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Posts with tag flexible-raiding

LFR, Warlords of Draenor, and you

I've been thinking about the changes coming to LFR ever since yesterday's big post about raiding in Warlords. One of the things that seems really clear about the changes is that LFR is now seen as part of a progression path for raiding - at least some players are expected to go from LFR to normal raiding in the expansion. With the removal of shared set bonuses and even tier gear from LFR being entirely gone, LFR feels to a degree like it's being downshifted in difficulty and placed in a different position for player use than how it is currently employed. Right now, for many players, LFR is their raiding. They don't run flex or normal, much less heroic. And with dungeons basically only for valor farming, LFR has become an important part of people's endgame.

The idea of making LFR a stepping stone to normal raiding via the incoming group finder is interesting to me. Since you won't be able to get tier gear, or scaled down versions of the same loot as in normal/heroic/mythic, LFR feels like it will simultaneously have less and more importance. The effort to elevate dungeons to a much more prominent role in endgame (especially challenge modes, which will actually reward gear) and make it so players have an incentive to try and make the jump from LFR to normal/heroic raids. It's an interesting shift in priorities, but what will it mean for players who currently use LFR as their endgame?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: New info from PAX East

Elekks on Draenor
PAX East 2014 has come and gone, but we at WoW Insider have come away from the weekend with juicy new information to share with you about Warlords of Draenor. During the expo, I sat down for a chat with senior game designers Steve Burke and Brian Holinka, lead class designer Kris Zierhut, and other developers.

In our brief time together, they told me some exciting info about garrisons, raiding, transmog, and the expansion's starting experience. They also provided insight into what a boosted level 90 will experience after the expansion launches.

Please note that mild spoilers about the early story of Warlords of Draenor will follow. Join me after the break for all the new info!

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Filed under: News items, Raiding, Interviews, Transmogrification, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Flex scaling to 30 "still on the table"

I'm one of those people who hates leaving people on the bench. I hate it when I have to step out myself, hut I hate it even more when someone else sits for me - it just irritates me. So I'm very interested in this tweet from Ion "Watcher" Hazzkostas. When asked if the idea of flexible raiding going up to 30 people, he responded:

This makes me very excited, especially with the change to Mythic raiding (20 man total cap) meaning that some current 25 man groups are going to have to bench players once they make the step into Mythic - I do, however, hope a little downward flexibility is also introduced at some point to allow 10 player raids to progress when that one key player is unavailable.

I'd like to see this change actually get implemented - here's hoping we get it by Warlords of Draenor release.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Siege of Orgrimmar: 14 is not the magic number

WoW Insider posted previously about the changes coming in to reinforce the point that 14 is not some magic number for Siege of Orgrimmar Flex raiding. Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted on the official forums once again to clarify that the recent hotfixes reinforce that position.

Watcher
You can read the latest hotfix notes here: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/11944164/542_Hotfixes_December_16-12_16_2013

Fun fact: The hotfix has actually been active since just before the weekend, but it didn't get caught in the prior round of hotfix notes. It's no surprise that it went largely unnoticed, since most all of the abilities with actual breakpoints going from 14->15 are things with very minor impact (Protectors' Shadow Word: Bane, Nazgrim's Bonecracker, Hisek's Multi-Shot, etc.). There are indeed a couple of more impactful breakpoints on Garrosh's Touch of Y'Shaarj and Sha of Pride's Imprison, but those both occur at raid sizes well above 14, and randomization isn't the correct solution to either.

The 14-player "magic number" is actually a fairly interesting social dynamic, since there never was anything particularly special about the number, and now there really is objectively no advantage. As we've said in the past, there's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to form a 14-player raid, but if you're turning away strong players or friends because you're convinced that your raid as a whole will have a harder time, you're making a mistake.

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Filed under: News items, Raiding

Flex difficulty smoothing coming soon

Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted today on Flexible raids, and the scaling thereof. As ever, you can read Ion's whole post after the break, but the key points relate to what was discussed at BlizzCon regarding raid scaling. Essentially, the new system will, in most cases, introduce a chance at getting an extra instance of whatever ability. Ion explains this in full after the break, so I'll spare you the repetition, but the exciting news is that, to combat the current issues, it's coming in sooner than the expansion.

There are some misconceptions floating around, particularly in PuG Flex groups, that there are certain break points which make a raid drastically harder. While it is the case that, as Ion notes, certain abilities scale up with hard breaks at certain numbers, the scaling of Flex favors larger groups. The new scaling will do so even more, essentially removing hard breakpoints for raid size.

Hit the break for Ion's full post.

