An Evening (Wasted) with Blackrock Spire

With Bung away on vacation, the four of us had to find something to do on Saturday night.  There are still a variety of Outlands heroic instances left for us to try in addition to re-running instances that we had done already but for which we have not been given achievement credit.

But buoyed by the experiences of our last 4-person evening, we decided to head back to old Azeroth to see some sights from days gone by.  The four of us were:

79 Mage – Ula
79 Priest – Skronk
80 Paladin – Vikund
80 Warrior – Earlthecat

As you can see, after being let off the leash at allowed to hit level cap, both Earl and I raced ahead.

Our target for the evening was to do no less than conquer Blackrock Spire.  Or at least pick up the achievements for Blackrock Spire that we did not already have.

We had, after all, earned our access to Upper Blackrock Spire the old fashioned way, before Blizzard nailed the door open for all and sundry.

We were suffering from some “Onyxification” of our expectations after our battle with the brood mother, which went off pretty much without a hitch.  (And it is a good thing we got her when we did, as they are going to redo her lair it seems.)  We felt invulnerable in old Azeroth, simply irresistable.

The first item on our list was to get to Upper Blackrock Spire, which is a bit of a challenge in itself.  I fell off one of the chains and into the lava.

The good news is that, at level 80, the fire resist aura and the occasional heal will keep you alive enough to get back out of the lava.

Once we were all assembled, we headed to the Rookery to get the “Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!” achievement.  I thought this was actually going to be the tough part of the evening. Killing 50 of anything in 15 seconds seemed like an iffy proposition to me.

We got into the Rookery, picked a concentration point, then all ran in different directions to get the eggs to hatch and bring back whelps.  Obviously woke up way too many as we got the achievement long before we dispatched all the whelps that followed us back.  And even then there were groups of a dozen or so that didn’t follow.  It happened so fast that I almost didn’t get the screenshot.

Plenty of whelps to spare

Plenty of whelps to spare

First achievement down.

Then it was time to crawl through Upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS) and defeat the main boss.  This was something of a toddle, as we gathered groups of trash mobs to dispatch them.  We went through the event with Gyth and Rend Blackhand, which let us into the route to the main boss.

Rend about to be rent

Rend about to be rent

After that it did not take us long to make our way to General Drakkisath.

As we made our way to him, a couple of things struck me.

First, there are a lot of places where you can fall or go over a ledge and find yourself genuinely screwed.  All the more so if you were doing this at level.  I compare this do some of the instance we have done in Northrend where any drop-off is usually guarded by an invisible barrier to keep you from falling into so difficult/impossible ress location.

Second, for a raid boss, General Drakkisath’s place is kind of a dump.  He’s just there with a couple of minions in this bare niche in the wall.  No throne, no altar, no piles of loot, no bones of victims.  This isn’t where a raid boss lives.  This is where a raid boss parks his car.  It looks like he just got the keys to the place.

We have an appointment with an interior designer, I swear

We have an appointment with an interior designer, I swear

Well, we didn’t have to stare at his bare walls for long.  Soon he was the late General Drakkisath and his landlord didn’t have to clean up much for the next tenent.  Well, there was some blood.  And since the theme of the night up to this point seemed to be not quite getting the achievement screenshot, a mis-click by one of us brought up the loot on top of the achievement.  You can still see it, plus now I have put in the gratuitous loot shot.

Hidden Achievement

Hidden Achievement

That done, we dropped off Drak’s balcony and considered our next target.  We had passed the entrance to Blackwing Lair (which would have made the reference in my title more clear if I had used that instead of Blackrock Spire) so decided to recon that as an option.

We made out way up the stairs and into the instance and ended up in a room with a couple of bosses, a beam of energy, and a bunch of eggs.  As usual, we went into this without any research.  We had a choice between Razorgore the Untamed and Grethok the Controller.

We chose Grethok and got them both.

And from a “kill them all and let Blizzard sort them out” point of view, the fight went pretty well for the first 99%.  Then Razorgore went from Untamed to Unleased or something and blew us all up.

All Dead

All Dead

There was obviously something else we needed to do or understand to finish that fight.  I mean, technically, we won I suppose.  Everybody was dead, the status quo was upset.  But this seemed a little more complicated than we wanted.  After a little research, we put Blackwing Lair on hold and headed to Molten Core.

Visit Molten Core!

Visit Molten Core!

We had actually done the quest Attunement to the Core so go to jump straight in… once we could get an instance.  We had hit some peak time or some instance land rush or something, because we spend the next few minutes trying to get into Molten Core.  It probably wasn’t that long of a wait, but the fact that you have to talk to Lothos Riftwalker each and every time you try to get into the instance, which means cycling through his four or five stock phrases over and over.

