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Posts with tag lfr

Yes, Molten Core LFR will grant Hydraxian Waterlords reputation

I'm pretty excited about the upcoming 10th Anniversary Molten Core LFR, but I have to admit, of all the reasons I have to be excited about that, the idea that it would be a way to gather Hydraxian Waterlords reputation would have been absolutely on the bottom of the list. However, some of you apparently care about this, and now it's official - Crithto has confirmed that yes, Virginia, there is a Hydraxian Waterlords Reputation Santa Claus. So there you have it.

Now, when I ran Molten Core, back in the day, you needed that rep to get the Aqual Quintessence you needed to douse the runes. And you needed one Quintessence per rune, so several people in your raid had to be gathering rep with them in order to get enough to complete the raid! You kids today, you don't even need to march 40 people through Blackrock Depths to get them to the Raid entrance inside the very base of the dungeon! Now (well, soon) you just queue up in LFR and get all the sweet Hydraxian Waterlords reputation you want, and you don't even need it for anything!

I'll be over here in my rocking chair.

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

Blizzard releases World of Warcraft's 10th Anniversary details

So, today the folks at Blizzard posted more details about the upcoming 10th Anniversary of World of Warcraft, featuring the Tarren Mill/Southshore deathmatch BG and the revamped level 100 40 player LFR version of Molten Core.

One thing we now know for sure is that Molten Core will become accessible on November 21 (a week after the launch of Warlords itself) and last until January 6th, 2015. This gives you a little more than a month to get to level 100 and run the revamped Molten Core. It's a little worrying to me that you'll have to hit 100 and run this content (remember, it's a 40 person LFR) during the holiday season, but that's what we are currently being told. Also, thanks to the folks at Wowhead we also know that there are four helmets you can get when you defeat Ragnaros - an updated Crown of Destruction and plate, leather and cloth versions. In addition, Ragnaros drops the Core Hound Chain as well.

The new battleground will have a 90-99 and 100 version, and winning either version of the Southshore/Tarren Mill battleground will reward you with the Tarren Mill Terror title for Alliance players and the Southshore Slayer title for the Horde. Rated PvP play will begin on December 2nd, and the first raids will begin opening at that time with Raid Finder and Mythic difficulty opening the next week. A full schedule for the raid releases is incoming.

So that's how things stand so far. Looks like you'll want to get to 100 as quickly as possible if you're looking forward to that Molten Core LFR or the Southshore/Tarren Mill deathmatch.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Raiding, Raid Guides, Warlords of Draenor

The incredible aging demographic

Let me put it on the line - LFR and Flexible raid sizes are the most important raiding experiences currently available in World of Warcraft, and the upcoming Mythic 20 person raid difficulty is an atavism, barely even an appendix, that only a vanishing few players will experience when it is current. It exists for a sense of achievement and prestige that only a few players really have the time for anymore, and every year, that group of players gets smaller.

The reason for this is simple - as Tom Chilton put it, the demographic is getting older over time. People like me who played for the raid game back in classic are older. They have jobs, kids, schedules that don't permit the kind of time investment hard modes currently demand, the kind Mythic will demand. And it's not that you can't do cutting edge raiding in, say, six hours a week. I'm not arguing that you will have to put in 20 hours a week to do Mythic. I'm arguing that even scheduling one or two nights a week and being there reliably is actually really hard when you have other commitments that can often demand your time on a moment's notice - in essence. being able to go when you want/need to raid instead of when the group is scheduled to go is a huge boon to that aging demographic. For all the elitism, all the sneering, and all the slurs directed at the LFR player base, the feature allows people who love raiding but who can no longer commit to scheduled WoW play a place to do it.

You can ask if this is healthy for the game as a whole - whether or not your answer is yes or no, though, there is no escaping this simple fact. WoW is a decade old. Many of us playing it have been here for years now. Even players who started in Wrath or Cataclysm have now been playing for years. This is an aging game with aging players, this is the reality of the situation. And this means that more adaptive raiding solutions are going to keep presenting themselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Do certain roles encourage bad behavior?


I still like tanking and healing more than anything else in the game, but they have their deficiencies while you're trying to smash Hexos into a well-deserved stain on the floor. In order to finish off Brawler's Guild achievements, I went DPS for the first time in 6 years and then thought, "This is actually kind of fun. Let's try some LFR and see what this puppy does in a raid."

