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Posts with tag heroics

Patch 4.1: Blizzard explains new valor point mechanics

The era of the daily heroic is over! After much speculation that the one run per day random dungeon valor point rewards would turn into seven runs per week randoms instead, it turns out we are all getting exactly what we hoped for.

Blizzard has finally commented on (and explained) the incoming valor point change, which will hopefully make gearing up and gaining valor points easier for players who don't have the time or want to play each and every night to run a random for their points. Lylirra explains:

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Filed under: Cataclysm

The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing your tankadin for heroics

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

So you've dinged level 85, and you're on the cusp of the elusive endgame. Now come the first steps of your progression as counted in ilevels rather than actual levels. For a fresh tankadin hitting heroics for the first time, you're going to find it a more difficult jump than back in Wrath when all you needed to tank heroics successfully was some moxie, whatever random quest gear you accumulated along the way to 80, and 535 defense. (I'm building this up, but it's really not that bad.)

In any case, in this article I'm not going to specifically say "get pieces X, Y, and Z," because tanking is about tailoring your gear to a current situation. So while one piece might be amazing for two kinds of scenarios, it could be subpar for others, and I'd like to stress keeping a wide range of gear available so you can mix and match as needed. As such, I'm going to use this space to tell you what pieces are available where and recommend stats you'll profit from -- in essense, give you a fishing rod rather than the fish.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

PTR Patch 4.1: New code hints at random dungeon change

A bit of new code recently added to the PTR that's been uncovered by MMO-Champion might hint at an awesome new change to the way valor points will be earned from the random dungeon finder. Of particular note is this string:

LFD_RANDOM_REWARD_EXPLANATION1 = "The first seven random dungeons of this tier that you complete each week will earn you:";

What this seems to suggest is that instead of doing one random heroic dungeon per day to gain valor points, the system will be changed so that the first 7 random heroics you do, no matter which days, will grant valor points. This is an awesome change for those of us who do not play every day and instead like to stockpile our heroic dungeoneering on the weekend.

Many of us weekend warriors have been asking for this very specific change to the random dungeon "highest tier" badges/points reward system since the beginning of the random heroic system. Hopefully this wonderful change makes it to live.

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: Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: How was your first Cataclysm heroic group?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

My grinding had finally paid off: i329, and I was ready. With a trembling hand, I moused over "Random Cataclysm Heroic." I clicked. I had heard the rumors and the tales of woe. Guildies had warned us all of the terrors that lie in the heroic PUG.

I gulped and settled in for my long DPS queue. In the middle of killing some Cultists in Twilight Highlands, the dungeon popped. My heart rate doubled. I zoned in to Blackrock Caverns. I knew right away that we were in trouble. The DPS consisted of two mages and a hunter. We wiped on the first pull. Slowly, we made it to Rom'ogg. We cleared the first part of the room, and the tank pulled Rom'ogg. And the healer pulled the rest of the trash. We wiped. We came back to try it again ... and the other mage's Mirror Image pulled the rest of the trash. The tank dropped group. The next tank joined us, announced, "I hate coming in on a wipe," and then called me a Very, Very Bad Name (not to be confused with your Average Garden Variety Bad Name). I determined that I paid my $15 a month to have fun -- and split.

What was your first Cataclysm heroic experience? Was it a complete disaster, or did you miraculously pull an awesome group?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Watch Paragon tackle Lady Sinestra

<Paragon> was the first guild to successfully defeat Sinestra, the heroic-only boss of Bastion of Twilight. After what amounted to a difficult and sometimes buggy encounter, <Paragon> was victorious against Deathwing's consort. Be warned: There are spoilers for the encounter in the video.

The encounter itself looks hectic and challenging, with constant streams of adds and a pretty epic confrontation between Sinestra and an interesting lore figure from Twilight Highlands. <Method>, the second guild to down Sinestra, has also released their video, which can be seen here.

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: Guilds, Cataclysm

Ghostcrawler responds to heroic dungeon difficulty complaints

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted an entry on his blog yesterday called "Wow, Dungeons are Hard!" It's a rather lengthy (but worthwhile) read about the current state of Cataclysm heroics, Blizzard's philosophy on designing them, his impressions on their current difficulty level, and some advice for improving your performance.

