On November 30th, 2011 Blizzard released patch 4.3: The Hour of Twilight, a large content patch for its popular MMORPG World of Warcraft. Along with the usual class tweaks and balance changes, this patch brought new content along with new features. These new additions include 3 new 5-man dungeons that lead into the new raid, Dragon Soul. They also added a legendary for rogues and a big change to the Darkmoon Faire, and 3 new features, Transmogrification, Void Storage, and the Raid Finder. As the patch has been out for more then a month now, it is a good time to review all the new additions brought to the game by this patch.
New Dungeons: The WoW 4.3 patch introduced 3 new 5-man dungeons. The dungeons are all tied around the story of Deathwing. The first takes place in the future where players travel and get to witness the destruction that will happen to the world if Deathwing is not stopped. The second allows players to travel back to the War of the Ancients, where they fight along side heros such as Illidan and Tyrande as they try to retrieve the Dragon Soul. The final 5-man takes place in present time. Players assist Thrall in delivering the Dragon Soul to Wyrmrest Temple where Deathwing is attacking. All of these Dungeons lead up to the new raid, Dragon Soul.
Review: The new dungeons are great for players of all abilities. Most of the encounters are understandable enough for casual players to get through without much trouble, while the gear dropped is still powerful enough for more serious players to find upgrades. The storyline behind the dungeons is also great, and it leads up nicely to the raid. The only negative side I can see to these new dungeons is some my find them too easy, however, this lack of difficulty allows players to run them and understand the storyline before they enter the raid.
New Raid- Dragon Soul, a new raid available in 10-man and 25-man groups was also introduced. This raid takes place in multiple places. At the start, raiders are tasked with the defense of Wrymrest Temple. During this phase they fight many of Deathwing’s Generals including Morchok, Warlord Zon’ozz,Yor’sahj the Unsleeping, Hagara the Stormbinder, and the dragon Ultraxion. After the defense of the temple is complete, players board a ship and chase Deathwing through Azeroth. While on the ship, they encounter Warmaster Blackhorn. The final two encounters for the raid are both fought against Deathwing; the first is fought on Deathwing’s back and the following is fought in the Maelstrom after Deathwing is injured. The raid drops item level 397 gear.
Review- The new raid has almost an equal amount of positive and negative aspects to it. The difficulty for the raid, I feel, is right where it needs to be. The first few bosses are very do able for most groups. This allows less experienced players to get the experience of raiding with out getting frustrated on an extremely hard first boss. The later bosses however step up their difficulty quite a bit and still provide a challenge for more experienced players. A down side to the raid, however, is that I feel both of the Deathwing encounters are missing that “epic” feeling that players expect from the final boss in an expansion. Firstly, the Spine of Deathwing sounded amazing at first. “You mean we get to fight on his back as he flies through Azeroth? SWEET!” That was my first reaction when I began to read about this fight. I was a little disappointed when I got to the actual encounter since I need to have my camera zoomed out all the way to even notice we are in the are, and even then all I see is clouds. The second Deathwing encounter, The Madness of Deathwing, was also disappointing I feel. In this fight players hop around four platforms while Deathwing assaults one of the four Aspects. At first this fight is fun, but the majority of the fight is doing basically the same thing on all four platforms, making it seem very redundant. Though I feel these two encounters were lacking an “Epic” feel to them, I still think that overall Dragon Soul is a very good raid.
Dark Moon Faire: The Dark Moon Faire has also been updated in The Hour of Twilight. Instead of finding it outside of capital cities, players may now travel to the new Dark Moon Island at the beginning. The Faire’s content has also been updated with all new quests and games, along with souvenirs, snacks, and beverages. Players are still able to turn in their Dark Moon Cards here.
Review: The changes made to the Dark Moon Faire I felt were great. The new location makes it feel much larger in the first place and new quests, games and prizes make it an enjoyable thing to do in a players free time.
Transmogrification: To the delight of many players, Blizzard has added a Transmogrification feature into World of Warcraft. This feature allows players to pay a small few to change the appearance of their current gear to make it look like another piece. This is great for players who miss how their gear used to look in previous tiers.
Review: I am not a player that cares much about how my armor looks, however I know many players who do and they are very pleased with this new addition. The only complaint I have heard is there is no option to dye the color of your armor, only make it look like another piece, but it is still a very popular feature.
Void Storage: Blizzard has also added a feature called Void Storage, this allows players to pay a hefty few to open a Void Storage Box where they can store gear or other things for a long period of time, however, it costs more gold to deposit and withdraw from the Void Storage.
Review: This feature, I feel, is pointless. I just can not for the life of me find a use for this. First of all it strips all gems and enchants off of gear, so it is not a good place to store offset gear. Also it costs money for every withdrawal, so it is not very good for anything a player will need to take back out for a very long time. I am sure a use for it will be shown eventually though.
Raid Finder: The much anticipated Raid Finder feature was also added in the Hour of Twilight. This feature allows a player to queue up for a raid and be paired up with 24 other players to form a 25 man raid. At this time however, the raid finder is only available of Dragon Soul and no other previous raids can be queued for.
Review: The new raider finder is one of the best features Blizzard has added in years in my opinion. This feature allows players to raid that have never had that chance before. This allows more people to see all of the content that Blizzard has worked so hard to put out. It is also a valuable tool for the more serious players, as it allows a player upgrade their gear until they are able to win the better gear from Normal and Heroic raids. The raid finder has its flaws, such as group coordination and loot disagreements; but such things, I think, are unavoidable in a raid of 25 strangers from different servers.
Overall Review of Patch 4.3: It is no secret that Cataclysm was one of, if not the worse, expansion that World of Warcraft has ever seen. Blizzard has struggled between making encounters that are challenging for the hardcore players, yet easy enough for the casual player to get through with out too much pain. The have also failed to add anything new and exciting in for the most part. The Hour of Twilight changed this. It gives content that all players can enjoy as well as new features for other players to enjoy! One can only hope that Blizzard can see what they did here and continue to head in this direction. Good job Blizz!