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Posts with tag raids

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 5.4

Ghostcrawler on Vengeance and patch 54
Yes, patch 5.3 isn't even out yet, and we're already looking towards patch 5.4. Thanks to Ghostcrawler, we have this to think about for the future, namely that Vengeance is getting capped at a significantly lower threshold in raids in the future. If you remember back at August of last year, Vengeance saw some significant changes that increased how fast it could ramp up in raids and also gave it a far larger maximum potential. It's been adjusted over time, but in general what GC said back last August has held true -- tank DPS in raiding really did go up. To the point where on some pulls it's not unusual to see tanks leading the DPS, sometimes by extremely large numbers.

Since this is a big change that will drastically lower tank damage output (25-man tanks with their 600,000 or more health buffed will lose roughly 300,000 AP on fights where Vengeance was capping at 100% of their health) I'm not surprise it won't be coming in 5.3 -- I am a little surprised it's happening at all, because we all knew Vengeance and tank damage would do exactly what it has done when it was changed. Still, I wait to observe if it has much practical difference since aside from AoE tanking where a multitude of hits can roll in a short window of time (that 20 second ramp up period) and the tanks can make effective use of all that AP I'm not sure it will matter. 5-mans and scenarios were not mentioned, so for now I'm assuming this is only for the raids mentioned.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

The false memory of WoW's difficult past

The false memory of WoW past
Vanilla raiding was not mechanically more difficult than current raiding. In fact, in terms of encounter difficulty, raiding in World of Warcraft has never been as challenging to remember and execute as it is right now. Fights like Lei Shen, Twin Consorts, Iron Qon, and Durumu ask players to learn mechanics and execute awareness at a level rivaled only by fights like Mimiron's Firefighter mode. And I'm not even talking heroic difficulty for those fights. Yes, it was often harder to get 40 people together, I'm not disputing that. But that's not design difficulty, that's social difficulty. The argument that WoW was objectively harder back then is beyond absurd.

I was there for all of those raids. I've raided in vanilla, in BC, in Wrath, and in Cataclysm. I've done hard modes and heroic modes since they were introduced. I'm neither the cutting edge progression raider nor someone who raids occasionally for fun -- I've been everywhere from a raider pushing for realm firsts to one leading a semi-casual 10-man while tanking. One thing I can and will say with absolute certainty is this: every single expansion to World of Warcraft has increased the complexity of the raid design.

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

Trouble filling those last few raid slots? Try the raid browser

Trouble filling those last few raid slots Try the raid browser
It's frustrating to lose time when you need to fill those last few raid spots, yet the Raid Finder isn't coming up with the players you need. Or maybe you're the one who's seeking a raid group, but nothing seems to be shaking loose that night. In a recent Breakfast Topic on in-game help tools, WoW Insider reader PaulLloyd offered up a strikingly simple suggestion that gives both types of seekers one more avenue of hope: the old-school Raid browser.

The wha...? PaulLloyd's not referring to the Raid Finder tab in the contemporary Dungeon Finder feature. This relic of olden raiding days, folks, is the previous system found tucked inside the Social tab. Writes PaulLloyd:

This is the "find a raid" system that pre-dates LFR. You would list your interest in a certain raid, and when a raid group is looking for a certain role to be filled, they would look them up on this list. It would've saved me cancelling many raids if people would use it. Sadly, it is hidden away, forcing RLs to use trade chat for missing slots, which relies on people sitting around a city and watching trade chat, which means a huge number of people missing the message.

For those wondering "what the hell is the raid browser?" Open the social tab (default 'O'). Select 'Raid' tab. Click 'Other Raids' Button. If you're announcing your availability to a raid, use the 'Choose Raid' tab. If you're looking for people, use the 'Browse' tab.

While nobody's advocating using this older system as a replacement for the Raid Finder, it makes a fine adjunct tool that could come through if enough players and raid leaders give it a try. PaulLloyd observes that the system is fairly useless on his realm because players simply don't use it, but other players seem hopeful that it could offer a helpful backup method of finding raiders and raids. What do you think? Seems worth a try!

Filed under: News items

Why don't you tank or heal?

Why don't you tank
I had an interesting conversation on Twitter with Bashiok late last night on one of the trickier questions Blizzard face in their current content, and indeed, in queue-able content since they introduced the dungeon finder, and latterly the raid finder.

The key is, of course, the final sentence. How does Blizzard get more people to tank, and indeed, to heal? It seems to us here at WoW Insider that a key part to answering that question is to establish what's stopping people tanking and healing in the first place. Hence the question in the header, why don't you tank or heal?

