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Posts with tag raid

Dev Watercooler: Watcher on encounter tuning

Dev Watercooler Watcher on encounter tuning
While it isn't quite the PvP watercooler post that some of you have been looking for, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas, the Lead Encounter Designer for the World of Warcraft team, published a blog post earlier today regarding encounter mechanics. It offers excellent insight behind various decisions to nerf or buff bosses. He went on to deliver the reasoning behind hotfixes to Heroic Gara'jal earlier in the expansion and how the Ring of Frost talent for mages made Heroic Will of the Emperor easy.

In addition, Ion covered:
  • Creative use of ingame mechanics vs exploits
  • Adjusting the difficulty of encounters
  • Unintended strategies
  • How mages make life difficult for encounter designers
Read on after the cut to see the full post!

Read more →

Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2: Horridon and Iron Qon raid testing announced

More raid testing has been scheduled tomorrow for both Horridon and and Iron Qon on 10-man normal difficulty. Horridon was originally slated for last week but technical issues forced the testing to be deferred. If your gear levels aren't at high enough level, player gear will be scaled in the raid to assist with testing. If you're not sure how to get to the Throne of Thunder, we can show you how!


Raid Testing Schedule - January 17
On Thursday, January 17, we will be testing two more raid encounters in the Throne of Thunder.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Public Test Realms.

Horridon - 10 Player Normal
10:30 PST (13:30 EST, 19:30 CET)

Iron Qon - 10 Player Normal
16:00 PST (19:00 EST, 01:00 CET)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session, change the boss being tested, or cancel a test entirely, due to bugs, server hardware issues, etc. This is particularly true for these early tests as we are still nailing down overall patch stability. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

Important Testing Notes

Q: How do I get into the raid zone?

A: At the northeastern edge of the swamp on the Thunder King's island, there is a Shado-Pan camp in a small cave. A sewer grate in this cave will take you directly to the zone-in point for the raid zone. (As more of the island unlocks, players will be able to access the main gate directly.)

Q: What gear do I use to test the raid?

A: As we did for Beta raid testing, we will be scaling players' gear inside the raid in order to facilitate testing. Gear will be scaled (up or down, as appropriate) to item Level 502 for the purposes of testing Normal modes.


Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2: Throne of Thunder raid testing schedule announced

Tomorrow on January 11, we'll be seeing raid encounters being tested on the public test realm for patch 5.2. Horridon and the Council of Elders will both be available on normal mode in the new Throne of Thunder raid. If your gear levels aren't at high enough level, don't worr. Player gear will be scaled in the raid to help with testing. In case you're wondering how to actually get into the raid instance, we have a guide showing you how to do just that!


Raid Testing Schedule - January 11
On Friday, January 11, we will be testing our first two raid encounters of the 5.2 test cycle.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Public Test Realms.

Horridon - 10 Player Normal
10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)

Council of Elders - 10 Player Normal
16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

As always, this testing schedule is very fluid and subject to the realities of a beta environment. We might have to change the time of a testing session or cancel it entirely, due to bugs, builds, server hardware issues, etc. This is particularly true for this test, since it's our first 5.2 raid test. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.

Important Testing Notes

Q: How do I get into the raid zone?

A: At the northeastern edge of the swamp on the Thunder King's island, there is a Shado-Pan camp in a small cave. A sewer grate in this cave will take you directly to the zone-in point for the raid zone. (As more of the island unlocks, players will be able to access the main gate directly.)

Q: What gear do I use to test the raid?

A: As we did for Beta raid testing, we will be scaling players' gear inside the raid in order to facilitate testing. Gear will be scaled (up or down, as appropriate) to item Level 502 for the purposes of testing Normal modes.




Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2: How to enter the Throne of Thunder raid

Patch 52 How to enter the Throne of Thunder raid
The recent PTR update for patch 5.2 has fixed issues with interactive objects! In other words, we can finally click the portal at the portal area in the Shrines that will transport us over to the Island of the Thunder King. You'll run into a few NPCs that are leading the charge such as Jaina for the Alliance and Lor'themar for the Horde. Your faction will have assorted daily quests for you to go out and undertake.

But we're not here for that. Where's this new raid instance?

