Monday, November 16, 2009

Raiding 101: Research and Development

It's commonly known in the real world that knowledge is power and it is no different in the virtual world.

If you remember back to my first Raiding 101 guide last month I went over a group of standardized attacks that bosses use across the board. These are excellent things to know because they help you to classify a wide array of boss encounters in similar ways and that can help you to make a quick, informed decision during an encounter you may not be familiar with.

This, however, is only a small piece of the pie.

Back in my Everquest days boss encounters were simple. In fact the most dynamic encounters really only amounted to breaking line of site or dealing with waves of adds spawning, and the vast majority of raid encounters were simple tank and spank fights. During my brief stint in Everquest 2 I found, disappointingly, that this narrow vision of a boss fight had carried over to many of the raid encounters there as well.

WoW does a tremendous job with it's raid encounters making each one different from the last. There are practically no boss fights that are simply tank and spank fights. Nearly every encounter has some elements that prevent brute force tactics from being effective. Simply put: you have to do more than just mindlessly outgun your opponent!

The attack response strategies outlined in the aforementioned blog entry Raiding 101: Don't stand in the Fire! are only one piece of the puzzle. While they do help immensely in dealing with a wide array of attack forms they don't cover any number of endless boss mechanics presented in WoW raid encounters. To fill in the gaps what we need to do is research boss encounters.

Game resources are another area where WoW far exceeds other MMOs, and this is in no small part due to the immense community of 10.5 million subscribers. This allows for tremendous diversity in community projects, and with diversity comes strength.

But don't adopt just one source for boss strategies - bookmark them all! While the following are all great resources for boss strategies, often one site will go into more detail than another about a certain type of attack or a particular site's strategy might be less suited to your guild's play style than another. For this reason it's good to get as much exposure from as many different sources as possible to boost your understanding of an encounter.

Boss Killers

Boss killers is not particularly my favorite as I've read several strategies where tactics seemed counter-intuitive or sloppy. However, this site does host a vast number of boss strategies that are rated for accuracy by the community.

This is a good place to go and find strategies that have worked for a wide array of guilds. The strategies may have to be tweaked slightly to suit the play style of your group, but the strategies found here can be a good starting point for working on a new encounter.

One of the major strengths to this site is in detailed diagrams. This site does the best job in my opinion of showing detailed images that help to understand safe zones, positioning and spacing.


Tankspot is by far my favorite resource for boss fights. On this site a host of authors come together and post videos along with voiceover tutorials for various boss fights. You could always search YouTube for a boss kill video, but most are simply showcases of a particular guild being successful at the encounter and don't include explanations of what is happening in the fight.

TankSpot excels in this in that the videos all include full explanations of the tactics used to complete a boss encounter. This is exceptionally invaluable as often simply reading about an encounter isn't enough. You may read about every ability a boss has but still not be clear on exactly how the fight happens. Having a visual reference can significantly boost your understanding of the boss fight.


StratFu is a site similar to TankSpot, in that it acts as a community portal for authors to come together and post their own strategic video tutorials of boss encounters. This site, at times, takes things above and beyond the level of TankSpot with video effects that highlight certain tactics much like the video I posted in my blog entry Power Auras, The Best AddOn You've Never Used!


Wait a minute, this isn't a strategy site... it's a database site! What gives?

Well, yes, this site isn't dedicated to raid strategies and guides but that doesn't mean there isn't a wealth of information to be had here!

Where this site can be helpful is in the comments for various bosses and achievements. Hard mode encounters, especially when they're new to the game, can be hard to find information about. Often video tutorials won't be posted yet on StratFu or TankSpot, but if you search for the achievement associated with a certain hard mode encounter you can generally find some pointers and raid composition examples lurking in the comment boxes.


This is perhaps not the best site for overarching boss fight strategies, however it does generally have very excellent and specific descriptions of boss abilities.

Not sure the area of effect for a PBAoE?
Want to know how a boss decided on a target for a raid-breaking ability?
Curious what kind of debuff that DoT that keeps killing you is and whether or not it can be cleansed?

All these questions and more can usually be found within the pages of WoWWiki.

All of the links presented here now have a permanent residence on the side of this blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting! ... For Charity!

A little while back I posted this video in my recap of the WoW patch 3.2.2. It showcases a new vanity pet called the Panderan Monk and aside from being totally friggin' awesome is now being used to support the Make a Wish foundation!

Blizzard has released what they're calling a new 'feature': the pet store.

In the pet store you can buy vanity pets that can be redeemed in game. Vanity pets don't really affect the gameplay so they're strictly a matter of personal preference. But seriously... who can resist that Panderan??

The pet store account fortunately, isn't tied to a specific WoW account so you can buy these pets and gift them to someone you know who plays the game, and half the price of every Panderan Monk bought before the new year will be donated to the Make a Wish Foundation!

So if you're a WoW player, buy one! If you're not... buy one for a WoW player you know! And yes, I myself am proud to be a supporter of the foundation!