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Posts with tag ubrs

Breakfast Topic: Repeat visits

Seeya from Dethecus has an interesting question for us to answer this Saturday morning: What's the total number of times you've visited the instance you've seen the most of?

Most guilds raided Molten Core many, many times to gear up everyone that needed it, and back at 60, I spent many weekends plowing through the lava packs down there. I've also run Shadow Labs many, many times since BC dropped, and Steam Vaults and the Arcatraz have also seen me go through quite a few times. Nowadays, Karazhan is probably getting the most traffic, although the cooldown on it probably keeps people going through there as often as they'd like. And don't forget lowbie instances-- I've been through SM and Deadmines on every character at least a few times.

But for me, the instance I've been through the most times overall is definitely UBRS. There were days, when I first hit 60, when we would run it twice a day. I've tanked it, healed it, and DPSed it. I've learned it, taught it, marked it, master looted it, done every quest in there and seen every drop. I've seen a hunter pull Drakk, a Mage pull Drakk, a Warrior tank them all, and even seen a Rogue do the pull. I can't count the number of times I've seen Eviscerate IX drop, and at one point, I could probably list off both all the pulls and Rend and Nef's dialogue to you-- without being near a computer. UBRS is my instance, and I'd put my runs through there at almost 100.

So what's the instance you've run the most, and how many times have you been through?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Raiding

"The Karazhan mistake"

AFK Gamer's got a great post up about what he calls "The Karazhan Mistake." At BlizzCon, and now in Leipzeig, Blizzard has been patting themselves on the back for the 10man raid of Karazhan-- it's clearly the most popular raid in the expansion (does that have anything to do with the fact that it's the first raid most guilds do?), and so they say the 10man raid idea of theirs is the bomb. Along with the new Zul'Aman, we can expect to see more 10mans in Wrath of the Lich King.

But AFK says they've learned the wrong lesson. While Karazhan is definitely popular, creating a 10man raid in the guild progression path (remember, UBRS didn't start as a 10man, and it wasn't really a progression instance) was a mistake. It's more or less where all the guild drama and frustration in the expansion has come from-- guilds with only 10 people are rare and far between, and so most guilds have to schedule and run multiple raid IDs just to get everyone through there. And now (eight months after the expansion has dropped), while most guilds have finally got Karazhan (and all that raid coordination) down pat, they're dealing with another problem: beefing back up to 25 for the rest of the raids. Blizzard's making guilds jump through all these hoops, and deal with all of this group A/B drama, and they're citing Karazhan as a success?

AFK's solution is a simple one: lower the cooldown on raid IDs. (His other solution is to have raid IDs be guildwide, but letting only 10 people in a guild run Karazhan weekly is a terrible idea.) That would more or less take the raid out of progression (in essence, turn it into UBRS), and let you go there whenever you had 10 people ready and willing, leaving the real raiding to the 25 mans.

Personally, I love Karazhan. It's a great dungeon with some cool bosses and lore, and Blizzard's right: it's how raids should be done. It's just too bad that, by creating a great 10 man in a world full of 25 man raids, they caused guilds (especially guilds just starting to raid) so much trouble.w

[ via Mystic Worlds ]

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

"The Image of the Undercity"

Terra Nova has a fascinating read up about architecture in World of Warcraft, and to an extent, all videogames. In the latest Wired (which appeared on my doorstep yesterday), there's a Clive Thompson piece about Halo 3, and in there, he compares creating videogames not to creating movies, but to designing architecture. There are all sorts of challenges in dealing with the flow of self-driven players, and those are directly related to the forms and format of architecture, and you can see that kind of design all over Azeroth. When players grouped around the bank and mailbox in Ironforge, designers spread out both in places like Silvermoon and Shattrath. And as the article Terra Nova quotes makes clear, sometimes Blizzard wants the architecture to work for the players (as in Undercity, where everything is laid out in a circle, with lots of clues as to where things are), and sometimes it wants the space to work against them-- Blackrock Depths is a challenge to get through, which is fitting for (well, what used to be) a higher level dungeon.

Just as we "learn" the places we inhabit in real life, we also eventually learn virtual spaces as well-- tell me you weren't confused the first time someone had to show you how to get to UBRS, and yet now you could probably get there blindfolded, right?

