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Posts with tag raid

Do we need an intermediate raid?

Anyone who raided back in late Wrath remembers the year we all spent in ICC. By the end of that time, it got pretty hairy. However, in the lead up to Cataclysm, we got a surprise raid, The Ruby Sanctum. It wasn't meant to replace ICC as the end raid of Wrath or the Lich King as the end boss of the expansion. No, the Ruby Sanctum and its boss, Halion the Twilight Destroyer, was intended to serve as an introduction of sorts to the Cataclysm that was coming.

At the time, I was fairly derisive of Halion. What was the point of another small raid when we already had ICC? I remember doing heroic Halion attempts in July and feeling like the whole thing was a complete waste of time and a sidetrack from ICC. But now that we've had the same experience in Cataclysm of a long time in our end raid, and this time no intermediate raiding to tide us over until Mists of Pandaria, I'm rethinking my position.

Halion served two purposes. First, he introduced us to new mechanics we'd bee seeing again in Cataclysm. Both Valiona and Theralion and later Ultraxion used elements of the Halion encounter's mechanics. But second and more importantly, he served as a bridge between the ICC fights, with their Scourge, undeath and plague motifs and the coming expansion's introduction of Deathwing and his Twilight's Hammer cult minions. A third but related purpose was to give us something to do that wasn't ICC after six months in the place.

So now I wonder: Did Mists of Pandaria need an intermediate raid? Was it a missed opportunity that we didn't get one? And would it have made sense if we had?

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

Mists of Pandaria raids will have staggered release, none available at launch

 Mists of Pandaria raids will have staggered release, no raids available on September 25th
There will be no raids available to players when Mists of Pandaria is released on Sept.25, 2012. Blizzard announced today that the first tier of raids in Mists of Pandaria will have a staggered release. A single raid will be released one week after the launch of the expansion, Mogu'shan Vaults, and the raid finder version of that raid won't be available for another week after that. Nothing will change regarding the release of heroic modes, which will be available for the following lockout after players complete the raid on normal mode.

Tier 14's other two raids, Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring, will be released four weeks after the release of Mogu'shan Vaults. The full details of this announcement are outlined in the blue post below.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: 25-man raid testing starts tomorrow

Mists of Pandaria beta 25man raid testing today and tomorrow
10-man raid testing on the Mists of Pandaria beta has been under way for quite some time now, but if you've been wanting to give 25-man testing a try, it starts tomorrow. Watcher made the following scheduling post late last weekend.

Raid Testing Schedule - July 30-31
After the weekend, we will be testing a number of raid encounters, including 25-player encounters. The testing schedule for remaining Normal modes will be somewhat accelerated, since the encounters are already familiar to many testers and we are just verifying functionality and tuning.

Each encounter should be available at approximately the listed times below for all Beta Test Realms, regardless of suggested geographical region.

Monday, July 30th

Blade Lord Ta'yak (Heart of Fear) - 10 Player Heroic
10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)

Gara'jal the Spiritbinder (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 10 Player Normal
16:00 PDT (19:00 EDT, 01:00 CEST)

Tuesday, July 31st

Stone Guard (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 25 Player Normal
10:30 PDT (13:30 EDT, 19:30 CEST)

Imperial Vizier Zor'lok (Heart of Fear) - 25 Player Normal
12:00 PDT (15:00 EDT, 21:00 CEST)

Protectors of the Endless (Terrace of Endless Spring) - 25 Player Normal
13:30 PDT (16:30 EDT, 22:30 CEST)

Feng the Accursed (Mogu'shan Vaults) - 25 Player Normal
15:00 PDT (18:00 EDT, 24:00 CEST)

Blade Lord Ta'yak (Heart of Fear) - 25 Player Normal
16:30 PDT (19:30 EDT, 01:30 CEST)

Tsulong (Terrace of Endless Spring) - 25 Player Normal
18:00 PDT (21:00 EDT, 03:00 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. Keep an eye on this forum for the latest information, and thank you in advance for testing and providing feedback.


As you can see, there is still some 10-man testing left, but it's going on right now, so log onto beta servers quickly if you want to participate.

