The Slave Pens – Return Visit

Saturday night arrived again, as it always seems to about once a week, and it was about that time. My daughter was asleep and my wife was in bed after a long day at the gift show up in San Francisco, so it was time to head to Azeroth.

While he was logged on to Skype, Earl was flagged as away. We are beginning to suspect that having a real house in the suburbs rather 250 square feet in Hell’s Kitchen is starting to tell. Moving in and getting settled can take the wind out of your sails and you might not always be ready to start a couple hours of gaming at midnight local time.

So our party ended up as a foursome, a fine number for a round of golf, but an “at level” instance usually required a bit more… 25% more, actually. Our usual choice in such circumstances is to go out and do some quests. That works for group quests, but with the solo quests it is often more of a hindrance to have along more people. Such is the way of WoW.

We decided, as a change up, to go back and try a lower level instance to see how well we could do there. While there would be no quests to finish, the experience from killing mobs should be more substantial.

This would also be the first real test of the team since Skronk respec’d shadow and Vikund respec’d retribution.

Our party was:

68 Paladin – Vikund
68 Warlock – Bungholio
68 Mage – Ula
70 Priest – Skronk

Skronk also hit level 70 recently, the first member of the instance group to do so with their main character. Earl hit level 70 with an alt already and is probably pretty close with his main.

So it was that we headed back to the Slave Pens, and instance we have done not once, but twice already, and the only instance we have run with Gaff in as a substitute.

We flew on down to Zangarmarsh, swam through the Coilfang reservoir, collected everybody, and jumped into the instance.

And we ran back out pretty quickly.

The first fight with three elite mobs went sour pretty quickly. We were going to have to figure out how to work as a smaller and considerably different group.

Eventually we settled into a workable routine. Skronk had to stay out of shadow form and be somewhat biased towards healing. Vikund went with his new two-hander, The Oathkeeper, a rock crusher of comic proportions, to cause maximum damage so as to hold aggro. Bung kept his viodwalker active as off-tank and did the warlock death dance. And Ula… well, she stayed with her usual crowd control and damage.

That, plus some chemical enhancements in the form of some potions and a flask or two from Skronk (Alchemists Local 428), got us going.

Once we got our routine down we managed to get through any group of three elites without issue and even managed a good showing against groups of four most of the time. We did manage to wipe a couple of times on four. But to say we were in as much control as with five of us would be a gross over statement. Any deviation from the plan, any unforeseen add, or, when faced with four opponents, and slip up generally meant death all over.

We moved forward through the instance though, until we got to the first boss, Mennu the Betrayer. Ironically, we wiped to another group within sight of him, but then took him down without too much drama. It was remembered, not too far into the fight, that the key to Mennu is keeping his totems down. Once somebody went on totem patrol, it was only a matter of time before he went down.

Battling Mennu on the Ramp

Battling Mennu on the Ramp

He dropped the Princely Reign Leggings, which went to Bung.

On we went. There was a little trouble at one point when we were in a fight and a patrol we had not noticed, as the draw distance in some parts of the slave pens is remarkable close, which was a deviation from the script and thus lead to a wipe, though not before we took most of the bad guys down.

Working our way around we eventually arrived at Rokmar the Crackler. Here was the point when that big crab cracking hammer of mine was going to come in handy.

Time for Rokmar the Crackler

Time for Rokmar the Crackler

We checked our buffs, made a quick plan, and then went after him. Rokmar had a different plan however, and while we were close to bringing him down… he was at 11% or so… Vikund went down to Rokmar’s Grievous Wound attack that drains 900 health every two seconds.

Oh yeah, forgot about that one.

Still, we were close. A couple of better place heals and maybe the tank remembering he had a health stone handy would do it. On to round two.

Tank dies even sooner, everybody run!

The tank is down, time to panic!

The tank is down, time to panic!

For the third round we decided to change things up a bit. Vikund put down that big crab hammer, strapped on a shield and drew his one handed mace. That mace was, frankly, crap when it came to DPS, so Vikund couldn’t hold aggro well enough to keep the fight in one place. Casters died, the tank died, we all died.

Okay, that did not work. We were closest to slaying him with plan A. Time to go back to that with a focus on the healing required to deal with Grievous Wound. Once the somebody has it, they have to be healed up to 100% before it fades, which can be a steep slope when the tank is losing 900 hp every two seconds.

And we managed to do it this time.

Vikund remembered he was a paladin and had that “lay on hands” icon on his button bar and actually used the skill at a key moment to supplement Skronk’s otherwise excellent healing. Aggro was maintained by the tank while Ula and Bung burned Rokmar down.

Victory over Rokmar the Crackler

Victory over Rokmar the Crackler

And at that point we called it a night. People were tired and the final boss, Quag-Helen-Mirren is a step up from Rockmar and we weren’t quite up for that.

And so we will reassemble next Saturday for another night in Azeroth. I hope we’ll get the whole team on again soon, though it is summer and people have other plans. But we will get back and finish off Auchenai Crypts at some point before Wrath of the Lich King comes out.