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Posts with tag raid-composition

Do warlocks bring too much utility to a raid?

Over the years Blizzard has created more and more overlap between certain aspects of different classes so as to allow more flexibility in choosing who you bring to a raid. For example, as a long-time druid raider, it still makes me an itty bitty bit sad every time I see a paladin overwrite my Mark of the Wild with Blessing of Kings. I remember the days when those were different buffs, dangit! On Twitter, players have been venting their frustration at Ghostcrawler about just this kind of thing:
Now, that's an interesting response, and it got us at WoW Insider thinking. Do warlocks really bring too much utility? In my 10-man raid team, our guild leader nearly always plays his warlock, and there are certainly a number of perks to that. Summoning is very nice, and saves us a run back out the instance if we need to bring in a different toon halfway through. Soulstones have brought me back to life on a number of occasions, the raid constantly asks for Healthstones, and both warlocks themselves and their minions bring various buffs and forms of crowd control that always come in handy. And portals! Portals make many, many things much more convenient.

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Filed under: Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Why Flex Raiding will change everything

Why Flex Raiding is the future
Ever since 10 and 25 man raiding were both equally supported in Wrath of the Lich King it's been a struggle to balance these two sizes of raiding groups. In Wrath, the balancing act was accompanied with gear inequity - the smaller size got lesser gear. Many 10 man guilds felt marginalized, and many 25 man guilds would split up to run the 10 mans for additional loot since the two sizes did not share a lockout. We're of course all aware of how that ended up working out - people complained about feeling forced to run raids twice or even four times on certain difficulties, leading to the current system of shared lockouts and the heroic difficulty toggle.

The current system, with 10 and 25 man raids sharing a lockout and gear has endured since Cataclysm, and it's one of the contributing factors to the death of 25 man raiding. Simply put, it's easier to set up and run a 10 man. Each raid size has its own quirks of difficulty (the difficulty in setting up a proper raid comp for 10s and the feeling of added responsibility per player vs. the often grueling mechanical difficulty ramp up for 25's and the sense of having less space to use to avoid more damage) but all things being equal, a 10 man raid is a lot easier to get off of the ground. It does bring its own problems... it's easier to keep a bench going and rotate players in 25's than it can be in 10s - but a lot of players have opted for 10 man. Patch 5.4 threw a wrinkle into this whole balancing act with the introduction of flexible raiding.

And it is this which has me convinced that flex raiding will replace both 10 and 25 man sizes for raids in the expansion to come. Having a flexible raid size with scaling damage will bring its own design challenges, to be sure, but it will also mean that once your guild hits the minimum raid size (currently 10 players) until it hits the maximum, it will never have to sit a player again. And at the maximum size, it will never have to cancel a raid because 22 people showed up instead of 25. It will change raiding, it will change guilds, but it is probably inevitable and necessary change.

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

Officers' Quarters: Three questions from a raid leader

Officers' Quarters Three questions about raid leadership
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.

Today's email comes from a raid leader with three different questions regarding raid comps, bank mats, and problem raiders. Let's jump right into it!

Hello Scott,

I am currently a high officer in a a new 25 raiding guild, MT and fairly new raid leader. ... Recently, after a pug for MV, 4 new raiders decided to join our roster, enabling for us to have a full raid group. The issue comes then, in to parts:

Since the problems we've had finding raiders, we were "forced" to take those 4 new guild mates, making a core group not as efficient due to lack of variety, therefore buffs, abilities, cooldowns, etc. How inconvenient truely is this composition with repeated classes?

Furthermore, I would ask you for advice on how to encourage members to contribute with mats, Golden Lotus for example, to the gbank such as other raiding comodities?

Nevertheless, the main reason I was willing to write to you, is the fact that we have two of those new raiders too close-minded.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Raid Rx: What's a good raid healing makeup?

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related. What's the ideal raid healing team for 25-man raid groups?

As your guild starts acquiring better and better gear, you'll soon come to the conclusion that you can scale down the amount of healers that are needed in a raid. On several boss fights, your raid can get away with as low as 5 healers. In fact, 5 healing a raid is the norm now. During Burning Crusade, a majority of raids set up healing teams of 6-7. In Wrath of the Lich King, there's been more of a shift towards increasing the DPS. Nowadays, healers are far more equipped to handle the different forms of incoming raid damage.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Loot, rationality, and the Sunwell effect

Here at WoW Insider we don't always agree with each other. Whether it's debating the merits of various tanks on different encounters, the damage difference between pure and hybrid DPS classes, the ideal function of a particular healing class in raids, or the superiority of cake over pie, our back-channel discussion tends to be pretty interesting.

