Activities to Do at 90 to Ready for Raiding

Activities to Do at 90 to Ready for Raiding

Hit 90 within the first 18 hours of day 1 on a diet of Amped and pepperoni steaks. Rice never tasted so good on the second day. I celebrated my 25th birthday yesterday with nothing but heroics and scenarios! Whew! Real party’s happening on Saturday so I have some more time to gear up for raids next week.

As more and more of my guildmates and friends are hitting 90, I’m getting increasingly asked “What do I do now to get myself ready for next week when the raids open?”. You should be exploring any reasonable method you have to increase your gear, your reputation, or your professions.

Your Klaxxi reputation should be up if you cleared out a reasonable portion from Dread Wastes. Go to Niu Zao Temple, by your 450 ilevel gloves.

Go do Scenario: Arena of Annihilation

The first thing you can do is tackle the Pandaria Ring of Blood set of quests. Thankfully, this time it isn’t outdoors where it’s subject to other people stealing your kills or tagging your mobs. Open up your Scenario Finder and queue into it. Accept the quest within and you’ll get yourself a nice 450 weapon.

Do the Temple of White Tiger quest

In Kun-Lai summit, you’ll eventually run into a quest where you help out Anduin unlock the Vale of Eternal Blossoms (Temple of the White Tiger). If you’re leveling up, you can skip and bypass those for now. Once you hit 90, the only way to unlock the area is by completing that quest through.

Spec your level 90 talent

I admit, I forgot to do this.

Unlock Flying

Once you’re 90, head over to your faction foothold in the Vale. On the top floor, there should be a flying trainer next to the flightmaster.

Level up your professions

Check with your guild bank and see if there’s any open mats you can use. For tailoring, I’m seeing a ridiculously large number of cloth drops and I was able to get that out of the way quick.

BTW Enchanters, I don’t know abut you, but I’m thrilled at how easy it is to switch between dust and essences. You?

Start Golden Vale dailies

There’s many factions you can gain reputation with. But in order to unlock the meaningful ones (Like Shado-Pan), you have to start at the Golden Pagoda with the Golden Lotus in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. I believe Ruins of Guo-Lai is the first step.

Buy justice points gear

You can’t do it yet until you hit revered with a few of the factions, but you can shore up your gear some as you steadily gain reputation. The justice point vendor for all the factions is located in Niu Zao temple in Townlong Steppes. He’s on the fortifications at the back.

Dungeons

You need 440 item level to queue into heroics! If you need to, mix and match some gear from other specs and queue in before switching back to to your main set but only if you’re off by 1 or 2 item levels)! I found myself able to heal a DPS geared tank, even! Heroics aren’t as challenging nor as difficult as the Cataclysm initial set of heroics were so you’ll find them a little more forgiving and you can get away with it for now.

I know, I shouldn’t be encouraging it, but I’ll make an exception.

Grats to everyone that’s hit 90 and others that are about to! Can you think of anything else you should do at level 90? (Or other questions?)

Need Gear for your Fresh Level 90 Priest?

Need Gear for your Fresh Level 90 Priest?

It’s all right here in this link. I’ve included a list of items (along with some alternatives). In addition, I’ve created a few tables with relevant priest look from each of the major reputation vendors.

Remember, it’s not a best in slot list. It’s a relatively fast in slot list. The goal is to get your Priest geared up as much as possible to hit dungeons and raids for the real good stuff. I tried to minimize the RNG as much as I can, but ultimately there’s going to be a few elements involved.

Good luck and I’ll see you at 90!

EDIT: If I run into anything on the way up, I’ll add it. I’m sure there’s a few out there I may have missed. I deliberately did not select PvP gear (but you can maybe get away with 1 or 2 pieces if you need to).

My Frantic Preparations for Mists

My Frantic Preparations for Mists

It’s the final weekend before Mists drop. I’ve spent the past few nights frantically getting myself and the guild ready for next week’s expansion. Mists marks the third straight expansion where I’ve held tenure over a guild. After going through two expansions, I’ve a pretty good idea of what guilds and players should do to help get ready. There’s plenty of posts from others on that already. In this case though, I’d like to share what I’ve done personally and how the guild’s faring.

