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Posts with tag raids

Watcher: Mythic raiding in Siege of Orgrimmar "for a few weeks" before Draenor

So, if you're wondering how raiding is going to look in the future, one thing's for sure - you'll get a preview of the Warlords of Draenor changes when patch 6.0 drops, because when it does, Siege of Orgrimmar will be converting fully to the new flex normal/heroic and 20 player mythic difficulties.

What this means is that we'll get a completely redesigned SoO with the class changes and other new systems in mind, but that older raids won't be changed, since they're considered trivial in comparison thanks to gear. It also means we know the 6.0 patch will be relatively shortly followed by Warlords of Draenor, and not well in advance of it, as some have speculated. So if you're wondering how your guild will fare with the change, patch 6.0 will be your test drive.

Filed under: Machinima, Raiding, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Siege of Orgrimmar and the waiting game

I've played World of Warcraft for the entire history of the game, since about a month after launch (my wife actually played in beta, and she's the one who got me into WoW in the first place) and I've raided for pretty much the entire time - I took a few months off after The Burning Crusade dropped, and had to catch up in BC raids. Since that time, though, I've raided - I was in my server's most progressed guild in Wrath, switched servers but ended up in the same situation in Cataclysm, and have settled down to a still well progressed but less aggressive heroic raid in Mists of Pandaria, cruising at 10/14H and working on Thok. We have one pally, so Thok's a bit of a gigantic cinderblock wall, but we're still plugging away.

Being that I've been raiding so long, I sometimes see patterns. There's one I saw in BC, and repeated in Wrath and Cataclysm - the end of expansion lull. Once we get into the last tier of content, there's a surge of interest and everyone leaps to get in there and work on it... and that lasts a couple of months. After that, however, interest starts to wane. Players get burned out, stop playing, need to be replaced. Each player who needs to be replaced causes tension as the guild slows down due to the losses. Recruitment means bringing in people with less gear, less experience, and even if you manage to get a player with both the gear and the experience, it doesn't always mean they know how you do things. I was once recruited, after my Horde guild had killed all of Heroic Dragon Soul, by an Alliance guild that was on Spine. I took the jump because I wanted to play Alliance again - and even though I was geared as well or better than they were, I still had to relearn the fights based on their strats, and make suggestions based on my own experience that meant delays as they learned these new ideas.

This can lead to a feedback loop - players burn out, leave, this stresses the guild, more players get burned out. It's always present in raiding - churn is inevitable, recruitment must be continuous - but the promise of future content to come creates a counter pressure. You don't just raid to see the current content, you do it to be ready to get into the guts of the new stuff when it drops. But when you get into the last tier of raiding, there is no new content to keep you interested. And so, when that last raid tier takes months and months - sometimes, as in the case of ICC in Wrath, over a year - it becomes very difficult to keep guilds focused on progressing through it. Talking on twitter about all this after reading multiple posts on the issue, I started thinking about how it works out.

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

What will raiding be like in Warlords?

When discussing how the changes coming in Warlords of Draenor will affect raiding, we're of course looking at an incomplete picture. We don't know what new spells and abilities might come, we just know to an extent what won't be there - abilities like Skull Banner will be gone, as well many CC abilities, and healing will be greatly changed - casting on the move will also see a significant decrease. What we therefore need to consider is that raiding itself will have to change to embody these changing philosophies. It would be a disaster to alter class abilities and leave raids designed around the same high damage, high mobility kit we see in modern raiding.

But what will raid design entail? Well, I'm not a raid designer. If I was, I'd be super busy designing some raids. What I am is a guy who raids a lot, so I can give you my perspective as a dude who has seen every fight in the game at this point. What are we in for in Warlords, based on what Blizzard has said is changing, and what they intend to try and do?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, 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

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

Why Proving Ground gating on queued heroics is a good thing

It's certainly been a controversial move. Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas took to the forums recently to clarify some hastily translated interviews he did with fansites during last week's press event. There are several key things in Watcher's post that it seems people are missing, so let's just sum it up here.
  • Proving Ground Silver will be required for solo queue heroic dungeons
  • Group queue heroic dungeons will have no Proving Ground requirement
  • Proving Grounds will be updated to "further refine balance and mechanics"
Let's begin at the end. Read that last point, and then read it again for good measure. Yes, Proving Grounds have some issues at the moment, as far as balance goes. A lot of those issues actually relate to how well classes downscale with gear, how dependent they are on certain levels of certain stats. For example, let's look at fire mages. Fire mages scale really well with gear, as do their Arcane brothers and sisters. Take a fire mage and scale it right down to 463, and you'll have a harder time doing a silver Proving Ground than a class that scales down really well.

I did a little experiment as part of my research for this article. In an attempt to see how bad getting a Silver could be, I took a fire mage to the proving grounds. Not a new 90, but an unplayed one. My gear was woeful. I managed, with this gear, not at the hit cap, not even at ilvl 463 with downscaling, to reach wave 4 of Silver. Bronze took five tries.

