Posts Tagged ‘Raiding’

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A

Over at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community, eminent news source tchernobyl was kind enough to post the results of the latest Blizzard developer Q&A session, hosted over at the new official forums.

The whole post at LJ is here, but I’ve cut a few snippets I felt were particularly interesting:

Q: Are there any plans to update Outland and TBC zones to facilitate better level flow? – Atreydes (Latin America)

A: We think the flow of the zones works out well. It is true that you can finish the continents before hitting every zone because of the accelerated quest experience (further enhanced by mechanics such as heirlooms) but most players going back through the content on new characters seem perfectly happy to get through it faster than they did with their original character. What we don’t like is the strange way you go back in time when you go to Outland and Northrend and then back to the future (heh) when you go to the level 80-85 zones. That is definitely something we want to fix.

A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Russian players:

Q: Will the Outland and Northrend be “renewed”? Will there be new quests? – Мандрэйк (Europe [Russian])

A: Because we did those areas more recently than Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, we don’t feel the same urgency to go update them. They just don’t have the level design and quest flow problems to the same extent as the original content. We recognize though that some players are getting awfully tired of Hellfire Peninsula, and we’d like to come up with a good solution there.

This one is of particular interest to me. While I agree that the biggest issue with Outland and Northrend is that the player feels like they’re going back in time when they’ve leveled and then move into those zones to continue leveling but somehow the events of the Cataclysm haven’t happened there yet, I’m just as concerned with level tuning and story that players are missing when they push through all of those zones just for the sake of racking up dings.

I think the content of TBC and WoTLK deserve more than just a slight tweak to get the characters to give a nod to the fact that old world Azeroth isn’t the same as it used to be: I’m not saying they need to be directly affected by the Cataclysm, and I’m not saying that quests need to be reworked or zones completely changed, but I do think that when you go into outlands you should see the fruits of the past several years battle against the Burning Legion, and when you go into Northrend now you should see at least a little progress from the results at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, even if it’s only to note that the war is still open on that front and there’s still work to be done.

Q: What is your favorite escape/distraction when you arent working on WoW? – Danksz (North America/ANZ)

A: We polled the entire World of Warcraft development team and included the most interesting, unusual, and potentially terrifying responses. They included: roasting my own coffee; hiking all over SoCal; gardening with yuccas and bamboo; building my own 3D printer; attempting to turn my living room into a live action scene from Tron using blacklights, stencils and a helluva lot of paint; autocross racing my sweet ride; board games (I have over 450 of them); being spinal tapped to Tumblr, Reddit and 4chan; mastering cooking (duck confit, breads, pastas, more breads); building Star Wars Lego sets; trying to control my computer using brainwaves and an EEG reader; plein air/outdoor watercolor painting; geocaching; hockey; painting miniatures; swing dancing; crafting old-time cocktails; running 5 / 10 Ks / mud runs; motorcycling; go; blending smoothies; skydiving; work on my Jaina/Varian fanfic; baking bread; playing drums; reading sci-fi; comics; playing WoW.

Sounds like a fun place to work! Or at the very least fun people to work with.

Q: Will the devs consider giving us reason to interact in the new world of cataclysm? We sit in cities waiting on queues. Theres little reason to leave the city gates outside of farming and archeology. The *main* cities feel alive, the world however feels quite dead. – Odiem (North America/ANZ)

A: While you’re leveling up your character and gathering professions, you’re more than likely interacting with the world plenty. World of Warcraft’s endgame has centered on dungeons, raids, Battlegrounds and Arenas for some time, so it’s natural that you spend more time in cities organizing and preparing for those group-based events. We do think there is more that we can do to promote compelling solo gameplay for max level characters, though. The 4.2 patch has a pretty epic questing experience involving the Firelands and we’re really excited to see how players respond to it.

A similar but slightly different question was asked by one of our Korean players.

