Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Warcraft Instance Lock Extension Feature

Blizzard has just announced a new feature to be released in World of Warcraft Patch 3.2: Instance Lock Extensions. With the feature, a player will have the option of foregoing daily or weekly instance resets on a periodic basis. The feature is controlled exclusively on an individual level rather than being raid or instance based. This means if you want to take multiple weeks to push through a single clear of Ulduar, you can prevent the reset on a week by week basis. Check out the official announcement thread here.

This is a novel feature and it will be interesting to see how it is put to use. I would imagine it will not be extensively utilized for its intended purpose. For a guild hoping to extend its progression, gear more often than time is the limiting factor. Suspending an instance reset simply prevents a gear building charge through an instance's early bosses. Sure, fighting those bosses each week is redundant, but it does build the gear base and raid cohesion necessary to topple later bosses.

As an example, a guild fresh out of Naxxramas will have very little chance clearing Ulduar in a single pass regardless of how much time they are given. Ulduar's final bosses are only feasible with a cushion of early Ulduar gear already saturating the raid. As a result, it seems as though progression oriented guilds would be better served to allow periodic resets to happen. There is however room for reasonable minds to disagree.

It would then seem to me that the raid lock extension option is more likely to be used as tool for griefing and exploits than for its intended purpose, but I am still glad that Blizzard is evolving World of Warcraft's feature set. I guess we will all need to wait and see how this new tool is put to use.

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