Archive for the ‘Raiding’ Category

Well, with the servers down for maintenance, I might as well blow off this head of steam I’ve been building by writing a rant.

I was reading through the Dev Watercooler blogs about the development of raiding and the raid design philosophy for Warlords and everything was looking good to me until I came to this bit (emphasis added):

Accordingly, while loot will be awarded more frequently, Raid Finder in Warlords will have different loot tables than the Normal, Heroic, or Mythic versions of the raids, along with different item art.

Wait, what?! No Tier from LFR? Not even “nuclear snot green” Tier?

So perhaps the LFR colorations of tier items in Mists have been the cheap department store knock-offs of the designer boutique normal/heroic mode versions. If the LFR items are going to have different item art altogether, if Tier will only be obtainable by normal+ mode raiding, then Blizzard just formalized that, in Warlords, LFR raiders will really and truly be second-class citizens.

I have really enjoyed being able to raid “on my own terms” during Mists via LFR, and I resent this notion of being required to do regular raiding again if I want to have the tier look. I burned out on regular raiding during Cataclysm, and I have no desire to start doing it again — not even for tier. In Mists, being able to get the same models as tier/raid items, even if I’ve sometimes had to settle for less-attractive color schemes, has been my primary motivation for running LFR not only with one character, once or twice, as a Tourist, to see the story, but also with many characters, many times. Being able to get current content tier with any character who wants it has been truly wonderful for me! I certainly couldn’t do that with a regular raid group! If I won’t even be able to get the tier models by running LFR, the alternate item art would be a poor substitute no matter how stylish and attractive it might be — as a current example, which looks do people prefer more? The justice points/timeless isle lookalike gear that drops in Mogu’shan Vaults, or the real thing T14 gear that drops in Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring? — and, oh look, there are previews of Warlords armor up on Wowhead and bleargh!, except for cloth, I like what I’m seeing for the crafted and dungeon sets better than the LFR sets! It seems that I will have significantly decreased motivation to do any kind of raiding in Warlords.

When I’m designing a new outfit in MogIt, I’ve learned to ignore PvP items because PvP is a part of the game that I don’t want to play. I’ve learned to ignore the normal/heroic mode color schemes of raid items, too, because normal/heroic mode raiding is not how I want to spend my playtime. Now, I guess I’ll have to re-learn to ignore tier entirely, just like I did in BC when SSC/TK was a little beyond my guild’s reach and BT/Hyjal/Sunwell was way, way beyond my guild’s reach. And that makes this Transmogrification fanatic very sad indeed.

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So there I was, derping it up in Mogu’shan Vaults with the Priest on Wednesday night — the Paladin having won the last item she wanted from Siege of Orgrimmar on Tuesday night — when I noticed in my Grid a little orange box displaying the truncated name “Amer”. Hmm, I thought to myself, could that be? During an out-of-combat moment, I moused over the box to display the character’s full name, and, sure enough, it was Amerdruid! I found her character and gave her a quick hug. After the raid was over, we had a lovely chat. It’s always so nice to run into a friend in LFR!

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I’ll admit, I’m not that great of a healer, and really, I probably never was. Kamalia scraped through Proving Grounds Silver by the skin of her teeth and still hasn’t gone back for Gold (let alone Endless/Proven!).

I made the Paladin get her own Proving Grounds Silver — it took several attempts — before I started taking her to LFR. I plan to do the same with the Priest, the Druid, and the Monk before I take them to LFR. This is not a new objective, sparked by the news that a Proving Grounds Silver will be required to random-queue for Heroic Dungeons in Warlords; rather, it is something I have planned to do with my healers ever since the Proving Grounds first came out and Ghostcrawler commented that in the future (i.e., next expansion) a Proving Grounds Silver might be required to queue for LFR.

Because Shaman have so few instant-cast heals — only Riptide and Nature’s Swiftness + [heal] when I first began raiding — I learned to be a turret. I never properly learned how to use Spiritwalker’s Grace; I’m always forgetting about it and realizing only later, “oh, that bit of the fight would have been a good time to use SWG”. I don’t always remember, the next time I do the fight, to use SWG at that particular point, either.

