When you’re a Defias,
You’re an expendable pawn
From your first red bandana
To your final respawn.
-Defias Song, Westfall Story
When last we checked into Westfall, Gryan Stoutmantle had a big question mark over his head and I was certain that we would be getting stuck into the Defias.
The Defias, curse their name, were all over Sentinal Hill, attempting to burn it down while engaged in ritual combat with the Westfall Brigade… combat that looked rather like an awkward and slow motion version of the Jets taking on the Sharks in West Side Story.
What task would Gryan Stoutmantle have for us.
As with last week, I’ll answer that after the break so as not to spoil Westfall for those who have not done it yet.
Lakeshire. In the Redridge Mountains.
That is where Gryan sent us.
Okay, fine. The group was together there in Westfall at Sentinel Hill, all ready to go, but if the story required it, we would run out to Redridge and see what was going on.
The group for the night was:
Xula – level 17 Gnome warrior
Ethelred – level 17 Worgen druid
Earlthedog – level 17 Worgen warrior
Maloney – level 17 Worgen mage
Nancyboy – level 18 Worgen priest
And we started heading towards Redridge in our own separate ways. I took the bird to Goldshire, since I had grabbed the flight point there. Earl went to Stormwind, then ran down to Goldshire. Ethelred and Nancyboy decided just to run to Goldshire. And Xula was going to fly, but somehow got stuck in the phase and had to log out and log back in before she was able to catch up.
From Goldshire we ran East to Redridge, slaughtering critters as we went (and apparently getting multiple critter credits for the guild as we did) picking up the flight point at Eastvale Logging Camp along the way.
In Lakeshire we headed to the town hall, turned in our quest. But rather than getting something that was related to Westfall, we got a quest that set us on the path to running the Redridge quest line.
We debated as to whether this was a short diversion, something we should follow up, or whether we should just use the Dungeon Finder and hit the Deadmines already.
The impatient won out and we were soon teleported straight to the instance.
As before, the entrance was covered by Stormwind guards and alarm-o-bots. (Gnomeregan trained us to kill those on site, so they are still a little hard to take when they have a green name label.)
There was also Lt. Horatio Lane waiting for us with a single quest. Not being quite used to how thing work in Cataclysm, we were a little surprised to get only one quest, and one to kill the very first boss only. Still, we were there and ready to go, we thought we might as well get on with it.
This is where we get into opinions over what were good changes in Cataclysm and what were soul shattering mistakes that betrayed all that was holy… er… um… changes that were less than good.
Universal opinion seemed to be that the Deadmines of old was one of the best instances in the game. It had a deck full of tricks that made the experience memorable and set a standard that many of the follow-on 1-60 dungeons failed reach.
The first thing about the Deadmines was that it got pretty difficult as you made your way in. A group that was below level 20 could find itself up to the challenge of the first couple of bosses only to get soundly and repeatedly trounced by Smite.
Now though, with our group at level 17, in an instance recommended for levels 15-21, it felt like it was mailing it in when it came to challenge. We popped through some of the yard trash, got to Glubtok, and took him down without much problem.
The quest said he wouldn’t go down easy, but he pretty much did.
You might say that is not fair, since we were a pretty experienced group. The only problem with that theory is that a number of us were playing unfamiliar roles and classes for the first time. Mistakes abounded, mistakes which would have lead to a wipe in the old Deadmines.
In the new Deadmines, no problem.
Now, that might be a good thing. This is supposed to be the first instance most players will see. The old version might have been dialed a bit too high. But as a group we still missed finishing off a boss only to have a patrol spawn behind us and wander in while we were still recovering.
Nope, Glubtok down and no surprises, just an alert in our quest tracker to click to turn in the quest.
Getting these quests is explained in the Deadmines by a device that Lt. Horatio Lane gave you when you accepted the first quest, which I barely noticed when it happened.
This allows him to send you quests and allows you to turn them in remotely, or so the story goes. You do not actually have to do anything to use it, the quests just appear in your quest tracker. The quest widow also shows you an animation of your target, which is good, or an animation of the quest giver when you are turning things in, which I guess can help you keep things straight. Or Blizzard can use it to confuse you. But we’ll get to that.
Our next foe was a ways further in, back where Sneed and his Shredder used to be. There were a few elite Defias along the way, but otherwise getting there posed no problems. The quest alert came up when we opened the door to Sneed’s old area, sent to you by the communicator.
Clearing the room before the next boss, Helix Gearbreaker, wasn’t an issue, and the fight itself was, again, not nearly as challenging as Sneed.
It does have some similar aspects. Rather than Sneed on the Shredder, Helix is riding around on the back of a Lumbering Oaf in the grand Beyond Thunderdome Master Blaster tradition. And when the Oaf is slain, Helix jumps on members of your party. So there was some chaos, but it was still over very quickly.
There was then an alert for the quest turn in. Another one down. On to the foundry.
