Five man instances.  That part of the game that almost all players seem to encounter at some point in their WoW careers.  Whether people enjoy raiding, levelling, PvP, or any other activity, we will all set foot in most every dungeon in the game at some point in our WoW careers (especially in the expansion packs with the introduction of heroics).

So, what are the best five man instances?

5.  Zul’Furrak

I remember feeling so awed the first time I stepped into ZF.  Holy crap, I can mount in here!  Oh wow, look at the Egyptian theme… And I do have a massive thing for Trolls, I’ll admit it (if I ever make a Horde character, I’ll totally be a Troll).

Zul’Furrak was also my first real introduction to the massive powers of AoE.  My boyfriend at the time was levelling a Mage, and (urgh… I feel dirty) I couldn’t help but be amazed at the massive AoE pewpew powers of his rather ridiculous looking Gnome.

WoWScrnShot_083010_192457

Ghaz’rilla, the smilingest Hydra in the game.  Look at those grins!

Of course, the best part of Zul’Furrak is the staircase.  That staircase was intimidating as all hell pre-heirlooms.  I remember the first time I went in there… trying not to pull aggro, trying to have stuff die without it eating the tank or healer… it was so much fun. ZF established my love of gauntlet events in 5 mans, and it only grew from there!

4.  Gnomeregan

I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Gnomer.  Sure, it’s massively long.  Sure, leper Gnomes are kinda freaky.  All this is immediately compensated for by the presence of amazingly cute little machines (even the annoying alarm bots), the thrill of killing Gnomes on a massive scale, the wonder of Gnomes demonstrating their stupidity by mistaking most everyone for a trogg, and being the only 5 man with a cute, useful safe zone half way through the instance.

Yep, I heart Gnomer.  I want that on a T-Shirt.

mekkatorquewantsyourlt I’m going to miss you, Gnomeregan.  *Plots destruction of the Gnome Uprising*

3.  Caverns of Time: Escape from Durnholde Keep

Yeah, I’ll admit it.

Rescuing Thrall kinda turns me on a little.

Seriously – who doesn’t want to have a giant green hunk of an Orc owing them their eternal gratitude?  *purr*  “Why, Mr Thrall, have you ever wondered what a Warlock wears under her robes?”

… ahem.

Durnholde Keep took me a little while to warm to.  Initially, I hated the place. It made me want to gnash my teeth and wail.  Why, oh why Thrall?  Why must you be so stupid?  Why must you get yourself cornered in every single building?  Why must you piss off dragons who can silence me?

And then… I explored a little.  And I found Southshore.  Holy Lore People!

WoWScrnShot_083010_195149 Dude, you are NOT going to be happy the next time you see meSeriously.  By the way, I’d highly recommend following these guys around for a little while.  They have a rather interesting conversation

WoWScrnShot_083010_195427 I don’t know why, but it always tugs at the heartstrings when I see undead guys in their Human form.  Except for Kel’thuzad.  He can go suck my DK’s giant popsicle of doom.  As for Bilger… I’d turn to the booze as well, the poor bastard.

WoWScrnShot_083010_195539
Well, lookie here.  Seems like these guys are having a nice lil ol’ gossip.  What’s that you say Alexandros*?  Northrend has fallen to the Undead?  Fancy that!

Oh, Abbendis: word of warning.  I’d invest in a decent piece of neck armor. Or, you know… not become a psychotic Scarlet Onslaught evil bitch.  Seriously.  What is with these people?

There’s a couple of interesting children you might find familiar if you wander around there long enough.  It’s well worth a visit.

2.  Shadow Labyrinth

Shadow Labs was a source of much frustration.  It tested most every ability I had as a Warlock – extensive crowd control while DPSing, trying not to die when you get half your health Life Tapped away while mind controlled, splitting DPS between a boss and adds in an efficient manner, running in and out of the bad – Shadow Labs had it all.  Not to mention packs of skeletons.  I do love my men carting some bone around with them.

shadowlabs 3

And it still has it all!  There is little more entertaining than killing everyone in your group when you run a bunch of lowbies through Shadow Labs.  I do love messing around with Murmur ‘Run in!  Run out!  Run in!  Run out!’  It’s the Hokey Pokey on steroids and with randomly exploding dance partners.

