Blizzcon 2008 Dungeons Panel  

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Saturday October 11th

Surrounded by music, Blizzard cinematics and a horde of people (no pun intended), we were greeted with a select panel of Blizzard staff from the dungeon design team.

Today at Blizzcon, I sat in on the panel with the team that designs and implements Dungeons and Raids. The panel, hosted by Corey Stocken, Scott Mercer and Travis Dey, covered a dearth of topics near and dear to us all, that being the wonderful world of instanced raiding and the zones these dungeons will be found in when Northrend opens up.

5 man dungeons

Halls of Lightning

This is the new level 80 dungeon located in The Storm Peaks. Blizzard's Dungeon team wanted to make sure that the lore and dungeons mesh so that players are interacting with both. This has been done with relish in this one. The dungeon is designed with Titans in mind and has a rich and detailed history. When they designed this particular dungeon, their primary goal was to convey sheer size and provide epic sized mobs with several unique abilities. In addition to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the majesty of this zone as you enter and explore, you will also be able to discover some of the secrets of the titans. Should be a fun trip when this goes live!

The dungeon contains both epic lore and game play to really immerse the players in the background of the zone. To showcase this, we were given a first hand look at a walkthrough of the zone. And let me tell you, the zone is absolutely huge, with high ceilings and huge walkways. When we saw it, it really made you feel like you want to mount up to get from point A to B. In addition to the architectural size, we were treated to several new things in here, such as several constellations frozen into statues, titan created statuary and a feeling of immense space and power held in check by arcane magic barely understood.

Although they didn't want to give away too manhy details, one thing they did tell us was that, unlike many of the models used over and over in other current dungeons, in the new expansion the bosses have all been uniquely designed for instances such as this one.

Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom

This dungeon will feature an emergence of the dreaded Faceless Ones. Be warned, they are a foe not easily trifled with.

  • In addition, there are going to be completely new mobs found here. (More to be released by Blizzard)
  • This 5-man dungeon will be located very deep in the heart of Azjol-Nerub
  • As a new feature, this dungeon will feature both indoor and outdoor terrain to proved an additional challenge to players.
  • While it will provide indoor and outdoor terrain, the dungeon itself is located completely underground. This is a bit of a twist to the standard dungeon fare.
  • This dungeon will go a lot more in depth into the horrors that still lie undiscovered under Northrend.

The dungeon is HUGE. Players will be faced with a gigantic cavern that is designed to convey a feeling of being dwarfed by the sheer size of it, with an art style that is reminiscent to Naxxramas. As adventurers explore this area, they will come to find that this is exactly where the denizens of Naxx were originally pulled from.

Here are a few highlights of the boss fights. They didn't want to give away too much so you will need to wait until release to see all the gory details but this should whet your appetite.

  • One of the newest models that have been added is a huge, ugly looking bug. This is the dreaded Elder Adox, a very unique boss that summons eggs during the fight. To defeat her, you will have to defeat the eggs and utilize a very specific strategy.
  • The 2nd boss is also a very unique fight in which he will stun a player and attempt to eat them. The rest of the team then has to beat him off and continue the fight.
  • The 3rd boss is a female orc surrounded by reddish lightning and workshops all around her. She is an extremely old God who, when engaged, will call forth her followers to be sacrificed. To win this fight, you will have to kill them first or they will begin buffing her to extremely high levels, thus wiping the raid.
  • The next boss has Faceless Ones who will jump in and help him. While fighting him, he uses a Mind Flay and will randomly put one of the raid people "in their own phase" where they are attacked by your own team mates at the same time. It sounds like pretty wild stuff but it sounds to be a really fun fight.

New Raid Zones

There are 10 man and 25 man raid areas for players coming. Loot is going to be improved when players move from 10 man to 25 man content. this means loot tables will be a little different and quality will reflect the change in difficulty.

Chamber of the Aspects

This dungeon has been designed to serve as an introduction to raiding post TBC. The issue commonly experienced in after the release of TBC was that players would enter a zone such as Karazhan without any real raiding experience in the post 60 content and end up wiping repeatedly.

  • In this zone you can choose your difficulty, from an easier mode with lowered loot reward to an insanely difficult mode with an increased loot table.
    • On easier mode, you fight the bosses one at a time.
    • On harder mode, you have the option to win a Twilight Drake. Very cool!
  • This particular zone is based off the 5 different dragon aspects found in The Dragonblight area.

Eye of Eternity

  • This dungeon is the home of Malygos, the Aspect of Magic
  • In addition to being the home of a dragon aspect, this dungeon will also showcase many of the new features of the expansion.
  • There is an epic multiphase fight found here - there is going to be usage of vehicles, buildings etc. to win the fight.
  • A last note from the team on this is that the fight itself will take place on a giant floating platform in space.

Itemization (Travis Dey)

Travis Dey is the Lead itemization Developer for Blizzard's team. He took a few moments to go over some of the things they have been working on with the loot tables in WotLK.

  • Previously, in TBC, heroic level dungeons simply provided similar types of loot as normal modes with slightly different stats. This is being changed so that higher quality loot will drop from all heroic mode dungeons.
  • Also in heroic mode dungeons, loot is taken up a tier to provide a better risk vs. reward setting.
  • Badges are being handled much differently now as well. Rather than spending hours and hours in heroic dungeons to get the same badges as normal mode, there will be different badges awarded that are used to purchase higher quality epic gear. So, this will mean two different currencies per raid tier.
      • The idea behind this is that they want to provide additional incentives to players to do some of the harder content. For example, rewarding Emblems of Heroism for doing heroic 10 mans and such.
  • There are also going to be separate sets of gear for both the 10 and 25 man raids, much like the current PvP gear sets.

Player Q& A

  1. Regarding Legendary drops in the 10 and 25 mans - will there be full distribution or random drops? They haven't ironed out the details on this yet but there are caster legendaries being discussed because they are missing out on them somewhat. However, they prefer full distribution from specific boss as opposed to random drops.
  2. Where the dual-spec ability is concerned, are raid encounters being designed to utilize this better? This was replied to with an emphatic No from the devs. Haha.
  3. Are there any old world instances (that have not been completed) being opened or revisited, such as Uldum in Tanaris? They stated that they keep these in mind all the time when developing content and they and keep them going at all times because people do still like them.
  4. is itemization for class designed items, such as druids being modified? There are many times where we see no drops for some classes and a massive number of other class weapon drops for example. The devs feel that there should be the same proportion of weapons or items regardless of class/race unless you have bad random rolls. The itemization is designed to be equal across the board and should reflect that in Wrath dungeons.
  5. Originally, players needed to be keyed for many dungeons, such as Karazhan, but this was later changed. With Wrath, will this be the same thing? It has been decided that, with WotLK, you have to be 80 but you won't need a specific key except for specific parts of dungeon encounters.
  6. How viable are hunters going to be in off tanking in a 5 or 10 man due to the new ability of taunt for pets? The intention is to have the pet be able to off tank but this will be determined, in part, by the talent spec and type of pet used.

World of Warcraft

Wrath of the Lich King

This page last modified 2008-10-12 22:20:39.