Category Archives: Instance Group

Tales of the Twilight Cadre instance group in Azeroth

Diversion to Dire Maul East

As I mentioned last time around, after nine runs in and around Blackrock Depths since late October, we decided we could do with a change of scenery.  We’re not done yet.  We still have to get through the Lyceum and not screw up the vault at least once, but a little pallet cleanser seemed to be in order.

The plan was to head to Dire Maul out in Feralas.

Feralas in WoW Classic

Unlike some past instances, there wasn’t a lot of pre-work to do.  We just flew out to Feathermoon Stronghold, picked up one quest from there, then headed towards Dire Maul.  Fortunately the boat to the mainland was right on time for us.

Here come the boat

This is one boat ride where if you just missed it you might as well just swim as it takes its time getting back, swinging all the way around the island.  Our group for the run was:

  • Viniki – level 58 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 57 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 57 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 57 gnome mage

We headed right up the ramp and around the ogres… many of whom outside the instances were a few levels below us… and towards Dire Maul East.

Arriving at Dire Maul

Dire Maul has three wings, east, west, and north, but you have to do the east wing first as it gets you the key that lets you into the other two.  And you get the come on about the key almost immediately upon zoning into the instance as Pusillin taunts you.

Okay, so it is going to be like this

Pusillin is an imp, small in stature, and he runs off ahead as you clear your way through groups of mobs to catch up to him.

Fortunately, we seemed to be up to the task, with a bit of care.  Again, doing this with a group of four reminds me how bad we must have been back in the day when our group of five sometimes struggled with these things.

We did have a little problem with the packs of non-elites that are scattered about.  I had actually been reading an Icy Veins thread about how you can tank the five person instances as an arms warrior in battle stance using a 2H weapon, which has the advantage giving the warrior some strong AOE attacks with which to grab aggro.  However, the discussion broke down, as these things tend to on the internet, into a series of absolute statements about the pros and cons of the idea, that I wasn’t left feeling warm and fuzzy on the idea, at least not enough to respec right before a run.  Also, since I have gone very heavy on defense up until now, I was a bit worried about over taxing the healer.  Maybe I’ll read up more on that later.

Pusillin leads you around and down a tunnel and through some satyrs, and the whole way is littered with seed pods that spawn poison or groups of non-elite mobs, so that when we followed Pusillin up a ramp onto a platform and saw yet another one of those pods, I walked over to just trigger it and get it out of the way.  I didn’t know that was going to trigger the first boss fight, which is when Pusillin rises up to attack you for following him into his lair.

Pusillin comes alive

We went from causal follow and trash killing into boss fight mode against Pusillin and the non-elites that spawned from the pod.  It was a near run thing.  Ula ended up going down during the fight and I was punching all the back pocket abilities to stay alive as Skronk hit low mana.

Down to the last few hit points

But, in the end, I held out just long enough for us to kill him.  Boss down, Skronk ressed Ula, then we looted the Crescent Key, which was the key we were looking for.  Pusillin also dropped the Runn Tum Tuber Surprise recipe, which Viniki won in a roll-off.  Now he just needs some tubers to cook with it.  It is supposed to be good food for mages.

That done, we traced our way back up the path we had come to head into one of the doors we passed, that being where the next boss lay.

This way to the next target

Another area with groups and wandering mobs awaited us.  We did find here, as we did elsewhere in the instance, that with some planning we could skip by a lot of the fights.  We felt no need to take the Pengail approach and run after every mob in sight, so threaded our way to the end of the room and up a ramp to find ourselves facing Lethendris, the target of our one quest from Feathermoon.

Leathandris and minion walking around the fire

It was a toss up between her or her minion as to whom we should go after first.  I called her and nobody objected, so off we went.  The fight was short and sharp and soon both mobs were done.

Fight over

Looting her yielded a quest item and a wand that went to Ula.

From there it was down a spiraling path to a lower level where, after clearing a few groups we were able to pull the next boss, Hydrospawn, back and take him down.

Hydrospawn is here

We had a little bit of trouble with him as he was immune to cold, which is inconvenient when half your DPS is a frost mage.  He spawns a helper, but we opted to ignore that and just focus on him, which seemed to be the best plan in the end.  The helper washed away when Hyrdrospawn went down.  The boots he dropped were leather and went to Moronae for his alt healer gear set.

After that we found that we could slip across the pool where Hydrospawn was and bypass all the mobs in the room and head out into the conservatory, a wooded area.  We went there, cleared out much of the place, and spoke with Ironbark, who just said something about Zevrim.

