Timewalking has been in World of Warcraft for a while now. This is where they open up dungeons from past expansions, reworked to support players in the current expansion.
Re-using old content and making it viable in the current context/meta of the game is something I am totally in favor of. I just haven’t participated in the whole Timewalking thing up until now.
That is mostly because I haven’t been subscribed and playing for about the last year, so I missed the previous events. Now that I am back though I took an evening to look into what was going on.
I was lured in by the fact that the current event is for dungeons from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, which was provably the peak of my interest in WoW.
That was the only expansion I stuck with from day one through until the next expansion drop. Unfortunately, the next drop was Cataclysm, about which I have a list of gripes, and which started my pattern of starting expansions, go away for six months to a year, then coming back to finish them off after Blizz has unlocked all the content and fixed the more egregious issues.
(As an aside, Wrath of the Lich King was launched nine years ago yesterday. That seems like a long time ago now.)
However, now that I am back and enjoying Legion, timewalking is also an option, of course I was going to indulge myself in the current even and travel back to Northrend and the instances I knew so well at one point.
I did a couple of the instances before figuring out that there was a quest for the event that would award some additional benefit in the form of vendor tokens, so I grabbed that and kept on going for a while. Going back to the old haunts was a nice little break from Suramar, and didn’t slow me down too much. I have been on a WoW binge for a bit now.
The event was popular so queuing for it in Dungeon Finder was quick, even as DPS.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the dungeons themselves and how they might scale or what drops one might get. I was quite happy with the ilevel 880 timewarped Northrend gear I got, which was both an upgrade over what I was currently wearing as well as giving me a bit of the old school WotLK look.
There were also artifact boosts for every boss and vendor tokens along the way, though the drops from dungeon mobs themselves were still seemed to be in the WotLK level range.
Finding the vendor took a minute though. When I completed the event quest it told me to go find the vendor in Dalaran. However, he was nowhere to be seen in the Legion Dalaran, so I had to think about the best way to get to the WotLK Dalaran, the two co-existing in the game.
I decided to take the portal to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in Pandaria from the Legion Dalaran, remembering that there was a portal from there to the WotLK Dalaran.
That got me to the correct Dalaran where I was able to find the vendor, standing in the center of town with a crowd around him.
The quest turn in actually gave me quite a few tokens to play with, tripling the tokens I had earned along the way.
The tokens can be turned in for various bits of gear… though honestly I got so many upgrades that there was only one piece that was a semi-side-grade for me… or tokens to up your standings with various Northrend factions… not helpful since I am exalted with all the factions for which there are tokens… and some expensive things like a mount. I’d have to run a lot more dungeons to get there.
The list of things from the vendor are over at the WoW Head timewalking guide.
It was there that I also learned that there were only six dungeons in play for timewalking, which explains why I saw some repeats.
The limited rotation wasn’t all bad. My main worry was pulling The Oculus, the gimmick instance most likely to cause a rift in a group in the entire expansion. Dungeon Finder groups fall apart doing that on normal mode.
What is probably my all-time most run instance ever, The Nexus, was on the list so I got to run a victory lap there. I even remembered to jump during the last fight.
Still, I wouldn’t have minded doing Utgarde Keep or a couple of the others.
Which leads us down to the experience of running the instances now, so many years later.
On the one hand, it was fun in its own way to romp through a few old places. I even remembered how most of the fights went.
On the flip side the problems with both timewalking and Dungeon Finder were apparent.
The ilevel reduction to make the instances something of a challenge doesn’t seem to be enough. This is doubly so since I noticed I was getting credit for doing Heroic instances in doing these timewalking dungeons. The power/difficulty ratio barely put these on par with normal mode dungeons at level.
And then the real problem with Dungeon Finder, which isn’t jerks or the unhelpful, who tend to be rare in my experience, but the speed. When you’re in a group with strangers you’re not there to share an experience but get the reward for completion. So each of these runs became races through the content, made all the more hasty by the ease with which we tore through boss after boss.
Ideally I would have liked to go through these old instances in a pre-made group, preferably the old instance group, to savor a bit of the history, to sit a while and listen to what the bosses have to say, to actually enjoy the fights. But you go with the options you have, and random Dungeon Finder groups are the only choice some of us have, so you have to make the most of it.