The Deadmines – Enemy Territory

80 > 22+22+22+22+22

-Essential WoW PvP Math

We decided that for our weekly instance group run last week we would leave the Barrens and its colorful chat channel behind and venture into the dangerous world and perhaps experience the PvP side of our RP-PvP server, Lightninghoof.

I have not really played on a PvP server in WoW before, so the whole situation was not clear to me when we rolled up on Lightninghoof.  I expected to be flagged PvP at all times.  But that turned out not to be the case.  While you can flag yourself PvP at any time, the zone you are in determines what else flags you PvP.

For each player, there are three flavors of zones.

There is what is considered the home territory of your faction.  This is sort of like the PvE servers, in that you only get flagged if you actually attack a player of the other faction.  however, players of the other faction are always flagged PvP when they enter your home territory.  So they other side cannot come in and stomp noobs but are exposed themselves.

Then there is contested territory, which is most of the world I gather.  When in contested territory, everybody is flagged for PvP.

Then there is enemy territory, which is the other factions home territory.  There you are flagged PvP but the other side is not, so you cannot go stomp their noobs but they can choose to come get you whenever they please.

We were off to do the Deadmines, and it turns out that Westfall is enemy territory for the Horde.  So we would be flagged for PvP the whole time, but couldn’t go a-ganking unless somebody obliged us by flagging themselves.  Of course, if a high level came along, we would be in trouble.  The equation at the top of the post also applies to level 50 and above in the ability to slaughter a group in the low 20s.

As part of the plan to get ourselves into Westfall with the minimum of deaths, Azawak and Hurmoo both went into the druid cat form and used prowl to sneak into the vicinity of the Deadmines summoning stone.  We flew into Stranglethorn Vale first, then swam around to the shores of Westfall.

Summoning Stone Under Observation

As the hour approached, we started assembling the team for the night:

22 Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)
22 Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
22 Tauren Druid – Azawak (Skronk)
22 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
22 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)
80 Tauren Druid – Fayli (Gaff)

Gaff came over from New Eden to give us some covering fire if we needed it getting to the instance.  And it turned out we needed it.

Even as people were getting ready, Hurmoo got caught by a high level Alliance paladin near the summoning stone and was insta-killed.  Fortunately I had seen him coming and was trying to escape and evade while in prowl, so I managed to put my corpse close to a building.  This let me revive on the other side of the building, out of sight, and head for the hills.

Azawak and Hurmoo laid low for a while as the other troops got themselves in position and Fayli traveled out to join him.

When everybody was ready, we summoned in Enaldie, Bigbutt, and Earlthebat, then started quickly towards the instance.

However, in the tunnels, we found the paladin again.  He turned out to be level 80 and he killed us all pretty rapidly.  Fayli showed up, but we hadn’t told him it was a paladin, just that a high level Alliance player was on us.  It seems that a paladin is a tough target for a feral druid of the same level unless the druid gets the drop on him, so Fayli and the pally ran around the mines a bit while we revived and got killed once or twice more.

Eventually though, we all made it to the instance.

The Deadmines itself wasn’t much of a challenge.  As a group of level 22 players, we were a bit above level for the instance.  The instance is listed as being for levels 15 through 23, but by 22 you’re not really being challenged.  The NPCs at the start of the instance were grey to us.

Running Through Familiar Places

While familiar with the instance, we managed to get surprised now and again.  We had forgotten that patrols show up to sweep the room when you finish a couple of the bosses, so you can get take unaware, especially by that group that shows up after you finish the foundry.

Looking Out Over The Foundry

It seems odd though that Blizzard established this patrol thing pretty strongly in the Deadmines, then didn’t use it again.  At least I cannot think of an instance off-hand where something like that occurs.

We still showed care and did not get in over our heads… not very often anyway… even though everything was below our level.  Things got a little more challenging once we got to Smite.

Facing Smite

You have to love VanCleef’s ship.  Can you say “Top Heavy?”

We made our was along the decks and up the scaffolding, making it to VanCleef at last.

We though perhaps we could form an alliance with the Defias.  These guys are fighting against Stormwinds, why are they aggro to us?  But it wasn’t to be.  He fought, we won, the achievement was ours.

Victory Over VanCleef

Hurmoo is wearing the puffy shirt that dropped from VanCleef.  Nobody wanted it, so it went to Hurmoo to disenchant.

While the Deadmines was fun, it was something of a nostalgia ride, and as such, did not last very long.  We still had some energy left in us.  So we decided to terrorize Westfall.

We first went to the flight point to see what we could slay there, but everything showed up as “??” to us, so we gave that a wide berth.  No slaying the flight master for us.

We then headed to the Saldean Farm where all the NPCs were low level.  We killed them all in front of a couple of lower level Alliance players.

Death To The Humans!

Then we ran over and tried to free Old Blanchy from his oppressors, the Furlbrows, who regularly give away his blanket and feed pouch.  We slew them, but Blanchy was too brainwashed to accept his freedom, join us, and fight against the tyranny of Stormwind.

