I'll be honest. I've been rather bored with World of Warcraft lately. As great a patch as 2.4 was, there was little in it for me except for a bit of money-making on the Isle of Quel'danas. Magister's Terrace, or Mr.T, as Mike fondly calls it, was fun and the quasi-Arena match is a cheap thrill, but you can only do so much of it. Specially when Kael'thas refuses to cooperate and drop his prancing white chicken. As cool as "of the Shattered Sun" title is, the ease by which players reach exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive and the rapid Gold flow of doing the daily quests made it immensely unappealing. With every other character running around with the title, it's just not as enticing anymore.
Even PvP, my favorite thing to do in-game, has become a bit stale. Grinding this last week of Season 3 in the pursuit of personal goals has been tiring and nerve-wracking. I no longer have as much time to run around in the Battlegrounds, but neither do I have much of a desire to. I log in to do my daily Battleground quest, maybe the Spirits of Auchindoun if I luck out on the time, and play some Arena matches with my team. Otherwise, the crash of my raiding guild, the quitting of my friends, and the long wait for Season 4 took quite a toll on my enthusiasm for the game.
That said, I still want to play, just not with as much fervor as I used to. This problem isn't new. It happens to everyone, particularly right before a new expansion hits. With Wrath of the Lich King looming over the horizon, I've been more interested in taking illicit sneak peeks at the Alpha than actually playing the game as it is now. With Blizzard's declaration that there will be no more major content after Sunwell Plateau, there is little to look forward to. Of course, there are little gems like Patch 2.4.3 which, while not anything huge -- there are no new dungeons, no new abilities (not really) -- demonstrates Blizzard's commitment to improving on what its already built.
Patch 2.4.3 reminds me of why I like the game so much. I think that Blizzard really does put a lot of thought into the game, despite all the disgruntled players here and there whining about balance, lack of features, or whatever. For one thing, Patch 2.4.3 isn't merely a "fix" patch. It actually has some new items like the 28-slot herbalism bag, which should have been in the game since The Burning Crusade launched, or a new non-combat pet that will be hovering a little higher. Little things. And subtle things, like the slow building of a harbor in Stormwind. Things that let us know that the devs aren't all focused on the expansion.
I'm probably easy to please, if a bit weary nowadays. But things like a wandering Spaniard and his dog are really nice touches to a game that has a ways to go before another infusion of massive new content. With Wrath of the Lich King not even in beta yet, some players are left wondering what else could be in store for the game. Even the TCG loot items, which are immense fun, are little things that make this game special. It never takes itself too seriously, and items like the D.I.S.C.O. are entertaining and silly. I think I might even get myself one of those when it becomes available.
Mounts at Level 30? Yes please. Because of reduced travel times, it's sure to make leveling faster and easier. So while Blizzard is hard at work on the expansion, small doses of change trickle in to the game to keep things mostly fresh. And they're definitely keeping an eye out for new players, specially with more levels to climb when Wrath of the Lich King finally hits. It's definitely a good thing, and when they changed the leveling curve in Patch 2.3, it certainly sped things up for many players. I'm not an altoholic, although I would like to make new characters; but the though of leveling all the way to 70 (or even 80!) again discourages me. Maybe we'll see more Death Knight-like unlocking mechanics for players with high level characters in the future. With Blizzard, you never really know.
So maybe Blizzard won't be putting out major content until Wrath of the Lich King. We don't know how long that will take, but they have surprised us before. Like I said, I'm probably easy to please, but I appreciate patches like 2.4.3. Instead of a big content patch, Blizzard will probably roll out a few more of these and throw in some cool stuff along the way. Maybe it won't be enough for some players to break out of their ennui, but it brings some fun back in the game for me. Sometimes, that's enough.
Gallery: Patch 2.4.3