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Posts with tag lbrs

And the dungeons keep on shrinking

I've run the new Scarlet Monastery dungeons on the beta several times now. They're fun, well-designed, interesting dungeons. They are a bit jarring if you're familiar with the current Scarlet Monastery, however. The current four dungeons have been cut down to two, and it's been achieved by removing a lot of the long hallways full of trash pulls we're familiar with now. The Armory section of the new dungeon almost feels abrupt if you (like me) ran SM over and over again in the olden days of WoW.

It's not that the new dungeons are bad. They're objectively good, even great at places, with a good sense of the history of the place and call-backs to the classic dungeon.

They just feel kind of short to me. Smaller. Actually smaller, not in terms of the size of the hallways or anything but in terms of how much real estate they cover. And while I often rail against nostalgia, lately that sense of scale has been driving me to run older content not even to gather loot for transmog but just to see it, to look around at the scope and scale of the older dungeons.

Now, I don't want to pretend that these dungeons weren't often hideously irritating to run at the time. Getting a 5-man group all the way through Stratholme back when it was all one big, interconnected burning city full of undead and no one ever wanted to clear both sides wasn't anything but an exercise in learning colorful new metaphors as they spewed from your own mouth. You'd end up amazed you even knew the Basque term for that particular deviancy.

Still, there is something to be said for the epic scale of some of the older 5-man dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Collecting Armor Sets: Dungeon set 2

For the longest time in vanilla World of Warcraft, players were content with collecting the dungeon set 1 pieces from Stratholme, Scholomance and Blackrock Spire. A purple item was a incredibly rare thing to see in the early days of WoW. It was a status symbol, a badge of pride for raiders who managed to band together to defeat Onyxia or brave the depths of Molten Core. With epic items soon came epic discontent, largely from casual players who either didn't have the time or the inclination to raid. As time went on and more raid dungeons were released, the complaining continued; players who were unable to dedicate the time needed to successfully complete a 40-man raid dungeon felt it was unfair that they could not obtain epic gear.

It was a valid complaint, but it took well over two years before Blizzard finally did something about it. About four months after the release of Ahn'Quiraj, Blizzard implemented Patch 1.10, "Storms of Azeroth." Among the fun changes like the introduction of weather in Azeroth and quest-experience-to-gold conversion at level 60, casual players finally received what they'd been asking for: a quest line that didn't require raiding and would allow them to upgrade their dungeon sets one into new ones that included epic gear. This set is called, appropriately enough, dungeon set 2.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP

Armor Set Collecting: Dungeon Set One

Set collecting is one of those things that you either love or hate -- either the thought of running around in old gear is curiously nostalgic, or you simply don't care to fill your bank with a lot of useless junk. With the introduction of Cataclysm, a lot of these old dungeon sets appear to be changing or disappearing entirely, making them a hot commodity for set collectors. Since a lot of players these days picked up the game in the BC or Wrath eras, not everyone knows where these pieces come from and how to get them.

The first of these sets is the Dungeon Set One. Obtained through various level 60 instances, these blue armor sets were the top of the top before the days of Molten Core and purples everywhere. Originally, these sets had very boring graphics, until a patch was implemented in which all sets got a shiny new graphics update. In the early days of vanilla, these sets were pretty much all players needed to farm for, and the +8 to all resistances that served as a set bonus for each was handy in places like Molten Core, which was nothing but a fun fire factory in which you wanted to stack as much fire resistance as possible. There are nine sets to collect, and each set is class-specific. All set pieces can be found in Stratholme, Scholomance and Blackrock Spire (both lower and upper).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, RP

We've got spirit, yes we do!

It's pretty routine to run across complaints in World of Warcraft communities about poor DPS showing up to PuGs. When I say poor DPS, I don't mean the unfortunate soul who just dinged 80 and is running around in greens far below their class' hit cap. You would reasonably expect someone's damage to be fairly lackluster under those circumstances even if the person concerned is a great player. By "poor DPS," I mean someone at 80 who shows up to your Naxx PuG in full epics rocking 25-man raid buffs who manages to stay alive on each boss fight with a Bloodlust/Heroism...and doesn't manage to break 4-figure DPS. I've seen it before, saw it again recently, and am fatalistic about its eventual reappearance.

