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Filed under: Raiding

Mythic raid testing this Friday, September 19th

If you happen to have a group of, say, 20 folks to hand and you want to test out what Mythic Raiding is going to be all about, then rejoice, for you'll have that opportunity. Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas had once again revealed to us the schedule for the next batch of raid testing, this time for Mythic difficulty. We're looking at two encounters in Mythic difficulty Blackrock Foundry, Beastlord Darmac at 10:30 Pacific and Iron Maidens at 15:00 Pacific (that's 3 PM for those of us not on military time).

Note that you don't have to be on a level 100 character to take part in the testing. Your level will be scaled up and your gear as well, so you can take part with a full group of 90's if that's what you have. Also remember, this is the beta - there could be any number of issues that delay or postpone beta testing of Mythic raiding. Don't get overexcited if that happens.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard releases World of Warcraft's 10th Anniversary details

So, today the folks at Blizzard posted more details about the upcoming 10th Anniversary of World of Warcraft, featuring the Tarren Mill/Southshore deathmatch BG and the revamped level 100 40 player LFR version of Molten Core.

One thing we now know for sure is that Molten Core will become accessible on November 21 (a week after the launch of Warlords itself) and last until January 6th, 2015. This gives you a little more than a month to get to level 100 and run the revamped Molten Core. It's a little worrying to me that you'll have to hit 100 and run this content (remember, it's a 40 person LFR) during the holiday season, but that's what we are currently being told. Also, thanks to the folks at Wowhead we also know that there are four helmets you can get when you defeat Ragnaros - an updated Crown of Destruction and plate, leather and cloth versions. In addition, Ragnaros drops the Core Hound Chain as well.

The new battleground will have a 90-99 and 100 version, and winning either version of the Southshore/Tarren Mill battleground will reward you with the Tarren Mill Terror title for Alliance players and the Southshore Slayer title for the Horde. Rated PvP play will begin on December 2nd, and the first raids will begin opening at that time with Raid Finder and Mythic difficulty opening the next week. A full schedule for the raid releases is incoming.

So that's how things stand so far. Looks like you'll want to get to 100 as quickly as possible if you're looking forward to that Molten Core LFR or the Southshore/Tarren Mill deathmatch.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Raiding, Raid Guides, Warlords of Draenor

Siege of Orgrimmar gear will not become multi-spec in 6.0

If you're waiting for the big multi-spec gear shift when patch 6.0 drops, you'll have to wait a little longer. Rygarius took to the forums today to clarify that the gear that drops in SoO will not be changed to the system announced for Warlords of Draenor.

Rygarius - 5.4 SoO Gear Conversion
Hey Danthedruid,

Gear obtained from Siege of Orgrimmar won't be multi-spec. That's for the new items that will be obtained in Warlords of Draenor. There's no change to existing item levels and they'll will retain their upgrade ranks. If they were reforged they'll be returned into an unreforged state.

Some of the details are still being worked out. We'll be posting more information once there's more info for the remaining stuff.


Basically, this means that you'll still need multiple sets to do things like tank or heal or DPS as long as your wearing gear from Mists of Pandaria - it's not until Warlords itself comes out that you'll get the gear which switches when you do.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: No more Tier vendors

Vaelastrasz
One of the more irritating and frustrating aspects of winning Tier loot from bosses is having to take the token to a vendor in order to actually get the piece of armor you won. Nowadays it's rare for me to equip a piece as soon as I get it, unless it's a truly huge upgrade, but I still find it annoying to have to take a token to a vendor in order to get the actual piece of gear. In addition, as a druid, there are four versions of everything available for each token, and scrolling through page after page of nearly-identically named armor pieces makes my eyes cross. Minor complaints, really, but nonetheless the following announcement by Lead Game Designer Ion Hazzikostas, aka Watcher, on Twitter really made my day:
This is a fantastic quality of life change for raiders. No more running to vendors and no more waiting to get your new piece of Tier gear. I'd say "no more accidentally buying the wrong piece" with your token too, but in Warlords, your primary stats will auto-change when you shift specs anyway, so that's no big deal. In any case, this new system will be more convenient for players, and I'm certainly thankful for that!

Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

The incredible aging demographic

Let me put it on the line - LFR and Flexible raid sizes are the most important raiding experiences currently available in World of Warcraft, and the upcoming Mythic 20 person raid difficulty is an atavism, barely even an appendix, that only a vanishing few players will experience when it is current. It exists for a sense of achievement and prestige that only a few players really have the time for anymore, and every year, that group of players gets smaller.

