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BlizzCon 2009: World of Warcraft Dungeons and Raids panel

Alex Ziebart

In just a few short minutes, the next World of Warcraft panel of BlizzCon 2009 should be starting up. This time around it's the Dungeons & Raids panel, which should be exploring some of the dungeons of Cataclysm and potentially some words on Icecrown and other content.

Please click 'Read More' to find the ongoing liveblog.

Gallery: BlizzCon 2009: WoW Dungeons & Raids gallery | 88 Photos

1:58PM And the Q&A is over! Thanks for reading, everyone.

1:57PM "Is Sartharion getting lonely in Wyrmrest Temple?" "...possibly. We'll see."

1:56PM "Any plans to go to Nazjatar, and will we see an Azshara encounter?" No Nazjatar, but we may learn things about Azshara.

1:56PM Argent Coliseum hard modes won't be near the difficulty of Yogg+0 but will be much harder than the normal modes.

1:55PM Hard modes get iterated a lot because they're difficult to test.

1:54PM How extensive is your raid testing, and did anybody internally kill Yogg+0 pre-nerf? Daelo: Encounter team is 5-people, but we bring in other leads and raiders on staff for the 10-man. It's hard to get 25 developers together, but QA does those. "It's pretty much impossible for 25 people on QA to reach the skill level of a good raid. They didn't beat Yogg+0, they got spanked pretty hard by Yogg+4."

1:53PM Will we get a cinematic planned for Arthas's death, or something special? "100%. Absolutely. It's going to be awesome, there's no way you're going to be disappointed."

1:52PM Will attunement quests be coming back? "It's a possibility." If it's the right place and the right time, you might see them. They use other mechanics as well, the one boss a week of Argent Coliseum.

1:49PM Nefarian, Ragnaros and Onyxia have come back, and Naxxramas has come back. Any plans for, say... Ahn'qiraj? Stockton: We have no plans for that. Onyxia is the only one of the recent crop that is reused. The rest is influenced. Blackrock Descent is brand new content.

1:48PM Will the focus on AOE on raids bosses continue, or will we go back to single target? Daelo: There was an evolution towards AOE DPS, especially in 5-man dungeons. We gave everyone CC, then nobody used it because they didn't need it. We play on using casters more in dungeons so that's not as easy. Raids will be varied.

1:47PM "The Sons of Hodir loved when I polished their helm, but they didn't care that I saved their dad. Will you bring back reputation in raids?" Stockton says yes, they want to continue implementing rep in dungeons, but the guy heading up that system isn't at the panel. Sounds like Afrasiabi is in charge of that.

1:45PM My laptop battery is going to die out in a few minutes, so the full 20 minutes of Q&A may not be covered, but we'll try.

1:44PM There's a solution being deployed right now. Some servers already have it. The tech that allows them to fix this problem is the same tech that empowers cross-server LFG. In a few months, this problem shouldn't ever be seen again.

1:44PM Q&A starting. Question about "Instances cannot be launched."

1:43PM There will be a reward system for it. If you're the leader of a PUG and you complete the dungeon successfully, you will be rewarded. Tentative release is 3.3.0, definitely before Cataclysm.

1:42PM It's designed to make it easier to PUG.

1:42PM You can LFG for 5-man instances with players from other realms. "The tech supports raids, but we're going to kick it off with only 5-players." It will work off of battlegroups, like battlegrounds.

1:41PM Cross Server LFG!

1:41PM Onyxian Whelpling is adorable. Everyone will get it if they log in during the anniversary celebrations. The pet has animations such as... trying to Deep Breath.

1:40PM 1074 topend damage on the new OEB.

1:40PM We've talked about this before on the site, but the loot will be based around Tier 2 helms and other classic loot, like Deathbringer, Obsidian Edged Blade, and Quel'serrar.

1:39PM Holy crap. Showing off the new Onyxia loot stats. 182 Stamina on the Prot Warrior helm.

1:39PM Onyxia before she finished puberty, if you will.

1:38PM It kind of looks like teenage Onyxia. Not full-on Onyxian dragon, but more than just a drake.

1:38PM Showing the Brood of Onyxia flying mount. Looks great.

1:38PM "Even more Deep Breath randomization!"

1:37PM The fight will still feel like Onyxia, but there are new spells and mechanics that will come into play. "There's still many whelps." "Yeah, you'll need more DoTs, for sure."

1:36PM Stockton is back behind the mic to talk about Onyxia's anniversary arrival. Will arrive "sometime around November." Wow.

1:35PM Wow, the visuals are beautiful. The trash mobs look like Ragnaroses that popped Avenging Wrath.

1:35PM The Firelands is an exterior raid zone. We're taking the fight to Ragnaros, and it's not "too soon" anymore. He'll be at full strength.

1:34PM Blackwing Lair 2.0, Daelo implies we'll be seeing some old friends.

1:34PM You dawg, we heard you like raids so etc etc. There's a raid zone in Nefarian's old throne room. He's alive.

1:34PM "Do you see this? Nefarian's room? You might notice something is different about it."

1:33PM Moving on to Cataclysm raids now.

1:33PM Video preview of the 5-mans had some outdoor footage, too. Curious!

1:32PM Jaina, Sylvanas, and others will make appearances.

1:32PM Wow, multiple 5-man dungeons in Icecrown. 8 bosses across the dungeons. An epic questline carries you from one wing to the other, unlocking them in series. After you finish the chain you can do them all whenever you want.

1:32PM Showed some video of Icecrown. Looks beautiful.

1:30PM Patch 3.3 will also have a 5-man dungeon.

1:30PM 4th floor is just Arthas. It's a big, round throne room. "Parts of the room will break off. And if you fall of... well, it's bad."

