- All 5-man dungeons will have a Heroic mode
- Heroic dungeons will have a separate loot table than non-Heroics
- A new token system will be used, similar to the Badge of Justice one used now
- All raid dungeons will have both 10-man and 25-man versions
- The 10 and 25-man progressions will not depend on each other
- There will be no attunements or keys necessary for any raid
- The 25-man loot will be a tier higher than the 10-man loot
- The 10 and 25-man versions of the same raid will be on different timers so that each can be attempted on the same day by the same people
It's quite clear that Blizzard is constantly adapting the game. Here are some observations from the changes listed here.
- It is rather obvious that Blizzard has segregated its population with regards to game play intensity. The PVP crowd has been largely given a very hardcore environment upon which to progress while by contrast, the PVE element of the game has largely been watered down and made very casual friendly. This isn't to say there is no room for a hardcore raid guild or a casual arena team but Blizzard's intent for those demographics have been definitively established.
- I am still on the fence with the Death Knight although the information provided in the articles do make them sound fun to play. Still, while there are obvious differences with game play mechanics, there does seem to be a lot of functional redundancy between Death Knights, Warriors and Paladins. More information is needed to really get a good understanding of the class and its capabilities.
- With the introduction of a new class, there are always players who abandon a character to begin a new "main" character. Will this be at the cost of core classes, most notably healer classes who get burned out or former protection warriors who want to be able to dps and tank? Impossible to speculate for now but it is something to keep in mind down the road.
- The changes to the PVE raiding system were alluded to in previous statements by Blizzard, which indicated that Blizzard wished more of the player base was able to experience the upper echelon of game content in Burning Crusade versus the ~2% of players working on Sunwell encounters. Providing both a 10 and 25 man option to every raid instance in the game allows guilds of large numbers and small numbers to participate in game content.
- Furthermore, the changes to raid composition may result in more social and guild stability by giving players in a smaller guilds a platform to advance without high degrees of regular recruitment. This lessens the dreaded "feeder guild" phenomenon where smaller guilds gear up good players who hit a wall progressionally that can only be scaled by moving on to a larger, 25 man capable guild. The only potential downside is that current hyper focused 25 man raiding guilds may have more difficulty recruiting in the event a core, high attendance raid member suddenly vanishes. This isn't to say there won't still be guild hopping; it's just that if the motivation for guild hopping is to experience content, the likelihood of a player making the commitment to end game raiding is less likely.
- It's clear that Blizzard learns what works and what does not. While I too grow weary of the same daily quests, there is no better way to accumulate gold in a reasonable time frame. Badges of Justice allow the disparity in gear between casual and hardcore players to a minimum but still keep the hardcore player ahead with more options at their disposal. 10 and 25 man raid templates have been very successful. All of these things have been expanded upon in Lich king. By contrast, the process of key flagging players necessary to field a 25 man raid consistently is the kind of "time sink" grind that generates burn out. These have been removed from Lich King.
- While this is just speculatory, it is reasonable to assume that the consequence for no key quests to enter raid instances is that the first encounter in every new 10 man and 25 man instance will be quite the "gear check" encounter. The days of being indirectly rewarded with encounters such as Attumen, The Loot Below and Loot Reaver are over. In fact, don't be surprised to see an encounter like Brutallus as we venture into new raid content for the first time, where a raid of players will need optimal gear from every member just to defeat the encounter.
There will be certainly more news ahead and rest assured whenever the chance to enroll for the open beta arrives, I'll be applying. Until next time...