I've talked a lot about things I'd like to see in the coming xpac. Almost none of it's going to be implemented but that's okay -- frankly Garrisons are a pretty big motivator in and of themselves.
But there's one thing I'd really like to see. Something I really missed this expansion. Something that a lot of other people have been talking about, so I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring as well.
I want more 5-man content. Ideally I'd like it as something a little bit more than a stepping-stone to raiding.
My best memories of World of Warcraft come from running 5-mans with my good friends. We cut our teeth on BC heroics, having reached 70 at staggered intervals. When Wrath dropped the first thing we did was head to Howling Fjord, do the intro quests, and run into Utgarde. My first 80 dinged in Halls of Lightning (I had rerolled when everyone else was at 75 so I was a little bit behind). Countless runs of all the heroics, working on our meta.
It's something I've felt lacking in Mists. The initial offerings were fine, I guess, but there wasn't anything new. Ever. The 5-man content in Pandaria is the same as it was when it launched, and that just isn't cool. I mean, okay, scenarios are nice and all, but they're not dungeons. For one thing, you don't need a tank. Tanks, in fact, are contraindicated because of their lower DPS. Not groovy. For another, they're only three people. Not enough to get a proper party going on.
And challenge modes? Neat idea but it's not like they're new content.
I'm gonna guess that Blizzard put less emphasis on releasing 5-man content because LFR has made raiding so accessible to the plebes (a camp which I find myself a firm part of these days). Back in the day, if you weren't in a guild, 5-mans were a big part of your endgame. That's no longer the case, okay, fine. Still, I feel like Blizzard missed the boat. Or maybe it's just me.
The thing is, much as I like raiding, raiding is exhausting. It's long and it involves a lot of strangers -- at least, in LFR. If you wipe, it takes ten minutes to get things organized for another attempt, and there are so many people all talking at once. Making any kind of connection with even one stranger in a group of 25 random people is a huge challenge. At least, for introverts like me.
And that's the big difference. That's why I like 5-man content. It's not the length, not really, because included in my "I wish they'd introduce more 5-man content" is at least one massive dungeon like BRD. Yeah, I'd pug that, no problem. Because here's the thing: in a 25-man raid, I'm gonna sit and do my thing and not talk at all and when we've killed the boss I'm gonna drop group and never see any of those people again. They might as well be bots. Because I'm an introvert and trying to compete for social attention among that many strangers is damned intimidating.
But a 5-man? Hell, I've gone into 5-mans and played and bantered and laughed and RPd and everything. I've made actual (in-game) friends with people I've PUGged dungeons with. Sometimes it's a death march, sometimes it's a wipe fest, and sometimes it's the most fun I've had with strangers in Warcraft.
So that's my plea to Blizzard: please give us some progressive 5-man content come Warlords. A couple new (or revamped) dungeons every patch would be ideal, especially if, like in previous xpacs, it dropped "catch-up" gear. Make some of them small and some of them big. Seriously, give us a raid-esque 5-man, something that takes a good couple of hours to complete. (And maybe exclude that one from LFG random, just so people don't bitch.)
Or, even better, give us a new dungeon set. Let the opening pieces drop in the initial 5-mans, and let the patch 5-mans improve it. New color palette and higher ilvl, of course, nothing too fancy. And by "set" I mean actual set, with set bonuses and everything. And a full eight (or nine!) pieces. Sure, keep it a tier or two below the current raid gear, but something. Something for those of us who kind of prefer 5-man content to work on.
It'd be awesome.