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The Dungeon Journal: A Thinly-Veiled Raiding Lobotomy

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It is common pop-culture myth that as human beings, we utilize a mere ten percent of our brains. Yet while most modern individuals know this claim to be baseless fiction, I find it serenely comforting to know the world around us is rapidly evolving to allow those true sub-ninety-percenters among us to procure a psuedo-normalcy, even if this requires wearing a bib and always carrying around a tippycup with which to entrap any rogue dribbles or drools that may attempt desertion from the confines of our befuddled, agape mouths.

Just ponder the notion that many modern schools are forced to ban any foods that may come in contact with nuts because some self-entitled suburban douchebag's offspring has an allergy, and yet businesses still find the need for facepalm-inducing warnings. Or how about our ludicrous warning labels, such as the microwave manual that nonchalantly reminds us: "Do not use for drying pets"? Of course we're inundated with reminders of the extremely low bar society is setting for us everyday through the constant status updates and tweets of ever-so-removed acquaintances informing us of their general lack of communication skills and frequency of bowel movements. Oh also, lest I forget: Sarah Palin.

It should come as no surprise then that Blizzard's implementation of the upcoming patch 4.2 Dungeon Journal feature takes all the subtlety and nuance of raid encounter learning & experimentation, delicately wraps it into a tight ball surrounded by the splendor and joy of personal discovery and growth, and then proceeds to cram the entirety down the garbage disposal of the rusty, worn out kitchen sink of that 50s-era house your Grandmother passed away in. Two bottles of Drano chaser are thrown in for good measure, just to be on the safe side.

The current implementation of the Dungeon Journal is so grotesquely verbose that it spits in the face of some of the very principles that are core to MMO raiding. While the names and definitions of these core concepts are up for individual interpretation, there can be little doubt that every raiding group -- regardless of caliber, standing, and skill -- will utilize these methods to varying degrees throughout the raiding process.

Universal Raiding Methodology


The very first step when approaching a new raiding encounter is often research and due to the proliferation of readily available game-related information, the exact research methods, sources, and meticulousness will vary wildly between various groups.

For many, the research stage is a simple affair of locating a strategy guide or video and viewing it thoroughly to glean strategic and tactical insight into the fight. Further research steps may include discussion and review of external sources, such as unofficial discussion boards and blogs. A step beyond that for other groups is often referred to as data-mining, which is the act of utilizing addons and websites to find relevant spell and ability tooltips for a particular encounter.

Ultimately, the extent to which a raid group researches will often directly correlate with the rate of success for a given encounter -- in other words, the more information you have, the less time you'll need to spend gathering that information first-hand, in-game.


Following the research phase is typically strategizing, and will often involve one or more dedicated individuals from the group deciphering the information gathered during research to build a "skeletal framework" of the encounter -- an outline that defines what creatures, abilities, and challenges exist and how they might be handled by the raid.

Once the framework is defined, alternative branching strategies often develop from the initial information, offering multiple possible paths to victory. Each may be documented or at the very least, remembered by an individual for testing in-game.


Finally the process actually moves into the game world as the experimentation phase begins, where the group will first begin attempts of the encounter and see how closely their research and strategic frameworks match the actual in-game mechanics.

This phase is typically short-lived and comes in frequent bursts, as it often only takes a handful of attempts against a boss or a particular encounter phase to determine if a strategy or technique is successful or should be scraped.


Following an experimentation of a particular idea or strategy is a brief modification phase, where often a minor (or sometimes major) tweak must be made to the overall setup based on the experimentation results.

Like the previous phase, this step typically occurs in small bursts in response to a failure in planning.


Often the most time-consuming phase, execution is the act of taking a well-defined strategy built from all previous steps and performing it in-game in an attempt at victory. Most raid groups spend the majority of their time in this phase, trying and failing to properly perform all the necessary actions to beat an encounter for the first time.

This phase is often greatly assisted by in-game information, such as boss emotes or raid addons, that alleviate the difficulty and learning curve inherent in many modern raid encounters.


As particular tactics are attempted and modified, an overall strategy must frequently be altered, and thus the second most common step is that of iteration, which simply encompasses the frequent need to repeat the strategizing, experimentation, modification, and execution phases until a fairly finalized, solid plan can be confirmed.

