“This place was designed to get players familiar with raid snares and effects. They went a little overboard.”

So I bucked up, went ahead and tanked my first instance as a paladin the other day. First I hemmed and hawed, and wasted time in Ironforge for a bit. Did I have water? Yes. Were all of my abilities on my bars? Yes. Was I ready for this? I didn’t know. I queued specifically for Scarlet Monastery: Cathedral because I wanted an instance I knew well, that was very linear and hard to get lost in, and also I was highish level for it so it’d be a little easier on me in terms of not going splat if I made a poor pull.

I think it went pretty well. Nobody died, the people at the end said “good group” even though it was one of those eerily silent runs. I’m beginning to understand now why tanks are so seldom chatty. Or if they are chatty tanks, they’re either a) very, very good or b) very, very bad. I just can’t concentrate on “ohwhereisthatmobgoingheythatone’sacastergetoverhereyou” as well as “How about that local sports team?” I often have to repeat things to my husband that are said in guild or raid chat because he misses them entirely. It all begins to make sense.

So I tanked, rewards were reaped, the queue was instantaneous (no kidding). However – I don’t think I’ll do it again most probably. Not for some time, if ever. This is for a few reasons.

1) It’s just so stressful to me. My heart was pounding and I was tense the whole time. Yes, I know, it would probably get better if I practiced it but I’m not sure if I want to. It isn’t what comes naturally to me, and honestly just wasn’t a lot of fun. Understand I’m not saying “Tanking is no fun! How can you tanks do this,” etc. but rather, tanking isn’t very much fun for me. Not in pugs. Maybe later on, with friends, if I cobble together a tanking set and am at 80 – then sure. It’s not that I couldn’t learn to do it acceptably well. But why do something that isn’t fun?

2) I made this character to play as a healer while leveling. Sure, it doesn’t mean I can’t try other things, but predominantly she’s a healer. That’s what I’d like to do, and I’m having a lot of fun doing that.

The only argument for tanking is that my tanking pants are actually just that – pants. With only a slight gap at the top. My healing pants are shorts. I managed to score a pair of plate healing legs(!) from a Helpful Satchel today, so I have honest-to-goodness heavy plate boots.

With shorts. I look like I wandered off of a nudist beach and stole a tank’s boots and made off with them.

But not before I welded them so that they don’t cover my hooves, and are in fact plate leggings. Because that’s how we draenei roll.

Scarlet Monastery was a few days ago, and since I just wasn’t feeling the tanking thing, I resolved to login when I had some time and just wait out the healing queue. I wasn’t disappointed at all – in one “pugging session” I ran Maraudon Purple Crystals (twice), Maraudon Orange Crystals, Zul’Farrak, and finally Maraudon Pristine Waters. I’m level 46 now, and about halfway to forty-seven. The Purple Crystals Punishment should be over – since the instance is now green to me, I doubt I’ll get it very much. It’s good to get so much pugging done. The bad thing about it is that much of it starts to blend together in my mind. A pug is a pug is a pug, right?

I’ve determined that I’m not a fan of Purple Crystals. The title is a quote from my tank when someone complained about the instance (“Not this place AGAIN?”) and I remarked that it had diseases, magic effects, and stacking poisons. The rogue added, “And roots and snares!” (At least one of the roots is a magic effect though, I know ’cause I’ve been dispelling it). I don’t mind doing a lot of dispelling, really, except that it was seriously draining my mana. There was a very marked difference between the earlier Purple runs and the Orange run I did later, as well as Pristine Waters. I barely had to drink at all during the latter two runs. The good news now is that I have a new rank of water! The time before you can drink new water but desperately need it is so frustrating. If they want to speed up leveling (or leveling via pugs), they should just increase the amount of mana returned from the various ranks of waters/beverages.

I run into a fair number of people who are leveling just using the LFD, honestly. They’re not all writing blogs about it but many are doing it. The tank during our Orange run was very insistent that he needed to get to Celebras for his quest. We’d actually killed this boss during earlier explorations I’d done (a pug that wandered from Purple into Orange) and I had no idea there was a quest involved. Further research reveals the convoluted and somewhat sordid history of Maraudon. Father and mother of the centaur? I had no idea.

Anyway, so some folks are still taking the time to do pre-instance quest chains, other folks laugh and say “Questing? Who does that anymore?” I’d like to do some of them but often end up with little time to pug at all, and less time to do quest chains. I am going to try to do the ones for Sunken Temple, though. I like them. Beginning with Yeh’kinya and his screecher spirits, the next step requires Zul’Farrak and I usually forget this and end up having to go back after the fact. So if I start doing that now, I’ll be set. There’s also a class-specific quest for Sunken Temple soonish. I know the mage version rewarded a very worthy trinket, I’m not sure about the paladin version though. I’ll be sure to write about it when I do know, although I’m certain there are paladins wiser than I who may comment and already know!

