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Posts with tag dragon-soul

The Dragon Soul -- a post-mortem

Technically, as I write this, the Dragon Soul isn't actually dead yet, nor do raids really die so much as either become outdated or revamped. (Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman stand as examples of raid content that died to be reused, while Naxxramas was used again as an introductory raid.) But since we're closing in on our fourth month running the raid instance, I thought this was a good time to examine it critically. What were the Dragon Soul's main themes? How did it function both as a raid instance and as a platform to end Deathwing's story arc? And most importantly to me, did I enjoy the ride?

Dragon Soul as an experience was fascinatingly diverse compared to previous raids. It eschewed the static finding of some dark cave or towering fortress to instead create a raid wherein we traveled the world, with different environments for the bosses to suit the locations and set pieces for our transitions. One complaint I've seen is that by reusing the Dragonblight and Wyrmrest Temple, Blizzard's design team was cutting corners -- but frankly, I don't find that criticism very accurate. First off, Wyrmrest is where the dragonflights typically meet, as demonstrated by Malygos' assault during the Nexus War, so it makes perfect sense for it to be where Deathwing sends his full Twilight's Hammer forces to try and crush them.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Lore, Cataclysm

The Light and How to Swing It: 4 Dragon Soul tips to make your DPSers love you

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

With the 15% nerf to Dragon Soul slated for Tuesday and Mists of Pandaria's beta test here already, Cataclysm is winding down. Many guilds are on autopilot in Dragon Soul, simply clearing the place each week for another shot at an elusive trinket or item. You can buy the heroic Dragon Soul title or mount on most realms without too much trouble. With a few months of the same eight bosses ahead of us, it's easy to understand why everyone is focused on what's coming next.

I am always looking for ways to optimize my guild's raids. If there's a way that I can shave a few seconds off a boss encounter, I'll take it. There are plenty of areas in Dragon Soul where a clever holy paladin can help move things along. I currently run with a secondary holy talent build that includes Denounce specifically for the purpose of speeding up our runs. If you're still learning Dragon Soul or working on a new heroic encounter, these tips probably won't apply to you.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Dragon Soul: Power of the Aspects buff to 15% next week

The Power of the Aspects buff will increase to 15% during the maintenance next week (Tuesday for the North American realms, Wednesday for those across the pond). This should be nothing new to most folks, as the buff has been ongoing for the past couple months.

As always, you can turn the buff off by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of the instance.

Blizzard's full note on the increase is as follows:

Power of the Aspects
During the scheduled server maintenance on the week of March 26, the "Power of the Aspects" spell will grow more powerful, reducing the health and damage dealt of all enemies in the Dragon Soul raid by 15%. This spell will grow progressively stronger over time to reduce the difficulty and make the encounters more accessible. The spell will affect both normal and Heroic difficulties, but it will not affect the Raid Finder difficulty.

Don't need the help of the Dragon Aspects? The spell can be disabled by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of Dragon Soul.

We hope you continue to enjoy Dragon Soul, and that these changes encourage you to attempt a higher difficulty, or just keep pushing to down that next boss.

Filed under: News items

Why Dragon Soul nerfs are good for everyone, especially hardcore guilds

Blizzard took a lot of flak for the initial nerf of Dragon Soul last month; this month, the words are flying on the internet again. Dragon Soul's being nerfed a culminative 10% is too much for some people, because Blizzard has truly thrown in the towel and given up producing hard content -- or at least that's what people claim.

The reality is quite a bit different. The Dragon Soul nerf serves an important purpose on several levels, no matter what your style of play.

The casual guild

The casual guilds will probably see the most immediate benefits from this nerf in terms of progression but the least in the long term. Bosses will be going down faster, mechanics will naturally have more error allowance, and morale of casual guilds will raise as progression happens.

Players will still come and go, and some may decide that they want more of a challenge and start to look at forming hard mode groups or switching guilds altogether. But that is a natural part of any guild; personnel rotation happens. At the end of the day, this buff will probably attract and retain as many people as might move because of its effects.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

Dragon Soul Power of the Aspects buff to increase next week

Starting at server maintenance next Tuesday, the Power of the Aspects buff will increase in Dragon Soul. This means that the health and damage output from enemies will be reduced by 10%. Remember that this only applies to normal and heroic versions and that it can always be shut off.