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Filed under: Warlords of Draenor

You're bad at WoW, and so am I

Blizzard Community Manager Lore recently posted a brief reply in an excellent thread, which brought up a topic I've wanted to address for some time: how it's OK to suck sometimes. While I'm not going to copy his two posts here, he talks about arenas, discussing how, when he and his team lose, he looks back and tries to work out where things went wrong, and what he could have done to help. He also discusses the merits of doing things like recording matches, to replay and examine what went wrong.

While the option of recording your WoW play may not be open to everyone, self-examination is. And it's something we can all afford to do. None of us ever play perfectly, we are not robots. But the key to becoming better is to admit that, to see our failings, and to improve upon them.

Sometimes it's you

Sometimes it is. Sometimes you'll lose an arena or wipe in a raid because of someone else's error -- your tanks messed up the switching, or the person who had a debuff failed to perform correctly. Even in those situations, it's good to think back and wonder whether your performance was optimal. Sure, you weren't the reason why your team wiped or lost, but what more could you have done to perform well on your own personal scale?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding

Bosses in 5 seconds: Siege of Orgrimmar LFR wing four

While we've been busy, in my guild, trying to draw awesome stars in Paragons of the Klaxxi with Iyyokuk the Lucid's fire lines, I've apparently not been busy making a Bosses in 5 Seconds for the fourth wing of Siege of Orgrimmar. By way of apology to the many people who've been asking me where it is, I'm writing it right now. Sorry for the rather lengthy delay. You can see the rest of the guides here. As ever, these are minimal guides for LFR. If you use them for anything else, that's on you!

Siegecrafter Blackfuse
  • Don't stand in the bad.
  • There will be rings of bad appearing, the first one to activate is the middle one. Don't stand in it, then do, after it's gone off.
  • Kill the fixating crawler mines. Ranged are best at this.
  • Ranged spread out for sawblades.
  • Kite the laser away from the group
  • Taunt at around 3 stacks of the debuff.
  • Swap to tank the shredder. Tanks kill the shredder. Bad on the floor hurts it. Use DPS CDs once it's jumped, keep it 40 yds from the boss.
  • On the belt, don't kill the Electromagnet, prioritize Crawler Mines*. (LFR usually skips the belt)
*While it's not needed in the instructions, this merits explanation. The Electromagnet uses Magnetic Crush which removes the Sawblades from the area. These deal a good amount of damage to anyone who stands on or near them, so removing them will help your healers and keep the deaths low. Crawler mines require several players to switch DPS off the boss.

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Filed under: Raiding

WoW Archivist: The curse of Karazhan

Karazhan Tower
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Something has been afoot in Karazhan of late. First, dataminers noticed that Karazhan had been renamed Medivh's Big Birthday Bash on the PTR. In the rechristened raid, objects such as cobwebs and skeletons had disappeared. Then a later build renamed it Karazhan 2: Eclectic Boogaloo. Senior game designer Jonathan Craft tweeted that fellow designer Dave Maldonado was responsible. Maldonado later said that nothing is happening. It turned out to be a test to see if a phased quest could be set there, but sadly it didn't work.

Many players would be excited to return to Karazhan, and it would make sense to do this in Warlords of Draenor. After all, Karazhan is from the same expansion that took us to the shattered remnants of Draenor back in 2007. Hopefully Blizzard will find a way to feature some Karazhan-based content during the next expansion.

Karazhan remains one of Blizzard's most popular raid zones, and for good reason. But did it succeed too well for WoW's own good? Let's look back at what Karazhan offered us in its prime and how it impacted raid design in future expansions.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Major raid changes coming in Warlords of Draenor

During the World of Warcraft - What's Next? panel, Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas unveiled the way raiding will be unveiled going forward. As you can see above, the term flexible raid is no longer used to describe a difficulty setting, and the flexible raid scaling system has been more widely implemented. Here's how it will basically work:
  • First up, the raid finder (LFR) will still aim for a fixed group size of 25 players. However, if you're in an LFR group and players drop before the next boss, that boss will scale to the size of the current group - as an example, if a raid of 25 players is fighting Paragons, then four players drop on the way to Garrosh, Mr. Hellscream (if you're nasty) will scale down to a 21 player size.
  • What we now call the Flexible difficulty will become Normal in patch 6.0 - it will scale just as it does now.
  • What we now call Normal difficulty (10 and 25 man) will scale flexibly and will be called Heroic difficulty. It will scale just as normal does.
  • Finally, Ion pointed out that scaling the most challenging encounters in terms of design requires a fixed raid size, and so, they've chosen that size to be 20 players. This difficulty, analogous to what we now call Heroic will be called Mythic difficulty.
I find it interesting that they chose to lock the most difficult raiding at a 20 player cap - I've always felt that we should have gone 10/20 at Burning Crusade's launch instead of 10/25, but I wonder why they didn't do a 10/20 split on Mythic for the dedicated 10 man guilds. I didn't expect that, but otherwise, I totally called it and I'm definitely excited. (I know for my guild, 20 man Mythic will be a lot easier to adjust to, but for dedicated 10's it won't be as easy a transition.)

