I took the liberty of running the Flex Mode version of Immerseus over the weekend. Did manage to kill it within a few attempts. Our gear was scaled to 506 item level. Our group consisted of 10 players so we didn’t get a chance to check out the dynamic scaling in action. Players that are deep in the normal mode of Throne of Thunder shouldn’t have much difficulty with this boss. Check out the video and make note of the healing tips.
I recently purchased a Flex plan from my cell company where I’d be charged monthly based on the amount of data I actually used. I don’t know if I’ll always be near a wireless access point or not but at least the charges will scale accordingly.
Speaking of Flex plans, Blizzard’s taking a page out of that book and introduced a new type of raiding: The Flex Raid difficulty.
- We can bring anywhere from 10 – 25 people and the bosses will scale.
- We can invite friends from other realms via battle tag
- Item level is between raid finder and normal but loot will be handled via raid finder loot system
- Separate lockout from raid finder, normal/heroic
I’m still digesting the news. Usually my raid will run through raid finder once a week. We’ve started bringing in and carrying our alts. People are still running raid finder to grab their Titan Runestones at the start. Raid finder is great if I just want to mind numbingly get my way through an instance, gear up an alt, and just generally not have to think but mash buttons. I can eat every void zone, stand in every fire, miss every interrupt, and can live (most of the time).
What kind of example am I setting, right?
Why it’s good
This is great for guilds and cross realm raid groups. Players don’t have to transfer their characters from server to server to raid. I know there’s players out there who have a whole train of alts with assorted professions designed to support their main. If that player is satisfied with raiding on the flex plan, then they can still see the content in the game without committing money to move their supply train.
Second, from a recruiting standpoint, this is a huge tool for a prospect to raid with a potential guild and see if they’d fit in. Right now, we run livestreams and invite possible recruits on to our Mumble in order to give them a look at our raids. I can see a day set aside where recruits can jump in and raid with the team – And the beauty is a whole 25 man team isn’t going to be needed either.
Third, what about guilds that are looking to scale up from 10 to 25 man? This is another excellent way for them to gradually expand. It’s often a nightmare to make an immediate jump from a 10 man to a 25 man raiding guild. Sometimes the pool of player availability isn’t always there. The flex raid allows them to slowly (but surely) change their raid size until a consistent 25 raiders is found for the inevitable shift to normal modes.
But at the end of the day, Flex Raid isn’t a normal raid. It will never carry the prestige or reputation that normal and heroic kills grant. I doubt it’ll be taken seriously but maybe that’s what the main point of the flex raid is. It’s not designed to be cutting edge or challenging. It’s supposed to bring you, your family, and your friends together to raid where you don’t have to deal with potential morons in raid finder. You get to raid on your terms with whoever you want with relaxed restrictions.
Will you flex?
I’m still weighing the costs and benefits of working in Flex raiding for Conquest. I’d remove guild sanctioned Raid Finder from the list of activities and swap to this instead. At minimum, I would have to have at least two tanks available for this. With Raid Finder, I’d be able to go in with whatever composition I had available. The potential drops are better than raid finder anyway. I imagine my current raiding gear from Throne of Thunder will be better than the Raid Finder and flex drops in 5.4. If anything, Flex will be used to help ease our way into progression raids or on nights where half the raid is unable to attend.
Where does the flex raid factor into your guild’s raiding plans? What about your raiding plans? I’ll end up changing my Wednesday night raid finder to the flex raid instead.
Want to increase your raid’s overall DPS?
How about expanding it’s survivability?
Or keeping enemy packs incapacity and stunned for longer than usual?
This is one of the basic raid tactics you can use. Chaining cooldowns refers to players using similar abilities one after the other. Stacking cooldowns means to use them simultaneously. How exactly should a raid chain their cooldowns together?
As a DPS player, you have your own personal DPS increasing cooldowns. In most cases they’re fired off all at once to raise your damage for those brief seconds that the abilities are active. It’s kind of a no brainer isn’t it?
But when you’re dealing with many players, you may not have that luxury. What happens if two players stun the target at the same time with two Hammer of Justices? The target still gets stunned for 6 seconds (too bad the other stun doesn’t carry over and add 6 seconds on top).
(Un)Fortunate enough to have 5 shamans in raid? You can use their Stormlash totem one after the other for 50 seconds worth of extra lightning DPS. Bonus marks if you pull this off during a Heroism.
If you’re working on challenge modes, then you’ll have to chain your cooldowns together to get through various trash packs. In some cases, you may need to combine both offensive and defensive ones based on your group composition. My challenge mode group is stun heavy with a Death Knight, Monk, and a Shaman. Like clock work, the Monk opens with a Leg Sweep while the Shaman drops his Capacitor Totem at the same time (the stun detonates after 5 seconds) before the Death Knight finalizes with Remorseless Winter. If we still needed more time to finish off a pack, I dropped a Power Word: Barrier to help. Like any form of crowd control, targets will be affected by diminishing returns.
