Posts Tagged ‘dungeons’

Blizzard Unveils Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms

If you needed a reason to queue up and join the dungeon finder, well…now you have one. Alternatively, if you’ve bemoaned the lack of people in queues and the time required to get a decent group, get ready for some relief. In patch 4.1 Blizzard is poised to unveil the Dungeon Finder: A Call to Arms.

Here’s the lowdown from Blizzard:

In patch 4.1 we’ll be introducing Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms, a new system intended to lower queue times. Call to Arms will automatically detect which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.

Any time the Dungeon Finder queue is longer than a few minutes for level-85 Heroics, the Call to Arms system kicks in and determines which role is the least represented. In the case of tanking being the least represented role, the “Call to Arms: Tanks” icon will display in the Dungeon Finder UI menu where class roles are selected, and will also display on the UI when the queue pops and you are selected to enter a dungeon. Regardless of your role, you’ll always be able to see which role currently has been Called to Arms, if any.

Call to Arms is meant to lower wait times by offering additional rewards for queuing as the currently least represented role. To be eligible for the additional rewards you must solo queue for a random level-85 Heroic in the role that is currently being Called to Arms, and complete the dungeon by killing the final boss. Every time you hit these requirements (there is no daily limit) you’ll receive a goodie bag that will contain some gold, a chance at a rare gem, a chance at a flask/elixir (determined by spec), a good chance of receiving a non-combat pet (including cross faction pets), and a very rare chance at receiving a mount. The pets offered come from a wide variety of sources, and include companions like the Razzashi Hatchling, Cockatiel, and Tiny Sporebat, but the mounts are those specifically only available through dungeons (not raids), like the Reins of the Raven Lord from Sethekk Halls, Swift White Hawkstrider from Magister’s Terrace, and Deathcharger’s Reins from Stratholme.

Allow me to use this YouTube video to express my reaction:

Moving on:

This system is meant to address the unacceptable queue times currently being experienced by those that queue for the DPS role at max level. The long queue times are, of course, caused by a very simple lack of representation in the Dungeon Finder by tanks, and to some extent healers. We don’t feel the tanking and healing roles have any inherent issues that are causing the representation disparity, except that fulfilling them carries more responsibility. Understandably, players prefer to take on that responsibility in more organized situations than what the Dungeon Finder offers, but perhaps we can bribe them a little. While this system gives tanks and healers something extra, the incentive is being provided so that we can help players in the DPS role get into more dungeons, get better gear, and continue progressing.

While the gold, gems, flasks, and elixirs are OK incentives, we knew we needed something more substantial. We had briefly considered Valor Points and epics, but decided that wouldn’t be working toward the goal of helping DPS players progress, and ultimately wouldn’t keep tanks and healers in the Dungeon Finder system for very long. We settled on pets and dungeon-found mounts as they’re cosmetic/achievement items that players tend to try to get on their own, so why not change that up and offer them a chance to get some of those elusive pets and mounts in a way that also helps other players? Even if they don’t get a pet or mount, or get one they already have, the gold and other goodies still feel rewarding enough that it won’t feel like a waste of effort.

We think it’s a pretty solid incentive to get tanks and healers queuing, give max-level players another way to collect the pets and mounts they so desire, and above all, to improve wait times for DPS players sitting in queues. In the case of lower level dungeons, it’s actually not uncommon for DPS to be the least represented role, and so if this new system works out and we’re pleased with the results, we may consider applying this same mechanic to lower level dungeons as well.

Wow. Color me impressed. That’s really something, and personally I think the lure of loot just may work. After all, it worked during Wrath to get people to actually stay and finish The Oculus, why won’t it work here?

Blizzard Unveils the Tomb of Immortal Darkness: New 5 Man Dungeon!

Wow, Blizzard is really intent on bringing new and interesting 5-man content to the game. Today they announced the Tomb of Immortal Darkness, a new 5-player dungeon that will blow your mind. Here’s their description:

Deep beneath the crumbling tombstones of Duskwood’s Raven Hill Cemetery, a dark and mysterious power is emerging. Drawing strength from the blackest night and fiercely jealous of the sighted, a once-devoted follower of Leotheras the Blind is spreading his shadowy tendrils across the land. Heroes of Azeroth must delve into his pitch black lair to face Omgsogoth, Dark Lord of Twilight, before the world is plunged into eternal night.