If you're wondering how on earth you'll be able to get a group together on beta tomorrow to do a 25-man raid, I can assure you there have been plenty of trade chat groups thus far that you can join. Many of the groups are guilds who don't have their entire roster on beta, so they have to pug additional players to fill their raid groups.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

GuildOx data shows 50% decline in raiding guild activity

GuildOx data shows 50% decline in raiding guild activity
This news probably shouldn't come as a huge shock to anyone who understands the ebb and flow of WoW expansions, but GuildOx, a site that collects all kinds of data from the WoW Armory, has discovered that raiding guild activity has fallen 50% since the beginning of 2012. GuildOx site runner Polar tells us that a raiding guild is defined as "a guild that has gained a boss kill or raid achievement within the past month or those guilds that have completed heroic Madness of Deathwing." Activity in this case is defined, obviously, as killing a boss that week.

Again, not a huge shock; we're officially in Cataclysm's twilight (heh) years, and drop-off like this before an expansion is to be expected. It's worth noting in this case that the numbers for active raiders might be a little better than what's reflected here -- after all, plenty of guildless people have been able to raid thanks to Raid Finder, and that sort of activity wouldn't be tracked by this metric.

One thing's definitely for sure, though -- the game needs a jump start in the form of Mists of Pandaria if Blizzard wants people to stick around. Thankfully, it's right around the corner, but one wonders just how long this cycle can perpetuate. The end of Wrath and the lifetime of Cataclysm showed us that diminishing returns are already in effect, Annual Pass or no, but MoP's endgame is decidedly different than what we've seen in the past. Perhaps things will be different this time.

Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm

Boss fights and perspective

I love heroic Spine of Deathwing because I am a prot warrior.

Is the fight hectic? Absolutely it is. If I were a healer, I would probably hate it with a passion, having to heal that stupid debuff off of people and deal with some ridiculously high damage spikes. If I were a DPSer, I'd probably loathe having to throttle my damage for 90% of the fight then go for broke for the tendons, being sure to line up my cooldowns and consumables and trinkets. And dealing with the Fiery Grip is an exercise in doing exactly what you have never learned how to do as a damage dealer, not killing things.

But as a tank? Especially one kiting bloods up and down the spine? It's glorious. It's hard, really really hard. As the fight progresses, the difficulty of tanking the bloods goes from Meh, I can do this while I eat this giant hoagie to There are 50 bloods chasing me help help. You will use every cooldown, big and small, as well as every movement increase you have. You will shift from tanking one or two bloods to tanking 10 or 20, and finally you will find yourself drowning in the things, hopping around the back of the spine and desperately hoping for a cooldown to come up. And it's awesome. It is the most fun I've had in Cataclysm, bar none.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

Reader UI of the Week: Enter the box with Oakdusa's raiding UI

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Each week, WoW Insider and Mathew McCurley bring you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which spotlights the latest user interface addons. Have a screenshot of your own UI that you'd like to submit? Send your screenshots along with info on what mods you're using to readerui@wowinsider.com, and follow Mathew on Twitter.

Functional isn't always beautiful. All of you should go out to your vehicles in your driveways or parking structures and look at the floor mats. I guarantee that your car is a wreck. If you've got kids, don't even get up from the seat; we've all been in your car. Functional, but not going to win any beauty contests.
I'm featuring Oakdusa's UI because it made me incredibly nostalgic for the days of the original World of Warcraft and its eternal predecessor, EverQuest. The EQ user interface was this odd creation, living in the realm of "this sounds like a great idea on paper because people enjoy the comforts of realism in a fantasy world." What an MMO's UI fundamentally had to have was not defined yet, not in the modern setting, until World of Warcraft came along.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Skill Mastery: Astral Shift

One of the early shaman survival cooldowns that you can get at level 15 is called Astral Shift. It isn't flashy or super awesome or anything. But an emergency damage reducer on a 2-minute cooldown could be just what you need to stay alive and continue DPSing (or healing).

It doesn't reduce only magic damage.

Nor does it reduce only physical damage.

It reduces any damage!

In case you feel two minutes is too long, you have some alternatives. Nature's Guardian is an effect that can kick in once every 30 seconds, which might potentially save you (although the next hit you take could be lethal). Stone Bulwark totem is another alternative that places a shield on you which refreshes and adds additional absorb amounts every five seconds after.

