Patch 3.3 versus Cataclysm

I've been discussing this with friends recently and it just occurred to me that this is exactly the sort of topic that would make an ideal blog post. Allow me to just start this post by saying that Cataclysm excites me more than Patch 3.3. Now that my bias is disclosed, allow me to elucidate further.

These are the following parts of the next content patch that I care most about:
  • new APIs for quests that will vastly improve the quality of quest-related addons
  • the display of auras is improved so that important buffs can be seen while less pertinent ones are collapsed or hidden
  • nameplate visibility is changing, I don't know if they'll be better but I'm definitely curious
  • possible closure of the Frostmourne story, and believe me I'm only mildly curious about it
Meanwhile, Cataclysm promises the following personal highlights:
  • significant changes to the Warlock class, I might actually want to level up the one I left back in The Burning Crusade
  • new races to consider rolling / switching
  • new racials for existing races, I can't wait to see what Gnomes get 
  • Gnomes can be healers, and I plan on switching my Night Elf Priest to a Gnome as soon as this is possible
  • flying mounts that work everywhere in Azeroth, and not just the few secret places we currently enjoy
  • Deathwing is a much cooler and vastly more powerful being than The Lich King
  • new Path of the Titans personal progression
The fact that an expansion has more interesting changes is obviously expected. What I find surprising is how little I care about the content patch. The only new material that even registers the mildest interest is the storyline. I do like the appearance of the new tier pieces, but I do not think they outweigh the awfulness that tier 9 forced upon us.

With the exception of long-term class evolution (like the Warlock overhaul), I am not interested in the monthly tuning of class balance and am actually relieved that Death Knights seem fairly stable. Not having to learn how to play my class all over again is quite nice. I do not have a Hunter on my roster, but if I did I would likely be very much intrigued by the big Hunter changes too.

As a small-time addon developer, I am quite interested in any changes Blizzard make to the API. The more we are allowed to tinker with, the richer our potential UI configurations can become. Everyone has a different idea about their perfect UI, and Blizzard should be congratulated for the lengths they have gone to in this area. If I could have it my way, Blizzard would uncouple content and interface patches, so that we could get our juicy new code faster. It also means we could get our new content without having to wait for last-minute changes to the interface (in-game voice-chat ring a bell?).

This post is starting to get long, so I'll leave it there. Have I left out anything that you are really looking forward to? Besides the closer release date, is there anything that makes Patch 3.3 more interesting than Cataclysm for you?


Vocah the Hallowed!

I have been fairly anxious all week, this being the in-game holiday known as Hallow's End. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the achievement for participating in this holiday was the last one I needed for What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been. The reward for completing this year-long commitment is an "extremely fast" Violet Proto-Drake, which is the only extremely fast mount that can be obtained without considerable skill in the Arena (PvP) or the co-ordination required for many of the most difficult raid encounters in the game (PvE).

My progression through this holiday was reasonably straight-forward. Much of the effort was simply remembering to pester an innkeeper as regularly as possible. I was somewhat lucky and my first Trick or Treat resulted in a Toothpick for That Sparkling Smile. This is certainly the sort of treat that would earn uncontrolled quantities of toilet-paper in real life, but of course it is novel and charming in Azeroth. :P

Over the next few days I hopped between inns and flight paths for the Tricks and Treats of Azeroth, completing the holiday quests and engaging in a daily battle with the Headless Horseman himself. In short order I had completed almost all of the prerequisite achievements and it was then that I reached an impasse: Sinister Calling. The completion of this last achievement is completely random. The pieces required are rare loot from the encounter with the Horseman. I could feel panic settling in.

Every day I joined a Headless Horseman party and it seemed like that last little vanity pet would never emerge. I happened to be in a guild group on the sixth day when the Sinister Squashling dropped. Grimreefer, to whom I owe my shiny new purple friend, won it and cheerfully traded it to me. Thanks again, Grim, may lots of Shadow Priest gear drop this week for you!

Without further ado, here are the glamorous shots:

So, did you manage to get your Violet Proto-Drake this year? If not, what holiday are you missing? Was it bad luck with loot?


Just need a good scare!

I've been a little distracted lately, so I have not yet had the opportunity to post until now.

Firstly, I'd like to introduce you all to a new friend I made recently:

Grunty is so very cute! Almost as cute as a Gnome, and possibly even cuter in some cultures. Yay!

I paid AU$50 to watch BlizzCon 2009 over the live Internet stream. Many people will say that I am a crazy person for spending that much money on a digital murloc, and I cannot say that I disagree completely. But learning about Cataclysm and Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 directly from the source was worth it. I had that lovely superior feeling when other players were quoting the suprisingly inaccurate transcripts later.

In other (old) news, Brewfast has come and gone. Like many others, Vocah spent much of the event intoxicated. It felt strange to have to take advantage of the token-refund capabilities in order to complete the entire checklist nice and early. I was sure that I would feel the wrath of the GMs later, but here I stand several days later, still with the following event achievement:

Many characters that had the good fortune to exist prior to the introduction of the Achievement system are now flaunting their Violet Proto-Drakes. Of course, Death Knights were not released from the Lich King's control until later, so I am still missing one component: