Instances can be an overwhelming aspect of the game for new players and seasoned veterans will often find that they either skipped most instances or ignored quite a few. It’s also no joke that many instances can be a complete waste of time. Which ones to avoid and which ones should you run? This quest plagues many a player’s minds.
However, the solution lies within a few simple questions you should ask yourself about each instance. What’s the difficulty in running the instance? Does it have any quests that benefit me with loot? Is there any loot from inside the instance I want?
The difficulty for each instance is a combination of people who want to run it followed through by how difficult the instance is itself. For instance, Deadmines is a cakewalk compared to Gnomeregan. On the path to level sixty it should be noted that having others rush you through an instance will sacrifice a good bit of experience but makeup with it in the longrun with getting the instance over with quickly. With the increased rate of experience between levels 20-60 you’d probably find better experience questing with the time you saved by having someone do the instance for you.
As for loot you’ll want to see what each instance has to offer. Check out our Azeroth Instance Guides and take a look at what instance has to offer questwise/lootwise. It’ll be good to go for something that can give you upgrades from quests since those are guaranteed drops.
Now then, for instances you’ll want to run and which to skip…
There are only a few instances that you should run without a question of a doubt. Deadmines for the Alliance and Shadowfang Keep for the Horde are good instances for anyone. They’re short, easy, and jam packed with great loot. A group of low levels can easily plow through both instances without trouble and a high level player can get the instance done quickly.
As for the other instances that you must do… it can be opinionated but I’m going to suggest Scarlet Monastery. You’ll find groups easily for it and its got loot for everyone plus tons of quests. Another instance that may be harder to get a group for that you should also run is Zul’farrak. It falls in this category with “loot for everyone” and “simple to run” and has a ton of quests.
There are of course instances I suggest avoiding unless you can be “ran through them” by a friend. Uldaman is lengthy and can be troublesome for many players (although full of experience). Wailing Caverns is very, very, very long and many players may not find it as rewarding for them (except Druids who can find a leather set called “Embrace the Viper” which has “[equipment slot] of the Fang” as a name. While Wailing Caverns may be the traditional equivalent to Deadmines, it’s very very long and can be very difficult and even worse if a wipe happens. It also has a few quests inside with the majority of them involving enemies outside which are non-elite.
Gnomeregan is another offender for lengthy although the loot is pretty good there. It’s very long and can be difficult to get a group for to clear all of it (and even more difficult to get a group to stay together for all of it). Alliance may have an easier time than Horde to complete it… especially since they have a few more quests there.
All of the instances between Blackrock Depths and Stratholme/Scholomance should be avoided. Dire Maul is included in this list. By the time you’re 55 you’ll be almost to Outland and at 60 you can begin running instances in Hellfire Peninsula. You’ll have a very hard time finding a group, anyway.
Of course… what about the other instances?
You may be asking about Maraudon which hasn’t been mentioned yet. Well, I’m not sure about it. Personally I’ve never seen any groups forming for it and even before the patch to increase experience rates you wouldn’t find groups running it often. It’s long and most of the gear has lot of its “stat points” into Nature Resist. Sunken Temple, which hasn’t been mentioned yet, is a weird one. Personally I’d suggest skipping it as well.
Blackfathom Deeps is another one I’d skip unless you can get a group or someone to take you through it. Long and… really drab. Ragefire Chasm should be skipped as well just due to how questing is probably faster than trying to find a group (plus general chat in Orgrimmar isn’t exactly the best place to pick up a group for it). Stockades should be ran if you did Deadmines. It’s short and sweet.
Both Razorfen Downs/Kraul are good and bad. They’re long, but filled with quests and loot. Groups may be difficult to find, but if you can get one then go for it. I wouldn’t go out of your way. They’ve got good loot and aren’t that difficult. However, again grouping is difficult.
So in summary run your “starter instance” (either Deadmines or Shadowfang Keep) for sure. When you’re about 38 go for a full run of Scarlet Monastery since you should easily be able to get a group by the time you’re 40. As for anything else, well unless it’s too long and pointless (like Gnomeregan (especially for the Horde)) then go for it if a group invites you. If not, then don’t go out of your way. If you’ve got a buddy who doesn’t mind running you through an instance then by all means let him. If you really want to see all that Azeroth has to offer and enjoy the grouping experience… then prepare for some long wait times. Many instances are all but abandoned in this current game. It wouldn’t unusual to take more than 3-5 hours or more to get a group for something like Blackfathom Deeps.
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