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Posts with tag raid

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

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

Level 60 vanilla guild 5-mans Razorgore

Yes, we know -- level 90s can solo Blackwing Lair's first boss, Razorgore, with ease, but we still think it's an impressive feat for five at-level players. The guild Molten Core Veterans is focused on vanilla-era raiding, with no death knights or monks; no characters above level 60; and no gear or enchants over level 60, either. With the mechanics of the fight -- more about managing adds than damaging the boss -- Razorgore may be one of the only vanilla fights that can be done with such a small at-level group. The next boss, Vaelestraz, takes a lot more DPS to down -- and so a lot more players.

As someone who fought through learning this fight during vanilla, I salute these guys. For all that vanilla raids have gotten easier over the years -- and power creep has even hit players trying their hardest to get the vanilla WoW experience -- the Razorgore fight isn't easy to master.

Filed under: Raiding

Siege of Orgrimmar nerfs incoming

Watcher has announced that several bosses in Siege of Orgrimmar will be adjusted starting with next week's raid resets. The affected bosses include Galakras, Thok the Blood Thirsty, Siegecrafter Blackfuse, and Paragons of the Klaxxi on various difficulty levels. Watcher's post is a long one, so check it out behind the break.

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Filed under: News items, Raiding

The Problem of Raid Clutter

What is raid clutter? Well, it's that mess of stuff that goes on during a raid encounter. It can be a boss, it can be trash, that's not really important. What is important is that absolute mess of spells going off, that can make it almost impossible for you to see anything. As fights get more complex with more encounter mechanics that need to be observed and reacted to, the clutter of modern raiding becomes more and more difficult to deal with. To use one example, the Dark Shaman fight is an absolute bonanza of raid clutter, especially on heroic - even separating the two shaman only means that half the raid gets to deal with tombs falling from the sky and ground effect cones while the other half of the raid has big red circles and purple cyclones. And that's just the boss mechanics - it doesn't take into account every member of the raid casting some form of spell or using some attack or ability, most of which have a visual component.

But don't take my word for it. Blizzard knows this is a problem.
This issue gets frustrating for players because it's not one they have much control of aside from just turning down their graphics settings. It can certainly cause graphical slowdown when fights get really busy, it can prevent you from being able to react to mechanics in time or even prevent you from seeing them. It exacerbates the need for raiding addons that call out mechanics for you.

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

Watcher explains Heroic Norushen changes

This week, we saw a bit of discussion on Heroic Norushen, and the means by which guilds were defeating him. This led to the decision to make some adjustments to the fight this week. As you might expect, those guilds that had already defeated the boss using the 'brute force' strategy (basically, paring down the healers brought to the fight to a bare minimum and overwhelming the boss with DPS) weren't happy at the prospect of having to go back in next week and relearn the fight, since their approach was made vastly more difficult by the changes.

Now we have Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas' explanation of the changes and why they were made, and it's a pretty interesting read if you're into encounter design and its implementation. Just some selected bits of information from the post:
  • Originally on the PTR Heroic Norushen had a 'draw' mechanic that would have prevented the brute-force method, but it was removed because it had bad effects once gear improved, forcing groups to throttle their DPS.
  • The intent isn't to increase encounter difficulty - the problem isn't that the fight is too easy, it's that people are just skipping the mechanics entirely.
  • Going back to reference the Encounter Design Dev Watercooler, Watcher mentions that "a major factor when it comes to deciding whether to make changes to address an unintended strategy is whether the approach actually involves interesting gameplay." - I think it's fair to say that just throwing DPS at it so you can avoid the mechanics isn't all that interesting.
  • The difference between the changes to Thok this week and Norushen in the upcoming reset are profoundly the difference between a bugfix (Thok was always intended to have Acceleration on all difficulties save Raid Finder, it was simply accidentally turned off on all other difficulties as well as Raid Finder) and a decision to change an encounter to close off an approach that was never intended. That's why Thok was hotfixed immediately, but Norushen is being changed with the server reset so it affects all guilds equally.
For more, you can read Watcher's post here on the forums, and we'll reproduce it in full behind the cut as well.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Blizzard, News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Blizzard reveals Siege of Orgrimmar raid schedule

Next week, we hit Orgrimmar as the Siege begins. And Blizzard has just revealed the release schedule for the raid as a whole.

Next week, on September 10th, we get normal mode opening and Flex Raiding opens wing 1, the Vale of Eternal Sorrows. Heroic opens on the 17th (requiring a Garrosh kill on normal to unlock it), along with Flex wing 2, the Gates of Retribution, and LFR opening wing 1. This keeps the previous intention of unlocking Flex faster than LFR and staggers the normal and heroic releases as we saw in previous raids this expansion.

For the complete release schedule, we've reproduced the Blizzard post behind the jump. I for one am very much looking forward to the Siege.

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

What would be enough?

What would be enough
I play Alliance now. I've played Alliance primarily throughout my WoW career, although admittedly I played Horde over on Malfurion with some awesome folks local to Edmonton (Hi Vees) and again on Sisters of Elune with another group of people I really liked. (Hey Taken.) When I played Horde, I almost always played tauren because, well, I have significant problems with Horde storylines. My then-fellow Horde would always tell me about how they liked the Horde's underdog status, but I never saw that - I saw forsaken plague bombing people, orcs attacking their enemies when they were occupied fighting the Scourge, etc etc. The Horde was always the aggressors, I noticed - how were they the underdogs? Still, I liked the people I was playing with (still do, in fact) and so I kept going. Just because I didn't see the underdog thing didn't mean it wasn't real, and there are plenty of other reasons for faction preference.