Free Old Blanchy

Then we headed into Elwynn Forest, where we slew guards until a pair of “??” Alliance players saw us and one-shotted us.

The Invasion Crushed

We went back, revived, found that at least our corpses were not being camped, declared a moral victory, and recalled for home.  We decided to do a bit on the Pilgrim’s Bounty end of things.

All in all, it was quite a fun run.  The Deadmines is still an awesome instance and I look forward to the heroic version that is promised for Cataclysm.  Then perhaps Sneed and his shredder will be a challenge.

Sneed And His Shredder

The instance is also very good looking.  Every time I go through it I am always struck by the lighting and how well it sets the mood.  Somebody spent a lot of time on this instance.

After figuring out how the tables at Pilgrim’s Bounty worked and getting the first achievement or two, we started calling it a night one by one.

If we stay on our instance trajectory, Shadowfang Keep will be the next on the list.  We are not dedicated to running all the instances again, the way we did with the original instance group, so maybe we’ll just go raid Westfall again.

13 thoughts on “The Deadmines – Enemy Territory

  1. Bronte

    This is a great series man. A few of my old WoW friends and I are actually inspired by your travels and we will now do the same for several Vanilla – BC instances!

    Here is a question: do you feel that like Vanilla WoW, there should be faction-specific dungeon content? Like WC for Horde, or DM for Alliance? I suppose that may be addressed in Cataclysm with the return of Van Cleef etc., but I mean new instances that you can access only as a certain faction.

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  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @PJ – Because we were appropriate level for the zone and on a PvP server. That seems to me to be a pretty clear distinction when compared to a level 80 on a PvE server not only killing quest mobs, but doing so to maximize the pain to low level players.

    And don’t imagine I did not think about that at the time.

    You can abstract both actions to make them seem the same, but in my mind they are clearly different.

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  3. pjharvey

    You knew that the zone is ‘enemy territory’ and not ‘contested’, and know the difference between them, so although it’s a PvP server it is not a full PvP zone.

    You kill quest givers in front of low-level Alliance toons, knowing they are quest NPCs and that the toons are unlikely to be able to fight back. I imagine you know there is a respawn time on the NPCs, so you were denying access to the NPCs.

    It may be a PvP server, but that is player vs. player, not player vs. NPC. The actions you took can be replicated on any PvE server, with exactly the same consequences, i.e. being flagged PvP when killing NPCs in front of toons that are not high enough level to defend the NPCs or themselves.

    I was just curious to know if the similarities had crossed your mind, and if you had rationalised it in some way or just not considered it. It is a curious tendency of humans to forget their own negative experiences when looking from the other side.

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  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @PJ – I’m sorry, but I don’t buy your accusation that these two events are akin as you are trying to make them.

    One was an act of deliberate and premeditated griefing by a level 80 player on players of significantly lower level. That player was doing it, repeatedly, to make people miserable. That was something I felt crossed the line, but which Blizz said was perfectly acceptable behavior.

    The other was killing NPCs that were flagged PvP that may or may not have interrupted the questing of others. There was no clear indication that either of the Alliance players close by needed either of the NPCs at the Saldean farm and nobody was in the vicinity of Old Blanchy. I only pointed out those two players near the Saldean farm to mock the brazenness of our actions.

    You might call me out if I said I opened a ticket every time somebody killed the flightmaster in Westfall or, to bring this back to the PvP server, every time the alliance came into Horde home territory and killed all the NPCs at the Crossroads. But I don’t do that.

    So I think you are ignoring quite a bit in an attempt to equate these two events. And you can play the “rationalization” card if you so desire, but that works both ways.

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  5. p@tsh@t

    Direct consequence of design decisions made by Blizz. Working as intended.

    In order to attempt to prevent direct griefing, they’ve ended up focusing all PvP actions in a home territory toward indirect griefing (against NPCs).

    Quite frankly, the only way to elicit any PvP in these zones is to engage in a guerrilla war attacking collateral targets until the other side gets annoyed enough to respond.

    Maybe that’s not intended, but that’s certainly a direct and obvious consequence of the rules of engagement. And yes, your expectations about being “interrupted” in your gameplay by gasp PVP on PVP server better be different than on a PVE server or you rolled on the wrong server type.

    Blizzard could have very easily just made all opposing players and NPCs in a home territory unattackable by the other side. But they didn’t. And yes, there should be PvP in these zones. How Blizz would permit that is their design decision. Remember the WAR in WARcraft?

    Should high levels be permitted to engage low levels? Should it be FFA? Should everyone be “mentored” down to a zone level cap? Such are the challenges of bolting on PvP to a PvE game.

    As much of a pain as it was to have deal with an 80 alliance smoting horde noobs going into the deadmines, that was exactly what we expected based on the rules of engagement. No surprise there. Working as intended.

