It could be a three-parter, called ‘Ruler of the Bracelet’. The first part would be called ‘The Brotherhood of the Bracelet’, followed by ‘A Couple of Towers’, with the climactic ending called ‘Hey, the King’s Back!
-The end of the best joke from the /silly command
Like the vision in that joke, this too will be a three-parter, largely because I started writing about the beginning before we had reached the end, and the end ended up being further down the road… both in time, events, and words written… than I expected. But it all started with a plan.
Yes, we had a plan.
It was a flawed plan, based on incorrect information, assumptions, and some blind optimism, but it was a plan none the less.
In its most simple form, the plan was to get together and run the Ragefire Chasm instance.
We were still fumbling to get ourselves organized, and Earl was still getting set up in Japan, but we were also getting a little tired of just hanging around, working on alts, and holding ourselves back to the first half of Westfall so as not to get to strung out in levels.
In that regard Ragefire Chasm has an advantage. In the ranking of dungeons by level RFC, as I will call it from now on, comes in before the Deadmines, being rated for levels 13-18. We figured we could get in and do that and not spoil the level spread. So I put up a a target in the guild MOTD for people to be levels 13-14 in anticipation of running RFC this past weekend.
That was the simple plan. The actual requirement to accomplish this was somewhat more complex.
RFC is in Orgrimmar, a Horde city, home of the Orcs and Trolls. RFC is located fairly deep in Orgrimmar, so getting there is a challenge… and all the more so if you want to get there at level 14 or so. Still, we had done it before so naturally assumed we could do it again. Piece of cake, details to be worked out later. The target to do this was this past Saturday.
Skronk, Ula, and I were on early to start scouting things out. One of the items that came to mind the night before was one we had overlooked up to that point. How do we get to Orgrimmar?
A bit of discussion shook out three possible routes.
We were starting from Stormwind, and the first that came to mind was to take the boat from Booty Bay to Ratchet on Kalimdor. From there is it just a short run up to Orgrimmar. The problem is that getting to Booty Bay requires running/swimming the length of Stranglethorn Vale. At levels 13-16, the level range of possible characters in our guild, that was going to be tough. Not impossible, but the likelihood of dying a few times was high.
The second option was to take the boat from Menethil Harbor over to Theramore. The run from Theramore to Orgimmar is about twice that of the run from Ratchet, but that still isn’t all that far. That had two obstacles. First, there is the need to do the reverse Wetlands run to get to Menethil Harbor. That isn’t so bad at our levels and once you get there you get the flight point that connects to Ironforge, so you need never do it again. The second problem was the run through Theramore, which is a higher level zone that Stranglethorn Vale, which to my mind made it more problematic that the first plan.
After hashing those out for a bit, the third route was hatched, to take the boat from Menethil Harbor to Auberdine in Darkshore and run the length of Darkshore, then through Ashenvale, into the Barrens, and finally to Orgrimmar. That had the Wetlands run again, but as I said you only have to do that once. But it also had the longest run through Kalimdor, much further than the other two options. However, I figured it was also the safest. Darkshore is about Westfall in level range, and Ashenvale is the next zone after that, so not a big jump in levels. Plus, Ashenvale feeds Alliance players in at one end and Horde players in at the other, so the lowest level mobs are at the ends, with the high levels spread out across the middle, reducing exposure.
While nobody was happy about the longer run, it did seem the most viable path. We set about scouting it. Ula and Skronk made the run to Menethil Harbor and then took the boat to Auberdine, taking a side trip to search out a quest for a staff for Ula.
I chose my character for the venture. Having had another week go by I had run up another alt. This time I rolled up a human rogue on something of a whim, giving me one each of all the non-cloth caster classes for the Alliance. I named him Chadwicke, looking for some variation on “Chad” I could roll with, since rogues have something of a reputation so I thought I might play on that with some of the “Virgin vs. Chad” meme stuff.
Honestly, the real reason I made a rogue was that we got a couple of the Defias mask drops in Westfall last week, which is about the first bit of head gear you can get in WoW. There aren’t many options until about level 26 or so. For whatever reason, I wanted to wear that mask, but it is rogue only and bind on pickup. So I had to roll up a rogue to get one. And once I had one I was in the level range of the group.
I wasn’t too sure how far I was going to go with Chad. Rogues have been problematic for me in the past. But once I did his class quest at level 10 and trained him into dual wield he was destroying mobs one on one. (I was doing that during the Reavers entosis op at one point.) That sold him for me, so I decided he should go on the run to RFC.
I stripped him down… you put all your gear in your bags to keep them from being damaged if you die, and this trip was going to see a lot of deaths I figured, so I was down to my skivvies the whole way… and sent him on his way through Loch Modan and through the Wetlands, a run made easier by his rogue abilities.
He was into the Wetlands and on his way, saying the tagline I had picked out for him, for which I made a macro.
That won’t get old I am sure.
He made it to Menethils Harbor without incident and was soon waiting on the dock for the boat to Auberdine.
I took the boat, passed by Ula and Skronk, who were headed over to Darnassus as part of a quest or something, and started the run to Orgrimmar.
Darkshore is, as the name implies, rather dark, but the sun began to shine through once Chad made it to Ashenvale.
Ashenvale was a hoof, but there wasn’t much in the way of danger. There were a few ?? mobs off in the distance, but nothing came to get me. I picked up the flight point at Anastaar, then realized I had forgotten to get the one at Auberdine. Something to go back for later. I just stuck to the roads and followed the signs.
Once you get to the boarder between Ashenvale and The Barrens, the road veers right and leads straight into a Horde fortification with guards and such. Dangerous stuff for a low level Alliance player.
Fortunately, there is an obvious path off to the left that leads to a hole in the ramparts.
From there I just cut across The Barrens towards Durotar… dying once because I got a mob on me and forgot I was without my gear… running up to the back door of Orgrimmar, which is across a bridge over the Southfury River.
Up until that point, everything had been going great. We had been on for a couple of hours, Bung and his son were set to log in and join us to round out the group. Ula was swapping out to her warrior alt Scscla to tank for us, Skronk was a dedicated holy priest set to heal, and Chad was there to help DPS. We just had to get everybody out to where I was to begin the assault on Orgrimmar.
That is the topic for tomorrow’s post.