The Dungeons & Raids panel for this year’s BlizzCon 2011 gave us an impressive insight into the future of doing dungeons in World of Warcraft. We’ve learned about some of the new Panda dungeons along with where the future of the Raid Finder will be taking us. We’ve also got some new insight into the Challenge Mode which should give players a more rewarding challenge.

New & Old Dungeons

The most curious of the new additions is that we’re going to be seeing two old time dungeons coming back for another romp. Scholomance and The Scarlet Cathedral will be returning as level 90 heroics. They’ll be revamped, of course, and the older versions will remain for those leveling up.

Shado-Pan Monastery, Stormstout Brewery, and the Temple of the Jade Serpent will be three of the total nine new regular dungeons added to the game. It’ll launch with several raids, the one introduced at BlizzCon was the Mogu’Shan Palace which will have six bosses.

Challenge Modes

Challenge modes will be timed dungeons that will normalize your gear (making it all one ilvl) so groups don’t have a gear advantage and it’ll focus more on skill. You’ll work for medals (which award gear for Transmogrification) and can gain even more medals after reaching gold. Subsequent runs gives you an ever increasing debuff to see how far you can take the challenge.

There will be leaderboards, of course, along with valor points awarded so that you’ll be advancing your character even if you don’t receive anything else. It’ll also work with the Dungeon Finder.

Raid Finder

The Raid Finder will NOT have a lockout timer, meaning that you’ll be able to do the raid finder along with your normal raid runs. A lot of things players are worried about, like the difficulty with a group of random strangers, are being worked out. The rewards won’t be as great, but it’ll be an easy way for players to jump into raiding.

Goals for Mists of Pandaria

They’re planning on lowering the amount of time each dungeon takes and simplifying them even further than they are now. So essentially the goal will be to make dungeons easier for anyone to get into, but provide alternate challenges for players who aren’t satisfied with “easy mode.”

That’s pretty much the entire panel in a nutshell. The Q&A focused on some rather random quests, none of which provided much insight into the future. We know that we’re not going to be seeing normal dungeons in Mists of Pandaria. A lot of the questions focused on how nothing is set in stone either, so we can expect a lot of this to change between now and then.

Dungeon Exploring in the Mists of Pandaria

Exploring dungeons seems to me to be a lot more fun in the coming expansion. We’re going to see a lot of normalized content. Meaning that casual players will be able to jump into heroics without much of a hitch, but if you want the more challenging content then you’ll have to seek it out. I’m not sure about the dungeon finder having a challenge mode option – either everyone will want to do it at first and it’ll die off or it won’t see a lot of action. That’s a good route to go to make players be a bit more social and fine tune groups for these tough challenges.

The new dungeon details look interesting, but we didn’t have a lot of lore fleshed out for us. The Mogu and Mantids sound interesting enough, but not interesting enough for me to barely remember their names. I’m sure we’ll find out more tomorrow and over the coming months.

Another interesting thing is that without normal modes, they’re taking a big chunk out of the pre-raiding setup. Without needing to run normal we can easily jump straight into heroics, AoE everything down, and then move on to the raid finder. I’m personally very excited about it.

I’m sure the raid finder won’t come into its own in Patch 4.3, but with Mists of Pandaria we’ll see a new way to play and a much more fun experience, I think. Again, we’ll need to see it, but I’m sure that it’ll be something a lot better than what we’ve been deal with for the last expansion.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Leave your interesting or creative responses below.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

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Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.