In a matter of days, I and my hapless raid-mates encountered the following:
  • A tank who RP-walked to everything. (Spoils took forever.)
  • A tank who posted the meters after each trash pull and boss to make fun of the least well-geared DPS.
  • Tanks who couldn't be persuaded to kill the blademasters in Gates of Retributon, trapping the entire raid in perma-combat.
  • Tanks who kept taunting Thok back and forth to alternately breathe on or tail-swipe the raid.
Notice a pattern?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

World of Warcraft's 10th anniversary preview

Molten Corgi
Ten years is a long time. Ten years ago, in 2004, I was 20 years old and entering my third semester of college--also entangled in endless piles of paperwork while I prepared to spend a year studying at the University of New South Wales in Sydney for the calender year 2005. Ten years ago, in November 2004, World of Warcraft officially launched.

The mark that WoW has left on the gaming industry is indisputable--but we're not here for musing retrospectives. At least, not yet. We're here because there's going to be a whole bunch of fun in-game events to celebrate WoW's first decade of existence, and Blizzard has given us a lovely preview of what at least a few of them are.

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Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items

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

Raid design evolution and Warlords of Draenor

Blizzard has posted parts one and two of a series of Dev Watercoolers, discussing raid design over the course of World of Warcraft. Now part three is live, highlighting and explaining where raiding is going in Warlords of Draenor. The post covers new systems like the Group Finder (basically integrating the OQueue style functionality), buffs to LFR, explains the new Mythic difficulty and flexible group system for normal/heroic, and discusses how raid lockouts will work in Warlords, with each raiding difficulty (Raid Finder, Normal, Heroic and Mythic) having its own lockout, and how valor points will be scaled back to prevent players feeling like they have to clear each raid difficulty each week.

If you raid, you should probably check it out. The full text is reproduced behind the break.

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

Raid design evolution from Cataclysm to now

Horridon header
Yesterday Lead Game Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas published a fascinating Dev Watercooler blog that discussed the history and evolution of raid design in World of Warcraft. That article was part one of a three-part series, and looked into the way that raiding developed from WoW's original release through to Wrath of the Lich King. In part two, published today, Watcher discusses the ways raid design has changed, and stayed the same, through Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria.

The article focuses primarily on difficulty levels and raiding. Watcher discusses in detail the problems inherent in the "10-man is easier, 25-man is harder" approach, as well as the ways that making 10- and 25-man raiding more equivalent in difficulty led to new problems that hadn't existed before. From there we learn about the origin of both the LFR and Flex raiding options from the perspective of how different raiding difficulties serve different portions of the WoW player population. If you've ever wondered about the thought processes that went into developing the different types of raid systems we see in the game today, this is an excellent article on exactly that.

Check out the full blue post after the break.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Breakfast Topic: Do you still PUG?

The idea of playing in a PUG -- or a random pick up group -- was once a painful one. You might spend ages in chat trying to find random players willing to join you for a dungeon only to get stuck spending hours trying to successfully navigate the dungeon... or even longer if you were unlucky enough to be trying to run Blackrock Depths. Grouping could be painful, which meant you tended to stick with guildmates or friends for dungeon runs that wouldn't leave you wanting to tear your hair out.

Of course, in today's game, the dungeon finder and raid finder make getting groups together a simple task, and dungeon running itself has been streamlined to make it easier for random groups to succeed. With these changes, it's gotten a lot easier to run a random dungeon, and so some of the stigma around PUGs seems to have faded -- or perhaps just transferred to LFRs.

For today's discussion, I'm wondering: do you play WoW in random groups? Or do you rather stick with guildmates and friends?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

How to get started in LFR whether you're a new 90 or a boosted 90

If you've just gotten your first character -- or your second or third -- to level 90, you might be looking to check out the raiding game. Fortunately, the looking for raid (or LFR) tool makes it easier than ever to jump into raid content without a lot of complicated scheduling and planning... but that doesn't mean LFR is easy mode. It's true, LFR has simplified versions of boss fights compared to flex or heroic raids -- but when you're gathering up 25 random players who might not even speak the same language, simplifying things is a must if the group is going to progress.

However, despite their relative ease, there's still some work to be done to do your best in LFR -- and in the process make the raiding experience easier on you and your group mates. We'll walk you through the game's LFRs and what you need to do to get there.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Coping with the new raid realities of level 90 boosts

The above image is not remotely a reflection of what raiding in World of Warcraft is like, but wouldn't it be great if it were? The addition of the level 90 boost to WoW means that we're seeing a lot of players leaping to max level where they can jump immediately into raids. Their ilvl of 483 is high enough to let them into LFR raids for anything outside Siege of Orgrimmar -- and let me tell you, it's kind of a nightmare.