Structuring healing cooldowns does need a little more thought. Should you use more than one at the same time or layer it one after the other? Bosses tend to have signature mass DPS abilities which affect the whole raid. Your decision on stacking or chaining all comes down to how intense the damage is and how long that boss ability lasts.
If you don’t have it installed yet, get RSA downloaded and set up. It’ll help you and your fellow raiders as it announces when you activate your own raid cooldowns and when they end.
Bring up the configuration and go into the General Announcements tab. The drop down on the top right let’s you adjust which spells and abilities you want to use. The checkboxes let you choose where you want the start and end points broadcasted. In most cases, it’s going to be either a Smart Group or a Whisper. You can choose to override the output channel if you wish.
In Conquest, there’s a dedicated shaman channel where they organize their own Stormlash Totems and that’s where they set their macros and announcements to.
This simple technique is going to help you shave time off your kills and help you beat enrage timers. A little organization and communication ahead of time with your players is going to be needed, but it’s well worth the effort! To really stretch this out though, look through each boss and find out what the best time to chain cooldowns will be. Look for periods in a fight where your raid can stay still and unload their arsenal!
The new Thunderforged item concept adds another two levels of items into raids. Only available to items that are non-tier. Not sure how the slight stat allocation of Thunderforged compares to the set bonuses that tier provides, but that’s not the object of discussion here.
Much of the feedback Blizzard received was around 25 man raiding and how to proportionately reward those who eagerly go through the logistical challenges of organizing them (y’know, hopeless idiots like myself). 25 mans are gradually diminishing. Top guilds Vodka and Exodus merged resulting in the loss of another prominent 25 man guild.
Coming to the PTR in the near future will be a new designation of item type in Normal and Heroic raids for non-tier pieces. Each 5.2 raid boss will have a chance of dropping this new designation of a particular item that’s 6 item levels higher than their counterparts. These higher quality versions will be called “Thunderforged”. This means that there will be five variations of some items. You’ll now see a 5.2 raid item of LFR quality at item level 502, the same item in Normal quality at item level 522, the item in Normal Thunderforged quality at item level 528, the Heroic version of the item at level 535, and the Heroic Thunderforged version of the item at level 541.
We’ve also received a lot of feedback regarding 25-player raids, and have been looking for ways to address some concerns. Ever since we changed 10-player raids to drop the same item level as 25’s, we’ve seen a steady decline in 25-player raiding. This isn’t surprising. A 25-player raid takes an extra level of logistical commitment for the officers of those groups. It’s unfortunately easy for a 25-player guild to collapse down into a 10-player guild, but very unlikely for the opposite to happen. However, we like 25-player raiding and don’t want to see it go away. Like many players, we love the epic feeling that comes with banding together more massive groups to battle powerful foes, we love that there’s opportunity for those groups to try out new players or unusual comps without causing a huge burden, and we want to support the larger raiding guilds. That said, we’re also concerned that over-rewarding the 25-player guilds-if, for example, we went back to a higher item level across the board for 25’s, as was the case for Icecrown Citadel-would feel like a slap in the face to the many 10-player raiders out there, who are the majority of our Normal and Heroic raiders.
To attempt to navigate this minefield, we’re going to try having Thunderforged items drop more frequently in 25-player raids. They’ll be somewhat rare in both cases compared to the standard versions that’ll drop, but they’ll be even rarer in 10’s. Overall, a 25-player group will be more likely to end up with a slightly higher item level after several weeks of raiding.
This isn’t going to have much effect on the guilds that already run 25 man raids. Conquest has survived some of the worst ordeals in it’s history. 10 man raiding has never been a long term solution in any fashion and it never will be as long as I continue to run it. The players and the leaders have no interest in it all and that resiliency has helped us.
Have to admit, reward incentive here with the Thunderforged is cool. It’s a neat compromise to the whole suggestion of adding a completely different level of gear between 25s and 10s (the Wrath style). I’ve seen cases of 25s dropping down to 10s but I have never seen a 10 man raid step up to a 25 man raid which continues to be active. If you happen to be the architect of such a move, give me a shout!
More importantly, is this going be enough to influence players to make the switch from 10 to 25? I don’t think so. My guess is no. The interactions I’ve had with the 10 man players is that they have no interest in the logistical maintenance that’s required at the 25 level. There’s a strong preference for the closer intimacy that’s offered.
This change seems to be targeting the players that like having the best stuff available. They raid a set amount of hours a week and they want to really maximize their return on their time investment.
What about the leaders? As I said, it’s a cool reward for the few that brave the logistical nightmares. But if you’re a 10 man raid leader, is it enough to consider to make that shift? I’m not sure about that. Seems to me that the players already comfortable where they are don’t want to take that leap. I gather there’s large number of players that aren’t raiding purely for the gear level (but I acknowledge that there are some who do).