The theme of the level 15 shaman talents revolves around survival and damage mitigation. Raiders may lean more toward Astral Shift, but I'm using the Stone Bulwark totem for the purposes of questing and leveling.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Shaman, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: New loot frames roll into view

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New loot frames! No more having to stare at your chat frames and scroll up and down to see which player won what item. Loot rolls are now condensed into a loot roll frame that appears in your screen. It lists the results of all the items that went up for grabs in the instance and who won them.

If you look at the screenshot above, you can see the roll numbers next to each player and what roll types were used. The player who won the item is listed at the top. You can expand or collapse the menu to see the list of players who rolled and what roll type they used, such as need or greed.

The only downside to this new feature is that I couldn't find a way to move the frame around. But hey, I'll take these new loot roll frames any day. What about you?

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

The unspoken etiquette of world boss encounters

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World bosses are returning in Mists of Pandaria!

You know, my uncle, the legendary General Commandicus Brutallicus, told me stories of veteran players staying up at various odd hours of the day to challenge the emerald dragons, Lord Kazzak, and others. Even though I was but a young priest at the time, he told me that going after them was a hoot and experience in itself, especially if your home was on a PvP realm.

There was an unspoken etiquette among raid leaders who went after world bosses. Since world bosses are making a comeback, I wanted to share them.
  • You can't call dibs. The first group that arrives, is buffed, and ready gets to pull the boss first. No exceptions. You can't just stroll in there and call dibs when your entire raid group wasn't there or ready yet. Heck, you can't even physically contest the boss even if you did get there first. Back in my day, anyone who cried about seeing the boss first and losing out was generally laughed at.
  • You take turns. There was an unspoken level of respect between the top raiding guilds. Despite the hatred and the fierce competition, we never interfered with attempts that were already progress. To do so brought dishonor to the guild and would cause you to be blacklisted from the realm. In an era when realm and faction transfer never existed, it was a big deal -- not to mention, if you opened fire on one group, they would come back and wipe your attempts. This would go on back and forth before everyone got tired, but no one would give. Yes, which leads me to the next rule ...
  • Bring two raid groups. You had one raid group which would tackle the main boss. The second raid group was there to provide cover and to engage or otherwise tie up any hostile players who wanted to wipe your raid. These tended to be the PvP contingents within the various guilds. They were the players who didn't raid but spent all day grinding Alterac Valley for Grand Marshall and all that. This second group of players would hide behind a mountain or a tree or something and wait for instructions from the primary raid leader before engaging anyone.
  • Majority guild receives first picks on loot. This is more of a courtesy than anything else. If a raid group consisted primarily of a raiding group and it was demonstrable that they did most of the heavy lifting, they had the right to select one item they wanted out of the loot drops before opening the rest to free roll. However, since the loot method is going to change, this rule is no longer relevant.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

The Dragon Soul -- a post-mortem

Technically, as I write this, the Dragon Soul isn't actually dead yet, nor do raids really die so much as either become outdated or revamped. (Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman stand as examples of raid content that died to be reused, while Naxxramas was used again as an introductory raid.) But since we're closing in on our fourth month running the raid instance, I thought this was a good time to examine it critically. What were the Dragon Soul's main themes? How did it function both as a raid instance and as a platform to end Deathwing's story arc? And most importantly to me, did I enjoy the ride?

Dragon Soul as an experience was fascinatingly diverse compared to previous raids. It eschewed the static finding of some dark cave or towering fortress to instead create a raid wherein we traveled the world, with different environments for the bosses to suit the locations and set pieces for our transitions. One complaint I've seen is that by reusing the Dragonblight and Wyrmrest Temple, Blizzard's design team was cutting corners -- but frankly, I don't find that criticism very accurate. First off, Wyrmrest is where the dragonflights typically meet, as demonstrated by Malygos' assault during the Nexus War, so it makes perfect sense for it to be where Deathwing sends his full Twilight's Hammer forces to try and crush them.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Lore, Cataclysm

Mists of Pandaria Beta: First look at the new raid instances

YouTube user WazopVids has dropped some of the Mists of Pandaria beta files into a model viewer and recorded the results -- our first look at the Mogu'shan Vaults and the Mantid raid zones. I must stress that these are works in progress and not running in WoW software, so take all of this with a grain of salt. However, what we have seen so far looks pretty damn promising. Check out the Mogu'shan Vaults up above and the Mantid zone after the jump.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Poll: Which was your favorite classic WoW 40-man raid?