This has been a fairly dry post, I’m afraid, mostly because nobody has done anything ridiculous in any of my pugs. They’ve largely been quiet and relaxed. Actually, the Zul’Farrak pug was the most fun I’ve had in awhile. First of all, I love ZF as an instance. I’ve always liked it. It was the first instance I honest-to-goodness healed back on the day with my priest. Someone from my guild at the time asked if I’d be willing to heal it, though I was only level forty, and I agreed. I remember it as a vague blur up until the part with the event at the pyramid – I really had no idea what was going on, and my guildie was yelling, “DRINK!” and I drank in-between pulls. It was thrilling and scary, and it’s still one of the game moments I remember most. It’s a far cry from waltzing in yesterday and pulling all of those mobs at one time – though the tank did surprise me and I had to use Lay on Hands. I’ve been back many times since the first time I went there, I’ve been run-through, I’ve run other people through, I recently stealthed through with my druid just to reach the Elder by Gahz’rilla’s pool. And I still get a thrill of anticipation reaching the top of those steps to hear the executioner yell, “Let the executions begin!”

Good company also doesn’t hurt. The tank was really nice and competent. At the end, the whole group stuck around pulling extra trash just so that I could finish the Troll Temper quest that someone had thoughtfully shared. It’s a far cry from the “me me me” attitude you run into sometimes in these places, and I was pretty grateful. It’s definitely helping add to my general feeling of “Gosh, I like Zul’Farrak.”

What do you remember from your old-world instances? Do you have favourites, and if so, why? Is it something in particular that happened there, or you just like the ambiance, or a particular quest? Tell me about it!

I tend to really enjoy troll instances. I’m looking forward to Sunken Temple as well. And if this has been a dry entry in my pugging career, rest assured, it’ll pick up soon. After all – I’m not so many levels away from starting to pug with the Death Knights.

p.s. -  I misspelled “Maraudon” as “Mauradon” all through my last entry and my entry’s tags. You’re all very kind not to have pointed it out and laughed at me. And to think I kept wondering, “Why do people keep calling it ‘Mara’?”

p.p.s. – Recent search terms people have used to find this blog:

sadism and masochism – I don’t think it’s the kind you were thinking of.

where is graveyard if you die in blackfathom – Surprisingly not far, I think, but I didn’t wipe there so my memory is vague.

paladin mystical pauldrons of elements – Yes, wear these if you are a paladin healer. If not, they are not meant for you, oh retribution or protection paladin.

blackfathom deeps: i cant jump the stone – I’m sorry. You need to get some platforming practice. It sort of feels like you’ll be jumping too late, but you aren’t. Try using your mouse to move (hold both buttons down) instead of WASD to do this. It might help if you are only using your left hand to hit the all-important jump button.

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17 responses to ““This place was designed to get players familiar with raid snares and effects. They went a little overboard.”

  1. I did that quest on my pally tank and I got a real nice trinket from it – although I doubt it’s useful for you; because it gave attack power against undead when activated.

    Hope that helps! :)

  2. My warrior tank and my pocket priest just hit 40-41, and decided to check out the newly available Purple Crystals, and oh man was it insane! My priest (we play in the same room) kept screaming at me “YOU’RE POISONED AGAIN? NOW YOU’RE TAKING EXTRA NATURE DAMAGE? NOW YOU’RE GOUGED AND THE MOBS ARE RUNNING EVERYWHERE MY MANA AUUUUGH!!”

    We went back and ran Uldaman a few times to hit 42, get a bit more plate for me, and the next run went better. Still crazy though!

    As for tanking, maybe find yourself your own pocket healer! Or even better, your own pocket pally tank/healer! Sure, you’d be wrestling for drops, but you could take turns tanking/healing. It’s also much less stressful and enjoyable to tank while you know you can trust your healer and rely on them.

  3. By the way, I just went back and re-read your Purple Crystals post…and realized the exact same thing happened to us. One minute I was tanking 2-3 little imps, the next a WAVE of imps and evil trees and probably a satyr or two were swarming over us. I popped all my cooldowns, potions, even the JC little healing statue, and somehow we managed to survive with only myself dying. Like the poor bear druid, I had no idea what had happened – but now I know.

  4. Now I know why I have always had a distinct dislike for Mara; and I have refused to spell it out completely before now also, since I know I would have to look up the correct spelling: Maraudon .. ugh.

    My fondest memories of old world instances? – BFD. It was my very first instance, “evar” and probably the only one I ever truly enjoyed in a PuG until making friends and running with them instead. As I got older, the ones that gave me real thrills were Sunken Temple and ZF also. It never occurred to me before now that they were both “Troll instances”.

