Friday, November 13, 2009

Tickled Pink: Your First Instance

WoW.com has a neat little piece which links this to post giving advice to new players about running their first instance. What was your first instance or dungeon run like in Warcraft. Were you tickled pink?

Elnia


My first instance run featured me creeping alone though Black Fathoms Deep as a prowling cat trying to figure out what this instance stuff was all about anyway. I was truly intimidated as I knew nothing about tank or healer or DPS. I didn't even know what one did in an instance. I actually went through there twice because the first time I missed the instance entirely. There's a substantial set of underground rooms before you get to the instance entrance. When I first saw that big swirly fog thing I thought it was a bug and I ran away because I was afraid the game would delete my character. 'Tis true. It was only after asking in General chat that I realized I had made a mistake and need to prowl all the way back again. I must have spent an entire evening playing around and the only knowledge I took away from the whole thing was that the monsters were much more difficult to kill than they were outside the instance. It wasn't something you could solo. I know because I tried to solo it every five levels between 20 and 40. Eventually it got through my thick skull that I needed to group.


My first dungeon run with a group was in Zul'Farrak. This is when I learned that despite being a Moonkin my actual job as a Druid was to heal. I remember being quite puzzled as to why all the monsters kept attacking one player. I thought at first that the goal of the other players was get the monsters away the person they were attacking (/facepalm) and even though I had been asked to heal I went into Moonkin form and started throwing damage spells because I thought this would help draw the monsters away from the person they were attacking and they could attack me instead because I was a Moonkin with all this armor. I did remember that I was supposed to heal and I got really frustrated because every time I threw a heal spell it would pop me out of Moonkin form. I spent the first part of that instance switching back and forth between DPS and healing and no one ever said a word to me. It was only after we wiped on one of the bosses (I don't remember the exact one) that someone suggested maybe I should try just healing because I wasn't as "uber" as I thought. Not really understanding leet speak I didn't understand the insult at all but I did what they asked. It certainly made it easier. But I would like to say to the person now
I was not trying to be uber I was just confused.

Some people don't believe me but I healed 5 man instances all the way through Heroic UK as a Boomkin. At some point in time I realized that there was such as thing as trees but I never got the point as I was doing just fine without being in that spec. Even though I play a tree now the form itself remains strange to me and one of the things I cheered was when the Ghostcrawler himself said awhile back that he didn't like the fact that healers spent all their time as trees. Not even knowing what a tree was or looked liked that first instance cemented in my mind that druid healers were elfish looking.


L
arísa

The first time I entered an instance was entirely by accident. As a matter of fact it wasn’t until much later that I realized what I had been doing. I think I’ve told the story
before in one of those posts where you make confessions about noob mistakes you’ve done over the years. But I’ll share it again, since it WAS the first time I put my foot into an instance.

I must have been around level 10 and I was still full of enthusiasm after my first encounter with Ironforge. It was impressive. It was breathtaking.
I congratulated myself at finding such an awesome game and I felt excited thinking about what a huge world I had to explore, how many adventures I could look forward to in this unknown universe.

Now I was back to
questing in Don Morogh, probably on my way to kill some trolls or troggs, but still in an adventurous mood. As I strolled down the road, looking out for the angry, hungry wildlife, always ready to attack me, I noticed something that looked like an entrance tunnel, guarded by two peculiar looking gnomes. I recalled from the manual (which I only had given a quick glance) that the gnomes had a capital of their own, just like the dwarfs. Gnomeregan. Looking at the map, it seemed to be located somewhere around here, close to Ironforge. Could this be the place? This needed some further exploration!

I remember how
I found it a bit odd that the guards seemed so hostile to me, not at all like the nice chaps at Ironforge. Lucky for me there were a couple of high levelled players who were hanging around in the neighbourhood. They came to my rescue and killed them off. So I happily entered the tunnel, or rather ran through it to get rid of another guard, thinking to myself that it would be quite annoying if I had to go through this every time I wanted to say hello to my fellow gnomes in the city.