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Filed under: Raiding

Patch 5.4.2 PTR Patch notes

Patch notes for patch 5.4.2 have finally been released, confirming at least some of the new features we can expect to see in the next Mists patch. Keep in mind that 5.4.2 is not a content patch -- there will be no new content to play through, no new raids, scenarios or dungeons added. However, 5.4.2 is adding several new features that players have been clamoring for for quite some time.
  • The Cross-realm raid browser now has new categories for Mists of Pandaria world bosses -- the Celestials and Ordos, as well as Flexible raid difficulty for the Siege of Orgrimmar.
  • Players will finally be able to mail account-bound items to characters on different realms.
At the moment, the official list of patch notes is pretty short. Follow after the break for the list, which will likely get more updates as the patch nears completion.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

OpenRaid adds new features

OpenRaid
For those who haven't tried it yet, OpenRaid lets you create and join cross-realm raids for everything from achievement runs to Siege of Orgrimmar flexible raids. It serves the same purpose as the oQueue addon, but with the added option of scheduling events ahead of time. I've joined quite a few flex raid groups through the site and have had success in most of them, including some Garrosh kills.

OpenRaid has just launched version 2.2, adding some nice features to an already great site. The biggest feature is the new "Quick Raid" tab which lets you see raids happening at this very moment who still need more players. Previously, this type of group forming was done in the chat room, which could get a little hairy when you had thousands of people spamming the groups they're looking for. Chat is still there for those who prefer it. Quick Raids work much like existing OpenRaid events except they aren't planned ahead of time.

Event creators will see a new option for repeatable events, which can automatically invite the same people if you want to do the raid again. Head over to the OpenRaid site to see the rest of the new features.

Filed under: News items

Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas on Flex Raiding's magic numbers

Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas on Flex Raiding's magic numbers
WoW Insider posted yesterday about Flexible Raiding's magic numbers. This was based on a blue-tagged forum post discussing certain breakpoints in Flex encounter scaling, so when your group increases in size, boss health and damage increases. This is just fine, but there are also things that have hard points -- it's not possible for 4.3 adds to be summoned. Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has weighed in on the issue (his post continues after the break):
Watcher
Thanks for some excellent feedback so far. Boss mechanics inevitably involve some breakpoints (alas, there's no way for Malkorok to create precisely 3.7 Implosions), and they do need to scale in some form, or abilities only targeting maybe 2 players out of a 25-player Flex raid would make some of those mechanics feel completely trivial and detract from the intended experience and tuning. In general, we try to err on the side of rounding down, and making sure that the ratios are never worse for any group size than they would be for a normal 10- or 25-player raid. Norushen orbs are a great example of a place where that logic doesn't quite work, though, since you actually want more orbs, and not fewer. That's something we can adjust.

[Continued after the break.......]

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Filed under: News items, Raiding

Flexible raiding's magic numbers

Flexible raiding's magic numbers
Blizzard Community Manager Bashiok has blue-tagged an interesting discussion on the US forums today, asking for more feedback on Flexible raiding's numerical breakpoints.
Bashiok
Right now there are some assumptions being made about mechanical breakpoints in Flex, but there are also some valid concerns. The orbs on Norushen for example may need tweaking.

What would be super helpful is if people have examples of breakpoints they think limit them to having a certain number of people, and what those are. It's in everyone's best interests to be able to invite whoever they want, and not feel like they're limited to some number because of mechanic scaling.
The forum thread in questions certainly brings up some valid concerns. Bashiok mentions the Norushen orbs, where going over a breakpoint by just one player can provide a substantial DPS or healing boost for a boss which can prove a tight DPS requirement for some groups. The Sha of Pride's prisons are another one which seems reasonable -- over a certain number and you'll get three prisons as opposed to two, so it'd be easier for some groups to just not bring that one player who tips the balance. What's more, on AoE mechanic-heavy fights like Dark Shaman, simply having more people standing in bad is a problem, if they're not able to put out the DPS, or are failing at mechanics. Crawler Mines on Iron Juggernaut could well be another problem, as could Malkorok's swirls and Matter Scramble in Spoils.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Patch 5.4 Developer Round Table information roundup

Blizzard has just released a new developer roundtable video featuring Production Director J. Allen Brack, Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, and Game Director Tom Chilton talking about Patch 5.4 and the future of World of Warcraft. The 28 minute video is worth a watch, but we have a full roundup of all the new and interesting information after the break.

Patch 5.4
  • Overall, patch 5.4 was a very smooth launch for them. The servers even came online earlier than expected.
  • In EU they had to temporarily nerf the Celestial bosses on the Timeless Isle because of the massive influx of players trying to get their legendary cloak. Boss health was nerfed by up to 80%, and some abilities were removed entirely to facilitate a steady rotation of players without negatively impacting server performance.
  • The rush for the legendary cloak was more of an issue on EU servers because EU tends to have more hardcore raiders, and their time zones are more compressed leading to more people playing during prime times.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

Getting out of your comfort zone

Have you left your comfort zone yet
Have you been to the proving grounds yet to try a role you normally don't play? Trial Master Rotun seems awfully lonely in his little corner of the Temple of the White Tiger with everyone so busy collecting Timeless Coins or sieging Orgrimmar. What about flexible raiding? Have you tried taking the step up from raid finder?

