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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

How encounter design plays into game balance

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Game balance is a very frequent topic when it comes to WoW. With every nerf or buff, there comes a vast explanation from the player base as to why it was and was not justified. Perhaps one of the most common lamentations regarding a nerf that we see is when Blizzard "nerfs PvE for the sake of PvP." While Blizzard does make PvP damage adjustments from time to time, there are far more damage changes that are made due to PvE concerns than there ever has been for PvP. It's an easy fallback to take up; blaming the aspect of the game which you don't actively take part in, yet it would be far more accurate for PvP players to complain about PvE.

There's another trap that's easy to fall into: that PvE balance is easy to do. To be fair, balancing against Patchwerk encounters isn't that difficult, although you'll still never get it perfect, but WoW has only had a single Patchwerk encounter, and that was Patchwerk. For all the damage juggling that Blizzard does, the largest factor in game balance is always going to be the encounters themselves. Each fight has unique mechanics which mingles with the way specs operate and it is that which determines how a spec fairs just as much as any damage balancing on Blizzard's part.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: The loss of itemization in Cataclysm

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Like it or not, there's one constant about raiding. No matter what your reason for raiding is, and no matter what joy you happen to get from it, there's only one thing that matters at the end of the day. Obviously, I'm talking about loot. Loot is the one thing that makes the raiding world go 'round. Sure, we raid for story, we raid for friends, we raid for challenges. All of that is well and good and makes for a nice, lovely, non-selfish story that we can tell the world. Who knows? It might even be true -- but there's no avoiding that loot is the result.

Maybe that's why raiding has popularity issues. Maybe it isn't the experience so much as it is the reward. I suppose we'll never know -- at least, not from this Ready Check. No, no, instead there's there one part of loot issues that I really want to get into, the problem that has been plaguing Blizzard for this entire expansion: the lack of loot.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding), Cataclysm

Ready Check: Tiered raid progression vs. raid accessibility

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Let's do a little bit of polling in my head, shall we? How many of you raided during vanilla? Not all that many, I'm sure, and not purely because not that many folks from that time are still around but also because a horridly low number of people who were around back then did raid. But let's say you did raid. How many actually got to clear through the original Naxx? Now, that's a small number of hands; after all, even Blizzard said that less than 1% of the player base so much as downed a single boss in the that instance. Moving on to The Burning Crusade, how many raided there? More hands that previously, I'm sure. Now how many of you progressed past Karazhan? How many cleared through Black Temple? Sunwell?

Let's keep getting more current, though. How many say Naxx in Wrath? Now how many saw ICC? OK, how many say any T11 content? How many of those saw Dragon Soul? Interesting! The number of hands gets progressively smaller as the raids within vanilla WoW and The Burning Crusade progress, yet it stays relatively the same throughout Wrath and Cataclysm. That's because in Wrath, Blizzard drastically changed its view on raiding -- far beyond merely making it easier.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Why we need difficult raid encounters

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Welcome back again, raiders. Last session, we discussed those things that make a raid fun. Fun, as with many subjects, is a highly personal experience, and the simple matter is that not everyone finds even the concept of raiding itself very fun. This week, I want to continue with that discussion but in a different topic of course. Fun is merely a single part of raiding; another side of it is difficulty.

Difficulty comes in many shapes and sizes, not all of which are exclusive to one another. Further, difficulty often gets a rather tough rap in terms of how it influences a player's experience. Often, when we hear the word difficulty, we think of bosses that are just downright annoyingly hard. We envision these impossible encounters that act as roadblocks toward progression that end up only frustrating raiders. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: What makes raiding fun?

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Ahh, it is a new year, and as is common during this time, we put aside a spot of our days in order to reflect upon the previous year. We do this to see where we went wrong, where we went right, what aspects we think we need to improve upon.

Video games, particularly MMOs, are not so different from people, and MMO players too must undergo this same reflection. In WoW especially, one thing stands out above all the rest: Raiding continues to be a failure.