Like I said, it's an epic post, and we won't reprint the whole thing here. This, however, is the key takeaway:

Wow, Dungeons are Hard!
The bottom line is that we want Heroics and raids to be challenging, and that is particularly true now while the content is new and characters are still collecting gear. They're only going to get easier from here on out. We want players to approach an encounter, especially a Heroic encounter, as a puzzle to be solved. We want groups to communicate and strategize. And by extension, we want you to celebrate when you win instead of it being a foregone conclusion.

On the other hand, we don't want you to stumble your way to victory. We don't want you to be able to overwhelm bosses without noticing or caring what they're doing. We don't want healers to be able to make up for all of the mistakes on the part of the other players. While at the end of the day, dungeons may just be gussied up loot vending machines, we want you to do more than push a button to get the loot.

Ultimately, we don't want to give undergeared or unorganized groups a near guaranteed chance of success, because then the content will feel absolutely trivial for players in appropriate gear who communicate, cooperate, and strategize.

All that being said, though, is Blizzard really satisfied with its dungeon designs and their current level of difficulty? Hard heroics are indeed hard, but the updated PTR patch notes for 4.0.6 (which went live just yesterday at almost the exact same time Ghostcrawler was discussing heroics) indicate that a series of nerfs is coming our way. That will no doubt lead to player rejoicing, but remember -- heroics are naturally getting easier as people get more familiar with them and players continue to compile better gear, which makes completion even easier still.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Officers' Quarters: Be kind to your tanks and healers

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, available now from No Starch Press.

If you've queued as a DPS for the dungeon finder lately, you've probably marveled at the estimated time and wondered what happened to all the tanks and healers. Maybe fewer players want to tank when crowd control is necessary; maybe fewer players want to heal when mana must be managed. Maybe it's the fact that gear is more critical at this point in an expansion, so people are shy about signing up for those roles. Or maybe all the tanks and healers are skipping the unpredictable dungeon finder crowd altogether and looking for guilds to join.

Whatever the cause, dungeon finder queues for DPS are absolutely brutal at the moment. If you don't want to wait 30-plus minutes for every run, you're going to need tanks and healers in your guild who are willing to run heroics. You may wonder, why wouldn't they be willing to run heroics? After all, the content is fresh, the upgrades are flowing, and most people still need justice and/or valor points.

The question isn't so much whether they want to run heroics; the question is whether they want to run heroics with you, right now.

This week, I'm going to focus on what players and officers can do to avoid stressing out your tanks and healers and help them to enjoy the game along with everyone else.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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

Raid Rx: Reality check for heroic healing

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand pooh-bah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI-, macro- and addon-related. If you're looking for more healing advice, check out the Plus Heal community.

Granted, this is supposed to be a raiding column. But you know, since it is a new expansion, we need to work our way up the progression ladder. What comes before raids? Heroics, of course!

Before I dive into the serious business that is heroic healing, I figured I'd open up with a screenshot of me slaughtering a bunch of penguins. That's how I take out my anger and frustration when I feel helpless in certain groups or compositions. It is also a fun method in obtaining the [Critter Kill Squad] achievement. I once mentioned to Allison Robert that it would be fun to compile an Overachiever guide to critter slaughtering and that if she didn't want to do it, I would graciously volunteer critter-killing advice and areas where they can be taken down en masse. Suffice to say, I could feel that e-glare of hers coming straight through my monitor when she replied with nothing more than a "...".

But we're not here to talk about killing critters today. Oh no, today we get to face the reality check that is heroic healing. Are you ready for it? I don't mean just gear-wise. I mean do you have the mental fortitude to endure the stress of healing in today's mechanics? Here's what you need to find success in your runs.

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Filed under: Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

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

Blood Pact: Warlock soloing instance bosses for fun and profit

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology and destruction warlocks. In a dark and hidden place, the true masters of the arcane arts share secrets and swap stories. For those who disdain the watered-down arts that other cling to like a safety blanket, for those willing to test their wills against the nether and claim the power that is their right, Blood Pact welcomes you and invites you to take a seat.

Did you know that warlocks can do more than bask in the tears of the weak and cowardly as we blaze a trail to supremacy? It's true! While tears are their own reward, it's sometimes good to take a moment to pad your purse or pick up a hot new ride or just earn the respect you know you're due.

