World of Warcraft Patch 3.3 Editorials

After checking out Blizzard's ambitious Fall of the Lich King patch for World of Warcraft firsthand, the editors at and Game Stooge have provided us with a couple of new overviews.

The new instance content in patch 3.3 comes in two varieties: a five-man dungeon complex composed of three wings (The Frozen Halls) and a raid (Icecrown Citadel). On the dungeon side, players will initially only be able to access the Forge of Souls - the first wing of the Frozen Halls. Essentially this in an attunement, and will grant players access to Pit of Saron. Players can access the Pit in two ways - via the dungeon portal directly, or through a teleporting device at the end of the Forge of Souls to be transported to the Pit directly. The latter method adds a nice feeling of continuation. The same applies for the Halls of Reflection. When a group clears the Pit of Saron, its members will be able to either go through the now unlocked gate at the end, or use the dungeon portal in the portal room. The raid instance, Icecrown Citadel, has no attunement. Spread over four wings not including the Frozen Throne. This citadel features twelve encounters, ranging from a multi-boss encounter to a gunship battle (at least according to news and the trailer), and finally the Lich King himself!

And from Game Stooge:
Possibly the area the game needed the biggest improvement in was looking for groups. Before, players could only flag themselves as LFG, which would post them bulletin board-style and open an LFG channel. Clunky, and almost useless in low population servers. The Group Finder is a far more dynamic automation, which you check off the dungeon(s) you want to do and what role you will fulfill (ie. tank, healer, and so forth.) The game scours all of the servers to create a cross-server group and automatically ports you to the dungeon, battlegrounds-style.

The feature has ended some of the drudgery of having to find a group to play with, though now the LFG channel is gone, which is sort of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They should have left the channel to give more options for same-server pick up groups. Plus, the fact it's cross-server can lead to some ugly griefing.