Dungeon Journal

Dungeons, Raids and Scenarios
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The dungeon journal feature, as currently implemented on the PTR, has elicited a "gut reaction" from most of the high-end raiding community. This thread is a place for us to try and provide tangible insight to why we feel the way we do, and offer solutions and compromises that we feel will satisfy all types of players.

The following is my personal opinion on the Dungeon Journal.

Overall, I really like it. A searchable, in-game, item drop database is fantastic. Listing all the bosses and instances from an intuitively easy to navigate in-game pane is something I think a lot of people have wanted to see in WoW for several years. The implementation with the dungeon maps themselves is perfect. You can see where the boss is located and click on their pictures to go straight to the correct section of the journal.

The major issue that I have with the Dungeon Journal however, is the actual content on the boss pages. On this latest PTR build I've found that every boss in Firelands, including ones we've never seen in game (such as Ragnaros), have their phases listed out. Each phase then lists every ability that occurs within and a short description of what the ability is and how it occurs (unlike a simple data-mined tool-tip).

In the past, data-mining a tool-tip (which I also did not like, but felt compelled to do for competitive reasons) still leaves little to no information about when it occurs in the fight, how many phases a fight has, what triggers the ability, and how the ability interacts with the others in the fight. We've had some of the pieces to the puzzle before we should have, but it was far and away nothing compared to the outline and flow of the fight that the Dungeon Journal provides.

So, the Dungeon Journal gives more information, including information about bosses we would never have expected to PTR test, why does anyone care? I care because for me, nothing is quite as fun as seeing a boss for the first time. Simultaneously having to read tool-tips and observe abilities, without ever seeing them before, while also actually pushing yourself to keep pulling and solve puzzles mid-attempt. Lately we have been forced to get on the PTR and test out a lot of the fights to experience this, but we did have some heroic modes and, of course, the final boss of each new instance to look forward to. Even that, now, is being taken away.

I understand that I am in a position of extreme minority, and that it will be hard for those who are not in a "no-life bleeding edge" raiding guild to relate to, however I do have a specific example that may help.


This is Adept's first 10man Heroic LK kill. This happened quite a while after LK was released. This happened after HUNDREDS of pulls, not just the first one. Ignoring all the Premonition !#%* talk (Vallkor lol), you can hear the excitement of the unknown. They have no idea if they won or not when LK uses "Fury of the Frostmourne". They have no idea if there will be a new phase in heroic or if they really did finish with a US first kill. That is what it has been like to get first kills in the past. We've had no idea on the exact workings of the abilities and the phases until we actually got the boss to those low percentages for the first time. This is what its like to be working on a new boss that has never been defeated or has no kill videos out. This is experienced by at least the top 20 guilds every tier. This will be gone forever if the Dungeon Journal remains as is.

There are several ways that the Dungeon Journal can be adjusted to alleviate this problem.

#1. Patch in the information for new bosses a few weeks after they have been killed. Obviously patching the game is a major and complicated process, but having the data in the client game files before this has happened will instantly spoil the experience for any and all high-end guilds.
#2. Reduce the amount of detail in the guide for current tiers of progression. Do not list phases. Do not list every ability. Do not list heroic changes. Stick with lore and other content that will get use excited to solve the new puzzles.
#3. Limit the information available for current tiers to tool-tip information only, or other currently data-mined information. Although this isn't a great solution, its better than the current implementation for high-end guilds.
#4. Only list information for normal modes. I also dislike this solution, because it still seems incredibly excessive. Showing all the phases and categorizing every ability you can expect to see just removes so much from the player experience.

Finally, I'd like to add a bit on this thread itself. We've been discussing the Dungeon Journal in our guild and with other top guilds extensively since it was shown on the latest PTR patch. On our own forums, I offered this advice to our members in how to participate in the discussion and I believe it will help guide those who want to participate here.

