My Five Favorite 5 Man Instances

Aspect of the Hare did a nice little trip through memory lane recently – she went through her favorite zones of the game and why she liked them.

Of all the zones in the game, I loved Duskwood the most – it showed the dark and dreary side of azeroth better than most zones.

But what of instances?  We spend so much time in there (especially end-game), which ones are the best, which are the worst?  Here are my five favorite instances in the game right now.  If you havent done one of them, you may just want to take a backpedal and revisit these 🙂

#5 – Blackfathom Deeps

bfd

The first time I ventured into BFD was helping out a guildie when I was a lowly lvl 50.  But it always sucks me back in for a bit of nostalgia, because it really is the first instance that I soloed.  Well, that is, up until I was a noob and lit all those fires at the end.  Even a lvl 50 in this instance can go splat!

Blackfathom deeps is special, just like deadmines, because it is one of the old-style dungeons, its long, but it also is one of the few that aren’t a friggin maze to go through.  There are stealthed mobs, casters, melee, a good variety and a good challenge at that lvl.    But another thing that sets it apart from its couterpart is the ambiance in there.  Deadmines is great, it feels like you are running through a cave, of sorts.  But BFD really looks and feels like an underground cave system.  And, to boot, the creatures located there fit the story of the dungeon.

#4 – Underbog

ubUnderbog is a little personal to me.  First off, Zangarmarsh is one of my favorite BC zones.  Yes, Nagrand is nice, but zangar had a coherent soryline, and that is what draw’s me into a zone, just like duskwood.

Back when I was a sheepish lvl 58, I managed to get in on a Blackrock Spire run, and I got my first real instance hammer from there.  But, by the time that I was in zangar, it was getting woefully underpowered.  If you have ever played a Ret Pally, you know that the idea is to kill the other person (or mob) before it kills you.  Its a simple matter of a race against time.  Plate can only protect so much, when you only have 3.5k HP.  My hammer just wasn’t cutting it.

So, I ran UB every single chance I got.  I ended up running it even during midsummer fire festival, which was a really nice bonus in XP.  That’s the reason why I was lvl 66.75 before I ever got out of zangar.  I had earned over 2.5 lvl’s of xp just from running UB alone.  And you know what?  That hammer still has yet to drop for me.

When I first stepped ino UB, it really did feel like an underworld.  Spore Bats, exotic colors, flesh giants, all running rampant.  It felt a bit like journey to the center of the earth.  And the dungeon flowed nicely.  There were great transitions into the naga, then, back to the gauntlet run of a billion buzzer creatures (ohh my, if I could count the number of times that I had died there, I would need a NASA computer to get that high).

#3 – Ahn’Kahet – The Old Kingdom

ak*yes I know that is a boss in AN, not OK, but no pics on the official website*

OK is the one instance that I seem to always want to run, but never get a chance.  I love the place.  Every time I am in there, there is a new challenge.  I have both DPS’ed in there, and Healed in there, its a blast.

AN was the one system of dungeons that I was most looking forward to when I first ventured into wrath.  The artwork is simply stunning, and the dungeon is linear, but to me, it dosent feel like it.  It always feels like I am exploring in a new and exciting place.  Special points go to Herald, the last boss in the place, for being *THE* most inventive encounter design of all of wrath to date.

#2 – Scholomance

scholoIf you search all of the game for one dungeon that truly feels like you are raiding a dungeon, you would be hard pressed to find one better suited to that description than Scholo.  Take a look in there the next time you are passing by.  Its a complete blast, and I have always wanted to do this dungeon at lvl (sadly, that has yet to have happened).  The artwork in here is second to none.  From the moment that you step into the instance portals, everything, including the creaking of the doors and the music that you hear is designed to suck you into the place.  I mean, even look at the walls.  There is nothing that is “ordinary” here.

