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. risingforce's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by OriginZero View Post
    Karazhan -> Zul'Aman -> Gruul's Lair -> SSC/TK-> Black Temple -> Sunwell

    Progression based.

    End of Cata:

    Dragon Soul (LFR) -> Dragon Soul (Normal) -> Dragon Soul (heroic)

    There's something wrong with that picture. Sure, progression, perhaps, but very boring progression.
    Aren't you comparing progressions of TBC [an entire expansion] to Hour of Twilight --which is just a patch?

    Sorry if I misunderstood, but it seems an unfair comparison otherwise.
  1. Scrubbles's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by risingforce View Post
    Aren't you comparing progressions of TBC [an entire expansion] to Hour of Twilight --which is just a patch?

    Sorry if I misunderstood, but it seems an unfair comparison otherwise.
    It's a valid comparison.

    At the end of Cata, you can START raiding with Dragon Soul (LFR). There is zero reason to even go into BWD/BOT/FL at all. Just do a few heroics and voila, you're at the final tier of raiding for the expansion.

    At the end of BC, you still had to start at Kara and work your way through, although badges made your starting point a little easier towards the end.
  1. Rorcanna's Avatar
    The amount of whine is breathtaking. Seriously, I am SO happy to know that the loudmouths on these forums that can't seem to be pleased with anything at all are a minority. I am curious about where those mounts will be from, I hope it's not the 150 mount achievement or something like that. Store mount? Fine with me, I've got real cash to spend when the month is over. But I guess the amount of QQ that would spark isn't worth it.
  1. Pyrelight's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFalcon View Post
    A lot of people here seem not to understand simple economics. Blizzard lost two million subs in Cata. Do you really think those were all hardcore raiders who thought the game was too easy? No. Two million is bigger than the entire hardcore raiding playerbase, by quite a lot.

    No, those were "bads." They left because no one wants to spend 5 hours wiping in heroic Grim Batol. They left because the inaccessibility of heroics left them nothing to do. And if your response is "the game didn't need them anyways," 600 layoffs at Blizzard would like to tell you otherwise. The bads need easy heroics and easy LFR to keep playing. The game needs them. You carrying bads through heroics is what pays the development costs for your heroic raids. Remember that next time you wipe five times on Echo of Baine trash.

    If you're complaining that heroics are too easy now, maybe you should be running something harder. Like a heroic raid. Just a thought.
    Pretty much this. Remember, just because YOU read EJ and know that Agility doesn't give spell critical chance doesn't mean everyone else and their parents know the same, but who's to say Blizzard's not supposed to provide fun to them? They are paying the same $15 as you are after all.

    I'm surprised to see that some people think they know exactly what the problem was, when they lack any form of conclusive empirical data. Remember kids, Blizzard has in its hands, the data of MILLIONS of players, while all you have, is your own experience, plus those of your friends, your friends' friends and their parents/kids (let's give it 300 tops?)
  1. YankeePhan1234's Avatar
    "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."

    Bullshit, it was easily the worst fight I've ever done, it didn't act as a great closure to the story because we never really did fight Deathwing, we fought his back and arms while thrall and the dragon aspects did everything else. Please never make a fight like this ever again, PLEASE.

    Also is anyone else getting a little tired of these 'post mortem' things? They basically don't say anything worthwhile and just pat themselves on the back for all the good jobs they've done while leaving out the real failures they've made.
  1. Crashdummy's Avatar
    Some people in here need to understand a thing.

    VERY FEW PEOPLE enjoyed heroics at the start of Cata.
    A VERY LARGE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE hated them.

    At first blizzard refuse to see this, Ghostcrawler even mocked those that were nto enjoying them in a blog, but then Blizzard saw their data and realized the truth: Cata heroics were too long, had too much trash and were too hard for randomg groups (which are the mayority, sorry but 5 man guild groups are not the norm). For many of us, Wrath heroics gave us much, MUCH more fun than Cata ones (and that has nothing to do with age, i'm 30 years old). Also, challenge is not equal to fun, no matter how much does some people dont understand it.
  1. The Illusive Man's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SnowBlood View Post
    I can't believe he said that. It's completely 100% untrue. I'm a non-violent, and I would punch this idiot in the face for being so stupid and blind.
    Not only you sir So much ignorance in one post is unbelievable !!
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrubbles View Post
    It's a valid comparison.

    At the end of Cata, you can START raiding with Dragon Soul (LFR). There is zero reason to even go into BWD/BOT/FL at all. Just do a few heroics and voila, you're at the final tier of raiding for the expansion.

    At the end of BC, you still had to start at Kara and work your way through, although badges made your starting point a little easier towards the end.
    Yeah exactly !! I did this on my brand new dk alt a month ago. Got lvl 85 then started doing BGs for the 390 PvP gear and then got into LFR and cleared that stupid place in 2 hours with every boss.

    Content cleared BTW I did the 3 new HCs on that evening too ...