Something to keep in mind (not referencing anyones post in particular) is to keep the general statements like "this will completely ruin end game raiding" to a minimum. Instead, focus on extremely specific examples of times you've been surprised or enjoyed an encounter and how the dungeon journal would have denied that specific experience. Exactly what part of the journal denies these experiences? Listing of all abilities? Breaking the fights up into phases? Combination of both? Descriptions of the abilities rather than their actual tool tips? Listing of "Heroic only" info?

Also, feel free to mention what you do like about it. For example, the search feature, the extensive in game listing of item drop locations, the integration with the in-game map, etc.

Edit: Don't worry about repeating what anyone else has said or having to add something unique, just post your own reasoning for your opinions. The more people that give their own reasoning (even if its the same or similar to previous posts) the better. Obviously quoting others, quick one-liners with no support, or things like /signed will quickly ruin and close the thread.
The original impression of the dungeon journal presented itself as a spell-book for bosses. Ideally, we hoped that it would function like an actual journal, filling itself with spell details as you encountered them; because after all, typical journals don't really contain experiences that are about to happen but experiences that did happen. However, it's hard to argue against the fact that the journal itself goes above this function, delving in to a very red area.

It's hard enough to already deny that critical end-game boss abilities are detailed enough in their descriptions to spoil fight aspects (Almost all of Ragnaros' abilities are great examples of this), even without the dungeon journal. On that note, it was still a process of pulling all the details of what you think a fight is vs. what it actually becomes. The dungeon journal however, removes a lot of the exploration people have with the fights and replaces it with a semi-technical manual. Fights like Alysrazor are actually so detailed that there really isn't anything left to explore. While fights like Baleroc, which aren't as intensely self explanatory, still provide enough extra detail to simply put 2 and 2 together. It was interesting to simply look at what we knew about Countdown vs. what the dungeon journal knew about Countdown:

Countdown (Dungeon Journal)

Baleroc links 2 players to each other for 8 sec. If the chosen players move within 3 yards of each other the effect will dissipate harmlessly, but if the effect runs its full course, both players will explode, dealing 100000 Fire damage to all allies within 45 yards.


Countdown (Spell Detail)

Duration 8 seconds
School Damage (Fire)
Value: 100000
Apply Aura: Periodically trigger spell
Interval: 500 milliseconds
Effect: Script Effect

It's a pretty dramatic difference that completely removes any of the mystique about Countdown. That sense of excitement when the spell links the raid members together, the sense of urgency and familiarity, the explosive reaction that happens if you should fail, is reduced to something that was simply read months in advance.

The journal's intent is pure in heart. It provides an easy access to encounter information without the need for external sites or mods. The affirming point however is that discovery and learning are still an important aspects for ALL players. Spoiling these aspects even before you zone in to the instance, and providing everything in such detail, removes a lot of the sense of awe -- the sense of going against the odds without developers completing a majority of the puzzle for you. Spells with tanking symbols, spells with healing symbols, spells with red skulls indicating severe danger, spawn times, add details, transition markers, phase details; it's a lot of information for next to no effort.

In general, it was inspiring to hear that the game would innately incorporate features that would lessen the need for 'data-mining'. It was unfortunate to see that it would solve 75% of the puzzle before you even saw the pieces - no matter what type of raider you are.
I raid for a few reasons, and one of the major reasons is discovering the unknown in a game together with my buddies. In this case, they're my guildies, and we get to have a blast in new content before nearly anyone else. There's a great sense of pride and accomplishment of overcoming something new and foreign starting from the very beginning, finding out what the encounter is actually going to throw at you and how you are going to handle it.

Can we afford to cut down to one tank or are there going to be adds in a later phase we need multiple tanks for? What about the healers? What happens in the next phase? When the boss dies is he actually dead or are we going to just start phase two at that point?

Think back to some original wow encounters. When Fighting Nefarian in Blackwing Lair, people may have thought the fight was incredibly boring once he landed and was in dragon form, but then the first time they push him to that low % and he resurrects all the skeleton, there was likely a hilarious explosive wipe as they were not expecting it at all.

