Today marks the launch of patch 5.2, and along with it comes a new raid to conquer. We have confirmation of the Throne of Thunder raid schedule, and staggered release of raid difficulties. As it stands right now, Normal Throne of Thunder launches today, with Heroic ToT and the first wing of LFR next week, with a new LFR wing released each week after until mid-April.
Throne of Thunder Raid Schedule
With the release of Patch 5.2: The Thunder King, the vast Throne of Thunder
raid will become available. As in previous raid tiers, Raid Finder wings and availability difficulties will be staggered.
To access the new Raid Finder wings
you will need a minimum average item level (ilevel) of 480.
This is our current schedule based on a planned patch release date of March 5. If the patch is delayed, or if we determine any change is needed, we'll update this article.
– Normal Throne of Thunder
– Heroic Throne of Thunder and LFR Wing 1 "Last Stand of the Zandalari"
– LFR Wing 2 "Forgotten Depths"
– LFR Wing 3 "Halls of Flesh-Shaping"
– LFR Wing 4 "Pinnacle of Storms"
Gated and staggered content isn't anything new in MoP
, but discussion always turns heated on the forums whenever the topic arises. I have the opportunity to begin raiding Normal mode ToT tonight, but many players don't -- at least right away. Should LFR be released at the same time as Normal mode? Is staggering raid content Blizzard's way of quashing that feeling of being "forced" to run LFR if it's released immediately?
With a week until LFR, there's plenty of time to experience the quests on the Isle of Thunder
, discover new rares and battle pets, as well as the lore. Patch 5.2 offers cross-realm raiding of 5.0 content
, so there's that, too!
Daxxarri took to the forums to clarify Blizzard's intention of delaying LFR, keeping the players' experience in mind.
Daxxarri -- 5.2 LFR Delay? What?
It's gated to mimic normal progression in raids. Normal raiders won't see the end boss for months either. In fact the only guys that will see the end content are the heroic mode raiders who will complete the normal raid within the week.
Our raid in Normal Mode Tier 13 didn't see Sha of Fear until 3 weeks ago, I had been farming him on LFR for a month and a half already at that point.
I think that your post strikes at the heart of the issue very well. Lei Shen is a real monster, and we want his encounter to feel climactic. Most normal mode raiders won't see him for a while, and that climactic feel is diminished when players have already been farming him for weeks in the Raid Finder before they ever get to see him on normal mode with their guild mates.
On the same token, we know players using the Raid Finder want to see new content, and we do plan to release the first two wings faster than the last two, to make sure that those players have something new to enjoy sooner rather than later.
How do you feel about staggered and gated content? What will you be exploring this week in 5.2?