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Posts with tag instances

Blizzard previews two MoP scenarios

Blizzard previews two MoP scenarios
Following along on the hype train (choo, choo) after the MoP release date announcement come previews for two scenarios, a new feature in the game's fourth expansion. The two scenarios in question are A Brewing Storm, where you have to protect a brewmaster with the very pandaren name of Blanche while she brews her finest beer yet, and Greenstone Village, where you take on the forces of agitated earth spirit Hui.

Scenarios are short, queueable instances for three level 90 players of any class -- no holy trinity needed. Progression is based on fulfilling story objectives instead of defeating trash and bosses. Check out the full previews for Greenstone Village and A Brewing Storm over on the official WoW site.

You can now read more about the Mists of Pandaria Scenarios feature in our updated expansion preview website! Check out our sneak peek at two of the scenarios you and your friends will be able to play in Mists of Pandaria: A Brewing Storm and Greenstone Village.

What's a "Scenario?"

Scenarios are short, instanced adventures for three players that directly follow the stories and events in the open world. In a scenario you'll be presented with a number of goals you need to achieve in order to progress. So instead of "clear trash, kill boss, rinse, repeat", you will be given objectives you have to complete to move the scenario's story forward. Yes, that's right – scenarios are heavily story-driven, much more so than dungeons.

You'll be able to queue for scenarios, dungeons, raids, and battlegrounds all at the same time in Mists of Pandaria. Scenarios share a common UI with dungeons and raids as part of the Dungeon Finder, and you can check your queue statuses by clicking on the LFD icon next to your minimap.

Check out the previews now for more info and screenshots, and make sure to check back often as we'll be adding info for more scenarios soon. Stay tuned!


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: Mists of Pandaria

Enjoying the spoils of progress

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I enjoy a lot of aspects of World of Warcraft, and one of those aspects is the actual playing of the game. I like combat, whether I am tanking or DPS, the active working through of encounters and even the unfolding of trash pulls. I like learning what new mechanics do, how fights unfold and how they can be successfully completed. I love all of that -- but what I also love is the period after mastering content.

I shamelessly admit it here. I love when content goes on farm. I was ecstatic as Firelands went from hard to easy. I love feeling my gear improve, seeing my DPS or health go up, looking at my avoidance and mitigation and realizing that yes, I actually can get passive unhittable just through gear. (I'll miss that when the two-roll combat system comes out.) I like going back, months down the road, and tearing Baleroc in half like wet tissue paper. Remember me?

Part of this is simply because I like WoW best when I'm killing stuff. I don't like to sit idle in Stormwind or Orgrimmar, and I'm not terribly moved to stand around hawking my crafting wares or playing the Auction House. These are fine activities, to be sure, but they're most certainly not what I like to do in the game. No, the reason I played seven years ago is the reason I play now, because I like to hit things in the face with the largest possible things I can.

And taking their stuff -- I mustn't forget how much I like taking their stuff.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

A proposal for scenarios in Mists of Pandaria

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We have seen and heard a ton of information on questing, dungeons, and even Pet Battles in the Mists of Pandaria beta, but one thing that has been absent thus far is also one of the things I'm most excited about -- scenarios. From what information we received at BlizzCon, we know that Blizzard intends for scenarios to be phased and quest-like in their presentation. They could be used to move stories forward, with players interacting with non-player heroes directly and even fighting alongside them in important battles.

An idea for this new game mode that I have been tossing back and forth with a few friends is creating a series of how-to scenarios that introduces the player to the aspects of group play. Meloree at Sacred Duty has suggested this as a prerequisite to entering the Dungeon Finder, but I think even having the option would improve grouping experiences dramatically. Tanks could enter dungeons and raids with a better grasp on basics like threat, positioning, and proactive cooldown usage. Healers could learn mana management, throughput efficiency, and this fabled triage model that we keep hearing so much about. Damage dealers could become familiar with high-movement fights, interrupting, and burn phase cooldown maximization.

Clearly, this seems to be well within Blizzard's capabilities to produce. We already see NPCs that tank, heal, and DPS in the game in various quests. In my opinion, there are only a couple of things that may stand in the way:
  1. Is this something the designers can do easily and quickly, or would a significant amount of resources need to be allotted to the development of this idea?
  2. Would players react positively to such tools being made available to them? Would they feel pressured or upset if they failed to complete the scenarios in their chosen role?
What do you think? Is this something you would use? Would this help the dungeon running and raiding experiences, or is the potential for disaster too great here?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Mists of Pandaria

18 observations from a leveling healer

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I've been leveling a goblin priest for something I call the Low-Level Tank Project, which is a count on the class representation he sees among tanks in the Dungeon Finder. Between the goblin and my restoration shaman (who reached 85 about two months ago), I've had two healers leveling mostly through dungeons recently, and a few commonalities have emerged.

