Putting the World back in Warcraft: Dungeons

entrance portal to a dungeon in world of warcraft

A good place to start

Dungeons are a great introduction to group content for a lot of people and continue to serve as the gateway drug to raiding for a lot of people.

Dungeons throughout the years have gotten more complex and are, in some ways, a vast improvement on the dungeons found in classic. Bosses actually have mechanics and with the introduction of different difficulties particularly hard modes in dungeons such as Operation: Mechagon I think the dungeons in World of Warcraft are the gold standard.

Lets look at Operation: Mechagon on hard mode. This is one of the best experiences I’ve had in WoW in a very very long time. I think this is a perfect example of what this game can be and what it can mean to people when it is at its very best. From making sure you kill the bosses at the beginning while the sentry is overhead to the coordination needed to press the buttons in the correct order when fighting King Mechagon nothing feels better when you finally succeed after many many attempts.

This leads us to my first problem with retail dungeons and will likely be a theme throughout the most of the instanced retail content. There are currently too many difficulties in dungeons. Having a normal version, a heroic version and then a mythic version makes each dungeon feel less special. If each dungeon was mythic level it would mean you have to put in some serious work to get past the encounter making it feel dangerous and rewarding when you are finally able to down that final boss.

The other problem I have with dungeons is dungeon finder. This tool, while seemingly good at first, has eroded all need for communication. This means you don’t talk to any of your group members unless you absolutely have to and then that is normally just to rage when something is going wrong. This isn’t perfect in classic but it’s a marked improvement. By having to talk to people to organise a group you already open a dialog that can help dramatically when facing a tough part of the dungeon.

So what could Blizzard do to improve this. I think dungeon finder should be removed from the game. It means to do instanced content that rewards better gear you have to have some incline to want to speak or interact with others. Does this lead to more “LF1M Tank” in chat. Yes. Is that worse than staring at an icon for 15 minutes and then being assigned someone randomly that they refer to only as “the tank”. I don’t think so.