“It’s bad enough wasting time without killing it.”
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
The Dungeon Doldrums
I enjoy the Dev discussion videos. We are amused with them as they discuss bad quest design as “go kill ten bears” or “go collect 15 bones”. They know it is bad design but also acknowledge that there are places in the game where they are necessary.
I am still staggering under the 80 Heroic Dungeon quest. We are to build this Soul Prism in the Illidan storyline and need the parts which only drop from the final boss of a Heroic Dungeon (maybe mythic too). Not also Big Bads out in the world or Raid Bosses; no, we are consigned to do Dungeons.
Stepping back, I can see almost every facet of the game is funneled through the Dungeon system. Blood of Sargeras drops in dungeons quite well, for example. The road to success is dungeons with the Very Long Road available to those who don’t want to play the designed game. Every thing goes through dungeons.
That is as bad as collecting 15 bear bones, right?
Once upon a time, I was a teacher at a college. All colleges and universities have a type of Academic Council. This is where the Faculty Senate nominates and elects one member from each school or department to represent them. Then this Council meets as a group to discuss policy and large matters and small matters. In attendance is the President of the college, the Provost, the President of Student Council, the President of the Staff Council and occasionally a member of the Board of Trustees.
Believe it or not, I was the Chairman for the Academic Council for three years at my college. We did a loose Robert’s Rules of Order, “the chair recognizes the representative from the Music School” or “let the minutes show that a vote has been cast” or “I hear a motion on the table, do I hear a second”.
One time, we were going over the Grievance Policy. If a faculty member feels that they are unhappy, there is a process and a ladder to climb if there is continued dissatisfaction. The Provost announced proudly that our school had never seen a Grievance go to court (the big final step). We all sat back, smiling, thinking that our Policy must be very successful.
One of our faculty members, paused, and said, “Madame Provost, with all due respect, is that a good thing?”
Whoa. Maybe our policy was deflecting our own faculty from having a successful path.
The moral of my story is that the one question, “with all due respect, is that a good thing” was profound and has stuck with me. I try to ask it often now when faced with abundant and sure facts.
At some point, I imagine, Blizzard will post one of those metric things that announce how many people ran Dungeons or Mythic Dungeons (it will be in the millions with billions of total dungeons ran). We saw it with Invasions and how many players made a new Demon Hunter. This will be a Meter of Success.
I’ll be asking that question again: “with all due respect, is that a good thing?” Funneling players through a single type of experience as a success path in a MMO may not be the best of things.