World of Warcraft designer explains why you keep dying

In World of Warcraft there are dungeons, and then there are ‘Heroic’ dungeons. Commonly referred to as Heroics, these dungeons are more challenging than their ‘regular’ counterparts and provide better loot as a reward for the tougher boss battles. In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Heroics were a fairly easy and the high-level loot flowed like wine. But Blizzard decided to ramp up the difficulty of Heroics in Cataclysm, causing some players to cry foul.

In an official response to players’ concerns that Heroics have become ‘too difficult,’ World of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg Street reveals Blizzard’s point of view on the topic and shares some tips that will help players struggling to clear the more difficult content.

“The bottom line is that we want Heroics and raids to be challenging, and that is particularly true now while the content is new and characters are still collecting gear,” says Street on  “They’re only going to get easier from here on out. We want players to approach an encounter, especially a Heroic encounter, as a puzzle to be solved. We want groups to communicate and strategize. And by extension, we want you to celebrate when you win instead of it being a foregone conclusion.”

According to Street, Heroics and entry level raids, like Naxxramas, in the previous expansion were a mistake – and offers specific tips for tanks, healers, and DPS players to step up their game. In short, tanks should be sure to mark targets for crowd control, DPS should know the mechanics of boss fights better, and healers should make sure they have the appropriate gear to keep the party alive. It’s doubtful that Street’s ‘common sense’ tips will appease players who think that Heroics are just too hard, but we hope that it will lead to fewer wipes and under geared players using the game’s updated dungeon finder.

Have you been playing World of Warcraft Cataclysm? We’ve had both great and horrible experiences running through the new Heroics with our priest. Tell us what you think about the increased difficulty level of the new Heroics below.

Jan 12, 2011 

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  • VMPSaberwolf - January 14, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    I agree that Blizzard needs to keep things challenging for those that want it. That's why I came up with the suggestion of different difficulties. I won't re-hash what I already said, but thanks for those who responded in a civil manner. The rest of you missed your calling on the neogaf/elitist jerks forums.
  • Genericide - January 13, 2011 10:17 p.m.

    I actually really like the idea of dungeon's being hard enough that you have to strategize and coordinate. But there are a couple problems with this currently. First off all, the wait before getting a heroic dungeon is abysmal, usually being over half an hour before you can get into a heroic, some of which are fairly long. Coupled with the increased difficulty, this means that often times you can't complete a dungeon at all without setting aside huge amounts of time for it, which means it just ends up unsatisfying for everyone involved. Secondly, some people enjoy running instances to see all the cool environments, boss encounters, and so forth. However, even these people will grow tired of this eventually, and would rather just get through these dungeons as fast as possible so they can get done upgrading their gear and move on to another part of the game. I suppose both of these problems could be solved by having friends who are willing to run these dungeons with you, but a lot of people don't have that luxury, and even if they did it would be a pain to schedule. To sum up, I would generally like to live in a world where more interesting, strategic dungeons are possible, but currently they're clashing with some of the other aspects of WoW's gameplay. More than anything else, I just with the wait wasn't so long.
  • MattStubbs - January 13, 2011 7:18 p.m.

    About time they started testing the more dedicated gamers or the fan base would begin to fall off. It's part of the reason I quit playing. I understand a desire to make things doable for the common gamer but you have to keep it interesting for those looking for a challenge.
  • IHateMakingUserIDs - January 13, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    I'm just not a fan of being 2 points to low to use the heroic dungeon finder. I hear they hard, But if people just go about it logically it can be hard and doable I think, I don't knwo becasue They think I can't do it with a 327 average item level...
  • minimaxi - January 13, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    oh yeah easy mode is needed for all those lich king "veterans" who aoe-tank all day and don't know what a CC is. No offense to you, Saberwolf, I'm sure you're not one of those hunters with kingslayer title who don't know how to trap. True casuals with no l33t pretense like you totally deserves to have fun. I am truly sorry you got left out cold in Cata.
  • Ded - January 13, 2011 3:15 p.m.

    Oh, and your comment about Normal Violet Hold compared to Normal Deadmines.. DM is a level 15-20 instance, remember. Not THAT difficult! ;)
  • Ded - January 13, 2011 3:12 p.m.

    Really Saberwolf..? Normal is pretty easy with the gear you've acquired after quest-leveling to 85.. is an "Easy" mode really needed? I can't claim to be the best player in the world, but it's no problem to storm through a normal dungeon.. Wait a few months, and the average player will have such good gear that they'll be ploughing through heroics too. Just find a nice guild and go with them.
  • VMPSaberwolf - January 13, 2011 2:58 p.m.

    "I think some of the comments are misunderstanding the point of a heroic encounter, it's supposed to be.. well, heroic." I agree. Those that enjoy the challenege and take the time to learn and get really good should be rewarded. "I think real endgame content should be saved for those that actually bother, 'cause a raid is a 3-4 hour time commitment anyway, nothing worse than someone rocking up in normal blues, doing lower dps than the tanks and leaving after an hour due to other commitments." My solution to the whole problem was to give ALL players a choice, easy, normal, and heroic. Appeal to ALL crowds, casual, middleground, and hardcore alike. On an easy setting for example, you can't expect loot to be all that good, but heroics reward great loot because you worked for it. For someone like me who doesn't care about epic loot, I'd be happy with just experiencing the dungeon on easy. I don't see what problem that could cause honestly, and Blizzard would have appealed to all their customer bases and keeping customers and making new ones. It shouldn't be hard to impliment either, easy setting = nerf all mobs and bosses by such and such a percent. This also allows ALL players to experience end game content at their own pace. Of course, this is just my opinion. :)
  • Myrmidon - January 13, 2011 12:17 p.m.

