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Posts with tag cataclysm-heroics

Ghostcrawler responds to heroic dungeon difficulty complaints

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted an entry on his blog yesterday called "Wow, Dungeons are Hard!" It's a rather lengthy (but worthwhile) read about the current state of Cataclysm heroics, Blizzard's philosophy on designing them, his impressions on their current difficulty level, and some advice for improving your performance.

Like I said, it's an epic post, and we won't reprint the whole thing here. This, however, is the key takeaway:

Wow, Dungeons are Hard!
The bottom line is that we want Heroics and raids to be challenging, and that is particularly true now while the content is new and characters are still collecting gear. They're only going to get easier from here on out. We want players to approach an encounter, especially a Heroic encounter, as a puzzle to be solved. We want groups to communicate and strategize. And by extension, we want you to celebrate when you win instead of it being a foregone conclusion.

On the other hand, we don't want you to stumble your way to victory. We don't want you to be able to overwhelm bosses without noticing or caring what they're doing. We don't want healers to be able to make up for all of the mistakes on the part of the other players. While at the end of the day, dungeons may just be gussied up loot vending machines, we want you to do more than push a button to get the loot.

Ultimately, we don't want to give undergeared or unorganized groups a near guaranteed chance of success, because then the content will feel absolutely trivial for players in appropriate gear who communicate, cooperate, and strategize.


All that being said, though, is Blizzard really satisfied with its dungeon designs and their current level of difficulty? Hard heroics are indeed hard, but the updated PTR patch notes for 4.0.6 (which went live just yesterday at almost the exact same time Ghostcrawler was discussing heroics) indicate that a series of nerfs is coming our way. That will no doubt lead to player rejoicing, but remember -- heroics are naturally getting easier as people get more familiar with them and players continue to compile better gear, which makes completion even easier still.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

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

Arcane Brilliance: A friendly introduction to mage crowd control

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, a public service announcement:

An open letter to the guy who keeps breaking my sheep:

Please stop.

Sincerely,

Christian

P.S. -- Listen. I know it's Christmas and I should probably be doing a puff piece on things I want for my mage for Christmas or something like that. But I Simply can't stay quiet. We wiped 20 times in that heroic Grim Batol run last night, and though I know not everybody who plays this game reads this column, I have to do what I can. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing, or something like that.

I know The Burning Crusade happened like two years ago. I'm well aware that there's a distinct possibility you started playing the game during Wrath. Perhaps you either don't remember or don't have any idea what a "Polymorph" is or why it's not in your best interests to immediately begin whacking whatever I just cast it on as hard as you possibly can. I'm willing to allow for ignorance.

Mages, I can even understand it when you don't sheep things. Polymorph doesn't do any damage; in fact it heals its target! Why would you want to use a spell that doesn't blow things up when there are so many other delightful spells in your spellbook that do? It seems counter to everything we got into magecraft for.

Wrath was a long expansion. For the better part of two years, we spent the majority of our time chain pulling and AoE-farming our way through every instance in sight, concentrating on one thing and one thing only: DPS. Recount gave us a number at the end of every boss fight, and if that number was higher than the warlock's number, we had done a good job. Sure, the fights sometimes had mechanics we needed to pay attention to, but they mostly involved moving from one place to stand and shoot to another place to stand and shoot. We forgot a very important part of our jobs as mages.

We forgot how to sheep.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Shifting Perspectives: The unbearable suckhood of pugging

Every week (usually), WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we soothe everyone's ego by telling them it's not their fault (while secretly thinking it's everyone's fault).

I apologize for the recent absence, guys. While I would like to say it had something to do with battling hordes of evil minions from some morally questionable wizard with an abundant set of apostrophes in his name, the truth of the matter is that I've just been crushed by work. It didn't help that I started a Shifting edition on gearing a restoration druid at level 85 and thought, "Hey! Wouldn't it be nice to include all the gear available to druids from Cataclysm quests on up, à la Emmerald's old gear list, so that people know exactly where they stand in relation to upgrades?"

Some 1,600 words later, I am pleased to report that I am almost to the end of the shoulder slot.

Yeah. You're gonna have to give me another week or two on that ... unless you're planning to go naked from the shoulders down. If you do, send pics.