And then the trouble began.

The first thing we noticed was that yard trash designed to keep 40 people busy has a lot of hit points.  Grinding down each mob in the instance was like going through a series of mini-boss fights in terms of duration.

We decided to play the level 80 aggro radius card. We stopped clearing and started threading our way around the yard trash, slaying only when necessary.  This came back to haunt us at the first boss, Gehennas.

Gehennas Screams!

Gehennas Screams!

We didn’t clear the stuff wandering around him, which eventually lead to adds which tipped the balance against us, and down we went.

Then were faced with another old-school issue, the long run back from Thorium Point to the instance. Dying was much less convenient in old Azeroth.

Back to Gehennas, we managed to take him down on the second go, but it wasn’t a cake walk.  He has a nasty curse that reduces all healing amount on you by 75%.  Vikund used lay hands at the end of the first battle and I went, “Huh?” when the health bar barely went up.

Gehennas down we slipped between the wandering mobs and made our way to the next boss, Garr.

Garr and Company

Garr and Company

Garr was probably the highlight of the evening.  By this point we had begun reading up on bosses before fights, since it was clear this wasn’t going to be a series of push-overs.  With Garr we read, “The more warlocks in a group, the easier this battle will be…”

A quick count showed no warlocks in our group.  We opted for the “hang the tank out and hope you can keep him healed” approach, with which we are so familiar.  And with Skronk keeping the healing rolling while Vikund chucked out the divine storms and judging to boost mana, Earl’s health was never in doubt.

Garr dropped a load of stuff when he went down.

Bung missed out, since the tier 1 headpiece he dropped was the Felheart Horns.  That is headgear I would wear around town if I could.

Vikund with the Felheart Horns

Vikund with the Felheart Horns

Among the other items dropped was the Drillborer Disk, a great looking shield that Vikund now wears around town along with his Argent Avenger “lightsaber.”

Vikund showing off glowing gear

Vikund showing off glowing gear

After that though, the evening began to fade for us.

We made it to within sight of Shazzrah, but had to tangle with Baron Geddon first and that wasn’t working out for us.

Baron Geddon wins again!

Baron Geddon wins again!

If we had been determined we could have gotten past him.  Each time we went down it was due to a mistake on our part, something that could have been averted.  However it was getting late, we were getting tired, and there was frankly no immediate end in sight for Molten Core, so we called it a night.

If Bung is back next week, we’re still lined up for the Halls of Lightning.  Otherwise we’ll end up with another evening of achievement hunting.  Maybe some Outlands heroics instead.

12 thoughts on “An Evening (Wasted) with Blackrock Spire

  1. Dorgol

    I was typing a note about how you didn’t do Magmedar… when I realized you did Gehennas first (I read the word Gehennas in the post, it just didn’t click I guess). Back in the day most groups tended to do Lucifron and Magmedar before getting to Gehennas.

    As for Felheart… I still have 8/8 in my Warlock’s bank. My favorite set of armor, ever.

    I’m really interested to see if you guys do BWL at all as it is still in my top 3 raid instances ever.

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  2. Jalann

    After the recent announcement about Onyxia’s Lair, I wished Blizzard would re-tune BlackWing Lair. I’d like to see some of the level 80 Raid groups enter Blackwing Lair and keep wiping on Vaelastrasz. If that didn’t stop them, the first time they got hit with Shadowflame without their Ony Cloaks would.

    Maybe that’s part of the long term plan with the re-tuning of Onyxia’s Lair. People can start collecting cloaks again. As a Warlock, I still Like the Nemesis set.

    Oh, and the MajorDomo fight in Molten Core would be interesting.

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  3. syncaine

    Somewhat amusing that while you one-shot everything in the new WotLK instances, you can’t brute-force MC even at 80.

    That shield you picked up use to be the best shield in the game before BWL was released, and originally it did not have the fancy graphic it has now (it was the spinning blades shield from Gnome before). Too bad you guys skipped Mag, it would have been interesting to see how long the dogs before him took you guys to figure out and time correctly.

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  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    “Somewhat amusing that while you one-shot everything in the new WotLK instances, you can’t brute-force MC even at 80”

    I’m not sure that is exactly correct.

    We do the WotLK instances with an additional person. If we had that person, our warlock, it would change the balance some.

