Running Gnomeregan is not like running heroic Nexus in ICC gear, guys

The title of this post might make you go "duh", but well... some players apparently aren't actually aware of this fact.

Apologies for writing about Gnomeregan again so soon - it wasn't entirely intentional to be honest. I was quite happy to consider the subject over and done with, but then I logged onto my rogue alt today for a bit of a change of pace, levelled his lockpicking, did some quests, queued for a random dungeon and... oh look, Gnomeregan again!

I landed smack in the middle of the instance, in combat, but everything seemed to be under control. We had a paladin healer, a hunter and a warlock for dps and a druid tank who really seemed to enjoy chain-pulling large groups, which was the first thing that gave me the idea for the title of this post. I mean, it didn't seem to be a huge problem per se, but in all honesty the benefit of this sort of pulling was limited as well, because two of our three damage dealers simply didn't actually have any AoE attacks yet, so with the exception of the warlock who was spamming rain of fire and thus doing marginally more dps, we had to pick off the mobs one by one anyway. Thus the main result of the druid's pulling style seemed to be that he just took a lot more damage and the healer had to do a lot more healing. That's not really going to make the run any more faster or fun.

Still, it worked alright until we got to the tunnel leading up to the last boss, you know the one, with the dark iron dwarves that drop mines. Tanking several of those mine-droppers at once, our bear took even more damage than before and soon the paladin was running out of mana. "Mana break, please!" she announced in chat and sat down to drink, even as the rest of the party plowed on without her. I sat down next to her as a show of solidarity, which earned me a /smile emote.

Unsurprisingly the tank went splat in the meantime, and mayhem ensued as we tried to stave off a wipe. We managed to avoid a corpse run by a hair's breadth, largely because the warlock had the sense to put a soulstone on the healer in time. Afterwards our pally resurrected half the party and put blessings on everyone, which unsurprisingly meant that she was oom once again. Again she asked for a mana break, again the tank ignored her. This time he managed to survive a pull or two because he actually turned around and ran back when he got low on health, but eventually he charged too far ahead again as the pally had another drink, and this time we wiped.

The druid and the hunter dropped group, and the three of us that remained made our way back to the instance while sharing feelings of something between amusement and exasperation about the tank's behaviour in chat. Here's another way in which Gnomeregan is not like running heroic Nexus in ICC gear: even in heirlooms you are simply not totally invincible; you do need your healer, and since said healer has little to no mana regenerating abilities yet, they might also have to drink every now and then. Just live with it.

It only took a minute or two after we had re-entered the instance until a new tank, a paladin, and a replacement dps, another rogue, appeared. In what was probably a bit of an oversight on our part, we didn't think to tell them that we had already cleared a considerable part of the instance, but then it didn't really feel like it would have made much of a difference as we were surrounded by respawns anyway. Oh hey, another thing that you won't usually encounter in level eighty heroics! I wonder if people who are used to today's heroic and raiding culture find them off-putting. After all, seeing respawns at level eighty is a sure sign of big fail. But really, in some of the low-level instances, the mobs near the entrance can be on a respawn timer that's insanely short; it doesn't have to mean anything. The vast majority of the instance will still be cleared once you just take the time to swipe those lame "gatekeepers" out of the way.

To get back to the run in question, our new tank seemed to assume that it was a fresh run and just started pulling things, also in relatively large groups... sigh. I felt so lame with my single-target attacks. He then made a beeline for the "tunnel event" with the troggs, and it turned out that the group had originally skipped that one anyway. The warlock silently left all of a sudden, presumably because he thought that we were going to do the whole instance all over again or something, and immediately got replaced by a shaman. Just before Grubbis spawned, the tank suddenly stopped moving and appeared to disconnect. We managed to kill the boss anyway, but when the tank didn't come back after that we removed him from the group, and the other rogue left as well, leaving just the paladin, the new shaman and me.

We three-manned our way into the Alliance base, but when I stopped to clean a couple of grime-encrusted objects, the shaman quietly disappeared too. The paladin and I weren't so easily discouraged however and decided to stick together since we were both from Earthen Ring (and it's quite rare that two players from our server meet via the dungeon finder). We re-queued, /danced and killed a couple of carefully pulled troggs with just the two of us. It was a nice opportunity for me to practice things like sapping and kicking.

Eventually our party filled up again, with a hunter, yet another rogue and a warrior tank. The warrior was quite a chatty sort, telling us that he was from Sweden and raging in ALL CAPS about how he had just come out of another Gnomer run and that the last boss hadn't dropped his shield - all in a friendly way though, if that makes sense. Then he charged into a dead end and admitted that he had no clue where he was going.

