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Posts with tag Trial-of-the-Crusader

Blizzard on raid design evolution

Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has written a very extensive blog on the evolution of raid design, the first installment of which went live this morning. In this first part, Watcher covers the history of raiding, from the launch of the game in 2004 all the way through to the end of Icecrown Citadel in 2010.

For many, these were the glory days of raiding and World of Warcraft alike, well, if you believe the forums at least. Watcher talks about the developers' aims to make raiding more accessible, and to improve the gameplay of groups by reducing them in size -- one healer in a group of fifteen healers can't have as big an impact as one healer in a group of five or two. He also discusses the introduction of varying difficulties in raiding, and looks back over all the patches of some of the game's greatest raids.

Hit the break for the full post.

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Filed under: Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

The Queue: Benjamin Franklin created the internet to resurrect himself

The Queue Benjamin Franklin created the internet to resurrect himself
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi is writing this sucker today.

I'm kidding. Sort of.

Ben is one of my personal heroes, though.

In today's Queue, I answer a bunch of tanking questions. I know -- I was as shocked as you are.

Matthew2 asked:

I finally got around to making a DK and leveling it. (I'm a tank - my first tank!!!) Having said that:

Is DPS in Blood Spec viable for 5 mans? I'm not a raider, I just want to learn my Blood spec and tank with it and dps with it in instances that I am learning about. Is it ok to use death and decay if I'm in Frost Presence when I'm DPS'ing? And I don't yet have unholy presence, so I'll pre-ask: "what spec should I be using as DPS in PvE [assuming i'm a blood dk if that matters]?

Clearly, I don't know this class yet - any good sources to learn about being a DK?

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Filed under: The Queue

Mists of Pandaria Beta: The best model return ever

Mists of Pandaria beta The best model return ever
Back in Wrath of the Lich King, I had a two-handed sword model I loved from Trial of the Crusader, a raid I didn't love. That sword was Reckoning, picked up on an alt run that I tanked because I was main spec prot back then. I used it for a while, until ICC came out and I replaced it with better. Since I had no idea they'd introduce transmogrification down the road, I figured I'd never use it again and disenchanted it for materials to enchant the ICC weapons.

Cut to now. I've been running Trial of the Crusader-10 every chance I get for a shot at replacing my lost Reckoning. I have a Justicebringer banked, but neither the Trial sword model nor the mace (which, in fact, you can't even get anymore) and I despaired of completing my Trial weapon set. The Alliance versions are so iconic in their Alliance identity that I really feel compelled to try and acquire them. And now, I can without having to talk someone else into forming a raid.

The new Horde and Alliance quests in Jade Forest now contain various reused Trial of the Crusader weapon and armor models. Above, you see my draenei using the Greatsword of Kofinna Kottr, which is an exact match for heroic Reckoning. I also picked up Captain Rogers' Polite Knocking Stick, which brings back the Catastrophe model. There are also several green plate drops I can confirm as having TotC models, like the chest and helm I have equipped in the SS (which use the DK models). I know for sure that the Horde quests give a version of the Dual-Blade Butcher if you're looking for that model, but I haven't seen their plate yet. Just on my warriors, I've seen versions of the TotC one-handed axe, sword and mace as well.

I know sometimes people don't like seeing models get reused, but for me as a transmog junkie, this is the best news ever. I don't have to run TotC anymore! Although I'm still going to until Mists comes out, just in case.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Transmogrification, Mists of Pandaria

Random raid factors and the high cost of failure

Klepsakovic over at Troll Racials are Overpowered has a thought-provoking post asking how Blizzard's advancing raid model is affecting players and how they relate to each other. In particular, he zeroes in on a point that I think a lot of players sense but never really articulate: Not every player in a raid is going to be equally stressed by a fight, and when the stressed party or parties is randomly determined, things get ugly fast.

Compare this to encounters where the primary difficulty is role-specific or even player-specific. Good DPSers pushed their output to the limit on Patchwerk, healers learned to anticipate damage during Malygos' Vortex while one or two people got good at yanking sparks into the raid, and tanks grew experienced with fast pick-ups on Kael'thas. But the average raid group, even when experienced, probably tripped over and over again on encounters like Teron Gorefiend or Anub'arak. When you can't control who gets targeted by Shadow of Death or Anub'arak's spikes and when the randomness limits the experience that any one player can get ... Well, it's easy to see how certain fights acquire the nightmare moniker.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Taking out the trash

I always thought I would love a no-trash dungeon. I came up in raiding in the days of MC and BWL, raids that were absolutely chock full of trash. AQ40? Oh, so much trash. Trash to the point of absurdity. Going into the original Naxxramas meant dealing with a huge space absolutely stuffed full of rotting, slimy, or arachnid horrors. You spent far more time coordinating pulls on those annoying warlocks in Blackwing Lair and their dynamite-throwing goblin friends than you actually did on bosses.

