News reaches us at Alternative Towers that Zul’Gurub is to be removed as a Raid Instance in Cataclysm.
ZG was my first Real Raiding Experience, and it was the site of my first ever Epic Loot win (with accompanying Drama), and as a result it holds a special place in my heart. Along with AQ20 it’s a place I also spent an inordinate amount of time in back when no-one had even heard of an Expansion pack, back when I only had two alts (hunter and warlock) Oh, they were wonderful nights, and days, and when TBC came out and we all went back as 70’s and blitzed the place it was still awesome to revel in the sheer range of different encounters you could do. There was a Fishing Quest!!! It had optional bosses!!! Most of all however the final fight with Hakkar really did have EPIC written all over it. I can remember the total elation I felt when we finally killed him, and the quiet satisfaction when the Gurubashi Dwarf Destroyer dropped and I won the roll :D
Ah, they were simpler times :D
There is a fair deal of speculation at this point on the Official Forums as to ZG’s fate: having been removed from the Guild Classic Raider achievement there is debate as to whether ZG will be returning as a 5 man instance, as there is currently no indication that ZG’s two mount drops will be removed from the game. There is a bigger picture to consider: at it’s heart is a complex reputation hub linked to the instance itself, which (at the time) could be considered the forerunner to the now-familiar reputation grinds for factions like The Argent Crusade and the Wyrmrest as we see them in Wrath. On consideration I think it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to see the Zandalar Tribe linked into the game far earlier than the current level you encounter them at: there’s been a Zandalar Emissary in Booty Bay for some time, after all. This would allow Blizzard the opportunity to effectively recycle the entire content, re-invigorate the class set rewards (plus low level shoulder and head enchants) and give the entire area a much-needed face lift.
If ZG were to become a five man (and as we’re seeing epic versions of The Deadmines and Shadowfang, who’s to say we couldn’t have a five man L85 version of this as well?) I think you’d see a lot of people heading to Stranglethorn for another chance to take in this classic instance, or perhaps discover it’s awesomeness for the first time. Certainly if this is the case, and it’s successful, I wonder if it will open the floodgates and we’ll see more and more of the ‘classic’ content being revamped as time goes on. It’s undoubtedly cheaper for Blizzard to do that than code from the ground upwards… and as has been the case with Onyxia, it’s very popular.
I for one however am a little sad. I’ll be making sure everyone in the family who can gets their ZG achievement before the doors close on this version of the instance. After all, it’s the place where I learnt to raid, and as a result it will always be somewhere to remember with fondness.