Tag Archives: Blizzard Entertainment

4.2 looks Hot!

16 May

Let’s talk Firelands!

My time lately has been divided between raid leadership on the live realms and playtime on the PTR.  While the personal progression goals of our raid team are first in my mind, new content after so long a patch of nothing huge being added is more than welcome.

The Molten Front

New daily quests rarely get my going in a serious way, but the molten front doesn’t feel as grind-y as leveling fishing a day at a time.  The druids of Hyjal call upon the player to collect Marks of the World Tree by completing quests to repair the land and fightback the forces from the Firelands.

Some misconceptions: doing these quests isn’t a requirement to raid the Firelands.  Also, although the area makes huge use of various types of phasing, the quests can largely still be completed in a group (and some of them are a lot easier this way).  Finally, you do have to complete all the quests in Hyjal up to banishing Ragnaros to start these new quests, so go do that now!

As one moves from Hyjal into the Molten Front new daily quests are unlocked.  No one is completing 25 dailies and wishing they had a higher cap every day, but every day a new random group of quests becomes available.  For those not drawn in by fun new content along, there are also item level 365+ epics purchasable from vendors in the Molten Front.

The Firelands Raid

At this point in the testing cycle I’ve only had an opportunity to play against Beth’tilac (giant fire spider) and Lord Rhyolith.  Both fights felt creative, fun, and relatively straightforward for the first few bosses of a new instance.

And if you hate the colour orange, now is a bad time to be playing the game.

The raid feels large, additionally so because of the time spent mounted moving between encounter areas.  Comparisons to Ulduar are apt, and with a dps caster legendary here I expect we will be farming the Firelands for some time to come.  I hope to see some challenging trash packs, although somewhere between the heavy trash of Bastion of Twilight and the virtual trash-less-ness of Blackwing Descent.

The State of the Game

Many players are paying a lot of attention to the numbers Blizzard released during the Q2 press call stating Warcraft subscription numbers had dropped to pre-Cata levels.  These numbers come from 4.0.6 right before the 4.1 re-introduction of the Zuls.  According to the same press conference, they also expained this decline as reflective of how quickly players consumed content.

This means that blizzard’s statement of “X% of players haven’t completed the hard modes yet” might not be the guiding philosophy anymore.  I expect either easier hardmodes where players complete them before getting burnt out on the content (unlikely), more challenging regular modes with fresh ideas (seems to be the case in Firelands so far).  Its possible that blizzard will also react to this by pushing the next content patch soon after Firelands (much like they did for Ulduar’s follower).  I really hope the reactionaries don’t get their way and do this.

Despite the burnout, World of Warcraft is making more money than ever.  That fact talks, so I expect content patches will continue at the quality level we’ve come to expect.  Don’t be surprised if Firelands has harder regular modes than either BoT or BWD.

I’ll get back to you on that after I finish these dailies.

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Getting to Raid: Best Practices for Raid Priority

30 Dec

In a guild like ours where raid priority will be competitive for 25s (and has been for 10s), its important to know how to act.  The officer team is constantly evaluating players, both on and off the field.  Some folks see this as intimidating, but its best viewed as exciting.  Here everyone has an opportunity to prove their value and maturity as a player every day.  Believe it or not, you can do more to secure or damage your chances at a raid spot while benched than while in a raid!

Why Does the Officer Team Take a Given Player?

This is a complicated question and with all complicated questions there are a variety of answers.  The one everyone knows is “because Player A is extremely good at their class/role.”  This is important, as the goal is to give the best players an opportunity to secure spots.

Some people think that officers will select a certain player because they’re more geared.  This is partly true, but less true than one might think.  According to aggregate logs, the gear difference from players running Ulduar and players entering ICC was roughly 15%.  By comparison, raid buffs contribute to a gain of as much as 50% more DPS when compared to soloing.  After a certain base level of gear, gear becomes a much less significant factor.

That said, those who’ve taken the effort to get geared outside of raids make life easier for everyone.  Coming in needing fewer upgrades, they’re less of a burden on the raid.  Players who make this effort will always be looked upon favorably.

Finally, the officer team might not know what a player can do.  If we haven’t seen someone in action, or want to give them a fair shot, its normal to bench another raider to make this a possibility. This does not mean you’ve been replaced.  If you want your guild to succeed, you should be excited for this opportunity to grow.

Why Does the Officer Team Bench a Particular Player?

Let’s cover the obvious ones first.  If you’re pulled from a raid because you kept dying, two things are true: first, it isn’t the healer’s fault; second, you need to review the encounter and reasons for your death and find out how to personally avoid them.  Being pulled out here is an opportunity for you to improve.

If you’re not taken to a raid it could also be because there were people in your role who fit the reasons listed above better.  This happens.  Take the opportunity to listen in on the raid, if you can.  Don’t fill the space with suggestions, but prove your dedication and availability.  This goes a long way.  Also, re-watch videos and re-read strategies.  In short, be ready to step up and impress!

Best Practices

Do not assume because you’re in a raid that you’re better than those benched.

Do not stew with feelings of resentment toward the officer team if you are not taken to a particular raid.  Talk to the officer in your role or your raid leader.  Do not get upset without clarifying the situation.

Do not bother an officer if you only want to complain.

Be critical of yourself.

Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.  If you’ve only watched the video once and are fuzzy on the details, watch another video.  Ask questions and listen to the answers.  Get a clear understanding of roles beyond your own.