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Posts with tag dungeon-finder

WoW Archivist: The rocky history of meeting stones

A meeting stone in Feralas
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Now that Have Group, Will Travel has been removed as a guild perk, raid groups are once again turning to meeting stones to summon their fellow raiders to the entrance. Meeting stones have a long and uneven history in WoW. They were despised and ridiculed when they were first patched in. They've gone through periods of high use and periods where they were all but ignored. What was their original purpose? How have they changed over the years? Read on to find out!

The original dungeon finders

Even in early vanilla, Blizzard was trying to find ways to make it easier for players to run dungeons together. In those days, most dungeons formed either in guild chat or trade chat. Players made their own groups and then took zeppelins, flight points, etc. to the dungeon entrance.

In March 2005, patch 1.3 gave us Blizzard's first attempt at a grouping system: the lowly meeting stones. In their first incarnation, meeting stones could be clicked to place you in a queue for their dungeon. The queue tried to match you up with players of a similar level and to find a tank and a healer.

Players hated meeting stones immediately. It was a deep and abiding hate.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

The social aspect of WoW

The social aspect of WoW
I always remember sitting in Shattrath. Sometimes for hours, scrolling through trade, seeing the same messages over and over again. "LF1M Shadow Labyrinth, CC."

Every so often, the discussion comes back to how grouping tools are ruining World of Warcraft's social aspects. The arguments are usually the same, talking about how before the Dungeon Finder people had to have active guilds or set up groups via trade, how the servers had a sense of community, how you have to get out there and put groups together and make friends in order to play WoW, and how that's lost now. And whenever I see this argument, I remember sitting in Shattath, sometimes for hours, trying to get a group for Shadow Labyrinth.

People never really seem to remember those times when they're talking about this. Now, I've made a lot of friends in WoW over the years. Through server x-fers, through tiers of raiding, through old school days of dungeon running. I talk to a lot of these people to this day, and I've raided actively since the days of Molten Core. And yet, when people bemoan the tools that have been added to this game all I can remember is sitting in Shattrath, doing the "LFG Shadow Labyrinth" shuffle, looking at other people also looking for groups. Watching those groups demand that any new DPS have CC (warriors didn't) and that any new tank be an AoE god (warriors weren't) so they didn't have to use that CC they wanted you to have.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding

Breakfast Topic: Share your life hacks for WoW

Breakfast Topic Making your ingame life easier
I really like "life hack" sites because you can find so many different ways to make the little things (and sometimes the big things) easier. Whether it's opening bottles with a Mac power adapter or learning how to cook fish on a grill without losing portions of it to the grate, you never know what you're going to find.

Occasionally I run across tips from other players in-game come within shouting distance of being a WoW-style life hack. There are two I can think of off the top of my head that made a noticeable difference to the ease of my play time, and they both have something to do with the Dungeon Finder/Raid Finder.
  • If you're queuing for raids or 5-mans as a healer and aren't currently in your healing spec, don't immediately accept an invite. The timer is just long enough to allow you to respec and drink before entering the dungeon. If you do so within the dungeon, you run the risk of watching an impatient tank drop to half or even no health before you finish respeccing.
  • If you're trying to gear a fresh character at level 85, do your dungeons/raids earlier in the week and not later. A higher percentage of players are on their mains at that point, which tend to be better-geared and -played than their alts.
What life hacks would you recommend to your fellow players?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Mists of Pandaria Beta: All heroics open for testing

Mists of Pandaria Beta All heroics open for testing
All of the Mists of Pandaria heroic dungeons are available for testing in the beta. While they are not easily accessed in the Dungeon Finder because of an extra-high gear level requirement, you can still test the heroic of your choice by entering it through the front door.

Blizzard has planned two changes to help players get into the heroics via the Dungeon Finder:
  1. A higher level will be able to be simulated.
  2. The gear level of 440 will be lowered via a hotfix.
The full text of Daelo's post is below.


Daelo
Currently for a player to enter into a Heroic Dungeon through the Dungeon Finder system requires an item level of 440. Currently, this is a more difficult bar to clear in the beta that it will be in the final live game.

