Tigole, Quest Designer, has revealed some important details concerning Zul’Gurub, to be released in patch 1.7.0:
As many of you know, the Dungeon and Raid team has been working on a zone called Zul’Gurub for quite some time now. We’re deep into the playtesting phase of the zone and are currently iterating on a few final boss encounters. The majority of the encounters have been “locked out” and are ready to go. Itemization of the zone is complete and the zone is fully quested.
I wanted to take a minute to talk about the intended “goal” of the zone. Zul’Gurub is often referred to as a “casual raid zone”. But I think the term “casual” can at times be misleading. Rather than get hung up on the semantics of “casual” versus “hardcore” I think it’s best if everyone understands Zul’Gurub’s place in the overall zone and dungeon flow of World of Warcraft.
Zul’Gurub is intended to fit in somewhere between Upper Blackrock Spire and Molten Core. Zul’Gurub only requires 20 people compared to the 40 it takes to do Molten Core or Blackwing Lair. This lower raid cap contributes to the zone being deemed more “casual”, as it takes less organization to get 20 people together than it does for 40.
Another goal of the zone is that it can be completed relatively quickly. Once the zone is mastered, raids will be clearing it in under 2 hours.
Now what I just said can be a little misleading. I know that a signifcant number of people are going to read it as “I can clear Zul’Gurub in under two hours.” But the important thing about what I said is that those fast clearing times will happen once the zone has truly been mastered. Even though the zone is referred to as “casual”, there is still a learning curve to it. The encounters in Zul’Gurub are challenging and require good coordination and skill. The encounters will also be tuned assuming raid groups DON’T have Molten Core or better loot. What this means for well-equipped, hardcore raiding guilds is that they will find the zone to be fairly easy.
The coolest thing about Zul’Gurub, in my opinion, is it allows everyone to have the chance to see some of the coolest parts of the raiding experience—highly scripted boss encounters. There are a LOT of bosses in Zul’Gurub and a lot of time has been put into making all of those fights unique and challenging. I think players of all playstyles will find the zone fun