We had one of *those* moments last night in Gnomeregan. It was our first Horde dungeon group run in WoW Classic for quite some time. The dungeon of choice for this levelling group was Gnomeregan as we’d barely poked our characters noses for the first time before I had to log off the last time we played.
All these dungeons are pretty familiar to us all, whether from the original early Burning Crusade versions we ran so many times together, their evolved forms from Cataclysm or now the Classic modes. In Classic, we’ve levelled from 1-60 Alliance side and done all of the 5-person group content at least a few times, in some cases rather more than a few.
What doesn’t change is that we tend to have certain ingrained, default routes and paths that we follow. If there’s a choice to move through an area on the left or right hand side, and no need to clear both, then we tend to always go the same side. Take the ramps in Gnomeregan, you can either do the raised left or lower middle. We have always taken the raised left-side, well at least in my memory *always* – I freely admit I may not have the most reliable memory. Sadly I have no screenshots from the BC days to prove or disprove this.
Last night we did the middle route, for whatever reason, and it felt weird – like some great exploration – to do something different in a well-worn dungeon-path. That’s not to say that we approach every aspect of dungeon running in a purely linear or invariable manner. In Classic’s dungeons especially there are often choices of optional boss-fights, and even different orders in which a group can tackle the dungeon‘s challenges. As horde players we also couldn’t take the ever-so familiar short-cut through the gnome base inside the dungeon, but rather had happened to discover (maybe for the first time?) the side passage that bypasses this base.
This is about the smaller choices, like a path down a ramp, or which of parallel staircases to take in climbing upwards; these can easily become rote and embedded standards that we always follow thereafter. Occasionally, one of us will suggest the heretical “let’s go right instead of left!”. I suppose there is a kind of efficiency behind this default behaviour of following the same paths – the familiar is often quicker to repeat as there’ll be less chance of a nasty surprise. Still, it’s good to be mindful of this and to, once in a while, do something different.