Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Yet Another Nightelf on Karazhan
Okay, I'm a month behind with my blog reading, been too busy playing and working. But Yet Another Nightelf has a thought-provoking short post on whether Karazhan is the new UBRS. Which is something I hear as an argument quite often, but can't really agree to.
The only point where Karazhan is really like UBRS is that they are both 10-man raids, with UBRS being the only 10-man level 60 raid content, and Karazhan the only 10-man level 70 raid. But that is where the similarity ends.
UBRS isn't really "raid content", it is a lot more similar to a 5-man dungeon which allows a larger number of people. In the earlier days of World of Warcraft, when the cap on UBRS was 15 people, and the cap on Scholomance and Stratholme was 10 people, UBRS was considered to belong in the same category as Scholo and Strat, not in the same category as Molten Core.
One reason why people didn't rank UBRS as a real raid dungeon is that there are no epics to be found there. Instead you find parts of the dungeon set 1, or tier 0, armor. The same set that you'll find in Scholomance or Stratholme. Now Karazhan has epic loot, and no dungeon set 3 blue pieces at all.
Another important difference, which totally changes the raid organization, is that UBRS doesn't have a raid timer. You're expected to finish it without a pause. Karazhan has a 7-day raid timer, just like MC, and it is exactly that timer that makes cooperation inside a guild between different guild groups so difficult. If two groups A and B go to Karazhan on day 1 of the timer, and on day 2 there are only 5 people of each group on, they can't just combine and go raiding together. They are excluded from grouping together there for the rest of the week. UBRS never had such problems.
As the raid timer suggests, Karazhan is a lot harder than UBRS. Yeah, I know, it is difficult to compare difficulty, and somebody will chime in telling us how he wiped in UBRS back in the days. But that was never the "wipe 10 times on first boss, beat him, then wipe 10 times on second boss, etc." over several days type of gameplay. The better your group, the further you got, with quite a lot of groups beating the final boss after a few hours, and most people at least getting until Rend in one go.
Now both UBRS and Karazhan are mandatory to visit for further content. You needed to visit UBRS several times for the Onyxia key quest chain. And you need to finish Karazhan for the Serpentshrine Lair key and thus ultimately Mount Hyjal. But UBRS was never considered mandatory to gear up for Molten Core. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the current thinking is that a raiding guild needs to farm Karazhan for gear for quite a while before being ready for any of the 25-man raid dungeons.
I don't think there is any level 60 instance you could compare Karazhan to. It's for much smaller groups than Molten Core, and even Zul'Gurub. And personally I always considered ZG to be as difficult as MC, just for smaller group sizes, while I don't see any instance which has the same difficulty level as Karazhan but for a larger raid group.