Personal preparation

Consumables

  • Flask of the Draconic Mind
  • Mythical Healing Potion
  • Swiftness Potion
  • Swim Speed Potion
  • Volcanic Potion
  • Drums of Forgotten Kings
  • Severed Sagefish Head

Rearranged my bars so that they were all there for easy access in case I need to refresh.

My character

Had to readjust a ton of my stats and enchants. I’m not tackling raid bosses anymore so I’ve adjusted stuff out of hit rating. Switched my talents and glyphs to better account for leveling. I also started putting my gear into void storage that I wasn’t planning to use or banking things that I didn’t necessarily need.

Day planning

If you’re playing at midnight, make sure you rest up and crash first. Take a nice long nap. I plan to go to bed late afternoon/early evening. Also, set an alarm so you don’t oversleep. Make sure you stand up and stretch every hour or so. Jog in place or do something to keep the blood flowing. Don’t overdo it on the energy drinks. They’re a great short term burst of awareness but you’ll end up crashing after the effects wear off. I’ve got two cans of Amped waiting just in case and I plan on making a few sandwiches (and pepperoni sticks).

In fact, read this post by Serrath if you plan on undertaking a gaming marathon as the post includes tips on staying healthy and mentally alert. Hell, ignore the rest of this post and go read Serrath’s.

Guild preparation

With the help of the other leaders, we went over the guild and what needed to be done.

State of the Guild address

Collaborated with the officers on this one. The State of the Guild address is designed to look back at the previous expansion and highlight the negative along with the positive. The next part should include guild plans for the future and what the intentions are. If there’s anything new or different you’d like to focus on, this is where you specify it.

Be specific in your goals and set something that’s both tangible and realistic. Aiming for a world first might not be realistic but looking to clear out an instance on normal or hard mode before the next tier of raiding opens up can be. If there’s anything you want your guild to do, mention it (such as farming for mats).

If there’s a timeline for your raiders to hit the cap, mention that too. With us, we’re raiding the moment the instances become available be 10 or 25.

The guild bank

We engineered a massive sell-off of everything unessential. Anything that we couldn’t move was sent to our offshore guild bank. That guild bank is used to sit on older mats which aren’t as used as much. We’ve asked players to deposit any raw materials or BoE items they come across into the bank if they were willing to spare it for disenchanting and other profession levelling purposes. I’ve converted and cleared out several bank tabs for this already. There’s still a tab full of gems and food that need to a vetting out (but we’ll get to those later). Deposits will be open for people to use mobile banking to dump stuff into.

By the way, I’m glaring daggers at the guy who deposited 16 x Enchant Weapon – Avalanche.

Personnel management

We’ve been working hard at recruiting and adding players to our ranks. One of the biggest recurring problems throughout Cataclysm was raid days lost due to attendance. The final number was absolutely unacceptable to me so we’ve made a concerted effort to resolve that. Players on our PvP team have expressed interest in raiding. We’ve also been referred a few times (5 guild member referrals gets you a t-shirt, if they pan out).

Our current roster sits at:

  • 3 tanks
  • 16 melee
  • 16 ranged
  • 13 healers
That number also includes initiates. Unfortunately, not everyone on that list is going to be able to consistently make it (school, work issues, etc). So that number will eventually go down. We spoke to players to determine who was planning to stay and who wanted to move on.
Amazingly enough, no one wanted to test the waters of free agency (even though I tried hard by blasting Call Me Maybe throughout Mumble).
We also took a quick pulse on any players that wanted to switch roles or classes. A few mentioned interest in rolling monks or making an alt their main entirely and we’ll give them a crack at it.
Don’t forget about your officers. Some people might be burning out. I took stock of the officers to see who wanted to continue in their administrative roles and all have agreed to sign on for another expansion. Listen to them if they need anything extra from you.

Ranks

I only made one change here. We used to have two raiding ranks: Authenticated players and unauthenticated players (this helped with bank access rights). Most members in the raid have authenticators. I changed the second rank to raid trial members instead to help track those easier. We were running into problems where we’d occasionally forget to “promote” players. The other ranks consist of officers, alts, social members, and our dedicated PvP teams.