Why does it matter? Well, for those who don't tank or heal, there are currently rather long queues, in the Raid Finder as well as the Dungeon Finder. If whatever's stopping people can be dealt with, and more players take on these roles, then queue times will drop for everyone. WoW Insider has some theories about potential things that are stopping people, but do tell us what you think.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

25-mans have higher Thunderforged drop rate than 10-mans

25mans have higher Thunderforged drop rate than 10mans
The new Thunderforged loot designation -- much like the affix Raid Finder -- was introduced into Patch 5.2 for a number of reasons by Blizzard. While the affix does stay certain pieces from disenchantable execution on farm bosses, players largely regarded Thunderforged items as another attempt to help 25-man raiding guilds stay afloat. The developers didn't want to go back to late Wrath of the Lich King model of completely higher loot in 25mans, so instead Thunderforged items can drop in both sized raids. However, the drop rate in 25-mans would be higher than that of 10-mans.

"How frequent is more frequent?" players would ask, especially when given the chance to chat with the developers about patch 5.2. Ghostcrawler deflected the question on TotemSpot's interview, preferring to let players figure out the drop rates themselves.

Fortunately for us, WoWProgress has analyzed the loot drops using its database of characters, guilds, and bosses killed this first week of Patch 5.2. Looking at loot gains from Jin'rokh the Breaker, specifically:
  • 11.7% of the 10-man loot equipped by characters was Thunderforged
  • 25.7% of the 25-man loot equipped by characters was Thunderforged
Even figuring in disenchanted items, WoWProgress figures the drop rates to be approximately 10% for 10-man and 25% for 25-man. From personal anecdote, my 25-man raiding guild saw usually one but sometimes two Thunderforged drops per boss in addition to four to five regular mode drops. Tier pieces, of course, will never drop as Thunderforged.

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: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas

Wowhead interviews Lead Encounter Designer Ion 'Watcher' Hazzikostas
The slew of developer interviews continues! Wowhead guru Perculia interviewed Lead Encounter Designer Ion "Watcher" Hazzikostas earlier this week, quizzing him about all things patch 5.2. Included in the discussion was the Ra'den encounter, which is not only hidden behind a heroic kill of the final boss of the raid, but also features limited attempts. Also included were plenty of questions about Tier 14 content and how the developers felt it worked out, as well as the question of just what kinds of progression paths are in store for raiders that have yet to complete Tier 14 content.

Perhaps most interesting to me, however, was a discussion regarding Challenge Modes and the lack of new 5-man content. So far we're at the second patch for Mists of Pandaria, and while we've gotten plenty of scenarios, we have yet to see any new dungeons added to the game. While Hazzikostas stated that no details were set in stone as of yet, there were plenty of dungeons that Blizzard has done in the past that would be fun to revisit.

The idea of suddenly making old dungeons relevant to players is honestly something I think could be really fun. There have been plenty of dungeons over the years that I've completely fallen in love with -- but as the game wends on and new expansions are launched, there's little reason to visit any of those prior dungeons. And while transmogrification usually leads me back, the dungeons themselves are easily soloed at this point in the game. What would it look like if the dungeons of old were suddenly a challenge all over again?

Check out Wowhead for more from Hazzikostas, including discussion on Feats of Strength, legendary weapons, those intriguing new Thunderforged items and much more.

Filed under: News items, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

GuildOx interviews Ion Hazzikostas

GuildOx interviews Ion Hazzikostas
As patch 5.2 looms ever closer, Blizzard has opened their doors, offering insights into the ideas, plans and processes behind the upcoming patch. WoW Insider's Anne Stickney interviewed Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak yesterday, and now GuildOx has published their interview with Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas.

The GuildOx interview brings up many interesting insights into the new raid, from the man leading the team who designed it. WoW Insider found several of Ion's answers particularly interesting, for example, he indicated that the Dark Animus fight, as pictured above, is probably the most innovative, and we certainly agree.

Ion also has some tips for guilds tackling the new raid:
Take your time, pace yourself, and enjoy the variety of the tier. It's a large one. There are fights that focus on different skills, and if you're struggling with one encounter, it's quite possible that a fight that plays to your group's strengths, and which you'll have a much easier time with, lies just over that hill.

If your guild runs into a roadblock on Normal mode, consider revisiting any 5.0 raids that you never finished, or trying some of the 5.0 Heroics for more gear upgrades to complement the ilvl-522 and -528 gear you'll be getting from your Throne of Thunder kills each week.