The Power of the Aspects buff currently stands at 5%, which went into effect on Jan. 31, 2011. So it took about a month for the buff to increase to the next level. Blizzard has said the spell will continue to increase but not at a set interval, as was done in Icecrown Citadel.

The full blue post is as follows:

Blizzard Entertainment
During the scheduled server maintenance on the week of February 28, the "Power of the Aspects" spell will grow more powerful, reducing the health and damage dealt of all enemies in the Dragon Soul raid by 10%. This spell will grow progressively stronger over time to reduce the difficulty and make the encounters more accessible. The spell will affect both normal and Heroic difficulties, but it will not affect the Raid Finder difficulty.

Don't need the help of the Dragon Aspects? The spell can be disabled by talking to Lord Afrasastrasz at the beginning of Dragon Soul.

We hope you continue to enjoy Dragon Soul, and that these changes encourage you to attempt a higher difficulty, or just keep pushing to down that next boss.

Filed under: News items, Raiding

Looking for raid, or looking for trade?

My interactions with the Raid Finder have been limited, for the most part. I'm in a raiding guild, and we were told when the Raid Finder came out that we would do guild runs to start out with. This was to make sure that all drops benefited everyone in the guild, and honestly, it was a smart idea. Players got their set bonuses with relative speed, and we completed the encounters with no difficulty at all just due to the fact that they were relatively easy in comparison to the normal-mode raiding we were doing.

However, after we began melting more gear than we were keeping and started working on heroics in earnest, our raid leader let us know that if we really needed anything else from the Raid Finder, we'd have to go run it on our own. So it was with a fair amount of confidence that I queued up for Dragon Soul, looking for a trinket that was so far eluding my rogue in normal mode content. No big deal, right? Easy enough, and by now plenty of people ought to be familiar with the content. Well ... not so much.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Know Your Lore: Cataclysm for Dummies, Act II

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

So, Act I of our Cataclysm for Dummies guide went over the basics of Cataclysm -- how it came to be, just who that Deathwing guy is, anyway, and why he's so annoyed with the world in general. We also found out why we're going to all those new level 80 to 85 zones and, more importantly, why we're wandering around in three different raids in three completely different locations around the world. If you made it through the basics, congratulations! You're caught up through patch 4.0.

But we're in patch 4.3, aren't we? And you've probably still got questions. Questions like: What's up with the troll dungeons -- didn't we kill those guys already? And why did we have to go fight Ragnaros again? Why is Thrall friendly as all get-out with the Dragon Aspects? Why do we have to do all this silly time travel? The good news is, by the time you're done reading this guide, you'll totally understand what Cataclysm is all about.

Please note: There are spoilers here for the novel Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. If you're still planning on reading it, you may want to do so before you hit this recap.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Two Bosses Enter: Echo of Tyrande vs. Warlord Zon'ozz

In Two Bosses Enter, WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches, bosses, leaders, and powerful figures of World of Warcraft face off in the squared circle. Your vote determines who wins and claims the season title.

As the poll closes for last week's matchup. the Echo of Sylvanas from the End Time dungeon successfully trumped the second raid boss to be a part of Two Bosses Enter, Yor'sahj the Unsleeping. Looks like this unsleeper is being put down for the night, if you catch my drift. You don't? Oh, Yor'sahj lost. By 800 votes. Another surprisingly close match, considering who Sylvanas is.

This week's matchup proves to be another fun one, especially for the commenters, who are doing their best to reconcile raid mechanics and 5-man mechanics while remembering that this is about spirit and fun. The Echo of Tyrande, leader of the night elves and caretaker of Nordrassil and the druid barrows, will have to pull out every trick in the book as she goes up against Warlord Zon'ozz, one of the two generals at the helm of the assault on Wyrmrest Temple.

Now the fate of these two champions is in your hands. Who wins it, loyal readers and fans? Does the Echo of Tyrande have the strength of will to stand up against the madness of the Old Gods' servant Warlord Zon'ozz?

Who wins? Echo of Tyrande vs. Warlord Zon'ozz
Tyrande (End Time)1501 (49.3%)
Warlord Zon'ozz (Dragon Soul)1543 (50.7%)

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Filed under: Two Bosses Enter

Raid Rx: Healing heroic Morchok

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

The recent nerf to Dragon Soul with the release of patch 4.3.2 means more players are now within striking distance of Morchok on heroic modes. He's a boss that serves as an execution check for your raiding group more than anything else. If your raid group mastered the art of healing through him on normal, then it should have no problem doing it again on heroic.

