Blackfathom Deeps, that is.
Xula: What are we doing tonight?
Maloney: if you don’t want to say, that’s fine, but there’s no need to be rude
-Actual Guild Chat Before Our Run
It had been a long time since we last ventured into Blackfathom Deeps (BFD) as a group. We ran that instance as a group back in November 2006. That was back in primitive age of WoW. We’ve had three expansions since then. The world has changed a great deal since then. (Plus look at how much detail I used to put in my instance run posts.)
But BFD, it has not changed much at all. The changes in the game overall do intrude into the instance.
We were all ready to go by about a quarter after the hour. Our line up was:
- Xula – level 23 Gnome warrior
- Ethelred – level 23 Worgen druid
- Earlthedog – level 23 Worgen warrior
- Maloney – level 23 Worgen mage
- Nancyboy – level 23 Worgen priest
That put us, we hoped, in about the prime position, challenge-wise, to take on a dungeon with a suggested level range of 21-30.
Of course, the first change we felt was on the travel front. There was no need to make our way to Darkshore and fight (and swim) to get to the instance. Dungeon Finder took care of that for us.
And once we teleported into the instance, all of the quest givers were right there waiting for us. As Potshot so aptly put it, the quest concession stand was waiting for us in the lobby.
BFD has changed little in more than four years. It is still a watery cave and full of murlocs, naga, turtles and twilight cultists.
And turtles. We must not forget the turtles, and the boss turtle especially, Ghamoo-ra.
We killed them all.
Literally. Because of the need for drops from some mobs and the general completionist nature of a couple of us, we cleared the place out. Lady Sareves, Lorgus “Joan” Jett, Gelihast, and all the rest fell before our blades. We slaughtered the naga and put paid to the Twilight Cultists.
We remembered not to click on all the braziers after we cleared out Twilight Lord Kelris, and we made our way to the final boss, Aku’mai.
And while the whole thing wasn’t a complete cake walk… we did have to stick together and work as a team… the end result was never in doubt. Aku’mai held out for quite a while on hit points alone, but nobody on our side was in danger of dying. And so Aku’mai was slain and the achievement was ours.
With the last Aku’mai dead and us left standing at the far end of the instance, we did a check on our quests. It turned out that all of us were set on the two “kill a boss” quests, but the two collection quests were another story. All of us sat at five out of the ten required twilight medallions from the twilight cultists, while of the corrupted brain stems, from naga and such, some of us had as few as one out of the eight needed to complete the quest.
And this is where we come to the point when the influences of the Dungeon Finder come into conflict with the way things used to work.
In the old days, these two quests were give outside of the instance and the mobs which dropped the items were located both inside and outside, so there was considerably greater opportunity to finish off both quests during a single run. Now though, with Dungeon Finder, we never saw the outside of the instance, and teleporting out via DF would put us back where we started, which was Stormwind for most of us. That is a long way from BFD.
BFD though, being a long and linear instance, did give groups an easy way out. There is an NPC at the very back of the room where the last battle takes place who will teleport you out of the dungeon. This, at least, would keep a group, in the old days, from having to walk all the way through the instance.
However, the teleport point isn’t simply outside the instance, where it would have been extremely handy for us. The NPC teleports you to Darnassus. This was, again, handy in the old days because two of the quests had to be first obtained and then turned in at Darnassus.
Left with the three choices of using DF to leave, walking out, or getting a free trip to Darnassus, we chose the latter. We had hopes that Blizzard would have forseen this and would have left the quest turn-in at the old location.
They did not. Teleporting to Darnassus left us in a city far from both the mobs and the quest NPCs we needed.
Sitting there in night elf city, we decided that the best choice would be to just use DF to start the instance again. That would put us in the lobby again. We could turn in the two quests we had already finished and then knock out the two we still had left.
So off we went for round two of BFD.
We managed to knock out the corrupted brain stem drops with only a few potential mobs left to go. That was okay though, as we had to get through them to get to the mobs with the twilight medallions. And, along the way we also picked off each of the bosses for a second time.
By the time we had all picked up our last twilight medallion, we were all the way to Lord Kelris, who is the last boss before Aku’mai. Since we were there, we felt we might as well just finish the whole thing off for a second time.
We did the Lord Kelris event again, we through the door, killed off the guardians, and then tanked and spanked Aku’mai for the second time that evening. We even remembered to take a victory picture this time around, since last time we were fixated on the whole “how do we get out and finish our leftover quests” aspect of the adventure.
Done, again, we chose to teleport to Darnassus again, use the trainers there (since all of us were up at least two levels by that point), and then DF back into BFD for a third time in order to turn in the two remaining quests.
Those last quest turn-ins boosted three of us to level 26 and put the other two within a few percentage points of doing the same. As it was getting late, we opted not to push on and run it for a third time. Instead we all used our hearth stones and headed for Stormwind.
Very good experience again for an instance run, though we did have to run it twice to complete all the quests. An interesting look at how Dungeon Finder doesn’t always improve the actual dungeon crawl experience. Or maybe it encourages more dungeon runs. It certainly did in our case.
We are now at the appropriate level to queue up for Gnomeregan. Viewed as one of the more grindy early dungeons in WoW, we will have to see what the Cataclysm has wrought there.