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9-08-2011 @ 10:49PM
Heather, I re-read your comments on the previous article and agree with you whole-heartedly. Burning Crusade encounter design was mostly amazing (with the exception of Tempest Keep, which was mostly awful), largely because it wasn't encumbered by concerns about raid sizes and varying difficulties. The boss was the boss was the boss - and you felt a real sense of accomplishment even for defeating the easier bosses like Void Reaver or Lurker Below. AND. Importantly, the instances were very well integrated into the surrounding quests and zones. There was a definite story linking you to Magtheridon, Gruul, Vashj, Kael'thas and Illidan that you saw all through your questing time in Outland, and it made you want to "finish the job" by doing the raids. In Northrend, the only clear example of that was, you guessed it, Ulduar (and even there they kinda dropped the ball by giving you a long, informative quest chain that took you to two 5m instances, but didn't lead you to Ulduar itself. And once inside, you kinda had to know what to look for in order to see the story pointers leading you to Algalon, which was an epic encounter and epic final chapter to that story).Some aspects of the game are much improved over where they were five years ago. Some are much worse. But I feel that Blizzard has tied themselves in so many knots with the current endgame model trying to please everyone that, as we're seeing now, they're pleasing no one, and paying the price with diminishing player counts and dying guilds.
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