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Posts with tag random-dungeon

Pulling aggro in PUGs: who's to blame

There is no question that as we PUG up the Dungeon Finder system for our daily random heroic we are going to encounter a lot of bad tanks. It's not surprising really. These are people who spend all day every day getting smashed in face, typically by monstrosities many times their size. And more disturbingly, they chose to do this in the first place. So it should be no surprise that these aren't the brightest people in WoW.

However, it's often far too easy for us DPSers to blame the tank for losing aggro. After all, holding aggro is their job! What is strangely easy for us to forget is that not pulling aggro is our job. It's time for DPSers to take a long hard look at just how good a player we are before yelling at the tank.

Join me after the cut as we take a look at why pulling aggro is the fault of the DPS almost every single time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: The all-DPS Group

Oh, you know what I mean. There's five folks in your Dungeon Finder random group. One is signed up as a tank, one is signed up as a healer. Only, the 'tank' is in full DPS plate with nary a shield nor a ghoul in sight (nope, that there's a ret pally/arms warrior, sure enough) or the 'healer' is in full PvP gear and has Flametongue on his healing weapon. You all stand around, waiting for someone to equip gear that would allow them to tank the instance (preferably the tank) but he seems as content to wait it out as everyone else.

Often in these situations I'm unfortunate enough to have decided to DPS on a character that can tank, but luckily (or unluckily as the case may be) yesterday I was on my shaman and so could simply sit back and wait. It was mentioned to the 'tank' that, as the person who had signed up to tank the instance it might behoove him (or possibly her, hard to tell who's behind the keyboard) to slap on a shield and some tanking gear, but only the grim silence of the truly disinterested was our reply. Was he even at the keys? Hard to say. The wait extended to the point where we could safely kick him, and kick him we did. but that's ten minutes or so of my life I'll never get back. (And no, my shaman couldn't tank HHoR, I didn't even try).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Wrath of the Lich King

Time Is Money: Putting your emblems to work

Kebina Trudough here, offering you the best gold making secrets they don't want you to know about! I was like you once, poor and homely, before I discovered my patented system. Now you too can fill your pockets with the good stuff without ever breaking a sweat! Why spend all your time toiling when you could be vacationing in the Hot Springs? I'm not offering these tips for 100 gold, or 90 gold, or even 50 gold! No, not even 20 gold! My system is yours for FREE! Satisfaction guaranteed or I'll give you a full refund (handling charges may apply). After all, Time Is Money.

If you're like me, you have a lot of excess emblems sitting around. Maybe you never got around to spending them before the next tier came out, or maybe the badge gear just never quite compared to your raid drops. Whatever the case, there is no sense letting them go to waste when you could put them to work and earn some gold!

First, here is a quick breakdown of the current badge system, from most recent and difficult to acquire on down:
  1. Emblem of Frost: These can be acquired primarily by raiding Icecrown, completing the Raid Boss Per Week "weekly," or by completing one WotLK heroic dungeon per day using the Random tool.
  2. Emblem of Triumph: Most raids now drop these badges, as well as heroics. You will also be awarded these for doing any number of WotLK heroic dungeons past your first one per day using the Random tool. You will also get some by completing your first normal WotLK dungeon per day using the Random tool, as well as completing the Raid Boss Per Week "weekly." Also of note: If you get Heroic Oculus using the random tool, don't drop group! Not only has it been nerfed like crazy, but when you defeat the end boss, every player will receive a loot bag that will contain these badges and more, plus a chance at getting the super rare Reigns of the Blue Drake, which used to be available only by killing Malygos, who now drops his 25-man version (Azure) in both 10 and 25-man.
  3. Emblem of Conquest: Originally, these were acquired by running 10-man Coliseum, or 25-man Ulduar.
  4. Emblem of Valor: Originally these dropped from Ulduar 10-man and Naxxramas 25-man.
  5. Emblem of Heroism: These were among the first WotLK badges, and dropped from Naxxramas 10-man and heroic dungeons.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Economy, Features, Guides, Making money, Time Is Money

Blizzard: Run Oculus, win fabulous prizes

Despite the nerfs in Patch 3.3, it's pretty obvious that whole lot of people still hate Oculus, enough so that they immediately bail when it comes up as a random dungeon. Apparently, it's a substantial number of people doing this, enough that Blizzard's taken notice and taken action.

