I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get into Azeroth on Saturday night. My Dalaran problem, my machine locking up whenever I spend any time in Dalaran, was getting worse. The same issue had started happening in other areas of Northrend and by last weekend had spread to old Azeroth. Crashes in Stormwind were cause for real concern in my opinion.
Since I have never found a post on the Blizzard forums from anybody who seemed to be having the same problem I have been facing, I have always assumed that there was something wrong with my system. This lead to me taking the machine apart on Saturday, swapping video cards out, checking drivers, and uninstalling unnecessary items.
I went a little bit too far on that last one and uninstalled ALL of the nVidia drivers on my machine, forgetting that the ASUS P5N-E SLI motherboard uses an nVidia nForce chipset for some essential things like driving the network interface. Whoops. Fortunately I had those drivers on hand and by the end of the afternoon I was able to get things back to where WoW was mostly just dying around Dalaran again.
With that experience, I got myself out to the summoning stone by the Halls of Stone well in advance of the group and camped there so as to limit the amount of texture loading, the common theme in all these crashes. So I was in place when we logged in. Our group was:
78 Warrior – Earlthecat
78 Paladin – Vikund
79 Priest – Skronk
79 Mage – Ula
79 Warlock – Bungholio
And we stood again outside the Halls of Stone.
I've used this picture before
Once in we found ourselves faced with an array of humanoids and giants with the occasional mechanical thrown in to keep things interesting. Both Earl and Vikund are engineers, but found that while they could repair mechanicals, they didn’t have a lot on hand to do crowd control when it came to them. We endured.
There were runs on a the inhabitants of the Halls of Stone that I initially thought were the lambda symbol, similar to that from Half-Life and Half-Life 2.
This way to Nova Prospekt?
This lead me to try to make a couple of Gordon Freeman jokes, which fell flat. It’s been done.
After the initial few groups, we came to a big locked door. The map of the instance showed something behind it, so we figured we would get back to that at some point. Further on we came to a three-way intersection. We decided to go clockwise from the left.
However, a few fights into that and we saw a quest mob up ahead. Fearing an escort quest that might be hindered by the other two passages being left full of bad guys, we opted to skip that passage for now and move to the next one on the list.
That lead us to a very big girl indeed.
Any relation to Sister of Pain?
The Maiden of Grief, and a tough cookie she was. Just not tough enough. As always, we were in the instance without having done any research, so we went with the usual Plan A routine:
In with the tank
on heals he relies
DPS like hell
and hope she dies
Fortunately, it worked for us yet again.
So slept the fair maiden
There was even the Ring of Repose, a decent caster ring as a reward.
Which lead us to the next passage around the clock and another big boss, Kyrstallus.
The fight with him was about on par with the Maiden of Grief, only he had an area attack that left the group stunned for several seconds at a time throughout the fight. That lead to a couple close health bar moments, but in the end he was down and we were all standing.
Which left us with the original passage and the expected escort quest. Brann Bronzebeard, youngest brother of the king of the dwarves and an active member of The Explorer’s League, was the escortee.
He lead us to the Tribunal of Ages, a big circular room with a gnomish device called the Archivum Console at the far side. And once he began to fiddle with it, things began to happen.
We quickly figured out that it was a “Defend Brann” event. We managed to keep Brann safe, but as soon as the event was done, he was off to the next encounter, which was behind the locked door we passed on the way in.
This turned out to be another “Defend Brann” event, but this time there was a boss involved along with a host of oozes and some other friends. The boss was Sjonnir The Ironshaper, and I don’t know if we’re just getting good or if the instances are getting easier, but Brann did his thing, we slew the bad guys, and we were done.
We got out picture with Brann.
Posing with the Archivum Console
Then took one last look at Sjonnir before we headed for the exit.
Our time together was brief
All of which left us with time to go off and try something else. We decided to take a look into the next instance on our list, the Halls of Lightning, but after we stepped in we found out that we had not done the lead-in quests for this instance. So we went to go roll that up so we would get the maximum benefit from doing the instance.
Once we looked it up though, it turned out to be at the end of a chain of 35 quests and 10 side quests. Once we got to the right location and all got to the same point on the quest chain (some people had started already) we ended up getting about 17 quests in before we called it a night. So we did not get to do anything in the Halls of Lightning, though there were enough comic moments to keep us amused.
Transformed Earl on his copter
So next time around, we should be able to start in on the Halls of Lightning.
We did decide that since we are all at least well into level 78, the leash is off and we can go to level cap. We should have some level 80s by next post. We shall see what that does to our enthusiasm for the game.