Monthly Archives: January 2007

January in Review

The Site

I keep posting along.  With this post I will have put up something every day for the last three months.  I was determined to do this as a way to force myself to write more.  I will probably have to relax that for the next couple of months, but it did work to a certain extent.

My post “Vanguard’s Fatal Character Flaw” got picked up by bloggers on both WarCry and TenTonHammer.  That did not boost hits on the site as much as you might think.  The biggest sources of incoming traffic this month, as in the past, were EQ2-Daily.com and VirginWorlds.com.

WordPress.com gave all of the bloggers who use their site a few new features this month.  I turned off the “Snap” feature, the one that shows you a pop-up preview of any link, right away.  I found it almost immediately annoying.  While I did not use the new audio/video features they provided, they did add a new metric in the statistics page that shows me what outbound links people click on when they come here.  FiringSquad is by far the site most likely to be visited from here.

New Linking Sites

Most Viewed Posts In January

  • PowerColor Radeon x1950 AGP Review
  • Vanguard’s Fatal Character Flaw
  • WoW Expansion Disaster Fails To Material
  • Sapphire x1950 Pro AGP Review
  • Vanguard Beta Forums?
  • What Happened To 2006?
  • MMO Generational Divisions – Wikipedia Version
  • Sayonara Vanguard Beta
  • MMO Expansions – What Is Appropriate Timing?
  • Third Generation? Was There A Second?

Most Common Search Terms

ATi x1950 AGP related terms were the #1 search of the month that brought people to the site.  #2 was the term “vanguard beta forum,” a strong indicator that I was not alone in my inability to get access.

Best Search Term of the Month

“running multiple instances of vanguard”

(Wow, he must have a heck of a machine!  I can barely run one copy!)

EVE Online

My account was cancelled, and the timer is running down now, with only 5 days left.  I ran a couple of missions this month, but mostly I just kept my training going.  I am past 4 million skill points now.  I read somewhere that any training in progress keeps going to fruition when you account is closed.  I plan to start training Caldari Cruisers V at the last possible moment.  That is a 29 day training cycle, so would almost be like a free month of the game for me, given how much I actually play.

EverQuest II

I have not played as much EQ2 this month as I would have liked.  Still, I am surprised how far Blintz, my fae swashbuckler has progressed.  Thanks to running quests in the level parallel zones of Thundering Steppes, Nektulos Forest, and Butcher Block, he was well into his 30s before I bothered to bring him into the next tier of zones.  Now he is set to take on Steamfont, The Enchanted Lands, and Zek.

World of Warcraft

The Burning Crusade.  I have played almost zero content that is part of the expansion.  I did make a blood elf and a dranei, but did not bother playing them past level 5.  Instead I have just been pressing on with the weekly instance runs with the group.  The experience is good and the instances are fun.  Blintz (I tend to reuse names) my rogue is now into the 40s, making him my 5th character to pass that level.   With The Burning Crusade, it looks like we can keep the instances going through to level 70.

Vanguard

Saga of Heroes indeed.  The luminaries on this team are heroes of the MMO world.  Now we get to see their current saga play out before a live (and paying) studio audience.

I played quite a bit in Beta 5 and wrote a bit about some of the trivial (to many people) aspects of the game, like character creation.  I blame this on years of going over resumes and interviewing job candidates.  I am willing to grant somebody a pass on something not on their resume, but if somebody claims to be proficient in something, I consider it to be fair game for grilling.  Vanguard’s “resume” includes the character creation tool as a major item.

I have currently opted not to play Vanguard, but will keep an eye on it.  It shows a lot of promise, if you can get past the performance issues.

Coming Up

There will probably be less writing from me in the near future.  This is certainly not for lack of topics.  My little “things to write about” file keeps growing, and currently has over 30 items, 10 of which are in progress.  However, my family will be moving to a new house some time soon, which means a lot of work getting our current home packed, cleaned up, and ready to sell. (We are putting in our first offer on a new house today.  And when I say “new,” I mean “older than me, but in a better school district.”)  So my couple of free hours in the evening will likely be reduced, and I will have to decide whether I want to write or play!

