Saturday night was WoW instance night again. We had four out of five of our team on and had the possibility of the fifth joining us late, once he was done selling himself some wine, at a substantial markup, for tax reasons.
The lineup for the night was:
25 Priest – Skronk
25 Warlock – Bungholio
25 Rogue – Blintz (me)
25 Mage – Ula
27 Warrior – Earlthecat (late arrival)
Skronk and I were on a bit early, around 9pm, so we ran from Southshore over to Silverpine Forest and scouted a bit into the instance. What we saw made us believe we would have a smooth run. Most of the initial mobs were 18-20, far below the level of our group.
By about 9:40pm we had four of us on and started to assemble.
I have to say a word about our leader, Skronk the Meticulous. The week before we do an instance, Skronk goes off and researches it and posts a “homework” assignment to do before instance night. This is usually the flight points one should have and any quests one should pick up for the instance. This makes things go smoothly when we get to instance night as we don’t have to fumble around getting ready. Unless, of course, somebody doesn’t do their homework.
While we were all on by 9:40pm, we spent a while waiting while some people flew from Stormwind to Methil Harbor, then ran to Refugee Point, picked up that flight point, ran to South Shore, picked up that flight point, then ran to Silverpine Forest and Shadowfang Keep. So we did not actually get started until about 10:20pm, the intervening time occupied by the homework and a series of puns via obscure references from myself related to movies, television, and bad literature. I hope the threat of a repeat performance will get everybody to do their homework in advance in the future.
So we hit the instance at last.
The four of us rolled in, along with Mezzmon, Bung’s voidwalker and our starting tank, and did not have much problem. A lot of the mobs in Shadowfang Keep are close together, so it was rare we were able to pull singles, but even in twos and threes, we were handling fights without drama. In one of the first few fighter we got a rare drop, the Mindthrust Bracers.
We worked our way in to Rethilgore the Cell Keeper, dropped him and released Sorcerer Ashcrombe who, in turn, unlocked the door to the courtyard for us then disappeared. (When you go in as horde, you release Deathstalker Adamant for the same thing.)
The courtyard can be tricky. I could see a level 22 group getting themselves in trouble in here. There are a lot of mobs wandering around, so you almost always have to pull two or three and it is quite easy to mis-time things and end up with more. A modicum of patience and our small aggro radii served us well. We cleared out most of the courtyard and started working our way towards the far end.
At the far end, you have a choice. Like most choices, there is a better and a worse option. Here you can either go into the base of the keep or go around, up a ramp, and onto the battlements. We chose the battlements. The right choice is to go into the keep, but we figured that out later.
Not that the battlements is a completely wrong choice. We fought our way up the ramp and into the second story of the keep and eventually to Commander Springvale. He was the first named we hit with a good drop, the Commander’s Crest. Unfortunately, it is bind on pickup and Earl, our only shield user, wasn’t on yet, so it got disenchanted into a large glimmering shard.
From there we worked our way onto the walls of the keep. We did not get the rare load, the Deathsworn Captain. That seems to be our luck.
After crossing the walls, we ended up outside the room of Odo the Blindwatcher. He and his two bats are together in his room, and they are all linked, so when you get one, you get them all, despite the fact that the bats are across the room from Odo. We tried pulling just the bats, but got Odo as well. Still, it was a manageable fight at our level.
After Odo, you have to work your way through the keep, its tight corridors, twisty stairs, and crowded rooms. Sheep and shackle undead were our friends during this part. One of the most annoying mobs was the lupine horror, a ghost wolf that summons several followers during combat. The followers look just like the summoner, so if you are not careful, you can spend time chopping up the wrong mob. If you slay the lupine horror, his summoned wolves disappear.
During this crawl through the keep, we did a group first. We were at the top of a flight of stairs and in the room below were four mobs, including one of our ghost wolf friends. The way we worked it, I stealthed, went into the room, and sapped the humanoid mob, then Ula sheeped one of the live wolves while Skronk chained the lupine horror. Never before had we been able to use all three of those skills in a single battle. And the battle went smoothly because of it.
Eventually we ended up looking into the room that holds Fenrus the Devourer. Like Verdan the Everliving in the Wailing Caverns, the raid icon looked tiny atop Fenrus. We used the same plan as we did with Verdan: There he is, get him! This time it worked out better. Fenrus is a huge wolf, but he doesn’t hit as hard as Verdan.
But as soon as Fenrus goes down, Archmage Arugal shouts out, the gate Fenrus was guarding opens, and four voidwalkers rush in and attack your group. That was a bit of a surprise, and a bit confusing as well, but we managed to beat them down.
After Fenrus, there are only a couple of mobs wandering the halls until you get to Wolf Master Nandos. He guards the door of the Archmage. He is in a long room with four wolves. The fight seems deceptively easy at first. You pull the wolves and you get all four, but Nandos stays back at the door. However, as soon as the last wolf dies, he rushes at you and summons some more wolves to boot.
This was our undoing. We locked onto Nandos and slew him, but his wolves were all over us, including a lupine horror, which summoned some of its own minions. We all died, with Bungholio the last gnome standing, fighting off the wolf onslaught.
Fortunately, when we died, all of Nandos’ summoned minions disappeared. We had a soul stone on Skronk and he, in turn, resurrected the rest of us. So we were outside the archmage’s door, which was now open, and could see him.
And then Earlthecat logged in. We invited him to the group. You cannot summon somebody outside of an instance, but Earl had done his homework and flew from Stormwind to South Shore, then ran to Silverpine and entered Shadowfang Keep. Once inside the instance, we summoned him to us.
Then came the battle with Archmage Arugal. He has 3 more minions in front of him, but you can pull each of them individually. Once they were down, we got ready and rushed the archmage.
Archmage Arugal teleports around during the battle, so we had to race to different locations in his room to keep beating on him. At least Earl, Mezzmon, and I did. The casters could stay a little more centrally located and hit him with their magic. With Arugal just under 200 hit points, Earl went down. By his own admission, he did not use a potion nor his healthstone. He was just too fixed on the battle. But with 200 hit points left, there wasn’t much of a fight. The Archmage Arugla breathed his last and we won.
He dropped the Belt of Arugal, which our casters rolled on.
Earl got resurrected and we began walking back out of the keep. We knew we had not hit everbody and suspected that we made the wrong choice in the courtyard.
The courtyard had respawned by this point, so we had to clear some mobs before we could enter the first floor of the keep. Sure enough, in there we found first Razorclaw the Butcher and then Baron Silverlaine. Neither dropped anything interesting, but we were now done. We cleared the way back to the zone entrance and departed. The time was around 12:30am.
This is a pretty tightly packed instance. Any group had best be ready for multiple mobs on any pull.
This instance is also reasonably sized, especially when compared with Wailing Caverns. With the knowledge we picked up doing it, we could probably manage it again in about 90 minutes.
We forgot to take a screenshot over the corpse of Archmage Arugal. We will have to make another trip!
Next we are looking at Blackfathom Deeps or the Stormwind Stockade.