Yesterday patch 3.3.3 rolled out onto US World of Warcraft servers, and it's surprisingly a big one. Unfortunately there isn't a new dungeon or raid instance to gather your friends and go smash, but there is plenty of content, UI, and mechanic updates to freshen things up a bit before the Ruby Sanctum becomes available in 3.3.5.
As stated above this patch is filled with tons of goodies, from new vendors to new pets and mounts and even some streamlining changes to the battleground system. For starters there has been a new Icecrown questline added that starts from an item that drops off of the Lich King. I'm not sure if it will drop in all versions of the LK encounter but considering it rewards a unique Deathcharger mount (colored according to faction) I would assume that it drops only in the heroic 10 and 25 versions of the encounter.
On the topic of mounts, a couple more have also been added to the client in this version. Firstly are the 2 new WoWTCG reward mounts, the Wooly White Mammoth and the Blazing Hippogryph. As most of you know the future of the WoWTCG is uncertain as UDE announced earlier this year that they will not be working with Blizzard anymore to continue the game, however Blizzard has said that it isn't the end of the WoWTCG and to stay tuned for updated. The inclusion of these 2 new reward mounts to the game lends credibility to Blizzards statement and hopefully means we will see the Wrathgate expansion soon afterall, until then these 2 mounts are unobtainable. Secondly is another mount of unknown source, the X-53 Touring Rocket, which looks to be the first multi-passenger flying mount. Lastly is the Frosty Flying Carpet, a tailoring only mount, that is purchasable from the new vendor Frozo the Renowned in Dalaran (I'll go into more detail about him later in the post). Last but certainly not least in this case is the Celestial Steed mount, which looks like they took Invincible (Arthas's mount) and turned him into Algalon. Like the WoWTCG reward mounts, the Celestial Steed eludes me on how we are supposed to obtain it, but as soon as information comes to light I'll be sure to let you know as it's probably one of the best looking mounts since the A'lar mount off of Kael'Thas back in Burning Crusade.
Also included in this patch is a slew of new non-combat pets that can be acquired from a few different places. First up are 3 new toys from Jepetto Joybuzz (the toyshop owner in Dalaran), the Blue Clockwork Rocket Bot, the Blue Crashin' Thrashin' Racer Controller and a Tiny Blue Ragdoll. The other 2 pets added in this content patch also have mystery drop locations. One is most likely going to be purchasable from the blizzard store as he shares a similar name with one already sold there(Lil'KT), he is Lil'XT (a boss from the Ulduar raid instance). Lil'XT shares the animations of his big brother and also comes with his own voice, a first for non-combat pets. The other pet also shares similarities, with the Celestial Steed, he is the Celestial Dragon and like his big brother, his drop location is currently unknown.
One of the bigger additions to the patch is Frozo the Renowned who has moved into the Dalaran Magus Commerce Exchange and will be selling various items in exchange for Frozen Orbs (they finally have a use, huzzah!). For just 1 Frozen Orb you will be able to purchase all of the Eternal elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Life and Shadow) as well as Frost Lotus, finally you won't have to scrounge through the AH to make your flasks! Also available for purchase are Runed Orbs (for 4 Frozen Orbs), Crusader Orbs (for 6) and the pattern for the Frosty Flying Carpet (tailors only, also for 6 Frozen Orbs).
Speaking of professions there have been a slew of changes to existing recipes. The biggest change by far is the removal of cooldowns on all transmuting, the big ones being Titansteel, Ebonweave, Spellweave and Moonshroud. All the other changes are reductions to Ulduar item-level craftable item materials, so you should expect to see a 2-3k price drop on most servers (now is the time to gear out the plethora of alts most of you probably have).
The final major changes this patch have to do with The Culling of Stratholme and Battlegrounds. Players will now be able to skip the ridiculously long RP (Role Playing) scene at the beginning of the instance and teleport straight to the first wave of mobs. Never has Chromie looked so good =D. Also of note are some subtle changes to the Dungeon Finder tool. The first being that the Deserter debuff has been increased from 15min to 30min, so don't be so quick to leave a group or you could be waiting quite a while for a new one. On that same vein, when initiating a kick for a player in your group you must now provide a reason for kicking said player, this will not be seen by the player being voted so don't be shy in your reasoning.
As stated previously there has been a rather large change implemented to the existing Battlegrounds system which borrows heavily from the Dungeon Finder tool. The daily Call to Arms quest is now a thing of the past, as PvP goers now have their own Battleground Finder tool to use. Players can now queue for either a random Battleground or the Call to Arms of the day from anywhere in Azeroth (and Outland!) and will get a bonus for the first win (it doesn't count if you lose, so don't worry!) of the day. This bonus is worth 30 extra Honorable Kills worth of Honor, as well as 25 Arena Points so it's a great way to build PvP sets. For any subsequent uses of the tool, the bonus is reduced to 15 HK's worth of bonus honor and you won't get any Arena Points. Also of note is the removal of all Battleground Marks (Players will be able to turn in existing marks for a Commendation of Service which will grant you 185 honor per commendation). With the Battleground marks being removed, the prices on all PvP has been adjusted accordingly, so high end PvP gear will cost you in the ballpark of 25k honor. Mounts have also had their prices changed to just honor and are 50k per mount.
Well that looks to be all the major changes, there have been a slew of buffs, nerfs and fixes to various items, dungeons and classes so head on over to http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/ if you want to view the complete patch notes.
On a side note, this might be the funniest thing I've seen in awhile....