Very interesting stuff. And it brings up one more question: Most players, by now, have learned pretty much all of Azeroth. But eventually (and we've seen this hinted at in the supposed "events" that will kick off the next expansion), the world will change. What if you entered Ironforge one day, and things weren't where you expected them to be?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Instances

The eventual nerfing of Karazhan

When Lua from Doomhammer posts on the forums asking for a little Karazhan trash relief, Bornakk (who's new on the forums-- not sure whether he's a CM or a mod yet) says no-- Blizzard is happy with the pacing of Karazhan. So you're meant to be taking a long time clearing all those little mana guys before and after Curator.

But this idea of making Karazhan faster brings up another point I've been mulling over for a while now. When we first heard about Kara, a "new 10man instance," back when we were all playing vanilla WoW, I got really excited about the fact that we were going to have a new UBRS-- an epic raid that 10 people could finish off in a few hours. Kind of a short but preview of the bigger raids to come. Fighting Rend while Nefarian was yelling at him was some of the best times I'd ever had in WoW, and I looked forward to leading the same kinds of groups through Karazhan.

But Karazhan didn't turn out like that, did it? It's still more complicated, and for many guilds, it's still the main event. There's a timer on it, most groups take at least two days to clean it out, and while the encounters in UBRS weren't necessarily easy if your group wasn't up to it, the encounters in Karazhan are pretty merciless-- Moroes takes coordination that even the Drakk fight never needed.

That's not necessarily a bad thing-- I like Karazhan a lot. But just as UBRS was diluted from its original form (as a harder 15 man instance with more trash than it has now), I wonder if Karazhan will eventually have the same fate. When more and more guilds have moved up the ladder, and we're all farming Zul'Aman and progressing on Mount Hyjal, will Blizzard eventually nerf Kara into the new UBRS, with streamlined trash and no timer?

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

Superstitions in WoW

The Daedelus project recently posted an article dealing with MMORPGs and the superstitions we build as we play the games. Seeing as how we as people love to finding meaning in seemingly random events, World of Warcraft has its fair share of superstitious players. I might even go so far as to say we all are superstitious about some things within the game. Despite the prevalence of superstitions in game, we always seem to see others' quirks as crazier than our own. Now we're not talking about religion or spirituality here, we are talking about how players create meaning where there is none. Here are just a few examples that Daedelus brought up:


The spawn dance

There are many players out there that subscribe to the particular belief *cough* Maelis *cough* that a special dance will help mobs spawn faster. I have never myself attempted to use a spawn dance, but I have found that I tend to run in a clockwise direction when I am farming because somehow the mobs seem to spawn faster. Or perhaps it's just because I can't turn left.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves

No UBRS key for you!

Call me crazy, but I am still collecting Azeroth keys and attunements. It's this thing I have with needing to complete things. I realize fully that I will hardly ever go to UBRS now that I am 70 (it's a Murphy's Law thing), but should any of the lower members of the guild need entrance for attunements or gear of their own (my guild is full of collectors just like me), then I will be able to help them out. I have two out of the three gems needed, and have in my spare time been running the instance with our guild leader trying for the third. So imagine my irritation when I read today on QJ.net that the quest line is bugged, severely.

Vaelen, the schmoe who gives you the quest in the first place, is now in the habit of deleting the quest and your quest items when you talk to him. Now, this isn't right by any stretch of the imagination. Vrakhris mentioned in the forum post that Blizz knows about the problem, and are working on fixing it in an upcoming patch. Meanwhile, there's a workaround to tide us over.

Read more →

Filed under: Tricks, Quests

Hellfire at level 55

A week or so ago, a friendly lock in our guild summoned me out to Honor Hold to train in Enchanting. It appears to be bothering people that this is possible, that we are somehow abusing the system. I don't feel that I am, and in fact I was able to summon an entire group ranging from 51-55 for some Outland fun. We killed boars, a lot of them, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. It's interesting to note that although I cannot pass through into Outland, I am able to go through the Dark Portal into Azeroth. To me this is the sign that what I am doing is not against the design of the game. It's more like that shortcut to UBRS, built into the game for those resourceful enough to find it.

