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It seems like it wasn't very long ago at all that we were eagerly anticipating the Secrets of Ulduar WoW Patch 3.1, and the new Ulduar raid instance. In truth, it really wasn't all that long ago - about two months. Even still, we're already starting to get word of the next major content patch on the Horizon - 3.2.
Many can argue that it is just too soon to be introducing yet another new raid instance. In classic (vanilla) WoW, the wait between new raid dungeons was usually quite a long time. This allowed the old 40-man raid teams lots of time to work on the incredibly difficult encounters found there. The problem was that the really good guilds cleared things relatively quickly, while the less hard-core hardly got anywhere. It's bad business to create content that only a tiny percentage (it was estimated about 2% of the player base) will ever see. In Wrath of the Lich King a lot of things have changed in that regard. Instances are designed to allow as many people as possible to see and clear them, while still providing a challenge for very hard core groups by way of Hard Modes. Additionally, when Ulduar was first released it was very difficult, and the strongest raid teams set themselves apart by clearing it quickly. As the weeks passed, every boss was steadily made easier and easier to allow more people to be able to see the content.
While I am still a bit baffled by the speed at which they're pushing towards the next major content patch, WoW Patch 3.2, it does make some sense considering the new business model Blizzard seems to have adapted, as regards raiding. In 3.2 getting high-end gear (Ulduar equivilent) is going to be much easier. It seems the goal is to allow people who haven't been able to do Ulduar yet to get in and clear it, and get everyone started on their next new raid instance.
But, enough talk about that - Let's take a look at some of the fascinating and significant new things, and changes, that we'll be seeing shortly in WoW Patch 3.2.
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The Crusaders' Coliseum
As typical with World of Warcraft content patches, yet another new dungeon and raid instance is being added. While we're only hearing the most basic information about this new raid, we do know that it is going to be vastly different from anything we've encountered in the game thus far. The new dungeon and raid will be located at the Argent Tournament grounds, in Northeast Icecrown. It is, in fact, the completed coliseum that is currently being built. There will be a 5-man dungeon with Normal and Heroic modes, a 10 and 25 man raid considered "normal", and a 10 and 25 man raid considered "heroic". Presumably these are all incarnations of the same instance, just presented at various levels of tuning and difficulty. In the Heroic raid version, a new "Tribute System" will be used to reward groups that complete the dungeon with minimal wipes. Basicly you have a specific amount of Tributes (attempts) that your raid is allotted for each week. The less of these you use (by wiping), the better the loot rewards off of the final boss are.
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Significant Emblem Change
The Emblem of Heroism and the Emblem of Valor are disappearing as we currently know them. Dungeons and Raids that previously dropped Heroism and Valor emblems will now drop the Emblem of Conquest instead, which is currently only available from 10-man Ulduar hard modes and 25-man Ulduar. You will still be able to convert Emblems of Conquest into Heroism or Valor in order to purchase things off of their respective vendors, but you will no longer earn Heroism or Valor emblems any other way. Heroic dungeons and associated dailies will reward Emblems of Conquest. This means that the current Ulduar-equivilent gear that can be purchased with Emblems of Conquest, including the two tier 8.5 pieces. This will make gearing up new 80's much easier.
A new emblem is also being added: The Emblem of Triumph, which will be dropped from the 10 and 25 man versions of the new Crusaders' Coliseum raid. Based on other release information, I am going to go ahead and speculate that the Heroic versions of these raids will drop more tokens than the normal versions.
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New Battleground and Changes to Wintergrasp
Players that enjoy PvP should be rejoicing - In 3.2 we are getting our first new battleground since 3.0, called the Isle of Conquest. Following the pattern of vehicle-oriented and otherwise non-traditional combat that Wrath of the Lich King has brought, the Isle of Conquest will be a siege-based battle, similar to Strand of the Ancients but definitely unique. Players will be able to use the current siege vehicle set, along with a new Glaive Thrower anti-personnel vehicle. They will also be able to catapult themselves over walls, and use Saronite Bombs to destroy structures. It promises to be a battle of epic proportions with tons of features that are entirely unmatched.
Wintergrasp is being changed to more closely resemble a battleground. There will be a 100-player cap per side, and players will have to queue for the battle instead of just showing up in the zone. Players who are (randomly) chosen from the queue will be ported to the zone, and anyone inside the zone when the battle begins will be ported out. Since flying over Wintergrasp will now be allowed, players will only be ported out when they land or get too close to the ground. Along with the WoW 3.2 patch and these changes to Wintergrasp is a new boss in the Vault of Archavon: Koralon the Flame Watcher. Presumably, in manner of Archavon and Emalon, he will have a chance to drop PvP items and Tier pieces from the forthcoming new gear sets, along with Emblems of Triumph.
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Conclusions on the New 3.2 Patch
The upcoming 3.2 World of Warcraft patch is going to bring loads of unique new content and some interesting changes. It would be impossible to summarize them all in one article, so keep a lookout for further updates on specific class changes, information about the Argent Tournament and Crusaders' Coliseum, and more here at the Bright Hub MMO channel. One thing is for sure: The game is about to change all over again.