The players have moved on and now we'll never get it back

| Friday, September 3, 2010
You might have read me rave about Stratholme before. But did you know that I've never played it properly? It's true. I've only played a later version of it which had been ruined by the advancement player community.

I am of course referring to the Key to the City. This is the key used to open the side entrance, most commonly used for Dead runs, in contrast to the side which needs no key (except eventually the Scarlet Key) and is called Live or Scarlet.

The key comes from the Magistrate, who stands right near the back door. But opening that door makes him run deep into the dead side, nearly to the end. So the party will do a dead side run and kill him, getting another key, soon before starting the final event and bosses. This is the new normal way to run it. It's the only way I ever experienced. One day when I was grinding it on my paladin I realized that approaching the Magistrate from a different direction didn't make him run, and then it all fell into place. But until then it just seemed like he always runs.

I enjoyed Stratholme a great deal. I never felt like I was missing anything. I never even realized that it was strange that we used a key to get to the boss that drops the key. The utter absurdity seemed perfectly normal.

It's a bit sobering. I think of how much has been 'ruined' in WoW, with ridiculously short instances, AoE festivals, and little sense of server community. But to a player who joins now, do they know anything is missing? Would they care or even want it any other way?

10 comments:

thenoisyrogue said...

I think WoW is a great example of a game where you need to get in on the ground floor, so to speak. Events like the opening of AQ, the release od Dire Maul, even the seemingly banal process of levelling up with people from your own realm, (as opposed to using the dungeon finder), all of these make a huge difference to how one is able to experience the game.
And unfortuantely you can never turn back the clock. So yes, new gamers are at a huge disadvantage in their ability to expereince and enjoy the game as other players have. All is not even in an MMO that develops with the player base.

Jonathan said...

Funny, I've been thinking a great deal about this lately. My wife and I started 3 months into classic WoW, and loved running the old instances. Just recently one of my friends started the game up having never played before. Watching his experiences leveling has been eye-opening. Lets just say that the game I started to play, way back when, just really doesn't exist anymore.

Stratholme is a good example. It's an outstanding instance, but you can't really get a feel for what it was like without having to run it in bits and pieces, with your whole team only in gear that's available in vanilla. The pacing is different, the pull order changes, the approach to crowd control is different. It's just not the same, at all.

That doesn't mean that what's there now isn't fun. But without a group of friends that really wants to try and recapture that feeling, and is willing to really limit their play (doing things like forgoing heading to or buying BoEs from Outland) I don't think it can be captured.

Ratshag said...

Is a fuhggin' shame there ain't no plans fer ta re-tool these dungeons and make'em relevant ta the leveling process again.

Beruthiel said...

Have you done all of the questlines for this zone? They span both sides of Stratholme and Scholomance, not to mention some cool things in Eastern and Western Plaguelands. Some of the best lore - and best quests in the game in my opinion :)

If you haven't - I'd recommended seeking them out and enjoying them before everything changes!

jeffo said...

I started playing in mid- to late BC era. By some accounts I'm sure there is a lot that I missed, some of that excitement that Noisyrogue mentions. Still, as a new player in my first MMO it was still very exciting for me; the learning and exploration, and occasional frustration. If it hadn't been fun at those levels I wouldn't still be playing now, as I started playing with no clue about end game, raids, etc.

I think many new players still get that feeling. They don't know that things used to be 'harder' or that there used to be *lots* of elite ogres in Alterac, so they should still be enjoying it. What *is* unfortunate is the way so many veteran players who are running alts can spoil things for them. That is something that I think has gotten worse since I started playing.

jeffo said...

And I'll add that Stratholme is still one of my favorites. It must have been murder back in the day (it was tough enough when I was doing my Paladin Charger quest).

kaozz said...

I suppose it depends on what you were after in a run with what side you might enter. Some people did a complete run but it wasn't common, even though you could have up to 10 people in a raid for the zone.

I played in 'vanilla' and the zone was so long that sometimes we would do a an undead run or a live run.

I don't think you were missing out really, it's a long instance and since the old days we always picked one or the other.

I suppose it is phased out ( like most all the old 50-60 content)and the gear isn't what it once was, but that is so much content today which is sad really.

Klepsacovic said...

@Adam: The sad thing is, all three of those examples you gave were wrecked by each expansion, at least pre-60.

@Jonathan: Even with friends to turn back the clock with, can you shake the feeling that you're somehow doing it wrong?

@Rashtag: For some there are, which I hope can recapture some of what they were.

@Beruthiel: Trust me, I have done ever chain through those places. Dungeon 2, Loremaster, and pathological nostalgia made sure of that. :)

@jeffo: Sorry, I'll shut up. For now.

Stratholme was indeed potential murder. Those tightly packed mobs combined well with very fast-moving patrols, and mobs with fear. I'd say the trash was harder than the bosses, except that MC from the first boss could occasionally result in really, really bad things happening.

@koazz: I played a long time in vanilla, but I'd never heard of a complete run, always live or dead. Even with my love of long instances, I'm not sure how I'd do with a full clear of Strat.

Scotch said...

Long instances were all the rage back in vanilla. BRD, Strat (where a 45 minute run was an "achievement")and the complexity of Mara was the norm. (Near the end of vanilla I leveled my second toon I went back to Mara - I had no idea how involved the purple side was - I missed a lot on my first pass)

BC had a few longer runs (botanica comes to mind, at least early in BC) but what was run most - short runs like Mech. So now we have instances that with the right group can be run in under 10 minutes (I'm looking at you HDrak)

Jujee said...

WoW has evolved as a game. As popularity grows, the game becomes more mainstream, and vice versa. This means content accesibility and making things "easier". For example, gone are the lengthy talent tweaks that appealed to fans from Vanilla WoW. At the end of the day, Blizzard is a company with profit goals. Whenever I drop by Ashenvale, I get nostalgic about those times of questing. However mundane and arduous things were, they all made up of my experience of WoW. That's the thing about nostalgia, I am sure I was displeased with aspects of the game, but my memory of it is wholesome and rosy. Back in Vanilla WoW the few Chinese farmers were actually players. Nowadays they are macroed corpse ads and hackers. Epics were rare as their name indicated. I had a friends list of people I came across in game and enjoyed playing the game with, not an ignore list maxed up by ignorant behaviour common over the internet and gold ad spammers.

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