First of all, I do want to apologize for having not updated in a little while. NaNoWriMo and work are both piling up on me. Suffice to say that I am still playing and am still interested in maintaining this blog, so never fear!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Karazhan, and so guess who was the first to freak out when Blizzard spent a couple of seconds at Blizzcon dropping hints about a five-man Karazhan revamp. (Hint: it was me. I was the first to freak out about it.) Obviously I am excited, and it’s got me thinking a little about it. How would a five-man Karazhan be handled?
In this day and age, I don’t think Blizzard will stuff all off its dozen-odd bosses into one five-man dungeon. I mean, I’ve got a soft spot for the sprawling, endless maze that is BRD, but it’s clear that Blizzard has largely moved on from that. In this case, it would make sense to split Karazhan into two dungeons. Which is… fair, obviously I’d prefer to see my beloved raid as a glorious whole, but I wouldn’t blame Blizzard for chopping it up.
I don’t know who all remembers raiding Karazhan but back in the day Curator was sort of considered the unofficial “halfway point”. It made sense because he dropped the first of two set tokens in the raid, and then you could use the backdoor to get to the second round of bosses. As such, I feel like making Curator the final boss of Karazhan Part One fits, especially since it means you could open up Karazhan Part Two with the frenetic sock-in-the-gut fight that is Shade of Aran and that would be awesome.
Granted, this is all assuming that the dungeon will stay largely “as is”. I know previous dungeon revamps have changed bosses and mechanics around, and even though I understand the logic behind this, I truly hope that Karazhan remains largely untouched. Partially this is, admittedly, nostalgia, but partially I feel like it just stands up really well even almost a decade after release. The bosses and their mechanics are interesting and memorable and I feel like too much change could take away from that.
Anyways, I have a LOT more to say about Karazhan (obviously) but I’ll leave it at that for now. It may not even happen, because heck, we all know what happened when Blizzard promised us a dance studio.
StarCraft 2 is already getting its (final, I think) expansion.
It doesn’t really sound Diablo related to me. Councils exist, but I’m not so sure about glades. But who knows, I guess?
This brings us to four possibilities: A WoW expansion, a Hearthstone expansion, something involving HotS, or something entirely new. Hearthstone just got a new thing and I don’t really see Blizzard doing anything completely new with the Warcraft universe, since Hearthstone is still pretty young. It might be HotS, but that’s not nearly as exciting as wild speculation. (Although I would sell a kidney for a Medivh hero.)
So, let’s see here:
Medivh was (is?) in the Council of Tirisfal
Medivh is connected to Khadgar
We were just reintroduced to Khadgar
It’s about time for a WoW expac announcement
“Council of Glades”
KHADGAR/MEDIVH THEMED EXPANSION WITH KARAZHAN INVOLVED.
Do you see this guy? Do you remember this guy? Do you remember the infamous chant played on Ventrilo before every pull?
This, my friends, is Shade of Aran. For my money it’s probably the best boss fight in the game. It’s hectic, it’s fast-paced, there are a million things to remember, everyone’s running around like crazy, and it felt amazing when the whole raid was in sync and you managed to successfully beat him.
He also comes with some seriously fantastic lore. Imagine being Medivh’s dad, dying because your son basically exploded with power, and then being a ghost and eternally watching your son mess everything up. Yep. Despite all of this, as he was awfully fond of telling you, he was no simple jester. Confirmed by an in-game book.
Also: he dropped a great cloak that lasted me through Naxx in the next friggin’ expansion because the hit rating on it was great.
Speaking of Naxx:
THE RUNNER UP AWARD GOES TO:
Four Horsemen, another absurdly intense fight with a great mechanic.
Long-time readers can probably guess what this post is gonna be about. Newer readers, let me introduce you to a little raid called Karazhan:
Let’s start from the beginning: entering this place. Let’s see if I can properly do this justice.