We're going to work towards hotfixing that value down, but at the same time use some new magic we have to simulate a higher level. When that change gets applied, I'll edit this thread with the news.

In the meantime, you can actually go old school to test the dungeons. Form a group, then head in through the entrance!

I'm making feedback threads for them all, since they're all open.



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: Mists of Pandaria

18 observations from a leveling healer

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I've been leveling a goblin priest for something I call the Low-Level Tank Project, which is a count on the class representation he sees among tanks in the Dungeon Finder. Between the goblin and my restoration shaman (who reached 85 about two months ago), I've had two healers leveling mostly through dungeons recently, and a few commonalities have emerged.

This is sort of a spiritual successor to 20 observations from a leveling tank, if you'd like a more tank-flavored look at leveling groups. This outing is a more generalized approach, possibly because I take a more observational role in my groups whenever I'm healing, like Jane Goodall among the ungemmed and unenchanted chimps.

1. DPSers are enormously indifferent to aggro in early dungeons. You're not healing one tank -- you're healing four. Five, if nobody bothers to stomp the mob making a beeline for you.

2. Early dungeons aren't necessarily good training for everyone involved. I wouldn't go so far as to say they're a terrible experience, per se -- they're quick, easy, and a good way to build confidence for new players -- but the usual mechanism by which players are encouraged to behave themselves (ugly death) is a remote possibility at best.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Your evil, animatronic late-night pugging is back

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Why hello, insomnia. Fancy seeing you around here again. It's been what, a week? I guess that's enough sleep. As is my wont, I tend to log onto WoW and do ridiculous things when I'm tired, like run Dungeon Finder groups over and over again. I don't need the points, as I usually cap valor just by raiding, and I don't need the gear. Sometimes I tank, sometimes I DPS. (I have yet to figure out how to queue my warrior as a healer.) I've figured out, to some extent, why I do this.
  1. I test out build ideas in PuGs. That prot spec with all the threat talents, or the other one that cherry picks for Second Wind and Blood Craze. (Yeah, I tanked with that one. It worked OK, but man, I missed Blood and Thunder.) My fury spec that has both SMF and TG for no good reason aside from switching between Gurthalak and Souldrinker every few minutes. (Gurth's way better, in case you were wondering.)
  2. I like killing things in video games. No real surprise there.
  3. I indulge my transmog jones. There's something about running Well of Eternity in tier 2, then going back and transmogging into level 40 greens and running it again. It amuses me.
  4. I get to feel like a superhero. Seriously, a lot of the time I get dropped into a run halfway through that's struggling on Azshara or Murozond, and I can just kind of go completely and utterly bonkers on said boss. Yes, one of the reasons we collect all this gear is so we can feel powerful. I don't go around posting meters or bragging; I often say very little aside from an occasional joke.
Number 4 up there is the easiest one to be obnoxious about, so I try never to be that guy going on about how awesome his DPS is or pulling threat because he couldn't wait for the tank. Yeah, I could probably do more if I opened up sooner, but I don't feel like it's necessary. I'm there because it feels good to show up and help lift a group over obstacles, not to become an obstacle. I did enjoy the one group where everyone was very encouraging to see exactly what I could do, though. It was fun to just cut loose on Dawnslayer for once.

How about y'all? Ever up at ungodly hours? If so, and you see that guy above, he might be me. (I change looks by the hour.)

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Addon Spotlight: Mists of Pandaria Beta UI upgrades

Each week, WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same.

As one of the fortunate few with a Mists of Pandaria beta invite at this time, I have been excitedly snapping screenshots of some of the UI changes coming in the next expansion. While we still have not yet seen the Pet Battle system interface, arguably the biggest UI reveal this go-around, there are still a few tweaks to the game that are deserving of being pointed out. More quality of life improvements than anything, the changes to WoW so far in the Mists beta have been straightforward and welcome additions.

I figured that since this is the beta process that we as a community can provide some feedback even if you haven't had a chance to see these tools in action. Since the tools are mostly quality-of-life improvements and not "boots on the ground," experience-dependent changes, these changes are something we can discuss and hopefully make better before the launch.