Anyway, it hasn't escaped my attention that the forums more or less exploded once people started getting into heroics. One contingent claims that Cataclysm heroics are too difficult and need to be nerfed. Another insists that everyone claiming that heroics are too difficult is a bad player with bad gear and bad talent choices and bad glyphs and they should feel bad. Personally, I've seen enough of both the dungeon finder and guild groups as a tank and healer to arrive at my own conclusion:

People on both sides of this argument are equally correct.

Or, if you're in a judgmental sort of mood today, they're equally full of it.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Raid Rx: Reality check for heroic healing

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand pooh-bah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI-, macro- and addon-related. If you're looking for more healing advice, check out the Plus Heal community.

Granted, this is supposed to be a raiding column. But you know, since it is a new expansion, we need to work our way up the progression ladder. What comes before raids? Heroics, of course!

Before I dive into the serious business that is heroic healing, I figured I'd open up with a screenshot of me slaughtering a bunch of penguins. That's how I take out my anger and frustration when I feel helpless in certain groups or compositions. It is also a fun method in obtaining the [Critter Kill Squad] achievement. I once mentioned to Allison Robert that it would be fun to compile an Overachiever guide to critter slaughtering and that if she didn't want to do it, I would graciously volunteer critter-killing advice and areas where they can be taken down en masse. Suffice to say, I could feel that e-glare of hers coming straight through my monitor when she replied with nothing more than a "...".

But we're not here to talk about killing critters today. Oh no, today we get to face the reality check that is heroic healing. Are you ready for it? I don't mean just gear-wise. I mean do you have the mental fortitude to endure the stress of healing in today's mechanics? Here's what you need to find success in your runs.

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Filed under: Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Lichborne: Heroic Cataclysm dungeon-delving for death knights


Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly source for news, guides, tips and opinions on the death knight class.

OK, I'm not usually one to use tired old catchphrases, but forgive me, I'm going to use one right now: You are not prepared. That pretty much sums up Cataclysm heroics, especially as they are now on beta. Chances are, you've grown used to the easy stuff we have in Wrath. Not only are Wrath heroics a little underbalanced, and not only have patches specifically made them easier and faster to run, but at this point, we're running things in tier 9 and 10 gear that were made for people in pre-tier 7 gear, and we're steamrolling them.

All this ends with Cataclysm heroics. I cannot stress this enough. You see that picture up there, at the top of this article? You'll be seeing that a lot. Cataclysm heroics are hard. They are hard enough that the random dungeon finder may end up being something you want to avoid in favor of creating your own group so that you can work together and get the proper balance of crowd control and skill. While some of the difficulty comes because we'll all be in dungeon blues, some of it is because the dungeons are genuinely set up to be harder, with harder-hitting mobs and bosses with mechanics that require you to use utility moves to have a chance of beating them.

With this in mind, I have a few tips for you on getting ready for the new heroics. Trust me, you'll need them, if you don't want to spend all day wiping to the first trash pack in your first random heroic.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, Cataclysm

Spiritual Guidance: Welcome to Cataclysm heroics, shadow priests

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Spiritual Guidance, where your host Fox Van Allen takes on the darker, shadowy side of priesting. While your holy columnist Dawn Moore was busy trying to plant suggestions regarding the alleged superiority of healing, Fox was busy casting Mind Control to demonstrate the superiority of the shadows.

Right now, on the live Wrath servers, shadow priesting seems to fit like a glove. That's not necessarily a result of our class and mechanics being perfect -- they're not. It's a result of their feeling familiar. We've been playing under the rules of patch 3.3 for nearly a year now and it feels natural; it feels right. We're blessed with strong damage and near unlimited mana -- provided we put in the effort to know how to make both of those a reality.

It's hard to accept that 4.0.1 is bringing such major changes, especially in the realm of that once unlimited mana bar. It's gone, and it's not coming back any time soon. If you need any evidence, consider this: After slashing mana regen to the bone last week, Blizzard followed up by cutting regen even more this week in the latest beta build. (For something called a "nerf," these cuts sure hit like a Mack truck, don't they?)

