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Posts with tag upgrades

Will running five player content be viable in Warlords?

I actually really enjoy five player dungeons. One of my disappointments in Mists of Pandaria was that we never got any five mans beyond the start of the expansion and that they basically became just a means to farm some valor - since no new fives were introduced, they couldn't be tuned to in any way keep up with gear from Throne of Thunder much less Siege of Orgrimmar. They became laughably easy unless you were running them as Challenge Modes, ultimately.

And this bothers me because I'm one of those people who feels like five player content never really had lived up to its promise in World of Warcraft. Especially now that raid dungeons have become so accessible, with LFR and flex making it easier than ever for almost all players to get some level of raiding if they want it, I've always felt like fives need a refocusing. Having normal and heroic difficulty fives really separate with better rewards for fives is a good start, but where Challenge Modes didn't grab me was in their completely cosmetic rewards. I always felt like CM's should offer gear on par with at least normal mode raiding - a group that decided to focus exclusively on Challenge Modes or some other form of very hard five player content should be able to progress their character not just visually, but actually as well.

Why do I feel this way? Well, I'll tell you.

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

Breakfast Topic: Drops vs. tokens or points

Breakfast Topic Drops vs tokens or points
I'm a fairly methodical player. I dodge entire swaths of the game (pet battles and holiday events, I'm looking at you) because I don't have time to get sucked into the inevitable completionism. But despite a fondness for checklists and planning, I'm dissatisfied in a system centered on buying gear with tokens, points, or other currency systems. I'm a fan of throwing my fates to the wind and diving into an instance to see what luck may bring me. I like not knowing if or when a particular piece might come my way, and I'm fully open to the possibility that it might not ever come at all. (Although I reserve the right to grouse about it. That's part of the fun.)

For me, this bit of RNG design is part of what keeps the parameters of a game world feeling larger than the sum of my ambitions. The envy of seeing someone in town stroll by wielding the massive two-handed staff that I've always admired, the unchecked line item on my gear list ... I like knowing that there exist parts of this world that I can't manhandle into submission. After all, my dream gear list wouldn't be very dreamy if it were merely a shopping list.

We do need alternatives. We need ways to fill in holes for things that never drop, and we need drops for players who prefer not to run dungeons and raid content. (I wish more of that were based on player-made items, frankly -- but that's another Breakfast Topic.) Most assuredly, we need a selection of rewards for players whose souls crave predictable, regular infusions of upgrade juju.

I appreciate WoW's current mix of methods, although for my own tastes, things have slid a little too far to the predictable side of the equation. Knowing what my upgrades will be and when I will get them feels dully inevitable. I'd welcome a little more reliance on the RNG, with the opportunity for a little more chaos surrounding any given drop (and therefore a little more passionate hope beforehand and a little more unbridled joy afterwards). As Matt Rossi puts it, "loot is the carrot; not getting loot is the stick."

Open country vs. mapped road -- where do you stand? Do you prefer plotting your path to purple glory with gear that lies reliably in your path, or do you wish there were a little more crazy RNG splashed into the mix? Should the mix of gear acquisition methods balance differently in different areas of the game, and if so, do you think the game already does so with success? And most importantly, how has the mix of predictable vs. unpredictable gear upgrades worked out for you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Patch 5.1 coming to the PTR soon

Patch 51 coming to the PTR soon, includes Brawler's Guild
When they said they wanted to get patches out faster, they appear not to have been kidding, because patch 5.1 is already slated to head for the PTR soon. And it looks like it's going to be chock full of improvements.
  • The Brawler's Guild, allowing you to engage in solo PvE content against various difficult monsters, similar to the Proving Grounds concept from a while ago.
  • The ability to upgrade the rarity of pets in the pet battle system via an as yet undisclosed method.
  • Wrathion's legendary questline will advance.
  • You'll be able to spend valor points to upgrade items.
All of this and news of the advancement of the Horde/Alliance conflict. If you're wondering how that will move forward, patch 5.1 will have the answers for you. Coming soon to a PTR near you.