The reason for this is simple - as Tom Chilton put it, the demographic is getting older over time. People like me who played for the raid game back in classic are older. They have jobs, kids, schedules that don't permit the kind of time investment hard modes currently demand, the kind Mythic will demand. And it's not that you can't do cutting edge raiding in, say, six hours a week. I'm not arguing that you will have to put in 20 hours a week to do Mythic. I'm arguing that even scheduling one or two nights a week and being there reliably is actually really hard when you have other commitments that can often demand your time on a moment's notice - in essence. being able to go when you want/need to raid instead of when the group is scheduled to go is a huge boon to that aging demographic. For all the elitism, all the sneering, and all the slurs directed at the LFR player base, the feature allows people who love raiding but who can no longer commit to scheduled WoW play a place to do it.

You can ask if this is healthy for the game as a whole - whether or not your answer is yes or no, though, there is no escaping this simple fact. WoW is a decade old. Many of us playing it have been here for years now. Even players who started in Wrath or Cataclysm have now been playing for years. This is an aging game with aging players, this is the reality of the situation. And this means that more adaptive raiding solutions are going to keep presenting themselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor beta: Play with the blues August 21

Holinka
For those in the Warlords of Draenor beta, this coming Thursday you'll have the opportunity to potentially test directly with some Blizzard Blues. From 3:00 to 5:00 pm PDT on Thursday, August 21, members of Blizzard's Development team, Community team, Quality Assurance, and Customer Service will be available on both the PvP and PvE level 100 premade realms to test 3v3 Arena matches and 5-person dungeon groups. Depending on faction, you'll be able to identify Blizzard representatives by their guild tag: <Blizzard Horde> or <Blizzard Alliance>. The event will be a great way to test out some dungeons and arenas while mingling with both your fellow WoW players and creators. If you can make it, I'm sure the event will be worth your while!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Beta raid testing schedule for Monday, July 28

Raid testing for Warlords of Draenor will continue on Monday with two new scheduled encounters, according to a post made by Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas. As with last week's testing, both encounters will be on Heroic difficulty, allowing players to bring a group of anywhere from 10-30 people in order to test the content. To get in the raid, speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade, who is now also located in Dalaran, Shattrath, and both factions Vale Shrines, as well as Stormwind, Orgrimmar, and your garrison.

Oregorger from Heroic Blackrock Foundry will begin at approximately 10:30AM PDT, and the Twin Ogron encounter from Heroic Highmaul will begin at approximately 4pm PDT. Characters that participate in testing will have their effective level scaled to 100 for the purposes of testing, so no need to worry about gear or level. Keep in mind that testing periods are subject to change at any time -- so if you're interested in testing, keep a eye on the official forum thread for any updates.

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Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Raid testing to begin Monday, July 21

Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has announced that the Warlords of Draenor beta will begin raid testing tomorrow with two Heroic encounters -- one from Highmaul, and one from Blackrock Foundry. As a Heroic level encounter, the raid will accommodate anywhere between 10 and 30 players. Players that wish to test the encounter can speak to Nexus-Lord Donjon Rade in either Stormwind, Orgrimmar, or their garrisons, once the encounters are open for testing.

The Butcher from Heroic Highmaul will be available for testing beginning at 1:30pm PDT, and Gruul from Heroic Blackrock Foundry will be available beginning at 4pm PDT. Please note that testing periods are subject to change at any time -- if you're interested in testing, keep an eye on the official thread in case any changes are made to times or dates.

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Filed under: Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Watcher on Raid Consumables and Enchants in Warlords

One of the things that people concern themselves with when raiding progression is all the little things you can do to eke out just that extra little bit more. However, with the advent of Warlords of Draenor and its sweeping systems changes, stat squishes and ability pruning, there seems to be some confusion about what players will and won't be able to do to get that extra bit. Yes, reforging is gone, but Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas assures us you will still be able to enchant and gem your gear. And also, raid consumables like food and flasks totally are going to be around in Warlords.

What seems to be confusing people is that enchanting and gemming are getting a slim-down. There will be fewer enchant slots and gems on gear, but they're not going to be removed.
It's important to keep in mind that people will still have the ability to tweak and go for incremental performance increases in these ways. Some players may choose to use these on a frequent basis, but for the most part, it's expected that most players will be able to use more gear immediately on getting it with the new system.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Soloing the Black Temple with Blizzard


Daxxari is back with another guide to soloing old raids, this time, The Black Temple. Whether it's transmog loot you're looking for, a chance at a warglaive, reputation with another faction (The Ashtongue Deathsworn) or just giggles, Black Temple has it all from Tier 6 sets and lookalikes to some of the coolest scenery the game's ever seen.