Now, replay that scenario if the Dungeon Journal was in place. The raid wouldn't have been surprised, they may not even have dealt with that comical first wipe. They may have just flat out killed the boss the first time they get to phase 2 stable.

And that's precisely the problem. The "comical first wipes" are actually a hugely enjoyable driving force behind raiding, which now are likely to be all but eliminated, since you can just check the journal for what to expect and maybe even derive how to handle it (if it isn't written out for you already).

Princess Huhuran when she frenzies; C'Thun after you kill his Eye, Kel'thuzad Nerubian summons, The intricate nature of how Doomfire worked on Mimiron Firefighter, Professor Putricide hardmode spawning both oozes at once rather than just one, the fact that the Lich King killed the entire raid once you "won", and so forth - all of these are examples of fascinating and fun things to discover, which would be completely nullified by something like the Dungeon Journal.
I completely understand that the majority of players who raid don't go in to encounters blind at all, because they're not cutting edge, and they do have guides to read, videos to watch, and so forth. What everyone else has to understand though is that people raid for different reasons. Some raid just to get gear, others raid for world, region, or server firsts, others raid just to have fun while doing the best they can.

A major, major part of what makes raiding exciting and enticing for high end guilds is the mystique and surprise. It's an oft-repeated reason, and that's because it's flat out true. There are many changes WoW has seen over the years that people have claimed have hurt the game or killed raiding off, and frankly many of those were overblown. Unfortunately, this is the first addition to the game that will have a very tangible negative affect on my enjoyment and the fun my guild and friends will have, and that's something that worries me.

My suggestions would be to keep the Dungeon Journal in for regular 5 player dungeons/heroic dungeons, but have it populate itself with abilities from raids only once players have discovered the abilities in the actual encoutner. I realize there may be problems with this due to data mining, but perhaps this will simply lead to mandatory weekly patches or something, to ensure the data can't just be stripped out automatically when it's in the game files.

There was a time in WoW's raiding history that there were not widespread videos, technology didn't even allow for high resolution wow videos or for a good way to host them, the best you might manage was a 320x240 (640x480 if you were lucky) video of someone stabbing a boss with absolutely nothing being readable; you basically watched it to get a rough idea of something and listen to the music it had. If you could find a video at all! And in this time, raiding was the most mysterious and exotic it has ever been, as there weren't nearly mandatory PTR cycles for every raid patch.

Many individuals seem to think that current raiding guilds only go on the PTR to learn the bosses/tactics before they hit live, and while that is part of the reason, we wont deny, raiding guilds GENUINELY want the encounters to be tuned and designed well. We want raiding content to be challenging and sufficiently interesting and bug-free, so that when we get there on live, we can really sink our teeth in to something to keeps us busy -- and entertained -- for a while. Figuring out the boss abilities and formulating a strategy is half the battle, and half the fun.

Blizzard has a post about hiring for raiding experience specifically, so it would serve to reason that eventually, sometime in the future, raid content will actually again be completely tested internally and will hit the live realms with noone having seen it before. This is what so many raiders want, to be able to play content noone has done before.

Please keep the surprises in raids. Please. It feels like all of the Firelands raids have already been violated, and there will not be a single shocking or surprising moment in the entire instance now.
The current implementation of the Dungeon Journal is definitely not what I expected when it was first talked about by Blizzard. I saw it as a nice little extra feature that would help new players understand why things were going wrong in 5 mans and PUG raids. This seemed to be in line with all the problems that many players experienced when the new Cataclysm content came out and those used to how things were in WOTLK were struggling.

What appeared on PTR was something completely different. Its somewhere halfway between basic tooltips of spells and a literal guide. Although there may be few instances of it actually telling you how to handle specific abilities, for nearly all of them it tells you why, when and how the abilities will occur and that is the big problem in my mind.

Most high end raiders who have experience breaking down new encounters and given the information in the journal can lay down a foundation of a strategy without ever having pulled the boss. Although we had tooltips in the past, the big distinction here is that you had to figure out what caused things. I can remember so many instances of vent conversations involving speculation on what triggered certain abilities, conditions, transitions, etc. The Dungeon Journal in its current state removes nearly all doubt over these things.