The complete text of the announcement is behind the break.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Officers' Quarters: Policy and practice


Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

With the release of Icecrown Citadel in Patch 3.3 on Tuesday, it seemed like a good time to talk about loot policy. Everyone's going to be drooling over the upgrades in there, especially some of the unique items like Deathbringer's Will, and loot assignments may become heated affairs. This week's e-mail highlights an issue that could come up in your guild -- and why you should think twice before you let it happen. (FYI, to explain why he's talking about Ulduar loot, the e-mail was sent to me in October, and I responded to it then.)

I am an officer in a guild where our loot rules until recently seemed fair to me but now I am not so sure. I have been raiding with my guild for almost a year as part of the first team and the way our loot rules work is main spec then off spec NEED rolls, if no one needs, it gets D/E. You get 1 epic and 1 tier per run unless there is no one else who can use the item or every 1 that qualifies for the item has already won something in which case you get to roll again.

This system has always seemed fair to me even though I don't always win the item I want. In fact I haven't won a single upgrade since July. Where as other team members seem to keep getting better and better geared and I am getting left behind. There is a DK in our team who has out-rolled me 4 times for weapon upgrades. His weapon keeps getting better and better and mine just stays where it is.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Potential character model revisions in Cataclysm

WoW's fifth anniversary and the interviews surrounding it have ended up providing us with some previously-unknown tidbits of information -- which is a good thing, especially when it comes to stuff we've been wanting to hear about for a long time.

This particular tidbit comes from the Warcry network interview with J. Allen Brack and Samwise Didier about the game's anniversary, and it's about a subject near and dear to our constantly-complaining hearts: new character models. They might even be coming in Cataclysm.

Says Brack:
"Even though things would be better with new (character) models, we'd probably spark a lot of player outrage. So we've talked about giving players a choice between the classic models or the new ones, but it might not be something we want to take on at the same time as we remake Azeroth."
That's pretty big news.

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Filed under: News items, Expansions, Interviews, Cataclysm

Breakfast Topic: What classic loot would you want to see upgraded?


So this question was actually inspired by the photo Rossi put on his latest warrior column: That of a Worgen warrior wielding Ashkandi. It brought me back to the old days where that sword was pretty the dream in every possible way. It had good DPS, a decent speed, nice stats, it looked absolutely amazing, and it once belonged to the OG of Humanity, the greatest hero the Alliance has ever known, Anduin Lothar. Back in the day, pretty much every Arms Warrior and Retribution Paladin I knew lusted for it.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Raiding, Lore

Common updating problems and tips for fixing them

It's patch day, of course, and people are having plenty of troubles with upgrading their clients to the latest 3.1 version. But worry not -- most of the issues we're seeing, while relatively widespread, should be fixed by the time the realms come back online. Here's a few tips to help you get through the time of trouble.

Help! My patch isn't downloading? It's stuck at 68%/73%/xx%!
It probably is downloading -- be patient and let it run. Blizzard uses a Bittorrent-based system to distribute the game's patches through the official client, and those systems depend not just on Blizzard and their ability to distribute the patch, but also how much of the patch all of your peers have. If everyone around you has xx%, that's all you'll get for now. But an hour from now, someone will have spread the full patch around, and then you'll pick it up no problem. Patience is a virtue, and until the realms come back up, you can't play anyway.

Also, the patcher will stop showing progress around 70% or so -- at that point it'll start installing the patch, and you'll need to click another button to see installation progress. But if you just let it run, it'll update.

What does "The tracker is not responding" mean?
Another Bittorrent issue that should resolve itself after a little while. The patch will need some time to disseminate, and if you get a message like this, it just means your client hasn't found all of the connections that it can. It will.

