#10 – Northrend Children’s Week
There was something noticeably missing at the beginning of last May. Children’s Week rolled around as usual but we found that it hadn’t been entirely updated for Wrath of the Lich King. Granted, some of the achievements for the in-game event required certain things, like brownies and cake purchased from Dalaran, but something was still missing. When the Burning Crusade released the very first Children’s Week introduced Draenei and Blood Elf orphans to escort through various areas of Outland and the new starting zones. We expected the same of the next post-Wrath of the Lich King children’s week, but found that we still had to travel to Outland or the Old World to participate in any Children’s Week events. Essentially, there were no Northrend Orphans.
Finally in Patch 3.2 Blizzard made it up to us, and the week following the patch release was deemed Northrend Children’s Week. The Matron showed up in Dalaran and sent us on a series of quests with our new Wolvar or Gorloc orphan. This also answered the call for a new non-combat pet – a baby Gorloc or baby Wolvar offered as rewards.
#9 – Tradeable BoP Loot
A positive in some people’s minds, a negative in others, the fact that Bind on Pickup loot from dungeons and raids is now tradeable for two hours after being looted is a big deal whether you’re for or against. Much like the "buyback" feature added to items purchased with Emblems in patch 3.1, in patch 3.2 when a Bind on Pickup item is looted to a player that player has 2 hours to trade it to someone else. The conditions are that the person it is being traded to must have been eligible for the loot in the first place – meaning they must have been in the group when the boss was killed and looted.
A lot of players like this feature because it allows time for bartering to happen in PuGs without taking up the time of the master looter. You can win the item, then try to sell it off to other players while the raid continues on. The negative side of this is it creates moral dilemmas. Players who many not be planning on using an item might try to win it for the purpose of reselling. Groups consisting of mostly one guild may all try to win an item just to give it to a guildie. The problem is that all this can happen without anyone ever knowing they’re being scammed or ripped off.
I, for one, am happy at least that I don’t have to fight with GMs anymore to have mis-looted items given to their deserving recipient, so this change makes the top 10.
#8 – Heroic Raid Changes
When Wrath of the Lich King released it opened up the ability for 10-man raids to access all new content, whereas previously a dungeon was designated for only a 25-man group or only a 10-man group. A nice change, it was expounded upon in Patch 3.2 with the release of the new raid dungeon, the Crusaders’ Colisuem: Trial of the Crusader. Instead of a 10-man raid being classified as "normal", and a 25-man classified as "Heroic", 10-man and 25-man raid groups now have the option to do 10 normal, 10 heroic, 25 normal, or 25 heroic. Additionally each of these has it’s own unique raid lockout, meaning a person could technically do the same raid at varying difficulties four times in one lockout period. This change only applies to the Crusaders’ Coliseum raid and future raids moving forward. It does not apply to already existing raids like Ulduar or Naxxramas.
#7 – Raid Lockout Extension
For years raid groups have been limited in their accomplishments depending on how much time they have had left in their raid lockout. Typically a full scale raid like Naxxramas or Ulduar has a 1 week long raid lockout. This means that every seven days all your progress in the instance is wiped and you have to start over. For some this is a good thing, as it allows them to continually farm the same bosses over and over again for gear. For others, like raids who only have one or two evenings per week to spend, this means that they can pretty much never get past a certain point.
In patch 3.2 we now have the option to expand our raid lockouts indefinitely. If it is a seven day lockout, you can opt to expand it for seven days at a time. If you expand a lockout you can un-expand it, so long as you don’t progress any further into the instance. Lockout expansion has to be done on an individual basis, so if your raid is planning on continuing an instance from the week before every member has to expand their lockout.
#6 – XP Gains Disabled
While this only impacts the smaller percentage of the playerbase who isn’t maximum level yet, the ability to disable experience gains has been requested since the game’s release. Usually this is only useful for players who are trying to twink a character, or friends leveling together that don’t want to get ahead of eachother. Regardless of the reason, players can now pay 10 gold to Behsten in Stormwind or Slahtz in Orgrimmar to turn their XP gains on or off.
