After running through Karazhan for shits and giggles on my level 76 shaman the other night, I got to thinking about how awesome it used to be, back in the day. I remembered all the things what had made is so damned good.
While I was healing a Shadow priest that had stated "Fuck it, I'll tank Nightbane!" after our Tank disconnected I was thinking about some of the other places I'd raided and started to put them into a little list. That little list looks a little something like this:
1 - Ulduar
2 - Zul'Aman
3 - Serpentshrine Cavern
4 - Karazhan
5 - Icecrown Citadel
I only got Warcraft about 2 months before TBC, so didn't get to see any of the endgame content from Vanilla, which is a shame because I had a look during TBC and they looked damned awesome.
So yeah, let me explain my reasoning behind that little list, some of the choices you might agree with others you might not.
It's in 5th place because so far, it's pretty damned good. It's restored my faith in Blizzard's abilities to make a challenging raid for both 10 and 25 people and the bosses mechanics are difficult yet do-able. Downing Deathbringer Saurfang on my Gnome mage brought back the same feelings I had when I first downed Prince in Karazhan. You knew you'd accomplished something. Having a feeling like that 4 bosses into a raid makes me happy and then attempting a boss that announces he's "Done a nasty poo-poo!" makes me have high hopes for the rest of the place!
My first ever raid, and still it remains one of my favourites. It was a massive challenge back in the day and a guild that had Curator on farm where considered to be close to god. It introduced me to hard hitting bosses, all with different tactics which made the instances and herocis I'd done so far like a day at the beach.
Setting foot into a 25 man raid after only doing 10 mans was a huge step up, both in organisation and difficulty. The first trash pull, I still remember every mage in the raid yelling "STOP HITTING THE DAMNED SHEEPS" over Ventrilo. Lurker below was the first boss we attempted in there and I crapped myself the first time he popped out to thank us for all the fish.
Blizzard kept true to form after Karazhan and released this place. Trolls are awesome. Trolls that turn into animals and try and stumpfuck you? Even more awesome. The loot looked stupidly cool and the bosses voices are so far the best in the game. Not to mention, it was a proper challenge, with the tactics taking time to learn, with having often a night of wiping to finally crack the tactics to a boss. This was the last raid where people in guild chat used to cheer us on because after we'd finally downed Zul'jin, they quickly nerfed most of TBC and everything became stupidly easy, mainly due to boss nerfs and easier access to high level gear but I still went to this place, because it was a brilliant raid.
Blizzard's promise of awesome-sauce on awesome-loaf with awesome-filling. The first day it came out, I had my reservations, lag and bugs made it impossible but a week after I realised they'd kept true. It visually looks stunning, it's absolutley MASSIVE and the bosses are so well designed that they're still a challenge even in some of the best gear in game so far. Yogg-Saron doing his mind-link-thingy on two people, then casting skull-over-head on one of them leads to two men screaming like little girls on vent; "WHAT DO WE DO?!" "I HAVE NO IDEA!" "AAAAAH!" "HOLD MEEE!" and watching a resilient Resto shaman keep himself alive for 6 minutes after a wipe on Yogg-Saron is something in itself...
For me. A good raid is somewhere, even though you've had it on farm for months, you can enjoy going back to. My top 5 are just that and I'd love Blizzard to recreate some older raids (especially the Vanilla ones which I'm totally gutted I missed) for max level, maybe my top 5 would change if that were to happen, who knows. Hopefully with the new expansion coming out, I'll have a few more raids to consider, might even make it to a top 10 one day!