A. Nothing they are all about the loot!
I have seen a fee posts about the blogshpere about people craving longer instances again. This is probably a push back against ToC in particular, but also the move to quicker instances that started in TBC, but was honed to 1/2 hour – hour runs in WoLK.
I have even read posts about posts about shorter instances. In fact it was while replying to one of these that a thought struck me…
Q. What’s the difference between a 20 minute Instance and a boosted instance…
A. Nothing they are all about the loot!
It’s all about rapid access to loot via drops or emblems.
But first, let’s take a journey back in time, back through 2 expansions to Vanilla.
Back in Vanilla instances were long… I mean long. You might as well be raiding. Often the instance was far from civilization with little chance of a quick repair (why do you think Mage portals and Warlock summons were so coveted?).
Not only were the instances long but they were filled with tough mobs, lots of tough mobs, lots of patrolling fast respawn mobs.
Of course to offset this there were plenty of players leveling toons: for the 1st time; as an alternative to their main which didn’t live up to it’s promise; to get that missing class from the 40 man raid group; or as relief from the long hard grind of raiding 4-5 nights a week and grinding every other spare moment for the mats essential to start a raid, let alone finish it.
Back then greens were coveted, blues fought over and purples… there were purples? Only for the most 1337 of the elite.
Boosting was quite rare and generally is was a guild power leveling someone’s alt to fill the gap to allow raiding to continue.
The loot mattered, but only in so far that it would get you to the raid faster. Once raiding the loot mattered because you wanted to clear at least one new boss (not raid) a month.
TBC arrived and we all cheered…
The big instances were a thing of the past. They had been split up ala Scarlet Monastery into wings. Now with a good group you could knock over an instance in an hour and a half, with a great group one hour and with a raid geared group (or a Pally and a couple of Mages) the instance run could be a speed run, coming in under an hour.
Black Morass was a wonder!
You would be in and out in 40 minutes. You could set your watch by it.
But still, the instances were still longer and even the badge collectors choice of The Mechanar would clock in around an hour.
The loot wasn’t the key (but ummm the keys were “loot”), it was running a well oiled team through a maze of mobs. Picking off those that needed to be removed and avoiding the others.
Badge runs became more popular later as did boosting your mates to get them ready for Kara or Gruul.
Still, it remained a grind, a rewarding grind in gear, rep and experiences.
WoLK in the park
WoLK arrives and you can buy the gear from the AH, you can cut your 5-man teeth on Heroics, you can walk into Naxx on your 1st night at 80 and you can clear Ulduar in blues.
The instances are quick. So quick that people don’t set aside a night for an instance and even when pugs form the question gets asked…
Let’s do 3 or 4 instances in a row… Why?
To gain something approximate to the epicness of a Vanilla instance. The total immersion of being on your toes for two hours with the same group of people.
Boosting is significantly more common too, from level 10 to level 80, there is always someone ready to put their purples to the test against mobs that run from green.
To run vanilla instances you need to find a booster as it’s unlikely you will find more than 3 takers for an instance and most likely you will be lacking a tank or a healer… But don’t worry, everyone has a DK, you just get the loot.
At 80 we have quick half hour loot pinatas, not just VoA, everything is a loot piñata, and ToC is the grand daddy of them all.
At lower levels when boosted, the booster runs ahead and decimates the foes, while you straggle along behind desperately trying to pick up all the loot.
Not the experiences
Not the challenges
Not the opportunity to home skills
Gnomer and Out!
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