Delayed fun #WorldofWarcraft

We ran the Mechagon ‘mega-dungeon’ last night for the first full run. For various reasons (namely Classic), our dungeon group hadn’t tackled this since the early days of its release and our near instant defeat at the first boss we came to. At that time our characters were nowhere near well-geared enough to tackle this (at release) mythic-only dungeon.

Coming back we had a party of four again, but this time my healer and one DPS character had much better gear and it made all the difference. Tactics and crowd-control still mattered, but it wasn’t a painful slog to get through this double-length dungeon. I rather like these longer dungeons, it’s a good evenings play without needing to chain run several dungeons or repeat the one dungeon. We did a few runs on the Return to Karazhan megadungeon in Legion and enjoyed the nostalgia and new twists.

Mechagon as totally new content was a breath of fresh air at this time within an expansion’s life-cycle, when we’d normally be deep into repeating the same content for the umpteenth time on low-priority alts. Despite Classic providing a substantial distraction from the normal cycle, we did run the various dungeons of the expansion prior to Classic’s arrival *a lot*. Having discovered we can now, finally, take on this last dungeon with a group that’s in the sweet spot between painfully under-geared and total cakewalk over-geared, it’s time to have dungeon fun in Retail again.

This dungeon is a great set piece from the design perspective. It is stunning visually, and has that larger sense of scale that the best WoW dungeons epitomise – places like Gnomeregan, Blackrock Depths and Ahn’kahet. A big part of repeatability for me in WoW’s dungeons is in the sense of wonder at looking around as I travel through even familiar corridors.

If there’s plenty of detail to gawp at in the short, middle and long distances within an instance then I’m happy. Perhaps this matters even more in Classic where there is so much down time for mana breaks, but I still want it in modern dungeons though. Wandering around Mechagon we were wowed by the boss mechanics and set piece animations. But also at the chance to explore new nooks and crannies. The second half in particular I really want to see again several times just to take it all in.

The dungeon has some interesting mechanics that are not easy to simply out-gear. The stealth section and conveyorbelt for two examples. It’s the kind of twitchy gameplay that I find very love/hate in games. Better here than in the open world I guess, I disliked the jumping puzzles in Guild Wars 2 not only because of their difficulty but also because the constant visual noise of other player characters zerging through them was distracting and disheartening in equal measure. In an instance we have some peace and time to work on such puzzles as a team, to encourage one another while allowing each individual to work out their own rhythm.

Sneaky, sneaky

Neither puzzle gave us too much trouble – thankfully we weren’t in that much of a hurry for once. I can imagine this kind of content would be a potential nightmare if played in a group with very different levels of skill or patience. In any case we stormed on to finish the instance

Despite the odd moan-post of late, I still get a lot of joy from this MMORPG hobby!

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