Posts Tagged ‘Instances’

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?

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.

Visualize Raid Strategy with BossBlueprint

If you have a difficult time explaining to your raid or your guild exactly how they should move and where they should stand in a given raid encounter, or if you have people in your raid or guild that are be far visual learners and just don’t seem to be getting the hang of what you’re saying, Boss Blueprint might be a handy tool to help you build those raid strategies and share them with your raid members before the encounter so there’s no confusion.

The site only has support at the moment for Blackwing Descent, Throne of the Four Winds, and Bastion of Twilight, and the boss encounters therein – it would be really useful if the tool added more encounters and raids, even older ones that some people still run as practice or for fun – but it makes sense that the most recent content would be of primary interest to the people using Boss Blueprint.

The app then lets you add raid icons, raid roles, and directional arrows and zones to the map to indicate where players with ranged DPS should stand, where the healers should be, and where the tanks should be in relation to the boss, and other mobs and elements of the encounter that players should be aware of are located. You can drop big red circles on the ground to indicate places where you shouldn’t stand, arrows to tell players where they should move, and more.

Once you’re all finished, you can save your blueprint and share it with your raid either by downloading the JPG and posting it somewhere yourself, or by embedding the blueprint in another Web site.

Discussion :: Have You Given Up WoW Until the Expansion?

After all, there’s not a lot going on in the World of Warcraft right now, so who could blame you if you’ve been taking time off of the game while waiting for Cataclysm to ship. Have you been playing? How have you been passing the time?

A lot of other WoW bloggers I read have suggested that now’s the time to run as many randoms as possible, as many heroics as possible, and load up on badges and gear and heirlooms because they’ll all be more valuable as the expansion approaches, and they’ll all help you level from 80-85 or start new characters after Cataclysm.

I on the other hand, saddled with a mostly inactive guild that was never raiding class (we were social more than anything) and only a few friends who still play the game, have largely been taking the time off and away from the game (at least until I’m blessed by the Blizzard angels with a beta key.) until the expansion comes out.

So what about you? Has your guild been trying to max out as many characters as possible in preparation for the upcoming expansion and changes? Or have you been leveling alts as much as possible? Maybe you’ve all but abandoned the game for the time being and plan to come back when Cataclysm launches? Let us know how you’ve been passing the time!

WotLK Bucket List

I sort of met a new blogger through random chance on Twitter. It’s a very small world, in the grand scheme of things, when you start posting what you’re doing in game on a site like Twitter. I started doing it simply for a couple of my friends, one of them including the blogger Kurn. There’s a whole bunch of backstory here, but to put it simply, come Cataclysm, Kurn is bring back the ol’ gang. And so, because of the the forums have been reopened for all of us who are transferring or have transferred1.

Through Kurn I kinda met Apple. Followed Apple on Twitter and then we were chatting and DruidMain joined in the mix.

DruidMain has made herself a WotLK Bucket List. And I started thinking, what would I put on that list if I were to make one. I have yet to actually sit down and create my list, but I’m sure some of my items will look similar to DruidMain’s list.

With Cataclysm just around the corner, what sort of things would you put on your WotLK Bucket List? What achievements or things would you like to see and do before the expansion comes out?

1: I transferred a couple days ago due to some ridiculous nonsense on my old server.

Cataclysm :: Stockades Preview

I should probably consider this a spoiler, but – it’s too much fun not to share with everyone, and it’s not really much of a lore spoiler anyway.

In the Cataclysm beta, one of the dungeons that’s being re-worked for new levels and to reflect all of the changes that have taken place in Azeroth is The Stockades – and over at World of Raids they had a preview of the new dungeon last week that reveals some interesting new bosses in Stockades (yes, there will finally be BOSSES in The Stockades, that drop real loot!) including one fugitive gnoll above who’s finally coming into his own – Hogger!

Apparently thanks to the effects of Deathwing breaking free of his prison, the Stormwind Stockades has suffered a little damage and just as the guard was starting to regain control of the area, a number of new prisoners and areas of the prison have opened up, with the imprisoned running free. Of course, you’ll have to revisit your roots and head back in to put the resistance down and restore order to Stormwind, but there’ll be a bit more in store for you this time around, including three new quests and three new bosses!

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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Operation: Gnomeregan is Imminent!

Doesn’t High Tinker Mekkatorque look badass in that shot? I mean seriously – it’s probably the best image of a gnome looking like he’s serious business I think I’ve ever seen. Seriously, don’t mess with the gnomes.

Remember when Blizzard announced details of Operation: Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles? Yup – looks like we’ll start mobilizing for the operation any week now. The call has gone out at the World of Warcraft Community Site, along with exciting new details about the Operation: Gnomeregan encounter and instance, along with what you can expect when the operation mobilizes. Get ready!

Oh – and head over to download a full-sized high-resolution Operation: Gnomeregan poster – if I were you, I’d download it, run over to Kinkos, get it blown up, and frame that puppy. It’s pretty hot.

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