No, I don't mean that the influx of new 90s in itself is a nightmare: it's the fact that now anything going wrong in LFR results in 10 minutes of bemoaning the boosted characters who are keeping everyone else from progressing. It's drama city out there. It's not that the moaning is entirely off-base: boosted players don't necessarily know how to play their boosted class at 90... but none of us were class experts as soon as we hit 90. And, come on, a random LFR group doesn't need boosted characters to mess things up and wipe.

So what's a player to do with this new LFR annoyance?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Warlords of Draenor: Proving Grounds will be required for Heroic Dungeon random queues

Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, the Lead Encounter Designer for World of Warcraft, has already told us that proving grounds will be updated for Warlords of Draenor. In a move that helps explain why, he dropped some late night news yesterday in the form of dungeon progression information.

In short, if you want to join the dungeon finder queue for level 100 heroic dungeons, you will need to get a silver medal in the proving grounds for the role you want to queue for. That means if you want to heal, your DPS silver medal isn't good enough. You'll need to go back and get it for healing as well. This applies only to the random queue. If you're going straight in with friends, no medal is required. Normal dungeons will not require any proving grounds experience at all, and normal dungeon and scenario gear should be enough to let you queue for the raid finder.

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Filed under: News items, Warlords of Draenor

Oops, I queued as tank again

I've tanked a few LFR's lately. The thing is, I didn't mean to.

I don't mean I pulled aggro. I mean that when I queued, I forgot that I had tank selected alongside DPS. I do this in five man heroics I'm running for justice points as well. When I find myself selected to tank the dungeon (often only noticing after I get in and no one else is the tank) I usually shrug and put on my tank set and do it. It's not the group's fault I keep forgetting to uncheck that box, after all. And there's a bit of an up side. The other day my wife and I were talking in game and I said "I think I'm going to ride my blue dragonhawk" which surprised her, because I am not a mount collector. "Wait, you have a blue dragonhawk?" Well, yes I do, and I can thank forgetting to uncheck that tanking box for it.

I'm under the impression that I'm fairly rare in this regard. I don't know how true that is, because I've really only talked to a few people about it, and some of them don't play hybrids, so there is no other box for them to check. I'm sure all the warlocks I know would select tank if they could, for instance. But at least some folks seem to do this from time to time.

Being an opinionated cuss, I have some thoughts on this whole phenomenon I'd like to share.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Tanks, healers, and the most dangerous LFR bosses

Recently I wrote a small article wondering whether the fabled Monday night Raid Finder festival of ugly death was just an urban legend. Opinions in the comment section were mixed, so I wanted to do a little ingame research to figure out whether the conventional wisdom was right and Mondays are an unusually deadly day for LFR runs.

While I'm nowhere close to being done with that little project, my first venture into the numbers in Siege of Orgrimmar and the Raid Finder did turn up some interesting results with my characters. The deadliest Raid Finder boss of tier 16 was not who I thought it was, the safest Raid Finder boss was really not who I thought it was, and there are some eye-raising numbers on the fights where a well-geared tank or healer was disproportionately likely to swing the odds in the raid's favor.

Also, the Gates of Retribution wing sucks. But you knew that already.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

The dangers of Monday night LFR

After my guild finished raid on Monday, we voted to do the fourth wing of Siege of Orgrimmar in flex for another shot at Garrosh's heirlooms. Before queuing for flex, people took a break to let their dogs out, get something to drink, or jump on alts to do their farming. My fellow tank hopped to his alt warrior and wondered aloud over the wisdom of doing an LFR on him later that night. "Don't do it," was the universal consensus. "Monday night LFR is just asking for trouble. The only winning move is not to play."

That got me thinking about the weirder aspects of the game's culture, in which a single day and a raid lockout divides an alleged nightmare (Raid Finder on Mondays) from a safe bet (Raid Finder on Tuesdays). The usual story is that people run their better-geared mains through Raid Finder soon after the weekly lockout finishes, but come Sunday and Monday they're running their less-geared alts, and usually on classes with which they're less familiar. There's got to be more to it than this, but it's a narrative that most players are probably aware of by now.

Out of morbid curiosity, I've occasionally taken my main or alt shaman through Sunday and Monday LFRs but can't say I've noticed a massive difference. There are definitely more times late in the week where I've zoned into a squabbling raid with a two-stack of Determination, but most runs are fairly uneventful. However, one player's experiences are rarely representative, and your own gear and experience play a role as well. A well-geared toon, especially if it's a tank or healer, is at least marginally more likely to contribute a successful raid, and vice versa.

I'm tempted to do a series of LFRs and measure overall raid DPS and number of deaths by day. I'm genuinely curious whether the conventional wisdom is right, and late-week Raid Finders are more likely to encounter trouble than their early-week counterparts.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

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