Friday, August 3, 2012

Introductory Raids in Mists

Great news on the PvE front, regarding the launch of Mists of Pandaria! There will be zero raids available at launch. You may be thinking, "How is that great news??" Well, in today's post, I'll tell you why.

"[We might] delay opening Mogu’shan Vaults until a week or so after the expansion’s release, similar to how we’ve always handled the start of the PvP season, just to give players a little time to reach level 90 along with their friends and get acclimated to Pandaria’s new 5-player dungeons, daily quests, and scenarios."

"Mists of Pandaria will also include two other raid zones, which we plan to make available a few weeks after Mogu’shan Vaults: the Heart of the Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring. These two raids feature 10 bosses between the two of them and play out as a two-part story. In the first raid, the Heart of Fear, the players fight the mantid empress who has been possessed by the Sha of Fear. Sha, for those who don’t know, plague Pandaria as physical manifestations of negative emotions, like fear, doubt, and anger, and they tend to have a corrupting influence wherever they take root. When the players defeat the possessed empress, the Sha flees her body and hides elsewhere. In the Terrace of Endless Spring, the next raid instance, the players track down the fleeing Sha and finish it off. Both of these instances are a higher tier than the Mogu’shan Vaults and are designed to be tackled using gear obtained in the Vaults, which is why we plan to make them accessible a few weeks after the Vaults unlock." - Source.

Wow, that's a lot of info. While some fools are crying foul on the forums over no raids in the first week, I'm excited the idea is still alive (there were rumors of this plan since shortly after beta began.) Last time around, there was a mad-dash to level 85, as leveling speed was probably the biggest factor in deciding who got server/world firsts in the introductory raids. This time around? It'll have some small impact on Mogu'shan Vaults progression, but only in the form of time to farm reputations and 5man gear. This means members of Aristocracy guilds can actually level at their own pace, check out the new features and gear up a bit, instead of foregoing sleep in order to be able to zone into the raid 36 hours after launch. Worse guilds will also benefit, in that the gap between them and higher-class guilds will narrow, because both groups will be starting at the same time.

Additionally, the delay between the launch of each successive raid will mean that Royalty guilds can focus their progression on only a single raid at a time, and take some time off if they clear it early in a week. At the launch of Cata, it took world-class teams nearly a solid month of brutal progression before the last hardmode was defeated, and while I'll never be on a team like that, I'm sure the people who are will welcome the slight break every 2 weeks.

The info on the raids themselves is quite intriguing as well. We've heard rumors of the return of Ulduar-style hardmodes, which I've been meaning to write an editorial about why those are awesome for a while now. Additionally, the following quote block describes the endboss of Mogu'shan Vaults. It'll be interesting having another "Faction Champions"-style fight, but this time as the endboss.

"The core chamber of the Vaults contains an army of terracotta warriors that are built into recesses within the walls. If players look up, they’ll see these statue-filled niches stretching above them into the distance. When the players enter, the statues begin animating and attacking in huge waves, and the fight quickly turns into a free-for-all. There will be certain heavy-hitting statues that require tanking, and many of the other statues have special abilities to keep the non-tanks busy. It’s going to be a crazy fight that requires lots of crowd control."

MVS hosts 6 bosses, and HoF/TES will have 10 together. With the 2 world bosses, that means 18 new raid bosses in the opening months. That's 1 more than Wrath, and 4 more than Cata. All-in-all, it's a pretty good time to be a raider.

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