The whole of the Shadow Shard. Complex jumping puzzles, incredibly nasty enemies, and four of the longest task forces in the game. Oh, and if you should fall off the Floating Platforms that make up the entire area and into the void, you're teleported back to the entrance and, unless you can fly or teleport, have to go through those complex jumping puzzles and nasty enemies all over again. And almost every mission takes place in identical caves. And the enemies are some of the tougher in the game. And the zone had so much promise, too!
The Shadow Shard has been made slightly more tolerable; a jetpack vendor was added to each zone, providing a way to circumvent the gravity geysers (or at least recover if you miss). The task forces still suck, but they at least give great numbers of reward merits for completion (except Augustine, which isn't that long).
Word of God is that it was completely broken after the Fitness power pool was made an inherent power set on all characters. Due to the Hurdle power augmenting a character's baseline leaping. The geysers were, apparently, tossing characters a set distance based on their baseline value.
While The Hollows are not as bad, they are visited earlier in the game. They involve mile-long runs long before characters earn their travel powers, and have level 5 missions in level 16 enemy areas. Several updates have fixed these problems, including giving characters much earlier access to temporary travel powers and a slight revamp of the Hollows zone to include a hospital, a trainer, and a store, so you don't have to zone back into an adjacent zone every time you die or level. They've also changed the mission spawn points so they show up in areas with enemy spawns appropriate to the player's level.
Also worth noting is that after a new hero finishes all the missions from his introductory contact, the first mission from his second contact * will* be going to the Hollows, so every newby player on the server is going through this and generally mucking things up.
Perez Park is a horror at low levels and a misery at high levels. Most of the zone consists of a huge, dark, confusing labyrinthine forest filled with large groups of enemies that are impossible to avoid. Even players with higher-level characters hate being sent back there due to the difficulty of navigating its maze. Travel powers aren't very useful in the park either - Flight and Super-Jump are useless in the forest with its thick, rooflike properties, it's too twisty and dark to use Teleport much, and Super-Speed is difficult to use on those twisty paths too, and won't help you much if you just keep getting lost.
On top of that, there's a wall all around the main park, only one opening, it's not marked on the map, and the walls are too high to jump without Super Jump or Flight, so depending on which Security Gate you come in, you have to run around half the edge just to get in or out of the park, which is itself packed with low-level gangs which are either a bloody nuisance, or a nightmare, depending on your level.
Faultline is loathed for the deep, twisting canyon that is easy to fall into and hard to get out of - while it has Freight Lifts, they too can be tough to fine and lead to places it's easy to fall from. There are missions IN the canyon in caves and sewers, and thanks to its winding nature some are difficult to find. Other missions occur on the other side of the canyon, in a part of Faultline which was practically demolished, and is tough to run around thanks to cracked pavements, toppling buildings and mobs scattered all over the place. It's made even more noticeable by the way that about 1/4 of Faultline is almost normal.
Many of these zones are part of a now-abandoned design philosophy from much earlier in the games history: they're Hazard Zones, regions of the city that were devastated by one or another catastrophe and essentially evacuated and abandoned. As such, they contain neither contacts to give quests or innocent civilians to rescue, only swarms of villains and monsters usually in groups too large for a single player to tackle alone. The only reason to ever go there is by being sent from another mission elsewhere, and then you try to run to the target as fast as possible. It's a shame, because some of these zones have quite interesting stories as to how they got so bad, but the stories aren't explored no one lives there anymore.
City of Heroes also has a Scrappy Tileset. The tileset for randomly generated cave missions has a penchant for putting the mission objective in a specific universally loathed 5-story-tall room with ample places to lose track of enemy NPCs. This wouldn't be so bad, except that one often needs to wipe out the enemies in the same room as the mission objective, for "Defeat <insert Boss name> and his Guards" and "Get the MacGuffin" missions alike.
In addition to the above, after about level 30, most missions featuring the Circle of Thorns take place in their home city, Oranbega. Oranbega is filled with twisty passages and gigantic multistory rooms and portals that don't always work right and multiple spawns of enemies within aggro radius of one another and randomly placed damage-inducing crystals. HATE.
Some archetypes hate Orange-bagel more than others. When playing a Mastermind, stepping though a portal is to be feared above all other things because (a) you could walk right into a spawn with no real weapons to fight them off until the minions show up and (b) 50% of the time the minions won't come through the portal; they'll instead run through the corridors to get to you, usually past other spawns meaning you have an army descending on your ass.
The City of Heroes Architect system, which allows user-generated content, has resulted in many users creating their very own scrappy levels, replete with abusively constructed enemies who put the game's worst excesses to shame. Some of the levels are meant to provide a challenge to jaded players, but most of the tough stuff is created by power-tripping adolescents with no conception of game balance.
The worst AE Combination has to be the dreaded "Defeat All + Outdoor Map + Arbitrary Goal + Patrols (That Spawn After Said Arbitrary Goal)", otherwise known as a "Farm" Mission. To make it extra tough, make it a Timed Mission too, just so the player can't go to the toilet after they've taken it. If you're just doing random missions and you get one of these, it's best to just drop it...
One of the Council Base maps contains a three story room with a large pool of water in it (for some reason). While this isn't as annoying as some of the other examples, it is still rather tricky to navigate which can make it frustrating.
There's a quest called The Gauntlet, which involves you traveling through an already hard area to a sublevel, touching a statue in the deepest part of the area, and then running back to the entrance while avoiding the huge swarms of nearly impossible-to-defeat enemies. If you die, your only options are to be revived by a crew member (who is probably too busy trying to survive to offer any help), or start the quest over. There have been a fair number of threads in the forums complaining about its difficulty, and people gloat about completing it without any other players helping. Anybody who has had the pleasure of doing this quest immediately realizes why people so often complain about the Otami Ruins area.
Hell, Otami Ruins period. There are Animated in there that are actually impossible to defeat. Plus swarms of annoying spammy Animated...
Barton Lake can be really friggin' annoying at times. The Flying Giftbox monsters chase you farther than any other Animated and pretty much kill you instantly, there are elite, tough Grass puffs that follow around giant mommy Grass puffs, except the elite Grass puffs are exactly the same as their weaker counterparts. When you realize some stronger players simply kill the mother Grass puffs and leave the elites, then you're screwed if you mistake it for a normal puff when you're on a quest requiring you kill a ton of them. Plus, the fact that you have to bang trash cans for a long time to maybe get a Carrion Flower puff to pop out, which immediately attack you... And this isn't even talking about the two bosses on that level, both of whom are major pains in the ass.
What, no mention of the Old Aqueduct? The P3s there may seem harmless alone, but if you ever spot one alone, it'll usually notice you and go fetch some of its buddies SPECIFICALLY to go kick your ass. And don't even get me started on going into the depths of their territory just to take down their commander, which is surrounded by like, dozens of his buddies, a good number of them a rank higher than the grunts and therefore even more difficult to kill. And may your deity of choice save you should the area specific event start up, where the monstrous killer space bugs start running around the area at random while you're trying to kill the P3s. Your deity help you even more if you run into the black or red ones. Or the orangey ones that run up to specifically to suicide bomb you.
World of Warcraft
Discover Rolf's Fate, It involves figuring out what happened to Rolf, the way you do it is to slowly trudge into the center of a murloc village while they pull 4-7 at a time to kill you, respawn insanely fast. This quest is arguably more difficult than End Game solo content. It's avaliable at level 8-9, End game is level 85.
Mount Hyjal. Participating in one of the most important battles in Warcraft history? Great! Realizing that it's essentially a huge Escort Mission where you have to kill loads and loads of enemies every time you attempt to kill a boss? Not so much. And by the time you get used to mindlessly slaughtering the enemy mooks, you get to Archimonde.
From classic WoW, Gnomeregan. Oh God, Gnomeregan. There's one stretch near the end which consists of a long trench filled with mobs, with elevated walkways on either side. If players, while on these walkways, get too close to the edge, they aggro the mobs down below. Who proceed to run towards the group. By running all the way to the end of the trench where there's a way up. Pulling all the other mobs in the process. Hilarity Ensues. There are also very overpowered mine-planting enemies on the raised section. The mines had to be killed quickly, or the group would wipe.
For extra hilarity, it's very easy to miss one of the alarmbots earlier and have them do the same to the entire instance.
Also, it's at least as large as the Dwarf capital, Ironforge (logical, it was the capital city of the gnomes), and the layout makes almost no sense from a human perspective (then again... gnome capital). And the quests can involve running all over the city. Repeatedly.
