Please bring back whoever designed Ulduar #2

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Original Thread - http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3966356744

Original Post -
Or if they are still working at Blizzard, make them in charge of raid design again please.

I am steadily getting burnt out by the same ol' same ol' of the raiding design that started with the atrocity which was ToC.

Normal 10-man -> Flip a switch -> Heroic 10-man

Normal 25-man -> Flip a switch -> Heroic 25-man

There has nothing been quite like the, "OMG!" moment when you pushed that big red button in Mim's room. Or when everyone in the raid blew all of their CDs to get XT's heart down only to see him regain full health and start wailing on the tank even harder.

I don't know how to explain it, but there was more depth with the hardmodes in Ulduar. Whether it was just a DPS race, or having to deal with a slew of new mechanics like Freya, I can say that I have never enjoyed a raiding as much as I did than when I did Ulduar and I was very sad when ToC came out as a tier raid.

Can we please remove the "switch" for hardmodes please? Can we have more of a variety of drops rather than three pieces of the same gear with slightly different colors and some green lettering? Can we please get Ulduar 2.0? *puppydogeyes*

Thank you~


Blue Post -
What a coincidence! We happened to talk about raid design and results with Ghostcrawler and Mumper yesterday, and everyone looked back fondly on Ulduar, among others.

Yes, the same designers and artists who worked on Ulduar are still working on raids.

Here's the thing -- Ulduar is an example of a raid where lots of players got to enjoy the first few bosses, and very few players ever saw the last few. Yogg Saron and Algalon were among the least-killed bosses ever, and not because they were exceedingly difficult. Rather, clearing the dungeon all the way to Yogg took up a big chunk of a raiding week (and you only had an hour to kill Algalon), and the ability to extend raid lockouts came later in 3.2.0 (but extending raid lockouts means getting less loot overall). Raid Finder partially resolves the length-of-raid problem, so we can consider designing longer raids, but that's not always an easy call. Long raids mean longer development time, and while some players might be willing to wait, we understand why others might get impatient.

Of course, having multiple raids in a tier (like the combination of Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent) has the advantage of giving players different environments to play in while potentially making scheduling and logistics easier.

Pushing a big red button for Mimiron was very cool, and again is fondly remembered. We have created something like 40 raid bosses since the creation of those encounters however, and we cant help but think that it would start to feel really gimmicky and forced if every raid encounter had its difficulty set by pushing a button, (or not killing adds, or changing the order you kill the bosses, or the other mechanics we used in Ulduar). We think Mimiron would feel less special if there were six more bosses in the game with big red buttons, and we’re just not sure the design space is there to have a near infinite variety of means by which players launch a heroic mode in game.

Nonetheless, because there are so many requests for those style mechanics, we are considering doing a few bosses with optional modes (in the same way Mimiron, Freya or Sartharion had them) in Mists of Pandaria.
01/26/2012 12:11 PMPosted by Kaivax
Ulduar is an example of a raid where lots of players got to enjoy the first few bosses, and very few players ever saw the last few. Yogg Saron and Algalon were among the least-killed bosses ever, and not because they were exceedingly difficult. Rather, clearing the dungeon all the way to Yogg took up a big chunk of a raiding week (and you only had an hour to kill Algalon), and the ability to extend raid lockouts came later in 3.2.0 (but extending raid lockouts means getting less loot overall).


And Ulduar didn't even have that much trash compared to a place like Black Temple.

The company answer to players questions for why we can't have larger 5-mans has been "they take too much time to complete, if you want a long dungeon crawl, that is what raids are for." And so now the answer to why raids are short with very little trash is that they also take too much time to complete? Seriously? This game is really showing what happens when you try to cater to everybody with your single form of end-game PvE content.
The following post needs to be read by some of the higher-ups at Blizz HQ :3

01/26/2012 03:41 PMPosted by Virtutis
Yogg Saron and Algalon were among the least-killed bosses ever, and not because they were exceedingly difficult. Rather, clearing the dungeon all the way to Yogg took up a big chunk of a raiding week (and you only had an hour to kill Algalon), and the ability to extend raid lockouts came later in 3.2.0 (but extending raid lockouts means getting less loot overall). Raid Finder partially resolves the length-of-raid problem, so we can consider designing longer raids, but that's not always an easy call. Long raids mean longer development time, and while some players might be willing to wait, we understand why others might get impatient.


There are some very odd statements here and also somewhat disingenuous.

For starters, Algalon was designed to be a heroic only boss and it was behind a wall of heroic bosses just to get to him. The targeted audience for this boss was the progression guilds that were working towards or clearing heroics - these are the very same guilds that never had a problem with the instance being "too large" or taking "too long" - rather these are the very guilds that had the time to do so.