I
jumped into the elevator, awed at the quick ride down, went out…. And that was probably the fastest kill of Larísa ever, if you look into the book of records kept by the NPCs. Before I knew it I was dead. Realizing that I would never get out of that elevator and tunnel without an endless amount of corpse runs I decided to play it safe and resurrected at a spirit healer.

And that was the end of my Gnomeregan adventure.
I acknowledged my defeat. The exploration of our capital would have to wait to later.


Admittedly I never even made it behind the instant curta
in, but I still think it counts as my first run.

But what about real instance runs, in a group? What does Larísa remember from her very first instance party?


I’m afraid that I don’t remember
it, to be honest. I recall some early runs in Deadmines, Gnomeregan and Scarlet Monastery in my first smallish, casual guild. I remember that we had some crazy group composition. Four hunters and me – a mage. No tank apart from the pets, no healer. We wiped. We laughed. We never finished anything, killed a boss or two at the most, and that didn’t bother me too much. It was as far as you can come from the blast-through-the instances-and-pick-up-as-many-epics-as-you-can-carry mindset of today.

I was young (as a player, although not in real life), I was a noob in every sense you could think of. And I was com
pletely happy being where I was. Void of epics and achievements I had never heard of at that point.

I was tickled pink.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought I was reading my own history as I read Elnia's piece. :) First instance was solo wandering around BFD. First real instance was Mara, tho I'd been picked up from ZF's LFG (we did ZF immediately after). I healed my way thru Outland as a tree, and healed my way thru Northrend as a moonkin. :)

Carrie said...

I'm afraid I don't remember my first either. Odds are it was Stockades, or maybe even Scarlet Monastery. The first run I distinctly remember from my early huntering days was a run of Uldaman with three other guildies.

I think I was around level 40, I remember the warrior tank was 44. There were only four of us, me, the warrior, his boyfriend the warlock, and one other person, maybe another guildie of mine who was a priest. We went to take the warlock to the enchanting trainer they had hidden down there.

I remember getting to the trainer, because I gave the 'lock all of my greens to DE so that they could level up next to said trainer as much as possible before we left. And I remember that the run petered out somewhere around the rock elemental boss, that we never finished it.

I was confused, I don't think I'd even figured out the send pet thing yet, I just shot at stuff, and eventually it died. Which is the point, after all, right? XD

Daniel said...

First instance was Deadmines with 4 co-workers, all level 17, all mages.

A long evening where we learned about sheeping, ping-pong (we never had heard the term aggro), bandage rotation, potions, controlling runners, The thing is we learned a lot that first instance, especially the importance of planning and not being afraid to be creative.

We eventually got to Mr. Smite but we gave up at that point as we could not kill him in 5 tries and it was getting very late.

We were laughing about it the next day when someone who overheard our conversation explained that a party of 5 mages may not be best if we wanted to run dungeons.

We re-rolled a somewhat balanced group the next day and managed to clear all vanilla instances over the next year or so. The balanced party made things so much easier but there are times when we wished we had our mages in a 5-point star pattern playing "dance, you fool!" with a mob in the middle.

Good times.

Rhii said...

My first instance run I went to RFC with a friend who'd let his account lapse, but who knew what was going on a bit. We were both still on the trial account, so we had to ask someone else to group us. He was a tauren druid, and I was a troll rogue. We went with a hunter and a warrior, both of whom were equally nooby as me.

I remember the warrior didn't know what taunt meant, and I don't think he had found his trainer yet... he was maybe level 12. It was okay though, I don't think I *really* figured out the trainers until I was about level 30.

All the same, it was really intoxicating. I just loved the feeling of fighting things in a group I could never do alone. Since then, and really up to this day, instances have been my focus in the game. I love, love, love them.

Mister K said...