The instance has become somewhat better in Cataclysm with the introduction of a dungeon map and parachutes that allow players to save time that would be wasted on more trash. The combination allows for a more linear path through the instance.
The Oculus is actually rather fun if everyone knows what to do. No one ever does. By the fifth iteration of, "no, you're dps so you get a dragon from the gnome, why did you swap out your dragon? You were on the right one! We can't all ride the red ones!" any enjoyment is replaced with a desire to reach through the screen and strangle your allies.
The Oculus is probably the best 5-man dungeon in the game so far. It has some scrappy points, especially the tiny dragons before the first boss, but overall it's pretty unique and awesome. Then why do most people HATE the Oculus? Well, it's the ONE 5-man instance where you REALLY have to communicate with your allies. Everyone must know what to do when, and if you have even one person who has no clue what they are doing, you're pretty much screwed. Eregos, the final boss, will not go down if even one persons screws up.
In the latest patch they change that so that player equipment does affect the dragons. And incidentally, no, it's still mostly the fact that no one seems to read the abilities the dragons give them, or listen when the one person who's been there before has to explain what every other person is supposed to be doing in detail.
Simple explanation of why people hate it: It's a unique instance that makes them think in a different way than they're used to. As a result, people don't run the instance and thus fewer people understand how it works. When they do run it, they don't know what to do and those who do and are willing to explain go half-insane trying to get them up to speed while the party wants to blast through it full-tilt.
For those who have not played World of Warcraft, let me put the scope of this hatedom in perspective. In 3.3, Blizzard had to severely nerf the dungeon to try and overcome the negative feedback they were receiving. At the same time a tool was implemented to assemble random groups for dungeon runs. Unsurprisingly, the same people who previously avoided Oculus chose to simply drop when it appeared rather than even consider running it. Complaints concerning this were so great that Blizzard had to add bonus rewards to try and lure people into running Oculus when it came up.
To clarify, those "bonus rewards" are either a sack of rare gems with the possibility of an epic one, some extra tokens for buying epic items (the main reason anyone runs heroics nowadays) or the important chance to get an epic flying mount that previously used to be a very rare drop from the 10-man version of one of, if not the, most difficult raid boss before Ulduar.
And people still drop when it loads!
Later on in the Lich King era, this became easier to do as more players had better gear, and the gear influenced the drakes' statistics. Often, it was possible to kill Eregos without having to use Time Stop at the precise moment he used his special attack, but instead keeping him stopped as often as possible and bombarding him for extra damage.
If you want to complete the Glory of the Hero achievement, which has the awesome Red Proto-Drake as a reward, you will need to run this dungeon at least three times. The five achievements you need from this dungeon for Glory of the Hero are "Experienced Drake Rider" (complete the dungeon once while using a drake of each color), "Emerald Void" (no one can ride a green drake in the run, no dedicated healer), "Ruby Void" (no red drakes, no dedicated tank), and "Amber Void" (no bronze drakes, no dedicated DPS), and on top of all these, "Make It Count" (kill Eregos within 20 minutes of killing the second boss of the instance, Drakos the Interrogator). The best way to do it would be to run a group of all bronze drakes first, then two more runs with a mixed group of reds and greens. At level 85, the runs themselves are not hard. But finding enough people willing to do the run, on three seperate days (because individual heroic dungeons can only be run once in a 24-hour period)? That's the challenge.
Also on this point, if you were going for Glory of the Hero, the achievements are mutually exclusive. Extreme coordination, or more likely a run where someone does not get anything that counts towards their achievements, is required.
Oh, and let's not forget the first chamber of Azjol-Nerub. Pull a group of enemies around a tiny corner? No problem. But wait! One of the enemies has no Aggro table and will randomly leap at someone other than the tank, often leading the party to assume the tank is incompetent and leave. One is a caster and has to be line-of-sighted around the last bit of the turn. And one has a mind-control-type ability that will neutralize the tank, killing all aggro and setting the mob loose on the party. Manage to get through that? Congratulations! Now the next wave is coming on its own! And you have to do it three times... after which the BOSS comes at you! Oh, and back up too far from the turn? THE WHOLE THING RESETS!AAAAAAAAARGHHH!
Ahn'Qiraj in classic World of Warcraft. The place was so massive it needed its own special mount just to navigate the dungeon. Then there's the trash, which was so tedious and difficult toward the end, it was harder than all of the bosses previous, and worst of all, no gold dropped off them. From the random ability Anubisaths between Huhuran and Twin Emperors, and the trash packs on the way to C'thun which took over an hour to clear without wiping, it was just awful. At least the final boss, C'thun, was considered to be the Crowning Moment Of Awesome of the pre-expansion era by many, which almost justified the rest of the dungeon's flaws.
Not to mention, if you wiped on C'thun, you had to run all the way back to him, as there were no teleports. This was no means a short run and could easily take 5-10 minutes to accomplish, more if a person went AFK and got stuck somewhere along the way. At least one top guild was permanently banned from the game, after it was discovered that they had edited the game files, removing a wall and allowing them to jump from the start and right to the hallway outside C'thun's room.
Many of the TBC heroics had pretty big requirements in crowd control, to the point that dps-classes without any had no chance of ever doing them. Shattered Halls was the worst in this regard with several groups of 6 enemies, but Magisters Terrace upped the ante with a boss with 4 allies out of a random set, many of which were outside of the standard humanoid/beast type. And right after that, a pack of 6 enemies when the smaller packs were already hard. If you managed to get past those two fights, the final boss of the instance is bascially a pushover.
Outside of dungeons, the Barrens for any Horde character. Even after some improvements, no matter where you are in the Barrens, the towns are all. Far. Away.
And there's now a new problem; the South section is a zone for the highest level, and flying mounts are allowed in Azeroth. So in PvP servers, as well as having to walk for a long time to get to a town, you now have to worry about Level 85 Alliance dropping out of the sky for the sole purpose of ganking you.
There are certain quests that are supposed to be soloable, but will probably kill anyone who tries:
"Deep Ocean, Vast Sea" (a level 18-or-so Alliance quest in Darkshore) is notorious for this, with murlocs who trap you underwater with nets and then, just when you're about to finish them off, swim away in fear through the walls of the ship to come back with more of their comrades. And did I mention their short respawn times?
There is an Ebon Blade quest chain in Zul'Drak, where you run around disguised as a ghoul. It's all well and good, until the final quest in the chain, where you have to mind control a Berserker, use it to attack a high hit point Elite boss (Drakuru), run around avoiding the area-damage crystals the boss throws at you, mind control ANOTHER Berserker when the boss kills your first one (being careful not to mind control the 2nd berserker too early, or the first one will attack and kill you, and being careful not to stand in any of those area-damage blasts that linger around while channelling your mind control stick), survive the shadow bolts the boss hurls at you while you try and mind control the second Berserker, avoid running into the aggro radius of the geists who crawl around the periphery, use the Berserker's stun/berserker attacks at the right times, and hopefully get the boss down before your second berserker dies. You DO have the option of transferring some of the Berserker's health to yourself at rare intervals, if you step on a crack (which will break your mother's back), but this means your Berserker will die sooner.
Maraudon is disliked mostly because there isn't a whole lot of feasible upgrades, it requires you to practically spend the entire day in there, and the quest to get the shortcut (which everyone would do) was somewhat of a Guide Dang It.
Thankfully it's been split into wings with the advent of the Random Dungeon Finder, making it less of a burden to run.
This actually made it so the first two thirds are often skipped entirely, since you only need to beat the dungeon's final boss to get the achievement.
Blackrock Depths was a five man dungeon from original World of Warcraft which could hours upon hours to complete with a well geared group who knew what they were doing. If you really wanted the final boss and had anymore than one person entering the dungeon for the first time, you could easily expect to spend six or more hours simply due to wipes and the labyrinthine layout.
The dungeon was effectively winged by way of being bloody enormous. There were multiple pathways, each of which was about the size of a normal dungeon, and all of them had to be gotten to at various points in the quest lines for the area.A typical group would actually only bee-line towards the end boss of one area and then come back later, rather than taking the 4-5 hours to actually clear the entire place.
Add to the challenge of getting people to actually run the Jailbreak quest for Alliance characters (which required one to spend the afternoon running in and out of Blackrock Mountain in the first place) and you got one scrappy level. Many players who had already completed Jailbreak already either saw no need to run it again when they had something better to do, or they had run it so much getting guild mates attuned to Onyxia they were absolutely sick of running it.
