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Blizzard's Vision for Icecrown Citadel and Raid Progression

Thursday, November 19, 2009 | posted in , | 2 comments

In a recent blue post Blizzard layed out their plans for how they want Icecrown Citadel raid progression.  When I first read the post I had mixed emotions.  On one hand I felt like Blizzard was trying to control my interaction with the game too much but after I thought about it I understood what they were trying to do.  In my opinion they are trying to keep the game fresh and exciting by staggering the release of new bosses and hard modes.  Take a look at the post to decide for yourself. 

Icecrown Citadel testing has been progressing very well over the last few weeks, and this has been a huge help to the encounter design team. We want to thank everyone who has logged onto the PTR and tried the encounters there.

As we're now getting closer to the release of 3.3.0, we wanted to talk about our plans for access progression within Icecrown Citadel. Icecrown Citadel is going to be broken up into four distinct sections: The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls. We plan on releasing these four sections of Icecrown Citadel over time and not all immediately when patch 3.3.0 goes live. At this point we can't give precise dates for these release dates as they are determined by when patch 3.3.0 goes live. Once dates are known with more certainty, I'll update the community so they can plan appropriately.

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.

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.

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).

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.

As I reread the post for the 3rd time I still feel the same way.  With what Blizzard is calling "gating" I think they are heading in the right direction when it comes to progression raiding.  It also seems that there is going to be a decent uptick in raid difficulty since the Ashen Verdict will be helping out.  So with 3.3 getting closer and closer raiding guilds really need to get focused as Icecrown Citadel should arrive in a few weeks.  Since patch 3.2 made it really easy to gear out a new character or alt most raiders should be ready for the Lich King, if you haven't finished filling out your gear for Icecrown now is the time to get it finished. 

If anyone has a different opinion on how Blizzard is handling Icecrown Citadel and raid progression I would really like to hear about it.

2 Responses So far
on November 22, 2009 at 7:48 PM  

i am destined to play this game for all of eterntiy....so be it.

on November 22, 2009 at 7:57 PM  

It sure feels that way sometimes :)

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