Welcome to the Deadmines

 This video was an instant classic - though in hindsight the part about the old instance getting buffed to 80 seems bittersweet.
After my less than stellar grouping experience in Redridge, the next time I logged in and had finally sorted out my bags, I decided to look for a Deadmines group again, vowing to not let myself get distracted this time. I mopped up some leftover quests in the Westfall area and kept an eye on general chat.

At first I ended up grouping with a mage, but after we hadn't got a single response to our looking-for-more requests in about fifteen minutes, he said that it seemed like the server was too quiet at that moment and that he'd try again later.

Not much later a guildie expressed interest in a Deadmines run and we teamed up. I didn't keep an eye on how long it took us to assemble a full group, but I reckon that it still must've taken at least twenty minutes. It didn't feel too bad though because I was using the time to run some more errands in Stormwind, such as smelting ore, putting things on the auction house and so on and so forth.

Eventually we had assembled the following group: me on my prot paladin, supposed to tank. I'm not sure going protection was a wise choice - I had initially forgotten that pallies didn't get their taunt until 2.0 (I started playing shortly before that, so my memories of what was introduced when are a bit fuzzy). The prospect of tanking without a taunt seemed more than daunting, but after I had seen people talk about it in guild chat for a bit I felt reassured, as most of them seemed to agree that it was manageable in dungeons and for off-tanking in raids. My guildie, a feral druid, said that she would be happy to dps or heal, and so did the retribution paladin we invited. Finally we also got a hunter and a warlock.

We were lucky that everyone was quick to make their way towards the instance, because when we tried to use the summoning stone, we didn't seem to be able to get it to work. I can't tell if this is a bug or another one of those things that weren't actually introduced until a patch or two after I started playing.

I felt proud that I had managed to gather up all the quests for the instance and shared the ones that others didn't seem to have. I said in chat that I would like to do the two quests with the dead miners just outside the instance and people were like "sure", but whenever I tried to go towards the area they were in, everyone else just ran off in the opposite direction until we were actually at the instance entrance. This didn't feel like the best start.

Things got worse: my tanking was useless. With nothing but a judgement every ten seconds and auto-attack (I had forgotten that consecration also used to be the 11-point holy talent), I simply didn't stand a chance against the warlock and hunter pulling things from range. On top of that, the druid only had bear form to dps in. The warlock yelled at me to taunt once, and I explained that paladins didn't have a taunt in Vanilla. I'm not sure he believed me. Either way, the feral druid soon started taunting instead and effectively usurped the tank position because I couldn't taunt back. It's a good thing I don't have much of a tanking ego or I might have felt offended.

As it was, we seemed to be doing okay the way we were doing things, with me sort of off-tanking, and there were no further complaints or accusations about bad tanking... or bad anything really. Things felt quite chaotic compared to the well-orchestrated trinity song-and-dance that I'm used to performing in today's MMOs, but we managed. Mobs were running all over the place, first because aggro was such a fickle beast with limited tanking tools, then because almost without exception they were all the type of enemy that tries to run away when they get low on health. However, everyone seemed to accept that this was just the way things were and made the best of what we had. We only wiped a couple of times when we accidentally ended up with too many mobs due to accidental overpulling. The hunter and warlock mostly stayed quiet, but the druid and the other pally were quite cheerful, and everyone was unfailingly polite. There was no ninja-looting, and people were constantly asking whether they could need on this or that or if someone else needed it more.

At the very end I even got to enjoy a moment in the limelight after all, when the dps decided to burn down Van Cleef while ignoring all his adds, which resulted in a massive amount of Defias spawning in quick succession... and I tanked them all. I even happened to record it! I liked how people initially even stopped what they were doing and just stared at me tanking the whole pile of adds (and typed "wow" in chat).

I didn't keep track of the exact time we spent in the dungeon, but I can confidently say that it was about two hours from start to finish. I'll be honest and admit that I actually felt pretty tired after that, even though it hadn't been a bad run! It's weird to think that people can probably run the revamped Deadmines on live in about fifteen minutes, even though the instance is the same length. In Vanilla everything just took so much longer to kill.


