Showing posts with label maraudon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maraudon. Show all posts


You Knew This Was Coming...

You could probably already guess from my lack of posting here as of late, but I thought that I should make it official: my current WoW sub ran out at the end of March and it looks like my pre-WoD stint with the game has come to an end. I enjoyed my time in Pandaria and it was nice to see Blizzard go back to a slightly more "worldly" zone and quest design on that continent, with optional mini quest hubs similar to the ones in Northrend, and more "hidden" surprises out in the world that were worth discovering. (That time my pet tank unexpectedly fished up a Lurker-lookalike rare mob out of a giant fishing pool for example was awesome.)

I didn't exactly run out of things to do, as I still had a bunch of goals that I could have worked towards - but I just wasn't drawn in enough to prioritise WoW over other things. By the end I was only logging in to do a certain amount of "chores" every day and eventually I asked myself: why am I doing this when I'd rather be doing something else? To what end? And that was that.

One statement I often see when people go back to WoW after a period of absence is how it feels like going home, or how they think that WoW is still the best MMO out there. For me, this simply wasn't the case. For me, the experience has been more alike to meeting someone who used to be your best friend in childhood, but while you're happy to see them, you've developed into completely different directions in adulthood and it's pretty much impossible to have a non-awkward conversation about anything that isn't "the good old days". Really, that's me and WoW in a nutshell.

For example, WoW just feels too fast for me these days, in pretty much every respect. It's like the player base's unofficial motto is "wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you would rather be somewhere else already". I'm not expecting people to listen to every NPC conversation they've heard ten times before, but there are... gradients. There was this one time I decided on a lark to queue for a random dungeon on my lowbie ret paladin. I got into the last part of Maraudon with a tank/healer duo in full heirlooms that were clearly working together and were absolutely racing to the end, AoEing trash pulls on the go and skipping all the bosses but the last one. It seemed like every time I paused to loot something, they were already a mile ahead again, to the point that I spent most of the dungeon just jogging after the rest of the group and not actually hitting anything. I'm sure many people would have considered that a great run. Lots of XP for little effort! Me? I absolutely hated it. In fact, I was so disgusted that I didn't even want to touch my paladin for a couple of days afterwards, as if she had pug cooties or something. Every game has both its clueless players and its jerks, but if even getting into a pug with competent and not unfriendly people results in something that feels like a horrible experience to me, then I'm clearly playing the wrong game.

I also think that, in general, my standards of what I expect from an MMO have become higher. There have always been things about WoW that annoyed me, but I used to accept them simply because I didn't know anything else. Nowadays I know that WoW is not the gold standard for everything. Depending on what matters to you in an MMO, there absolutely are other games out there that do certain things better. For example I know now that playing a healer doesn't have to mean living on a constant rollercoaster of massive nerfs and buffs and play style revamps. I've also had friendly commenters chime in with genuinely well-intended advice such as "you just need to watch some videos / read this guide" or "you can download this addon" when I expressed annoyance about simple aspects of the game, and all I could think is: why should I have to do that when I can play other games without needing that amount of outside resources to "make" it fun? (For what it's worth, I was happily addon-less during the last four months.)

All these are things that matter to me and that seem to pretty firmly put me outside of WoW's target demographic these days. I still plan on checking out Warlords of Draenor eventually, if nothing else to have a look at this alternate Outland and to check out my old characters' new looks after Blizzard revamps the character models. I'm just not sure if I'll bother right at launch.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment in the last couple of months, both old bloggers who still had this site on their blogroll and new readers that found me by clicking a random link somewhere. It's been nice to chat.


Two Worgen Vs. The World

In the comments to my last post, mysteriously named commenter "R" asked why my pet tank and I weren't just setting out to duo instances together if I had reservations about using the dungeon finder to get a full group. As a matter of fact, this is exactly what I originally suggested, but I was rebuffed with doubts about whether two-manning things at level was even feasible. (And anyway, the groups we got during our first couple of runs weren't so bad, right?)