Questionable gemming and enchant choices tend to abound with these players, as you'd expect, and the cry of "He gemmed for Spirit!" tends to follow them around. Fair enough; it does happen, but as someone who's been leveling a platoon of alts through a sea of /headdesk pre-60 itemization, I've wondered whether the abundance of Spirit on pre-60 gear leaves newer or inexperienced players with a false impression regarding its eventual importance in the endgame. And it's easy to see how they could arrive at that conclusion; the stat is everywhere!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Classes

The least visited instance... and why

Overpowered on the forums wonders what the least popular instance is, and I'd say his guess of Blackfathom Deeps is probably pretty close-- it's a long run away for pretty much everyone but Night Elves, and at 25-30, there's so many more quests and things to do that BFD usually gets passed up. The other good guesses, I'd say, are the "old" late game instances like Naxx and LBRS. Unfortunately, while Blizzard tells us all about the most popular stuff in the game, they are pretty mum on what players don't like, for obvious reasons.

So how do you make an instance that makes players want to visit? Relmstein walks us through his idea of what makes a perfect instance ambiance: music, visuals, interactive features (the Chess Event is one of my favorite dungeon features, although almost all the dungeon dialogue "cut scenes" are fun for me), and memorable boss encounters.

But then again, BFD seems to have all of them-- it's a very pretty dungeon (I especially like the temple at the end), and while it might be a little short on interactive features, I really like the lore and the unleashing of the monster at the end. The last ingredient, I think, to a good dungeon, is just a storyline that drives you there. I'm sure Scarlet Monastery (except the Graveyard), and Deadmines are definitely among the most popular instances, and both of those have huge amounts of lore and mystery to make them interesting. Maybe if more players realized that Aku'mai was actually a pet of the Old Gods (or, you know, if there was a quest to kill him that explained that), BFD would see more traffic.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Quests, Lore

How to fix the old instances

Before the expansion came out, we wondered and wondered what would happen to the old level 60 instances when the Dark Portal opened. And now that it's here, we know: no one's running them. Oh, there's a few quest groups here and there of people working their way up to 58 (the bare minimum to come through to Outland), but there's almost zero reason to run AQ or ZG 20-mans, considering the loot is just so much better, even just in Hellfire Peninsula. And MC, on my server at least, is a barren wasteland-- why take four hours with 40 people just for a few good pieces when you can get much better loot in 15 minutes of questing in Outland?

So what to do? We're sure Blizzard will come up with a way to make these instances relevant again-- in fact, I'd be surprised if, despite what they said earlier, they weren't already working on it now. But just to help them, here's a few suggestions of how to fix the old instances.

-First, and most obvious, is enabling Heroic mode. We already have dungeons in Outland that will be able to be tuned to Heroic mode, which means bosses and mobs are harder, but give much better drops. In the same way, Blizzard is likely going to let us optionally turn up the difficulty in UBRS or Stratholme, offering better loot for a bigger challenge.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

On the topic of farmers...


My priest has been, for some time now, looking for a pattern for the Truefaith Vestments - the epic crafted priest robes. While I would occasionally see a Robe of the Archmage or a Robe of the Void pattern, I've not seen any of my own. However, over the past couple of weeks, I've seen more and more Robe of the Archmage patterns - as seen above. The cost has dropped dramatically, as well - what once sold for a hundred gold and up is now, as you see, more often selling for 30 to 40, when they sell at all.

This has started to puzzle me, as the pattern drops off of Pyromancers in lower Blackrock Spire, of which there are few, and difficult to get to. I've gone with a number of groups that refuses to attempt the pull with the Pyromancers, simply because it's large and difficult. So where then, do these patterns come from? Several commenters on Thottbot claim that you can solo your way to the right area with the use of stealth or invisibility potions, and one poster goes into some detail about two rogues taking the group down with timely use of sap, vanish, and evasion.

But even if the pattern can be acquired with the efforts of one or two players, this doesn't explain the sudden appearance of so many in the marketplace. It's possible that the drop rate has been increased, but it seems unlikely that the drop rate of one of the epic robe patterns would go up while the other two remain the same. In my past experience with the game, a sudden flood of rare items on the market has been an indication of a new farming technique or hack, allowing farmers to now easily acquire something that was usually difficult. (For an example of similar circumstances in the past, see this old Dire Maul hack.) However, at present, there's no evidence one way or the other - so this remains simply an oddity...

Filed under: Items, Odds and ends, Economy

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