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Alright, Blizzcon 09 day two is upon us, and the World of Warcraft Dungeons and Raids Panel will be getting started shortly. I will be live blogging the event starting at 1PM PST. Get yourself situated and your refresh button ready to go.

Panel begins. Initial conversation talks about how a raid is designed. It all starts with an idea and then transitions into a layout phase. The raid is first designed on paper creating a 2D dungeon — where bosses/points of interest will be placed, etc. Below are example paper layouts of Grim Batol (from upcoming Cataclysm and a layout from the four floor Ice Crown Citedal in Lich King).

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The next step consists of a simple 3D layout. It now becomes a part of the game and is playable but with simple 3D shapes. He also mentions that teleporters (like those in Ulduar) will also be found in Ice Crown.

After that the group discusses interactive elements (i.e. platform breaking in Malygos before mounting your drakes for the final phase of the counter).

From there they move to artistic renderings/concept pieces that help to sometimes change the layout or experience of the dungeon drastically. See the Mimiron train below.

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After the dungeon is designed, the group shifts focus to the actual Encounter Design. The Mimiron encounter was actually based on  the groups love for Voltron. Things they think about are will this be a tank and spank, how much movement will be required, etc.

They use a tool called “Wow Edit” this helps with Creature placement, spell casting, etc. The wow edit tool allows for custom/random timers for moves (i.e. cast every 15-20 seconds).

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After the encounters are designed, the five man team tests out the dungeons. The biggest challenge they joke about here is who will tank and who will heal.

They now shift topic to Cataclysm dungeons (4 ready to go at launch) Abyssal Maw, Halls of Origination, Grim Batol, Fire Lands, Black Wing Decent, Shadowfang Keep, and Dead Mines.

First discussed is the under water Abyssal Maw Dungeon complete with new water effects which will also be present in the game outside of raid as well. This is a 78-82 dungeon.

The Halls of Origination is a Titan Dungeon (complete with Brann Bbeard). Non linear experience. Planned to have 6-7 bosses. “Amazing art style”. Rumors of this dungeon housing a secret weapon wanted by both Horde and Alliance.

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Blackrock Caverns will be an entirely new instance located inside of Blackrock Mountain giving Bliz a chance to recreate a fan favorite zone. This place houses the “Twighlight Hammer”. Hints at their being “more than one beast” inside.

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Conversation switches to talk about Ice Crown Citedal. Ten and 25 Raid with joke made about 31 bosses and GC’s big mouth. Instance will really have 12 bosses.

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First floor will include two bosses and a glimpse at the thrones base. The second floor will have rocket ships that will allow you to race the apposing faction to the next floor while attacking them (at least that is how they made it sound).

The third floor contains several bosses, and the fourth floor will have the Lich King. Parts of the 4th floor will break and if you fall it will be “bad”. There will be three separate wings with 8 bosses across them. Epic quest line will unlock access to second and third wings.

You will fight along horde and alliance characters.

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Blackwing Decent will be a new raid inspired by Blackwing Lair. The Firelands will be an exterior 25-10 man raid. This will the first time we fight Raagnurus at his “full strength. Below is some art from the Firelands.

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Conversation now switches to Anniversary talks about Onyxia, her updated level 80 abilities, more random breaths, updated tier two art loot, and very rare epic fast mount. Below is the rare mount as well as the Onyxia whelp that everyone will get for logging in during the anniversary celebration. The whelp will try to do deep breaths occasionally but fail (funny).

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Another new feature in the expansion will be Cross Server LFG (Looking For Group) will work similar to Battle Grounds. This is designed to help PUGS. There will be a reward system for this.  An example of this is if you flag yourself as a leader and help people run a dungeon, if you successfully complete it you will get a reward. This is scheduled for release with Patch 3.3 — so look for it before the Expansion.

That concludes the Raids Panel portion. The Q&A Session is about to start.

Q: Additional Instances cant be launched? Any solutions? Yes. The same tech used for Cross Server LFG is already being implemented on some servers and it helps to resolve this problem. It will become more widespread soon.

Q: Will reputations be brought back in dungeons and raids? Yes. In a different way they do want to bring them back. Think tabbards as an example.

Q: Are the nerfs to hard modes that have occurred recently what you wanted the hard modes to be? Yes. Some of the hard modes were too hard. We do want the hard modes to be beaten as well. People thought Yogg plus 0 was too hard for a long time and then it got beaten and we were very happy (cough bullshit — with 25 warlocks — what a load of shit). Blah blah blah.

Q: How intensive is your internal testing and did anyone at Blizzard defeat the Yogg plus 0 encounter before release? (I’ll translate his answer for you) The QA team got their ass kicked by Yogg plus 4 — so no they did not get Yogg 0 down. (Apparently they didn’t have enough Asian Walocks.)

(Ok, guys I am sorry but some of these questions are just ridiculously stupid. I will update you with ones that are worth mentioning.)

And that’s it. Panel is over and and the Q&A QQ has concluded as well. Time for me to get some food. Peace.