We managed to steer him into the right direction eventually, and he expressed bewilderment when we started to get into corridors that had nearly no mobs in them. This is when we explained briefly that we had already been close to the end boss at some point but that things had got a bit manic since then. The paladin promised that she wouldn't let this tank die because he was so nice and that she'd try harder. Then the warrior charged out of range and died. We lived through it though, and mostly just thought that it was funny. Our final party was really quite friendly, and several people went on to do another instance together right afterwards (I was too tired myself). Thermaplugg failed to drop his shield once again though. Poor tank.

I didn't exactly time the run, but from what I remember in regards to reapplying my poisons, it must have taken somewhere between one and one and a half hours. What a nightmare for level eighty heroic standards! For Gnomer it really wasn't all that terrible though - sure, it could have gone much faster, but considering that we had a wipe close to the end and had to replace half a dozen people it didn't strike me as hugely out of the ordinary. Many old world instances will simply take a bit longer than twenty minutes, and yes, wipes can sometimes happen as well. These runs are simply not for the impatient - though personally I don't really consider that a bad thing. Embrace the challenge!


  1. I do love it when instances accidentally become interesting.

  2. God how I hat those tanks.. they don't know their cooldowns, they don't wear tankgear, sometimes they are not even tank specced - but they all behave like some raid-MT in insane gear tanking an easy heroic. But I kinda never found out whats so special about Gnomeregan. I mean.. its a totally normal instance, with the added "challenge" that at least one person in the group should keep an eye open for Alarm-Bots. Those can be easily killed before they spawn adds even by a tank or healer.

  3. @Klep: Me too, especially since I haven't had that many interesting runs to write about lately. ;)

    @Kiseran: I guess the thing about Gnomeregan is that it's a fairly large non-linear instance in three dimensions. Without a map that can be quite confusing... I think many have the same issue with Sunken Temple.

  4. I always find these experiences so telling for the way wow has changed over time. the instances back in vanilla were actually a challenge and gnomer is possibly one of my biggest nightmares still from vanilla (I was the healer there too). if you do them properly at the right level, they still require you to take lots of care with pulls, CC, manabreaks etc etc.....it seems many wow players and especially those that actually never experienced the old days, haven't got the slightest clue how to behave in those instances. that's why I stay far away from alt leveling, I am too scared to end up in pugs like these. it's not all happy rushing through like most of the wotlk heroics you steamroll with any given pug nowadays. =/

  5. The title of this post might make you go "duh", but well... some players apparently aren't actually aware of this fact.

    Oh yeah.

    I'm 100% with you there.

    I'd be inclined to say that's a great story, but there's a whole lot of fail there.

    When I started leveling my Holy Pally alt, I made a point of buying mana potions before running instances, because I guessed that I'd have some major mana issues from time to time. It worked great up until the mid-30s or so, when the gear drops for anything with INT in it wasn't coming quickly enough to keep up with the demand.

    One thing that Cat will do that I'm looking forward to is that the higher level trash (and bosses) will hit harder, meaning it sure won't be a cakewalk anymore. I think of those Spell Flingers in Ahn'kahet and shudder at how much more damage they'll do, but it's also a good thing. The quirks of these low level instances will be extended into BC and Northrend 5-mans, forcing puggers to play smarter.

  6. @Shintar: Thats kinda like what I'm talking about. The place isn't all that confusing and 3D as it looks like. From the top of my head, you start walking, turn left (turning right brings you nowhere). You can choose to take the first turn, but it will lead to a dead end soon. When you find the second turn, walking straight doesn't make sense anymore, because you can already see the dead end there. Your only choice is going left. After you went left you are presented with two choices which aren't really choices. Going right or left doesn't matter at all, both ways will lead you to the gnome hideout (one faster and with less fighting than the other). Picking the only way out you find yourself in the elemental room, which looks big, but also has only one exit, leading you down a ramp. There my memory gets a bit shakey.. but you should encounter a round room with gnomes and again just one exit, leading down another ramp. Here comes the one single point where you have to know what to do: Go straight down to the final boss and ignore the one turn to the left.

  7. //edit: My memory sorted out a rondel-type structure (where the electrocutioner is located) where you simply go left or right (doesn't matter again) until you find the only way out. After that there's the second ramp to the final boss.

  8. @Kiseran: Well, the problem with the 3D structure is that if the group jumps or falls down a level, they'll be presented with two tunnels leading out each time, without necessarily being able to tell which one just leads up to where they came from and which one goes "onwards".

    Likewise, the whole area with the Crowd Pummeler is large enough that you can't tell whether you're still on your way towards the end boss or have gone off-track. There's also the long tunnel leading to the "back door" which you might take by accident.

  9. Yeah I kinda never understood the jumping down business. If just one member of the group aggroes some patrol before jumping you get a murderous train that will wipe you for sure. And you really only skip 2-3 pulls, the place you jump to is close to the gnome hideout.
    The Crowd Pummeler and the back door aren't really on my mental map, the route I describe kinda skips both.