Q: PvP realms are getting indistinctive from the PvE realm as players are not engaging into PvP contents, since they are not finding it attractive. The only difference from the PvE realm is that it’s possible to attack opponent around zones in Conflict. Is there any plan to strengthen the difference between PvP and PvE realms? – Soulcube (Korea)

A: We don’t think it’s that world PvP is unattractive, we just think it’s just the cumulative effect of a lot of changes we made to the game to meet other goals. For example, flying mounts are really cool and convenient, but they mean you are much less likely to stumble upon someone from the opposite faction while travelling. We considered teleportation a mandatory feature for Dungeon Finder to succeed, but then you are less likely to bump into an enemy outside of a dungeon. To get world PvP back in some form, we’d have to develop something like the Isle of Quel’danas: a non-flight zone that is not a sanctuary where players congregate to finish quests or earn rewards. We’ll think about ways to do something like that again in the future.

I can’t say I’m satisfied with the devs’ answer on this one. While I agree that there’s plenty of world interaction when you’re out and about and questing and gathering and boosting your professions, I think that the concern of PVP players is probably more serious for them than the devs are really picking up.

Back in the vanilla days, when mounts were both expensive and far off, and when beginner mounts were slow enough that you could still be ambushed on one successfully, it was pretty hazardous playing on a PVP server during those early levels. I remember trying to just quest as a poor level 25 Tauren Druid and getting repeatedly ganked in Stonetalon by level 60 Night Elves coming through the pass.

Admittedly, I moved on to play on PvE servers after that, but I understand how global combat is a core component of playing on a PVP server, and between flying in old world and earlier/faster mounts, it’s become all but a moot point.

Q: I think a lot of people would like to see some more options for inventory storage are there plans for any of the following? Bank slots/Equipment manager storage/Upgrade backpack/storage for costume, cosmetic, toys/tabard storage. – Shinysparkle (North America/ANZ)

A: We do have some storage solutions in the works. We’d like to convert tabards in particular to something like the current UI to manage titles. We don’t want to just keep giving players larger and larger bags in which to lose items. We’re focusing more on better ways to organize items.

Finally! A fix is coming for my tabard addiction!

Q: During the expansions released since vanilla, the specialities of the different classes were watered down more and more. By now, many classes can do almost everything and almost none is still special. Are there any steps planned to give the classes more “charisma”, so that they are more distinguished from each other and regain their special flair? – Blades (Europe [German])

A: Sometimes when players say “special flair” what they really mean is “something so awesome that everyone will have to take me.” We really don’t want to go back to that model, which just isn’t tenable in a game with 10-player raids and 30 different talent trees. We have no problem spreading around buffs and utility that we consider more-or-less mandatory, such as the battle rezes and raid buffs. At the same time, we think there are enough unique abilities out there to make the various talent trees shine. Shaman have a great interrupt with Wind Shear. Warlocks can get out of danger with Demonic Portal. Discipline priests can mitigate a lot of damage with Power Word: Barrier, but Unholy death knights have their own version in Anti-Magic Zone. We struggle a lot with how much homogenization is good for the game, largely so that you can play with your friends, and how much is bad for the game, because then your character feels less special. It’s something we’ll continue to work on in an attempt to strike that perfect balance.

I really REALLY like the answer to this question. A lot of players who have been around for a long time miss the days when people formed their raid or dungeon groups because specific classes had “ubertalents” that were so good in the situations the raid would put you in that you absolutely wanted to have them – and it made the people who played that class feel uber as well.

In reality, that’s indicative of a lack of balance, and I’m glad that Blizzard is trying to strike a line between giving people talents that feel epic and important without being essential to specific – or every – encounters.

So what do you think? Blizzard developers took this one in stride, I think – and there were some great questions. I don’t think this will be the last dev Q&A that the developers do, so stay tuned for more in the future. What would you ask Blizzard developers if you had the chance? Sound off in the comments.

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.

Raid Ready Wants to Change the Way You Play WoW

This hilarious video (hit the link to see it in HD at YouTube) is one of three that have been unlocked over a Raid Ready, all designed to give you a little bit of a clue as to what Raid Ready will be when it’s released.

Okay, the videos themselves don’t say too much, and that’s okay because they’re all hilarious – the one above is the first to be unlocked, and since then there’s another great one that parodies an eHarmony ad, and yet another that makes me feel awful for that poor guy – he just wanted his morning cup of joe.

Anyway, between the site and the videos, I had to find out what this Raid Ready business was all about, so I dropped the team there a line to find out what they’re planning and what they could tell me about it now.