In The Burning Crusade, the 5-mans had trash galore. Five, even six packs in Shadow Labyrinth, constant streams of adds in Shattered Halls, complicated trash pulls in Karazhan and Serpentshrine. I still remember with dread being the tank standing there using spell reflection to get the attention of Hyjal caster waves. Dealing with trash has always been a part of the game, as it has been part of the genre. In fact, one of the reasons that Naxxramas 10/25 felt so empty to me was that it simply held less trash than it did as a 40-man raid at level 60, so huge stretches of the place were deserted, as if Kel'Thuzad had gone on a staff-cutting binge and pink-slipped half of the Scourge before you even got there.

After we'd gotten Ulduar more or less on farm and moved on to Trial of the Crusader, I was pretty ready for a break from trash. I was very excited about a trashless dungeon where you just fought bosses. Wouldn't that be epic? Wouldn't it be awesome for every fight in a raid to be an epic struggle against a named, powerful adversary?

Turned out, not so much.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding

The OverAchiever: The good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird


Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we reminisce on that auld lang syne ... that nobody really misses.

It occurred to me recently that we've never really done a retrospective piece on achievements. Sure, we've rounded up stuff like entertaining achievements and evil achievements, but we've never really looked at their impact on the game as a whole. There's an article in that, but it won't be this one. New Year's Eve is tomorrow, and I'm in the mood for some brainless fun.

While I was writing this article, a number of the achievements that came to mind were the product of tier 7 raids, and I think I know why. Wrath raiding achievements were the first time Blizzard had experimented with their inclusion in raid content, and the implementation occasionally had some bizarre results. There was also the pressure cooker of having to finish Glory of the Raider before the rewards disappeared (a very belated announcement), and there was never that sense of urgency with Ulduar or Icecrown achievements. Anyway, let me know what you think.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: How to get disappearing mounts


Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we offer supplication to the gods of RNG.

Four mounts will be disappearing as a result of current Wrath achievements becoming feats of strength in Cataclysm. As such, this article's essentially an extension of The OverAchiever: Do them now!, which singled out all of the known future feats. If you're interested in snagging a Swift Zulian Tiger, Swift Razzashi Raptor, Swift Alliance Steed/Swift Horde Wolf or Crusader's Warhorse, you'll find some information past the cut.

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Filed under: Raiding, Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Do them now!


Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, it's time to get a move on.

We've had some recent news concerning achievements in categories we've already covered, and my original intent this week was to play catch-up with that in addition to finishing off the new reputation, world event, and feat of strength achievements in Cataclysm. However, given equally recent news concerning achievements that are set to become feats (and may do so as early as patch 4.0.1), I thought it would be more sensible to cover the stuff that you'd want to do as soon as possible before it disappears.

I've cross-checked the list of known Cataclysm feats of strength against the feats already present in game, and as far as I know, this should be a comprehensive set of current Wrath of the Lich King achievements that will become inaccessible as of patch 4.0.1, patch 4.0.3, or Cataclysm's release (or at least, a comprehensive list as of the current beta and PTR builds).

I've written this list assuming the following:
  • Although it hasn't been officially confirmed that all of these will disappear in patch 4.0.1 or 4.0.3 rather than the expansion itself, for the time being, I'm guessing it's one of the two patches you need to worry about.
  • With the recent announcement of arena Season 8 ending on Oct. 12, 4.0.1 may hit in less than two weeks. Zarhym's post just made it clear that the season could end as early as the 12th, not that it definitely would, and there's still a lot of stuff to fix on the PTR and beta -- but every Tuesday from hereon is a potential patch day.
  • Accepting Oct. 5 or 12 as possible patch dates, I've included an opinion on the feasibility of getting the following achievements done as quickly as possible.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Wrath Retrospective: Ulduar and Trial of the Crusader, part two

Trial of the Crusader was, for all intents and purposes, an experiment. The world part of raiding, from suppressor rooms to the Twin Emperors and beyond, has always been the stifling mechanic of trash. "The real meat of the dungeon's content should be the boss fights," the masses cried! And for the most part, they are right. Trash serves many purposes, from creating artificial time sinks and flavor, to teaching players mechanics that they would then need to hone, skill wise, against a boss. Trial of the Crusader paved a very different path, succeeding in many areas, but ultimately failing in many others. ToC was uneven at best, soul-destroying at worst.

Let's look back!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Arcane Brilliance: Level 80 mage gearing road map, part 2

The dawning of another Saturday brings with it another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column delivered direct to your driveway by a paperboy who blinks from house to house, fending off overprotective guard dogs with the occasional conjured ball of flame and constantly demanding his two dollars (I really, really wish I could have found an actual clip of that, but yet again, YouTube has failed me). It's all pretty impressive, especially when you consider that this paperboy is also wearing a dress.

Okay, after last week's part one of this topic, many of you disagreed with my assertion that a fresh level 80 mage should attempt to upgrade his gear prior to jumping into random heroics. I understand this point of view. Farming random heroics is by far the fastest way to gear up initially, and it is true that if you find the right groups, you and your pathetic new-80 DPS may be viewed less as a liability and more of a charity project. Thinking about it, I too secretly enjoy having someone in the group who's needing on blue drops because they're honest upgrades for him. As long as we have a decently geared tank (or a healer who's capable of keeping him up even if he isn't), even a dungeon run with terrible damage dealers can go relatively smoothly.

