Monday, 12 April 2010

An Ode to Blackrock Depths

Or what vanilla WoW got right but WotLK gets wrong.

In my youth Blackrock Depths and Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire were pretty much the end game for casual players. I'm not sure whether that's the reason for the scope of BRD, or if in the days of 40 person raids Blizzard just had a bigger vision that's now been toned down into bite-sized chunks of content.

Whatever the reason, Blackrock is still the epitome to me of what fantasy RPGs should be about. It's a big, multi-layered instance, that actually feels like real architecture rather than just a complicated corridor. When was the last time you got lost in a TBC or WotLK instance (apart from Occulus that is)? When was the last time you actually had a choice of routes?

It was possibly too big, but groups would happily spend several hours in there - probably at least one person was aiming for their Molten Core attunement but others perhaps wanted to raid the Black Vault, or you'd be with a blacksmith that needed to use the anvil. On your first visit there you couldn't even get to the end - your first priority was to get your Shadowforge key. Did you need to start a fight in the bar to get to the latter parts of the instance, or did the succubus there owe you a favour and hence would arrange an exit for you?

It was an exploring, questing journey, not a race to the end boss to get your emblems then zone out.

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