World of Warcraft: Blizzard responds to Cataclysm’s dungeon criticisms

Monday, 24th September 2012 08:53 GMT By Dave Cook

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard is gearing up to launch the game’s next expansion Mists of Pandaria this week. The developer has responded to criticisms surrounding the brutally difficult dungeons in previous expansion Cataclysm.

Speaking with AusGamer, lead encounter designee Ion Hazzikostas reflected on Cataclysm’s most frequently discussed dungeon issues, “Well, we’re constantly looking at feedback from our players and learning lessons. Sadly we’re not perfect in what we do but we try to improve and fix past mistakes.”

“Just a couple of examples,” he continued, “in the older world, one thing that we noticed is that there’s a lot of potential in the use of phasing and the quest team used that to great effect to help players feel like they were part of the story and were progressing and advancing that story, but at the same time though, it can also serve to divide players.”

“On a dungeon related note,” he added “one thing that we’ve clearly heard from our players at the start of Cataclysm is that many of them found our heroic dungeons to be too difficult and they had a frustrating experience as a result, and some of that was a product of the fact that we began making our Cataclysm dungeons – and they were primarily designed – before the Looking For Dungeon tool was live on servers.”

“So we were designing dungeons for the traditional audience that had always consumed dungeon content, that is to say groups of friends and guild mates. But it turned out by the time Cataclysm came out there had been a massive shift in that regard as a result of the Looking For Dungeon feature and most dungeons were being run by randomly match-made groups of people who were queuing individually and were playing with others who they had likely never played with before and likely would never play with again and that completely changes the dynamic of how you respond to difficulty and how you respond to adversity.”

Hazzikostas then shed light on his team’s new approach to dungeons in Mists of Pandaria, “Obviously we quickly changed the tuning of the dungeons in Cataclysm, but these are lessons we’ve learnt and taken to heart moving forwards when designing the dungeons for Mists of Pandaria. Players who were frustrated by the Cataclysm dungeons should find a much better experience at level 90 when they start running dungeons.”

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria launches 25th September.



  1. Erthazus

    “players at the start of Cataclysm is that many of them found our heroic dungeons to be too difficult and they had a frustrating experience as a result”

    Lol what? If you don’t know how to play you should just move on seriously.

    dungeons in Cataclysm were easy as “F…”. Especially the last “Twilight hour” stuff.

    Next, players will whine that 35% nerf for Raids is not enough… Lawl.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. hives

    Oh, for fu**s sake, Blizzard… Dungeons in Cataclysm were perfect (right after start of the game), perfect for thinking people. You’ve just made people LAZY with silly and easy “faceroll” dungeons in Wrath of the Lich King. Then you tried to make it up by giving us really nice dungeons in Cata… And people couldn’t change. Majority of players wanted to clear every dungeon on first run. Every dungeon had some cool mechanics, something to learn before you could beat it – noooope, that was too much for bunch of sissies.

    Month/two months after premiere of Cataclysm, dungeon were nerfed. So “everybody can enjoy them”… So when I read that “Players who were frustrated by the Cataclysm dungeons should find a much better experience at level 90 when they start running dungeons” I am sad. “Players who were frustrated” SHOULD NOT play MMO games if they don’t have time to FAIL and learn from mistakes to beat something that is simply HARD to beat : |

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    @1 & 2 yeah I did wonder about this. Were they really that easy?

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Erthazus

    @Dave cook, Yeah. They were really easy. The difference is that dungeons in Cataclysm required to think a little.

    Now, Blizzard released already 2 Mists of Pandaria dungeons in Cataclysm just for the beta and while they have some interesting mechanics they are:

    1) Short

    2) bosses does not require any tactics so far


    #4 2 years ago
  5. GrimRita

    #4 is right.

    Blizzard only have themselves to blame for making their game too easy to play. Then if they do try to make it difficult, they claim that the player base complain. This is just more PR hot air because if you find this game difficult to play, stick to playing the Sims.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Hunam

    @2 Couldn’t agree more. I don’t play WoW but play SWTOR/DCUO and the best times in the game are when me and my friends are sitting around discussing how to do a boss or puzzle and try different tactics, learn from the loss and try a different tactic. Can sometimes be on one bit for hours but when you finish it you feel like you have earned it.

    Same on Borderlands 2. My group spent a few hours in the first slaughterdome just because we enjoyed the challenge and it really improved how our group played together.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. GwynbleiddiuM

    Of course it was difficult, for people who had no clue how to play their class, and had no awareness. Simple shit is simple, don’t stand in the bloody fire, utilize your class tools properly like crowd control abilities and priorities targets. How hard is that? apparently it’s too hard.

    On top of all that CRZ is killing the game. I can’t even quest anymore, constantly being ganked by 85s, I had to make a new toon on a PVE realm to be able to play uninterruptedly. If anything needs fixing in WoW is CRZ.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. absolutezero

    I would’nt mind the dungeons being more difficult if the difficulty went beyond “avoid the glowing shit that will kill you in seconds”. As it is they were’nt hard at all they were just a chore to do.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. GwynbleiddiuM

    @8 the thing is at first month it was actually fun, because you weren’t doing them with random idiots, you were grouped with guildies and friends. But the moment you went in with random people yeah, it was a brutal experience. I used to explain the tacts for people to help them understand each fight, but some people were just BAD. The hard part wasn’t the dungeon itself, it was the people who had no idea what they’re doing.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Kabby

    What was ‘hard’ on release? Hmm.



    The Core Hound boss in BRC if you had no crowd control. That’s about it.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Wesker_Evil

    They just don’t want a real challenge. If the DG is hard, they complain about it’s impossible and quit, if it’s easy, they finish and complain about how “There is nothing more to do in game” and quit.

    WoW players have to LEARN how to do play, read about the classes and skills, and then think about how to finish each dungeon..But they wanna do it? Nooooooooooooooooooooo! Let’s just complain and Blizzard will listen to us!

    #11 2 years ago
  12. TheWulf


    That’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? WoW dungeons were never hard, ever. It’s just a matter of playing the trinity (which is easy to do, especially with addons), and then watching out for attacks which strike slowly and are signposted so much that you couldn’t possibly miss them.

    Not to mention that you have mods that yell at you when things are about to happen, or are happening. Basically, it’s a game of following on screen prompts. And prompts that give you a massive leeway for error. See, I tend to think of WoW dungeons as being something like Dance Dance Revolution for Dummies, except the music isn’t great.

    See, you’re given action, like a DDR arrow, and you’re given a massive amount of time to do it in. If you don’t actually do what the game and addons tell you, well… I don’t know. But that’s not exactly hard, is it?

    Ultimately, the dungeons are just a chore. Raids are just this long, long slog. Even the shortened dungeons just feel like there’s no variety, there’s nothing different going on. There’s no real environmental stuff or variety. And aside from the odd NPC yelling things, it’s just the same old line of progression from trash mobs, to boss, to trash mobs. And it’s the same every, single time.

    Now, if (like some other game) they’d made the dungeons randomised, if they’d provided lots of environment-based weapons and variety to play around with, and if it required tactics instead of just playing up the trinity and avoiding the overly signposted, slowly executed attacks, then they might be fun. But when you compare an explorable mode dungeon from that other game to a dungeon from WoW, well… you can see where they went wrong.

    It’s not hard, it was never hard. Saying it’s hard is like saying that a version of DDR that gives you a minute to respond to each arrow is hard. It’s not, it’s just a time investment.

    Providing you’ve done your monotonous grinding for your gear, the game almost plays itself (because addons).

    #12 2 years ago

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