With my Paladin, running LFR, I forget to use Avenging Wrath, Guardian of Ancient Kings, and especially “Raidwall”, because I never can remember what the real name of that spell is. But I have learned to use my instant-cast heals on the move, tossing out Holy Shocks, Eternal Flames, and Lights of Dawn as I run out of the fire. When Patch 6.0 comes, I will have to unlearn that behavior.

Blizz is backtracking on the “smart heals”; I seem to remember that when they were first introduced they bounced randomly, and only later were changed to prefer the most-damaged player within range. The notion that ground effect and other AOE type heals should be most mana-effective when two or more players are within them, well, isn’t that how it should have been working all along? Even if I was not very good at actually choosing my targeting/placement? So, whatever. Maybe I’ll actually learn to be a better healer again in Warlords after the decay I’ve suffered since quitting regular guild-based raiding and becoming an LFR Tourist-and-Transmog raider.

To me, it seems like the most difficult part of the healing changes will be getting the DPS mindset to accept that it’s OKAY to be at less than 100% health some or even most of the time and not be continually whining for heals and blaming the healers for every wipe.

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on a roll

The Pet Battling Monk reached level 70 on Friday. Sometime between level 50 and 60, I began neglecting her Archaeology. Now that she’s ready to head out to Northrend, however, I think I’ll be picking it back up. There’s nothing in particular that I want her to do in Northrend — besides looking for an Unborn Val’kyr — so in between the pet battle dailies and the LFD queues, she’ll probably go dig in Eastern Kingdoms instead of questing.

It only took me a few tries to get past Blood Knight Antari and open up the Outland pet battle dailies. With those relatively high level dailies requiring more care in assembling my teams, I downloaded the PetBattle Teams addon so that I could save combinations that work — meaning, they only require one or two forfeits to go heal before they manage to win by the skin of their teeth. Cassandra Kaboom and Grazzle the Great are the lowest-level tamers for whom I have set teams. Traitor Gluk and Kela Grimtotem don’t need set teams. For everyone else above them, though, I have a team arranged. A couple of my mid-Kalimdor level range teams are strong enough now to put a carry pet in the first slot, but I don’t have enough high-level pets of the right families to do that with any of my Outland teams yet. Speaking of high-level pets, I got Kiamore and Navie Chan to level 25. Then, I carefully chose the pets I was using for the highest and lowest-level trainer battles so as to complete “No Favorites” before allowing any of my highest-level wild-captured pets to ding 25 (none of them have, yet).

After a week of seeing neither hide nor hair of Loque’nahak — only many, many other Hunters all doing the same thing as herself, always one or two and sometimes as many as five or six — the Hunter said “forget this!” and fired up her Dimensional Ripper-Everlook. She tamed a Frostsaber Stalker at Frostsaber Rock, then travelled to the Sanctuary of Malorne to start helping out at the Molten Front.

Poor Kinevra. I’ve only been getting to her Argent Tournament dailies about once a week. I’ve realized that I am very, very tired not so much of jousting itself as of the music that plays while you are jousting — and of having to reload my UI when I’m done jousting to get the normal zone music to start playing again — though I am rather tired of the Icecrown zone music, too.

Kamalia finally won Norushen’s Enigmatic Barrier. The LFR version coordinates strikingly well with her legendary cloak! Because I am very much a tourist and transmog raider, she is now pretty much done with LFR for the rest of the expansion. The Paladin went to Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring again this week and managed to pick up the Int plate belt. I really need to take her to the Isle of Thunder to pick up some Elder Charms before I do T14 LFR with her again.

Mini-Kam got to Exalted with the Tillers and Cloud Serpents. She’s still got a long way to go with the August Celestials, of course. She spent an hour farming mogu in the Vale and got not one, but two Skyshards. For that bit of fantastic luck, I expect that she won’t get any Skyshards for several farming sessions to come.

