Teldrassil
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Can't wait for real dungeon exploration to make a comeback in wow classic... before anyone misunderstands me - I'm not saying vanilla dungeons were harder (mythics on live right now are pretty challenging and require a lot of strategy) - what I'm saying is that they're just not DEEP enough.

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Take blackrock depths for example, described in the well known and much shared image above which compares it with a newer instance at the bottom. What do I mean about depth? An expansive and elaborate layout with plenty of secrets, interconnections and dead ends.

Blizz built a fucking multi level underground city and populated it with places like the tavern, which serve no purpose other than housing rep vendors and providing immersion. Places like this lent BRD depth of character - so much work clearly went into making this place desirable to explore and replay over and over again.

I just loved how BRD and MC were connected by the legendary Sulfuras - you would have to farm cores and Dark Iron from BRD as a start towards crafting the Sulfuras hammer. Not only that but you needed the rep from BRD too. This made the world feel massive, where revisiting earlier instances had tangible value and gave them deep significance even in the end game.

Any other fond memories for this place or simply for dungeon design back in vanilla wow?

Teldrassil
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Thank John Staats for this amazing dungeon layout :roll:
Even Blackrock Spire was his work. He was talking about it in the Classic Cast podcast if you wanted to take a look. He also wrote a book about game development and there is a lot of information about vanilla dev specifically. Considering buying it actually.

   Ravenheart Quillboar
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Mulgore
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That's not only an issue with WoW, every game basically became a long corridor with cutscenes

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Ish-ne-alo por-ah (May the days ahead be guided by the elders of long ago)
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Teldrassil
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I didn't play much of the latest fps games but I feel like this is true at least for the majority of them, sadly.

Faendur, the Creepy Dwarf
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DOOM 2016 seemed to do pretty well with its level design most of the time. Most shooters now though admittedly aren't that far from that picture. That is if the game even bothers to include a single player campaign anymore.

Back to WoW though, the complexity of the dungeons is what earned them the name of dungeon in the first place. BfA's current dungeons are pretty and somewhat fun the first time around but they are just slogs of trash mobs on M+ difficulties. I honestly also just don't care for time trials either. I want to enjoy the content, not rush through it.

   Faendor fendor
Orgrimmar
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Just make dungeons brutal again. I am 100% certain that players returning for Classic will be better at them than they were in 2005.

I am also 100% certain that their overconfidence after a generation of heirloomed, enchanted, faceroll tanks and endless-mana healers will wipe them the first time they step into Deadmines.

   Merode
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Ravenheart wrote:
1 year ago
Take blackrock depths for example, described in the well known and much shared image above which compares it with a newer instance at the bottom. What do I mean about depth? An expansive and elaborate layout with plenty of secrets, interconnections and dead ends.
BRD is hand down, in my opinion, the best dungeon ever designed. It's not just a dungeon, it's a real piece of art. It really is a capital city that you are invading, starting from the underground and up to the throne's room. And the best thing is that, even if it isn't an endgame dungeon, it has a shit ton of motivations to come back there.

As a miner/blacksmith just the sole fact that to smelt/forge anything related to dark iron I had to come back here was AMAZING. Inconvenient for sure, but really immersive.

It had also quite a good replayability just for some of the randomness: the arena changed, the dark keeper changed you could exit the Grim Guzzler in many different ways... really the best dungeon ever made.

Another interesting thing I recently discovered is that Ambassador Flamelash was supposed to be the last boss and that they added the part after that thinking that the dungeon would have been too short otherwise :D Really a different design perspective to this day WoW.

   Faendor teebling Ravenheart TheZhevra Goetia CBX
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Mulgore
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Got lost in Wailing Caverns more times than I'd like to admit.

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Silverpine Forest
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Wasn't BRD's level of complexity the exception more often than the rule? Weren't most Classic dungeons on the same level of complexity as Shadowfang Keep?

Authiel wrote:
10 months ago
DOOM 2016 seemed to do pretty well with its level design most of the time.
I tried Doom 2016... for a few hours. It was nothing more than a series of interconnected arenas. Move into a new area, spend 20 minutes running in circles and shooting at wave after wave of endlessly respawning bad guys, move to the next area, rather rinse repeat. It was just Unreal Tournament except that it made players walk from one deathmatch to the next. Doom 3 was vastly superior; I own a copy of it and have played all the way through to the end.

