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Posts with tag cataclysm-raiding

Raid design evolution from Cataclysm to now

Horridon header
Yesterday Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas published a fascinating Dev Watercooler blog that discussed the history and evolution of raid design in World of Warcraft. That article was part one of a three-part series, and looked into the way that raiding developed from WoW's original release through to Wrath of the Lich King. In part two, published today, Watcher discusses the ways raid design has changed, and stayed the same, through Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.

The article focuses primarily on difficulty levels and raiding. Watcher discusses in detail the problems inherent in the "10-man is easier, 25-man is harder" approach, as well as the ways that making 10- and 25-man raiding more equivalent in difficulty led to new problems that hadn't existed before. From there we learn about the origin of both the LFR and Flex raiding options from the perspective of how different raiding difficulties serve different portions of the WoW player population. If you've ever wondered about the thought processes that went into developing the different types of raid systems we see in the game today, this is an excellent article on exactly that.

Check out the full blue post after the break.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Boss fights and perspective

I love heroic Spine of Deathwing because I am a prot warrior.

Is the fight hectic? Absolutely it is. If I were a healer, I would probably hate it with a passion, having to heal that stupid debuff off of people and deal with some ridiculously high damage spikes. If I were a DPSer, I'd probably loathe having to throttle my damage for 90% of the fight then go for broke for the tendons, being sure to line up my cooldowns and consumables and trinkets. And dealing with the Fiery Grip is an exercise in doing exactly what you have never learned how to do as a damage dealer, not killing things.

But as a tank? Especially one kiting bloods up and down the spine? It's glorious. It's hard, really really hard. As the fight progresses, the difficulty of tanking the bloods goes from Meh, I can do this while I eat this giant hoagie to There are 50 bloods chasing me help help. You will use every cooldown, big and small, as well as every movement increase you have. You will shift from tanking one or two bloods to tanking 10 or 20, and finally you will find yourself drowning in the things, hopping around the back of the spine and desperately hoping for a cooldown to come up. And it's awesome. It is the most fun I've had in Cataclysm, bar none.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

How do you feel about warming the bench?

You know how raid nights go. Sometimes you have the bare minimum of people showing up, and you're desperately trying to fill spots. And on some occasions, everyone inexplicably shows up at the same time. When you go from barely scraping by with eight or 22 to suddenly dealing with a glut of 15 to 25, obviously somebody's not making it into the mix. So how do you decide who?

Some guilds simply go by attendance numbers; if you've shown up consistently, you're in. If you just happen to be making an appearance for farm night, you're out. Some guilds pick based solely on performance in the raid itself; if you're consistently pulling high DPS and not standing in fire, you're in. If you can't find your way out of a poison cloud with a map and GPS system showing you the way, you're out.

But what do you do when you're the one being sat?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

The last gasp of 25-man raiding

Imagine you have been placed in front of two hedge mazes, both leading to the same wonderful prize at the end. It could be a car, money, a trip to an exotic location -- whatever you really want, for the purpose of this imaginary exercise, OK? So there are two mazes, each leading to the awesome prize, but as you look at those mazes, you realize one of them is twistier, longer, and has potentially more hazards in it. The other is difficult, to be sure -- but side by side, it's slightly less hazardous than the other. And they both lead to the exact same thing.

So which maze do you take?

Most people would much rather take that shorter, slightly less hazardous maze. I mean, if you've got two choices that get you to the same fabulous prize, you'd be out of your mind to take the difficult path, wouldn't you? Welcome to the debate of 10-man vs. 25-man raiding -- and the main reason why 25-man raids are slowly dying out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Officers' Quarters: Guilds struggled after Cataclysm's raid changes

bastion of twilight
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 now from No Starch Press.

As predicted, Cataclysm has had a massive impact on guilds and guild leadership. The changes to guilds in this expansion will continue to have consequences throughout the lifetime of the game. Of all those changes, none have affected PvE guilds more than Cataclysm's new raiding systems and philosophy.

The new endgame

In April 2010, Blizzard announced a major shift in its design philosophy for raiding: The company intended to combine lockouts for 10- and 25-man raid sizes, while placing the exact same items in both. When the changes were first announced, the community -- including part of WoW Insider's own staff -- unleashed an understandable outcry. Memories of the transition from vanilla's 40-man to The Burning Crusade's 25-man cap haunted us. We worried whether our guilds could survive another monumental change.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Firelands: WoW Insider's first impressions

Pssst. Hey you. Yeah, you. Come here. Do you like clearing trash? Is clearing trash, like, the best? Do you love trash respawns on tight timers? Well, have I got the raid for you!

