Saturday saw the return of Earlthecat to the instance group. Finally setup in Japan and with some time to play, he was able to join us.
Oddly, the time difference… while it was late Saturday afternoon for us, it was Sunday morning for him… worked out for everybody. None of us are staying up past midnight very often these days. 9pm seems like a reasonable bed time for most of us, and Earl’s job had kept him up with the markets on the east coast, so logging on to play early suits him just fine.
As for performance, Earl seemed to have very good performance from across the Pacific Ocean. Our local pings to the server were in the 65ms range, and he was just over double that from Tokyo, which is well within playable parameters. There was also no noticeable delay using Discord for our voice comms. So we were able to get together to play without a hitch.
That left us with a decision as to what to do with the reformed group on Saturday afternoon. The split seemed to be between hitting Razorfen Kraul, which is about on par with Gnomeregan level-wise, and which we have so far skipped save for that warrior quest run, and the graveyard in Scarlet Monastery, which was next on our list up the instances by levels list, though there was one druid voice suggesting a return to Gnomer to try and get that drop from the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.
Momentum seemed to be pushing us forward to Scarlet Monastery, as did our group size. We had six people on, which mean going in as a raid. With that many people we figured we ought to go upward in difficulty.
And then there was the formation of the group. Both Skronk and I had left some alts back in the low 20s, assuming that we would do some catch-up instances with Earl once he was back. But Earl drove straight through to level 30. And, since Earl is a tank spec’d warrior, my warrior Viniki now seems redundant, so I was looking for an alt I could bring along. I got Skronk to tank for my restoration spec’d druid for a bit earlier, and got him up to 26, so decided to bring him along to heal, with backup heals being provided by Fergorin, Skronk’s pally. Ula traded out for her warrior, Scscla, leaving our group composition for the night looking like this:
- Alioto – level 26 night elf driud
- Scscla – level 28 gnome warrior
- Fergorin – level 28 dwarf paladin
- Obama – level 29 human warlock
- Moronae – level 30 night elf druid
- Earlthecat – level 30 human warrior
That seemed like quite a level spread, especially given the instance would be featuring mobs that were level 30 and up. But Alioto wasn’t there to hit things, just to heal and be an aggro radius hazard, so he could just stand well back and do his thing.
Getting to Scarlet Monastery meant another road trip as well. The closest Alliance flight point… and this is a common Google query that brings people here… is Southshore. But we had been to Southshore already as part of our Shadowfang Keep run. Sort of. And suspecting that this might be our destination, I had run ahead and gotten the flight point for Alioto so when the time came I just flew him out.
However Monorae had missed getting the flight point. I had forgotten that we had run out to summon him and Obama on that SFK run, though Obama had since run back for the flight point. So we did have to do a summon for him.
The group together now, it was time to go find the instance. Somehow I ended up towing everybody along, which was fine through Silverpine Forest. You just follow the road and pay attention to the signs.
Once you get into Tirisfal Glades and in the vicinity of Undercity my memories were a little soft focus. According to the list of our vanilla WoW runs, we had last been there back in January of 2007. Runs since then have either been done with Horde characters, who have no worries in the area, or via the dungeon finder when that came along. The truth is that people won’t make a run like that if they do not have to.
Somewhere in my memories I seemed to recall a guard post along the road that was a hazard, and as the lowest level player in the group I was especially wary of such hazards. So I may have diverted a bit far off course in order to avoid that. Eventually I had to stop and Google a map for a reference point, but eventually saw the little path that leads up to SM.
The signs were there to announce our destination.
Along the way we sorted out how to deal with being in a raid group. A lot of the instances will let raids of up to 10 players run them, though there is a question as to whether or not you get quest updates if you have more than a group. We had no quests though, so that wasn’t an issue at the moment. However we did find that pally auras don’t work across raid groups, and Earl, most in need of the aura, ended up alone in group 2 of the raid, so there was some Googling to figure out how to move people around in raids (it is under the social panel where your friends and guild lists are), then a discussion as to who ought to be alone. Since my plan with Alioto was to stay as far back as possible, I volunteered him for that position.
