Monday, November 23, 2009

5 Years Later...

Well, it's the 5th Anniversary of the World of Warcraft. Some of us have been around since the beginning, some of us have been here just a few short months.

The game itself has changed, grown, and evolved into something that at times barely resembles the original game that so many started to play. One of the main draws to WoW has always been it's dungeon and raid system. A baby character can begin their journey into instances before they even hit level 10, and characters at max level can spend hours upon hours combating the powerful evils that plague Azeroth.

Levels 1 - 30 

The early stages of Vanilla WoW have always been more about learning your character's class and abilities, and about the world itself. My favorite instance early on would probably be Deadmines. The instance is easy enough that characters can complete it on level, but it still encourages players to make cautious pulls at times, and work together as a team in order to overcome the encounters. For any Alliance character that's taken the time, the quest chains that end in Deadmines reveal some fascinating lore that continues to be relevant to the game for a long long time.

Levels 31-60

This was honestly a difficult choice... I really love some of the instances and raids in here, but there are several true stand outs. Scarlet Monastery is an amazing place for a character to level, and the different wings allows a group to choose where they next adventure. Maraudon is still the most beautiful instance in the game, and the length of it truly makes a group feel they have accomplished something great when finally killing Princess.

However, even with all of that, Blackrock Depths is the most epic 5 man instance in the game. Even now, it is the longest 5 man in the entire game, and has more bosses than most raids. You are here, in the empire of the Dark Iron dwarves, trudging your way to their leader to attempt to end some of the corruption. It's a long, hard, frustrating instance, but with a group that's willing to work for it and stick around, probably still my favorite instance in the entire game.


With the release of Blizzard's first expansion for the World of Warcraft, in addition to new races, a new profession, and 10 more levels for a character to gain, an entire new world and it's dungeon's was made available. The Tempest Keep instances were all fun, but challenging in their own ways. Magister's Terrace and Sunwell, even after they were nerfed, were designed well to challenge those that tried to take them on. Kara is still an amazing instance, with a great storyline and variety of encounters. Nearly all raids of the Burning Crusade expansion are epic in their proportions, and by introducing the 25 and 10 player raiding, Blizzard made it so that more than just a tiny portion of the playerbase was able to step foot inside.

All of that said, the Caverns of Time instances, with the method they introduced of letting players witness and participate in historical events, were some of the best dungeons we've seen in the game so far. The 5 mans were interesting, challenging, but still fun for anyone that was prepared to tackle their evils. The Battle for Mount Hyjal was just amazing, and so different than anything most players had encountered before. And, love it or hate it, the attunement process did limit those able to venture inside to the select elite that were able to defeat the very worst of the tier beforehand, making them believe that they had fully earned their right to take on the evils of the past.

Northrend and Beyond

Now, it's your turn! What is your favorite instance or raid of the current expansion? What are some things you'd be excited to see introduced in Cataclysm? What makes a dungeon amazing, or terrible, in your opinion?

All images here were borrowed from WoWWiki =)

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