I spent the late afternoon chasing pinatas in Rift, but come Saturday evening it looked like we would have a full group and be able to move on to our next instance. The assembled group was:
- Earlthecat level 25 warrior
- Gizalia level 27 mage
- Hillmar level 27 cleric
- Jollyreaper level 27 mage
- Zahihawass level 27 cleric
Despite locking our XP last week, Earl was still a couple of levels behind us. So we left our XP locked… or most of us did, Jolly forgot and hit level 28 during the evening… and Earl took one of the XP boost potions that you get as veteran rewards every so often with the idea of using the evening to catch up.
This was also our first chance to really travel overland to a dungeon. Darkening Deeps was off in the Guardian side of the world, while you can almost see the Iron Tomb standing out in front of Meridian. This time we had to head out into the world.
Not that the Deepstrike Mines are on the moon or something. It is just outside of granite falls, and we had already traveled there overland.
We took the portal there, and then headed off to the mine, stopping only to take out a pinata along the way. As has become the norm with my instance group posts, it is long and full of pictures, all of which you can find after the cut.
I had actually been to the instance entrance before with another character. Though, to be honest, it isn’t like there are a ton of mines in the area. It is pretty clear where you need to go once you see the place. And so we ended up at the very green entrance to the mine.
Once in, we found what is now becoming the usual set of NPCs hanging about with a few tasks for us. Find this, stop that, kill a guy. And then there was the over arching instance task to kill all the bosses, which seems to be a constant four bosses or groups thereof so far.
We did have our first death of the night right there when Gizalia wandered up the tunnel a bit, met an elite NPC, and got whacked. I did a res right there at the first quest giver.
From there it was into the instance, which turned out to be pretty neat looking.
My first thought was of Kelethin, the tree city in EverQuest, and later in EverQuest II. Lots of wooden platforms high up on… well, not trees. And it was under ground. So it was sort of a Kaladim meets Kelethin mash up.
And all of those ramps and such. I thought we might have a time just finding our way about might end up being an issue. But that never ended up being a big issue. The first set of ramps led us right around to Overseer Markus.
There was some trash on the way, and the fight with him came with some helpers, which we knocked down first and then the big guy. The fight came off faster than I thought it would.
From there we could see another boss, Bonehew the Thunderer, but trying to get to him was another story. While it seemed at first like we might have a lot of choices to make when traveling, it turned out that there were few wrong turns to be made, as they would dead end or lead to large gaps in the ramps. That herded us away from Bonehew and towards Gregori Krezlav, who sits in his own niche in one of the walls.
His fight was, again, quick. I had to heal quite a bit, and my focus on that probably made me miss any gimmick in the fight, but he was down without any loss on our side.
There was a small cave behind him, which we cleared out, just to see if there was anything in it. The bats who were living in it appeared to be all there was. That done, it was on to the next ramp. It appeared that the instance was going to lead us through the bosses in list order, so off we went, clearing trash and expecting to end up on Bonehew’s platform. And sure enough, there he was.
I noticed more about this fight, primarily because I almost flew off the platform during one of his special attacks. He ran around every so often and tossed out an area affect attack now and again, so I had to throw some group heals, which is really the only thing that eats up my mana. And, as I said, once I nearly went over the edge, ending up in the ropes at the edge of the platform.
But Bonehew’s wild ride did not save him, and he was down and we were still all alive and on the platform.
At this point we had three out of four bosses down, but still had quest objectives, one of which seemed to be right below us. So we took Bonehew’s hint and just jumped off his platform to one below, and from there to the ground.
There we had to clear a bit, but were able to pick up the missing item we were looking for. Then we moved on to another quest objective. This involved activating a platform and getting attacked. We obligingly activated the platform, got attacked, and killed the bad guys. But there was no quest update.
So we activated it again, then ran around killing the stuff that attacked. No update. So we thought, maybe we all had to do it, one at a time. And so we did. No update.
At this point, one of us actually chose to read the quest, which said that the person who activates must remain on the platform through the attack. Clearly reading is beneficial. So we activated it one more time, stayed on it, and got the quest update.
That out of the way, it seemed like time to go find the final boss on the list, Gatekeeper Kaleida. That involved a little bit of searching, but we eventually came to his little corner of the instance and the gate he was… keeping? guarding? Whatever.
Kaleida had his own special routine, that involved tossing out crystals that did damage. We quickly figured out that those needed to be burned down quickly, and so the DPS hit crystals as they showed up while Earl held the boss and I threw heals all over the place. Again, we all seemed to be taking damage in the fight and I ended up throwing enough group heals around that I had to actually take a mana potion towards the end of the fight. First time ever on that.
And while it was a workout, involving quite a bit of running around, the end was inevitable. We were putting out a lot more damage than we were taking, and so Kaleida went down, which gave us the achievement.
We lined up for our traditional last boss picture.
You can see the helmet that Earl has on, which was a drop from the fight, is extra sparklie. A close up of the effect showed that he was literally seeing stars when he put it on.
I am not sure what the duration of the sparkle effect was supposed to be, but it lasted until we got into a fight with some left over trash in the main room.
We were not sure we were done yet though. In looking around the final room, it was noted that the map showed another room on the far side of the wall where Kaleida stood.
We were in that room, facing the wall, but there was no opening. So we started looking around to see if there was another way in. Despite checking some likely and a few unlikely spots, we were unable to access that other room.
Eventually, we did some checking online and found that the room we could see is available in the expert and master versions of the instance, but not in the standard version. Which was kind of a pity, because when it came down to it, the whole instance did not take us that long. We had time for a couple more fights.
Instead, we went back to the entrance to turn in our quest.
And, because we had time, we ran around Stonefield chasing pinatas and knocking out a couple of quests.
Earl nearly caught up with us, ending the evening just shy of level 27. However, the joke is sort of on us. The next instance, Foul Cascade over in Scarlet Gorge, requires level 28 to enter. So we will likely have to do a session of leveling up before we go after that.
But the Carnival of the Ascended is going on, so there will likely be some group activities we can participate in. And, if not, there are always rifts to chase.