Classic raiding in vanilla World of Warcraft will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first time in any MMO I had ever played that I actually got to enjoy the full raiding experience. I had stepped into the planes in EverQuest but never got to be a vital member of the team. WoW changed all of that.

For me, Blackwing Lair was probably the pinnacle of class WoW raiding. While Naxxramas was exhilarating and bold with its mechanics, Blackwing Lair felt more like storming the castle. The bosses had some great dialog, the scenery was impressive, and there were awesome healing trinkets that I coveted for years. Let's not forget the epic fight with Nefarion at the end where hunter's broke bows, mages polymorphed friends into grubs, and everyone was cloaked in Onyxia's scales.

Which classic WoW raid was your favorite?

Which was your favorite classic WoW 40-man raid instance?
The Molten Core1650 (28.0%)
Blackwing Lair1827 (31.1%)
Temple of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ40)1177 (20.0%)
Naxxramas (40-man)1229 (20.9%)


Breakfast Topic: Is DKP starting to become obsolete?

I was trundling through Wowpedia the other day for some background reading on loot systems (I'm writing a follow-up to Robert's not-so-original WoW miscellany) when I was struck by a sudden thought: I literally cannot remember the last time I saw a guild on my server advertising a DKP system or common variant like Suicide Kings. They advertise what level they are and what type of players they're looking for, the kind of raid content they do if they're raiders, if they do Rated Battlegrounds, and all that good stuff. But only very rarely is DKP ever mentioned, rarer still with a 10-man raiding guild.

I trawled through the guild recruitment forums to see if this was actually part of a wider trend, but don't know what to think. The 25-man raiding guilds are the most likely to say they use a DKP system or variant; 10-man raiding guilds nearly all use loot councils, at least from my (admittedly brief) survey of the current advertisements.

Is this also happening on your realms, or have I gotten this wrong? We all know that every DKP system has its issues and that administrating them is one of the larger headaches for guild leaders. 10-man raiding is also more popular than 25-man raiding right now, and it probably doesn't make sense for a guild to obsessively track DKP for a 10-man where most players probably aren't rolling on the same stuff. Is DKP dying, or is it just a sign of the popularity of the 10-man model?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Blizzard's post-mortem on Cataclysm dungeons and raids

Blizzard recently released a blog from Dave "Fargo" Kosak that acted as a post-mortem for Cataclysm's quest design. Following on its heels is this entry from Scott "Daelo" Mercer, the lead encounter designer for World of Warcraft. In it, Scott talks successes (Dungeon Journal, Raid Finder) and failures (difficulty level of launch heroics) in the dungeons and raids portion of the game's third expansion and shares what he's looking forward to with the release of Mists of Pandaria. I'm definitely with him in anticipating challenge modes and PvE scenarios.

Read the full interview after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Random raid factors and the high cost of failure

Klepsakovic over at Troll Racials are Overpowered has a thought-provoking post asking how Blizzard's advancing raid model is affecting players and how they relate to each other. In particular, he zeroes in on a point that I think a lot of players sense but never really articulate: Not every player in a raid is going to be equally stressed by a fight, and when the stressed party or parties is randomly determined, things get ugly fast.

Compare this to encounters where the primary difficulty is role-specific or even player-specific. Good DPSers pushed their output to the limit on Patchwerk, healers learned to anticipate damage during Malygos' Vortex while one or two people got good at yanking sparks into the raid, and tanks grew experienced with fast pick-ups on Kael'thas. But the average raid group, even when experienced, probably tripped over and over again on encounters like Teron Gorefiend or Anub'arak. When you can't control who gets targeted by Shadow of Death or Anub'arak's spikes and when the randomness limits the experience that any one player can get ... Well, it's easy to see how certain fights acquire the nightmare moniker.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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