Mountain of a Molehill

With these universal raiding methodologies now defined, we can begin to examine the extremely negative impact the upcoming form of the Dungeon Journal will have. The Dungeon Journal introduces such an overabundance of detailed encounter information that it largely negates the research, strategizing, and experimentation phases of raiding. In fact, based on the example we've seen so far for the upcoming Firelands raid in patch 4.2, the Dungeon Journal entirely obsoletes the first half of the universal raiding methodologies!

Many may argue that the Dungeon Journal does not so drastically change the face of raiding -- after all, simply giving a weak-to-moderate raid group information about an encounter will not instantly convert them into a coordinated, precisely executing raiding machine.

While that is true, as illustrated above, execution has only ever been a part of the raiding paradigm. If a game is all about execution, of following a set of instructions, is that truly an engaging and fun experience? It eliminates the puzzle-aspects almost entirely. Take a popular game of late like Portal 2. Granted the entirety of the game revolves around solving a series of puzzles, but this serves to only further illustrate the point. Once one solves the puzzles and runs through them once or twice, the majority of the fun is lost if one plays through those same puzzles again, because the execution is not nearly as enjoyable as the thinking, experimenting, and solving the first time around.

Is that the be-all-end-all then? Won't raid groups still find use in reading guides or watching videos and laying out strategies before trying to tackle New_Boss_04? Yes, certainly these practices will remain useful to some degree, as further learning even for a mastered skill will almost always yield positive results. The famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma once said, "The role of a musician is to go from concept to full execution. Put another way, it's to go from understanding the content of something to really learning how to communicate it." One would be hard-pressed to contend that Ma is not a master musician, yet even he is constantly in the process of playing, learning, practicing, and refining. As Ma states, his role as a musician is to take the abstract and basic form of music and interpret that through an auditory medium that conveys the purpose and emotion inherent therein.

A raid group in World of Warcraft will likewise always benefit from that inherent process of research, strategizing, and experimentation, much like a musician would find new music and styles to play and experiment with -- both will grow through such evolutionary enterprise. Yet in the case of the WoW gamer, the Dungeon Journal is scraping the layers away from the process, leaving behind merely the execution phases. In a broader sense, the Dungeon Journal pushes one straight into the do portion of raiding and sunders away the equally important why. Given enough precise instruction and information, the entire structure of raiding methodology will simply become a matter of execution and minor iteration -- thereby inherently lobotomizing a substantial portion of raiders' minds by eliminating the need for most research and analyzation.

Tip of the Day: Mine Those Dataz!

An equally common argument in favor of the proposed Dungeon Journal is that most high-end raiding guilds at present already have at least one if not a handful of individuals that utilize the research phase to deeply mine data for ability tooltip and spell information. Therefore, the argument continues, the Dungeon Journal is just an extension of that process and information, saving the heavily invested research-types of a particular raid group the time and effort of mining the data themselves.

I am one such person. I love to dig deep into the mechanics and abilities of an encounter and play with the maths to figure out the best tactics and strategies from limited information, and solving such puzzles can be very rewarding. While it is without a doubt true that the Dungeon Journal will save people like me a great deal of time, the Dungeon Journal goes well beyond the scope of public information available to "data miners" at present and instead pushes far into the boundaries of encounter-specifics that were almost entirely impossible to glean from data-mined tooltips alone.

That is to say, if we examine a handful of current spell tooltips from existing encounters, which is the type of information that would be available to early-bird researchers before actually attempting the encounter, we can see a clear lack of information. The Electrocute tooltip from the Nefarian encounter, for example, very clearly tells us it deals ~130k Nature damage to all enemies, but there is absolutely no way to infer from the tooltip data of the fight that this ability is cast every 10% of Nefarian's health. Likewise we have no ability to determine that Onyxia has a Lightning Charge bar during the first phase of the encounter, and that Electrocute hits will increase this charge by a massive 25%. Similarly, while we could probably determine that the Electrical Overload ability is part of the encounter from early data mining based on the spell ID and tooltip similarities to other encounter abilities, we have no means to deduce that the ability is triggered by a particular event, in this case Onyxia's Lightning Charge reaching 100%, and instead can only clearly see that the damage is so massive it must be mitigated or avoided in some way.

Or just mouse over some of the tooltips from the Halfus Wyrmbreaker encounter in Bastion of Twilight, and if as a reader you are familiar with this encounter, pretend you know nothing of it and try to decipher from that tooltip information alone even remotely how the encounter works -- good luck!

