After Uldaman, the next instance on the list for us was Zul’Farrak. But before we could wander down to Tanaris and start in on that there was some prep work to be done. ZF is an instance with a group of lead-in quests so we got together to get those done first. Our group for the venture was:
- Moronae – level 46 night elf druid
- Viniki – level 45 gnome warrior
- Ula – level 44 gnome mage
- Skronk – level 44 dwarf priest
Moronae had been out working on gold to get his mount, which got him a couple of levels along the way. The rest of us were about where we left off after Uldaman.
Our destination was the Hinterlands.
In the Hinterlands is the hammer that one must transform into the Mallet of Zul’Farrak, which is needed to summon Gahz’rilla, one of the bosses in the instance. We all still recall the time we went in and forgot to bring the mallet with us.
Otherwise though memories of the Hinterlands aspect of this were vague. But we would just follow the quests and see where we ended up.
The line starts with the quest Withbark Cages, available in the cave just behind the flight point… the flight point which we all had after I got lost that one time… which was a quick out and back as a group.
That leads into the quest that sends you out to investigate Altar of Zul. At the top of the structure, at the Altar of Zul itself, is Qiaga the Keeper, who drops the sacred mallet that becomes the Mallet of Zul’Farrak. So we headed out to the Altar of Zul to see what we could see.
The mobs on the way up, were starting to creep up in levels compared to our group. They were also a bit close to each other, so we ended up with our share of proximity aggro and pulls. But they were all non-elite. However, at the top, Qiaga and Morta’gya were both elites and level 50.
However, we met up with Discostuart, a level 47 priest, who was also there for the Altar of Zul. We joined up with him and went after the elites. It was a bit of a muddle… Discostuart decided to mind control Qiaga but didn’t mention that up front, which led to some confusion, and we managed to get all the non-elites in the area on us as well… but we managed in the end. We all got the quest update for investigating the altar and we all got the sacred mallet.
Mallet in hand, it was time to move on to Jintha’alor to find the altar in order to create the Mallet of Zul’Farrak.
Jintha’alor is something of an open air dungeon. Most of the mobs are elite and you have a path to follow up the various walled tiers of the complex. The altar, from my readings, was somewhere between the two ponds at the back of the complex.
It started off fairly manageable, with elite mobs being around levels 46-47 and spaced out enough that we were not getting too many accidental adds. There were even some gaps that allowed us to slip on by some mobs now and then.
But that soon started ramping up a bit, and as mobs got to be 48 and 49, our abilities became much less reliable. That was to be expected, and we have run into that before, but it seemed to get a bit more critical this time around. Moronae, who has been able to just unleash his DPS so far in our group ended up dying because my taunt, on an 8 second cool down, was hitting maybe 1 in 4 times.
At our level things are getting a little more serious. He started using cower, a skill that dumps a bit of aggro, more frequently. This helped me as I had been blowing all of my aggression on offense that built up aggro. Now I had a bit more room for damage mitigation. Things were still close to going off the rails now and then, but we had a bit of luck go our way.
A level 60 player rode past us at one point and on up towards the altar. I gather they were looking to gain faction with the Wildhammer Clan. But they cleared a lot of the stuff ahead of us.
We were able to get pretty far along in the wake of the level 60, though once up at the top we were in among level 50-52 elites. Those were mobs we could handle one at a time, but there wasn’t a lot of room for error. A lot of resists meant mobs might go after anybody. We took out a few of the level 50 wolves up there, but the way in to where ever we needed to be… we were not quite sure beyond the “between the ponds” landmark… was guarded by level 51 mobs that were clearly going to be coming at us in pairs.
About then the level 60, Bootsncats, showed up and asked what we were up to. I told him we were up here for the altar.
Since I wasn’t sure where it was, and it seemed like we might need to go into the cave just over the way, I added that.
Bootsncats ran ahead and killed a couple mobs, though we chased after and almost managed to get in over our head with a couple of adds.
But as they went into the cave with us in tow, I started to feel that maybe the cave was too far past our mark. The altar seemed to be out in the open, there just wasn’t anything to indicate what we had to do.
While Bootsncats was clearing the cave, we went back to the altar and sat around for a bit.
One of us clicked on the sacred mallet they had collected and found that would upgrade it to the Mallet of Zul’Farrak. Objective complete.
We left Bootsncats to his slaying. As I noted, I think they were up there for the rep grind anyway. We turned around to play our escape. The ride out of Jintha’alor is traditionally done by just trying to blow past and out run all the mobs, jumping off terraces and running down wall tops to avoid fall damage. So we all mounted up and rode off.
There was some confusion as to where we ought to turn. I just rode down stairs then straight over the next ledge and so on. Ula fell off the wrong side of a wall at one point and ended up going the wrong way. Skronk and I were riding all out when we got to the base of the complex.
However, both Skronk and I got swarmed by mobs at the bottom, dismounted, and killed. Only Moronae made it out safely. Skronk and I were close enough to safety that Moronae went to use his combat ress, the one with the 30 minute cool down, to revive Skronk so he could then revive me. But Moronae mis-clicked and revived me instead.
There was a quick discussion as to whether or not if I declined it the cool down would go away, but it already seemed to be running. So I took the ress, Skronk released and came back, and Ula somehow got herself back to us, though I am not sure where she ended up.
We were out and done. We took a side trip to Skulk Rock to slay some oozes for a quest we picked up. If Jintha’alor was any guide, we were probably going to need some more levels before we could expect to successfully assault Zul’Farrak. I figure we probably need be 47 minimum across the board to finish it all. So something to work on. But the groundwork has been laid.