As of Cataclysm, the instance is more straightforward. The player must kill either High Interrogator Gerstahn in the Detention Block or Emperor Dagran Thaurissan in the city's throne room to complete the instance. There is also a Mole Machine to save time getting to the latter boss.
Lower Blackrock Spire was a pain for horde - But thankfully, you only really needed to run in and do the instance once as opposed to running in and out of Blackrock Mountain as Alliance. However, it can be a little hard to do in a 5-man considering Blizzard accidentally made a lot of high-level dungeons too hard for 5-man groups. And Upper Blackrock spire was also just easy as heck to complete, once you got the key that is.
Another problem with Blackrock Spire is the fact that the most logical placing of the dungeon leads you through the southern door in the immediate hallway, and then west and south to that southern half of the dungeon. This is Lower Blackrock Spire. The problem is that the endboss is on that side and the other half is in fact the entrance to Upper Blackrock Spire. Once you defeat Lower's boss, the group will almost always disband without Upper being mentioned. And you can't queue specifically for Upper. It's pretty much required for you to assemble your own group manually, or lose at least half of your team once Overlord Wyrmthalak is downed.
Scholomance. Neverending, too muany mobs, bosses that were a little too hard to figure out or hit too damn hard...No wonder everyone hated it!
They hated it so much, it was soundly nerfed somewhere back in the 1.5-1.8 time frame. After the nerf, it became so much easier that some players jokingly called it "solomance." However, with the nerf they also took away the ability to take a 10-man raid into the place — you were thereafter limited to 5 and only 5 players in any Scholomance instance.
The Key to Scholomance quest line required running hither and yon all over the planet, and even into the past via the Caverns of Time, to create the key and to activate it. At one point, it was necessary to pay three hundred gold pieces to continue the line. And all of that was merely to get the key to get into the place! Though player reactions to the removal of the key system have been mixed, complaints about the removal of this particular key have been very few.
Halls of Stone in Wrath of the Lich King. Two of the encounters are make or break, one being Krystallus, who can one-shot party members standing next to each other with Shatter, which petrifies and does a significant amount of damage to party members standing close to each other. The other is the Tribunal of Ages escort, which is basically terror itself. It's an extremely scrappy Escort Mission because of how one wrong move in the third phase means a wipe. A debuff one of the enemies in the escort uses, slows movement speed and add that up with eye beams in the third phase (even easily destroying higher-geared players), and you'll die. No matter what.
Halls of Stone is largely That One Level anymore simply because well geared groups are able to plow through the rest of the instance in no time, including the first two bosses which many groups just skip, but the tribunal requires everyone to stand around, wiping out enemies easily while waiting around for the next group. It basically brings any momentum your group had to a halt and having better gear just makes it that much more excruciating.
The Tribunal of Ages was less an escort than a timed endurance match with Brann's defeat as the non-standard game over; it was quite possible to have a Total Party Kill and still win the encounter.
Halls of Reflection is another. To even get there, you need to do the Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron. Enemies come at you in waves, and except for a continue point halfway through, you have to start over if you wipe. There are generally two ways to do it. Everyone huddles in a claustrophobic little corner, or people stand in the open and use crowd control abilities to neutralize specific enemies. The first works The second would be much, much easier had everyone's ability to use CC not been atrophying for the entire expansion. Groups often break up at the first wipe, making it almost impossible to progress, and if one person dies in any of the waves then you're probably going to wipe because you can't bring them back to life before the next wave shows up. It does at least actually offer better loot than most of the other instances.
First wipe? Try when you first get in. The drop out rate is probably the worst for any Wot LK heroic, even more than Oculus.
And that's just the first half of the instance. The second half is a "gauntlet"-style battle where you have to fight off Mooks while Jaina/Sylvanas (depending on faction) breaks down ice walls in your path and Arthas acts as an Advancing Boss of Doom who will instantly wipe the party if he catches up with you—a fate that's guaranteed if you have poor dps, poor group coordination, or anyone dies. Finding a PUG that can do either part of this dungeon effectively, let alone both, is often more trouble than it's worth.
There's a quest in Stranglethorn Vale that has you taking on the Skullsplitter trolls. You have to kill three different classes (berserkers, hunters, and headhunters) and their leader. There are several problems with this. First, their leader will probably be a few levels higher than you when you run the quest. For certain classes, this may be a problem. The hunters have panther pets and looks very similar to another class, the beastmasters, who also patrol the same area. Secondly, there can only be at most two berserkers or headhunters out at a single time. Why? Because they spawn as the leader's personal bodyguards. You need to kill four berserkers and six headhunters. What class spawns as his bodyguards is completely random and may also be another class you don't need to kill, the windchasers. The World of Warcraft wiki even outright says that killing all of the berserkers and headhunters you need can take 25-60+ minutes.
There are berserkers and headhunters can be found in the hills above the ruins, although first, you probably wouldn't realize you could go up there, let alone that there is anything to go up there for, and there's still not that many of them, at most six trolls hanging around up there, less than half of what you need to kill in total.
The Storm King's Vengeance quest in Zul'drak. It shoves you in a vehicle (technically riding on the shoulder of a giant) that handles appallingly and makes it difficult to see what's happening beneath you. It has to fight three main enemies along with a swarm of lesser undead, and requires you to heal by eating thunderclouds. Between the second and third bosses you have very little time to heal up, and the healing process is made extremely annoying as well. You're almost constantly under attack by minor undead, whose main threat is that the storm giant likes to grab them over and over instead of eating the storm cloud, preventing you from healing while slowly wearing down your remaining health.
Vashj'ir in Cataclysm. The zone is entirely underwater, and while some of the issues related to this (such as having to deal with your oxygen supply, as the first quest enables you to breathe underwater here) aren't present, it's still hard to get around the zone, especially exploring it. To make matters worse, the Whale Shark is essentially Cataclysm's Fel Reaver in that it wanders around and kills players it encounters, only harder to notice as it approaches and much harder to kill.
And the Whale Shark has competition. There's also a gigantic boss-level elite eel that slowly patrols around one of the two monstrous shelled creatures that you can go inside for quests (and it intercepts one of the Whale Sharks on its patrol), and a gigantic boss-level Leviathan that inhabits the otherwise completely empty Abandoned Reef (the only other creature is the rare-spawn spirit beast Ghostcrawler).
Vashj'ir was also notoriously glitchy at launch, and for Cataclysm, that's saying something. Many quests and cutscenes were bugged, most notoriously the final quest in the zone, which still occasionally craps out on people. It was also initially impossible to earn the achievement for completing all the quests because the math was off. Then there was the infamous bug where Horde characters didn't receive any reputation with the Earthen Ring faction for most quests they were supposed to, leaving them at a distinct disadvantage for rep grinding at level 85 for gear.
An example of one such bug was part of the last quest. At release, it had a tendency to bug while you were in the submarine, causing all the adds to despawn, at which point you would restart it, except for the fact that theres no way off the boat without using a teleportation method, usually with a 30 minute cooldown, so you ant do it twice in quick succession. Oh, did i mention that the underwater breathing buff you have there disappears shortly after the NPCs? Some characters could breathe underwater, but anyone else joined the pile of corpses on the floor
Yet now, when the occasional "What's your favorite Cata zone?" thread pops up in a forum, most people say it was Vash'jir.
Tol Barad, as in order to win, the attacking faction must control all three bases simultaneously. This makes it very difficult for Tol Barad, and thus access to daily quests and the Baradin Hold raid, to change hands, thus making things quite frustrating for the losing faction.
To expand: In Wintergrasp, since players could come and go as they pleased, there was a high chance of a faction being outnumbered. To balance this somewhat, Blizzard implemented a buff called Tenacity for the outnumbered team, but Tenacity got a lot of backlash. To avoid that again while still balancing the problem of a faction being outnumbered, only a certain number of people can be in Tol Barad at once, and the teams are always equal. In order to win Tol Barad as the attacking team, you have to control all 3 towers at the same time. This makes it nearly impossible for the attacker to win Tol Barad, since the defenders can easily sacrifice two of the towers and have everybody camp out in the final one.
Blizzard eventually fixed this in a later patch: If your team holds two towers, you will have a significant boost in flag cap speed, even if defenders are present at the flag, to prevent exactly that. Now Tol Barad matches play out in the two teams chasing each other in a ring around the center.