Gnomeregan ended up being a turning point.

When I last set foot into Gnomeregan shortly after the Shattering patch, I noted that it didn't appear to have been changed much, except for a couple of visual tweaks to some mobs and the removal of the old goblin escort quest. Imagine my surprise then, when we zoned into the instance this week and instead of a host of wacky quests telling us to collect punchcards and essential artifacts artificials, there was exactly one quest at the entrance - telling us to parachute straight down on top of the Viscous Fallout. We followed the instructions, even if they left us slightly bewildered... but when the follow-up quest told us to press on even though we hadn't even killed Grubbis yet, we balked and went back to do that encounter first. Our three damage dealers disagreed and continued on their own, with neither group struggling to kill things and stay alive, until we eventually reunited shortly before the last boss. After he had died and everyone else had left, my tank and I also went back to two-man the Crowd Pummeler, whom the dpsers had skipped too. I hardly needed to do any healing even with just the two of us.

We were left with an incomplete quest, seeing how we had been out of range when the Electrocutioner died, and a certain feeling of disappointment. Everyone's used to players taking the path of least resistance and wanting to skip things, but Blizzard adapting quest chains to actively encourage this behaviour just makes no sense. Usually dungeon quests serve to guide the group and lead players towards as much of the content as possible. Why Blizzard themselves consider their own dungeon bosses skip-worthy now is a bit of a mystery to me to be honest.

We re-queued for Gnomer in specific, and with the next group we just went with the boss-skipping flow so that we could at least complete our quest. Incidentally, this was also our first run where someone in the group brought up Recount. When they posted the dps numbers in chat, they showed that our warrior tank was doing more damage than the entire rest of the party put together. Low-level class balance is so bad it hurts.

The next dungeon on our list was Scarlet Halls, the first of the revamped Scarlet Monastery instances. We decided to give the dungeon finder another go and ended up in our most unpleasant run yet. There was absolutely no time to take in what was new about the instance, as the damage dealers rushed ahead as if it was their one hundredth run (which it very well might have been) and we struggled to keep up. I also clearly jinxed it in my last post when I breathed a sigh of relief about the lack of ninjas in our groups, as in this run we had not one, but two people rolling need on absolutely everything, which caused both me and my pet tank to lose out on gear that nobody else in the group could actually use. By the end of that run, I wasn't the only one fed up with the quality of pugs in Looking For Dungeon.

I brought up the duoing suggestion again. Gnomeregan had proved that a single protection warrior was clearly all the dps we needed, and our experience in Scarlet Halls had shown that trying to get a good look at new content with a group of randoms was a futile endeavour.

"So, how about we do a Scarlet Monastery run old school-like?"
"Isn't the Scarlet Monastery really far away?"
"Hey, back in my day we had to walk there every time we wanted to run the instance, and before we even had ground mounts! Uphill. In the snow. And we liked it."

Thus it was settled that after questing exclusively in Kalimdor for thirty-odd levels, we were making a trip to the Eastern Kingdoms. It took us quite a while to ride all the way up to Tirisfal Glades, but it certainly wasn't boring, as we kept ourselves entertained along the way with random bursts of gathering, pet battling and archeology.

As I had expected, duoing the two Scarlet instances turned out to be no problem whatsoever, and while working our way through them at our own pace, it actually gave us a chance to read the quests and take in the sights, which was nice. As for the actual changes to the dungeons, I'm honestly not sure what to think of them. Condensing the four wings into only two separate instances was probably a good idea, and I enjoyed seeing Lillian Voss again. In the cathedral I felt kind of sad when I went into the secret room off to the side and High Inquisitor Fairbanks' corpse was still lying there, unclickable now. Everything else kind of felt... awkwardly over the top to me though. Since when do all the Scarlets speak with funny German accents? Why are they all so incompetent, getting eaten by their own dogs and by zombified corpses that they are clearly unable to even burn properly? Weren't they supposed to be a morally ambiguous and fearsome organisation? Oh, and Whitemane's new champion is some guy with an oversized sword and anime hair... I don't know.

