Can we have long instances again?

| Sunday, December 13, 2009
What's wrong with long instances? Well first off, they take a lot of time. This means more chance of failure partway in and a smaller pool of players who have the time to run it. The reward for the time spent may be lower, though this isn't always the case; an instance can be long because it has tons of bosses.

Then there's the time required to run the instance which isn't actually part of running the instance. There's the time to find people and to get to the instance. A gambling person can run to the instance first, thereby making double use of their time. But this can be a false savings, stopping their questing for a reward which may not pan out, since if the group doesn't form, the travel time will be entirely wasted unless it's a first run there grabbing FPs.

It's this second time which often kills groups. I have often planned out my time as, more or less: I have an hour until I have to go, the instance takes 45 minutes, if I get a group in 15 minutes I can go. And so I go forth with the expectation of spending 1/4 of my free time to find a group. If by chance we take 20 minutes to form and get there, I may still go depending on how bad it is to be late. But imagine if it took 25 minutes. Suddenly you really can't afford to go.

In short, we could run the instance, we just couldn't get the group needed.

Cross-server LFG helps with that. The larger pool of players means that even an unpopular instance is more likely to have people looking to run it. A minority can become enough if you get a big enough total population. This means finding groups is faster.

Teleporting to the instance also saves time. And it saves annoyance. How many people are discouraged from instances by the travel time? I'd guess quite a few. I remember how difficult it would be to get a Horde raid to UBRS when it involved running to a zeppelin, taking a FP halfway up the continent, and then running over there. On a PvP server this meant a fair bit of dying. This made Horde groups harder to form and harder to get there. In contrast the Alliance was easy to form groups with since Ironforge is practically next door and SW isn't far either, especially considering the tram.

Teleporting will get more people running instances. That means a larger pool of potential players and faster queue times.

These all add up to more people available and faster queues. As a tank, I get any group about instantly, depending on lag and my clicking speed. Healers are a bit slower. But I've heard that even DPS are sped up a bit. Cutting out a lot of the LFG time and all of the travel time means more time for the instance itself. That hour can be used more for the instance.

Does this mean the return of long instances? Can we have an hour-long five-man? I don't believe it will be as popular as the shorter ones. But could it be popular enough? With the better LFG tools, I believe so. Maybe someday we'll see the vanilla-style super-long instances return: BRD, LBRS, and Maraudon. Maybe those are already being run again. Sadly, my alts are past the level for them.

Could this also mean a revitalization of the near-cap instances? The level 57 and 67 instances are so often ignored, barely worth the time as we race to the fateful 8 and the next expansion. I think we'll see some of the instances run again. Perhaps not the 60 ones, but a bit before then.


kaozz said...

I don't know if I could deal with some of these pug people for long periods of time LOL.

I do miss those old BRS, Strat, Scholo runs. Those days were so much more laid back.

Shintar said...

I don't see instances becoming longer again. With the old world instances, they took a fair amount of time to put a run together but then you also got a decent-length instance run out of it. With dungeons becoming shorter and shorter in WOTLK, you started to wonder why you even bothered for 20 minutes to form a group for an instance that takes less time than that to complete. Now, with zero preparation time and effort involved from the instance runners, I think they'll only use that as an excuse to make instances even shorter if anything.

Green Armadillo said...

The new Icecrown 5-mans appear to be designed with this in mind - you can zone directly from one dungeon into the next and on to the third without breaking up your cross-server group. It's not perfect, since the gang has to agree to stay together, but I think that's probably as close as you're going to get. It doesn't make sense to make longer 5-mans that can't be completed by random groups, when people who can make the longer commitments are probably raiding rather than doing 5-mans.

Ateve said...

Well, the new instances is really one instance broken up into small digestable peices.

What I miss from the longer vanilla instances were the choices.

Scholo had bosses that you could easily skip if you didnt want to clear up to (and some that you needed to do specific questlines to be able to summon). Strath was 2 instances in one. LBRS/BRD were filled with options.

Current instances are too linear imho.

Stabs said...

Someone mentioned that they did a full BRD run as tank on one of the other blogs.

The healer stuck with the group, the dps came and went but were effortless to replace.

So if you play an alt you'll be able to do tons of instancing.

Alternatively start DDO. It's free and while instances start out as 5 minutes long they become increasingly complex and long as you progress.

It really is worth a look if you like instancing.

Klepsacovic said...

@kaozz: I pugged those back in the day, didn't mind it. But maybe things were different back then.

@Shintar: I guess it could go either way.

@Green Armadillo: I hope to see something between the super-short instances and raids.

@Ateve: Ever since BC, yea.

@Stabs: I can barely play alts, let alone entire other games.

Kiryn said...

I really hope that when they re-itemize everything in Cataclysm, they change the loot in the previously endgame 5-mans to be worth running while leveling, so that they aren't ignored entirely.

I would love to be playing on my level 58 whatever and queue for a group for Scholomance, and get gear that's approximately equivalent to the gear I could get in Ramparts.

I think it's been long enough that people aren't sick of these places any more, and splitting people up between multiple different dungeons isn't as much of an issue when you have the new LFG system.

I'll actually be rather disappointed if they don't do this =(

Klepsacovic said...

@Kiryn: I think it's the lower XP that people care about more. But gear would help!

Thistlefizz said...

Sometimes I miss the old days of long instances. Blackrock Depths comes immediately to mind. I have very fond memories of running that place with friends and guild mates, spending hours roaming around killing every dwarf in sight. I miss it.

But then I remember running it with PuGs. I hated it when we'd get two hours or so in and one dps or the healer bailed because of [insert lame reason here] and the rest of the group would basically disband. It felt like I had wasted the previous two hours.

So I'm torn. I miss the long instances, but PuGing them can make them endlessly painful. But the new LFG feature might make that much less painful. Something to think about anyway.

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