Are You Struggling To Raid in MoP?

Are you struggling with the demands on raiders in the new WoW expansion? If so, you’re not alone.

Whilst MoP’s leveling content has been rapturously received, as we began to see yesterday, raiding does not look like such smooth sailing – or rather, preparing for raiding does not.

Today we’re featuring four bloggers exploring the problems and solutions facing raiders in the early expansion – from the frankly terrifying amount of work needed to prepare for raiding, to the “should PvP items be usable in raids?” debate:

  • Anafiele gives us an insight into how much work hardcore progression raiders are doing right now – and it’s massive, apparently considerably more than previous expansions“I’m wondering if Blizzard realized precisely how expensive they’ve made it either in time or in gold to stock up on food for progression. They know raiders count boss difficulty in wipes. I think I’ll be counting mine in food consumed.”
  • The Grumpy Elf has been gearing up for raiding, and has found the very RNG dependent early gear grind extremely frustrating“I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The game needs something for people like me. This is why I always loved valor and justice gear. It is like mercy for the unlucky.”
  • Chris at Game By Night looks at the recent flap over raiders gearing up via PvP items, and asks why people are so upset at some raiders taking a different path“Aren’t we a little beyond getting bent out of shape because of someone else’s reward? Is it so terrible that there could be more raiders and more PvPers to fill out your teams?”

The consumables issue for MoP raiding looks particularly scary – I wonder if Blizzard will back down on it, or if raiders are just going to have to get used to an additional few hours’ grinding food a week?

How are you getting on with preparing to raid?

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Weekend Roundup: MMO-Specific – LoTRO, WoW, GW2 and DUST!

And finally today, we’ve got a grab-bag of really fascinating posts from the weekend looking at elements of specific MMORPGs.

We’re heavy on the information today, with a detailed guide to Guild Wars 2’s PvE content and a great look at EVE developer CCP’s new MMOFPS, DUST. But we’ve also got some speculation and some hard thinking to round everything off!

  • Aly gives us a great guide to getting the best from Guild Wars 2’s PvE content – did you know that Hearts are far from the be-all and end-all of it?“Hearts do not provide the bulk of PvE content. They are a familiar, static element that provides guidance and leads you toward many (but not all) dynamic events. I find it helps to think of hearts as training wheels. “
  • Chris at Game By Night writes up a very interesting two-part post looking at the upcoming EVE Online-universe MMO shooter, DUST – Part 1, part 2” The game is incredibly punishing to new players, more so than any shooter I’ve played.”
  • Justin Olivetti looks forward, and makes some pretty plausible-sounding predictions of LoTRO’s expansion roadmap over the next few years“LotRO’s final expansion will conclude our great tour of Middle-earth by taking us as far from the safe lands of Eriador as possible: Rhun. Why Rhun? Why not just end the game or give us the Scouring of the Shire (which I think is going to be a skirmish)? Because the map, that’s why.”
  • And Reliq thinks hard about a problem most WoW players will recognise – the situation where you’re immediately judged incompetent in LF* based on the flimsiest evidence“Once someone forms a judgement of a person, it’s difficult to get that person to retreat. They’ll hold onto their opinion like a rabid dog, no matter how hard you hit them around the head with your logic shovel.”

I’m excited by the idea of a Rhun expansion. I’m worryingly familiar with the more obscure parts of Tolkien’s lore, and there’s a lot of great stuff that it could draw on, from the missing Wizards of Middle Earth (there are 5. Two of them are probably in Rhun. Doing… something. Bad.) to the elven nations that fled there thousands of years before LoTR…

Are you looking forward to GW2, DUST, MoP, Rohan, or something else?

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How Levelling Is Like Being In The Movies

I’ve just read a post that starts off talking about how and why the author finds most PvP zones so enjoyable and replayable, and what the exceptions to that are. The post then goes on to compare it all to raids and PvE progrsesion and how replayability is limited both if you succeed or fail in raids. The very same post then takes what should be a handbrake turn but feels like a smooth glide on to levelling alts and how wrong it feels to replay zones with multiple alts.

That same post then gracefully breezes on to compare the whole lot to movies. And then to fishing in WoW. And achievements – before going right round to PvP again.

You’ll agree that lot is a lot of topics to cover in one post. I’m sure it sounds like a muddled heap to you. But I was kept reading right through to the end of all of it and that’s quite a feat Cynwise has achieved.

