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Posts with tag heroic-instances

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

5 ways to keep your DPS players happy in 5-man heroics

OK, you can't pretend you didn't see this one coming after the healing and tanking editions. As I may have mentioned, I have less DPS experience than tanking and healing, but from that time in Azeroth, I have gathered that there are things everyone can do to make their DPSers happy bunnies rather than melancholy murlocs. Actually, being a murloc would be pretty cool. One of my GMs does an awesome murloc impression.

So, tanks and healers, and other DPSers, how can you keep your DPS buddies happy?

1. Mark your targets. Tanks, or whoever is experienced, or whoever is taking on that role in the dungeon, mark your targets. Telepathy is not a standard talent in any tree, and while sure, it's possible to click the tank and then use an assist macro, you can easily keybind or add a button to your action bars that marks your target with a skull, a cross, a moon and so on.

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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

Breakfast Topic: Are heroics really heroic?

Uh-oh, it's semantics time again, combined with a trip to the way-back machine, even! I still have nightmares about heroics back in The Burning Crusade when they were first introduced. In order to even get into heroic dungeons, you needed a key, and to get that key, you needed a certain amount of faction reputation. When The Burning Crusade launched, you needed to be revered to get a key; this was later reduced to honored. Needless to say, it took a very long time before anyone could step into heroic modes -- and they were difficult, to say the very least.

Trash respawn timers were tight. If you were lucky, you could get to the first boss before the trash started to respawn on you, and if you wiped on the first boss, you got to enjoy the experience of clearing all that trash all over again. Bosses were incredibly difficult, as well -- healing was an absolute nightmare. These days, in comparison, heroics are ridiculously easy. No, I am not kidding you. They are a breeze compared to the early days of The Burning Crusade. You don't have to work to get into them other than obtaining the appropriate gear, and once you're inside, the bosses aren't that much of a struggle.

So that leads to the question we were pondering in work chat -- are heroics these days really heroic? Sure, the items you get from the dungeons are better than your normal dungeon gear, but the difficulty of the dungeons isn't really ramped up anywhere near the extreme that we saw in The Burning Crusade. To me, heroic mode still equates to that antiquated BC model, where heroic meant hard mode, and hard mode meant You will want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork three pulls into the place.

There is something to be said about the sheer relief and sense of accomplishment you got when you cleared one of those old dungeons; you really felt like you'd done something great and played to the best of your ability. In Mists, we're looking at an endgame that doesn't even have normal mode dungeons -- at level 90, you simply leap into heroics. My question is whether or not the term "heroic" even has meaning at this point. We've gone from hard mode and a rep grind, to a slightly less severe rep grind, to not needing a key at all, to heroics you can simply AoE through without having to think too terribly hard about any given thing.

Should heroics still be called heroics? Or are they simply regular dungeons that give better loot, now? What do you think?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Arcane Brilliance: The first things your mage should do after patch 4.1 drops

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'll be discussing the sparkliest ways to blow things up. Turns out there are a lot them.

Let me begin by saying that as of this writing, we don't know for sure when the patch will actually drop. What we do know, however, is that the build that's on the PTR right now is flagged as a possible release candidate build, meaning it could be the final build of the patch. That usually means the release of the patch is imminent. It may not happen this week or next (we can sometimes go through several "release candidate" builds before Blizzard finally drops the thing), but my guess is that it totally will.

So when the patch does hit, whenever that may be, what are you going to do first? You know, besides go hunting for warlocks to stuff and mount on your wall? I find it's good to have a plan when new content drops. Otherwise, I just end up only hunting warlocks, which -- while awesome -- doesn't really involve any of the new content.

So what to do? Fear not, I've compiled a handy list of the new features that apply directly to mages so you'll have something to channel your arcane energies toward once all the warlocks are dead.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Spiritual Guidance: A shadow priest's guide to Cataclysm's heroic nightmares

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Bear is for tank! Spriest is for fite!

