The Necessity of Five Mans


Psst, wanna buy a PuG?

Since the primordial days of alpha testing, there have been a few constants in the World of Warcraft.  Things which make us feel safe and secure in the knowledge that they’ll be there ready to go when we need them.  However, one of the bigger constants that’s always there no matter what patch build or what expansion we’re looking at is the five man dungeon.  This isn’t just a WoW phenomenon though.  All the major MMOs have dungeons in some sort of form designed to provide entertainment to multiple players all striving for a common goal.  But what makes WoW five mans worthwhile?

Well, when the game was first introduced, there were all sorts of five mans out there.  There were your basic “training” five mans such as Ragefire Chasm for the Horde or Deadmines or Shadowfang Keep.  These are designed to give you an idea of what instances will become as you progress with all the basics there (large pulls, CCable crowds, boss mechanics, etc etc) but tuned down for lower level groups to be able to get through them.  They’re designed to give you an idea how instances work without all the difficulty associated with more intricate mechanics you’ll see later on in the game while give you superior loot.  They’re fun and worthwhile for the lowbie player and definitely worth running if you can get enough players together for a group.

Once you get past the easier stuff, you can begin to enter the mid level dungeons such as the perennial favorite, Scarlet Monastery.  The great thing about this one is that it’s the first of the “winged” instances, allowing you to run separate areas of the same zone as small mini dungeons while progressing in difficulty and loot.  You’ll also begin to see the bosses becoming ramped up to the point where if you’re group isn’t focused and knowledgeable about their characters, you simply won’t be able to kill them.  This is where shit becomes real.

You see, right around level 30 is when instances really start to feel like training for raids.  Bosses aren’t just tank and spank and can cause spike damage, will target players other than the tank for abilities or will flat out own you if you’re not properly geared or experienced.  You’ll also begin to separate out the real players who are capable of the dance of boss fights from those who are better served becoming life long solo artists due to lack of skill.  It may sound kind of cruel, but if you’ve grouped with a person several times and are constantly seeing them die to stupid, inane things, you remember and it can effect your view of them should they ever pop up as an applicant for your raiding team.

But that’s just the old world, where there is a steady progression of difficulty in the instances, to be sure.  But it all seems rather precious compared to when you finally arrive in Outland and can begin the real regimental training of five mans.  While you may have a rough go of it in the old world, the Outland instances will truly eat you alive if you’re not prepared for them and ready to be at the top of your game.  Damage increases, the bosses become more difficult with intricate mechanics and will truly make you look silly if you’re not ready, forcing you to evolve as a player so you don’t appear to be a slouch when the time comes to truly test your merit.

The way the game is set now, you can pretty much go straight through to level 80 on these much more difficult dungeons as Northrend dungeons don’t really jump in difficulty other than the general raised toughness of enemies based on level.  However, once you hit that magic number of 80, you’re going to have to do an about face and return to five mans to begins the training of heroics.  I personally have mixed feeling on the heroics system myself.  I think they’re wonderful in the sense that it allows you to once more experience the same dungeons you’ve been in while at the same time making it more on par with your abilities as a level 80.  However, I was a dungeon diver while leveling up and I’ve already run these dungeons a thousand times before, so I wasn’t truly wanting to go through all of them again.

Once I started raiding though, I realized that five mans and their heroic counterparts had actually made me a better player.  They give you an idea of how to play in a team for one, teaching you where to rely on the various classes and where you need to find that extra oomph within yourself.  They also make you ready for boss fights, preparing you for the general idea of “move now” or “don’t stand there” that truly become necessary in raids.  Anyone who hasn’t run instances and is thrust into a raid party will most likely look the fool compared to everyone else as they start to develop these skills.  Though I hate returning to them when I need to (for holiday achievements or the like), I do find them pretty easy nowadays thanks to my elevated skill levels.

With a new five man in the works for 3.2, I have a feeling that I haven’t seen the last of them though.  There will always be a special place in my heart for gathering up four other jokers and spending an hour or so running through a maze of mobs in order to try to get that blue I so desperately want or maybe just make a quick 50g from loot and items.  So I ask you, how do five mans fit into your playing style?  Other than the dreaded PuG, do you enjoy them, constantly LFG and ready to go at the drop of a hat if someone needs a CoS timed run?  Or perhaps you’re more like me, holding them in a special place in your heart and definitely glad you ran them while you were leveling, but not so much feeling like returning to the scene of past crimes anymore?  Drop me a comment and lemme know!



