Even with our venture into Runes of Magic last week, the group was still askew, with Earl falling a bit behind. We kicked off with:
53 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
56 Tauren Druid – Azawak (Skronk)
56 Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)
56 Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
56 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)
Dire Maul is quite a contrast to Blackrock Depths. Added after the game went live, Dire Maul seems to reflect the philosophy of breaking up instances into discreet runs that became the favored approach for Blizzard. So while BRD is a sprawling complex that you must visit repeatedly to finish up, Dire Maul is three discreet zones, each with its own flavor.
We started off with the east wing of Dire Maul, which has a theme of Satyrs and nature, something that can be confusing with a restoration spec’d druid in tree form running around.
It is also something of a pain for a shaman who is a bit low on levels and heavy on nature damage spells.
But it is also the section of Dire Maul which I had visited most recently, so I had something of a feel for where to go. Sort of.
We started off with Pusillin, the imp you chase around the instance. We chased him while learning that at least there were more than druid-like trees to kill.
We worked our way through the instance, knocked off Pusillin and then lined up for the biggest fight we ended up having in Dire Maul East, the battle with Zevrim Thornhoof.
During this fight, Zevrim zaps people onto the altar where they are effectively stuck in a damage over time spell. Azawak ended up on the altar twice, but survived while Enaldie tanked. Then Hurmoo got yanked up onto the altar and expired before the time ran out.
Fortunately, 4 out of 5 people in our group can ress.
Aside from that death, our run through Dire Maul East went pretty smoothly, with the final with Alzzin the Wildshaper over so fast I didn’t get a screen shot.
Emboldened by our success, we turned our eyes towards the North wing of Dire Maul. And there our troubles began.
Through most of Dire Maul East, the mobs were around the level of most of the group, and so a couple of levels higher than Earl. In Dire Maul North, the mobs were levels 58-60, which made a lot of Earl’s attacks fail.
They were also showing up in groups of four, which meant having to fall back on some crowd control. That meant Bigbutt was spending time casting polymorph rather than damage.
The latter, of course, meant mobs angry at Bigbutt. The ogres of Dire Maul North also do a lot of damage, which meant a lot more healing going on, which meant mobs angry at Hurmoo the healer. Fights started becoming wild affairs and Bigbutt or Hurmoo ended up dead every so often.
Then came the first big fight in the tunnel leading to the big boss, King Gordok. We were trying for a tribute run, which means avoiding the lesser bosses and just killing the big boss if possible. At that point, the lesser bosses, are so happy to have been been freed from their current tyrant that they give you gifts.
In the tunnel we were in a pitched battle with four ogres when an eye of Kilrogg showed up, opened a portal, and brought in a few more mobs, which tipped the balance of the fight. We had our first wipe in a long time.
Earl, with his shaman self-resurrection ability, was thwarted in his attempt to revive us because he died a little too close to the start point of the ogres. The penalty of a large aggro radius.
That meant a jog back to the instance in ghost form. From that point forward, the fighting was tough. If things went even a little awry, fights quickly got out of hand.
And as healer, Hurmoo was feeling the weight of ogre blows, and he ended up getting pounded into the ground with disturbing frequency.
Which lead as often as not lead to all of us having to run back to the instance as ghosts again.
Still, we persisted. While we were dying a lot than we were have grown used to of late, we were still making progress. Not every fight was a fiasco, and the door to the final boss was within sight.
And then we were rewarded with the true meaning of the saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Most people just mis-quote that first part, and often in a way that mis-interprets the meaning of the full quote.
A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1709
We knew, through various sources, about the Dire Maul North tribute run. However, we drank only lightly of that knowledge, and were thus intoxicated into rash action.
In this case, there we were at the King Gordok’s door, and we didn’t have the key.
Neither did we have a rogue handy with locking picking skill up around 300, a blacksmith’s truesilver skeleton key, nor an engineer’s powerful seaforium charge, any of which would have opened up the doors.
A little bit of research showed up who had the key, Guard Mol’dar. However, he was at the other side of the instance in an area we have not bothered to clear. And it was getting very late, ress and release runs having eaten up a chunk of time. And some of us were wearing armor that was completely out of durability.
So we decided to take our lessons and return another night when we would, no doubt, be better prepared for the North wing of Dire Maul.
And while it is annoying to fail (and die so many times!), we did at least feel we were facing a challenge in this instance.