Return to Utgarde

We were back above the Howling Fjord on Saturday night to take on the last of the original Northrend five person instances.

A little more than 10 months ago, back in November 2008, we first rode across Australia Northrend from the Borean Tundra to find Utgarde Keep.  At the time we didn’t know there was a boat that would take us straight there from Menethil Harbor.  Still, it was a heroic ride across country that harkened back to the early days of EverQuest when all travel was overland… though at least we had mounts.

And once at Utgarde Keep we managed to get ourselves killed for the first of many times by Prince Keleseth.

It took us some time to actually bring down Prince Keleseth.  And then we were stopped at the next boss.

In fact, we did not defeat Ingvar the Plunderer until April of 2009.

And while there was some time off during that stretch when one of the crew was busy writing a book, it still took us quite a few tries to get past that first instance because… frankly… we had problems.

We had been having problems since the later Outlands instances.

We were wearing under level gear, a lot of it acquired from the first quests around Honor Hold in the Outlands and we were spec’d in odd and random fashions.

It was surprising to some that we could do as well as we did with what we had.

And so we did research.  Not a lot of research.  In fact, just barely enough that you could even call it research.  But minutes were spent at sites like Elitist Jerks… well… only at Elitist Jerks… cribbing talent tree builds, finding recommended stats for equipment, and copying down spell rotations.

Armed with that, some improved gear, and a training regimen that consisted mainly of regretting not using the training dummies in town and humming “Eye of the Tiger,” we set out to conquer Northrend.

And so we had, nearly, standing now at the last instance.  Our assembled team:

80 Priest – Skronk
80 Mage – Ula
80 Warlock – Bungholio
80 Warrior – Earlthecat
80 Paladin – Vikund

So into Utgarde Pinnacle we went.

In the foyer

In the foyer

There we picked up two quests for the zone, one to collect crap laying about the dungeon and one to kill the big boss, King Ymiron.  Well, we planned on that last part in any case, but if somebody wanted to give us a little more gold along the way, so much the better.

We started in, clearing the trash without much difficulty.  We didn’t notice the one tricky trash mob until later, but we’ll get to that.

We arrived at the first boss, Svala Sorrowgrave, just in time to see her getting instructions from Arthas/The Lich King.  I couldn’t help thinking that we could have maybe changed this somehow last week.

Another Arthas moment in Northrend

Another Arthas moment in Northrend

Svala wasn’t a tough fight.  Her big schtick is to pull one of the team out of the pack suddenly and place them on an altar with three acolytes surrounding them.  Kill the acolytes, who are not elite, and the battle resumes.  Svala did not live up to her boasts to the Lich King.  One boss down.

Moving on, we ran into the tricky trash mob, an abomination that puts a disease on one of the part that hits everybody else in the part for 3,000 damage every 3 seconds.  The person infected, of course, might not notice this.

And so we killed an abomination and moved quickly to another group of trash mobs, when suddenly people were dying.  Very quickly Vikund, the infected party, was the only guy standing versus three elites.  Wipe.

A look back at the combat text helped us figure out what was going on.  Vikund was put on purify patrol after abomination fights going forward, which was good as he seemed to be the one to get infected most of the time.

We then made it around to the second boss, Gortok Palehoof and his menagerie.  He has some stuffed animals that come to life when you annoy him.  You have to kill a couple of those first before you get to kill him.

The Stuffed Rhino

The Stuffed Rhino

Okay, they aren’t stuffed, they are held in some sort of stasis field, but for all the good they did Gortok, they might as well have been stuffed.  In fact, if they had been cute and stuffed, we might have been distracted.

But they were not and things played out quickly and badly for Gortok.

And so off we went again.

Through some more trash and to the next boss. Skadi the Ruthless, who I could swear we had run into before at some point in Howling Fjord.  But then a lot of those Vrykul names sound similar to me, being from Stormwind and all.

Skadi (which, when I say it, sounds like “Scotty”) is an event.  Lots of things happen, there is a dry ice effect up half the corridor you are in, you get a message every so often about Skadi being close to a harpoon gun, bad guys run down the corridor every so often, a waiter takes your order but your food never arrives.  It was all a bit chaotic.  As we tried to figure out what was going on.

