For much of the last two weeks Karazhan has dominated my gaming life in one way or another. Initially it was trying to get all of the mythics run needed for attunement, and trying to coordinate between the four fixed members of Team AggroChat that are still playing the game. When the Karazhan raid was first announced we knew that the four of us… Ashgar, Grace, Thalen and Myself would want to run it together if for no reason other than providing lots to talk about on the podcast. Unfortunately that first week after the patch launched was insane and it ended up with several of us disconnected in the progression through the four Mythics. As a result it took us a bit to get through all of them, and we had to grab more people at various points in the process… and I am just realizing that I really should check to make sure they did in fact make it through the attunement process and if not help them out. The goal was to try and get into Kara that first Sunday. For almost two years I ran Karazhan every single Sunday and we used it as a way to pull up new characters and gear alts. It seemed extremely fitting that we would be doing the new incarnation of Karazhan as a Sunday thing as well. While we managed to get all four of us across the finish line, and attuned and ready to go… we couldn’t find anyone that was not already locked to kara, or did not already have plans to run it elsewhere. So we wound up running a Mythic Plus for the keystone and gave up on running the raid on the first week.
Somewhere along the way this week, we found out that Kylana had not yet run the dungeon… and also had no plans on any sort of a static group. We had checked with a few other people that had scheduling conflicts, but thankfully he was able to commit to the Sunday thing and from that point on… I simply didn’t think much about it other than knowing in the back of my head that I would finally get to experience the raid. The only negative is that I never really use the calendar invite system in World of Warcraft, and since I am used to seeing in game time converted to my local time thanks to Titan Bar… I scheduled the raid thinking it was at 8 pm my time and that everyone else’s calendars would adjust accordingly. However apparently that is a feature that I only dreamed up in my head, and I did in fact schedule the raid for 8 pm server, so an hour earlier than I had intended. The truth is that this worked out just fine and I happened to be sitting at the keyboard ready to go an hour ahead of when I had intended. Now in the days leading up to our run we had been hearing from guildies how rough the raid was, but in truth I think they were treating it as though it were another Mythic dungeon. I fully expected to zone in and have to learn as we went, while clearing a brand new raid… rather than simply roflstomping our way through yet another mythic. However the discussion of difficulty did prompt me to make sure I had plenty of food for buffs and flasks to get through the content.
In so many ways the zone feels just like Karazhan used to feel. What I mean there is that while it is functionally different in places… it is just as rough to get through as it was those first times. I remember spending weeks working on various encounters, and being extremely proud the first time we downed Maiden of Virtue for example. I am similarly proud of us for doing the same thing last night, as it took several tries for us to figure out the mechanics since we essentially went into this without planning. I realize this is something that would frustrate most people, but over the years of raiding together in various games… we’ve developed a taste for going into encounters completely raw and then learning as we go and adjusting. Tamrielo would have been proud because for the most part we talked Kylana into following us down this pathway to madness as well. All in all we managed to drop Opera: Westfall Story, Maiden of Virtue, Moroes, Attumen, Curator, and Shade of Medivh. We finished the night working on Mana Devourer but simply ran out of time for more attempts. We ran from 8pm EST to Midnight EST, and I am certain that much of that will be sped up significantly next week. We are talking about trying to pull things together tonight and give another poke and clearing the zone completely since we literally just have two bosses left. It is going to be a long time before we can clear this fast enough to get Nightbane as the 9th optional boss.
I have to say this is honestly some of the most fun I have had in World of Warcraft… since most likely I worked my way through the original Karazhan. I am really hoping that this is not a one off encounter, and that we might see a revitalization of smaller scale raiding. I realized a lot of that went by the wayside when Blizzard introduced the 10 player raid size, but really something has been missing since that point. Karazhan, Zul’Gurub, AQ20, and Zul’Aman all held a niche that progression content never really did, and I am really hoping that this new 5 player raid content is going to bring that back. After spending a night with my friends doing Kara, it definitely feels like it is… I just want to make sure that this is not simply a fluke. What I liked the most about this is that in truth we all had to perform to our best to make it through these fights. Moroes was every bit of the challenge that it once was, and we just barely limped across the finish line on that fight. In truth I am trying to figure out how we can do better next time, because garrote is just as brutal as we remembered it being. The truth is that none of us really got much in the way of upgrades from any of the encounters, but the encounters themselves were reward enough. That said I would not look down upon getting something awesome from one of the two bosses we have yet to defeat. This raid… and the news from Blizzcon honestly have me more excited about the World of Warcraft franchise than I have been in years.