MMO-Champion - Cataclysm Post Mortem - Dungeons and Raids, Darkmoon Faire Issues, MMO Report
Update - We just received the following message from Blizzard - "Soon we fly together again…"



Cataclysm Post Mortem - Dungeons and Raids with Scott “Daelo” Mercer
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
As a part of our post mortem series on Cataclysm, we sat down with World of Warcraft Lead Encounter Designer Scott “Daelo” Mercer to hear his thoughts on Cataclysm dungeons and raids.

Q. What were your main goals going into Cataclysm?
We really wanted to make sure we were creating new challenges, strong mechanics, and cool creatures while staying true to the expansion and the themes we wanted to carry out. The three raid dungeons came out well and we had a lot of fun bringing the story of Nefarian and the Twilight’s Hammer to life. We were also able to add some dynamic mechanics in Throne of the Four Winds, which featured players moving across multiple platforms.


Q. How did this evolve over the various content patches?
Zul’Gurub and Zul’Aman were entertaining raids with diverse mechanics, and they translated well when we converted them into Heroic dungeons for patch 4.1. Interesting mechanics and features that once were restricted to raids are now finding their way into our five-player dungeons.

Adding the Dungeon Journal in patch 4.2 was also a major step forward. We wanted to be able to share more information in the game so that players wouldn’t feel the need to go look everything up on external websites. While those sites are great at what they do, we felt like we needed to try to alleviate the need to go out of the game to find the information players wanted to see.

The addition of Raid Finder in patch 4.3 also opened up more opportunities for players to be able to experience our raid content. The feature has proven to be extremely popular, and not just with people who had given up on raiding. Many players use Raid Finder to gear up their secondary characters, gain Valor for the week, or just because it’s fun.

Q. What do you think worked best?
We’ve been reasonably successful with our tuning across all four raid difficulty modes. There were a few warts here and there, but we delivered on the idea that 10-player and 25-player raids could exist at a similar difficulty. We also had some memorable dungeons and cinematic moments in Cataclysm. I’m particularly fond of the interactive bombing run in Grim Batol involving the red drakes. Players really got a sense of the epic scale of Grim Batol, and how well they performed in the event could make clearing the rest of the dungeon much easier.


With our improved tools and the experience we’ve gained over the years, we’ve become better at finding ways to explain the mechanics of our encounters. Our bosses do a better job of warning players of incoming threats. In Dragon Soul we also began to better inform players of mechanics that caused them to die. Providing a better understanding of the encounters to players is an important goal. We feel that losing to a boss and not understanding why is frustrating, just as beating a boss and not understanding why you won is not as satisfying.

Q. What didn’t work out as planned or expected?
Initially, we started off the Heroic dungeons at too high of a difficulty. The difficulty level rather abruptly changed when compared to the Heroics players experienced at the end of Wrath of the Lich King. This major change caught many players off guard, and frustrated some of them. The difficulty also increased the effective amount of time required to complete a dungeon to a longer experience than we wanted. With the release of patch 4.3 we’re now in a much better place. We’ve always talked about being able to complete a dungeon over lunch, and the Hour of Twilight dungeons get us back to that goal. End Time, Well of Eternity, and Hour of Twilight all provide epic play experiences to our players, but at the real sweet spot of difficulty, complexity, and time commitment.

Q. Was there anything that surprised you about how players reacted to a particular encounter?

Not particularly. Something we’ve learned over the years is to expect the unexpected. The community is very creative and intelligent. The most important thing for us is that players are having fun. They often find interesting ways of approaching things that maybe we didn’t expect, but as long the creative solution is still fun for everyone, we usually don’t have a problem with it.

Q. What have you learned from Cataclysm and what are some of your top goals for Mists of Pandaria?
We learned we could create a crazy encounter like the Spine of Deathwing. It took a lot of hard work from the whole team and it was a difficult design challenge to tackle. How do you orchestrate a fight on the back of a gigantic flying dragon without inducing nausea? How do we make sure you feel like you’re on Deathwing? Delivering that experience was really important and everyone wanted the opportunity to work on it. What was really great was that we launched the story of Cataclysm with the cinematic that showed Deathwing having his elementium plates being put on, then we end the expansion with those very same plates being torn off. It gives some real closure to storyline.


For Mists of Pandaria, we will continue to provide new dungeons and raids while also presenting interesting new types of content in the form of challenge modes and scenarios. Players will also be introduced to new enemies in the Sha, Mogu, and Mantids. Making those creatures come to life will be a lot of fun.

