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Does Mists of Pandaria need new heroic five-man content?

Matthew Rossi

While recording the WoW Insider Show this week, my two co-hosts Anne Stickney and Olivia Grace were discussing heroic five man dungeons and made the interesting point that, while Cataclysm used new heroics to help people catch up in gearing as new raid tiers were released, the advent of the Raid Finder might mean that it isn't necessary anymore. If you're running LFR as your primary way to see/experience raid content, then you'd simply run previous LFR's in order to gear up and collect valor points for the various reputation vendors. This would allow you to get geared enough for further LFR as new raid tiers are released, and keeps the previous LFR's relevant. If you're running the current 10 or 25 man raids, you can use the LFR's for those raids to bootstrap yourself appropriately if you're not already geared well enough from the previous tier of raiding.

Either way, you don't need new heroic dungeons for the task - between daily quests, scenarios and LFR, the Cataclysm model which placed new five mans in patch 4.1 and 4.3 might no longer be necessary. Challenge modes keep the heroics that launched with Mists of Pandaria evergreen, since you can't outgear them, but is that enough for fans of five mans? While both Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm introduced post-launch dungeons, Burning Crusade really only introduced Magister's Terrace in its last content patch. This makes me wonder if we really need any new five mans, and if we do, what would/should they be?

Dungeons for their own sake?

Let me be frank - I don't think we need new five mans for gearing purposes. We have enough ways to gear up a character with LFR and reputation, and I especially hope that the game slows down the gear cycle that got way out of hand in Wrath and Cata. I'm fine with people needing to run older content in order to gear up for newer content instead of introducing new heroic five mans to leapfrog over it - I'm okay with people needing to run the Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring LFR in order to run the new Throne of Thunder when 5.2 drops.

But that doesn't mean I don't want new five mans. It just means I don't want them introduced just to give us a place to go gear up. I would be fine with a new five man, or even a few, that didn't increase the item level of their drops at all compared to current five mans. Why would players run them? Well, for starters, they'd run them because they're new. They'd be a new challenge for Challenge Mode players because they'd need to adapt new strategies for them. And if a new incentive was needed, an increased chance to drop a 476 epic at the end could be introduced. The problem with giving new five mans increased ilevel gear is, as we saw in Cataclysm, people stop running the older heroics when you do that. With the de-emphasis on valor points as a main gearing strategy, introducing new five mans seems to me to be worthwhile on the merits of the dungeons themselves. The emphasis should be on giving players a cool new place to go, not on giving them a gearing shortcut when we have enough gearing options as it is.

The fun of the crawl

But I'm neither dogmatic nor arrogant enough to believe there aren't good arguments for either simply not introducing new five mans at all, or for using the Cata and Wrath models for new heroics and introducing them with new higher ilevel gear. My own belief is that with new LFR's every tier of raiding we'll have plenty of gearing options going forward, and that players who run five mans primarily will collect valor points that will eventually allow them to buy up to ilevel 496 (perhaps better as new patches bring new reputations with new rewards, such as the Sunreaver Onslaught/Kirin Tor Offensive in 5.2) but it could be that new dungeons just won't be compelling if they don't add higher ilevel items. Perhaps that means that they must have them, or perhaps that means that in the age of scenarios and LFR they're just not as necessary as they were and we can afford to only introduce them when we have a compelling story reason.

What I personally love about five mans is that old school dungeon crawl feeling of them. They remind me strongly of my days playing D&D, and even my early WoW experience where raids were rare and I spent the majority of my time in dungeons like UBRS and Scholo and Dire Maul. I certainly don't want that style of play lost.

Certainly patch 5.2 looks to be sprawling enough without one. But with faster patch cycles, a theoretical patch 5.3 could very well be built entirely around a new dungeon or two. It now falls to you to debate the issue - should we see more heroic five man dungeons this expansion, or less? Do we need them, or are we covered by newer options?

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

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