In the last few days our guild ran two instances, Shadow Fang Keep and Gnomeregan, and the two experiences nicely mirror the differences between WoW Classic and Retail IMO.
For SFK, our group was a bit higher in levels than is recommended, and as SFK is intended to be a horde-side dungeon, we didn’t have any quests beside a Paladin on his class quest. The result was that we facerolled the instance without issue, and the experience was mostly focused on seeing what the bosses dropped for loot. The whole thing was over quickly, and I can’t recall a single boss mechanic or area of the dungeon that sticks out (which is a real shame because on its own, SFK is an awesome dungeon).
For Gnomeregan, the situation was basically the opposite. As a group we were below-level, which meant every pull was its own challenge, and we wiped more than a few times. It also led to a slower pace of progress, giving us more time to appreciate the environment and chat in Discord. We all had the dungeon quests, and that means people collecting what they needed, and hoping we got enough of everything for everyone (we didn’t).
Even on the bosses that didn’t have complex mechanics, we were still cautious and, you know, paused before a boss to make sure everyone was ready. The loot was nice, but making progress felt like the real reward.
Progress eventually stopped towards the end, in a tunnel with higher-level dark dwarves. Anytime we had a bad pull here, the result was a wipe, and its an area that getting the pull correct isn’t automatic. Lots of patrols, lots of odd agro, and all in a very tight space. We also had a WoW Classic moment where our Huntard wiped us when his pet decided to agro half the entire dungeon. We called it a night having wiped on the final group before the final boss, as the earlier areas began to respawn.
SFK was easy, boring, loot focused, and the mechanics or player skill didn’t matter. It was Retail. Gnome was harder, slower, how we played mattered, and ultimately we ‘failed’, needing to come back and try again. That’s Classic.
I don’t know how Blizzard or other devs can push people to run dungeons closer to the Gnomer experience vs the SFK one, but they should. I know there are players who think they want the faceroll easy experience, but they don’t.