Stick Your Tip Here: It's Anonymous!

As the Halfus example above illustrates, even with the ever-increasing information provided directly in WoW tooltips, the primary factor that prevents strategizing directly from tooltips is often the lack of specific actors -- that is, tooltips rarely mention who or what performs or is performed upon, and instead remain in neutral language. In the Halfus links above, even if we know for certain all of those abilities were from a single encounter, all we'd know for sure is that Halfus stacks a healing debuff on his target and can cast an AE knockdown. We'd also know there was some secondary actor referred to as a whelp in the Unresponsive tooltip. Beyond that, one would have to make some pretty wild speculations to infer that there are six additional NPCs involved in the fight besides Halfus himself, let alone which abilities are cast by which NPCs, which affect the raid versus the mobs, which are beneficial versus detrimental, and so on.

Now, to relate this to the Dungeon Journal, let us contrast this to the information provided by the Dungeon Journal for some of the upcoming Firelands raid encounters. In fact, just to make it interesting, I'll try a bit of an experiment by examining and trying to devise an overall strategy for the first Firelands encounter two times: First from just tooltip information and then second with the Dungeon Journal information provided, and see just how much or how little can be inferred from tooltips compared to the explicit information of the Dungeon Journal.

Beth'tilac: A Tooltip Probing

First, for this experiment we'll assume I know the very basics about the boss, that she's a spider and is fought in her webbed-den. Also assume I know the spell ID information for all her abilities, as typically this data can be mined from the game files and sites like Wowhead before release.

Burning Acid
Ember Flare
Seeping Venom
Meteor Burn
Smoldering Devastation
The Widow's Kiss
Well Fed

Alright, so the first thing that pops out is the addition of two uniquely different versions of Consume. Both abilities reference a lesser beast, so we can fairly accurately infer that this encounter has some form of additional adds to deal with. The next major difference is the cast range of each version of Consume -- one is 100 yard range while the other is merely 10 yards. This doesn't give definitive information, but it suggests a few possibilities. One option is that Beth'tilac is the caster of both these abilities, and the 100 yard version is used during a particular phase that is meant to be unavoidable, whereas the shorter range version is meant to be avoided as it heals more, has a very short range, and increases damage dealt. If that is the case, the movement increase is an odd addition and indicates there is a kiting phase for the main boss. However, it could very well be different mobs that utilize these abilities separate from the main boss or in addition to.

Seeping Venom ability is fairly telling, especially given the recent addition of many encounters with a series of tiny adds that must be kept out of melee range lest they do something bad to the player in question (see: Magmaw, Cho'gall, Omnitron, etc.). Given the very short range of 6 yards and the fairly minor penalty in damage taken over time, plus the known addition of "lesser beasts", we can strongly assume there are minor adds that spawn and try to reach melee range with players.

Burning Acid
and Ember Flare are both fairly straight forward. Burning Acid, given the 80 yard range and 2 second cooldown, seems likely to be chain cast by the main boss, either constantly or during a specific phase and almost certainly on random targets, or as is typical these days, on a preferentially ranged target. Ember Flare, hitting all enemies and without a cast time, is almost certainly from the main boss or an add and emanates repeatedly during a phase or unless a specific action is taken (mob killed, position check met, etc.).

Meteor Burn
is tricky as while the actual tooltip tells little, the spell effect data shows a 1.5 minute duration, a secondary effect of summoning a creature within 7 yards, and dealing 40,000 fire damage. Based on that information, the best bet is a meteor-type effect on a random raid member that deals damage and spawns a new add, similar to Magmaw Constructs.

Smoldering Devestation
is very clearly a binary ability that must be avoided completely or mitigated (think Quake or Thundershock on Ascendent Council). It also has secondary effects of dummy scripts and pulsing auras, which usually means something special is triggered at the same time, but obviously there's no way to tell what that is.

The Widow's Kiss
is clearly a stacking debuff, and digging deeper into secondary tooltips shows it deals 5000 fire damage within 10 yards and stacks up to 10 times, after which it dissipates. Given that, it seems unlikely the targeting effect would be random and further as it is "widows" kiss, we can safely assume it is cast by the main boss herself, thus we can infer it's a tank debuff, likely to encourage multiple tank swaps or perhaps kiting if the Well Fed +movement ability is utilized by the primary boss.