1.  Caverns of Time: Opening the Dark Portal/Black Morass

Oh, Black Morass.  My poor, dim memory vaguely recalls BM as being the hardest 5 man for me to get past.  My guild got stuck at BM for quite a while in our attempt to get everybody their Karazhan key.  Those damn dragons!

I always felt a vague sense of pity for Hunters, who usually got stuck with protecting Medivh from those damned annoying small adds while the rest of us got to focus on the big ones.  Not that the larger tethered trash mobs were much fun… they liked to smack my poor Druid around a lot when she was learning to tank, and I pulled aggro on a few of them more than once.

black_morass_big

And the bosses!  Oh boy… Blizzard let you off easy with Chrono-Lord Deja, but then smacked the snot out of you with Temporus.  Anyone else have painful memories of wipes on Temporus?  That damn debuff on the tank… urrrrgh.  Getting told to up your DPS because the healer is having trouble – only to pull aggro and die.  Oh how I wished he was tauntable!

Still, I guess the leather made it great for our guild skinners.

Runner Ups

Caverns of Time: Culling of Stratholme: The talking did this one in for me.  Seriously.  First time?  Awesome!  Every time after that?  Please please please spare me.

Scholomance: I will always love Scholo.  The only reason it’s not on the list is because of its prior 10man status.

The Mechanar: A Warlock’s heaven.  I don’t think I will ever see a room a Warlock can solo in an instance ever again.

The Violet Hold: A great idea, let down by its ‘WTF that easy?  Really’ factor.

Shattered Halls: That gauntlet *swoon*.  Nothing will ever top the sheer horror of that gauntlet, the feeling of awesome wonder when you survived it.

So, what are your top instances and why?

*Alexandros Mograine may not be familiar to players who haven’t played through the Death Knight chain (no, I am not spoiling that for you), or who haven’t done Vanilla Naxx.  Poor ol’ Alex became one of the Four Horsemen in original Naxxramas, but he vanished mysteriously… to be replaced by everyone’s favourite mount grind, Baron Rivendare.

What are your top 5 favourite 5 mans? (select up to 5 options!)

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34 Responses to “Sar’s Top 5: Five Man Instances”
  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Saresa, Angelya. Angelya said: RT @Saresa: New blog post: Sar’s Top 5: Five Man Instances http://bit.ly/dpGCuj [...]

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  2. I did my top 5 dungeon and raid bosses a few days ago, might take a shot at instances too. Nice one Sar.

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  3. Oh :o I’d wandered around Durnholde Keep a little bit, found the wandering vendors and such, had never checked out Southshore though, I didn’t know all that was there! I always loved Durnholde Keep, possibly something to do with seeing what everybody looked like as a human, which is a lot more fun Hordeside :D
    Jaedia´s last blog post ..The Art Of Gold Making- Setting Up Shop

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  4. @Pindleskin please do! It’s always nice to see the shockers… um, I mean, great instances other people seem to like.

    @Jaedia oh, DEFINITELY head to Southshore. I missed quite a bit in this post, it is well worth the trip. Make sure you have a good sit in the in with Mograine and co!

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  5. #1 BRD
    Personally, I LOVED Blackrock Depths.
    Even today I still like it.
    It was BIG, it took ages and it had so much cool stuff in it!
    On the flip side, I hated Dire Maul for the same reasons… Still have not figured that one out.

    #2 Scarlet Monestary (Sans Graveyard)
    OMG SQUEEEEEEEEEEE
    SM was a great big bucket of fun.
    Going and dishing out some beat downs to a pack of uppity, holier-than-thou yahoo’s who (probably) deserve it… Yes please!
    No Graveyard because in all honestly, that was not an instance…

    #3 Deadmines
    Initially I was kinda ‘meh’ about Deadmines, but during BC my guild was doing ‘Deadmines race’ as a weekly event.
    Run from Sentinel hill, through Deadmines and back. Winner got 100 gold.
    That was a lotta fun :)

    Can’t really go too far past those 3… Others kind of contend for spots, but nothing stands out.