    Bravo!

  5. Dry posts schmy posts, just keep em coming. I’m somewhat saddened to say that my real hardcore raiding didn’t start until Northrend, even despite having been playing for four years or so (/dodges hails of rotten tomatoes), so can’t help but enjoy living the Vanilla life vicariously. Am I allowed to shout “more”? No? Oh, right, I’ll be getting my coat then.

    /ahem.

  6. I enjoy your posts hehe! The whole idea behind pugging to 80 is exciting :)

    My favorite old world 5 man instance is probably Maraudon, just because of how beautiful it is. You definitely need a patient or tank/healer combo who knows what they are doing, though!

    My favorite raid is definitely AQ :) I love the Egyptian themes.

  7. The recent search terms part always cracks me up, love it.

    I think the instance I’ve had the most pleasant memories attached to has to be Shadowfang Keep. I think it’s the place I’ve offered to twink, been twinked in, and enjoyed running at appropriate level, the most. It’s a combination of layout and theme. Really looking forward to the Worgen, because I love Blizzard’s take on the darker aspects of their fantasy world: It’s all werewolves, hats and monocles. I love all three.

    On the other hand, Uldaman stands out as my biggest horror story. SM can get boring, some other instances can be downright hard, but Uldaman, so far, has not failed to be tedious, inefficient and/or generally horrible.

    Can’t wait for Maraudon and ST myself either though.

  8. Sadly, my only memories of lowbie instances are of hurtling along behind a max level’s behind (usually a mage) trying to loot and keep up at the same time. Nobody ever ran low level instances by the time I started WoW, and I wasn’t leveling a new character when the new LFG came out.

    I saw Mara for the first time ever when I went to tag the Elder in it. That cave with water and little brontosauruses (brontosauri?) and waterfalls is absolutely beautiful, and I hope it gets a heroic version in Cataclysm.

    Also, I must see a picture of your pally shorts + plate boots now! How can you give a nudist beach description and leave us hanging like that???

  9. Like you, I also get kind of wound up and stressed by tanking. At least for me, it does get better with time and practice, but it never really goes away, and I don’t think I will ever get the thrill from it that my roommate does (she’s also amazing at it, which never hurts). Even so, it is kind of fun with a good and cooperative group.

    If you are interested in tanking some more, I think you might want to try it before you get to level 80. I say so because, right now, many of the groups you will find in random heroics are full of well-geared and highly impatient people who want a quick AoE-fest and two Frost badges, and no mulligans if you should happen to want to learn as you go. I found the difference between level 79 and 80 like night and day, in terms of tanking fun: At 79, it was fun and exciting. At 80, it became a disheartening mess. After a few groups left me shaken and in tears, I shelved my freshly-80 warrior indefinitely.

    I hope you will have a better experience than I did! I guess it might also be better if you can recruit guildies instead of pugging everything the way I usually do.

    Probably my favorite Old World instance is Shadowfang Keep. It’s got a kind of dark, sinister aesthetics, and it’s linear without being boring. It also has some pretty nice loot, making it a perfect contrast for the Stormwind Stockades (which I dislike rather a lot). A lot of the Old World instances exhibit this problem where you fight the same kind of trash over and over again about six times as often as could have been fun (Gnomeregan, I’m looking at you here…). SFK is one of the few where I think the balance of trash-to-bosses is pretty good. :)

    I’m also rather fond, in a perverse sort of way, of Uldaman, partly because it was one of the first instances I ever went to, but also because of the nifty encounters and the Titan lore. I don’t know if you had this experience at all, but on my first character I almost never went into instances at all, until she was quite high level. Some friends dragged me along to Uldaman, and we had a really good time, despite three-fifths of us being pretty clueless.

  10. When Aranth was doing Maraudon I had the same feelings as you had, and represented the biggest source of tank anxiety I ever had.
    There’s just no other instance before that being this dangerous, where you suddenly have 3-4 different kinds of debuffs on you, have to deal with overzealous DPS pulling in the weirdest groups (it’s even worse than SM:GY) and basically feel like you’re on your toes all the time.

    Sunken Temple is indeed a lot of fun (once you learn the map, caveat tankorum) and after that it’s only getting better.

    Personally I reserve a fond place in my heart for Blackrock Depths – it’s immense, full of atmosphere and some interesting fights and situations to overcome.

    A shame you won’t give tanking more of a try, but I can feel where you’re coming from – I did it because I actually wanted to have a thrill other than seeing pretty numbers as DPS or safeguarding green bars as a healer. The feeling of indestructibility you get as you creep closer and closer to becoming uncrittable is also a great ego boost. Now that Aranth is level 66 and I have maxed out his engineering (which includes epic tanking helm, engineering trinket and armor on gloves) and his mining, he is sitting at 9,5K health self-buffed, which was what new tanks who just hit 70 were looking at.

