The date was December 8th 2009 and patch 3.3 had just dropped. Random dungeons, among many other things, were just being added to the game. As has always been my desire I wanted to try it out as soon as I logged on. There were also three new dungeons, but I wanted to wait until later when more guild mates where on to try them. So I just hit the queue button and let it fly.
There was almost no wait. I think I was in queue for all of 3 minutes, even as a damage dealer. I ended up getting into Azjol Nerub. Just as luck would have it, it was a dungeon I had never done before. Anyone that was around back then will remember that we used to need to assemble our own groups and there were certain dungeons that people just did not ever like to do. The two down there were two of the dungeons no one ever wanted to do. The other was the Oculus. So at that point in the game, yes, this far into the expansion, I had still never done those three dungeons. I'd finished naxx, EoE, OS, ToC and got 10 deep in Uldaur but I still had never stepped foot into these three dungeons.
I must admit I would have preferred to get a dungeon I knew for my first ever random dungeon. I mean I do not know any of these people and I have always felt a little uncomfortable around people I did not know. Sure, you have to meet people eventually but when assembling on your own server it was a lot different. These would not be people I would ever see again most likely. They have no vested interest in how I do over all or taking it slow so I can learn and hopefully not screw up whereas someone on my server would not mind someone new to the dungeon because they would have a vested interest in me getting better.
See, that was part of the beauty of hand picking dungeon running mates. For as frustrating as it could be assembling your own group you knew that if you did it and found someone good in a run it could end up being someone you could run with every day. So if someone were to say, I've never done this one, they would explain it and not think anything of it. It was in their best interest not to be a dick about it. If they kicked you because you had never done it they could get a name of the server of being a jerk. They would also need to go back to find someone else. Another waste of time after taking however long it was to assemble the group to begin with.
I admit I was a little scared of the idea of playing with people I did not know and would never see again. I had spent a decent amount of time in groups with people I never knew but they were on my server, I would see these people again. Getting to know them made sense to me. I knew right off that there would be no real good reason to get to know these people and I was sure they felt the same about me. There was no need to get to know me. So I was not sure what to expect.
When assembling your own group you usually talked while assembling, talked on the way there, talk about what you were going to do. You communicated, not always because you had to but because you wanted to. These people were your peers and you would be playing with them on this server. Would a random group have the same feeling of people wanting to connect or would it be a go go go mentality.
While it is true that the random dungeon system has evolved into a go go go mentality on December 8th of 2009 it was not that way. It was new to all of us and people were downright awesome. At least in my first run they were.
I zoned in and we all said hello to each other. Three people, myself being one, said it was their first random. Two had done a random before but one of those two had never done this dungeon either. We all had decent gear so there would be no difficulty of course, except for the difficulty of adjusting to a random group.
I did what I always do and I set my focus to the group leader, because the group leader is always the tank when we assemble groups. It wasn't until shortly later that I noticed it does not work that way in a random dungeon. Yes, complete huntard moment. I misdirected the first pack of mobs to the healer. Oops. The healer complained about getting aggro and I immediately admitted it was my fault. I explained that I set focus for my misdirect macro on the group leader because we always made the group leader the tank. The healer said it was understandable being it was my first time a random.
I fixed my misdirect focus to the tank because now I noticed that little symbol that only one person has for the position of leader does not mean tank, it just means leader. The tank could be someone else. In this case it was. It wasn't until after I made that mistake that I noticed the little shield, swords and plus mark which designated the tank, damage dealers and healer respectively.
We laughed a little about it and I appoligized a few times. They all said it was no big deal, we all need to learn how this new thing works. It was like making a group of people on my own server. There was talking, there was explaining, there was figuring things out as a group, there was joking, there was fun and there was achievement hunting.
On the second boss the tank said, want to go for the achievement. I said, sure, but I don't know what the achievement is. The tank said, the idea is that you pull and then feign death to reset the boss then we run down and kill it. One of the DPS joked, but make sure to misdirect to the healer first. I said, okay, and we all laughed.
I did as instructed and aggroed and feigned death, after dismissing my pet of course, as I knew he could cause problems if he were still there when I feigned and it reset the boss. We ran down and beat up the boss and got the achievement for it. The DPS said afterward, you messed up, you were supposed to misdirect to the healer first. I said, sorry, I'll try to do better next time. We all laughed again.
We ended up clearing the dungeon with no real issues outside of me misdirecting the first pack to the healer. Leave it to the huntard to make the only mistake of the dungeon. But in a way, it became the perfect ice breaker for the group of people using this new random dungeon feature on the day it came out. We all talked, we all had a good time, and oddly enough when the dungeon was over we all stayed in group for a few minutes and exchanged pleasantries. We wished each other a good day, thanked each other for the run and said we hope we bump into each other again.
I do not recall the names of any of those four people I was with that first day of random dungeons release in my first random, but I did recall them for a while back then. I kept thinking maybe I would run into them again. But the collective of people to choose from for randoms is so huge at max level that the odds of seeing someone again are slim to none and I never once saw any of them again and soon their named faded from my memory.
I could not even tell you the class my tank was any longer, or that of the healer. I do not even recall what class the other two damage dealers were. They become all nameless, classless, figures of the past now. But even if I can not remember who they were I do remember that they made my first ever random dungeon a good one. Random dungeons have changed a lot since then but that can never taint the memory I have of the random dungeon system showing some real promise the day it came out when I did my first one.