The Goblin Foundry used to be the trial by fire for learning how to successfully pull mobs. It was littered with stationary and patrolling goblins, including one class of them which would summon mechanical helpers. This was an area where the trash mobs were often a bigger challenge than the boss fight.
Now though, the goblins are all dead. Well, a few were alive, but they ran away done the tunnel trying to get out.
There was, of course, a quest alert at the top of the ramp, there being a new boss to take out.
To take him out we appeared to have to do something with four mechanicals that were arrayed around the floor. You could attack them, and once you had them down to a certain level of hit points, they then became vehicles. Short term vehicles, as they expired in 30 seconds.
We tinkered around with all four, as we wasted the first two trying to see what they could do. We thought maybe you needed them to attack the next boss. Instead, we ended up using up all four of the mechanicals without doing anything.
That seemed enough to wake up the big guy, the Foe Reaper 5000, at which point it seemed to be a straight up tank and spank fight.
There seemed to be something special the Foe Reaper was trying to do during the battle, but it did not seem to make much of a difference. He was quickly defeated. Another quest to turn in via the quest tracker. And no patrol sweeping the area post fight. That used to be the patrol that would get us every time.
Then it was through the door and down the tunnel to that famous old cannon.
This time around it was booby-trapped and when it went off, four Defias rushed in to attack us. Not that they had a chance. They were done in quickly. And then we were able to peek through door and see that famous old boat.
Only this time around, it was shooting at us!
Well, it was shooting at something. As we made our way towards the boat, knocking off the giant macaws, we quickly noticed that the cannons were hitting specific and clearly visible locations.
So getting up to the boat meant killing some birds and walking around the explosions. There is no Smite, nor any replacement. A quest lit up to get Admiral Ripsnarl, the worgen captain of the boat, who we were pretty sure was up top.
We did the traditional run around the left side of the ship first to clear out the path to the exit, then headed right up the ramps.
You can silence the cannons that are shooting and then jump on them and use them against other Defias on deck. We all gave this a try, with the extra fire power removing any minor doubts as to our ability to take on all comers in the instance.
The ramps are less crowded than in the past and we were able to bowl through to the upper deck in short order and face the Admiral.
He did, at least, give us a different fight. He starts off just attacking head on.
He then brings up a fog into which he disappears a couple of times during the fight. When he is gone, some vapors appear and attack. Then the Admiral is back and attacking.
In the end though, we prevailed and the Admiral was thrown down.
Then came the confusing point. We got the quest pop to turn in the quest for killing the Admiral. Then we got a new quest that said we needed to kill the Defias Kingpin. The picture beside it was of Mathias Shaw.
Mathias Shaw of SI:7 a traitor?! We were shocked and surprised. I was shocked at this treason and surprised that Earl knew right away who Mathias was. I certainly didn’t remember.
Only, he wasn’t the actual target. He was supposed to be giving the quest. I think. It doesn’t say so in the quest text, but it is the only thing that makes any sense.
While we were trying to figure that out we noticed somebody was in the ships cabin, about where VanCleef used to be for the last fight. It was the real Defias Kingpin.
Cookie, the murloc cook from the old Deadmines appeared to be in charge, which might explain the slipshod way things were being run these days.
Cookie summons and then jumps into a giant cauldron, from where he fights the battle. He sits in there throwing food at people, some of it rotten which has a damaging AOE aura.
While an amusing gimmick, it was not particularly effective. We just moved around to avoid the bad food and burned him down pretty quickly. On his death, the achievements were ours.
Another guild achievement, plus everybody’s individual achievement for the instance. Plus Cookie dropped the most giggle-inducing item of the night.
Then Lt. Lane showed up again with his alarm-o-bots for the final quest turn-in, which gave us all the achievement “Complete 5 Dungeon Quests,” since that was the total for the Deadmines.
So we stood there for a bit, summing up what had happened. As Xula said to Ethelred, “I’m sorry they ruined your favorite instance.”
Certainly it was much less of a challenge than the original. It felt like they built the heroic version first, then tuned it way down to be the starter instance. A lot of things make little or no difference in the normal version that probably are vital in the heroic, like those four mechanicals in the goblin foundry or the cannons on the Defias ship.
But it is the starter instance for many people, and maybe the old one was a bit too hard for that role. It is a difficult balance. You have to make that first instance accessible, but you want people to feel a sense of accomplishment when they have finished. The sense of accomplishment, for us, compared to the old instance, was lacking.
I expect calls for a “classic” WoW server to really start ramping up this spring and summer.
On the other hand, I hear that the level 85 heroic version of the Deadmines is quite the experience. We have a ways to go for that.
So, done with the Deadmines, we headed out the back door, that being one of the innovations introduced in the Deadmines, which then failed to appear again for many, many dungeons forcing people to stone out or walk back out the way they came.
Then, through the exit, we found ourselves deposited in Lakeshire, Redridge again. Dungeon Finder.
But it was only about 10:30pm. So we decided to let the Dungeon Finder pick a random dungeon for us.
However, this post is long enough already, so what happened next will have to wait until tomorrow.