#5 – Battleground XP
While not a significant amount, experience can now be earned in battlegrounds. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why this was introduced, seeing as that ‘XP will always be gained faster from questing than from battlegrounds’, but I do suppose there are people out there so sick of the normal quest grind that they’ll spend hours on end in a battleground slowly chipping away at the XP bar. Battleground XP isn’t earned from killing other players, but rather from completing the objectives, such as capturing a flag in Warsong Gulch or destroying a tower in Alterac Valley.
#4 – Wintergrasp Changes
The way Wingergrasp battle participation functions has been drastically overhauled. For one, there is a cap on how many players can be in it, meaning there is not going to be any more Tenacity, or Against the Odds achievement. There is now a countdown timer for Wintergrasp on the Battlegrounds tab of your PvP pane.
To join Wintergrasp, players will now have to queue as they would for any battleground. The queue opens 15 minutes before Wintergrasp is supposed to start. Players can queue from Battlemasters in any capital city or by flying into Wintergrasp. Queueing doesn’t guarantee you a spot. When the battle begins 120 players from each faction are chosen and teleported in. Any not chosen are teleported out. You can fly over Wintergrasp during a battle, but if you try to join in it will port you out.
The queue remains active for the duration of the battle. If someone leaves they will be instantly replaced with someone from the queue. Level 80 players have higher queue priority than non-80s.
#3 – Riding Skill and Mounts
First off, you may now notice that you summon your mount much faster now. The cast time of ground mounts is now only 1.5 seconds. That is the least significant of all the mount-related changes, however.
Apprentice Riding Skill (75) can now be learned at level 20 (down from 30 and the original 40). The riding skill costs a meager 4 gold. Journeyman Riding Skill (150, aka "epic") can now be learned at level 40 (down from 60). It costs 50 gold to learn.
Expert Riding Skill (225, aka "regular flying") can now be learned at level 60 (down from 70). It costs 600 gold, and is effected by faction discounts. Faction discounts are from: Honor Hold – Alliance; Thrallmar – Horde. The training and mounts can be purchased at these locations. Additionally, the mount speed has been increased to 150% from 60%.
Artisan Riding Skill (300, aka "epic flying) is still learned at level 70 for a base cost of 5000g, but is now effected by faction discounts – Honor Hold and Thrallmar.
Tome of Cold Weather Flight is a new Heirloom item that can be purchased from the cold weather flying trainer in Dalaran. It costs 1000g and can be traded to any of your other characters. This tome can be used to teach that character Cold Weather Flying at level 68, meaning that they will be able to fly through all of Northrend for the same price they would otherwise be spending at level 77. It cannot be used more than once, however.
#2 – Emblem Reward Updates
The Emblem system was completely overhauled in patch 3.2. Emblems of Heroism (previously obtained from 10-man Naxxramas and Heroic dungeons) and Emblems of Valor (previously obtained from 25-man Naxxramas and 10-man Ulduar) have been all but removed. They no longer drop anywhere in the game, but can still be obtained from converting Emblems of Conquest, and used to purchase the same items as always.
All dungeons with the exception of the Trial of the Crusader raids (which drop the new Emblems of Triumph) now drop Emblems of Conquest. The daily non-heroic dungeon quest rewards one Emblem of Conquest, and the daily Heroic dungeon quest rewards two Emblems of Triumph. This effectively means that a person who never does anything other than heroic dungeons can, eventually, get every piece of emblem-purchased gear in the game. Fair? I think not. Easy on the casuals? Fo’ sho’.
#1 – Isle of Conquest
What I deem to be the absolute best part of patch 3.2 is, hands down, the new battleground. Please note, too, that this statement is coming from a PvE player who rarely bothers with battlegrounds – In fact I had totally lost my taste for them since the major Alterac Valley change circa patch 2.0 that changed it from a 3-hour epic event to a 20-minute keep rush. The Isle of Conquest doesn’t disappoint, however. It is most definitely the most intricate, fun, and unique battleground since original AV, with new vehicles, bombs, airships, and aerial assaults.