My bad.

Revising the site and reviewing policy

One of the very first things we did was re-examine all of site documents. Anything that was outdated was immediately updated. Special care was taken on our recruiting forms. We decided to re-do it from scratch since a few of the questions that were Cataclysm specific were no longer applicable. We took a hard look at each question and asked ourselves if it was something that we really needed and managed to knock off a few that we felt could be answered elsewhere.

Most importantly, I updated the guild background with a picture of Chen Stormstout in the middle of our logo. Have to Mist-ify the guild site somewhat.

Now it’s just a matter of resting. We’re a day and some change away from a whole new continent of really fun stuff to do!

Tomorrow’s going to feel like the longest day ever. 

3.5 Hours from 85 – 86

3.5 Hours from 85 – 86

That’s a disappointing time.

I finished preparing my Priest for the leveling blitz halfway through the week. I’ve got my Swiftness Potions, Healing Potions, Drums of Forgotten Kings, assorted Flasks, and other consumables.

Decided to transfer my Priest over to the beta and clock my time. There were a couple of factors affecting my levelling speed.

  • No rested XP
  • No guild experience boost
  • Watched all the cut scenes
  • No pre-completed quests/dailies to turn in

During the Cataclysm grind, I had the Argent Tournament dailies all finished and ready for turn in. Added a decent amount of XP to it and I’ll have some other dailies ready by the time Mists opens up. I can’t remember if we had rested XP available during the 80 – 81 grind when Cataclysm opened. I goofed up on a few of the quest turn ins and pickups. If I factor in all of that stuff, I should be able to knock out 1.5 hours off that time. The new Jade Forest isn’t as super cut scene heavy as Uldum was, but there’s enough to make you go “Whoa.”

I think I’m also going to switch in Reflective Shield as a glyph.

Tonight I’ll clock my time from 86 – 87, enjoy the scenery, and (more importantly) get an idea of where all the Innkeepers are to set my hearthstone.

Thank goodness there’s no conch shell we have to all click on to be able to breathe and swim faster underwater, right guys?

If convenience store owners were savvy, they’d raise the prices of energy drinks for the weekend/Monday as people stock up. I should go pick up some Red Bull or Nos. I like the grape flavour.

Do you plan on racing to level 90 or are you going to take the time to enjoy the sights and scenery?

Tip: Remember this. If you ever get to a situation where you need to interact with a friendly NPC and they’re not on the map, log out and log back in. You’ll thank me for this. This happened to me a few times as I was leveling. I hope it’ll get resolved when it’s live, but just in case!

Is Combat Resurrection Still Needed?

I participated in a neat Twitter discussion last night about the merits of combat res. The original point started with the desire for Priests to gain access to a combat res. From a lore perspective, I can understand that. Priest are the flagship class for healing for any fantasy-based game. They embody the essence of healing. It makes sense for a Priest to be able to bring their allies back from the dead in the middle of an engagement.

But not in WoW.

Priests are extremely well rounded as it is and the addition of a combat res cooldown would tip them over the edge in desirability. Abilities to group heal, single heal, save lives, and so forth is just enough for them. Mechanically speaking, I can’t imagine why it would be necessary at all.

Actually, if I had it my way, I’d argue for the removal of all in-combat resurrection spells from the game entirely.

That’s right. No more soul stone, no more raise ally, no more rebirth.

All gone.

Individual player accountability would have no choice but to go up. Can’t really be as reckless anymore. Can’t take those risky, stand-in-fire-for-extra-DPS moves because that safety net is gone. All you need to do is ask yourself how different you would play if you knew that the only way you were coming back to life is on the next attempt. You’d play tighter, right? You’d check your threat closer. You’d watch timers better. You would do everything you could to make sure that YOU don’t die. The psychology of a combat res provides the raid with that safe comfort knowing that there’s effectively 3 extra lives in play (on 25).

This isn’t vanilla WoW anymore. We don’t need 40 people to run raids. I remember when combat res spells had no limits. Back then, those second chances were a necessity. There was only one difficulty level: Punishing. It was one of the main reasons why druids were so sought after (Read: Job security). Each combat res was another player and another chance at getting through the encounter. Burning Crusade was much the same way.

