In regards to Blackfathom Deeps, reader Shandren had commented that the quest item also dropped from the elite mobs outside the instance and that I should be able to get it solo if I was careful. As it happens, I did end up finding a group for BFD though and completed a full run of the place. (We even killed the thrasher boss!) The way the party was formed was a bit bizarre. We only needed a tank, but as soon as we invited one, she immediately left again, citing the presence of two other plate wearers in the group as the reason. I had forgotten how peculiar people could be about that back in the day. It seems all the stranger considering how hard it can be to get groups at all, never mind your preferred group composition.
Anyway, at this point our level 23 dps warrior offered to tank instead (even though her level was slightly on the low end for BFD) and we started to look for a dps. We got... another dps warrior, several levels higher. "Well, you'll end up tanking then," she was told unceremoniously... and was perfectly fine with it. She just strapped on a shield and tanked the whole instance like a boss, even though she could have complained that we had originally invited her as a dps. It was just such a stark contrast to the previous tank leaving simply because she didn't like the group composition.
A lot of my recent questing has taken place in Duskwood, and somewhat to my surprise I've been loving it (even if the constant running back and forth between Darkshire and Raven Hill is annoying as anything). The thing is, I don't recall being very fond of Duskwood back in Vanilla... in fact I seem to remember not liking it very much at all, because I wasn't a fan of the gloomy atmosphere. But looking at it now, it seems like the perfect example of why many things about Vanilla WoW just worked so well, even if people would probably call them bad game design these days.
For example, who thought that it would be a good idea to have a level 35 elite mob patrol among regular skeletons that are ten levels lower? Or to spawn another level 35 elite who'd then make his way to Darkshire on the road, squashing innocent players and quest NPCs alike if they happened to cross his path? Things like that really made the world feel dangerous and served to underline the background of Duskwood being a cursed and dangerous place.
Just like the good old days...Quests aren't always connected in a perfectly linear manner either. For example you get a quest to bring some food to Jitters in Raven Hill, but that quest simply ends there with no follow-up. Later however you receive a quest from a guy called Sven, who wants you to hunt down the last person he saw at the house where his family was killed, and after a fair bit of running around and collecting clues, it turns out that this person was the very same Jitters to whom you delivered that food parcel. The Legend of Stalvan also has you running all around the houses to find out more about this Stalvan guy, after the local medium has a vision of him bringing doom upon Darkshire. People may have argued that this made the stories too hard to follow or whatever, but it's hard to deny that actually having to read the quest text and connecting the dots also made the whole experience so much more rewarding for those who actually cared to pay attention.
Duskwood as a whole is bursting with what I would call "old WoW flavour", portraying a world that is cartoony and sometimes a little silly but still takes itself seriously. (I read all 20 pages of Jitters' completed journal - the bit about him witnessing the death of Sven's family was rough!) I feel that this is something that has been lost in current WoW - while it still has some serious quests, the overall tone is much less so, with people riding around on increasingly ridiculous mounts and areas like the goblin starter zone setting a very different tone for new players.
Remember when worgen were fierce monsters instead of dogs with top hats and bad English accents?Now I just have to find out more about this "Scythe of Elune" - Jitters' journal mentioned something about it having been found inside a mine... (Read: I can't really remember where that particular quest line starts, but I'll be happy to find out.)