text in its tooltip.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bFusion ( 1433853 )

      You can only trade items that you picked up INSIDE the cross-realm instances. Other items cannot be traded.

      • by borizz ( 1023175 )
        Not entirely true. Just did a Coilfang dungeon (outland) on my 63 warrior, and some draenic water dropped. I couldn't give it to the healer who was from another realm.
  • Friends (Score:2, Interesting)

    by whoop ( 194 )

    Is there a way to friend someone on another server, so you can do an instance with these specific people, or is it always random people to fill out your group?

  • by blueworm ( 425290 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @09:40AM (#30376336) Homepage

    Patch 3.3 is Blizzard's big squeeze for subscription cash before the next expansion. Each wing past the first wing of the raid dungeon is locked out on a real-time timer such that the dungeon incrementally opens. What's worse, is the final boss of each wing has an attempt count which also increases linearly as more wings open. All this is to forcefully stop well-coordinated teams of players from beating the dungeon quickly, and I don't just mean in one week. There are guilds out there who are capable of beating this thing in a couple months in about the 50th percentile of raiding guilds, but with the harsh attempt count on the bosses of each wing it will most likely lock these guilds out for more than that, keeping the subscription cash flowing longer than it needs to. To top it all off, hard modes won't be accessible until the whole dungeon is cleared, and when that happens, they're granting all players a buff to their statistics to make it easier to beat the dungeon. That last one is to deliver the psychological feeling of accomplishment to players who would have otherwise ended their subscriptions, in order to make it seem like the game is still fun for them to keep their subscription dollars coming in.

    Blizzard has gotten so addicted to the high revenues that they're willing to implement game mechanics based around keeping people subscribing with minimal content updates. As a result, I've cancelled my subscription and I can safely say I won't be returning to Azeroth again -- ever.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blueworm ( 425290 )

      UIpdate from mmo-champion.com: "The next unlock will happen on January 5th, if each wing is unlocked after a month it means that we won't see Arthas before April but if I had to give my opinion I would say that it will probably be faster than that. The 4 weeks are probably here to let people test the rest of the content without focusing too much on raid instances."

      So there you have it folks, they're giving themselves plenty of time to harvest those delicious greenbacks without updating the content at all. I

    • by furby076 ( 1461805 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @02:03PM (#30378962) Homepage
      Who plays this game, at the higher end of the spectrum, to quit after they beat a dungeon once? Most players, especially at the higher levels, want to complete there sets. So at the higher levels they will play the same dungeon 10, 20, 30, 40...100 times so they get all of their gear...then the random dropped gear or profession training drops, etc. Blizzard can add many incentives to the game to keep players involved that does not require them to restrict the timing of the bosses.

      The reason blizzard is adding this timer is because it looks bad when they release a new boss, zone, etc and the 1337 guilds beat it that same night (they were probably practicing on the test server). It's like the players who went from level 60 to 70 in 24 hours. And then did it from 70 to 80. There are always going to be these players. These are the players who hang out on the test servers, have no lives, and figure out what needs to be done then. Once the release comes out BAM they are the first. Nothing wrong with this... but when some server beats the last boss of a new expansion in 24 hours it makes Blizzard look bad. Nobody cares that it's the super guild that gets sponsership, they just see that WoW = ezsauce
  • ... they pull me back in.

    There were 2 things about WoW that made it pale for me over time: Finding dungeon groups as a casual player and the massive quality/functionality disparity between vanilla (Azeroth) and expansion (Burning Crusade & Wrath of the Lich King) areas.

    This patch makes it likely that my extremely casual self will be able to find a group - I dislike joining guilds because it feels like there's always going to be drama over the whole casual vs. raider mentality. Not only that, but even in

    • by borizz ( 1023175 )
      Yes it's great. I just got a dungeon for my 63 toon in about 2 minutes on an afternoon. Previously I had to wait in LFG and trade channels to find 5 man able to clear that, and that took about 30 minutes on an evening (when more people are on).
  • On my server currently, if a person uses the new looking for group tool to get a random instance, there is an error where you get "too many instances are running try again". Well this locks you out of using the random LFG tool for 15 minutes and you don't get into the instance.

    Once you leave group, you get a 15 minute debuff preventing you from getting into another group.

    I hope you all can see where this is going.

    It has made the game unplayable. I'm buying an FPS and just playing that for a week or two, t

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 )

      I found a work-around to this - you can all just run into the instance manually (instead of being teleported there) and it seems still work - even with the debuff.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      Yeah, it is an issue, but it's a short-term issue.

      It's because Blizzard builds their capacity based on normal usage, not on patch-day usage. I think this is just as much an issue with their tendency to bundle up lots of changes into one large content patch rather than stagger them on a more gradual basis.

  • by gedrin ( 1423917 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @01:33PM (#30378640)
    When I first started playing WoW there wasn't any of this fancy "meeting stones" or "looking for group". If you wanted to get people together to play you shouted into random channels in Ironforge. No cross realm ques for battlegrounds and there were no PVP rewards, and we liked it! If you wanted a horse, you saved your money from level one and didn't even THINK of buying anything until you had it, and if you wanted something other than a horse TOO BAD. Everything was better then. Loot meant something and everyone in your group looked out for you and made sure the right people got the right gear. Back in my day Paladins were ineffective but unkillable, shamans were GODS and if you wanted to leave Tarren Mill you WALKED because the flightmaster was DEAD. You think it's hard now? Imagine running MC and hoofing it back to your body in Blackrock, uphill both ways!

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