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Posts with tag dungeons

What's the purpose of a heroic dungeon?

What is the purpose of a heroic dungeon
One of the more volatile announcements that we've heard so far from Blizzard regarding Mists of Pandaria is the fact that Mists will not include any more 5-man dungeons. In an expansion where new content seems to be rolling out on a much faster, tighter basis than any expansion prior this seems a little bizarre to players, particularly those that enjoy dungeon-based content. Yet one of the things Mists has been doing consistently throughout the expansion is delivering a wider array of things to do. In fact, there's such a variety in endgame content that players sometimes feel legitimately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it.

But just because we aren't getting any new dungeons doesn't mean we aren't getting alternate ways to obtain all that sweet, sweet gear we know and love. Patch 5.3 will see the introduction of heroic scenarios, slightly tougher versions of the scenarios we've already seen this expansion. In addition to valor, the heroic scenarios will offer raid-finder level rewards for players that choose to participate in them -- better than any gear you'll find in a heroic dungeon at this point.

While this may seem pretty cool for some people, it does make one wonder -- what's the purpose of heroic dungeons?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

The fine art of PvE twinking from level 1-35

TDQ Call To Arms
I'm sure most of you are familiar with the concept of "twinking" in WoW for PvP. It generally entails decking a low-level character out with all the best possible gear available to them and then tearing up the battlefields. In these post-experience locking days twinking is more straightforward than ever, and our own Olivia Grace has already covered a lot of the gearing aspects of twinking, for both PvE and PvP.

PvE twinking is a bit of an unusual idea. Mostly it refers to locking experience at one of the former level caps - 60, 70, 80, or 85 - in order to enjoy the challenges of old raids or to accomplish something limited to players of a certain level, such as the Herald of the Titans title. These are fun and interesting ways to spend time in the game, but what about PvE twinking at even lower levels? Say, level 20? Or 40? Why on earth would anyone want to do that?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Cataclysm

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion 'Watcher' Hazzikostas
The slew of developer interviews continues! Wowhead guru Perculia interviewed Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas earlier this week, quizzing him about all things patch 5.2. Included in the discussion was the Ra'den encounter, which is not only hidden behind a heroic kill of the final boss of the raid, but also features limited attempts. Also included were plenty of questions about Tier 14 content and how the developers felt it worked out, as well as the question of just what kinds of progression paths are in store for raiders that have yet to complete Tier 14 content.

Perhaps most interesting to me, however, was a discussion regarding Challenge Modes and the lack of new 5-man content. So far we're at the second patch for Mists of Pandaria, and while we've gotten plenty of scenarios, we have yet to see any new dungeons added to the game. While Hazzikostas stated that no details were set in stone as of yet, there were plenty of dungeons that Blizzard has done in the past that would be fun to revisit.

The idea of suddenly making old dungeons relevant to players is honestly something I think could be really fun. There have been plenty of dungeons over the years that I've completely fallen in love with -- but as the game wends on and new expansions are launched, there's little reason to visit any of those prior dungeons. And while transmogrification usually leads me back, the dungeons themselves are easily soloed at this point in the game. What would it look like if the dungeons of old were suddenly a challenge all over again?

Check out Wowhead for more from Hazzikostas, including discussion on Feats of Strength, legendary weapons, those intriguing new Thunderforged items and much more.

Filed under: News items, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Does Mists of Pandaria need new heroic five-man content?

Does Mists of Pandaria need new heroic fiveman content
While recording the WoW Insider Show this week, my two co-hosts Anne Stickney and Olivia Grace were discussing heroic five man dungeons and made the interesting point that, while Cataclysm used new heroics to help people catch up in gearing as new raid tiers were released, the advent of the Raid Finder might mean that it isn't necessary anymore. If you're running LFR as your primary way to see/experience raid content, then you'd simply run previous LFR's in order to gear up and collect valor points for the various reputation vendors. This would allow you to get geared enough for further LFR as new raid tiers are released, and keeps the previous LFR's relevant. If you're running the current 10 or 25 man raids, you can use the LFR's for those raids to bootstrap yourself appropriately if you're not already geared well enough from the previous tier of raiding.