Since this is the beta, things can and will change dramatically. This is only a quick look at some of the features and changes coming in Mists of Pandaria. As new features open up, like the aforementioned Pet Battles, I will be more than happy to show them to you. If you are in the Mists of Pandaria beta and want to help me out with some UI testing and screenshots or you're an addon developer looking to talk about your new Mists of Pandaria addons in the works, send me an email at mat@wowinsider.com.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: New Dungeon and Raid Finder UI

The Dungeon and Raid Finder tools are getting a visual overhaul in Mists of Pandaria, combining multiple tools into one. The new menu, opened by default with I or Ctrl+I, mashes together the Dungeon and Raid Finders into one utility along with the new Scenario Finder and a tab for dungeon Challenges.

I liked when the PvP interface was mashed together but it still had the drop-down menu issue. Hopefully, there will be a day when drop-down menus are gone forever.

Check out this gallery of the new Dungeon and Raid Finder utilities that I just snapped in beta. What do you guys think?



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: Mists of Pandaria

Addon Spotlight: A UI primer for returning WoW players

Each week, WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same.

World of Warcraft experienced numerous cataclysms over the last year and a half as Blizzard, the community, and everything in between had a weird hiccup moment. Mists of Pandaria seems to be shaping up to pull many lapsed players back into the World of Warcraft ranks, and the Scroll of Resurrection is a none-too-subtle way of facilitating that goal. Old players who thought WoW was down and out have been pulled back because of instant access to a lot of the features once reserved for the especially dedicated.

Last week, I gave you some tips on what to install on your brand new player's game in order to facilitate a smoother first-game experience. This week, we're going to address old players from all past eras of WoW's lifespan and help them get back into the game without too many bumps along the way. It's a very different game, but the core components are exactly the same. Blizzard correctly pointed out that when WoW's got you and your character's boots on the ground, the game works the best.

But first, before we begin with the article proper, I wanted to proclaim victory for the WoW community with regard to AoE looting. Blizzard has announced that AoE looting will be making the release of Mists of Pandaria, and I could not be happier. I've been championing AoE looting for some time now, and I want to send the happiest thoughts possible to the dev who got this feature on the launch list. You have no idea what types of quality of life changes that this will bring to everything from old raid farming to time spent waiting around in dungeons.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Is PvP gear good enough for heroics?

I don't really PvP these days. In vanilla, I had plenty of fun with my priest, running around and healing people who were on the mad dash for High Warlord. Back then, there wasn't really much in the way of PvP-appropriate gear -- in fact, when the honor system began, the most effective and deadly people you ran across in Battlegrounds were those who were raiding and collecting tier gear.

I remember that fact particularly infuriated a friend of mine, who over the course of vanilla did nothing but PvP, although at the time that meant basically running around Southshore and Tarren Mill. When the honor system was introduced, there was a contest held by Blizzard for those who engaged in PvP, and the top characters on the realm who got the most amount of honorable kills were rewarded with a special tabard. My friend spent weeks in Tarren Mill, happily murdering Alliance until his fingers bled, and he won his tabard handily -- after all, nobody really did as much PvP as he did. Then the Battlegrounds came out.

When he stepped into Battlegrounds, he discovered that despite the fact that he did nothing but PvP, he couldn't hold a candle against those people who engaged in raiding. The gear and weapons that they got from raiding were too powerful. And that's when he threw up his hands, said he didn't want to have to raid to be good at PvP, and promptly stopped playing the game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Does a video game have to force us to make good choices?

Take a moment and picture this: There's a politician out there, a pretty sleazy politician, who is basically in a position of power to use that power to do whatever suits him or her best -- no regard for anyone that voted him into office, no real sense of caring for those he is supposedly serving. One day, someone comes up to that politician and says, "Hey man, I'll give you $3 million if you start taking an interest in your constituents and doing what is best for them, OK?" The politician agrees, takes the money, and promptly starts doing the right thing.

Is that politician in the wrong? Or is that politician simply learning that if he behaves badly, he'll get a bribe to start behaving correctly? What's to stop him from behaving badly again, if he thinks he's going to get another $3 million out of the deal? More importantly, if all the other politicians out there see this guy get a bribe to behave like a decent politician and all of those politicians decide to start behaving badly in an effort to get that bribe for themselves, are they in the wrong?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Should WoW players be responsible for player accountability?