This is sort of a spiritual successor to 20 observations from a leveling tank, if you'd like a more tank-flavored look at leveling groups. This outing is a more generalized approach, possibly because I take a more observational role in my groups whenever I'm healing, like Jane Goodall among the ungemmed and unenchanted chimps.

1. DPSers are enormously indifferent to aggro in early dungeons. You're not healing one tank -- you're healing four. Five, if nobody bothers to stomp the mob making a beeline for you.

2. Early dungeons aren't necessarily good training for everyone involved. I wouldn't go so far as to say they're a terrible experience, per se -- they're quick, easy, and a good way to build confidence for new players -- but the usual mechanism by which players are encouraged to behave themselves (ugly death) is a remote possibility at best.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: Spill your 5-man PUG stories here

Bad PUG stories used to be a perennial feature on this site, and I've been missing them lately -- good PUG stories too, I suppose, but the bad stuff is always more fun to talk about, mostly because you get to share a sense of outrage with fellow reasonable players. Spill, folks: What's happened to you in 5-mans lately?

I'll start. I usually tank heroics but decided to heal recently (that was my first mistake), and I landed a group of guildies from another realm in a Well of Eternity PUG. Now, the average Cataclysm heroic isn't all that tough to heal these days as long as you're sensibly geared, but it didn't take me long to realize that this group was blowing through an unusually large percentage of my mana pool. They stood in front of the Dreadlord Defenders' Carrion Swarm, couldn't find an interrupt button with two hands and a guide dog, and seemed to DPS at an unusually slow rate even with the crit buff given by Illidan's Shadow Walk.

It was around the time I noticed most of the group sitting in Peroth'arn's Fel Flames that it occurred to me that either this was the most legitimately incompetent group I've ever had the misfortune of encountering, or they were doing it on purpose. But because they never quite managed to get themselves or myself killed, I let it slide. I left at the end with 50 gold and a Forest Emerald from my Satchel, wishing for a Dungeon Finder system sufficiently advanced to recognize that some groups are definitely worth, say, a pony.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

5 ways to keep your tank happy in 5-man heroics

I recently wrote a similar post about how to keep your healers happy -- now I don't want it to sound like I'm hating on you tanks. See how this is a nice, predictable series? Can you guess what's coming next? I just need to think of another three ways to keep your DPSers happy in 5-man heroics -- but don't worry, I'll run some more heroics and I'll get there.

My first and still allegedly main character is a paladin tank, and I've run a few dungeons in my time. There are some simple things everyone can do to make sure their tank is a happy meaty meat shield rather than a disgruntled defender.

5. Watch your aggro. Remember this from the "How to keep your healer happy" post? Yeah, much as that helps your healer, it also helps your tank. Playing as a paladin, I have one of the easiest AoE tanking rotations out there -- but still, if a DPSer front-loads all their damage into something that isn't my primary target before I've had one GCD to hit the darn thing, even with the new aggro buff, it may well be after you. As a paladin, I can pre-bubble you with Hand of Salvation to decrease the likelihood of this happening or even a Hand of Protection on a caster (or on a melee player to troll them). I also have an arsenal of taunts. However, other tanking classes don't have it so easy -- just give the tank a moment to gain aggro, then attack the thing that they're attacking.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Drama Mamas: The etiquette of AFKing in a group or raid

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

When is it OK to AFK during a boss fight? The answers range from "Never, unless you are about to call 911!" to "Any time you need to. Real life comes first!" This week, we address this common conundrum.
Not a specific instance of drama but it definitely causes it often enough. I really love instancing but have been a bit stressed recently about how to deal with interruptions.

How do you handle them? Knock on the door, kids waking up, anything really. We're not all college kids where the worst that could happen would be a power-outage or dorm fire alarm.

From what I read there is not much help or sympathy out there - although that may just be the minority. They mostly say to not even run instances, which I can sympathize with - they want to run it fast - but I cannot accept that as an answer. What do they do when they have to answer the door during a boss fight? Really.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

20 observations from a leveling tank

My main is a druid tank and healer, but on occasion, I've returned to two low-level warrior alts and braved leveling in the Dungeon Finder. Most leveling groups are a bit like the proverbial little girl with pigtails: When they're good, they're very, very good ... and when they're bad, they're horrid.