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  6. @Xiao GAH BRD! lol! BRD even sent my poor Hunter’s pet loopy. I agree with you on Dire Maul though – long and HARD.

    SM. Hmmm. It’s been a very long time since I ran SM, I think I always got fed up with the damn Scarlet Crusade being so… nutty. It was a well structured instance though.

    Deadmines: DM is kinda cute. I have horrible memories of dying, running back, and getting smashed by the pats that always popped up. Cookie always intrigued me – I’d love to read a story of how a Murloc became a cook for Van Cleef’s ship.

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  7. I might’ve made a blogpost about this myself if I hadn’t posted a brand new one yesterday… but I digress.
    Top 5 for me?
    5. Zul’Farrak for every reason you said…and the first time I saw Ghaz’rilla emerge from the water.. omg, so amazing. And the encounter on the stairs. <3
    4. Shadow Labs – for every reason you said up there.
    3. Underbog – I know you're probably o.O about this, but this was the first instance that really showed me what Outlands could do back in it's time. It was huge, it had huge bosses, with real strategies (remember getting away from the damn mushrooms? lol)
    2. Botanica – If you can get over just HOW big this place was, and just HOW much trash there was here, this place was AMAZING. Difficult without being mind-numbingly hard. Lots of bosses, TONS of loot options.. Just make sure you go in there with empty bags. :D
    1. Magister's Terrace – Everything you loved about Shadow Labs, only much more intense with much less room for error. Also, spawned the great "Only a setback" joke! Pure win!
    Achloryn´s last blog post ..Yo dawg- I heard you like pugs

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  8. Deadmines – It holds a place in my heart since it’s the first Alliance dungeon.
    Shadowfang Keep – I wiped our party once when I got turned into a Worgen. Our mage figured out sheeping me was the solution. So I yelled out “Sheep me!” over vent when it was needed.
    Shattered Halls – The gauntlet and last fight are awesome tanking moments for me.
    Arcatraz – That little gnome at the end made it so hard to concentrate on the fights (I’m gonna light you up sweet cheeks.).
    Scarlet Monastery – Full of lore and letting my Loque wipe the entire Cathedral solo was pure fun to watch. Plus you can get a Scarlet tabard.

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  9. @Achloryn MUSHROOM MUSHROOM! I remember a lot of frustration on the first boss in Underbog… and even more on those two damn mobs before the first boss. Our Hunter probably cried many tears kiting one of those big buggers away before tanks got the gear to handle both of them without getting squished.

    Botanica – I hear you on the empty bags. Holy crapsticks but you got a lot of random plant parts in there. The last boss was great in that it was still problematic on Heroic for quite a while.

    Magister’s Terrace – Oh my oh my. I can’t make my mind up about MgT. I was fortunate at the time on my Warlock – I was in a lot of T5 and BT/Hyjal gear, so it wasn’t TOO uncomfortable. On my Druid, it made me so bloody terrified (I was mainly a tank at that time, but I also healed a little, cat DPSed a little…) and I stuffed up so often! The PvP boss was sooo horrific – I never went into that instance expecting to get through without dying.

    @Nochecazador Deadmines was my first ever dungeon experience. I really didn’t understand a lot about grouping at that time, but I learned quickly. I love DM because it’s still challenging for a first instance.

    SFK – I really wish I had run SFK more at level. It’s one of those instances I just didn’t get to do much.

    Shattered Halls – that last boss… oh boy. So difficult, so wonderful, so so soooo many times that I died!

    Arcatraz – tehehe, what is it with these pesky Gnomes causing so much trouble! Damn you Milhouse Manastorm… damn you!!!

    SM – WTB a Loque to wipe the place clean with. /jealous!!!

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  10. I agree with you on everything except Gnomer :) I would add Botanica though, since I did it so many times with a friend to try to get him the feral staff, I knew the place with my eyes closed. I loved Shadowlabs but wiped on Murmur sooo many times! The run back in was so long D: I have to say the only one out of all the Wrath heroics that I really hate is Halls of Stone – the others are all still quite enjoyable, if a little boring these days.
    Angelya´s last blog post ..Exploring Burning Steppes

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  11. @Angelya Hmmm, seems Botanica is quite the popular instance! Maybe it was just me weirded out by the plants ;-) Although I did like the boss (whose name escapes me atm) who sent all the plants at you, where you had to do the LoS stuff. That was fun! /seedseedseedseed

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  12. Considering I want to milk this idea for my own post, I won’t reveal all of my 5 (mainly because I’ve only decided on one that is definitely in there).