It’s certainly useful for progression. Those unsuspecting boss attacks and abilities that come out of no where can be solved with a simple combat res. If combat res spells were gone from the game, the overall amount of progression wipes needed would mostly go up across the board. It might even slow the game down overall since content would last a little bit longer. I’m inclined to believe that most guild first boss kills utilize the maximum allowable number of combat res’s.

Yet, another part of me can imagine the pain and frustration for raiding guilds dealing with players who just can’t seem to cut it. Combat res’s have that cushion. If it were out of the game, player deaths in raids would be magnified and not easily as forgiven by peers. Hell, if I kept dying to the same stupid mechanic week after week without getting any better at avoiding it, I’d be super discouraged too. But then I might come to the conclusion that the stuff I’m doing is just something I’m not currently capable of and would come back after a few more raid finders or normal modes.

What about disconnects or buggy boss mechanics? My guild has experienced countless heroic Zon’ozz wipes due to weird ball bouncing bugs. Don’t get me wrong as I’m grateful for the option to bring back the dead from unfair and undeserved deaths. We’ve also had people disconnect or crash at the wrong time and a combat res helped save the 8 minutes we would’ve lost from a wipe and having to do it all over again.

Disconnects will always happen until we level up or tech to the point where computers are crash free and we’re all hardwired to the internet without any possibility of losing a connection. Bugged mechanics? Then it’s time for additional testing or go with abilities that are proven to work. It doesn’t feel right to me to use player abilities to offset encounter errors.

So long as combat res is still in the game, I’m not going to shy away from using utilizing it. It’d be crazy not to. It helps make up for the inevitable mistakes that occur. I feel like it’s a requirement. It’s a crutch. It’s something to lean on. It’s there to give players like me hope that if I screw up, I can maybe count on something to bail me out, even though I hate it.

After a player-saving-Life Grip, Rebirth is the only other spell that says to the player “You screwed up and died. Here’s me saving your butt and giving you another go. Don’t mess it up.”

Before death knights and warlocks could revive players mid combat, I’d occasionally  join raid pickup groups on my alt that didn’t have druids. Every move, every step had a purpose. I sacrificed a little bit of DPS to move away from projectiles faster. I didn’t want to get tagged and risk getting destroyed.

Ultimately, combat res or not, you are responsible for your well being. Whatever happens, don’t be that guy whose name the raid leader puts on the “Do not Res” list. I guarantee you, most raid leaders have such a list. That list is there because they know that if they res you, you’ll most likely blow your chance and die again anyway.

Anyway, that’s my piece. What do you think? Do you believe it continues to be invaluable or should it just get cut?

Keeping 25s Alive

I was reading this post at Unwavering Sentinel with different ideas on how to keep 25 man raiding alive. It’s something I’ve been thinking on and off about both from the perspective of a GM and as a normal player.

At the heart of, we should first analyze what makes a 25s player want to raid 25s. 10s is easier to manage. It’s difficulty varies from 25 from encounter to encounter. And you’re not as likely to cancel raids because you can usually rock 10 players (although 25s is more forgiving in this regard since running shorthanded a player on 25s isn’t going to be crushing as down 1 on 10).

For me, more is fun. I love large scale engagements. I prefer working with the army as opposed to the special forces group. More macro than micro. Maybe I really like raiding with 24 friends because I don’t want to leave 15 people I know out in the dust.

I get that players like the closeness and intimacy that 10s offer. Personally, I’m not looking for nor am I really interested in that type of stuff. I figure if you get too close to someone and know them too well, you’ll get irritated or annoyed at something. More players means you don’t get personnel fatigue from being with the same select group of people over and over. But that’s not a raid size matter (it’s more leaning towards guild size anyway).

The developers have recognized that they haven’t done enough to inject enthusiasm for 25s. One of the solutions that have been implemented for Mists is that even though the loot between 10s and 25s will remain the same, 25s will gear out faster. Instead of 5 drops per boss, we’re getting 6. All things considered equal, a 25s group would theoretically have a decked out raid faster.

We’re going to examine the solutions presented by Zellviren.