The effect of failure is, interestingly, the same as the effect of success: it lowers the replay value of raiding. No matter where you stop, eventually your team does have all the gear available, even if it’s from Zulroics and crafted epics and you’re 0/13, or if you’re pushing HM 1313.

The contrast with PvP is striking. WSG is still entertaining after 6 years, but most Vanilla and BC raids are just visited for reputation, vanity items, or nostalgia. Kara and Ulduar, arguably the two best raid instances still in the game, are gorgeous – but they’re not really a challenge with max-level characters.

The whole post fits together so well – and shouldn’t – that it’s something of a masterpiece. Yep, it’s long, but should have something for everyone whatever your chosen poison in WoW.

What about you – which bits of WoW do you find replayable – or not?

_Quote taken directly from Cynwise’s post

You can find Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual homepage here_

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How Would You Save The World… Of Warcraft?

Zellvirae over at the Dead Good Tanking Guide has a quick post today. He’s not saying much himself this time: instead he’s pointing us to a thread on the EU WoW forums by hunter Dergas. Zell couldn’t have sung Dergas’ post any more praise, so I went to check it out – and ayup, I agree. Dergas’ post rocks, as do many of the comments afterwards.

So what’s all the fuss about? Dergas is saying that the world of Warcraft feels dead. He’s not bitching or flaming Blizzard for it – he’s making a statement, saying something needs to be done, then coming up with some ideas. A lot of them are drawing on things we’ve seen before in WoW and which he remembers as being fun and encouraging people to be social. A lot of them are also aimed at bringing server communities more to the fore without removing LFD/cross realm battlegroups.

I personally blame Dungeon Finder, cross-server battlegrounds (and even guild leveling to an extent) for this, but I cannot realistically expect Blizzard to get rid of those features any time soon.

Basically, I wish Blizzard would implement features that would encourage players to bond with other people belonging to the same server to foster a feeling of community. To make the world more alive by encouraging players to travel around Azeroth for whatever reasons.

His ideas cover both PvE and PvP improvements – encouraging more world PvP in given zones using daily quests, for example. I personally hate being ganked but the way Dergas has thought it through it’s a good idea: it wouldn’t impinge on my PvE activities and it would make people actually go to other zones. And that’s just the start. Many of the folks responding to Dergas’ post have good, constructive ideas too.

Go check it out. Full marks to Zell for pointing it out, too. He wants us to spread the word, especially as Dergas’ post is on the EU forums and is likely to get less attention from Blizz. So now it’s your turn! Think about how you’d revitalise the world and do what you can – comment on his post, here, or start a US thread about it.

_Quote taken directly from Dergas’ post_

_You can find Zellvirae’s Dead Good Tanking Guide homepage here_

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Improve Your PvE Performance … By PvPing?!

Your raid leader wants you to do PvP. Controversial, right? No, your raid leader didn’t slip me a quick mail asking me to drop a hint. It’s actually Chris from the team over at WoWPhiles who’s suggesting that raid leaders everywhere might carry this deep, dark secret of how they wish their raiders would improve their performance.

Chris’ logic is sound. In fact, his whole case is so simple that it might be blindingly obvious to some of us. But if you, like me, focus mostly on PvE content and slaying them tharr internet, scripted dragons, you might forget what PvP can teahc you.

The best way to increase your situational awareness in this game is by participating in PvP. I’ve learned first hand how much more effective you can be in the DPS role by having PvP experience. PvP requires you to react to unscripted sequences, do damage while on the run, and simply think clearly in hectic situations. Simple examples of what I’ve been doing in PvP that have translated well to raiding are..

Yep, he goes on to give examples of ways he’s learnt to use abilities better, from having to think on the move in PvP. Chris’ whole point is that DPSers are required to combine high DPS and survival (read: get out of the fire PDQ) more than ever in Cataclysm. And according to him, PvP is the arena – no pun intended – to learn it. He’s even had other PvE players of his spec and class look at him and say “how the friggle did you do that?”

Well, maybe not quite like that. But anyway, what do you think – are you off to learn valuable lessons from battlegrounds or can you learn everything you need to know by rote in PvE?

_Quote taken directly from Chris’ post

You can find WoWPhiles’ homepage here_

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What Do You Do About Other Players’ Weird Gear?

Hats off to Rades for proving that you can’t just assume a player knows his shizzle – or otherwise – by his gear choices. In his latest post Rades talks about a little trick he played on the WoW twitter community, asking them what they’d do if a raider turned up to their raid in PvP gear. He got various responses – I’ll let you guess them, or go read them over on his post.

