Where Do You Learn To Raid?

So, imagine you’re a new raider, and you’ve got a nice, friendly guild. Where on earth do they take you to learn the ropes?

That’s the interesting question Tzufit’s posing today. She’s looking back on her time in Wrath, using Naxxaramas as a training ground for new members of her guild, and asks “where would I go now?”

LFR? Blackwing Descent? None of them are exactly perfect for the task

“Where do new raiders learn how to raid now? Tier 11 was the exact opposite of Naxx in that it was the first tier of the expansion and also the hardest. Many of its mechanics were entirely unforgiving and it suffered from having several fights in which a single player’s mistake could wipe the rest of the raid. While this makes for interesting and challenging fights for seasoned raiders, it is not an environment where you want to train anyone.

Cataclysm’s Heroic 5 mans (the ones that shipped with Cata, not the Hour of Twilight heroics) do a lot of the work to prepare players to make the jump from dungeons to raiding. Cata’s heroic bosses are more challenging than any we’ve seen in prior expansions because they each have several complex mechanics to test players. Learning to juggle adds, and a debuff, and a boss who enrages all within the same fight gives us some opportunity to experience the sort of multi-tasking we’ll have to do when we fight a real raid boss. It’s one reason why I enjoyed the difficulty of Cata’s un-nerfed heroics at the beginning of the expansion. They were challenging, but they warned us about what was to come in the even greater challenge that was tier 11.

No 5 man dungeon, however, can ever prepare a tank or a healer for the experience of having to work as a part of a tanking or healing team. This is something that happens exclusively in the raid environment or, now, in LFR. A lot has already been written about whether or not LFR is a tool that properly initiates people into the raiding world. I believe that LFR is an important tool for a new raider because it exposes them to the scale and complexity of a raid – but let’s not kid ourselves into believing that any new raider would come out of an LFR experience with the slightest notion as to why anything happened the way it did. On the rare occasions when anyone bothers to explain any aspect of a fight in LFR, no context is given because there isn’t enough time to do so before someone gets antsy and pulls. The most information that is given is what to kill, where to stand, and (maybe) when to hit that illusive button on Ultraxion.”

Tzufit gives us a good rundown of the history of “training raids” (although I’d add Zul’Gurub in Vanilla to Kara and Naxx), and she effectively highlights a real issue here. Assuming we have some hopes of recruiting new players into WoW, rather than merely running out the meter with an ever-decreasing number of veterans, where are we going to teach them the basics?

Does Mists have a raid that’s shaping up to be a training ground? I’d love to know.

What do you think?

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Retro Raiding for Fun And Profit

It’s increasingly seeming to me that the older or easier content in WoW can in fact be some of the most fun – if you approach it properly.

Sure, Kara might be deathly boring if you’re 10 85s plowing through it for the achievement. But make it 2 85s, with no healer, and it’s a different story, according to Druid Main, who also believes that this sort of low-level content can be great for learning the “raiding mindset”:

I don’t care if I die in these retro raids. When we do hit the floor, it’s often while laughing madly at something. Making a mistake doesn’t carry the same weight here as it does when you’re in the “big kid” raiding.

It’s like learning how to drive. Bumping a cone is funny. Bumping a Mercedes is not.

He makes the entire process sound great fun, and also gives a good case for why it’s actually supremely useful training for the newer raider in important skills like Fire, Not Standing In The. Finally, he’s got a guide to a good chunk of the older raids, which ones you can two-or three-man, and which ones will wipe your face.

I’m hankering for some lower-level content now. Anyone with me?

_Quote taken directly from Druid Main’s post.

Find Druid Main’s homepage at http://druidmain.blogspot.com_

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In Game Training For Tanks

So most of WoW’s cities have training dummies we can, y’know, train ourselves on. Melfina’s been thinking about how tanks could do with training situations rather than just a dummy to hit – and she’s come up with a whole training programme for tanks.

Melfina’s post comes from a recent stint of learning to tank as a druid. She doesn’t waste time telling us how well or awfully it’s gone but jumps straight into her idea, which takes tanks right from the basic levels of How To Tank, through intermediate levels, right to the more advanced stuff of aggro-happy DPS.

Intermediate Tank Training:

Similar setup, but now we include NPC DPS. You’d repeat trial 2, then do trial 3 twice, once with suggested crowd control and once where you chose the NPC DPS group and tell them what to cc. Again, all trials can be repeated, so you can really experiment with different group makeups and crowd control options.

I’m particularly impressed at how succinctly Melfina’s planned all of this, and thought about incentives and effects on experienced tanks. This is the best, no-nonsense tank training idea (albeit her brief example of the now-defunct defence stat on gear) I’ve seen yet – now all she needs is a snazzy tagline to go along with the training.

What do you think – have you got other ideas about how tanks should get their training or are dungeons/LFD a suitable training arena?

_Quote taken directly from Melfina’s post

You can find Melfina’s The WoW Noob homepage here_

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LifeInGroup5: Helping Bad Guys Up Their Game

Have you ever looked at a dungeon and thought “yeah, I can see the boss here is really at home in this place. It’s so him.” Well, Vixsin’s taken a break from beta testing and solemn guild and class reflections to let us in on just how the villainous bosses get to where they are now.

The post jumps right in as an information pack for NPCs wishing to try their hand at being an Evil Boss in Blizzard’s Evil NPC Empire. It gives the boss an overview of the recruitment process and gets them to get going designing their own encounter.Like any good training programme, it takes them through the basics first, getting them to design their evil lair and look at little things like lighting and ambience as real game changers. After all, as Vixsin’s post points out, a towering flaming wall of molten death is so much more atmospheric.

As the first step in membership in this Elite Hero-Fighting Unit, you’ll need to design an instance encounter that really captures the essence of who you are as a Big Bad Boss. You’ll later be meeting with our Incredibly Evil Design Team to work out the perfect evil experience. Our team is staffed with only the most skilled and most reprehensible experts in Evil Lighting, Evil Décor, Evil Speech-writing and Evil Acting. Your Evil Adventure Stylist will be scheduling an appointment with you soon™ to go over all the details…

Your local small time villain looking to go big time then gets taken through the basics of designing their very own fight with heroes from the abilities they can choose from to carefully choosing what particular slow and painful deaths they can inflict on players, to keeping the heroes on their toes with built in running exercise or, as it’s charmingly put, “look, a unicorn!” moments.

This is a brilliant post – off topic from anything else in the wowosphere, and refreshingly witty. Hats off to Vixsin for something completely different.

What do you think – are evil masterminds being given good advice, or do they not make them like they used to?

_Quotes taken directly from Vixsin’s post

Vixsin’s Life In Group 5 homepage is here_

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