World of Warcraft Nostalgia - Dead Mines
Westfall has always been a pretty boring looking zone. Even with the cataclysm revamp, despite a huge twister spinning rocks in the middle of the area, it is still boring, no quests even touch upon the twister either. But Westfall is the home to, probably, one of the most loved dungeons in all of WOW, the Dead Mines.
When I originally first got to Westfall, 8 years ago now, it was pretty darn exciting. It was my first time venturing away from Elwynn and the golden fields of this new zone looked so inviting. However, the first set of quests you ran into all had to do with helping out some farmers and collecting various animal parts. Simple enough right? No! Those damn Goretusk boars! They weren't tough or anything but you needed 8 of their livers and you would often kill all of them you could see and maybe get 4 of those livers. And I did this same quest throughout my time with wow at least 15 times with all the various alts I leveled and that may be an understatement. I hated those initial quests....still do. (Even with the cataclysm revamp a lot of those quests still remain)
The main storyline of Westfall leads up to the eventual confrontation with the Defias Brotherhood and heading into the Dead Mines. This zone was done pretty well in that regard, it held a theme of hard times, disrepair, and you could gradually understand the Defias Brotherhood's point of view after awhile. Of course, I hardly read the quests the first time I played so I had a bit of a disconnect with this. All I knew was that the bandits were evil and needed to die.
I remember that I used to love exploring zones and not necessarily having a quest to be in the area. This was the case when I first found Moon Brook. It was marked on the map as if it were an actual town so when I first got there I expected friendly npcs. I was surprised to find the place full of bandits but that didn't stop me from searching every house just for the sake of it. And for all that trouble, upstairs, in one of the houses, was a merchant that sold an alchemy recipe for a rage potion (how do I remember this?) and a few magic items. It felt pretty cool just finding stuff like this back in vanilla, something I miss with the game now. On a side note: Later on when I had a horde character come to Westfall to pvp, I would use this very vendor I found to repair/sell stuff.
One other quest hub of note was the lighthouse. An old pirate ghost gave out quests to kill murlocs and and get him some lamp oil. The quests were pretty standard but one had you go after Old Murk-Eye. At the time I believe I was level 17 and this quest mob was level 20. It was an epic battle that I'm pretty sure I lost the first time because of the Silver Elite, Brack, who decided to run past and aggro during the fight. The second time when I finally won, I had to run away from my void walker because of a disease Old Murk-Eye had put on him that was doing AOE damage. I un-summoned him only to find out later that when I re-summoned him, he still had the disease.
Onto the Dead Mines! Now this is before any sort of looking for group system or even a global chat. There was just the general chat to find members but back in vanilla, that was all you really needed. People were constantly forming groups for the Dead Mines and back then, it wasn't always a successful run. Especially considering the level gaps that the dungeon had. You could technically go to the Dead Mines at level 16 and you would be fine for the first half but by the end you'd be up against level 20's and you would just be a drain on the group. I remember so many times that groups that mostly had members that were in the teens for levels would fail and disband around the smelting room or the ship.
I remember how much of a headache it could be sometimes when just going to the entrance of the Dead Mines. You had to go through the mine below Moon Brook before you reached the instance portal and for new comers, it was a bit confusing. For every person who knew the way in there would be one who didn't. They would get lost and if trying to explain in chat on how to reach the dungeon failed, you would have to exit the instance and manually lead them there. Keep in mind that these mines were full of hostile npcs as well, making it a very slow process sometimes.
I think the reason why Dead Mines was such a memorable instance was because of how much time and effort Blizzard put into it. You could tell that the Dead Mines was probably the first dungeon they made because a lot more effort was put in, including a strong story leading to it as well as voice acting for the bosses. It was as if after they put this place together, it took them too long, so to speed up the process for future dungeons, they cut some parts off. If you look at the horde equivalent of the Dead Mines, Wailing Caverns, the two are not even nearly on the same level. The layout was a mess and your reasons for being there were much more vague. It had an interesting concept but the execution was awful.
Although there was a lot of trash, I always enjoyed the Dead Mines trash mobs over other dungeons. First off, a lot of the enemies you encountered were non-elite miners lining the walls. You then had a few elite patrols but nothing too challenging. The first boss was an ogre who came with 2 adds and was fairly simplistic. However, Sneed was pretty cool for Vanilla. He rode in a goblin shredder and actually jumps out after you destroy it which took new players for a surprise. You would then continue on to the Smelting Room.
The Smelting Room was a group breaker. This place was packed with mobs and, if you were not careful, a runner would aggro other groups and inevitably wipe you. This was compounded with the issue of lower level group members who could accidentally aggro additional mobs. I'm sure if you played back then you would remember tanks always yelling at everyone to hug the wall, to ensure that the low levels did not pull adds but of course you would always have the people who would not listen. The boss in this room was nothing special but he did drop the “Lavishly Jeweled Ring” which gave 6 agility and 2 intellect which meant about everyone rolled on it since it would not be uncommon to not even have 2 rings at this point in the game.
If you made it past here you would then use the gunpowder to blow down the door (or a rogue could lock pick it) and face the final area, the ship. If your group was good enough to make it this far, then you would probably finish the place. After a few pirates, you would make it to Mr. Smite. He had very interesting mechanics where he would stun the group in order to switch weapons as he reached certain health percentages. He also came with adds that would continue to attack when you were stunned so if you really screwed up, the adds would have their way with you and might even cause a wipe. The ideal strategy would be to run far from where Mr. Smite initially is when you pulled him so it would take him a long time to go get his new weapon but, for some reason, very few groups did that.
You would then fight your way up the levels of the ship and at the top was another challenge. Captain Greenskin, another boss, patrolled the top of the boat and if you had low enough level players in your party he could aggro prematurely and could end up causing a wipe. He had no real mechanics and was simple enough and after defeating him you had final reached the final boss, VanCleef.
VanCleef had great voice acting and was a boss that just came with a lot of adds. I remember that he was incredibly tough for most groups but there was a foolproof strategy for this boss, the wheel! Yes, the wheel. There was a part of the ship that required you to jump to it and it looked like a wheel. The strategy was that after you pulled the boss you would jump onto this wheel except the tank who would keep aggro on VanCleef. The healer would then draw the aggro of all the adds but they would all evade as they couldn't reach the healer. So all you would end up fighting was VanCleef himself which was a lot easier. Sounds cheap, it was, but some groups needed it to win. Then finally, you could jump down from the top of the ship to fight Cookie, the murloc chef, who was easy and then you were done. A run could take you over an hour depending on the group and sometimes this place was nothing but a headache but I still think fondly about it when I look back.
I'll breeze over Red Ridge and get straight to Duskwood. Duskwood is one of my favorite zones and it had a great theme but gosh was it annoying.
- World of Warcraft Nostalgia - The Beginning
This is the very beginning of my time with World of Warcraft. This is a nostalgia trip I wish to share with other fellow WOW players. I played this game for 8 years and really wanted to look back.
- World of Warcraft Nostalgia: Duskwood
Part 3 of my remembrance of Wow. Duskwood and all the lovely running it entailed.