Raiders of Norrath, As we look forward to Reign of Shadows, the 17th expansion launch coming on the 15th of December, it's time to talk about what's coming with regards to raiding. While we are hard at work giving everything the final touches, we wanted to take a moment and let you guys know of what to expect as we launch the raid content for the expansion. In the past few years, raids have been opened right away or opened by one player completing an access quest. This can be problematic for a few reasons, most of which are issues with lag and the effect it can have on boss scripts. To ease this a bit and give a little bit of time to make sure everything is stable and fun, we will be unlocking access to raids 2 weeks after launch. This was discussed by the raid council and it was decided that the extra time to ensure stability was a good thing. After discussion, it looks like the date to unlock will be 8am on Sunday, December 27th, to avoid unlocking on the holiday or the day or two before. Now on to a few details we know you want to know… Resolve – Resolve will begin at 4980 for the first tier of raid targets and scaling upward to around 5300 for the more difficult raid encounters. We do expect folks to need to gear up a good bit through heroics and other previous itemization within the Reign of Shadows expansion before being able to make significant progress in the raid content. Number of zones – For Reign of Shadows’ release there will be 3 raids zones. We have more planned for the updates this coming year as well. The reason it was kept smaller was to focus more on the quality and to be able to devote more time to the beta testing of those raids. We also put a lot more time into making sure the zones were fun and each raid was a challenge to figure out without making it overly obtuse as to what to do. To put it simple we chose quality of quantity. We will be watching it very closely and working with the Raid Council to address any concerns that arise as quickly as possible and in as many cases as we can, we will attempt to fix issues without the need of an update. Raid Itemization – Generally, there are two tiers of raid gear within the raid with a third tier for rare items and end game/special rewards. Most raid bosses will drop 2 items per kill with chances at other item drops as well as the normal adornments, spell scrolls, etc. Beta rewards - This year, beta rewards are a bit different than in the past. The story arc boss for this expansion will require specific weapons to be able to damage him, much like the weapons made in the planes. The weapons used for this are the top tier of weapons for this expansion with very few one-off exceptions based on specific situations. These “Phantastic” weapons are tradeskilled and require a significant amount of work to obtain. The recipes are obtained through the tradeskill researchers within Fordel Midst and the fuel for them is found within Vex Thal. A few additional of these fuels to help toward building these Phantastic weapons are what the beta raid testing rewards are for this year. So, it will save raiders a little bit of farming in the end. A special thanks to all those that have and are helping beta test raids this year, you have been absolutely essential in chasing down issues. Tip o' the hat to you. Raids are now unlocked for all servers, enjoy! Enjoy!