Either way, you don't need new heroic dungeons for the task - between daily quests, scenarios and LFR, the Cataclysm model which placed new five mans in patch 4.1 and 4.3 might no longer be necessary. Challenge modes keep the heroics that launched with Mists of Pandaria evergreen, since you can't outgear them, but is that enough for fans of five mans? While both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm introduced post-launch dungeons, Burning Crusade really only introduced Magister's Terrace in its last content patch. This makes me wonder if we really need any new five mans, and if we do, what would/should they be?

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

Are low-level dungeons too easy?

Are lowlevel dungeons too easy
Taepsilum went on today a little bit about an assertion that low level dungeons are too easy. This position is one that many experienced players can likely sympathize with, particularly those who have alts climbing through the levels with full heirlooms and considerable player knowledge behind them.

For players in that position, yes, low-level dungeons are too easy. But, as Taepsilum points out, players with years of WoW under their belts ought to turn back the clock, to let the Ghost of Azeroth Past take them on a journey through time to their first ever dungeon. Hopefully they weren't as foolish as your writer, and didn't select tank without really realizing what it meant. The low-level dungeons have, at least to some extent, to cater to players who have never been in a dungeon before.

And, of course, for the lower levels, dungeon leveling has to contribute an equivalent amount of XP per hour to questing, or nobody would ever go into dungeons at all. But, as another poster in the same thread commented, perhaps it would be possible to open up heroic difficulties of dungeons at lower level to players who wanted a challenge?

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Challenge Modes could be coming to older dungeons

Challenge Mode could be coming to older dungeons
Blizzard Community Manager Draztal posted on the forums today in response to a topic created about Challenge Modes.

Draztal
Quote:

Will you guys ever consider adding more CMs, perhaps old dungeons like Ragefire Chasm/Wailing Caverns?.

Actually, the developers would like to add Challenge Modes to existing dungeons from previous expansions. No timelines or anything, though, but it's definitely something they're considering.


This seems like a really exciting proposition, and the question is, what dungeons would be the best ones to redo? We discussed this at WoW Insider, very briefly, and one suggestion was Upper Blackrock Spire and Lower Blackrock Spire. My preference would likely not be anything that took place in Blackrock Mountain, just because it seems like such a samey place, but what do you all think, dear readers?

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: The keys to content

Karazhan entrance
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?

Keys in WoW have come in many forms. Some hang around our neck. Some hide in belts. Others open aircraft hangars or other, very special places. Some let us pretend to be rogues. Some never made it to the live game. Some we eat or play with. Some help us get the mail or reach new heights. We find some in unexpected places. A few are just trash.

This column is not about those keys. This is about the keys that used to be a Big Deal. The keys that people went to extraordinary lengths to obtain. The keys that put you on everyone's friends list. The keys to content.

Literal gates

Today, content is rarely locked. Players take it for granted that when a new dungeon or raid goes live, they will have immediate access. For the first half of WoW's history, however, this was not the case at all.

Vanilla WoW locked away virtually all of its end-game content. Raids required attunement, which means that every single person in your raid had to complete a certain quest line.

Keys worked differently. Content that required a key wasn't gated according to some arbitrary release schedule, such as the Heart of Fear -- but by actual gates.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Patch 5.1 official patch notes

Patch 51 official patch notes
Welcome to the beginning of war and the arrival of patch 5.1, Landfall. While this patch does not contain any new raid content, it is full of changes to pet battles and classes. And don't forget the new content -- an entirely new series of quests await adventurers in the heart of Krasarang Wilds, along with new scenarios to unlock. Included in the official patch notes:
  • Scenarios now include Dungeon Finder queue features, including leaders, backfill, vote to kick, and deserter debuffs. Roles are still not required.
  • Raid groups are no longer required to enter pre-Mists of Pandaria raid dungeons. Get to farming!
  • Speaking of old raid dungeons, a variety of new pets have been added to old raid bosses.
  • For fans of Pet Battles, be sure to check out the new Battle-stones, used to upgrade the quality of pets.

