Yep, WoW Insider is back with more Liveblogging goodness. This time we bring you the Dungeon and Raid panel direct from the BlizzCon floor. After the jump look out for all the latest info on Zul'Aman, Uttgarde Keep, and lots of other yummies.
4:00 And we're off! The Dungeons and Raids panel is starting off with Jeff Kaplan, with Lee Sparks, Scott Mercer, and Jeff Goodman, who we have to blame for those damn whelps in Onyxia's lair.
This panel is all about those that actually earn their epics. Damn right!
Black Temple: Is an example of a lore driven dungeon, as is Deadmines (I <3 VC)
Dungeons can also fill a gameplay void: Muradan filled a level void. Ragefire Chasm filled a Horde void (no pun intended)
Zul'Aman fills the void of a lack of content in Kara
4:05 Geography also plays a factor as to why dungeons are created. Wailing Caverns is an example of this, serving the Horde races in their lower levels
Also, we have those dungeons that Metzen just wants to put in, (Metzen is God, you know )
Plan more than we can build, Expect Change, Adapt: These are the watch phrases of dungeon making
They now show us the original planning map of the first World of Warcraft, and the original dungeon line up in April 2003
Dragon Isles is the only one listed that isn't currently in the game as of now.
4:08 The original BC dungeon boss listing, including one more raid dungeon including 6 more raid bosses, coming out before Wrath of the Lich King, very cool! I can't wait to hear more.
They're showing us a list of dungeons and raids for the new expansion. This might change because they see how much everyone loves Kara, and they want to give us more 10 man content.
Expect more level up dungeons in the new expansion, much like TBC.
They look at level, difficulty, etc. when considering a dungeon
Progression: Challenge is important, as is a sense of purpose, and escalating rewards. Well yeah, we knew this :P
Attunements and Keys: (LOTS of booing here) They have learned from TBC, so I guess that's good. But still Jeff is telling us that they are still important, and points to the Kara key attunement as a good example of quests for keys that work.
4:13 Heroic keys are also very successful, and they will continue to look at that system as we continue to progress
Ahn'Qiraj: They are tossing the idea around of flagging one person in a guild and then that will open up content for the whole guild.
Trash mobs: :D THey are showing a movie now: MC verson 2.0 designed by the players and forum posters. The Murloc Suit is featured, passed a twin Major Domo Pull, then Onyxia,
and each drops 25 items each specific for your class. THis is too funny.
Ooh an AOE VC pull for the mages! And to sum it up, MC will end with Arthas :P
Trash lets classes shine, and the dungeons with only bosses would not be fun
Trash lets them push up certain classes and expand their role, and it paces the raid
4:18 Trash density is tricky, and Gnomer is an example where they totally phailed
Kill Time on trash is also important, if the creatures are too tough, it will suck majorly. The defias miners used to be elite, and that must have been just painful. Greyheart Technicians were misattuned originally, and those horrible Kara Mana Feeders
Difficulty: Trash is likely to kill players, but isn't designed to completely wipe group, honestly, they're supposed to require strategy, but be still doable. Those damn Defias Pillagers have been killing players forever, and they were recently nerfed; the MC Lava Packs are also migraines waiting to happen,
Respawn: Trash respawn rates gives a sense of urgency, and also lets groups know that they are too low for the dungeon. Sometimes the groups are just so bad (per Jeff) that you need to stop for the night, and blame Blizz instead for the respawn.
Razorgore has no trash (I wouldn't know :( ) but Broodlord does, and the difficulty is better because of the trash.
4:25 Attumen is a good example where they want the respawn rate on trash to be these days (urgency versus difficulty)
Reliquary of Souls leads you into a boss fight.
Reward is the last part of the Trash building strats of the dev team. The players have to feel that they are able to make their character better by fighting the trash in a dungeon.
Mt. Hyjal will soon give rep and items when you kill trash. This will be cool for like the ten people that get into the instance.
Huge Boos when they show the Monstrous Kaliri. God I hate these guys. Luckily they'll currently give loot and rep. YAY!
4:28 Scott Mercer is now stepping up to talk Boss Encounters
First they need to know how many people will fight the Boss.
They need to take into account how many classes will be stepping into the instance.
The loot is also very important, what gear is needed for the raid (resist gear, etc.)
There is also the encounter specific gear, like the Kael'Thas encounter. I can't wait to see that one!
What makes sense based on the lore and art?
Ragnaros is a fire lord, so he has lots of fire spells, the room is huge, so he punches "you reaallllly high"
The environment does play into how the encounter is designed, which makes sense
How does the Encounter fit? They don't want each encounter to be the same. They want variety, and so do we as players
so that we can have a really good time.
Math Problems, and how we survive the fights: Surviving burst damage (called gear checks by the players)
4:32 Gruul was an encounter that required a LOT of DPS, so you need to bring the big guns to the fight
Another challenge is strategies you have to bring to the fight, what you do being more important than the health of the boss
Movement and positioning is also a big challenge: example given is Shade of Aran and the various phases you have to deal with
Unique mechanics: This is my favorite part. TBC really mixed this up, and Black Morass is a great example of a brand new dungeon mechanic
Individual responsibility is also a huge dungeon challenge. It depends on player awareness, like Baron Geddon and the "I'm the bomb!" mechanic, Heigan the Unclean he also calls the DDR encounter.
