Thursday, November 27, 2008

Unprepared and utterly happy

The other day I experienced one of the most enjoyable instance runs I’ve had for a very long time. What made me so happy wasn’t only the fact that I was in a nice and competent group of guildies. What made this run special was that I broke one of the basic rules, known and accepted by all players. I was NOT prepared. And even more: no one else was.

We entered Halls of Stone without having the slightest idea about where to go and what to do. We barely knew where to find the entrance in the first place. And the rest was an unknown territory. No one had ever been there; no one had read a single strategy. How many bosses were there? We didn’t know. What abilities would they present? We didn’t have a clue.

For once I really felt like an explorer in the game, a feeling I can’t remember when I last had. For all of those titles and achievements about exploration – who can honestly call himself an explorer in its real sense these days, when many players will consider you noobish or plain stupid if you don’t read strats, follow guides or at least have the proper addons to help you?

So we did what a true adventurer does – we looked for mobs, grabbed them and nuked them. And every now and then we stumbled upon a mob which seemed harder and evidently was a boss. When we saw what they did, we improvised, which honestly wasn’t that hard. “Oh, this one makes black holes. Better stay out of the black then”. “This seems like a sort of miniature Gruul, remember what to do?”

Suddenly we met an npc which obviously had a quest to offer us. We thought it over a bit suspiciously. Quests you find in instances normally are about some kind of escorting. And the experiences from TBC have been that you should save those escorts to the end, when everything else is done. Had we done everything else yet? We didn’t know; we had wandered around and cleared whatever we had found pretty randomly. But having those adventurous minds we thought: “What the heck” and picked up the quest.

A couple of events followed. It started as a normal escort quest, killing some mobs popping up, and I thought: “won’t there be anything cooler than this?” The most dramatic thing that happened was that the questgiver suddenly disappeared, running off like a speeded nightelf. “Where did that bugger go?” we asked ourselves, worried to fail the quest. But finally we found him and could enter the final stage.

I won’t tell you what it was like, but the setting surely made us go “ooohhh”. It was cool and beautiful and entertaining. And it was a once-in-a-lifetime-event. Next time I’ll do this instance it won’t be half as fun, because what made it so enjoyable was the surprise factor. We never knew what would happen next and when or where it would end.

Breaking the rule
I’ve still got four instances undone in WotLK. It remains to see if I’ll be lucky enough to end up doing one or more of them in an unprepared group, doing its virgin run. I’m afraid it isn’t likely since people have done most of the instances by now, and for every day that passes, the chances will decrease.

So is being prepared a bad thumb rule? Of course not, not generally and definitely not if you’re into raiding. But I can’t see the bad in it when you’re levelling and running instances on normal mode.

By breaking the rule I had a far more fun experience than I would have had if I had read wowwiki or other guides on beforehand. And since every boss was oneshotted our ignorance didn’t cost us any gold or time.

It doesn’t hurt to be unprepared from time to time.


Amortia said...

Hi :)

I'm a long time reader of your blog, first time poster.

First of all let me say that I love your blog and enjoy reading it :)

Secondly I'd just like to say that I agree with your post about being unprepared, yet utterly happy.

My guild recently ran through a few of the new 5-man instances where there was an almost complete lack of guidance anywhere. We didn't know what to do, or what to expect after we had done something, and it really was a great feeling, something that is rare. It was really refreshing being able to do something that wasn't the proper way to take down a boss, but we had fun and many laughs while working it all out :)

Anyway, that's all for now, keep up your great blog writing :)

Gevlon said...

Same thing happened to me, but actually it saddens me. You went in unprepared, still, you smashed the instance without any trouble.

Explorers should face some challenges I think. Moving in unprepared, wiping some and conquer the instance would be epic. Now it's just grinding. You move in, you nuke the monsters, you return the quest.

Anonymous said...

Wotlk is being a lot easier than TBC, that is a fact that doesn´t like to everybody, I don´t know if it will be for better or worse in the long run but for now i´´m having fun discovering by trial-and-error for my own the instances.

I have liked so much questing that have only made two or three instance runs to 80 so I´m going directly in heroic mode (at the least you allways have reputation points even if loot doesn´t show for you) and its MUCH fun o discover little tactics to win

As a side note, I could not beat the dwarf escort in halls of stone heroic, I think brann (the dwarf) is undergeared for that instance ;-)

Anonymous said...

Its good is it, i have started to just wing it a bit when i log on.

As a priest i forever get the "Are you a healer".

And as i am i get invited to at least 1 instance every 30 mins and its great.

I have been questing lately but ive started to fish a lot and cook also.

Chris said...

Didn't that annoy you Lar?

Entering an instance, unprepared, unaware and without pre-knowledge and not failing?

I ran this last night with a few people, and it was the same deal, we ran into the room with Brann, and pulled 3 of the 4 golems, no wipe there despite it being a stupid pull, same thing earlier on before the Gruul boss turn off we pulled 3 packs of mobs, and no deaths. I am acting like a stupid tank now because I know it won't hurt, and it really should, SH can still kill me (well it could @ 70) if I ran them like this in T6, doing it at 80 in pre-T7 seems horribly wrong to me.

Anonymous said...

@Amortia: thank you! Your comment made my day. I get so happy when regular guests who have been hiding in a dark corner finally speaks up and say hi!

@Gevlon and 2ndnin: yeah, I think you're right. It IS a bit saddening it went so easily, but mind you, it's still on normal. I expect something completely different on heroics... Time will show if I'll get it or if I'll get disappointed.

@Eishen: as you I try to enjoy the fun of exploring when it is there for me. It's a one-time opportunity. I find it hard to judge if it's easier than TBC or not. When I did the instances in TBC at the right level I don't think I had as good gear as I have now, coming from high-level raiding. (in TBC I had barely done anything but quested.) So I figured the instances would have been harder to me if I had been new to the game and in fresh gear.

Actually I can imagine this one would be lots tougher in heroic. We'll see.

@Esdras: oh, the priviliege of being a healer: always being wanted. Mages aren't that rare.
But fishing and cooking will hve to wait for me. I want to get to 80 asap. That's my only focus right now.

Anonymous said...

When WotLK came out, everyone in our guild was excited about seeing new content that they didn't already know. Every instance group was formed with people having no idea what they were going to face, but just being ready to go tackle it. If someone had been to an instance before, they wouldn't say anything in party chat to 'spoil' it, they'd just let the others in the group experience it for the first time.

We're still doing the same thing when we step into heroics, and guild/party chat still tends to be very very vague about strategies for the people who are still levelling up slowly. It's really great, and hearing someone say how much an instance/encounter/quest amazed them always makes me smile.