    I think some of the comments are misunderstanding the point of a heroic encounter, it's supposed to be.. well, heroic. The same with raids, theyre not supposed to be something you can just turn up at in normal gear and expect to do just fine, it's end game content aimed towards those that invest the time to gear up, learn their class and learn encounters. If you made it all casual it would spoil the dynamic. Personally I'm not in a guild, nor do I have friends that raid, I haven't even seen the Cata raids beyond Baradin Hold (Which in my mind is far too easy as it is), and I like that (well, not the guild thing). I think real endgame content should be saved for those that actually bother, 'cause a raid is a 3-4 hour time commitment anyway, nothing worse than someone rocking up in normal blues, doing lower dps than the tanks and leaving after an hour due to other commitments.
  • VMPSaberwolf - January 13, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    @Funster I am not certain as to why you are being so hostile. I stated my opinion on the subject and in no way insulted players who enjoy harder difficulties (I suspect, people like you). I simply stated that not everyone likes it when the difficulty is increased. Non-heroics in cataclysm are harder than non-heroics in Lich, Blizzard admited that. (Re-read the above article if you don't believe me, or compare Violet Hold to the new Deadmines with both on non-heroic. To everyone else who complained... After you level a character there are few things to do. PvP or PvE, or grinding out acheivements. I'm not a fan of being forced to group with people and be on my A game just so I can experience end game content. I simply am saying that I would have enjoyed being able to relax and just slay some bosses without having to think too much and experience the end game content/story without being kicked by elitist jerks, pardon the pun, who complain that someone's DPS isn't high enough or your talent spec is off by 1 point. Such depth into a game like this ruins the fun for me. It may not ruin the fun for you, more power to you. One last question before I go. What if every XBOX, PS3, or PC game patched overnight and made your games harder without giving you the option of scaling down the difficulty? Hardcore people I'm sure would be fine with it, but I suspect people who play to unwind from a 10 hour of work will be less inclined to punish themselves by trying to rage through a game they used to enjoy.
  • BoltActionRevolver - January 13, 2011 6:56 a.m.

    The new release notes are out. 19 Nerfs and 7 Buffs. Heroics will get easier. Don't believe me? You gotta believe Total Biscuit. With a voice like that, its hard not to!
  • Lionzest7 - January 13, 2011 6:43 a.m.

    honestly, people are spoiled and will always complain about difficulty. Why doesn't the game just play for them. Honestly world of warcraft hasn't been very difficult besides arena in a long time, I guess heroic 10/25m were the only hard ones to date, but not like everyone experiences them.
  • Rapids16 - January 13, 2011 4:23 a.m.

    Thank you Saberwolf and Brutalicu. You guys are one of the few people who can hold intelligent and nonarguemental conversations at the same time.
  • foxyexplosion - January 13, 2011 4:16 a.m.

    is it "our" priest or your priest tyler? An mmo character is rarely a team sport
  • chrisda - January 13, 2011 3:56 a.m.

    I enjoy the increased difficulty, but it's still fairly easy once you know the fights. Although it can be annoying in pugs when people don't know what they're doing
  • fullmetallegend - January 13, 2011 2:19 a.m.

    Saberwolf, there is an easy mode. Non-heroics. =p
  • funster - January 13, 2011 2:18 a.m.

    wow Saberwolf... you want casual mode? Stick to non-heroics. Done. Non-heroics definitely fit your idea of "easy mode", so you sound like a hypocrite for complaining about Heroic dungeons, which are apparently made for the 'hardcore crowd', as too hard... yet you still insist on doing them. It's good that you admit you're uncoordinated, but are Blizz supposed to also design dungeons for the blind and limbless before people will stop complaining about being left out? Even average players like me cannot stand all the whining about Blizz not thinking about the lowest of the lowest common denominator. Gah... there's always one in every forum.
  • VMPSaberwolf - January 13, 2011 1:49 a.m.

    Actually, the guild I was in downed the lich and syndragosa on a regular basis and have downed some cataclysm content already. I admit, I'm not as good as my guildmates, they can manage cooldowns and rotations better and faster than I can, the curse of getting old I guess. Since I work 10 hour days as an accountant, the last thing I want to do is crunch numbers to maximize my heals or dps. I also tend to get frustrated Not a good combination I suppose when content is made harder to do. :)
  • Brutalicus - January 13, 2011 1:07 a.m.

    While I don't agree with you, I hear you Saberwolf. You must not have been in a very good guild or core of friends. My guild only has one raid boss down, but the heroic paradigm changes drastically once you've got a fully heroics-geared group. In a mix of heroic and crafted epic gear, the heroics are back to being an AoE-fest. I love it; they were hard but with the gear came a noticeable increase in power. @batouyukinawa That's not really what MMOs are about for 99% of the players, but they did add a lot of cool cutscenes and stuff in Cataclysm that directly involve your character (though you don't have dialog, of course). Definitely not Oscar-worthy storytelling, but it breaks up the questing and makes you feel like you're part of Azeroth.
  • VMPSaberwolf - January 13, 2011 12:47 a.m.

    I've been a WoW player for 4-5 years, and I just recently cancelled my account. I applauded WoW's attempts during the WOTLK peroid to make things easier and simpler for the casual crowd. Cataclysm threw what enjoyment I had out of that by making raids and dungeons incredibly hard. They will appeal to those who like a challenge and have time to crunch numbers over talents, gear, and rotation. They will not appeal to casual players who play to unwind and have fun, like me. I think WoW should incoporate an easy mode for their dungeons so casuals can enjoy themselves and still experience the content that was created. Unfortunately my suggestion fell to deaf ears.

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