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an oracular cow

Oracle of the Shifting Sands

Crown of Endless Knowledge, Replica Virtuous Mantle & Gloves, Vestments of the Oracle, Apothecary’s Waistband/Captain Sanders’ Sash, Earthmender’s Bracer of Shattering, Scarlet Filigreed Doublet, Invincible Stave
Each week since she reached level 90, Kaohana has been squishing bugs in Ahn’Qiraj — Prophet Skeram, the Bug Trio, Battleguard Sartura, Fankriss the Undying, and all the trash in between — hoping that Fankriss will drop the Robes of the Guardian Saint for her. Though Fankriss has dropped those robes at least three times for my Warrior while she was farming him for the Silithid Carapace Chestguard, my Priest has yet to see them.
Meanwhile, she’s been racking up the Brood of Nozdormu rep. This past week, she finally made it to Honored, and so, with a little help from Plaid Elf for the Twin Emperors and C’thun, I accomplished one of my longtime WoW goals: I acquired one of the insect-wing robes from Ahn’Qiraj. The red & gold Priest version is the only one available to Tauren; someday, I’d like to get the blue Mage version and the lovely purple Warlock version with my Blood Elves. I wish Blizzard would change the Brood of Nozdormu rep grind to start from Neutral instead of Hated!
The Scarlet Filigreed Doublet is just the right shade of red to blend with this robe and fill in that little gap between the sleeves and the bracers. The Red Linen Shirt is too light and orangey, and the Red Workman’s Shirt is too dark.
The Invincible Stave isn’t quite Benediction, but since the latter staff is no longer obtainable, it will have to do.

Darkmoon Oracle

Duskwoven Turban, Slime-Encrusted Pads, Willow Robe, High Councillor’s Sash, Soulcloth Gloves, Crescent Wand, Aboriginal Rod, Cloak of the Darkmoon Faire, Golden Filigreed Doublet
Kaohana wore this outfit during the December Darkmoon Faire, immediately prior to finishing her Shado-Pan rep grind.
The Aboriginal Rod is one of a few off-hand frill items that looks like a staff — the Highborne Star is another — thus allowing a caster to emulate Gandalf’s sword/dagger + staff style of magical combat.
The purple Mystical Headwrap might look even better with this outfit, but I have plans for another outfit for Kaohana that will use the green turban, and I don’t have any plans for outfits using the purple one.

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I’ve been waiting all year for Pilgrim’s Bounty to come around again so that I could make this outfit for Kaohana:

Bountiful Nomad

Outlander’s Pauldrons/Stonecloth Epaulets, Greenweave Robe, Wise Man’s Belt, Heavy Linen Gloves + Seer’s Cuffs, Umbranse’s Staff
The accessories in this set would look equally good with the Native Robe worn by the Bountiful Feast Hostess. Using the white Stonecloth Epaulets, this set can be worn by a character in the low 30s. I think the brown Outlander’s Pauldrons coordinate with the robe better, but they require a level in the low 60s. The staff I am using is a Winterspring quest reward, but any plain staff will do. I’d love to use Nimar’s Tribal Headdress with this set, but it is no longer obtainable and thus awfully hard to find.

Tome has reminded me that Amerence is once again hosting the Blog Azeroth Thanksgiving Event.

Since last year’s BATE, I’ve discovered, enjoyed, and added to my blogroll Repgrind, Mr and Mrs WoW, Plaid Elf, Luxy, Umlaut Paradots, and Contested Territory.

During the past year, several of you have done wonderful things for me. Repgrind helped me add Al’ar to my mounts list, when I felt like we’d just barely met. To this day, I often think of and am thankful for her generosity when Kaelinda’s favorite flying mounts macro brings up that gorgeous pink phoenix. Umlaut gave me some timely inspiration and encouragement to get my Warrior leveled and into Throne of Thunder LFR for the amazing Warrior T15 set. Just recently, Matty‘s ignition of the Old Ladies Raiding Guild has filled the void left after JD’s Laid Back Raid programme petered out.