1:29PM 3rd floor has multiple wings

1:29PM The two ships fire at eachother, and the two ships board eachother with rocket packs. You need to attack/defend.

1:29PM On the 2nd floor, you board your faction's airship. Alliance boards with Varian, Horde boards with Saurfang. You race the other faction up to the next floor.

1:28PM There are 4 floors to the dungeon, and it's still a spire. It's inside of the huge metal casing we see.

1:28PM It will use the waypoint system from Ulduar. Sindragosa and the Lich King are the two bosses they just named.

1:27PM There's actually 12 bosses.

1:27PM 10 and 25 player raid. "31 epic bosse-wait what? Did Ghostcrawler get ahold of this slide?"

1:27PM Icecrown Citadel sneak peek!

1:27PM Wow, Blackrock Caverns looks amazing. They weren't kidding. I'm getting all nostalgic.

1:26PM Oh right, better description. Take the egyptian stuff from Ahn'Qiraj and cobble it together with Ulduar. That's Uldum.

1:25PM This dungeon will be linear.

1:25PM "The Beast still lurks..."

1:25PM Deathwing has literally drilled a hole from Blackrock Spire to Grim Batol to transport supplies and troops. This is the Blackrock Caverns. The Twilight Hammer is there, naturally.

1:24PM Blackrock Caverns is up. "Reinventing a fan favorite." People love UBRS, but they didn't want to use that as one they made a Heroic for. They are going to recreate the experience.

1:24PM They just showed a video preview. It's very much Titan architecture. Imagine Ulduar, except with pharaoh statues instead of constellations.

1:23PM The story is that there is some sort of super weapon in Uldum and/or the Halls of Origination. Everyone wants it. Horde, Alliance, Deathwing, all of them.

1:22PM Concept art of the aesthetics. WoW's version of a sphinx is basically a gryphon.

1:22PM Brann Bronzebeard will be there, and it's non-linear again.

1:22PM The aethetics of Uldum and the dungeon Lost City of Tol'vir is WoW's take on Egyptian aesthetics.

1:21PM The other dungeon for Cataclysm noobs is an outdoor 'dungeon' in Uldum.

1:20PM Er, it was only 5 seconds long.

1:20PM They're playing video now. We'll try to get that, but no promises.

1:20PM Abyssal Maw will be one of the first dungeons you experience in Cataclysm. Showing off concept art now.

1:18PM The dungeon is non-linear.

1:18PM Abyssal Maw is the first they're showing off. It's in the Sunken City of Vashj'ir, a 5-player dungeon. You will literally get pulled down into the elemental plane of water. There are rifts in the ocean floor due to the Cataclysm, which allows access to the plane. The Naga have taken a huge interest.

1:17PM Slide of the "dungeon matrix." 4 raid zones, 8 dungeons, 2 "Old World Heroics." AT LAUNCH. Yes, that's 4 full raid zones at launch.

1:16PM Cataclysm preview now!

1:15PM After lots of iteration, "What just happened?" they pass it off to QA and the PTR.

1:15PM Playtesting comes next. Apparenly there are 5 encounter designers, which makes playtesting rather straightforward.

1:14PM And the screen that displays how much she Deep Breaths! Stockton: "Wow, looks like it's random." Daelo: "Yeah, how weird!"

1:14PM Creature editing panel for Onyxia pulled up. It has all of her 3.2.2 details. Abilities, health pool, damage range, loot, model, etc.

1:13PM They're showing an actual shot of Wowedit right now. Mob placement and mob path is plotted out with dots and lines.

1:13PM A tool called "Wowedit" is what they use to actually place things and make them do what they do.

1:12PM "What makes an encounter cool?" and making sure variety is provided come after.

1:11PM A dev mentioned vehicles can ride other vehicles and that's when they decided, "We need to do a Voltron fight." Hence Mimiron.

1:11PM Brainstorming is the ground level for encounter designers. "We sit down at a table in a dimly lit room and just start throwing out ideas." Inspiration comes from anywhere.

1:10PM Daelo is taking over for Stockton now and getting into Encounter Design.

1:09PM Showing off some concept art. Some for Icecrown, some for Cataclysm dungeons. Oh hey, and the train to Mimiron!

1:09PM Then they go to the artists and work closely with them. Artists play a role in dungeon design as well. Example, Utgarde Keep's entryway came out of concept art. The flames out of the forge, etc.

1:07PM They plan the interactive pieces of the dungeon very early in development, because they need to spend a lot of extra time on those things. Example, shattering floor in Malygos, moving bridge before Vashj.

1:07PM They're showing off some very raw 3D maps. Completely untextured.

1:06PM After blocking it out in 2D, they do it in 3D. They repeatedly check the scale, and they plan on using the Ulduar-esque teleporters more to allow them to make larger areas.

Hello I am filler text to make a 'Read More' link show up!

1:04PM Halls of Origination 2D map as well. Picture coming later.

1:04PM Stockton confirms that there will be 4 levels/floors to the dungeon. More Icecrown information later in the panel.

1:03PM Map of Icecrown Citadel! Will try to get images late,r again. There are floor labels, "3rd Floor" "4th Floor"

1:03PM Image coming later, there's a basic mockup of Grim Batol on the scren.

1:02PM From there they block the dungeon out in 2D. The maps, the flow, bosses and boss placement, and assorted other points of interest.

1:01PM They're going into their design process first, the steps to how they make a dungeon. First is "Epic Idea." Where is this place, who lives there, and what the player goals are.

1:00PM Corey Stockton and Scott Mercer are our panelists today. If you were unaware, Scott is also known as Daelo.

1:00PM Directv display just turned off here at the panel, meaning panelists will be out in just a minute or two.

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