    (Heroic) Magister’s Terrace. Best instance. Oh my god. That instance taught me how to CC like a freakin pro. Also to not suck at the deeps. Also to not swim into the doomballs of doom.

    So I guess it taught me a ton of things. Go figure.
    TwilliK´s last blog post ..What Did They Do To This City

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  13. Hehehe, Heroic MgT was certainly… um… educational. Oh, the lessons I learned (that I had entirely forgotten from SLabs) on being a pro-seducer!

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  14. I can’t put them in order from most to least, so I’ll just plop them out there:

    Stockades–first instance I ever did, and I healed it. My group was awesome. Considerate of my noobness, they took their time (granted, this was back in vanilla before everyone got GO GO GO syndrome). They marked targets, they CC’d, they pulled slowly and stopped for mana. It took us 2 hours, but it stands out as one of my best early experiences in-game.

    Ramparts–I was super excited to make it to Outland (BC had been out for about a year) and Ramps turned quickly into my favorite instance. Fairly quick, straightforward, and interesting boss mechanics I hadn’t really played with before (like the demon with the curse, back when it could kill you really well). I get excited every time I get another character to 60: the very first thing I do after training is queue for Ramps.

    The Arcatraz–I ran this instance every day for weeks trying to get a couple of items that were considered “best pre-raid” pieces so that I could get into a Karazhan group, and I never got tired of it. I don’t get to go through there often anymore but every time I do it’s like saying hello to an old friend.

    Black Morass–I love lore, and this was kind of my first straight run in with something I had read outside of the game. I practically squealed when I saw Medivh. Also, this was the instance where I got my first complement that I actually felt like I earned. Remember when Heroic Black Morass was SRS BSNS? I was pulling out all the stops to keep our group alive and not wipe. I was being as mana efficient as possible. I was using Cheetah form to get to the next portal as fast as possible so I could drink before the dragon stepped through. It was the most stressful 35 minutes of my WoW “career” up to that point, and at the end the tank said, “Wow, Amber, that was some serious healing. You are pro.” I got warm fuzzies that day.

    Trial of the Champion–I know we all get a little tired of the place because we hit it so often hoping for some shiny epics with our new 80s, but when the instance first came out, it was a lot of fun. Jousting in the instance was an entirely new concept, the RNG of the first two boss fights was exciting, and the Black Knight fight was both a challenge and extremely entertaining. “You spoiled my grand entrance, rat.” /cower.
    battlechicken´s last blog post ..Chicken of Her Word- A Worthy Opponent

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  15. @battlechicken I didn’t get the opportunity to do Stockades very much at level, but I did enjoy it. Of course, it was also the site of a few hilarious naked run wipes (guess at 70 you can’t pull the whole instance naked. Heh!)

    Ramps: I forgot all about that curse until the other day, when it killed me on my Hunter. Whoops!! It is a quick and fun instance, and a great example of fast working well.

    Arc: Oh, the endless Arc runs. I flogged the holy heck out of that place, and everywhere else there, grinding rep to get… well… something I don’t even remember anymore.

    Bm – BM was certainly one of the best places I saw to showcase talent when you had it, and it sounds like you had it. As I learned, it’s also a fantastic place to showcase fail /cower

    ToC – I always find it interesting when I meet people who love jousting :-) it’s something I was never able to get into, but I know so many people who loved it. I didn’t do that place over much on my Lock, alas: I mainly healed it on my Druid. Oh I hated Druid healing that place some days!

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  16. Comment Number 2, after the poll was embedded :p

    Oculus – I loved Oculus, always have. I like that it’s different from the usual model of “AoE stuff, tank n spank, AoE stuff, tank n spank”. I like hopping on drakes and playing around and the boss fights did have some interesting mechanics, I remember wiping a fair bit to the second boss early in Wrath.