Blizzard's policy as far as reporting players has been about the same since day one. If you have a problem with a player, you report them. While Blizzard can contact you and thank you for reporting the issue, it will not give any details regarding what it has done about the problem being reported. This has always been understandable to me; in the many years on and off that I worked customer service and call center jobs, rule #1 was that you did not speak to anyone but an account holder regarding the status of their account. To me, the Blizzard policy is just more of the same kind of treatment -- Blizzard cannot tell you about actions taken against another player's account, because hey, their account isn't yours, you know? It's private information.

That said, I have reported my share of players over the years, and I never really knew if action was taken against these players or not. In simple cases of name violations, like using an inappropriate word for guild or character name, I could usually tell if something had been done, because the guild or player in question would have their name changed. But in cases of player harassment ... well, you never know if they've been told anything or not. You just sort of hope this means the person harassing you will go away and that will be the end of it, but there are absolutely no guarantees.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Is choosing a server becoming obsolete?

Let's hop in the wayback machine for a minute, because I enjoy doing that. Once upon a time in the days of vanilla WoW, players who had just purchased the game were faced with a choice upon logging in for the first time: What server would they call home? There were three different server types, each with their own flavor: PvP, for those that wanted to log in and have the opportunity to whale on the opposing faction at any given opportunity; PvE for those who would rather avoid fighting with other players and simply enjoy the content; and RP, for those who wanted to create character stories and roleplay with other characters. Later, the RP-PvP realm was introduced for roleplayers who really wanted to whale on the opposing faction as well as roleplay.

But the choice went beyond a simple matter of what type of game you wanted to play. Each server had its own cast of characters, and as the years went by, these players turned into friends and foes alike. Servers weren't just about how you wanted to play; they were a collection of people you interacted with on a daily basis. Guilds were composed of people with the same ideas in mind, but those guilds weren't the be all and end- all of your interaction with people in the game. Every server had that one guy who was always cracking jokes in trade chat. Every server always had a ninja or two. And of course, there was always the guy who didn't seem to get what social interaction was all about.

These days, we have cross-realm grouping via Real ID, the Raid Finder for those who don't want to bother with joining a raid guild, and now we've got the up-and-coming feature that will allow us to group with players cross-realm for raiding old content as well as the new stuff. So the big question is this: Do servers even have a purpose anymore?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

5 ways to keep your healer happy in 5-man heroics

While much of Azeroth has been busy engineering the repeated demise of the big Dee-Dubya, many of us are still running 5-man dungeons. Maybe it's for valor points, maybe it's to hit the ilevel required to take a pop at that dragon, or maybe it's while frantically levelling another character to 85. With every 5-man instance comes a healer, and you really ought to be showing your healer some love.

Before you say Pah! I don't need to do anything to keep my healer happy -- I massively outgear all the 5-man content the game has to offer. This advice is worthless!, spare a thought for those who don't. The new healer who wants to get a look at some Hour of Twilight. The player with bags overflowing with PvP gear to cheat the ilevel requirement. The fresh 85s who are facing these dungeons for the first time. They need this advice, and if you're running with them, you could consider reading it too. And if you think it's not your responsibility to help your healer out now and then, remember: You don't do any DPS when you're dead.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Drama Mamas: The etiquette of AFKing in a group or raid

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

When is it OK to AFK during a boss fight? The answers range from "Never, unless you are about to call 911!" to "Any time you need to. Real life comes first!" This week, we address this common conundrum.
Not a specific instance of drama but it definitely causes it often enough. I really love instancing but have been a bit stressed recently about how to deal with interruptions.

How do you handle them? Knock on the door, kids waking up, anything really. We're not all college kids where the worst that could happen would be a power-outage or dorm fire alarm.

From what I read there is not much help or sympathy out there - although that may just be the minority. They mostly say to not even run instances, which I can sympathize with - they want to run it fast - but I cannot accept that as an answer. What do they do when they have to answer the door during a boss fight? Really.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

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