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The Dreadmines and the Scarlet Something or Other September 26, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Instance Group, Neverwinter.
Tags: , ,

Not a World of Warcraft post.

Saturday night rolled around again, as is its habit, and it found three of us online and looking for adventure.  I think we might be ready for a game like Borderlands 2 or such at this point.  Needing to accommodate five people is slipping as a requirement.

So there we were.  I think we have actually settled on characters now, so I will start listing them out.  We had:

  • Fergorin Ironhelm – Level 12 Guardian Fighter
  • Regulos – Level 12 Devote Cleric
  • Sans Serif – Level 12 Trickster Rogue

I actually went and played some Neverwinter on a weeknight to catch up, which I suppose is a good sign for the game.  Though, in doing so, I ran a quest that gave me another bag, thus removing from immediate contention possibly the only item in their store I would consider buying.  Nice move Cryptic.  I was this close *holds up two fingers very close together* to pulling the trigger on a buying some Zen, and then you handed me an out.

I also gained my stealth skill, another attack, and some upgraded equipment.  I was ready… or more ready… to go.

After our previous venture into Neverwinter, where the Foundry came through for us, we chatted a bit afterwards about the Foundry tool set and what it was possible to build.  During that conversation I demonstrated what an unoriginal hack I was by declaring that if I was going to make dungeons in Neverwinter, I would just remake the good ones from WoW.

That got a chuckle and few comments before we logged off for the night.

This past weekend however Potshot, who is our Foundry expert and scout, said he had a special surprise for us.  He had been exploring the Foundry and had a couple of dungeons lined up for us.

More after the cut because of too many pictures which I probably think are more amusing than they really are.  My apologies in advance.

We waited.

Then Potshot shared the quest which brought us to the Scarlet Library.

Scarlet Library Neverwinter

Yes, there we were, ready to face what happens when somebody takes the Foundry tools and attempts to recreate a classic WoW instance.

It was done in a tongue-in-cheek manner.  You enter the area where you get your real dungeon assignment and find yourself sharing it with an NPC party that represents the stereotypical WoW instance group, circa 2008.  There is the OP rogue, the bubbles FTW pally, the LOL noobhunter, the furry druid, and the sexy dancing female elf healer.   Each of them has a dialog you can read through that sets out their view of the world, which is amusing enough.

The real quest giver, however, is dismayed by this NPC group and wants to send your team off instead to take out the suspiciously familiar Wolfmaster Loskey and Arcanus Doran.  So off we went to see how things went.

All in all, it was a reasonable reproduction, given the different engine and tool set used to create it.  We stepped in and found ourselves, as expected, in a hallway staff with bad guys.

Looking into a hallway

Looking into a hallway

We made our way around to the courtyard, which was actually just about as good as you could expect.

In the courtyard

In the courtyard

The lighting was actually a bit odd.  There was no open sky at the top of the courtyard.  Rather, it looked like somebody installed stadium lights in a high ceiling.  We cleared out the requisite mobs, all dressed in red and patrolling, just like the real thing, then found Loskey.

Wolfmaster Loskey

Wolfmaster Loskey

The Loskey room was a reasonable reproduction, though the fight was a lot easier.  We were running three people in an instance that is really meant to be solo I gather.   And, of course, the loot wasn’t the same, being constrained by the game.

In the grand tradition of the old instance, we managed to proximity pull mobs from the side rooms, which were placed just about right.

One of the side rooms

One of the side rooms

It was interesting to hear Potshot speak about what he was seeing.  He has been spending time with the Foundry in order to fulfill his long denied dungeon master streak.  So he is our resident expert on what is possible.  So he spotted, for example, how the author tried to work around limitations in order to recreate the long hall to the final boss by linking together several narrow rooms in a row.

Looking down the long hall

Looking down the long hall

Compared to the original, the effect was not bad.

Another hallway in the Library

The real Scarlet Monastery

The junction rooms in the U-turn that lead back around to the final boss were about perfect, down to the books on the side benches.  We rolled around and up that last hall to find ourselves at Arcanus Doran.

A simulated library

A simulated library

His room wasn’t perfect, but it was decent.  We of course defeated Doran handily.  And after the fight the loot chest spawned behind him, which does hearken back to the original.  After the fight we also found the group of NPC adventurers celebrating our victory.  The sexy elf healer had even managed to strip down to her undies to dance, just like WoW.

The NPCs celebrate

The NPCs celebrate

Potshot wasn’t even aware that disrobing NPCs were possible.  It was a learning experience for him.

Done with the library, we were on to part two of the experience, Return to Azerothia.


As the first instance was an attempt to recreate the library wing of the Scarlet Monastery, this was a recreation of the cathedral wing.  Unfortunately, while the library wing in WoW did not change until the big instance merge with Mists of Pandaria (when the library and armory were merged along with the graveyard and cathedral) the cathedral wing was changed up for Cataclysm.

So while the library segment was an old familiar tale that I must have run a dozen times or more, I was only ever in the Cataclysm version of the cathedral once and I barely remember it.

I certainly don't remember it starting in a bedroom

I certainly don’t remember it starting in a bedroom

The trouble with being an old hand is that sometimes my nostalgia is older than the nostalgia of the current population.

Still, the environment was recognizable.

The courtyard before the cathedral

The courtyard before the cathedral

And the basics were about the same.  We had to clear the front yard.  That just involved a boss fight and unlocking a force field that was blocking our way into the cathedral.

And explosions, lots of explosions

And explosions, lots of explosions

The courtyard was another learning experience for Potshot, as he noted how the author handled the unlocking procedure.

