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The other night, I got a text from one of my fellow officers, asking if I wanted to go run Black Temple. We all want T6 for future transmogging endeavors, so I said yes and signed onto WoW to get it done. Five of us met in Shadowmoon Valley and jumped in with the intention of kicking Illidan in the pants and stealing his stuff.

I started playing this game shortly before Wrath launched, so I missed the apparently glory of BC raiding. On my very long trek to 80, I got invited to a  couple of retro raids, which is how I saw things like Ony, ZG, ZA, and Black Temple along the way. I never really had the pleasure of running those with the guild I’d just joined though, so I mostly spent those raids feeling very confused, completely unwilling to roll on any of the cool stuff, and feeling too shy to talk in raid chat. Still, I was intrigued by the entire thing, and made a note that it was something I wanted to look at again when I had the chance.

Ony, ZA, and ZG I have obviously now had far, far too many looks at. In fact, if I never see the inside of the Zuls again, it will be too soon. (Somewhere, my pally is screaming that she wants to be geared too, dammit!) But Black Temple…man that place is amazing and epic feeling, even now.

It took my group not very long at all to smash our way through the place, and we got very lucky with drops and tokens. Our pally managed to complete her T6 set, and I picked up the shoulders for mine. But even beyond the gear collecting, this was one of the most fun and relaxing nights I’ve had in WoW in a long time.

I won’t lie. Firelands has been very difficult on my raid group. We lost a great DPSer early on to boredom, had countless computer and internet problems, gotten unlucky with drops for the majority, and generally aren’t making the kind of progress we’re used to. It’s been disheartening, and it’s taken a lot of fun out of the raiding for me. But after the Black Temple run on Monday, I felt like I started last night’s Firelands raid with a much clearer head than I have in weeks. And judging by the pleasant chatter in Mumble, it seems like other people did too.

This got me thinking. I haven’t run a Zul in awhile because I’m sick to death of them and needed a break. My druid is geared to the point where I don’t feel like I need to rush to get that next upgrade. So most of my recent game time has been spent collecting pets and either soloing old content or doing it with small groups. And suddenly a lot of my negative feelings about the game have lessened to the point that I actually want to go back and finish the Molten Front grind on my DK.

After playing around in the fun of Black Temple and Tempest Keep with ragtag groups or soloing Karazhan on my own, my first thought was, “Augh! Why didn’t Blizzard revamp THESE places to become five mans instead of the freaking Zuls?!” Then I realized this is the very last thing I want Blizzard to do. Inevitably if they were to update these old raids and throw them into the random dungeon finder, they too will be ruined by the monotony of being forced to run them constantly and dealing with idiot puggers while doing so.  The moment that these places lose their relaxed, non-mandatory nature is the same moment they lose what I think is their current amazing (and important!) contribution to the game.

You know how during a fancy meal, you get lemon sorbet after the first course? That’s Illidan. That’s Ulduar. That’s Karazhan. Hell, it might even be ICC.

I think the game needs the old places, not just for their sense of nostalgia, but because they serve as a palate cleanser for current content. Running them is purely for fun, not for personal or guild advancement. We can chat on Mumble about completely unrelated to the raid sort of things while running through, but we’re still doing something together as a group. Or I can listen to a podcast or audio book while I solo old stuff and curse Attumen for not dropping that damn horse. Again. But the thing is, even though I would really LIKE to see those reins drop, it doesn’t ruin my night the way a bad session of progression raiding can. I just shrug and move on, figuring that next week, surely, I will see what I want. And if I don’t feel like flying over to Kara on the next lock out….eh, no big deal. It’s not like it won’t be the week after.

WoW is a grindy game. There’s no denying that fact. You “have” to run your dailies and your randoms and your progression raid so you can get the gear that will make it easier to do all that stuff. Somehow I feel that no matter what Blizzard does, eventually it will feel like a grind. But these old treasures break up that grind and make it easier to jump back into smashing your face against a Firelands boss the next week.

Blizzard,  let these old favorites stay in the past rather than revamping them. They’re much more powerful there.

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