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Posts with tag random-dungeons

The struggle between gear disparity and good play

Okay, truth time - I can solo any five player heroic dungeon in Mists of Pandaria, as long as it doesn't have mechanics that prevent me. If I'm even concerned that I'll take too much damage and die, I'll pop on my tank set and go prot, but many times it isn't even a concern. Blow all my DPS cooldowns, blow my defensive cooldowns when I'm at about half health, boss falls over. Done it in Mogu'shan Palace and Scarlet Monastery. And I'm hardly the exception here - the fact is, the Mists of Pandaria dungeons were introduced at the beginning of the expansion and tuned so that players in ilevel 450 gear could complete them.

I'm at around ilevel 576.

Even players who are just in flex or LFR gear out gear these instances immensely. If a DPS player in full SoO LFR gear goes into Mogu'shan Palace and decides to pull more mobs than the tank was ready or waiting for, he or she can probably DPS them all down before dying themselves, especially if they get a few heals. Meanwhile, even the tanks can often put out enough damage (while taking so very little and having various means to heal it up) that they can basically solo the whole place if they want to, leaving absolutely everyone in the group feeling very little need to actually play as a group. As many, many people point out to me on twitter, it's just assumed that everyone is going to pull like crazy, so even undergeared players in a specific role often assume it's going to happen and react. Maybe your tank doesn't want to pull like a fiend, but they saw your gear and thought they had to in order to keep control of the dungeon. The lines of group communication have broken down into a silence that masks intent - runs are zoned into and pulled with grim efficiency.

Into this veil of silence enters you, the player. So what can be done about it?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

It came from the Blog: Random dungeon groups LFM again

It came from the Blog Random dungeon groups LFM again
Last week, level 15 Crikkit ran the Dungeon Finder along with four other It came from the Blog members and another full group. We acquired achievements, completed challenges and leveled to 20. This week, we'd like to be even more successful, and you are welcome to join us.
  • When: Thursday, Dec. 20 (tomorrow) at Noon EST (9 a.m. PST, 10 a.m. server time)
  • Where: Meet at the fishing hole in the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H)
  • Who: Any Horde character within a couple levels or so of Crikkit, who is level 21
  • How: Ask Crikkit or any It came from the Blog member for an invite to the guild
  • What: Weekly Dungeon Finder groups
Crikkit is a mistweaver and will be healing using her monk-like ways. If you'd like to play a healer, there should be enough other people to form more groups. Last week we only had two groups, but that's because we didn't have enough healers to go around.

More details are after the break.

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Filed under: Events, It Came from the Blog

It came from the Blog: Random dungeon group LFM

It came from the Blog Random dungeon group LFM
Every month, It came from the Blog hosts an event for fun and sometimes profit, so we'll definitely be having a Feast of Winter Veil romp after the holiday begins. In the meantime, and until further notice, Crikkit the pandaren mistweaver monk is going to be dungeoning up to at least 85 and she wants to do so with friends.

Starting tomorrow and every Thursday hereafter, level 15 Crikkit will be randoming dungeons with whomever shows up to join her.
  • When: Thursdays starting Thursday, Dec. 13 (tomorrow) at Noon EST (9 a.m. PST, 10 a.m. server time)
  • Where: Meet at the fishing hole in the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H)
  • Who: Any Horde character within one or two levels of Crikkit at the time -- this week, levels 15 and 16
  • How: Ask Crikkit or any It came from the Blog member for an invite to the guild
I'll PUG if I have to, but there are already a couple of guildies signed up to attend and I'm hoping we'll have more -- particularly as the weeks go by. If we get too many, I'll choose from those whom I'm comfortable with and where our needs lie. If we have leftovers, we will do what we always do and form more than one group with a common chat channel.

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Filed under: Events, It Came from the Blog, Choose My Adventure

Should level-capped players be put into content they outgear?

I do not like The Stonecore.

On a recent guild-sponsored alt run, four not-ready-for-heroics players and my level 85 shammy queued up for a random Cataclysm dungeon. We wound up with The Stonecore. We immediately decided that we didn't want to run The Stonecore, but we also didn't want to just wait the 15 minutes to requeue. So, we cleared our way to the first boss and defeated it, successfully eating up the 15 minutes.

Not wanting to actually finish an instance that didn't offer us any level-appropriate gear, we re-entered the random dungeon finder. The result: The Stonecore. Again. We gave up, ran the instance for the lousy 70 justice point payoff, and died a little inside.