You hit 70. You do a bunch of regular instances. You get all your rep up to Honored (or, for a little while, Revered) by doing said normal instances. You try a heroic but it kicks your butt so you do more regular instances for a while. Then you finally start doing heroics.
And then you start to think about Karazhan.
The questline for the Karazhan key– which at one point, everyone in the raid needed to have to get in– sent you flying all over the place, solving puzzles and mysteries about this mystical tower.
Then you have to do an instance. Shadow Labs. Not a huge deal, everyone is doing this instance.
Then you have to do a second instance. Steamvaults. A slightly more irritating instance (for me anyway), but still not bad.
Then you have to do a third instance, called Arcatraz. The catch is that you have to be keyed for Arcatraz, and to do so, you have to complete two other instances: Botanica and the Mechanar.
Done yet? Oh no. Then you get to go do Black Morass. Meaning you get to go back in time and help Medivh do bad things, like let the orcs into Azeroth.
Then, and only then, do you get the key.
Oh, and what an adventure awaits you then, and what further quests, because that’s right, the quests don’t stop with the key. They send you into the tower, and then they send you in again, and again, and again. They’re there to help you get keyed for the later dungeons and get you your Violet Eye rep ring, but in my mind, they were fantastically interesting in their own right.
Everything about this place is magical. Not only are the aesthetics and design beautiful, but the bosses are, as well. An undead horseman. A castellan entertaining his dinner guests, just a bit miffed that you barged in unannounced. An opera, featuring three completely boss fights of which one was chosen at random each time you did it. A chess game wherein you took control of the pieces. The ghost of Medivh’s own father, mad with grief and guilt. A giant arcane guardian, reminding you in painful fashion that you are not where you should be. And these are just a few.
And the fight mechanics themselves were, in my mind, unparalleled. I hadn’t seen any of this stuff before, and most of it I haven’t seen since. Moroes involved an ungodly amount of crowd control; priests shackling and hunters trapping, gloriously trapping.
Curator, a gear check if there ever was one, and the source of more in-jokes with my longtime WoW friends than pretty much anything else in the game.
Shade of Aran was, without question, my favorite boss in the instance. Explaining it to somebody who had never done it before was always hilarious, because it took so freaking long and you knew the new person probably wasn’t going to live anyway. Flame Wreath jokes abounded, and the ceremonial “Playing of the Chant over Ventrilo” before the fight was held sacrosanct.
Prince Malchezaar, that infuriating fight that liked to drop infernals on your head, and quite arguably one of the most difficult raid bosses I’ve ever bumped up against for an appropriately geared group. Oh gosh. I remember the first time my guild downed him. At the end of the fight one person was still alive: the tank. We had a priest in Spirit of Redemption form, and the tank. That was it.
Sadly this promptly turned into massive quantities of loot drama and QQ regarding the T4 helm, but we won’t speak of that.
Have I mentioned though that Prince is still fiendishly difficult at 80 sometimes? Sheesh.
And chess, good ol’ chess, the one fight that actually gets harder as time goes on because you tend to bring fewer people into Kara these days so you have fewer people controlling the pieces. Chess, which once pooped me out into Curator’s room after the piece I was controlling died, and since I was the loot master and didn’t get back in time we couldn’t loot the chest. Everyone had their loot a few days of GM tag later, including a new pair of boots for me.
And the best part is that somehow, the magic of that place hasn’t disappeared. Oh supposedly Medivh sucked it all up at the end of “The Last Guardian” and all that’s left are specters of the past and some other bizarre creatures. I call shenanigans on this. Because somehow after all this time I go in there and Karazhan is just as magical as it was the first time. The mere music makes me teary-eyed.