Black Temple is by far one of my favorite raids. It's quite soloable by a max-level character -- the hardest fight is the Reliquary of Souls because you can easily do enough damage to yourself and the interrupts get brutal -- and it has some really awesome looking loot, cool fight mechanics, and some big lore deals like Teron Gorefiend and of course Illidan himself waiting for you. Daxxari explains the fight mechanics and how they work for a solo player, so head over to the official site and read up before heading into the Black Temple.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Raid Guides

All-priest raid downs Lei Shen 25 man

Single-class raids are not unheard of in WoW, but I've found I'm more accustomed to finding all-paladin and all-druid efforts -- you know, hybrids who can traditionally provide all the roles a raid would need: tanking, DPSing, and healing. An all-priest raid -- while I'm sure it's been done before -- is a new take for me!

And I have to say, it's fantastic. Organized by Usha (Aerie Peak-US) and Valley (Frostmourne-US) and billed as "All Saints Day", these 25 priests managed to clear the Throne of Thunder, as seen in their Lei Shen kill video above. For the interested, their spec breakdown was 2 Holy, 11 Discipline, and 12 Shadow. Next week they are moving on to Siege of Orgrimmar, so if you're an interested Alliance priest on a North American server, this might be worth checking out. They maintain Flex gear as the minimum requirement to join the raid, so keep that in mind as well.

Congratulations to the All Saints! I think events like this are a great way to pass time, have fun, and challenge yourself while we're all waiting for patch 6.0. Good luck in Orgrimmar!

Filed under: News items, Raiding

The Difficulty Trap

The beautiful thing about twitter is how it can engender conversations you might never get to have otherwise. Last night (thanks to my perpetual insomnia) I was up and scanning when Bashiok made a series of tweets I just had to respond to.

What I really took away from this discussion is, frankly, just how difficult it is to compare the difficulty of WoW's vanilla epoch and today's raiding (and raiding to come). There are at least two kinds of difficulty to discuss, when talking about raiding difficulty - the difficulty of putting together and keeping a raiding group going, and the difficulty of actually executing the content. These are wildly disparate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Warlords of Draenor: High level characters vs. lower level content

In the new theorycrafting sticky on the Warlords of Draenor Alpha forums, there's a big post by Celestalon that explains how we're going to be able to solo old raids and such with the item squish making us proportionately less powerful in those raids. It's worth breaking down here, for those of us (like me) who enjoy that sort of thing for either fun or transmog.

First up, all players will gain a damage reduction factors when attacked by creatures that are lower level, starting at Cataclysm content and heading down from there. Creatures from Mists of Pandaria and, presumably Warlords of Draenor will not be affected by this. So once a creature from Cataclysm content or below (Wrath, BC and Vanilla) attacks a character that outlevels them, there will be a formula that determines how little damage the character takes. Celestalon presented it as such.

LevelDiff = PlayerLevel - CreatureLevel
if (CreatureExpansion < Pandaria) then
// 10% DR per level diff, with a floor of 10%
DamageTakenFactor = max(1.0 - 0.1 * LevelDiff, 0.1)
else
DamageTakenFactor = 1.0
end

What this means is that, when your level 100 character goes inside a level 80 Wrath raid, they'll have a very large reduction in how much damage they take.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

The nature of unique mechanics and raid difficulty

One of the ideas that I always find interesting is that, as raid difficulty increases, it becomes more reasonable to expect certain abilities to be available. Like in this tweet from Nathaniel Chapman, an encounter designer for WoW, which talks about the Hand of Protection ability. (As an aside, I very much recommend his personal blog.) The basic idea is simple, and can be extrapolated to other abilities - it's reasonable to expect a Mythic raid to have access to abilities such as Hand of Protection or other class specific abilities that can alter a fight's parameters.

It's this idea of raid difficulty making specific design choices acceptable that I find interesting, at least in the context of class abilities that might otherwise be seen as unbalancing. One specific mention was how Paladins could cheese tank swap mechanics, something that made them invaluable on fights like Heroic Horridon. Imagine that, in a hypothetical Mythic Horridon, the fight was designed for you to cheese tank swap mechanics, or the boss came with a huge AoE damage spell that was spell reflectable, justifying the inclusion of a warrior tank or a DPS warrior with Mass Spell Reflect. The cast could also be spellstolen, so mages would be a valuable addition.

These kinds of mechanics are seen (and rightfully so, in my opinion) as punitive to struggling small raid groups who only have so many combinations of classes and specs. If your raid doesn't have a mage or warrior, for example, then dealing with that hypothetical huge AoE damage attack becomes harder. But for Mythic difficulty, with its iron-clad 20 player limit, you can expect more diversity in raid makeup, and thus can design for it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New Dungeon Journal entries

Okay, this one's a little spoilery, but if you're game for that, it's interesting - the latest Alpha build for Warlords of Draenor contains Dungeon Journal entries for several familiar names. We already suspected some of them would be making an appearance, but others are a bit of a surprise.

To keep you from seeing spoilers you don't want, the information is behind the jump.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Lore, Warlords of Draenor

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