There was an article on this morning when I made my brief visit about which acheivments the author liked to get on all of their toons. One of the things she mentioned was Blackrock Depths.In it is mentioned both the horrors and joys of the place, which is something everyone can understand. As a warning this post is fairly long .. a TL;DR is at the bottom but I suggest that you do read it.

When I levelled my druid he did several guild runs of Blackrock Depths (BRD) in his 50’s some were smooth runs and some were huge wipefests. At 70 when were were trying to get the guild attuned for older raids like Molten Core we ran BD so many times it wasn’t funny. But I did enjoy it.

Recently I levelled my shammy and in the 50s he spent most of 50-58 pugging of which a lot was BRD. The Looking For Dungeon system though has killed the true essence of BRD. I must have had 12 or so pug groups. Only 1 did we clear all the way, on another we got all the way to the room where you choose to head to the Emperor or the Molten Core, on those two runs alone I managed to gain almost six levels through xp. Of the other 10 or so pug groups there was only 3 times when I did more than the first boss, all that the tanks, and half the dps wanted to do was run in kill the boss needed for the free grab bag.
As a dps trying to level this was dissapointing .. let me put it in a clearer format that expresses my frustration easier. The full clear took us just over an hour and a half, I waited about 25 minutes for the dungeon to pop. So that means in 2 hours I levelled my toon 3 levels. With the groups that only did the first boss I would spend 25 minutes in a que, about 3 minutes running and killing the first boss and then finding myself needing to look for a group again. Total sum xp .. less than 3 bubbles at most.

Each time we were in there I said “can we at least do 4 bosses” to which for the most part I was told no, all people wanted was the goody bag. Which makes me wonder why? The gear in the bags is not overly great and besides which as a levelling toon I would have expected them to want xp more than a bag which will drop gear good for maybe 2 or 3 levels tops.

The group that we did the full clear on initially didn’t want to do more than the first boss, the arena boss and the giant .. but I said “hey I’ve done this so many times it isn’t funny there is no way we can get lost”, and it was true. It turned out that the other 2 dps also had they quest to get the key, we cleared the entire instance. At the end the pally in her BoA gear turns to me and says that it was the first time she had cleared the instance. I said yeh I always enjoy a full clear on a toon at the right level and she stops me and said that I didn’t understand, this was her first clear ever on any toon, and that over half of what we had seen she had never encountered before, and she was glad that despite her initial reluctance she had staid for the entire run.

BRD and so many of the other late classic instances have a lot of stigma attached to them. Everyone thinks its too long, the rewards arn’t worth it, and that overall .. its just too hard. The problem is none of those things just mentioned. The problem is the players.  Most of the current problems with BRD come from older players .. after all new players have no idea what they are in for until they do it.

The problem group is the “Alts” who seem to be most of those running these days. BoA gear has made levelling a lot easier, especially since the stats on BoA gear are workable stats that are more useful then a lot of pre BC gear had. the problem is that many of these Alt levellers are stuck in two places they can’t seem to get out of.

– The first place is their original levelling days when without any experience in leangthy dungeons they woudl stumble into a BRD wipefest .. usually in gear that is by no means useful. Despite the fact that they now have decent gear for the dungeon they seem to forget this fact
– The second place a lot of them are stuck is at level 80. You see their 80’s are geared to the hilt don’t even pause when running through a heroic in Northrend and are done in 15 to 20 minutes. Classic dungeons wern’t designed that way. Your levelling, people around you may not be able to chain pull, you may need to concentrate on what you are doing and yes.. it may take longer than an 80 heroic. In an 8 heroic you face off on average between 3 and 5 bosses. with trash that is for the most part a laugh. BRD however has over 20 bosses and trash that has to be watched & dealt with clearly.

Its due to these reasons that groups flounder in BRD, LBRS, DM, Stratholme and other classic instances. Reasons that in the end are truly .. no reasons at all. In todays game these instances are relatively easy compared to what they once were, they are xp heavens for levellers, and they do drop gear that will be useful as it is these instances which were used to gear people for the early raids. As a levelling toon to jump into these instances and not complete them would be like a group of  fresh 80s who desperatly needs badges to gear finding himself in a dungeon he knows can get him 5-7 badges but they are only doing one or two bosses and coming out with 3.

What I am saying is people should love clearing these instances not fear it. Yes they take longer than 20 mins, but if your on a toon this level you either don’t have raiding commitments because you don’t have a high level toon .. or you are an Alt who should know how long pre BC instances take.

This gets me to the point of this whole rambling post. I miss, truly miss, these longer and more convoluted instances. Blackrock Depths, Stratholme, Scholomance, Dire Maul, Lower Blackrock Spire .. these were truly epic instances. Cities unto themselves they are to my mind the equivelent of a 5 man raid. I personally think that more of these style dungeons are needed in Cataclysm.

Due to the above problems and of course everyones time constraints at end game here is how I believe they should be implemented. They should not be listed as dungeons such as those used for daily emblam gathering but as “Epic Dungeons”, they should drop badges like the others, but should also drop gear that is equivalent to the effort so loot that is one step down from the raiding gear, they should provide the challenge to players rather than being a mostly loot factory.

Its a pipe-dream I know, and I fear we will never see dungeons of epic proportions again and that the only places that will feel the touch of such depths will be raids .. but one can always hope.

– BRD is not hard, Nor is it too long. Shed your preconceived handicaps and enjoy the ride
– BRD is a XP goldmine especially for BoA geared players who know how to play
– Cataclysm needs more BRD style instances, though ones that are not tied to the daily dungeon system.