    Edit: No need for running any cata raids before jumping into DS
  1. flak's Avatar
    You'd have thought at your ripe old age you'd have reaslied that people don't get enjoyment out of the same things. Challenging content might not be fun for you, but there are plenty of others who don't share that opinion. The make it hard and nerf it later approach works pretty well. Also there is no justification whatsoever that everyone has the right to see all the content as soon as it's released, there is plenty of sutff for the casuals - they don't have the 'right' to kill heroic raid encounters the week they're released.
  1. Zoator's Avatar
    I want my War of the Ancients raid...
  1. The Illusive Man's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zoator View Post
    I want my War of the Ancients raid...
    And the Abysial Maw raid TOO 2 promised raids 1 scrapped and 1 even changed to a 5 man HC (WotA)
  1. Mear's Avatar
    Please don't let those 2 mounts be the 150 mounts achieves
  1. Lightfist's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrelight View Post
    Pretty much this. Remember, just because YOU read EJ and know that Agility doesn't give spell critical chance doesn't mean everyone else and their parents know the same, but who's to say Blizzard's not supposed to provide fun to them? They are paying the same $15 as you are after all.

    I'm surprised to see that some people think they know exactly what the problem was, when they lack any form of conclusive empirical data. Remember kids, Blizzard has in its hands, the data of MILLIONS of players, while all you have, is your own experience, plus those of your friends, your friends' friends and their parents/kids (let's give it 300 tops?)
    Yes, Blizzard's vast knowledge of the playerbase really showed in this glorious success of an expansion.

    Get real. We 'only' lost 100k once we switched to 'pants-on-head retarded' mode...during the holidays...during the final patch of an expansion...with annual pass. GG GUYS PROBLEM SOLVED!
  1. MrApple's Avatar
    So i guess MMO-report has been bought by trion now and they are doing all they can to make people interested in their shitty games. I always disliked casey in mmo-report. Even more now than ever since he's obviously taking money from trion to push their agenda. lame
  1. Slappers's Avatar
    This blue proved to me why I quit a year ago, roflmao.
  1. Deadanon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kojinshugi View Post
    Nope, it's not the new people, it's the old people who can't push their buttons fast enough regardless of full 397 gear.

    A casual guild is not going to kick people for being in the 30th percentile on epeenbot. They'll just try to compensate for the worse players with better players, but since encounters these days include so much hair-trigger target swapping, you can't always do that. If you have ranged players who just can't switch targets for the life of them, who drop from 40k on Ultraxion to 10k on Blackhorn, what are you going to do, except pray for nerfs?

    If you are in an actual raiding guild where you kick bads, you should have cleared the content by now.
    Its all gear - like it or not. PPL run through FL easlily in their 397 gear. PPL that were stuck in FLs before run them now without a hickup. Claiming its "bad players" has very little to do with it.

    From as early as Vanilla - the main problem for progression were 1) PPL not leaving 2) stable connections. BOth of these are still 100% valid and even tho the stability of internet connections has been getting better - its still one of the main reason why some ppl need 20 tries on a boss while others need 50. And when you hit the 50 mark... you sorta get bored and realise you are stuck.
  1. TrueProphecy22's Avatar
    I'm of the opinion that the twilight dungeons should have had hard modes. They're way too easy. I'd like a challenge out of them. It's not being over-geared either, I've taken three fresh 85's in as soon as they had enough items in their inventory, two of them in healing roles, with no problems at all. I also prefer the Lich King's model of easing players into the content rather than the raid finder. I made the mistake of using the raid finder.. and it completely ruined the experience. Dropped in halfway through the raid... the story was utterly disjointed. No challenge at all meant no satisfaction when Deathwing collapsed at the raid's feet.
  1. Tomana's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrelight View Post
    I'm surprised to see that some people think they know exactly what the problem was, when they lack any form of conclusive empirical data. Remember kids, Blizzard has in its hands, the data of MILLIONS of players, while all you have, is your own experience, plus those of your friends, your friends' friends and their parents/kids (let's give it 300 tops?)
    That's not only exclusive to WoW. Go to your local bar/pub, everyone there has the idea on how to stabilize world economy/reduce poverty/school the young generation/save the world etc.
  1. Deadanon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Crashdummy View Post
    Some people in here need to understand a thing.

    VERY FEW PEOPLE enjoyed heroics at the start of Cata.
    A VERY LARGE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE hated them.

    At first blizzard refuse to see this, Ghostcrawler even mocked those that were nto enjoying them in a blog, but then Blizzard saw their data and realized the truth: Cata heroics were too long, had too much trash and were too hard for randomg groups (which are the mayority, sorry but 5 man guild groups are not the norm). For many of us, Wrath heroics gave us much, MUCH more fun than Cata ones (and that has nothing to do with age, i'm 30 years old). Also, challenge is not equal to fun, no matter how much does some people dont understand it.
    Blizzard created the Cata dungeons just like TBC ones. Really hard heroic verions. THey just forgot one thing. THey had added LFG feature and they did nothing to adjust to that. Thats bad design. And the result was that BLizzard lost many players (simply Qutting cata) that started doing LFGs in Wrath.
  1. The Illusive Man's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomana View Post
    That's not only exclusive to WoW. Go to your local bar/pub, everyone there has the idea on how to stabilize world economy/reduce poverty/school the young generation/save the world etc.
    And there is nothing bad about that ! It is good that everyone has their own opinion and not everyone thinks that Blizz is GOD and all they have ever done is brilliant.
  1. Catalonian's Avatar
    IMO i think blizzard needs to get down that pegi+12 and put to pegi+3.
    Wow is being a mediocre game, because of their low difficulty and the stupid nerf everytime....

Site Navigation