Tol Barad Peninsula quests are typically not well liked, but "Walk A Mile in Their Shoes" stands out, as the NPC will wander around Farson hold for some time, taking unnecessary wrong turns (at one point even going most of the way up one of the towers before he realizes the exit isn't that way), and at the end, the quest is likely to glitch, forcing the player to start over.
Some players dislike The Escape from Durnholde (Old Hillsbrad Foothills) because of how long Thrall takes to get from one place to another (his horse is slower than the 100% movement speed increase mounts the players likely have), even when they don't have any trouble protecting him.
A few class quests were absolutely horrible. Standouts include The Water Totem quest for Shaman (Alliance and Horde, but the Horde was significantly worse) and Felhunter and Succubus questlines for Warlocks of both factions. These quests were incredibly long and time-consuming, taking you all over the continent when you didn't even have mounts yet (mounts were lowered to level 30 at one point, and lowered again to 20 later on, so that made it slightly better). The quests would often take you into territory of the other faction, meaning that you could easily get slaughtered by guards or high levels of the opposing faction. The quests were technically optional, but no Shaman in their right mind would hit the level cap without their Water Totem and no Warlock without their Felhunter or Succubus pets. Luckily, the quests were scrapped in Cataclysm so the players no longer have to suffer these monstrosities.
Before Cataclysm, the Alliance 20-30 zone of Duskwood definitely had elements of That One Level. The zone was awesomely spooky and was generally the best place to level at that level range for Alliance, but the amount of traveling required between quests was absurd. The Hermit questline took you back and forth from Darkshire to the hermit's hut just north of Raven Hill Cemetery, on the complete other side of the zone; for most of the game, mounts weren't available until later so you had to do this all on foot. You literally went back and forth between every single quest for the whole questline. The ghouls in Raven Hill Cemetery also had a pretty large level range, going from mobs that were green for the average quester to red, which are very difficult to kill; they were all clumped up together and because they're Undead, pulling one has a good chance of pulling any other ghoul nearby. And then you had Mor'ladim, a high level elite skeleton with a HUGE aggro radius. He was the target of a group quest, but he would aggro from at least 60 yards away and would one-shot most players. Stitches, the elite abomination, was also a pain, but he wasn't nearly as bad as Mor'ladim. And to top it all off, the final quest of the Hermit questline was extraordinarily difficult to solo, with an elite mob and her three guards. Oh, and it's right across the river from the entry zone of Elwynn, so it wasn't unheard of for low levels to get intrigued and cross the river, only to be slaughtered by a rabid wolf or gigantic spider. Luckily, with Cataclysm, the zone has been completely revamped, keeping all the great parts of the zone while removing the frustrating components (most importantly, Raven Hill Cemetery has a flight path now).
One truly unpleasant quest is Torek's Assault for the Horde in Ashenvale. There's a few problems with this. First, since Ashenvale is pretty much an Alliance zone, you'll probably have to deal with griefers killing Torek before the quest ends. Second, at the end, there's a scripted event where you and the group of orc NPC's are attacked by a group of four sentinels. Four very strong sentinels. They'll always focus on you and the orcs you're with will only draw away two of them. This can be a problem for certain people who just aren't equipped for being double teamed. It'll sometimes come down to either getting killed and then letting them kill Torek, or letting Torek die and then escaping yourself.
One of the highlights of Cataclysm was the introduction of Heroic versions of two classic dungeons, Shadowfang Keep and Deadmines. SFK's Heroic version isn't too bad and is actually fairly fun, especially for veterans of Vanilla World of Warcraft, but Heroic Deadmines is an abominable hellhole of a dungeon that consists of the 5 bosses of normal version, only souped up with new abilities and mechanics that are That One Boss type at the worst and simply a pain in the ass at the best, and in between them are sections of mobs who have also been given new, annoying factors, such as; ogres/oafs that hit like trucks, goblins with a channel that will shred the tank if not interrupted, other goblins that get people drunk, casters immune to crowd control who will buff the non-elites they pull with, and rogues who hit you with a debuff that hits anyone near you for huge damage that has an animation made VERY difficult to see by the buff zones thrown down by the casters they pull with. But wait, there's more! After you drop Cookie, you face Vanessa Van Cleef, who puts you into a nightmare where you need to rerun the second half of the damn dungeon with environmental hazards that will kill you if you step in them, kill the first 3 bosses again (although none of them use their annoying ass abilities this time around and turn into simple tank and spanks), and THEN you get to fight her in yet another annoying fight. Blizzard wanted to make a Deadmines that challenged 85s. They succeeded. Perhaps a bit too much.
Another reason why heroic Deadmines is hated is because it's just a really long dungeon. The original set of Cataclysm heroic dungeons are mostly run for the valor points they reward upon downing the final boss, and each dungeon rewards the same amount. Since the daily point cap was switched to a weekly cap, most people would rather get their 70 points from a much less time-consuming dungeon.
Two of the more difficult Heroics were Stonecore and Grim Batol, particularly the third boss of the former and the fourth boss of the latter.
"The Battle For Gilneas City" - an early quest in which you aren't actually all that necessary, thanks to all the civilians fighting undead, how powerful Prince Liam is, and the buff you get from being near him making you nigh-invincible. Unfortunately it's horribly easy to lose Liam, and then lose your buff and get killed, meaning you'll have to start all over again. Secondly the quest is essentially one twenty minute-long interactive cutscene - and if you glitch or die it's longer. Your invincibility takes any skill out of the quest and its difficulty arises from the many bugs that haven't been ironed out yet. Such things make the quest less fun than trapping your hand in a waffle iron.
A big part of the quest is using a rapier to cast an area of effect buff on the Gilnean citizens, causing their HP to regenerate at a ridiculous pace. What's the problem with this? The boss whose health you have to whittle down in the end is not immune to the buff. Cue the battle becoming unwinnable if even one player failed to read the tooltip that states what the rapier's intended purpose is and subsequently tries to use it against the boss. Arguably not helped by the fact that one would expect a rapier to be used for attacking, a mistake made all the more understandable by the fact that the quest takes place in a starter zone, meaning that there's a good chance that the people botching the fight are simply too inexperienced in the game to understand what's going on.
The Shado-Pan dailies as a whole are not well liked, in large part because the NPCs that follow you are not very effective and tend to aggro monsters. The Wu Kao dailies against the Mantid are especially disliked because you have to sneak around on an island swarming with Mantid enemies. To make matters worse, before the rep rewards were hotfixed, those quests also gave significantly less reputation than some of the others.
More of a Scrappy Star System, Jita. The system chat is flooded with scammers, Real Money Trader bots and spam trades involving overpriced crappy rare drops. At any given moment, there's 1000+ people in the system resulting in bad lag, sometimes resulting in waits of up to five minutes just to get in or out, and often the shortest route going through Caldari space will pass through it. "A wretched hive of scum and villany, inside a much larger wretched hive of scum and villany".
Jita is so bad, even the developers don't like it. Star systems are divided into groups of five to twenty called "nodes", and there are usually two nodes on every dual-cpu server blade that make up the Tranquility shard. Jita is so crowded it gets its own blade, and all attempts to get people to move out of the system have failed miserably. At this point, CCP has given up and now tests any new hardware they get by putting Jita on it and seeing how long it lasts.
With the Apocyrpha expansion comes a whole other galaxy cluster of completely uncharted systems accessible through naturally-occurring wormholes. The wormholes are classed 1 through 6, 6 being the most difficult. Some wormholes also have local stellar phenomena that can affect your ship both negatively and positively, with the effects increasing in higher classes. Guarding some of the most lucrative loots in the game are Sleepers, AI-driven drones hell bent on guarding the technological secrets of long-dead (or possibly long-asleep) civilizations past. Sleepers start out Nintendo Hard compared to the pirates back in "known space," rivaling I Wanna Be the Guy as you approach Class 6, employing all manner of propulsion and sensor jamming, tactics-switching, target prioritizing, and reinforcements depending on the presence of players and their ship sizes.
Basically, sleepers just cheat to be so hard. They can insta-lock. Their resists are incredibly high. Drones are useless since the AI blows those up first. They're immune to most EWAR. The range on their webs/scrams/EWAR is significantly greater then what player modules can provide. Their Energy Neutralizers are more powerful than possible. Bringing Capital ships spawns even more of them.
