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. Dzudzadzo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Deleo View Post
    I honestly am worried for wow.
    Mainstream got what it asked for and now it wont let go of it.
    The big lol I have out of this game is that the openly admit that more players stopped playing WoW then it currently does. Well if bringing towards casuals and causing such a gigantic rotation in players makes for such a unstable and ungrowing playerbase, wouldn't it be wiser to stick to your guns and appease to the playerbase which made WoW popular to begin with?

    Before anything it all comes down to this:
    WoW is a subscription based game, the more someone plays the more cash goes in.
    The more things take time, the more someone plays thus the more cash goes in.
    Vanilla WoW DID had great time sinks and despite not everyone seeing all raid content people miraculously kept playing and playerbase miraculously kept growing.

    I simply fail to see blizzard's logic in giving out meaningful things in the game to be achieved in a relatievly short time span and expect people to stay after they get it. They admitted it themselves with explaining why they nerf normal and heroic DS. Well geee... so people want to see more content which is mostly boss mechanics they omitted in LFR but depends on the extend of the DS nerf they can partially or completly ignore the boss mechanics doing basicly the same but still somehow believe they are doing more content which even without the nerf is basicly the same thing.

    Challange modes, events, pokemon battles and hopefully open world preparations like head/leg arcanums in Vanilla in MoP made it seem like Blizz had realized that raiding is *gasp* NOT the only worthwhile thing to do in the game. Pity they did it so late but I guess its better later then never.
  1. Firebert's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sendai View Post
    How is that exactly? Classes with totally underpowered talent trees being forced into healing or tanking roles? Crafting professions that give very little of interest? Big caves of fights with tank and spank? Horde having lots of void areas without questing available until the Hinterlands hub was added? Manual flying with just a few flight paths? Ridiculous features like 5 minutes blessings, 30 seconds seals and caster set gear without spell damage?
    Or even worse, Legacy Servers with the new talent trees and areas but the server is all level-capped at 60. No DKs and no Monks, but Worgen and Goblins and Pandaren stay.
  1. Rawer's Avatar
    Isn't "Post Mortem" meaning the same thing in english that in means in any other language that adopted the latin expression ?
    Why da hell would Blizzard imply that Cataclysm is dead with this title and then come up with this PR interviews where they basically say Cataclysm and WoW is live and well ?

    Like people said above, some of developers are out of touch with the reality or are just lying to us for PR ... or they are not part of the 600 fired so they don't care about what they say.
  1. Rablenof's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bladesyphon View Post
    Not to sound like an ass, but unless you can give concrete evidence that the majority of the people dislike the LFR, you're pretty much talking out of your behind. The only people that I've ever seen whining about LFR are:

    1) The people that want loot, but can't win loot, and only go there for loot, thus continue to whine about loot.
    2) The Pseudo-elitists that are STILL angry about not being a special snowflake.
    Not to sound like one of those "pseudo-elitists" here but i don't know anyone at all that truly enjoys LFR, but can you really blame them? it's almost like hitting on a training dummy for 30 minutes just to get some "epics" you will never use more than to look somewhat good while being afk in org/sw

    Also, please stop with the whole "special snowflake" thing ^^ it just makes you seem butthurt <3
  1. Sensa's Avatar
    I think it's pretty obvious the recent mass lay-offs at Blizzard must have included most of the PR department because no one with an ounce of PR sense would have let this post-mortem out the door.

    They say no pr is bad pr but when you offer up such tripe as this, in the process proving how disconnected from reality you are, you do a lot more damage than its worth. The comments range from delusional to uncaring to downright insulting.

    The only thing you can take away from this post-mortem is that any hope MoP will try to find a better balance between faceroll content and challenging content is out the window. Enjoy your pet battles they'll probably be the most challenging end game content in MoP.
  1. Torty's Avatar
    Did he seriously call Atramedes and Spine, the 2 biggest PvE fails of Cataclysm, FUN and GOOD encounters? idontwanttoliveonthisplanetanymore.jpg
  1. Alayea's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by errosync View Post
    Old isn't old when the models are completely new, as well as the mechanics of the fight and the scenario the fight is in. I'm really not getting how/why this is still being used as an argument when it holds absolutely zero water.
    Then I shall enlighten you. New model, new mechanics, new scenario, new anything -- it doesn't matter. Slap the name Nefarian or Onyxia on a mob, and it's immediately old news.