In the end we decided not to write the dungeon finder off completely just yet, but to settle for a mix of duoing things when we felt like it and using LFD when we wanted to make progress quickly and weren't too concerned with the details. Doing Maraudon the old school way right after was certainly fun enough, and not even that inconvenient considering that we were questing in Desolace anyway. (Though we managed to miss the quest to kill Princess as we didn't take the exact path Blizzard prescribes to make the quest appear and we didn't bother to look up what had gone wrong until after the fact.)

Up next: Uldaman and Dire Maul.


Instancing from level 25 to 35

Time for another installment of my series about levelling through the old dungeons in a post-Shattering world! I'm not sure how useful it is but I really enjoy writing it. Especially as I'm sure that Blizzard isn't done with making changes yet and I like documenting the process.

Scarlet Monastery

The Scarlet Monastery becomes available a bit earlier now than it used to, with the first wing opening up in the dungeon finder at level twenty-six. Otherwise it hasn't changed much, which is fine by me as it was one of the best old world instances to begin with. Why fix something that isn't broken? I was just a bit sad to see that Vorrel Sengutz doesn't offer a quest to his fellow Hordies anymore. I guess since the devs don't want you to have to pick up dungeon quests in the outside world anymore, they also don't want quests from inside a dungeon to send you outside.

All the wings have separate kill quests for all the bosses now, which results in a silly amount of blue quest rewards from those four instances alone. On Horde side they are given by a dark ranger who's standing at the entrance with a couple of Forsaken soldiers. Somehow this bugged me. When someone in a city asks me to please go to this scary place where nobody else dares to go and defeat the evil within, I feel brave and as if the quest giver thinks highly of me. When a bunch of soliders ready for battle tell me to go ahead and throw myself into the fray while they wait at the back - it will be alright, honest - I feel like I'm being used as cannon fodder or just plainly being made fun of. Hrmph.

There's also another quest giver in several wings, an undead rogue called Dominic who wears a gas mask and appears to keep his distance from the rest of the NPCs, even though he wants to see the Scarlet Crusade go down as well. He intrigued me. Is he a rogue apothecary or something?

Razorfen Kraul

Razorfen Kraul has been bumped up by about five levels, presumably because things were already kind of crowded in the low twenties. Layout and bosses have remained the same however, except that I could have sworn that Agathelos the Raging didn't always have a name. I think he was just called Raging Something-or-other?

Even the goblin escort quest is still there, but people still weren't particularly interested in doing it after getting their "instance complete" pop-up, not in my runs at least. No really, Blizzard, telling people that they are done is an automatic death sentence for any content that you might still have in store afterwards.

What I found interesting is that the quests for the instance paint a somewhat different and more coherent picture of the dungeon than before. You used to go in there to kill the quillboar because... they were evil. No elaboration was necessary, nor any explanation of why they were the way they were. The largest bit of story that you used to get was that the last boss dropped an item that started a quest revealing a connection between the quillboar and the undead. The new quests however tell you to fight the quillboar because they are trying to take over the Barrens with a giant armoured boar. No, really. Likewise, the justification for Going, Going, Guano! is now that this strange bat poop "seems to send the quillboar into a murderous frenzy" and must be studied. Okaaay... an A for effort I guess. Too bad that they couldn't shoehorn the snufflenose gophers into this whole thing as well somehow.

More importantly though, you also get to talk to the spirit of Agamaggan, who is now an NPC towards the end of the instance, and it turns out that the quillboar have actually been corrupted by Charlga Razorflank. There is even talk of helping them "return to their noble roots" by killing her. I'm not so sure about that, but I have to admit that it's a nicer story than just "kill these evil guys".