Eliah Hecht's article "25-man gear should not be better than 10-man gear" sparked a lot of great discussion with our readers and, I think, some illuminating poll results as well. The majority of responders believed that giving 10-man and 25-man raids the same loot table would result in a significant drop in popularity for 25-man raiding. Overall, I tend to agree with this, but I also think that Eliah touched on something that speaks to Blizzard's evolving sense of game design, much of which is evident in the transition between late Burning Crusade and Wrath.

I would like to call this the Sunwell effect, or "ingame rationality." To wit: don't incentivize players to behave in a manner contrary to your actual design interests. I believe this played a huge role in the differences between BC and Wrath raiding, and that it underlies why the 25-man loot table has to remain superior to its 10-man counterpart.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Features, Raiding

Ghostcrawler on 3.1 healing team raid composition

Ghostcrawler has outlined the way in which healing teams will be chosen and organized for Ulduar in both 10 and 25-man raids, and it's very encouraging.

In 10-man Ulduar, GC expects that we'll want to bring three healers, and claims that they "intend for you to be able to take any 3 healers." This means that even smaller guilds with only enough players to form a 10-man group will be able to work with the healers they have, rather than feeling the need to recruit specific classes.

In 25-man Ulduar, Ghostcrawler mentions that there will be "more pressure to have every player in the role that most emphasizes their strengths" and that we'll "want a mix of healers."

This sounds like a fairly flexible plan, allowing for groups to recruit different healing classes, and allow healers to spec into different roles, such as group healing vs. single target. It also suggests that Blizzard is not planning at this time to homogenize the healing classes any further, unlike the tanking classes.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Classes, Forums

Ghostcrawler on the success of "bring the player not the class"

You have heard Blizzard's motto for raiding in Wrath of the Lich King, "bring the player not the class." The intent is to steer away from strict raid composition and shake things up.

Encounters are being designed so that no one single class is necessary, although the 25-man Razuvious fight currently requires at least one priest, preferably two or three, with at least one specced shadow.

Classes are being designed so that many necessary buffs, such as Replenishment, can be acquired through a variety of classes, rather than just one.

The rigidity that came with Sunwell is one of the reasons that development has taken this direction. The motto sparked high hopes, and not all players are convinced that the implementation has been successful.

In response, Ghostcrawler points out that just like everything in WoW, it is a process. It's not going to be perfect, because things are always changing.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Take the player, not the class

There's a new philosophy in Wrath (actually, already here in the post-3.0.2 world) when it comes to who you should bring on your raids. In short, as the headline says: pick the players you like, not the classes and specs you need. In all of WoW until this point, there have been certain specs that were virtually required in various parts of the various raids. Which specs these were has changed with time, but think of Shadow Priests' mana battery capabilities, or stacking Shamans to get many Heroisms/Bloodlusts. To be a cutting-edge raid it was simply required to prioritize "correct" raid composition over other factors. Yes, your players needed to know how to play their class, but beyond that, you took what was needed for the fights you were doing. And you took a Warrior main tank, generally speaking.

All that is set to change forever in just nine days. Now the classes are much more interchangeable with each other than before. Some prominent buffs have been nerfed, and in one notable case, distributed: Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins all give mana back with Replenishment. In general there is more than one class that can provide most types of buffs and debuff. Also, many buffs that used to be group-wide are now raid-wide, such as Paladin auras and Shaman totems. This makes it much more likely that picking two tanks, three healers, and five DPSers out of a grab bag will get you decent coverage on buffs and debuffs.

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Filed under: Features, Raiding, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Check your raid comp

As you probably know by now, buffs and debuffs are changing significantly in patch 3.0.2, which is expected to hit next Tuesday, October 14. Most buffs that are only provided by one class are going to be provided by several, mana return from Shadow Priests is getting nerfed and spread out, you won't be able to stack Heroism/Bloodlust the same way, and so on. In general Blizz's goal was to make raid formation less about stacking the right classes, and more about bringing friends and good players.