Vista Launch – Vanguard Launch

I picked the paper up off the driveway to scan it for Vanguard in the ads.

Vanguard was nowhere to be seen in the paper today.  It seems that Microsoft Vista is launching today.

The Fry’s ad had Vista all over it.  Some other places, like Circuit City, had pull-outs in the paper featuring Vista heavily, obviously the product of generous Microsoft co-op ad dollars.

Despite the absence of Vanguard, it did get me thinking about how it might tie in with Vista.

Do you suppose that January 30th was the launch date for Vanguard because of some contractual obligation left over from the Microsoft involvement requiring Vanguard to be a Vista launch title?

I wish I knew the answer to that.  If it is true, I would certainly feel a little more forgiving of Sigil launching Vanguard in its current state.  “It’s Microsoft’s fault!” is a salve for all wounds and injustice.

Razorfen Downs – Round 2

Thursday night, our group’s off night. We try to get together, but it isn’t as firm a commitment as Saturday night, being a “school night” and all that. Still, we got the full team on last night.

Blintz was getting a little bit ahead in exp, so I decided to pull out one of my other level 40 range characters to play. Vikund is my paladin, and the oldest character in WoW that I still have. (I made a dwarf before Vikund, but deleted him and went the human route.) With this group we decided to go back and hit RFD again. This was our starting lineup for the night:

41 Mage – Ula
40 Warrior – Earlthecat
40 Priest – Skronk
40 Paladin – Vikund
39 Warlock – Bungholio

I wasn’t sure how much of the instance we would end up doing, but I grabbed the quest “Bring The Light” with Vik, just in case we got that far.

We did our usual assembly, ported in the people who were still remote, and fought our way into the instance.

Once in, we had the left/right choice of paths to follow. Since we had not finished the escort quest with Belnistrasz, we decided to go left and hit that.

We fought our way in. Having Vikund as an off-tank changed up the way we worked some, with Bung able to summon a damage pet rather than a tanking pet.

We stopped and did the spider fights at the gong, finishing off Tuten’kash relatively easily. He dropped the Silky Spider Cape that went to Bung on a roll.

Again we detoured before the pens to take our Mordresh Fire Eye and his skeleton mosh pit. This time I took a screen shot of the skeletons in full force.

Peeking in on the skeleton mosh pit

Peeking in on the skeleton mosh pit

As before, we managed to pull a couple off with our first try, but the second time around we got the whole skeleton mob. Earl and I ran out to face Mordresh on his bone pile while the casters mopped up the non-elite skellie followers.

Maneuvering on that bone pile, especially if Mordresh decides to try to back off a bit, can be a bit of a challenge. I got stuck on things several times durnig the battle. But, in the end, Mordresh was overcome by our might. This time around he dropped the Deathmage Sash, a nice caster item that Skronk took on a three way roll-off.

Then we headed to Belnistrasz. We had a hiccup here. Vik had not been part of the last effort in RFD. Belnistrasz gives you a mini quest first, before he gives you the escort quest. Everybody else in the group had done the mini quest already, so when the one of the group accepted the quest, off he went, before Vik did the lead-in. Ooops. No huge loss in the great scheme of things, but a word of warning for the next time you head that way: Make sure everybody has done the lead-in (Scourge of the Downs) before anybody accepts the main quest (Extinguishing the Idol).

This time at least the quest ended successfully. We were in less of a panic this time around. We kept calm, kept the aggro off of Belnistrasz, and got through his stage without much problem.

Once that is done, Plaguemaw the Rotting shows up. A short battle later and we looted the Swine Fists off of him. Nobody really needed those, so they were rolled on to sell to a vendor. Here we are over Plaguemaw’s corpse.

Plaguemaw defeated

Plaguemaw defeated

Now we were done with the left hand side. We got a slightly late start, but it was still only 10:45pm. So we decided to take the right path, if only to see if we got one of the rare spawns for once.