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Yeah, BRD as a concept is very cool but its length makes it impractical even by Vanilla's standards. I think I did full run maybe twice and was apalled that paladin T0 gloves (or boots?) were so deep down this dungeon which made them hard to get. Usually people would leave in the middle or respawns would greet you after wipe at Lyceum. I think I started to hate it after spending half a day collecting people to do it, then running it just for people to drop out in the middle. Not to mention 80% of people didn't know where to go or in what order (even I'm not sure to this day).

I think this is the place you want to go with your RL friends or guildies.

   CBX
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Theres no doubt! Old Wailing Caverns will make people quit Classic lol! Not to mention Gnomer, ST, and Uldaman.

I always thought UBRS was one of the best and toughest instances. Mostly linear with a few cool events and challenging pulls with big payoff. Unfortunately, it was keyed and combined with LBRS which was so challenging.

Mulgore
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Oh man, how could I forget Gnomer and accidentally pulling an entire trench of mobs.

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Tanaris
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fendor wrote:
10 months ago
Ravenheart wrote:
1 year ago
Take blackrock depths for example, described in the well known and much shared image above which compares it with a newer instance at the bottom. What do I mean about depth? An expansive and elaborate layout with plenty of secrets, interconnections and dead ends.
BRD is hand down, in my opinion, the best dungeon ever designed. It's not just a dungeon, it's a real piece of art. It really is a capital city that you are invading, starting from the underground and up to the throne's room. And the best thing is that, even if it isn't an endgame dungeon, it has a shit ton of motivations to come back there.

As a miner/blacksmith just the sole fact that to smelt/forge anything related to dark iron I had to come back here was AMAZING. Inconvenient for sure, but really immersive.

It had also quite a good replayability just for some of the randomness: the arena changed, the dark keeper changed you could exit the Grim Guzzler in many different ways... really the best dungeon ever made.

Another interesting thing I recently discovered is that Ambassador Flamelash was supposed to be the last boss and that they added the part after that thinking that the dungeon would have been too short otherwise :D Really a different design perspective to this day WoW.
I can only agree, and interesting fact there at the end. I think what made the big dungeons in classic stand out, was that there was much more quests, story and depth to them. Unfortunately, the trend of putting quests inside the dungeon to make leveling easier took over in later expensions. Therefore dungeons became much more straight forward and instead of rewarding a proper long run, achievements and higher difficulty became the norm.

   fendor
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It's crystal clear that the design pattern on all dungeons in vanilla is based more in DnD than what is nowadays.

Big areas where you can explore and get lost, with dead ends, useless (but with a sense of existence) mobs on corners, neutral areas, multiple quest chains and secret bosses...

Obviously it needs to be a middle ground between complexity and playability, that's why I think Stratholme is the pinnacle of WoW dungeons, It has some secret bosses, a few quest chains, 2 main zones and you can select in which order you want to do some things, it's not absurdly big and you can play it the way you want, either way by speed-running it or taking your time to clear it entirely.

I like this design pattern more than the linear designed-to-be-played-in-20-minutes dungeons, it may be harder and not for everyone, but it feels like a true dungeon.

Alterac Valley
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I loved the design back then, yeah the all took ages to complete but when you done it was just a great feeling. Now it just a loot pinata that you run 5-10 times till you have everything you want.

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DnD inspired really is the key here. I actually made a oneshot campaign out of BRD for some of my friends who never played WoW. I just gave them the "save the princess" quest and let them explore through the dungeon. They absolutely loved it. And the plot twist at the end totally got them. Thats how good this dungeon is.

Alterac Valley
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Samaraner wrote:
5 months ago
DnD inspired really is the key here. I actually made a oneshot campaign out of BRD for some of my friends who never played WoW. I just gave them the "save the princess" quest and let them explore through the dungeon. They absolutely loved it. And the plot twist at the end totally got them. Thats how good this dungeon is.
Damn never thought about that. I am a GM for a Warhammer RPG group but the problem is they all played WoW so i can not use it for them ;)

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For me places like BRD are special because they contain what has been mentioned above: incidental bits, 'dead ends', 'pointless' NPCs and minor vendors (as well as the actual entrance to Molten Core! How cool is that bit? And some good loot, ofc).

One thing I love about Vanilla WoW, and some other games, is that not everything is geared to progression. By this I mean there are rubbish items! There are weird NPCs that do bugger all but stand in the corner of a pub 6 miles underground, just cos. There are places you get lost. Yeah, it's frustrating, but it's also much more immersive.

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