One caveat: Agamaggan's spirit stands only a few metres away from the final boss, and if you end up with a group of imbeciles like I did in one run, they might rush in and pull the boss before anyone has had a chance to hand in the quest and pick up the follow-up to kill Charlga. Be ready.


Like it was the case for Wailing Caverns, the big changes that were announced for Maraudon at Blizzcon have not yet been implemented. In other words, it still consists of three parts that don't really feel quite right as instances of their own, though Blizzard at least tried to apply some band-aids to the most glaring problems.

The Wicked Grotto for example, formerly Purple Crystals, used to have only one boss, which was just silly. Blizzard decided to change that by randomly moving Tinkerer Gizlock, aka that goblin towards the end of Maraudon that half the playerbase didn't know about and the other half never bothered to go to, smack into the middle of the purple dungeon area. This feels extremely random, but then a goblin in the middle of Maraudon has always been a bit odd. I think for the time being it's a good move, as it adds some value to the Wicked Grotto and actually exposes more people to the guy. If the players don't come to the boss, the boss has to come to them!

Celebras the Cursed is now officially part of Earth Song Falls, formerly known as Pristine Waters, at least according to the dungeon map, but his placement is still problematic. Players entering this part of the instance will now spawn on top of the waterfall instead of at the bottom, meaning that they only have to turn around to get to Celebras... but unfortunately old habits die hard. In the group I was in people just ran straight ahead and jumped down the waterfall, and when the tank made an attempt to loop back towards Celebras, he was told off for going the wrong way because that boss was nothing special anyway. If you are in a position to take the lead and want to kill him - and why wouldn't you, when he's right behind you - you'll probably have to shout at the rest of your party quickly to make sure that they don't hurl themselves off the cliff prematurely.

The quests in Maraudon are now given directly by the spirit of Zaetar, which is slightly strange to say the least. It's particularly bad if you start in Foulspore Cavern, aka Orange Crystals, where he doesn't even identify himself in the quest text initially. So you just get this quest to kill some guys... out of nowhere. I would think that even in Azeroth killing people because invisible voices told you to do so would be considered slightly crazy.

That said, once you figure out who's talking I thought that the story flowed better this way and is easier to understand for someone who's new to the lore, as opposed to the old way where you'd make your way through this huge mysterious cavern and then get an infodump at the end about how this princess you just killed seduced a guy called Zaetar and blah dee blah.


Uldaman could take a leaf out of Maraudon's book there - in regards to infodumping I mean, as it still has that annoying quest at the end where your only objective is to click through ten pages of text about the titans, which I haven't actually paid any attention to in years. There's a little animation that alternates between a picture of a dwarf and a trogg now, possibly to intrigue you, but that's really not enough.

The quest givers on Horde side are a bunch of blood elves from a group that calls itself The Reliquary and looks like it's supposed to be a Horde equivalent of the Explorer's League. I thought that was interesting.

The rest of the instance remains unsplit and pretty much the same as before, except that it's a lot less confusing when you actually have a map at hand. I still managed to nearly get lost though...

I have to admit I got pretty excited about having to do Archaedas "the proper way" again, as I'll always remember him as the first dungeon boss for which our newbie group needed an explanation and proper strategy back in the day. It was nice to see him actually get a chance to execute his add-spawning moves again, even if they still didn't pose nearly as much of a threat as they did to us newbies back in the day. He also seems to have ditched the overpowered clone of himself at the end that used to serve as a sort of enrage timer.

As far as tuning goes, I'm generally unsure of what to think of these instances. Things have definitely got somewhat easier compared to the earliest levels, but that might be due to me having dual spec now. Still, there seems to be considerable variation between the difficulty of my runs and it's not always due to heirloom gear. For example I had an SM run where I literally felt completely superfluous, and the tank was just a warrior in levelling gear. At the same time there were also still runs where I needed mana breaks every now and then, even as resto. It just doesn't really add up.