A huge part of my distaste for The Stonecore is related to how often it comes up in the random dungeon finder on both heroic and normal versions. It's a wipe-filled nightmare on heroic, especially with a group that doesn't know what it's doing. (And let's be honest, text-based communication on the fly can only get you so far.) I have no complaint about getting regular Stonecore at levels 82 and 83. The problem is that I get it all the damn time when I'm level 85, and Blizzard gives me almost no incentive to finish it.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Ghostcrawler responds to heroic dungeon difficulty complaints

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted an entry on his blog yesterday called "Wow, Dungeons are Hard!" It's a rather lengthy (but worthwhile) read about the current state of Cataclysm heroics, Blizzard's philosophy on designing them, his impressions on their current difficulty level, and some advice for improving your performance.

Like I said, it's an epic post, and we won't reprint the whole thing here. This, however, is the key takeaway:

Wow, Dungeons are Hard!
The bottom line is that we want Heroics and raids to be challenging, and that is particularly true now while the content is new and characters are still collecting gear. They're only going to get easier from here on out. We want players to approach an encounter, especially a Heroic encounter, as a puzzle to be solved. We want groups to communicate and strategize. And by extension, we want you to celebrate when you win instead of it being a foregone conclusion.

On the other hand, we don't want you to stumble your way to victory. We don't want you to be able to overwhelm bosses without noticing or caring what they're doing. We don't want healers to be able to make up for all of the mistakes on the part of the other players. While at the end of the day, dungeons may just be gussied up loot vending machines, we want you to do more than push a button to get the loot.

Ultimately, we don't want to give undergeared or unorganized groups a near guaranteed chance of success, because then the content will feel absolutely trivial for players in appropriate gear who communicate, cooperate, and strategize.


All that being said, though, is Blizzard really satisfied with its dungeon designs and their current level of difficulty? Hard heroics are indeed hard, but the updated PTR patch notes for 4.0.6 (which went live just yesterday at almost the exact same time Ghostcrawler was discussing heroics) indicate that a series of nerfs is coming our way. That will no doubt lead to player rejoicing, but remember -- heroics are naturally getting easier as people get more familiar with them and players continue to compile better gear, which makes completion even easier still.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Knowledge, newbies, and why kindness pays off

I played WoW on dial-up for a while, and during that time, it was close to impossible for me to raid anything but add-light 10-man content. So I did the only thing that seemed doable: leveled alts. A lot of them. While previously I had vowed to only level my rogue (my original main) to max level in any given expansion, I was suddenly the proud owner of six level 80 characters.

Even after I got back on actual broadband internet, Cataclysm's introduction of new races (especially Races That Are Worgen) gave me some more incentive to bring my number of max-level characters up to, well, its maximum level. So I finally listened to Matt Rossi and made a worgen warrior. He's awesome. And he tanks, a first for me. I've been leveling him almost exclusively through the dungeon finder, taking advantage of the instant queues for a dog what wears plate armor.

I'm still pretty new to tanking, but between new talent trees, heirlooms, and questing/dungeon gear with better stat balance, most low-level instances are a breeze. So I move fast. Sometimes a little faster than other people. The same kinds of people who attack from the front as a melee class or hit "need" on spirit weapons as a mage. And I would make snide remarks to those kinds of people.

Then I realized something. I was being kind of a jackass.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Arcane Brilliance: Mistakes mages make

Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to say to warlocks: Look... even when we're alone, we outnumber you.

We belong to the best class in World of Warcraft. I know this because I have a checklist. Do you want to see it? Too bad, you're going to see it anyway:
You see? Mages meet every criteria on the checklist. The fact that I just made the checklist up is unimportant; the important thing to take away from this is that mages are, indisputably, the best class in this game.

But we aren't perfect.

We make mistakes. Five of them, to be precise.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Drama Mamas: Dungeon Finder advice

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with the Drama Mamas. Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

Most of us have been having a great time with the new Dungeon Finder. (And if you haven't, then you really, really should. It's a gamechanger.) We have our good PuG stories and, of course, the bad PuGs. My first experience was in a dungeon where all but the main boss had been downed. I got in because the rogue whose place my mage was taking had quit in order to turn in a quest. None of us could figure out why he didn't want to wait the three minutes, get the random dungeon rewards and then turn in the quest. But his loss was my gain. He was a bad PuGger (PuGgie? PuGinator?) because he left his team hanging and waiting to pick up a 5th person before they could finish their dungeon and move onto the next one.

Here are some more examples of bad PuGgers that I think most of us can agree on:
  • The player who puts the tank on follow and doesn't participate.
  • The tanks who don't pay attention to healer mana and then complain when they die.
  • The players who don't manage their aggro, regardless of role.
  • Rude and/or spammy chatters.
  • Players who make careless mistakes and repeatedly wipe the group. (One mistake does not a bad PuGger make.)
But what about the player in blues and greens who doesn't make mistakes, is perfectly pleasant and cooperative, but isn't putting out the numbers you think he or she should?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Instances, Features, Drama Mamas

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