I’ve just got a couple scattered observations from running the new 5 person instances. I’m sure they’ve been brought up before, but it’s stuff I find interesting, and after yesterdays “Omigod it’s all rainbows and unicorns” post, I thought some balance was needed around the joint.
Aren’t we all Heroic and stuff
The first thing I noticed that surprised me was what was missing, and wondering what it meant for the direction we’re going for the long term.
A few comparisons.
When Burning Crusade came out, we had 5 person instances, with both Normal (leveling ) and Heroic (max level only) modes.
Later on, a new content patch brought us a single new 5 person instance, Magister’s Terrace, in Normal and Heroic that had a story that tied into the new Sunwell raid.
When Wrath of the Lich King came out, we again had 5 person instances in both Normal and Heroic versions.
We got a middle content patch with a new raid, and a new 5 person instance with Normal and Heroic modes for the Argent Tournament.
Later on, a new content patch brought the Lich King raid in Icecrown Citadel. Instead of having one new instance, however, this time we had three, one each in both Normal and Heroic modes, to be done sequentially, and with a quest chain delving deeper into the storyline leading up to the new ICC raid.
After what had come before, the new three instance chain-quest concept was met with much approval, gushing, and raindbows coming out our butts.
Blizzard presumably took note of the gushing, and got the idea that we might have been pleased.
Now we fast forward to Cataclysm.
Again, we had an initial release of 5 person instances in Cataclysm, with both Normal and Heroic modes. Additionally, there were two 5 person instances that were Heroic only, old low level instances that were revamped into new, level 85 versions, the Shadowfang Keep and Deadmines.
We heard there would be old content brought to new life, and were overjoyed. Heroic only? Strange, but since it was very old and familiar content, it made some sense that we wouldn’t need to see it again while leveling. It would be a nice treat for hitting 85.
What has happened since then is that all the new 5 person instance content continues to be released in Heroic version only, no Normal modes.
With the Troll dungeons, Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub, I think people were disappointed but understanding. I mean heck, they were originally 10 person raids that were retrofitted as 5 person instances.
The feeling on my part was, it’s hard enough to take content tuned for 10 people and fit it into a 5 person group of higher level. This is old content that most people are already familiar with (most, not all), so we’re getting a taste of it for nostalgia. To also make a second, slightly easier version in 5 person Normal mode as well and have players be in the old content just that much longer? A bit too much.
I figured that making those two be the only two that you had to chain run to max Valor was just a misstep, a poorly-thought out idea that wasn’t well conceived.
After all, nostalgia only goes so far, and for people that had run them a lot in Vanilla and in BC, those weren’t exactly fan favorites begging for a re-release.
Now, a 5 person Karazhan Heroic? With instanced wings to break it into bite-sized chunks? I think that would have had more legs to it than the Trolls.
Still, my point is, it was understandable to have the two Trolls released as Heroic-only. Disappointing, but understandable.
But now here we are with a new release of three more 5 person instances, again meant to be done sequentially, again with a quest chain threading through them, and again designed as an outstanding story introduction for the new Deathwing raid.
But, following the brand new tradition of Cataclysm instances, the new instances have no Normal mode.
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!
Crappity crap crap.
Not looking forward to it.
There is a lot of new stuff in this patch, and it’s great. Heck, I haven’t even had the chance to spend any time at all at the Darkmoon Faire!
But again, it sure would’ve been nice if there was something added, a normal mode something on the new things, or even better, a new quest area inserted somewhere into the 80 – 85 range to break it up a bit.
You may say, “What do you think Blizzard does, make new content all day long?” My answer is, if everything released is always aimed at max level, then you’re telling us that the massive bulk of the game, the 1 -84 range, is irrelevant. In which case, eliminate it and let us make characters that are already 85. Does anyone really enjoy leveling with the exact same Northrend and Cataclysm quest content?
Does anyone look forward to playing a Pandaren from 20 to 85 when MoP comes out? In the exact same Outlands, northrend and Catalcysm content? Again?
The level 1 to 60 revamp for Cataclysm added a LOT of replay to the game. Hitting Outlands, Northrend and even Cataclysm zones after that is kinda like taking a crushing blow to the nuts.
I’m not saying do that same kinda massive revamp each time. I am saying, aiming to add one additional quest zone(or a half-sized zone) intended for leveling through somewhere in the game for each content patch would have a massive impact on replayability and adding choice to leveling options.
Or, maybe you think I’m insane.
The other thing I’ve been noticing is the way the encounters are being laid out such as to limit tactical choice.
For all you tanks out there, answer me this;
Can you name one boss fight in the new instances where it is possible to perform a Line of Sight pull?
Not necessary, but possible.
Even in the early stage of Well of Eternity, with it’s pillar placement, it doesn’t really lend itself to being able to Line of Sight pull, because of, you know, thousands of demons in the area.
I’m not complaining, I’m just noticing. When these new instances were designed, the requirements placed on tanks to use terrain in an innovative way were minimized. The encounters were streamlined to run in, fight, don’t stand in stuff or get out of the way of stuff or kill stuff in this order or interrupt stuff.
I think the reason is the LFD, and the ‘go go go’ mentality. I think it’s the attitude that pulling for the tank if he takes ‘too long’ is not just okay but normal.
Because the encounters are streamlined, they are easier to grasp the concept the first time or two through, and because they are designed for face pulling, there is nothing to cause you to stop and do something that takes a second of preparation first. So, you just run straight in and there is less likelihood of people pulling for you before you get your nice LOS tug off or whatever.
Has anyone else noticed other cases where the new design of encounters has seemingly taken into account things that were frustrating for you when playing with strangers, and eliminated them?
There is clearly a lot of careful thought going into this content, not just in making them interesting and fun and exciting, and full of lore and story and goosebump moments, but also in trying to anticipate and remove irritations from LFD.
I’m kinda curious what else you folks have seen along the same lines.