Two of the most popular old-school World of Warcraft raid zones will be making a return as new top-level five-man dungeons.
If there's one thing that player characters in WoW are good at, it's killing trolls. No other race on Azeroth has more zones and dungeons dedicated to their systematic annihilation than the trolls do, and that isn't even counting the ones where they just show up anyway! Now, Blizzard is taking two of these old-school troll-slaughtering raids, and updating them for level 85 players who are already starting to run out of content.
According to a Blizzard representative for WoW Taiwan, in Patch 4.1 players will be returning to Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman. In its original form, Zul'Gurub was a 20-man raid dungeon from pre-Burning Crusade "Vanilla" WoW, set in the dark, sweltering jungles of Stranglethorn Vale. Similarly, Zul'Aman was the second 10-man raid added to Burning Crusade, located up north in the more temperate climate of the elven land of Quel'Thalas.
Now, both instances will be tuned for a standard dungeon group of five players. They'll drop better gear than existing Heroic dungeons - level 353 Epic-quality equipment as opposed to the level 346 Rare-quality gear in current Heroics - but will also require that all players have an average item level of 346 in order to enter. Don't worry if that didn't make any sense to you; it's just WoW-speak.
Both ZG and ZA are fan-favorite dungeons from back in the day, so it makes sense that Blizzard would be adding them as five-man content alongside the brand-new raid content in the Firelands. Maybe we'll be able to put that useless Zandalar Tribe reputation to some use now, hmm? Well, I won't get my hopes up.
Before people cry "rehash!" and wail and gnash their teeth, it seems like these updated dungeons will be much more in line with the Heroic versions of Shadowfang Keep and the Deadmines - with entirely new storylines and boss encounters - rather than the "keep almost everything the same, just adjust the numbers" re-release of Naxxramas and Onyxia's Lair in Wrath of the Lich King. Frankly, the new Deadmines - specifically, the Vanessa Van Cleef encounter - may be the most creative five-man Blizzard has ever put together, so I don't mind this at all.
This is supported by information unearthed by the dataminers at MMO-Champion - one of the new ZG achievements asks players to collect the heads of "Gub, Mortaxx, Kaolema, Mor'Lek, the Florawing Hive Queen, a Lost Offspring of Ghaz'Ranka, and the Gurubashi Master Chef," none of which are names I recognize from old-school Zul'Gurub. On the other hand, other achievements mention Halazzi and High Priest Venoxis by name, which means that we'll probably be seeing some familiar faces, too.
The Taiwanese representative also said that the rare raptor, tiger, and war-bear mounts would be making a return, but that they won't ever drop for you. I may have made that last part up.
Now if only we could see a re-release of the infamous Corrupted Blood incident.