Looking Back at Raiding 1.0

Looking Back at Raiding 1.0


I am not the most “old school” player in existence. The extent of my experience in Vanilla WoW extends to the first boss of AQ 40 after clearing out Ragnaros and Nefarion.

Often times, I run across players in trade or forums who want to try MC or AQ in their old state of glory having never truly “experienced” it themselves. Even now, there are players who are craving a return to the way raiding was. The game is more enjoyable and accessible now than it was years ago and I personally think of that as a good thing.

Let’s take a look back at history.

First we have raiding 1.0. This was the maiden year of World of Warcraft. We saw the appearance of Molten Core, Blackwing Lair and Onyxia. Raids consisted of 10 really good players, 15 okay players and 15 “ugh” players. There was no Recount then. No sense of accountability. I remember a story where a healer received positive comments when all they did was heal themselves at the front entrance of Molten Core while the rest of the raid took down Lucifron.

Entry level raids Mid-level End game
Zul’Gurub Blackwing Lair Naxxramas
Molten Core Ahn’Qiraj 40  
Ahn’Qiraj 20 World bosses  

Farming and raid preparation

Preparing for raids often took more time than the actual raids themselves. There were so many cooldowns and consumables that players could get. Higher end raiding guilds made farming of said consumables mandatory.

Whipper Root Tuber – Riding around Felwood really late or really early in the day and picking up these roots
Demonic Runes – Leveling Demon areas in Felwood
Dark Runes – Endless Scholomance farming
Blasted Land food buffs – Involved killing a billion Basilisks and Buzzards (Needed eyes and scales to turn in)
Various weapon buffs in the form of sharpening stones and weapon oils.

Sometimes it felt like farming for raids took longer than the raids itself.

Biggest pain in the ass: Blasted Lands buffs by a land slide.


In order to enter some of the raid instances, players had to prove they were worthy in the form of attunements. This meant embarking on some long winded quest to get some key or item. My sympathies go out to Horde players. Getting attuned for Onyxia must have really sucked. Had to penetrate the depths of Blackrock Depths to get a core fragment. The entire world had to cooperate to open the gates of Ahn’Qiraj. Naxxramas required gold and other things in order to get in courtesy of the Argent Dawn.

Biggest pain in the ass: Getting Ony attuned for Horde.

Now lets talk about the actual instances themselves.

Pulling setup

I remember players having to assist Priests and Hunters to get targets. We didn’t have lucky charms to mark mobs with at the time. I believe that came later. But the pulls were so specific. Sometimes it took as long as 10 minutes just to set up a pull every single time. Remember Garr? Lots of Mind Vision while tanks assisted to ensure that all targets were accounted for. When organizing kills for Rag, players had specific areas that they had to stand in. The gauntlet leading up to Broodlord was demoralizing in Blackwing Lair. Rogues were a requirement to trip switches. If they weren’t, then players would suffer from a massive slowing debuff.



  • Longest fights: Chromaggus (30 minutes)
  • Most treacherous run back: The walk of shame to Nefarian’s room. AQ40 is a close second but at least you had mounts.
  • Guild breakers: Razorgore, Vaelstrasz, Patchwerk
  • Most frustrating fights: Twin Emps, Four Horsemen (Lack of 8 T2 geared tanks)
  • Biggest pain in the ass: Gothik (Way more mobs than what we know now)
  • Most unforgiving: C’Thun (1 or 2 players down spelled a whole wipe. Losing half raid on a BWL boss was still doable)

I don’t miss the farming or the raid preparation. I sort of wish some attunements were still present. Perhaps not in the shape of lengthy quest chains, but like an account wide “Kill these bosses” sort of thing. Guild wide attunements would be interesting to see where guilds accomplish a set of objectives to gain access to some area. I suppose that would see the end of pickup groups.

I will say this. The success of every boss kill felt magnified. Maybe it was because of the number of other people that were involved. But killing bosses felt much more satisfying. Can’t quite seem to place a finger on why.

Anyway, I’ll take a look back at raiding 2.0 sometime in the week.

Images courtesy of WoWWiki

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Interesting look back, I wasn’t playing in those days. I don’t mind having to deal with less consumables, for sure, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with attunements, though some of them were quite convoluted.

  2. Not to mention…that with 40 people, any individual hardly got any end-game loot. You wore your dungeon set and upgraded dungeon set forever!

    That many people meant constant turnover as well…dkp was a much bigger necessity in 1.0 raiding, or else literally all your gear could leave the guild.

