We’re off on the road to Gnomeregan
This instance is tough on our time (hit me with some caffeine)
Why we’re goin’, how we’re goin’, we cannot be sure
I’ll lay you eight to five that we’ll meet…
Okay, hold on.
Show of hands… who is going to understand what I am talking about when I make road movie references or inevitably refer to Dorothy Lamour in this post?
Come on… you… you in the back, you’re old enough.
Not many hands. Who is that… Tipa, Potshot, Genda, and my mom?
Kids these days.
Anyway, when Potshot said that we were on for Gnomeregan, I was not exactly bubbling with joy. He wanted to storm the place and it was feeling more like a drizzle to me.
Remember when I did that poll a while back? The one where Gnomeregan came in low on the love meter, and I was not shy about adding my voice to the crowd on that subject. We’d been there once and that was enough for me.
Still, he had explained that we were not quite high enough level for any of Scarlet Monastery but were were in the prime level range for Gnomer. Plus, he said, the horde quests for the instance were much less annoying.
I was worried though. I got on early and spent some time trying to figure out exactly how we were going to make our way from the nearest horde base we could reach to the what is practically the doorstep of Ironforge. If nothing else, grief-watch was sure to be all over our case again with us wandering about alliance territory with obvious malicious intent.
Potshot patiently explained that there was a quest that sent us to Booty Bay, from where we would take a teleporter directly to the outside of the instance. On the third or fourth try I actually grasped what he was telling me. All we had to do was grab two quests in Orgrimmar, make our way to Booty Bay and we’d be on our way.
So the group for the night began to assemble.
26 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
28 Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)
28 Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
28 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)
28 Tauren Druid – Azawak (Skronk)
Azawak and Hurmoo were hanging out in Booty Bay directing people to get the quest. In one of the light moments of the night, Azawak was sitting in the Salty Sailor Tavern when an alliance player a few levels higher walked in. Thinking to pwn the hordie, he took a swipe at Azawak, who was sitting facing away from the door and holding a hand of aces over eights. The alliance player got that one free hit, which didn’t do much damage, before the level 75 Booty Bay bruiser one-shotted him.
Azawak said he nearly did a spit take he was laughing so hard.
That also answered a question for me. I had been nervous hanging out in Booty Bay, since it is contested territory, and I wasn’t sure the guards would care it people went after each other. Now I know. Potshot says that Gadgetzen is going to feel like Mos Eisley.
As people ran off to get the quests, we ran into our first problem. Nobody besides Azawak and Hurmoo could get both quests in Orgrimmar. The first to try was Earl, and we though that maybe he was short a level to get it. Then Enaldie had the same issue and we knew something was up.
Some research turned up the fact that sometimes you can only get the teleporter quest, but once you run to Booty Bay and turn it in and get the teleport token, you can then run back and get the other quest. Maybe tauren are exempt?
That turned out to be the case for us, so after some travel, everybody was in Booty Bay and ready to go. We teleported to the outside of Gnomer and ran into our next problem.
The first effect of the 3.3 patch happened at the instance door, the dreaded “could not create instance” message.
Everybody is so jumped up to run instances after patch 3.3 that we’re stressing the system again.
We ran into an oddity while trying to get an instance. We all jumped into the swirly portal, but when it kicked us out, we were on the other side of the portal.
Fortunately, the wait for the instance server did not last too long. We were able to get in after about a minute and a half of jumping around. We did try to see if there was something else beyond the portal, but you run into an invisible wall a dozen yards or so in. There is no open-world version of Gnomer waiting to be discovered it seems.
Once in, we began our quick tour of Gnomer. All those alliance quests meant nothing to us. No trogs to kill, not tunnels to blast, no collecting drops, no jimmying coke machines for loose change, and no escort quest.
Well, we saw the escort quest was actually lit for us, but we decided to just say no.
We were just there for the scenery and the bosses, with our only real quest being to slay and loot Mekgineer Thermaplugg.
And, frankly, without some of the bothersome quests, Gnomer isn’t that bad. Sure, there are some oddities that have been around for ages with NPC pathing and proximity, but overall things were good. And again being at the low end of the level curve for the instance, the experience was quite good. Everybody got at least one level along the way.
And the bosses were quite good to us as well. A blue drop for everybody along the way, at least one of which was a level above the person who needed it. That is always good, getting a nice rare item just before you need it so you get maximum benefit out of it.
On we went, deep into the bowels of the instance until we finally reached Thermaplugg. We needed a safe combo from him to open his safe to and steal his blueprints for the quest Rig Wars.
Even after all the time that has passed since we did this fight, we still remembered it. We put Bigbutt on bomb hatch patrol on one flank, Earlthebat on the other, then went after Thermaplugg.
We did the patty cake routine and then there he was laid out on the floor. He hadn’t seen the movie either.
The fight seemed… easy.
I keep saying that about the boss fights we’re redoing after several years. Blizzard can’t have nerfed them all. We must be learning or something. Anyway, we posed for our victory shot.
We looted the safe combo, and then found the safe in the back of the room. We all opened it and got the quest item. All of us except Earl. His bags were full. This screwed up the quest, so no item for him.
We were near the back door to the instance and had obtained the key, so we decided to see if we could just fight our way out, reset the instance, fight our way back, and kill Thermaplugg again to get the item for Earl.
That wasn’t too tough and it gave us two shots at the Crowd Pummeler 9-60, who dropped a couple more nice blue items for us. He only drops two things, and we got one of each.
Back at Thermaplugg again, we defeated him, Earl made sure he had bag space, he looted the combo, opened the box… and nothing. Again.
Thwarted, we decided to call it a night, lighting up the hearthstones and heading home.
Later, Earl abandoned the quest, picked it up again, and potshot ran him through to Thermaplugg again with his death knight. Same result. Somehow that quest got messed up for Earl, which is too bad because it had a nice reward.
In the mean time we have to figure out where to head next week and what the implications are of this new instance group matching system for our regular group.
And I didn’t mention Dorothy Lamour after all. Well, I mean, aside from the one in the first line of the post… which was frankly all the reference I really needed for those who knew what I was talking about. There were, however, a couple of references to the road movies.