Let’s talk about raiding, and the news coming from all of the Developer interviews.
The feel is, Blizzard is committed to trying to release new content patches every two months or so, and some kind of new raid every four months.
This is coupled with the idea that, rather than nerfing existing raids over time to make them more accessible, they will leave them as is (aside from possible bug fixes).
So, for example, we could see the expansion hit as it did, then 5.1 come along two months later giving us new tons of new non-raid content, and then four months after that the first new big raid. And we’ll ahve two months to say, “Oh nice, a raid” before more non-raid content.
A new raid in four months that has had the mighty word “Ulduar” invoked when describing it.
What does that mean?
I just had the pleasure of running in Ulduar 25 on Sunday night (dear lord, I love seeing Ulduar), so the experience is fresh in my mind.
We have no specifics on what ‘Ulduar’ means in regards to the new raid, but it could mean a massive location with both indoor and outdoor areas, or it could mean 10 to 12 bosses (or more) in different wings to spread things out and vary the feel, it could mean new hard modes… it could even mean that epic scope of architecture and setting.
Or, it could mean the assault on Orgrimmar. Who the heck knows. I’m still thinking way too soon for that. We have a lot more story buildup before that happens. Maybe even another year of buildup. Or more!
But in about three, three and a half months we should get the new raid, whatever it is, and then two months after that, more non-raid stuffs.
That seems like ideal pacing to me.
It’s not enough time for most raiding guilds to get everyone everything they could use for upgrades from the existing bosses, RNG will see to that. But for those folks that may be stuck on earlier content, new raids bring new LFR, new opportunities at more powerful upgrades, and that gives you a built-in buff to clear the content you’re stuck on.
How cool is that? If they can keep that kind of pace up, we will always be looking toward the future, and if we do get down time, quiet time where we’re ahead… then we can run the older raids that we’ve moved past to try for those items that we really wish we’d won.
The lesson we need to remember here is, old raids are NOT dead content. Old raids represent fun opportunities to run with friends when we overgear the shit out of them for transmog stuff. And they are palces new pets and mounts can be added later!
Another point to ponder… at what point does a raid move from ‘current content’ to ‘old content’? When a new full paid expansion is released, or when a new tier of raids comes out in a content patch?
If it’s a content patch, then the new ‘current content’ raids can remain locked to single-realm raiding, while the older ones are broken free to cross-realm teams.
I’m really excited about all of this. Can you tell?
See, I’m in a raid situation where we are still on the first raid instance of the three that are out, but I still think this rocks.
When it comes to raiding, my personal sitaution has had a major upheaval in the last few weeks.
I really tried to maintain the Saturday afternoon raiding, but I couldn’t do it.
What it came down to was, I just can’t lock out a four hour chunk of time on Saturday afternoon every week for the raid. Once in a while was fine, but when you start talking a regular, weekly commitment, that changes everything.
The weekend is really the only time we have to do crazy family stuff… like driving to Duluth to see the aquarium, or hit Chicago, or whatever. Or to do home work, like paint rooms or install appliances to make repairs. Ah, the joys of home ownership.
I live in Minnesota. You’d be surprised how often the snow boss comes out to play. Funny story there, but maybe another time.
Anyway, I just couldn’t maintain Saturday raiding. I had to leave Team Snuffy, with a HUGE amount of sadness. We were really kicking ass, coming together as a team, and while it’s nice to leave on a high note with the first two bosses down in Vaults, it’s still a bummer.
With every door that closes, though, there is one that might be opening if you look for it, and Askevar and Venoym, who recently joined the guild, have started putting together an ‘alt night’ guild raid group on Thursdays.
In other news, Askevar will be on the Follow the Leader podcast in the next show, so make sure to follow them and check it out!
So, with them putting a once-a-week raid up on Thursday nights, late enough that my son is in bed for most of it, this is something I can do if they’ll have me. I know I’m a lot happier with it.
The new raid team on Thursdays has a name… I wish I could say I thought of it, but I didn’t. All I did was embrace it, and hold it close to my heart in happiness.
Askevar and Venoyms raid team on Thursdays is called… wait for it… Team Dippy.
If you’ve ever fought in the Brawler’s Guild, you know what that means.
Yep! We’re sloppy, clumsy, flail around and look ridiculous… but we’re cute and oh so FLUFFY, and if you give us a chance we’ll kill your ass in a heartbeat, sucka.
What a great name.
If anyone has a nice close-up picture of Dippy, btw, please email it to me. I’ll put it on Team Dippy posts.
So far, I’ve only gone on two runs with Team Dippy, but it’s been very fun.
The first week, we beat our heads against the first boss in Heart of Fear, and that was great. Yes, we failed to down the boss, but we learned the pacing of the fight pretty well. It’s all about the dance of Attenuation, and I love dance fights. I LOVE dance fights.
I can say that because I don’t have soul-crushing lag. If I did, I would scream in frustration and tear my hair out in clumps. But I don’t, so yay dance fights!
As I say, we didn’t actually kill the boss, but we got him below 15% a few times, and everyone was coming along tight by the end of the night. I’m pretty sure we have that one in the bag, just dangling there waiting for us to pluck it and taste of the… okay, that went to a weird place.
The second week, last week, was Mogu’shan Vaults. I knew the first two fights, and had seen the third once, but when studying the fights I did not take into account the skill level of the tanks and healers.
We destroyed the first three fights, just crushed them. I have to admit I had not watched the Fatboss videos or read the strategies of anything past the third boss, since you know, we only raid for two hours once a week.
Suddenly, I found myself facing the Spirit Kings, armed with nothing but some quick advice from my friends list, and what I had learned by listening to Koltrane, Zhug and Solarflair on the Convert To Raid podcast.
Fortunately, JUST that previous week Convert To Raid had gone into great detail on the Spirit Kings fight on Episode 73, so I found myself knowing what the heck to do, and holy crap we killed them!
Team Dippy, rocking the 4/6. It feels good.
Circling back to the point… there are three raids available right now, Mogu’shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, and Terrace of the Endless Spring. And all of them have heroic modes.
The raid group I’m playing with is 4/6 normal in the first raid, with two more raids sitting there untouched, and we have the prospect of another brand new huge raid coming out in maybe three to four months.
Yes, other folks are raiding strong, doing heroic modes, so you’d think there would be panic and disappointment at how far behind the curve we are, right?
Will we be done with the first three raids when number four comes out? Hell no. I don’t care how good Askevar and Venoym are, we have about sixteen raid nights before the new raids are expected to come out.
When it does come out, though, we’ll have had fun, killed more bosses, improved our teamwork and our gear, and learned to do the dance.
When the new raids DO come out, we’ll suddenly have new LFR, new gear opportunities, and that should help us speed up our progress through wherever we’re at.
What I’m saying is, as a player that will be ‘far behind’ in raid progression when new raids are being released, I don’t see needing a nerf to existing content, not when we’ll have LFR to help give us a boost. And we’ll have more incentive to improve, destroy existing bosses, and move higher up the progression to maybe leave MSV behind and focus on Heart of Fear and Terrace.
It’s exciting times… but everything depends on Blizzard following through on this time commitment. If they can do it, then they could be looking at a brand new energy for players in the long term.
If players who left keep hearing how there is new stuff, and more new stuff, and even more new stuff, and LFR to bring them back and get them begun gearing regardless of reputations, then I can see them coming back in droves.
If Blizzard can’t keep it up… well, buzz doesn’t last when the bees get bored.