Finally, it can be seen in the spell data that
Frenzy is a stacking debuff, so presumably either the main boss or perhaps the larger adds will deal increasing damage as time passes. Since I suspect the Consume version that increases damage output is for the adds and not the boss, it wouldn't make sense to have multiple damage bonus buffs on the same target, so we can assume Frenzy is cast by Beth'tilac herself, likely as a soft enrage.

Given the little information that can be inferred from the above tooltips, my guesstimation of the fight mechanics is as follows:

Beth'tilac is tanked as normal, using two tanks. These tanks must swap frequently or utilize cooldowns to mitigate the healing reduction and close-range AE damage from
Widow's Kiss. Every so often, Meteor Burn is cast on a random raid member, dealing damage to that location and spawning a number of small adds of some sort (the ones that use Seeping Venom). After a specific length of time if not killed, one or more will morph into a cocoon of some sort and emerge as a larger add type. These larger adds will attempt to utilize the Consume ability on lesser add types. These must be kited while killed and prevented from consuming too many lesser beasts. If allowed to reach a certain level of Well Fed stacks, or when they are low health/close to death, these larger adds will then begin to cast Smoldering Devastation, and must be killed before this happens. Large adds likely cast Burning Acid or Ember Flare, leaving the other ability for Beth'tilac herself. Finally, at certain intervals, Beth'tilac will attempt to Consume any lesser beast add that is alive to gain back some health and that along with ever-increasing Frenzy stacks creates a soft-enrage timer promoting strong DPS on adds while also burning down the primary boss.

Beth'tilac: Dungeon Journal Style

I fully admit to having already read the Dungeon Journal entries before writing up the above tooltip examination, but I think it was a fairly accurate representation of the kind of process and information that is typically available and assumed from data mining alone when researching and strategizing for a new encounter. Now let us take a look at the actual data provided solely by Blizzard via the in-game Dungeon Journal.

Matriach of the Cinderweb Brood, Beth'tilac and her merciless offspring sate their appetites by sucking the magma and fire from the corpses of elementals. To provide her broodlings with added sustenance, Beth'tilac has woven a network of incendiary webs throughout her lair to trap unsuspecting prey.

Stage One: The Cinderweb

Beth'tilac retreats to her web at the beginning of the battle. Beneath her web scurry her brood.

Boss Abilities
  • Fire Energy: Beth'tilac will slowly lose Fire Energy over time. In addition, Cinderweb Drones will siphon some of her energy when they are depleted. Whenever Beth'tilac runs out of Fire Energy, she will set herself ablaze, causing Smoldering Devastation.
  • Ember Flare: Intense heat burns enemies near Beth'tilac, dealing 20000 Fire damage to those on the same side of the web as she is.
  • Meteor Burn: Meteors crash down onto the web, dealing 40000 Fire damage to those who stand beneath them. Additionally, they burn a hole in the web through which players may fall.
  • Consume: Beth'tilac consumes Cinderweb Spiderlings, healing for 10% of her life.
  • Smoldering Devastation: When Beth'tilac is depleted of Fire Energy, she will set herself ablaze, obliterating those who are not shielded by her web.

Cinderweb Spinner
These spiders dangle from the web above. Using Taunt or a similar ability will cause them to drop to the ground. Once killed, their filaments remain allowing players to climb up to the Cinderweb.
  • Burning Acid: The Cinderweb Spinner spits burning venom at a random enemy, dealing 26942 Fire damage.

Cinderweb Drone
These large spiders climb out of caves below the Cinderweb. When they are depleted of Fire Energy, they will climb up to Beth'tilac and siphon Fire Energy from her.
  • Consume: Cinderweb Drones consume Cinderweb Spiderlings for 20% of their maximum life and provide them additional movement and attack speed. (Well Fed.)
  • Boiling Splatter: The Cinderweb Drone spits burning venom at enemies in a 60 degree cone dealing 63749 Fire damage.
  • Burning Acid: The Cinderweb Drone spits burning venom at a random enemy, dealing 26942 Fire damage.

Cinderweb Spiderling
These tiny spiders climb out of caves below the Cinderweb. They instinctively move towards Cinderweb Drones for protection. Cinderweb Spiderlings can be consumed by larger spiders in order to restore some of their health.
  • Seeping Venom: The Cinderweb Spiderling leaps onto a random enemy within 5 yards, injecting them with venom, which sears them for 7499 Fire Damage every 2 seconds for 10 sec.

