Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Back To Zul

I don’t even play World of Warcraft anymore, but this piece of news makes me sad: The raid instances of Zul’Aman and Zul’Gurub, both of which have played significant roles in my raiding career  (I led my first ever raid in Zul’Gurub, for example), are being brought back to the game as five-player heroic dungeons. Sure, hardly anyone played in those instances anymore and I dare say many newer players won’t even know them, but it is still an awful move to simply re-tool them for small groups of level 85 players.

For one, romping through the content with five players takes away a lot of the epic memories players might still have from the good old times. Clearing an instance within half an hour with a group of randoms is just not the same as wiping on Hakkar for weeks before finally getting a kill. A dungeon simply isn’t as grandiose as a raid instance and turning one of the latter into one of the former degrades it quite a bit.

Then there’s the issue of graphics of course. I suppose that Blizzard’s main reason for bringing back old dungeons is to save money that would have to be spent on graphic artists and 3D modelers in the creation of a new zone. Reusing old models and designs is simply quite a bit cheaper than creating things from scratch. Alas we also saw the results this approach in the re-tooled Naxxramas (and I’ll assume things are similar in the newly re-tooled Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep). Models back then were low on polygons, badly textures and all-around not very good. In order for the money-saving to kick in, Blizzard can’t afford to have the zones remodeled, so they will take the old (read: ugly) assets.

Finally we’ll have to talk about what this means for the game’s development in the long run and I’m afraid the news are not good. The amount of new content provided to players is getting less and less with each new content patch, showing a decline in creativity and general effort put into the game. For my money, Blizzard is milking their golden goose (Yes they have the technology to milk geese. They got it from Darth Kotik.) as much as they can with as little effort as possible while internally focusing on new projects and leaving WoW to die a slow but inevitable death. No, WoW isn’t dead yet and won’t be for quite a while, but they have turned off life support and those who choose to stick around will suffocate sooner or later.

  • I’m still enjoying your blog Scrusi, keep up the good work!

    On this particular topic I’m not sure that I agree. The rehashing of old content is lazy, the textures (which I think may have been updated for DM and SFK, but let’s assume they weren’t) may not be up to scratch, yes. But they completely removed ZG from the game, and that makes me sad.

    I used to take the occasional stroll through there with 3-4 others at level 70, mainly because others wanted mounts, and always had that nostalgic feeling. With time, and level 80, the challenge disappeared rapidly and the content became relatively more and more easy. In short, those strolls lost their lustre for me.

    I think bringing it back is good for two reasons – first off I can revisit the instance visually and trigger than sweet nostalgic feelings (I too lead my first ever raid there!), which I couldn’t with the instance removed. Secondly, there can be some semblance of a challenge involved in running the instance compared to level 85s with 150k HP probably being able to solo most of the instance by previous standards.

    Despite very rarely playing anymore, I do like the option of being able to return to ZG. I agree that this is not a replacement for new content, however, and that Blizzard are seemingly continuing on their lazy streak. But then again, if we both don’t play any more (I haven’t for 3 months or so), why do we care? 😉