In “Most Memorable Moment” I only discussed content from the classic World of Warcraft. This time I'm going to go into detail how The Burning Crusade changed the “world” we've grown to love.
I was one of the early beta testers of TBC, it was a lot of fun to explore and check out the new areas, dungeons and quests. It took a long time to level up, but it was fun and well worth it to explore and clear the dungeons and areas that were introduced with Outlands. It felt like a breath of fresh air, how amazingly fun it was with an entirely new area to level up, quest and explore in. Back in the beta, I played a Human Priest. I noticed very early on how great Shadow Priests were, so that was my main focus on the expansion beta, trying out the new tree that Shadow Priests had received.
The many changes to the trees during the beta test of TBC only made it even more exciting and some of the sweeping adjustments made, reminded me of how Priests got changed over and over in the beta of classic WoW. You see, way back Priests had a lot of things that they no longer have, it was quite amusing how insanely powerful we were with no weakened soul on Power Word: Shield, and the no longer existent Sleep and Mindrot spells. Things change though. The best moment from the TBC beta for me was simply discovering how great Shadow Priests are and how very viable as a damage class, not to mention quite crazy in PVP. An Undead Shadow Priest released a very nice video from his beta adventures, lots of people watched it – I'm sure you can remember it, PvPriest: Burning Crusade.
Another thing I'm going to cover in the middle of this article is content. I will only touch on it briefly though. You see, when I had defeated Kel'Thuzad and kept clearing Naxxramas over and over for months – it hit me, we're out of content and we've been out of new things to do for a long, long time. Eventually most of us got bored and things would slow down or we simply wouldn't perform well when doing fights like Four Horsemen, we wiped several times due to people simply not being very motivated anymore. It's frustrating. What's the reason for Blizzard, with all their subscribers, resources and money, taking a lot longer than most MMO developers to release content? It used to be at a “decent” speed, Naxxramas to The Burning Crusade was not that bad.
However, the current waiting, past Sunwell Plateau and to Wrath of the Lich King, is assumed to be a long wait. According to most rumors and speculations, WotLK won't be out until the end of this year or if we are to believe a couple of rumors, start of next. This is a very long wait and you start to wonder where all the resources Blizzard has at their disposal are actually going. They say they only want very high quality content out, thus the time it takes for them to release their content. Fair enough, but let's think of the insane amount of resources they have at their hands – wouldn't it be possible to add another battleground and a few interesting instances, perhaps non-linear ones like Blackrock Depths? Mix in a couple of long quest lines and you will keep most busy for a while. Either way, it's an endless debate. We'll be pleasantly surprised with Lich King I'm sure. Based on what we've seen in the current previews, it's turning out to be a very dark, grim and cold expansion. Exactly the way I'm picturing Northrend to be like. Can't wait!
Going back to Outlands, what's your best experience from this great expansion? Burning Crusade is huge and there's so much to do. You can do everything from bombing quests to grinding reputation to getting certain rewards, acquiring badges of justice for your gear and obviously raiding. At the start of Burning Crusade I was leveling up a Blood Elf Paladin, so I wasn't able to participate in the very early Karazhan and Heroic instances. Instead I watched guild chat and my guildies shocking reactions each time they got completely destroyed in heroic Shattered Halls and what not. I did catch up quickly, though. A couple of great moments I had from leveling up, was how we had three Blood Elf Paladins in Scarlet Monastery and a level 60 Mage. We kept AOEing everything with the low level Paladins healing. It was actually pretty challenging, since our healing was pretty close to useless in the beginning. As we leveled up, it became easier, but sadly, less fun.
When I reached Outlands for the first time on my Blood Elf Paladin, I quickly formed a permanent group that ran Blood Furnace over and over; it was mainly a Shaman, three Warriors and me. All with whirlwind, we cleared the place very fast. Heh, one of the fun parts was how efficient we tried to be. Usually we stopped after the giant alien head thing, forgot its name. Then we ran back and reset the instance. Rinse and repeat this over and over and eventually you gain quite a few levels. Anyone else did this? It was great exp, just a bit tedious – so it was important you played with some great people or it wouldn't have been hard to fall asleep. Checking out Shadowlabs was a quite unique experience for me, I just love how that instance is designed and it didn't hurt that you got to face a Ragnaros-like boss at the end. It was simply breathtaking. You could tell how much time Blizzard put into this expansion. Nagrand is quite beautiful and seeing all the waterfalls (I love waterfalls) from the floating rocks in the sky... well, it really felt like a fantasy landscape, as taken out of a book somewhere. Props should be given to the designers of that zone, very well done.