Ironbark

We let that pass and kept clearing the area until we arrived at a door at the other end which seemed to be the next place we needed to go, but which was closed without any way to open it up.  We went back to Ironbark and he was on about Zevrim.  It seemed like the plan was to find Zevrim.

The thing we missed was up in that screen shot with Hrydrospawn.  There is a passage visible in the far wall of that picture, that was where we needed to go.  We threaded our way past the mobs we could avoid, slew the few we could not, and headed up the passage.  At the top, around a corner, was Zevrim.

There he is

Standing there looking at him and his altar sparked a few old memories.  He is the one that, mid-fight, grabs somebody and puts them on his altar to sacrifice them.  Good times.  Otherwise his platform is clear, so we made sure we were spelled up and then I went and grabbed him.

I was the first thrown on the altar, which burns you for 300 hit points every second, so Skronk had to be on his toes and ready.  I made it through, as did Ula and Skronk when it was their turn on the altar.  Moronae was the last chosen, at which point Zevrim was about done and Skronk was about dry of mana.  Moronae was sacrificed on the altar as Zevrim went down.

Moronae on the altar

We got Moronae ressed and healed up and headed back to Ironbark, who obliged us by breaking down the closed door, after which he fell over and died.

Though the door we had to work our way down to the final boss, Alzzin the Wildshaper, who was only intermittently visible to us.

Alzzin steps into view

One of the oddities of WoW Classic resulting from the old content being grafted on to the modern WoW framework is that the view distance is often much closer than you might imagine.  As with the elevators at the great lift, Alzzin wasn’t all that far away, but would walk out of our draw distance as he paced back and forth.  It wasn’t like that back in the day.

Alzzin’s gimmick is to change forms throughout the fight and, as we read, on each change he dumps all aggro, so the tank has to be ready on the taunt to keep him off the rest of the group.  And then, when he is about down, a wall breaks open and, instead of the Kool-Aid man, a bunch of non-elite helpers come join him in the fight.  Not soon enough to save him though.

Time to burn them down

After that we were about done.  We paused to take the usual group shot after the final fight.

Done in Dire Maul East

Then we went over and each collected one of the gems that were on the ground behind where Alzzin was pacing about.

Two gems left to collect

These are for a quest up in Moonglade which, among other things, has a shield upgrade for me as a reward.

Then it was out the back door of the instance, through the ogres wandering the grounds of Dire Maul, and back down to the dock for the boat to Feathermoon.

Feathermoon across the way

However, the boat had just pulled up at Feathermoon and the trip around the far side of the island seemed likely to take longer than swimming, so we jumped in the water and started pulling for the island.  Moronae was able to get into aquatic form to get ahead, but then Skronk cast levitate and was able to run over the surface while Ula and I just kept on swimming.

Even for the two gnomes the swim was faster than waiting for the boat.

There we turned in the one quest we all had and called it a night.  We now have to decide what to do next.

 

Blackrock Depths and Love Potion Run Number Nine

We got together on New Years Day with a simple plan.  We were going to go collect what we needed for the Love Potion quest in Blackrock Depths, then maybe run on into the instance, to the Grim Guzzler, in order to turn that in.  Then we would see how we felt at that point.

Blackrock Depths map

That sounded like an easy enough run and we would get a little xp along the way.  We still hadn’t firmed up plans for getting past the Lyceum save for maybe another level or two would help.  My mechanical greench idea didn’t seem to stir much hope.  Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 57 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 57 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 57 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 56 gnome mage

For the Love Potion quest we needed items from around Azeroth.  The first was 4 gromsblood, something Moronae was able to go out and harvest for us before hand.

Next up was 10 giant silver veins each.  These come from giants out in Azshara.  If you look at the map of the zone, it looks something like a crab claw.  The giants are towards the east end of the bottom half of the claw.  They are all named Cliff.

Hunting giants

We though we were going to need a lot of giants, but it turned out that the silver veins drop 100% of the time and they drop in groups of one, two, or three.  We finished up there in not too long.

From there it was to Un’goro Crater to fill a vial from the Golakka Springs Crater.  The hot springs themselves are easy enough to find on the map, but the point where you need to fill the vial is actually up on top of a steep hill next to the pond on the map.

Here is where you fill the vial

From there Ula was able to portal us back to Ironforge.  Then it was off to Thorium Point and the run into the instance yet again.  New Years Day was a busy time on the server and the way was clear all the way to the instance portal.

We needed to get to the Grim Guzzler, location 15 on the map, which mean going off to the left, through the side door, and into the room where the bridge controls are.  We were able to slip in and take care of that.