Q. Do you have a favorite dungeon or encounter from Cataclysm?
There are so many. The Conclave of Wind was a great one. Working out interesting mechanics that allowed players to go from platform to platform was a lot of fun and the environment felt really epic. A fight like that was a goal of the encounter team for a very long time.

Blackwing Descent was another favorite and working out the mechanics for the Atramedes fight gave us a lot to think about. How do you create an encounter with a blind dragon that fights? So we gave him sonar and showed the interaction with a sound meter on the player’s UI.


In Bastion of Twilight, we really got to sell the corruption angle on Cho’gall which made for another really interesting fight.

Q. Is there a certain mechanic that you always wanted to do but couldn’t do prior to Cataclysm?
Not really. There are so many cool ideas to work with that I never feel held back. It’s easy to be creatively inspired by the people around you and their energy. It’s never a problem of coming up with ideas. It’s usually deciding which ones we want to go with next, but the possibilities are endless.

Q. Do you have a “dream” dungeon or encounter that you’d like to create if you had the opportunity?
I’ve never felt that I haven’t been able to do the things I want to do. Everyone on the team is completely dedicated to giving us unlimited opportunities to make epic and awesome experiences. But, if I have to mention something, it would be huge giant death robots. We had Mimiron in Ulduar, but you just can’t have too many death robots.

Thank you for your time, Scott.
You’re welcome.

Discuss the latest Cataclysm Post Mortem here.

Darkmoon Faire Issues
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
February’s Darkmoon Faire achievement progress status was cleared prior to the launch of March's faire. Any achievements that were started but not completed have had their criteria reset. Completed achievements are unaffected. We previously announced that this was resolved for this month and going forward, unfortunately, that did not happen and this is still being investigated for a resolution.

The following achievements are most likely impacted:

Darkmoon Defender
Darkmoon Dungeoneer
Darkmoon Despoiler

Regrettably, we are not able to restore any progress you may have made during February's faire. We understand the impact this may have had and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Curse March Gaming Bracket Challenge - Round 2!
The March Gaming Bracket Challenge presented by Curse and Alienware is a tournament that pits video game characters against one another for multiple rounds of voting!

Each week in March we will be matching up characters from all ends of the gaming universe; from Skyrim to Starcraft, WoW to Minecraft. Selection of the characters that make it through to the next round is up to you since your votes decide who rises up and who falls in this arena! You can see the full bracket here.

Each week we are giving away one Alienware X51 (US residents only), so don't forget to enter to win and vote for your favorite characters.



MMO-Report
The MMO Report has a special episode about RIFT this week!

This article was originally published in forum thread: Cataclysm Post Mortem - Dungeons and Raids, Darkmoon Faire Issues, MMO Report started by chaud View original post
Comments 371 Comments
  1. Fool's Avatar
    good to know that they decided to go with the Wotlk difficulty for heroics. no point in checking MoP then.
  1. Baaltheron's Avatar
    Ugh. This is becoming ridiculous now. Almost every post I have read on this thread is negative and everyone is right. Blizzard are killing themselves slowly, really now, what happened Blizzard. (I'm aware WoW has been dieing for a long time now. I just mention because it's really coming into the public consciousness.)
  1. The Illusive Man's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baaltheron View Post
    Ugh. This is becoming ridiculous now. Almost every post I have read on this thread is negative and everyone is right. Blizzard are killing themselves slowly, really now, what happened Blizzard.
    The problem is that blizz can´t just say "OK that´s our fault that the content was just bad and a lot of ppl cancelled in 2011".

    No they post such an ignorant article about how good everything was and how proud they are WTF
  1. Fiddycen's Avatar
    Q. What didn’t work out as planned or expected? Initially, we started off the Heroic dungeons at too high of a difficulty.


    stopped reading right there. The heroic dungeons weren't hard at all, it was just a step towards TBC style Heroics and Forum crybabies ruined it.
  1. Baaltheron's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Megaira View Post
    The problem is that blizz can´t just say "OK that´s our fault that the content was just bad and a lot of ppl cancelled in 2011".

