BlizzCon 2010: Upcoming Classic Dungeon Changes in WoW

By Chad Awkerman

October 25, 2010

During the Dungeons & Raids panel at BlizzCon over the weekend, some upcoming changes were announced that will go into effect with patch 4.1. This patch probably won’t come until after Cataclysm is officially released, but at least we get some things to look forward to already, right? These changes focus solely on classic dungeons, and the revamp many of them will be going through to bring them up to the level of Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm content.

First off, they’re going to bring classic dungeon maps up to the level of Wrath of the Lich King maps, as well as enhance everything across the board, adding more than just the boss location. They’ll be including information such as detailed boss information, lore, loot, abilities and 3D portraits of the baddie you’re after. Since players always tend to Alt-Tab to get much of this information anyway, the team behind these changes figured it would help players out in that regard.

Now, the list of changes to classic dungeons, hit the break for the stuff you can look forward to in this regard. This is all part of “cutting out the suck,” as Lead Encounter Designer for World of Warcraft, Scott Mercer, so eloquently termed it.

  • Blizzard likes wings – During the panel they used Utgarde Keep and Utgarde Pinnacle as an example of a great dungeon, split into two parts. They’re similar thematically, but completely separate dungeons.
  • Graveyards – They’re going to be more convenient, so you don’t have any more horribly long runs back to the dungeon.
  • They don’t want old dungeons to be a roadblock for the hoards of new players they expect with Cataclysm, so they want to bring them on par with everything else. This means trimming out a lot of the trash and making the dungeons overall easier to understand and get around in.
  • At BlizzCon they confirmed fixes so far for Blackrock Depths (thank the Earthmother!), Uldaman, Sunken Temple, Maraudon and Wailing Caverns. (Note: These are probably the most notorious vanilla-WoW dungeons for being a pain in the ass to navigate.)
    • Teleporters are being added to Blackrock Depths (because that dungeon is huge, like Sputnik!).
    • Uldaman will be split into two wings. The first portion will end in the Ironaya fight, and the second, higher-level portion will be accessed through what is now the rear entrance.
    • Sunken Temple will have one of its floors totally removed. This will come before 4.1 and will ship with Cataclysm (there are likely quests relating to this dungeon that have changed significantly with the cataclysm, thus leading to it being shipped with the expansion rather than patched in later).
    • Maraudon (one of my favorite old-world dungeons) will be getting the Uldaman treatment and split into two – the living section and the elemental section, with the Princess being the final boss of the latter.
    • Wailing Caverns will be getting a pretty significant design overhaul. All bosses have their own rooms and the confusing manner in which you had to navigate the dungeon to this point will be removed and things will be smoothed out.

Look forward to most of this hitting after the new year, with the exception of the Sunken Temple changes. Notice there’s no mention of level shifts for these dungeons. What do you think? Improvements or “easy mode”? Back in the day, we used to run Blackrock Depths, uphill both ways and it would take us ALL FRAKING DAY! You kids have it easy!

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Chad Awkerman

Chad joined the DualShockers staff in mid 2009 and since then has put much of his time into covering RPGs, with a focus on the Japanese side of the genre, from the obscure to the mainstream. He's a huge fan of iconic games like Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy VI and Persona 4 yet enjoys the smaller niche titles, as well. In his spare time he enjoys experiencing new beer, new foods and keeping up with just about every sci-fi show on television. He's married to an intelligent, beautiful Southern Belle who keeps his life interesting with witty banter and spicy Cajun cooking.

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