We had a fury of 3.3 information get released a couple weeks ago, but the “new” has just about run out with what has been released. I already see a ton of PUG pets running around. Most people have had a chance to see the new raid dungeons, or 5-mans (depending on their style of play). They haven’t yet released the new Arena season.
The “gating” in Icecrown Citadel means that there are gaps of time between PvE content releases for wings of the raid dungeon. This means that guilds have a limit on how much time they can spend in the raid if they are successful at taking down the first four bosses right now. Also, with hard modes not being released until after we kill Arthas, the guilds can’t work on hard modes, either. This slows down some of the information released, like boss kill strategies and such. Since the holidays are going to interrupt raid schedules for the next two weeks, the timing is actually good.
We’re also in the start of the holiday season where there will likely be fewer new announcements of content & class changes, and fewer days that people can spend raiding in the first place. The second wing of ICC won’t be released until after the holidays, since even developers and QA staff are likely allowed some holiday vacation time (they are human, afterall). We didn’t even have server maintenance today, so I’m pretty sure that the remaining 3.3 bug fixes will come slowly (keep jumping when you typhoon?).
It’s likely that things will pick up “soon” after the holidays, over the first couple months of the year. There should be big Starcraft things on the horizon that should have an impact on WoW (like the cross-server/cross-game chat they plan to implement). I haven’t been following the Starcraft stuff too much, since it’s actually not a style of game that I’m any good at, but I would expect the chat features to be implemented when SCII comes out, and not delayed until Cataclysm for WoW, so that when people are off playing SCII, you can ask them to log in for your WoW raids.
Cataclysm is the next big thing on the WoW horizon, and I expect to see Blues on the WoW forums starting to release more official information on the next expansion in the early part of next year. The hunter & warlock changes seem to be the biggest class changes, but I expect all the classes to undergo huge major talent tree changes.
“Gating” seems to mean that there’s a lot of hurry up & wait built into the game, which means that there is also a lot of feast or famine for bloggers like me, who rely on new & interesting things to be happening to fill post content. The new “gated not grindy” philosophy seems to have come into the game in terms of gating on boss releases so that we have to slow down and wait more, rather than being able to just push through all the new content. Having to wait to see Arthas also builds some artificial anticipation, which used to happen naturally when it took even the best guilds several weeks before they cleared through all the bosses.
I’m currently traveling to California to see my parents for the holidays. My mom and uncle play WOW, so we’ll maybe play on low level alts together (since I’m not on their server anymore). I spent all Monday either on airplanes or sitting in the airport (wishing for RL teleportation). My first plane got delayed 2 hours (meaning I missed my first connection and had to get rescheduled for less convenient flight times, delaying my arrival by at least 5 or 6 hours). All the east coast airports have been really bogged down with snow and stuff, so I’m lucky that I made it all in one day & didn’t have to sleep in an airport somewhere. Good luck to anyone else that has to fly out over the next couple days!
My guild plans to cut out our Thursday raiding night during the holiday weeks, since we don’t want to raid on Christmas Eve or New Years Eve. We actually still have 25 people signed up for Wednesday’s raid for this week, which is nice. We’ll still also have enough people to run the 10-man with at least one group (but I can’t do the Sunday raids while I’m with my family).
I plan to spend some of break working on my guides (especially my leveling guide).
So, enjoy your calm between storms, since things should be picking up again in the New Year.