We had a problem with that first fight on the right, the one with the five elites. Skronk has a general policy of not putting up the skull raid icon, which denotes the main target, until we are ready to go. He slipped this time and put the skull up first while we were still sizing up the battle. Suddenly a frost bolt shot out from our team and struck the targeted mob. The fight was on!

It was actually a fun fight. There was a bit of panic as we tried to keep all five elites under control. I let the side down a bit initially. Having played a rogue in all of our instance play so far, I was used to being satisfied holding one mob, since more would usually do me in. A bit into the battle I realized that I ought to be holding some more aggro, so I went chasing the other mobs around. I was too late though. Ula went down and so did Bung. But after that we got things under control and dispatched the last of the bad guys.

Fortunately the penalty for death is so light in WoW. I’ve been in other games where such noobishness on my part would have gotten me screamed at. In our case though, everybody was revived, healed, and off we went.

We got to The Glutton, who again was wandering our way when we arrived in his area. He was a quick fight, but only gave up the Glutton’s Cleaver as a drop.

On we went.

We got to where Ragglesnout, the rare spawn should be. He wasn’t there.

Well, that did not leave us too far from the main boss. Just another 10 fights, give or take. So on we pressed. Up and around the spiral until we once again reached the top.

Amnennar the Coldbringer stood before us.

Another fight we were ready for. We knew about his spectral summoning now. We also knew that the specters would fade as soon as Amnennar was slain. In we rushed! All of us focused and unloaded on the Lich Amnennar. The fight, for a boss fight, was short and violent. He went down, his summoned help faded, and we stood again victorious at the pinnacle.

But Amnennar had a last laugh on us. His drop was the Coldrage Dagger. A perfect weapon for Blintz. But Blintz was not there. Nobody wanted the dagger, and we could not even disenchant it, since that is another of Blintz’s talents, so we rolled to see who got to sell it to the vendor. Ula won that.

And so we were done, all the Razorfen Downs quests seen to their end. Vikund did get to turn in “Bring the Light,” which netted him a nice sword upgrade, the Vanquisher’s Sword.

Having a paladin along changed the group dynamic a bit. While we lost a single damage dealer, we gained some healing, a back-up resser, and a nice damage shield aura that ended up being nearly 10% of Earl’s damage inflicted. Since there are plenty of undead in RFD, the paladin’s usual bane of “no ranged attack” was mitigated.

And so we look towards the Badlands and Uldaman for our next instance adventure.

Massive Magazine Issue #2

I received Issue #2 of Massive Magazine in the mail on Friday and had some time during the weekend to pour over it.

The lead-in column from Editor-in-chief Steve Bauman was interesting because it addressed at least one of my problems with issue #1; MMO News.  He said that with all the other, more immediate venues for MMO news, they want to concentrate on “other entertaining parts of gaming.”  So issue #2 moves in a somewhat different direction than #1.  For example, there is no up front news section.  Massive plunges straight into the features.

The features in issue #2 are:

  • Outland of Sight, Outland of Mind – A look at the World of Warcraft Burning Crusade expansion (during the beta)
  • Pay To Play No More – A wrap up of free-to-play MMOs
  • Big Five Then and Now – A look at what they call the big five initial MMOs, Ultima Online, EverQuest, Asheron’s Call, Anarchy Online, and Dark Age of Camelot
  • Kill ‘Em All – A pass through PvP in MMOs
  • I Win EVE – A rehash of the EVE Investment Bank scandle, including an interview with the guy who ran the scam
  • DIY MMOs – A look at player generated MMO content
  • Negative Creeps – A look at the people who make MMO forums unbearable
  • World of What? – A noob experiment where a non-gamer gets sent to play World of Warcraft
  • The List – An huge listing of all of the current, in beta, and in development MMOs.

This issue makes for an interesting read.  If issue #1 was well suited for people who have never played an MMO, issue #2 is targeted at those of us who already play.