Read on!

Read more →

Filed under: News items

Are our Cataclysm attitudes ruining Mists?

Are our Cataclysm attitudes ruining Mists
Back in Cataclysm, the world was a very different place. While the journey from 80 to 85 was certainly a little tiresome, with the obligatory travel through Deepholm bringing many a draenei to their oddly-shaped knees, once that achievement flashed across your screen you were home and dry.

Gearing a character for raiding was a predictable and straightforward task. Get a few bits and jump into the latest 5-mans, which were very easy and certainly achievable with PvP gear, as long as you were one of the classes that didn't do too badly from it. Preferably not a plate tank, then!

If you were adamant that cheaty PvP-based gearing wasn't for you, you could just run a few of the normals and earlier heroics, such as the Zul'roics or even the ones before, to get yourself geared to an acceptable level for the 4.3 heroics. What's more, your main could send your alts decent, current gear with their inevitable glut of valor points, and your justice points bought you the previous tier's gear.

Why the Cataclysm retrospective? As a reminder of how easy it was, in Cataclysm's twilight hours, to level and gear alts to a raid-ready level, or, for that matter, to a competitive PvP level. Quite apart from the ease, it was really the only thing left to do, after months upon months of Dragon Soul.

Read more →

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

25-man raids have harder challenges and better rewards on Asian realms

Difficulty level Asian

The European raiding team Method had a chance to interview Ion Hazzikostas, World of Warcraft's Lead Encounter Designer. Most of the discussion centered around the recently released item upgrade system that came in patch 5.1. One of the more interesting tidbits is how item rewards and raids are slightly different in Asia compared to the European and North American regions.

Ion Hazzikostas

How does the upgrading system work on the Asian servers? From what I have seen their items are upgradable not 2, but 4 times. Won't this result in a problem while tuning the bosses of the next content?

Ion: The way it works in Asia, we actually use the upgrade system to create the distinction between 10 player and 25 player that we previously announced for 5.1. So in Korea, Taiwan and China, when you kill a boss in 25 player mode, it drops an item that is already 2/4. So instead of 496, it drops as 504 but can be upgraded 2 more times, so effectively they are 8 ilvls higher but you are still only upgrading any item twice. The other thing that is changed in 5.1, is actually that all 25 player bosses have 8% more health and do 8% more damage, than they do in the US or Europe. It is a bit more like the Wrath of the Lich King system, where 25man is just harder and drops higher item level loot but in theory doing 25 player with 25 player loot in Asia should be the same as doing 25 with 25 loot in Europe/US.

Items that drop in 10-man raids have 0/2 upgrades. Items that drop in 25 man raids have 2/4 upgrades. This is similar to the Wrath of the Lich King model of rewards. Blizzard has already stressed that Asian realms aren't used as "experimental realms" for possible system changes in other regions around the world. In other words, it isn't likely that we'll see these types of reward systems in place anytime soon. But it's an interesting solution to the whole 10 man vs 25 man raiding issue and logistics incentives.

The interview dove into other topics such as:

  • Brawler's Guild
  • Dominance Offensive
  • Current raiding discussion

To those of you who play on Asian realms, we'd love to hear from you regarding your raiding experiences and this reward structure. 25-man raids seems to be the dominant raiding format compared to 10-man raids in that region.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items

Blood Pact: Speccing for old world raids

Blood Pact Speccing for old world raids MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill harvests all the songbells ever in the search for more Imperial Silk, but slaughtering masses of Horde NPCs for reputation also works.

Patch 5.1 introduced pets to the vanilla-era raids. Patch 4.3 introduced transmogrification, which brought old raids back. Before that, some players would solo or duo old raids just for the challenge giggles. Every new expansion has raised the level cap and opened another expansion to soloing.

Whether you're soloing for a look, for improved familiarity with your spell toolbox, or for bragging rights, warlock is definitely a great class to jump into soloing old raids. At level 90, even before you're decked out in tier 14, most of the Wrath of the Lich King raids are fairly easy. But let's start with the basics -- speccing and playstyle.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

How to survive at the Battle.net World Championship

How to survive at the Battlenet World Championship
This weekend, some of the most competitive PvP and PvE players in the World of Warcraft (alongside players from Starcraft 2) will be engaging in the Battle.net World Championship. The event, taking place at the Shanghai Expo-Mart in Shanghai, China, is the largest competitive event focused specifically at Blizzard's games. So, in case you're wondering what's going on, where the live streams are, and how to find the events you're interested in seeing, Blizzard has you covered with this extensive survival guide to the event.

