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Posts with tag wow-raiding

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

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

How do you feel about warming the bench?

You know how raid nights go. Sometimes you have the bare minimum of people showing up, and you're desperately trying to fill spots. And on some occasions, everyone inexplicably shows up at the same time. When you go from barely scraping by with eight or 22 to suddenly dealing with a glut of 15 to 25, obviously somebody's not making it into the mix. So how do you decide who?

Some guilds simply go by attendance numbers; if you've shown up consistently, you're in. If you just happen to be making an appearance for farm night, you're out. Some guilds pick based solely on performance in the raid itself; if you're consistently pulling high DPS and not standing in fire, you're in. If you can't find your way out of a poison cloud with a map and GPS system showing you the way, you're out.

But what do you do when you're the one being sat?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

How encounter design plays into game balance

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Game balance is a very frequent topic when it comes to WoW. With every nerf or buff, there comes a vast explanation from the player base as to why it was and was not justified. Perhaps one of the most common lamentations regarding a nerf that we see is when Blizzard "nerfs PvE for the sake of PvP." While Blizzard does make PvP damage adjustments from time to time, there are far more damage changes that are made due to PvE concerns than there ever has been for PvP. It's an easy fallback to take up; blaming the aspect of the game which you don't actively take part in, yet it would be far more accurate for PvP players to complain about PvE.

There's another trap that's easy to fall into: that PvE balance is easy to do. To be fair, balancing against Patchwerk encounters isn't that difficult, although you'll still never get it perfect, but WoW has only had a single Patchwerk encounter, and that was Patchwerk. For all the damage juggling that Blizzard does, the largest factor in game balance is always going to be the encounters themselves. Each fight has unique mechanics which mingles with the way specs operate and it is that which determines how a spec fairs just as much as any damage balancing on Blizzard's part.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

The last gasp of 25-man raiding

Imagine you have been placed in front of two hedge mazes, both leading to the same wonderful prize at the end. It could be a car, money, a trip to an exotic location -- whatever you really want, for the purpose of this imaginary exercise, OK? So there are two mazes, each leading to the awesome prize, but as you look at those mazes, you realize one of them is twistier, longer, and has potentially more hazards in it. The other is difficult, to be sure -- but side by side, it's slightly less hazardous than the other. And they both lead to the exact same thing.

So which maze do you take?

Most people would much rather take that shorter, slightly less hazardous maze. I mean, if you've got two choices that get you to the same fabulous prize, you'd be out of your mind to take the difficult path, wouldn't you? Welcome to the debate of 10-man vs. 25-man raiding -- and the main reason why 25-man raids are slowly dying out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Does a video game have to force us to make good choices?

Take a moment and picture this: There's a politician out there, a pretty sleazy politician, who is basically in a position of power to use that power to do whatever suits him or her best -- no regard for anyone that voted him into office, no real sense of caring for those he is supposedly serving. One day, someone comes up to that politician and says, "Hey man, I'll give you $3 million if you start taking an interest in your constituents and doing what is best for them, OK?" The politician agrees, takes the money, and promptly starts doing the right thing.

Is that politician in the wrong? Or is that politician simply learning that if he behaves badly, he'll get a bribe to start behaving correctly? What's to stop him from behaving badly again, if he thinks he's going to get another $3 million out of the deal? More importantly, if all the other politicians out there see this guy get a bribe to behave like a decent politician and all of those politicians decide to start behaving badly in an effort to get that bribe for themselves, are they in the wrong?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Ready Check: The loss of itemization in Cataclysm

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Like it or not, there's one constant about raiding. No matter what your reason for raiding is, and no matter what joy you happen to get from it, there's only one thing that matters at the end of the day. Obviously, I'm talking about loot. Loot is the one thing that makes the raiding world go 'round. Sure, we raid for story, we raid for friends, we raid for challenges. All of that is well and good and makes for a nice, lovely, non-selfish story that we can tell the world. Who knows? It might even be true -- but there's no avoiding that loot is the result.

Maybe that's why raiding has popularity issues. Maybe it isn't the experience so much as it is the reward. I suppose we'll never know -- at least, not from this Ready Check. No, no, instead there's there one part of loot issues that I really want to get into, the problem that has been plaguing Blizzard for this entire expansion: the lack of loot.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding), Cataclysm

Is there such a thing as casually hardcore?