Solution 1: Make 25-man have specific rewards

This is singlehandedly the absolute best solution to revitalize 25 man raiding bar none. By making 25s the main route for the best loot, those players motivated by the flashiest and most powerful gear would have no choice but to enlist in a 25s guild.

But we all know that’s not an option on the table. This was something that was done during Wrath. Separate item levels between 10 and 25.

Solution 2: Make 25-man have specific achievements.

One could take this a step further and maybe add a guild achievement for a clear on 25 in addition to a 10. Of course, the unfortunate part of this is that it wouldn’t be possible at all for a guild to obtain every guild achievement. Maybe make it an either/or thing. If you clear it on 10, you get the toast for a 10 man raid. If you clear it on 25, you get the 25 one instead. But once you get one, maybe have it set that it’s not possible to get the other.

Solution 3: Creating “guild alliances”

I don’t know about this method. From a technical stand point, it wouldn’t be difficult to modify at all. But as a GM, it can be politically difficult to entertain the idea of cross raiding with a different guild. Who gets to quarterback the raid? How is loot going to be handled? If all hell breaks loose, it’s not uncommon for fingers to start pointing at each other on blame. It’s a solid idea but my guess is that human nature would work against it.

On the other hand, I’m a cynic.

Solution 4: The 25-man raiding “pool”.

A queue of raiders presents an interesting tool for GMs and raid leaders. It helps resolve calling raids based on attendance. In addition, it gives free agents out there a chance to throw themselves out in the world and see what else is out there. Maybe their server has limited progression or there aren’t many large guilds around. It’s like a match making service that’s one grade higher than LFR. However, I feel that this is more of a bandaid solution than one that would truly revitalize 25s.

What about removing the lockout?

One thing I want to propose with regards to lockouts is to remove them entirely. Instead, use the raid finder style of loot lockouts to limit gear acquisition.

Give players the ability to run as many bosses as they want in whatever raid size they want, but limit item rewards to their first kill of that week.

Say I’m on a weekend 10 man group. We clear out all of heroic Dragon Soul. The 25s group runs during the weekday and Monday rolls around. They find out that Peter Lafleur, one of the healing priests in that group, has national dodgeball championships that Monday and isn’t able to come in. Instead of resorting to a pug or a possibly undergeared alt, I can offer up my main priest instead. I’ve cleared out all of the bosses in Dragon Soul rendering me completely ineligible for any loot but that’s okay because I can still help out my fellow guild members.

Actually, some additional icing on the cake would be to allow gold drops to keep recurring. I wouldn’t mind raiding and farming bosses as an income stream.

The possible counterpoint to this is how would achievements be handled? The achievement with the 4 platforms on Deathwing normally takes guilds 4 weeks to get. Being able to reset and re-engage Deathwing anytime means they’d be able to nail that achievement inside a day. I’m not sure how to reconcile something like that because it gives raid groups the ability to re-attempt achievements anytime they want instead of waiting out a week for everything to reset.

If the idea of unlimited lockouts is too extreme, perhaps the moderate idea of one 10 man and one 25 man would suffice. During Wrath, we ran both 10s and 25s to maximize gear drops for our characters. But if it’s restricted to only one chance on obtaining loot, we’d be able to pick and choose a raid size at our discretion.

It’s just something to think about. For you who raid 25s, what is it that motivates you to do that? Why do you think you haven’t switched or would never consider shifting down a size to 10?

Player’s Choice Raid: Your 5 Picks?

Player’s Choice Raid: Your 5 Picks?

Let’s fast forward a few years. The 10th anniversary of World of Warcraft is about to hit. To celebrate 10 years of WoW, Blizzard has decided to create an instance filled with 5 bosses of your choice that have their stats and levels modified to whatever the current levels are. It’s a Trial of the Crusader style of an instance. You’re locked in a large arena with no way out.

It’s you, your friends, and your wits.

You get to pick any 5 bosses from any raid instance or outdoor raid boss in the history of the game.

My picks (Trial of the Insane)

  1. Mimiron
  2. Archimonde
  3. Nefarian 1.0
  4. Professor Putricide
  5. Kil’Jaeden

Mimiron’s been a favourite of mine. It’s like 3 mini bosses in one who then Voltron into a combined beast at the end.