But they're not removing it from the system. Instead, they're incentivizing it -- or, if you prefer to be a bit more pessimistic, turning final boss Eregos into a loot pinata in the most direct way possible. Zarhym's announced that those who happen to get Heroic Oculus with the random dungeon finder and stick it out to the end will find their own personal loot bag in Eregos' cache. The bags will contain two extra Emblems of Triumph, rare gems, and a chance at the Reins of the Blue Drake, formerly the rare mount drop from 10-man Malygos. To make up for the switch, the Reins of the Azure Drake will have a chance to drop from both 10-man and 25-man Malygos.

Will this staunch the exodus from Oculus? Will the lust for yet another pretty dragon mount inspire people to tough out the dreaded vehicle mechanics? Or will people just tough it out until they get their drake and start group dropping again? It should be fun to see what happens.

Filed under: Items, News items, Instances, Bosses

Breakfast Topic: What class mechanics have you had to learn to deal with?

In yesterday's breakfast topic we talked about what dungeons you've had to relearn -- how to deal with people in them and how to deal with all the pulls. Right in hand with that is the various ways people play their class. Prior to patch 3.3 WoW players could be rather insulated in their groups and techniques. For example, on my server the hunter would always misdirect to the tank. It was a standard thing, and if the hunter didn't do it, he'd be griped at right away by the entire group. Tanks on my server also generally marked the first kill target, regardless if the tank was a pally tank or a warrior (or death knight or druid or shield-wielding shaman).

Enter patch 3.3 and cross-server grouping via the dungeon finder. Each person from each server now brings with them sometimes extremely divergent styles of play and ways they handle their class. I've found the number of hunters that don't have Feign Death on their toolbar to be astounding. On my server that kind of behavior would be shouted down in a big way. In cross-server groups, it almost seems acceptable.

A successful group leader, especially a successful tank that's aware of everything going on, will have to strike a balance between getting members to fall in line (for lack of a better phrase), or just ignoring the problems and dealing with poor game play. It's this coping technique -- the ignoring part -- that we're here to talk about today. What are the class and game play mechanics you've learned to ignore and just deal with players not understanding?

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: What dungeon have you had to relearn?

The random dungeon finder is not only great for gearing up alts and getting mains the necessary badges to fill out their gear -- it's an amazing tool which forces an increase in the WoW community's collective knowledge about instances and game mechanics. And while some of these game mechanics will be a discussion for a future time (hint: tomorrow's Breakfast Topic), today let's focus on what instances you've had to "relearn," more or less.

Take Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom. Prior to the random heroic dungeons, I probably ran this place a grand total of five times. My warrior tank got the bracers on his fist run through it, and I did it on a few more alts just to get the Northrend Dungeon Hero achievement. Other than that, when it was the heroic daily I'd just skip it and find something else to do. Nothing annoyed me more than the Insanity that Hearld Volazj casts, and the trash pulls got on my nerves when the DPS couldn't wait for the mobs to come to the tank, inevitably leading to a wipe.

In short, it was my least favorite instance and I was able to just ignore it. From the best I can tell, before these past two weeks, the last time I set foot in it was in May 2009.

But now, the random dungeon finder has forced me to relearn the place and deal with all its mechanics. I've found ways to deal with the Hearld Volazj's abilities on my paladin tank, and I've gotten rather vocal about the group staying put as I pull trash packs back to them. And just as important as knowing the mechanics is leading the run as a tank. For instance, if I see a DPS move up with me, I'll stop and ask him to go back. If he doesn't listen, I'll ask again politely. Third time around with a random DPS not listening I'll just threaten to kick, and by that point the group is pretty annoyed with him anyways. The next thing you know, he's out the door with a successful vote to kick. The next DPS that comes in always seems to behave.

So what dungeons have you had to relearn dear readers? And better yet, what ones have you had to change your tactics on with the introduction of the random dungeon finder?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Instances

Arcane Brilliance: Gearing up after the glorious patch 3.3

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that loves nothing more than to gaze down upon the whole of Northrend from one of the floating chunks of stone around Dalaran and realize that at some point, a mage has probably killed every living thing down there. At least the targetable ones, anyway. And the ones you can't target? I'm sure more than one mage has certainly tried.