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Filed under: Interviews

Patch 5.2 Raid Preview

Patch 52 Raid Preview
Blizzard Community Manager Daxxarri posted a lengthy blog over on the official forums today, providing a preview of the upcoming Throne of Thunder raid. This blog provides two really interesting elements, quite separate from reviewing the actual content itself.

First off, Daxxarri has shared a summary version of every single boss's lore with us. If you're wondering just why exactly you're fighting a triceratops, this blog will tell you! It's really interesting to learn the lore behind the bosses, making the raid more than just a series of puzzles. The stories revolve around power and its destructive effects, from Jin'rokh, who started life as a quest-giver in Zul'Gurub, before being corrupted by the Thunder King and given shamanistic powers, controlling lightning alongside his huge strength to crush his foes. Horridon is a sadder tale, for me, as he seems to have simply been captured by Jalak, and forced into battle. Having fought him, though, he doesn't seem very peaceable.

There are several other great stories in the blog, for example, did you realise that the Mogu actually created the Saurok? I sure didn't. The stories, in brief, are very similar to those in the dungeon journal, along with the recent addition of Ra-den, who, it is revealed, was guarding the Engine of Nalak'sha.

But more than that, there is what could almost be considered a director's commentary, provided by Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas. Ion provides a brief summary of the team's approach for every fight, how they came into being, what was the inspiration behind them, and so on.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Poll: The worst boss of tier 14

Poll The worst boss of tier 14
Don't pretend you didn't see this coming after the earlier poll asking about the best boss of tier 14. Where there is light, there is shadow, and just as we love to discuss the best of a raid tier here at WoW Insider, we find ourselves duty bound to also talk about its bad sides. What was your worst boss in tier 14?

For me, again, just expressing a personal opinion, not a statement of fact, the worst bosses were the worst bosses thanks to either mechanics which I found gimmicky, or fights that seemed overly long and sluggish. Leaping to the head of the pack for my worst boss in the tier, then, is Amber Shaper Un'sok. His random transformation of players into vehicles with, as you'd expect in a vehicle, completely revamped abilities, is frustrating at best. In fact, I say it's random, but it isn't. Almost without exception, Un'sok has a remarkable ability to target the player least equipped to deal with a sudden transformation into Lord Ryolith. If the vehicle was something that could be targeted, or selected for a specific player, it would be fine, but that isn't the case. He is, therefore, number one on my worst boss list.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Poll: The best boss of tier 14

The best boss of patch 50
As patch 5.0's raids' glory days draw to a close, it's time to look back on the first tier of Mists of Pandaria. No, you're right, it's highly likely that a lot of players will not yet have completed this tier, maybe not even seen the latter half, but most will probably have made it through the Raid Finder, at least. So, as we stand on the brink of embarking on a new patch, and new raid content, what has been your best boss in patch 5.0?

For me, and of course this is just my personal opinion, based on my experience and preferences in bosses, there are a few contenders. I actually like a lot of the fights in the earlier part of this tier, maybe because we're used to them so they're more relaxed, but I like to think that it's because they have mechanics that are innovative without being gimmicky, and because the fights don't last forever. Some of the Terrace of Endless Spring fights seem to last about a week, and maybe it's because I'm healing, but that isn't a characteristic I particularly enjoy.

For me, as a shaman healer main, the best boss contenders are the following. Gara'jal the Spirit Binder, because the Spirit Realm health knockdowns, plus mana regen buffs, mean I can blow the top off the healing meter as mastery kicks in and mana becomes a non-issue. Pure /flexing, I know. And I must admit that it's pretty terrible on the raid finder.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

All current raids to be nerfed by 10% with Patch 5.2

All current raids nerfed by 10%
Bashiok posted late last night on the US forums, highlighting a change in the recent patch 5.2 notes. The addition is as follows:

Blizzard
On Normal and Heroic mode, zone-wide auras have been activated in Mogu'shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, and Terrace of Endless Spring, reducing the health and damage of all enemies therein by 10%. A NPC near the entrance within each zone explains this, and offers to deactivate the buff for the benefit of brave/foolhardy adventurers.


Bashiok adds to his post, explaining how, in Mists, Blizzard is essentially trying to strike a happy medium between previous expansions' attitudes to gear progression. Cataclysm's gearing model devalued old content progression too quickly, allowing players to effectively jump straight into the current raids, while previous expansions had been criticized for their linearity.

