Despite my issues with Storm Legion, the group continues to form up and wander Telara on Saturday nights. We managed it again last Saturday, though again we were short a person. This time Jolly was traveling, which left us with the following group:
- Zahihawass level 51 cleric
- Hillmar level 51 cleric
- Earlthecat level 52 warrior
- Gizalia level 53 mage
And, of course, as we have done in previous weeks, we spent a bit of time working on the Carnival of the Ascended. The balloon bursting raid was out in full force again, and several of us picked up our last doubloon, which allowed us to get the new mount… and some other items.
With that it was time to decide where to head next. With only four people we were once again unable to use the LFG tool to magically transport us. We would have to walk, which prompted us to pick some place we were reasonably sure we could find. I opened up the map and looked for the next closest dungeon, which happened to be Deepstrike Mines over in Stonefield.
We took the portal to Granite Falls, the main town in the zone, and got ready for another run in expert mode.
More after the cut. The usual too many pictures, too many words, too many spoilers follow.
There was a quite refreshments break as we sat at the Granite Falls portal, during which Earl reviewed the titles he bought along with the ones he had already, wondering where some of them came from.
I started looking through my own titles and came upon “Dances with Squirrels.” I mentioned this, which got a laugh. And then, since I seemed to be the only one with the title, I proposed we take a quick detour to pick up the title and the achievement for everybody else.
Finding our way up the side of the mountain that overlooks Granite Falls was the tough part. I have been up there several times, but it still takes me a bit to find the right place to start. Once up on the plateau above Granite Falls, we found the torch and the ring of squirrels and everybody danced with them to get the rewards,
In the background of that picture, you can see some colorful eggs and rocks and such. We decided to take a look at that next, breaking open eggs and fighting the packs of elementals that emerged from each. At some point we either opened the right (or wrong) egg or opened enough, because a dragon showed up. And then another dragon showed up.
This turned into quite a fight. At one point I was mind controlled and wandered inside of one of the crystal studded rocks and died. I did a soul walk, but found I could not get out of the rock. Nor could I get line of sight on anybody from within the rock. I was stuck. So I started just healing myself to maybe attack some aggro and eventually got mind controlled again and walked right out into the open. So dragon mind control lets you walk through rocks I guess.
The battle went on and eventually we defeated both dragons, at which point the egg tableau reset itself and we were back where we started.
So clearly that was a setup for some sort of quest which we did not have. Well, we killed a couple of dragons and had our first death of the night.
Still atop the mountain above Granite Falls, I lead everybody to the point where you get the achievement for getting up there and then lead everybody around to the edge overlooking the lake behind Granite Falls, where the little abandoned camp is, and had everybody ease off the cliff to drop into the deep water below. That was the third and final achievement of our detour, which even I did not have. Plop!
I am going to guess that I hit something on the way down the last time I tried it.
Then it was on to Deepstrike Mines. We were last there, and in our high 20s level-wise, almost a year back. It was during the first Carnival of the Ascended, and we had popped some pinatas back then. This time it was for the expert mode version.
We quickly remembered what the instance was about, lots of platforms and winding around the right path to get to this boss or that. The first boss was easy to find.
We went right in and actually got an achievement for the fight.
That involved killing all of the shades he summons in a 10 second period of time, which we managed based on generally being over-powered. The fight was not a big challenge. Getting to the next boss though… we had issues there.
First Zahi fell off one of the ramps. There are lots of ramps and bridges and such in the instance, and Rift isn’t like WoW, there are no invisible walls to keep you from falling off.
He died down on the floor of the zone while we were up on the platforms. So we started running around to see if we could find a position from which to ress him. During this, Gizalia also fell off of a ramp while trying to do some Super Mario platforming to get line of sight and ended up dead as well.
At this point they just respawned and ran back to the instance while Earl and I made our way to the next boss, Gregori Krezlav. We met up there and got through that fight well enough. Gregori’s gimmick is another of those things where he summons minions that make him invulnerable until we killed them off.
We managed that, though didn’t do it in such a way to get an achievement. Then it was off to the next fight, with Bonehew, which I remembered a bit. I recalled that there was a knock-back aspect to the whole thing and that you were best served by putting your back to some object on his platform, which I did. And then, mid-fight, I felt the need to move to a new spot just as the knock-back proc happened, and I ended up on the ground looking up at the platform where the fight was happening.
You can see a bit of the effects from one of Bonehew’s procs coming through the bottom of the platform there.