Now, now, I am not apart of the camp which decries the dumbing down of content. In fact, I still laud the quality of WoW's raids that Blizzard is putting out, even if I think they are becoming a bit light on the size factor. I am instead speaking in terms of sheer numbers. Raiding has never been an aspect of WoW that a majority of the community participated in, despite its being where the largest amount of new content is seen throughout expansions. Even though raiding has grown more and more accessible over this past year, there are still more people who don't raid than do.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

WoW Insider's guide to Warlord Zon'ozz

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Unlike the other encounters in Dragon Soul, Warlord Zon'ozz only requires a single tank. For cooldown purposes, it is possible to bring in a second tank; however, there isn't too much of a need to do so. Per usual, you will want to have around five to six healers. Switch your off tank for an additional healer if you feel that would help. Your DPS should be a solid mix of both ranged and melee; there does need to be a solid balance of both. Healers should be split among the DPS, with tank healers staying with the melee.

Abilities

Zon'ozz doesn't have all that many abilities, but he's still a hands-on encounter. Most of your time will be spent watching the Void of Unmaking and bouncing it back and forth. Healers will focus more on clearing away Disrupting Shadows. For once, tanks probably have the easiest time on this encounter, only really having to watch out for a single ability that occurs about once per phase or so.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding), Raid Guides

WoW Insider's guide to Morchok

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Greetings raiders, and welcome to WoW Insider's raid boss strategy guides! With the release of 4.3 and the new Dragon Soul raid, we're finally onto the last bastion of evil in this expansion. Finally we are given the chance to face down Deathwing himself and end his destructive madness. Before we can reach this cataclysmic destroyer, though, we'll first have to break the siege upon Wyrmrest Temple and battle our way through the most powerful minions the Destroyer has in his arsenal.

The first of this is Morchok, a giant earth elemental that is assaulting the front gates, as it were, of the Temple itself. Although not challenging for the first encounter of the raid, this pile of rocks isn't going down without a fight. Are you prepared to break yourselves upon his body? (Oh, wait ... that's a different encounter, isn't it?)

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding), Raid Guides

The return of raid stacking?

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Many people are currently all in a tizzy over the recently released ability lists and talent trees for all of the classes in the next expansion. I suppose I too am no different in this respect. Yet while all others are in their throes of joy (or desperately pleading for changes), I am struck with a thought, a concern if you will, that leaves me slightly worried for the future of raiding. At some point in time, a great wise man once said that we are doomed to repeat history and all that jazz often if we fail to remember it. Sometimes I feel that he is only half right.

Much like Know Your Lore, this week is something of a tinfoil-hat deal, meaning that it's all speculation on my part. I could be wrong -- in fact, this time around I beg to be incorrect -- but I am merely reporting what it is that I see trending. Take it all with a grain of salt.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding), Mists of Pandaria

Ready Check: Cleaning up issues with Raid Finder

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Last week, we talked about a few of the issues that are currently speculated for Blizzard's new Raid Finder tool that is being released within the next patch. Specifically, that discussion was about raid size and raid leadership; however, these are not the only concerns that people have. The Raid Finder is a rather charged topic within the community, for a wide variety of reasons, all depending on whom you ask.

This week, we will be wrapping up the discussion as best can be done as I attempt to address the remaining issues that people have put forward. Before we begin, let me say that, until this all goes live, we cannot accurately judge the success or failure of the tool. The Dungeon Finder, similarly, had a significant amount of backlash and down talk before it was released, yet most people now wouldn't play without it -- just to put everything in perspective.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: The human element of the Raid Finder

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

These past few weeks have been quite the doozy here for Ready Check as we've discussed the future of raiding in Pandaria followed by the more current notion of raid accessibility, two seemingly different topics that are heavy intertwined. This week, we'll be brushing into another similar topic as we delve into the newest tool that Blizzard is releasing in order to increase raid accessibility across the board: the new Raid Finder.

Currently on the PTR, the Raid Finder has been running rather hit or miss with some of the playerbase at the moment. A few are avid PTR-goers, while others have only just now popped into the process. For either group, they certainly don't have a lack of being vocal on the forums. Despite what problems some players have been raising, I feel and have experienced that the Raid Finder tool will go over amazingly well. A lot of the complaints that we hear now are the exact same ones that were given for the Dungeon Finder when it was being released, and while not everything from 5-man content transitions to raids, both will have the same success.

Join me as I defend the single tool that I will probably never use in this game.

