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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vaulted Ceilings...

Significant developments...? I think so...

For the first time in any Expansion, End Game Content is easily PUG-gable within the first month.

I could have dived into the LFR Queue last week, with my iLevel exceeding the 460 minimum required for entry, but I decided to wait until reset, so I could run with a morning group. Experience showed during the DS part of Cataclysm that groups were generally better a) at the beginning of the week and b) in the mornings, facts which were very much reinforced by the two groups I did my first runs with. There was little or no abuse, mocking or even ill will: everyone turned up, did their job and took their loot away. I will have to run the system a few times before I make any serious judgements on the fights however, this was very much a training run. What I can say however is that as an experience its a definite improvement on the Dragon Soul 'model'.


Legendary Loot? BEFORE the 10 mans...?

Coming to this entire experience cold, the biggest single surprise I got when loot time happened was the Sigil of Power dropping into my bags. I had automatically assumed you'd only see these with 'proper' raiding but it occurs to me that actually, to do this so that as many people as possible can have a punt at it, it's gonna happen in LFR. I got two for my troubles, one from each run: I assume the Sigils of Wisdom will drop from the other instances. I wonder how long it will take for me to have all the items I need before I proceed to the next stage of the questline... ^^

I also came to the party with SIX Charms of Good Fortune in my bags, and was curious to see if I got anything special for my troubles. Not one boss rewarded anything other than gold :( However it wasn't all bad, as I came away with two upgrades from the loot table: the Bottle of Infinite Stars (trinket upgrades always good) and the Arrow Breaking Windcloak. If I only pull two upgrades a week from LFR I will be a Happy Dwarf... I wonder if the system is intelligent enough to know not to award you an item if you've already won it this early in the Expansion... ^^ In terms of actual fight difficulty I picked up everything pretty fast: I can immediately predict where there will be issues in terms of damage and healing in 10 mans, however, with most fights being simple enough to break down quickly. I can see Elegon being a right pain, for instance, and the mechanics in Gara'jal causing problems with timing... but the subtleties of these fight are lost in LFR. I can anticipate where the complexities will lie but it seems that in LFR if you throw enough healing or dps at a problem, you will solve it regardless. The Spirit Kings for instance I suspect will be an utterly insane fight in 25 man Normal, let alone Heroic, but with the training wheels on it's just an exercise in moving occasionally. However, if it gets just one person inspired sufficiently to want to raid 'properly' then it has done its job...

There are lore implications in this dungeon too, honking HUGE ones in terms of where the Mogu fit into Azeroth's overall scheme, and how the process of evolution on Pandaria has run. That however is a conversation for another blog post. I'm here to report that if you get your iLevel up to the required standard you could do a lot worse than sticking yourself into LFR as soon as you can, if only to give you an idea of what you have to look forward to in raiding terms across the Winter months (unless you're reading this in the Southern Hemisphere and'll be too busy being warm and eating BBQ's to worry about raiding anyway... :p) I'll be back here next week, hopefully with better gear overall if the Heroic Gods cut me a break and actually start dropping some relevant items...

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