BLUF: Super long post about epic (aka mega) dungeons and how they can be re-implemented for today's WoW. Just toying around with an idea in my head, and wanted to generate some discussion here.
Now, I define epic dungeons as being very long, arduous dungeons that take more than one 2-hour session to complete. They usually have more than 10 bosses, and loads of trash. Think pre-split Blackrock Depths and pre-split Dire Maul, for example.
During Vanilla, BRD was a tough epic dungeon. It took a dedicated group hours to complete the entire dungeon without skipping any bosses. It was worth it, too, at the time — Thaurissan dropped Ironfoe, one of the very few Epic quality maces that didn't drop from raids, many BiS pre-raid trinkets dropped from various bosses, and there were 40 quests inside the dungeon. Yes, you heard me right — FORTY. It had more quests than Vanilla Silithus. Point is, BRD was relevant even to raiders, and an excellent example of quality, challenging 5-man content. It even had skips, so people could bypass large parts of the dungeon later on.
BC had some large dungeons as well, but after that, epic dungeons just…stopped existing. There hasn't really been another attempt at an epic dungeon, aside from Karazhan in Legion…kinda. It makes sense, though. LFG, introduced in Wrath, does not play well with epic-sized dungeons. Random PUGs from LFG hate anything that takes a long time. It's gotten worse since time has moved on. More and more people in this game are becoming casual, which isn't a problem, but it does mean that people who queue up for LFG just want to get shit done in what little time they have to play, not sit down and do an epic 2 – 4+ dungeon. Which is also why Mythic+ is so popular. None of this is a problem per se, but if you don't like to rush things (ahem me), these kinda go against what you like.
I think epic dungeons can make a comeback, and become excellent 5-man content for people who don't care to deal with 20+ people screeching at each other over mic, and/or don't like Mythic+ for whatever reason. Like me.
1) Epic dungeons shall not be on LFG. Not even wings. These dungeons should be attempted only by veteran players with good communication, and cutting it up and throwing it up on LFG trivializes the entire thing. Think mage tower.
2) Physical rewards from epic dungeons shall be good enough to be worth it, but not powerful enough to trivialize raids and M+. Epic dungeons aren't an "alternate" to raiding or M+. As such, the rewards should be standard loot of Mythic dungeon ilvl, maybe 5 – 10 iLvls higher at most for the last couple of bosses. The majority of the rewards shouldn't be gear though — the rewards should be UNIQUE mounts, titles, achievements, pets, toys, transmogs — stuff that you WANT to get, but shouldn't be FORCED to get. Standard gear is only there to give a consolation prize at most, not be a "good way to gear up". People who go into these should only do it for fun. Also, this might be controversial, but little to no "AP" or whatever equivalent should be rewarded.
3) The "true" reward of the dungeon should be the difficulty of the content. I know, I know — this is a trope. But hear me out. The content should be difficult and fun. Epic dungeons should be mechanically difficult, with a dash of traditional boss difficulty. Item level shouldn't really matter. High ilvl players should not be able to steamroll the content just because they can output tons of DPS. I know Blizzard can do this, they've done it before with Mage towers. Additionally, boss fights shouldn't last only 1 – 3 minutes like they do for dungeons. I think a 5 – 6 minute fight would really help increase the anticipation and the payoff of a difficult kill. Trash packs would also be difficult, to the point of requiring CC.
4) Epic dungeons should be, well, epic. There should be more than 10 bosses for sure, but not enough to look at the dungeon list and go, "welp, fuck this, never getting that mount". Lore should be heavy for these, but in the form of books or scrolls or something, none of this fuckin' 3 – 4 minute expositions from random NPCs. Pandaria was the fucking worst about this.
5) Skips should be implemented as a way to bypass certain areas to get to other bosses. Much like BRD did, they had the gate which let you skip the entire prison wing. Stratholme had various keys that let you bypass certain gates and let you into the merchant quarter. Also, bring back keys and the keyring in general, fuck.
6) Much like pre-split BRD, these zones should have lots of quests in them. Not just crappy ass "kill these bosses, k good job, bai" but full-on involved quests. They could also have daily (or weekly) quests in them. Maybe even their own factions to buy some stuff from them.
Those are just some points I had to make about epic dungeons.
This post is getting really long.
I also had some ideas for epic dungeons that I wanted to throw around just for shiggles.
A train dungeon like Grimrail Depot. The group zones in and fights 4 – 6 bosses up to (or on?) the train, where they are to make a choice where to stop the train at. Whichever they choose, the other stops are blocked off until next reset. Encourages people to attempt the dungeon multiple times for different bosses and special loot.
A Caverns of Time-esque dungeon where groups go back in time to prevent the Infinite Dragonflight from doing something or whatever, but when they go back to the present they find out they fucked history over, so they have to go BACK in time again to stop themselves from changing time in the first place. This whole thing might be hard to justify, but work with me, here.
Faction-based dungeons, where they invade the other's capital city. Bosses could be the same but with a model swap much like they did with BoD. The last boss could rotate between the different faction leaders each week. A SET rotation, I should add, none of that RNG bullshit.
Rework of BRD because BRD is awesome.
Sorry for the giant wall of text. I'm passionate about dungeons.
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