    And do you remember how ZG was starter gear but you had to have exalted rep with Zandalar to wear some of it? Bad times…

  3. I joined around the time BT was released, so I can’t comment about the satisfying feeling of each kill. I do understand what you mean though. Walking into Naxx at 80 and killing 3 wings the first night in 70 gear did not exactly spell out Epic Accomplishment. It seems that the feeling of accomplishment is now focuses on certain fights. In Naxx only Sapph and KT gave me any sense of satisfaction. But 3D Sarth and 5 min Mally certainly did. In Ulduar, many of the later fights have that sheen. Getting Mimiron and Yogg down the first time. Figuring out how to pull Auryria w/o gibbing half the raid was a big moment. And every hard mode done thus far has had a really feeling of accomplishment. Even after nerfs like XT.

    It would be nice to bring that satisfying glow back, but that would likely mean a need to wipe at least a day on every boss. While I am ok with that, it would resurrect the wall to less dedicated guilds, and that seems like a bad trade off. So I am just fine with there being ‘marker’ fights that have that glow: end bosses, coordination checks, and hard modes.

  4. Well, raiding in 1.x times really felt more like an effort, but that was mostly due to several limitations which do not exist any more since 2.x times.

    In 1.x raids we had no raid marks there. You did dungeons and raids without them, and had to rely on your tanks to know the targets and live with assisting.

    Plus you needed to work up the item ladder in 1.x times. I remember the times when we farmed Blackrock dungeons and UBRS for resistance gear, and all the buff food and items. Two or three days of farming for one raid evening. I guess that has contributed a lot to the feeling of effort and achievement on boss kills.

    Oh, and all the time required to become revered with Hydraxian waterlords… oh my… just for those little runes.

    What else? Getting your Dungeon Set or the 0.5 upgrade took months. Some classes never got their sets as Baron Rivendare had (and still has) a very bad drop scheme for the pants. Once you had T1 complete you already had two or three parts of T2, but with 40 players you hardly ever had one full set. Back then we had to farm over 1,5 years to equip a full raid with all BWL stuff.

    2.x dungeons and raids made that so much easier. More loot, and quicker progression.

    In the end I believe 1.x raiding felt bigger not because of the bigger raids, or because the raids have been harder to complete. Personally I believe it was the sheer amount of requirements you had to complete for each dungeon and raid tier.

  5. Remembered the (rarely used) blasted lands consumables but no mention of world buffs?!

    Turning in Hakkars heart, or Ony’s Head, or Nef’s head provided huge raid buffs and many guilds (including my own) would do that before the big boss attempt. My old guilds first c’thun kill came with the aid of the ZG buff in fact. Now THAT is pressure. When you die just once the buff is gone, and you can’t exactly get another one very easily. The ZG buff was especially time consuming as it required everyone to fly down to the little zandalar island where someone turned in the heart.

    • Percy: Ack, I completely forgot about that. Requiring everyone to be in the area of Stormwind or Zandalar for buffs before the actual raid. That was just whoa.

  6. Nice nostalgic post.

    I sometimes feel a bit left out since I only came to the WoW party pretty late and had just about perfected Kara before WotLK hit. I am now running Naxx 10 and would love the chance to experience Ulduar before the next new raid is introduced.

    It would be nice to get the chance to go back and experience some of the vanilla WoW moments, it sounds like a different era. Although as a Guild Leader, the idea of coordinating 40 people per run would give me actual nighmares.

    Salomes last blog post..Healing the Spider Wing – Naxx10

  7. “Longest fights: Chromaggus (30 minutes) ”


    I don’t recall it taking longer than any other fight, at least when we did it.

  8. There actually /was/ recount back then, and Damage Meters – but they weren’t as well known as they are now, and their ability to tally was limited quite a bit (especially with regards to healing).

    What we didn’t have was a Threat Meter – that came about probably 6 months before Burning Crusade released as KTM, which broke every patch and didn’t have any threat modifiers from Paladins or Druids included in the first iterations!

    It was a different world back then – especially the parts about tier gear and how hard it was to get anything in a raid of 40 people (and that some of the Zul’Gurub and AQ20 stuff was better than Molten Core gear if you didn’t have your 8 piece set bonus – yes… 8 piece!). But we did still have fun, even if it was much less shiny and coordinated than the current raiding situation.

  9. Manxome says:

    Excellent read! I joined WoW mid-BC and am one of those who would very much like to do those early raids *at level* but….the endless farming, no thanks!

    Your comment on boss-kill satisfaction is interesting as I’ve been wrestling with the same notion. In BC, our guild finished Prince in Kara and really got no further. Having made 70 late in the expansion, I was looking forward to equal challenges in Wrath at 80. While I must admit that Wrath was made for our casual-but-committed raiding guild and we are progressing, I really do miss the satisfaction of some of those Kara encounters.