"But," I hear the doubters in the back exclaim, "those things are not the rewards of one man. It takes a well-honed team of friends five, 10, even 20 strong to wrest some of those treasures from the enemies who hold them." This might be true for most heroes, but warlocks are not "most." Quite aside from knowing that "friend" is another word for "disposable minion," warlocks are masters at daring alone what once took many hands.

The dungeons and raids of the previous eras of World of Warcraft have many rewards to offer, and it's never been easier for an enterprising warlock to go after them. There's gold, achievements, titles, and for the patient, even pets and mounts to be won. By readying yourself to run these solo, you can save yourself the hassle of coordinating with other retro seekers, as well as avoiding the agony of having to roll off when that dreamed-of 1 percent drop finally pops up in the loot window. All you need is to equip yourself with the right tools and use a few of the right tactics.

After the jump, all you need to know to take down instance bosses as well as a list of which ones to go after now before they are gone when Cataclysm launches.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Spiritual Guidance: Welcome to Cataclysm heroics, shadow priests

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Spiritual Guidance, where your host Fox Van Allen takes on the darker, shadowy side of priesting. While your holy columnist Dawn Moore was busy trying to plant suggestions regarding the alleged superiority of healing, Fox was busy casting Mind Control to demonstrate the superiority of the shadows.

Right now, on the live Wrath servers, shadow priesting seems to fit like a glove. That's not necessarily a result of our class and mechanics being perfect -- they're not. It's a result of their feeling familiar. We've been playing under the rules of patch 3.3 for nearly a year now and it feels natural; it feels right. We're blessed with strong damage and near unlimited mana -- provided we put in the effort to know how to make both of those a reality.

It's hard to accept that 4.0.1 is bringing such major changes, especially in the realm of that once unlimited mana bar. It's gone, and it's not coming back any time soon. If you need any evidence, consider this: After slashing mana regen to the bone last week, Blizzard followed up by cutting regen even more this week in the latest beta build. (For something called a "nerf," these cuts sure hit like a Mack truck, don't they?)

These changes to regen may make the 80-to-85 leveling process more tedious, but they don't necessarily make it more difficult. If the pinch is going to be felt anywhere, it's going to be in 5-man instances, heroics and raids. Since raids aren't quite available yet, I decided to queue up for some heroics instead to get as much Cataclysm endgame flavor as I could.

Can our mana bars handle the stress? How weird and different are our new rotations? And how can shadow priests add much-needed value to a party above and beyond the standard DPS abilities in Cataclysm? The answers to those questions -- plus a stunning 47,306 damage crit -- are all after the break.

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

Totem Talk: Totems and heroics in Cataclysm

Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration will show you how, brought to you by Joe Perez, otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and host of the BDTU: Lore edition podcast.

Last week, we talked about what to expect in the upcoming patch 4.0.1 and how healing felt in the new pre-Cataclysm patch. After that, we also got news of a very important update for us in the latest PTR build, patch 13033, with Mana Tide Totem's recent change to increase our spirit by 200 percent rather than just give a flat percentage of mana back when used. The cooldown of the ability was reduced to 3 minutes, down from 5 minutes. Last week, heroic dungeons were also made available in the Cataclysm beta for us to test out, including heroic Shadowfang Keep and heroic Deadmines.

This week, I would like to talk a little bit more about the changes to Mana Tide Totem and what to expect using it in the next expansion. I would also like to share with you my experiences healing through the new heroic dungeons as a restoration shaman in a new set of blue ilvl 333 gear.

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Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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

The Queue: Getting ready for heroics edition

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mat McCurley will be your host today.

Hey, I'm back! Blame Alex. Yesterday, heroics opened up for testing in the Cataclysm beta. Tonight, the epic quest to get absolutely destroyed by these dungeons begins! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday! Come one, come all. Witness the horrors, trials and tribulations of stalwart souls! The slaughter in the Stonecore! The battle in the Blackrock Caverns! Throne of the DIES ... The quite literal Deadmines! Hellish Halls of Origination. A truly Grim Batol! Uh... Vortex Pinna...culling? What do you want from me? It's early.

Enough of that. Let's get on with some questions.

There are some Cataclysm spoilers in a couple of The Queue questions this week, so be wary if you're avoiding that sort of thing.

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Filed under: The Queue

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