Archie’s a huge headache. It took me a long time to get him down and is one of the most satisfactory kills I’ve ever picked up as a raider.

I’m interested in seeing what a post MoP Nef 1.0 encounter would look like. He gets a refresh and picks out abilities based on class (and maybe spec) during his phase 2. In a way, you get to pick your poison against him based on the lineup your raid brings.

Good news everyone! You get to pass plague around all over again in the level 100 version of the raid against Professor Putricide! Is your raid organized enough to automatically divvy themselves up based on which colour debuff they receive? Do they know who is dirty and who is clean?

Lastly, Kil’Jaeden. The boss I’ve worked on the longest in my entire raiding career. Heroic Zon’ozz was close but came up short. Learning to utilize the pet dragon, the positioning, handling all the incoming abilities was like a symphony coming together and making pitch perfect music.

What about you? Which 5 bosses would make it on your Player’s Choice list?

Which MoP Heroics Should you Run?

Which MoP Heroics Should you Run?

The heroics at level 90 won’t be as punishing as the initial heroics for Cataclysm or Burning Crusade. In fact, they’re designed to be the rough equivilent of normal mode instances right now in Cataclysm.

Now if you’re anything like me, you’re looking for the fastest way to ready your character for raiding. The first option is to power up your professions or buy crafted gear. Second would be to grind out as much reputations with the various factions and purchase rewards that way. The last tried and true method would be to run heroics.

For us priests, Gate of the Setting Sun has potentially 7 drops that you can use. Some of the items may not have spirit, but you can reforge into it as necessary. Siege of Niu Zao Temple has 6 items that will provide any upgrades over quest greens and blues.

Shaman healers will want to try their luck in Scholomance and Temple of the Jade Serpent. The temple has 7 items (although 1 of them has a really low drop rate as it’s an epic weapon) whereas Scholomance has 6.

Pickings for druid and monk healers are slim. Temple of the Jade Serpent has the most leather drops followed by Siege of Niuzao and Shado-Pan Monastary.

Paladin healing plate just seems to be all over the place. Avoid Scarlet Halls and Temple of the Jade Serpent if you’re looking for purely plate armor drops. Stormstout Brewery’s your best bet if you’re looking to get the most chances on gear.

Each dungeon has a notable quest or two attached to it. While they’re not the greatest rewards, it’s a good way to replace that marginal green item you’ve been using since level 87.

Below I’ve compiled and organized a list with relevant healing gear drops from heroics. It’s divided up by armor and item type. Enjoy!

T = Trinket
W = Weapon
R = Ring
O = Off-hand
C = Cloak
N = Neck

Gate of the Setting Sun

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Saboteur Kip’tilak Fallout-Filtering Hood
Striker Ga’dok Bomber’s Precision Gloves Airstream Treads
Commander Ri’mok Leggings of the Frenzy R: Viscous Ring
Raigonn 1: Frenzyswarm Bracers
2: Shoulders of Engulfing Winds
Swarmbringer Chestguard W: Carapace Breaker
O: Shield of the Protectorate

 

Quest: That’s a Big Bug!
Reward: Cloak of Collective Thought

 

Mogu’shan Palace

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Trial of the King Hurricane Belt
Gekkan Hexxer’s Lethargic Gloves Glinktrok Sollerets C: Cloak of Cleansing Flame
Xin the Weaponmaster 1: Regal Silk Shoulderpads
2: Soulbinder Treads
Mind’s Eye Breastplate W: Firescribe Dagger
N: Mindcapture Pendant

 

Quest: A New Lesson for the Master
Reward (All 430): Watchful Dreamer’s Trousers, Dreamer’s Vigil Leggings, Leggings of Clever Entrapment, Legplates of the Scattered Tribes,

Quest: Relic of the Four Kings
Reward (All 430): Cuffs of the Endless Shadow, Bindings of Impeccable Strategy, Armbands of the Reawakened, Lost Heritage Bracers, Bracers of Inner Knowledge

 

