If you know me in game, or have been reading my blog since I started talking about WoW, you probably know that I enjoy running old content. I especially love soloing older raids and dungeons. A big part of the reason I enjoyed WoW at first was the ability to go back and run old raids to get the gear and pets from them. As I've matured in WoW my focus has changed to other things, but I always try to run the old content whenever I get the chance. Hopefully this guide will help you get into running old content if you feel like that part of the game is something you will enjoy.
Why run old content?:
If you read my gold making newbies guide, you may remember that I touched on running old content as a way to make gold in WoW. It's not the best way to make money, but it is the most engaging in my mind. While running old content you can make money from vendoring soulbound loot, auctioning BoE loot and pets, and the actual gold drops from both trash mobs and bosses.
Gold isn't the only reason to run old content. If you like lore, raids and dungeons can expand on that and allow you to live parts of WoW's history. My personal favorite villain in the WoW lore is Illiden, followed closely by Ragnaros. I've soloed both of them, and each time it was a ton of fun.
But wait there's more. Depending on how old the raids are, they can be a challenge and if you like a challenge, they are extremely fun. Some fights are tough to solo for most classes, especially the ones that have constant damage, or a massive spike in damage. The hardest fight I ever had was when I first hit 90 and tried to solo Gruul the Dragonkiller. My gear was terrible (at that point I still had some green pieces), and I wiped 3 times. Eventually, I came up with a way to mitigate a lot of the damage by switching some talents and changing my hunter pet. I would never have had that experience if it wasn't for trying to solo something.
How to get started:
So my little talk there has convinced you to start running old content solo. But you have no idea where to start. This is where it gets a little tricky, as what you can and can't solo depends on your class. If you are a Blood spec Death Knight, you are going to have no trouble soloing most things. My personal choice of class, the Hunter, can solo a good amount of old content and even some current level normal dungeons, as we have a pet to tank a lot of the damage for us. The cloth wearing classes are going to find it the hardest (although I have it on good authority that a Disc Priest can solo a fair bit with their self heals).
Besides the class you choose, the gear you wear makes a huge difference to how easy old content becomes. The fight with Gruul I mentioned came down to how bad my gear was at the time, and now that I am around 530 average ilevel, that fight takes me all of 20 seconds. Where previously a full clear of Molten Core would take me around 30 mins, it now only takes me about 15 mins. Getting better gear also opens up content that you wouldn't have been able to solo before. I tried to solo a Mists of Pandaria normal dungeon around the same time that I soloed Gruul (feeling that now I had taken down a hard boss I could solo something current haha), and had my ass handed back to me in a paper bag. These days I can solo a couple of normals, and it wouldn't surprise me if someone with full normal or heroic gear could solo all of the dungeons that mists has to offer.
To begin with, I'd recommend soloing dungeons. Heroic dungeons in WotLK offered several mounts that you could solo for, and are a good starting point of difficulty. Every single level 90 character should be able to solo them with little to no difficulty at all. After that, have a look at Molten Core or Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj (AQ20) for something a little more difficult. As your gear gets better and better, start to take on more challenging raids and working toward more difficult things.
This is where I've started to find my most enjoyment from soloing old content: attempting to do it faster and faster as you go along. Installing all the Deadly Boss Mod packages gives you a record of your fastest time taking a boss down. This can give you a good benchmark of how much better you are getting at content as you get better gear, develop better strategies and learn the fights. You can simply record times for each boss, or if you are like me, run a stop watch from start to finish of an instance to see if you have gotten better overall.
And that is pretty much all there is to soloing old content. You can start to solo harder and harder content if you research the fights and work out just how to do what you need to do. As always folks, run old content and...