With Warlords of Draenor being what could be favorably described as “content light” and more unfavorably described as a “desolate wasteland of fun”, someone at Blizzard decided a good and easy way to not only pad the game out, but also tickle the player bases’ nostalgia bone, would be to get players re-running old content for loot with an updated item level. And so Timewalking was born; a week long event that takes the best 5 man dungeons from across World of Warcraft’s long history and scales players down so that they can experience the full horror that was trying to heal though the Gladiator packs in Shattered Halls. And wouldn’t you know, it was a smash hit. With the allure of nostalgia, Raid Finder level gear, and a few rather fantastic mounts and toys, players soon rushed to be quickly reminded why nobody has ever liked Arcatraz as well as realize the disappointment that comes with any weekly event that isn’t Timewalking.
There are still some problems, though. While some instances (such as Mana Tombs, End Time, Shattered Halls and Utgarde Pinnacle) have more than earned their place in the list of nostalgic throw backs, some are more than notable by their Timewalking absence. So we here at MMOGames have come up with our list of World of Warcraft Timewalking dungeons we want to see. This list will consider all instances that are currently playable in the live game, so that means no original versions of remade dungeons. Sorry Scarlet Graveyard fans (all…2 of you?).
Deadmines is, for many players, the first 5 man dungeon they entered, particularly for Alliance players who didn’t really feel like running into the heart of the enemy faction’s capital city for Ragefire Chasm. Deadmines tasked players with stopping the, admittedly rather rightfully, angry Edwin VanCleef from living the pirate dream and blowing Stormwind back into its Warcraft 2 state. However with the launch of Cataclysm and the reshaping of the world that followed, a new dungeon and storyline was put in place, and a new boss of the pirates was ready to resurrect the plan to destroy the people who betrayed them, Edwin’s daughter Vanessa, who is slighty mad at us for decapitating her father right in front of her and then bringing the head in for some low-level blue gear. MMOs, ladies and gentlemen!
As much treading as it did on the hallowed grounds of nostalgia, the new Deadmines was a massive step up from what came before. Adding in a plethora of new and interesting bosses and trash, and mostly getting rid of the pack after pack of the same 3-4 human skins and occasional goblins, the new Deadmines was filled with some of the more interesting and enjoyable boss encounters beginning with a literal “Don’t stand in the fire” extravaganza and ending with the Heroic only Vanessa encounter and its incredibly fast paced gauntlet section tasking players with dodging spiders, fire, lightning and mariticide before fighting Vanessa on the bow of the ship, swinging from the rigging to avoid explosions. Great stuff. Deadmines would be a great addition to the rather weak line up of World of Warcraft Timewalking dungeons in Cataclysm.
4: The Shadow Labyrinth
This will likely be one of my more controversial choices. People just don’t like this dungeon, but while MurMur might be one of the best designed bosses in World of Warcraft’s history, the rest of the dungeon doesn’t exactly have the best reputation with the vast majority of players, so why is it on this list? One reason alone.
Blackheart the Inciter
This one boss might be the most fun it’s possible to be while also being the worst thing you can do to a person. He drops aggro, charges, fears, knocks back, and best of all, he mind controls the entire group for about 15 seconds, watching as they all kill each other (or more likely just the healer) ready to wipe the group when the control breaks. It is awful, and so funny that it could almost be a comedy. With this addition to the World of Warcraft Timewalking dungeons, players new to the game could have the real chance to see just what the rest of us old timers had to go through to get our shiny loot and badge currency for our fire resistance gear. Masochistic on my behalf? Perhaps, but maybe the 7th wipe will stop them asking for a classic server all the time. TIME FOR FUN!
3: Stratholme: Baron side
When talking about Classic 5-mans there is always one name that comes up again and again in ‘best of’ lists: Stratholme. Particularly, Stratholme Baron side (undead side for some). Aside from having some of the better looking drop items and one of the most sought after mount drops in the game’s history, Strath was one of the first major tastes of end-game content players got in vanilla World of Warcraft and also hid one of the game’s most fun and least remembered quests.
Part of the now sadly removed Dungeon set-two quest, ‘Stratholme 45’ as it became known, tasked players with completing a full clear of Stratholme in under the allotted 45 minutes in order to save the life of a quest giver. While insanely slow by today’s standards, for the time, 45 minutes was an insane task for anybody not equipped in full raid gear. It required a lot of research, flasks and crowd control in order to complete and at the time most casual Stratholme runs could last up to 1-2 hours, depending on gear.
For many this, as well as Shattered Hall’s Execution quest and fittingly the Culling of Stratholme, are the precursors to the modern day Challenge Mode, and with a small amount of tweaking a version of this could be implemented back into a Timewalking version of the zone. While 45 minutes might be a stretch, an extra boss requiring you to speed run the dungeon would be a great addition and a way to bring back this classic into the lineup of World of Warcraft Timewalking dungeons.
2: The Mechanar
I flipped a coin for this one. The Botanica lost.
Nobody can quite understand why Blizzard chose The Arcatraz over the other two Tempest Keep 5-mans, but the Burning Crusade’s Timewalking is really much weaker for missing them. One of the first 5-man Heroics that was really possible, The Mechanar was a short instance filled with a mixture of some of the more interesting mechanics in-game up to that point, with a rehash of the Naxxramas charge mechanic and one of the first wave bosses, Mechanar was a gateway to some of the later more intricate raids added in The Burning Crusade. Its addition to World of Warcraft Timewalking dungeons would also serve as a fitting apology for making us have to do Arcatraz again. I mean really… NO ONE liked Arcatraz.
For bonus points, let Rogues, Protection Paladins, Fury Warriors and Hunters roll on the much in-demand Sun Eater tanking weapon. The drama that little sword caused was… well… beautiful.
1: The Well of Eternity
With Cataclysm taking its place as one of the worst expansions to date, there wasn’t really much for players of World of Warcraft at the time. That was unless you count the Hunt for the Dragon Soul 5-mans. Players, with the aid of Nozdormu, were tasked with preventing armageddon by finding the Dragon Soul, the ancient Weapon of Mass Destruction forged 10,000 years ago by a secretly mad Neltharion the Earth-Warder, in order to bring an end to Deathwing. But while End Times and the Hour of Twilight were great in their own right, the real gem of the trilogy lay in the middle with the outstanding Well of Eternity.
Taking place 10,000 years ago during the first invasion of Azeroth by the Legion, players are tasked with retracing the steps of Illidan Stormrage, Warcraft’s own bishounen heart throb, as he attempts to close the portal currently taking over the Well from which the instance gets its name.
While the visuals and lore on their own are enough for some players, introducing the likes of Mannoroth and Azshara to the MMO, as well as being one of the best looking pieces of content yet added to the game, the actual instance itself is a massively fun spectacle from a gameplay standpoint. Going from stealth assassin mission to failed regicide to an all out DPS race to save the world in a seamless 10 or so minutes of play time, Well of Eternity was a bright spot in an otherwise dull expansion and its absence is more than felt among the Cataclysm’s rather weak additions to the Timewalking roster.
There is a good chance, what with 5-mans being some of the most debated and beloved aspects of World of Warcraft, that I have missed off a dungeon that you yourself feel should have been on this list over one of my choices… okay probably over Shadow Labyrinth. But rather than get angry at me, or at least in addition to anger, add your choice and why it deserves to be added to the lineup of World of Warcraft Timewalking dungeons in the comments below. You never know, it might just make a future list.Related: Blizzard Entertainment, MMORPG, PvE, World of Warcraft