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The First Time: Dungeons

April 3, 2010

The first time… ever

The first instance I ever did was Black Fathom Deeps.  My husband (whom I will now dub, “HairyTank”) took his first warrior (it was also his first instance) and I took my hunter.  We found three other people and thought, “WOOT!  We’re good to go!”  Oh, to be so young and naive again…

I don’t remember what two of those strangers were in terms of race/class, but the third was a druid who took one look at our party and /sighed.  “I guess I can heal, but I don’t have any maple seeds,” he said.  Maple seeds?  Who needs maple seeds?  (Actually, Talfrund doesn’t, but this was patch 2.0 and Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth wasn’t a gleam in a dev’s eye yet).

I think they expected my husband to tank.  Despite his new moniker, at the time neither of us understood the basic party structure, much less the different roles.  We also hadn’t done anything like read-up on the dungeon.  We just knew we had quests in there, and we wanted to finish them.

We wiped.  Repeatedly.  On trash mobs.

When we finally zoned-out of BFD after downing the turtle boss, I had learned two things.  One, instances are confusing and the mobs are hard to kill.  Two, I hated instances with a gut-burning passion.  I vowed never to run another dungeon ever again.  Twenty levels later my guildies asked me to run Sunken Temple with them and I turned them down in sheer terror of repeating that BFD experience.

What I later learned is that instances are fun if you know your role and your class, and if you do your homework.  I eventually did Sunken Temple on my hunter, but only after I out-geared it.

Fast forward about two years…

Talfrund and Garnam’s First Time

Now we’re into patch 3.2 and Garnam and Talfrund are muddling their way through Azeroth.  They followed an undead wrecking ball (read: Death Knight looking for achievements) through Deadmines, so we don’t really count that as their first dungeon.  They didn’t run into a real test of their tanky-healy mettle until… Black Fathom Deeps.

No wipes.  We got the final boss.  What was different?  We knew our roles and we communicated with each other.

Garnam: I hear the fight.  Where is it?

Me: Above you.

Garnam: <cussing about water combat> Got it.

(I’m tempted to call it Black Loathsome Deeps because of that one section of water combat)

We still make mistakes.  Our biggest failure was communication with the rest of the party.  Two of our DPS took an every-man-for-himself instance-zerging approach (which seems particularly popular at low levels).  Most low-level dungeons are forgiving of this mistake, and I think experienced players take advantage of it to the frustration of those trying to learn their roles.  Inexperienced players can’t help themselves.  My point is, don’t just talk to each other.  Talk to the rest of your party, too.  Let them know what you want from them.  You may get lucky – someone in your group may have a, “main,” that is your class and spec.

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