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Posts with tag raids

Warlords of Draenor: New Mythic Tiers will not be cross-realm

With the patch 6.0 pre-expansion period almost upon us (certainly within the month) we know that we'll get to see the debut of Mythic difficulty Siege of Orgrimmar. However, that difficulty will be cross-realm, just as heroic SoO has been up to now. Watcher answered a recent question on twitter about how Warlords of Draenor mythic raids will work in this regard.


What this means is that the newest Mythic raid will always be realm only, keeping the prestige of realm first chases alive, but as another tier is launched, that previous Mythic tier will hopefully become cross-realm, allowing you and your friends (or even just willing strangers, ala today's SoO pugs) to run the older content. Seems fairly reasonable to me.

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

The Difficulty Trap

The beautiful thing about twitter is how it can engender conversations you might never get to have otherwise. Last night (thanks to my perpetual insomnia) I was up and scanning when Bashiok made a series of tweets I just had to respond to.

What I really took away from this discussion is, frankly, just how difficult it is to compare the difficulty of WoW's vanilla epoch and today's raiding (and raiding to come). There are at least two kinds of difficulty to discuss, when talking about raiding difficulty - the difficulty of putting together and keeping a raiding group going, and the difficulty of actually executing the content. These are wildly disparate.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

The nature of unique mechanics and raid difficulty

One of the ideas that I always find interesting is that, as raid difficulty increases, it becomes more reasonable to expect certain abilities to be available. Like in this tweet from Nathaniel Chapman, an encounter designer for WoW, which talks about the Hand of Protection ability. (As an aside, I very much recommend his personal blog.) The basic idea is simple, and can be extrapolated to other abilities - it's reasonable to expect a Mythic raid to have access to abilities such as Hand of Protection or other class specific abilities that can alter a fight's parameters.

It's this idea of raid difficulty making specific design choices acceptable that I find interesting, at least in the context of class abilities that might otherwise be seen as unbalancing. One specific mention was how Paladins could cheese tank swap mechanics, something that made them invaluable on fights like Heroic Horridon. Imagine that, in a hypothetical Mythic Horridon, the fight was designed for you to cheese tank swap mechanics, or the boss came with a huge AoE damage spell that was spell reflectable, justifying the inclusion of a warrior tank or a DPS warrior with Mass Spell Reflect. The cast could also be spellstolen, so mages would be a valuable addition.

These kinds of mechanics are seen (and rightfully so, in my opinion) as punitive to struggling small raid groups who only have so many combinations of classes and specs. If your raid doesn't have a mage or warrior, for example, then dealing with that hypothetical huge AoE damage attack becomes harder. But for Mythic difficulty, with its iron-clad 20 player limit, you can expect more diversity in raid makeup, and thus can design for it.

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

What is the average?

People make assumptions. We all do it - even when we know they might not be warranted, making an assumption is an easy shorthand, a way to skip a few steps. One of the things we as players often do is assume that our peer group - the people we play with, the people we know who play the game - are in some way representative of the game as a whole. We assume our personal experiences are universal. I bring this up because of this recent tweet from Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas.


What Watcher is pointing out here is that for many of us, our group of peers is the game. We only see the game we play. Any assumptions we make about the game (such as, the difficulty of the raids, the quality of our fellow players) can be hampered by the assumption that what our group experiences is what all groups experience. The tweet that Watcher responded to argued that the Cataclysm launch raids weren't overtuned because his peer group, which he considered 'below average', was clearing them. Watcher's response points out that it can be difficult to define what the average is, much less whether or not you're there.

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

Siege of Orgrimmar changes in patch 6.0

So if you're raiding Siege of Orgrimmar, there's some news to be had - namely, some things are going away, and other things are becoming a lot easier to get.
  • First off, if you haven't gotten the Kor'kron War Wolf for the 'Ahead of the Curve" achievement, it will cease to be attainable once the patch drops.
  • Garrosh Hellscream will no longer have a 100% chance to drop the Kor'kron Annihilator mount on the new Mythic difficulty, once you can level past level 90.
  • If you have not already gotten an heirloom off of Garrosh Hellscream, you will have a 100% chance to get a specialization appropriate heirloom, and your chances to get an additional heirloom will be increased. But once you can level past 90, you will not be able to get heirlooms from Garrosh anymore.
  • Group finder will be available.
For all this news and more, check out this post on the official site.

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

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

Could WoW have an expansion without raiding?

I have raided in World of Warcraft since the beginning. Raiding has always been a big part of why I play the game. If not the reason I play, certainly a reason. So when I was sitting up last night and it occurred to me that I've never gone an entire expansion without raiding, I didn't initially think anything of it -- to me, raiding is what you do in WoW. But then I started really thinking about it. Because lots of people don't raid. Before the rise of LFR and flex, a lot of players -- the majority of players, really -- never set foot in a raid at all. They had 5-mans, and that was basically it for group content for them outside of PvP.

So I started asking myself if it would be possible to release an expansion with little to no raiding content at all. Would players accept it? It's a cliche (and an overused one among the community) that Blizzard didn't do this or that 'because it would cost us a raid tier' but let's really consider -- what if we could have the expansion next month, but it wouldn't have any raids? Would that be an expansion people would be willing to play?

One of the reasons I consider this a more controversial question that it would have been at the end of Wrath is because now, raiding is far, far more accessible than it was even then. With the advent of LFR and the recent development of flexible raiding, it's never been easier to raid than it is. While Warlords of Draenor is changing the raid game, those changes will only make mythic raiding in any way more restrictive -- the rest of raiding will remain very accessible.

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

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

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