The Instance is described in its website as the most popular WoW podcast on the web today. There is a reason that they are so popular – this podcast is very good indeed. Hosted by Scott Johnson of Extralife fame, and Randy “RandyDelux” Jordan of The Instance fame, these two guys really know what they’re doing.

The basic outline of each podcast episode follows some general topic themes which are always included in every show. These include, The Big News of the Week, The Town Crier, (where listeners phone in and email their questions), Rumors & Scuttlebutt, Quick-Fire Questions and more. Each of these formats is preceded by a very professional audio intro – when Turpster was a guest on the show he made the joke that he only knew the show through the quality of its intro’s.  The podcast rounds up with various collaborators own snippets. Patrick’s Mods of the Week, Mean Gene’s PvP tip of the week, Ask Buxley and more. The quality of these can sometimes be suspect, but the suspect ones tend to disappear from future episodes.

Occasionally the boys will have a guest on the show, but for the most part the show consists of just the two of them going through their regular routine. So why is this podcast so good?

First of all, from the relaxed and free-flowing banter you would assume that they were recording each episode sitting in the same room. In reality they’re usually a few thousand miles apart and recording on Skype. This speaks volumes for their professionalism and ability. They make it sound easy, when in reality it’s not, particularly when compared with other podcasts trying to do the same thing. However, the fact that there is just the two of them talking certainly makes things much easier, something which they are well aware of. Why make things hard for yourself? Having four people talking above one another is a recipe for disaster, as the WoWInsider podcast can attest to. If Scott and Randy do have a guest it will be just the one, and they will usually be restricted to just a section of the show. As it is, with just the two of them speaking the banter can fly back and forth without things breaking down. They also are very used to working with each other and know just when to back off and give the other time to have a nice rant on air.

The real reason that the show is so good however, is the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. Make no mistake, these shows are scripted. They know exactly what they are going to discuss and what each of their arguments will be when they sit down to record. This usually results in very in-depth and thought provoking discussions on whatever topic happens to be before them. They often disagree with one another, but they are happy to do so and often one of them will be turned around and swayed by their partners argument. While still keeping an underlying level of humor running throughout the show, their discussion and disection of the topics at hand are serious, intelligent and often deadly accurate.

Scott has a great ability to not let things get out of hand. While other shows will ramble on for 10-15 minutes at the beginning about what each of them is doing in WoW that week etc, Scott knows just when to hit that intro button for the Big News of the Week. He keeps the show moving at a brisk pace, as he understands that listeners often have short attention spans and want to hear the show progress towrds their favorite segments. The beauty of this show is that he is able to do this while still making it seem like two guys sitting around a fire with drinks in their hand yapping on about their favorite game.

Scott’s main is a Hunter while Randy plays a Priest, so there isn’t much joy for Rogues here. But the podcast is more about general WoW issues than getting down into the nitty gritty of class details. I highly recommend this podcast, it will not only keep you entertained but will ensure that you are up to date with everything that is happening in the World of Warcraft.