So there we were having arrived. We stopped a bit to take stock, which is when I realized I left in a bit of a hurry. I didn’t have the reagent for my combat ress (Moronae gave me a couple), was low on drink (Fergorin shared a few with me), and potions. So we spent some time getting sorted out on the road. It is easy to get used to having a mage there for food and drink.
Once we had that sorted, at least to the extent possible, we started up the road to the instance. I don’t think we got more than a dozen steps up before I started drawing aggro from Scarlet Crusade archers along the route. My amazing aggro radius was enough to flush out all the lurkers along the route to the door.
The outer complex has its share of elites wandering around, but you also have to find the way to the correct instance, as it hosts four dungeons. Fortunately Skronk knew where we needed to go, up to the far left corner to get into the graveyard.
Once in, things started off easily enough. The first mobs were at the far end of a corridor, so I was able to stand far enough back that I did not invite additional trouble.
Standing back and healing means that all of the screen shots show Alioto standing around doing nothing.
When it came to getting into the next room however somebody else went to far in and we got an accidental pull that included Torturer Vishas. That was a fight.
We ended up surviving without any losses, but I ran out of mana healing before the fight was done and Fergorin had to drop some heals to keep everything going. My mana pool remained my main constraint during the whole run. Fergorin keeping Blessing of Wisdom up on me, which regenerates a bit of mana every five seconds, made a very big impact on my ability to heal. If I needed to drop a Healing Touch on Earl, that would at least keep Rejuvenation or Remove Curse as a possible casts.
Torturer Vishas was down, but only dropped the Bloody Brass Knuckles, a common item that didn’t even meet the group loot threshold.
After that we worked our way through the torture chamber, where we had a group of four mobs to take out. But with six people, three of whom can be tanks, plus a voidwalker, we were able to split them up and still leave enough DPS to focus on targets to bring things down before anybody died after the healer once again ran out of mana.
Sometimes you just need to burn down individuals rather than trying to split up and multi-off-tank. The amount of healing required to deal with a dead mob is zero. But I say that as the wee healer with the limited mana pool. And we made it out of the torture chamber and into the graveyard proper.
This might be the most familiar bit of an instance in the game. It certainly is for me. It is the location where every year I dutifully show up every year to slay the Headless Horseman, only to not get his mount as a drop.
But there was no Headless Horseman for us, just a bunch of mobs in the form of some elite undead and the ghosts, the brine shrimp as they have been called, to clear out.
Earl asked how thorough we needed to clear and I asked how many mobs we wanted to pull due to my aggro radius. So it was all of them then.
However, we had forgotten the behavior of the graveyard. As we got to about the fountain, having diligently cleared everything in sight, we looked back to see the undead had already began to respawn behind us. Also, we didn’t get any of the rare spawns in the graveyard. So we decided to move things along and make straight for the crypt at the far end.
From there it was down the stairs and into more mobs.
The path down into the crypt… the whole instance really… is pretty short. We had a couple of groups to work through, but we had soon blundered into the boss, Bloodmage Thalnos, the big boss. Unprepared to start the fight, it was a bit of a near run thing taking down a level 34 boss at our level, even with the six of us. Though, again, that was largely due to my mana running down trying to keep Earl alive.
Big heals eat mana, and I had to lay a couple down early on.
But with heals from Fergorin and the Blessing of Wisdom drip feeding me enough mana to get off a fresh heal now and then, we were able to bring down the boss. Op success!
Our first run with the return of Earl went pretty well. I clearly have some work to do getting my potential group alts up to the rest of the group in levels, but we seemed to work pretty well, and we knocked out the first stage of Scarlet Monastery.
As has become the norm, Ula has a video of our run through the graveyard for those who want a more visual experience.
My one complaint about this, and my screen shots, is that unless I am actively healing Alioto is just standing in the background like he is an observer. Healer life I suppose. I’m not supposed to get in there and hit things… not with that aggro radius certainly.