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BlizzCon 2011: Heroic Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery redesign

Joe Perez

One of the most exciting things last year was the announcement that in the Cataclysm expansion there would be a redesign of classic dungeons into new heroic modes for level 85. Shadowfang Keep and The Deadmines got quite a face lift including new layouts, new boss mechanics and in some cases entirely new bosses. The redesign was quite successful, and the new instances were fun and fresh and breathed new life into content that had previously been considered stale.

With the announcement of the new expansion, Mists of Pandaria, there was a very exciting announcement that we will be receiving three new heroic dungeons as redesigns. These rediscovered zones are Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery. Both are iconic instances and most players have some fond (or not so fond) memories there.. During the Dungeon and Raids panel we received a few bits of information about each of these revamps. Join us after the break for details.

Scarlet Monastery

The Monastery has long since been a part of the game, housing the members of the scarlet crusade since the days of Vanilla WoW. The zon e is currently comprised of four separate zones, the graveyard, the armory, the library and the cathedral. Each covers various player levels with the graveyard being the lowest, to the cathedral which is the highest. The instances have also been the home of some NPCs that have been entwined with the games lore from the beginning like High Inquisitor Whitemane and Commander Mograine, and has been a staple of the world for many years.

When the new expansion hits, the entire zone will be redesigned and repackaged. The first change (and likely most notable) is that the four wings of Scarlet Monastery will be remixed and combined down into two. The graveyard and the cathedral will be one of them. Players will start out in the graveyard with Bloodmage Thalnos as their first boss before moving on to the cathedral proper, where they'll encounter a brand new addition to the dungeon. The developers at Blizzard stated that they felt like the gardens before the cathedral was just a giant space with a ton of trash, and that putting a boss there felt like a good use of space. The armory and the library will also be combined into one zone, and while the feel of the zone as well as various NPCs will be preserved, there has been a lot of trash and rooms removed as it was felt that it took away from the focus of the zone.

Ultimately players seemed to react well to the proposed changes and the developers seemed very excited about them as well. The way each of the zone maps looked, it seemed to keep the feel of the original zones, but made them much more streamlined.


Another location with a solid spot in the history of Azeroth, Scholomance, is getting some much needed love in the next expansion. The first change that players will notice is that there will be a boss as soon as you enter into the instance in the very first room. This is important to the developers because they felt that the first room not only was underutilized and could easily have been a place for a boss from the beginning, but it is a space that players largely ignored in favor of using the side door. By placing a boss in the first room, it was said that they hope to properly utilize the space, and sort of set the tone for the instance. At the time of the panel it was said that this first boss would be Ras Frostwhisper, giving players a very interesting fight to start things out with.

Many of the rooms have been removed, giving the instance a much more linear feel than before. It was a concern that players got lost in the original version of the instance, and the revamp was the perfect opportunity to shuffle things around. Some bosses have been relocated entirely, which is the case with Rattlegore who has been moved from the basement of the zone to the same level as the other bosses, but into his own room. It was stated that all of the original NPCs would be here as well in one form or another, and the bosses and events should for the most part be preserved, if streamlined. The moving of the rooms into a more logical layout makes sense for the zone, and will help players who are unfamiliar with it in the original format navigate it with ease.

Design Philosophy and closing thoughts

Most important of all these changes is the fact that they are being done to make sure the dungeons follow the design philosophy of the development team. First thing that was mentioned was focus. They felt that certain instances such as the Halls of Origination and even the new Deadmines got away from them. While they were fun, they had a lot of bosses, a lot of trash, and just took forever to complete. They stated that they wanted to bring the dungeons back down to the point where you had time to run one or two of them a night while still having the time to enjoy other aspects of the game. You can certainly see how they intend to do this with these two iconic dungeons by simple virtue of removing rooms all together and paring down the rest.

They also wanted to take the opportunity to revamp boss abilities while staying true to the original flavor of the zones. Bosses like Ras Frostwhisper will likely have a new set of tricks for players to encounter when they engage him for the first time. The idea is an important one, and while details aren't available yet on what type of mechanic or ability changes we can expect in the zones bosses, we will all be eagerly awaiting more information. Personally, I feel that the changes will add enough freshness to the zones for players both old and new to have fun discovering and re-discovering these amazing dungeons.

Please keep in mind that this information is based on what was provided by Blizzard at the time of BlizzCon 2011, and is subject to change at any time. As always, check back for new information here at WoW Insider.

The news is out -- we'll be playing Mists of Pandaria! Find out what's in store with an all-new talent system, peek over our shoulder at our Pandaren hands-on, and get ready to battle your companion pets against others. It's all here right at WoW Insider!

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