Skronk slipping up to the control

From there it was now down the well worn path to the bar.  Up the ramp, down the hall, across the bridge, and around to the Manufactory.  We had the usual problem with one of the groups that has two of the large fire elementals.  Their burst damage killed Viniki before I knew what hit him and the group ended up wiping.

This corner is our curse

We bounced back from that, ran through the instance once more, finished off that group, got through the Manufactory, and into the Grimm Guzzler where Mistress Nagmara was waiting for us.

Time to turn in the quest

Once we all turned it in, we tested our new ability.  She and Rocknot get together and run out the back door, leaving it open for us.

At that point we had accomplished out primary goal.  I took a moment to go over at speak to Lokhtos Darkbargainer, the Thorium Brotherhood vendor I mentioned in my blacksmithing post.

Vending for the Thorium Brotherhood

I had some recipes available to me, though I cannot make any until I get my blacksmithing skill up some more.  Have to go work on that later.

Since we were there already, I suggested we take down Ribbly Screwspigot.  He is just downstairs in the bar.  So we set up in the keg room like we did when we last fought him, then I spoke to him and pulled him and his three companions back there.  That wasn’t a tough fight for us… his group is around level 50… and he dropped something nice for us.

Everybody loves a 16 slot bag

Ula won the roll for the big bag.

After that, I noticed that the kegs were set up for the keg room quest, so I clicked on those and in came Hurley Blackbreath and his crew.  This time Ula was clear of the doorway.  Defeating that group got us another fine drop.

An eyepatch!

This is a nice item if you want to play with what we now call transmog.  I wish it was a plate armor item, as I think it would look good on me.

Argh!

But, as a leather item, and an upgrade, it went to Moronae.  Unfortunately, when you have fiercely glowing eyes, the eyepatch effect is somewhat ruined.

Moronae shining through

After that we started looking for something else to do while we were there.  Moronae mentioned that he had missed looting Fineous Darkvire (9 on the map).

That was an awkward target as we had chosen to go across the bridge and not through the Ring of Law, since the latter leads to him.  But we had time, so we figured we would give it a shot.

We ran back to the bridge, which has several open windows.  The plan was to jump out onto the Dark Iron Highway and take on one of the groups below, then clear our way through Lord Indendius (location 10) to our target.

At the bridge we were looking out of the windows trying to decided which way to go when I tried to jump up on the window sill and managed to jump through the window and down onto the highway.

I went through this window

Fortunately for me, the group below had just marched off, so everybody else jumped down to join me.  We setup and took out the group, then noticed that things were not as we had expected.  We always call it “the bridge,” when in reality, it is the gate that forms the bridge we cross.  And to get across you have to close it.  So it was closed and we were on the wrong side.

It is a gate

So we started trying to figure out how to get to where we needed to go.  Moronae offered to try and stealth back down the Dark Iron Highway to the room where you close the gate in order to open it back up again.  We waited while he went… but he got spotted and ended up dying.  So we waited for him to run back to the instance and go to the room.  But, once there, he reported he did not get the option to move the wheel.

“Of course!” I thought, “You need the Shadowforge Key to do that!”  And what we were trying to do was finish the quest for Moronae that gets you that key.  So we decided to yolo our way down the Dark Iron Highway since we were pretty much stuck there against the gate.  I led the way, while Skronk put a bubble up on me.

Down the Dark Iron Highway

I was the only one who made it.  So we got everybody back together and went to the room where you close the gate only to find that none of us got the cog wheel.  It seems that you can only close the gate form there, not re-open it.

Still, our initial plan did not seem bad.  We ran back to the bridge/gate and, this time, jumped out the window on the correct side and fought the group just below.  There is actually a ledge below the window and Ula and Skronk were able to stay up there and cast, out of range of the mobs.

Fighting on the right side of the gate this time

That led to some problems with the mobs going into “evade” mode, since they were being shot from an unassailable location, but I was able to taunt them back into combat to finish them off.

From there we were able to work our way to Lord Indendius.

Lord Incendius awaits

He was no problem, though we did take the fight back in the hallway this time, having learned about his knock-back last time we fought him and not wanting to end up in the lava by mistake.

We were there at the Black Anvil, which is where you need to go to forge Dark Iron Bars from Dark Iron Ore… however, I did not yet have the recipe for that.  That comes from the seven dwarves room, down the other path.

On the far side of that was the area where Fineous Darkvire roams.  We cleared one of the golem groups when he wandered into range.  In a rash moment I popped him with my gun to pull him, but got another golem and his three helpers together.  That was more of a fight than we were expecting.  We focused on Fineous, but things got out of hand as the non-elites have ranged attacks at started going after Skronk.