The following is a list of somewhat random observations I have collected after several expansions' worth of tanking for low-level groups.

1. Don't take shortcuts on trash packs. The time you save sneaking past one of them will be eliminated by the time you'll lose when someone blunders into them and dies.

2. Someone will almost always blunder into them and die.

3. Despite common complaints on the forums, the vast majority of players are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to tolerate mistakes and the learning curve. The actual occurrence of true, unforgivable jackasses seems to be about one per five groups, although this depends on when you're queuing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

How to level up using the Dungeon Finder

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide. WoW Rookie is about more than just being new to the game; it's about checking out new classes, new playstyles, and new zones.

One of the quietly celebrated features in contemporary Cataclysm is the ability to level up entirely using the Dungeon Finder. It's a little rough in a few places where you cross expansions, around levels 58, 68, and 80ish. But other than those few spots, you can fly through the so-called younger levels without much trouble at all.

While speeding your way to level 85 this way doesn't require a lot of strategy per se, it still helps immensely if you get your act together beforehand. Consider issues like leveling professions, keeping up with gold, and even how you'll handle your downtime between queues. Most importantly, once you're actually inside the dungeon, you should be prepared with some tips to avoid annoying the heck out of your groups.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Breakfast Topic: What's your favorite 5-man instance of all time?

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

The first instance I ever ran was Shadowfang Keep with my brother and his friends. I was led by the nose through it and it's a good thing, because I couldn't fight to save my life -- I just wanted to look at everything! To this day, it remains the benchmark for me by which all other instances are judged. When it received its update in Cata, part of me was really disappointed. I had always looked forward to running it on fresh alts, and I never wanted it to change. For the most part, I'm OK with the changes, and it still remains my favorite instance. And now I don't have to make alts to run it.

So what has been your very favorite instance to run? Not raid, mind you -- that's a whole other Breakfast Topic. Just a regular 5-man instance. Do you prefer the old classics, or has something from Cataclysm stolen your heart? None of the Wrath or Cata instances really did it for me, but I really got a kick out of the Caverns of Time instances from The Burning Crusade.

What grabs you when you get to an instance? Is it the setting? The music? The end of a quest line? Or are you primarily concerned with what kind of loot you're going to get out of the deal?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Addon Spotlight: Better PUGs with RobBossMods

Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same. This week, RobBossMods helps new players get the dungeon information that they need.

Rob Boss Mods was brought to my attention during a quick PUG run of Zul'Aman that I wanted to get out of the way on then-main, now-alt paladin. I've had notoriously bad luck with items dropping in ZA for my paladin, but with the new changes, healing the place has not been too bad. However, there are still players out there who have not fully completed runs of the place, and I've seen tanks, healers, and even DPSers drop group when someone expresses the simple notion that they might not have been to this particular dungeon before.

Enter RobBossMods. Think of this addon as reporting Recount to your group, except with boss strategies. Hopefully, the proliferation of addons such as RobBossMods will rip the stigma away from being new to instances and facilitate easier grouping. In my opinion, anything that makes players feel more comfortable in the content is a good thing.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Blizzard working on ways to improve dungeon finder

The current dungeon finder is of course a vast improvement over the old LFG channel, but it can always be made better. In response to a forum thread about the dungeon finder's ever becoming performance-based, Zarhym weighed in with some interesting news.

Zarhym - Dungeon queue should be performance-based
We would love to implement better ways for Dungeon Finder to detect if players know what they're doing in dungeons beyond just the gear they've accumulated. We have some long-term design goals in mind for this we're not quite prepared to share this early on though. ;)


What was more interesting was the idea that Blizzard wants to improve the educational aspect of the service, however. With the current vote kick system, often players who are forced out of a group may have no idea why they failed, especially when they are new to the game.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Cataclysm

Guest Post: How to succeed in dungeons without really trying

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

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.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Guest Posts

Cataclysm 101: Zone and instance progression

If you're sitting there at your keyboard right now violently coveting your upcoming Cataclysm experience and daydreaming of all the places you'll go, we here at WoW Insider would like nothing better than to aid and abet you in your wacky escapades. And since Cataclysm is launching on International Matthew Rossi's Birthday, who better to help you figure out where you intend to stream like an unstoppable torrent of locusts? Well, there may be lots of better options, but I'm doing it anyway.

Cataclysm has several new zones to experience and quite a few new dungeons to crawl through. Let's take a look, shall we?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

15 Minutes of Fame: PvE twinks turn lowbie instances devilishly difficult

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

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."

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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