Random elements are present in all encounters because that is how the combat system works, so they are not going away. The random nature of this adds tension and drama to the fight.
Random doesn't equal unknown, and randomness can be overcome. Strats are out there, and vids out on the web, and you can deal with it if you're careful, gear helps with this: uncrushable warriors
He mentions that randomness can help the players. Prince Malchezzar is an example of an encounter where this can actual be to the group's benefit.
4:38 Increased chance for mistakes he also calls an endurance test, the longer it takes, people can get wary and just act stupid. The longer the fight goes, the greater the chance for bad luck, and mana management becomes a bit issue ( I hear ya). Great DPS helps with this, since you can shorten the fights if you burn them down faster, which increases the chance of success.
Illidari Council: this is an example of an endurance test encounter (Like any of us have seen these guys yet), also Nightbane is another challenge test encounter
4:41 Time for Q&A now:
Q: I have a problem with my healers wanting to respec DPS, which is a problem for me as a raid leader.
How will you deal with this with the new content?
A: We have been trying to change class roles in encounters, class balance is ongoing with the game, and is changing a lot
the classes are constantly updated, but they repeat that they will not have all classes be viable for all aspects of the game
Healing Priests will be worked on, getting them back into the raid game. We can do it: Feral Druids have become viable.
Q: Warlocks rock. Progression and seeing end game content is tough without giving up other things in real life.
Will casual raiders or non-raiders experience end-game content?
A: they are playing with taking old content (like Naxx) and making it accesible for lower characters. Lots of cheering on this one.
Q: Content is better since Naxx, now that BT is the current content, what can we expect before the next expansion.
A: We are doing another 25 man raid dungeon, and there will be 6 bosses, and will have better than Tier 6 gear available in BT, so very nifty stuff. They are also considering another 5 man before Lich King SWEET!!
Q: I LOVE outdoor raid bosses, the scramble of dealing with them, but there is only two in TBC. Will there be more?
A: No current plans for outdoor raid bosses before WoLK, but we are old school EQ2 players, so we feel you. A lot of WoW players don't like the outdoor bosses, so we need to strike the balance between instance and outdoor content. They are fun bosses to make, the outdoor bosses
Q: Raid itemization: Warlock items could work for Shadow Priest, but Ret Pally itemization is broken, how do you plan to work on this, will there be off-class itemization in the future?
A: interesting point. Itemization team is looking on this, particularly with the Death Knight coming into the game. Heroic badge loot will be added to the game with Zul'Aman, so there will be a lot more available for the different classes out there. I agree that we need to make it viable, just in the right place
Q: PvP battlegrounds were okay, and the arena system is cool, will there be new concepts to reinvent the instance runs in PvE
A: We are hoping the siege weapon tech will be applied to the raid game, but I can't see this for sure, I would love to see it. I think in the PvE front, the daily quests are a good direction for solo content, the more of them that we get the better we will get. The experience will feel more broad
Q: 40 man dungeons, no reason to go back to BWL
is there a way to add heroic difficulties to BWL or something so that we can go back for the experience of the older content?
A: We are considering going back to Naxx when we get to Northrend, but we have a finite time to make dungeons,
and even the items guys only have so much time to make new rewards for content, and would rather spend time on new content, but maybe we can go back
Q: You hinted about free zones in the BE area, are we getting a new raid for 2.4 for the Sunwell?
A: The Sunwell would be an awesome idea an unconfirmed confirmation that the Sunwell will be the new raid content before WoLK
Q: Healers sitting on the bench waiting to help for certain fights, will you work on fixing this so it is more fair to just 25 players instead?
A: We are constantly monitoring the encounters, watch the vids you do, you mention Mother Sharaz and her shield mechanic is bad for casters, so we are monitoring that, we definitely don't want you to stack fights one way or the other. We are always mindful of it, we check the forums, and we are committed to making changes to our raid game.
Q: Some instances Horde can't get into, will you work to make them easier to get to?
A: There are some instances that are exclusive for each faction like Stockades and Ragefire, but Horde would love to see Deadmines, and Alliance Shadowfang Keep. Zul'Aman will be a more of a horde dungeon (and I cry since this is the next step to Kara, seems biased) since it is in the BE starting area, but they are looking for ways to help experience other dungeons.
Q: Who fixed the balancing cleave bug, since it helped rogues greatly; fear as a raid mechanic is a great pain in the Mother Sharaz fight, will you move away from that, or will we just have to suck it up.
A: Scott: Fear ward. We are going to do something about FW for the Horde, they are tired of dealing with the imbalance of Fear in instances, so we have to be careful Jeff: we are working on a system on the wow default interface like Outfitter and Item Rack. We can give you real space to store the extra junk. Awesome!
UI mods are a huge part, they will add a threat meter into the game! They are also talking about adding a Deadly Boss Mods element into the game
Yay again! That will definitely help
Q: I heard about another 5 man dungeon, we LOVE them and we are sad that the last 5 man for live content updates
was Dire Maul
A: We would like to get a 5 man in before WoLK and remember the sheer number of 5 mans in TBC was amazing, so keep that in mind
You make a great point, and we love making the 5 man content. Coordinated coop pve entertainment, it's fun gameplay and we want to do more.
Okay, well that's it. I hope you are filled with as much happy warm fuzzies as I am after this great Panel. Holy Cow I need to lie down!