Mythic+: Blizzard Talks Dungeon Design, Boss and Class Balancing – World of Warcraft

Mythic+: Blizzard Talks Dungeon Design, Boss and Class Balancing – World of Warcraft

Streamer Naguura posted an interesting interview with World of Warcraft lead encounter designer Matt Villers. He covers Mythic+ and touched on how Blizzard developers approach dungeon design and balancing bosses and classes.

Mythic+ Design Philosophy

  • One of the things they’re designing right now is to have longer bosses. For example, High Adjudicator Alize’s containers might respawn.
  • The design is also focused on player choice. What are the ways players can make route decisions and express their mastery?
  • They heard a lot of comments about the PR. They left things like Booty Arena in Freehold because there are strategic decisions that can be made, but they removed some at the start of Tazavesh.
  • When it comes to RNG, they try to keep things from being completely random, like Fenryr always on one side in the Halls of Valor.

Seasonal Affix Lightning Strike

  • Blizzard is generally happy with Thunderbolt.
  • The goal was for an affix to not completely take over the dungeon and be the focal point. Lighter, but still full of flavor.
  • For the future, they are still thinking about seasonal affixes and there are a lot of possibilities. They might try something completely new but they also might not do a seasonal affix at all. They are still discussing it.
  • They observe especially the Tanks and analyze their way of managing the affix. Blizzard is open to possible tweaks, but the studio has also noticed that players are getting better at Tanking, so they don’t want to react right away.

Affixes

  • They discuss affixes a lot. How do I keep dungeons fresh? One of the ways is to change the layout of the affixes. Some fear that with fewer affixes or if only one element changes the dungeon won’t be as fresh but they are open to experimentation.
  • They made affix updates with some changes in Shadowlands focusing on finding places where classes can shine, such as making Detonator dispellable. Affixes that work well can even take a little time off and devs can try new experiments.
  • Bosses tend to be the most intense challenges and adding more affixes to them can be very dangerous. It’s good to vary the gameplay of the bosses and that’s what they did in the fateful raids. Blizzard wants to continue exploring this side of things, and Thunderbolt is the first affix you need to deal with alongside the boss. Observing what happens and how players deal with it has yielded insights for future affixes that might interact with bosses.

Class balance

  • In general, Blizzard wants players to be able to play whatever they want. There is some gear and skill, but all specs should have the potential to do a Mythic +20 or pass the Mythic raid and they make sure that’s the case. But they also want to make sure that classes can shine other than as DPS/HPS, like the Mass Grip on the Khan Balakar range.
  • A big problem Blizzard has faced is perception. Currently, all classes are capable of Mythic +20. There are leaderboards, high level players, streamers who are very good at the game and looking to get every advantage possible to be competitive. People look at this and see it as a path to success and this perception can reverberate.
  • One of the ways to try to overcome this perception is to find solutions that aren’t based on throughput, like wanting an Enrage dispeller for weeks with the Unleashed affix.
  • Unique buffs like Bloodlust have been part of the class identity for almost the entire history of the game and they can be a reason to bring someone who wouldn’t otherwise be brought, but if the class Meta the already has, it can be a challenge. The studio tries to be mindful of this and make sure party composition isn’t too restrictive, which is why Evokers have Bloodlust and Paladins have in-combat resurrection.

Dungeon Balance

  • Blizzard really tries to avoid making dungeons harder for a season. If it needs to be done, the devs will try to do it early in the season and make very targeted changes.
  • The developers have a baseline for dungeon difficulty and try to make dungeons as close to that baseline as possible. If a dungeon is below this threshold, it can pass, but something like The Scrapyard in Mechagon, where you get +3/4 extra key levels is a bit too extreme. If a dungeon is above this difficulty, they will look to make adjustments.



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