    Durnholde – As mentioned earlier, probably because seeing a Tauren as a hairy human was hilarious. The loretasticness and, again, the model of the instance was slightly different to the usual, were great.

    Scholomance – Probably because I never farmed it to death but I quite like the lore behind Scholomance, it’s interesting and really sad. Plus, it’s quite long so plenty to do and the Sawbones Shirt is awesome.

    BRD – Yeah, I’m weird. I love Blackrock Depths. Again because there’s plenty of it to do, giving you chance to like it, as opposed to the 3 bosses and done in 10 minutes runs we get these days (possibly why I don’t mind Violet Hold, there’s a bit of variety in the bosses and it lasts as long as it lasts, there’s no skipping or rushing).

    Shadow Labs – People always thought I was weird for this one too but I guess it was my first instance completed at max level, and I remember doing it a fair few times before I joined my first raiding guild. So, it does hold some fond memories and the bosses were fun. Murmur was terrifying the first time I saw him.

    Yup, I started levelling my first character, my Warlock, towards the end of vanilla, I never really saw the raids or instances at 60 because by the time I hit 60, it was TBC. I did catch TBC fairly early on though at least! So the vanilla raids and instances have always interested me, because I never farmed them to death.
    Jaedia´s last blog post ..The Art Of Gold Making- Setting Up Shop

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  17. @Jaedia Thank GOODNESS I am not the only one who gets really sad when they do Scholo. It always makes me feel terrible.

    As for SLabs, did anyone else think ‘Holy crap he’s only got 30% health? What’s the catch here, you big bastard?’… or was that just my paranoia coming out again?

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  18. @Saresa – another neat thing about Gnomer was how the little drivers of those scorpion vehicles would wail as they flew through the air. WAAAAAAUUUGH! *CLANG*

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  19. @Grimmtooth Oh my goodness YES! Nothing like the mobs screaming in misery or terror while you mess them up! It’s great to see mobs that aren’t all bluster and bravery the whole way through.

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  20. @Saresa Haha yes, that was my first thought, “Oh crap, what’s going on here?”
    Jaedia´s last blog post ..The Art Of Gold Making- Setting Up Shop

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  21. Before I vote, I feel the need to point out that Gnomeregan the 5-man will still exist. Mekkatorque only succeeds in taking over the surface area, from what I recall.

    And now TO VOTING.
    Stop´s last blog post ..CYOA- Another pretty face

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  22. SM Cathedral always gonna be one of me favorite places ta tank, at level. And at endgame? Runnin’ in, bopping Mograine, and (if’n yer a DK) unleashing the Army of the Dead Dudes be wicked fun.

    “Suck yer giant popsicle of doom”? Sounds kinky (unless that’s one of them idiom things what means sumthin’ completely different than it sounds in Australia)
    Ratshag´s last blog post ..Ellspeths Rite of Passage

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  23. Deadmines was my first instance and therefore has a special place. Dire Maul was where I really learned the fun of taking control over demons. Gnomeregan appeals to the mad engineer in me. Maraudon was just beautiful. Scholomance hand a few wonderful moments.

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  24. Black Morass! Yuck!! I ran that instance at least a dozen times to get the stones for my elixir’s mastery. I HATED it. Now Violet Citadel with the similar model, just makes me laugh.
    Elkagorasa´s last blog post ..GUI Reviewee

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  25. I looked at that list and realised that I have never yet done Shattered Halls on any character.

    The reason that I like some of my favourites such as BRD and Dire Maul (huge, rambling, non-linear places full of stuff) would be the same reason I’d probably hate them if I was trying to do them with level appropriate pugs. Most of these I never did at level, because when I levelled up my first few toons I was in a failguild and it was long before the LFD. The fashion in those days, at least in my guild, seemed to be to get someone to run you through, so it was rare to see anyone actually grouping for a 5 man. I’ve had a lot of fun in them since, rampaging through with friends or wandering through solo at my own speed, but it wasn’t “proper” fun.

    All the same, I am very much looking forward to a heroic SFK and Dire Maul.

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  26. I loved Black Morass. We always ran it with a failtank so in many ways it was a nightmare, but I loved that I needed to kill the adds so I didn’t overaggro on the mini boss, yet still managed to do that anyway.

