Hello, I’d like to preface this by saying that I am not one of the highest key pushers. This season so far I have achieved 3200 score as a tank, with a number of alts working towards KSM/KSH slowly, which has been a nice accomplishment for me. This season has been really fun with good dungeon variety as well as an interesting seasonal affix.
Shadowlands Season 1 and 2
The first two seasons of the expansion featured the 8 launch dungeons the expansion came with. These dungeons were completely new in season 1 and were well known come season 2. With no new dungeon added in season 2 and the affix not affecting routing too too much other than releasing the prideful timings we didn’t see too much variance between season 1 and 2 of Shadowlands.
Shadowlands Season 3 Dungeon Pool
Season 3 saw the introduction of tazavesh in the form of 2 separate wings bringing the total dungeon pool up to a total of 10 including the 8 that shadowlands launched with. The excitement and fun of learning a new dungeon as well as experiencing it at a more challenging level including affixes is always a welcome one. Adding/cycling dungeons per season going forward is a great way to keep the game mode fresh and exciting, however there is one fear I have with the system which begins in Season 4.
Shadowlands Season 4 Dungeon Pool
With the return of the mega dungeons from expansions prior as well as 2 from WoD which we have never had in the m+ format we are returning to a dungeon pool of 8. With the exception of Tazavesh most of these dungeons will be re-routed and worked out when the season begins. Even then tazavesh will probably see some routing changes with the removal of encrypted and the introduction of shrouded. It will be awesome to get to experiment with pathing and get to experience some of these dungeons for the first time in a mythic plus setting.
Dragonflight Season 1 (and beyond?)
We’re aware at this time that the first season of Dragonflight will feature 4 of the brand new dungeons coming with Dragonflight as well as 4 old dungeons ranging from Mists through Legion. This will once again put as at a grand total of 8 dungeons for the season. Most of if not all of these dungeons will be new to the format once again creating new routes through the dungeons and interesting ways of tackling them. Season 2 in turn is likely to feature the other 4 Dragonflight dungeons plus 4 from the same time frame as mentioned before.
8 Dungeon Pool
My concern is that it seems that a dungeon pool of 8 is being established as the norm. I feel that this isn’t enough dungeons to keep a season fresh throughout. Yes we are getting a different set of dungeons each season but how long does it take before you start to get tired of seeing the same dungeon. In season 1 and 2 of Shadowlands it wouldn’t be uncommon for my group to end up with multiple of the same dungeon key. It is really easy to knock out the 8 dungeons in the pool and then it quickly becomes repetitive. A pool of 10-14 dungeons would create much more diversity in terms of dungeons available for players to tackle. The argument of course would be that more keys means its harder to get the key you are hunting for specifically for score/gear. While this does suck to go dry on a specific dungeon the benefits outweigh the negatives in this case. You’ll get that specific key eventually but dungeon burnout can’t be solved as easily.
Routing and Dungeon Knowledge
It’s no secret that an emphasis has been put on routing as of late. More dungeons means more routes to get used to/memorize, which creates a bigger barrier for entry for players looking from the outside in. This shouldn’t be seen as an issue, as part of the fun is mastering different routes and doing them differently every week, but at the same time most keys at a 15 level can be timed by pulling the dungeon in the simplest manner. One of the most beloved m+ dungeons in recent memory was Freehold and part of that was because of the open atmosphere and freedom to approach the dungeon in different ways. Every week, every group you might take a different route than you did previous. A larger dungeon pool would mean more routes to learn but I think that’s one of the more fun aspects of mythic plus.
It was mentioned during one of the interviews with Ion that one of the reason m+ is going to this cycle system is so that players who are returning or picking up the game later on in the expansion won’t be expected to know exactly what to do in every dungeon due to the community having “solved them” in previous seasons. I agree that this is a great way to do it but with only 8 dungeons it wont take long for people to have the “meta” way of handling them. More dungeons means more variety and a more vast experience in terms of enjoying the game. Planning out routes is one of my favorite parts of being a tank and more dungeons means that that part of the format would last longer for me. I understand that this can be a stressful part of the role for players, and sometimes they would rather not have to worry about learning more dungeons, but at the end of the day that’s part of what makes the mode so fun.
The idea of rotating in and out dungeons per season is a great way to keep the format feeling fresh. Learning the routing and strategies to handle new and old dungeons alike refreshed with affixes is going to be a lot of fun in the coming expansion. One of the major drawbacks me and a number of people I’ve talked with felt even at the start of Shadowlands that 8 dungeons just felt like a very small pool. The 12 we had at the end of BFA and the 10 we have now both felt like better sizes and allowed for both good variety as well as a narrow enough focus to always have something a little different to do each run. Re-using some of the older dungeons is a great way to bring back content that already exists while also keeping it the pool fresh, but one of the benefits of that should be that we get more dungeons per season that if we have to wait for new ones to be built from the ground up. At the end of the day, more dungeons is more content which is just more fun.