If you wish to gear up as rapidly as possible and you don't mind the idea that you won't quite be pulling your own weight at first, then by all means, skip my first few suggestions for gearing up and head directly for the random heroics. Better yet, get together with some better-geared guildies and queue together. That way you'll always be in a good group and one that doesn't absolutely require you to be up-to-par right away.

This week, regardless of the path you've taken to get there, I'm going to assume that you've been industrious and spent a significant amount of time gearing through drops and collecting emblems in those random heroics. Here's the general road you should be following ...

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

The OverAchiever: Endangered achievements

With Cataclysm news ramping up lately, one of the things I've been thinking about is the possibility of certain achievements going bye-bye. While achievements have only been in the game since patch 3.0.2, we've already seen a few of them (and/or their rewards) go to that big MMORPG in the sky. Blizzard's tended to do this when an achievement would simply have been too easy past a certain point, or -- as with Timear Foresees -- when game changes rendered them obsolete.

Below are four achievements that I think might be facing the firing squad as we ramp up to Cataclysm. (I'm sure there are more, but these were just the ones that occurred to me first.) I'll be revisiting this article later to see if I was correct about any of them.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: The 25 most evil achievements, part 1

What are evil achievements? They're the soul-killing rep grinds, the raiding milestones that required sacrificing a farm animal to get, and even fun pasttimes like battlegrounds into which a sizable dose of misery has been added. Eventually you just want to grab the nearest developer and shake him back and forth, screaming, "What the hell were you thinking?"

Last week I previewed three of the most evil achievements in the game, both to collect my own thoughts and to canvass commenters' opinions for a larger article. This week, I'd like to present the first set of evil achievements for your reading, wincing and antacid-chugging pleasure.

A note on judging the "evil value" of achievements
: I've been adding to this list for a while, and it's drawn from both the achievements we've covered in this column and some I've seen players complain about frequently in game. Obviously, there's no real way to quantify exactly how difficult or excruciating achievements are, so I'm going with the definition I gave above. Any incredibly difficult or RNG-saturated achievement made the short list, but I also tried to keep some unusual picks in mind. In this vein, there's an achievement in today's column that, while extremely easy by today's standards, was a screaming horror when it first debuted. I may wind up doing a list of honorable mentions as well.

So, in no particular order, I am pleased to present World of Warcraft's 25 most evil achievements, starting with #25-16 this week.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Officers' Quarters: Verge of collapse


Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available this spring from No Starch Press.

If ever there were a time for guild-leader or raid-leader burnout to set in, we are living in it. We are at the end of perhaps the most challenging six months of raiding content in WoW's history -- not in terms of its difficulty, but in its sheer potential for drama and member loss.

First we had the half-hearted tier that consisted entirely of Trial of the Crusader, a one-room raid that took all of an hour to clear, and Onyxia, a well-loved but well-worn raid boss that was also a quick, and often boring, clear. Keeping raiders motivated during what felt like an endless four months wasn't easy. Many raid leaders were pulling out their hair trying to fill slots.

For the most serious guilds, ToC was an absolute nightmare. Not because the content was itself difficult, but because of the rewards offered for clearing the zone without a single wipe, or even a single player death. Some very good players cracked under this kind of pressure. In a situation where one person's mistake -- not to mention disconnects, lag, or other external factors -- can quickly cause a death or a wipe and cost the entire raid access to loot, offering these achievements seemed to me like Blizzard was going out of their way to cause drama.

Icecrown Citadel was supposed to be our savior, but instead it brought new and unanticipated problems.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

The OverAchiever: Dungeon and raid titles

Titles; they are cool, they are wonderful, and in a not-inconsiderable number of cases, they are very hard to get. Almost without exception, every single title in the game is also linked to an achievement. Today we're going to examine how you can get (or, in some cases, how it was possible to get) about half of the 19 titles currently available from dungeons and raids. Next week, we'll cover the last half, going in alphabetical order.

If you're a skimmer, the two toughest achievements are actually at the tail end this week, and if you're currently in Icecrown Citadel, there's two currently-unobtainable titles that may interest you here (in addition to another set next week).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, The Overachiever

Spiritual Guidance: Disciplined raid healing

Every Sunday Spiritual Guidance offers Holy and Discipline priests advice on how to wield the holy light and groove to the disco night. Your hostess Dawn Moore will provide the music.

I decided to take a break from gems this week to discuss a style of priest healing that is becoming popular among raiders: discipline raid healing. Though the concepts behind it are extremely simple to understand and execute, this style of play seems to have slipped under the radar of many players despite its amazing potential. Tag along with me after the jump and I'll fill you in on the basics and benefits of disc raid healing. Holy priests, I'm talking to you, too.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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