I get a weird "Unable to Validate Game Version" message when I log in. Is my client broken?
No. Blizzard's servers aren't all upgraded yet (hence the reason we can't play). When they are all upgraded, your client's version will match the server's, and everything will be hunky dory.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

Scattered Shots: A PvE gem and enchant guide for Hunters


Welcome to this week's edition of Scattered Shots, which is dedicated to shiny things and dust.

So by now you've seen our normal dungeon gear guide, our heroic dungeon gear guide, our reputation gear guide, and our holiday gift guide. Between all of them, you should be able to put together a nice solid set of gear that should let you tackle 10-man Naxxramas pretty easily. But grabbing the gear is the easy part. To go the extra mile, you need to grab those gems and enchantments. Let's look at some of the best gems and enchantments you can take along to secure your place in the DPS charts in Naxxramas.

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Filed under: Hunter, Enchanting, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Jewelcrafting, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Ranking your new loot

Our good friend Kestrel reminds you that as you're leveling up and getting all this new gear, there are quite a few good tools out there to let you know what's what in terms of what gear is best for you. Lootrank is the one Kestrel mentions most -- you can put in your own stats and check off which ones are most important to you, and it'll recommend and rate your gear from there. We've got our own list of other sites which will help, too -- Kaliban's great class loot lists (at wow-loot.com) have been all updated for Wrath, and of course ShadowPanther has lots of Rogue updates as well (though DruidWiki doesn't appear to be completely updated yet).

MaxDPS.com is a very popular site for seeking and tracking gear upgrades as well, and I remain a fan of the simplicity of Gear Wishlist -- it doesn't get any easier than tossing your info into a form and having the site spit a huge list of gear options at you, based on the rankings from mulitple other sites.

But no matter how you do it, there are plenty of ways to figure out which way to head for your next upgrade. There's a whole continent of new gear out there -- go get some.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask WoW Insider: Getting rid of leftover gear

We're a bit late this week, but we've got a good question for you readers from Hylia, a Shadow Priest on Arthas. If you have a question you'd like to ask the readers of WoW Insider, don't forget to send it to ask@wow.com.

I've got a question regarding the level 70 epics I've been pilling in my bank. Since I just hit 80 and I`m changing all my gear now, I don't know what to do. The thing is: I don't know if I should just sell my old gear or if I should disenchant it. I have over 20 of those purple shards too and I'm not sure they would sell well.

Thanks in advance for the help.

Hylia


It's a good question that lots of us are dealing with as we make our way up to 80: what do we do with the old level 70 epics? Personally, I've just been selling most of it -- I have kept a few sets, such as my Tier armor and a crafted set I made and socketed, but I'm not an Enchanter, and, like Hylia, I don't know how old shards would sell now anyway.

What have you been doing with the old gear? Vendor, disenchant, or is your bank packed with Gigantiques so you can keep it all?

Previously on Ask WoW Insider...

Filed under: Enchanting, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Ask WoW Insider, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Scattered Shots: Reputation rewards for Hunters in Wrath of the Lich King


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! You didn't think Scattered Shots was taking the day off, did you? Hopefully, there's enough of you who aren't completely zonked out on turkey, ham, or beef to read this.

So by now, I figure most of you are well on your way to 80, and are probably starting to ask yourself: Which reputation should I grind first? There's tons of ways to choose, be it roleplaying who your character would align themselves with or choosing the one that's easiest to grind. One of the most popular and most effective though, is pretty simple: Asking yourself which one has the best loot. Today's Scattered Shots will center around that last one.

If you're still not sure how to grind reputation in Northrend, or forgot where the quartermasters are, be sure to check out our Wrath 101 post on reputations, as well as our post on the Wolvar and Oracles of Sholozar Basin. Once you've done that, or if you remember the basics, read on!

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Filed under: Hunter, Leatherworking, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Factions, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Scattered Shots: Wrath of the Lich King starting zone upgrades, Part I

Here's a Hunter ready for upgrades.Welcome to Scattered Shots, the weekly Hunter column, now with 100% more Northrend!

