Running TBC Instances

I have a confession to make. I freaking HATE being dragged around old raid instances because people have an obsessive tourist urge. Obsess really is the right word here. Even aside from the (pointless) achievement for completing an old raid, players who never ran the places when they were cutting edge can get amazingly worked up about wanting to see them. Zomg  must see content!!

I totally understand the desire to get your money’s worth, but they’re old for a reason. My memory says that if they were fun, it was because of the experience we had running them as progression content. Some of the surroundings are quite pretty, but a mob is just a mob.

Normally I would take the goblin approach and either charge or refuse to help (ie. find an excuse) since I don’t play to do things that will annoy me, but last week some of my friends wanted to run a few old TBC raids and I agreed to go along.

I ended up on my level 70 druid because they were short of healers and she’s fairly well geared since she was my main raid toon. So I added Wild Growth to my quickbars and headed off to The Eye to commence slaughter.

Which old encounters still hold up?

The only encounters which still held much of the old flavour were the coordination fights.

A’lar for example, with his (or her) coordinated tank movements in phase 1, and then all the running out of fires in phase 2. Of course the fight was much easier and more forgiving, but the tourists did get a sense of what it was like at 70.

Kael’thas was more of a disappointment. We did basically follow the usual strategy but it didn’t feel like one of the hardest encounters in TBC. Picking up and equipping legendary weapons mid-fight is still fun in a gimmick kind of way but … it was dull.

We moved on to Serpentshrine. The fights again were  unexciting until we got to Lady Vashj where we actually wiped once. We got her down on the second try.

And Lady Vashj was the highlight of the evening (for me, at least). The signature coordination fight in TBC; phase 2 still requires people to kite striders, tank nagas, run around killing elementals and throw tainted cores around. Afterwards, everyone was impressed that she had been killed regularly by level 70s. People commented, “That must have been an exciting fight!” — they didn’t say that about any of the others we had seen.

It was a good deal more interesting than anything in Naxxramas, even on easy mode (ie. with most people being way overgeared and higher level).

Then a quick romp through Mount Hyjal in which the bosses were dull but the scenery was gorgeous. The waves of adds did at least give people lots to run around and kill, but only Archimonde still really felt like a boss. And even then he was a pretty easy one.

Finally, and I was praying that they’d give up before this point, we went on to Magtheridon. I never thought this was a very interesting encounter anyway and I totally fail to see why any tourist would obsess over seeing him. He’s a big demon, and … that’s it.

We had one tank grab all the adds, and one picked up the boss. We healed through blastwaves. Anything that might have been remotely interesting about that encounter (it used to require 5 people clicking on parts of the room in a coordinated way to stop the blast wave which would probably wipe the raid) was gone, it was a basic tank and spank.

That’s an example of an encounter that is completely trivialised by sufficiently better gear.

So which Wrath Encounters will hold up?

Malygos, the Four Horsemen, and Sartharion with drakes up are the only encounters that will still hold any challenge when we outgear them. They are pretty much the only coordination fights in Wrath at the moment.

I don’t know what will be this expansion’s ‘Lady Vashj’ — Sarth+3 may be it. Although I hope that at least one good coordination challenge lies within Ulduar. Even though we will wipe many times on it if so.

I thought it was  interesting to see which encounters had been totally trivialised. Magtheridon was the best example but not the only one. And the trivialised encounters were very dull.

It occurred to me not to be too upset about tank or healer nerfs in 3.1, if the end result is to make the raid encounters less amenable to being brute forced.

For example, we were able to start brute forcing Naxxramas almost immediately. Does anyone still bother kiting Anub’Rekhan or stopping Faerlina from enraging? Sure, it was easier to just ignore those parts, but it also leeched a lot of the unusual aspects from those encounters.

What else changed since TBC?

It may be unfair to compare the first tier of Wrath raids with the second and third tier of TBC raids. We expect raids to get tougher and more complex across the lifetime of an expansion.