Still I ended up back in the Alliance, as I always knew I would. I'm a draenei again, like I was in Wrath of the Lich King (and frankly, often in the same outfit) and I will admit here to favoring the Alliance in storylines. The Alliance is simply the group I sympathize with more, and Cataclysm definitely gave me plenty of fodder on that front. I know a lot of the changes were made to balance the Horde/Alliance leveling experiences, which were infamously disparate. It still ended up feeling like the Alliance was playing frozen side of beef in the Horde's upcoming "I did it, Adrian" montage. While I've since really enjoyed Mists of Pandaria, it hasn't entirely rinsed the bad taste I got leveling an alt through the Cata 1 to 60 game.

So it is from that perspective that I have to say that I don't really understand what, exactly, some Alliance players want to be the outcome of Patch 5.4 - it seems like all that will satisfy some players is the complete and utter destruction of the Horde and the uprooting of half the player base.

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

Siege of Orgrimmar Preview: Malkorok

Siege of Orgrimmar Preview Malkorok
In Wrath of the Lich King, we rescued Valithria Dreamwalker. In Cataclysm, we had to contend with Chimaeron. Healers, if you were looking for a signature encounter for Mists of Pandaria, look no further than Malkorok. He's a former member of the Blackrock orcs who swore allegiance to Garrosh and now acts as bodyguard, chief advisor, and leader of the Kor'kron. In fact, Malkorok is so loyal that he volunteered to be infused with the power of Y'Shaarj.

Read on to find out more about taking down this horde champion!

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Filed under: Raiding, Raid Guides

Siege of Orgrimmar Preview: Thok the Bloodthirsty

Siege of Orgrimmar Preview Thok the Bloodthirsty
You can sort of guess what this boss will do if your raid group wipes. There won't really be any corpses of your group left when Thok is finished. Patch 5.4's Siege of Orgrimmar will feature a trend that started in patch 5.2: Fighting raid sized dinosaurs!

Know what's more worse than fighting dinosaurs with laser beams? A hungry one. Read on to find out about other dietary alternatives for Thok the Bloodthirsty.

Thok is a multi-phase boss that you'll get to later on in the Siege of Orgrimmar instance. Let's go over what he does and how my raid group dealt with him.

Phase 1

For the tanks, I hope you're great at the lateral shuffle. Thok's Fearsome Roar will dish out around 200k damage in a frontal cone which applies a debuff. They'll be taking 50% more per debuff stack. Tag out and in as needed. Ensure that Thok is facing to the side while the rest of the raid is somewhere to the side of him. If the raid stands behind him, they'll be hit with a nasty Tail Lash. In other words, assume standard issue dragon slaying position with the raid on the side.

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Filed under: Raiding

Patch 5.4 PTR: New mounts from the Siege of Orgrimmar

PTR files are the gift that keeps on giving: today AdriaCraft posted videos of two mounts from the patch files, which we expect will be drops in the Siege of Ogrimmar raid. On show are the Kor'kron Proto-Drake and the Iron Juggernaut. The Juggernaut may actually be the Kor'kron Juggernaut Wowhead lists as dropping from Garrosh, but we can't yet say with certainty where either of these drop, so if you're desperate to nab one, stay tuned for more info.

If you're in this post for the eye candy, check the videos embedded after the break for a close look at what could be your next mount!

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Filed under: News items

Siege of Orgrimmar Boss Preview: General Nazgrim

Siege of Orgrimmar Preview General Nazgrim
I'm not even going to sugar coat it. As a main Alliance player, I was delighted to get a chance to put the General in his place and strike down one of the Horde leaders. But as with the case of most PTR boss encounters, it was not to be. The General thoroughly kicked my behind all over the place.

You'll find the General in the Ragefire Chasm area of Orgrimmar. He's expected to be the 8th encounter you'll find and he's surrounded by a large number of grunts. The General will call upon his Kor'kron legions to aid him periodically in battle. You'll be fending off waves of the Kor'kron while simultaneously battling through the different stances and rage abilities of the General.

Read on for a little preview on what he does and my impressions of him!

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Filed under: Raiding

Patch 5.4 PTR: Siege of Orgimmar raid testing schedule

Patch 54 PTR Siege of Orgimmar raid testing schedule

Welcome to the first of many upcoming raid tests on the patch 5.4 PTR! The Siege of Orgrimmar is about to take place and both the Horde and the Alliance are invited! This is your chance to preview the upcoming encounters in a blank slate with no prior information.

No strategies.
No videos.
No writeups.

It's going to be you, your raid, and your brains as you figure out how to best these encounters (or break them). Blizzard will be starting with 10-player encounters before moving on to their Heroic and 25-player iterations. Testing starts Monday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 25. Like the previous Throne of Thunder tests for patch 5.2, the bosses will only be available for a limited window of time. Get your characters copied over or create a new level 90 premade if you wish to help!

Monday, June 24
Fallen Protectors - 10 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
Kor'kron Dark Shaman (Who are the Dark Shaman?) - 10 Player Normal - 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

Tuesday, June 25
Immerseus - 10 Player Normal - 10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)
General Nazgrim - 10 Player Normal 16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)


Catch the official blue post after the jump!

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Filed under: News items, Raiding

Patch 5.4 PTR: Datamined NPC, mount, and pet models

Datamined models for 54
Along with the recently released patch 5.4 patch notes, our friends at MMO-Champion have data-mined some new models including armor for tier 16 and season 14 gear. Garrosh Hellscream gets a new look and we get a sneak peek at the latest sha! Everything behind the cut contains spoilers for the upcoming patch 5.4. Click through and view at your own risk!

Please note: This post contains spoilers for patch 5.4.

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Filed under: News items

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