A few of my sisters, who have actually played WoW for longer than I have, but considerably more casually, recently transferred servers to Silver Hand; one of the things that I think enticed them over the most was my promise of “I’LL TAKE YOU TO KARAZHAN. I WILL SO TAKE YOU TO KARAZHAN.” because they had never been. And the other day I did just that; took one of my sisters (the other isn’t quite a high enough level yet) through the entire place with the help of some buddies. She made out like a loot bandit, since she’s sitting at level 70 but WotLK-less, but even better, she got to go on a tour of My WoW Happy Place. (And no, Attumen didn’t drop it.)
(Yes, she’s in a guild called < Tawyn's Pet >. No, it was not my idea. I swear. Why are you looking at me like that??)
And after all this time, even when I am in my temporarly Tree disguise rather than my hunter one, I still stand by my man:
My oldest group of friends in WoW is about five- or six- people strong and we all met in some random Zul’farrak run a long time ago when we were all level 40ish. Burning Crusade was our fifteen minutes in the sun and Karazhan was our peak. Some of us have stopped playing WoW, or play it much less, but we all keep in touch outside of the game, and the near-mythical status that one raid– just one raid– has reached within our little group is undeniable. Scarcely a group AIM chat goes by where someone doesn’t bring it up, and one of my friends has started posting a weekly Karazhan “comic” (more like a graphic novel, really) starring our characters on a forum that we frequent; it’s quite amazing so far and has me awaiting each Friday the way a kid would await getting his comic books in the mail.
There are other really good raids.
But there is only one Karazhan.
P.S. What was your personal “ZOMGAWESOME” raid or instance? Comment about it here or post about it on your own blog– I’d love to hear! ^_^
Five of us who had done Karazhan together “back in the day” got together and went in and it was… so much fun. Favorite raid instance, always and forevah. <3 We hope to do "alt runs" in the future, where we pull together some 80s and some 70ish alts and nab said alts some gear. That would make my druid happy because so much caster leather dropped today that it was silly. Speaking of which...
On Friday I sort of got unexpectedly pulled into a semi-guild/semi-PuG Karazhan run. At first, I was admittedly kinda wary about it. Mostly because the last few semi-guild/semi-PuG runs I’ve been in have been complete disasters and I was tired of dealing with feeling like a failure in the raid I love. Still, I went, because I haven’t gone in a long time.
It was… a surprisingly good run. Shade of Aran was the farthest we got because we were sorta taking our sweet time and people had to go, but I did successfully see Nightbane downed for the first time ever, which means I have gone back and edited him into my Karazhan guide, video and all! (FileFront instead of YouTube this time, because the YouTube limit is ten minutes and I couldn’t cut our movie down past about 10:30.)
Overall though, it was nice to be able to go back to the place and do it justice; it’s been so long since I’ve been in there with a good group. Oh, raid-buffed, I topped both 2000 AP and 30% crit throughout /flex Not bad for someone who still has a few blues. (Though in all honesty, Badge Epics do crazy gear-score-skewing things like that.)
I did learn a couple lessons. Lesson the First: Using crazy tricks to unfairly defeat bosses sucks. See, we ran into Shade of Aran the first time and did quite well, getting him down to 15% and only wiping because of bad timing with the elementals. On our way back, one of our PuGs asks us if we’ve heard of “The Door Trick”. The Door Trick goes like this: you all stand right outside the door, and a hunter sends their pet in to aggro Aran and then they immediately pull their pet back. The door shuts (with everyone standing outside) and you trigger the encounter, and basically all you have to worry about is Flame Wreath because all his other stuff stays inside the room. Aran himself mostly stays inside the room, too, but every so often he comes outside for a little and you DPS him until he disappears again.
We tried it. About five minutes later Officer Chat was filled with all of us talking about how heinously boring this was (because at this point he was only down to like 95%) and how we were never going to it this way again.
The “Door Trick” actually wound up failing because a fellow player and I somehow managed to get knocked off the ledge outside his door where we fell to our deaths, and I think that reset the encounter. At this point we were all begging the PuG to just do it the normal, fair way, and she obliged (although she seemed somewhat mystified by how we’d rather have wipes and repair bills over a “safer” method; maybe we’re the only people she’s run into that are like that?) Seriously though, don’t do the Door Trick, it’s lame and takes forever.