During Wrath, 25s were the dominant raiding force. The challenges there offered undoubtedly better geared compared to the 10 man counterparts. With this in place, 25 man raiders have a better chance of securing better gear compared to the 10 man raiders. The 10 man players won’t be shut out. They’ll still have a chance at it but it won’t be as strong. We’ll have to wait and see what the frequency of the Thunderforge drops are going to be.
I took a quick poll on Twitter to see what other people felt.
Yes or no: Is Thunderforged enough to make you consider joining a 25 man raid group?
— Matticus(@matticus) January 23, 2013
Here’s what you said:
@matticus simple, no. I raid 10man because I prefer the social environment of 9 friends.
— Jayden (@Omegahty) January 23, 2013
Yup, I figured that was going to be the case for quite a few players. What else?
@matticus As a raid leader: Hell no. 25 mans are an organizational nightmare. All the gear in the world isn’t enough.
— Jamie Cox (@KitsuneLeo) January 23, 2013
Also understandable. Doesn’t matter how good the rewards and incentives are. Sometimes there is no price that’s high enough. next?
— Gnoodles (@Gnoodles_WoW) January 23, 2013
So not exactly eager to look for a 25 but won’t resist if the current leadership decides to go that route. That’s fair. It does lower the barrier slightly. And this change does seem to go after the players that are either on the fence or virtually indifferent.
@matticus Yes. I joined a guild for 25s and they downsized to Alpha and Bravo 10mans 3 days later. I hope it’s enough to bring people back.
— Shane Greenwell (@sfgreenwell) January 23, 2013
Oof, I hate hearing about situations like that. Players joining a guild expecting one kind of experience only for that to be abruptly changed soon after. It’s crappy.
@matticus we will probably lose 3 of our 10 man including the Raid lead.
— Marathal(@Marathal) January 23, 2013
That’s unexpected. So in the grand scheme of things, there is an extremely slight chance that it’s enough to split a 10 man (maybe not break it).
What are your thoughts on this addition? Is it enough to give you a reason to start looking around for 25s? Are you or your raid leaders suitably incentivized to give 25s a shot or look for a guild to merge with? Or does nothing change and the status quo is maintained?
Wikipedia states that A vizier […] is a high-ranking political adviser or minister in an Islamic government. The word is derived from Middle Persian and then adopted into Arabic root. The vizier stood between sovereign and subjects, representing the former in all matters touching the latter.
Well, today I learned. Not exactly the voice of Psy, but he’s fun and engaging nonetheless.
Healers looking for pointers can visit this page.
We got trolled. For the longest time, Vizier would always run to the Attenuation platform. We would routinely trigger the boss from the middle and then run to it. We figured he’d go there everytime. Sure enough, the one time we set up at the Attenuation platform, the Vizier runs to the Force and Verve platform instead.
I was never able to take down the Vizier during the beta. Either I ran out of time or the gear or skill just wasn’t there for the groups I was in. I knew the Attenuation platform was going to be challenging for players (especially those who use the keyboard to turn instead of to strafe). Pay attention because Attenuation rings can go clockwise or counter clockwise.
Pro tip: Rebind your A and D keys to strafe left and strafe right respectively. It helps with moving through discs. Point your camera so that it’s from the top down. Paladins with the Relic of Chi Ji are instructed not to use Light of Dawn.
Look how blinding that can be. My guild likes to joke about it and call it the vagina of light.
With all the movement that’s going on in the Attenuation phase, I switched up my glyphs and used the Glyph of Shadow Word: Death instead. When I’m dodging discs, there’s situations where I’ll get lucky with Mind Blast, Mind Spike, and Devouring Plague procs. It’s possible to stand in one place and get a 2-tick Mind Flay through before interrupting it. Shadow Word: Death just gives you an extra spell for to to use on the go.
During the Convert platform, pop your Psychic Scream and Halo spells early and on cooldown. People get pissed off at you if you’re Mind Controlled and dropping fear bombs all over the place. Halo if used at the wrong time will chunk or even kill players.
On the Force and Verve platform, I’d activate Vampiric Embrace while under the Noise Cancelling shield. We assigned all the ranged players to the bubble furthest away. Healers would take the next closest (or middle) bubble. Melee DPS and the tank would secure the closest bubble to the Vizier. Any bubbles that had more than 9 players would have extras reassigned to the healer bubble.
Heroism was used in the final phase during the first Noise Cancelling bubble. It was used defensively to help the healers keep up with the healing without activating their raid cooldowns.
It’s not the greatest fight for a Shadow Priest with the amount of moving that’s going on. I’m still struggling with maintaining meaningful uptime. 80.5% on my Vampiric Touch just isn’t quite cutting it. The DoTs just keep falling off and I’m not able to refresh them fast enough. I try to reapply them with anywhere from 3-4 seconds left, but I’m not all there. Shadow’s fun this expansion (compared to Cataclysm where maintaining 3 different DoTs was a chore).
I’m using Fortexorcist to help track my DoTs but I think I need to find a better place for it. Maybe underneath the target on the top right? Where do you Shadow Priests park their timers? Should I just clip more and throw it up earlier?