    The fact that 5 level 22s can’t even scratch one level 80 is also a direct consequence of design. An exponential player power progression curve and PvP seldom mix unfortunately.

    Imagine what a different experience the entire game would be if 8 level 10s could prove a challenge to one level 80? or 4 level 20s or 2 level 40s, etc….

    On a PvP server, this is working as intended.

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  6. pjharvey

    I’m not saying what you did was wrong, just questioning your motives.

    As for it being ‘enemy territory’, it is easy to draw a parallel to high-sec space in EVE Online. It is a relatively safe place for newbies to experience the game before being thrown in to the harsh realities of PvP, and areas for anyone to rest. Just because there are valid NPC targets doesn’t make it ‘PvP’ in the sense that the term is normally used, regardless of the type of server.

    If you want world PvP on a PvP server, you can go to any contested zone and engage in open and free PvP against appropriate level toons. Trying to pick a fight in enemy territory is akin to can-flipping in EVE Online, griefing and denying resources to others with the sole intention of provoking a response. Again, I’m not saying this is wrong.

    I was only really curious to see if you had considered your actions, and it seems that you did.

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  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @SynCaine – Yes, of course, because being at the appropriate level for a zone on a PvP server clearly constitutes griefing. But then you argued that the level 80 who was killing our quest mob in Westfall wasn’t griefing, so you’re about as clear on this as you are on what you mean when you reference EuroGamer.

    @PJ – Now it is the moral equivalent of can flipping? Can flipping, where somebody in a combat ready ship tries to trick somebody in a mining ship into accidentally flagging themselves so the combat ship can blow them up? Do I have that straight? You are saying these are parallel actions?

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  8. pjharvey

    First, you’re waving the ‘appropriate level’ flag around again. You state yourself that you ‘were a bit above level for the instance’, an instance that you surely know is at the end of the Westfall quest chains. The mobs around the NPCs you killed are maybe level 16 at the most, making you at least 5 levels higher than the players you’ll encounter there, and closer to 10 levels when you went further north. No, you were not ‘appropriate level’ for Westfall.

    Second, yes, your griefing is similar to can-flipping, where you were provoking underpowered opponents in to taking aggressive action or face losing time/effort through inaction. It isn’t the same as can-flipping, because the opponents could attack you directly at any time. That they didn’t want to attack a group of overpowered enemies should have told you something, and trying to justify killing NPC quest givers as a way of initiating PvP is flimsy.

    Go ahead and grief, if you want to, but don’t pretend it isn’t griefing.

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  9. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @PJ – I’m waving “appropriate level” in your face because relative to what you compared us to, a level 80 killing people in Westfall, we were.

    In fact, Blizzard lists Deadmines as levels 15-23, and the suggested levels for Westfall itself is through 24. We were level 22, at the high end, but appropriate level. So suck it on that point, you lose by definition.

    The two players who were nearby the Saldean farm could have killed one of us if we hadn’t kept close together. But we didn’t. They had the option to engage, but wisely chose not to in the face of bad odds. Now I suspect you’ll want to play the “not a fair fight” card. Not presenting fair odds does not griefing make. You have to get to impossible odds, and the odds were not impossible. If one of them had turned out to be a level 19 WSG twink, he might have killed a couple of us and ran off to the flight point and the protection of the high level npcs.

    What we were doing was nothing like can flipping. You wanted to know about our motivation. Our motivation was not to provoke those two players, or anybody else really, into fighting us. We didn’t shadow them, repeatedly kill NPCs they obviously needed in front of them, or even hang around and savor our victory over the NPCs. The two screen shots of us were taken less than two minutes apart according to the time stamps. And the picture of us dead was less than four minutes after the first. That does not support a griefing hypothesis.

    But if that is griefing, and similar to can flipping or what that level 80 character was doing, then just about every player conflict on a PvP server is griefing.

    So I reject your seeming wide definition of “inconvenience = griefing.” Griefing is repeated and deliberate harassment of other players and would have required a lot more work on our part.

    And I have Blizzard to back me up. There is no way they would have declared our actions griefing and I think most people would agree.

    So your task is to not respond again to this thread, since this is my blog and I’ll have the last word come Hell or high water I guarantee, but to go back to your own blog and write a post on “What Constitutes Griefing.” Then let your readers confirm or reject your opinion on the subject.

    I promise not to fill your comment thread. My own personal rule for about a year now has been to walk away after two comments on somebody’s blog. If it is an issue I feel passionate about, I’ll go write a post. And if I don’t feel passionate enough to write a post, then I am probably better off just not commenting any more in the first place.

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  10. JdJdJd

    Just to add my two cents here even though I probably shouldn’t.

    Having spent most of my years playing WoW on a PvP server, killing those NPCs once would not be griefing. Any enemy player or NPC is fair game. It’s War and killing if you can should be expected.

    I (and most of the people I played with) would only consider it griefing if you camped the NPC. The same would apply to a low level player.

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