Let’s not waste any time and jump right into the action, because today I hope to be able to finish the long series about dungeon instances.
Today we’ll cover the rewards beyond dungeon quests and boss drops that were introduced with TBC and are still in the game today, with some modifications to the original model.
In a way, back in WoW classic, dungeons were their own reward. Their length and size, the lore surrounding them and the challenge were a big motivation and the quest rewards and usually very powerful boss loot were the icing on the cake. But it seems that wasn’t quite enough…
Sorry for the lack of updates yesterday, I just couldn’t find the time to write a full entry and I haven’t been writing content in advance yet for these situations 😉
Okay, we’ve got a lot to cover today, so let’s get going!
What will we talk about today?
Reputation and dungeons: From classic, to TBC, to WotLK and Cata, to MoP
Attunement and Heroics: Why in TBC and why not today? Also: itemlevel requirements instead of attunements
I’ll try not to get carried away too much, so I can finish the dungeonman series with tomorrows posting. I’ve got a lot more topics to cover and I’m sure dungeons and instances will still pop up every now and then. The “my personal vision of the perfect dungeon system”-topic will also be featured tomorrow instead of today. I want to cover all aspects of the dungeons before that, or else it wouldn’t make much sense.
Now that we’ve taken a lenghty look at the difficulty changes from expansion to expansion, todays main topic will be the relevance of dungeons to the overall progress of a character, both during endgame and while leveling as well. The rewards you’d get by running a dungeon or heroic are also related to this topic, so we will be examining those as well.
The difficulty changes affected all players, solo and guilded alike, but solo players had a much harder time during the beginning of Cataclysm. Random groups were struggling to finish a heroic dungeon. Easier dungeons might have been beneficial for solo players in random groups, but good groups of friends or guilds were, once again, without. challenging 5man content until the speed run challenge mode with MoP was introduced.
Here’s a short overview for today:
Dungeons during leveling and endgame, then and now
What to do with the loot? How long gear rewards lasted and what they were intended for
Yesterday we stopped right at the dungeon difficulty of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Towards the end of that expansion, Blizzard released the Icecrown Citadel content patch which brought the ICC raid instance, but also three new dungeons, which were suddenly more difficult than previous heroic dungeons and quite a lot of fun, especially as a tank or healer. Using crowd control on mobs wasn’t really necessary, but in some situations it helped a lot. Another great addition was a lengthy questline for a weapon players could forge by finding an item in these dungeons, but that’s just a sidenote as I’ll probably make a seperate “quest” article someday.
But these three instances were a precursor of the changes to the dungeon difficulty Blizzard intended for Cataclysm. If you remember yesterdays posting, I mentioned how dissatisfied a lot of players were with the WotLK difficulty and wanted to go back to the previous TBC model of incredibly difficult heroic instances. Well, Blizzard listened and made some changes with Cataclysm.
Regular dungeons in Cata weren’t really difficult, but an important change could already be observed here. The step to less class responsibility and more environment responsibility (clicking on stuff) was progressed with another addition: Dancing!
Welcome to another entry about the evolution of dungeons in World of Warcraft. We’ve already looked at several changes like dungeon size, time investment, quests and more in the last couple of days and today we’ll investigate the challenge dungeons used to pose and how that changed over the years. Contrary to other changes, this isn’t a constant evolution in one direction as the difficulty has constantly been going up and down through the expansions and with the addition of heroic versions.
Let me give you a quick summary of todays topic.
To make dungeons more accessible, Blizzard made a lot of changes to the way players can participate in them. Searching for quests is no longer required, looking for a group doesn’t take any effort anymore and the rewards (which we’ll cover as well), are much better these days while being awarded after shorter and faster instance runs. These changes attracted more players to the dungeons and due to the anonymity of the cross realm LFG tool, trying hard or having put effort into gear, enchants etc. didn’t really seem necessary to most players. Also, new players with much less game knowledge also got easy access to all kinds of dungeons.
But we didn’t arrive smoothly at this state, there were a couple of ups and downs and instance difficulty changed quite drastically over time, which is why I’ll be looking at each expansion individually again. Let’s start with WoW classic.
In part 2 of the 5man dungeon series we’ll be analyzing the preparation time and actual difficulty of those instances.
