The secrets of Wailing Caverns are perhaps not so secret. The instance has existed since the dawn of WoW after all, so most people who've ever played a horde have come across most things Wailing Caverns has to offer. But they are at least many enough, and special enough to warrant their own post. A sort of tribute to a special instance, and also the first instance I came into contact with in WoW.
Waaaaay back, when I played my first char, Wailing Caverns introduced me to the concept of group-made-dungeons. My very first char was, coincidentally, a healing undead priest, just as the one I am playing now although they're not the same (I mained a druid and warlock short periods inbetween). It's funny, thinking back on it now, that I had picked the "right" class, race and spec for me right from the start! I don't think I actually ever entered Wailing Caverns on that char, but it offered my first opportunities at being in a group. And my first experiences at failing with a group. Back then grouping was considerably different. There was no lfg-tool, no summon stones and I don't even think there was something like an lfg-channel. I was happily running around Barrens with my priest when I saw someone advertising for a healer in the general chat in a message that has evolved suprisingly little since then - "Last spot for healer to Wailing Caverns". I didn't know what Wailing Caverns was, perhaps my brother explained to me that it was an instance, but I'm not sure I really understood the meaning of that. Now I had experience from dungeon crawling ala Diablo2, and maybe my first thoughts went there. "Hey I'm a healer" I thought and whispered the guy that I could join. I got an invite and started making my way there.
Back then the mobs outside of instances used to be elite. And when I got to the entrance of the cave I was encountered with elite mobs the same level as I, which I had no chance of killing. I'd probably had hell with just one of those, being a scrub healer and all, and I had to kill at least 15 to get all the way inside. Unfortunately the rest of the group had already started clearing their way inside while looking for a healer, and the mobs had started to respawn behind them. Just getting to the instance entrance used to be a group-effort in those days, so when I asked them to return to help me join them, they didn't enjoy the idea much. All my attempts to get into Wailing Caverns (some 3-4 perhaps) ended up in the same way. I joined a party, noticed they had already cleared the way inside, asked if they could come back for me, got a no and had to leave and go do other things.
After those failures I decided to play alliance with my brother instead (which is damn lucky, because that is where I met Love!). So I didn't get another shot at Wailing Caverns until many months later, because there were very few alliance who were willing to do the long, tedious run over there to do the long, tedious instance.
Speaking of dungeon crawling, instances like Wailing Caverns, who were Blizzards first attempts at dungeons in WoW, are probably the closest we'll come to the old Diablo2 like dungeon crawling style. The old instances in Vanilla are plagued (or so we think today) by difficult layouts and being extremely long. One has to remember that these instances were supposed to be exciting and adventurous, an epic venture! Now we just want to get them over with, but they were once supposed to be as intriguing as raid instances are today. We're talking about a time when there were no raid instances! Most old instances follow this recipe, they're long and often have several ways to complete. They don't follow a straight line, which might be a try from Blizzard at that "dungeon crawling" feeling. Instances have taken a different path since then, and become more and more straightforward. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, maybe dungeon crawling is best done alone. I do wish Blizzard would implement solo-instances like in Diablo though, that would be totally cool!
So Wailing Caverns is special to me in this way, but it is also special in a more general way. For some reason Blizzard has placed no less than three rare spawns in the vicinity of Wailing Caverns, that all have a high chance of blue drops. If one has the chance or plays a lowbie in the area, taking a peek over at Wailing Caverns to see if any of them are up could turn out to be quite profitable. Just today I found all three of the rare spawns on one of my druids! Only one of them dropped the blue though.
Is a level 20 elite Hydra, located in the pool outside the entrance to the cave that leads to wailing Caverns. He has about 25% chance to drop Pulsating Hydra Heart, an off hand with 2 stamina and 6 spellpower worth between 10-15g on AH. Being an elite, Gesharahan is rather tough for a player of the same level. He hits hard and has a rather annoying Deadly Poison which lasts for 1 minute (making it impossible to bandage for example), it should be avoided if possible.
Is a level 17 Night Elf, located outside the actual entrance of Wailing Caverns, on the other side of the little pool. He has an approximately 40% chance to drop Boahn's Fang, a two-handed axe with 9 strength and 4 crit rating worth some 20-30g on AH (being among the best two-handed weapons for a warrior/shaman of that level who don't have access to BoA weapons. Boahn isn't too tricky in himself, he does have all the skills of the druids inside Wailing Caverns (he is in fact affiliated with the Druids of the Fang) - a sleep, a heal, lightning bolts and a serpent shapeshift. As long as he is in his humanoid form he will be a caster, but his most annoying skill is probably the heal which heals for almost all his hp, so if you can you might want to interrupt that. The trouble about Boahn is that there are alot of other mobs around him and if you're around the same level as he is, overpulling is quite likely to happen.
Trigore the Lasher
Is another hydra, level 17 located in the little pool just outside the instance entrance (not to be mistaken with Gesharahan!). Trigore has an approximately 30% chance to drop Serpent's Kiss, a one-handed axe with a chance on hit poison effect worht some 15-25g on AH. He has also a 70% chance to drop Runescale Girdle, a mail belt with 8 strength worth some 15-20g on AH (you get a better belt from the satchel at around this level, which makes this belt in less demand). Trigore is the easiest of these three, since he's non-elite, has no special abilites and is easily killed without pulling any extra mobs.
These rare mobs alone make it worth a detour for anyone in the area, especially a lowbie trying to make some extra cash. If you're a highbie you might also be able to give the instance a run-through since there is something special to be found there as well. All the Deviate Guardian and Ravager raptor mobs of Wailing Caverns have a small (0,2%) chance to drop a vanity pet called Deviate Hatchling. Of course this is something that can drop at any time, also when people are doing this as regular lowbies. But since the pet is a white quality pet, it won't be rolled for and chances are high you won't even notice it dropped. My guess is that Blizzard implemented this pet since Deadmines has something similar in the Green Wing Macaw pet drop. But since the drop chance on the Deviate Hatchling is so extremely low, the prices on it generally are very high, ranging anything between 100-800g depending on whether you find the right buyer.
So there is much to be gained from a little venture to Wailing caverns!
Which was the first instance you ever encountered? What did you think of it?
Thanks to wowwiki for the pictures, I nearly died when last encountering these mobs and had no time to take screenshots!