The dungeon flows well.  You have several side rooms that you have to go about and clear up, for extra bosses, and the place isn’t a maze.  The whole place really does feel like you are invading on something dark, and sinister, trying to clear the place out of something evil.  This is also somewhat personal because this is where you do the quest to get the paladin charger.  I still think it was a pain to do, but it is one of the most involved questlines, and to have it culminate here, its just PERFECT.  That quest-line is really the first time I felt the “epic” scale of the game.

Honorable Mention #1 – Stratholme (original, not CoT)

Strat was another instance that is really well designed.  When you entered the city, it really feels like it is a ruined, invaded city that you are trying to navigate.  It has a mideval post-apocolyptic feel to it.  However, it is REALLY long, so much so they give 2 entrances, and essentially split the place in two.

Honorable Mention #2 – CoT Durnholde

COT Durn is still one of  my favorite instances of all time.  The reason why I love it so much?  Its completely unique in its design.  They have yet to replicate it, though they came close with the second half of CoS.  I still run this with my guildies just so they can get into Black Morass.  Its a blast of an instance, if you pay attention to what is happening, and know the lore (yes, I am a lore nerd).  But if you don’t, you can easily loose the mystique and magic of this instance.  A LOT of the story for this instance comes not from WoW, but rather WC3.  The whole Jaina/Thrall love story is pretty much contained in that game, as well as most of thrall’s backstory.  If you are alliance, outside of this little instance, you learn precious little about what Thrall/Jaina is all about.

And finally, my all time favorite 5 man instance in the game:

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#1 – Shadowfang Keep

sfkShadowfang Keep was one of the first dungeons that I was “Ran” through.  And for that I am sorry.  It was during my paladin quest for that hammer (I don’t even remember what I was collecting up there).  But you know what?  Even then, I loved it.  I looked at it in amazement, and routinely, I was yelled at to keep up.

The atmosphere in here is really surreal for me.  It really does feel like you are storming a keep.  And detail is everywhere, from the horses, to the cook, to the hired help.  Hell, one room (the dining hall) even reminds me of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

The dungeon flows as well.  It truly flows  as if you are storming a keep – into the courtyard, then into the heart of the keep, out onto the ramparts and the outlying towers, and finally in for the final kill.  Its a long instance – it still takes me some 15-20 minutes to clear as an 80, but every single time I am there, I LOVE IT.  It’s like a trip through memory lane.  These are the kind of dungeons that I imagine when I (used to) DM for a Dungeons and Dragons game.  It’s realistic, but in a fantasy sort of way.  It kind of has the “classic” dungeon crawl feel to it, but amplified with a wee bit of magic.  And Worgen?  Who doesn’t like a Worgen to kill (or two).

This is the one dungeon that I still run today for my fellow guildies – boosting them, not because I have to, but because I simply love the zone.  Its not uncommon for me to stop, in the middle of dailies, or drop out of a pug raid of OS (for the eleventy-billionth time) on the whim of a lowly 18 or 20 something alt who wants a quick boost through SFK.

And on top of all of that, it has some of the best cloth drops in the game for leveling clothies.  Hell, my little priestie had almost a full garb from SFK, and I wore it all the way up to lvl 40-ish.

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Comments
2 Responses to “My Five Favorite 5 Man Instances”
  1. jong says:

    sfk was my very first dungeon too. i ran it with other lowbies and I really liked it. I think my favorites are the hellfire ones. those orcs are cool.

  2. Tutunkommon says:

    Scholomance….

    I had to run Scholo to get something for my warlock.. My level 60 mount quest I am pretty sure. Yea, that was back in the day when hitting level 40 was the highlight of my life, because I got my felsteed. Anyway…..

    That means that I did do Scholo at level. It wasn’t a run through. (not the first time I went through it, anyway)

    I *!#HATE#!* scholomance. HATEHATEHATEHATEHATE I had dreams of going back someday as a uber-high level character and oneshotting everything in the place, just to wreak my warlocky revenge on everyone in that place. Grrrrr…. I may renew my account for a month just to go do that.

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