No New Dungeons? What Does That Mean For WoW?

Yep, the word is out – there will be no new 5-man dungeons, at all, for the rest of Mists of Pandaria.

That’s pretty startling news – but what does it mean?

Well, several bloggers have been looking into that very question – and they’ve got some interesting theories…

  • Azuriel thinks that the very notion of a 5-man dungeon is outdated in modern WoW, and he thinks we might be inches away from them disappearing entirely“Are they necessary for anything anymore? “Practice for raiding?” I don’t know if anyone would agree that they have such an effect, if they ever did. “
  • And The Grumpy Elf actually thinks this is a really good thing that will free up resources for other areas of the game“As far as I see it, no new five mans means we have the potential for more content, better content, and I actually am being pushed to play those characters I do not play often more. “

What do you think?

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Of Instance Design, the New 5-Mans, and Blizzard’s Philosophy

So far, one part of Patch 4.3 that seems to have nearly universally been a success are the new 5-man instances. They’re fast, they’re fun, and they have interesting lore.

Big Bear Butt’s been exploring them just like the rest of us, and enjoying them as much. But, on reflection, he’s started to wonder about some of the elements present in the new approach to instance design

“So, is this the new design intent? To provide an initial release of Normal instances, for leveling through while questing, but release additional group content that is ONLY intended for max level raid/Justive point geared players?

On the one hand, so far I am very happy with how the new 5 person content is tuned. It is extremely fun, and if this is an example of content that doesn’t suffer from a split focus, then good.

On the other hand, all of the characters I’ve got capable of running the content are at the “raid and JP gear” level, at least iLevel 365 average. All of them have gone through all of the Firelands daily quests and obtained the iLevel 365 upgrades from the vendors, have JP tier pieces, etc. Raid drops and crafted.

Is it a fair assessment of the content if all the characters I have doing it are very well geared?

I’ve got two characters that are just now entering the final leveling curve before 80 instances. My Priest is level 80, and my Paladin tank is level 72 or so. Both are staring the Cataclysm leveling dead in the eye, and having a drought of ANYTHING new to do prior to level 85 endgame, and even then nothing new accessible until doing the entire month-long Firelands dailies (again) and chain running standard Heroics long enough to qualify by iLevel for the new stuff… crap!”

Are you looking forrward to levelling a new character to end-game, or is BBB right that the new Heroics actually leave you with a wall of boredom first?

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Call To (Developer) Arms: Stromgarde

Let’s just get one thing out of the way at the start – we all hate the idea of yet more rehashed WoW content, right? I mean, more or less. Both Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman were great in their day, and I have particularly fond memories of raid leading for the first time in ZG, with a WoWWiki tab open in the background to speed-read boss tactics, but frankly, at this point, the idea of seeing, say, AQ20 as the next 5-man is enough to make me want to stab things, and not in a WoW sense.

(Yeah, I know I predicted AQ20 as one possibility for the Patch 4.3 5-man. Let’s just hope I’m wrong, eh?)

Yeah, I didn’t want to even think about an existing location being reworked into a new level 85 dungeon. And then Rades of Orcish Army Knife came up with the best suggestion I’ve ever heard for a WoW location that’s crying out to become a 5-man, or even a hub – Stromgarde!

So how would this work as an instance? Well hell, it already FEELS instanced, just walking through the main gates! Cross that threshold, and you’re suddenly no longer in the wild grassland hills of Arathi battling spiders and raptors – now you’re in this contained, tense environment, up against all manner of entrenched, hard-as-nails soldiers. And with four factions fighting each other, all for different purposes, I always feel slightly apprehensive, like I was about to be caught in the middle of a very heated and very personal grudge match.

You know those war movies where the characters have to rush down a war-torn street while bullets are buzzing around them, bodies are covering the ground, planes are soaring overhead and you can hear bombs and explosions coming from every direction? That’s how I envision Stromgarde would feel; tense, panicked, with a palpable feeling of danger at every turn.

This is a long, detailed pitch for what, quite frankly, sounds like it would be a fantastic instance. Rades has a gift for weaving new stories from WoW lore, and there are some great ideas in here – I particularly liked his “hidden sponsors of the Syndicate” concept. And Stromgarde itself does indeed sound like a fantastic setting – as anyone who has watched “The Return” (still probably my pick for the number 1 WoW Machinima piece of all time) knows, it’s an evocative and woefully under-explored setting, another example of Blizzard’s tendancy to rush people past their own brilliance.

I wonder what other hidden gems there are out there that could become great instances? What about the old rope-bridge-connected Grimtotem HQ in pre-Cata Thousand Needles? Or Jintha’alor?

Ok, maybe not. More bloody Trolls.

Do you have an idea for a great location that could turn into the next 5-man – or even the next raid? And what do you think of the Stromgarde pitch – awesome or meh?

_Quote taken directly from Rades’ post.

Find Orcish Army Knife at http://www.orcisharmyknife.com/_

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Daily Heroics, World Without WotLK and Looking Forward To Things

Now, an MMO blog post that makes me think “oooooh, that’s a good idea!” or “what if…” is a blog post that I might well feature on the Pot. I mean, there are other sorts of posts too, but those posts are strong contenders. And today, within the space of about 20 minutes, I found several of them about a whole bunch of MMOs. It led me to a quandary – which one do I feature?

There’s only one answer to that. All of them. So here goes – hope they inspire you to ponder as much as they did me.