Once upon a time, I was an MC raider back in vanilla WoW. I raided six nights a week, three to four hours a night. My off night, Friday, was spent gathering plants in Felwood and other materials for potions and flasks. We busted our butts on completing progression content before anyone else on the realm, and if we couldn't manage that, before anyone else on our side of the faction fence managed to do so. Somewhere in the midst of AQ-40, the guild fell apart. People were just burnt out on way too much raiding and all the preparation involved in getting that raiding done successfully.

These days, I raid three nights a week, three hours a night or so. To me, it's far, far more casual than what I used to do. I don't spend a ton of time on farming materials, and I don't spend a ton of time on other things unless it happens to be in game holiday time. I don't usually run random instances unless I'm after something specific, and I don't really do PvP at all. I'd call myself casual, simply based on the time that I play and what I do with that time. Yet there are still plenty of people out there who fling the hardcore title at me.

When I look at how I used to play and how I play now, I can't understand why anyone would think what I'm doing now is anything but casual, and I'm confused as to why anyone would say differently.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Ready Check: Tiered raid progression vs. raid accessibility

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Let's do a little bit of polling in my head, shall we? How many of you raided during vanilla? Not all that many, I'm sure, and not purely because not that many folks from that time are still around but also because a horridly low number of people who were around back then did raid. But let's say you did raid. How many actually got to clear through the original Naxx? Now, that's a small number of hands; after all, even Blizzard said that less than 1% of the player base so much as downed a single boss in the that instance. Moving on to The Burning Crusade, how many raided there? More hands that previously, I'm sure. Now how many of you progressed past Karazhan? How many cleared through Black Temple? Sunwell?

Let's keep getting more current, though. How many say Naxx in Wrath? Now how many saw ICC? OK, how many say any T11 content? How many of those saw Dragon Soul? Interesting! The number of hands gets progressively smaller as the raids within vanilla WoW and The Burning Crusade progress, yet it stays relatively the same throughout Wrath and Cataclysm. That's because in Wrath, Blizzard drastically changed its view on raiding -- far beyond merely making it easier.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Why we need difficult raid encounters

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop. Questions, comments, or something you would like to see? Email me at tyler@wowinsider or message me on Twitter @murmursofadruid.

Welcome back again, raiders. Last session, we discussed those things that make a raid fun. Fun, as with many subjects, is a highly personal experience, and the simple matter is that not everyone finds even the concept of raiding itself very fun. This week, I want to continue with that discussion but in a different topic of course. Fun is merely a single part of raiding; another side of it is difficulty.

Difficulty comes in many shapes and sizes, not all of which are exclusive to one another. Further, difficulty often gets a rather tough rap in terms of how it influences a player's experience. Often, when we hear the word difficulty, we think of bosses that are just downright annoyingly hard. We envision these impossible encounters that act as roadblocks toward progression that end up only frustrating raiders. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Filed under: Raiding, Ready Check (Raiding)

Lichborne: Siege of Wyrmrest Raid Finder advice for the death knight

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Once you've finished the new patch 4.3 dungeons and gained a bit of loot from them, you may ask yourself: What's next? One of the most obvious answers is the Raid Finder tool. You'll get better loot and faster valor point gain, as well as some starting experience in the raid game if you ever get the desire or chance to join an organized raiding group.

Still, the idea of heading into a raid (even a simple one) can be a little daunting, so today I'd like to help allay your fears by giving you a quick look at the first of the Raid Finder scenarios, the Siege of Wyrmrest.

Before we get into the boss strategies, though, there are a few things you should get down.
  • Make sure your gear's good enough. If you can, get it gemmed (with strength gems) and enchanted. While you can head into Raid Finder as low as ilevel 372, don't be afraid to pick up an extra piece of gear or two from the heroic dungeons. A good weapon upgrade, for example, will do wonders for your DPS.
  • If you can afford them, consider grabbing some consumables. A Flask of Steelskin and some Lavascale Minestrone for tanks or a Flask of Titanic Strength and some Beer-Basted Crocolisk for DPS will put your performance at the next level, and for a good group, you'll only need one flask to face the whole dungeon. Morchok's easy enough that sometimes I save the flask until we engage the second boss, just to make sure it stretches.
  • Follow your raid leader. A raid is only as good as its raid leader and its members' abilities to follow their raid leaders' instructions, even in Raid Finder. Use these boss strategies, but defer to your raid leader where you can. They don't always know what they're doing, but in Raid Finder, sometimes that doesn't matter; either way, the more everyone works together, the easier things become.
  • Don't Panic and don't get uptight. This is a pickup group, so things will go wrong and people will randomly drop between groups. Just stay loose, have fun, and be prepared to wait a bit for replacements in between each boss. Griping just makes it less fun for everyone.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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