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Posts with tag 5-man

Warlords of Draenor: Blizzard wants to offer regular new 5-mans

Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has given those of us who really missed 5-man content beyond the first patch of Mists of Pandaria something to really look forward to in Warlords of Draenor.
The blog post to which he's responding is one that talks about the lack of 5-mans in Mists. You should check it out, it's a good read. The writer talks about how they feel like they can participate in social interaction in a group of five people, but feel lost and overwhelmed in a group as large as that in LFR. This is a really reasonable complaint, and one that I doubt the author is alone in their concerns. They also bring up how, with the absence of the "trinity" of tank, healer, and DPS roles; scenarios do not serve as a viable replacement for dungeons.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: The return of hard heroic 5-mans?

Just occasionally I'll see a blue post that gets me really excited. And today, I saw one. Blizzard EU Community Manager Taepsilum posted in response to a thread about the difficulty of 5-man dungeons. It's a really long post, so do go and read it, but I'm just going to pull out the exciting stuff for now. He mentions, firstly, that Warlords will see the return of normal and heroic modes at max level, and goes on to add that "WoD heroics will be much harder than MoP heroics".

This is music to my ears. MoP has been a terrible expansion for 5-man content. And, while I appreciate that my experience is not the same as everyone's, 5-mans are some of my very favorite content to do to grind points, to grind gear, just to do for the sheer fun of it. I have hated the absence of new, relevant 5-mans in Mists. It's also something Blizzard devs are keenly aware of. And the latter ones in Cataclysm weren't that great either, yes there were a few tricky moments in Well of Eternity, but as ever, Blizzard overcompensated for players' complaints that the early Cata 5-mans were too hard.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

The hope for more future five-mans

Dire Maul
A common refrain among casual players this expansion has been the lament for five-man content. Mists of Pandaria hasn't added any new five-man dungeons since it launched, and for fans of that format, it's a bit of a bummer. In fact, Mists of Pandaria marks the first time that Blizzard hasn't added new dungeons post-launch. In classic WoW, Maraudon was added in patch 1.2, and the Dire Maul set in patch 1.3. The Burning Crusade saw Magister's Terrace in patch 2.4, Wrath gained the three Icecrown five-mans in patch 3.3, Cataclysm had Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub retooled as 5-mans in 4.2, plus the Well of Eternity dungeon suite in 4.3. Yes, if five-mans are your thing, Mists probably has you feeling pretty glum right about now.

So maybe the following tweet from Ghostcrawler will cheer you up a bit:

Instead of five-man dungeons, Mists definitely saw a focus on scenarios for casual group content. And while scenarios are fun, if you're a healer or a tank, you're not really necessary for them. I personally would love to see a bit more balance in the future between implementing scenarios and implementing five-mans, so here's to a WoW future where both will shine. What about you? Are you hoping for more five-mains, or could you do without them?

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

What's the purpose of a heroic dungeon?

What is the purpose of a heroic dungeon
One of the more volatile announcements that we've heard so far from Blizzard regarding Mists of Pandaria is the fact that Mists will not include any more 5-man dungeons. In an expansion where new content seems to be rolling out on a much faster, tighter basis than any expansion prior this seems a little bizarre to players, particularly those that enjoy dungeon-based content. Yet one of the things Mists has been doing consistently throughout the expansion is delivering a wider array of things to do. In fact, there's such a variety in endgame content that players sometimes feel legitimately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it.

But just because we aren't getting any new dungeons doesn't mean we aren't getting alternate ways to obtain all that sweet, sweet gear we know and love. Patch 5.3 will see the introduction of heroic scenarios, slightly tougher versions of the scenarios we've already seen this expansion. In addition to valor, the heroic scenarios will offer raid-finder level rewards for players that choose to participate in them -- better than any gear you'll find in a heroic dungeon at this point.

While this may seem pretty cool for some people, it does make one wonder -- what's the purpose of heroic dungeons?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

"Crash Bandicoot" creator comments on Cataclysm's problems and the evolution of WoW

'Crash Bandicoot' creator comments on Cataclysm's problems and the evolution of WoW
I didn't see this until recently, but I'm really glad I did. Andy Gavin, the co-creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter, ran a series between the end of November and mid-January examining WoW, its four expansions, and how each of them succeeded or failed through both personal and professional eyes. His particular focus is the endgame in each and how it worked to attract and retain players -- or, in some cases, didn't.

While there's certainly been no shortage of player commentary on how WoW's developed, Gavin's experience as a game developer who's not involved with Blizzard is a pretty unique perspective. I found his article on Cataclysm to be particularly adept at putting into words a lot of things I felt but had difficulty articulating. Most of the expansion's developmental time had to go into a revamped leveling process that few people saw unless they wanted to level a new alt. The content at 85 that greeted more casual players got bottlenecked in a series of difficult heroics that frustrated players dropped constantly.