    “Gnome you take the adds”
    “Ok, ok… And the boss ;-)”

    VH is such a pale imitation.

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  27. OK, I took your idea, and then turned out this post.

    \/
    Elkagorasa´s last blog post ..Elks Least Favorite Dungeons

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  28. @Stop Whoo hoo! Gnome death for all!

    @Ratters nope, it was intended to sound just how you took it. It’s been a secret fantasy of my DK’s for quite a while…

    @Mirlas you know, that all really sounded good. And then you got to Maraudon. That place is sooooooo long and painful. Poor princess, no wonder she hid down there for most of her life – I would as well if I looked like that!

    @Elkagorasa yep, Blizz kinda missed the mark on VH. I was really hoping for something more BM like. I guess people complaining about BM being too hard kinda ruined that one. Daaaaaammmmmn them!

    @Kate You shall have to do a Shattered Halls run one day. Preferably with 70′s. On heroic. ‘Cos I’m a sadist like that! Lemme know how it goes!

    @Gnomer Vh – BM lite?

    @Elkagorasa (again!) Ooooooh, nice post!

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  29. Interesting how many of the most liked are the older ones. Not many NR dungeons at the top of the list. I think ZF is the BEST 5 man in the game. The Indiana Jones like scene on the steps, being able to use our mounts, AND? IT WAS OUTSIDE! HOLY SHIT. It was so nice after so many dank and dark ones.

    However, when it comes to 10 man? Kara was the best ever.

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  30. @Star yeah, NR dungeons just don’t seem to be popular (something I’ve always suspected, but never really been able to confirm). ZF is bloody awesome fun. It was a struggle tossing up which order most of mine went on the list – initially ZF was 4 and Gnomer was 5.

    I might have to do another poll in a couple of weeks on raids :-)

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  31. Aw, man! One of my favorites is missing from the poll, namely Upper Blackrock Spire… but thinking back, that was a 10-man, wasn’t it? I have fond memories of that place. My hunter hit 60, and one of my guildies instantly whispered me and asked if I wanted to join them in there. YES! :) I’d never kited a thing in my life, and they wanted me to kite Drakkisath. I never did do that properly, but we managed on the first try, and look, the Beaststalker chestpiece! It was a beautiful thing.

    As for my actual poll choices…

    1. Scarlet Monastery – I don’t even really know why, I just always had a good time here. Especially in the Cathedral. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I could run people through it once I hit 60. Felt pretty bad-ass. :)

    2. Scholomance – It was always interesting, and always a good challenge. I ran it so many times at 60, trying to get Gandling to drop my hat. He never did until two days ago, when I was running a couple of guildies through for the achievement. That bastard.

    3. Sunken Temple – It was full of green dragons. I love green dragons. And oh, the skinning I got to do in that place. Good times, good times.

    4. The Arcatraz – Millhouse Manastorm.

    5. The Violet Hold – Purely because it always keeps you guessing. What boss will it be this time?? The only thing that ever bothered me was that skinning the corehound boss always gets me between 10 and 13 leather, and yet the giant dragon only skins to two or three pieces, or a couple of Icy Dragonscales. Never seemed quite right.

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  32. I love the instances that tell a story as you progress. The Caverns of Time instances are some of my favorites. I love the Deadmines for the same reason. I chose my last two as Wailing Caverns and Shadowfang Keep. I could wander in the Wailing Caverns all day, mostly because I was lost, but also because the underground tropics are so wonderful to me (I liked maraudon for the same reason, but it is too long!)

    Oh, and I like your new add-on at the end of your feed. :)

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  33. Even the mention of the word “Gnomeregen sends shivers down my spine. I loathe it with a passion I usually reserve for orange socks and brussel sprouts. Zul’Farrak on the other hand is awesome. The first time I went, I was taken by a couple of higher level guildmates and I had no idea about what to expect. The “Troll Rush” started and I was sold, the fact that there is a sea monster was just the icing on the cake.
    Erinys´s last blog post ..Burn Baby Burn

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  34. [...] over at Destructive Reach put up a post about her Top 5 Five Man Instances (Zul’Farrak, Gnomeregan, Caverns of Time: [...]

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