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Regional FlagIf it pleases the court...Source
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Zellviren
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#1 - 2013/04/16 09:45:00 PM
I've come to beg for the life of the five-man dungeon.

To this point, Mists of Pandaria has seen the smallest number of gearing dungeons in the game's history. This isn't about a lack of content, as there's more than enough of that in general, but the five-man dungeon has fulfilled a number of traditional roles in its history and I feel it's to the detriment of the game that it's taken a back seat.

The biggest issue, in my opinion, is the loss of the catch up mechanic in the progression curve. You've made recruiting extremely painful in this expansion for guilds stuck on normal mode encounters, and we who beg simply cannot choose. My guild already houses a couple of people who would be willing to make way for new players and play different classes, but it's already too demanding on our time to catch up our characters that have already done some raiding, never mind those that haven't.

LFR, as the sole catch up, is not a solution.

Previously, the system was different and it was the five-man dungeon that helped us along. From the inception of the idea during 3.2, we've seen the game move along nicely with the Icecrown trio, the revamped Zandalari dungeons and Dragon Soul. These allowed players to plough as much time as they deemed necessary into gearing up an alt so that they could help their guilds, play different classes, and generally be more flexible to their community.

Now, I understand the issue: the problem with the previous incarnation of this catch up system, the one we saw in Dragon Soul, had the rather unfortunate side effect of making the previous raiding tier absolutely redundant. We live in a world where content is coming out faster than ever, and I'm not sure that the developers could keep up with the demand even now if they were to allow people to wholeheartedly skip tiers as they did then.

But the dungeon system needed a tweak, it didn't need jettisoned entirely.

The Zandalari dungeons were a good example of how this can be done. They came between two major raiding tiers, but were set at an item level that didn't make the previous tier redundant. They were good for the hump and allowed alts to get themselves ready at a more reasonable rate than today, without necessarily ruining the tier of content that came before them. To paint this example more accurately, if the Dragon Soul dungeons released gear that was item level 372 rather than 378, the catch up would still be available but Firelands would still be worth running in order to get the better options that still resided there.

Please, do not talk to me of heroic scenarios. I know what they're going to do, I know what they're being designed for, and I'm sure they'll be fun in and of themselves. But expecting people to try and catch up by hoping that a single drop might have something they're looking for is going to lead to even more frustration than the silly system we have now.

The ship for 5.3 has sailed, and that's fine. But for 5.4 and the Siege of Orgrimmar, I don't see why three dungeons can't be pulled in to provide a better catch up mechanic than what we have. Ragefire Chasm can be one, and its contents need little more than retuning. Other dungeons from the classic era such as Blackrock Depths or Razorfen Downs could be given heroic modes so that players don't have to put up with the cesspit of LFR, valor and daily grinding just to get themselves ready for a new tier of content. An item level of 512 to 516 would be just fine and wouldn't cause the Throne of Thunder to be skipped entirely.

Before closing, I'm going to appeal to the heart.

It was Blizzard that gave casual players the opportunity to participate in the game's best content in WotLK, and get involved in "progression". In Cataclysm, brutally punishing content took that opportunity away to an extent, but at least there was dungeons to let players catch up. Now, not only is the content too punitive on normal mode, there is no viable catch up mechanic outside the ghetto of LFR and the meandering hope that what you need might drop.

Someday.

Come on, Blizzard. There is more to your community than the hardcore or the mega-casual. It's time to start thinking about them, too.

Peace.

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#9 - 2013/04/17 03:17:00 PM
I love 5mans, always did, they just seem to fit perfectly with what I enjoy most about WoW, playing with a small group of friends that also happen to be very good players.
For me this made heroic dungeons one of the most entertaining things about WoW ever since The Burning Crusade, followed only by Arenas and heroic Raiding.
So on that regard, totally agree, I would love to see more (heroic) dungeons popping up, but I don't necessarily agree that they’re needed because of catching up issues.

We’re aware that not everyone finds LFR entertaining, yet some of those players still run it for the drops, and of course… that’s not ideal. I mean, almost everyone enjoys the hunt for loot, it’s a big part of the MMORPG experience, but you should be having fun while doing it.
This is where I believe heroic scenarios and challenge modes can make a difference, those players will (hopefully) become more inclined to run these instead of LFR. (Or in addition to LFR; as some players will always go where there is at least 1 loot upgrade for them no matter what, and that’s ok.)
These rewards will have a higher ilvl than current LFR gear (still subject to change).
With the possibility for better rewards than LFR, I would expect to see skilled casual players choosing to do for example one challenge mode daily quest and one heroic scenario instead of an LFR wing.

Also important to notice, Ghostcrawler recently said that devs are considering making heroic scenarios require a pre-made group.
This is quite a change, and if that goes live I believe that we’re on the path for having content for just about every kind of player, new and casual players will have dungeons, dailies, LFR and Battlegrounds; casual (due to lack of time) but highly skilled players will have challenge modes, heroic scenarios and Arena/RBGs, and the more hardcore/highly skilled players will have normal and heroic raiding in addition to all the rest.

So would 5mans still make sense? Of course, there will still be players that probably prefer 5mans to any other type of content but unfortunately with the current pace of development, we need to decide between raids and dungeons, because that’s the issue, they compete with each other in terms of resources, and while I think we can and should always try to improve on this, in both the efficiency and efficacy in which we produce content, I believe that right now most players still prefer to have more raiding content than dungeon content.
We have dailies, heroic scenarios, challenge modes, LFR, crafting, BGs, RBGs and Arenas, all of these have the ability to provide more than enough gear to be able to start raiding (at least) on normal mode.

There needs to be some progression too, we don’t want players to ding 90 and jump directly into ToT normal, but if you’re in a guild that has run previous raids and is just trying to fill some of the open raiding spots, you can afford to take slightly less geared players and still maintain an overall decent average raid ilvl.
In the case of a new guild, you won’t have to wait too long before you step into ToT with all the options players have for gearing up that I’ve mentioned before, including previous raids.

I would also question the argument for skipping content. I could understand it if you’re close to the end of an expansion and you want to see the latest content before it “expires”, but otherwise, you’re just skipping on a lot of entertainment value. Personally, I still am quite fond of those old Kara alt-runs even when we were doing BT with mains. Having a path that you have to follow to evolve your characters is a good thing, too much skipping just devalues content even faster, content that could otherwise be a source of great entertainment. Personally it makes me a bit sad inside to see all that old content being somehow wasted away, what was once the glory and jewel of each of the previous expansions’ PvE content shines now somehow a little less bright and has devalued in a way that makes it almost obsolete, I only wish we could one day make all that content available for everyone to experience again the way it was designed to be experienced in a seamless fashion. Oh well, blues can get nostalgic and dream too you know :’)

I'm quite excited to see how heroic scenarios will turn out, and also for the changes being applied to the challenge mode rewards, I'm hoping to see a lot of players running both of these, and I will for sure be one of them.