Classic Dungeoneering

One of the interesting side effects of my current altoholism in Classic is that I've probably run Ragefire Chasm and Wailing Caverns more often in the last three weeks than I ever did them in modern WoW, which is quite ironic considering that modern WoW since at least Wrath of the Lich King has had a heavy focus on spamming dungeons, while Classic does not. However, levels 1-15 go by quickly, and if you enjoy running dungeons, why wouldn't you then jump right into Ragefire Chasm at the first opportunity?

Here are some of the things I've learned about RFC in the last three weeks:

- If you bring someone of level 12 or lower along, when running up the ramp to the lost satchel and Oggleflint, you run the risk of aggroing the entire other half of the trogg area (which most people never go into) from across the gap between the two paths. One of my groups learned this the hard way, but it was kind of amusing at the same time to suddenly be buried under a dozen troggs coming seemingly out of nowhere.

- The quest to collect two books for Varimathras has an awful drop rate, and you're pretty lucky if both books drop in a single run. It's quite possible to kill every single mob in the instance and only get one of the two books, forcing you to do a whole second run just for the second book.

- If you go up the ramp to Bazzalan first, you can then pull Jergosh the Invoker with a ranged attack from up top without engaging most of his trash. He'll run all the way round and up to you while only bringing two or three adds with him.

And some lessons I learned in Wailing Caverns:

- All the quests that require you to collect anything are best started early and can be partially or fully completed among/from the elites outside the dungeon itself, in a smaller group or even solo if your character is of a high enough level. This is a good idea because if you go into the instance with a full group of five that has all the quests, there won't be anything close to enough Serpentbloom, Deviate Hides or Wailing Essence to go around.

- Apparently tremor totem can break the annoying sleep cast by many of the enemies inside the caverns themselves. Unfortunately for me I only found out about this after my own shaman had made it through an entire run cursing about the stupid sleep spell and (as I thought) being unable to do anything about it.

- Even fifteen years later, with all the add-ons and internet resources one could possibly want, people still get confused about which way to go inside WC (including myself). I love it.

In general, all of my runs have been very pleasant. There were a couple of wipes, but people were always good-natured about them.

In general it feels great to be grouping with people again who all clearly want to be there and actively want to take in the whole dungeon as an experience. As soon as a party has fully formed, everyone will make their way towards the instance without prompting, and if someone is delayed they'll make sure to let the others know. Quests are often shared without anyone having to ask for it, and nobody minds killing a few extra trash packs to help with someone else's quest, or to get access to a chest for example. (One RFC group I had even gleefully went on to kill every single mob in the instance, "because XP".)

Who'd have thought that dungeon runs could be far more pleasant when they only involve people who actively want to be there and aren't afraid of talking to other players? As opposed to consisting of people who just want to get their weekly done or who pressed the queue button without necessarily even knowing where exactly it would take them.

Ah, but what about the horrible group forming experience of (in the words of J. Allen Brack himself) having to "spam cities and say 'need a tank, need a tank, need a tank'"? Well, that was never my reality, and it isn't now either.

Belghast made a post the other week about how to group successfully in Classic, and it reminded me a lot of a similar guide I once wrote on my old guild's forums back in the Burning Crusade. I, too, remember being somewhat exasperated at the time with certain groups of players who were forever complaining that it was sooo hard to get into a group while simultaneously being unwilling to make even the tiniest bit of effort to actually make it happen. Long before any developers had dreamed up the modern dungeon finder, there were always people who just expected groups to simply happen to them - and surprise, surprise... that never worked.

If you know what to do on the other hand, if you're not afraid of starting your own groups and starting them in a sensible way (which is to say involving a tank or a healer), and if you're happy to leave a solo quest for later when somone is LFM for something you need, it was always fairly easy to get stuff done and still is.

What makes things even smoother in Classic is that the servers are so insanely big and busy that you can find a group for pretty much anything at almost any time of day right now. Oddly enough, I've had the most trouble finding groups as a healer... similar to my experience on Darrowshire, there was a period where there seemed to be a proper glut of healers in my level bracket and you were actually more likely to find people looking for dps. I'm hoping that this will get better with time though.

Anyway, my own pro tip beyond agreeing with most of Belghast's advice is to join the LookingForGroup channel, which is always abuzz with activity. In fact, on my server I only join it when I'm actively looking for a group and then leave it again immediately afterwards as it otherwise drowns out all other chat that I'm following. As it's a global channel, people can shout about all kinds of grouping requests in there while happily continuing with their questing wherever. Not that I've really had to do that, considering that you can often find a group within mere minutes anyway.


  1. I really should do some dungeons. I'm enjoying the open world leveling so much I don't want to interrupt the flow but dungeons with PUGs that want to be there have always been fun and it would be pity to miss out while it's so available. I don't imagine it will be like this forever, although I'm betting it wil always be better than the Retail/Modern pug dungeon for all the reasons you list.

    1. Indeed, we are still in the honeymoon period and things will undoubtedly quiet down somewhat over time. Still, considering I was able to successfully get into groups on a private server that was merely a tiny fraction of the size of one of the Classic servers, I'm optimistic that the process will remain quite smooth for several years at least.

  2. The servers have way to many player on them. I have no idea how they will be able to fix that but it's breaking the game. At prime time every quest area is completely out of mobs. If you're not grouped with a druid (or probably shaman for horde too?) you won't get a single mob.

    The auction house has way to many items in it, you can't find shit with the broken default interface and even addons are slow as hell.

    Yesterday was the first time I played something else. Not because I didn't want to play, but because I didn't want to play in that shit show of over farmed everything.

    They have completely underestimated how much player wanted this.

    1. Hm, what server are you playing on? On Pyrewood Village things feel mostly fine. Yes, it's quite busy, but not overwhelmingly so now that the population has spread out a bit after three weeks. Once they merge the layers it may be a different matter, but that's not going to be a concern for another few months at least.

      The auction house is admittedly weird. I haven't had trouble finding things, but you can pretty much forget trying to make any sort of profit off gathered materials like leather or herbs because there's just way too much of that stuff and you're better off vendoring most things which feels like a bit of a shame. Great if you're looking to buy anything though.

    2. Lakeshire, the only German PvE that doesn't even have a queue...

      The problem with the AH is that there are 16 pages of linen and it's sorted by stack price, not individual prices. It takes forever to find the cheapest things to buy and even Auctioneer takes forever to actually buy something.

      The problems are the same vanilla had, the 16 pages of everything aren't vanilla-like.

  3. There was one guy in Stormwind last night who kept spamming "I NEED A TANK FOR STOCKS!" Yes, he even was using all caps.

    Unfortunately, he was also a guy I ended up grouping with to take out a certain noble in the garden in the Castle grounds. I got the feeling he was 15, and not what is becoming the more standard WoW Classic of 30+ years old.

    Still, I kind of accidentally put together a group for Blackfathom Deeps the other day. Everything just kind of fell into place in a way that never would have happened post-dungeon finder.