I noted the air of mystery around the videos, and I asked what exactly Raid Ready was going to be: a Web site? A service? An add-on? A utility? A subscription service? What was the deal? Here’s what Stubby, one of the folks behind the scenes working on Raid Ready, had to say:

Raid Ready is a new way to measure the readiness of players and entire raids for certain content. In the past 3-4 years several methods have been introduced that give players what I feel are rather ambiguous ways of measuring their readiness for certain content. What’s wound up happening with all these methods is that we have several sites, add ons and calculators which give you either a number or a graph that tells you what you’re ready for and how you rank against other players. The problem with these systems is that they tend to use things which don’t matter to measure the capability of players. I’ll be 100% honest. The only real thing that matters is a player’s ability, but there’s no true way to measure that outside of having that player in your raid and seeing how they perform.

Raid Ready doesn’t focus on iLevels or achievements to make it’s assessment of players or groups. Instead it takes the accumulated research on player stats and measures known good stats against the stats of players in your raid, allows for variance in stats to compensate for others and mathematically takes into account players who will make up for others in order to come up with an assessment that determines whether a raid can find success in the content they’re attempting. The idea is not to tell a raid leader that their raid will pull content off but to give them a better understanding of what they’re taking in so they can be better prepared and build strategies accordingly. This is really just a small part of what we intend to do but at it’s core this is what Raid Ready is.

So, I asked, it’s more about understanding the overall “talent” of a player, as opposed to his or her gearscore or total HP or DPS averages, right? Some way to determine how a player will likely perform overall, not just a stack of numbers that supposedly define them, right? Stubby replied:

Somewhat a look at talent. It does take some level of understanding of a class to be able to stat properly, but more to the point it’s about knowing whether the group as a whole based on the known required stats can pull off the task at hand. In that way, yes, our approach is much more holistic and takes the character into account over gear.

Very interesting – so we still don’t know how Raid Ready will do what they’re planning to do, but the concept is exciting regardless – imagine as a raid leader having the ability to understand the capabilities of your group and whether you have the right mix of talent, stats, and skills to get the job done, as opposed to just staring at some potentially non-representative piles of numbers that supposedly will help you make a judgement call on your own.

We’ll have to wait and see what the folks behind Raid Ready have up their sleeve, but the prospect is exciting, and the videos are more than entertaining!

Celiebugs’ Raiding Tips

Having been shared all over the WoW-verse, as well as being shared on WoW Insider. I’ve read comments in various places where the link-backs are listed on different guild forums. I know it’s a little difficult to understand her, but the ease with which she says “nubcake” and “sad panda” mean that this girl hears these phrases and words on a regular basis. Celiebugs comes from a WoW home, where both mom and dad play WoW.

Celiebugs’ Raid Tips (as a link, since the youtube tag won’t work right)

And remember, above all else, don’t be a nubcake.

(If you think you’ve seen this here before, you did. I posted it once before Metblogs took a digger. I’m happy to see that it’s back up, and hopefully that means things can go back to normal. I apologize if this seems like old news, but I really wanted to share it with people.

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.

When is a toon ready for raiding?

I’m not really the raiding type, but I am the curious type. I’ve always been curious about Ulduar, and doing all of Naxxramas. Or seeing Icecrown Citadel just once. I wouldn’t mind getting the Kingslayer title. I am also not a fan of GearScore. I understand all of the arguments for and against. I look at it like this. I am horribly undergeared and I have healed Trial of the Champion, The Forge of Souls and The Pit of Saron with just over a 2,000 gearscore. Granted, as I got some better pieces of gear those events definitely went easier. I feared for my healing ability in these and expressed concern when the Dungeon Finder dropped me into Trial of the Champion for my very first Heroic after hitting level 80. Yeah. I digress and get back to my original point.

While I dislike GearScore, it is a tool. It is also a tool that is used by many people. It’s overused by the Horde on my server and I figured that playing an Alliance character may open other doors for me. My question is this: At what point are you able to ask to join PUG groups or Naxxramas, or Ulduar? Is there a GearScore that is a decent indicator of when people may or may not let you in on their raids? I understand that this is server dependent, but doing google search after google search has not afforded me with even a hint of an answer. Any raiders out there who might know the answer to this? What are the requirement differences for 10-man versus 25-man? Help a girl out and point me in the right direction. Please!

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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