Cataclysm Raid Lockouts and Progression – (“Expletive deleted” you) if you are not in the core group of a guild

From Blizz found here and here.

We’re continuing to refine the raid progression paths in Cataclysm, and we’d like to share some of those changes with you today. Please enjoy!

The first of the refinements being made is that we’re combining all raid sizes and difficulties into a single lockout. Unlike today, 10- and 25-player modes of a single raid will share the same lockout. You can defeat each raid boss once per week per character. In other words, if you wanted to do both a 10- and 25-person raid in a single week, you’d need to do so on two different characters. Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel. Obviously the raid lockout change doesn’t apply in pure Icecrown terms though, as this change goes hand-in-hand with a few other changes to raid progression in Cataclysm.

We’re designing and balancing raids so that the difficulty between 10- and 25-player versions of each difficulty will be as close as possible to each other as we can achieve. That closeness in difficulty also means that we’ll have bosses dropping the same items in 10- and 25-player raids of each difficulty. They’ll have the same name and same stats; they are in fact the exact same items. Choosing Heroic mode will drop a scaled-up version of those items. Our hope is that players will be able to associate bosses with their loot tables and even associate specific artwork with specific item names to a far greater extent than today.

Dungeon Difficulty and Rewards
10- and 25-player (normal difficulty) — Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop the exact same items as each other.
10- and 25-player (Heroic difficulty) — Very similar to one another in difficulty; drop more powerful versions of the normal-difficulty items.

We of course recognize the logistical realities of organizing larger groups of people, so while the loot quality will not change, 25-player versions will drop a higher quantity of loot per player (items, but also badges, and even gold), making it a more efficient route if you’re able to gather the people. The raid designers are designing encounters with these changes in mind, and the class designers are making class changes to help make 10-person groups easier to build. Running 25-player raids will be a bit more lucrative, as should be expected, but if for a week or two you need to do 10s because half the guild is away on vacation, you can do that and not suffer a dramatic loss to your ability to get the items you want.

We recognize that very long raids can be a barrier for some players, but we also want to provide enough encounters for the experience to feel epic. For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid. All of these bosses would drop the same item level gear, but the dungeons themselves being different environments will provide some variety in location and visual style, as well as separate raid lockouts. Think of how you could raid Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep separately, but you might still want to hit both every week.

We do like how gating bosses over time allows the community to focus on individual encounters instead of just racing to the end boss, so we’re likely to keep that design moving forward. We don’t plan to impose attempt limitations again though, except maybe in cases of rare optional bosses (like Algalon). Heroic mode may not be open from day one, but will become available after defeating normal mode perhaps as little as once or twice.

In terms of tuning, we want groups to be able to jump into the first raids pretty quickly, but we also don’t want them to overshadow the Heroic 5-player dungeons and more powerful quest rewards. We’ll be designing the first few raid zones assuming that players have accumulated some blue gear from dungeons, crafted equipment, or quest rewards. In general, we want you and your guild members to participate in and enjoy the level up experience.

We design our raids to be accessible to a broad spectrum of players, so we want groups to be able to make the decision about whether to attempt the normal or Heroic versions of raids pretty quickly. The goal with all of these changes is to make it as much of a choice or effect of circumstance whether you raid as a group of 10 or as a group of 25 as possible. Whether you’re a big guild or a small guild the choice won’t be dependent on what items drop, but instead on what you enjoy the most.

We realize that with any changes to progression pathways there are going to be questions. We’re eagerly awaiting any that we may have left unanswered. To the comments!

In all honesty most of these changes I have been hoping for for a very long time. I have one very important problem with these changes however.

10 and 25 should not have the same lock out if not then lockouts need to change and not be tied to a particular character. This change totally screws over anyone not able to or chosen to go in the main guild run. It is a giant FU to the entire concept of having a flexible gaming environment. No 25 man guilds can no longer have the “main run” and have several 10 man runs for alts and gearing up under geared members.

