Daelo has just given us some insight on how things will work with Ice Crown Citadel. It is a very interesting read, so if you haven’t had the time to read over it, I would recommend giving it a gander.
I will repost one of the more interesting things in Daelo’s post below:
The first section that opens will include the Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Deathbringer Saurfang encounters. Progress beyond that point will be prevented for several weeks. Then the Plagueworks will open with Rotface, Festergut, and Professor Putricide becoming available. After another period of time, the Crimson Hall will open and you can then fight the Blood Princes and Blood-Queen Lana’thel. The final Frostwing Halls unlock then occurs after that, making Valithria Dreamwalker, Sindragosa, and the Lich King available. We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace.
There are other elements that gate access along the way. Players may not attempt any Heroic versions of 10 player encounters until they have defeated the Lich King in a 10 player raid. Similarly, players must defeat the Lich King in a 25 player raid before they can attempt a Heroic 25 player encounter. So players must master every normal difficulty encounter in Icecrown Citadel before attempting Heroic difficulty.
The Lich King may not be attempted until Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, and Sindragosa are defeated. Furthermore, the Heroic difficulty of The Lich King encounter may not be attempted in any week unless the three aforementioned encounters have been defeated in Heroic difficulty that week.
Interesting. So, Blizzard is going to be gating the content, similarly to how Sunwell and ToC were released. Not only that, but you won’t be able to do hard modes for what appears to be months after the first batch of normal mode content was released. Blizzard is definately forcing a progression chain with this release format.
What do I think about it? Well, I think I like it. Maybe. I think that as long as the encounters are engaging and challenging enough to warrant an average progression raiding guild the amount of time given to clear the content it’s going to work out very well. But I do have a fear: what if the content is as face-rolly as ToC was? What if it only takes us a night or two to clear everything. What are we supposed to do then, while we wait for the next portion of the zone to unlock?
In addition to the tiered release of the zone, we will be seeing a return of limited attempts:
The Ashen Verdict provides reinforcements and material for players to assault Icecrown Citadel, but this support is not endless. Raids will have a limited number of attempts total each week to defeat the four most difficult encounters in Icecrown Citadel: Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. As these boss encounters are unlocked, the number of attempts available per week will increase. The initial number of attempts provided for defeating Professor Putricide is only five. When Blood-Queen Lana’thel unlocks, the amount of total attempts remaining will increase to 10. Then when Sindragosa and the Lich King unlock, 15 total attempts will be available to defeat all four bosses. After a raid has exhausted their attempts for the week, the Ashen Verdict must withdraw their support and the four most difficult bosses all despawn and become unavailable for the week. The limited attempt system is a feature of both Normal and Heroic difficulty.
Ok, I’m going to start out now by saying I’m not a fan of the limited attempt methodology. I understand why Blizzard is implementing it, but I also pretty firmly believe that it hampers a good number of guilds that don’t need this kind of artificial choke point. (Hi…we suck at faction champs, we know this, please punish our further progress in the zone because we can’t PvP, thanks!). One thing that I am pleased about, and I think assuages some of my concerns with this system, is that as time goes on the available number of attempts increases.
I guess generally, I think the system is going to work well, if it’s been done properly. I also think that Blizzard is absolutely buying themselves time with tiered release of the content. It definitely has the feel of Blizzard deciding when we will see things, and how long it should take us to get there. I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing, per se, but if they have overdone it, I think people are going to be frustrated.
So…now the million dollar question: When is it going to be released? Well, here is my take on it. I 100% believe that the 3.2 protodrakes are going to be removed with 3.3, as new drakes have been added to the 3.3 content. Blizzard has already stated that they will give us a month’s notice before removing the drakes. To date we haven’t received that notice. Therefore, I think that it is highly likely that there is at least a month before we see 3.3 release. (Yes, I know the downloader is available already, but we’ve seen downloaders available well ahead of patch dates before). Of course that puts us right up at Christmas Holidays. Will Blizzard release a major content patch right before the Holidays? Your guess is as good as mine.
So, here is my best guess: The patch is either going to hit on December 22 OR not until after the New Year. I, personally, find it unlikely that they are going to unleash a major patch that will hinder their employees ability to enjoy the holidays. So I think we are going to see it some time around January 5, but I wouldn’t take that to the bank. I’ve been wrong before, and I’m certain to be wrong again!
What do you think? Do you like the tiered release? How do you feel about the return of limited attempts? What is your guess for a release? Inquiring minds want to know!