Plenty of players in the Expansion Pack, Eye of the North, hit a grinding halt in the storyline once they reach the Shards of Orr. You have to go through to complete a third of the main storyline, but the place is an underground dungeon swarming with high-level undead, including skeletal wizards who just LOVE blinding you, then running up and shocking you into knockdown with a close-range lightning spell. Later on, they throw in priests and clerics, who keep replenishing their allies' obscene amounts of health or form a frustrating challenge to the only viable method of dealing with most undead, i.e. smiting magic. There are also several poison-gas-spewing traps, and Resurrection Shrines tend to be located smack dab in the middle of the enemies you just died trying to eliminate. THEN you have to fight them immediately after with a 15% Death Penalty each time.
The black Moa quest in factions. It's not a particularly difficult quest, but it does involve having to talk ot four different people in four different areas, and as a result takes a good amount of time longer than other quests in the area.
Polymock, the favoured pasttime of Tyria's Insufferable Genius race, is much more difficult than ordinary gameplay and is considered a That One Level by itself; but the polymock questline has its own That One Level: Blarp. He's the third opponent, and should be fairly easy... but isn't. Many people give up on the questline altogether when they reach Blarp, or resort to buying a gold polymock piece from other players in order to get past him. Once one finally does beat him, however, the rest of the opponents are relative cakewalks.
The first campaign had many of these, like Thunderhead keep, but most of them are fairly easy now due to new/update skills, and mainly the introduction of Heroes.
The Dunes of Despair bonus objective, and especially on Hard mode, is very difficult, even with other players or heroes. You have to defend a single ghostly hero NPC (who does not even attack his aggressors) from increasingly difficult waves of mobs, and constant artillery fire from the siege wurms. You can kill those wurms, but they have a lot of armour and health, and except for maybe the first 2 you can't leave the ghostly hero alone that long. That's the normal mission. The bonus objective requires you to go and leave him and kill 3 bosses sitting together in a fortress with some other mobs. The professions of the bosses is completely random between the original six, with maximum 1 per profession, so if you get a monk boss, you'll have a hard time outdamaging him. You still have to keep the Ghostly hero alive, so you'll probably split up with 2 or 3 defending him, and the remaining 4 or 3 going after the bosses (because at that point of the story line your party size is still limited to 6).
It's possible with some gimmick tactic to kill the bosses before you trigger the assault on the ghostly hero, but it relies on luck even more so than hoping the enemy bosses don't have a monk amongst them. You basically lure one of the mobs outside of the arena you're in to you (if one happens to wander into longbow range), kill it before it manages to run away (which it will do if you take too long), and then use one particular spell to teleport to its corpse. Then, you all kill yourself through vampiric weapons which give you a small amount of degeneration, and then the one that teleported over uses a teleporting resurrect to get you on his side so you can use all 6 of you to kill those bosses.
Nahpui Quarter. The mission: Kill the 4 Celestial Creatures - the Kirin, the Turtle, the Dragon, and the Phoenix. Sounds simple, right? Except that every time you kill one, miniature versions of it start spawning around the mission, forcing you to fight them as well as the Star Tengu that were already there. Oh, and those celestial critters are non-fleshy, so they're immune to bleeding, poison, and disease, and they don't leave usable corpses. Any minion masters or other corpse-exploiting necromancers will have to compete with the mini-Turtles for the few Tengu corpses, as they'll be trying to use them for wells. And did I mention that to get the best reward, there's a 25-minute time limit?
There are a few when it comes to its sequel as well.
All of Orr, the three endgame zones, are considered this by many players. Hordes upon hordes of Risen, enormous amounts of events which spawn more Risen, waypoints that are few and far between and often contested due to the enormous amount of events, and the fact that's it's a very bleak place in general, in contrast to 90% of the rest of the game world, which is vibrant and colourful and a joy to explore.
For story missions, A Light in the Darkness could count. At one point, the player, likely alone, must face around three-four Risen Giants, five-six Abominations, and a horde of lesser Risen, all at the same time. Some NPCs fight alongside you, but, being NPCs, they die quickly.
The Battle of Claw Island can also be this, particularly one part where you need to find a Lionguard commander and bring her back to a fortress that's under assault. Chances are, the Risen assaulting the fortress have already killed her, so you need to revive her, while she's in the middle of a horde of Risen. And you can't fight back while you're reviving.
Final Fantasy XI
Valkurm Dunes. It's generally where people first start forming full parties and requiring party roles/strategies, so there's a lot of inexperienced players around and a lot of people will screw things up. It has a tunnel with bats that will attack you and most likely kill you if you're alone that you'll probably have to go through if you came from Bastok. Pretty much everybody levels from around 10 to 20 there, so it's hard to really avoid going there unless you want to solo through all those levels (which has admittedly become easier with the addition of Field Manuals). And if you started out in Windurst? Expect a long trip to get there, during which you'll have to sneak through several areas full of enemies that can easily kill you, then wait for a boat to arrive to take you where you need to go.
And there is a chance to have insanely strong mobs spawn on the ship during the ride.
For a time Yhoator Jungle was worse. In addition to being a fairly early area to level in, with all of the newness that such a situation it implies, all of the parties would be lined up in the trenches that made up the zone. If one group of the far end unwittingly aggro'ed a Goblin (often too hard to fight with a party at the level typically found in the zone), they'd run it to the zone line. At which point the Goblin would walk back to where it came from, almost certainly aggro'ing another party in the confined space along the way. This cycle could repeat itself all night. Finally, the dev team put out a patch that had mobs despawn and respawn back at their spawn point, solving the problem. Though it's still tedious to get to the zone and most of the inhabitants are still morons.
Valkurm and Yhoator are more Scrappy Levels than That One Level. However, pretty much every "dungeon" level of the Chains of Promathia expansion pack was That One Level. And every boss in the Expansion could be That One Boss, but that's besides the point. The Promyvion zones below are Co P areas.
The Phomiuna Aqueducts is a zone with small areas True Sight (can see if even if you're invisible) Tauri mobs in most every hallway, and those mobs can inflict Doom upon targets, which will instantly kill the target when the countdown reaches zero. There's the Cursna spell that is supposed to erase curses like Doom, but it's not guaranteed to work. In fact, it has a very sad rate of working, to the point it's usually easier for the White Mage to let you die and Raise you.
Sacrarium is essentially the same zone, but at a higher level.
The Promyvion dungeons may look pretty and have soothing music, but they are the very definition of hell. All of the mobs have true sight and are later on difficult enough to wipe out your party in minutes, especially the spider/strider that spawns from the deepest depths of hell, and all of the mobs are packed together. You have to do some tricky maneuvering to get around them sometimes, and if you attract one's attention (or more than one, more than likely), you're going to have to take one for the team and hope you die away from the path of the mob so you can safely reraise. You only have a prayer if you have a group of people you normally work with, or you managed to round up a rag tag group of competent party members. As for the dungeon layout itself, there are only a few levels to work your way through, but past floor one, there are several different places where the exit to the next level could be located. When you were lucky enough to find said exit, you had to beat up a mini-boss that spawns Goddamn Bats and does throw-back AoE damage. Then there are the actual bosses at the end of the journey through hell. Fuck up, and you get to do this ALL OVER AGAIN. And this is only the BEGINNING of the incredibly long set of missions that will have you smashing your head through your monitor.
Better question, how is the airship mission not mentioned? This mission, before being nerfed, required several hundred thousand gil (the equivalent of several DOZEN hours of gil farming) and even to this day requires a few dozen thousand per person. To say nothing of the fact that if your setup is not absolutely perfect with exactly the right classes you are nearly guaranteed to fail before you've even begun. There was nothing quite like killing the omega weapon only to run out of liquids with the ultima weapon at less than 50% and wipe. There are several people on every server who have literally done this mission dozens of times and spent millions of gil without a single successful attempt. It's that bad.
The "Jeuno Run" was this combined with Guide Dang It. For a long time, almost all leveling in the 20+ range happened around Jeuno, so you had to go there to get a party. Also, you had to go there to do the quest to be allowed to ride chocobos, so you don't get access to the easy way to move across most zones until after you have run to Jeuno around level 20.
You had to cross several zones with mobs that could basically kill you instantly if they attacked you.
At NA release, the deodorize/sneak/invisible potions, which make this fairly easy to do, were far too expensive for most players to purchase. It is possible, but very difficult and time consuming, to do it without any of these buffs.
If you got to Jeuno and didn't look up what items you need for the chocobo quest before hand, you better hope someone was selling them in the Jeuno auction house. Otherwise you needed to run back to one of the starting areas. You needed four items from hares found in very specific areas that you have no other reason to fight (too annoying to fight for experience, no other quests require you to kill them, and they are non-aggressive so you don't need to fight them in self defense).