It's time for a heartfelt confession. I think I'm done with Cataclysm heroics for a while. Don't get me wrong, they can be fun, but as of late, they've become miserable endeavors.

If you're not running heroics yet, you may not know what I'm talking about. If you are running heroics (through PUGs), you know exactly what I'm talking about. An awful lot of tanks, healers, and DPSers think Cataclysm heroics are the same kind of faceroll instances that Wrath heroics were. Nothing could be further from the case. And as more and more "casual" players reach level 85, a greater percentage of players are just so terribly lost that they don't know what to do.

Wipes on the first pull. Frustrating attempts on bosses with "teammates" who just don't listen. People who AoE when they should nuke. People who use AoE and ... no, no, wait! Don't attack that, it's CCed, and ... well, crud. Now we've got merchants throwing fruit at us now, don't we? Simply put, most people are just not prepared.

It's forgivable, of course -- new, more difficult instances mean a new, gigantic learning curve. Even the best Wrath shadow priest can muck things up in a Cataclysm heroic. But that doesn't need to be the case! The shadow priest spec is an incredibly powerful one. Not only do we do get to churn out the DPS, but we have an incredible number of tools at our disposal to make up for the problems that PUG groups routinely face. From crowd control (yes, tanks, we can CC) to mana regen, there's an awful lot we can do to make heroics run smoother. Even if you're saddled with a group of four 12-year-olds from <Mommy's Little Accidents> trying to make the run as difficult as possible.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Cataclysm

Cataclysm Dungeon Guide: Vortex Pinnacle

Ahh, the Vortex Pinnacle, for whenever I want to go hit up an instance that involves jumping in cyclones (or tornadoes) that toss you from platform to platform.

This 5-man instance is the ... pinnacle of the Skywall complex in the Uldum zone. You can find it just southeast of the shores. Make sure you go the right direction or else you might end up in the Throne of the Four Winds raid instance. Oh, and you're going to need a flying mount. The forces of Al'Akir are waiting to storm Uldum and the rest of Azeroth. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to clear out the place and prevent them from really establishing a foothold on our lands.

At a glance, here's the gist of the instance.
  • three boss encounters
  • levels 82-84
  • average item level 272 recommended (according to dungeon finder)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Arcane Brilliance: Things I've learned while dying in Cataclysm heroics, mage edition

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column of choice for dress-wearing, warlock-hating Frostbolt slingers the world over. Also, fans of the short musical films of Journey, Short Imagined Monologues, and the sublime, video game-based synth and fretwork amalgams of Sixto Sounds. Seriously, listen to this one. Holy crap.

So over the past few days, I've found myself a broken corpse lying in a spreading puddle of my own bodily fluids a bit more frequently than I'm used to. The reason for this is simple: heroics. No, not the ones on the live servers -- where you can throw together a random group consisting of a ret pally tank, a six-year-old playing a hunter his mom bought him on eBay the day before, a feral druid healer who for some reason came into the instance suffering from nine more minutes of resurrection sickness, a mouth-breathing rogue who may or may not be a serial killer, and an AFK shaman farming badges while auto-following the healer -- and still blast through the place. I'm talking about heroics in the Cataclysm beta.

They're absolutely brutal, guys. Now, granted -- it's still early. The testing process for these beauties is still in its infancy. We're tackling them using premade characters with talent builds we threw together by looking at the talents and thinking, "This looks nice." We're wearing gear that's barely entry-level for heroics (if we're lucky) and using spell rotations that we're basically making up on the fly. We're going into instances we've never seen before, doing boss fights nobody knows the mechanics for, and dealing with crippling, often game-breaking bugs. These places simply aren't finished, not by a long shot.

