When we got together this past weekend for our first run after the opening of the Dark Portal the question came up as to where we ought to go. There had been some talk of staying pure and not going to Outland until we had finished up the remaining Azeroth instances. That was our idealism speaking.
But with shiny new content just on the other side of the portal we ended up deciding to go through to give the first instance a try.
We had all done at least a couple of quests in Hellfire Peninsula and had upgraded a piece of gear here and there… I had a new shield and new pants, both of which were basic first quest green gear that were markedly better than the dungeon blue gear they replaced… but were mostly going in with Azeroth gear and our new group composition, with which we still had some learning to do.
But we didn’t really talk about all of that, we just wanted to try the first five person instance, Hellfire Ramparts.
The first thing we had to do was find the place. I did what I expect we did last time, which was go out to the wall where the instance is, ride up the wrong set of stairs, and then wander around for about 20 minutes until I finally thought I had found the right place. There was a crowd there, so I just asked.
I got an affirmative. It turned out that I had ridden past the ramp that goes here to go up onto the wall. I’m pretty sure I’ve made that mistake before.
Once we had assembled at Honor Hold we rode on out to the instance.
Our group for the run was:
- Ula – level 60 gnome mage
- Wilhelm – level 60 human paladin (protection)
- Fergorin – level 60 human paladin (holy)
- Beanpole – level 60 gnome warlock
We managed to navigate successfully navigate to the right spot and, once inside, found ourselves facing the first encounter. Two mobs.
We managed those two without issue, and then managed to nearly wipe on the next pair. To be fair, a patrolling group came around the corner and the wheels came off… and we only “nearly” wiped because the exit was a short distance from the fight so once I went down people were able to run for safety.
We were still getting used to the new group composition and learning things about our classes. Beanpole’s Felguard took some getting used to. The Felguard is a big part of his damage output, but it has some quirks. He has to be careful about when the Felguard gets sent in, as its first attack is always a charge with a stun, which can be awkward when I am trying to pull a mob back to a safe place to fight. The Felguard also has an AOE attack that goes off every so often that will break polymorph if the mob is too close.
So we used that run up to the first boss to hone our play. We tried to work it so that I would pull the main group away from whichever mob got sheeped so it wouldn’t get whacked by the Felguard… and so I could use consecrate to help build up aggro when I needed it across multiple mobs.
There were a couple more deaths before we made it to Watchkeeper Gargolmar, the first boss, but we made it.
That fight wasn’t so bad. He doesn’t hit too hard and you just have to kill his two companions first, as they heal him otherwise, and then it is on to him. He called out for heals, but none were coming for him. He also dropped a very nice item, the Light-Touched Breastplate, which arguably should have gone to Fergorin, but which was such an upgrade over my chest piece that I got it.
Past Gargolmar is the tower up to the next level, where we had more problems than we did with the boss fight. There is a group of four casters and a melee mob at the top of the ramp which brought back bad memories from runs long ago. We ended up wiping on that group, but not before we had taken down three of them, so the clean up afterwards was easy.
At the top of the tower a doorway leads out into an open area with patrols and groups standing around. A bad pull on my part got a patrol and a group, which led to another wipe.
During the fight Ula was knocked back and landed behind some barrels, where she was stuck until she died. We were able to spot her skeleton once we were all back.
After that though, we were able to clear around the open area and make our way to the next boss, Omor the Unscarred.
This fight was a challenge. I expect if we had either spent time gearing up in Hellfire Peninsula or if we had brought a fifth person for some additional DPS, this wouldn’t have been as much of a challenge. But we were on the hairy edge of being able to handle this with only two DPS, our gear, and our skill set. We wiped a few times.
Three times we came back and were still willing to give it another go. We were close on the second and third tries. On the fourth we were very close as well, but this time on the right side of victory. Fergorin and I were left standing after the fight, but we had done it.
We took a victory shot with the fallen foe, thinking this might be the pinnacle of our run.
And that was a pretty accurate estimate.
The final boss pairing, Nazan & Vazruden, turned out to be a bit too much for us.
The pair of them are an event where you start off with two guards, then Vazruden jumps down off of Nazan, his dragon mount, and you fight him. Nazan shoots fireballs while you’re fighting him, and you have to move away from them. Then Nazan lands and joins the fight. That was the point where things went bad for us each time. Nazan pretty much one-shotted me with his breath attack three times running.
After the third run at him I was red paper doll on about half of my gear, so we were about done. Later on we read up a bit on how to fight Nazan, but that was going to have to wait until next time.
While we didn’t finish the final boss, we learned quite a bit about how our group works now and we got a few nice drops along the way. Still, we need to upgrade some of our Azeroth gear for Outland gear before we go back.