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Posts with tag Dungeon

Could WoW have an expansion without raiding?

I have raided in World of Warcraft since the beginning. Raiding has always been a big part of why I play the game. If not the reason I play, certainly a reason. So when I was sitting up last night and it occurred to me that I've never gone an entire expansion without raiding, I didn't initially think anything of it -- to me, raiding is what you do in WoW. But then I started really thinking about it. Because lots of people don't raid. Before the rise of LFR and flex, a lot of players -- the majority of players, really -- never set foot in a raid at all. They had 5-mans, and that was basically it for group content for them outside of PvP.

So I started asking myself if it would be possible to release an expansion with little to no raiding content at all. Would players accept it? It's a cliche (and an overused one among the community) that Blizzard didn't do this or that 'because it would cost us a raid tier' but let's really consider -- what if we could have the expansion next month, but it wouldn't have any raids? Would that be an expansion people would be willing to play?

One of the reasons I consider this a more controversial question that it would have been at the end of Wrath is because now, raiding is far, far more accessible than it was even then. With the advent of LFR and the recent development of flexible raiding, it's never been easier to raid than it is. While Warlords of Draenor is changing the raid game, those changes will only make mythic raiding in any way more restrictive -- the rest of raiding will remain very accessible.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

What's going wrong with tanking in five player content?

Tanking is not always easy, mind you. But tanking can be an incredible amount of fun, and I hope that it'll make a real comeback in terms of popularity when Warlords of Draenor goes live. Right now, I feel like a few problems really keep tanking from being as universally popular as it could be.
  • Difficult to get starting gear - For most people, it's hard to get started as a tank. Gearing is an issue, because some tanks (DKs, warriors and paladins) need specific tanking gear, while even the leather tanks still generally use different stats to some degree, different enchants, different weapons for tanking than DPS or (especially) healing. This is a problem the gearing changes in Warlords should really help with.
  • Where can you learn it? - Tanking requires a different skill set from DPS or healing. While proving grounds exist, they don't really teach the most important part of being a tank - reacting to other players. It can be hard as a new tank to walk into a dungeon having never done it before. That leads into the third difficulty of picking up tanking.
  • Dungeons don't provide any sort of experience right now - With the wildly disparate gear levels on people running random dungeons, you can have a tank in 450 gear trying to hold aggro off of players in 580 gear. While it can be nice to be the tank in 580 gear, even you might have trouble when groups don't cooperate, run ahead of you, pull mobs half way across the zone, and generally simply refuse to act like any kind of groups at all. This is something I'm hoping the gear squish and ten levels will do away with - we'll all basically be on the same page when Warlords dungeons are being run.
While there are still a lot of places where tanking is both fun and rewarding - raiding (especially in a guild group, be it heroic, normal or flex), challenge modes, even in LFD or LFR if you get lucky - I do think it can be a lot to ask a new tank (whether or not she or he is a new player or just new to the role) to grow a thick skin fast enough to deal with the toxicity possible in the current random queue environment. Which is a real shame, because tanking is fun - it can be stressful, and oftentimes groups have an expectation of a tank doing the work of knowing how every fight works for them, but that's not always a negative.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Using the Dungeon Finder to level in a flash

If you're exhausted of leveling through the same old zones, it may be time to head to the Dungeon Finder for some of World of Warcraft's speediest leveling. How speedy are we talking about? Last night I spent about an hour with a just level 15 -- the minimum level for dungeons -- priest dungeon running and walked away with five levels and sacks full of loot. Admittedly, I had a stock of rested XP and a few heirlooms, but even without either, you should find dungeon leveling to be pretty zippy -- and a nice change of pace from the daily questing grind.