I have yet to be able to get a quest, but I get plenty of looks from other players. Most are supportive, and many have helped me survive those times when I managed to attract too much attention from the wandering wildlife. Some have watched me die and laughed at my corpse. It matters not. What matters is that I can level my Tailoring and Enchanting again, I can use all that Netherweave I have been gathering, and I am having the time of my life. I have rediscovered the joys of grinding. I find it a better use of my time grinding the levels until 58 in an environment where the exp gain is so high. It sure beats Silithus and those darn Dredge Crushers.

Filed under: The Burning Crusade, Leveling

Scholomance? More like Solomance

I've been speculating a lot on what Blizzard is going to do with the old instances, just because I'm always ready for a challenge, and currently, at level 70, the old raids don't offer a full group much of a challenge at all. But as some of our wise commenters have said, you don't have to wait for Blizzard to change the old instances to have fun with them-- just go in solo.

NSDragon on LJ asks what instances (Mara and up) can be soloed at 70. You don't have to wait until 70 to solo Mara-- I know folks who were soloing that one back at 60. Sunken Temple might have been tough at 60, but a well-geared 70 should be able to take that place down.

I know for a fact that a guildie of mine has repeatedly soloed BRD all the way to Emperor for farming, and a hunter in the guild was farming Stratholme for Righteous Orbs a while back. So I'd guess that most of the 5mans can be soloed pretty easily. Has anyone tried to beat UBRS solo? That seems much harder, but a duo seems pretty easy, and I'm sure a trio of the right classes would probably take down Drakk before he even knew what hit him. Someone on the LJ thread says MC has been 5manned, and I've heard that Ony has been three manned. Anyone know about BWL? Or Naxx? It's really hard to believe that Naxx doesn't still require at least 15-20 well-geared 70s, but I guess anything's possible. ZG and AQ20 are probably easy with ten 70s, but I could definitely see those getting 5manned as well as more people head into the new endgame.

When a five man group downs Kel'Thuzad, you know it'll be time for Blizzard to worry about the old instances. But until then, I guess unguilded 70s can just enjoy all the new solo content!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Leveling

You can't go home again

When the expansion came around, we did a lot of speculating about what would happen to the "old" raid instances, now that the items were so much better in Outland. So now that people are working through the level 70 instances (that guy to the right isn't just Murmur on fire), what has happened back in Azeroth?

I've only been back through old instances a few times, and every single one was just depressing. My guild, a few weeks ago, decided to run MC with about 30 people, just so some alts could get geared and we could spit in the face of mobs who'd given us trouble in the past. But I was glad I had to leave for some real life stuff halfway through-- we were taking down bosses without even blinking, and trash mobs dropped too fast for me to even get a cast off. We fought for weeks over this?

I've also done one run of UBRS (to get some people attuned to BWL, which I passed on after that bad MC experience), and one of Stratholme just the other night-- my 61 rogue, a 65 priest and a 70 hunter farming Runecloth and Righteous Orbs tore both sides of that place apart so quickly that I was bored the whole time (the Eye showed up, and we just killed the adds it brought). The one place I'd actually gain something from, Zul'Gurub (I've got quest pieces that I need rep to turn in yet), I haven't had the guts to go back to yet-- I liked running the instance so much when it was challenging that I feel like going back there now with ten or even five people and tearing it apart would be like visiting the house you grew up in: everything just seems so much smaller and more depressing.

Have you been back to the old content? Is there any challenging fun to be gotten from it at all? Originally, I was thinking it would be nice if Blizzard could reinvigorate these old instances, and I guess some kind of heroic mode would still be fun. But at this point, I'm almost of the opinion that they should just be put out of their misery.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, Leveling

How to fix the old instances

Before the expansion came out, we wondered and wondered what would happen to the old level 60 instances when the Dark Portal opened. And now that it's here, we know: no one's running them. Oh, there's a few quest groups here and there of people working their way up to 58 (the bare minimum to come through to Outland), but there's almost zero reason to run AQ or ZG 20-mans, considering the loot is just so much better, even just in Hellfire Peninsula. And MC, on my server at least, is a barren wasteland-- why take four hours with 40 people just for a few good pieces when you can get much better loot in 15 minutes of questing in Outland?

