Torghast, Tower of the Damned is one of World of Warcraft's most ambitious features ever. It's a sprawling, multi-floor dungeon that's basically a self-contained roguelike. The layout and enemies change each time you explore it, and as you progress to harder floors you accrue wildly over-powered abilities that can turn you into a demon-slaying badass. It's a lot of fun—unless you fail to kill the final boss, in which case that 45 minutes of effort is thrown out the window and you have nothing to show for it.
"One of the biggest points of feedback we've gotten since the release of Shadowlands was that, while the feeling of becoming this powerful wrecking ball going through Torghast and breaking all the rules is super fun, the flipside is that losing in Torghast is one of the worst experiences ever in World of Warcraft," game director Ion Hazzikostas said during an interview today. "And that's a problem. That sucks."
See, Torghast is the primary source of a valuable currency called Soul Ash which is used to power up your Legendary gear. You can only get so much Soul Ash each week, so beating Torghast is something that players have to do if they hope to keep pace with their guildmates and take on harder challenges. But that Soul Ash is only earned if you successfully complete a run of the dungeon, which can take upwards of an hour. Die too many times and you're booted out to the beginning with nothing, which, I can personally say, is so goddamn miserable it actually made me rage quit for a few days. Hazzikostas agrees, so Torghast is going to get an overhaul in Shadowlands' next big update, Chains of Domination.
"What we'd like to do is revisit success and failure in Torghast in Chains of Domination," Hazzikostas said. He explained that in Chains of Domination, Torghast's death counter is going to be replaced, because the big monster that is in charge of kicking you out of the dungeon when you die too many times is actually a raid boss in the upcoming raid. Since players are going to kill it, it makes sense that the rule it upholds would go away too.
"What if instead we had more of a rating or a score, where it was more of a spectrum, a continuum of success and trying to do better, trying to be more efficient, trying to be faster or have fewer deaths, but you have some reward to show for it?" Hazzikostas said. "You always want to do better, but you're never leaving empty handed—unless you, like, fail on the first floor and your run ends there, that's okay."
It's a simple fix, but it already sounds way better to me. Unfortunately, Hazzikostas didn't have many specifics to share, but just knowing that Torghast is getting an overhaul is good news.
"We'll have more to show when the [Public Test Realm] starts for Chains of Domination. We're looking forward to a lot of feedback and iteration on this system," Hazzikostas said. "I think our take on Torghast is that the setting is awesome, the gameplay is awesome, the variety of content and experiences there are awesome, but it needs to be a place where we can offer challenge without frustration and despair if the challenge ends up being too much for you."
Chains of Domination doesn't have a release date yet, but it'll be coming later this year. You can read our interview covering all its most exciting features right here.