Posts with tag dungeons
This week we return for the conclusion of our series examining the likely impact of the new Call to Arms system debuting in patch 4.1. If you're looking for last week's article, you'll find that here: Shifting Perspectives: Tanks, bribes, and player behavior.
To summarize the observations and argument of the first article as quickly as possible, Cataclysm returned players to the difficulty of The Burning Crusade instancing model without the benefits that tanks gained from building a reputation as competent players -- namely, the reasonable expectation that groups would cooperate with kill orders and any requests for crowd control. The dungeon finder, arguably a tool better suited to the ease and speed of Wrath of the Lich King heroics, has left tanks in an unfortunate position: They now attempt to lead groups through more difficult content with the unreliable vote kick as their sole defense against obstreperous players. That DPS queue times have soared under the present circumstances shouldn't arrive as a shock.
I'm going to try to explain why Call to Arms may very well result in more tanks queueing for 5-mans through the dungeon finder and who we're likely to see if and/or when this happens.
As most of you are probably aware, Blizzard recently announced a new incentive structure for the dungeon finder system called the Call to Arms. In essence, it rewards players for performing what is then the most-needed role in the dungeon finder with a BoA bag containing gold, flasks, and, potentially, mounts and pets.
The Tuesday Shifting column covers the two roles most likely to receive the "goodie bags" -- tanking and healing (I don't think anyone's laboring under the delusion that groups can't get off the ground due to a lack of DPS) -- and the ensuing firestorm on the forums caught my eye. Predictably, players have mixed feelings about the change. Many (I think correctly) blame players' rudeness and uncooperative attitudes for driving off the tank population, but even more are indignant that Blizzard is "bribing" tanks for something they feel should have been addressed by role redesign.
Examine all the arguments in their totality, and I think there's only one real conclusion: I don't believe that Blizzard failed in its effort to make tanking more interesting and enjoyable.
I do believe that developers are struggling to deal with a problem created and driven almost entirely by player behavior. Modern heroics aren't fun, not because the content is bad (it's not) or overtuned (it's fine), but Cataclysm combines parts of The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King 5-man experience that don't play well with each other. The dungeon finder contributes to these problems, but not in the way that you'd think.
Make no mistake: Early Cataclysm dungeons are not the faceroll that we experienced at the end of Wrath. Not only have everyone's gear levels dropped dramatically relative to the content, but Blizzard has returned to a more BC-style design philosophy wherein crowd control really matters and one live mob can make the difference between an easy pull and a very difficult one.
Of course, the ideal solution is to read up on the dungeons beforehand and make sure you're prepared for them, but we don't live in an ideal world. Sometimes, you'll wind up in a random dungeon that you weren't expecting, and you haven't had time to research. Additionally, dungeon guides don't always give tips for trash, and trash pulls now require some coordination. Luckily, instance design does not expect you to have an encyclopedia in your head. An alert dungeoneer can succeed on the fly by following a few simple tips.
Now that Cataclysm's been out for around a week, a lot of us have managed to hit level 85, with more dinging every day. Now that you're 85, though, what do you do? If this were Wrath, you'd grab a few reputation or BoE blues, hit the minimum ilevel for heroics, and start queueing.
In theory, you could do that for Cataclysm -- but to be honest, you'd probably fail hard. Dungeons are tough, and you won't have dudes in tier gear to drag you through. Almost everyone's going to be just about the same for the next few months: complete newbies who are still trying to get raid groups together and still trying to learn new rotations and stat weights for level 85.
With that in mind, there is one thing you can do to give yourself an edge in heroics: Gear up. This week, we're going to look at various dungeon, quest, and reputation drops to find the stuff that'll do the best job at getting you ready for heroic dungeon runs. I've put the better stuff near the top of the list, though sometimes the second or third choice may be better for you based on your stat needs or spec. I have mentioned justice point items in these lists with the understanding that a lot of us stockpiled 4,000 justice points at the end of Wrath, and you can earn justice points for normal dungeons in the random dungeon finder. That said, don't feel like you need to stay in normal dungeons until you grab all the justice point gear. Just pick up some of the second or third choices and get to heroics, where you'll earn those points a bit faster.
PvP twinking is a fairly well-known, widespread phenomenon in World of Warcraft. The idea is that players stop leveling at the very top of a particular PvP level range bracket, dig in with all the mix-maxed gear and enchants they can muster, and proceed to mop up the battleground kills. Anyone who's run a few battlegrounds on the way up through the levels has encountered that shockingly strong player who tears him a new one. We've even profiled a prolific, multi-level twinker (twinkie?) right here on 15 Minutes of Fame.
What you might not be as familiar with -- we weren't! -- is the idea of PvE twinking. Allow us to introduce a hardy band of adventurers on Blackwater Raiders (US-H) that's running each and every instance at the bare minimum level that players are eligible to enter. Ragefire Chasm at level 8? You got it. Deadmines at level 10? Aggro Magnet Central -- but yeah, you got that, too.
"It's surprisingly fun playing these classic instances that we've all done hundreds of times at such a low level compared to the mobs," gushes party leader Gilgalad. "It can take hours to clear an instance that typically takes 20 to 30 minutes for an appropriately leveled party. Some of the boss mechanics that are typically a trifle to a normal party become incredibly difficult to deal with when you are 10 levels below the boss. Arugal in Shadowfang Keep was particularly tough and required quite a few attempts before we came up with a strategy that worked."
