Scaling up the instances
It has been brought to my attention recently that Lord of the Rings Online (another MMO that I’m sure you’ve all at least heard of, if not played at some point) has recently implemented a feature that allows for the scaling of their dungeons. Their reasoning was along the lines of:
We have great content that the majority of players aren’t in a level band for, and the players who want to play it are left with something not in their level range and an unrewarding experience as a result.
This is all fair enough, WoW suffers from the same problem. Throughout WoW’s long history, Blizzard have been continually adding raids and dungeons to the game. Some are large and sprawling that mimic entire zones like Zul’Gurub, some are tiny spawn based rooms like Violet Hold. There’s generally only a few instances that any one player could pick out as ‘I really, really never want to run that place again.’ Often the reasoning behind that isn’t in the design of the instance itself.
For example, Oculus’s design concept is sound enough. However, the majority of 80’s have it hardwired into their heads that Oculus is not worth even trying with, and that was a illusion brought on by the kind of player who can’t read three buttons and work out what they do. I hope these people never reroll, they wouldn’t get out of the starting zone. In the case of the Oculus, it’s the players that have given the place a hard rep.
To give another example, most of the people I’ve spoken to about it despise Sunken temple for its maze-like qualities and multi-tiered style. I find it irritating for this reason, and prefer my dungeons linear and friendly, with an exit portal at the end.
It’s only the few and the difficult that players ring as ‘bad instances.’ Whether that’s a fair judgement or not, it does mean that there’s a lot of other instances left around that players would maybe do once or twice whilst levelling, and then never again. Classic places like Wailing Caverns, with its echoey music (which for some reason, always makes me think of a swimming pool) and its Deviate theme. Classic places like the four wings of the Scarlet monastery, with their tricky mobs, unusual trash pulls, and fun/hidden bosses.
Imagine if WoW made it so that all of the dungeons, from RFC to the Arcatraz, scaled with your level. It could work in a similar way to heirlooms. Or the new Cataclysm spell ranking system. Already Blizzard have programmed in for things to determine what level you are, and alter accordingly. They could make it even easier on themselves, and bracket it like the Battlegrounds are done. Mobs from 12-18, bosses at 19. Loot from the bosses is 15-19. Loot from your grab bag at the end is perfectly scaled to your level, class and spec. Just take those figures and insert a 2, 3 or whatever to bring it up to the bracket you’re interested in. Try an 8, for example. Imagine at 85, after you’ve levelled through broken Azeroth and tried all the new dungeons, you resign yourself that you’ll be grinding those 11 or so places for Badges and Gear until the spark and awe that made them amazing is crushed behind a wall of unskilled puggers and repetitive boredom. Imagine if, instead, you had the option to visit the 51 or so old world dungeons, scaled up to level 85 heroic. Imagine if you were getting your badges off The Glutton in Razorfen downs, and getting your 85 epics off the Shade of Eranikus. The pool of possibilities would be endless, and you’d be hard pressed to get bored with all those different places.
Another interesting point – they’re already working on bringing Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep up to level 85 heroic dungeons. This might be a test of the waters to see how people react to being able to run old content at 85…
All credit for drawing this to my attention goes to the lovely Miss Riccah.