Our old friend Zarhym breaks it all down for you. With links to profiles of the players, a schedule of events and everything else you'd need to find the events you're interested in, this guide should help you find the challenge mode, arena, or live raid you want to watch. The event lasts from November 17th to the 18th.

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Raid Rx: Healing through Gara'jal and Spirit Kings

Raid Rx Garajal and Spirit Kings
Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests.

A few weeks ago, Joe wrote a piece about personal survivability on my blog. After healing some raid finder and pug runs, I wanted to help echo his sentiment. Whenever there's a new expansion, there's always additional abilities, bosses, and so forth. There's new players picking up the game and old players returning. It bears some reminding that you absolutely should help look after yourself.

Your class has talents that helps you live.

Use them!

Read more →

Filed under: Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Raid Guides

New raid release schedule, all raids live by November 20th

New raid release schedule, all raids live by November 20th
This week marks the launch of the Heart of Fear raid. Last week, Nethaera mentioned that the raid release schedule would be staggered more, and this week, we found out exactly how it's going to work. Normal Heart of Fear launches this week, with Heroic HoF and the first half of HoF raid finder launching next week, and the second half of HoF raid finder launching to coincide with Terrace of Endless Spring on November 13th. Finally, Heroic and Raid Finder Terrace of Endless Spring will be available on November 20th, concluding the staggered release of this tier's raids.

Originally, HoF and Terrace were intended to launch together - the change in the schedule was made to stagger their releases more. Seems like a good idea to me, as it gives more chances to clear the new raids before the release of yet more content.

Bethaera - Heart of Fear Now Live & Raid Schedule
The latest Normal difficulty Mists of Pandaria Raid Dungeon is now available: Heart of Fear. Raid Finder and Heroic difficulties will be available Tuesday, November 6.

Raid Finder will unlock bosses in Heart of Fear over time, and all Heart of Fear bosses will be unlocked and available Tuesday, November 13. To access the new Raid Finder dungeons, you will need a minimum item level (ilevel) requirement of 470.

Here is the current schedule for these Raid releases:
Tuesday, October 30- Normal Heart of Fear
Tuesday, November 6- Heroic Heart of Fear and first half of Heart of Fear on Raid Finder
Tuesday,November 13- Second half of Heart of Fear on Raid Finder and Normal Terrace of Endless Spring
Tuesday, November 20: Heroic Terrace of Endless Spring and Terrace of Endless Spring on Raid Finder

All raids/difficulties will still be fully accessible by November 20, as we had always intended, but we're staggering the release a bit more.



Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: News items, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

How to keep world bosses away from the pesky Horde (or Alliance)

How to keep world bosses away from the pesky Horde  ANY
My server is a PvP server. It's one of the more balanced populations with a relatively healthy amount of players on both the Alliance and the Horde. Even before this expansion, you had to watch your back because you could be jumped at anytime by 3 Horde players (at least, that's how many it took to kill me). With the release of Mists of Pandaria, world bosses have made a return.

Back in the old days, there was generally an unspoken etiquette among competing raids looking to take down a world boss.

But this generation? Not a chance!

Now we have these filthy backstabbing Horde (or Alliance) players looking for every advantage they can get to wipe Alliance players and take over their efforts. Back in my day, they had the courtesy to simply let Ysondre, Emeriss or one of those other Emerald dragons wipe the raid for them!

My friends, if the Horde(or Alliance) want to fight dirty, then we can only respond in kind! Today I'm going to let you in on a few battle tactics to both defend yourselves and crush the Orcs and their allies!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Raid Rx: Healing through Feng

Raid Rx
Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests.

We'll get into healing tips for Feng momentarily but I wanted to examine the state of raiding healers.