But then again, that's why we have a beta. We go in, throw our soft, cloth-clad bodies against the long claws of some horrifying beast or another, use the final droplets of our blood to scrawl feedback for the developers ("Landmines ... everywhere ... can't feel ... legs ... fading to black ... tell warlocks ... hate them ... so ... much ... "), and then come back for another round. Blizzard takes the data it gathers from our gruesome deaths and uses it to construct a better game.

Still, there is much we can learn -- even in this unfinished state -- from the first incarnations of these heroics. Join me after the jump, won't you?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Cataclysm

Have emblems ruined heroics? (Hint: no)

Ardol has made a compelling post at World of Warcraft Philosophized, a blog which I can't remember adding to my feed reader, but which I'm now glad I (evidently) did, arguing that the current emblem system has ruined heroic instances. You should go read the whole post if you can, because it's well written, but here's his argument in a nutshell, as I understand it:
  • 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.
He also proposes a solution: five-man instances should be ordered into tiers, like raids, and should award emblems on the same schedule as raids do. The first part of this suggestion is already partially implemented: Trial of the Crusader already came with Trial of the Champion, and Icecrown Citadel with the Frozen Halls trio of instances. But Ulduar did not have any attendant five-mans, and the same quality of emblems drop in every heroic (although the loot quality is differentiated).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing up after the glorious patch 3.3


It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves nothing more than to gaze down upon the whole of Northrend from one of the floating chunks of stone around Dalaran and realize that at some point, a mage has probably killed every living thing down there. At least the targetable ones, anyway. And the ones you can't target? I'm sure more than one mage has certainly tried.

So I'm officially nominating patch 3.3 for "best patch ever" status. Here's a short list of the highlights of this patch:
  • Three highly challenging, fun, lore-filled 5-man instances, full of sweet loot
  • A massive new raid, with four gated sections, 12 bosses, and the promise of eventually being able to shove a Fireball up the Lich King's tailpipe
  • The incredible, game-changing Dungeon Finder Tool, which is responsible for peace in the Middle East, has brought an end to the recession, and has cured cancer
  • A few choice mage buffs, including a PvE viable Frost spec
  • Quest Tracking without the need for an addon
  • Quel'delar and Shadowmourne
  • A swiftly approaching new Arena Season
  • Weekly raid quests
  • The Kalu'ak Fishing Derby
  • Perky the Pug
  • A host of little changes for low level characters
  • Rocket bare
Not shabby, right? And best of all, Blizzard has managed to deploy the majority of this new content without also deploying a host of bugs, glitches, and instability, or otherwise making the game unplayable for awhile as we've come to expect from patches this large. There were some log-in issues and bugginess on day one, but by day two, everything was running relatively smoothly by day two. I'm being relatively conservative when I say that Blizzard, in my personal opinion, has hit this one out of the park.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Making your Mage raid-worthy, part 1


Welcome to another Arcane Brilliance, the weekly Mage column that asks all the tough questions, and then Ice Blocks before the tough answers one-shot it.

A little while after Wrath hit, Arcane Brilliance posted a column on how to gear your Mage up for Naxx. Several things have changed since then:

  1. Pretty much everything I wrote then is now wrong.
  2. You don't really gear for Naxx anymore. Naxx is now a place you go in order to gear up for other places.
  3. Trial of the Champion.
Knowing these things, I thought an updated gearing column might be in order. So if you're raising a fledgling Mage, and level 80 is about to hit you like a truckload of Death Knights, and you're looking for the quickest way to turn green and blue into purple, look no farther. Well maybe a little farther. The column's not over yet.

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Filed under: Mage, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Features, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Lichborne: A PTR preview of 5-man Crusader's Coliseum Tank loot for Death Knights

Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column, where all Daniel Whitcomb wants is his runeblade back. But he'll settle for a sweet axe if he must.

Ok, Casual and non-raiding 2 hand wielding Death Knights, you might want to sit down, because I have some big news for you: You may finally be able to chuck that Titansteel Destroyer. That's right, we're getting a new, higher level epic weapon in Patch 3.2's 5-man Crusader's Coliseum. The loot we're seeing come out of the Coliseum is all epic, and all amazing, and if you haven't even been to Naxxramas yet, either by choice or by lack of time or opportunity, you're going to have a reason to love the coliseum.