Personally, I still consider Cataclysm to have been a necessary expansion -- it did a lot of stuff that Blizzard had to do for the game even if it wasn't as eye-catching as what BC and Wrath did -- but I think Gavin's assessment is accurate and measured. (And many of Blizzard's own observations aren't all that different.) Funnily enough, with lots of people leveling new monks in Mists of Pandaria, more people might be seeing Cataclysm content now than they did during the expansion that was actually dedicated to it.

I've linked Gavin's full series here. While it's long, it's an incredibly interesting and detailed read:

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Sphere of Jerkitude: That's it, I'm outta here

Breakfast Topic That's it, I'm outta here
One of our readers, Bowzer, wrote in the other night about dropping a group instantly on seeing a homophobic slur in party chat. As he observed, running across questionable-to-cruel comments in the Dungeon Finder is certainly nothing new, but he asked, "Am I wrong for being sick of the 'It's the internet, have a tough skin and get over it argument?' Is it so wrong to be a decent person?"

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't had similar thoughts. Thankfully, running into a genuine jerk is uncommon, but each one can ruin your day. I think what bothers me most is the sure knowledge that the offending player is not only entirely unrepentant, but may also be getting a kick out of making the group uncomfortable.

Worse still, there's no surefire way to deal with it. Try to address a nasty or bigoted comment in party chat? You're just giving them the opportunity to troll you further. Kick them? You may not have the votes. (If it's a guild group, you definitely won't.) Stay silent? Drop group? Submit a ticket? Or maybe just hope that the Loot God smites the offender at some point in the near future?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: The fly on the wall

Breakfast Topic The fly on the wall ANYTIME
Every so often, you find yourself in a PUG where a line in party chat makes you think that something pretty serious is going on behind the scenes. Not long before Mists hit, I was tanking an otherwise routine run in Well of Eternity with a guild group from another server. They were distracted during the run and were obviously paying more attention to what one of them mentioned was a lot of unhappy drama in guild chat. I felt it would be rude to pry, so when the run ended and they all vanished back to their own server, I was left there wondering what was going on and if everything was okay with a guild I had known nothing about 30 minutes previously.

That's not the first time that's happened, either: I had another memorable run with a warlock/paladin duo, with the former consoling the latter over a recent break-up with his girlfriend. It was a vivid reminder that the players you meet in a PUG are all real people, that most of the time you're nothing more than a fleeting participant in their lives, and that you may wander in at some personally meaningful or even painful moments.

Allowing for the fact that you can't trust everything you read in party chat, have you ever found yourself the proverbial fly on the wall in WoW?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Blood Pact: Preparing for level 90 raiding with heroic dungeon gear

Blood Pact Preparing for level 90 raiding with heroic dungeon gear MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill puts so many bullets into one article, she dreamed her warlock could dual-wield pistols like Lord Godfrey.

I make my own list of loot every tier, just so I know what piece to roll on in my guild's raids per raid boss. I make a similar list of possible 5-man heroic loot so I know what to run or what I can look for when a certain dungeon comes up in my random queue.

You can stick to a Wowhead search list if that's your thing. But it's my thing to explain what a database can't -- like whether PvP crafted gear is really viable in PvE now or what two-handed weapons you might find for your felguard in Mists.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

The Azeroth Ethicist: Cheating (or not cheating) the roll system

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I was healing a Well of Eternity PUG a few days ago when I got a whisper from the group's warrior tank.

Warrior: Could you help me out with something?

Me: Sure, what do you need?

Warrior: If Varo'then's Brooch drops at the end, would you roll on it for me?

Me: Um ...

I'd been off in my own little world watching health bars and thinking about next week's Shifting Perspectives column and hadn't paid any attention to the group's composition. It turns out the DPSers were a mage, a hunter, and -- oh, there we go -- a frost death knight. So in the event that the strength trinket dropped, the warrior tank wanted me to roll on it and, if I won, give it to him over the DK. He probably asked the mage and the priest to do the same thing, but the group was quiet in party chat, so I have no way of knowing.

We had a small and, to his credit, civil conversation over it, and there are a few issues here on which I'd like to get readers' opinions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

18 observations from a leveling healer

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I've been leveling a goblin priest for something I call the Low-Level Tank Project, which is a count on the class representation he sees among tanks in the Dungeon Finder. Between the goblin and my restoration shaman (who reached 85 about two months ago), I've had two healers leveling mostly through dungeons recently, and a few commonalities have emerged.

This is sort of a spiritual successor to 20 observations from a leveling tank, if you'd like a more tank-flavored look at leveling groups. This outing is a more generalized approach, possibly because I take a more observational role in my groups whenever I'm healing, like Jane Goodall among the ungemmed and unenchanted chimps.

1. DPSers are enormously indifferent to aggro in early dungeons. You're not healing one tank -- you're healing four. Five, if nobody bothers to stomp the mob making a beeline for you.

