Will Dungeons Be A Pre-Req For Cataclysm Raiding?   14 comments

Prior to this expansion, raid progression usually started with 5 man instances. You didn’t enter 5 mans to zerg them for badges, you entered them for gear, for quests or for attunements. The bottom line of it is that 5 mans actually mattered in your linear raid progression. I mean think about it, you didn’t enter Molten Core in your greens; you didn’t enter Karazahn in your Stormrage Raiment. Well, to be fair, that might have been because you couldn’t even enter those zones without having to trek through numerous 5 man hurdles to gain access, but my point still stands!

With Wrath of the Lich King, I feel that 5 mans changed. They were no longer a stepping stone to raiding, the pre-req that they once had been, either because of gear requirements or attunements, but they became throw away things that you didn’t really have to engage in because raiding was open and available to you as soon as you reached level 80. Not everyone zoned into Halls of Lightning and experienced how beautiful it was, not everyone explored the lore within Zul’Drak. They just dinged 80 and headed to Naxx. And honestly, I think it’s a bit of a shame that people weren’t required to experience some of the instancing that the game offered.

Now, I don’t think I want to go back to some of the more archaic attunements that we have previously seen (I will cut someone if we see jailbreak 2.0, I’m not even joking!). But I would like to see a little more emphasis placed on the “pre-raid” portion of the game again. Where you weren’t racing to max level and then immediately thrown into the first raid instance available, but rather where you build your way to being prepared for that first raid. Where you have “testing grounds” to learn the nuances of your class, and to hone your skills before starting your first true battle. In essence a return to focusing on the Journey.

And with the fairly recent information hinting at the reintroduction of “dungeon” sets, I am certainly curious if Blizzard is moving back to putting more emphasis on the first step to the raid game being “gearing” to enter your first raid. Returning to a progression line that looks like it did pre-WotLK.

Instancing -> Raid 1 -> Raid 2 -> Raid 3 -> etc

The other day we were casually discussing what our leveling time frame should be for Cataclysm in vent. That is the amount of time we allot before we expect members of our core progression team to be max level and raid ready. We generally like to set a reasonable timeframe, so as that if you played only during our scheduled raiding hours you can achieve our expectations. And someone commented that they didn’t think that progression would go straight from hitting level 85 into raiding, but that people will probably need time to instance to be ready to raid, and it caused me a moment’s pause to think about it.

I really hope that they are right. I hope that Cataclysm’s progression starts with preparing for battle by way of dungeons.

I think that 5 man instancing offers a lot, not only gear and experience wise, but also closer social experiences that people may not get in a raid setting. Not only that, but 5 mans give people a place to learn and grow as players. Something that is sorely missing in today’s zerg happy, “go go go” environment. Why are there so many poor players? Because the game doesn’t expect any more of people. You no longer have to truly learn to play for success, and I put a large part of the blame on the system. It’s just a tad too easy. It doesn’t need to be “hard” to win, but there should still be some challenge so that people need to invest themselves in what they are doing for success. And do you know what else? People should put their back up and accept the challenge that faces them, rather than turn tail and run away so quickly when something is difficult.

I think that I’d like Cataclysm’s “pre-raid” requirement to be a good mix of what we saw in Vanilla and TBC with some improvements. I liked that in vanilla there was a linear place to start your gear journey: Instances. Your first step upon reaching level 60 was to get your dungeon set, to explore 5 man content and have somewhere you begin to learn and master your craft. However, I disliked that if you were behind in the raid game, you were largely stuck behind unless someone was willing to take a chance on you. I liked that in TBC you were required to work through the 5 man instances to obtain upgrades for your first raid, but I strongly disliked the grind it took to open up heroics. What I liked about WotLK is the use of newly introduced instances with each tier of content after Ulduar to help “reset” the gear threshold. I liked that the instances provided gear that could let a new player “catch up” and let them be a viable contributor to a raid as opposed to a potential liability to the raid while they had to back gear.

What I absolutely do not want is a continual badge grind that requires 5 man instances for the entirety of an expansion. I think that this is going to be somewhat fixed with the “tiering” of badges to match the tiering of raids. I do hope that they will continue to introduce new 5 man content throughout the expansions life cycle.

I’m looking forward to more information on what the “end game” will look like at 85. If people will need to spend some quality time dungeon crawling before facing the first of Deathwing’s forces.

So, will dungeons be a pre-req for raiding in Cataclysm? I sure hope so! What do you think?

Posted July 28, 2010 by Beruthiel in Cataclysm!, Raiding

14 responses to “Will Dungeons Be A Pre-Req For Cataclysm Raiding?

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  1. It’d be fun to see 5man tiering with raid-tiers, I think. It would be awesome for those short on playing time or odd hours to be able to progress through those using the LFD instead of having to find a dedicated guild. And, like you said, for alts to catch up to the current raid.