I definitely know about healing as a boomkin as the only way I was going to get into instances was if I volunteered to heal them, while leveling up. I do remeber trying to heal a 70 heroic once before the big nerf of 3.0 and that was a brutal experience. I almost respecced to tree then but my guildies talked me out of it as I have earned some respect as a fairly good Boomkin. My first instance I am pretty sure was the classic deadmined experience but I was one of the late to the game of my friends so they all knew what they were doing I was leveling my pally as ret but they told me to stand in the back and wave my hands so thats how I went through all my instances until I got to outland. I don't really remember alot about those first runs because I was always paying to much attention to keeping everyone alive. Our group was really a bunch of noobs lol

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, I think we've all been through that whole experience... thanks for sharing and bringing me back in time. Mine was RFC... had just found Orgrimmar and it was Christmas time (someone even opened trade window - which was new to me - and gave me 5g which was a huge deal for me). Lol... saw the shimmering curtain to RFC and entered - noticed level 14? snake with 'elite' after the name and thought "hmmm, that's new". Attacked said snake causing minimal damage while taking some pretty good hits. Learned my lesson.

G-Rebel said...

Now I no longer feel so foolish, as I too, when gazing at the swirling mist of doom envisioned my swift demise in the world that was so new and grand to me.

My first adventure was into the Deadmines. I first tried to enter via the exit, and felt completely stupid as I knew there must be some secret into being able to jump high enough in order to get into those mines. Later, when I found the real entrance I went in by myself and started to beat up on some dirty miners.

As I progressed I thought to myself 'Aren't these dungeons that I have heard of supposed to be difficult, this is a piece of cake.' Then, either on purpose or on accident I was face to face with the foggy swirl of death. I too assumed I had taken a wrong turn and thought I would get in trouble, so I hearthed out to freedom.

I've learned much since then...one, that I actually wasn't in the Deadmines dungeon, which means my first was as a healer in Gnomeregan, but alas, I'll always remember that first experience.

Tobold said...

My first instance was Ragefire Chasm. Somebody shouted in Orgrimmar general chat, trying to organize a group. I sent a tell and got invited. It turned out all 5 group members were shamans. That was back in the WoW open beta, where people weren't looking for tanks and healers, we were all just new to the game.

The funny thing was that the group worked surprisingly well. At that low level a shaman can switch instantly from acting like a tank to acting like a healer to acting like a dps. We just took the fights as they came, whoever got attacked was the "tank" for the moment, somebody healed him, and the others dealt damage. If somebody pulled the aggro of the "tank", he'd just become the new tank.

That was the last time I had such a flexible group made up from just a single character class.

what's my main Again? said...

First was at 18 on my druid. I was bored of leveling in ashevale so my friend lead me to loch modan. Which was cool cuz I remembered the place from WC 2. Well I was questing and ended up heading south looking for some minning camp or something when I stumbled into a change of zones. Badlands eh? I look to my right and see a minning place and a bunch of dwarfs.

They had a skull over their head and were marked elite. I asked my friend what that meant and she said they were higher level.

Bah! I can take them! I said to her. They won't even touch me! (I had been rooting and nuking my way up the levels)

Targeted one. Cast entangling roots. Missed. Cast again. Missed. Cast again rooted. Haha! 2 seconds later the roots break and the dwarf clobbered me in the face.

Funny thing is I tried to kill one 2 or 3 more times before I gave up.

Myridin said...

Yeah, Deadmines was it for me. I had lots of experience with other MMORPGs already (Lineage 2, Guild Wars), so I was playing a priest and my reaction was 'what are they doing? learn to play the game', etc. So not your average newbie, heh.

Kells said...

My first instance was doing Deadmines as a level 16 mage. I had two real-life friends in the group, but they didn't really explain instances to me and I had no idea what was going on.

I remember dying and lying there for a little while, wondering if I was supposed to release or not. I ended up deciding to click the release button right when my healer friend was in the middle of his rez cast - he got grumpy at me for making him cast it again :(

Leah said...

my first real instance was a Scarlet monastery, Cathedral to be precise. I've never played MMO's before so for the most part, I was soloing or playing with my husband, just questing along, enjoying my hunter (in every solo game I've played before, I've always preferred a shooter, so when I saw I could play someone with a bow AND a pet? bingo!) I still managed to meet some people along the way so off we went to a scarlet monastery. At the time I didn't understand the concept of healers tanks and dps, so I was just having fun shooting things, making sure my pet didn't die (or me) and then the couple I was running with brought in some lvl 70 shaman and all of a sudden the instance wasn't fun anymore.

somehow I ended up running black fathom depths after scarlet monastery becasue at that time I already understood what tank was (still no concept of healers yet, becasue I was used to just taking potions and bandaging :P ) that instance introduced me to summoning stones and to this day I cannot stand it becasue of how confusing it was and that stupid jump you had to make.