While generally a strong outing, some items did grate.  In the “Then and Now” feature, the “Now” part consisted of the diary of somebody loading up these games today and playing them.  They seem to have picked people with no real interest in the games in question, which I guess was a shot at objectivity, but it did not play out well.  The guy who looked at EverQuest for example, came off as openly hostile to the game before he installed it.  Despite being a “Now” perspective, he declined to grab The Serpent’s Spine, going with the old tutorial.  His finale, crowing about how happy he was to uninstall EverQuest in the end and reclaim his hard drive space, came as no surprise.  While worse than the others, it did not stray too far from the overall attitude.

The heavy weight opening issue contributors are all gone, so general industry opinion pieces are lacking this time around.  I wish they had kept some of the initial star-studded columnists from the first issue, if only to add some respected heft to the magazine.

The issue again closes with “The Same Five Questions We Always Ask,” which appears to include a couple of different questions this time around.  My pick for stinker question is gone, so I would have to support that.  Unfortunately, the person to whom they put the questions, Mark Jacobs, co-founder of Mythic and now general manager of EA Mythic, wasn’t nearly as interesting as Rob Pardo was last issue.  Questions do not make the interview I guess.

All in all, not bad, but no great achievement.  For me, the issue was worth it  just for “The List” at the end of the magazine.

Addendum:  I forgot to mention that issue #2 also came with an installation CD for EVE Online, complete with a 14-day free trial key.

Into The Orcish Wastes

Zek, The Orcish Wastes is one of my favorite zones.  It is a great looking zone, it is full of quests, and it has a simple theme: Fight the Orcs.

RAWR!

It is war with the orcs as you can tell from the outpost where you arrive in zone.  There is not a lot of other action aside from this central conflict.  There some small sanctuaries throughout the zone, but for the most part the orcs rule the land.

It is also a great place to play a fae, especially if you have chosen the racial ability “glide.”  (If I haven’t mentioned this already, glide is so much fun you have to choose it.)  There are lots of elevation changes, things to climb, things to drop into, all of which a fae with glide can use to his or her advantage.

So when Blintz got to Zek, I tore into the quests.

There was one strange thing though.  I don’t know if my memory is faulty, but I do not remember the orcs looking the way they look now.  For example, this Tallon Grunt seems rather pink skinned for an orc.  Plus he appears to have stolen the suede high tops and outfit of some rap backup dancer. 

Break it down!

Anyway, jumping into Zek was good experience as well as being fun.  I rolled up a level of experience in a couple of hours!

The Official SOE Podcast #11

Alan “Brenlo” Crosby, Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske, and Craig “Grimwell” Dalrymple host this show with Jason “Pex” Ryan reading the news.

Topics

  • News 
  • Back from the Holidays, we’ve missed you Podcast listeners
  • Find Brenlo’s Flickr
  • Yvittis and Mr. Bubble Holiday Podcast
  • VirginWorlds Podcast
  • Welcome to Craig “Grimwell” Dalrymple interview
  • Top 10 MMOs we wanted to see
  • Vanguard Saga of Heroes
  • Interview with Joel Sasaki from the Pirates Constructible Strategy game.
  • EQ Expansion – The Buried Sea
  • Burned Woods Post
  • An exciting in studio Interview with a server Hamster
  • EQII Newest Zone Unrest
  • TV and Movies
  • What are you playing?
  • Julie the Intern interview

The show is available on iTunes as well as from the official SOE podcast site.

The show was recorded on January 17th and runs in just under one hour and twelve minutes.

SOE Podcast Planning Board

On the Station.com site, Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske has been posting regular “Candid SOE Monday” pictures in the SOE Crossroads forum.

This week the shot featured the bulletin board on which they plot out the SOE podcast.  If you visit it here, you can see what they have lined up for show 11 (already recorded according to Ashlanne) and show 12.

You can tell that I have been poking around the Station.com forums.  I went in search of the next SOE podcast, which is how we got to the definition of Soon(tm).

Vanguard – No Sale

The Fry’s ad today has Vanguard: Saga of Heroes listed.  The ad says it will be available next Tuesday, as expected, and will be priced at $48. (Well, $47.99, but I always round up to the dollar.)  Amazon.com and SOE’s digital download option have it at $50.