When I saw the Firelands on the Old Ladies Raiding Guild schedule, I considered temporarily faction-swapping Kaelinda so that she could (hopefully) pick up the Mantle of Closed Doors. A little later, it occurred to me that if Transmogrification really will be getting upgraded (I’m guessing patch 6.1 or 6.2), it shouldn’t really matter which character collects all the spiffy-looking stuff I want to make Transmogrification kits with. So I’ve been taking Kinevra, who is still level 85, to OLRG instead.

This weekend, the OLRG graciously carried Kinevra through the Firelands. I beg to differ with Matty’s report that, other than a Spire of Scarlet Pain, nothing particularly interesting dropped. Although the Mantle of Closed Doors didn’t drop, the next best thing — the T12 Mage shoulder token — did, and I won it!

Of course, I had to make an outfit with it right away!

Hot Stuff!

Jewel of the Firelord, Firehawk Mantle, Death Speaker Robes, Sash of the Burning Heart, Enumerated Gloves, Extravagant Boots of Malice, Archmage’s Staff*

Thank you, Matty, for letting me tag along with the OLRG!

Through participating in the OLRG, I’ve added some new people to my battletag friends list. One of those new battletag friends was Prinnie, and this week, she invited me to run some Siege of Orgrimmar LFR with her. I hadn’t run any LFR for about a month; I’d felt more like faffing around with alts than pushing Kam’s progression. An invitation to run with a friend made a world of difference — LFR really is so much more enjoyable in a group of friends than on my own.

How thankful I am for my blogging friends!

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Tomorrow, Blizzcon begins, and I am looking forward to finding out What’s Next for World of Warcraft?

I would like to see a new class, to bring the current awkward eleven up to a nice round dozen. I’d like it to be a mail-wearing class, so that there will be the same number of classes for each armor type. It should be available to Gnomes, because Gnomes have no mail-wearing class and every other race has at least one class that can use each armor type. I confess that I’m not quite sure what such a class would be or do, though, because Shamans and Hunters between them have a good spread of roles. Perhaps some sort of mail-wearing tank?

I really hope that the next expansion doesn’t abandon dailies entirely. As unpopular as this opinion seems to be these days, I like doing dailies. Perhaps it is evidence of some great flaw in my character that I am happier when structure is provided to me than when I have to figure out how to structure my time myself (a big reason why I enjoyed TAing but didn’t do so well at research when I was in graduate school), but nonetheless, I like the structure that dailies provide.

I like dailies because they act as a convenient timing mechanism for professions farming. When my Jewelcrafter had only one primal diamond cut left to find and also needed the Sapphire Cub pattern to be my 20th Crazy Cat Lady kitty pet, I felt bored just thinking about spending hours grinding mogu in the Vale. Instead, I picked up the Golden Lotus dailies, and whatever mogu she encountered in the round-trip between the Setting Sun Garrison and the bottom of Guo-Lai Halls were enough dead mogu for one day. In this fashion, it took about a week to get the patterns I wanted — and she also got Exalted with the Golden Lotus. I did the same thing with my Monk to get the six 5.4 cooking recipes from the Vale. While I do sometimes choose to farm herbs, ore, and leather by just flying around looking for them for an hour or two, it feels like a more productive use of my time to simply pick up whatever materials I happen to come across while I’m in the process of doing dailies. I actually liked the Fatty Goat Steak cooking daily better before the droprate was buffed because Kamalia could get so much leather while doing it.

Dailies help me distribute my playtime among my multitude of high level alts. I run through my character selection screen, tending each character’s garden and doing dailies for any factions that character is currently interested in, then moving on to the next character. If my playtime is limited, I start with the character(s) whose faction progressions are currently my highest priority in-game goals.