So what to do? We're sure Blizzard will come up with a way to make these instances relevant again-- in fact, I'd be surprised if, despite what they said earlier, they weren't already working on it now. But just to help them, here's a few suggestions of how to fix the old instances.

-First, and most obvious, is enabling Heroic mode. We already have dungeons in Outland that will be able to be tuned to Heroic mode, which means bosses and mobs are harder, but give much better drops. In the same way, Blizzard is likely going to let us optionally turn up the difficulty in UBRS or Stratholme, offering better loot for a bigger challenge.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, The Burning Crusade

Breakfast Topic: Ready for pull?

What's the hardest non-boss pull in the game?

For the level, the stats say that Defias Pillagers are among the hardest pull in the game. That's probably because they're the first casters players face, not to mention lots of players head towards Deadmines too early, because they're anxious to see the game's instances. According to the "casters are hard" rule, I'll also throw in Murloc casters-- they come in packs, they run away (pulling more), and they hit hard (that gurgle is one of the most hated sounds in the game).

At the higher levels, the Lava packs in MC have gained a reputation for being hard pulls (mostly because of those Flamewalker fireballs). As for the other endgame instances, I can't think of a harder pull of non-boss mobs-- my guild handled the other stuff pretty well (err-- when we didn't make mistakes, that is). The ZG bats are annoying but definitely handle-able, and the AQ bugs are tough to pull one group at a time, but once you've got the right group of them, they're easy to whittle down.

But for my money, the hardest non-boss pull in the game (if you're not ready for it) is the pull in UBRS we usually do right before the Beast. It's the group of three dragons and two orcs on the far side of the room across from the Beast's lair. If you're not well-geared and/or ready for it, I think that single pull is a real test as to how your group can handle focusing fire, crowd control, and aggro and healing management. So what do you say?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Raiding

Instances in Burning Crusade and beyond

Relmstein's got a great roundup of the new instances coming in the Burning Crusade, including the lowdown on two instances that won't show up in January, but will likely appear in two releases after the expansion.

The Black Temple, it seems, won't be available when the expansion hits-- Blizz says they want to "polish" it before release. Relmstein says that's fine, because it will take players a few weeks to get to level 70 anyway. I'm not sure that's true-- you should never underestimate how fast players can eat up new content, but I do think that the other new instances will be more than enough to at least keep the majority of players interested for a while. The other instance we'll have to wait a bit on is Zul'Aman, a 10-man instance that's Troll-based like Zul'Gurub and Zul'Farrak. Of course I knew that there would be lots of new 10-man content in BC (the highest dungeons will have a limit of 25 players), but the thought still gets me excited-- UBRS is one of my favorite instances in the current game (and relatively easy to get a group together at any time), so more 10-man content will be very welcome to see.

Finally, Relmstein takes a look at instances and areas that still haven't opened in the world. Hyjal and the Island in the middle of the map we already suspect will open in later expansions, but there's a few instances that might be closer-- specifically Uldum in the south of Tanaris (a Dwarf lore instance like Uldaman) and Gilneas near Silverpine Forest. There's no plans yet for either to open (Blizzard has acknowledged that they want to, but probably aren't currently working on either), but considering that instances are many players' favorite part of the game at large, it's extremely exciting to think what swirly portals we'll be walking through soon.

Filed under: Patches, Guilds, Instances, Quests, Expansions

WoW Moviewatch: All rogue UBRS


If a party of only rogues can go into UBRS and kill Rend, I have no idea why my priest can't shadow spec all the way through the game... (Bandage spec ftw!) I can't tell what level of gear these folks all have, but, regardless, I am always entertained by single-class raids -- especially those done by non-hybrid classes like rogues.

Filed under: Rogue, Machinima

WoW Moviewatch: 5-player UBRS


I've done the Father Flame event with only five players in the past, and it was pretty rough -- rough enough that I can't imagine going all the way to the end of the dungeon with that few. However, this video shows a group of 5 (warrior, paladin, priest, and 2 mages) taking down the Beast and Drakkisath. A fairly impressive feat, if I do say so myself!

Filed under: Machinima, Instances

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