WoW: The Effect of the Dungeon Journal

Updated Tue, May 03, 2011 by Xerin

Within World of Warcraft there is a huge disparity between regular players and the upper echelon of raiders that crunch every single number available to come up with the most efficient way to slay those evil enemies that constantly threaten Azeroth. Casual and hardcore players rely heavily on those who spend every waking night testing, researching, and trailblazing boss encounters to find out every ability, every formula, and every possible tactic in order to share the information on how to get the sweet loot out of WoW's loot piñatas. The entire strategy game is changing in the upcoming patch 4.2 with the introduction of the Dungeon Journal, a tool that will share information on bosses, their abilities, and the precious loot that they hold.

The Dungeon Journal is a tool that will display information on the boss, its abilities, and other various details. It's going to be available anywhere and everywhere to any player and none of the information will be gated (as in, released after a specific time). This has a huge impact on the game because it addresses a huge problem: finding out just what a boss does without having to sacrifice the raid to it as a ritual offering in order to get the juicy info.

Think back to when you played Pokémon for the first time. Remember when a wild Abra appeared? Remember the intense feeling of success leading up to its inevitable capture whenever it used “Teleport” to flee combat? The feeling of intense anger the surged through you was not a good feeling, something that games should be full of, and it’s the same whenever you get a boss to 25% and all of a sudden it does something no one at all knew it’d do, wiping the raid and destroying everyone’s morale.

The introduction of the Dungeon Journal has two primary effects on gameplay. The first is that it provides relief to those brave trailblazers who throw themselves willingly at bosses to find out about its abilities to share with everyone else. That is, assuming the Dungeon Journal will be updated on the PTR when bosses are first tested, which may be unlikely since it lists the loot. The secondary effect is very important to the rest of us, because it gives us all a tool that greatly helps with delving deep into dungeons. You know whenever you’re at a boss and someone doesn’t know what it does, especially in a five-man instance? Now, the person can either hold the raid up and ask what it does and hope someone explains to them or they can alt-tab out to visit a third party website. In this instance, they will either:

  • Not alt-tab out of the game and look for anything themselves; ignoring what anyone says. Then, they will go blind into the encounter.
  • Will not alt-tab out of the game because their computer is actually a Super Nintendo on its last leg plugged into a television from 1982.
  • Will alt-tab out but will spend roughly half an hour trying to search “boss abilities” on AOL Search.
  • Will alt-tab out and actually read about the boss.
  • Will beg the party for information, making everyone alt-tab out to get the information to paste to them in the game.

Often the first or last option happens and everyone's experience is ruined. With the addition of the Dungeon Journal it'll be easy for someone to just open it in-game (meaning no alt-tab which means their Super Nintendo doesn’t have to lock up) and read about it themselves. This will make 5-man dungeons slightly less difficult for those who are research challenged and hopefully bring the ignorance level down to reasonable levels.

Speaking of ignorance, it seems that Blizzard is making a huge push to make the game a lot more "understandable" from within the game itself. For instance, the dungeon finder will now attempt to pair you up with members from your own realm. Not try hard enough and you might find it harder and harder to group up in your own homeland. Of course, various add-ons already help with issues like that. For instance, PlayerScore helps rate players so everyone knows who is total fail and who isn’t.

There is one last note and that’s the fact it also includes the loot that a boss drops. This is important because it removes the need for bloated add-ons that load the loot tables of every boss so you can see it in game and it removes the need to search for the items through databases that are hard to read and understand. This should make finding that perfect piece of gear a bit easier, especially while gearing up.

Overall, these changes are positive for everyone. That’s assuming that they add the Dungeon Journal in for lower level players. Although, I have a feeling that at launch we’re only going to see it available for Cataclysm specific dungeon/raids and additional expansions tucked into hotfixes, maintenance patches, and full scale patches in the future like dungeon maps were.

So what are your thoughts on the issue? Share your positive or negative responses below in our comments section.

I think its kinda stupid they are handing out boss information for free. That used to be one of the fun things about playing was not know what was gonna happen regardless if you wiped or not. I for one enjoy doing some research about a boss before fighting him or going to watch YouTube videos. Maybe this will grow on me.

I think this is great. A common problem these days is that if you try to raid with a PUG, they almost always say "must know fights." So basically if you haven't done it before you're not allowed to do it. So where do you start? Many people hate explaining things, and some tanks even pull without bothering to ask if everyone knows the fight. For some reason they would rather wipe 5 times in a row than spend 1 minute explaining how "you need to kill adds asap," or something like that.

I don't mind wiping because something is challenging, but I hate wiping because people don't know what to do. Since 4.1 just came out this is probably quite a few months away though, I would imagine.

@ Scavanger
I've said it on the Blizzard forums and I'll say it here. You don't _have_ to look at it, so if you want to go in blindly for the excitement, you still can. Just don't do the above scenarios and wait till you're in the actually boss fight to ask or do the research yourself. Dungeon journal or not, people are generally more likely to want to group with you and not boot you if you know the dungeons ahead of time 5-man and Raid alike.

It would take you all of a couple hours to research _all_ of the raids and watch a youtube video on the fights. a couple hours to save you days of headaches.

And like I've said before as well, there is still nothing like doing the actual encounter, and while the journal gives you the abilities and the loot, it still leaves a lot to be strategically decided. Its just giving casual players the ability to actually keep up and do some end game content. People who are against it are very self-centered and selfish.

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