Stage 2: The Frenzy!
After she has performed Smouldering Devastation three times, Beth'tilac becomes Frenzied. She emerges from the safety of her Cinderweb canopy and no longer calls for aid from her brood.

  • Frenzy: Data recovery error.
  • The Widow's Kiss: Beth'tilac's Deadly kiss boils the blood of her current target, reducing the amount that they can be healed by 2% every 2 seconds for 20 sec. It also causes the target to deal growing Fire damage to their surrounding allies within 10 yards.
  • Ember Flare: Intense heat burns enemies near Beth'tilac, dealing 20000 Fire damage to those on the same side of the web as she is.
  • Consume: Beth'tilac consumes Cinderweb Spiderlings, healing for 10% of her life.

We can clearly see from this Dungeon Journal entry that a few key aspects stand out immediately. First and foremost, is the sheer detail and verboseness of the entries themselves. Every single stage of the encounter is laid out, including all the add types and all abilities involved. Beyond that, and most importantly to this discussion, is the fact that in almost every case, the Dungeon Journal includes additional information for an ability the tooltip does not provide! In fact, just look through those tooltips and compare them to the description on the side. I propose that not a single tooltip gives the same information as the actual description, and in fact that all descriptions provide the tooltip data plus very vital, additional information, often in the form of the actor performing and/or being performed upon. As I mentioned above, this eliminates one of the crucial differences between the current act of data mining research and the proposed Dungeon Journal method: the anonymity of sources and actors within tooltip information. Instead, the Dungeon Journal is explicitly stating who is casting what, when, and why. This information is so far beyond what is available in current and past raiding that it completely replaces the need for the research phase of raiding entirely. It also drastically reduces the need for strategizing and experimentation phases as the actual, preferred strategy is all but laid out in it's entirety for the playerbase already. All strategizing will simply devolve into a per-raid-makeup level, where minor tweaks are made based on class/spec makeup.

To actually address the original experiment of comparing a tooltip-only versus Dungeon Journal-inspired strategy, we can see that my original estimates from tooltips were in some cases right on (Widow's Kiss, Cinderweb Spiderlings, Consume for Drones and Beth'tilac, and slightly Ember Flare as well), while other stuff was completely off base or not guessed at all. Obviously mechanics like Fire Energy can never be guessed from data mining as there are no associated tooltips. Similarly the web mechanic and how it interacts with Meteor Burn would've been purely speculation at best. The point is, now we get a very clear idea of how the fight is actually meant to be handled.

Beth'tilac goes to the top of her web to start and begins slowly draining her Fire Energy. The raid is all safely below as various spiders begin to spawn. As Spinner's spawn, a tank below will agro them down to the raid and the raid will DPS them down, allowing one member to climb the web to the top where Beth'tilac remains. At least one healer will need to go up top along with a tank for Beth'tilac, and as many DPS as can be afforded to attack the boss while allowing enough damage to remain below to deal with the spawning spiders. Primarily melee DPS should be top side so ranged can deal with Spiderlings as quickly as possible, as obviously allowing Beth'tilac or a Drone to consume Spiderlings delays the entire fight. Ranged DPS should focus on Spiderlings as getting in melee range allows them to cast Seeping Venom. Since they will attempt to run toward the active Drone, the Drone tank will be kiting around the edge of the room as DPS kills them off.

Drones will likely spawn one at a time and should be prioritized after Spiderlings, lest they run out of Fire Energy themselves and move up top to deplete energy from Beth'tilac herself, thus speeding up the overall encounter. They will likely be kited by the second tank if possible so as to prevent as many Spiderling consumptions as possible. Due to Boiling Splatter, Drones should be kited around the outside of the room so the rest of the raid below can remain centered and avoid the cone-attack.

As time passes for the group up top with Beth'tilac, she will be AEing those players via Ember Flare and also drop Meteor Burn on random people up top, which should be avoided for the damage and also to side-step the newly formed hole so as not to fall. After specific length of time, assuming all Drones were killed quickly enough to avoid expediting the Fire Energy drain, Beth'tilac will use Smoldering Devastation, at which point all players up top must drop through a hole left by Meteor Burn back down to the main raid below to avoid the AE. The process then repeats, by DPSing spawning Spinners and utilizing webs to get back up top.