Lesson the Second is that during the run, the fact finally sunk in that I am super burnt-out with Tawyn. There are a couple reasons why I never log onto her anymore, one of those reasons is admittedly my work schedule but another reason is because I honestly do not find her as fun to play as my alts right now. Don’t get me wrong; I love raiding and heroics and level 70 Alterac Valley* but after a few months of it, it has burned me out. The whole time we were in Karazhan I was thinking “Huh, this is pretty fun, I still love Kara, but… I’d really rather be playing one of my alts.”
Which leads me to believe that Tawyn is either going to get unofficially or officially stabled until WotLK. I still view her as my main and I have no doubt that she will be my first character to level 80, but I’m just not feelin’ the spark right now. Currently I’m trying to decide if I want to make an “official” post about it on the guild forums and attempt to pass of guild leadership, or keep going as I’ve been going and log on to her super-casually once or twice a week.
What does this realization about myself mean for you? Nothing, I still love the game and hunters and will continue to write about them just as I always have, I’ll probably just focus more on alts. As for what it means for me, I’m still trying to decide. My pre-WotLK goals have always been clear Karazhan (just Netherspite left) so I can finish my guide, see Gruuls/Mags, and finally get Epic’d out. But at this point, seeing how burnt out I am with that character, I think I may only get around to clearing Kara. But… that’s okay. I guess we’ll see what happens.
In closing, does anyone know of a good way to measure personal DPS? I’m curious about it and my damage meter (SWStats) is silly.
* It’s AV weekend and I actually am feeling this urge to spec something more PvP-worthy and spend the day in there. Hey, last time I was in there, Alliance had finally learned how to cap towers, all we need now is to learn how to tank Drek! Right? Right? Bueller?
Ever had to chain-trap during Moroes? All the way through Moroes? You get a ton of buffer time on your trap cooldown at the beginning so it’s all easy, and then that cooldown dwindles and dwindles as the fight goes on and by the end you’re pulling out all the stops with your Concussive Shot and extra Distracting Shots, and frantically running around hoping nothing stupid happens.
Feels absolutely great afterwards when you’ve successfully pulled it off though. Oh, let the ‘locks and the boomkins and the rogues have the top of the DPS chart for that battle– you, meanwhile, you know that you’ve got that CC on farm and that you’re a big reason why things went so smoothly.
Lemme tell you a lil’ about Karazhan; I started playing WoW a couple months after Burning Crusade was released. I was level 6 and everybody else was just getting to 70 and just getting geared up for raids. I walk into Stormwind for the first time and hear the names of these seemingly mythical legendary bosses being whispered in trade chat. Moroes, Maiden, the Curator, Shade of Aran, Prince Malchezaar. This makes an impression on you. You know nothing about the game but you know about this rogues’ gallery of bosses that, in your tender young eyes, only the greatest of the great are ever going to see. And to down one of those bosses must be an amazing feat of pure unadulterated epic-ness.
And now you’re giggling at me because Karazhan is the Deadmines of level 70, and yeah, I’m giggling with you.
But you gotta put yourself in my shoes for a second and realize that when this stuff sinks into you and makes an impression on you from basically day one– it doesn’t go away. Yeah, it’s just good ol’ KZ and I won’t deny sometimes it does make me want to smack my head repeatedly into the wall, but it holds a special little place in my heart. All these months later the music still gives me goosebumps, and all these months later a successful boss downing still feels special.
Bigger raiders can have their Black Temple or their Sunwell Plateau that they’re all proud of; me, give me my crazy lil’ tower in the middle of nowhere and all its storied villains.
(P.S. I originally wrote a poem parody to go along with the title of this blog post. But then I opted not to post it because I think I want to polish it up. Maybe if you poke me nicely, I’ll finish it and post the thing.)