  1. Hehe yeah, its incredible that the way to spec tank in vanilla starts with 11 points in holy for conc. Also with a warlock a hunter and a druid in bearform, you really arent well set for ending up tanking anything.
    People forget that tanking in vanilla was something the dps had to LET you do. As a paladin without the taunt be prepared to completely ignore main target in most groups, as people very likely will not "wait for sunder", with consecrate and some tabtargetting and judging, you can usually hold the rest of the mobs though, and if your group is actually willing to cooperate your conc alone will hold healer aggro, leaving your full attention at the main mob... But thats usually a pipedream :-)

    1. I think that if you have retri aura up and can get the mobs to hit you, the reflected damage does a pretty good job at creating aggro, as it did on Van Cleef's adds for me there... but I'm definitely putting my next couple of points in holy now. I do miss having Righteous Defense (and some other BC additions). I do love this Vanilla experience, but I still think that BC was when the game was at its best, as that expansion basically fixed all the most glaring problems that Vanilla had. Starting with Wrath, Blizzard began to "over-correct" and started removing or changing things that didn't need fixing.

  2. I am impressed. Being able to hold all those mobs at the same time. You rock the house. No taunt. No AOE. Sweet!

    On the flip side. Those mobs just will not die. The typical ADHD WoW player of today would be going crazy. How funny would that be. :)

  3. It's good to see that you are discovering a lot of the flaws in Vanilla.

    For the record, paladins were not tanks in Vanilla. It's my belief that they were originally designed as "5th man hybrids". A party would consist of tank, healer, 2 dps, and a 5th man. The paladin would back up both the tank and healer as necessary, but could not replace either, as the druid could.

    That's why the rotation was so terrible. Since it was mostly autoattack, there is plenty of space for you to off-heal.

    1. Let's not forget having to recast everyone's blessings every 5 minutes! I can only imagine what fun that must have been in a 40-man raid...

      Anyway, I never said that Vanilla WoW was without flaws - I just think that it was a much more interesting game than the current live version (and still is in my opinion).

    2. Yeah, Judgments and auto-attack sound interesting...

    3. Because the number of buttons in the rotation of a single class decides the value of the entire game? Come on, Az, you can do better than that. :P

    4. Azuriel, honestly, it was pretty fun in small group play. You'd be throwing out off-heals and blessings, keeping an eye on the group as well while attacking. Maybe you'd be off-tanking one add while the tank and dps killed a different target.

      In solo play it was terrible, and in raids the role did not scale properly. But the Vanilla paladin was amazingly fun in 5-mans. Take a look at some of my very first posts in 2005/2006.

    5. You know, I never quite realised that your blog went back quite that far. Interesting to see what sorts of things the community had on its collective mind back then.

  4. I still think that BC was when the game was at its best, as that expansion basically fixed all the most glaring problems that Vanilla had. Starting with Wrath, Blizzard began to "over-correct" and started removing or changing things that didn't need fixing


    I purposefully chose a Night Elf Warrior this time in order to tank (and lead) groups of my choice. So far my experiences are quite good with only a handful of unpleasant or annoying people. It seems, however, that at least on Nostalrius the number of actual newbies is quite low. Almost everybody I’ve interacted with so far is a Vanilla veteran who knows what they’re doing. I also have to admit that my knowledge of Vanilla is very dusty, but I did some research beforehand to be better prepared.

    How is Kronos holding up so far? Server stability? Number of people online? Auction House? Donations? Keep us posted :)

    1. I was surprised to find out that there are apparently players on Kronos that never played in Vanilla at all and are just curious about how it all worked... I would have thought that the amount of "it's all nostalgia, Vanilla really wasn't good at all by today's standards" talk going around would deter genuine newbies from trying it out. Apparently not.

      Still, most people seem to be nostalgic Vanilla players who know the basics but have forgotten about a lot of the details (like me).

      Kronos' performance has been good; I haven't experienced any downtime or lag. Player numbers are, as I mentioned in a previous post, hovering between 300-500 online according to /who whenever I check. The auction house seemed a bit devoid of low level items when I started playing but seems to have picked up since then, possibly due to the YouTube review causing an influx of new players. And I've only seen 2 people who obviously donated money so far, because due to a cock-up when the donation system was implemented its possible for people to get cross-faction mounts through it, which results in weirdness such as orcs on nightsabers and night elves on kodos. Not good for that good ol' Vanilla feeling, but very rare from what I've seen so far.