Although I like the way dailies give me something concrete and discrete to do with each character’s playtime, Valor Points, in and of themselves, are not enough of a reward to keep me coming back to any given set of dailies/repeatable quests again and again and again. I didn’t do the Battlefield:Barrens weekly very often, and I haven’t bothered with the Timeless Isle weekly that awards 200 VP, either. The faction has to offer some kind of reward I want, whether it is a mount or an item of clothing or a title or even RP/story fulfilment. I haven’t come back to the Domination Offensive because there weren’t any sufficiently cool-for-Transmogrification items of gear and I haven’t felt like any of my other characters needed to play through the story for RP reasons (my Blood Elf Mage and Dwarf Shaman will probably do the 5.1 stuff eventually). I haven’t done Isle of Quel’danas dailies since Wrath launched because I haven’t had any characters who wanted the Shattered Sun tabard. After Kamalia had gotten her Flameward Hippogryph and Kerisa had played through the conclusion of the Leyara story for an RP desire to understand what had gone wrong with the Druids of the Flame, I didn’t come back to the Molten Front until recently. Kaelinda wants the ruby pink gloves sold by one of the three vendors that unlock late in the grind, and I find that I’m actually rather enjoying the Molten Front dailies this time around — a combination of the place being virtually empty of players, not being on a PvP server anymore, and being level 86+. I have only come back to the Isle of Thunder once a week or so, when I’ve wanted Lesser Charms or had a Key to the Palace of Lei Shen drop from Throne of Thunder trash in LFR. But I’ve run most of my characters through the Argent Tournament, and so far I’ve run most of my level 90s through the Shado-Pan dailies, too.

I do get tired of those dailies after awhile. I need a rest of a few weeks between when I’ve reached my Argent Tournament goals with one character and when I start doing it again with another character. I’d been bringing up a new character to 90 as soon as the previous one had acquired her Replica Shado-Pan Helment, but it’s been a few weeks since my Paladin got her Replica Shado-Pan Helmet, and I only just brought my Priest to Pandaria yesterday.

Even though I need a break from my favorite sets of dailies sometimes and there are certainly many factions whose dailies I am quite happy to leave behind, I fear that the next expansion will not hold my interest for very long if it eschews dailies completely in favor of Timeless Isle-like content.

For me, the replay value of the Timeless Isle has been rather limited. It’s fun enough the first time I bring a character there. After I complete the one-time quests and I’ve solved Rolo’s Riddle and all that is left is grinding for Timeless Coins, Epoch Stones, and armor tokens, I get bored. I’m not much interested in the pets, rare spawns, or vanity/toy items. I’d rather go to the Timeless Isle with another fresh character than visit multiple times with the same character. I am more satisfied by time spent on the Isle of Thunder running through the Sunreaver Onslaught’s daisy-chain of dailies than I am by time spent wandering around the Timeless Isle looking for things to do.

The Isle of Giants, which is even less structured, I’ve barely bothered with at all. I’ve taken Kam there a couple of times for Transmogrification photo-shoots. I’ve been there twice with my Hunter. The first time, I got my Tome of Dinomancy, tamed myself a Direhorn, and ran all over the island in the direhorn disguise just to see what was there (I liked how the scenery is like Zouchin Province with touches of the Lost Isles). The mounts and most of the pets available there didn’t interest me much, but I did come back a couple of weeks ago to try to farm the Direhorn Runt while BTH’s guild was fighting Garrosh — I wanted to be doing something I could drop quickly to go watch the cinematics if they defeated him. I got SO BORED. I bought a Direhorn Runt off the AH a day or two later.

