I journeyed back through the Dark Portal this morning with one goal in mind: Finally attain my key to Karazhan!
I started playing World of Warcraft back in January of 2008, and thoroughly enjoyed my jaunt through Azeroth. Now having leveled through the tail end of BC, there were very few people in the old world at all, and the majority of high level player were already geared by the time I hit level 70 on Brunnstag. I had NEVER run an instance in my life- it was hard to find groups for low level instances at the time, and I was frankly terrified of them! They required teamwork and skill, something I wasn't sure I had! I didn't want to be responsible for peoples wipes, much less look like a fool.
I had managed to get my boyfriend Matt and I into a casual raiding guild run by some of my fathers friends from work (A guild I have since unhappily parted ways with, except for some very good friends), and while I was finishing leveling to 70, my boyfriend who had a good head start on me on his way to 70 had been raiding Karazhan with them. After reaching 70 myself, and finding little to do there but run instances, with trepidation and a flutter of excitement, I accepted the guilds offer to drag my undergeared and confused dwarven butt through the raid!
You're seriously just now getting your Kara key?
I LOVED IT. I wasn't much help I'm sure, hell I didn't even use misdirect then because I didn't understand how it worked, and the guild was entirely geared in full tier by that time. Nothing beats going into your first raid, and if a piece of gear that's even remotely usable by a hunter drops, it's yours! I got five or six epics that night- I finally felt cool. I remember boggling at the people in Ironforge on their Amani Warbears in their purples. Now I was one of them!
But it wasn't just the free gear- it was the teamwork, everyone had a job or something important to do. I can remember Matt, who's main was also a hunter at the time having to kite mobs in boss fights. To me, he was the epitome of epic hunter, he could kite and trap like a BOSS.
But above all, I just loved Karazhan itself- the atmosphere of it is fantastic. The creepy, foreboding entrance, the dank ancient stables, haunted by ghostly undead horses and the spirits of long dead stable hands. The banquet that never quite finished. It reminds me so much of Disney's "The Haunted Mansion" ride- it's fun and over the top, but it's the perfect balance. And the encounters and bosses were interesting too! Remember Chess? Or how the Curator would blithely remind everyone that the gallery was closed while pounding the tank into the ground? Never knowing which event you would get in the Opera House, and hoping to god you didn't cut a corner too close on Little Red Riding Hood when you ran!
A lot of my favorite moments in WoW have been in Karazhan. Running it that first time and having so much fun. Solo healing a raid of 20 or so scattered level 70's to 75's through it on my 80 Shaman- that one ended in a 20 minute showdown with Prince Malchezaar, a 73 Paladin tank, and I after the rest of the raid wiped themselves shortly after pulling. In the most epic fashion we downed him with the entire room filled with infernals, corpses, and the both of us completely out of mana and cooldowns.
The first time I three manned it with Matt and Ioso at 80- and discovered a weird bug where the Plump Turkey pet would fall in love with the spring rabbit... And make baby bunnies?
Karazhan always has been, and always will be I suspect, my favorite instance in all of World of Warcraft. It's perfect for me in every way, and I would love it if they updated it to be an 85 dungeon again.
So I want to hear- What's YOUR favorite location in all of World of Warcraft? Which place brings back the fondest memories? Has your favorite encounters? Where is the place that makes you look back and think "That- that is the reason why I love this game!"