Scarlet Halls

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Houndmaster Braun R: Beastbinder Ring
Armsmaster Harlan
Flameweaver Koegler Vellum-Ripper Gloves Bradbury’s Entropic Legguards W: Melted Hypnotic Blade
R: Vithrak, Gaze of the Deadman
N: Temperature-Sensing Necklace

Scarlet Monastary

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Thalnos the Soulrender Forgotten Bloodmage Mantle
Brother Korloff
High Inquisitor Whitemane 1: Leggings of Hallowed Fire
2: Whitemane’s Embroidered Chapeau
Incarnadine Scarlet Spaulders Crown of Holy Flame W: Greatstaff of Righteousness
R: Triune Signet

Scholomance

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Instructor Chillheart Shadow Puppet Bracers
Jandice Barov O: Metanoia Shield
Rattlegore Rattling Gloves W: Necromantic Wand
Lilian Voss Leggings of Unleashed Anguish Shivbreaker Vest
Darkmaster Gandling Gloves of Explosive Pain Shoulderguards of Painful Lessons T: Price of Progress

 

Quest: An End to the Suffering
Rewards (All 440): Patchwork Flesh Armor, Coldforge Carapace, Ghoulskin Vestments, Darkmaster’s Spare Robe

Shadow-Pan Monastary

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Gu Cloudstrike Star Summoned Bracers Leggings of the Charging Soul
Master Snowdrift Quivering Heart Girdle
Sha of Violence Gloves of Enraged Slaughter N: Necklace of Disorientation
Taran Zhu Robes of Fevered Dreams Darkbinder Leggings Blastwalker Footguards Mindbender Plate Gloves R: Ring of Malice

Siege of Niuzao Temple

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Vizier Jin’bak Hood of Viridian Residue Girdle of Soothing Detonation
Commander Vo’jak Bombardment Bracers Chestwrap of Arcing Flame
General Pa’valak Breezebinder Handwraps Siegeworn Bracers T: Vial of Ichorous Blood
Wing Leader Ner’onok 1: Breezeswept Hood
2: Whisperwind Spaulders
1: Belt of Totemic Binding
2: Airbender Sandals
W: Gustwalker Staff

 

Quest: Take Down the Wing Leader
Reward: Hardened Resin Pendant (Neck) or Mantid Eye Amulet (Neck)

 

Stormstout Brewery

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Ook-Ook Bracers of Displaced Air Barreldodger Boots T: Empty Fruit Barrel
Hoptallus C: Cloak of Hidden Flasks
O: Bottle of Potent Potables
Yan-Zhu the Uncasked Fermenting Belt Uncasked Chestguard Sudsy Legplates R: Alemental Seal

Temple of the Jade Serpent

 

Cloth Leather Mail Plate Other
Wise Mari Treads of Corrupted Water Waterburst Helm
Lorewalker Stonestep Leggings of Whispered Dreams Sunheart Waistband
Liu Flameheart Flameheart Sandals C: Cape of Entanglement
Sha of Doubt Paralyzing Gloves Chestguard of Despair Neverdare Shoulders W: Je’lyu, Spirit of the Serpent
N: Mindbreaker Pendant
W: Staff of Trembling Will

Ulduar Style Hard Modes are Back!

I wasn’t sure if it was happening in the first tier of Mists or later on, but it was just confirmed in the Reddit AMA that some bosses have them in place.

I always felt the Ulduar raid was the best design for including hard modes that were mostly built-in to the encounter versus the normal mode-hard mode toggle that we have now. Do we have a chance to see a return of the event-based hard mode design instead of a toggle?

The Protectors of the Endless encounter in the Terrace of Endless Spring raid in 5.0 works exactly like the Iron Council hardmode from Ulduar; if you defeat Protector Kaolan last on that encounter, you get “Elite” loot that is even more powerful than the normal rewards from the encounter.

It’s the sort of thing we’d like to continue to experiment with and introduce where it makes sense. For some of the Ulduar encounters it was intuitive (kill Freya while her protectors are still alive), but in other cases it was obscure (how many people would have discovered the Vezax hardmode without an achievement describing what to do?) or an outright trap (“Why is XT hitting so hard?”). We literally spent as much time arguing over how to trigger the Mimiron hardmode as we did designing the fight itself, before someone half-jokingly suggested, “what if we just put a big red button on the wall?”