Making use of cutting-edge Deep Dark® technology, the Tomb of Immortal Darkness is a new five-player normal and heroic dungeon that will be introduced in patch 4.1.11. Three new bosses, with unique features and mechanics, will put your group to the test: Omgsogoth, Dark Lord of Twilight; the maniacal Twisted Spiral Fool; and Duc Ulah, The Winged Keeper. Featuring new daily quests, updated monster models, and all-new unique loot, you’ll find you really can’t believe your eyes…

Face your greatest fears in the paralysing dark of the Tomb. Tremble as you stumble blindly towards Omgsogoth’s chamber. Panic at the claustrophobic atmosphere, and feel terror cloud your senses. Will you find your way, or will you be lost, never to return?

Check out the gameplay videos there too – the dungeon looks incredible! So much depth of field, and so much to explore! You could literally go over it a thousand times and never see the same details twice!

I cast magic missle!

Video :: Blizzard Sucks

You’ve likely heard all of the complaining about the state of Cataclysm raiding and dungeons. You’ve also likely heard enough from either side of the debate that you’ve come to your own conclusions. Personally, I think that a number of people are asking a little too much of Blizzard when it comes to nerfing the game – and that when some of the more hardcore players are mad that the game is too easy and some of the most casual players are mad that the game is entirely too hard, then you’ve got the perfect balance for most players who don’t complain either way.

To that point, this video is another Cataclysm Heroics are Hard-style skewering of the mentality that Blizzard should ratchet the difficulty of the game down to the point where it’s pretty easy, especially for players who want to put in even less effort than those who willingly call themselves casual. Click play, and enjoy.

What to do when Good Guildies Go Bad

Each week over at The Blog Azeroth Forums, the community comes together around a shared blog topic – interested WoW bloggers can pick up the topic and make posts on their own sites to respond to it, and all of the responses are collected and linked at TwistedNether.net. “What to do when Good Guildies Go Bad” is this week’s topic!

This week’s shared topic at Blog Azeroth resonated with me specifically:

What do you do when a normally good guildmate performs poorly or behaves badly? Your rock solid tank comes to raid ungemmed, your master mage dips down into pre-cata dps numbers several nights in a row or your best healer can’t seem to keep from going oom 2 minutes into any fight. What do you do? The obvious answer is shoot the hostage but…

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the kind of position to really gripe about this, but I’m going to take a different approach – not just one around DPS or poor performance in raids and instances, but also when it comes to behavior in general. I definitely have experience with guildies who generally behave badly and can’t bring themselves to either just be considerate to their guildmates or who are just so obnoxious in general that they’re difficult to deal with.

First thing’s first – let’s talk about the kind of guild member I’m thinking of here. Sure, there are plenty who mean well but do poorly in raids and instances because of one thing or another – bad gear, improperly gemmed, using the wrong weapon, poorly spec’d. You know those folks. Some of them may be a bit defensive when called out on their errors (after all, no one wants to be told they’re wrong) but more often than not they’re willing to learn from their mistakes and improve their game if you bring it up to them in a police and reasonable way. These people aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the kind that constantly link their items in guild chat just to show off what they’ve seen/picked up/looted lately, the kind that use guild chat as their personal trade chat or use it largely to talk to one other person, (the kind that use guild chat for the types of conversations that should happen in whispers, for example) the kind that can’t stop saying wonderful things about themselves and generally clog up guild chat or raid chat with their own self-aggrandizing banter.

They’re the type who are the most defensive when you call them out on their errors, because they simply can’t believe themselves capable of any wrong. They’re the type who will start whining about you when you bring up a way they can improve – no matter how nicely you do it – or build a massive conspiracy theory against them on behalf of you and your whole guild if they perform poorly in raids and find themselves benched.

Oh yes, I know this type of person very well. And admittedly, they’re not always the type who was “good” before they “went bad,” usually this type has always been bad, but they made friends somehow, right? So what do you do about them? Click the jump, let me offer some suggestions.

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MMO Champion’s Raiding Tactics Flowchart Makes Knowing Your Role Easy

Click the image above to embiggen and get a nice large version of the flowchart that you can, you know, bookmark or print out and put up next to your monitor, whatever it takes to remember your role in a raid or an instance.

The chart, which comes to us by way the fine folks at MMO Champion and was originally created by Aear, from guild Fierce Creatures of Bloodhoof-EU, does a really great job of boiling down raid responsibilities and roles into something that’s easy to follow and understand, regardless of the class you play – it’s really about the role that you play, and there are more than a few specific tips for people who play specific classes along the way.

Admittedly, these aren’t specific raid strats for specific instances or events or bosses – they’re general tips that, if you follow them 99% of the time, you’ll make out just fine in just about every dungeon or raid you join.