The downside? While you're here, you'll be playing in a group of five -- typically a tank, a healer, and three DPSers -- and you'll need to learn how to play well in a group, which can be a bit different than playing solo. Though dungeons -- especially low level dungeons -- are easier than ever, there are some tips that will help ease your way. So let's take a look at what you need to hit the dungeons so you're ready to take advantage of that sweet, sweet Dungeon Finder XP.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Why Proving Ground gating on queued heroics is a good thing

It's certainly been a controversial move. Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas took to the forums recently to clarify some hastily translated interviews he did with fansites during last week's press event. There are several key things in Watcher's post that it seems people are missing, so let's just sum it up here.
  • Proving Ground Silver will be required for solo queue heroic dungeons
  • Group queue heroic dungeons will have no Proving Ground requirement
  • Proving Grounds will be updated to "further refine balance and mechanics"
Let's begin at the end. Read that last point, and then read it again for good measure. Yes, Proving Grounds have some issues at the moment, as far as balance goes. A lot of those issues actually relate to how well classes downscale with gear, how dependent they are on certain levels of certain stats. For example, let's look at fire mages. Fire mages scale really well with gear, as do their Arcane brothers and sisters. Take a fire mage and scale it right down to 463, and you'll have a harder time doing a silver Proving Ground than a class that scales down really well.

I did a little experiment as part of my research for this article. In an attempt to see how bad getting a Silver could be, I took a fire mage to the proving grounds. Not a new 90, but an unplayed one. My gear was woeful. I managed, with this gear, not at the hit cap, not even at ilvl 463 with downscaling, to reach wave 4 of Silver. Bronze took five tries.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

How to go from solo WoW to group WoW

It's finally time: you've been leveling on your own but now you've been lured into your first dungeon by a quest or the promise of gear. But running dungeons with a group of four other players is a lot different from soloing -- different enough to seem like a whole new game. When you enter a dungeon, you need to work as part of a team, and take careful consideration of the rest of your group before you make any moves. It's a very different mindset than what you're accustomed to as a solo player.

Even if you feel like you know your stuff in World of Warcraft, the switch from soloing to grouping can be bumpy -- so how do you make the transition without looking like a newbie? Fortunately, we've been around the block a time or two and have some advice to help you get started, no newbie moments required.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Patch 5.4 PTR: Challenge Mode titles for fastest clear times

Patch 54 Challenge Mode titles!
In patch 5.4, Challenge Mode players who have already earned gold will have a strong reason to continue running them. Players who earn the fastest clear times in a Challenge Mode dungeon will receive a title specific to each dungeon. As long as players hold the record for the top time, the title will remain. A permanent Feat of Strength will also be earned upon reaching the fastest time.

However, there is a caveat: the Challenge Mode group must have at least 3 players from the same realm to earn the titles.
Patch 5.4 Challenge Mode notes
Players who obtain a realm-best time in a Challenge Mode dungeon (group must contain at least 3 people from the same realm to qualify) will receive a temporary title specific to each dungeon (e.g. Siegebreaker for Siege of Niuzao temple, Darkmaster for Scholomance, etc.). This title will persist for as long as a player retains the top time on the realm. Holding a realm-best time at any point will also confer a permanent Feat of Strength to record the accomplishment.


It's not enough to go for the gold anymore. How far will you go for the titles and Feats of Strength?

Filed under: News items

Patch 5.2 PTR: Dungeon Finder updated with reputation rewards

Untitled  Rep Rewards from Dungeon Finder
Recently, Blizzard revealed that they were adding another method for players to gain reputation in patch 5.2. In addition to fulfilling work orders for the various factions around Pandaria, players can represent a faction when they queue into a dungeon.

In the above screenshot, you'll notice that the Dungeon Finder interface has been updated. When you click on the Choose Reputation button, your Reputation tab will appear. Choose the Pandarian faction you want and click Find Group. You can only cash in on this reputation reward once per day.

My main has hit exalted with most of the factions. I'm still working on the Anglers but I have a hard time motivating myself to push for it. Work orders and the reputation rewards in the dungeon queue should help ease that grind up. I feel the same way with my alts. I have absolutely no interest at the present in doing all those dailies again (at least, not for a long time).