Inside the cathedral, we found that group of NPC adventurers dead in the nave.  Again, each one had an interaction you could read.   This time it spelled out their demise.

We did our standard, old school cathedral routine, which was to clear everything and then approach the altar.  I vaguely remember this from our one run.

Party at the altar

Party at the altar

Events played out quickly then, in what ended up being a step by step boss fight which included an “Oh yeah, what about this!” dialog between each step.  Overpowered, we blew through it and completed the instance.

Done in time that would have been considered quick even for the current WoW versions of the instance, we discussed what to do next.  Potshot started looking at the recommended and highly rated list of dungeons for our level range.

I, however, was not done with the night’s theme.  Through some not-very-creative searching, I found what had to be our next adventure, The Dreadmines!


I think the number of plays for these instances alone says something.  I saw highly rated, five star dungeons on the top of the recommended list with ~1,500 plays, and here is a silly knock-off with 13.5K plays.

Anyway, we had to see it, so off we went

Dreadmines, near the Sword Coast

Dreadmines, near the Sword Coast

Entering the instance, we were not disappointed.  It set about the right atmosphere.

First peek into the Dreadmines

First peek into the Dreadmines

And unlike the Scarlet Monastery runs, the author of the Dreadmines attempted to recreate the original WoW experience as closely as he could.  That meant running into a vaguely familiar cast of characters.  There was Deens. (Do I have to tell you to spell it backwards?)

Deens going down

Deens going down

He appeared initially in his shredder.  However, there is no similar goblin contraption in the Foundry, so it was represented by a hulking set of armor.  Once that was defeated, he popped out for the second part of the fight.

There was the cannon.

What diameter is that thing?

What diameter is that thing?

Again, lacking a model, a cauldron had to play the role.  But we still had to go and find the gunpowder to set it off.

We found Smote at the gangplank to the grounded “airship.”

Smite Smote!

Smite Smote!

Smote was never this easy in Azeroth.

On deck we contended with two Captain Blueskin and Edwin Van Fleece.

Aboard the ship

Aboard the ship

Soon the deck of the ship was ours, which left just one more old friend to find, Chefie.

Not a bad murloc model

Not a bad murloc model from a distance

The run through was quick.  Again, there were three of us in a solo instance.  And the whole thing was done on a much smaller scale than the actual Deadmines.

Map of The Dreadmines

Map of The Dreadmines

But as far as giving people a taste of the original in a new format and showing people what could be done with the Foundry tools, it was a pretty decent run.  There was even a cave at the back through which to exit, just like the original.

Done with that, with time still available, and being unable to quickly find any more WoW knock-off instances that looked worthwhile (though I was tempted by something like Shadowtooth Keep), we opted to run one of the recommended instances.  We got a caravan guard quest that was actually pretty good and took us through several different environments until we found and defeated the bandit leader and saved the caravan.

But as a memorable event, it could not match our silly nostalgia runs through visions of Azeroth as seen through a Neverwinter lens.  And the efforts people had to go through in order to recreate those instances were clearly giving Potshot ideas.  At some point he will finish up his first dungeon, and you can be sure I will mention it here.

Other than that, the group advanced a couple of levels.  Or the three of us did, in any case.  We will see how that impacts what happens should all five of us show up at some point.

In the mean time, it was another decent evening in Neverwinter.  The game is starting to grow on me a bit.


1. bhagpuss - September 26, 2013

When the Dungeon Maker first came to EQ2 there was a brief fad for recreations, before all the single-room powerlevelers pushed everything else out of the top 10 and onto the second page, never to be seen or visited again. The DM doesn’t have the tools to do proper recreations – you can’t vary the layouts for a start – but I do remember one rather amusing recreation of EQ c. 1999 that gave us a few smiles.

I enjoyed making dungeons in EQ2 and I was looking forward to making at least one in Neverwinter but having to get to Level 15 before the option appeared turned out to be too high a barrier to entry. Maybe one day I’ll get round to it but somehow I think the ship has sailed.


2. Helistar - September 26, 2013

@bhagpuss: just level to level 11, then park your character at an altar and pray once or twice per day. I have one alt at level 27 this way :)


3. bhagpuss - September 27, 2013

@Helistar Someone else advised me to do that a while back and I spent about an hour both in-game and on Google trying to work out what an Altar was and where to find one, without success. I wasn’t *that* interested* so at that point I gave up and forgot about it.

I just googled it again and now I realize that what you’re talking about is the “Portable Altar”. I’d seen that term last time I searched but didn’t pursue it because I took “Altar” to mean some kind of fixed part of the infrastructure of the game, like a Temple or the Campfires, not an item I might be carrying around with me!

Now I actually know what I’m looking for I’ll give it a try, when I can make some time.


4. pkudude99 - September 27, 2013

Up by Sgt Knox the lady who give you the ability to Invoke is at an altar too. You can just stand next to her. I always invoked there before logging out, so with my stable of alts I could just go down the line and log in, invoke, log out, etc. Made it only take a minute or so to get them all, then actually play whichever toon I’d settled upon that day.


5. Solf - September 30, 2013

@bhagpuss — there’s fixed altar in the middle of the ‘city thingy’ you get to after tutorial. It’s hard to miss once you get there. Although you don’t get ability to pray (was it called invocation?) until some level — either 10 or 11.

Once you get the ability, you can pray up to three times per 24 hours to get some xp, rough astral diamonds and what not. You can actually pray once per hour, but rewards after the third are limited to temporary buffs.


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