Blizzard to Address Dungeon Finder Abuse

Apparently there’s been some pretty heavy abuse of the Dungeon Finder system that I wasn’t aware of – mostly because I’m still making the long slog between 80 and 85 on my main and leveling some new alts to see the new content. I caught the story over at WoW Insider, here’s what they had to say:

Anyone who’s read the official forums lately has probably seen a raft of complaints directed at players abusing the dungeon finder and vote to kick features. It’s a reminder that people will always figure out a way to twist a system to their own benefit. The most upsetting technique I’ve read about is two hybrid DPS in cahoots with a third DPS queuing as a tank/healer duo, getting an instant invite to dungeons, and then pressuring the two other members of the party to shoulder the tank or healer job. If they don’t or can’t fill these roles — kick ‘em after the 15 min grace period and requeue themselves as straight DPS. Voilà — they are now at the head of the dungeon queue for the next tank or healer! Is it any wonder that players find this enraging?

Yowch – that’s…brilliant and horrific at the same time. Well, the folks at WoW Insider had some ideas on how to avoid dungeon finder abuse, mostly suggestions Blizzard could take to improve the system and make it a bit more equitable for everyone – things like “invisible” rep, or performance based rights to vote/kick.

The same day, Blizzard said they were looking at options to improve the system and remove the kind of abuse people have seen, but admittedly it’s going to be difficult – after all, designing a system to try and manage people’s behavior, especially in something as potentially inflammatory as removing someone from a pick-up group, is bound to be difficult.

Video :: Cataclysm Heroics Are Hard

Yeah, this about sums it up. I’m not running heroics just yet, but with people like WoWCrendor on my side, I can be proud to be a casual player who doesn’t mind that his games actually require some thought and strategy to play.

Everyone’s talking right now about how difficult heroics are, and the only people I’ll take that from are healers, since they do have it a little tough right now – but I do have to wonder whether or not the fact that they have it rough is because of DPS players who are used to Wrath style dungeoning or it’s actually the way the game is designed.

In either event, this hilarious video brings us back to earth, so if you’re having a hard time in heroics, don’t give up – just know that you and your party will just have to work a little harder to get to the goal. I promise, it’ll be more rewarding this way.

Heroic Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep Will Be Ready for Cataclysm

Back when Blizzard hosted the Cataclysm Press Tour, one of the unfortunate things we saw mentioned was the possibility that heroic versions of The Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep might not be ready in time for the launch of Cataclysm, and that they may have to wait for a future content patch update to give the team more time to work on them.

Well, word came down yesterday that those fears were nothing to worry about, because the two new dungeons will indeed be ready in time for the launch of Cataclysm, and players will be able to head in and see their favorite starting-game dungeons re-worked for the new world that we’ll get when the expansion comes out. Here’s the official word from Valnoth, when someone else in a thread stated that they wouldn’t be ready as fact and the reason why they weren’t available in beta:

Heroics are not ready for testing.

Heroic Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines WILL be released with Cataclysm. You will not have to wait for a later patch.

Strap on your pirate stompers kids, it’s back to Westfall for the Alliance and back to Silverpine Forest for the Horde!

Today’s the Day: Patch 3.3.5 is Live!

So today’s the day: Patch 3.3.5 is going live, what many people think is going to be one of the last few patches before the release of Cataclysm. Still, this patch brings more to it than just some bug fixes and updates – there are two big reveals in 3.3.5, the new Assault on the Ruby Sanctum dungeon, and the implementation of the Real ID system, which brings Battle.net further into the game and allows you to integrate friends from across realms and factions into your friends list, stay in touch with them, and find out when they’re playing – even if they’re not playing on your server.

Here’s the lowdown:

World of Warcraft Client Patch 3.3.5

The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at:
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/test-realm-patchnotes.html

The latest patch notes can always be found at:
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/

Assault on the Ruby Sanctum

For ages the red dragonflight and its noble matriarch, Alexstrasza the Life-Binder, have dedicated themselves to preserving all life on Azeroth. Recently, the very heart of this virtuous dragonflight has come under threat.

An eerie silence has settled over the Ruby Sanctum, the red dragonflight’s sacred lair within the Chamber of the Aspects. This troubling development has led to fears that the sanctum, home to Azeroth’s largest clutch of red dragon eggs, has been breached by an unknown, sinister force. If these claims are true and immediate action is not taken, the benevolent red dragonflight might be crippled forever.

Real ID: A New Way to Connect With Your Friends on Battle.net

One of our goals for the new Battle.net is to create the framework for an online gaming experience that is even more accessible, more engaging, and more entertaining than the previous Battle.net. The newly released Real ID feature, available to World of Warcraft players as part of patch 3.3.5, is an integral part of this effort, providing you with advanced ways for forming and maintaining meaningful relationships with your friends on the service.

