Monday, March 24, 2008

Larísa ranks five man instances

Which one is your favourite instance? That is an endless subject for discussion in many WoW forums.

For some reason the lists are often topped by Deadmines. I can't help thinking that nostalgia is one of the reasons. Maybe you thinking about your first experiences from instance playing - the pleasure of novelty, the fascination, the challenge. But certainly it's got charm. I like the variation of the rooms, there are a lot of small cleaver details, like the one where you open one of the doors by using a cannon. And the boat - yes I get as happy every time I see it, no matter if I'm about to boost someone or be boosted myself. Suddenly there's light and space, pirates speaking with a funny accent. And a smart door to the back for a smooth exit. Less charming is the endless corpse run from the graveyard and the risk for a poor gnome renounce of sense of direction to get lost in the mine labyrinth.

Another favourite in the old world is Zul Farrak. I appreciate Egyptian temples, and of course the stair scene is very vivid in my memory. It's simply a lovely instance, just as Stratholme is, although it's got a completely different style with all those rats and dark, cobblestoned streets.
Unfortunately I suspect that the later one nowadays is sadly left out, since Outland is awaiting when you're getting close to level 60. If you're going to Stratholme it's probably not to gear up, but rather to feel the atmosphere. And that's no bad reason when you think about it.

Instances that are less attractive in the old world... Well that would be Stockade. I've never understood the idea about that place at all. It's hard to find anything more static, predictable, unimaginative, yes even boring. 19 identical prison cells and some guys messing around in the corridors.... AND? I ask with my most whining teenage voice. That the situation in the middle of Stormwind is brilliant doesn't make up for the boredom of it.

Over to TBC. Here it's hard to decide clear winners or losers. Durnhold Keep at least is a winner. I like there's a thread, a story that is moving forward throughout the instance. It's not just a bunch of bosses that are put there like in a museum exhibition. Something's happening all the time. And the outdoor setting gives an extra plus, there's no risk for claustrophobia. Black morass gets a high grade due to the intensity of it, although you can hardly say it's varied.
I like large, challenging pulls. They make my mage sheeps popular, they demand perfect cooperation and - sometimes, when things go wrong - improvisation. That's why Shattered Halls is an instance I like to go, especially with a rogue in the party, so I don't have to wade through slime.

The Netherstorm instances are also top rated, mostly thanks to the wonderful resurrection place just beside it (completely different from the boring pipe swimming in Zangar) and the free health and mana potions that drop there. Perhaps I've ran Mechanar a few times too many to give it a high rating. Then I prefer Botanica, with all it's flowers, bright colours and transparent floors - it's a bit like paradise, and I laugh every time I'm polymorphed into a flower. (Talking about that, shouldn't the end boss rarely drop a book for mages to train polymorph flower? Please, Blizzard?)

All in all, it's hard to pinpoint The Best Instance. It depends on the shape of the day, my mood and - above all - the group. The right group can make any instance into a pleasure - while a terrible group (read PUG) can destroy everything. I think my feeling towards the instances is coloured unconsciously by the experiences I've had. And some instances I've done too little to be able to give them any judgement. Auchenai Crypts. Have I done it at all into the end? I doubt it, and I know I'm not alone in that. How come that everybody skips that very instance? Is it ugly and boring? Or maybe it's as simple as it has a strange name that nobody knows exactly how to pronounce? Sometimes I suspect that is the real reason.

Now, as most of us I guess, I'm longing for the new five man instance coming in the next patch, Magister's Terrace. It's supposed to be outdoors and you'll be able to see the stars, Wowwiki tells us on the strategy page that is already there for us.

Oh, I wish I was there! No instance is as attractive as the one that is still virgin.

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