    Because group-speak is totally an effective way to 'prove' an argument and not a cop-out for self-validation despite having none.
    Because merely stating an ambiguous term -- "many" could mean anywhere from, let's say, 10 people to 500,000 -- is still trying to speak for "everyone". You, sir, are full of it.

    I've said this before and I'll say it again: if your twenty-five man guild died, chances are likely that it should not have been a twenty-five man guild to begin with. I can only base this off of twenty-five man guilds that I know of personally, and the ones that became ten-man guilds were not equipped to deal with managing everything needed to keep a twenty-five man guild active and effective. It's not a large enough sample size to be relevant to the player-base at large, but it's enough since you aren't actually quoting any statistics yourself.
    So now I need to be a statistician to even ask anything, right? And by the way, my guild has been around since the first day our server came online in November 2005. It did 40-player, and then 25-player as late as patch 4.0.6. And then things went downhill from there, so it's been stuck as 10-player ever since.

    You complain about me having nothing to back up my question, and then give an anecdotal response. Wise up.
  1. Firebert's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rablenof View Post
    i don't know anyone at all that truly enjoys LFR
    I enjoy it. Every week, two characters go in in unorthodox gear and spec and effectively play loot roulette. If I ever want to raise the stakes, I pull side trash on Morchok, pull two packs of oozes before Yor'sahj, keep Zon'ozz facing the raid for the entire encounter, take Hour of Twilights on Ultraxion, kill Corruptions on Spine whilst players are killing the tendons, and keep the blood as far away from Deathwing's tentacles as possible for Madness.

    I understand why people get bored of LFR though. They're probably in a mediumcore raiding guild and want their four-set, and can't be asked to run LFR every week for tier.

    ---------- Post added 2012-03-06 at 06:38 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensa View Post
    The only thing you can take away from this post-mortem is that any hope MoP will try to find a better balance between faceroll content and challenging content is out the window. Enjoy your pet battles they'll probably be the most challenging end game content in MoP.
    Valor for questing didn't give that away during BlizzCon? WoW's all about accessibility now, and difficult isn't accessible, not until it all goes onto the LFR queueing system anyway.

    ---------- Post added 2012-03-06 at 06:42 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Torty View Post
    Did he seriously call Atramedes and Spine, the 2 biggest PvE fails of Cataclysm, FUN and GOOD encounters?
    I'm pretty sure that Al'Akir (Malygos remake) and Valiona and Theralion (tank and spank and don't stand in fire) were bigger PvE fails than two encounters exploring new tactics and ways to fight a boss.
  1. Spotnick'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.
    They would have been fine for regular modes, but there was absolutely zero challenge in them once you knew the mechanics.
  1. Rocketbear's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Zatheyll View Post
    Five hour Deadmines at Cata launch?
    Since when did that take 5 hours? 30 minutes tops for me. SO it's more of a case players being terrible, not dungeons being too hard.
  1. Idletime's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sendai View Post
    How is that exactly? Classes with totally underpowered talent trees being forced into healing or tanking roles? Crafting professions that give very little of interest? Big caves of fights with tank and spank? Horde having lots of void areas without questing available until the Hinterlands hub was added? Manual flying with just a few flight paths? Ridiculous features like 5 minutes blessings, 30 seconds seals and caster set gear without spell damage?

    If that's how it was intended. And before you try to bust me, I started playing in beta when the level cap was 40 and Mortal Strike was like 300% damage and generated its own rage.
    Why the hell do you people always feel the need to be debbie downer? Don't like it? Fine. Don't play it. Play your current content. Check the pops on PS's today and you'll see lots of people like that content just fine. Patch 1.12.1 was perfect, release content based on those scales. I could care if you played beta when we all got mounts. Don't need to bust you, just think you're another person getting in my way. Like I said, you like this shit content, play it. That's your 15 bucks. But... EQ did it, and WoW will do it, too. Everyone acts like we're holding a gun to your head and forcing you to play Classic content. Do the little green men also talk to you at night? So megalomaniacal.
  1. david0925's Avatar
    30 minutes tops for me
    You're pretty amazing if you can clear Deadmines in relevant gear in 30 minutes even with a full premade, considering you spend 20 minutes running around (which can't exactly be solved by gear). Point still stands though that they don't take 5 hours. I honestly don't mind these awful feedback provided by the Devs. Terrible content design drove my friends away from the game, which in turn allowed me to quit. Now I can move on to more meaningful or fun things to do. If the majority of the subscriber think paying a monthly subscription for pet battles and mediocre content, it's their game now. I just feel kind of sorry for the collectors that need to pay extra premium now that Blizzard is fully capitalizing on pets and mounts.
  1. Biggiej's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocketbear View Post
    Since when did that take 5 hours? 30 minutes tops for me. SO it's more of a case players being terrible, not dungeons being too hard.
    The first run of most of these dungeons took my guild about 45minutes to an hour tops to complete the first time, after we got done with the getting knocked on your ass first time phase, we were rolling them in 30-40 minutes. We even got our achievement drake the 2nd week of cata being out.

