Changing views of heroics

Running all those random heroics as of late has made me realise how much my opinion of a lot of them has changed over time.

Shortly after WOTLK's release, my favourite instances were those that tickled my inner explorer. I loved Old Kingdom because it seemed so vast and full of surprises, plus I thought that the last boss was hilarious. Culling of Stratholme was another favourite, simply because I loved all the instances involving a time-travelling setup so far, and also because working on the timed run for the bronze drake made for a good challenge back when everyone was wearing blues.

Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning were instances that I didn't like very much because I didn't care too much about the whole backstory involving the titans (blasphemy, I know), and because Halls of Lightning was ridiculously hard to heal early on - especially the Loken fight, which always resulted in at least a couple of wipes per run. The Oculus was so scarring the first time around that hardly anyone ever wanted to go back there once they'd experienced the horror of "endless wipes on Eregos without knowing what the hell was going on" for the first time.

Once more powerful gear made everything easier and everyone was mostly running heroics for the next tier of emblems, I developed an appreciation for instances that facilitated this with the least amount of hassle. Old Kingdom slowly became less and less appealing, since killing all the trash seemed to take up an unnecessary amount of time. In fact, anything with slightly more trash became somewhat annoying, including places like Utgarde or the Nexus, while Azjol-Nerub and Gundrak became new favourites. Halls of Lightning became less painful once people didn't get one-shot by the lightning nova anymore, and the abilitiy to do it as a "double daily" added to the instance's appeal. The Oculus remained unpopular but became slightly less scary, as the only people daring to pug it were usually quite skilled at using the drakes and knew how to get through the instance quickly.

Now that things have changed once again, with the dungeon finder enabling people to jump right into a massively overgeared group and burn through any heroic in twenty minutes, my perception of what's most enjoyable has changed once again. Getting things done fast isn't really something special anymore, and the oh-so-popular break-neck speed often comes at the price of me (the healer) feeling stressed and having to worry about whether there's even enough time to loot before the tank charges off into the next room. So now my favourite instances have become the ones that simply don't allow for manic chain-pulling, either because of their overall setup (Trial of the Champion) or because the trash is on a timer, like in Violet Hold or Culling of Stratholme. I sigh with relief every time my random dungeon for the day presents me with the loading screen of one of those instances. Azjol-Nerub would be on that list too, but an overabundance of overconfident tanks has made the first boss in there a massive source of wipes due to careless achievement whoring.

I wonder which WOTLK instances will remain truly memorable and fun to do once the next expansion rolls around.

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