Before I joined Premonition I was in a mid-tier guild that tried to be hardcore, but we could never break into the top spots. Most of that guild really wanted to reach the fights as soon as we could and figure out the boss ourselves, but whenever we did fall behind there was a collective sigh of disappointment in "having" to watch the videos of the fights by better guilds and read up on things, if we were ever to catch up again that tier. The Dungeon Journal does the same thing to every player who enjoys the excitement of discovery.

I believe the best case scenario for nearly every high tier raider would be for the entire player base to see as little as possible of the encounter before attempting it on live servers. Many people attacking high end guilds for being "selfish" about our arguments here and citing PTR raiding as giving us the same edge as the Dungeon Journal don't seem to consider the fact that we would prefer Blizzard to test everything internally, but that doesn't seem like a realistic solution to getting well tuned and debugged encounters right now.

At least with PTR raiding as it has been in the past we could have the experience of discovery on the PTR and then on live with any bosses/heroic modes not released on PTR. The Dungeon Journal goes too far beyond this. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Blizzard had said recently that Ragnaros (Or Heroic Ragnaros?) would not be tested on the PTR and remain a surprise - and yet Heroic Ragnaros abilities and phases are all listed in the Dungeon Journal before a single 10 man normal mode boss has been killed.

I really hope some compromise can be reached such as removing heroic abilities, changing ability descriptions to only be the spell tooltips, removing phase breakdowns, and if possible only having the Dungeon Journal fill out after certain conditions are met such as seeing the ability or killing the boss yourself. For this to work however it would need to not be able to be data mined. I won't lie about what a high end guild will do to get world first, we are still competitive and racing with each other, but that is only half of it. The other half is enjoying the game itself with our friends and discovering a new boss is a huge part of that for a high end guild.
The DJ has shown us every boss laid out before our eyes before we have even seen the boss models in-game. This has taken every single bit of mystery or adventure out of Firelands. I feel like blizzard has ruined probably the best raiding instance that has ever came out. I was extremely exited about every boss and the general look of Firelands, Ive been impressed and anxiously waiting since the rag suppression quest in Hyjal, that room blew my mind.

While im still excited about Firelands and all the bosses inside, i cant help but feel like am going into content already cleared by someone, with strats for each and every encounter laid out in my mind. Whats the fun in that? So i can kill a boss quicker and get the loot it drops? No, that isn't why i raid and that isn't why my guildies raid either and i don't think i am going over my boundaries saying that isn't why many of the top-end guild raid either. I raid for World firsts, i raid for my friends and most of all, i raid for fun. DJ has taken a lot of the fun out of new encounters for me.

I personally would like to see complete internal testing as far as the new raiding encounters go. As well as the elimination of data mining every single new thing that is coming out in the game. All the long hours the dev's put in at blizzard to give us a entertaining game is released on community wow sites 4months before its even live. Whether you want to see it or not you will eventually see it before it goes live. Look at the legendary staff questline, its everywhere, youtube videos, in-depth questline text, its graphics, stats, everything. Its just an example, but its not legendary anymore, its just loot to be aquired.

The DJ is a extremely good idea. It teaches new raiders or people with limited time to raid fights quicker. These should be the groups of people the DJ targets. Most of these people will still be raiding BWD and BoT long after Firelands has came out, it goes that way every single new tier. Pugs will form and the farming of gear will commence till they have the gear level and time to hit up firelands. The DJ featuring fireland will have almost no effect on this group of players for a couple months after firelands is released. So why not wait and release it later after all the hardcore players get their 6month fix?

Id suggest making DJ more in-depth with the ideal strats for every encounter laid out for 5mans Heroic dungeons and content that has been out for a suitable time period. Only keeping lore, boss models and loot available for new content. But you must make it so the unreleased strats cannot be data mined. This way it actually teaches players to be a better raider, to pick up and learn raid mechanics quicker. This will allow the majority player base to help close that enormous gap between hardcore and the casual player. I think it would breed a better player for down the lines of the patches to come.