After three casts of Smoldering Devastation, Beth'tilac will stop spawning spider adds, and the raid should quickly finish off any Spiderlings that may be alive so Beth'tilac does not consume them after coming down. She will be tanked with the rest of the raid at least 10 yards away from the current tank to avoid extra AE from Widow's Kiss (admittedly, the 10 yard range on that AE sounds wrong, unless her hitbox is extremely small requiring melee to be in range to do DPS). Tanks will need to swap every 10 seconds or so to maximize healing, so that Tank A has 50% reduction after 5 stacks/10 seconds of the 20 second debuff have passed. Tank B then taunts and gets the new application of Widow's Kiss while Tank A runs away and let's the debuff continue stacking. Once it hits 10 stacks/20 seconds, the debuff is removed, and Tank A takes over again around the time Tank B is approaching 5 stacks. This process repeats.

Finally, given that Smoldering Devastation casts are dictated by her Fire Energy level, and that a specific count of three casts will trigger the final phase, and during this phase she'll gain a stacking damage buff from Frenzy which will increase the AE damage from Ember Flare, clearly the goal of the fight is to prolong the Smoldering Devastation casts as much as possible while maximizing DPS on the boss so once the final phase hits, the raid can survive long enough to kill her before damage is overwhelming and unhealable.

Ultimately, we find that the information provided by the Dungeon Journal is so detailed that I would be extraordinarily surprised to find the above strategy is not within 90% of the final normal-mode strategy for defeating this encounter, and it doesn't require a single attempt or even viewing of the fight.

This trend continues with all the other Firelands bosses, and there's a pretty clear layout for every single boss and add and ability, and in many cases even instruction on how to handle them appropriately.

Overkill is Understatement

I will fully admit that as a self-proclaimed researcher and digger, I may be prone to view the implications of the Dungeon Journal as overwrought and foreshadowing a darker time in WoW raiding than may come to fruition. However, those biases aside, it is clear from the historical data of the past six years of raiding compared to the future raiding presented by the Dungeon Journal, that we are entering a new era where successful raiding will lose a lot of the magic and discovery. No longer will it be possible (or rather, necessary) for individuals like myself to spend our time digging through websites and logs, videos and forums, scouring for every little morsel of digital sustenance to feed the strategic hunger of an upcoming battle. Those skills, if they can be called as such, will become a thing of the past, and no longer can dedicated raiders or raid leaders take those extra steps out-of-game to offer an advantage to the group they are part of.

Instead, WoW raiding will become ever-more solely about execution -- a series of Simon says mini-puzzles where all the moves are clearly laid out beforehand, and all success or failure simply revolves around proper button presses in the pre-defined order. In large part, this change destroys the strategic, puzzle, building-block style of raiding that we've become accustomed to and in turn, drains a big chunk of enjoyment out of it for at least a portion of the raiding community. Without the thinking, we're simply left with the doing, and how boring chess would be if winning was inevitable if one simply had to follow a set of instructions written down ahead of time for each move.

WoW raiding is of course primarily about the execution, but there has always been a sense of mystery and unknowing that made coming back or trying again fun. Speculation, researching, and experimentation have always been a large part of the WoW raiding environment, and often for the better. Everyone knows of the near-infinite stories around Onyxia's Deep Breath or Broodlord Lashlayer's threat mechanics. Communally, complexity and mystique within the specifics of raid encounters always leave something out in the fog to be explored and further analyzed. Even encounters that are well and good defeated by a group can still hold mysteries, however minor they may be, that offer something new for an individual or perhaps even a full raid to uncover. A fully fleshed out Dungeon Journal entry for all future raid encounters almost entirely eliminates such conundrums, and leaves a slightly more banal gaming experience in the wake.

While clearly any change is far too late for the upcoming Firelands content in patch 4.2, I truly hope Blizzard reconsiders the depth and detail of the information they provide within the Dungeon Journal for future raid encounters, especially for Heroic versions.

In the meantime, I think it's my move.

Queen to F7. Checkmate.


  1. Vikrum's Avatar
    Very well stated Kull. You are so great at analyzing things from all angles. When I first started reading this I really felt like you were complaining just to complain. I have never been a data miner; but I have always been the guy who scours the internet looking for videos, forum posts, etc to glean any insight before actually stepping foot into an encounter.

    However after reading your blog in it's entirety I truly did not realize that such little information was put out there from the get go. As you eluded to many times I feel the tooltip information being anonymous was the key here.

