August 13, 2009

WoW Patch 3.2 Raiding Guide

Patch 3.2 changes the landscape of raiding in the most significant way since the release of Wrath of the Lich King itself. Not since the opening of Obsidian Sanctum has a single patch done so much to bring people up to the "current level" of raiding. While a new tier of gear badges will be hitting the ground, old Emblems are being upgraded to help people "catch up" to the current content.

Of course, that's not all. The very structure of raiding is being changed, with a lot of exciting changes to the very way we step into an instance to do battle with the bosses. You can go to The Argent Coliseum in a 5 man group, a 10 man raid, or a 25 man raid. You can extend your raid lockout, in case you need just a little longer to reach the boss. Heck, if there's an accident with loot, you can trade your items for up to an hour after the boss died. There's a lot to process, so take a look behind the cut and see what's changing.

The Argent Coliseum

The new raid for content patch 3.2 is The Argent Coliseum. As the story goes, you can't simply send thousands of people to fight Arthas. If you did such a thing, every time one of those fighters died, they would be reborn as an enemy. As a result of that difficulty, Tirion Fordring has come up with a clever plan. He's going to hold a massive Coliseum. The finest survivors of this game will be the chosen few who go on to fight the Lich King.

There are no trash mobs in the Coliseum, which I think is one of the most exciting changes to raid structure. Sure, trash purples are fun when they drop. But now your raiding experience is going to be smoother and more efficient than ever.

The Argent Coliseum has 6 versions

Yeah, you heard that right. The Coliseum is splitting out Heroics in 5, 10, and 25 man version, forever denying the WotLK-practiced saying of "Normal vs. Heroic" indicating a head count. You'll now face down against:

5 man Normal and 5 man Heroic 10 man Normal and 10 man Heroic 25 man Normal and 25 man Heroic So, there's going to be six different versions of the Coliseum. That means if you're a "5-man player only," you're still included in this patch. All tiers of play are invited to the Coliseum. I truly believe this guarantees the Arthas fight will have the same format, so that every player who wants to fight the guy . . . gets that chance.

Archavon gets another roomie

I guess Emalon's not shelling out his fair share of the rent, because Archavon had to go pick up yet another roommate. The new guy's name is Koralon the Fire Watcher. Koralon is a pretty straight-forward fight -- don't stand in fire, cuddle up for the meteor, tank him, and spank him. Still, expect this to be the "first" fight in any post-WIntergrasp Vault of Archavon runs from now on.

Badge changes: New Triumph badges, no more Heroic or Valor badges

Of course, this means that there's a whole new tier of badge rewards. At the same time, in order to cut the disparity between people who are on current content versus those who might just be getting started, anything which once dropped an Emblem of Heroism or an Emblem of Valor will now drop an Emblem of Conquest instead.

Even the daily Heroic quests will reward Emblems of Conquest. You can back trade to pick up older gear, of course.

The new badge dropped in the Argent Coliseum is called an Emblem of Triumph. But, the even better news with the Argent Coliseum is how the armor tokens work.

Universal Armor Tokens for Tier 9

When a boss drops your Tier 9 gear token now, it will no longer be for your head, hand, chest, or legs. It will simply be a universal token, for which you can pick up any of the Tier 9 gear you need. Of course, even if you think your Tier 9 gear looks a little nasty, it will at least be appropriately "branded" to your faction. (Make sure you check out Zach's Tier 9 Mighty Battle, to see whether the Horde or Alliance scored the better gear design for each class.)

Extend Raid Lockouts

It's going to take a great deal more management, but you're really going to have to put some effort into managing your raid lockouts. You no longer have to assume your almost-to-the-final-boss raid ID will reset Tuesday morning. Your raid individually has the choice of further pursuing that ID, or getting reset. Now, you'll want to be careful you set expectations across your group, but it's still a pretty neat feature.

Trade BoPs for up to an hour

Everyone likes to say this was put in for folks who "accidentally assigned the loot wrong." For every one time I see that happen, though, I also see ten instances where someone bids or rolls for an item just after the Master Looter assigned the gear. In any case, you'll now be able to swap your loot around for up to an hour after you kill the boss. You had to be there for the kill to get the gear, though.

Val'Anyr remains relevant

If you're one of the lucky few who has managed to pick up Val'anyr, the Hammer of Ancient Kings, you're in for some good news. The most-awesome of maces is getting buffed in patch 3.2. This helps keep the highly sought-after mace relevant into new tiers of content, promoting continued raids in Ulduar as well as a little more longevity for a Legendary item.

Yogg Clouds Speak!

In terms of the billion things going on, this may seem relatively minor. But the quote is funny enough that I wanted to be sure we mention it again. Starting with Patch 3.2, the clouds issued by Yogg-Saron are going to be "more vocal" to the people standing in them. I'm hoping they scream "This guy! This guy is standing in a cloud RIGHT NOW!"

NOT changing: Drakes

If you recall, I once lamented the early loss of the Zul'Aman bears. Our time to achieve a similar feat with Ulduar also felt pretty short. Thankfully, Blizzard agreed and has decided to not remove the Ulduar Drakes yet. Even more importantly, we're going to have a one-month warning before the drakes do get yoinked.

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