Patch 4.2 has been live on servers for a little over 24 hours now, which means that the Firelands raid is just as new. Hardcore raiders that we are (well, some of us), a team of WoW Insider writers headed into the raid instance on its inaugural night with the intent of offering our first impressions.

How would the new encounters test healers? What kind of issues would tanks face? Would crowd control efforts would be necessary? Matt Low of Raid RX, warrior tank Mat McCurley, and enhancement shaman Josh Myers all headed into the Firelands to find out. What follows are their insights and opinions from the point of view of a healer, a tank, and a DPSer, respectively.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Raid Guides

Patch 4.2 Preview: The Firelands

Blizzard has just released a comprehensive look at the raid content for patch 4.2, The Firelands. Featuring seven bosses, the legendary staff Dragonwrath, and a host of new challenges for players, patch 4.2 will be the first new raid content of Cataclysm since launch. Players will take the fight to Ragnaros' domain, eventually fighting their way through Sulfuron Keep to take on the Firelord himself.

Players will be facing a host of new challenges in the Firelord's domain. Beth'tilac, the fearsome lava spider, will require players to climb on her webs to defeat her. Lord Rhyolith is a massive magma giant that is reminiscent of the Supremus fight in the Black Temple. The great firehawk Alysrazor drops feathers that players will use to fly during the fight. Shannox, one of the flamewalkers loyal to Ragnaros, is a hunter with some nasty pets to deal with. Sulfuron Keep is guarded by Baleroc in a moat of molten rock. Finally, guarding Ragnaros' fortress is Majordomo Staghelm, previously known as Fandral Staghelm, where the once-great archdruid becomes a turncoat, allying with the Firelord. Finally, players will face Ragnaros himself.

With this update, we also finally know the name of the legendary staff to be found in the Firelands -- Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. A flaming version of Anzu will be available, as well as two other mounts. Patch 4.2 is heating up good!

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm

Spiritual Guidance: Beta patch 13221 and holy priests

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers healing for disc and holy priests, and makes a delicious Thai curry, which she used to defeat her morally bankrupt, shadow priest rival, Fox Van Allen, at the WoW Insider Thorium Chef cook-off. Granted, Fox was disqualified for the illegal use of ground gnome in his lasagna.

BlizzCon 2010 is over, and that means it's time to get back to work. I'll let you guys know, though, that I definitely did a lot of healing priest advocacy while at the convention. I even met a Blizzard developer who works on trash and critter spawning. So if we're lucky, we'll see a fox spawn nerf, and skunk spawning will get its long-needed buff.

Anyway, the Cataclysm expansion is just a little over a month away and testing on the beta has gotten pretty serious with all the new raid content available. There's also a new patch being tested on the beta that should interest holy priests. Join me after the jump, and I'll fill you in on the details.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Offspec gear and Cataclysm raiding

One of the things I haven't seen discussed much concerning the 10-man/25-man split in Cataclysm is how hybrid players are going to gear offspecs.

This is the situation I'm in, and I suspect it's one that a lot of other hybrid players would recognize
; I play restoration in most guild 25-man and 10-man raids, but I tank just about everything else. On easier content, or on nights when we have too many healers show up, it's not unusual for a few people to haul out their DPS sets and go DPS for the evening.

As such, hybrid players (and particularly hybrids who have dual-specced into a role requiring a completely different set of gear) have an interest in keeping their offspec set up to date, and the best way to do this has typically been through 10-man raids where there's not much gear competition. I got 3 Sanctified feral pieces from heroic 10-man ICC, and I'm still using a few ToGC-10 pieces to tank as well. When you only have 10 players in a raid, the number of players angling for a given piece is necessarily small, and items go to offspec quickly.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

Cataclysm raid progression refinements

Today Blizzard released some stunning new standards for raids in the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. Chief amongst these changes, which every WoW player should be aware of, is the combining of 10- and 25-man loot tables, 10- and 25-man raid lockouts, and the continuation of gated content.

No longer will 25-man raids provide better gear than 10-man raids (although they will drop more of the gear), and no longer will players be able to farm both the 10-man and 25-man version of a raid dungeon each week.

The following are the bullet points of this announcement:
  • 10- and 25- man raids in Cataclysm will share the same lockout
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • 10- and 25- man bosses will be close in difficulty
  • 10- and 25- man bosses will drop the exact same items
  • 25-man bosses will drop a higher quantity of loot, but not quality
  • For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid.
  • Content will continue to be gated
  • First Cataclysm raids will be tuned for players in dungeons blues and crafted items
The full statement after the break.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

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