    They were hard, the first time, and maybe the 2nd time. But that is how all things are your first time is gonna be an iffy experience you may hit it, or you may miss, it depends on how it was designed.

    I liked that it made me use my brain, it was entertaining and enjoyable. These new 5 mans make me wanna stab things because of the sheer boredom. It was kill 3-5 trash packs before every boss, and every boss was just a straight up tank and spank with no one could possibly die from this unless the healer had to afk at the start of the fight, but if you had a DK tank you didn't need a healer to begin with.

    So yeah the new ones weren't fun. The old ones were pretty great, they were hard, but only for that first trip.

    I don't get where "5 hour dead mines" comes from.

    But I know this whole interview as others have said is just off the wall ,sketchy, and just purely out of touch.
  1. Firebert's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Spotnick View Post
    They would have been fine for regular modes, but there was absolutely zero challenge in them once you knew the mechanics.
    Surely that can be said about every encounter?
  1. Sendai's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Idletime View Post
    Why the hell do you people always feel the need to be debbie downer? Don't like it? Fine. Don't play it. Play your current content. Check the pops on PS's today and you'll see lots of people like that content just fine. Patch 1.12.1 was perfect, release content based on those scales. I could care if you played beta when we all got mounts. Don't need to bust you, just think you're another person getting in my way. Like I said, you like this shit content, play it. That's your 15 bucks. But... EQ did it, and WoW will do it, too. Everyone acts like we're holding a gun to your head and forcing you to play Classic content. Do the little green men also talk to you at night? So megalomaniacal.
    Aren't you an amusing little man? Oh yes you are.
  1. bufferunderrun's Avatar
    grim batol was a complete failure lorewise, that location was so intriguing during vanilla/tbc/wotlk that as the same potential of Black Temple but they leave it as a simple 5 man and intested delivered such a stupid raid like bwd and bot; also za and zg are totally of contest.
  1. Torty's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Firebert View Post
    I'm pretty sure that Al'Akir (Malygos remake) and Valiona and Theralion (tank and spank and don't stand in fire) were bigger PvE fails than two encounters exploring new tactics and ways to fight a boss.
    Are you sure that you know how Heroic Atramedes was in the start of Cataclysm? It was bugged so you couldn't kill it without using a bug.

    Or how Spine was pre-nerf? You dps the Amalgamation, you burst the tendons, you dps the Amalgamation, you burst the tendons. As a healer you heal the debuffs, heal the debuffs, heal the debuffs, heal the debuffs. It's even worse now, because it's not challenging anymore.

    Al'Akir and Valiona were one of the best encounters, both design and balance wise. Spine was shit and Atramedes was even worse. I don't care how hard it was to design them, I'm playing this game to play and they should be designing them for us to play.
  1. Plaguemask's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Firebert View Post
    Surely that can be said about every encounter?
    Not if encounters change based on difficulty. Heroics only added numbers to their abilities instead of introducing new abilities.
    Heroics seem to lack motivation. Needs more than a look-alike gear with a bit higher of every stat.
  1. Zka's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocketbear View Post
    Since when did that take 5 hours? 30 minutes tops for me. SO it's more of a case players being terrible, not dungeons being too hard.
    Sooo 30 mins Deadmines at expansion release? That's bad, I soloed it in 5 mins in white gear while blindfolded.
  1. Asmekiel's Avatar
    Ghostwyvern!!!!Lets hope those two aren't storemounts

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