2. Early dungeons aren't necessarily good training for everyone involved. I wouldn't go so far as to say they're a terrible experience, per se -- they're quick, easy, and a good way to build confidence for new players -- but the usual mechanism by which players are encouraged to behave themselves (ugly death) is a remote possibility at best.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Spill your 5-man PUG stories here

Bad PUG stories used to be a perennial feature on this site, and I've been missing them lately -- good PUG stories too, I suppose, but the bad stuff is always more fun to talk about, mostly because you get to share a sense of outrage with fellow reasonable players. Spill, folks: What's happened to you in 5-mans lately?

I'll start. I usually tank heroics but decided to heal recently (that was my first mistake), and I landed a group of guildies from another realm in a Well of Eternity PUG. Now, the average Cataclysm heroic isn't all that tough to heal these days as long as you're sensibly geared, but it didn't take me long to realize that this group was blowing through an unusually large percentage of my mana pool. They stood in front of the Dreadlord Defenders' Carrion Swarm, couldn't find an interrupt button with two hands and a guide dog, and seemed to DPS at an unusually slow rate even with the crit buff given by Illidan's Shadow Walk.

It was around the time I noticed most of the group sitting in Peroth'arn's Fel Flames that it occurred to me that either this was the most legitimately incompetent group I've ever had the misfortune of encountering, or they were doing it on purpose. But because they never quite managed to get themselves or myself killed, I let it slide. I left at the end with 50 gold and a Forest Emerald from my Satchel, wishing for a Dungeon Finder system sufficiently advanced to recognize that some groups are definitely worth, say, a pony.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

5 ways to keep your DPS players happy in 5-man heroics

OK, you can't pretend you didn't see this one coming after the healing and tanking editions. As I may have mentioned, I have less DPS experience than tanking and healing, but from that time in Azeroth, I have gathered that there are things everyone can do to make their DPSers happy bunnies rather than melancholy murlocs. Actually, being a murloc would be pretty cool. One of my GMs does an awesome murloc impression.

So, tanks and healers, and other DPSers, how can you keep your DPS buddies happy?

1. Mark your targets. Tanks, or whoever is experienced, or whoever is taking on that role in the dungeon, mark your targets. Telepathy is not a standard talent in any tree, and while sure, it's possible to click the tank and then use an assist macro, you can easily keybind or add a button to your action bars that marks your target with a skull, a cross, a moon and so on.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

5 ways to keep your tank happy in 5-man heroics

I recently wrote a similar post about how to keep your healers happy -- now I don't want it to sound like I'm hating on you tanks. See how this is a nice, predictable series? Can you guess what's coming next? I just need to think of another three ways to keep your DPSers happy in 5-man heroics -- but don't worry, I'll run some more heroics and I'll get there.

My first and still allegedly main character is a paladin tank, and I've run a few dungeons in my time. There are some simple things everyone can do to make sure their tank is a happy meaty meat shield rather than a disgruntled defender.

5. Watch your aggro. Remember this from the "How to keep your healer happy" post? Yeah, much as that helps your healer, it also helps your tank. Playing as a paladin, I have one of the easiest AoE tanking rotations out there -- but still, if a DPSer front-loads all their damage into something that isn't my primary target before I've had one GCD to hit the darn thing, even with the new aggro buff, it may well be after you. As a paladin, I can pre-bubble you with Hand of Salvation to decrease the likelihood of this happening or even a Hand of Protection on a caster (or on a melee player to troll them). I also have an arsenal of taunts. However, other tanking classes don't have it so easy -- just give the tank a moment to gain aggro, then attack the thing that they're attacking.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

5 ways to keep your healer happy in 5-man heroics

While much of Azeroth has been busy engineering the repeated demise of the big Dee-Dubya, many of us are still running 5-man dungeons. Maybe it's for valor points, maybe it's to hit the ilevel required to take a pop at that dragon, or maybe it's while frantically levelling another character to 85. With every 5-man instance comes a healer, and you really ought to be showing your healer some love.

Before you say Pah! I don't need to do anything to keep my healer happy -- I massively outgear all the 5-man content the game has to offer. This advice is worthless!, spare a thought for those who don't. The new healer who wants to get a look at some Hour of Twilight. The player with bags overflowing with PvP gear to cheat the ilevel requirement. The fresh 85s who are facing these dungeons for the first time. They need this advice, and if you're running with them, you could consider reading it too. And if you think it's not your responsibility to help your healer out now and then, remember: You don't do any DPS when you're dead.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

20 observations from a leveling tank

My main is a druid tank and healer, but on occasion, I've returned to two low-level warrior alts and braved leveling in the Dungeon Finder. Most leveling groups are a bit like the proverbial little girl with pigtails: When they're good, they're very, very good ... and when they're bad, they're horrid.

The following is a list of somewhat random observations I have collected after several expansions' worth of tanking for low-level groups.

1. Don't take shortcuts on trash packs. The time you save sneaking past one of them will be eliminated by the time you'll lose when someone blunders into them and dies.

2. Someone will almost always blunder into them and die.

3. Despite common complaints on the forums, the vast majority of players are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to tolerate mistakes and the learning curve. The actual occurrence of true, unforgivable jackasses seems to be about one per five groups, although this depends on when you're queuing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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