What he didn’t tell them when he asked the question was that he was talking about himself. He’s currently running around killing internet dragons in PvE raids using PvP gear. Why? He says he’s done the maths (and later in his post he actually proves that) and that the PvP gear setup is the best one for his spec right now.

I would like to gently suggest that if you see an unusual equipment choice, don’t automatically assume that player is bad. Don’t assume you know more than them about their class.

Sometimes a Green is better than a Blue. Sometimes a Blue is better than a Purple. Sometimes PVP is better than PVE.

And sometimes other players actually do know what they’re doing.

But even more importantly – what’s with the hate? The condescension?

Rades gets into the thick of it in his post, warning us all to watch out for snubbing players like any ‘gearscore Gary’. He reminds us how often we saw that at the end of Wrath and how we all muttered darkly about it. Even so, there’s nothing preachy about Rades’ tone: all he’s saying is that if a player’s done the maths and reading behind their gear choices, their weird dress style just might be right for them.

What do you think – do you enjoy seeing weird gear choices or do you think WoW’s gear is too homogenized to make weird gear acceptable besides for one or two specs?

_You can find Rades’ post here

You can find Orcish Army Knife’s homepage here_

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Flame Shock: Surviving As An Adventurer In Cataclysm

The Cataclysm’s coming but what does the end of the world really mean for us? I mean, practically speaking, our characters could just sit by a warm lava pit and while away the time in peace and safety when the new zones open up. But we’re are adventurers. We’re going to have to go out and do the vanquishing thing. Good job that Rakhman at Flame Shock’s got a guide to the practical items we’ll find – and need – as we do our heroic deeds.

Rakhman’s guide will both prepare and reassure you for Cataclysm ahead of time. He’s looking at the core things we rely on in PvE and noting what the new, updated versions will be in Cataclysm. So if you’re wondering whether we’ll still have flasks or what the new primals will be called so you can look out for them to get mats for your craftable items, Rahkman’s got the details. His list is exhaustive and it’s somehow comforting having read it to know what the new bandages are called. Silly, I know. But it’s even better to know in advance what materials fish feasts will need and what benefits they give.

New Zones

This map has all the details of where to go to level. Your starter zones are a choice between Vash’jir and Mount Hyjal. Then you have The Maelstrom and Deepholm, followed by Uldum and finally the Twilight Highlands. There should be feeder quests in the capital cities for all of these new zones.


Professions are all bumped up to level 525 at the maximum and will need training by a professions master to get access to the maximum level. Trainers in the capital cities should be able to oblige.*

Rakhman also takes a look at longer term prospects. Mixed in with the new consumables details are notes on the new zones, enchanting, gems and the new reputations that’ll be available in a few days. He’s even included wowhead links to the factions so you can check for useful reputation rewards, and there’s another wowhead link to a pre-Heroics gear filter (which is currently set up for shaman, but you can play around with the filter to get items useful for your class).

A great post and very well timed. I feel odd saying this but I kinda feel better going into Cataclysm armed with this simple but useful knowledge. How about you – do you think he’s missed anything, either for PvE or PvP, given that his list is PvE centric atm?

_*Quote taken directly from Rakhman’s post as a sample

You can find Flame Shock’s homepage here_

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Epic Slant: Factions Are Bad, Mkay?

Ferrel over at Epic slant has a bone to pick with the Horde. And the alliance, too. He’s saying that forcing players to pick between segregated factions in a PvE game is a Bad Idea, plain and simple.

Good and evil have been a hallmark of fantasy literature and games for quite some time now. Someone is always the hero and someone else is the villain. In more complex stories you’re not always sure who fits what mold and you often see it as an issue of perspective. Such is the case with the Horde vs Alliance. Is it really fair to say that the Horde is evil? What is the true evil here? I’ll tell you: the true evil is splitting players into two factions. This is a mechanic we simply do not need in a PvE focused MMORPG.

He makes a point of how little horde and alliance can interact and suggests that forcibly dividing the community doesn’t help the community grow.

After all, Ferrel says, that’s half the population (give or take) on your server that you can’t have a laugh with after a wipe, or make friends with. And that’s twice the content the developers need to make.

I’ve always thought that the factions having different languages has been a good call for immersion. But some way to communicate wouldn’t go amiss. Ferrel’s looking back, minus the rose tinted glasses, at a game that did it well …

I missed those good old days, but maybe you can tell me if he’s got the right idea, and if WoW’s faction developers could learn from other games?


