Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we sing a swansong to TBC raiding in all its glory.
With less than a week to go before we all start frantically levelling and leaving Outland behind for good, let's not forget the ups and downs raiding during The Burning Crusade has brought us. From Attumen to Kil'jaeden, we've run the gamut of raiding, killing anything from pit lords to corrupted naaru with nary a blink.
We've shed blood and tears over rare drops, wiped countless times until the small hours, decked our alts out in epics and moved servers to find a better guild. We've rerolled, watched ourselves and our raid instances get nerfed, hung out in Shattrath showing off our gear, and gotten to grips with major class changes in the last two weeks. So let's look back...
Karazhan (note spelling). Ah, Blizzard, thank you for making the first weeks of TBC a drama-fuelled explosion as we tried to fit over forty raiders into groups of ten. We went in in greens and wiped on Moroes; we attempted the animal boss for what was the first and last time. But it wasn't the raid itself, so much as the meta-raiding -- the "A team" and "B team" drama, the need for four tanks, the competition cross-group that made even the most balanced arrangements seem unfair to someone -- that killed some guilds, and severely crippled others.
Looking at the instance now, it's hard to imagine the pain it caused back in the day; perhaps our relentless zerging of the place now is a kind of revenge. We've certainly come a long way from runs where nobody would attempt Nightbane because either the tank couldn't stance-dance or nobody had completed the required heroics.
Twenty-five level 70s? Congratulations, you can attempt Gruul! I say attempt, because all my memories of early Gruul involve repeatedly wiping on the High King Maulgar pull. Not too different from today, then. Of course, Gruul himself was nerfed quickly, bringing the first "We killed it pre-nerf" elitism to the raiding masses -- or, rather, "We flasked, potted, food-ed and oiled to the teeth". Yes, this was before the big consumable change which, although met with mixed reactions at the time, meant most raiders ended up richer (imagine the amount of consumables you'd have used by now!).
Gruul's brother instance, Magtheridon, brought a real challenge to many guilds. Even getting past the trash wasn't trivial the first time I stepped into the instance, and keeping all the add tanks alive was a challenge given the DPS requirements. Then there was the joy that is cube-clicking -- somehow it was beyond most players' abilities, at the time, to click the right cube at the right time. Not to mention staying out of the fire. Oh, how that lesson would come to be hammered home across later encounters...
Defeating Magtheridon -- provided you had completed a number of heroics, of course -- meant entry to Tempest Keep, and defeating both Gruul and Nightbane allowed access to Serpentshrine Cavern. Both Kael'thas and Vashj would go on to become major thorns in raiders' sides, but let's not jump the gun. Instead, let's reminisce about the trash. Trash which still manages to kill people. Trash with adds, trash with AOE, trash which oneshots tanks. Trash which knocks you back into other trash. Worst of all, trash with murlocs. Thank goodness the respawn timer was lengthened.
Seriously, hats off to the tier 5 trash designers. Black Temple and Sunwell trash are nothing in comparison, and it was endless fun speculating on a super-trash-mob which could whirlwind, spawned adds before and after death, overcharge, knockback, mana burn and mind control all at once, on a 5 minute respawn timer. We're still waiting.