Friday, November 20, 2009

Icecrown Gating System

The information on this was released recently in a fairly lengthy blue post, so I'll try and pick out the most relevant details and dissect them one by one.

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. 
Definitely not fussed about them gating it. I don't mind the more relaxing atmosphere on the normal modes, and it will certainly be good not to blitz everything in the first week of it being released.

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.
Good. This should have been in with Ulduar.

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.
Pretty self explanatory, but also a good thing.

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.
Interesting, is really all I can say. I don't mind limited attempts on hard modes, but 5/10/15 is far too few when you consider the amount of connection issues involved in ToC currently. Icecrown will probably be worse when it's initially released. The addition of limited attempts to normal modes is a bold move, and one that will probably hurt average, middle-of-the-road guilds more than anything, as well as being counter-intuitive to pugging, which isn't exactly a bad thing.

There will be no explicit rewards for defeating the Lich King with a specific number of attempts remaining as there was with Trial of the Grand Crusader. There will also not be an achievement to complete Icecrown Citadel without being defeated by a boss encounter, or letting a raid member die. (i.e. A Tribute to Insanity).
I squealed like a schoolgirl when I read this. Thank heavens they've learnt their lesson from ToC and that they aren't stupid after all.

In the weeks and months after all twelve encounters are unlocked, additional attempts against the final four boss encounters become available. This represents the Ashen Verdict growing more powerful and gaining a stronger foothold in Icecrown Citadel. To further help raids, Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will begin to provide assistance by inspiring the armies attacking Icecrown Citadel. This is represented as an additional zone wide spell effect applied to all players that will increase their hit points, damage dealt, and healing done. This effect will also increase in effectiveness over time. Players may opt out of the spell's effect if they so wish.
This is rather boring to be honest. It's much like Yogg hardmodes, except it's not interesting. Sort of a "hey, you haven't cleared it by now? Yeah okay we'll give you these awesome buffs" option for the terribles.

Daelo's post about this has earned some considerable ire and for the life of me, I can't understand why. Nothing about this system is awful, the worst thing about it is the initial limited attempts on the bosses and even that will be rectified over time. It's certainly an improvement on ToC, although it's not like that would have been hard to do.


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