_Quote taken directly from Ferrel’s post_

_Epic Slant’s homepage is here_

Edit: Syl from Raging Monkeys has posted a response to Ferrel’s post. Syl’s post is a great read, and has some interesting ideas on how Blizzard’s gone wrong with the factions and what could make them work better.

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Blessing Of Fish To Blizz: How Not To Balance Gameplay

Do you PvE or PvP? How often do you do both on any of your characters? Zal over at Blessing of Fish has got a point: trying to balance each class for both PvE and PvP just makes the two playstyles get in each other’s way. Like clumsy dancers thrown together but sticking with it to see if they do any better at the next patch song depsite stepping on toes.

Several classes have undergone some nip n’ tuck as the expansion’s progressed. Zal takes a look at classes that’ve received the most treatment and how changes to bring them into line in either PvE or PVP has affected the class’ balance in the rest of the game.

I’m not certain there is any way to counter a Shadowpriest for me. A Shadowpriest of any gear can lock me down and have me nearly dead by the time I get to them in a fair fight, regardless of the cooldowns I use. And they can remove my Bubble, stop me healing, and if I finally raise my axe above their squishy head, they break into their component molecules and speed away.

He’s suggesting that Blizzard shouldn’t try to balance classes around different aspects of gameplay. After all, they’re already balancing them around other classes, so going for a subset of balance within each class might be pushing it a bit, or barking up the wrong tree as Zal puts it. He’s got some ideas about what Blizzard could do instead, although without giving it deep thought I don’t know how practical they are.

What do you think? Is it about time the PvP and PvE parts of the game went seperate ways, or do we just need to treat classes differently?

_Quote taken directly from Zal’s post_

_You can find Blessing of Fish’s homepage here_

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Fresh Brew: Addons That Save Your Eyes, Hunt Your Dailies And Express The Artist In You

There are an enormous number of WoW addons that pop up every single day, and of them, only a few make it to everyone’s attention. And that means a whole load of potentially useful addons that just don’t make it to the bigtime. Sounds like a job for MMO Melting Pot…

I was taken by surprise to find quite that many new addons over at WoW Interface. It was nicer still to see a lot of addons being updated for Cataclysm or made beta-friendly. Say what you will about whether Cataclysm will be the end of the World of Warcraft, it’s a reassuring sign to see our coding community getting their projects ready for it in good time.

Given how many addons I’ve dug up today I’ve culled to the best and I’m going to run them in a two-part post. Look out for the other half tomorrow.

  • StatsLinker – tired of not getting into groups because you don’t have the achievement? Being a guru for a guildie and need to demonstrate how a class’ stats work? Just want to Look Good ™? StatsLinker allows you to list whatever group of stats is relevant to you, like tank stats, spell stats, and so on, to your last whisper target. It’s also got class-specific talented stat buffs written in. A useful tool for battling gearscore PUG zealots!
  • MakeBreak – if you’re like me you have a terrible habit of getting really into things in game. Before you know it you’ve been there for hours without a break but you have slain every dragon on the internet. How do your wrists feel? Or your eyes? Like they’re somewhere between twinges and melting? Having regular breaks can stop that happening, even if they’re only short breaks. And short breaks = cups of tea, or mince pies, right? Makebreak will make sure you have breaks. After all, the internet dragons will still be there when you get back.
  • RerollManager – It’s a bit like Altoholic, but instead of tracking your worldly possessions it tracks your dailies and helps you juggle your various daily-doing alts. It keeps track of which characters have done which dailies (and weeklies), both PvE and PvP, and which ones you’re still to complete or even pick up. It also tracks raidIDs across your alts. Beats writing it down on postit notes for anyone who immediately looses them, like me.
  • Guild Paint – this just looks fun. It allows you and your guildies to paint pictures on a guild-shared canvas, which sounds like a great way to bond as a group in the pre-expansion lull. Or just after a long and heated raid. Anyone wanting to take part in the painting will need to download the addon. The only problem with this one is that in order to edit the painting you need to be able to change your guild’s information text, but I suspect that will be tweaked in future releases. Til then, get petitioning your guild master to allow you all to express your artistic streaks.

So, the rest tomorrow. Til then, do any of these sound useful to you or have you got better alternatives? Are there any types of addons you’d like to hear more about, like custom UIs, raid addons, PvP addons?
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