Kromus said...

Deadmines was my first. It was amazing, deadmines really is amazing when you think about it.

When we killed the Ogre guy I thought we'd compleated it...

Oh no. Went all the way till the end to see the boat, which was amazing, who'd of thought it held a massive dock?
(and to make things more hilarious it looked like the scene from the goonies, I wonder if it was intentional?)

Walgierz said...

My paladin went into Deadmines, when it became obvious that I have to go there to finish questchain in Wetlands. I found group through Meeting Stone (hey, who remembers that it was their original function?) and proceed to pretend that I know what to do. I guess that image got shattered when I mentioned, that we need hunter to pull (despite that I had very vague idea about what pulling is). Well, we went in and proceed to finish Deadmines without wiping
Group consisted of warrior, priest, warlock and another warrior - been seeing them around many times after that, now however they are gone.
Overall, awesome experience which cured me of grouping anxiety.

Thomas said...

First instance was Stockades back in 2006 on my druid. It was horrible. We were two relative new players and an experienced higher level player from my guild. I didn't think about buying reagents to resurrect. So one of the other players had to run when he died.

Tesh said...

I stepped into what was, in retrospect, an instance somewhere deep in the belly of Orgrimmar. I still don't know the name of the place, just that my little Troll Rogue was suddenly *very* outclassed and very alone. I play solo, so that wasn't really a bad thing, but I just couldn't take the baddies in there.

I didn't go back, but I'll admit to some curiosity about the place. My trial time ran out before I could take a proper stab at it.

Anonymous said...

RFC, or maybe it was WC: 4 real-life friends and an unlucky pickup. I have absolutely no recollection of the class distribution. We were too low level anyway, and got our asses handed to us by the first tunnel full of trash before we gave up.

But yeah, for someone who resisted MMOs for a long time on the grounds that I didn't want to group, it was an extremely exciting introduction.

Sojourner said...

My first instance run was in Deadmines, wasn't even sure what a instance was. It was a sunday morning and i was busy mining in Elwynn forest. The guild wanted to go and kill Van Cleef, seeing that i had the quest for it I joined up. They needed a healer, me being a pally i said i could heal. Well i had the spells but that was about it. Strangly enough we managed to get all the way to the ship before i had to leave.We never had a tank but i still managed to keep them up. From that time on all i ever did was heal instances.

Eaten by a Grue said...

OK, I am having a hard time believing Elnia's story. You have been leveling as a moonkin but were unaware up until that point that casting a healing spell knocks you out of Moonkin?

And why would you think the swirly fog would delete your character? I understand not knowing what it was, but there's lots of stuff in WoW. Why would you assume that the swirly fog was a character-wiping glitch?

Larísa said...

@All: sorry about the late reply, work has been killing me recently, even in the weekend. It was great though to hear about all those first-time-stories - there are apparently a lot of players with better memory than I have.

@Anonymous: heal your way through Northrend as a moonkin, wow! My druid is lvl 68 now, on the verge of going to Northrend, and she's got a resto spec, but I must admit the thought of throwing myself into the Northrend instances makes me slightly nervous. Wouldn't consider doing that in any other form than tree!

@Carrie: confused, yeah, don't tell me about it. No wonder I never specced frost, how on Earth would I be able to keep track of a pet?

@Daniel: 5 mages, that's awesome!!! I've always longed for the day when you can run a gnome-only party, but apparently it's possible today already if you're just not afraid of wiping a bit :)

@Rhii: oh I agree. But actually it IS a bit more fun when everyone is slightly noobish, including yourself. Best 5-man experience in Northrend was no doubt when we entered HoS without having any idea whatsoever about what to expect.

@MisterK: "Stand in the back and wave my hands". Hm. I'll try that on my druid. But wait, she's a tree... no hands there. Better spec moonkin then?

@Anonymous2: oh I've never done RFC until I think I did it recently on my 80 mage just to get the achievement. (Yeah, I do stupid things sometimes). Maybe I should get around to lvl my first horde char from lvl 1 and upwards. Roll a class I'm clueless about (shaman?) and then enjoy the noobish freshness of my first run in RFC.