    But yes, I wish they would do more of the ICCx3 5mans + ICC introducings. It was fun to continue gearing through 5mans while gathering badge gear, I think.

  2. I hope so too. I really liked the BC model of progression. More Kara-style attunements would be a great start for making 5mans important again (minus the rep grind to get into the heroics). I’d even like to see attunements be more involved (although I’m also slightly crazy and thought Blizzard’s BT attunement April Fool’s joke looked like fun).

    I’d like to see more quests that send you into 5 man dungeons and see the gear from them be useful for more than 5 minutes. I think making the gear gap between tiers smaller could help make dungeon loot more relevant, as could making raids drop less loot. Naxx, with its 4 drops per boss geared everyone up so quickly that you never needed to go back to 5mans to fill in any gaps.

    Although it isn’t alt-friendly, I really miss having a sense of progression and needing to complete the first tier of content before moving on to the next.

    • I wouldn’t mind attunements like Karazhan that were done solely through individual play and 5 mans, but I think I would object to attunements for things like SSC/MH/BT. The downside with attunements like those is that it often makes it difficult to recruit without having to back-attune new members, which is often frustrating and time consuming.

      I do hope I hope that there is some need for dungeons outside of farming them for badges.

  3. I thought I read somewhere that the raid content is intended to be tiered… like, a starter raid at 82 etc. And that the general idea was for leveling to take a slower pace, with more to do along the way this time. Which, is a model I can totally get behind.

    Given that, I think that yes, dungeons will be a part of gearing up and getting ready for raiding in Cata. And even if it technically isn’t, I’m still going to play it that way. It allows for more overall fun time.

    • Hmmm…I know that there are dungeons as you level, but I don’t think I read about raid instances. I think raids would be too hard to coordinate while leveling.

  4. I also do think that 5 man dungeons deserves more attention.

    Now, I’m not talking about 3 hours dungeons as we experienced in Vanilla (BRD comes to mind) neither hard heroic dungeons like some we had in TBC prior to our tier gear. Remember heroic Shattered Halls? That could be hell of a challenge in greens and blues.

    What I expect (and hope) in Cataclysm are dungeons that are a mix of both. Something that you actually have to work to succeed. Bring back the crowd control too! How long since last you asked a rogue to sap X target and told that mage to sheep that other one? Dungeons (and heroic versions) should be places required to gear up for raiding, in my humble opinion. For gear itself yes, but also to experience fight mechanics as a team.

    • BRD only took you 3 hours?!?! You must have gotten lucky with a kick ass group!

      I remember 5 man Scholo taking 5 hours at release. FIVE!

      While I don’t miss those super long dungeons, I do miss part of my gearing process for any toon requiring a visit to dungeons.

  5. It’s true that in Wotlk you could enter naxx in ‘good’ blues which was a bit boring if you ask me.

    they did say in a blue post that gearing up in dungeons would be needed in cata and that the gearing curve would be a bit longer (I’m hoping this means that you’ll need good gear to start with raiding)

    Like Jasyla said in a comment above, I also believe that completing a number of dungeons helps you raid-wise and thats what i’m going to do, I don’t raid until i’m ready to do so

    • I definately think that dungeons helps you learn more about your play. In my opinion it’s a vital step in growing as a player, which many people are missing today.

  6. I like most am hoping to see more BC type dungeons, and where you have to work to get your gear from the dungeons rather than a badge grind or walking into Naxx with quest rewards on. I’d love to see more attunements again, and yes even dungeons like heroic Shattered Halls and heroic Shadow Labs (the banes of my BC existence). I just don’t want to ding 85 and walk into the first raid of the expansion and it be face roll to the end boss. Hopefully they bring back more of what most of us seem to love from Vanilla and BC.

    • I don’t know that I’d like to see a Heroic Shattered Halls again 😉

      The only downside about dungeon attunements, in my opinion, is the stress that it puts on your tanks and healers, who are in limited number. Your DPS can likely attune in one run, but your tanks and healers will have to help an entire raids worth of DPS through the attunements.

  7. Think of the poor tanks! will someone think of the poor tanks! I think the reason Blizzard changed the paradigm is because of Shattered Halls, but not because it was hard or too hard.

    But because of the tanks. Standard raid has what, 3 tanks in 25? most fights only require 2? A 5 man takes 1 tank, so to force every single raider in your 25-man to go through 5-mans to get up to 25 means your tanks are going to have to work double and triple overtime.

    I sob warrior gets to run Heroic Shattered halls with 7-8 different groups.

  8. Shiva, are you suggesting that tanks don’t want to run difficult dungeons multiple times. I remember attuning in my guild was more fun than everyone here seems to let on.

    Just because shattered halls was hard, doesn’t mean you should only do it once for an attunement.

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