However, all the new buffs and debuffs can make a raid leader's head spin, in case they do decide they want to organize a raid so as to optimize buff coverage (and surely some raid leaders will want to do that). Fortunately, MMO-Champion has made an outstanding web tool to help you figure out your raid composition. Just drag-and-drop specs into the raid groups, and check the right-hand column to see what buffs and debuffs you'll get.

It will also tell you whether you have the best buff in a given category; in my sample raid comp (my last Karazhan run), for instance, we only have Battle Shout, which is not as good of an AP buff as Blessing of Might. If you're missing a buff and want to see how you could get it, just mouse-over the buff, and it'll tell you what classes bring it. The one thing I really wish this tool had that it doesn't is a corresponding ability for specs: mouse over the spec and it'll tell you what buffs they bring. Overall though, this is really useful; I'm not a min-maxing raid leader (or a raid leader at all, actually), but I'm probably going to make use of it just to check what my raids and groups be getting. And because it's really cool.

Filed under: Raiding, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW blog roundup

Time for another tour of the WoW blog kingdom...

Why now? | Alts Ahoy
All of a sudden Nasirah enjoys playing a shaman where it was boring before. In this post, she muses on why her mind has changed.

How to annoy NPC's - Keep Clicking on them! | Pugnacious Priest
Amusing detective work shows what happens when you annoy an NPC, including quotes on what they'll do to you if you don't stop. To bad you can't back-talk them too.

Sir, I Respectfully Disagree | ChickGM
A well-put and humorous rebuttal to two of WoW Insider's posts about what traits make a good guild officer and which ones to avoid.

I spoke too soon | Misery
This is actually a pair of posts in which Misery first points out that raid utility vs. damage is a flawed argument and subsequently analyzes a blue post about the same issue. Interesting theorycrafting for raid leaders.

Multi-Boxing Macros 102 | Three Druid Noob
Razorbax offers a primer on healing macros for the beginning multiboxer.

Goblins. Innocent Pranksters, or Evil Madmen bent on world domination? | The PvP Nub
Finally! The answer to the question, "Just what is it with those goblin doods?"

Filed under: Druid, Priest, Shaman, How-tos, Guilds, PvP, Humor, Raiding, RP, NPCs

GC on raid stacking

Raid composition is going to change in Wrath of the Lich King. A certain part of this is obvious and inevitable: they're adding a new class. But there is another major factor that's changing. Currently, buffs and synergy are a large part of the reason you might choose to bring one class over another. Shamans' awesome Bloodlust/Heroism, for instance, and their Windfury Totem, has made it often a good idea to bring many Shamans to a 25-man raid, and almost mandatory to have at least one. Similarly, the fact that Warlocks synergize quite well with each other (Warlocks cause other Warlocks to do more damage), due to effects like that of Improved Shadow Bolt, has contributed to Mages being much less favored for Sunwell Plateau.

How is this going to change in Wrath? Ghostcrawler made another rather long post yesterday on raid stacking, and this is the essence of what he said:

  • We want to limit the power of stacking raid buffs, like we limited the power of stacking consumables earlier.
  • "We want the challenge of the encounter to be the fight itself, not collecting all of the buffs and debuffs you need to succeed." They don't want to nerf buffs, but they want them to be "less of a burden."
  • Therefore, for most buffs, there will be multiple classes that can provide that buff, and they won't stack. For instance, you can get your magic vulnerability debuff either from Warlocks or from Death Knights; those two abilities will not stack with each other.

The ultimate goal of this is to cause raid leaders to want to bring players they like, or good players, and not feel like they have to bring certain classes to get certain buffs and debuffs; and also to help class balance. Of course, they recognize that certain guilds are going to strictly min/max in any case, but the idea is that the benefits of a few classes shouldn't be so overwhelming that you feel like you have to bring five of them.

It's an interesting move. Assuming they execute it well, and preserve class uniqueness and utility (as they are promising to do), I think it will be very good for the game. And as this is still beta, and they are actively collecting and implementing feedback, if it doesn't work well right now they'll have time to fix it. The Wrath development team seems (thankfully) much more responsive to feedback than the Burning Crusade dev team was.

Filed under: Raiding, Classes, Buffs, Wrath of the Lich King

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