Daily Archives: October 29, 2021

The Group Pushes on to Duriel in Diablo II

Having made it through the narrow tubes of the Maggot Lair previously, the group formed back up to tackle the back half of Act II.  The last waypoint we had found was in the Far Oasis, so we went there to get started again.  We just had to collect some corpses for Kevin so he could raise his skeleton army to support us.  This left quite a loot pile in the middle of the desert.

Starting to see more runes drop

From there it was the usual search around the edge of the Far Oasis looking for the path to the next zone, the Lost City, with its waypoint and connection to our next quest objective.

As tends to happen, we found our way back into the Dry Hills zone before finishing our circuit and finally finding the path that led in the right direction.  Entering the Lost City zone saw the lights go out as a new quest was triggered.  Moving in the darkness in the new zone seemed to get us more spread out than usual and we managed to lose first Talon then Ulfar to the groups of mobs lurking in the dark.

Covering Ulfar’s corpse

Portals back to town helped reunite us, as well as getting the quest update about the darkness from Drognan in town once we found the waypoint, but we kept on the run around the edge of the zone until we found the pathway down to the Valley of the Snakes where the Claw Viper temple is located.

Now enter the Valley of the Snakes

The valley is quite small and the temple is in the center.  The temple is also built out like most of the underground areas of Act II, with plenty of room to maneuver save for the occasional doorway.

Getting down to the second level we found our way to the room of the Tainted Sun Altar.  Once the room was cleared, clicking on the altar yielded up the Amulet of the Viper, one for each of us, and updated the quest from Drognan as well, restoring light to the zones of Act II.

The amulet obtained

Back in town we took the Staff of Kings from the Maggot Lair and the newly obtained Amulet of the Viper and combined them in the Horadric Cube to create the Horadric Staff, which we would need later.  Until then that went back into our respective stashes as we headed next to the palace, where Jerhyn wanted us to do something about an infestation issue.

Now he deigns to let us visit

The palace is kind of a quick pass most of the time when I play.  It looks nice, but the levels are small and there are two ways down at each level, so it is often very easy to just bypass most of the mobs loitering around waiting to surprise you.

Some stairs down in the palace

We managed to grab the waypoint in the palace cellar, but it is one that I often don’t mind missing.  There isn’t much reason to revisit the palace that I know of and when you get down to the bottom level you’re going to leave via a portal anyway.

We found the portal at the bottom floor, but had once again managed to get spread out enough that it took a minute to get everybody back together.

All over the map looking for the portal

Through the portal lays the strangest part of Act II, and perhaps the strangest location in the whole game, the Arcane Sanctuary.

Fortunately there is a waypoint right where you enter it from the portal, which is part of why the palace waypoint generally isn’t missed.

The Arcane Sanctuary waypoint

We took a minute to go back to town and get ourselves prepared.  We were on a bit of a time limit that afternoon and I was expecting that we might only just finish up the Arcane Sanctuary before we had to stop, the zone being a bit of a slog at times.  The place is made up of narrow paths and single file stairs and little portals.  It is also sizable, being laid out like a four leaf clover.  The waypoint is at the center, with four stems leading out, each of which split after a way, leading you around in loops that form the leaves of the clover, coming back around to the stem when you complete them.

At the tip of three of the leaves is a platform with several chests.  At the tip of the fourth is the lair of The Summoner, the target for this part of the adventure.

Clearing out all the loops can be a long task, and I seem to always pick the wrong stem to start with and often end up having to work through at least two of them before I find the right one.

We, however, were in luck.  We picked the right path on the first try and actually seemed to get the easy way through that loop, landing us at The Summoner in almost no time, at least relative to my usual experience in that zone.  I don’t think I have ever gotten it right on the first try.

We stormed his platform and took him down, our main problem being that of getting as many of our minions to bear in order to speed the fight.  They were all over the place.

The Summoner down as our minions mill about

That brought us to the Canyon of the Magi, the waypoint before us.  We were now close enough to the end of the act that we were going to press on, head directly to the correct tomb, and wrap things up.

In the old days I would sit and farm all the false tombs in the Valley of the Kings, but with time pressure on us, we went to the right tomb, as indicated by the symbol in our quest logs.

The symbol we sought

Inside we set about looking for the chamber where we could use the Horadric Staff to unlock access to the final boss of Act II.  The tomb is rather full up with mobs, but as a group we were able to cut through them until we found the right room, placing the staff in the orifice (literally what it is called) to crack through the wall and open a passage.

The lightning is the key

Then it was time for a bit of preparation, making sure everybody had enough potions on hand.  I changed over to the paladin frost resist aura to give us a bit of help on that front, though in hindsight the might aura might have just let the skeletons slay the boss faster.  Once we were set, it was through the opening and in to face Duriel.

Everybody on Duriel… except the necro

The Duriel fight is the first tough boss fight in the game.  It is often the point where I use the one respec you get per play through to get serious about my build.  Duriel does a lot of damage and I always open up a town portal as soon as I enter his chamber.

Our army of minions managed to take him down, though Kevin lost about half of his skeletons and his golem along the way, while a mercenary or two bit the dust as well.

Duriel down for the count… the post-fight maggots are an odd touch

From there were ran to the back of the chamber to find Tyrael and hear his speech about the story so far.

Tyrael admonishes us for our tardiness

I actually made a video of his speech from the game about ten years back if you want the original sound and graphics.

After that it was back to town to say goodbye to everybody, then find Meshif to sail off to the next part of the story.

The boat is ready to set sail

And so we will pick up next time in Kurast and Act III.

WoW Classic Season of Mastery Goes Live on November 16th

Your chance to experience the rush and the crowds and queues, both in game and out, of a WoW Classic launch has returned

I bet they don’t line up this nicely in FFXIV

Blizzard has announced the launch date for their WoW Classic Season of Mastery servers.  Come November 16th 2021 in the US, or November 17th if you’re in Paris or beyond, you will be able to pile in to old Azeroth for another run through the game as it sorta was back in the day.  It will be a world-wide launch

The Season of Mastery Global Launch Times

If you’re jazzed to get back into semi-vanilla times again with your guild, you will probably want to get in there early and reserve a name for your main character.  You will be able to do so the evening of November 11th, at which time everybody with an active WoW subscription will be able to log in and reserve one name on one server.  Choose wisely and all of that.

There are some changes this time around when compared to the last run at a classic experience, which includes some pacing, difficulty, and quality of life changes I mentioned in a previous post.

While I am not exactly chomping at the bit for another run through a vanilla WoW experience… I think that might be more of a “once a decade” thing for me, I am sure there are plenty of people who missed it the first time around and raiding guilds who want to take another stab at the classic raids from the good old days.

Not mentioned so far that I have seen are the number of servers they plan to stand up.  We’ll probably get that soon as it will need to be decided on by the time they hit the name reservation day.  Of course, if things get swamped on the 11th then they might put more servers up before launch.

But if things are light… and given the mood about Blizzard right now that could be a possibility… well, I guess we’ll see.

But this completes the trifecta of nostalgia launches for 2021.  We got Burning Crusade Classic, Diablo II Resurrected, and now WoW Classic Season of Mastery.  I am happy with nostalgia trips, but it is tough to live on that alone.