    No they post such an ignorant article about how good everything was and how proud they are WTF
    The fact that the content is bad is the problem itself, the problem is they cater to 'casuals' and do things that take the least amount of effort and gets them the most money. They are a company, I know, but it's not working for them, as evidenced.
  1. Primernova's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Baaltheron View Post
    Ugh. This is becoming ridiculous now. Almost every post I have read on this thread is negative and everyone is right. Blizzard are killing themselves slowly, really now, what happened Blizzard. (I'm aware WoW has been dieing for a long time now. I just mention because it's really coming into the public consciousness.)
    They went for the short term retention of customers, after they shot their golden goose in the face, with the disaster that this Xpac was. The big problem is, no one was blamed and it's business as usual according to these "Post Mortems". So MoP has no prayer to get better but I kind of figured that was going to be the case honestly.
  1. DoomedDiceThrower's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Megaira View Post
    The problem is that blizz can´t just say "OK that´s our fault that the content was just bad and a lot of ppl cancelled in 2011".

    No they post such an ignorant article about how good everything was and how proud they are WTF
    I agree! A lot of pink-glasses talk. Do you think that from a marketing point of view this is more effective than a more down-to-earth honest approach? The abscence of almost any negative humbled comments from their side seems so provocative. But then again, every big company does that, I guess in the long run it's the more effective approach? Pity it sometimes feels like one is treated like dumb children....
  1. niker99's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zatheyll View Post
    I enjoyed those three more then any others. They where just as said, short and sweet, and amazingly fun. You didn't have to spend hours doing them, they where very interactive, and extremely eye-candy like.
    for 11 years old that does not want challange sure, but there are many players out here who want challange and other then T11 and ragnaros it havent been any, included heroics after launch, if raids continue small like dragon soul in mop i am sure me and many others will quit.
  1. Baaltheron's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DoomedDiceThrower View Post
    I agree! A lot of pink-glasses talk. Do you think that from a marketing point of view this is more effective than a more down-to-earth honest approach? The abscence of almost any negative humbled comments from their side seems so provocative. But then again, every big company does that, I guess in the long run it's the more effective approach? Pity it sometimes feels like one is treated like dumb children....
    One might argue that I'm exaggerating, but I have build up Blizzard in my mind as some sort of evil corporation devoid of all emotion. When I look at Chris Metzen nowadays I just see his nonchalant demeanor and unsettling smirk as a sign that they will never care about their game again. That's so sad to say, 5 years ago I would be praising Blizzard as Gods. The only thing that's going to kill wow is wow itself, why can't they just be humble and lay down, waiting for some other game to come and finish them off.
  1. niker99's Avatar
    well content should be for everyone included very hardcore players, that doesnt mean that morchok should be easier then shannox and u get down all heroic content way before mop and have everything on farm for months, infact it gets BORING.
  1. david0925's Avatar
    It doesn't even have to be challenging, per say. I prefer actually playing the game instead of pulling 2 pack, watch RP/RP walk, another 3 packs, more rp/rp walk, boss, etc. When you have fewer than 10 pulls, including bosses, in a run. There's something really wrong, unless they were big packs that took some degree of coordination (which didn't really exist after the first set of cata dungeon nerf). This goes for both new and old instances.
  1. Axxy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by esmifra View Post
    Your opinion is not "a large part of the fanbase these days".

    Only blizz knows what a large part of the fanbase is.

    They catered to the minority in making heroics "heroic" again at the start of cata. Look how well it turned out for them back then.
    The majority of players play only at weekends and/or a couple of hours now and then. If you are on a wow forum you are not part of the majority.
    And you have facts to back that claim up then? The biggest drop in subs happened in Q3, probably well after people had finished with heroics. "The majority only play at weekends and/or a couple of hours now and then", lolwut?

    I'd suggest that even Blizzard don't know who their fanbase is anymore. They still seem to be in denial about how players perceive Cataclysm. If they carry on regardless and not learn anything, how do they expect to bring back players for MoP?
  1. Barnabas's Avatar
    This is very nice that the lead designer decides to use this opportunity to pat his team and himself on the back for this expansion. Most of the conversations I have with people in Wow is that they felt let down from the beginning and this expansion got worse as it went on. I've yet to talk to someone I'm in a raid or pvp with that has all nice things to say about this expansion, that they really enjoyed it and think this is the best expansion. I think the people that left the game agree as well. A good majority do like MC 2.0 that I've talked to though and that was never mentioned in this article. The forum heroes seem to like this expansion but then again I've never spoken to them in game.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Magister View Post
    It is rather fun to hear/read the 5% top players flame all comments, just because they believe that the game should be balanced around them.

    Since they are the majority of readers/writers on this forum, it may appear as if they are a majority, but they are not.
    Blizzard is balancing the game around the average player, and many of of those never got into raiding in current raiding tiers until Dragon Soul.

