It was Saturday night and we had killed Coren Direbrew for the 21st and final time during Brewfest.
Since by that point killing Coren was a quick and well rehearsed process, we had plenty of time left for another activity. So we went to the next instance on our list, the Culling of Stratholme. We were:
80 Priest – Skronk
80 Mage – Ula
80 Warlock – Bungholio
80 Warrior – Earlthecat
80 Paladin – Vikund
Ula put up a portal to Dalaran where we picked up the portal to the Caverns of Time. And from there… well… we had to find the entrance. That sounds easy, but it isn’t like there is a big sign that says “Stratholme – This Way” or anything. In fact, it just looks like some more buildings.
In we went at last, only to run into Chromie, who looked remarkably like Ula with her current hair style.
Chromie then went on about how those neferious nabobs of no-goodness, the Infinite Dragonfligh, the Team Rocket of Azerothian time travel, were again screwing with the flow of time.
This time around they were trying to keep Prince Arthas from making his fateful decision in Stratholme and thus alter the course of time.
However, given that Arthas goes through the whole story ignoring sage advice, making questionable decisions, and eventually becoming the Lich King (whoops, spoiler… somebody out there is going “What?! He’s the Lich King?!?”) it wasn’t exactly clear to me how things could get worse and that we might all be better off just seeing what happens. I mean, we’ve got time travel here, right? We can always go back and fix it later if things don’t work out.
However, there is no loot and no achievement for trying to stump Chromie with logic, so we opted to go along and just follow instructions. Mostly.
We were given a thingy and told to go find some tainted grain that would turn people into scourge like meat from that packing plant in Georgia last summer. They grain is in crates that are glowing, so that wasn’t all that tough.
I did try to ride off into the distance, but you just get enshrouded in fog and eventually run into an invisible wall, so plans to invest a bit of gold an feel the magic of compound interest were thwarted.
We did notice that it was Brewfest in Stratholme. What a coincidence that this particular bit of Azerothian history took place during the holiday we happened to be currently celebrating! Amazing!
The crates collected, we were then sent off to follow Arthas around and help him keep to his course. Fortunately, I suppose, change is just a word for the coins you get back with a purchase in Azeroth, so we didn’t have to worry about any “Back to the Future” like issue, such turns of phrase not in common use or wearing down vests and being mistaken for a sailor.
We then got to watch a little play acted out, where Arthas ignores advice from people who later succeed in NOT becoming… say… the Lich King, and goes on his merry way.
Then it was off into Stratholme proper and a lot of running around as we played a large scale game of Twister. Scourge in the market! Scourge at town hall! Scourge back at the market! Back and forth we ran.
Eventually, we wrapped that up, caught up with Arthas, and began a long escort quest which eventually led us to a Strathomle that we all recognized.
Arthas behaved like a typical escort target, by which I mean he did his best to elude us or pull extra adds when ever possible. The only thing missing was him looking for a misplaced sword or shield.
Still, we have been trained as a group to escort idiot savant targets, and we managed to get him to the last fight with Mal’Ganis in Crusader Square. The last fight, frankly, was easier than just getting Arthas there in the first place. The fight ended with us getting the achievement.
Once Mal’Ganis was down, Arthas gave us a little pep talk, packed his skis, and headed to Northrend.
Then Chromie showed up again, stood awkwardly in mid-air, thanked us for our efforts, and handed out goodies.
And then Chromie said her final words to us.
Really? This was the best results the time traveling sect could come up with? I am still unconvinced.
Anyway, we’ve culled Stratholme. Now we have to head back to the Howling Fjord, back where we started of f months ago, and face Utgarde Pinnacle.