These changes to regen may make the 80-to-85 leveling process more tedious, but they don't necessarily make it more difficult. If the pinch is going to be felt anywhere, it's going to be in 5-man instances, heroics and raids. Since raids aren't quite available yet, I decided to queue up for some heroics instead to get as much Cataclysm endgame flavor as I could.

Can our mana bars handle the stress? How weird and different are our new rotations? And how can shadow priests add much-needed value to a party above and beyond the standard DPS abilities in Cataclysm? The answers to those questions -- plus a stunning 47,306 damage crit -- are all after the break.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

Encrypted Text: Cataclysm heroics from a rogue's perspective

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the rogue class. This week, we discuss the new heroic dungeons in the upcoming expansion.

I remember what it was like to play a rogue in dungeons in vanilla WoW. Our only form of long-term crowd control was Sap, and it brought us out of stealth every time we used it. Subtlety rogues could spend three talent points on Improved Sap, which still left Sap knocking us out of Stealth a tenth of the time. Every mob had some sort of AoE or whirlwind-style attack, and rogues were often right behind tanks in terms of healing necessary.

We've come a long way since the old days. Tricks of the Trade, with its instant threat transfer, has become the crutch that supports even the greenest tanks. Fan of Knives is one of the best AoE abilities in the game and synergizes with our poisons for incredible potency. Improved Sap has been baked in to the ability, and we can use our CC safely on a wide variety of targets. Feint's new ability to reduce our AoE damage taken also allows us to survive most attacks. You might say that rogues are nearly perfect for running heroics. Unfortunately for us, Cataclysm's heroics have a thing or two to teach us about complacency.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Arcane Brilliance: Things I've learned while dying in Cataclysm heroics, mage edition

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column of choice for dress-wearing, warlock-hating Frostbolt slingers the world over. Also, fans of the short musical films of Journey, Short Imagined Monologues, and the sublime, video game-based synth and fretwork amalgams of Sixto Sounds. Seriously, listen to this one. Holy crap.

So over the past few days, I've found myself a broken corpse lying in a spreading puddle of my own bodily fluids a bit more frequently than I'm used to. The reason for this is simple: heroics. No, not the ones on the live servers -- where you can throw together a random group consisting of a ret pally tank, a six-year-old playing a hunter his mom bought him on eBay the day before, a feral druid healer who for some reason came into the instance suffering from nine more minutes of resurrection sickness, a mouth-breathing rogue who may or may not be a serial killer, and an AFK shaman farming badges while auto-following the healer -- and still blast through the place. I'm talking about heroics in the Cataclysm beta.

They're absolutely brutal, guys. Now, granted -- it's still early. The testing process for these beauties is still in its infancy. We're tackling them using premade characters with talent builds we threw together by looking at the talents and thinking, "This looks nice." We're wearing gear that's barely entry-level for heroics (if we're lucky) and using spell rotations that we're basically making up on the fly. We're going into instances we've never seen before, doing boss fights nobody knows the mechanics for, and dealing with crippling, often game-breaking bugs. These places simply aren't finished, not by a long shot.

But then again, that's why we have a beta. We go in, throw our soft, cloth-clad bodies against the long claws of some horrifying beast or another, use the final droplets of our blood to scrawl feedback for the developers ("Landmines ... everywhere ... can't feel ... legs ... fading to black ... tell warlocks ... hate them ... so ... much ... "), and then come back for another round. Blizzard takes the data it gathers from our gruesome deaths and uses it to construct a better game.

Still, there is much we can learn -- even in this unfinished state -- from the first incarnations of these heroics. Join me after the jump, won't you?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm

The Queue: Getting ready for heroics edition

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mat McCurley will be your host today.

Hey, I'm back! Blame Alex. Yesterday, heroics opened up for testing in the Cataclysm beta. Tonight, the epic quest to get absolutely destroyed by these dungeons begins! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! Come one, come all. Witness the horrors, trials and tribulations of stalwart souls! The slaughter in the Stonecore! The battle in the Blackrock Caverns! Throne of the DIES ... The quite literal Deadmines! Hellish Halls of Origination. A truly Grim Batol! Uh... Vortex Pinna...culling? What do you want from me? It's early.

Enough of that. Let's get on with some questions.

There are some Cataclysm spoilers in a couple of The Queue questions this week, so be wary if you're avoiding that sort of thing.

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Filed under: The Queue

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