But in general the TBC raids had more for the tanks to do. They also had a lot more trash – not necessarily a good thing but very noticeable when going back.

I still rather resented being dragged back and don’t plan to do it again any time soon. But at least I picked up the T6 hat for my druid :) I suppose I should think about levelling her now ….

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7 thoughts on “Running TBC Instances

  1. You’re not the only one who isn’t a keen tourist of old content. I was in a progression guild at the time achievements launched and I found it rather demoralising that people preferred to go to UBRS than Sunwell.

    On the other hand having wiped for weeks on Kil’Jaeden in 3.0 it was nice to go back at 80 and kill him and was still a hard fight. If you want to cure your guildies of the urge to tourist with you take them to wipe on KJ **laughs evilly**

  2. I’ll admit that I stopped playing for a while not long after we’d cleared Kara so I never got to actually see any of those fights from the 25mans, our guild wasn’t big enough and we’d sacrificed too much of our RLs to WoW, so a number of us quit. I’d still like to go back and see those encounters just from that point of view, sure they’ll be easier but I missed out when they were proper content. However, I’d not want to drag unwilling guildies with me and abuse their time.

  3. To paraphrase “Malygos will still be a challenge when we outgear him”

    He is already a one-shot for us. We normally tag him onto the end of a Naxx or Sarth raid. I would say he is no harder than Alar was in TBC (if not easier).

    Vashj was ‘technically’ a harder fight than Kaelthas, but Kaelthas was completely unpredictable, which is what made him such a pita.

    Trash in Naxxramas is a joke. Round it up and aoe it down. The trash in the Eye was very difficult in comparison.

    • Yeah. Maybe challenge was the wrong word.

      I think the fight will still have the same sort of feel. You’ll still be chasing discs around in P2 and flying your drakes in P3.

  4. Even Karazhan had its coordination fights. Netherspite was a challenge for us, even after we had the zone on farm, and Prince was random enough that a T6-geared raid could wipe if they caught an unlucky string of infernals. I don’t see any fights like that in the current expansion. Two weeks after our first Sarth 3D kill, it’s a one-shot for us. (I’m not trying to trivialize the encounter: it’s *hard* to master, but it’s also surprisingly easy — and thoroughly anticlimactic — on subsequent kills).

    Archimonde never stopped feeling epic to me. Neither did Kael’thas or Vashj. Hell, I’d settle for a Fathom-Lord Karathress at this point, a Reliquary of Souls or a Gurtogg Bloodboil.

    WotLK raiding just can’t compare to TBC raiding, and the real reason I refuse to “go back” to the old instances I loved so much is that I can’t stand to see them trivialized to the extent I know they must be. We brute-force Naxxramas because there’s nothing else to do; brute-forcing the Eye after all the weeks we spent wiping in it would break my undead heart.

    Yes, I’m sentimental.

    But ‘grats on the T6 helm! I’m glad the roleplayers didn’t snag all the loots. ;)

  5. Got to admit I’m a big tourist for old content though I wouldn’t want to drag anyone along who didn’t want to go!

    I also got to admit, I don’t understand the whole “Naxx is easy” thing going around, but that’s mostly because I’ve yet to be in a group that can full clear the place, and I’ve been trying for weeks. >.> That said, I do think Karazhan was harder as an entrance raid. Although my guildies and I did a tourist run of it the other week and just demolished everything, but there was a time when it was a pretty difficult raid.

    Honestly I’d love to see a bunch of people who had never done Naxx before try to get Heigan on the first try, myself… =P

  6. I really hated MH at level — the 8 waves of add routine got boring very quickly. But maybe that’s because I had to keep healing tanking clothies. I have to admit that now that I am playing a shadowpriest, your mention of MH brought a gleam to my eye, and the words “mind sear” to my lips.

    I am not surprised that the Vashj fight stood the test of time — it was one of the best TBC teamwork moments in an instance.

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