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Posts with tag raid-finder

Molten Core LFR may test your patience, but look at this mount

WoW's 10th anniversary celebration started today, and with it came what is now my favorite mount in the game. This Core Hound one of those mounts you have to see to believe. There's something incredibly cool about stomping around on one of these bad boys, especially with my matching hunter pet and battle pet in tow. I also snagged a ilvl 640 epic helm out of it. Everyone who kills Ragnaros will be guaranteed the helm and the mount. The rest of the bosses simply drop gold for everyone (around 25g each) which should hopefully pay for the repair bill you will rack up doing this right now.

In order to queue for Molten Core LFR you must have an item level of at least 615. If you're not level 100 yet, don't fret. This event is ongoing until January 5, 2015 and I suspect many will continue to farm it for chances at Hatespark the Tiny and Flames of Ragnaros, both of which are not guaranteed drops.

I'll admit that when I first went in, I expected this to be a complete pushover. However, I forgot how hard it is to organize a group of 40 people. Almost everyone inside is just barely making the ilvl 615 requirement to boot. People are used to soloing this for transmog gear and it can result in many wipes. It took my group nearly 2 hours to clear the whole raid. My first group didn't even make it past the first boss.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: LFR gear to have unique set bonuses

Traditional class tier sets will no longer be available in LFR difficulty in Warlords of Draenor. You'll need to run normal, heroic, or mythic to get your hands on tier 17 gear. That doesn't mean LFR-exclusive raiders will be entirely without set bonuses. In the latest beta build, Blizzard has added some new set bonuses which are exclusive to LFR gear. These bonuses are not class specific, but are instead armor class and role specific. For example, enhancement shamans and hunters share the same set bonuses.

Like traditional armor sets, there are 2-piece and 4-piece bonuses. The 2-piece bonuses are all simple stat increases, but the 4-piece bonuses are a little more interesting. All of the LFR set items are item level 655, which is slightly higher than non-set LFR loot. These armor sets also have different artwork from the class tier sets. You can view the artwork by using Wowhead's model viewer at the below links:
After the break we've also got the full list of set bonuses.

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Filed under: 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

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

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

Warlords of Draenor: Flex, Group Finder and Raid Finder's roles

Blizzard Community Manager Lore has been posting about the future roles of Flex, the new Group Finder, and Raid Finder in Warlords of Draenor. You can, as usual, see Lore's full post after the break, but what he's talking about is how, thanks to the success of Flex as a raid system and the resultant awkward position of LFR, a reshuffle needs to happen.

LFR has been wearing too many hats. It's been end-game progression for some, a gear grind for others, and a way to see the sights of a raid for even more, as well as everything in between. That's a hard act for one difficulty, that is simultaneously too hard and too easy.

But thanks to the runaway success of Flex, due in no small part to group-finding systems like OpenRaid or oQueue, the devs think they can make some changes to the tuning of LFR. The idea, it seems, is that the new Group Finder will make it just as easy to find a Flex group as it currently is to find an LFR one. Then, LFR tuning can be altered, allowing Blizz to "better provide for both the "busy raider" and "sightseer" styles of gameplay as a result."

So it seems likely that, if this remains the case (we're not even in beta after all) LFR will become the tourist difficulty. Flex via the Group Finder, and with friends, will become the new way to get meaningful progression encounters. And that makes sense, given how it'll be renamed to "Normal" come WoD. Hit the break for Lore's full post.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

Weekly news roundup with Panser of TradeChat

Panser of TradeChat is back with this week's WoW Insider Weekly News Recap. We take a look at last week's most interesting news and tidbits of information including WoW's 9th anniversary and some new features available on the PTR such as cross-realm mailing. The full list of topics covered this week include: If you like the show, make sure to subscribe to TradeChat, leave comments, and tune in next week for a new episode!

Filed under: News items

Patch 5.4.2: Blizzard's answer to oQueue enters testing [Updated]

It was announced at BlizzCon that Blizzard would be launching a revamped raid finding system, potentially in response to oQueue's huge popularity in finding groups for Flex and for things like the Celestial bosses required for the Legendary cloak. Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas has posted today about the first tentative steps towards realizing this goal launch of said group finder, namely a rework of the existing Raid Finding tool. The one you haven't ever used. His full posts are, as ever, after the break.

At first, it will just work for Flex raids and World Bosses, meaning that it won't oust oQueue from the game, but it seems likely that Blizzard will expand this technology to the new raids and perhaps even to PvP in 6.0. Right now, on the PTR, there have not been a lot of changes to the existing system. It's still really hard to find -- open up your social pane, then go over to raid, then go to Other Raids, then select the raids you want to do. Celestials, Ordos and Flex are all cross-realm, but the others are not.

Hit the break for Ion's full posts.

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Filed under: Raiding

Breakfast Topic: Does LFR impact raid design?

Breakfast Topic Does LFR impact raid design
A few days ago, the player Camaranth started a thread on the tank forums examining the number of tank swap mechanics in raids. While the discussion is a good one, there's a reply written by Snuzzle not far down the thread with an interesting observation. "I think the reason we are seeing so many encounters designed with tank swaps in Mists," he/she writes, "is that fights are being designed with Raid Finder in mind ... They need both tanks to have a job to do. Tank swaps are the way to do that (because) most everyone can instantly understand (them)."

LFR might not be the only reason for that, but I think Snuzzle has a point. Encounters have to be programmed with the knowledge that Raid Finder groups will always have two tanks, 6 healers, and 17 DPS, no guarantees on class composition, and the knowledge that coordination will realistically be minimal. I don't think it necessarily reflects on the skill of the players concerned so much as the inherent disorganization. Under the circumstances, it would be extremely difficult to program an encounter like, say, Kael'thas or Teron Gorefiend or High King Maulgar, and have it remain somewhat close to the normal and heroic versions.

I don't know whether LFR actually does have a serious impact on raid design, but it's certainly an interesting question. In related news, the LFR version of Siege of Orgrimmar was nerfed recently for reasons I think all of us can guess.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Love 'em or hate 'em, do you use random group tools?

Breakfast Topic Love 'em or hate 'em, do you use random group tools
Buried beneath proclamations of love or hate for WoW's group and raid finding tools lurks a common contradiction I find most players don't like to discuss: Do they use or not use these features despite their feelings? I'm a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is kind of person, so when I hear players fuming that they believe random group tools have played a large role in the downfall of realm communities (a common line of thinking among players who are not fans of the dungeon finder and raid finder), I often wonder if they then turn around and use the very tool they rail against.

There's a simple solution to this sort of conundrum, I've found –- a reader poll!

What's your position on WoW's random grouping tools (the dungeon finder and raid finder)?
I don't use them, but I think they're great for the people who want them.193 (3.6%)
I don't use them, and I wish they had not been put in the game.80 (1.5%)
I use them, and I think they're a fantastic addition to the game.4144 (77.7%)
I use them, but I think the game might be better without them.916 (17.2%)


Why do you use or not use the group finder and the raid finder? If you don't use these features, do you run with guildmates or friends instead, or do you avoid groups and raiding altogether?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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