It's been a couple of weeks since Mogu'shan Vaults opened up for raids. We've got another week and a few days to go before Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Springs open. A quick cursory glance at the preferred healers show that monks are the class to be right now. They appear to be dominating at the 25 level while in normal 10s, we're seeing additional representation from shaman and paladins. Priests have received some minor hotfixes. Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending was buffed by an additional 25% not too long ago.

5.1 is introducing another set of changes to priests:
No additional healing changes have been announced for the other classes yes, but I'd expect some more tweaks coming down the road.

Read more →

Filed under: Raiding, Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Raid Guides

Raid Rx: Getting started with healing Mogu'shan Vaults

Raid Rx Getting started with healing Mogu'shan Vaults
Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests.

Raids are out! If you're anything like me, you spent a good chunk of week 1 powering to 90 as fast as possible. With raids open in the second week of Mists of Pandaria, you are no doubt in the process of preparing to step inside Mogu'shan Vaults! Today we'll cover some of the pre-raid items you should be doing before taking on the Stone Guard.

Yes, we'll be going over Stone Guard healing tips, too!

Reputation grinds: Blizzard has generously nerfed the reputation requirements when it comes to purchasing select gear. Now you only need to be revered to purchase those delicious valor level items. If you managed to cap out your valor last week, you have the ability to pick up a neck piece from the Klaxxi (provided that you have been diligent with their dailies). As a bonus, many of these quests provide those Lesser Charm of Good Fortune which gives you an extra chance at loot in any raid difficulty level.

Consumables: Have you been leveling your cooking and farming abilities with the Tillers? If not, Megan has a great introductory guide. We're looking to become Master of the Steamer due to their spirit food. For potions, arm yourself with stacks of Potion of Focus. Look for the safe periods in a fight where you can use these without getting interrupted. Finally, expect to spend some money on Flask of Falling Leaves. Gold Lotus prices are typically going to be really high. But you'll want that extra regen.

Read more →

Filed under: Raiding, Raid Rx (Raid Healing), Raid Guides

Interview with Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas

At the Mists of Pandaria launch event in Irvine last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Ion Hazzikostas, lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft, about Mists of Pandaria's raids and dungeons, lessons learned from Cataclysm and beyond, and the road ahead.

WoW Insider: State your name and position!

Ion Hazzikostas: My name is Ion Hazzikostas and I am the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft.

What does that job entail?

I'm the lead on the encounter team, which is self-explanatory; we make the dungeon and raid content, primarily. We're specialists in multiplayer PVE combat. On top of the dungeons and raids, we also help with outdoor raid bosses, scenario bosses, things like that.

What would you say that your biggest goal going into Mists of Pandaria was?

Particularly on the dungeon and raid front, to provide content for everybody, for all kinds of players. And we recognize that there's a massive spectrum of millions of people who are playing and enjoying World of Warcraft - a huge range of skill, frankly, and time commitment, the whole casual-hardcore spectrum people always talk about. And one of the things that we've been doing over the evolution of the game is to add additional difficulties, additional ways of consuming that content. So, you know, we now have LFR, normal, and heroic raids, and now we've introduced challenge modes, a sort of new tier of actually legitimately difficult five-player content. It's one of the biggest differences from Cataclysm at launch; one of the things we heard from people who were in guilds with friends and they'd say "these dungeons are awesome, we're having a lot of fun" ... but the people who queued up in Dungeon Finder would have a miserable time.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

How do you make a raid?

How do you make a Raid
Over at this year's Gamescom, I was lucky enough to be among a small group invited to a Blizzard round table on Raids and Dungeons, where we sat down with Blizzard's Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas and Lead Game Producer John Lagrave. These two high-end content creators opened the round table by talking the audience through the process of how the Blizzard team goes about making a raid and the trials and tribulations they encounter along the way.

This was fascinating to listen to, so I thought I'd share the insights with WoW Insider readers. This is not verbatim quoting throughout, as I simply can't write that fast, but it covers the raid-making process as they described it.

How do you make a raid?

You start with the lore. Ion and John talked us through the process of making the Firelands raid, so they began from a set of conditions. As Ion put it, "We consider what the idea is. What is this raid going to be about?" So they sit down with the encounter design team as well as the game producers in a meeting room and talk it out.

Read more →

Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

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