Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dungeons versus Scenarios

Blizzard devs mentioned last week that--unlike previous expansions--there would be no new 5-man dungeons in Mists. However, there will be a few new scenarios. It is interesting to compare scenarios with dungeons. Why can Blizzard make new scenarios but not dungeons?

I think the key is rewards. One interesting thing about new scenarios is that the rewards are not better than old scenarios. Blizzard makes a new scenario, and throws in the group finder rotation. It doesn't obsolete the previous scenarios.

Indeed, scenarios have no intrinsic rewards, or rewards unique to a particular scenario. The only reward is what you get from the launcher, valor and the random loot bad. If Blizzard wants to improve rewards for scenarios, they improve all scenarios.

Meanwhile, a new tier of dungeons would be expected to have new and better loot. But this instantly obsoletes the older dungeons. We get into situations where we run the same 2 Zul dungeons over and over, or the same 3 Icecrown dungeons.

I wonder if the player base would accept a new dungeon with the same item level rewards as the previous dungeons. After all, we now have Looking for Raid to take care of gear progression for transient players. So a new dungeon would simply be new content, new achievements, and a new challenge mode.

But somehow I don't think the player base would be happy with this. The expectation is that new dungeons bring better gear. But simply obsoleting that much old content is not a good choice either. So maybe Blizzard's choice to not make new dungeons, but focus on scenarios and raids, is the "least-worst" solution.


  1. Another option is to raise the ilvl of all of the blues dropped in 5-mans when you add new 5-mans. Maybe with a couple new dungeons, up the ilvl of all the dungeon blues to 471 and have the new dungeons drop 471s as well. They've already got ilvl scaling implemented, with both gear upgrades and Challenge modes.

  2. > So maybe Blizzard's choice to not make new dungeons, but focus on scenarios and raids, is the "least-worst" solution.

    The question is, now that they scarified dungeons, how long will they continue to make new raids during an expansion?

    Scenarios are nothing else then PvE-battlegrounds. Will they continue to produce new raids or will they take the simple route there too and replace raids with bigger scenarios, with PvE-battlegrounds.

  3. Blizz's big mistake in Cata is that they isolated the Zuls and End Time instances from the original bunch. (Well, that and that they didn't create normal versions of the Zuls and End Time instances.)

    It's hard to see the same two or same three instances all the time, when in Wrath and BC you had a big variety thrown into a randomized hopper.

  4. I like the "random loot bad". All too true, but it could also be a solution for adding new heroics. :)

    If you got random loot at the end of heroics as well as scenarios, it might make it easier to add to the former without obsoleting them. It might be a painful way to start gearing though, if you can't focus on a particular instance to fill a slot you're missing.

  5. Not sure if I understand it right (not being a WoW player) but on a technical aspect a scenario should be easier to roll out than a new dungeon, which would involve more graphics, map design etc.

    A scenario (again if the term is used how I think it is) should be able to use already existing terrain layouts to do different things.

  6. While I don't disagree with your assertion, and it makes logical sense, I throw in another suggestion:

    Compared to the development work that goes into your typical dungeon (including the various difficulty levels), I imagine that Blizz could make a bunch of Scenarios for the same time, effort, and money it takes to make a single "second tier" dungeon.

    Loot aside, what would you prefer? 2~3 new dungeons, or 5~10 new Scenarios?

  7. I'll note they actually changed one of the 5 mans in 5.2: the story you get in the library in Jade Temple was one I'd never seen before (five suns with flame tornadoes.)