Roguish ramblings

Recently I decided to revive one of my lesser-played alts, a male blood elf rogue. He was originally created because I wanted to see the blood elf starter zone in early BC but hated female belves at the time. As it turned out, I wasn't actually that fond of the male ones either, so I stopped playing him the instant I finished the Ghostlands... or actually - a bit before that, even. I didn't like the Ghostlands either.

Then one day I decided to give him another try and was scarred for life by this badly thought-out rogue quest. Needless to say that he went back on the shelf for another year after that.

But this time... this time I think he and I might actually get somewhere.

The first thing I noticed when I started playing the little guy again nearly two months ago was the positive effect of stealth normalisation. Now, this change actually happened quite a long time ago, but as I said I hadn't actually played him in that long. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, stealth used to have different ranks: the lower the rank, the higher the movement speed penalty while in it. This meant that as a low-level rogue you either moved from mob to mob really, really slowly if you always wanted to start with an opener from stealth, or you just charged into mobs like any old warrior and then had to spend a lot of time running away or running back to your body, as any add could quickly spell your death. Unsurprisingly, I didn't think that this made the class particularly fun to play. The suddenly increased movement speed in stealth improved this drastically for me.

I also decided to finally tackle lockpicking for reals. I had done the quest to learn it in the Ghostlands and picked a couple of extra locks there for fun, but then I had quickly fallen behind as nowhere else seemed to have random locks for me to pick. I decided to consult a guide on WoWWiki and then spent about half an hour sitting in a pirate ship near Ratchet, unlocking the same couple of rapidly respawning boxes over and over again... which wasn't hugely entertaining either, but at least it brought me back on track.

And then... I discovered the wonders of pickpocketing! Pickpocketing was one of those things that I always thought sounded really cool in theory, but in practice I felt that it was rather dull. A couple of extra copper and a pretty rock, woo-frikkin-hoo. However, once I started to move around Durnholde to work on the lockboxes there, I was delighted to discover that pickpocketing the local Syndicate mobs could provide me with junkboxes that helped with levelling my lockpicking as well!

From then on things pretty much snowballed, as I found more and more fun uses for all of my different abilities. Rogues are probably one of the classes that start off with the most utility early on (or at least they used to, I don't know how this has changed since the patch), and I guess it's not always immediately obvious how all these moves can be useful while soloing. However, unlike a healer's many healing spells for example, a rogue's skills can all be used while soloing, which I found quite amazing really. I came to the conclusion that you can tell a good rogue from a bad one because the former remembers at the right time that he has Blind. I always forget about it myself.

I also decided to try running some instances. Being a damage dealer, I figured that I would have to sit in the queue for half an hour while questing, but in reality most of my queues were less than five minutes long, sometimes even instant. In the end I had to just stop using the dungeon finder altogether for a while if I ever wanted to get any questing done.

The overall quality of my instance runs varied and some of them were fun simply because of the people I was with, but I have to admit that the entertainment value derived from actual gameplay was fairly low for me. I remember running instances with other rogues before WOTLK, and I remember them always darting ahead in stealth, distracting patrols, pickpocketing and sapping mobs, or in other words, being extremely useful even when not dealing damage. Unfortunately the WOTLK world has no room for rogues like that, and all that was left for me to do was to helplessly run after the tank, who was responsible for sixty percent of all damage done by spamming his AoE, to occasionally use Sinister Strike on a single mob. In one instance I even had someone yell at me to AoE already, until they remembered that rogues don't get any until level eighty. Yeah. Maybe that's why the dps queue is so short. While soloing I feel powerful; while grouping I feel utterly redundant. Which would you choose?