Blizzard has sent a clear message with patch 5.4: they really want you to get out of your comfort zone.

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Filed under: Add-Ons

GuildOx launches Flex Raid ranking

GuildOx launches Flex Raid ranking
WoW ranking database GuildOx has just announced a new feature -- world-first Flex guild progress ranking for Flex raid groups. According to data gathered by the fine folks at GuildOx, 64% of guilds that have raided Siege of Orgrimmar on normal mode have also completed kills using Flexible Raids as well. Given the popularity of the format, GuildOx decided to create a ranking list for guilds that raid on that difficulty. Flex ranking works the same as the usual raid progress ranking, with guilds being ranked by the number of encounters completed, and the date of their last kill.

For players that are diving full-force into Flex raids, the new rankings list should be a nice addition. And for players that haven't delved into Flex raids, it's interesting to see just how many guilds are taking that step, and how far they've gotten in the content. Myself, I'm curious as to how the rankings will be received -- since Flex raids can take any number of people, they're an entirely different animal than 10 or 25 man raiding. With 10 man ranking, you know you're being ranked against other 10 man guilds, and the same applies to 25 man raiding as well. But with Flex, you could be raiding with 12, and another guild with 24.

Interesting questions aside, it's nice to see we've got a ranking system in place for Flex raiding enthusiasts. As always, rank listings can be filtered and sorted by region or server. You can check out the full list of ranked guilds and their progress on GuildOx.


Filed under: News items, Raiding

Siege of Orgrimmar Tier vendors

Siege of Orgrimmar Tier vendors
Patch 5.4's new raid, the Siege of Orgrimmar, has been available on normal and flexible difficulties all week this week, but today's maintenance update heralds the release of the first wing of LFR difficulty. That said ... where the heck does one go to get cash in their tier pieces from Siege? If you've been wondering that very question, the answer is much closer than you'd think -- and a lot easier to handle, this time around.

Four new tier vendors have been placed in both the Alliance and Horde shrines in patch 5.4. Each vendor handles a particular difficulty of gear -- LFR, flexible, normal, and heroic. These vendors are all in the same area as the challenge mode gear vendor, making them ridiculously easy to get to. If you have tier tokens from any difficulty, simply visit the appropriate difficulty level vendor and turn them in.

I have to say, after an entire expansion of flying back and forth to the far reaches of Pandaria just for some tier gear, it's nice to see these guys are in someplace well and truly immediately accessible. After a day's worth of raiding, the last thing I want to do is travel around hunting for the rewards I'd already obtained. That said, it would be nice if they'd add a vendor that carries all the old tier from this expansion as well -- might as well move everyone in close, now that we're nearing the end of the expansion. Good luck to those intrepid souls stepping into LFR today, and remember -- this time around, your gear is closer than you think.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4, flexible raids, dailies and more with Tom Chilton

Patch 5.4 is nearing completion, and soon we'll see the Siege of Orgrimmar and the fate of Garrosh Hellscream on live servers. But 5.4 has much more to offer than the raid itself -- we'll have plenty of other content to play through as well. Featuring new pets, new mounts, a new raid difficulty and much, much more, patch 5.4 is shaping up to be a substantial addition to an already massive expansion.

We had the opportunity to chat with Lead Game Designer Tom Chilton regarding all of the above, as well as plenty of other topics of contention in regards to both patch 5.4 and Mists of Pandaria as an expansion. Read on to hear what he had to say about Flexible raiding, the upcoming Connected Realms feature, the future of daily quests and the challenges of creating a raid out of a capital city.

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.4 PTR: Flexible Mode testing open this weekend

Patch 54 PTR Flexible Mode testing open this weekend
If you've been wanting to test Flexible Mode raiding on the patch 5.4 PTR servers, now's your chance. The Underhold wing of the Siege of Orgrimmar raid will be open all weekend, continuing into Monday on the PTR servers. Players testing the content may queue with anywhere between 10-25 players by using the same interface for finding groups for dungeons, scenarios, or LFR difficulty raids.

Unlike LFR, Flexible mode raids have all the same mechanics as Normal mode bosses. However, the difficulty of the encounters have been tuned to adjust in health and damage depending on how many players are participating in the raid. The Underhold contains Malkorok, Spoils of Pandaria, and Thok the Bloodthirsty, giving players plenty of opportunity to test the challenges of Flexible raiding. If you're interested in testing the content, you can either copy an existing character to the PTR via your Battle.net account, or create a level 90 premade. If you're planning on testing the content, don't forget to leave feedback in the official thread on the PTR forums!

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

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