Exploring the Tiered Release of Ice Crown.   6 comments

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!

Posted November 18, 2009 by Beruthiel in Guild Management, Ice Crown Citadel, Raid Leadership

6 responses to “Exploring the Tiered Release of Ice Crown.

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  1. I think the attempts only count for the “final” bosses of the wings and Arthas; there’s no penalty for wiping on the others. So it’s not as bad as ToC where one fight could limit your attempts on all the others. Now its just on all the final bosses. Which probably have the best loot.

    >.>

    • That’s my reading as well, and I don’t think that the final boss in the first wing is limited. I think it’s only going to be: Professor Putricie, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, Sindragoa and Arthas. But…sometimes my guild rides along on the short bus, we love each other, but good god do we have our moments. Only 15 attempts, it took us more pulls to figure out how not to gib half our raid running into C’thun’s room! ;)

      I’m sure they will be the token dropers or offer the fanciest loot in the zone :)

  2. >>>(Hi…we suck at faction champs, we know this, please punish our further progress in the zone because we can’t PvP, thanks!)

    This is just horrible. My last guild had many PvP interested guild members. A great bunch would play arena. They would often group of for BGs. My actual guild is the absolute contrary. Nearly no arena players. Which makes the Champions an annoying drag week after week.

    Now, regarding Icecrown. I like if blizzard gives us a path of progression. When Ulduar came out, I raided A LOT. I mean, really close to unhealthy. Just to clear those huge instance in a very short time. Splitting up the instance prevents this a little bit and will let me enjoy the content more.

    Regarding Heroic vs. non-Heroic and attempt-limited or not, I just don’t care aka it still annoys me. I’m still convinced, that hard modes vs normal modes isn’t the way to go. It just isn’t epic, it will never be epic to kill a boss AGAIN you have already killed, just this time with our hand tied behind our backs.

    Ok I know, if they’d change it, that would lock a lot of not so serious raiders out of the content. But hey, why not make one wing, that has actually just hard modes aka hard bosses? Then killing them for the first time would be epic. And I would have shiny purples, that wouldn’t look like what’s everyone else is wearing. Hell I guess I could make my cat sleep on my keyboard while WoW is running and at some point I would have some 2-3 epics more in my bag. That’s how easy normal modes are.

  3. I hate it. Both the limited number of tries and the gated progression. Right now we raid two nights a week and I was rather hoping that would be upped when the patch comes out. At the moment, we still do full Ulduar clears and I guess I was hoping we would be able to do 3 nights in Icecrown, 1 doing ToC/Onxyia/whatever the weekly raid quest is and drop Ulduar completely. Obviously it depends how hard the normal modes are, but based on ToC and normal Ulduar, I’m not expecting it to take that long to hit the wall. Which is just frustrating for everyone.

    Then there is the limited number of tries. On our server, that’s so painful. We barely scrapped our Mad Skill this week because of lag. Unfortunately the only free transfers off are horde which we aren’t and the guild as a whole can’t afford to move so we just have to keep soldiering on. Which makes Blizzard’s desire to make everything try related so annoying. We might lose a chance to kill a certain boss not because we suck (although that’s possible too :p), but because the server does.

    I suppose I’m a firm believer in letting people raid as much or as little as they choose. Hardcore guilds know they will run out of content if they zoom through stuff but that should be their choice.

  4. I really don’t like the sound of the limited attempts, it basically forces us to go back to the shit brown room of doom for the rest of our raid time in a given week… And really, who wants that?

  5. I dislike tiering the content just because it makes it seem like they just want to drag out ICC for as long as possible to buy time for Cataclysm.

    I don’t really have an issue with limiting the number of tries per week. My current guild is pretty casual, so it doesn’t really affect us.

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