Then patch 4.0.1 came. I lost some skills that I had already learned before because they got moved to higher levels, but on the whole things didn't immediately feel too different. It took me a bit to realise that lockpicking had been completely removed as a skill, and is now a passive ability that automatically increases as you level up. I'm a bit disappointed by that, seeing how I had only just got into the mini-game of levelling it, but I suppose it will be nice to never have to deal with rogues who go "lol, what is lockpicking" when you ask them to open the door before the first boss in Shattered Halls or something similar ever again. Blade Flurry being on a thirty second cooldown now also helped a little with the AoE issue, if not much - but if nothing else it gives me one more button to press instead of just sinister-striking my way throughout the entirety of the instance.

I also finally got into the right level range for Zul'Farrak and Maraudon, two instances that I was looking forward to running through the dungeon finder since I hadn't done them in a while and was curious how the whole Maraudon split thing worked. Klepsacovic had a couple of posts on this subject lately that also received some interesting comments, and after experiencing these instances myself I can only echo their sentiments.

The Maraudon split is just plain awkward. Purple Crystals feels like a joke with only one boss in the zone, and Celebras the Cursed seems to have been completely left out in the cold, as both the orange and purple section officially end just before you reach him, and Pristine Waters starts behind him. It's a shame because he's one of the key lore figures of the instance and there's a quest to kill him, but most attempts to convince parties to go and kill him too get brushed off with a "nah, I just want my loot bag" (if people respond at all and don't just drop group).

In Zul'Farrak the loot bag caused issues as well - it's a circular instance, so saying that the instance is complete when you've circled halfway round to the chieftain will always result in people dropping out. Fortunately I got lucky because in the two runs that I was in, one tank looped around the right and one around the left, which means that I got both halves of the dungeon cleared for my quests over the course of those runs, but still... I consider myself lucky on that one.

I wonder if the next couple of instances that are coming up for my rogue (Sunken Temple, Blackrock Depths) will yield any interesting pug stories.


Discussing the raid and dungeon changes announced at Blizzcon

Blizzcon may not have brought us any amazing revelations this year, but the developers did provide us with some solid pieces of insight into what they are planning to do with the old world dungeons come Cataclysm.

Confirmation of more conveniently located graveyards and the addition of dungeon maps was not a surprise but still welcome. I remember desperately pressing the M key so many times during my very first Deadmines run, not understanding why there was no map for this zone, and have pretty much continued to make that same mistake over and over again to this day, even though I should really know better by now.

That said, I'm not sure I'm entirely sold on those so-called "enhanced" dungeon maps they've been advertising. In fact, my very first thought was definitely an "OMG, how much more do they want to dumb things down" knee-jerk reaction. I mean, 3D images of the bosses on the maps? Do they think we'll be unable to recognise them otherwise? Are they trying to appeal to kids that can't read the NPC names yet? Seriously...

I still find this feature rather strange, but I have to admit that the others definitely have some appeal. For example the addition of a list of boss abilities in-game: How many times have you had to explain a boss fight (or heard someone else do it) and it went something like "and then he does this thing, I forget what it's called, let me look it up..."? Might as well save people the tabbing out.

The same thing is true for the detailed loot lists. While I'm apparently in the minority as someone who never ran with any loot information addons because on the whole I rather liked the surprise, I'd lie if I said that I've never looked up a boss's loot on Wowhead for some reason or another.

Still, from an immersion point of view I find having access to all this information slightly strange once again. WoW is a fantasy setting with steampunk elements, not something set in the age of information. Not knowing what exactly lies ahead in the dungeon you're about to enter but doing it anyway is one of the things that makes adventurers stand out as truly brave. If we know our target's exact coordinates and its abilities, aren't we more like hired assassins? Or secret agents? /hums the Mission Impossible theme... actually, that's kind of cool. Maybe we can just look at it as a sort of evolution - as the gnomes and goblins develop more technology we tend to have more information available.

Now, the other major topic was that of how exactly they intend to streamline the old world dungeons to bring them more in line with Outland and Northrend ones. First off, I was really glad to see this quote: "We don't want dungeons to be left behind in the redo, we want them to be up-to-par with everything else", as this was something that I had been kind of worried about.