  • What If WotLK Never Happened – Priest With A Cause:WOTLK introduced so many new mechanics to the game that it’s actually quite hard to imagine WoW without them now. But what if?”
  • Remove The Daily Heroic – Blsesing of Kings:But suppose that Heroic 5-mans never gave out Valor? That the only way you could get Valor is from raiding. What would happen?”
  • Big Pulls – Heavy Wool Bandage:But if you consistently are bored as healer and feel like demanding that the rest of the group perform poorly just so you’ll have something more exciting to do, maybe you shouldn’t be healing.”
  • Anticipation – Bio Break: “…I simply love looking forward to new games.  I kind of find it silly when people tell me not to, just because there’s a chance they may let me down.  Well, yes, I understand that, but for me it’s like movies.”
  • [SWTOR] Why I Still Want To Play This Thing – Welcome To Spinksville:What I am expecting from SWTOR is exactly Bioware mechanics and storytelling ‘bolted on’ to an MMO core, which probably will have a lot in common with WoW-type games. So telling me it’s like that is really not a turn-off.”

That’s it for now – have you got any thoughts on these? Or did I miss a post that should be on here? Either way, let us know!

Quotes taken directly from posts linked just before them

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Grouping With Friends – For A Price

The big kerfuffle this week is about Blizzard’s announcement that they’re planning to allow WoW players to group with Real ID friends – for a price. This is a huge move – so much so that the blogosphere’s alight about it – and well worth a roundup post.

Most folks are saying that it’s a good idea but they’re split into two distinct camps over whether it’s fair to charge for it. Many folks have a unique take on it which is leading to a really interesting debate – let’s take a look at some of the reactions out there…

  • Corath: Premium Dungeon Finder – “One big question I know a lot of people will have is whether this will support cross-faction groups along with cross-realm.”
  • Typhoon Andrew: Fee To Play With Real ID Mates? No Thank You – “its frigg’n cheecky for them to say, “oh please don’t scream till we price it”, as that misses the point. This is the thin edge of the wedge for wow’s subscription fees.”
  • Graylo: A Fee To Play With Friends – “On one hand this really doesn’t have any impact on how we play the game. If you don’t buy the service nothing changes for you.”
  • Jar: New App: Dungeons With Friends – “Call me “old” (in wow terms i guess) and crusty but I really don’t get why there is so much vitriol and venom being spewed in response to Blizzards newest premium service idea.”
  • Matticus: Would You Pay For Premium? – “The point I’m trying to get to here is would you rather pay a higher monthly cost for included services or have a lower monthly cost along with optional services?”

That’s it for now – and I bet there will be more reactions than this out there. What’s your take on it?

Quotes all taken directly from linked articles.

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What Do You Forget In Dungeons?

We’ve all been there – get into an LFDdungeon to find someone else isn’t playing to the sacred dungeon-ettiquette rules. Or worse, perhaps someone’s telling you you should be doing something differently. Not that I have any recent memories of charging gung-ho into packs of mobs in Shadowfang and dropping dead. Anyway, new blogger Laerith over at Totemic Grace has a post of just what we could do with bearing in mind in dungeons, whoever we are.

Yep, dungeons have been with us a month or two now and they’re looking suspiciously like they could soon get to the stage where we play using our foreheads. But we’re not there yet and they’re certainly not Wrath dungeons. Laerith’s right to remind us of some basic ettiquette pointers, and she’s got something to say to you whether you’re a tank, healer or DPS.

…2) Use cooldowns. Even though it’s just a 5 man dungeon, cooldowns are still required sometimes. Boss mechanics are fairly punishing now. If your health is dipping low, you have the resources to mitigate more of that incoming damage. …

1) The name of the game is Triage. Due to our limited resources now a days, it’s no longer best to keep people at full health. As a general rule of thumb, try keeping everyone health at least at or above 50%…

Laerith’s points are mostly common sense but it’s amazing how often we forget them, or how long ago I saw DPS do things to help tanks like use Misdirect or Tricks of the Trade (/grouch). And how many times have you seen DPS insist “we no need CC lolz”? Her post is nothing new – it can’t be, dungeon ettiquette is as old as Jaina’s hairstyle – but it is a good run-down of Cata ettiquette. So tell me, when was the last time your toon nommed some vendor-bought food between pulls?

Do you think Laerith’s over-egging the pudding or do you think it’s spot on – or there’s a good manner missing from Laerith’s list?

_Quote taken directly from Laerith’s post

You can find Laerith’s Totemic Grace homepage here_

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Problems With Finding A Fix For The LFD Tool

I’d guess over the holidays you’ve run a few dungeons using the LFD tool. Or at least thought about it, turned slightly green thinking of the idiots just waiting to be inflicted upon you and gone for a lie down. There must be a fix out there for it, right? Well, Ardol over at WoW Philosophized has turned his thought towards it.

Most of us gripe about LFD now and then. Ardol, objective as ever, sets that aside and just looks at ways the LFD tool could be changed and whether they’d make it a better place. He starts with the more popular ideas – being able to up-rank people (by friending them) or down rank people. A reputation system. He also looks at other solutions like his own idea of a questchain that instils players with useful Heroic skills. Throughout, Ardol keeps recognising the fact that players will try to break the system, use it to their own ends or have subjective values of what they’re judging people on.

Even worse, since down-votes would move the down-voted player farther down the queue, any down-rate you give another player would theoretically move you up the queue, assuming the down-rate isn’t reciprocated. This would give players real, tangible motivation to down-rate people who don’t deserve it; in other words, it wouldn’t be just the jerkass players who down-rate everyone.

Reading through Ardol’s post I had the feeling it was a little mercenary, repeatedly talking about giving undesireable players longer queue times. But then I remembered that when questioned most of us would probably prefer “go go go lolz u no ned tacs u stupid u dunno hw 2 play” touting ‘Iizrougee’ to have time to brew himself an extra coffee. Or six.

What about you – do you have any ideas on how to fix the LFD tool, or are you thinking “if it ain’t broke…”?

Quote taken directly from Ardol’s post

You can find WoW Philosophixed’s homepage here

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