The Case of the Vanishing 5-Man
Content, content, and more content is the refrain we have gotten used to in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Blizzard has pushed out patches at speeds never seen before. New factions, new items, a new PvP season, and new instances all mean that players have been busy rushing to complete the new content and the boredom often felt between patches seems to be nothing more than a fairytale.
However, amidst all this excitement, some are starting to notice that something is missing and not quite right with this particular expansion. That missing something is 5-man dungeons, those instances that most of us cut our teeth on. These rather casual dungeons have been strangely missing from the Mists of Pandaria expansion and it leaves us to wonder if this expansion spells the end of this type of instance.
Where Art Thou Five-Man?
Mists of Pandaria, like all other World of Warcraft expansion came stocked with several five-mans ready and available for play. However, with more than a few patches under this expansion's belt, we have yet to see any new 5-man instances. While this could easily be wrote off as normal, looking back on other previous expansions we can clearly see that the lack of 5-mans in Mists is something clearly unique to this particular expansion.
In fact, the Mists of Pandaria expansion is the first expansion ever where new 5-man instances have not been added post-launch. Back in classic WoW, Maraudon was added, along with Dire Maul. The Burning Crusade provided us with Magister's Terrace and Wrath gained a whopping three extra five mans. Cataclysm was no different, with Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub getting revamped, not to mention the opening of the Well of Eternity. Needless to say, it is easy to see that Mists of Pandaria is sorely lacking when it comes to 5-man dungeons.
Casual Player's Paradise
The lack of 5-man dungeons in Mists is really felt by the causal player who finds a kind of paradise inside these types of instances. Short and sweet, these instances allow the casual player to gear up without making to much of a time commitment, while still offering challenges and providing fun. That is not to say that content geared toward the casual player wasn't seen in this expansion.
On the contrary, Mists of Pandaria is literally jammed packed with content appealing to the more casual player. This expansion has focused on scenarios that are perfect for casual group content. However,while scenarios are surely tons of fun, they just don't have quite the same dynamic as the 5-man instances and we find ourselves wishing for a happy balance between both rather than one or the other. Looking for Raid was also added to allow casual players to fall into the raiding scene, however, many find LFR unsatisfying for one reason or another. New 5-mans would offer to fill the void for those players who neither find scenarios or LFR particularly pleasurable, but Mists has left us wanting.
Ghostcrawler to the Rescue!
As we lament the possible loss of 5-mans and their replacement with scenarios, we find a ray of shining hope from a Twitter post made by the infamous Greg Street, also known as Ghostcrawler. In August an unhappy fan asked about the potential for new 5-mans, sighting his displeasure with scenarios and LFR. Check out Ghostcrawler's answer to the fan via the image directly from Twitter below:
As always, Ghostcrawler's post is pretty vaugue, however it offers a ray of hope for 5-man instances. It means that Blizzard has not written them them off and we will hopefully be seeing more of them in the future. However, with all that good news, reading into the comment there is some bad. It is highly likely we won't be seeing any 5-mans for the rest of the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Re-read Ghostcrawler's response. Note where he says they would like to do more 5-mans than they were able to do in MoP. From his response it seems pretty clear that while 5-mans aren't off the board, Blizzard has no plans to add more till after Mists.
This revelation is not surprising, considering that it seems like Mists of Pandaria is wrapping up. Patch 5.4 introduced the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, which allows players to take out Garrosh, a big moment in this expansion. While there are still some lose ends to wrap up, I believe this expansion is moving towards its end.
While there is hope for 5-mans in the future, Ghostcrawler was pretty evasive about saying anything solid. However, I believe that there is a niche that 5-mans can fill in the game that none of the current options quite take the place of. I for one have always been a fan of the 5-man instance and would hate to see it become extinct. I hope with the announcement and release of the next expansion will bring us a slew of 5-mans for our personal enjoyment What about you? Are you hoping for more 5-mans, or do you think the game is complete without them?