So I was correct that it would be going for some discount on day one, even if that discount is only $2 off list.  But that is not enough of a discount for me to go pick it up.  I would have been in there to grab a copy if it had been priced in the $35 range.  I suspect I won’t have to wait too long for that price point, but we shall see.

Anyway, I feel better about uninstalling the beta.  And now SOE does not have to share any of my Station Access money with Sigil.  I wonder how they feel about that.

The Journey is Half the Fun – Nektulos Forest

Ah, the Nektulos Forest stage, my favorite.  I like this one because it used to actually be a challenge just to run it in the time limit.  I have done it in the past on a fast horse or with SoW.  Even with that, you still need a rogue class to evac you to the last step, and you only have seconds to spare at the end, and only if you have really optimized your path along the way.  Following the road wouldn’t do it.  A nice tight race, even when all the mobs in the zone are grey.

I thought this would be a good deal of fun with Blintz, my fae swashbuckler.

In Nektulos Forest you start at the gate to the Commonlands.  Off to the north the gate stands Stro D’Proi, who should have a big quest indicator icon over his head if you are ready to go for this stage.

This is another route I have run a few times, because it can be such a tight race.  But I figured that with pathfinding, a good drink going to keep my power up for sprints, fae glide, and my experience, I could make it no problem.

So I spoke to Stro and started the clock.  15 minutes.  I seem to recall the time limit being less than that before, but I wasn’t going to argue, I was going to run.

I took the traditional path, straight north from Stro, not bothering to cross the bridge, and along the bank of the river. (To this day I think the river in Nektulos Forest is cool looking and I always think it is going to wash me away when I jump in!)  Once the bank began to angle off  and I could see the island, I did my first fae jump and glide of the race, making it a decent way over the river before splashing in to swim to the island.  The first stop, Behemoth Pond, is in the center of the island.  I got my update at the south tip of the pond as I did a jump/glide over the water.  Then I headed across the rest of the island, jumped out over the river again, and headed for the far bank.  I do not bother with the log bridges, preferring the direct route and my glide.

When I hit the far bank I started making my first error of the run.  I crossed the road, trying to cut off the unnecessary turns and ended up angled a little too far off to the east, so about at the D’Abbth Bridge, I caught sight of the road headed east and began to follow it, rather than the road headed north.  It was a good thing I glanced at the compass.  I immediately turned around and headed back for the right road, the one north to N’Marr’s Ascent.

I thought at this point I had blown it.  This much of a mistake has been enough to blow a run in the past.  Still, you cannot reset the timer, so I could not restart the run for another 12 minutes, so I decided to press on for practice at least.

I got on a regular routine of sprinting out my power, then letting it build back up, in a constant cycle that did not waste any power build regen.  I hit N’Marr’s Ascent and headed up.  At the top I cut hard right and ran behind the rock before crossing the road and angling to cross the river well north of the bridge.

Fae glide for the win!  I got to the river, jumped, and cleared it with ease.

I found that I had not angled north as far as I could have for Gargoyle Gorge, the next checkpoint on the run.  More time lost through inefficiency.  And I compounded this by following the road when I should have cut across a couple of loops.  Oh well, I got the update and pressed on to Nektropos Castle.

Nektropos Castle is easy.  Run up the gorge, head straight for the front door.  As soon as you get the update, about face and run back.

Back down through the gorge I managed to hit the maximum efficiency path, jump the river, and make it across to N’Marr’s Ascent without straying.

And once I got the N’Marr’s Ascent, I got to have more fae fun!  I got to jump off!

I headed off the side, then I slipped my rudder a bit to bring myself in for a landing about half way down the lowest ramp up to the Ascent.  Then I was looking for that optimum path through the trees and to the D’Abbth Bridge.  I am not sure I did very well, I kept having to adjust a bit, but when I hit the bridge I knew I had enough time left to finish.  I got that update and headed to the port.

The run to Port Naythex was easy.  This is one segment where I remembered the straight path through.  I ran along, hit the gorge to the beach, sprinted through, ran straight out and at the big rock until I got the update, then hit the escape button.