    When Scott Mercer says that Cata heroics were too hard at start, he probably should have added "for the average WoW player". Now he got flame with experienced raiders (probably well into heroic Dragon Soul by now) immediately showing off their E-peen and explaining how Cata dungeons were easy to them from the start. They might be right, but they actually were hard to the rest of the 90+% of the WoW players.

    My point: Blizzard is and should be tuning the difficulty of 5-mans en normals around the capabilities of the average players. LFR is intended for those who cannot or will not usually otherwise and should probably be avoided by anyone who raids regularly, because experienced raiders may not enjoy LFR raids very much, unless they are prepared to party up with casuals and "baddies".
    The average player isn't the kind of stupid player you want to show off.

    Also, a lot of players simply doesn't raid because they don't want to. No matter how easy Blizzard make the stuff, they don't like raiding at all. Sure if you start handling high ilvl epics so easily, they'll show up to grab them. Wich pvp only player does not want a high ilvl raid weapon like gurth to use on pvp? Or some of the trinkets?

    Stop thinking that the 95% of player base are a bunch of stupid and "gimme gimme" players.
  1. zezel81's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Megaira View Post
    So show me a TBC fight where the only real mechanic was too kite and kill bloods, and some tendris? 3 frickin times in a row and if you wipe on the final plate then you have to do that whole crap again
    Ummm. Have you done Hyjal and wipe on trash?

    Cata Heroics were fun and hard in the beginning and it was worth it to me. I am a casual player now and if you do LFG of course you are going to find baddies always happens. That is why they give you the kick option to use. PPL get butt hurt over the littlest thing becuz they can't complete something. Tip if you could not complete Cata Heroics or ZA/ZG you might want to look at yourself. It is sad when you look at a ret pally wearing Tank gear, int gear, pvp and claims he can dps. I think some players really are younger than 14 or just have an IQ of 75(border line retarded).

    If the game gets to easy that is when i will leave. I been playin sents wow came out. Hots were fun in the beginning but it just like wow really. I can go there and clear it with dps doing 8k that makes it a joke. Another tip for baddies if a tank out dps you on a boss fight your bad. You need to learn your class or gem/enchant your gear and one more thing wear the right gear.

    Here a few things to know if your a baddie. (does not mean your casual)
    1.) you have no gems(does not matter if it is a blue or purple u can get a cheap gem for 4g)
    2.) your in pvp gear trying to raid not including BH (Res does not increase you dps)
    3.) you have no enchants(you can get the cheapest one at least have something)
    4.) no profession buff (either your lazy or just dont know)
    5.) not wearing the right gear even if it is a high ilvl (dodge does not give u a boost in dps)
    6.)back to 5 don't miss match gear.(leather with plate)
    7.) if a tank out dps you on a boss fight or a tank has 50% heals.(come on)
    8.) you try to raid with out vent and state you did it before(hello if you did it before you would know to have vent)
    9.) if your in ilvl 380 above and your a dps that can't pull 15k dps on the training dummy. (this does not include pvpers only pve)
    10.) Dps that stands in front of a boss or trash when you have an option of being in back of them.

    I could go on about the content on what bad ppl do. If you find you are bad just get better or stay bad. No big deal
  1. david0925's Avatar
    The loyal customers left wow before due to burnout or real life transition and make plans to come back whenever they could before. The loyal customers that left now will not be coming back because this is an entirely different game save for their character and their friends.
  1. niker99's Avatar
    mount is prob for mop event or store. im sure ...
  1. Grithmir's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by seska View Post
    *The community is very creative and intelligent*


    LMFAO, that made my day.
    Glad I'm not the only one who laughed hard at this.
  1. VanishO2's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sendai View Post
    Stop thinking about the players. Think about all the work that is being done and just a few can see it. Not profitable. And a silly design.
    Ppl should then stop thinking about the gear from other players in this case. We all knew that the "see the content" was just a lame excuse for "I want that drop". You could see all the content a patch later, or now, in LFR, but ppl still complain that they need to see the content... wich is non-existent... since it's the same bosses, same cut-scenes on any dificulty.

    The LFR just made sure that it was the case.
  1. Jessicka's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheogath View Post
    blizzard making a mount see trough isnt a new mount plz not again
    They're not making it transparent, it's just the existing Spectral mount you get when you die in a high level area. If that's a Blizz store mount, then this really is a new low.

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