Real ID is a completely voluntary and optional level of identity that keeps players connected across all of Battle.net. When you and a friend mutually agree to become Real ID friends, you’ll have access to a number of additional features that will enrich your social gaming experience in new and exciting ways. Go here for more details.

General
* The Ruby Sanctum, an all-new 10- and 25-player raid dungeon featuring normal and Heroic difficulties, has been added! Players will find the dungeon entrance below Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight. Please note due to the way this patch is being applied in all regions, this dungeon will not immediately be available in North America. Stay tuned to our General Discussion forum for an official announcement on the opening of the Ruby Sanctum.

* The functionality of the Vote Kick feature in the Dungeon Finder will now behave differently according to a player’s history with the system. Players using the Dungeon Finder who rarely vote to kick players from a group, or rarely abandon groups before a dungeon is complete, will find that the Vote Kick option will have no cooldown. For players who frequently abandon groups or vote to kick other players, the Vote Kick option will be kept on a cooldown. This functionality will adjust itself as a player’s behavior while using the Dungeon Finder changes.

User Interface

* Chat Frame

  • Players can now right-click on any chat type (Whisper, Trade, General, Party, Raid, etc.) and choose to move conversation types into separate windows. This will move that chat type to a separate tab in the Chat frame which can be undocked and moved anywhere on the screen.
    Using the Move to Whisper Window option on a Whisper will place the conversation with that player in a separate tab.
  • Any time a conversation with another player is put into its own tab, the tab will glow when a new message is received.
  • Hovering over the Chat Frame and using the mouse wheel will allow players to scroll through chat text.
  • Players can select Classic Mode under Interface Options to keep the Chat Frame functionality closer to what it was prior to patch 3.3.5.
  • The Simple Chat User Interface option has been removed.

* Friends List

  • A new icon has been added to the top left of the Chat Frame which will open up the Friends list.
  • In addition to its current functionality, the Friends List will now allow players to add Battle.net accounts (Real ID). Players will have to confirm that they are friends in order for a Real ID to be added. Once Real ID friends, players can communicate cross-game, cross-faction and cross-realm.
  • A new Pending tab has been added where players can accept or decline a Real ID friend request, or select the Report Spam or Block Communications buttons.
  • Players can now select from three statuses which will be visible to their friends: Available, Away and Busy.
  • A Broadcast window has been added to the top of the frame. Players can use this to broadcast a message to all of their Real ID friends online. This message will also be displayed under the broadcaster’s Real ID information in each friend’s list.

* For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.

It’s always fun to see what interesting little tidbits Blizzard sneaks into the patches for us. For example, the chat frame mods may very well make add-ons like Chatter completely useless for those of us who actively use them, but we’ll have to wait and see what the effects of the patch really are before I can call that.

Even so, RealID is the big story of the day, and once the servers are back up and everyone has the patch installed, I’m sure we’ll see the fallout from RealID very very quickly – whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing. So far it looks like Blizzard is putting the right privacy options in place to keep just anyone from knowing who you are on every realm you play, but it’s still going to be interesting to see how it all turns out.

Cataclysm Raid Changes Announced

Looking to get your raid on when Cataclysm finally lands? There are a few very serious major changes incoming that will rock your Vanilla/BC/Wrath world that may lead to the end of raiding and dungeons as we know them…or maybe it won’t make much difference to you.

All in all, this is going to be a lot to swallow for most players, and will represent some serious and significant changes to the way they raid. Some of the highlights?

First of all, 10-man and 25-man raids will drop the same loot, just in different quantities – that means 25-man raids won’t get higher item-level gear like they currently do – a lot of people have been fighting this point on both sides, and it looks like while at first Blizzard was coming down on the side of the people who favored better gear for 25-man raids, they’ve reversed course a bit.

Second, 10-man and 25-man raids will share the same lockouts. That means a 10-man group gets the same amount of time to complete a dungeon as a 25-man group. Yowch. That would be a problem if not for the fact that also announced is the fact that 10-and-25-man bosses will be very similar in difficulty, and not the pretty big difference they are today.

Blizzard also has some plans to change up the way raids are done, and create shorter raids with fewer bosses (much like the heroic Onyxia and Sarth runs) that are still difficult enough to accomodate a large number of people, but that just have fewer bosses.

Like I said, all of this is still up in the air, and Blizzard reserves the right to change all of it, but if anything I can see it’s a pretty big leveling of the playing field between 10-man guilds and 25-man guilds and the dungeons they run. If anything, it may lend itself to the thought that Blizzard’s noticed that 10-man runs are mostly guild runs with tight social groups, and 25-man runs are largely pugs that are done for efficiency and loot. Interesting.

What do you think? Will the new announcements impact you at all?

Read Blizzard’s full announcement and leave your comments behind the jump!

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