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2 PTR: Reputation gain changes

Patch 52 Reputation gain changes
One change that's arrived with the latest patch 5.2 notes is one that has to deal with bonus reputation. Players have stated how grinding and repetitive the reputation can be. A suggestion that was offered was to bring back reputation tabards so players could continue to earn reputation while participating in dungeons. This would offer players two methods to earn reputation: Dailies and dungeons. Blizzard disagreed they didn't want players to double dip as dungeons already reward loot from bosses along with valor points. The developers mentioned sometime back in December that they were planning a way to include bonus reputation through dungeons. A suggestion was brought up by our own Matthew Rossi where players could represent a faction for a limited time.

That looks like the compromise solution we were looking for!

Patch 5.2 PTR and Patch Notes
You can now earn bonus reputation for your first dungeon and scenario of the day. You can select which reputation you choose to champion by selecting it from the reputation panel on the character screen. When you queue for a dungeon or scenario, the UI will remind you which reputation you are championing and allow you to change the reputation from there. (You cannot change that reputation once you are in the dungeon or scenario.)


The UI has changed so that the Reputation panel in the character screen displays which reputation they have purchased Grand Commendations for. That's great for people like me who've accidentally purchased the same reputation commendation twice.

How about it guys? What do you think of this alternative way to earn reputation? You can still knock out your dailies but between the commendations and the bonus reputation from dailies, I wager you'll be able to hit Exalted at a nice rate.


Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Are low-level dungeons too easy?

Are lowlevel dungeons too easy
Taepsilum went on today a little bit about an assertion that low level dungeons are too easy. This position is one that many experienced players can likely sympathize with, particularly those who have alts climbing through the levels with full heirlooms and considerable player knowledge behind them.

For players in that position, yes, low-level dungeons are too easy. But, as Taepsilum points out, players with years of WoW under their belts ought to turn back the clock, to let the Ghost of Azeroth Past take them on a journey through time to their first ever dungeon. Hopefully they weren't as foolish as your writer, and didn't select tank without really realizing what it meant. The low-level dungeons have, at least to some extent, to cater to players who have never been in a dungeon before.

And, of course, for the lower levels, dungeon leveling has to contribute an equivalent amount of XP per hour to questing, or nobody would ever go into dungeons at all. But, as another poster in the same thread commented, perhaps it would be possible to open up heroic difficulties of dungeons at lower level to players who wanted a challenge?

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Dungeons and you - a guide to basic etiquette

Dungeons and you  a guide to basic etiquette
I am generally a tank, and therefore when I run heroics I tank them. This is not always the case. If I want DPS gear, I queue as DPS because it's only fair to perform the role you intend to gear up. This results in me ending up switching to tank after a previous tank has left, or the group has wiped a few times, about half the time I sign up to DPS. This is intensely frustrating to me, because I don't like having to switch and end up seeing the gear I came for, and signed up for, going to someone else because I'm tanking. I also don't like tanking after waiting in a queue for twenty minutes.

Therefore, this is a basics guide to dungeon running that covers a few things all groups should know, because I'm seeing a lot of groups that don't seem to know them. Five man dungeons are all about personal responsibility in the Mists of Pandaria era - you need to help keep yourself alive by making smart decisions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Interview with Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas

At the Mists of Pandaria launch event in Irvine last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft, about Mists of Pandaria's raids and dungeons, lessons learned from Cataclysm and beyond, and the road ahead.

WoW Insider: State your name and position!

Ion Hazzikostas: My name is Ion Hazzikostas and I am the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft.

What does that job entail?

I'm the lead on the encounter team, which is self-explanatory; we make the dungeon and raid content, primarily. We're specialists in multiplayer PVE combat. On top of the dungeons and raids, we also help with outdoor raid bosses, scenario bosses, things like that.

What would you say that your biggest goal going into Mists of Pandaria was?