Read on for the full list of patch notes for patch 5.1.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Developer Q&A with Wowjuju

Developer Q&A with WowJuJu
Blizzard Community Manager Zarhym emailed WoW Insider yesterday to give us a heads up about a lengthy developer Q&A which was published over at Wowjuju. This is a hugely in-depth interview, so let's dive right in with our synopsis.

Classes

A couple of questions came up regarding the Monk ability, Zen Pilgrimage. This ability allows monks to travel to the Peak of Serenity in Pandaria, and on re-use, returns the player to their previous location. Death Knights, understandably, were asking for the same to apply to their Death Gate, which takes them to the Ebon Hold, and unceremoniously abandons them there. Monks, conversely, were bemoaning the confusing effect of the ability if they don't use it a second time, and hearthstone back instead. The devs said that both concerns were reasonable, and that they would look into rectifying the issues. WoW Insider thinks that Monks are missing a trick with what could essentially be a second hearthstone!

Hunters queried whether the increase in available pets might lead to more stable space, which, to the consternation of sentimental beast masters everywhere, was met with a resounding "No." There was also some discussion of the hunter ability Scatter Shot being dodgeable, while a rogue Blind wasn't. Rogues and hunters work very differently, rogues are reliant on expertise and positioning to avoid being dodged or parried on a plethora of other abilities, so the devs didn't really feel this was a valid comparison.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Dungeons and you - a guide to basic etiquette

Dungeons and you  a guide to basic etiquette
I am generally a tank, and therefore when I run heroics I tank them. This is not always the case. If I want DPS gear, I queue as DPS because it's only fair to perform the role you intend to gear up. This results in me ending up switching to tank after a previous tank has left, or the group has wiped a few times, about half the time I sign up to DPS. This is intensely frustrating to me, because I don't like having to switch and end up seeing the gear I came for, and signed up for, going to someone else because I'm tanking. I also don't like tanking after waiting in a queue for twenty minutes.

Therefore, this is a basics guide to dungeon running that covers a few things all groups should know, because I'm seeing a lot of groups that don't seem to know them. Five man dungeons are all about personal responsibility in the Mists of Pandaria era - you need to help keep yourself alive by making smart decisions.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Interview with Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas

At the Mists of Pandaria launch event in Irvine last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft, about Mists of Pandaria's raids and dungeons, lessons learned from Cataclysm and beyond, and the road ahead.

WoW Insider: State your name and position!

Ion Hazzikostas: My name is Ion Hazzikostas and I am the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft.

What does that job entail?

I'm the lead on the encounter team, which is self-explanatory; we make the dungeon and raid content, primarily. We're specialists in multiplayer PVE combat. On top of the dungeons and raids, we also help with outdoor raid bosses, scenario bosses, things like that.

What would you say that your biggest goal going into Mists of Pandaria was?

Particularly on the dungeon and raid front, to provide content for everybody, for all kinds of players. And we recognize that there's a massive spectrum of millions of people who are playing and enjoying World of Warcraft - a huge range of skill, frankly, and time commitment, the whole casual-hardcore spectrum people always talk about. And one of the things that we've been doing over the evolution of the game is to add additional difficulties, additional ways of consuming that content. So, you know, we now have LFR, normal, and heroic raids, and now we've introduced challenge modes, a sort of new tier of actually legitimately difficult five-player content. It's one of the biggest differences from Cataclysm at launch; one of the things we heard from people who were in guilds with friends and they'd say "these dungeons are awesome, we're having a lot of fun" ... but the people who queued up in Dungeon Finder would have a miserable time.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Tanking Temple of the Jade Serpent

Tanking Temple of the Jade Serpent
While working on the warrior column this week, I realized I could give you guys a general guide to tanking the various Mists of Pandaria leveling dungeons, so here we go. The dungeons this time out are pretty fun and varied, and not particularly onerous to tank through.