An expansion goes one better and introduced a reverse Jeuno Run by sending you into the past. This is even worse because the levels of enemies in these zones are basically arbitrary, so you can see a level 20 mob near a level 95+ mob. On top of that, most of the zones are zones found in the present, but there are little twists to the map. For example, the exit to the next zone is an area usually blocked off. A place that used to be a safe haven is now crawling with aggressive mobs. Paths are just flat out blocked in a few areas. On top of that, you are again not allowed to use chocobos in this area until you complete another quest.
Plane of Sky, the third of the three original planes. To even enter the Plane of Sky required a wizard to teleport each group individually, which consumed a very expensive reagent with each cast. To introduce you to the level of obnoxious difficulty you were about to encounter, all buffs were stripped upon entering the plane. All the boss mobs would disappear if not killed within 80 minutes of spawning them, and each was required to progress to the next island. However, if you went too quickly, Sirran (your 'guide', for lack of a better term) would not respawn correctly and you could also get stuck and fail that way. Conversing with Sirran could also break the progression or cause him to kill you. Area effect spells on the first island would aggro a room full of NPCs from an island below. Some islands had instant aggro the moment you arrived; others had wildly pathing mobs; others had mobs that split when you killed them; the difficulty of all mobs started at very hard and got worse from there. On the 8th and final island, the boss "The Eye of Veeshan" had a Death Touch capability, which meant he called a player's name every 30 seconds and they dropped dead, in a game where penalties for death were notoriously brutal. To top it all off, all the island bosses were on a 7-day respawn timer, so if you failed to make it to the top you had to wait a full week before being able to try again.
In addition, the company did not allow customer service to respond to issues in the three original planes, because they were supposed to be difficult. This meant if there was a glitch and you got stuck in a wall, you were stuck.
Chardok (Kunark). This zone starts with a zone-in trap; the zone-out is a modest distance away, but with wandering mobs in between. Absolutely terrible pathing could result in huge swarms of sarnaks and mean little dog creatures appearing from nowhere in an instant. Deep inside were required parts for epic weapons for three classes, past hidden trap doors, all in close quarters with terrible pathing. And then there was the Queen, an absolute nightmare for the unprepared.
Uqua, the Ocean God Chantry. It was released in Gates of Discord, an expansion seemingly tuned around being higher level than you actually could reach. You enter the zone, and you get hit with a zone-wide debuff that decreased all of your stats by 250 points(intelligence/wisdom by 350). Step a few feet in, and traps of between 2 and 6 monsters spawn and attack. Raid wipes were common on even the first trap, due to the ghost adds that spawned upon player death, causing chain reactions and overwhelming numbers, wiping out your 54 man raid force. In addition to these hazards, there is a room made solely for killing the raid: the gas chamber. It is a room with keys on a table, and only 1 key will open the door. the room will send a message to someone in the raid as to which key will unlock the door. but taking too long will release the gas. Select the wrong key, gas. Could be "Key A or Key B" in the message? It's a trick, more gas! Once finally out of the murderbox, you are forced to split your raid force in half to fight 2 monsters in opposite rooms. The "twins" as they're known, will often send players into the opposite room, resulting in possible failure due to a tank or healer being stolen from your half of the raid. After the twins are dead, you reach....another gas chamber. Finally, after a room that swarms you with ghosts and beating up a big golem, you reach the boss, Vrex Barxt Qurat. In addition to the normal threat of being killed, if you do things in the incorrect order, you fail the raid, wasting a 5 hour raid day. Between this zone and the rest of the expansion, many players left to greener pastures of EverQuest II and World of Warcraft.
The Temple of Twilight in the Dark Age Of Camelot Trials of Atlantis expansion. Clearing this dungeon was the third of eight steps into completing the Master Level trials, which granted new RvR abilities. 80% of the dungeon was underwater, meaning tons of annoying monsters attacking you from every direction, and going through the dungeon was slow because you were swimming. It was also surprisingly boring: most of the action is at the end when you fight Medusa, the rest of the time is spent farming mobs in the underwater tunnels to get dropped items to trade for keys. And there's always someone who forgets to bring water-breathing potions.
Similar to the Jita example above, in old-school Asherons Calleverybody hated the town of Arwic. It was just a hop, skip, and jump from the Abandoned Mine, a dungeon called the "subway" since it had portals that could take you to key locations all over the gameworld. This meant that it was always crowded, laggy, full of inane chatter, and subject to portal storms. It got so bad that eventually the developers had the game's first Big BadKick the Dog by blowing it off the map with the magical equivalent of a tactical nuke. It was rebuilt a few months later as a collection of shopkeepers and basic amenities scattered around the edge of the crater, which alleviated the overcrowding immensely.
GBL Laboratory in Dungeon Fighter Online. Consider that the American version has a level cap of 40 and the level was designed for characters level 50. They even decided to put it in after the set of level 35 dungeons, while barely removing any enemies. Add the fact that two long quest series require beating the level on the highest difficulties many times, in order to get two legendary weapons that become obsolete in a few levels. Hilarity Ensues
And later on, there's Scoria Core. Finishing all the quests requires completing the dungeon about 15 times, mainly because of one that requires 100 of an item that drops from the dungeon's boss monsters. This quest alone requires 10 or more (usually more) runs. To make things worse, the dungeon itself is a pain- it's filled with Soul Eaters, an enemy that saps MP (which can cripple a team's offense), and lava pits, which inflict a poison-style effect that takes off a good chunk of health. To make things worse, players who are on fire inflict damage on their teammates if they come into contact (and there are enemies who also share this effect). Additionally, this is the first time most people will encounter the status effect, and when players are damaged by burning teammates/enemies the effect does very little (really nothing) to indicate where the damage is coming from.
Ragnarok Online. Lighthalzen Bio-Labs Level 3. It is home to superpowered ghost versions of the 2-1 transcendents (Lord Knight, Sin X, Sniper, etc) whose normal attacks hit for 4-digit damage. Any and all of them can be your personal Demonic Spider, but among the worst is Kathryne Keyron, the High Wiz. She's ghost type, making her immune to the Extremity Fist packed by the Monks and Champions who regularly frequent the area. If you're a Sniper, the only other job class that can reliably solo here, fellow Sniper Cecil Damon is around to make your life miserable. Luckily, the usual experience penalty upon death is nonexistent here - for commercial servers, anyway. Free To Play players are still out of luck.
And Freya help you if that Cecil Damon you just shot is actually the MVP Sniper Cecil. The fact that all of the MVPs look identical to their normal counterparts is particularly frustrating.
Freya help you if someone used a Dead/Bloody Branch to summon a Sniper Cecil-outside of Prontera!
Minnie's Melodyland isn't criticized for being particularly hard, but for being boring.
MapleStory has a lot of irritating missions, but the undisputed king of them all are the jump quests. They're crazy-difficult platform segments full of hazards that can knock you back to the beginning with ridiculous ease, they're long, they're completely at odds with every other aspect of the game, and the rewards are nowhere near enough for the agony you have to endure to complete even the simplest of them.
Both of these dungeons are where Newbies that are fresh off of the training course are directed to.
Runescape possesses one of these in the form of the quest "Ratcatchers", namely around half-way in the quest where you must do a forced stealth mission in order to kill some rats with your cat. However, this part of the quest suffers from heavily bugged AI. Meaning guards will often spot you behind walls, when they're not facing you and often walking out of their patrol routes into places where they are completely unavoidable. Thankfully, a fix has made this quest less frustrating, but god help you if you're doing this quest with only a kitten, as you wills spend hours watching your chatbox filling up with "Your kitten fails to catch the rat".
While frustrating, that doesn't have the straight-up difficulty of some other parts of the game. The quest Nomad's Requiem requires you to kill a level 699 boss. He has one attack that will do 750 damage (and your max health is 990) unless you avoid it, makes copies of himself that hit way too high, and another attack that will kill you unless you're at or above full health. Combine this with attacks in between that regularly hit 200+, and you have a boss that few have killed in less than 5 tries and that some have taken 20+ attempts to kill.
Mourning's End, pt. II is another example. The quest revolves around solving several light puzzles inside of a massive underground temple called the Temple of Light. While this would be a fair challenge on it's own, the temple is packed with Shadows that are always aggressive and frequently deal up to 130 damage. Worse still is there's also a section where you must use your agility to crawl across wall supports to reach more pieces of the puzzle. Even at 65 Agility, you'll still fail dozens of times, causing you to fall to the floor below.
