Sunday, December 11, 2011

4.3 impressions

I'm loving 4.3. Here are a few notes about it from the top of my head.

The new raid, Dragon Soul, is tuned much better than the other Cataclysm tiers. I like that in normal, a casual guild can figure out and down a new boss in about two hours. That's exactly the level of difficulty I've been looking for. As far as I know, the heroic bosses are as hard as ever, but we haven't had opportunity yet to try.

Looking for Raid is a blast! I don't care if the fights are cheasified. It's fun running through them and seeing the bosses go down. It's borderline required in my guild that everyone run Dragon Soul in LFR before they run it with the guild on normal mode. You really get a feel for how the fight works, and it's a low-stress environment.

The new five-mans are really fun! They remind me greatly of the ICC 5-mans at the end of Lich King. They have a coherent and interesting storyline that is fun to play through. However, the difficulty is much less. They seem like the easiest 5-mans so far, given the level of gear most people going into them will have. That's fine with me, really.

Many people are using transmogrification to deck out their character with a really cool-looking gear set. That sounds fun, but I haven't had the time in my life to look into that so far. Instead, I've just been replacing the looks of certain gear with certain other gear I happen to have around. The worst offender on Ohken was the tier-11 blue-feather shoulders. I really hate those things! I changed them to PVP shoulders, which is not a terrific fit for Ohken's character, but they look a whole lot better. He's a brown cow of nature. Now he looks like one.

There are several valor point changes that I'm quite enjoying. Here is the new valor point setup:

  • You get 150 valor for running a new 5-man.
  • You get 150 valor for running an old 5-man on heroic. Note this is exactly the same; you can farm your valor points whichever way you feel like.
  • They've significantly nerfed the troll dungeons so that they now run pretty quickly. Even post-nerf, they are possibly the hardest 5-man dungeons in the game, though, in my opinion.
  • You get 500 valor points if you do a full clear on Looking for Raid.
  • The weekly valor cap is about the same: 1000 VP instead of the old 980.
  • You get 100 VP per boss on normal 10-man mode.
  • You don't buy tier pieces with valor.

These changes have a number of positive effects on valor points that I had not realized until I played with it a little. One effect is that you have no min-max reason to prefer one kind of 5-man over the others. This was sort of true before, because the troll dungeons were slower, but the troll dungeons were still usually the best use of time. Now it's a no brainer. You can queue for either dungeon and expect to spend the same amount of time getting your 150 VP. I will be running the old 5-mans quite a bit, I expect, just for the extra variety.

Most impressively, valor point farming is now optional for normal-mode raiders. If you are raiding enough that you see gear drops in raid, then you don't really need to get VP gear at all. You'll get tier gear in the raid, and you'll get reasonable gear for other slots even if not best-in-slot. Valor points thus work like Blizzard always wanted for emblems: you can use them as a crutch if you aren't raiding with regularity.