Moving on, grinding for the reputation needed to access the heroic instances was quite tedious, and I was lucky to find guildies willing to help me catch up – didn't hurt I was our only high level Paladin by then either. So I ended up forming a nice group with myself, a warrior, shadow priest, mage and warlock. We cleared every heroic instance prior to any of the crazy nerfs Blizzard patched in. Shattered Halls was quite hard, especially dealing with the insane damage of the Ogre. I had to bubble each time pretty much.
How about everyone else, when leveling up in Burning Crusade, what was your favorite experience? Was it the vast amount of quests in Hellfire, Nagrand, Shattrath City and Zangarmarsh? Or how about working towards getting your Karazhan key? I quite liked that quest chain, working towards something and then the feeling of accomplishment is always nice. It's a shame how Blizzard made all that so much easier now. Entering Karazhan for the first time, it’s still one of my favorite “raid” zones in the game. I love how you crawl further up in the tower and the pre-nerf Nightbane without Blessing of Protection exploiting him, was HARD, extremely hard. I highly doubt many guilds beat him pre-nerf without using that “trick”. We did, though. And it took many nights of attempts with all consumables we could find. His fire attack use to check against armor and not fire resistance, pretty stupid and it made it hard to keep the cloth people alive. We kept wondering over and over how certain guilds managed to take Nightbane down so easily, when we struggled, having our very best players focusing completely.
Didn't take long till we realized there was an exploit, sadly we did not find out about it till later. Ah well, that's life. It does feel much better to defeat the encounter legitimately either way. How was your early experience with Nightbane? Did he cause the same amount of headache for your raid group, or were you fortunate enough to fight a heavily nerfed version? Regardless of version, it's quite fun of an encounter and I'm sure it still provides a bit of a challenge for not so seasoned players. On the subject of Karazhan, which encounter do you enjoy the most? Personally I find Nightbane and Shade of Aran quite fun, the Opera Event is amusing as well, especially if you get the Big Bad Wolf event! That's the only raid instance I will cover in this article, for the rest, I'll make a separate article. Going back to the five man instances that The Burning Crusade introduced, though:
Caverns of Time in Tanaris is a heavily debated place and the instances you got to try out there, takes you back in time and allows you to experience events that took place a long time ago. It's a very neat idea and has endless possibilities for more instances. I loved doing Escape from Durnholde Keep. It’s a lot of fun to escort Thrall and fight your way through.
Opening the Dark Portal and defend Medivh is certainly different and you have to be on your toes, fighting dragonkin that spawn out of different portals. It used to be a lot more challenging, but in later patches they made it easier.
Did you also enjoy these instances? I certainly did. Escaping from Durnholde Keep was much more fun than defending Medivh though. But both instances are unique and worth to experience, that's for sure.
While writing this article, the impression from all TBC instances buzz in my head. I simply can't write down my views on all of them, it would be too long. I will continue that in my next article. I've always enjoyed Mechanar for how short it was, but quite fun fighting the big evil robot in heroic mode and notice for the first time, that he's a mini version of Thaddus (Frankenstein boss in Naxxramas). It was a blast! Since I made a Blood Elf Paladin on the release day of Burning Crusade, I got to experience Eversong Woods and Ghostlands. As for Eversong, it was a fairly decent experience, nothing too spectacular, but when I arrived in Ghostlands, everything was much better. The attention to detail on everything in that zone and the quests I did was so much fun that I did not even sleep the first two days of playing. Yes, crazy, I know. But I wasn't working back then as I am now and Burning Crusade felt like something I had waited for so long. Again, props to Blizzard for making Ghostlands exactly feel like a.. uh.. Ghostland?
Other interesting additions with Burning Crusade are Shamans for Alliance and Paladins for Horde. Flying mounts and socketed items with jewelcrafting / gem support. Eye of the Storm is the new battleground introduced with TBC and there's simply nothing good I can say about that place, sorry. I prefer good old Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. It’s a matter of taste, though.
There's more, much more. But, that’s for another article.
Please share your thoughts of your The Burning Crusade experiences. What's your most memorable moment? Perhaps you have several. Is it your first time checking out Karazhan or getting your Epic Flying Mount? It could be simply the Ghostlands experience and finding out how well designed that zone was? Perhaps the way they made you choose sides in Shattrath City? The list is endless. Something that influences memorable moments in a game such as World of Warcraft is who you play with as well – it's what makes MMORPGs what they are, the “Multiplayer” part of the acronym.
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