And Garedwynn is anxious to get started on its content!
After having finished my bit of patching, here's what I can pick up on in my first day's observation of the new content(and no, I haven't been PuG-ging for the new instances...I want to get this done with guildies)...
- LFG has been given an overhaul. Bigtime. It's also the new place to go to acquire a random Heroic quest...and completing it wins you a pair of Emblems. You can either go for a random quest, or manually select one. Doing the random version, however, is what offers the Emblem rewards.
- A new Emblem, the Emblem of Frost, has been introduced. Tier 10 armor has gone live as well. Haven't seen what the plate version looks like yet.
- Archmage L'andalock in Dalaran no longer offers a random daily Heroic instance-based quest. He instead offers RAID-based quests keyed to the new Icecrown Citadel Raid. Take out the creature indicated(Icecrown Citadel's Lord Marrowgar, for example), and you'll get 5 Frost Emblems AND 5 Triumph Emblems. Archmage Timear has apparently dispensed with giving out normal-mode quests for Rep gains, opting instead to redirect characters to L'andalock.
- In a manner similar to the Scarlet Monastery, the new 5-man Icecrown instance is actually a multi-wing affair, and the fun begins with a quest to see the Lady Jaina Proudmoore(whose character graphics have been impressively re-tooled), located just inside the entrance to the first wing, the Forge of Souls. Each wing is accessible by large gates which do not require keys to open, but the content is only accessible from a progression standpoint(meaning you can't access the next wing without completing the previous one first).
- The quest window has itself been retooled to provide not only quest information, but a map view showing where you need to go, exactly, to get to the quest area. Looks like those of you using quest-helping add-ons can now ditch them. Blizzard's new quest window should make such third-party perks obsolete. :)
- Another round of Class changes, which I won't go into here.
- PuG-gers may now find characters from other realms to fill the empty spots when forming their Instance groups. So as a matter of example, let's say Kyrael wants to form a PuG(Pickup Group) for the Forge of Souls instance, but is short one DPS and no one in the Moon Guard realm is willing to fill the hole, and no DPS-specced Guildies are online. Varriel, a Hunter she knows in RL, is online, but he's not a Moon Guard character. He's in the Cenarion Circle realm. The new grouping system now permits Varriel to join Kyrael's group despite being on separate realms.
- Naxxramas has been altered in terms of the progression requirement to enter the Raid Instance's last wing, Frostwyrm Lair. In its previous incarnation, access to the last wing was not possible unless all four wings of the Naxxramas Citadel was completed. Naxx now offers a direct 'port to Frostwyrm Lair, from the central hub, whether you have completed all the wings or not.
- Instance Meeting Stones...all of them...have been altered. There is now a level minimum of Level 15(which is when characters begin going into instances anyway) in order to use them, which presumably means that the "you do not meet the level requirements" disadvantage has been lifted, finally allowing for level-capped characters to be zapped over to Meeting Stones keyed to lower-level Instances such as the Deadmines.
If I'm missing mention of other noted fixes, just check out the patch notes when you download it. :)
Now as a note, I COULD go PuG-ging just to see the new content, but I really don't want to do that. Not when I'm in a Guild with some really good players who have run the gamut of Heroic instances as a 5-man group. I do realize many of you are still developing towards the level cap, and we do in fact have enough players to be able to eventually form a 10-man Raid group.
The current Guild schedule revisions are indicative of the fact that I'm not asking for all hands on deck every single day. I'm certainly aware that everyone has RL to balance out with WoW(hell, I'm doing that myself!), which is why I've organized the Calendar in the following manner...
- Characters who have not reached the Level cap will be invited to participate in instance runs tuned to their levels. This is what my alt, Andraczyk the Shaman(a healer), is currently running with four others who are, as of this writing, clearing wings of the Scarlet Monastery.
- Characters who are in the Level 60-70 bracket will become the Guild's focus on Thursday evenings. We're looking to get an active group in this range going so we can craft a story around them, as we're doing with Andraczyk's team!
- One day per month will be set aside for Tavern visits so we can develop our characters by way of RP. Tavern visits will also substitute as a viable fallback option in the event that we need to cancel or postpone a scheduled Guild activity due to too many declinings, or unforeseen no-shows. These Tavern visits promote us as a Guild, and we can definitely bring in new Guild members by doing this! Further, this is an ALL LEVELS function since it's purely RP and not an instance run. Everyone in the Guild, regardless of level, will be invited!
- I'd like to get opinions from current active Officers in regards to our Guild Meetings. Are Sundays, bi-weekly, at realm time still do-able for you? If not, we need to agree on a new time and day. Suggestions welcomed!
Outside of the Calendar, I need to stress this next point in caps...
IF YOU ARE INVITED TO A GUILD EVENT, PLEASE GO ON THE GUILD CALENDAR AND EITHER 'ACCEPT' OR 'DECLINE' IT **THE DAY BEFORE** THE EVENT! If you see a glowing golden question mark on the top right hand corner of your game screen, it means you've been invited to a Guild Event. Click on this question mark, and the Guild Calendar will open up. The event you've been invited to should be highlighted in gold. Click on the entry and you'll be given the options to either Accept, Decline, offer a Tentative response(the latter being new to Patch 3.3), or Delete it entirely.
PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU ARE OFFERING A TENTATIVE RESPONSE, PLEASE DROP THE EVENT ORGANIZER AN IN-WORLD MAIL MESSAGE EXPLAINING THE CIRCUMSTANCES BEHIND YOUR TENTATIVE APPEARANCE. Outright Deletions, on the other hand, is admittedly rude, and such an option should only be used if you want to cleanse your Calendar of events that have already happened.
That's it for now...see you all In-World!
- Johnny (aka Garedwynn)