So the toggle is here to stay, but we’re definitely keeping our eyes open for places where it makes sense to apply the Ulduar model.

Another cool response was something called the Proving Grounds. Remember hunters going for Rhok’delar? Priests shooting for Benediction? Those class quests taught important lessons like kiting and triage healing with HoTs and dispels.

One feature we had mentioned previously, but which didn’t make it in for Mists launch, is the Proving Grounds feature. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the idea was to add what would be a type of single-player scenario that would allow players to both learn and demonstrate the core skills associated with a given role or class. You can think of them as something akin to Challenges in Starcraft II.

These might take the form of testing how long a tank can protect an NPC healer from a stream of oncoming enemies, or how much damage a rogue can deal to targets while avoiding awareness and movement checks of increasing difficulty. The hope is that the system will be a fun way for players to practice some of the skills that are essential for group gameplay, and for expert players to demonstrate mastery and compete for positions atop leaderboards, similar to our upcoming Challenge Mode feature.

With leading raid guild Paragon switching from 25 man raiding to 10 man, the conversation of 25 man raids dying has started up again. I’m still a 25s player through and through. Although ilevel loot appears to be off the table, the rate at which one could loot is an added incentive.

It`s undeniable that 25-man raiding is dying. How/will Blizzard save it?

We want to make sure the loot you get is commensurate with the logistical effort involved. That doesn’t meant the loot has to be higher item level, but it could mean you earn loot faster.

We’re not trying to kill 25 raiding. I totally agree we haven’t yet done a good job of saving it.

In short, we’re not satisfied with the current status of 25-player raids. There are clear logistical challenges to sustaining a 25-player raiding group. It’s inherently 2.5 times as much churn, and thus 2.5 times as much recruitment needed. In terms of actual encounter difficulty, while we haven’t always succeeded, we feel that we can deliver on a comparable experience between the two modes: 10-player raiding often involves greater personal responsibility, while 25-player raiding is more complex on a macro level (more moving pieces). Even perfect tuning doesn’t compensate for the logistical difficulties, though.

Our hope and intent when introducing the parallel 10/25 structure in Cataclysm was that people would be free to pick the raid size that they prefer, but I’ll admit that in light of the organizational challenges of maintaining a 25-player roster, we may need a slightly larger incentive to make that choice a truly free and fair one. When you’re the guild leader of a 25-player raid group, and you realize that you only have 21 people regularly showing up, it’s much easier to just forge ahead in 10-player mode than it is to go through a fresh recruitment cycle to bolster your ranks. And if Mechanar taught us anything, it’s that players will always take the path of least resistance when the rewards are equal. (Note that this doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the most fun path or what players would choose in the absence of any outside forces pulling them one way or another.)

A small step we’ve taken to that end has been to increase the amount of loot dropped in 25-player Normal mode in 5.0 to 6 pieces per boss, matching the Heroic loot rate as it has stood in Cataclysm. That’s something. But it’s not a true solution to the problem. It’s something we continue to discuss on a regular basis.

Think it’ll be enough?

Mattivation: The Origin of Many Whelps!

Language is slightly NSFW.

We’re about to enter our 4th expansion. There’s enough new players that haven’t seen this video yet but it’s something I wanted to share. If you think your raid leader was brutal, wait until you watch this classic Onyxia wipe raid video. If you ever wondered where Many Whelps! Handle It came from, this is it!

A large number of players today would most likely wilt under that kind of pressure and environment. Me? I don’t know. I’ve played under leaders like that before and it was a different experience. I felt like I thrived and played at near my peak. I wasn’t really motivated by fear or anything. There’s just something appealing I find when I get (quite literally) get yelled at for screwing up. My officers know this and won’t hesitate to get in my face because they know the right buttons to press (They don’t care that I’m the GM :\).

Anyway, it’s a quick video I wanted to share this morning. For the older veterans, I’m sure it’ll bring a slight grin to your face. For the newer guys, that’s what you missed out on during vanilla.

Remind me to show you guys that Sebudai poster next week.