This is just one more piss poor implementation on a design of failure that is the raid lock out system. I say let the people that can not pace themselves burn themselves out. Let us play and run the content on our terms not yours.

Additionally hard modes should be available from day one, not after any or the first clear.

Also make sure there is scaling in the hard modes and not the pathetic binary difficulty bullshit that has been a plague on the content after Ulduar. OS and Ulduar were the best designs for hard modes in how they worked, not necessarily how to activate them.

I am sure I will have more to say on this at some point. The only other thing I can say is the Rated BGs are looking better and better all the time if they don’t screw up the “time risk” versus “reward” there. I have a separate post that I have been working about my concerns for the future of PvP, it is not done yet however.

WoW Economy & SC2 Beta Key giveaway

I was thinking about giving away a pet or something through Lissanna’s blog eventually but instead I want to generate some idea’s for ways to improve the WoW economy.

So here is what happened I am already in the SC2 beta from Blizzcon 08. I pre-ordered SC2 from Amazon.com and received an email from Amazon with a Beta key in it from pre-ordering the collector’s edition. I wanted the Thor in game WoW pet. But I now have a Beta key and no one to give it to.

For a chance at the key post in the comments section of this post your idea/opinion/concept of one way to improve the economy in World of Warcraft. Oh and getting rid of gold selling spam which should already be done does not count. Out of the acceptable ideas I will enter the email addresses into a spread sheet and either /roll in game or roll some actual dice to randomize it. So please enter a valid email address that will reach you when the form asks for an email address. This will run until Midnight Friday 4/23 as in 00:00 4/24 EST.

Combo Points have got to Change

I will keep this short and to the point.  After seeing the Cataclysm class changes preview of Rogue and Druid I feel the need to reiterate an opinion I have held for a while now.

Combo points need to stack on the Rogue or Druid and not their target. I realize for PvP purposes this will need to be looked at closely but the new ability of Rogues Redirect (81) looks really cool but lets be honest this is an ability that should not even need to exist and if it is needed then it is something that rogues should have from about level 10/20 on.  It is something that should be available for use while leveling.  Furthermore no Cat equivalent was mentioned, however this is another area where it could simplify the “John Madden” effect that was mentioned when dealing with the Feral Cat rotation or should I say management system.

If we are worried about having too much burst from having combo points stack on the Rogue/Cat then also change combo points to stack from 1-5 to 1-10.  This will add additional tweak points and granularity for damage and buffs.  You could have points 1-5 scale linearly and 6-8 by powers and for real fun and burst 9-10 exponential.  But the time required to get 9-10 combo points will be about 2X if we keep the current combo point generation rate.  But even if 1-9 was linear with an extra boost at 10 for flair would not be uncalled for.

Now if Druids get another ability to equal Redirect for Rogues then that would be acceptable, not ideal but necessary.  The real problem with the Druid class as a whole with the exception of Resto is all 3 other spec flavors directly parallel another class.  This is actually OK because it is the nature of the Druid to be able to shift and therefore change what they are emulating relatively easily.  This is less the case with Bears.  Unless you time something perfectly you are not going to be able to shift out of Bear while a boss is wailing on you to do something in Caster or Cat form.

However here is the thing if Blizzard does not want the paralleled classes to play like their brethren then they need to create completely unique mechanics and resources for each flavor of Druid.  This in the end is insane from a development standpoint let alone class balance.  So in the end Cat and Bear need to have at least 50% of the tools that Protection Warriors and Rogues have access to including fundamental role and mechanical abilities, just not the flavor abilities.

Things not to copy:

  • Vanish, even though we want it.
  • Cloak of Shadows
  • Shadow Dance
  • Essentially most 41 and 51 point abilities.

Things that are copied or need to be:

  • Last Stand
  • Shield Wall
  • Hunger for Blood
  • Redirect(81), if it is implemented.

Anyway I will beat the horse one more time, to sum this all up, since combo points are here to stay then they need to be on the player and not the target.