To design him that way and then afterwards proclaim that the main reason so many didn't see him was.... the instance was too large... is at the very least a very silly statement. The modern equivalent of this boss is Sinestra and even now - 2 tiers later - only 2% of guilds have killed it. Please do not tell me in MoP the reson for not having such a boss will again be "because it took too long to clear BoT so not many people saw Sinestra...".

Next, I am not sure if you actually raided during Ulduar or not but Yogg Saron was a huge increase in difficulty from the previous bosses. While some higher end guilds may not have had the same issues, for the vast majority of casual guilds, dealing with clouds - particularly before they announced who they hit - was enough to leave with you no hair.

Yogg Saron, normal 25 man (before taking any keepers away) has the distinct pleasure of being almost tied to Lich King heroic for the number of failed attempts to kill boss. The only other boss that was in that ballpark was Sartharion 3D so to say once again that that Yogg Saron was not difficult and once again it was because the instance was too large makes it feel like you never actually raided this tier when it was current at all.

Long raids mean longer development time, and while some players might be willing to wait, we understand why others might get impatient.


Ulduar had the longest longevity of every raid in WotLK and Cataclysm. One of the biggest problems with Ulduar was that you released ToC too soon.

Ulduar was released on 14 April 2009 and ToC on 4 August 2009 which only left 4 months of progression in there and the vast majority of raiding guilds were still working on Ulduar bosses - we even went back in there for several montsh after ToC was released finishing bosses, and a large reason for that was because the fights were so much better and more fun and were still considered progression.

This instance was designed to take time to clear which gave it a long life span. If you designed raids like this you don't need to bring out content faster. The only reason you have to bring out content so much faster now is because you shot yourselves in the foot and designed the content to be cleared faster.

I will never understand the mentality behind designing content that can be gobbled up in a few weeks then complaining about us being bored and having nothing to do - and then using this as a justification for reducing the content further. It is no wonder people are starting to get ansy for new stuff in shorter time periods - you designed it that way.

Pushing a big red button for Mimiron was very cool, and again is fondly remembered. We have created something like 40 raid bosses since the creation of those encounters however, and we cant help but think that it would start to feel really gimmicky and forced if every raid encounter had its difficulty set by pushing a button, (or not killing adds, or changing the order you kill the bosses, or the other mechanics we used in Ulduar). We think Mimiron would feel less special if there were six more bosses in the game with big red buttons, and we’re just not sure the design space is there to have a near infinite variety of means by which players launch a heroic mode in game.


You know I hold the example of Ulduar in one hand and the example of having a "toggle" for heroic mode in the other and sorry but this makes no sense whatsoever.

I can understand the point of view that it is hard to make consistently new and unique ways of engaging heroics - but what the bloody hell do you think we are doing now? We HAVE a big red button for every single boss mode - the only difference is the mouse click is on your UI instead of on the wall. You talk about the mechanics in Ulduar becoming gimmicky after a time and yet the method you currently have in place is - and this is a personal opinion here so others will disagree - the stupidest design for implementing heroic modes since you first started experimenting with them.

There is no story behind them, no reason for there to be a heroic, no flow on with Raid design. I can't help visualising the Boss in front of us going "Come on, toggle that litte button and I will show you what I have under this kilt...!".

Long story short, if you design instances like Ulduar that are made to last, and have engaging switches between heroics and normals then not only do you have more time to create content and people are not in such a rush to move on, but you have much more engaging encounters that people talk about 2 years later. From a raider point of view I would have thought this is a win/win - you get more slack on the reigns to design better and more well thought out content.

But please, do not try to tell us that the reason you don't want to do this is because it takes too long to design and we want more content more quickly when the very reason we need that content more quickly is because you intentionally designed it that way.
Good gotta keep the good threads alive.
01/27/2012 06:28 AMPosted by Boochie
F Ulduar and F extending raid lockouts. Huge raid instances and the need to lock a raid ID is exactly what I DON'T want from raiding. My guild simply would never see late-game content without coming to the same raid ID two weeks in a row and extending a raid lockout deprives them of chances at loot from early bosses. I love how Ulduar looks and all the lore wrapped around it but it was extremely long. Even now when we're going back to it to get people their Proto's or finish off old achievements we still spend a long time in there and most of our guild is people who have kids to take care of, jobs to get up early for, and/or spouses that either don't play or don't like the game entirely.

