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The pros and cons of extending raid lockouts

All through Wrath of the Lich King, I raided in a hardcore progression guild for 16 hours a week. We ran 12 hours in 25-mans and another three or four a week working on hard mode 10-mans. A lot of it ended up feeling like clearing content to get geared up to clear the exact same content but with more bells and whistles (especially Trial of the Crusader, where we often ended up doing the same raid four times a week). So when Cataclysm came out, I shifted to a more casual, purely 10-man, six-hours-a-week raiding schedule with a new guild.

For the most part, it's been pretty great, but one aspect of it is that with two hours a night, three nights a week, it can be a challenge to get through the farm content fast enough to get to the new bosses, especially once most of an instance is farm content. Even when you know all the fights and can burn through them, five bosses can take a lot of time to get knocked out in order to get face time on a new boss.

One of the innovations of Wrath of the Lich King was extending raid lockouts. What this allows you to do is to skip the bosses you already have on farm by, in effect, picking up where your last raid left off. Cleared everything but Nef last week and needing to work on the new encounter? Now you can just start up with everything you killed last week still dead. What could be the problem, you ask?

Well, for starters, if you have a DPS warrior who hasn't gotten his DPS shoulders yet, telling him that he's not going to get a shot at the ones off of Halfus this week because your raid is skipping ahead to Cho'gall can be a hard sell, even if you happen to be that DPS warrior and you know your raid leader's mind and why he's trying to get the progression kills. The upside of extending the lockouts is skipping over content you've already farmed, but if you haven't gotten the drops off of that farm content yet, you're costing a sure chance at valors and loot for wiping on new content that will take time to learn.

Some people also simply disagree with the notion of extending lockouts because they feel that if you can't clear up to and kill that boss without it, you don't deserve to kill it. I find this kind of silly. The amount of time you have to raid for whatever reason doesn't mean your players can't master the content, and if you're having to spend one-sixth of your time just clearing up to it before you even get to see it, how much face time are you actually going to get? But it's certainly an opinion a lot of people hold.

Extending the lockout is one of the most useful tools for a raid leader wanting to direct his or her raid at specific content. But it isn't always popular for a variety of reasons (fewer chances at gear, fewer valor points, an increased chance of an entire raid period spent wiping, purist reasons) that you have to keep in mind to balance out raiders wants and needs.

What's your position on lockouts?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

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