So you're on the shore in Northrend by now, one hopes, and maybe you're level 71, still tooling around the starting zones, looking for the right quests to do to get some decent gear for yourselves. Now if you've spent a decent amount of time in Tier 4 or better content, or if you decked yourself out in badge gear, I'll be honest, you may not find too many upgrades here. But for people who started their Hunter a little late or didn't quite clear Karazhan before the expansion, there's some very nice stuff here.

Let's take a look at the quest rewards of Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra and their attached dungeons, and see what they offer:

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Filed under: Hunter, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Leveling, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Upgrading to greens? Not so much

I have to agree with Lowangel: where's the upgrades? We all knew that the gear dropping in Northrend wasn't quite going to be as huge a jump as it was when we headed off to Outland, but I was only dressed in late Karazhan gear, and at this point, close to 73, I've upgraded one thing. I thought I'd get a little upgrade -- time and time again, I've picked up soulbound quest items, only to have to vendor them off because they don't have the hit I worked to get or the extra Agility on top of the Stamina I've already got.

As much as I appreciate keeping the epics on, it is a little disappointing that I may not actually get new gear for ten levels (indeed, many of the folks who cleared the PvE content already were dressed in their old gear as well). Dressing yourself in clown greens is embarassing, but having no upgrades at all is a problem in the opposite direction. Bornakk says to be patient and that we'll find upgrades soon enough (and I have, to his credit, already seen a few nice rep items that I'd want, even if I don't have the rep to buy them yet). There are upgrades out there.

But so far, I've only hit a few sidegrades and hardly any clearly better gear than what I had before. How about you?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Quests, Expansions, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

5 loot ranking sites to check out

I am often flummoxed when trying to decide which piece of loot to take from a quest or to purchase for an upgrade. I end up doing math on index cards or, if I'm really desperate, cranking out Excel and going for full-on geekery. Sometimes, though, this seems like way too much trouble and I will probably end up dumping the thing soon anyway. Although the Armory offers a "find an upgrade" tool, it's simply a list of items with stats. I still end up doing the math. So I went searching for some easier ways to figure out my next best loot options and here I share them with you.
  • Kaliban's Class Loot Lists - Probably considered the gold standard of loot resource sites. Choose your class and then slice and dice until you find your perfect match. I found loot for level 68+.
  • Loot Rank - Lets you enter complex stat requirements and weight the stats you like best. It seems targeted to endgame players for the most part.
  • Lootzor - Lets you choose any level gear and even normal instance gear. Weighted stats.
  • ShadowPanther - Rogues R us. Breaks down recommendations by every category imaginable.
  • Druid Wiki - Recommendations for druids of all specs, including a section called "Must have quest rewards."

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Quests, Guides, Enchants, Battlegrounds, Arena

Ever-enlarging WoW realms spell continued success

In a forum post about the ultimate downfall of WoW, Drysc pops in to explain that WoW still has a long lifespan ahead of it. People who say that the lack of new servers proves there are fewer and fewer new players in the game are missing the big picture. Back before The Burning Crusade was launched, Blizzard did a series of server upgrades that left each realm down for a few days. At the time, they said this was to make things ready for the expansion, but little did we know it would be to such an extent.

Apparently these upgrades allowed Blizzard to keep pushing the maximum realm population up all this time, as more and more players joined the game. There are some relatively "low" population realms, of course, but only in comparison to the new much-increased maximum limit. As Drysc says, "aside from literally a handful of realms (I could count them on one hand), every other realm has a population that would have been considered high to overpopulated before the launch of Burning Crusade." Only recently have certain realms become truly crowded enough to merit free transfers to other realms.

People always like to talk about the eventual downfall of the strongest player in any arena, but the steady growth Drysc is talking about continues, it looks like WoW will be the biggest 800-pound gorilla in the MMO jungle for a good long time to come.

Filed under: Realm News, Odds and ends

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