    My best notion as to why that is is due to the very fact that wrath raids are all accessible. Though I’m not doing it, I know I can just pug away and “spend time” in game and see all the fights, whereas with BC raiding, I knew we HAD to get our team together and work that issue through in order to progress. Many of our raiders have ‘skipped ahead’ via pugs, and some are less committed to the raid having done so. For my part, I’m progressing with our raid group and learning the EoE fight. But the sense of accomplishment seems diminished having become much more personal than group-wide and I find it interesting that it has done so…

  10. Oh go back further and UBRS was a 10man 🙂 Ahh the good old days of people being yelled at to let the tank (warrior) get sunders up before attacking.

    Matt I will have to disagree about guild attunements. It takes it forgranted that all raiders are in a guild raid environment and not using say an alliance or pug. On Silver Hand it would be contrary to a lot of the raids going on for us.

    • Lenelie: I’d expect people to disagree with guild attunements. The idea of attuned organizations is a good one, but in the practical reality due to what you mention with pugs and raid alliances, it would not work out.

  11. Ellyndia says:

    I played and raided as a mage in vanilla, so I remember /assisting to get sheep targets off Majordomo – we wiped more than once on the fact that mages would lose their targets and not be able to easily identify which one was theirs.

    I don’t miss heading into UBRS and having priests mind control the first few mobs for the fire resistance buff for Vaelestraz. Such a time waster.

  12. Also, no one had Omen, which made Onyxia a pain. =)

    And AQ20 was definitely mid-level, and AQ40 (C’Thun and co.) was definitely end-game.

    Oh man, oh man, the memories that are being conjured from this post…

    Ferarros last blog post..TMP: The LOST Season 5 Finale

  13. Oh, back in the day. We’d owned Onyxia (consistently every week, and yeah, I had my T2 helm before most of my T1) and had Ragnaros pretty much on farm, and owned Hakkar and were thinking about doing AQ20 but really just wanted to do BWL. I hate the freaking suOh, back in the day. We’d owned Onyxia (consistently every week, and yeah, I had my T2 helm before most of my T1) and had Ragnaros pretty much on farm, and owned Hakkar and were thinking about doing AQ20 but really wanted to do BWL. I hate the freaking suppression room.

    Food buffs were done through cooking and fishing in those days, too. In the winter months, I spent ages and ages fishing up Winter Squid, which I could cook into Grilled Squid for a +10 agility buff, or killing bears to make myself a +24 AP buff, though in those days the agility was actually better. Go look at the list of artisan cooking recipes, and imagine being one of two cooks and fishers in a guild that wanted all of them. That was my raid farming.

    Defeating bosses always did feel like more of an accomplishment. There was no ‘hard more’ and no ‘achievements’. Everything was ‘hard mode’ and if you couldn’t do it, you found other people who could, or you gave up. Organizing forty people to all do the correct jobs was the first part of that hard mode. But it was fun, at times, and you always knew you were accomplishing something, even if it was one person out of forty learning to do it better. With twenty-five people, or especially with ten, I tend to feel less like we’re learning to work together as a unit and more like we just suck, when we wipe.

    There were damage meters, though they were often inaccurate, and I remember the rise of KTM Threat Meter. And having a certain dps was less important than knowing the fights and being a good team member, anyway. I remember seeing somone trying to pug MC back in those days, and he was shunned – the idea of pugging a raid was just outrageous – do the work, get yourself guilded, and be a team member. No slacking.

    Those were the glory days, to me – not because of the difficulty, but the level of teamwork and commitment that went into raiding.

  14. @Ferarro: Yeah, AQ’s one of those grey areas for me. It’s very subjective. The entrance to AQ 20 was unlocked so once I finished a jaunt in ZG, I’d head over there and shoot for AQ 20. You’re right about C’Thun. But I think the first few bosses were manageable in AQ40. Maybe it’s just the experience.

  15. Oh God I remember when we started MC – farming black dragonscale for the guild on my HOLY priest. That was painful. That was in addition to running around at 4-5am hoping nobody snagged the only black lotus in the zone. I’m so glad you can’t have so many buffs anymore.

    So many tanks and healers HAD to have dps farming alts just to raid on their mains. I never did so I kept quitting raiding I got so sick of it. Even in TBC I hated doing the dailies on my holy priest. Now I finally have a hunter and have dual spec on my priest so I can breeze through dailies, but still hate them 🙂

    And MCing UBRS I almost forgot that was great, do it then race to the boss, then have the guilds who are past us in progression call us losers for using the buff. 🙂

  16. Ahhh memory lane … only comment to add, I really wouldn’t put AQ40 on the same level as BWL … the difference in difficulty between the two was pretty vast for most folks.