BTH’s guild didn’t defeat Garrosh that night that I was on the Isle of Giants, but they did defeat Garrosh a few days later, on the Monday just before the last wing of Siege of Orgrimmar LFR opened. I watched the cinematics and quest events over his shoulder. I’d seen the name of the new warchief mentioned a couple of times already, but that wasn’t really much of a spoiler. Blizz has spent Mists building up just two of the other Horde leaders, so it was either this guy or that other guy. I still haven’t done more of Siege of Orgrimmar LFR than the Vale of Eternal Sorrows myself, though. I did finally finish up with Throne of Thunder by bringing Lei Shen’s black heart to Wrathion, but now I’m stuck on Chi-Ji’s challenge. After the way the NPCs have shown up in my raid frames for the Thunder Forge scenario and the Proving Grounds, it is very frustrating to me that Wrathion does NOT show up in my raid frames for Chi-Ji’s challenge. It makes the whole thing quite a bit more difficult. My third or fourth attempt was really good — I got quite close to completing it — and then I failed and failed and failed. Kam is still sulking and procrastinating tweaking her talents (and possibly glyphs) for further attempts… and I probably won’t do much more Siege of Orgrimmar LFR until she’s got her legendary cloak and Wrathion’s quest to kill Garrosh.

But that might take awhile, because I’d rather be leveling my Priest and my Blood Elf Mage and then, when they reach level 90, doing their dailies.

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The news that the price of Mogu Runes of Fate had been dropped by more than half its inital value to the much more manageable 1000 Timeless Coins apiece was most welcome. Even more welcome, however, was not needing more than the three Mogu Runes of Fate I’d already purchased. Last week, I got two of the three items I still wanted, and one of them was on the normal roll, so I didn’t have to spend a Mogu Rune of Fate on that boss and had one left over for this week. This week, spending that last Mogu Rune of Fate won me that last piece of gear. Hurrah!

Battleplate of the Last Mogu

Plate of the Last Mogu (LFR) with Red Riding Hood’s Cloak and Fanged Axe
I love how the coloration of this set of armor repeats the color scheme of the great mogu edifices in the Vale. It’s like this armor is the imperial livery of the personal guard of the mogu emperor/dynasty who first built Mogu’shan Palace and its satellites, the Shrines of Two Moons and Seven Stars. I’m even happier that this coloration of the T15 Warrior gear was the LFR version and thus within my reach. I just wish I’d been able to get it all before the destruction of the Vale so that my screenshots could have been prettier.

Keija’s primary purpose for leveling to 90 is now fulfilled. She’s not quite ready to retire and spend the rest of the expansion just making Living Steel Belt Buckles when my other characters need them, however. I’ve played her almost exclusively as Fury ever since she learned Titan’s Grip, only using Arms when she’s had a polearm that was significantly better than her other weapons, because why have just one big honking two-handed weapon when you can have two? I’d like to give Arms another try, though, which means acquiring a +Str polearm — and the most readily, reliably available such item is the one from the Timeless Isle.

Of all my level 90s, only Kamalia and Keija have even gone to the Timeless Isle yet, and I haven’t really spent all that much time there with them. This week, I was pleased to see that the jumping puzzles had reset. Following a tip from Tome, I turned on RP-walking and pointed my camera straight down when I did the tightrope puzzle, and I completed it on the first try! I anticipate that I will take Keija to the Timeless Isle just one evening a week, to collect the six treasure chests that respawn weekly and as many other coins as she happens to find along the way, until she has enough Timeless Coins to buy the +Str polearm.

Keija has finished collecting her T15 set just in time. As I was looking through leather gear last week while making monk outfits, Katewatha sighed longingly over the vest and pants of the T14 Monk set. Furthermore, Karaelia would like to have the Scimitar of Seven Stars… if I can get up the nerve to tank LFR, seeing as how I haven’t even tanked any Heroics in LFD since dinging 90… maybe I will heal instead and just set my loot-spec to Prot.

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rolling will saves

Since last Wednesday, when Garrosh was defeated on Normal and the Siege of Orgrimmar ending cinematics were revealed, I must mentally roll a Will Save against the temptation to look at the spoilers every time I visit WoW Insider or check my blogroll. So far, I have been successful, but will I be able to hold out until the final wing of Siege of Orgrimmar opens for LFR on 22 October, over a month away? Perhaps BTH’s guild will defeat Garrosh before then, and I can watch the cinematic over his shoulder…?