Mists retains an element of that linear nature, with Bashiok saying that new characters will have to go through Mogushan Vaults, Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring, but that drop rates will be increased and the content made easier. He does note, however, that this 10% nerf is currently slated as a one-time reduction, rather than step one of a set of progressive nerfs.

What do you think of this? Hit the break for Bashiok's full post, explaining the philosophy behind the changes.

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2 PTR: Breaking Jin'rokh the Breaker

Patch 52 PTR Breaking Jin'rokh the Breaker
I headed back to the patch 5.2 PTR recently with Lore from TankSpot, and members of his guild Months Behind to test the first boss of the Throne of Thunder, Jin'rokh the Breaker. We had an entertaining time, at first, as can often be the case on the PTR. The developers had ported all the testers into the wrong part of the raid, so we set off exploring, and found a geyser that transported us all up to Lei Shen, who, while he happily continued his RP, refused to engage us in combat. We couldn't get to Jin'rokh at first, but a swift disband and regroup secured us entry into his room.

Jin'rokh is the first boss of the new raid, and as such has relatively straightforward mechanics, certainly compared to Lei Shen. Again, I was on my goblin restoration shaman, so view the fight from a healer's perspective.

Jin'rokh's fight proceeds in repeating, short phases. He engages and beats up your tank for a short while, putting out very healable damage. Jin'rokh will place a stacking debuff on the tank called Static Wound, which increases damage taken from melee strikes more and more as it builds. This is apparently designed to force a tank swap.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Patch 5.2 PTR: Thunderforged items could revitalize 25-man raiding

Patch 52 PTR Thunderforged items offer a six ilvl upgrade in all raid difficulties
Blizzard Community Manager Tyiliru has posted on the community forums with some information on new Thunderforged items, which offer increased item levels.

These Thunderforged items can drop from both Normal and Heroic mode raids, but not from the Raid Finder, and have an item level which is six higher than the standard item level of items obtained from those sources. So, item levels will be as follows:
  • Raid Finder: ilvl 502
  • Normal mode: ilvl 522
  • Normal Thunderforged: ilvl 528
  • Heroic: ilvl 535
  • Heroic Thunderforged: ilvl 541
Tyiliru also adds that these items will be more likely to drop in 25-man raiding, which will lead to 25-man raiders having a slightly increased item level compared to 10-man raiders. Tyiliru clarifies that this is definitely an attempt from Blizzard to offer greater rewards to 25-man raiders, without overly rewarding them to the extent that 10-man raids will feel undervalued.

Ghostcrawler was kind enough to clarify that this was not the unannounced feature he mentioned last night!

Hit the break for Tyiliru's full post. Will this make you more inclined to push for 25-man raiding over 10-man? Is item level inflation getting totally out of hand, and will this really make an impact, given that 25-man raiders already gear somewhat more quickly than 10man raiders?

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

Ways to avoid LFR wipes

Simple steps to avoid LFR wipes
We all know that feeling of dread. The one when you zone into your LFR group, and see the aftermath of a wipe. People start leaving, your group that you've waited an hour for falls apart at the seams, and all because of a wipe. It seems that patience, while undoubtedly sill a virtue, is in short supply once players zone in to the Raid Finder. Players leave when wipes happen, and if I put on my impatient hat, it's not that hard to see why with the sheer duration of some Raid Finder battles. Certain fights seem to last forever.

So, how do you avoid wipes in the Raid Finder?

Check roles and readiness

It's often the case that players in the Raid Finder aren't really paying attention just before a pull because of the group waiting while the tanks discuss strategy, or that the tank has zoned in, glanced at their panes, and gone barreling in without paying too much attention to the status of other players. As a result, a ready check is often a great idea. Fire one off just before the pull happens just to see whether people are paying attention, and to say "hey we're ready to go."

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Filed under: Raiding, Mists of Pandaria

WoW Archivist: The triumph and tragedy of Ulduar

Windows in Ulduar
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?

With patch 5.2 on the PTR, everyone is talking about Mists' next tier of raiding content. If the buzz seems more intense than usual, it might be because of the hints that Ghostcrawler and others at Blizzard have dropped comparing the Throne of Thunder to Wrath's Ulduar raid.

Perhaps it's too soon to revisit Ulduar in an Archivist column. After all, the raid went live less than four years ago. I don't care. I want to talk about how amazing this place was, how Blizzard still managed to screw up such a good thing, and why we should all be excited for an Ulduar-style raid in 5.2.

Put the rose-colored glasses away here, folks. You don't need them -- Ulduar really was that fantastic.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

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