Just be prepared to do it twice.

The biggest hard mode change is that Morchok clones himself. His clone has the exact same abilities as Morchok prime, except the timing will be off. Your raid will be splitting in two and pulling the two bosses away from each other. You can envision the fight as two pseudo 10-man groups fighting (or two 5-mans, if you're in a 10-man raiding group).

Come into the raid with six to seven healers, if you're a 25-man raiding group. Actually, I'd consider bringing seven if it's the very first time. For 10-man, it is not uncommon for groups to bring in up to four healers for the first time. You'll need them, due to the amount of damage being dished out to the raid. Ideally, try to insist that when your raid leader splits the raid into two groups, the players will show up in your raid frames in different groups. Having all of the players in group 1 and 2 on one side with groups 3 and 4 on the other can be beneficial. The side that is tanking Morchok is the one that could benefit from the extra healer, as it seems more damage is done on that side.

I strongly recommend bringing in tanks with their four-piece bonuses, because they will be an incredible asset.

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Filed under: Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Encrypted Text: When your DPS doesn't matter

lfr tentacle
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Rogues are all about DPS. You've heard my spiel about us being the only pure melee class, which makes DPS the only thing we bring to the table. SportsCenter can claim that Tim Tebow is a great quarterback, in spite of his shortcomings, because of his "intangible" benefits. Rogues don't have that luxury. If you parse poorly, then you get labeled as a bad rogue.

I was in the Raid Finder last week, and a warrior from another server tried calling me out for using Cloak of Shadows to stay in during Morchok's Black Blood phase. "Hey, that rogue didn't run out, that's not fair," he complained in raid chat. The last time I checked, all is fair in love, war, and the DPS meters.

However, there is one higher calling than DPS, and that is the success of your raid or party. Even though it's against our nature, we occasionally have to sacrifice some of our personal DPS in order to benefit the raid.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

WRUP: Contact your [redacted] and tell them you oppose [redacted]

Every week, just at the start of the weekend, we catch up with the WoW Insider staff and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" -- otherwise known as: WRUP. Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game, and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!

Ladies and gentlemen, WoW Insider is not where I typically get political, but there's something that needs to be said. And if I'm going to say it anywhere, it's going to be on the rudderless ship of filler we've all come to know and love as WRUP.

As you may know, this past week, half the internet wound up blacking itself out in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), two anti-piracy bills that could have wide-reaching consequences in terms of what those of us who make a living as internet creatives do. The congressmen who support the bill barely know what the internet is and sound like sputtering children when they try to explain why SOPA and PIPA are good bills. They're not.

SOPA is dead for now, but its House sponsor promises to bring it back in February. PIPA, SOPA's sister bill in the U.S. Senate, is undergoing retooling after a massive nationwide protest Wednesday. We did good, but we haven't won. And because the bad guys have unlimited money and stand to make more of it by passing SOPA/PIPA, we may never win for good. They'll keep trying. We have to keep fighting.

Why should you care? There's this thing out there called fair use that lets us at WoW Insider use certain copyrighted material to bring joy to your life. Fair use is what lets us talk about and show you images from World of Warcraft without having to beg Blizzard's permission. Fair use is what lets me bring video clips like that of Duane above into your life. SOPA and PIPA would literally kill WRUP. SOPA would kill Duane.

OK, I've said my piece. I'll get down from the soap box and hand you back your WRUP. Watch that video of Duane over and over again until the bad taste of politics is out of your mouth. Today's bonus question is a fairly innocuous, SOPA-free one: How far have you progressed in the new Dragon Soul raid? Are you running hard modes? Working on 10-mans? Or just running the Raid Finder? The world needs to know.

