I logged on last night as soon as I got home from work, expecting to be late for Magtheridon, and instead found out that that raid had been cancelled, but I was just in time for AQ40. My least favourite instance in the entire game.
It went as you would expect with a bunch of 70s with little pre-TBC raiding experience. A lot of boss fights were botched, and no one really understood the tactics, but it didn’t matter since we could just overpower everything, even ninja pulls. It made me a bit sad.
A lot of the people who went last night will never understand just how difficult the old instances were to learn, and what it takes to raid as a well-coordinated whole with 40 people. It’s the main reason I always loved raiding: the dynamic of that many people coming together in a virtual environment to meet challenges. It’s true that in 40-person raids there was room for the useless players – everyone else took up the slack. But overall, everyone had to know their job and do it precisely.
I remember wiping on Huhuran for weeks. To the point where my stomach would be in knots prior to logging in, knowing that it was going to be another soul-destroying experience. This was one of the top raiding guilds on the server, but for some reason we hit a snag on that bitch that we couldn’t get past for ages…and last night it was a piece of cake. It’s sad…not that I would ever get nostalgic for AQ40, or even Naxx, but it’s still sad to see instances that were so difficult at the time be something now that you can just walk through without having to know what you’re doing.
I’d still like to do BWL again, because I thought that it was a perfectly-designed instance (aside from that stupid 15-minute respawn time on the Nef fight). But I expect to feel the same way about bitch-slapping Chromaggus after someone ninja-pulls him and everyone just stands in front of him and nukes him down, with no knowledge of it being a line-of-sight fight. BWL was a gorgeous instance. AQ20 and 40 both sucked – I really hated all the bugs. Naxx was an interesting design, but marred by various bugged encounters like Anub. Some good fights, though, with a lot of variety.
I suppose this relates to the saying that you “can’t go home again”. Everything looks smaller and shabbier than you remember, and the old challenges seem silly now.