Weighing in at a whopping 203.7 DPS with a high end damage of 856, the Edge of Ruin is pretty much the dream for any serious casual Death Knight. It's right up there with Death's Bite or Armageddon from Naxxramas. The only downside is that it's an axe instead of a suitably awesome sword, and that it switches out hit rating for armor penetration, which means you may need to do some regemming to stay at the hit cap. Other than that, this is probably the number one thing you want to be gunning for once the Coliseum goes live. It even has a big chunk of strength and stamina, making it great for tanking as well.

Of course, that's not all you'll want to grab out of the Coliseum. Let's start with the tank loot.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, News items, Instances, Bosses, Guides, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Forum post of the day: A Rogue without a cause

Maximogu of Firetree posed the question "Why bring a Rogue to an 80 heroic?" in the general forums. He claimed that at this point there CC is unnecessary for most tanks that rely on AOE. Most of the trash pulls are handled by AOE classes now, making the Rogue's single target focus obsolete. He argued that Rogues are best suited with Druid tanks that do not handle multiple mobs as well as other tanking classes do.

Here are some of the reasons given for bringing a rogue along:
Anushka of Kel'Thuzad: There's a lot of nasty things that can be interrupted in most heroics. Though I wouldn't take more than one rogue.
Khadros of Frostwolf: To listen to the sound of theirs daggers going schlick schlick schlick.
Morgrimm of Korgath: Because one of my friends is a rogue.
Owari of Frostwolf: To DPS, of course.
Mypetgoat of Bladefist: It's one expendible DPS that won't roll on my gear.
Madia of Maelstrom: They need loot and stuff too.

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Forum post of the day: No really, you are not prepared

Khanagi of Maelstrom sent out a plea in the official forums for players to be prepared when they group up for a heroic instance. His main complains is that as a Warrior Tank, he is often out DPSing the DPS. He feels that everyone in the group has a job to do, and many are falling short of their appointed task. His sentiment was met with considerable agreement from responders, who pointed out that AOE tanks will often have high DPS. This does not excuse the DPS from their responsibilities.

Back in the day, when Burning Crusade was launched, one had to be revered to get their heroic instance keys. This meant you had to grind out reputation with a particular faction to get the heroic key, usually through the highest level instance. This changed in Patch 2.3.0, which lowered the requirement to honored. At that time, there was much rejoicing. Honored reputation with a faction can easily be achieved with leveling quests. You no longer have to cross the threshold of a dungeon to meet this requirement.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Guides, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

Ask WoW Insider: How to PuG Heroics

I've just rejoined an endgame guild (my Hunter just recently hit 70), and while I used to run Heroics pretty often on my Shaman with my old guild, my new guild is much smaller -- while I like them a lot, they aren't as much into running instances as I am, so endgame instance runs are few and far between with them.

So I'm left to PuG Heroics on my own, and I'm having the same problem deviate_delight is: getting into PuG Heroic groups isn't proving to be easy. I'm a good player, and my gear is pretty good (OK, to be truthful, it's probably a little low, and I just need to keep running non-Heroic stuff a little more until I get luckier with loot drops), but for some reason, I'm having a tough time making my way into Heroic groups.

So let's put the question out to you readers: any advice for players like me and d_d on how to start Heroic dungeons without guildies to run with? Anyone have a strategy for getting a good, regular Heroic group together, or how to make it so that Heroic runners seek you out when they need a DPS (or tank or healer or whatever you are)? Heroics are great places, full of good loot and badges and all kinds of things that can help immensely with the endgame, but with the wrong people, they can really ruin your day. How can we get a group that works?

Previously on Ask WoW Insider...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Ask WoW Insider

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