They said that they want to make currently confusing dungeons less so, with Wailing Caverns being cited as a prime example. I can honestly say that I'm definitely in favour of this, as there's no love lost between me and WC's winding tunnels, even though I've become reasonably good at navigating them by now. I just hope that they don't swing too far the other way and turn something that's supposed to be a natural cavern into a straight and boring tunnel. I do believe that there's a solid middle ground to be found here, where you can make a place appear to be reasonably complex while still avoiding structures that might actually cause players to get lost. I think they did a pretty good job at this in WOTLK already - while most dungeons were still very linear, they didn't suffer from "endless hallway" syndrome nearly as badly as most of Outland.

Then there is the issue of shortening dungeons, in particular by splitting them into wings. Now, in general I approve of this, but I have to say that I found the fact that Utgarde Keep/Pinnacle was quoted as a good example of this rather amusing, because I thought if anything Utgarde is an example of how not to do it. I mean, there you are, questing in Howling Fjord and getting into this whole Vyrkul storyline, you try to kill King Ymiron but Arthas whisks him away to Utgarde Pinnacle, you clear out the lower levels of the keep... and then you go and have to gain ten more levels in other zones, running other dungeons, before you can come back and get on with the story. Sorry, but I don't think that works very well. Different wings of what's supposed to be considered the same dungeon should be close together in level so people can run them right after each other and get the whole story in one go if they choose to do so. That said, places like Scarlet Monastery and Dire Maul already pulled this off very well in the past, so I have faith in Blizzard being able to get this right.

Now, a few more instances that are going to get this treatment were discussed in a bit more detail. Uldaman for example will be split into two parts, with Ironaya ending the first half and what's currently called the back door being the entrance to the second half. Now, this sounds pretty sensible to me. I do have to say though, I really hope that they buff dungeon mobs significantly, otherwise this whole split thing might turn out to be a bit pointless. I mean, I too remember Uldaman as this endless winding maze from my WoW youth, but when I recently ran it at level again, for the first time in ages, we breezed through the whole thing while killing all the bosses in about twenty minutes. If it were to stay like that, splitting a twenty-minute dungeon into two ten-minute ones would just be silly.

Then we have Maraudon, another candidate for a logical split. To be honest I always thought that the whole "two entrances" structure that forced you to backtrack considerably if you wanted to do a full clear was kind of annoying. Two halves sound about right. Currently the dungeon finder splits it into three parts, and from what I hear this separation is rather awkward. Personally I only entered the instance through the dungeon finder for the first time tonight, and just found that the purple section felt extremely short. The rest of the party seemed to agree as we simply continued past Lord Vyletongue (the purple section's only boss) and continued all the way to the princess, just not bothering to go back for the orange section. Again this actually didn't take us all that long, even though we were doing very poor dps (one guy was on /follow the entire time and me and the other remaining damage dealer were about five levels lower than the mobs we were fighting). Again I hope that they will buff the mobs so the instance will still feel like a worthwhile undertaking even when cut in half.

Hearing that they want to cut out Sunken Temple's bottom floor made me a little sad to be honest, but I'll admit that the "elemental section" as we called it was always my least favourite anyway. Still, I'm one of those strange people who always loved Sunken Temple, even back when I kept getting lost in it. I just loved the whole Indiana Jones adventure feel of the place.

The comments on BRD raised more questions than they answered in my opinion. Apparently the developers think that this one is too hard to split into sensible sections, so they added teleporters instead. I don't mind those as an addition (after all, why shouldn't the Dark Iron dwarves go with the times too), but doesn't that leave the instance at the same length at which it is now? Or will nothing prevent groups from zoning in and teleporting straight to the Emperor? If not, what do these teleporters really solve, other than shortening possible corpse runs?

We shall see.