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Posts with tag 5-mans

Lichborne: Dungeon and LFR group Etiquette for DPS death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

At this point in the game, max level 5-man dungeons may feel a bit superfluous. Even most newbies and third or fourth alts at this point are running them primarily for VP, having gotten most of their real item upgrades on Timeless Isle already. That said, this has lead to a bit of chaos. I know some of my tank friends are getting those end-of-expansion blues, in which they find that DPS are so over geared and so lazy that they are constantly stealing aggro, running ahead, and otherwise making the tank's job difficult.

As a tank class ourselves, we have no excuse for doing this, if only as a courtesy for our brother and sister death knight tanks. This week, we're going to go over some basic dungeon etiquette for a death knight tank, designed to make your healer and tank not completely hate your guts. If you're not running dungeons now, you may want to keep it in mind for Warlords of Draenor.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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

What was the worst of Mists of Pandaria?

I recently posted my list of the best of Mists of Pandaria, so you must have seen it coming. An article discussing what I personally think was the worst of Mists of Pandaria. You will notice that many of the same things crop up on both lists. Well, that's just because there can be both positive and negative sides to any addition. It's all about perspective, you know?

Cross-realm calamities

Let's begin at the beginning. It seems like a logical point. Cross-realm technology, as I stated in my nice list, has been instrumental in allowing of many players' favorite features in the game. The sensationally popular Flex raiding, for example. But it's also responsible, on the downside, for some pretty negative happenings.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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

Ghostcrawler on the lessons learned in Mists

Ghostcrawler on the lessons learned in Mists
Long-term WoW Insider readers will likely remember the post-Cataclysm dissection where the developers discussed the mistakes they had made and how they planned to rectify them for future expansions. Well, a twitter user has asked Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street the same question, for Mists of Pandaria, and Ghostcrawler had the following to say in reply:

Firstly, one of the great things about Ghostcrawler is how readily he owns up to the team's mistakes here. There's no shame in getting things wrong, but maintaining that you're infallible is both irritating and generally untrue.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

Breakfast Topic: Tell us your healing bloopers

Breakfast Topic Tell us your healing bloopers
I like healing random 5-mans because I think healing is fun and the queues are quick. Healing is my preference for Battlegrounds, too. I follow a tank type around to the benefit of both of us -- you know, when I'm not being ganked by the intelligent enemies who know to kill the healer first. (I'm very good at dying strategically.) But since I'm an altoholic, I change my healers around when using Dungeon Finder, making me a jack of all healers, master of none. While I'm a decent healer, I have had my share of healing bloopers.

Elunamakata's post about earning your plus sign on the Healing Mains blog both humbled and educated me. I followed most of the advice already but have not always been diligent about keeping my gear updated on leveling characters. WoW Insider also provides advice for non-expert healers, such as: So that's how to avoid healing embarrassments. But even the best healers make spectacular errors from time to time (or at least remember their early oopsies). My worst blooper -- which is extraordinarily deadly for my team and makes me hang my head in shame -- is when I have accidentally targeted myself and then healed away. "Gosh, the tank is taking so much damage that my heals are ineffectual ... oh." It isn't habitual, but it's happened more than once.

Also, remember when you had to make sure you had the latest rank on your action bar? Yeah, me too. /blush

Since almost everyone has healed at least once, regardless of gender (don't get me started), tell us your most embarrassing healing moment.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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

Image
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 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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