The zone loaded up and I headed down the J’Rais bridge for the last update and made the classic mistake.  This is only update point that I can think of where the point where you get the message for the location is different from the point where you get the update for the quest.  You must always run all the way down the J’Rais bridge at the end to ensure you get the update.

I stopped and turned around when I saw the location message show up, then noticed the clock was still running!  So I turned back and headed down the bridge again, all the way, until the quest updated.

I had made it.

Heck, I had more than made it, there was 2:38 left on the clock when I got the final update.  They must have added more time to this run while I was away.  The mistakes I made would have hosed a run in the old days.  Even with my mighty fae glide, I could not have been that far ahead.  I could have gotten away with taking the griffon from the port to the Commonlands station with the time I had left, no evac required.

Can anybody confirm if the time limit on this run was upped from, say, 12 minutes to 15?  It sure feels like it to me.

Anyway, I trotted back up to Stro, turned in the quest and got the reward, the Runner’s Ring.

Runner’s Ring

Now the next stop is Zek, one of my favorite zones in general, and one that is going to make for a fun run I bet!

Razorfen Downs – Round 1

At last, a group night that was going some place besides the Scarlet Monastery! Not that SM is a bad place. It is quite well done. But after 10 rounds there, we were ready for some new sights and sounds. Well, sights anyway. Razorfen Downs (or Swineberry RFD as the locals call it) held new sights but and old sound for us; the sound of squealing porkers. Oh well, I have been having a sound issue with WoW since the 2.0.3 patch came out (sounds get stuck in a loop) so I was playing sound off. Still, I could hear each piggy death through Skronk’s mic, so it was like Helter Skelter was happening in the neighbors yard while we played.

Anyway, it was Saturday night at 10pm and we were ready to go:

40 Mage – Ula
40 Rogue – Blintz
39 Warlock – Bungholio
39 Priest – Skronk
39 Warrior – Earlthecat

The first thing we had to do was get the quest “Bring The Light.” Skronk grabbed the quest from Archbishop Benedictus in the Stormwind Cathedral before hand, but then found that he could not share it with us. You have to deal with the Archbishop directly it seems. The summoning stone at RFD got a workout from us, since Skronk, Earl, and I were there, but only Skronk had the quest. So Earl and I each recalled one at a time, got the quest, then got summoned back to the South Barrens. Ula and Bung, who had not yet joined us, picked up the quest then got summoned out as well.

On our way into RFD, we also picked up the quest “A Host of Evil” from Myriam Moonsinger thinking that this was a quest that could be done while we were in the instance. We were wrong, but I will get to that.

Once into the giant hog skull that is the way into RFD, we had to fight to the actual instance line. The instance itself is, mercifully, not as big or convoluted as its across-the-gold-road neighbor, Razorfen Kraul. Once you enter you can bear left or right depending on which mobs you are after.

We went to the left and started fighting out way in. We had to take some care with our fights, as there are very few solo fights in RFD. Instead, the mobs come in bunches, usually mixed up elite and non-elite, ranging in size from 3 to 6 mobs. And there are also small groups, usually pairs, but sometimes triples, or patrolling non-elites, just to liven things up a bit. On the left side, the patrols are boars running through the corridors, while on the right, they are skeletons roaming around.

We held together well and fought our way past the giant idol, through corridors, past a giant gong, and up and almost to the slave pens before somebody said, “Giant gong? Don’t we do something with that?”

Oh yeah, the gong. So we ran back to the gong. This summons a boss mob. You actually have to ring it three times to get to the boss, but don’t ring it three times right away, as each ring summons a wave of spiders.

Big spiders.

The first wave is 8 non-elite spiders that rush in from either side of the room. We dispatched them handily.

The second wave was 4 elite spider that also came from either side. This was a bit of a fight, but no worse than some we had faced already. Spiders do not cast nor do they run away.

The third wave, summoned by the third ring of the gong, is Tuten’kash, a huge spider best not viewed by children before bed time. He was a fight, but manageable by our group, and down he went. He was nice enough to drop the Carapace of Tuten’kash, a nice plate chest piece for Earl to use at 40.