And catering to players such as yourself is how we got these 7~8 boss raids that many players clear in under two hours and are left twiddling their thumbs for the week.
It's odd how people just assume one good idea from someone means everything they touch turns to gold. Many of the people who worked on this game from the start, who make important and final design decisions, are still heavily involved in the game. Sometimes they may do something you like, sometimes not.

This thread is by no means the most extreme example of this bias, but too many people call for the termination of a certain employee who did X while praising X, when in reality it's easily possible the same person did both.
Your pardon, noble Kaivax, but I should state that the likely reason why fewer people saw the last few bosses in Ulduar is due mostly in part that it didn't have enough play time before ToC was introduce. Ask anyone, and you shall hear that they didn't get the opportunity to spend half as much time in Ulduar as they would have liked because it was over shadowed by ToC too soon. If Ulduar was released 4 months prior to ToC and say the best guilds are farming Yogg within 1 month at best, that means they had roughly 9 weeks worth of farming him before his gear was obsolete.

Most guilds which may have moved at a more modest pace would have downed him maybe by the 2nd month. which means only 6 weeks. or perhaps the 3rd month which means only 3 weeks. For a place as massive as Ulduar was, it should have had more play time. Everybody liked it, I doubt many would have complained getting an extra month of Ulduar especially considering the unmitigated disaster that was ToC - template of Cataclysm. (Sorry, had to)

Best regards,
-Sanctinius
01/27/2012 10:45 AMPosted by Elrith
It's odd how people just assume one good idea from someone means everything they touch turns to gold. Many of the people who worked on this game from the start, who make important and final design decisions, are still heavily involved in the game. Sometimes they may do something you like, sometimes not.

This thread is more of a plee for a return of raids such as Ulduar, not a thread specifically wanting "Designer A" or "Designer B".
01/27/2012 10:48 AMPosted by Arianenna
This thread is more of a plee for a return of raids such as Ulduar, not a thread specifically wanting "Designer A" or "Designer B".


Agreed! I've never even been that impressed with Ulduar. But if Blizzard would bring back raid dungeons on the scale of Karazhan or Black Temple or Ulduar, I would be extremely happy. DS is treading close to being another ToC how you basically just port from boss to boss. Ugh.
duhhh you could just split the long raid into 2, having an attunement for the latter half. problem solved.
i dont care if they make shorter raids than ulduar. i just like the idea of hardmodes being incorporated into the boss mechanics somewhere.
LOL I just find the lackluster and progressive scaling down of immersive content kind of funny. Back in ToC everyone complained how crap it was and how much better ulduar was, back in icc everyone complained how crap that was and how great ulduar was. now people still complain about how great ulduar was. And now raids are so boring people are having nostalgia about tox and icc - the "bad" raids in the last expac. I'm just scared that raids might get so linear and boring that people look back on DS with nostalgia (literally don't think that's possible).

I raided ulduar, and I technically "saw" all the content even though I wasn't even in one of my servers mentionable guilds (not even top 10). We got Yogg down to 20% before I decided to quit (life related reasons) and that was a month before ToC hit. Also had a heroic XT and mid-level council kill as well as 1 elder freya. Some raid nights, sure they were long but I definitely enjoyed every minute of progression in there. And looking back to our Yogg progression nights I have some of my fondest memories in WoW since Kara.
I am not a serious raider but i loved the fights i did in Ulduar. I loved the flow and the mechanics of the fights.

As far as length of the dungeon. In my opinion raids should be bigger. They tend to hold all the important boss mobs for an expansion. I mean if i was a big boss my lair would be huge.

Most of my friends are pretty casual raiders and we all agree Ulduar was a great raid.
Even within Ulduar, the fact that Kologarn, Razorscale, and Ignis do not have hard mode versions (nor does Hodir really) is evidence that the encounter designers were finding it difficult to come up with unique triggering mechanisms. Generally speaking, even though killing XT's heart and pushing a button were cool gimmicks, the toggle we have now is probably the best solution.
I have never done Ulduar back in the day, but I went back to get my achievements in Cata. I was wowed. Everything is pretty, the weapons they drop are pretty, there's the rich Norse atmosphere in there that I like, and the whole thing is very original. In contrast, what little I've experienced in LFR I did for Dragon Soul is underwhelming. Same rehashed dragonblight area, top of wyrmrest temple, Eye of Eternity platform, old caves and tentacles found in twilight highlands.... ran out of ideas Blizz?
01/27/2012 11:09 AMPosted by Prissymage
Even within Ulduar, the fact that Kologarn, Razorscale, and Ignis do not have hard mode versions (nor does Hodir really) is evidence that the encounter designers were finding it difficult to come up with unique triggering mechanisms. Generally speaking, even though killing XT's heart and pushing a button were cool gimmicks, the toggle we have now is probably the best solution.

