|Release: December 07, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
However, there are a few things that make dungeons a bit more of a challenge than your normal play time. The first is that the enemies are designed to be taken on by a group rather than an individual, so if you get separated from your party, you have to be very careful not to trigger any. The second is that the drop-in/drop-out nature of the individual game is lost. If you decide partway through a dungeon that you'd rather stop playing, you have to abandon your teammates in the middle of an adventure. Given that some of the dungeons take upward of an hour to go through, this means that when you enter a dungeon, you make a somewhat serious commitment.
Another interesting aspect of dungeon gameplay is that you have to split the loot. Gold is easy enough; you each get one-fifth of the total. Quest items work out well, too; so far as I can tell, if you've been assigned to collect an item from a certain type of downed enemy, each player can loot the same corpse separately. When it comes to equipment, however, there's an interesting system. Each player is asked to choose "Need," "Greed," or neither. If at least one person says they need the item, it's given to one of them (it's random if more than one person needs it). Otherwise, it's given to a person who selected Greed.
On the whole, I had a great time as a dungeon looter. My teams were almost always well balanced, with a couple players who knew where to go so we didn't get lost. Since these aren't consistent teams (you get new companions for each dungeon you enter), there's not much friendly communication or camaraderie, but everyone was courteous and helpful when I wasn't sure of what to do. There's a real sense of accomplishment when careful teamwork results in a tough boss biting the dust.
I was a little frustrated with the design of one of the dungeons, however. In a runthrough of Wailing Caverns, I fell off a ledge at one point toward the end, which forced me to trudge all the way back up to my teammates. They went on without me (not that I could blame them), and I ran into an enemy on my own, died, and had to start from the very beginning. I missed a boss fight, which cost me a quest. I wish the game would let you teleport to your teammates so long as none of them are in combat.
In World of Warcraft, dungeons are important because they're one of the few features that are still available when you hit endgame. For lower-level characters, they're also a great way to explore with other players, level up, complete quests, and get new equipment. Newcomers should give them a chance as soon as they've reached a high enough level, because they're a big part of what makes World of Warcraft unique.
CCC Freelance Writer