Particularly on the dungeon and raid front, to provide content for everybody, for all kinds of players. And we recognize that there's a massive spectrum of millions of people who are playing and enjoying World of Warcraft - a huge range of skill, frankly, and time commitment, the whole casual-hardcore spectrum people always talk about. And one of the things that we've been doing over the evolution of the game is to add additional difficulties, additional ways of consuming that content. So, you know, we now have LFR, normal, and heroic raids, and now we've introduced challenge modes, a sort of new tier of actually legitimately difficult five-player content. It's one of the biggest differences from Cataclysm at launch; one of the things we heard from people who were in guilds with friends and they'd say "these dungeons are awesome, we're having a lot of fun" ... but the people who queued up in Dungeon Finder would have a miserable time.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Tanking Temple of the Jade Serpent

Tanking Temple of the Jade Serpent
While working on the warrior column this week, I realized I could give you guys a general guide to tanking the various Mists of Pandaria leveling dungeons, so here we go. The dungeons this time out are pretty fun and varied, and not particularly onerous to tank through.

First up is the Temple of the Jade Serpent. It's a lovely dungeon, with just enough bosses and trash to take up about 30 to 40 minutes of your time. What I like most about the temple is how the trash is all linked very specifically to the events of the temple's corruption. Which is totally our fault, by the way. Oops. Sorry, August Celestials. It's up to us to free Yu'lon's temple from the Sha.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Dungeon Mastery: Gate of the Setting Sun

Dungeon Mastery Gate of the Setting Sun
Pandaria is under siege by the pesky, bug-like mantid. It reminds me of an alternate universe Starship Troopers. The Serpent's Spine, a massive fortified wall, has kept them out but the mantid have already started laying siege to the main gate. The pandaren could sure use your help. Is there a vulnerability? The Gate of the Setting Sun seems to be where mantid forces are concentrated and that's where you'll be needed. This instance is only accessible at max level on heroic difficulty.

As you make your way across the battlements of the gate, you'll notice timed charges being dropped on the wall. In addition to clearing out pesky bug mobs that get in your way, you'll need to dodge these Bomberman style explosives. Seriously, they'll detonate and their explosions don't explode outward. They explode in four cardinal directions. In other words, stand diagonally to avoid getting fried.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Dungeon Mastery: Shado-pan Monastery

Kun-Lai Summit is host to the Shado-pan Monastery. In Mists of Pandaria, you'll undoubtedly get a chance to experience and help rid the instance of Sha influence. Megan and I decided to check the place out and see what the deal is. We teamed up before when she carried me kindly tanked for me in the Stormstout Brewery. Like last time, I healed on my holy priest, Megan tanked on her druid, and we were accompanied with two hunters and an enhancement shaman. Your group needs to be at minimum level 87 in order to queue.

The video above is a little under 50 minutes long. We would've been able to move quicker if I hadn't been in combat all the time.

Yeesh. Even the Matticus needs a drink from time to time.

Gu Cloudstrike

Cloudstrike is the first boss your group will challenge. You'll run into Cloudstrike outside on a plateau just as you leave the first chamber. It's a three-phase encounter involving Cloudstrike and a flying serpent.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

5 things you need to know about the Stormstout Brewery

Image
The Stormstout Brewery is one of the two instances you'll be running once you start on dungeons in Mists. It's available at 85 and is probably the easiest of the ones currently available in the beta. So it's a great place to start out your journey to 90!

Being lovely, helpful people, we here at WoW Insider thought we would put together a short and sweet set of tips to aid you in your attempts to cleanse the Stormstout Brewery of its pollution. This isn't intended as a full guide (although of course we have furnished you with one of those in the past) but more as a helping hand for those who don't want a step-by-step walkthrough.

So what does the brave adventurer need to know?

1. Watch your debuffs! There are a lot of debuffs flying around in the Stormstout Brewery, there really are. My favourite debuff is Bloat, which makes you shoot beer out of your ears. If you're a melee player or a ranged player who likes to cuddle up to other ranged players, you'll need to check if your healer's able to keep up with the damage you're no doubt inflicting on your teammates. If not, you should probably take your beery ears elsewhere.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

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