It is not just the trigger mechanism which is the issue. It is the fact that current hardmodes are the same fight with a few extra mechanics so basically after doing normal, doing hardmodes are rather "meh". Hardmode Freya had different levels of difficult, hardmode Thorim required you to do X amount of damage in X amount of time or it wouldn't trigger and once it did, you got another added aspect to the fight, etc.
01/27/2012 11:19 AMPosted by Toughcookie
In contrast, what little I've experienced in LFR I did for Dragon Soul is underwhelming.

This has been expressed by many players recently :-/ In comparison to any end boss, Deathwing is underwhelming at best :(
*crickets*

The first thread gets capped and this one is lonely :(
my love for ulduar has ZERO to do with its difficulty, and EVERYTHING to do with how the place looks. the bosses are different, the dungeon areas have a lot of variety, the fights have variety.

my distaste for place like ToC and DS have ZERO to do with difficulty and EVERYTHING to do with a lack of what we had in ulduar.

Morchok: dragonblight......really? ive been to the dragonblight before. in fact, ive been there a lot. the fact that you threw in some corruptions in the landscape doesnt change the fact that im fighting a boss in the dragonblight. whats more, this boss looks an awful lot like something i fought in the stoncore.

Yor and Zonn: funny, that area looks like "the maw of madness" in twilight highlands. rehashed garbage. also, didnt we fight guys that looked like this before? old kingdom perhaps? grim batol?

hagara: eye of eternity. you didnt even bother to think about this did you? WEVE BEEN THERE BEFORE. lazy lazy lazy lazy lazy lazy lazy......and oh yeah lazy.

ultraxion: the top of wyrmrest temple, with no roof. ive been to the top of wyrmrest temple quite a few times, the fact that you took the roof off doesnt make the place exciting or new. remember that thing i said about lazy? ya.

blackhorn: awesome! we've never fought a boss on a fyling ship before!........oh wait. did i see this guy before in deadmines? or am i just going crazy here thinking youve recycled content and thrown it back in our faces?

spine of deathwing: ok! the ONE fight in this instance that is different, new, and interesting. 1 out of 8 aint bad........oh wait, yes it is. thats like an F minus.....or something.

madness of deathwing: anyone thats done a good portion of the questing in cata has been to the malestorm before, so zero points for giving us something new to look at. the claws look cheap and flimsy, and tentacles? really? more tentacles? blizz do us all a favor, and NO MORE TENTACLE FIGHTS. can old gods have something other than tentacles?

on the plus side, i think the artwork for gear that comes from this tier is the best ive seen since ulduar, but man, did you guys ever get lazy on an instance. dragonsoul feels like im eating last weeks tuna casarole. poorly done fellas.

in ulduar, we had a lot of giant dwarves, and some of the bosses looked like stuff weve seen before, some of them looked similar as other bosses inside the instance, but not the same. i can STILL to this day go into ulduar, and be impressed by the "look" of it.

the only raid instance in Cata that is in same ballpark as ulduar, is bastion of twilight. and even then the place is too short. ToFW had great fights, and a great look, but it was only ONE area. BD was ok, but having played this game since classic, ive seen more than enough of blackrock mountain, and the design therin. the bosses were creative (with the exception of nefarian/ony) and challenging but the zone itself is again too small, and lacking in variety. FL......man this place had potential.....if only staghelm has the halfway point, and there were 6 more bosses inside, with the inside section developed further, with some alternating themes. just giving us a red/brown/yellow color scheme for an entire raid tier is poop. i liked the bosses, different looking and creative fights, but the zone is complete snoozeville.

i think 7-8 bosses per tier content is too low. 10-12 is a much better number. if your concern is that people dont see all 10-12 bosses, LFR should remove that concern. if LFR aint enough, fine....tune the reg mode stuff so that only the last 2 bosses present any real challenge, then make hardmodes tough as heck.....and lastly do not impliment nerfs until after the 12th week of the content. i like the idea of the stacking debuff to raid bosses rather than the stacking buff to raiders, but it seemed way too soon.

anyway, thats my buck o five.
01/27/2012 12:46 PMPosted by Blackflag
BD was ok, but having played this game since classic, ive seen more than enough of blackrock mountain, and the design therin. the bosses were creative (with the exception of nefarian/ony) and challenging but the zone itself is again too small, and lacking in variety


Haha, speaking of BWD... I don't even think a second of thought was given by the dungeon team if the layout for this raid could even fit in the top of Blackrock mountain, given everything that we already know is below it.

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