@G-Rebel: Thank's for sharing. I giggled. Could have been me!

@Tobold: I remember the paladine-only and druid-only parties in Karazhan in TBC. But I never heard of shaman-only ones. I wonder if it would be possible today , for instance the lvl 80 5-mans. Maybe if you're good geared and not trying it on heroic?

@What's my main Again: yeah, it took me quite a whiletoo before I fully understood the concept of elites.

@Myridin: It really must help to have experience from other MMORPGs. Actually it makes me think of the fact that all newbies aren't exactly new. They're veterans just switching the setting a bit. And that's something difference to the steep learning curve I faced once upon a time.

@Leah: Oh, I think it was quite long before I got my first instance boost. And yeah, it really kills the experience.

@Kromus: I bet you're looking forward to DM in Cataclysm! I never saw the end of Deadmines until I was lvl 70! And yeah, it was still surprising and impressive!

@Walgierz: Meeting Stones were made as a place to find other players? I had no idea!

@Thomas: I hope those experienced players were forgiving. We've all been there, haven't we?

@Tesh: I never stumbled into Stockades in Stormwind by accident. I guess it would be the equivalence. But I might very well have done it. Took me quite a while to understand the concept of instances.

@Anonymous3: Glad to hear it was exciting and not discouraging, despite the trash wipe!

@Sojourner: that's pretty awesome result for a newbie healer in the absent of a tank!

@Eaten By a Grue. Oh I would easily have believed that kind of stuff. I thought the red guy on my screen was a disease and didn't understand how to repair. I could have believed that too. You have no idea how noobish a noobie can be. I heard of some mage who thought that to conjure water you had to stand in water, so he always tried to find a lake or river before casting a spell. You get those ideas into your head when you're trying to figure out how the game works. Sometimes you're dead wrong.

Carra said...

Goh, I'm not sure. I think I got tagged along in the deadmines with a level 60 player. Free, blue epics! But not that much fun as there was no challenge.

A real deadmines run soon followed with the first horrors of being in a pug. People leaving after an hour being the worst. Then there was this ninja who stole my staff as it was a great hunter staff. He might have been a noob but seeing how we were telling him with four people that it's not meant for a hunter made it extremely annoying that the next cloth, mage item also went to him.

Falc said...

Well i can't say i had any real problems finding out what a tank or a healer we're when i started mainly since i played a squishy warlock. If you die pretty quickly once a mob starts pounding on you, you get the idea that it is slightly better if it pounds on someone else a bit more :D

My first instace however was the deadmines at lvl 18? Ofc i heroicly offered that my voidwalker might tank it since he was so really cool at keeping aggro while my dots slowly ticked off on him. However as it proved, a lvl 26 druid in bear form worked a lot better, bless that kind soul :)

However the biggest challenge for me was after i got cookies stirring wand from the last boss. Ooh look at those high dps per second counts on that, but how on earth do i use it. Aha ok i know i'll just hit attack like i usually do when fighting a mob (i used to avidly hit everything with my dagger on my warlock), nope nothing. Still starts hitting with my dagger. Took me a bunch of googling to finally figure out how it works. :(

Trondheimsveikja said...

Dungeons are still my nemeses. I was run thru a couple of dungeons (Deadmines, BFD, SM) by a friend who created a death knight on my server just for that purpose. She killed, and my little gnome mage ran behind and looted.

I only did deadmines once in a pug, and that was the extent of my dungeon experience until I hit Howling Fjord. I levelled solo, didn't join a guild etc, so I was deadly afraid that my inability to play well would be revealed in a group setting. I still have only done Utgarde Keep and the Nexus all the way thru, so now that I've hit 80, I figure I need to go thru the Northrend instances by level. I guess I still haven't found what people find so great about dungeons.

gnomeaggedon said...

Poor Larisa, what a horrible 1st homecoming...

That said, it has a nice feel to it, you were a real adventurer, exploring the world from the naively positive perspective of the young, the inexperienced yet over confident adventurer.

This brought a smile to my hairy green face