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business

Ol' Grumpy and the Dragon Soul nerf

OK, I've had a day to think about the recent announcements regarding the Dragon Soul raid and the progressive nerfs that will be rolling out at the end of January. My thoughts on it have evolved from my initial confusion and even disbelief. I freely admit, when I first read that Blizzard was introducing an ICC-modeled debuff to the raid, I was incredulous. I didn't see why it was necessary, and I said as much. Several of you then upbraided me on Twitter, and frankly, you gave me things to think about that I hadn't considered. This dovetailed with recent statistics posted on MMO-Champion about who'd completed Dragon Soul in the Raid Finder vs. normal mode. This led me, inexorably, to the following conclusions:
  • The Raid Finder is head and shoulders above normal mode raiding in terms of popularity. 35% of level 85 players have completed Raid Finder vs. 4% completing normal mode; that's a huge, huge shift. Keep in mind that Blizzard has more exacting statistics available internally, but this serves as an indicator of a trend.
  • Fewer than 200,000 players have finished normal mode Dragon Soul. I'll admit, I found this shocking. With the exception of Ultraxion and Madness, I found Dragon Soul to be undertuned and figured many more players would have completed the raid than this. One commenter on Twitter even blasted me for my elitism, when I had been under the impression I'm a fairly middle-of-the-road raider. These numbers bear that out.
  • Over 1 million players have finished Dragon Soul in the Raid Finder. Both this statistic and the preceding one are as of the end of December 2011. But how ever they've changed and how ever the more precise Blizzard statistics play out, this is still a very strong indicator that normal mode Dragon Soul isn't the cakewalk some of us thought it was, myself included to some extent.
  • Almost 800,000 players finished normal Firelands, and the majority of them did so after the nerf to Firelands. I think this fairly well speaks for itself.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

Encrypted Text: How fast can you get Fangs of the Father?

fangs of the father
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Last week, a rogue obtained the very first pair of legendary daggers, Fangs of the Father. The spelling of the rogue's name is Имбос, and I can only imagine it sounds like the words "borscht" and "gulag" combined, because those are the only two Russian words that I know. You might recognize Имбос's guild, Exorsus, as the guild that achieved the world-first Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider. Thankfully, I can actually pronounce Exorsus. How could one guild win both the Glory achievement and legendary dagger races?

In fact, how could any rogue have obtained the Fangs of the Father when they take eight weeks to acquire, at the very least? If you're keeping track, there have been seven raid lockout periods since patch 4.3 and Dragon Soul were released. If you examine Имбос's armory, you'll notice that there are a combined nine kills of Yor'sahj listed (three normal, six heroic). Lockout resetting is a known issue for progression raiders, but since it hasn't been declared an exploit by Blizzard, there's nothing stopping players from spending some cash to get ahead. I'll be waiting to congratulate the first rogue to acquire Fangs of the Father in a mathematically possible timetable.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Lichborne: The top death knight DPS gear of patch 4.3

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.

I will be honest: I am still not impressed with our tier 13 set. The whole bone motif just isn't working for me. The set bonuses are also a little iffy for me, what with half of them being sort of OK and half sort of lackluster. It all leaves a bit of a lukewarm feeling. That said, I'm not too disappointed with the final tier of Cataclysm, because we have definitely received some pretty nice surprises from the itemization team.

Every tier should have those one or two items that make you stop and look again, items that, more than their superior stats, have a look or feel that just makes you feel warm and fuzzy and makes you want to get it no matter what the cost. We'll look at some of those items from the Dragon Soul raid today, starting with everyone's favorite sword that summons horrible visions from the depths of the earth, Gurthalak, Voice of the Deeps.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Shifting Perspectives: A feral druid guide to the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

I was tired. I'd traveled to the End of Time, participated in one of the biggest moments in the history of Azeroth, and helped the spiritual leader of the Horde kill the spiritual leader of the Alliance (who, admittedly, had tried to kill us first). I'd never felt much of a calling to the Dream, but a few hundred years of meditation sounded great right about now.

Peering over the scales of my drake (I'd have flown myself, but they insisted), I gestured to the large dragon in flight beside me.

"You know, you dragons are always causing trouble," I shouted as the frigid wind of Northrend whipped by. "Can't you just drop me off at the nearest forest and call it a day?"

Nethestrasz chuckled. Through some queer trick of the dragons' magic, they were fully understandable, even in dragon form.

"If a forest existed that would be spared from Deathwing's flames, I might join you," he replied. Unfortunately, any further reply was drowned out by a sudden, loud cracking noise as the earth split asunder before us, revealing a gigantic earth elemental.

"Well, looks like it's time to be troublesome," I thought. Wordlessly, I nodded to Nethestrasz, and our army turned as one and dove for the surface.

This week and next, I'll be covering everything you need to know to DPS your way through the new Dragon Soul raid encounter. I'll provide a quick capsule strategy for those attempting the fight in the Raid Finder, then describe the changes to the fight for normal and heroic modes.

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Filed under: (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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