So I survived the fall unharmed, but was now alone with a bunch of wandering mobs and unable to heal. Zahi managed to keep everybody alive and we won the fight. But now I was kind of alone. I ended up having to fight a bit while the group worked their way around to a ramp down. After that fight, ground level was the next destination anyway.
I held out for a while, but eventually ended up with several ads and died just as the group was coming into sight.
If you look really closely, you can see the rest of the group coming down the spiral ramp in the background. Not quite in time. The ressed me and we moved on to the final boss, Gatekeeper Kaleida. We blundered our way right into that one without much forethought, but remembered the whole “kill the crystals” aspect and were able to get through okay.
At that point we were done with what we saw in the standard version of the instance a year back, where we were quite confused by the fact that the gatekeeper was guarding a gate we couldn’t get through.
We could tell, back then, that there was more to be seen, but you don’t get to see that until you do the dungeon in expert mode. That, in a way, is kind of a nice reason to do this instance in expert mode, as the gate was now open for us.
And what was on the other side of the wall?
Lasers, and giant tombs, and the next boss. And some trash mobs to be carefully cleared as we danced around the lasers to find safe spots in which to fight. The center seemed to be mostly safe from lasers, though I managed to get hit by one and pull an add in one fell swoop, which ended up with me dead on the floor again.
Once I was ressed again and we were done clearing a bit, the fight with the actual boss, Dichrom, went well enough. We brought him to the center spot, stayed away from lasers, and managed to bring him down.
Then there was another room of tombs and lasers, though we found we could more around behind the tombs to avoid lasers and pull mobs. We worked through that and arrived at the next boss, Caretaker Arcanis.
He sits in a room with four big crystals which have health bars. So we figured we would be killing them off at some point. We started the fight and put DPS on one right away, but they were invulnerable, so fire went back on to the caretaker.
At 75% health, the caretaker went invulnerable, said something about a recharge, drew a bolt of energy from one of the crystals, which in turn prompted some mobs to show up. We went after the mobs first and killed them off. And then the crystal exploded and we were all dead.
So we needed to kill the crystal.
The second run Earl took the mobs, I stayed back, while Giz and Zahi work on the crystal, killing it successfully. We cleaned up the mobs and carried on with the fight. At 50% the same thing happened and we went through the same thing. At 25% it was time for the third crystal event, but before it was down it exploded, killing us all.
This is a DPS test. We were a little slow off the mark that time around, so we decided to get on the crystal right away. Earl would hold the adds while I added in whatever DPS I could manage, just to help. We got to the 25% mark, started in, and blam, the crystal blew up killing us all.
More DPS needed.
The next time around we just ignored the mobs and put everybody on the crystal and managed to bring it down before it killed us all again. Then as the boss hit 0%, it tapped the fourth and final crystal, and we got ready for another DPS rush… but then nothing happened. The fight was over and we could move forward.
There we more hall and another room with tombs and a lot of lasers… and where the route behind the tombs were blocked off, and where safe spots from the lasers seemed to be few and far between. We had a death during that melee, but managed to get through and found ourselves at the final boss, Plutonus. I am not sure what his name was really a reference to.
His fight was interesting, though we managed to figure out what to do quickly enough to avoid a wipe. You fight him on his platform where, at various points, wall segments pop up around the edges. You need to have your back to one of those walls when he does his big attack, as it will otherwise knock you back into the lasers covering the area around his platform.
With that in mind, the fight went forward smoothly. We ran around calling out wall changes and such, but were never in any real peril. Giz got knocked back into the lasers once and died, but I had a combat ress handy and that was that. Plutonus went down. The instance was complete.
We took our traditional group shot, though the corpse of Plutonus disappeared too quickly to get it in the shot.
If you look at that post from last year, my cosmetic outfit has not changed much. I certainly do not look like I have been into Storm Legion. But I am not really fond of the heavy Storm Legion look either.
Then it was out through the back of his room. The map of the instance was now complete.
Then we had to run back out, during which I managed to fall off one of the ramps again and into a few mobs we had bypassed, thus dying again. I had six deaths total for the evening, which usually means we are doing something that isn’t a complete push over.
As many as five achievements were gained by some of the team, for whatever that is worth. And somewhere along the way Hillmar hit level 52.
Now are we warmed up enough to get back to Storm Legion next time? And will we have a full team?
Or will we be exploring another expert dungeon?
Which one should we pick next?