Imagine a game where you only know very limited information about a current patch (but maybe class changes released by blizzard), oh what a wonderful game that would be to play. But you can only imagine it, its not the game we play.
Posting my support of all of this despite not being in a high end guild.

edit for content: I kept up to date with Prolifik's thread in the PTR Forum. My opinion on this is ruining the surprise of the game, even though it's ruined when I watch videos or eventually look up the fight for whenever I get to it, having these specific details just seems terrible.

Removing the ambiguity of certain abilities that remain debated for a while. This game needs to have some secrecy in it. Wowhead and mmo do enough damage to the raiding game as-is. I remember the days when strategies were hard to find and even I had a chance to get to a boss before I found a video or summary online. Then PTR raiding became the norm, and now this DJ is just another kick in the nuts.
Arguably one of the most rewarding feelings of raiding in a top end guild is seeing content before anyone else gets there. Sure a lot of hardcore raiding is about getting region/world first kills. But an equally large part of the enjoyment comes from knowing that your guild was able to come together and figure out how to beat a boss purely from your own hard work.

The current dungeon journal removes such a large part of the learning curve on a new fight that it destroys any potential of an epic encounter like Lich King or Yogg'Saron. Half the fun of progression is the in-guild theory-crafting to figure out how to deal with some new mechanic. The feeling you get when a strategy completely formulated by you and your friends works out is unparalleled.

Despite all of this, I do see the benefit of a dungeon journal for the majority of the WoW community. My suggestions on how to keep both sides of the situation happy would be to:

a) Have the journal update as the player/guild experiences the encounter. As they see certain abilities, they are filled into the journal so the player can review them.
b) Remove all information about the Heroic versions of the encounters.
c) Delay the boss information available in the journal by a set amount of time for new content.

The current implementation of the dungeon journal removes a huge part of the appeal for hardcore raiding. I urge you to reconsider the current design. This isn't a win/lose scenario. There are plenty of compromises that allow top end raiding guilds to experience the mysterious "new boss" feeling we look forward to while still allowing more casual guilds to have a good in-game resource for learning boss encounters.

So far what I've seen in the way of feedback about the dungeon journal is a large contingency of hardcore raiders protesting how much the dungeon journal uncovers about new encounters. I think most would agree that the journal initially sounded okay, but the current implementation of the idea just takes too much away from the enjoyment of progression for the majority of top echelon guilds.
Likewise, detailing intricacies of encounters detracts from the enjoyment of stepping into instances and learning as you go along. I support this.
05/16/2011 06:21 PMPosted by Everville
Posting my support of all of this despite not being in a high end guild.

This is the last, and only time this will be said. Do not post empty quotes or near empty quotes, and do not post "/signed" or anything. Doing so will endanger the thread and run the risk of it getting locked or deleted, or worse, your accounts may get warned. The first thread on this topic on the EU forums met that fate.

Basically, you must post with content and substance if you want this issue to be heard. The forums aren't meant to be used as a petition.

Keep it mature, and at the very least, read the first three posts by Lyrra and Advent before posting your response!
My concern, with respect to the Dungeon Journal, is that its exhaustiveness deprives encounters of their mystery – diminishing, if not eliminating entirely, one of the essential charms of bleeding-edge progression. I acknowledge that there exists a place for strategy websites, third-party data aggregation, and "Boss Mods", and that, for the bulk of the player base, the Dungeon Journal merely consolidates, and homologates in the process, those resources that have always informed and shaped their raiding experience. In this regard, it is admittedly an elegant and appropriate addition to the user interface.