And while the event was manageable, our process of discovery took some time, so when we figured out the whole:

Harpoons + Harpoon Gun = Skadi fight actually begins

By that point though we were too worn down by constant adds to pull it off, so we wiped.

And while the equation above seems obvious in hindsight, I personally didn’t notice the sparkling harpoons on the ground until well into the fight and every time I saw the message about Skadi being close to a harpoon gun (which means you can shoot him) I thought it meant he was going to start shooting harpoons at us.

I know, always with the negative vibes Moriarty.

Anyway, after one learning fight, we managed to pull it off and skill Skadi without much drama.

Which only left King Ymiron… and the assorted trash between us and him… to take care of.

King Ymiron Awaits

King Ymiron Awaits

We had no idea what to expect, but had a soul stone up again, so launched into the fight.

The king summons things from the longboats on either side of the room at various points during the fight but, while they did prolong things a bit, in the end they didn’t help out the king all that much.  It ended up being a reasonably quick pile-on with us doing the piling and the king doing the dying.

The Moment of Victory

The Moment of Victory

As you can see in the screen shot, we even summoned our own little support team.  Those of us who had done enough of the Argent Tournament did, anway.

The victory gave us a double achievement.

The loot from Ymiron was typical of our experiences.

The shoulders were leather, so of no used to the group, but the Signet of Ranulf was a bit of an upgrade for two of the casters.

We then stood for a final victory shot at King Ymiron’s throne.

Victory over King Ymiron

Victory over King Ymiron

Then we headed through the now open side door in the king’s chamber and back to the orginal quest giver.  When we handed over the collection quest, the chest, which is sitting empty in the first screen shot in this post, was filled up with all the items we gathered, including a jade Tigger.

Somebody else's loot

Somebody else’s loot

And that is about it.

We have defeated the regular Northrend dungeons and have the achievement to prove it.

There is still the Trial of the Champion, which we may attempt.

There are the three new 5 person dungeons slated to come out in the not too distant future, Forge of Souls, Pit of Saron, and Halls of Reflection, which we may want to try.

And, of course, Hallow’s End and the Headless Horseman are coming up.  We’ll want to see what things he’ll be dropping this year.

But otherwise we have come very close to accomplishing the goal we set out for ourselves almost three years back, to do all of the 5 person instances as a group and at the level of the instance.

I suspect there will be a summary post on the subject some time soon.  You have been warned.

7 thoughts on “Return to Utgarde

  1. Sodeguruma

    Hi! Long time reader, first time commenter.

    Just had to break silence to applaud the Kelly’s Heroes reference. Best Donald Sutherland role ever. ;)


  2. Besse

    Are you not going to attempt the Trial of the Champion dungeon? I know it’s not one of the original Northrend dungeons, but you should give it a go…


  3. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    As I said in the post, there are a number of things we may try at this point, including the Trial of the Champion.

    In addition to what I listed, I wouldn’t mind going back to Utgarde Keep and running that in heroic mode just to kill Prince Keleseth one more time. In my character stats, Prince Keleseth is shown as the boss to whom I have died the most.


  4. *vlad*

    its an Achievement to have done all those dungeons as a group, and with so little level difference between you all, so well done on that.

    It’s a bit sad for me that you found all the latter instances so easy; that first visit to Utgarde Keep was probably more on the level of difficulty that I would expect all 5 man instances to be; ie somewhat hard but doable with a bit of effort.
    The modern 5 man is simply too easy, and the quite often wonderful designs and encounters are wasted in a flurry of aoe spam and a desire to get your badges asap.


  5. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Vlad – I hear you.

    I wish I could analyze how much various factors contributed to our change from struggling to knocking off an instance a week with time for a Wintergrasp afterward.

    I’d like to say that our struggles in the late Outlands and in Utgarde Keep molded us as a team and then when we layered on better equipment, class configuration, and spell rotation, we became a machine, at least for non-heroic instances.

    But it might just be that the latter additions did the trick.

    And, not least, writing up posts where we just blaze through and win aren’t as interesting to write and probably not as interesting to read.


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