Also, please forgive me a moment of smuggery, but I called it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Blizzard, Raiding, BlizzCon

Bosses in 5 seconds: Siege of Orgrimmar wing three

Wing three is upon us! It opened today on US servers, and will hit Europe tomorrow like a runaway dinosaur fixating on the Siberian tundra. We've already got the first wing done in our inimitable five second style, and the second one's up for your reading delectation as well. Now, though, it's starting to get serious with wing three. Actually, to be honest, this is a pretty easy wing. Wing four's going to be the clincher.

As always, remember, these aren't in-depth guides for your heroic raid. They're arming you with just enough knowledge to get your group through the LFR version of the fight, mostly intact.

Malkorok
  • Healers, in phase 1, your heals won't heal. Instead there will be colored blobs on the raid frames. Keep them green. They're absorb shields, that you're building by healing.
  • He'll do cone-shaped smashes that affect segments of the room. Don't stand in them. Also, after every three smashes, he'll re-explode the three areas he smashed. Don't stand in that.
  • Soak purple swirls
  • When he goes into Blood Rage, stack up. Run out with the debuff if your healers are struggling.
  • Everything hurts more as the fight progresses.

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Filed under: Raiding

Siege of Orgrimmar LFR Wing Two opens

Siege of Orgrimmar LFR Wing Two opens
Get ready for the LFR chaos to ramp still higher as wing two opens. This section includes Galakras, Iron Juggernaut, Kor'kron Dark Shaman and General Nazgrim, and we're really getting into the fun stuff now, after the relatively gentle introduction that was wing one.

We'll be putting together a guide that details the bosses in five seconds strategy before too long, but in the meantime you can check out our full guides from our PTR testing of the bosses. Which are you most excited about? Which has got you worried? Personally I'm looking forward to Iron Juggernaut. Not because I think it's a particularly excellent fight or anything, but because it's a huge robot scorpion that shoots fire. Frankly I think that's reason enough to be excited about a fight, don't you?

And the good news is that, despite the additional difficulty of this wing, we've got two weeks to deal with it and learn the strategies before the next wing of LFR opens on the 8th of October. That one is where it really starts to get crazy, with Malkorok, Spoils of Pandaria and Thok the Bloodthirsty, so get yourself ready for some LFR fun! And be good to each other. We're all new to this.

Filed under: Raiding

How bad is raiding for melee?

How bad is raiding for melee
It's no secret, I raid as melee DPS right now. It's also no secret I tend to die a lot. Despite constantly rotating in Enraged Regeneration, Shield Wall, Die by the Sword and the draenei racial Gift of the Naaru, I tend to explode. I'm hardly unique in this, either. I see dead melee in pretty much every successful kill, but some fights are really bad. Fights like Kor'kron Dark Shaman especially seem designed and engineered to annihilate melee players, or keep them too busy running away to actually hit anything.

I was talking to Joe "Lodur" Perez about the tendency of melee characters to die on Twitter the other day, and he made some good points about how healers are conditioned to let DPS die. It made sense but it left me wondering if it's more or less of a problem in a particular raid size, if it's universal, if some groups run heavy melee and love it or if it's always better to run high ranged and if so, what can/should be done about it. I don't have a lot of answers for it, but I do think it's a question worth asking. Do raid leaders stack ranged preferentially over melee? Do healers prefer to see a high ranged count in the roster? What are your experiences with the subject as players?

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

Patch 5.4: Answers to Frequently Re-Asked Questions

Patch 54 Answers to Frequently ReAsked Questions
We here at WoW Insider see a few questions pretty much every time a new patch is announced. Often, we see these same questions asked repeatedly, many times after we've answered them. So, out of a desire to be helpful (and to have a place to point folks) here are a few of those questions, answered for you here.

Q: What is happening to my Valor/Conquest points in patch 5.4?
A: Your Conquest points will be converted to Honor. If you have 4000 honor already, or will be pushed over the 4000 honor mark by the conversion, they will be converted to gold. All other points, be they Valor, Justice, or Honor points will not be converted.

Q: What new gear can I get for Valor points?
A: None. There is no new Valor gear. Shado-Pan Assault gear will still cost Valor, but will be discounted by 34%. All other current Valor gear (from the original reputation gear to the Patch 5.1 items) will now cost Justice Points instead.

More questions answered following the jump.

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

Patch 5.4: Patch notes updated with smart heal information

Patch 54 Patch notes updated with smart heal information
The latest iteration of the patch 5.4 patch notes has been posted over at Wowhead, and they contain some changes to AoE heals. As Perculia explains,
Several heals now function like smart heals, in which the 6 most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted. Affected heals are Healing Rain, Holy Radiance, Holy Word: Sanctuary, Light's Hammer, and Spinning Crane Kick.
Smart heals are heals which, as Perculia says, pick out the players who need healing the most, and put their heals into those people. Previously, spells such as Healing Rain would target everyone inside them, whether they needed healing or not. That included players, hunter pets, warlock minions, everything. What was the problem with that? Well, particularly in 25-man heroic raids, spells like Healing Rain were causing massive input lag.

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Filed under: Raiding

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