Before we get started, I’d like to add a few things to yesterdays entry, just to make some things clearer:
In the beginning I mentioned two viewpoints I’ll be tackling in this series, but I didn’t talk about that much in the rest of the posting, because for the most part, it didn’t really make a difference if you played solo or in a big guild or with lots of friends. The LFG tool made a difference for solo players, because finding a group took a long time. But the difference wasn’t -that- huge, because even in a guild you often weren’t able to instantly put together a group of 5 consisting of a tank, a healer and 3 dps. Guilds had the same problems…they had an abundance of damage dealers but usually lacked tanks and healers and if a tank wasn’t online, or busy running another dungeon/raid or not in the right level range, you still were screwed, even with a guild. So often times 3 damage dealers from the same guild grouped together with a guild healer or tank who happened to be available and started spamming /2 /3 to fill the missing tank or healer spot. They saved some time, and the chance of the group disbanding was slightly lower, but if you didn’t plan ahead and got five people together for a dungeon run, you still had to put effort into forming a group. And whispering all the tanks on everybodys friendlist took a while as well.
Travelling to the instance didn’t go much faster either, because players were still scattered around the continents. And the second part of yesterdays posting affected all players, regardless of their friendlist or guild size. Dungeons got smaller and shorter, that’s not something you can really change. So, I’ll still be looking at the whole topic from two viewpoints, just don’t expect every single aspect to be vastly different for solo or guilded players.
Alright, enough of that, let’s start with the second part of our little dungeon running analysis, shall we?
Todays posting will be about preparation. What do I mean by that?
Well, players have to, or had to, prepare in a certain way for a dungeon in order to get the most out of it. Most dungeons have quests associated with them, so having the quests in your log would be a good idea to get those additional xp, gold and item rewards. Nobody wants to lose time wiping to trash, doing extra hours clearing trash respawn or worse, having the group disband after hours of playing and finally reaching Baron Rivendare. Players who knew the potential of their class and maybe even visited the instance before, especially if they were the tank or healer, made a huge difference for the whole group. And sometimes there were more requirements to a dungeon, which took some effort.
In case you’re confused about the title: Shame on you! Also, click this link!
Okay, dungeons it is.
Dungeons were an integral part of World of Warcraft right from the beginning and that hasn’t changed. What has changed, is the role of the dungeon and the way and reason we run them, so this is going to be another comparison posting between current WoW and classic WoW. Enjoy!
I’ll try to view this topic from two perspectives:
A player enjoying the game solo, unguilded, in a very small or inactive guild or in general with a low number of acquaintances to play with. So a player who might have a tough time quickly gathering a couple of people he knows in order to run a dungeon
A player with a larger friend circle and/or larger and more active guild who can easily ask around his fellow guildmates to get a dungeonrun going
What different aspects will we be looking at during the next couple of days?
Queueing time: How we progressed from a simple “looking for group” channel to a one click tool that automatically arranges a group
Running time and instance size: How long it takes to run a single 5man dungeon due to length, trash mobs, number of bosses and death run distances
Preparation time: What was necessary to get the most out of a dungeon in terms of xp, gold and item rewards through quests, how much knowledge about the game, class and dungeon was required and were there other prerequisites?
Actual difficulty: How hard were the encounters themselves and what could cause a wipe
Complexity of mechanics: What mob/boss abilities did players have to pay attention to? What’s the amount of player abilities that were required? How numerous were these and how did the priorities change?
Relevance to progress: How are dungeons used to progress through leveling and endgame content
Direct and indirect Rewards: Bosses drop loot, quests give items, reputation, emblems, points…what did we get, what do we get today?
Attunement and heroics: Heroic dungeons weren’t open to everybody right away and their role in the game changed as well
So, I just dinged 90 with 1.5 zones to go (2.5 if you count the 90 zone “Vale of the Eternal Grind”) and only a single dungeon finished so far. I’ve done most of the playing with rested experience.
At all times I wore the equipment I used during the lvl85 endgame content to see how much the character strength really depended on gear. We all know how important gear is, but I wasn’t really ready for this result, because my character actually got weaker with each level. The hit points increased and I got a few (about 3-4) agility points per level, which didn’t do anything.
Just like before, I’ve lost dps, speed, haste, energy regen, hit chance, crit chance, expertise, mastery and dodge while gaining some health. Parry stayed the same (I got a .01 boost from 88 to 89) as did stats like armor and attack power. AP actually rose ever so slightly due to the higher agility, but haste fell so fast, the higher damage didn’t stop the dps from falling.
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