Taiwan and Korea have been selected as test beds for a new raid lockout timer on the previous tier of raids in World of Warcraft. The raid lockout timer is currently one week for most raids in the game, even older content, but these two countries will be able to raid Firelands twice a week moving into Patch 4.3. This change may move to North America and it could mean sweeping changes to how the game is played or, as a lot of things end up being, a non-factor except for a small percentage of players who care.

Right now, as it stands, most guilds start the new patch running both the old and new content. They try to down as much new content as possible and use the remaining time to gear up players who have returned during the patch downtime or players who have yet to get every piece they need in the previous tier. If the lockout timer for the previous tier is shortened to half a week then that’s two chances to get gear instead of one.

Of course, as the weeks turn into months, the previous tier is forgotten since the gear no longer has much benefit (outside of trinkets and the rare items). Then at some point no one talks about it anymore and no one cares. They’re all too busy taking on the latest boss to worry about the raid they were working on months ago.

So, in effect, all this change could do is make it easier to get more gear for the current dungeons (primarily the important stuff: trinkets, weapons, etc.) and give players a bit more to do in a week. So, really, it turns into a non-factor two weeks into a patch and we could see this change having almost no effect. That is, of course, unless we think casually.

As if once a week wasn't enough, now enjoy Ragnaros twice a week and allow him to "purge" you with fire.

The casual raiders out there don’t get through heroic content very easily. Many stay stuck at a certain boss throughout the entire patch and when the new one comes out can’t work on the new heroic bosses. They try, and try, and try and fail due to common factors like: pug members, attendance, and dogs eating their homework. If the raid lockout timer was doubled then it means they can get double the loot for their raiders which means they can get through those old roadblocks much quicker (and in turn, get a better head start on the new raids).

It’s also cool for pugs that get into a raid and fail halfway through. We’ve all been there, you get into a pug on an alt and get to a certain boss and half the raid decides it is time for bed and the other half have to wake up to take their kids to school tomorrow. So you’re stuck unable to pug the dungeon because you have half the bosses down. As a quick side note, be sure to check out PlayerScore to make sure your pug is a success so you’re not stuck like that.

Back to the topic, if the lockout timer happens twice a week then that gives pug players twice the chances to get through the raid. That makes that playstyle viable since you have an increased chance not to get stuck with half the bosses dead and the inability to easily join a new raid. Of course, the Raid Finder is going to make PUG groups a lot different since many players may turn to that (even for a lesser reward) over trying to put together a group of random players.

At the end of the day, the lockout timer on old content is a good thing to come to the game. It isn’t game changing in any way and only helpful to those who need the gear. So if the trial works in Asia then we can all look forward to a hotfix coming our way soon. If, for some reason it doesn’t, then well it was a neat thing to talk about briefly, right?

What are your thoughts? Should Blizzard just shut down every raid but the most current or should the lockout timer be daily? Leave your comments on that topic below.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

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Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.