First up is the Temple of the Jade Serpent. It's a lovely dungeon, with just enough bosses and trash to take up about 30 to 40 minutes of your time. What I like most about the temple is how the trash is all linked very specifically to the events of the temple's corruption. Which is totally our fault, by the way. Oops. Sorry, August Celestials. It's up to us to free Yu'lon's temple from the Sha.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: 7 ways vanilla Wailing Caverns baffled us

Mutanus the Devourer
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?

We've come a long, long way, haven't we, since the days of Wailing Caverns? The dungeons of Pandaria are gorgeous, vivid, and varied. The bosses are dynamic and engaging. The best way to appreciate what Blizzard is doing now is to look back at what they were doing eight years ago.

Vanilla WoW's dungeons were not always so expertly crafted. Some dungeons, like Deadmines or Stratholme, were a big hit. Others, like Razorfen Downs, were not so warmly embraced. The popularity of vanilla's Wailing Caverns is not easy to nail down. For some, especially old school Horde players, they have fond memories of the place as the first real dungeon they experienced in WoW. For others, memories of endless hours wandering its unforgiving maze haunt them to this day.

One thing is certain: vanilla Wailing Caverns runs led to a lot of questions -- questions that we no longer have to ask today when we step into a dungeon. Here are seven of them!

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Officers' Quarters: 4 radical ways to help your guild stand out in Mists

Fireworks over Pandaria
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.

Today we stand at the precipice of a new era. In less than 24 hours, Mists of Pandaria will usher in what could be called the Fifth Age of WoW. The long wait through 2012 has been hard on guilds, but that time is now over.

If your guild has made it this far, you should be proud of that, but this is not a time to rest. This is a time to ensure that your guild will thrive. In this new era, the best method to recruit players will not change: finding ways to set your guild apart from the dozens of others on your server. Here are four ways to do just that -- but be warned! These are not for the faint of heart.

1. Offer tutorial runs of the new dungeons. Blizzard's new guild mentoring program is a great idea, but just because your guild wasn't selected doesn't mean you can't be a force for good on your server. This strategy requires patient guild members who have run the dungeons in beta or who get a lot of practice in the early weeks of the expansion.

Start an initiative on your server in which, one night a week, you offer to run players through dungeons while teaching them the boss mechanics. Players will very much appreciate the chance to learn the runs in a low-stress and constructive environment rather than the merciless meat-grinder boot camp of the dungeon finder.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Challenge mode testing now open on the Mists of Pandaria beta

Challenge mode testing now open on the Mists of Pandaria beta
Game Designer Watcher, gadabout eye of wealth and taste, announced that the Scholomance and Gate of the Setting Sun challenge modes are now available for testing. He also provided some more details about how challenge modes are going to work.

Watcher - Challenge Mode Testing
Yes, just those two dungeons for now.

A few relevant testing notes:
  • You must have completed the Heroic version of the dungeon once in order to attempt the challenge mode.
  • Item level will be normalized to 463.
  • There is no queue system for challenge modes; groups must be formed manually and you must zone in from the outside world.
  • While the challenge is active, the group leader may Reset the dungeon at any time via a drop-down accessible by right-clicking your unit frame.

He then clarified in two additional posts that item level on live will only be normalized down to 463, and not up to 463 from a lower ilevel. Also, challenge modes grant no loot at all, only valor points for completion, and using the challenge mode reset feature does not count against the dungeon reset lockout limit currently in place. So if you're planning on spending a lot of time running challenge modes, these are all details of interest to you.

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, Mists of Pandaria

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