    Anyone with a signifigant amount of WoW raiding, can take the Dungeon Journal information and as you did; put together a strategy that will be extremely close to the strategy used when you get your first kill on a boss.

    So yeah when I saw the dungeon journal I didn't think about the implications to the raiding in WoW in general or how it effects me as a semi hardcore raider. I thought to myself they are just nicely packaging information we already have into a neat UI feature. But sadly it looks as if WoW does in fact desire to keep dumbing down the game to a simple "Simon Says" execution test.

    It kind of reminds me of how FF11 has changed over the years. A couple of years ago it was without a doubt the most challenging/time investing MMO out there. But now having a friend jsut recently leave FF11 after years of play to come play WoW I hear that in some aspects FF11 is now in fact extremely more forgiving than WoW and that leveling can be done much faster than what it can be done in WoW.

    What does that have to do with this? Square clearly intended for 11 to go away and 14 to be their flagship (despite their claims). So as the game got older and they wanted subetely retire the game; they dumb it down so that anyone still playing or by chance any new comers could have instant success without much trial. This of course makes the journey much less rewarding and in the end most people will lose interest quickly. (think of how a guy typically reacts if the girl gives away the goods on the first night).

    So I ask. Is this what WoW is doing? Do they know their time is coming to an end (granted a much longer off end than say FF11) and they are ultimately trying to get as much mileage out of their flagship as possible? If so how much longer will the bunch that enjoys the harder aspect of the game stick around?
  2. Kainhighwind's Avatar
    After reading the Journal entry for Ragnaros in the PTR build, I had this same appalled and disgusted reaction. The fact that they went into overwhelming detail of how to handle all FOUR phases of the fight, it blew my mind. I 100% agree that this Dungeon Journal takes away one of the greatest things of progression raiding: the strategy and data mining step. Personally, I like the trial and error part of learning a fight, in particular that moment when you realize "Holy Crap, this just might work!".

    I think the Journal could have some potential if it would have more limited information than the current design. If it were a place to see health values of each add/mob in a fight, and simply list of all the tooltips, just so one can read them outside the panic of being mid fight, it would be a handy tool. Telling you everything about a fight is a bit much.

    So let us hope that the stars align and someone from Blizzard reads this and take it to heart.
  3. Vikrum's Avatar
    Here is a Blue response to you:

    We have not in fact made the statement that "Discovery and inventiveness in raiding is bad” with the introduction of the Dungeon Journal. We have simply said, "Here are the tools to be successful. Go forth and conquer." We have in no way said "how" to do it nor is that our intention for this feature. The ability to play your character within a team of other people is all up to you and your skills. We're just trying to make it more possible to be successful within the game with information that lends itself to aiding success.

    We want the discovery and challenge to come into play as a result of actually facing the mechanics versus simply being beaten by the mechanics of the game to begin with to even start working on a strategy to defeat the encounter (which is what many top raiding guilds end up doing.) It's very difficult for anyone to claim that discovery is a large portion of the game when we live in a world of datamining, PTR videos, boss kill addons, and extensive documentation of everything by a very savvy and experienced gaming community.

    We want to provide a common language to communicate with as well. What exists now is something that has evolved over time in an organic way, but not everyone is speaking the same "language". This way, you can call the "big blue thing" by its name rather than resorting to trying to describe it or make up a new name for it.

    We know that players already go out to outside sources to look for information. On some occasions, this information may even have misinterpretations of the boss abilities and cause some frustration for those who are attempting to kill the mob based on that information. We're simply making what you're facing a bit clearer where it needs to be made clear. This isn’t the fault of those documenting these things. From our end, not all abilities that bosses use are as clear as we could have made them or should make them be.

    It's expected that the top-end guilds that like to go for the first kill/s will still be able to accomplish this with or without the Dungeon Journal existing. We have no fear that they will suddenly be overrun and lose their place simply because everyone is starting with the same information.

    That said, we have been listening to feedback as well and have trimmed back a little of the information. We also may consider (for the future) not documenting specific abilities for very difficult bosses like Sinestra, or heroic modes on final bosses like Ragnaros, or even what exactly causes Onyxia to deep breathe. Getting solid constructive feedback that we can consider to set into motion for change is always welcome and useful to us.

    If all else, if you still want to take on encounters without the use of the Dungeon Journal, you can. Just don't open it. What you don’t know, will probably kill/wipe you.


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