    I know it’s a guilty pleasure, but the short-lived feeling of being overpowered is worth it. ^_^

  11. Healing Mara as a priest was five kinds of annoying, but I was already L43 when the new LFG system came out, so Purple Mara didn’t last all that long. Thank goodness.

    My favorite old world instance has been, and likely will always be Blackrock Depths. There’s a simple reason: I’ve done it upwards of 100 times at this point. I know where pretty much everything is. I know the pulls. I know where the bosses are, and what their tricks are. I know certain segments (every single pull from the entrance to the bar, with key) down to nearly the individual mob level. I’ve done the Lycaeum many times, including a Draenei hunter with ‘Sash of the Grand Hunt’, a rarer item to have than most tier belts, particularly after BC came out and you couldn’t get an emperor run for love or money. I can open the bar door with every character I have over level 54.

    I love the atmosphere. I love the bar. I love just how damn big it is, bigger than most raids and probably bigger than ICC. I love all the nooks and crannies and ‘hidden secrets’ that you only find out about after you’ve run it a dozen times unless someone shows you everything. I love having a remote and taking the mole machine to the bar and summoning up the band for a show.

    It doesn’t help when someone decides they really want to kill Plugger and aggro the entire bar and then pull the entire upper bar level at once. But it’s still the best dungeon Blizzard’s ever made.

  12. My baby pally tank just dinged 80 – guess she’s grown up now. I second the recommendation not to give up tanking until 80 if you think you might want to. It’s more forgiving at earlier levels. I’d suggest waiting for BC and doing a few of those instances as tanks, especially the Hellfire ones if you can find gear. They are fairly straightforward fast runs without a lot of weirdness. Tanking is too much to learn at top level especially with the crazy amounts of gear the average DPSer has these days.

    On the other hand, nothing wrong with a pure healadin! Tanking is not my most loved role; my resto druid is my preferred character but the tankadin is a good change. And I try not to get overly stressed about things. Sometimes the mobs get away, sometimes they eat the mage’s face. Pallies have a good set of tools to get them to come back. And it’s satisfying to kick faces in, sometimes.

  13. +1 for not giving it up. In fact don’t let too much time go by before tanking. Do it every so often to keep the skills fresh.

    Also SM Cat is really not that easy to tank. Lots of things all around you, strange pats, tons of casters, very carful pulling by the big doors to not get tons of groups. I don’t mean it is hard but it is not one I would recommend to start learning tanking on. ZF actually might be a better choice except it is longer and has some tricky bits.
    Analogue read me a blog the other day. One she found comparing Bear tanking to Pally thanking. It had a lot of interesting insights into the philosophy and play style differences between the two. Since I play a bear and she has a tankadin it was extremely enlightening about things we had learned by practice or trial and error. In fact I think I will go blog about it, soon as I can find where she dug it up.

    Ah ZF. Never will forget the first time I looked back down the pyramid and saw all those trolls. I remember a lot of ‘wow moments’ and that was certainly one of them. It is still one of my favorite instances.

  14. Like you, I just don’t know if I have it in me to tank. The brief times I tanked on my pally, it was so stressful, having to constantly maintain aggro on mobs. With DPS, you can slack off and people probably won’t notice. On a healer, you can get distracted and if you’re lucky and quick on your feet afterwards, it’s all good. On a tank? You lose concentration and the mobs might decide that squishy mage over there looks tasty.

    Gosh, fave old school instance? Oy, lemme cast my mind back that far…. like some have mentioned, the stair event in ZF is quite fun (I like the instance alright). First time I saw that I *freaked out.* Much like I freaked when I did the Harod event in Scarlet Monestary. Speaking of SM, I quite enjoy that instance. I remember when I was RPing more on my pally, she hated them with a firey passion because of their zealotry and she secretly relished the chance to do some of those nutters in. I also liked UBRS. It had alot of nice lewt (never did get that Ace of Beasts from the Beast…not that I’m bitter). Tier pieces, nice weapons, fun fights. Don’t think I ever got tired of UBRS.

    Now ask me what instance I hate in Vanilla and it’s a quick and easy answer. Gnomer. I freaking hate Gnomer. To the point where I probably wouldn’t want to lead lowbie guildies through if they asked for help in guild. I would if I had to, to be a good guildie, but…oh, I’d be grumbling. I have a wee druid I’m leveling up (she’s 22 now). I may use the LFD system some, but when I get within Gnomer range, I will NOT USE IT until I get well clear of it. I’ll have to look up the level range so I can be aware of when to avoid LFD…haaaaaaate.
    :)

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