The holiday season didn’t leave the team much time to get together, so the instance basically took most of December off. We did have one alt night where we ran around chasing rifts and doing a zone event, but more than a month passed since we last did an instance.
But here in the new year we were finally able to form up. Our group was:
- Jollyreaper level 21 mage
- Earlthecat level 21 warrior
- Hakawati level 21 rogue
- Hillmar level 20 cleric
- Gizalia level 20 mage
And our target was the Iron Tomb, which is located just walking distance from the Defiant capital, Meridian. There was no need to mess around with the looking for group tool and any of the class, role, soul point, or weight requirements which it might impose.
We went straight in.
Iron Tomb is a real dungeon. The outdoor aspects of The Realm of the Fae were not a bad thing, and it was nice to be able to mount up and ride, but a real dungeon crawl requires a real dungeon.
We got the “being there” quest, the one you get just by entering the dungeon, the one that tells you that you have completed the dungeon. In this case it was defeat Caor Ashstone, the three kings, and
Ragnos Ragnoth the Despoiler.
Simple enough, right.
And then there were a couple of quests along the way, including one there at the entrance from the shiny guy in the first picture.
But first it was time to see if we could still fight as a team. Jollyreaper didn’t do well in the first fight… he actually died a bit more than the rest of us… but after a couple of fights, we started to remember the basics at least.
Caor Ashstone showed up so quickly in the instance that we didn’t even notice we had the first boss on the hook until well into the fight. It was sort of, “Hey isn’t that the guy we need to kill?” “Yes.” “Well, let’s keep killing him then!”
As though there is any other choice of interaction with hostiles.
We moved on.
The Iron Tomb is linear without seeming too much like the box canyon of lore. It seems like you might be able to make a wrong turn, but all false paths end pretty abruptly not too far off the main path. Killer completionist will have mobs to kill down these side ventures. For the rest of us, it is the sweet smell of avoidable confrontation.
The instance, which has that World of Warcraft “plenty of room to move about and position your camera” feel to it (as opposed to some EverQuest II dungeons, which remind me of the Three Stooges trying to all go through a doorway at once) without having the cartoon color tones.
That lead us around and down to the area of the three kings, which we ended up having to fight twice.
The first time around, they all were summoned individually and defeated in quick order. That was for one of the quests we picked up in the dungeon.
Then there was a separate battle for dungeon progress, which also unlocked the door behind them, opening up the remainder of the dungeon. This time around all three of the kings showed up together, and it turned into a long battle… until we figured out what was going on.
The three kings, in what is no doubt a prod at the mechanics of these games, represent tank, healer, and ranged DPS. And we, at the start, acted like typical dungeon mobs and fought the tank.
Well, the tank did run right at us, so he seemed like a good starting place.
After a bit of making very little progress, we started to figure out what was going on. Hakawati was the first to change tactics, as he turned his attention to the DPS and took him out in relatively short order.
Then we killed the healer and, finally, the tank. They wiped… in a way that we have in the past.
That finished off one quest and got us the second set of bosses for the overall dungeon achievement as well as opening up one of the more difficult quests of the night for us.
The quest we picked up involved breaking three shards. Each shard was protected by a few standard mobs who stood around like they were waiting for a bus or some such until we attacked them. No issues there.
But once the area was clear and we started attacking the shard itself, a host of mobs were summoned with annoying stun attacks. More and more of them showed up as time passed.
At first we fought them. But while they were non-elite, their ever increasing numbers and their stun attacks made us think that we ought to kill the shard first. Maybe that would also kill off the defenders.
Alas no. We killed the shard, but wiped to the mass ravager attack.
When we got back and set, we had to kill off the remains of the summoned group. Killing the shard did not dismiss them.
Of three shards, we wiped on two. We always managed to kill the shard, but the defenders were too much. And on the one we survived, Jolly died and the rest of us barely squeaked through.
I am sure there is a “how to” for those battles on a Wiki somewhere, but we did it the old fashioned way.
This put us on the home stretch to the last area of the instance. There was an interesting area where orbs placed throughout on section of floor would kill mobs attacking us if we stood next to them. The area itself was littered with mobs, and they respawned quickly, so we figured that out in a hurry. Moving from one little island of safety to another, we moved through the area first to knock off that last shard (and wipe) then up some steps to the main boss.
There were no helpers, no obvious tricks, no barriers or other obstructions visible. It looked like it might be a good clean boss fight. So in we went.
The fight looked to be going very well. We were hitting him hard. His health was dropping visibly. Meanwhile, I was able to keep up with healing and nobody was getting interrupted or otherwise troubled.
And then, suddenly, we were all dead.
Some nasty area attack killed us all in one fell swoop.
A look back at what was going on showed us that Eliam’s ghost, one of the quest related mobs, had materialized mid-fight and told us to crowd around him in order to be protected from this special attack. (See big red arrow in the picture above.)
None of us noticed this during the fight, Elim having popped in on the far side of Ragnoth.
The second time around, the fight went as before. Eliam’s ghost showed up right in the middle of the party this time… he seemed to have a random spawn point in the area… we crowded around, survived the attack, and defeated Rangnoth.
We had one more quest to wrap up, then remembered the final screen shot. However, by then Ragnoth’s body was gone, so we just posted around the tomb.
And that was about it for the Iron Tomb.
We ran back to Meridian, turned in a couple of quests to the Faceless Man and looked into where to go next week.
All in all, it was not a bad return to the game after nearly a month off for most of us. In a sign that the game is becoming our home, Earl actually played quite a bit over the holidays on his alt. Of the group, he was the one person who has remained subscribed and playing WoW for the last 5+ years. So the fact that his high-teens alt was already level 42 seemed to be a good indication that he likes the game.
And it looks like we are all about the right level for the next instance, the Darkening Deeps.
We will see how that goes.