Dungeoneering. All kinds of enemies, skill puzzles that have a strange tendency to deal around 20-50% of your health in damage for failing, just plain puzzles that require thinking of a solution while taking damage (or at the risk of dying, which has SEVERE consequences)...actually, EVERYTHING about the skill is frustrating. The bosses sometimes end up easier than the rest of the floor...or, in some cases (cough cough Stomp), they make every floor done to date look easy.
Elemental Workshop III. You're given a huge 8x8 grid, and you're told (via pictogram) that you need to use this grid to charge and operate a machine. It's recommended that when you do this quest, you have a couple aspirin handy, because you WILL have a headache afterward.
The final part of Some Like It Cold. You're escaping from pursuing seals in a heavily damaged submarine. To defeat the seals, you play a game of Battleship. You know, that game that's heavily luck-based. Meanwhile, the submarine is falling apart at the seams, and you have to assign your crewmembers to hold it together. There's four crewmembers, but five different parts that need to be constantly repaired or the sub's health will decrease. Oh, and every time you get hit in Battlefish, the submarine's maximum health is decreased. It really all boils down to luck.
FusionFall has the quest added with Ice King Invasion, "Princess Princess Princess." It has absolutely nothing to do with combat and everything to do with your platforming skills, and the game decides to throw you a bunch of momentum-based platforming. And if you fall at any point, unless you miraculously land on a platform (which you probably won't) you get to do the whole thing over again.
I have to add in the changed Numbuh Two Nano mission Sector Defense. Its one of the first Nano missions and you have to destroy four monsters each near one of the chains of the KND treehouse, which are separated fare. Oh, and you have to do this in UNDER A MINUTE. And because this is one of the first missions, a lot of new players are doing the same mission there are and the monster doesn't spawn nearly as fast.
If you're not a stealth-based class such as a rogue or a ranger, the early-level "Stealthy Repossession" quest from Dungeons & Dragons Online will cause you to tear your hair out. The quest requires you to steal a worthless gem that a small-time con sold to a kobold proclaiming it to be the "Eye of Khyber," which resulted in a fanatical cult of the Dragon Below springing up surrounding the Eye. Until you steal the worthless gem, you cannot kill more than five of the Kobold Prophets without failing the quest. Stealth-based classes can simply ghost through the instance like the freakin' ninjas they are, but everyone else either has to use spells to keep the Prophets tied up, or run like hell. The problem with this is that once a Prophet has been alerted to your presence, he'll run for the gong and ring it, bringing down a load of enemies on your head, who will happily Interrupt any attempt to pull a lever to advance through the instance if they catch up to you. And since the Prophets love to join in any mass kobold fight against you, killing the other kobolds without killing the Prophets is problematic at best. And if you simply run through without engaging anyone, you will start incurring Dungeon Alerts, which opens up the biggest source of aggravation for nonstealth players in this instance — the Harried status effect, which massively reduces the movement speed of players who are hit in mass aggro situations, and if it gets too bad, you won't be able to move AT ALL without turning around and killing everything (see note on killing kobolds above). And all the while, a harried player is getting pelted with projectiles, spells and other attacks, meaning that Death By A Thousand Cuts is a very strong possibility.
And "Proof is in the Poison" is stated in the DDO Wiki to be one of the most difficult quests in the game and that a party going in needs to be over-powered compared to any other level 4 mission. The Quickfoot Casters on the bridge alone have led to many a Total Party Kill of an unprepared party, and that's not even mentioning the traps, or the other casters that use Melf's Acid Arrow as their main attack.
Most of the That One Level examples in DDO are not so bad once you've done the quest a few times and know it, but who didn't want to engage in senseless violence against their computer during their first run of such quests as The Pit, The Coalescent Chamber, Rainbow in the Dark, or Inferno of the Damned?
Another nasty one is The Crucible. Early on in the quest is the Maze of Cunning. It's a confusing maze with three crests you have to find, as well as three levers that your party has to stand on, various monsters inside and bow- and magic-wielding gnolls on the walls, the latter of which will happily trip you with Cometfall. Assuming you make it through this section without having to leave the computer, there's two separate portions where you have to send one guy to run through an area with multiple traps, one of which requires jumping and another that's underwater. And if they die, your Cleric probably isn't going to make it in there to resurrect them.
The Thai MMO 12 Tails Online has several of these.
Mission 3-6 falls between this and Early Bird Boss. The battle consists of three Rock Bugs, which charge at players for heavy damage, as well as tripping them. Since player speeds are very slow at this point, it is extremely difficult even for speedy characters to dodge one, let alone three. Gang-ups can occur that will wipe out a single party member. They also introduce the player to unavoidable movement lock spells, which can only be negated if certain classes pick a very specific skill in their tree.
Mission 4-5: Wind Valley 1 is a veritable pain in the tail. Characters in the game travel fairly slowly, but in this level you have to traverse a long canyon of wind pushing you backwards, slowing you to the breakneck pace of about half a meter per second. But that's not all, there are occasional cactus enemies who will punch you if you get too close. And some of them are underground (you can't see them). Additionally, there is a constant barrage of miniature cacti that will push you back a huge distance and deal ten damage. While ten damage isn't a huge deal, they'll knock you back a long distance, and when you get KO'd (but not killed) your helpless body will get bombarded by tons of the little buggers! Oh, and guess what: when you reach the end, there's a wall of large cactus enemies that you somehow have to get through/around while the wind is still pushing you back. Thought you were done? Haha, that's so naive of you! Of course you're not done! Last of all you have to compete in a battle with two enormous monsters in an enclosed space, now that you're out of potions and low on health! Hope you don't die! Oh, too bad! Have fun navigating the valley again! RAGE.
Mission 9-6: Shadow God Zera has broken the spirits of many. The level has five shadow crystals that must be destroyed in order to move on, each with at least one clone of Zera next to them that will attack you with Coma (an unavoidable status attack that temporarily sets the player's HP to 13) and Doom (An avoidable attack that always deals 300 damage) in alternation. Some of the crystals are in aggro range of two Zeras, meaning that you will find yourself constantly running, in fear of a Coma+Doom combo. The place is also littered with several weak Shades that, in this situation can Cherry Tap you for a cheap kill with their guided projectile attacks. Oh, and if you're playing with friends, missteps caused by lag can easily result in death. Destroying all five will then open the way to the boss arena, which has three more Shadow Crystals, constantly respawning Shades, and all four copies of Zera in your sight, spamming their Coma+Doom combo. Managed to avoid dying and destroyed all three crystals? Good, now here's another set of them for you to destroy. Do it again. Fifteen more times.
Granado Espada's Judgement Day questline, and by extension, Tora's recruitment quest. Both requires you to traverse through the insanely high-end Lucifer Castle at least three times, sneaking past enemies and traps that will One-Hit Kill anyone who isn't invulnerable to damage, meaning that you will need to spam dozens upon dozens of Soul Crystals just to get to the quest point. Worse part? You can't save warps inside, so if you need to get out to talk to an NPC in town, be prepared to walk from the start. Worst part? This is part of the main storyline, meaning if you want to proceed further, you need to finish this questline.
Also, overlapping with That One Boss: Time Paradox, Rose. Main reason why this is That One Level material is because the whole raid will screw the entire squad up if anyone in the raid isn't careful. Taking down the boss to certain HP levels will cause it to spawn flowers that will spawn mini versions (though equally as painful) of the boss once their bars become full, or when you kill them, basically SNAFU if you don't lure the boss somewhere far from the patch of are where it spawned the flowers.
Ask most players of The Kingdom of Loathing, and you'll find the most frequently despised quest is the Quest for the Holy MacGuffin, the level 11 quest. As opposed to the previous ten levels worth of main quests, each of which are fairly self-contained in one area of the game each, the MacGuffin quest has you running all over the Kingdom on six different mini-quests (one to get your father's diary, three for the key to the final area, one to find the final area itself, one to find the MacGuffin), each with its own set of annoying mechanics. Heavy on inventory-clicking? Identifying four otherwise similar spheres by combat results alone, leaving yourself open to attack while doing so? (possibly) Backtracking to a low-level area to waste turns looking for two items to drop? Bouncing back and forth for five turns at a time between the desert and the oasis? It's all there. A shame, too, since that's the most interesting part of the game, just the most annoying game-wise.
