World of Warcraft's upcoming patch will finally start fixing how much its dungeons suck for new players

A very upset admiral from World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth bares a grimace.
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

The next World of Warcraft patch is in development, and it's called Seeds of Renewal (as announced by Blizzard on its official news blog). Aside from the exciting news that Dragonflying will become globally available in all old-world content, Blizzard has taken the first step to fixing a glaring flaw in the game's levelling process. Simply put, dungeons are pretty terrible if you're new to the game.

A "Follower Dungeons" mechanic—which sounds very similar to what Final Fantasy 14's been doing lately with its Duty Support system—will be introduced, letting you learn a dungeon with a bunch of NPCs. NPCs who won't accuse your mum of impropriety when you stand in the fire or dare to take in the scenery. 

"They will be available in all eight Normal Dragonflight Dungeons and can scale from 1–4 players. These companions will allow players to learn about Dragonflight dungeons at their own pace and provide the freedom to experiment and customise their Party makeup," the post reads.

Dragonflight will likely become the new levelling zone when World of Warcraft: The War Within drops next year. This means new players will be finally able to actually do dungeons without being tried in dungeon finder court for the crime of being new to a video game. In case you haven't had the displeasure yourself, let me explain.

It's said sometimes that "hell is other people." I don't really believe that, but WoW's made me feel it, sometimes. Battle for Azeroth—the expansion the game uses for levelling—has some of the worst introductory dungeons I've seen in an MMO. While the dungeons are weirdly punishing, especially compared to their Dragonflight counterparts, that's not the main issue.

The main problem is that players want to get through them fast. I'm not blaming them for this—it's a natural response to playing a game with a lot of repeat activities. You develop your own personal speedrun routes. WoW's current dungeon culture just happens to be very unforgiving.

This works against players actually learning the dungeons, or players who want to take in the ambience. I dipped my toes into Mythic+, and I didn't learn mechanics as much as I learned, vaguely, what did and didn't murder me. And while it's fine to learn by trial and error—good, even—it's less fun to feel like you're bothering strangers just by existing.

This system would allow players to just… play a dungeon. Exploring side rooms, listening to dialogue and reading lore entries, enjoying the music, all that good stuff nobody gets to do because BigSoxiiSlammer is busy chain-pulling. Again, no disrespect—once I'm familiar with the dungeon I love having a player like that in my group, just not before. 

The only major downside is that queue times might get a little longer—though since FF14's Duty Support was implemented, I haven't noticed much of a hit. And since WoW's far more alt-friendly (and soon to be more so, with its upcoming Warbands feature) I can't see it becoming a problem any time soon. There's no release date for Seeds of Renewal, but it'll begin PTR testing this week.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.