  17. I raided with two different guilds first rogue, then priest. I remember the first time we did MC and wiping on the first pull multiple times because the healers couldn’t keep the tanks up or a caster would agro and then the clothies in the back would all get stomped. We had so much trouble keeping tanks up that there was no raid healing, so melee had to run out and bandage….

    Second time around it was a year later and there was much more Theorycraft and Wow-sense around.

    Also MC became much easier if you had some ZG gear (once it was added). I remember first kills of Lucifron (26 man), Mag (25, one Tranq shot), Baron (28), flame packs (28 and no FR gear other than one tank), everything pre-Domo with less than 35 man. Domo was the first boss that took real time to kill and that was mostly getting situational awareness sorted.

    We also one-shot Onyxia on the first attempt with less than 30.

    This guild then got broken by Razorgore because the hunters sucked at kiting and the groups in the corners had too much trouble co-coordinating. Funny story is that I was a slot-filler for Chrom and Nef for a more advanced guild, but I never beat the first couple of bosses in BWL.

  18. One glaring omission.

    OUTDOOR RAID BOSSES! They were so much fun.


    Kazak and his 3 mins ultimate enrage timer with open horde/alliance and other guild griefing

    4 dragons of the emerald dream. Taerar, Lethon, Ysondre, Emeriss

    Random spawn timers, one shot or the other guilds racing to get to the spot will take a turn after you and the loot is lost!

    also, no PTR for a long time. I think AQ was the first real PTR, so BWL was a complete trial/error at LiVE. If anyone remembers, there was just one guild that could get past the razorgore bug for weeks!

    you could raid all 5 mans cause there was no such concept. I still remember stratholme with dozens of people because there were so many mobs with such huge hit points and dmg output it took alot of people.

    My fondest memory is still that of our Rag kill. The ventrillo server was screaming for 5 minutes with cheers and congrats. 2 months of wiping and making resist gear runs on Overmaster Pyron for the off chance you wouldnt get cloth bracers with tank stats for your mage. Kills like that were epic. Months to achieve. C’Thun is a close second since we beat him with 1% hp left before his invuln wore off for the second time. we litterally beat 1 dmg out of him per person per second for 10 exeedingly long seconds for the last few thousand hit points.

  19. okay, so not glaring, as you make a reference to “world bosses”, but that design concept really never continued into BC or Wrath.

    But another one i should mention is the Hakkar plague that wiped out whole citys if a hunter pet died to the hakkar blood disease and was resummoned outside the instance in IF or SW or such. It was pandemonium for a while.

    i sitll think that Vanilla wow had the best feel. Talents weren’t “balanced” and nerfed on what now seems like a constant basis every month or two.

    i could go on and on…

    great post

  20. AQ40 early bosses was easier then BWL. but the level rose steeply. Cthun (and his trash) where harder then the first of half naxx.

    Your timing On chomaggus seems off. Generally from memory we killed in 15 or so or ran oom. or ran out of tanks. Ebonroc? Now he could go over 30 mins. I remember a attempt where the healers where complaining because it had been 35 mins and he was at 90%. They wanted a chance to reiax and rebuff and just start over.

    The two big advances that broke open MC for more then the elite were raid frames and decursive. Dieing as a resto shaman to Ignite Mana from geddon because the priest in your group was incapable of selecting you and cleansing it was a fairly sad way to wipe.

  21. Undome wrote:”Everything was ‘hard mode’ and if you couldn’t do it, you found other people who could, or you gave up.”

    This is so true. There is nothing more to add. Think about the time when def warriors only reliable source of income was fishing stonescale eel. We farmed ubrs, lbrs, strath & scholo for month gathering the T0 pieces.

    I remember one night when we all farmed essence of air together in sillithus for this one hand weapon agility enchant. 20 people roaming through the land. 2 hours later we had 40 of it.

    Or did somebody remeber what real reputation farming was back in vanilla? Two words: thorium brotherhood.

  22. ahhh the good old glory days of MC. i use to play on a pvp server and every week it was fight to get into MC. there would be 5-6 alliance guilds just farming HK’s. from the first step in BRM all thay way to entrance of MC. it was just fun back then. i think blizzard broke down the raids from 40 to 25 man to break up the monopolies that the bigger guild had. but all in all for those of us old school raiders it was a blast and you newer raiders will never experience. FOR DA HORDE…

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