Storytelling in Dungeons with Cutscenes

There has been a bit of a buzz over on the american forums about cutscene storytelling in dungeons. On the one hand, story is for everyone to see, so it is bad if one hasty group member skips parts that other players have not experienced yet. On the other hand, things get very boring later, when everybody has seen the story unfold umpteen times, but is still forced to waste more valuable lifetime on it.

Dear Blues, I want to direct your attention to one of your upcoming competitors (the name of which I shall not mention, but it is crafty, and martial, too). They have publicly made a few statements about storytelling in dungeons. Their text was a bit vague, and light on details. So what follows now is my interpretation of that same functionality implemented in a hypothetical future WoW expansion.

Five man dungeons have had two difficulty levels in WoW since the TBC era. And since the WotLK era, significant amounts of storytelling have been done within such dungeons. The suggestion now is to couple storytelling with the difficulty levels in a specific manner:

1. Characters are not allowed to enter the heroic mode of a dungeon unless they played through normal mode at least once. (This restriction is in place for the current tier of 5 mans, but should probably be lifted for older/lower tier dungeon content. Otherwise players who join the fray later on might have trouble finding a group for non heroic runs.)

2. All story related events and cutscenes happen in normal mode and cannot be skipped. (Even the most impatient players are politely asked to wait for those who still enjoy the story.)

3. All story related events and cutscenes are automatically skipped in heroic mode. (No lifetime needs to be wasted on something that every character is known to have seen in normal mode already.)

Your competitor apparently plans to differentiate even more between what they call "story mode" and "exploration mode", but for purposes of ingame storytelling, the idea outlined above pretty much covers all relevant things.

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