5 Responses to “The Necessity of Five Mans”

  1. 05/12/2009 at 11:24 AM

    I love running 5 man dungeons. I love running them solo, and I love running them in groups.

    I actually find PuG’s enjoyable more often than not, and that’s probably due to the people I end up doing it with. I have certainly had some bad experiences with them, but not that many overall.

    I like to break out of the guild shell and branch out to meet some people I’ve never seen before, maybe offer a bit of advice for someone fairly new to the class or new to end game, or perhaps even to receive some advice myself.

    I also like finding those rare drops, whether they be better gear upgrades, or just fun stuff like trinkets that make people around you dance, and so forth.

    I get a lot of enjoyment in WoW from helping new players learn the game, and from helping veteran players level their new toons quickly, so running pre-Lich King 5 mans is actually quite enjoyable for me whether they are on level or low enough for me to solo.

    Basically, I like to be social and help people out, and running dungeons that usually require a group of people gives me a bit of social atmosphere where it’s just the 5 of us for a time while we run around, so people get to chat and have fun. You can tell who the punks are, and you can see who knows how to play their class and who doesn’t. You find out who knows what teamwork really means, and who is there simply for their own personal gain, and so on.

    So, to sum all that rambling up, I love 5 man dungeons from start to finish, though I have more fun in pre-Lich King dungeons because everyone isn’t quite so hard-focused on getting gear upgrades that they forget that they are playing a video game with other living, breathing people.

  2. 05/12/2009 at 1:44 PM

    Dude you so beat me to this by a day. I have a whole post in the works that follows yours nicely. I absolutely LOVE 5-mans, and miss doing them terribly. The learning experience was enormous, but it’s the social dimension that I miss so much. There are so many people I used to play with that I no longer see, because there’s not really anything to do between solo content and 10-mans. Making and keeping friends outside of the guild has gotten nearly impossible. I really wish there were incentive to keep doing 5s the way there was in BC. And I know we’re not getting OP badge gear again, that’s fine, but *something*…

  3. 05/12/2009 at 2:15 PM

    I too am a 5-man enthusiast, quickly approaching 500 Emblems of Heroism. As the top healer in my small guild, I get the call whenever there is a run, whether it be to farm for purples, gear up fresh 80 mains, or even alts nowadays.

    I frequently lurk in LFG (via Heroic Oculus since no one ever runs that) just to see who is doing what, and will often heal for a group that has been looking for heals for more than 10 minutes with no luck. Good players make my friends list, which really helps when you need to fill an extra slot or two for a 10-man run.

    5-mans are a great way to learn your class and build server-reputation as a solid healer. Both of which come in very handy if you are looking to become a better raider and/or get into a nice raiding guild.

    Hopefully the new 5-man will be a challenge for well geared groups, and not just another stepping stone to 10/25 man raiding. My guild has been 4-maning heroics lately, and may try to 3-man HUK soon, so a challenge would be very, very welcome.


  4. 4 Isiene
    05/12/2009 at 2:17 PM

    I entirely agree with Psynister and Paolo. 🙂 I love 5-mans, and I’m quite sad that there are no longer any upgrades for me in them. Although I COULD do them just for fun, I always think: “I can do a couple of dailies and get a lot more gold in the same time,” or “We have a raid planned later tonight. Do I really want to do a bunch of heroics, too?”

    I’m not sure why I need this “goal” for me to have fun (as opposed to just running in for the heck of it), but there it is!

    That said, I just started an alt on another server (BE priest instead of Draenei), and I’m giggling happily at the prospect of running 82384234 heroics again to gear her up.

    I run exclusively with PuGs, and like Paolo, I find them more enjoyable. Even the bad ones give me stories to laugh about and tell to others. I met some awesome people in those PuGs — people that I happily yap to for half the day. And now that I raid with the same 10 people who don’t talk all that much, I just miss friendly banter.

  5. 05/13/2009 at 9:34 AM

    I like 5man runs till a certain limit. I’ll always remember the 5man runs while leveling (first healing in Maraudon with a friend’s druid or first healing in gnomeregan with my priest!). They have a special kind of memory. But then again also do the 40man, 25man and 10man runs! At the moment at 80 I only do 5man’s to help people out. I don’t need loot, I don’t need reputation. But! I think I can say there is always a 5man run once every week in my schedule.

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