I finally got around to taking Kamalia to the Proving Grounds on Saturday evening. I quickly discovered that I am not as 1337 a healer as I thought I was. I knew I had gotten sloppy raiding only in LFR, but even Bronze mode was more challenging than I’d expected — I was under 20% mana by the time it ended. I passed Silver mode by the skin of my teeth, drained dry of mana and desperately weaving Telluric Currents-enhanced Lightning Bolts with Healing Waves. By the fourth or fifth wave of Gold mode, I was already ooming, and as desperately as I tried, I could not keep both the tank and the standing-in-fire hunter alive. I am going to have to study up on How To Resto Shaman and keep an eye on Vixsin and Lodur to see if they write Resto-Shaman-specific guides to the Proving Grounds. To give myself something to work toward between when I decided Kam is finished with Siege of Orgrimmar and the next expansion, I had been contemplating setting a goal of getting the Gold certificate at the Proving grounds with all of my healers; after seeing just how difficult Gold mode is, perhaps it would be less frustrating to collect Silvers on all of them before I go for Golds on any of them.

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I’ve recently been pondering the possible effect of building a raid with an LFR setting in mind on raid dungeon linearity, or the lack thereof.

Tier 15 is completely linear. Normal-mode raiders have to fight through each of the twelve boss encounters of Throne of Thunder in order. BTH’s guild has killed 9 bosses in 10s and 7 bosses in 25s. They started at Durumu tonight, but only because they’d already killed the previous six bosses on Tuesday and Wednesday. LFR allowed me to jump into Throne of Thunder at Durumu on Tuesday night, without having to have already fought through the first six bosses in this raid reset period. I did the last six bosses of Throne of Thunder first, and though I could go into the first two wings of LFR this evening for the chances at loot and collecting more of Wrathion’s thingamabobs, I don’t have to go defeat the first six bosses of Throne of Thunder this week if I decide that I want to do something else instead. In fact, now that I’ve completed Pinnacle of Storms LFR, I can do as many or as few of the wings of Throne of Thunder as I want, in any order that I please.

Tier 14 was only sort-of non-linear. Sure, the bosses were spread over three different instances, but one had to complete Mogu’shan Vaults before proceeding to Heart of Fear and Heart of Fear before going on to Terrace of Endless Spring. Only after one had completed Heart of Fear could one really pick and choose among the three instances. And each instance was linear within itself. The splitting of Mogu’shan Vaults and Heart of Fear into two wings apiece gave the LFR versions a greater degree of non-linearity.

Tier 13, the first raid to have the LFR option, had a little bit of non-linearity: Zon’ozz and Yor’sahj could be done in either order. The rest of it was all linear. The LFR version split the raid in half, offering the option to do just the second half, provided one had done the first half once — which is what I did, given that my normal-mode guild had cleared the first half and I’d gotten all the gear I wanted from it at the time that I decided to stop doing regular raiding and they downsized from 25s to 10s.

It seems to me that the division of raid dungeons into wings for the LFR mode produces an illusion of non-linearity, because the wings can be run in any order after one has completed a first “in order” run-through. A certain degree of true non-linearity is possible within the wings themselves — I think that an LFR wing could accomodate such sprawling non-linearity as the opening plain of Firelands or the Watchers area of Ulduar. It’s easy enough to imagine dividing Ulduar into wings for LFR, based on the breakpoints ordinary raid groups used to use: 1) Flame Leviathan, Ignis, Razorscale, XT-002; 2) Iron Council, Kologarn, Auriaya; 3) Hodir, Thorim, Freya, Mimiron; 4) General Vezax, Yogg-Saron. But what about Karazhan, with all of its optional, skippable bosses — the animal bosses in the servants’ quarters that I never saw because the guild I began my raiding career with was already starting Kara at Attumen when I joined, the Maiden of Virtue, Nightbane, Netherspite, Terestrian Illhoof? Could a raid with such side-spur bosses be made to work in an LFR mode, or does the advent of LFR mean that such diversions in raiding will never come back again?

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