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Looking at raid accessibility

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Last week, we brushed upon the topic of what the next expansion might hold for raiding. Specifically, the talk centered around the concept that raiding cannot be Blizzard's sole focus any more. As much effort as has been put into raiding, not every player is capable of getting involved with it. The argument was that Blizzard needed to focus on other content for max-level players aside from raiding and questioned what impact that would have on raiding overall.

First, at little bit of information. The blog Player vs. Auction House went off the norm and provided a little bit of numbers gleamed from WowProgress about T11 raiding before 4.2. While there is some interesting data as it relates to last week's topic, that isn't the focus I want to bring up. An argument was put forth that Cataclysm raiding is less accessible today than it previously was. I feel this is a great topic to delve right into this week.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Looking into the future of raiding

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

BlizzCon 2011 was a great source of new information for a lot of players. One of the things that Blizzard didn't really speak about, however, was the future of raiding in the next expansion and beyond. Since The Burning Crusade, Blizzard has made enormous strides in changing the face of endgame content. It started with the reduction from 40-man raiding to 25-man raiding along with the introduction of 10-man raiding. In Wrath, we saw an even larger change, with every raid having a 10-man option that allowed even greater access to the raiding scene than ever before. Now, 10-man and 25-man are, to Blizzard at least, considered to be on equal footing.

With each expansion has come a drastic change to the raiding scene, yet nothing was announced for the next game. This leaves us rather up in the air as to where Blizzard intends to take the raiding scene. WoW is becoming a game of accessibility, where the end goal is to make the largest amount of content available to the widest audience. In light of this, it is time that we don our tin foil hats in taking a look at what the future might hold for raiding players of WoW.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: How legendaries destroy PVE

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

By now, everyone is familiar with the bitter arguments that follow the release of any legendary weapon. There are always the petty squabbles over who should get it first, which class or spec gains the most benefit from it, even down so much as to who should be allowed to get the item at all. Beyond those things, there is always the riled-up PVP crowd. PVP doesn't offer itemization or choices to mirror or match legendary items by any means, and every legendary item has long been a must-have for any serious PVPer.

Basically, you have a legendary, you rock face without even questioning it; without one, well, you just better pray you end up matched on equal footing. Every legendary has done this, and each one has created a new controversy, yet no one ever gives any consideration to the opposing side of the game. Yes, legendaries come from PVE, and any raider can technically get one with dedication, but they have just as of an unbalancing impact on the raiding scene as they do the PVP-verse. This week, we'll be looking into those negative reactions.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: What to do when there's no raiding left

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

As we all sit by our computers, patiently awaiting for some news about the oncoming patch wherein we get to finally kill that blazing dragon that has been a bane upon all my alts for the entire expansion, it can be difficult sometimes to find things to do. Sure, there's still a raid that not everyone has completed on heroic difficulty -- in fact, most people haven't -- yet what statistics we have access to shows that not every raid group has any interest in heroic raids. Some raid groups just want to clear out normal and be done with it. With only seven bosses to tackle, clearing our Firelands certainly isn't an all-week affair.

What to do then when the current raiding content is cleared? The number of bosses in Firelands isn't really a major concern; even with nearly double that in the first raiding tier of this expansions, several raiding groups would clear out everything available well before weekly resets. Keeping your raiders engaged in content while not overwhelming them is just as much the job of the raid leader as it is Blizzard's. There is a lot of content out in the world of Azeroth -- years worth, in fact. It's up to you to exploit it all.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Ready Check: Handling raid drama

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

Greetings, raiders. As we await more information to come down the pipeline, it's time to sit back and reflect upon some of the more mundane issues that face raiders in the coming months. These past few weeks, we've been discussing various methods of loot distribution and how they work (or sometimes don't). There are times where these systems can fail so badly that they cause loot drama within the raid. Other times, it isn't as melodramatic as loot. Raids are nothing more than groups and people, and in groups, not everyone will always get along perfectly.

Raid drama is, at times, an unfortunate side-effect of being within a raid. While we all hope for the perfect raiding team that is without any issues at all, sometimes the worst comes to pass and conflict arises. These are the times that test the leadership skills of a group organizer. This week, we'll go about discussing how to properly handle raider fallout.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

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