    Meanwhile we stopped our MC run mostly because it wasn’t ending up to be as much fun as we thought it would be. Exciting game play tends to trump sleepiness. But for us MC was grindy and not all that interesting. Granted, we didn’t go to the end, but up to the point we where we stopped it was feeling like Wailing Caverns done as a raid.

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  5. Jemre

    Agreed – instance design in general has come a long way, and the MC trash packs (and bosses!) are awfully boring. Ragnaros is still a sight, but you have to clear all nine other bosses to get to him.

    The dog packs before Magmadar are still a bit nasty, but you just have to make sure everyone knows what’s going on – and keep the tank healed, that dot does 15k over 30 seconds, at 10 stacks >.<

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  6. Yeebo

    Why in god’s name does WoW not have an appearance slot system? That alone would go a long way towards reviving the old raids for bored 80s.

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  7. M

    The reason you take down Magmadar is to stop the Ancient Core Hound Respawning every 15 mins.

    However at 80 you can probably take them down fast enough that they aren’t that annoying. Given some of the boss fights would take 10+ mins when you were under-geared at 60 (and healer heavy) stopping the respawns was crucial. Also to spawn Domo or Ragnaros you have to douse the flame behind Mag I think.

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  8. syncaine

    I doubt a single warlock would have made THAT big a difference, although the added DPS would have helped just to speed things up. Also keep in mind that because you are 80 with inflated stats/resists, you got away with ignoring 95% of the strategy in MC. You did not need to turn dogs or determine their random ability (or even kill Mag to stop them from spawning), you did not worry about imp respawns/agro, you did not worry about debuffs or positioning. I mean hell you killed Garr without a single banish, and you did not decurse Geh. That the Baron still wiped you, despite the fact that his bomb ability was not nearly as lethal at 80, is telling.

    Yet for the most part you take down current level instances without much trouble, and you yourself admitted your group is not exactly on the high-end of player skill. If you can tank/spank most WotLK instances and get away with it, how is anyone coming from Nax40 going to find any of that remotely challenging?

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  9. *vlad*

    I did say on a previous post that I doubted you would get to Ragnaros in MC, and I was proved right; by that I didn’t mean it would be too hard for you, but that it is a bit of an effort getting all the bosses down.
    You are right, though. Molten Core is very grindy at lv 80.

    You made a wise decision in skipping Black Wing Lair I think; that place is full of tricks to snare the unwary, and you still need to know what to do on even the first boss to get through it successfully.
    Last time we went there it was very buggy; I don’t think it likes you killing all the adds before you have destroyed the eggs.

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  10. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Syncaine:

    Built a little castle on lost of assumptions there. That warlock usually has the highest DPS in the group. We blew the Baron the first time because of adds again, though he was under 30%. And the second time he was at 8% before we wiped. We’d blown a heal and our tank was gone fairly early in that fight. Both times the warlock damage would have probably been enough to kill the Baron. Plus there is that warlock healthstone that would have come in handy.

    It was more a matter of looking up and seeing yet another full room of stuff to get through and no end in sight, plus the late hour (we didn’t even start MC until about 10:30pm) that did us in.

    And I would say we’re not on the high end of player equipment nor do we research tactics instances in advance. As for skills, I don’t have another group with which to compare. If you want to say we’ve got crap skills, that’s up to you. The Northrend instances are supposed to be manageable as a five person group, and we’re such a group that has been playing together for three year nows. We have yet to do a heroic Northrend instance however. Maybe that is what is keeping the Naxx people busy on their off nights.

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  11. theerivs

    Ahh the old school, I wish I knew some people that would want to do that with me now. Alas their all farming badges of Conquest. :(

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  12. syncaine

    Yea that add (guessing it was a dog?) is because Mag was still up, once he is down the dogs stop respawning, which was required back in the day. Unless you guys fought Baron in his room, rather than down by where Gar stands. Makes sense now that I think about it, since you would not have known to pull him to that location. That you COULD brute force Baron just furthers my point though; you are able to ignore most of the strategy of MC, and when you overpower ANYTHING, it gets simplified and boring.

    It is a long instance, no doubt, and the encounters are simpler than BWL and certainly AQ40 or Nax40, but at 80 with WotLK gear you are not exactly seeing the place as intended. Bosses like Gar or Sulf/Domo are also some of the more interesting bosses in that place. Rag was a beast before the nerf stick beat him down too, and still is one badass looking mob.

    And I’m not saying you guys are the peak of fail in terms of skill, especially playing for so long together. But from reading these weekly reports for a while now, and being familiar with TBC instances, some of the stuff you guys struggled on I know to be somewhat easy. Just using that as a comparison when I mentioned player skill.

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