However, I can state categorically that my most satisfying in-game experiences have been those involving encounters yet-unseen by any save a handful of players, for which no third-party addons have yet been written, and for which strategies are the exclusive product of intense, intra-guild discussion – call it raiding on the frontier. I can think of no better examples of this rare and precious pleasure than the defining encounters of the Ulduar content cycle, Mimiron-HM/[Firefighter] and Yogg-0/[Alone in the Darkness]. Grueling, punishing affairs, these bosses spawned lengthy discussion threads on our guild forums, encouraged protracted, post-raid conversations via Ventrilo, and spurred a concerted, guild-wide effort to overcome something that, in challenging us, also enriched us. I suspect that the same was true of all of the guilds working toward those initial kills, and nowhere was this more evident than in the fact that each of the first three Yogg-0 kills involved dramatically different raid compositions and approaches. I do not intend to suggest that, had the Dungeon Journal existed at the time, these encounters would not have been taxing on the execution end, but the explication of their mechanics (i.e. detailing Yogg's Shadow Beacon, or revealing the cap enforced on Mimiron's fire spawns), prior to seeing them first-hand, even ahead of Patch 3.1.0's Live-server release, would have limited those fondly-recalled strategy discussions, bereaved that first transition into a brand-new phase of an encounter of its novelty and excitement, and, personally, would likely have precluded (in part or in whole) many of those memories that make the Ulduar content cycle the one closest to my heart.

I sympathize with the need to consolidate and streamline, and to officially enshrine elements already widely adopted by the player base, but I implore the developers to consider adding to the Dungeon Journal incrementally, rather than exposing everything in a single salvo, to “unlock” boss pages as they're killed by progression guilds, or possibly revealing each mechanic as the player encounters them. Ultimately, the top-end progression guilds, the big names, so to speak, within our community are trailblazers at heart, reveling in the methodical plotting of a previously untrodden path. There is a place for rally racing, for having a course map and a co-driver to call out the corners and the hills as they approach, facilitating greater efficiency on an established track, but I fear that something both special and unique, in the gaming world, would be lost were the opportunity for a dedicated few to chart those courses, mark those curves, and pave the proverbial way removed.
Before I joined Premonition I was in a guild that ranked #160th in ICC. I have been on both the casual and hardcore raiding spectrum and feel that the “current” dungeon journal has little to no change on the casual raiders and is huge change to the high end raiders. As I reflect back on this tier, this is probably most fun I have ever had in WoW over past 4 years. I have been playing the RPG genre since the Super Nintendo and what keeps me interested in this genre is every time you get to a boss fight the mysterious mechanics and strategy of how to tackle the boss down is what makes it interesting. Would you find it fun playing a new RPG with a guide?

I know for a fact (first hand) casual raiding guilds in WoW do not go into boss fight blind. My old guild (which raids on a strict 3 day schedule) would watch as many videos of the fight as they can get their hands on and figure out what the best strategy is for them. Their strategy forums are based for high end guild videos and tips on forums like EJBB. Which guild has a strategy easier to mimic and execute? Is dungeon journal going to change this for the casual raider? Are they going to formulate a strategy based on the information they get from dungeon journal? They might for normal modes but definitely not for heroic raiding in my experience. Blizzard was criticized by many of its players about how easy/boring they made heroic raiding in WOTLK and wanted it to make it harder and epic in Cataclysm. Tier11 is an amazing start for hard and epic raiding and I feel the current dungeon journal will take away from that philosophy.

Blizzard mentions how amazing Heroic Ragnaros is going to be in Firelands and now I already have phase 2, 3, 4, and intermission spoiled. I already know three NPC’s are going to help us defeat the walking flame god that and I wished I had seen it first before reading about it. It saddens me now I have to first prepare for Firelands through a journal before actually raiding the instance.
I also agree that the DJ gives out too much information, some of which is far too specific and gets into the area of specific strategy, more than a few times.
I think the overall idea of the DJ is great, and the pictures and video from the PTR are fantastic, and I am very impressed with how it looks so far. That being said, I think at maximum it should cover 5-man heroic dungeons...personally for me, the normal versions would be satisfactory and leaving the heroic versions out would be ideal, but I believe that "raids" overall have no place in this tool, either normal or heroic. It's also very unsettling to see a blue, post an official announcement that specifically states there will be no strategy suggestions in the DJ...only to have the very first images directly contradict that statement.

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