Blizzard Disses Lich King Dungeon Design, Says Hard Dungeons Are Here To Stay

by Phil Kollar on Jan 12, 2011 at 01:00 PM

Although most World of Warcraft players loved the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, which launched in 2008, the designers at Blizzard were disappointed with at least one aspect of this period in their hit MMO: the dungeons.

In a blog post on the official World of Warcraft site, designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street explained why the generally easier nature of Lich King dungeons and raiding ended up being something the developers didn't want to do in the new Cataclysm expansion:

"We didn't like that the Heroic dungeons in Lich King and early Naxxramas had become zerg-fests. It made the rewards feel like they weren't earned. It made all rewards except the best-in-slot items feel transitory -- why enchant or gem an item when you don’t need the performance boost and you’ll quickly replace it anyway? Furthermore, it set the expectation that everyone would eventually earn all best-in-slot items rather than those being rare and treasured goals. It made class abilities feel less useful and interesting. Who needs that crowd-control or survivability talent when nothing is hurting you? Who needs a mana-conservation talent if you’re never going to run out of mana? Who needs a crit talent if your heals often overheal anyway?"

Responding to some forum complaints that heroic dungeons and raids in Cataclysm are currently too hard, Street reiterated the philosophy Blizzard has been pushing since the expansion released: "The bottom line is that we want Heroics and raids to be challenging." Blizzard currently is not concerned about reports of healers quitting out of frustration with the more difficult new content because, "at least at this point in time, [it] is vastly overstated on the forums."

Deeper into the post, Street provided numerous suggestions for players who are having trouble with heroic dungeons. Among his helpful hints: spending more time strategizing and learning the mechanics of each fight, improving your gear beyond the minimum requirement before attempting heroics, and finding a group of players who you know and are comfortable playing with outside of the random dungeon finder.

I think I can speak for Andy (as well as myself) when I say that personally I think the more challenging dungeons are fantastic. Wrath of the Lich King was easy enough to pull me into raiding more than previous WoW expansions had, but now that I know how to play, I'm much more interested in the challenges that Cataclysm presents. Here's hoping Blizzard sticks with the more interesting game design and doesn't lose out on many subscribers because of it.