Daily Archives: October 10, 2019

In Search of VanCleef in the Deadmines

We left off yesterday in the Deadmines with Mr. Smite in the distance.

Mr. Smite awaits at the top of the gangplank… you can just see him

Back in the day Mr. Smite was the first boss to keep us from advancing in the Deadmines, the first one to send us home to try again later.  But that was back in 2006 when we were pretty bad at working as a group.  This time around we were hoping things would go better on our first try.

As usual, we relied on memory rather than looking up the fight.  It is amazing how many little details linger in the backs of our brains.  As with the first boss, Smite comes with a pair of assistants, which we decided to take down first, our new group rule becoming “Sheep left, fight right.”

This seemed to work.  Mr. Smite is not a particularly complex fight.  He has a routine of stunning everybody so he can go swap weapons from his big chest on the dock (which you can also just make out in the screen shot above) but otherwise isn’t very tricky.

We’re stunned for a weapon swap

He is, in the end, a DPS check.  If you can put out enough damage, you win.  If you cannot, you go home.  We were putting out more than enough damage and Smite went down.  He dropped Smite’s Reaver, a 1h axe.  Unfortunately, Viniki, the only axe wielder, was already holding better.  Something else to vendor.

It was at that point, with Mr. Smite down and the ship ahead of us, that the additional complicating factor to which I alluded in the previous chapter, came into play: Wife aggro.

Worse, wife and mom aggro.  At that point Moronae’s wife, also Obama’s mother, told Obama that it was time to get off the computer.  He said we only had 5-10 minutes left… an optimistic assessment by any measure… but we were on notice.  We had to get this finished up as soon as possible or be prepared to do it all again another day.  The race was on.

We went up the ramp and started clearing the pirates on the first deck.  We decided to simply skip Cookie, the murloc that wanders off to the left on the first deck, but he wandered into aggro range, so we took him, looting his tenderizer.

Then it was to the right to keep clearing, arriving at the series of ramps that lead up to the main deck and VanCleef.  We were edging towards recklessness in pulling mobs, but seemed able to handle the extras we go, settling out a group on the first platform up the ramp.

On the first platform

As you might be able to discern in this screen grab from video Ula was taking, Skronk is standing very close to the edge of the platform.  As the fight ended he both leveled up and fell off the platform into the water.  Ula says the video makes it look like a gold comet is flashing past.

This was not ideal timing.

To get back to us he would have to swim to shore and run around to get back on the wooden platforms leading to the ship.  It was a good thing we took out some of the goblins along the shore as we passed through, but we didn’t get them all.  So Skronk had to run past one.  His health and mana had been restored by leveling up, but he wasn’t going to solo the mob, so we ran around and back down the gang plank to meet him and knock down his new friend.

Skronk rescued, we headed back up onto the ship to take on the next ramp in order to get on to the final platform from which we could access the main deck where the final fight takes place.

In the press to get up to that platform we took on a few pirates.  Obama was being asked why he wasn’t off the computer yet, so we dove in.  But we were up for that.  Then we once again lost track of a runner who fled the fight and, before they could be taken down at range, brought Captain Greenskin, the penultimate boss in the instance, into our melee already in progress.  That gave us five or six active mobs, including a boss, so things looked bad.

And they got even more glum when Moronae ended up dying mid fight, remove his DPS and extra heals from the equation.

I don’t know if Skronk said his usual “everybody remain calm,” as he was pretty busy, but it played in my head and I knew that we had to knock down as many of these guys as we could before we succumbed.  So I just kept hitting the current target mob while turning to taunt mobs off of Skronk as tried to keep people alive.  Skronk even whipped out a heavy linen bandage to do first aid on me as we stood and fought, waiting for what we knew had to be the inevitable end of the fight, with us all down.

Only we didn’t wipe.  The last mob was down and four of us were still standing.

Ressing Moronae after the fight

What seemed like to be a disaster actually ended up speeding us along a bit.  We now only had VanCleef waiting for us.  We headed up onto the main deck and got ready for the final fight.

We see you in there VanCleef

Like some of the other bosses, including the recently dispatched Captain Greenskin, VanCleef comes with a pair of helpers.  He also gets a second pair part way into the fight.  So our plan was the new standard for the group, sheep left, fight right.

This started a bit precariously as I took a lot of damage right up front and had to use a health potion right away.  After that though things settled down and we knocked out first one helper, then the other, before focusing on VanCleef.

When the second pair of helpers appears it was the same routine… sort of.  Somebody didn’t switch because VanCleef went down before his final helper did.

Erm, why is he dead already?

Still, the helper didn’t survive VanCleef by very long and we were done.  We had finished the Deadmines on our first go.  Just time for a victory shot.

VanCleef defeated

After that we decided it was best to rush for the exit so as to keep Moronae and Obama out of as much hot water as possible.

However, jumping off the far side of the deck towards the exit meant running through a few more mobs.  But they were manageable in fairly short order.  Then it was straight for the out portal.

This way out

Once out of the instance, Obama and Moronae logged off while Skronk, Ula, and I headed back towards Sentinel Hill and Gryan Stoutmantle in order to collect a reward and have our names shouted to the zone.

Cheers for Skronk

The instance itself did not drop any upgrades for me, but at least the quest gave me a decent pants upgrade.

Blue pants, best pants

Overall I think we did pretty well.

Posing with Gryan after the run

During the run I ran the Recount addon, which is, among other things, a damage meter, which means people hate it.  But it supplies so much information about your fights, not just DPS but which attacks were used and how much damage they did, both by players and NPCs, as well as healing stats and such.  I don’t/won’t use it to name and shame people, but I like to see the data.

I seemed to do okay as tank.  The mechanics of the Deadmines are not exactly complex, so holding aggro and staying alive was probably enough.  I think a large part of our success was due to the fact that two members of the team were in their long established, Skronk as healer and Ula as mage for DPS and crowd control.  They contributed mightily to our success.

Which is not to downplay Obama and Moronae.  Lacking cat for for real DPS, Moronae spent a lot of time casting moonfire then hitting things with his staff, which limited the amount of damage he could put out.  On the other hand, having a few extra heals and a buff around was very nice, and the thorns buff on Viniki ended up being the second highest damage contribution from him.

I was wondering if the imp, with its blood pact buff, would have been a better pet for Obama.  The void walker is very good at picking up and off tanking, but it doesn’t contribute much to damage.  But, being new to WoW, Obama hadn’t realized there were pet skills to be purchased and upgraded.  An imp with blood pact and fire shield might have been worth it, but with what we had available to us the voidwalker suited us fine.

And so it goes.  We made it to my minimum group goal for WoW Classic, running the Deadmines.

Next up on the list is Wailing Caverns out in The Barrens.  Or it might be.  The obvious bad Blizz behavior has me considering the future of the group. But I’ll get to that tomorrow.