We headed back to the slave pens, back to the last group between us and an escort quest, when we decided to detour off to the right and take on the skeleton mosh pit first.

This is really a sight to be seen. It consists of a giant pile of bones, on top of which there is a giant skeleton. Before the bone pile is an array of smaller skeletons. All of the skeletons are dancing the undead “heavy metal” routine. Again, this is a must-see for a tour of Azeroth.

The small skeletons are not elite, so we started by trying to pull some of them off of the crowd before we took on Mordresh Fire Eye, the giant skeleton in question. We managed to pull and kill one skeleton by proximity, but our next shot brought the whole crowd, including Mordesh.

Oh my!

Seeing an angry heavy metal crowd run at you can be unnerving, but we managed. Earl got right on Mordesh and I got behind him while Bung and Ula let go with the AOE on the mosh pit crowd. Mordesh went down, dropping Mordesh’s Lifeless Skull, an off-hand item that nobody wanted and which got disenchanted to a small glowing shard.

Here we are atop Mordesh’s pile of bones after the fight.

So many bones

Done with Mordesh, we crossed the bridge between his area and the slave pens, knocked off the last group between us and the pens, and headed in. We spoke to Henry Stern who taught most of us how to make goldthorn tea, though he taught Skronk, our alchemist, how to make mighty troll’s blood potion.

Then we spoke to Belnistrasz, which kicks off a quest called “Scourge of the Downs” that quickly leades to an escort quest called “Extinguishing the Idol.” You follow Belnistrasz, a quick walker at last, to the giant idol that we passed by earlier. Once there, he goes to work on it. But while he is doing that, a continuously respawning stream of mobs attacks you, trying to kill him. We got tied up in the running battle (you are never out of combat during this it seems) and lost track of our guy, who got killed off before he was done. Quest Failed! Oops.

And you cannot just restart the quest. You have to reset the instance. Oh well, we will have to come back again for that one.

That blown, we ran back to the entrance and too the right path.

The first group on that path is five elites that nearly did us in. We had to run out of the instance and regroup.

It turns out that the group of five elites is a pretty useful gate keeper. If you can take them down, you are probably ready to finish off that section of the instance. If you wipe there… well… you do not have far to go in order to try again.

We managed them on our second try and proceeded around to the base of the spiral. None of the groups were as tough as that first group. As we hit the base of the spiral, the Glutton wandered by. We tagged him, pulled him back, and took him down in pretty short order. He yielded up the Fleshhide Shoulders, which I got. They are not the best looking set of shoulders, but they were an upgrade.

That aside, we started fighting our way up the spiral. The spiral is a big cinnamon bun shaped rock, glazed with aggros, and featuring Amnennar the Coldbringer at its pinnacle. He is the big boss we needed to kill for the quest “Bring the Light.”

So up we went. Fight after fight, around and around, until we finally crested the last rise and stood atop this stone pastry of doom. Across from us was Amnennar. He has no minions hanging about or other distractions, so we went after him.

Amnennar does summon some spectral help during the fight. Several groups of ghost-like creatures sped past Earl and I, and went after the casters. Unfortunately, Ula seemed to be their prime target and she died just before the fight finished.

Still, we won. Skronk revived Ula and then we checked the loot. It was Earl’s night, as Amnennar dropped the Icemetal Barbute, another nice plate piece for him when he hits 40.

So we were done inside the instance, but noticed that we had not advanced the quest “A Host of Evil” at all. We left the instance and found that we needed to kill mobs around the stone boar skull to finish that off. We even got the Kaleidoscope Chain as a drop, which also went to Earl on the roll. After we slew, we turned in the quest to Myriam Moonsinger, then recalled home.

Back in Stormwind we turned in “Bring the Light,” which has a nice weapon and necklace reward of its own, plus some very nice experience. So nice that Ula and I advanced to level 41 and everybody else came within an exp bubble or two of 40. We should all soon have mounts.

We still need to come back to do the quest “Extinguishing the Idol” and maybe find a rare spawn for once. Our luck so far has been zero on rare spawns.