So I'm officially nominating patch 3.3 for "best patch ever" status. Here's a short list of the highlights of this patch:
  • Three highly challenging, fun, lore-filled 5-man instances, full of sweet loot
  • A massive new raid, with four gated sections, 12 bosses, and the promise of eventually being able to shove a Fireball up the Lich King's tailpipe
  • The incredible, game-changing Dungeon Finder Tool, which is responsible for peace in the Middle East, has brought an end to the recession, and has cured cancer
  • A few choice mage buffs, including a PvE viable Frost spec
  • Quest Tracking without the need for an addon
  • Quel'delar and Shadowmourne
  • A swiftly approaching new Arena Season
  • Weekly raid quests
  • The Kalu'ak Fishing Derby
  • Perky the Pug
  • A host of little changes for low level characters
  • Rocket bare
Not shabby, right? And best of all, Blizzard has managed to deploy the majority of this new content without also deploying a host of bugs, glitches, and instability, or otherwise making the game unplayable for awhile as we've come to expect from patches this large. There were some log-in issues and bugginess on day one, but by day two, everything was running relatively smoothly by day two. I'm being relatively conservative when I say that Blizzard, in my personal opinion, has hit this one out of the park.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Classes, Alts, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Breakfast Topic: The Happy Accidents

In my monomaniac drive to improve my shaman's gear and more importantly play with some spec ideas for enhancement (I've currently started testing this one with Glyph of Fire Nova, which gets Fire Nova down from 10 seconds to 3, meaning that on heavy trash pulls I can weave a Fire Nova blast in-between pretty much every other ability I have), I've been hitting the random dungeon feature like it owes me money. As a result, I've had some good runs, some bad runs, and some unintentionally hilarious runs, like the all draenei run in Caverns of Time Stratholme which degenerated into "Don't mind us, we're totally human and do not have any hooves or tentacles at all" comments for pretty much the entire run. "Eredar? What's that? Never heard of it. Totally normal humans from this appropriate time period, that's us."

I've started to recognize some names that pop up over and over again. I've had the same paladin tank for quite a few runs now. She always thanks the group, is unfailingly nice, and pulls like someone told her that there was delicious candy at the end of the instance. I asked her if I could mention her name in this post and she begged me not to, but be on the lookout for a very nice, very speedy paladin tank in the Stormstrike battlegroup. I've yet to regret a run with her.

So how about you? Seen any familiar faces yet, come to know any good players, or made any other accidental discoveries that you're glad you came across?

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Features, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Rookie: Gearing up with the LFG feature

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. For links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's, visit's WoW Rookie Guide.

Plotting your path from zero to hero? "Last night, I got my alt mage to level 80 (woop) and thought I'd set about doing some heroics to get those 'phat loots' and a have a bit of fun," writes reader Hedwinkle of EU Daggerspine. "However, I was disappointed to see that I couldn't queue up for any heroics using the new tool, as my gear level wasn't high enough. I mean, it's all blue gear from the later instances, so I guess I have two questions ...

"1. What is the gear level required to allow me to queue up for random heroics using the new tool?

"2. What is the best way for me to go about getting my gear level higher? People on my server have very little interest now in finding a group the 'old-fashioned' way."

As it turns out, Hedwinkle's not the only one who's been puzzling over the details of how the new Looking for Group tool matches and places group members. Luckily, blue poster Zarhym had some answers that should reassure all of WoW Rookie's fresh level 80s.

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Filed under: Tips, Instances, Features, WoW Rookie

Lichborne: The whys and hows of PuGs and death knights

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Death Knights. Your host, Daniel Whitcomb, is pretty decent at alliteration but could use some work on cliches. Luckily, his Scourge Strike still hits hard, so it's all good.

So with Patch 3.3 out and running, the biggest thing taking the WoW world by storm is definitely the Dungeon Finder tool. If you're like me, you've made pretty good use of it already, and are probably within a few more runs of your very own cute as a button pug pet in the bargain. If not, you should probably consider getting on that, seriously.

Since running random dungeons is pretty much the in-thing to do right now, I figured I should devote a column to helping you brush up on your grouping skills. It never hurts to cover the basics, and if you're grouping with 1-4 complete strangers, it helps to be on your A game so that you can work with them and be easy to work with. Before we get into the basics though, let's set some goals for all that random dungeon running.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Guides, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Time Is Money: Dungeon finder

Kebina Trudough here, offering you the best gold making secrets they don't want you to know about! I was like you once, poor and homely, before I discovered my patented system. Now you too can fill your pockets with the good stuff without ever breaking a sweat! Why spend all your time toiling when you could be vacationing in the Hot Springs? I'm not offering these tips for 100 gold, or 90 gold, or even 50 gold! No, not even 20 gold! My system is yours for FREE! Satisfaction guaranteed or I'll give you a full refund (handling charges may apply). After all, Time Is Money.

