Thoughts on the opening raids of Mists of Pandaria

Mogu’shan Vaults Raid loading screen from Wowpedia

Blizzard released a statement last week in regards to the first raids to be released for Mist of Pandaria:

Vaneras — Raid Releases

We’ve been keeping a very close eye on the feedback players have shared for both Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria raiding. We saw a lot of evidence and heard a lot of feedback which indicated that raid content was a little overwhelming at the beginning of Cataclysm. Our goal is to smooth that out a bit in Mists of Pandaria. Keep in mind, Mogu’shan Vaults opens up one week after Mists of Pandaria launches. And with its Heroic mode even the most seasoned raiders should be pretty busy. Once the raid dungeon has been cleared by a group on normal mode they’ll unlock Heroic mode, a definite ramp up in challenge. Also note, similar to Dragon Soul, Raid Finder mode for Mogu’shan Vaults will be available about one week after the normal raid has been opened.
 Rather than putting a lot of pressure on players by opening up sixteen raid bosses in three separate difficulties upon release of the expansion, we hope you’ll have a chance to really dig into the lore, the gorgeous new continent, the amazing new quests, and all of the other goodies that are far too numerable to mention. Our intention here is not to artificially extend the life of the 5.0 content, but rather to pace it better than we have in previous releases. This is why we noted that a few weeks after Mogu’shan Vaults opens, raid instances Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring will become available. These dungeons will still very much be hot on the heels of Mogu’shan Vaults, particularly for the large majority of players progressing through Pandaria.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the pattern we’d like to follow for all upcoming raids: Dungeon opens on normal difficulty -> Heroic mode is unlocked once normal mode is completed -> the Raid Finder version becomes available about one week after the raid’s initial opening. To review all of the latest Mists raid release details, everyone is encouraged to check out our latest blog, Blizzard Insider #45 – Mists of Pandaria – Raid Preview, which has a wealth of exciting new information.
On a final note, thank you to everyone who has been testing the new content, sharing your feedback, and helping us bring you the most epic game possible! It cannot be said enough, but we genuinely appreciate it. =)

So to be clear, the full schedule for US realms is:September 25: MoP launches
October 2: Mogu’shan Vaults (normal) opens
October 7: Mogu’shan Vaults (LFR) opens, those who cleared normal Vaults can access heroic mode
October 30: Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (normal) open, with Terrace only accessible by clearing Heart
November 6: Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring (LFR) open; queuing for Terrace requires clearing Heart. Those who cleared normal Heart can access heroic Heart, same for Terrace.

Heart of Fear Raid loading screen from Wowpedia

How do I feel about Blizzard’s decision?  I actually like it, it allows my guild and I to enjoy the content, without having to rush through to move on to the next raid.  I personally like to get through one raid at a time, only moving on once the final boss has been defeated.  And if these T14 raids are anything similar in difficulty to what we had in T11, it’s gonna take a good bit of time to get through it anyways, lol.

It’s gonna take some of us a week or more to get to level cap anyways, except for Zug (who will be going for [Realm First! – Level 90 Warrior]) and Cayle (who will be going for [Realm First! – First Level 90 to Tank the Floor]), both who will be at level cap by Wednesday night of opening week (hardcore!).  I’m assuming that most, if not all, of our raid team will be leveling our mains first and I would hate to blow through all the leveling content and not enjoying the new zones on those toons.  Our guild isn’t hardcore like your Paragons or Vodkas or Blood Legions (although Cayle likes to think so, lol).

I can see where some may disagree with this.  For example, guilds that hit a wall with an encounter like Atramedes in Blackwing Depths for weeks could start fresh and erase frustration by working on fights in Bastion of Twilight or Throne of the Four Winds.  And it could be this needed break that would be the answer to finally defeating Atra when they go back.  Also, more progressed guilds who raid more than two or three days a week will have more than enough content to keep them busy the whole week.

With the inclusion of a LFR version for all three raids, I only expect to see raiding becoming a bigger part of WoW, with an influx of raiders flocking to try them out.  This could be a good thing or bad thing, depending on how many trollers and griefers are out there to ruin it for everybody else.  I know there still will be horror stories to come out of the LFR runs, but I hope that most experiences will be great and that those peeps come back for more.

Terrace of Endless Spring Raid loading screen from Wowpedia

I’m a raider at heart, it’s my favorite aspect of playing WoW.  I’ve seen a little bit of what’s to come in these new raids and they look pretty sweet so far.   I can’t wait to get into these new raids with my fellow guildies and learning new encounters and mastering mechanics and just having fun (as long as there is no Animated Bone Warriors involved ><).  Oh, and for the phat purplez the bosses drop too, lol.
What are your plans for the new raids if you’re a raider?  Do you like how Blizzard is scheduling these first three?

10 responses to “Thoughts on the opening raids of Mists of Pandaria

  1. I like it because the pressure is off. Fayle wants to push to have people raid ready quickly, but now we know that we have at least 2 weeks before LFR is out.

    No we aren’t “hardcore” like the top raiding guilds, but we are a raiding guild. It is kind of what we do. This gating feels like it will fit nicely with our guild.

    • The gating also allows us to get other things done too, after we’ve done our raid nights. There’s always professions, alts, dailies, etc. to work on, which will allow us to be more prepared for the next raid.

  2. personally i like their decision to “gate” their content and not release it all at once for MoP’s initial raids.

    What I dont agree with necessarily is their decision to wait to open LFR, why make people who would want to raid but not have the guild nor time to commit to a guild group, wait? doesn’t seem fair to them IMO. Bui then again I can see why they did not do it as well.

    • The only thing I can think of why they would delay LFR a week is of what happened to the first LFR in Dragon Soul. Some of the elite guilds used LFR to quickly get upgrades, sometimes cheating the system, so that they would get the jump on regular DS and move quickly to Heroic modes. I think Blizzard might have fixed the loot issue, but it gives the other guilds who want to also compete for server firsts a level playing field.

    • That logic is flawed though.

      If someone who doesn’t have time to commit to a raid group how are they going to have time to quickly get to max level and get geared enough to queue for LFR right off the bat?

      Honestly, 2 weeks is probably not long enough for the target audience of LFR.

      LFR was NOT supposed to be a gearing up step for normal raiders. It is supposed to be a way for non-raiders to see the content. That is why it is dumbed down.

      Now I am not saying that it isn’t used for that purpose, but it wasn’t the intention there.

      Making people wait 2 weeks before they can use it is a good idea IMO. That gives the people it was meant for time to get to max level and get some gear from heroics.

  3. I don’t like it. the gating means more competition for all the none raid stuff well raiders are waiting for raids to open.

    • That is true, Tel, but I think there will be so much going on (pet battles, farmville, dailies, farming nodes, AH, LFR, dance studio (lol j/k), the new instances, scenarios, etc.) that everyone’s going to be spread thin across all aspects of WoW. The larger servers may still not be affected by this and competition will still be high, but with Drak and others being a low pop server (for now, we’ll see what happens when MoP comes out) competition shouldn’t be that bad.

  4. I’m not a fan of gating (surprised?!)

    Let the hardcore be hardcore.
    Let them spend hours of their time bashing their heads against walls so I don’t have to!

    They’re only punishing the elite.

    Chances are the people that aren’t ready to raid in a week won’t be ready to raid once the gates open anyway.

    I agree with staggering the raid zones, but the first one should be ready to go immediately.

    I guess I’ll have to settle for my 3.5 hour runs of MOP’s version of Grim Batol for the first week instead ><

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