The Butchers of Maraudon

| Thursday, October 28, 2010
Maraudon used to be one of the longest instances around, a twisty place of corruption and centaurs, filled with quests and strange stories. Now it's possibly the worst instance. [since writing this I've done RFC and have to say, it takes the prize. But it may merely be that post-patch lowbie instances are a miserable boring experience.]

The butchering split it into three parts in the dungeon finder. These parts are less than the whole, literally. Between the end of purple/orange and the start of pristine waters is another boss and a quest. To complete these a player either needs to convince an inner group to loop back or a purple/orange group to not leave the second the completion pops up. The first seems the easiest, since it just means a slight diversion rather than changing the habit of dropping the second the boss is dead and looted.

It gets worse though. Past the last boss of inner, the Princess, are two more bosses: a crocolisk and a goblin. There's a decent chance that people will still fight the crocolisk. It's literally a jump away from the last boss. But the goblin, well people often didn't do him back when we actually stuck around in groups, so now, there's not a chance.

I can understand the drive for shorter instances. But I have to wonder, and this is going to have to be a post of its own someday, is butchering content so everyone can see it a good idea? In this particular case, people aren't even seeing the content. Two bosses are pushed out, a quest along with it, and thanks to the teleport people cannot do the quests that require actions outside the instance portals. Though this is partially fixed by the discovery requirement.

On the plus side, I have heard rumors that they're putting it together better, though I don't know if that's an upcoming patch or cataclysm. Maybe Blizzard will learn something from the LK instance experience. I'm afraid though, that signs point toward it being the wrong lesson. After all, random groups for random places for badges and shards sure was popular, so it must be good.

[first written September 5th, but other posts pushed it aside]

8 comments:

Shintar said...

I have yet to do Maraudon since the introduction of the dungeon finder, but my rogue is getting into the right level range now. I was looking forward to see what they've done with the splits, but from your description it sounds pretty terrible.

But yeah, they did say at Blizzcon that they want to split it into just two parts, living and elemental, which sounds okay to me. If they are even working on making Wailing Caverns less confusing, one can hope that they'll also tweak Maraudon a bit so you'll actually be able to get to all the bosses easily.

jeffo said...

I played around in Stratholme last night on my level 80 warlock. Overpowered thought I am at this time, it's still one of my all-time favorites, and I shudder at the thought of how much it will change. I expect it to be officially divided into two parts, and I'm sure that the armies of undead that pack the streets will be thinned out quite a bit. I guess I'll just have to enjoy it while I can.

I'm not 100% sure what Blizz should do regarding these dungeons. I spent six hours in Blackrock Depths once. Two hours for Shadow Labs was a minimum, and I'm pretty sure that I had at least one run push four hours. That's not a good thing, really. But neither is a 10-minute Drak'Tharon Keep

Anonymous said...

I would argue the partioning of BRD is worse then Mara. It's divided into prison, lower and upper. All 3 start in the same spot, so I've been in there times and not known what the objective was. LFG doesn't exactly lend itself to completing the key quest, which leaves some upper groups with a bit of a problem.

azerothapple said...

@Jeffo - aren't they removing Strat entirely in Cata? O_o

jeffo said...

I just took a look and found Strat will be cut into two instances (live side, dead side, though they both seem pretty dead). Baron Rivendare is being replaced by Aurius Rivendare and it's being reduced to level 42-56. I expect they'll thin out those trash packs quite a bit.

Infor was found here: http://www.wowwiki.com/Stratholme

Nils said...

I agree. The ripping apart of instances is terrible. The homogenization is terrible. And all for what? For anonymous groups that run siliently through too easy content?

As a developer you should not assume that players like/don't like something just because they say so.

But you also should not assume that something is good/bad just because you statistics say that it is used a lot / not at all.

Game development is more than just interpreting statistics!

Tesh said...

Perhaps the impending dungeon maps will alleviate this somewhat as players actually see what's down there in those dungeons. When I first hit Mauradon some six months ago, I had no idea what to expect. The Princess died eventually, the Achievement dinged, and it was only a timely request from the tank that told me there was a big ol' Croc to kill over yonder. This article is the first I've heard of a goblin boss after that.

That's not a problem with splitting the instance, that's bad feedback, poor pacing, and a nutty Achievement system.

I should note, though, I think that Achievements are a far stronger factor in the "we're done, let's disband" reflex than anything the Dungeon Finder or splitting the dungeon has done.

Klepsacovic said...

On the subject of BRD, Iapetes and I figured out a good way to split it up into three manageable pieces.

Tesh, I think the goblin is representative of a few problems coming together to make us stop asking a question that we used to: when is the instance done? But that's for a full post of its own.

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