The new Dungeon Finder that was added in Patch 3.3 has been garnering a lot of attention lately - and for good reason! But did you know that you could use it to make money?

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Guides, Making money, Time Is Money

Breakfast Topic: Your random dungeon experiences

It was a dark and stormy night. It all started with a one drink. Isn't that how it always goes? One tough raid is followed up with some drinks to calm the nerves. One drink leads to another and you start thinking about doing crazy things.

Crazy things like jumping into pugs using the new random dungeon finder tool.

I hadn't done it yet myself and I know the people I've spoken with said they've had nothing but good things to say about it. But I'm a skeptic. What's the worst thing that could possibly happen? Maybe I'll get stuck with a party that has never done Oculus before with a tank that's no where near defense capped. But what are the odds of that happening, right?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

PUG with the Blues 3: Live Free or PUG Blue

If you didn't make it to the party last time, here's your third chance to PUG it up with WoW devs and CMs. Blizzard announced take three of PUG with the Blues, and this time it's personal.

Just hop onto the Patch 3.3 PTR this Wednesday at 4 PM PST/7 PM EST and put your character into the random heroic Wrath dungeon queue. If you're lucky, you'll get grouped with someone with <GM> before their name and get to run a heroic with a developer or other Blizzard rep!

This could be your only chance to catch a blue standing in fire, keyboard turning, or using Lava Burst without Flame Shock up. Don't miss it!

Oh, and some staff will be there too. So get your PTR client patched up and ready to go! Do you feel lucky, PUG? Do ya?

Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas.'s Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, News items

The Queue: I demand a recount

Welcome back to The Queue,'s daily Q&A column where the team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Michael Sacco will be your host today.

I'll be taking over The Queue periodically for Alex and Adam, and thus I've been given this soapbox. Well, guess what! I'm usin' it.

I demand a recount on the alleged outcome of the Rossi vs. Sacco arm-wrestling match. I don't know where the results came from, but I bet if we looked in Adam's basement, we'd find a Diebold machine that "fell off the back of a truck." Rossi may have the burly chest and body hair that give him the makings of a champion, but I've got really good hair and I can guarantee that one look at me and Rossi would give up the ghost right there. Unless we're playing by standard rules, in which case he would literally murder me.

And now, reader questions.

Sean asked...

"A question about the new Random Dungeon feature. Let's say you sign up for the first random dungeon of the morning, and you get a place that you just can't stand. (Think OK or Occ) If you bail on the dungeon, then wait out the Deserter debuff, have you messed up your shot at the Frost Emblems for the day?"

We've had a lot of questions about the new Dungeon System lately, which is good, because it shows that people are (at least) interested in it and (at most) excited about it. To answer your question, you don't miss your opportunity to get your Emblems of Frost if your first random dungeon of the day goes down the toilet. You get your Emblems upon successful completion of your first random dungeon of the day.

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Filed under: The Queue

Patch 3.3: Just run as many heroics as you want

Blizzard's new Dungeon System is a pretty huge overhaul of the social and gameplay experience of getting an instance group together, and we're all pretty excited about it here. On top of the hassle-free daily random dungeon selection and the great new matchmaking features, you even get teleported to the random dungeon.

But as it turns out, there's even more cool stuff hiding below the surface. If you're like me, chances are good you've spent a day or two chain-running heroics to gear up an alt or to get instant gratification on that badge item you want. The issue with chaining heroics at this point in time is that eventually you hit a wall: do instances you hate (Oculus) or stop running instances because of your 24-hour heroic lockouts.

Well, in patch 3.3, everything's a-changin'. While heroic lockouts aren't going away, they will not affect your random dungeon selections. What this means is that if you and four guildies do a timed Culling of Stratholme run, and then you join the queue for a random heroic, you may be assigned Culling of Stratholme a second -- or third, or fourth -- time, depending on your luck, as your random dungeon. And you'll get two extra Emblems of Triumph for completing the random dungeon each time, even if you've run the dungeon already that day. The only way that your lockout will affect you is that you cannot create a group with /invite for that same dungeon again that day.

Basically, as long as you're choosing the Random Dungeon option, you can run as many heroics as you want, every day.

With increased rewards for, easier access to, and the trivialization of lockouts for heroics, Patch 3.3 is the perfect time to dust off that neglected level 80 alt of yours and take him or her on a tour of Northrend's most dangerous places.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas.'s Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Instances

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