How the MDI Is Changing the Game [Interview]

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Forbes took some time out to take a look at how the recently ended Mythic Dungeon Invitational is and will continue to impact the game itself, with Lead Encounter Designer Morgan Day. They go into how the high end competition made the devs take another look at just how people were clearing high M+ and smooth those runs out so weird things don't happen during broadcasts, how what they saw impacted how they balance classes and design dungeons, what the plans for the future are and a lot more. Here are a few excerpts:


Q: Are there any fixes you regretted?

Day: We have a very robust hotfixing system, where we can send things live pretty quickly, so we were like, maybe we should look at that NOW. We made a mistake. In one of the regional tournaments, they ran through Cathedral of Eternal Night. They used this creature that they mind controlled, and used one of his abilities to create this zone of haste. And then they pulled that guy all the way through the dungeon with them.

We actually found out that there was a bug with that, where the damage that does to you wasn’t scaling. It just wasn’t working the way it was intended to. We said oh, well we can fix that, it’s no big deal. So then we fixed the bug, which is something that we do very often as a team.

But it turns out, in the middle of a tournament, maybe we shouldn’t have done that. We could have held off until a patch to fix that. In the grand scheme of things, it was a minor issue, but It potentially impacted team strategies. So we said, okay, maybe we should not do that type of fix in the middle of this process in the future. We learned from things like that.

Agronox in Cathedral of Eternal Night


Q: Were there any unusual group strategies?

Day: There was a Lower Karazhan game where a really good group took a route that basically no one had seen before in our office. We were like, did you see what they did?? I’m going to start doing that on live!

They killed Opera, [then] doubled back all the way to the start of the instance through that hidden door. They went from there to Moroes’ room. They did Maiden last. My reaction was like, “Wut??!” It was cool. They won the map, and I was like, that looked really really clean, that was a really cool run. So that was really interesting to see.

[A Reddit conversation with that team later noted that they did the route in part to time the powerful Bloodlust/Heroism buff to be available for the bosses they wanted.]

There was a fun email chain that went around after, on Monday. In Neltharion’s lair, the last two packs in front of [the final boss] Dargrul are linked.

We call that “Mograinig,” or “to Mograine” – the first time anyone remembers that was back in Scarlet Monastery, you’d pull [attack] Mograine and the whole cathedral would come after you. We still call that Mograining. Those two trash pulls, if you pull Dargrul, will come with you.

Even the commentators, I was watching, were surprised by it: [The team] pulled the trash pull and the boss. And they were like, what are they doing, this is such a bad idea. And they had a hunter that was pulling the trash off to the side, and he feigned death. And then instead of going back to punch the group, they just went home.

So they basically circumvented the linked pull by having the hunter. And I was like man, that was – I’m going to look at how that’s set up, because that seems like, how did they do that?

But nope, since the beginning of Warcraft, that’s how the game works, and they’ve just figured out those small little details, which I think is really interesting. That’s again a good example of, I didn’t expect that, but they filled up the progress bar, they killed all the trash that is required, and then they found out this cool way to skip this one hard pack.

Good for you guys, that’s pretty cool.


Q: What else can we look forward to?

Day: As far as things for the future, I think mythic plus is here to stay, obviously -- everyone loves it. We would be crazy not to carry it into the future.

For me, as my own personal thing, I don’t know if this is something that we could say we were going to do for sure, I would love to get some more strategy built into specific affixes. Things that have a higher degree of mastery, potentially, or things that you could use for your benefit, but it comes at a risk.

Imagine if sanguine made you take more damage and deal more damage. What would that look like? Things like that would be fun to explore for new affixes, in terms of introducing new things. We don’t have specific concrete plans for that. It’s something that we’ll talk about a lot more I’m sure.

Be sure to check out the whole interview, and even if you're not a fan of Mythic+ or the Invitational specifically, it's still a good look at how Blizzard learn and take note from live events and competitions like this.

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I agree that the karazhan thing was very creative - but the dargrul pack... This is how I did my runs before the year ended? How come devs only knew about that now?


We always did that with a hunter, rogue or whatever other reset tool to get that done. I friggin loved the mindcontrol thing though, kudos.

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3 hours ago, Yridaa said:

I agree that the karazhan thing was very creative - but the dargrul pack... This is how I did my runs before the year ended? How come devs only knew about that now?


We always did that with a hunter, rogue or whatever other reset tool to get that done. I friggin loved the mindcontrol thing though, kudos.

As I don't do keys pull, they do a few things that surprised me. Sadly, they're going to fix the warlock "bug" in Cathedral of Eternal Night... that was a clever play... and, acctually, the  EU teams made a really faster run without any triks, so, that was just a little flavor...

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Yeah, all those old MUST USE mechanics that were once utilized in vanilla days, because it simly was neccesary for people to utilize them. Remember watching your aggro besides affixes? Aggro reducing abilities? Seems not even the devs do anymore.
Game is much more comfortable at the cost of reduced complexity bringing about things like hunters that do not know misdirection exists and what does it do, but then again they finally obtain a weapon specified as a "hunter weapon".

People tend to forget, game is old, new playerbase might have the same brain capacity, but the game no longer taps it as much, it is no longer neccesary, but this is what the MDI is all about, bringing out the best and worst out of the game.
The probably fairly obvious bug abuse being one of the quirks that comes when pushing the boundary is worth actual money.

Mythic+ is a fantastic mode when it comes to keeping mechanics relevant over time, while this is amazing, at the same time the competitive spirit it brings with it can be meta inducing even on a class choice scale (but then again, meta is always formed and class/race choice is much more forgiving than vanilla, say hi to fear ward dwarven priests for me).

Issue is the simple minds take away limited information such as "this comp is best, we must have it, no other is worth it, even though we run the key on 10 levels lower", which as a monk player (there is 1 monk in top 100 based on that score) can be discouraging.

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