Very few people like the Level 9 quest revamp. First you have to spend multiple turns gathering parts to build a bridge; while there are ways to speed this up, they're not hinted at all. Once you get through that, there's the Peaks. A-Boo Peak is easiest (you fight ghosts), but the constant bashing of the Star Wars prequels and certain parts of the Star Trek franchise gets old instantly. Oil Peak can be a pain due to requiring Monster Level adjustments to do it faster. And Twin Peak is utterly despised - you get only the vaguest hint what you need to get past its tests, and if you fail, you don't get any hints as to what you did wrong! (There is an Anti-Frustration Feature, but that takes fifty turns to trigger.)
The Level 12 quest, where you have to start a war and finish it all by yourself on the Mysterious Island of Mystery. Like the previous quest (Level 11, mentioned above), in order to increase the amount if enemies you kill for each victory in the battlefield, you have to do miniquests all around the Island. Some of them are fun (like Defowl the Farm, where you have to beat up a bunch of giant ducks, and there are many different types of them making it pretty interesting), the others not so much, like Recover the Sister's Meat, where you have to beat up 50-100 identical thugs that don't drop anything besides meat, which is taken by sisters anyway. Oh, and it's the only miniquest where you have to be dressed as a War Hippy/Frat Warrior, and those aren't the best equipment sets out there. Or Advertise for the Mysterious Island Arena, where you have to slap flyers on lots of monsters outside the Battlefield. Granted, you can use flyers on monsters from other miniquests, but it's not guaranteed that those will be enough to please your quest giver. Ignoring those miniquests is not recommended, as otherwise you will have to spend 1000 turns in the Battlefield. Oh, and the boss at the end - he's not exactly hard, but has tons of health, and you may have problems if you're not strong enough.
If you play Spiral Knights, you will have (soon or later) entered an Arena, where each chamber involves facing multiple waves of enemies according to the elemental type of the level. This can become a major problem when the element happens to be Ice or Electricity (a few patches ago, Fire also counted). One of the rounds will invariably involve 10+ turrets, which in the midgame can fire 3 shots of status-inducing goodness at once. Freeze sticks you in place, ready to be mobbed by the other enemies, while Shock causes you to occasionally pause, spasm and take damage. This can also result in you being mobbed and quickly dying. Ice or Electric Arenas can easily consume hundreds (even thousands) of energy on a particularly bad run.
It's not so hard if you're prepared though. Note that Arenas is one of the most rewarding levels to fight in.
Forget about Arena. There's a reason players don't like entering Danger Rooms often, especially one that cost 5 energy to open.
The expansion mission, Operation: Crimson Hammer, is a nasty one. There's plenty of Gremlins, including two new types of Gremlin. Mortafires, gremlins with large shields and mortars, aren't too tough to avoid, but they're very time-consuming to fight, especially solo. Ghostmane Stalkers are ninja gremlins with buzzsaws that can turn invisible. They can't attack while invisible, but they can cause a Death Mark status which lowers defenses. And unless you break their cloak, which is tough to manage without a dedicated haze-bomber, they don't stay visible for long. Aside from these new enemies, the mission itself has some very difficult rooms; a good example is the cramped room with a Battle Pod and various Gremlins and Gremlin Spawners, as well as the particularly nasty Mecha Knights. Finally, there's the boss of the mission, Warmaster Seerus. There's five phases to the fight, two of which involve running around in the boss room dodging rockets, lasers, and respawning Gremlins while waiting for a central Battle Pod's shield to drop. Warmaster Seerus himself runs quickly, drops large-range bombs that deal Shadow damage, and has a hammer that causes four-way explosions when swung. And the entirety of the fight is zoomed out, which is good for watching where you are in relation to the Battle Pods, but also good for hurting your eyes.
The Shadow Lairs are very difficult. First, it costs 1800 energy just to get the key to enter one; though a full party can split the cost, that's still 450 energy per party member. The Lairs themselves have similar floor layouts to the different boss areas (Gloaming Wildwoods, Royal Jelly Palace, Ironclaw Munitions Factory, and Firestorm Citadel) but the difficulty is highly increased, with more enemies in more cramped areas. Each of the levels gets an extra status theme, too; Ironclaw Munitions Factory keeps its Shock theme as well as the new Fire theme, and Firestorm Citadel has the Carnavon, a Slag Walker with cursed breath and a shield on its back. Each Shadow Lair boss gets the new status and increased abilities (in the Snarbolax's case, an EXTRA Snarbolax is added to the arena, as well as a respawning Silkwing) and a Swarm Seed is added into the boss room. This Swarm Seed generates a large shadowy zone that increases enemies' defenses and slows down Knights inside- and this is while the boss is mauling/squashing/firing at/swinging at the Knights. Finally, once that's done, there's the Unknown Passage, which contains Void-based enemies that don't drop anything, as well as invincible Swarm Turrets and more Swarm Seeds throughout. The final section of the Unknown Passage swarms you with them. Make no mistake, you WILL need to energy revive.
In May 2013, a new level was added to the Clockworks: Compounds. These aggravating levels have the widest variety of enemies in the entire game — combinations of Slimes, Constructs, and Fiends are not uncommon, for example. Also, you're going to get mobbed by new mini-monsters (Dust Bunnies in the Ravenous Warrens, Scarabs in the Chittering Burrows, and Glop Drops in the Creeping Colonies) that rarely drop anything of value. As if that wasn't bad enough, near the end of every compound is a large room where the mini-monsters respawn infinitely and the only way out is by pressing a bunch of hidden buttons that, when activated, release enemies into the room. THEN you can finally leave this monster-infested hellhole... and take the elevator straight to another compound.
Mabinogi's G2 Paladin storyline. In a game where rushing into a dungeon alone pretty much means suicide, they make a entire chain of quest with 90% solo dungeons. Cue ragequits from pure mages and archers after reaching a certain dungeon with a monster that can't be knocked back.
Dungeons at least give you the benefit of reviving at the last statue - Generation 11 brings in Shadow Missions, in which enemies get their stats doubled for about every hundred Empty Levels you earn, you have to restart completely if you die, and everything is chock full of gimmick pain missions like Timed Level and Escort Mission. Pain all of the way through.
Theobomos Secret Labs dungeon in Aion can take upwards of 6 hours to complete, and that's if you manage to scrape together a team that actually knows what to do. The fact that it's so far away from any quick transport means it can take 20 minutes to back to the instance if you wipe.
There's a mission in the "Romulan Mystery" arc on the Federation faction, where you have to fight two Romulan battleships equipped with plasma torpedoes that can be either high yield or cluster sprayed, which means that your ship is constantly taking damage from the plasma burns, and at the time, you are using a tier three ship, which is either a pathetic heavy cruiser, a science vessel with moderate shields, or a heavy escort with hardly any hull strength and slow regeneration. (That's assuming you played the storyline straight through, of course. If you get into side missions and so forth it's not uncommon to hit the level cap before you finish the "Klingon War" arc.)
"Assimilated", in which you and your crew must work your way through a Borg cube absolutely crawling with huge numbers of drones, searching through hazards and occasional ambushes for a randomly-placed transporter... and then achieve a series of objectives in a room stuffed with a good fifty or sixty Borg. If you fight through it you will probably die. But even if you switch your bridge officers to passive, one ambush in the wrong place can lead to a Zerg Rush. Suffice it to say this mission drew a lot of screaming on the forums from people running it for the first time.
"Devil's Choice", the final mission of the Elachi storyline for the Romulans, was this at first; fighting three Sheshar dreadnoughts and dozens of Monbosh battleship escorts, all using crowd-control abilities and Scimitar-esque one-shot kill weapons. Elachi mobs got hit with the nerf-bat later.
"Hive: Onslaught", especially on Elite, and most certainly if you want the optional. First stage: Dozens of Borg cubes, spheres, and tactical cubes. Second stage: Two Borg unimatrixes, boss ships with an extra One-Hit Kill attack in addition to their usual one, and the extra one, a plasma lance, can hit you from 30 kilometers away. Also you're supposed to be able to avoid being targeted by staying next to the shielded Borg Tetrahedron containing the Borg queen, but sometimes they'll lance you there anyway because of a bug. Final stage: The Borg tetrahedron, easily a match for five player-piloted ships. No matter what you're flying, expect to die at least twice before you're done.
"Boldly They Rode" is disliked because the EVA portion takes freaking forever. You can't run on the exterior of Deep Space 9, or even walk normally; all you can do is shuffle or use your suit jets. And the suit jets can only fly between beacons, which frequently aren't placed remotely conveniently to where you need to be.