Players can now expect Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep to join the heroic ranks of Throne of the Tides, Blackrock Caverns, The Stonecore, The Halls of Origination, Grim Batol, Vortex Pinnacle and The Lost City of Tol'vir when Cataclysm releases.
I want to thank everyone who has sent in screenshots. I've gotten a lot of good shots thus far and am always looking for more. They can be any level between 1 and 80 and in dungeons, raids, questing, or wandering around town. I'll be using these for header graphics like the one above. Please send those as well as any other comments to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're into article two of our three part guide on how to gear your new 80 retadin. Last week we looked at the profession and reputation rewards that could get you started. We're going to be looking into dungeon drops this week and finish up with badge gear next week. Let's get onto the loot.
We're still talking about fresh, up-and-coming tanking paladins who have just hit level 80 and are looking for gear. After taking another look back at it, most of last week was concentrating on items from reputation vendors and craftable items that you could either make for yourself or nab off the auction house. I decided that I could have done a lot more with various tanking drops from dungeons and items from the emblem vendors. So, this week we'll take a look at just about everything a level 80 can nab from a dungeon for tanking, and next week we'll take a look at what you can do with all of those emblems you earned up running dungeons.
With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons.
If you've never seen the "How to Paladin" series by stoker2 ... don't. If you have seen it, my apologies and I will continue to attempt to stop Michael Gray from linking them in Moviewatch. However, I thought it would be a perfect example of things paladins shouldn't do for a lead into my article.
We're going to talk a bit about bad habits. Some of these bad habits come from learning your class while soloing and the differences you have to make in your playstyle when questing versus when dungeon running. Some of these bad habits are born out of running mostly PvP content and then moving from there into PvE, where the same tricks are more harmful than helpful.
Still other bad habits come from having extremely powerful gear. When you overgear content, you start to lose sight of what it's like to have to work at things. You forget that you used to do 1,800 DPS on a good day in your quest greens and what tricks you used to work through each pull. You also start to do stunts that would have wiped your party without question three tiers of content ago.
After the break, we'll take a look at a variety of these bad habits and talk about why you might want to break those habits before the Cataclysm.
When you really need to know, turn to the hive mind. Readers had plenty to say last week about their trials and tribulations (and triumphs!) running the older instances of vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade. Thanks to speedy reader comments, we were able to update readers with a resolution to the looting mess that left most groups unable to complete the staff required to summon Ironaya in Uldaman. (Any other issues with tradeable objects inside instances? Let us know about them in the comments.) As the discussion wound through page after page of observations and frustrations and advice, a veritable gold mine of tips for running low-level instances emerged. This week, we'll recap those tips for new players who are making their way through the old instances for the very first time.
Filed under: WoW Rookie
- A player who mainly runs heroics will quickly amass many Emblems of Triumph, thereby becoming easily overgeared for all but the most challenging heroics (i.e. Halls of Reflection). This makes them much less fun.
- Raid-oriented players who are running heroics just for the two Emblems of Frost at the end are not very fun to run with.
Filed under: Analysis / Opinion
What happens when the Dungeon Finder matches up a group of players with the right mix of roles but the wrong mix of goals? Who "wins" when veteran players want to speed-run a lower-level instance, while the new players want to savor every surprise and puzzle over every trick? Lisa and Robin are on different sides of the fence this week. No matter which philosophy rings true for you, it's something worth agreeing on with the rest of the group at the beginning of the run.
Dear Drama Mamas: Having played a mage for the last 18 months, I decided to level my first alt, a priest. I ran into unexpected drama problems running my priest in the entry level instances using the random Dungeon Finder. You've offered excellent commentary on issues arising in endgame instances. I am soliciting your insight on conflict unique to the low-end random instances.
In contrast to endgame instances, where gear issues arise, random entry-level instances are mixing highly experienced players with people who are new to World of Warcraft. The principal conflict that arises is the first group wants to get geared and leveled as quickly as possible. The new players are there to experience what the instance offers. The first wants to run the instance quickly, the second need time. Regards, Anonymous
There is some confusion as to whether/how the Dungeon Finder matches characters according to internal gear score. To the best of my knowledge, it actually attempt to create a discrepancy between characters' gear, so that you're likely to wind up with a few heavily geared members 'carrying' lesser-geared members. This is directly contrary to a claim I've seen circulating that the system attempts to match internal gear scores.
If the system doesn't attempt to create disparate groups, it should, and if it does, I'm glad it does. It may be disheartening to see someone in your group in full blues or maybe even a couple greens, instead of the now-familiar suit o' purples, but as some commenters pointed out in my post on Dungeon Finder bingo, we all started out in blues and greens at 80 (with the possible exception of some crafted gear and BoEs), and heroics were designed to be run with that gear. Where are the epics supposed to come from, for a pre-raid character?
Furthermore, a less-geared character might actually need some of the gear that drops in the ilvl 200 heroics (i.e. everything except CC, FoS, PoS, and HoR), which is a nice change of pace from the usual shardfest. It may take you a few extra minutes to farm your emblems, but PuGs are about more than just you: they're about a group of people coming together to help each other out, and enjoy a dungeon.