We killed Fineous, but Skronk went down as well.  We started shouting at Moronae to loot the corpse to get the quest item in case we wiped, but then his inventory was full and there were a few awkward moments while I pulled out every ability I had that wasn’t on cool down to keep going.

We ended up surviving.  Moronae ressed up Skronk and we saw what else Fineous had.  He dropped the Chief Architect’s Monocle, which was definitely mage gear.  That went to Ula, who got to show off our second single-eye piece of gear of the run.

Ula with her new Monocle

We got ourselves back together and buffed up again and I took a screen shot of the group, having survived another fight.

Healing up down by the Black Anvil

To finish the quest for Moronae we had to keep going back up the path towards the monument to Franklorn Forgewright, where you turn in the quest.  But part of the way there we found ourselves once again outside the vault.

We’re here once more

We did not finish up the vault the last time we passed by, so we figured we could pause for a bit to try it again.  Everybody swore not to open up or look at the portrait, which got us in so much trouble last time.  Instead we cleared the group inside, then took down the boss and his pet, allowing us access to the vault area.

All I could recall was that you needed to have a dozen relic coffer keys to open up the twelve normal vaults in order to gain access to the final vault.  By this time, our ninth run in the instance, we all had a stack of those keys, so we started opening up vaults haphazardly, ignoring the four frozen golems in the center of the room.

Let’s open up some vaults

I had forgotten the bit about the golems coming to life and attacking once you open the twelfth vault, which naturally took us by surprise.  Things did not go well.

Golems attack… and knock me out momentarily

We managed to wipe without killing a single golem.  By that point we had been going for quite a  while and respawns behind us were clearly going to be an issue.  We decided to call it a night at that point.

We still have things to finish in Blackrock Depths, but we are considering taking a break and maybe going after Dire Maul East as a diversion next time.  BRD will still be there waiting for us.  We might even want to finish the vault successfully just once.

Bad Day at Blackrock Depths

In the grand scheme of things in Blackrock Depths, we are nearing completion.  We have been to most of the spots on the map.

Blackrock Depths map

We really only have two locations to hit to be able to declare ourselves done.  We have to face Magmus (20 on the map) and then Emperor Dagran Thaurissan to rescue Moira Bronzebeard (21).

And we have been doing pretty well.  Much more so than I might have credited us as a group of four.  So when we got together last week we were set to get in there and get it done.  Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 57 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 56 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 56 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 56 gnome mage

We met up at Thorium Point and ran down the chains and to the instance one more time.

From there it was off to the left and through the gate with the Shadowforged Key, slipping past the wandering fire elemental easily enough.  Then we were in through the side door to the room that controls the bridge.  We found we did not even have to clear the full room.  Skronk slipped up to the control and was still out of aggro range of the final group.

The Skronk sneak

From there it was up the ramp and some clearing to get ourselves along to the manufactory and into the Grim Guzzler, the same path we took the week before.  However, we were hurrying along a bit too quickly and were, at times, a bit optimistic about aggro radius.  And accidental proximity pull of a group left Viniki down, though we won the fight.

Viniki waiting for a ress

We managed to stumble through the manufactory without losing anybody, though we managed to get ourselves a couple more surprise pulls.  Then we cleared the bridge and were into the Grim Guzzler once again.

This time we were just passing through, so I bought the beers for Private Rocknot and set him up for his event.  He got rambunctious and set of Phalanx who knocked open the back door… there must be some sort of emergency fire exit clearing routine in his programming… before we knock him down ourselves.

The back door open we headed out to keep clearing the way to our goal.  But them Skronk went down the steps and we got another proximity pull with me at the top of the steps and out of line of sight for heals.  That quickly led to our first wipe.

Viniki dead as Skronk releases

Accidents happen.  So we released, ran back to the instance, ran through the dungeon and back through the Grim Guzzler to get ourselves setup on the steps again.  This time I ran on in to start the engagement… and it turned out there were more guys than we had planned for… and, well, things went down hill from there and we managed to wipe again.

Dead together at the bottom of the ramp

We at least took one of them out before we wiped, so once we released and ran all the way back once again we were able to take them down without any further drama.

Around the corner, once it was clear, we came upon Ambassador Flamelash once again, a fight that seemed a lot tougher this time around.  Skronk died part way through the fight but Moronae was able to get a combat ress on him so we could finish things up, though it was a close run thing.  I think everybody ended up dying on their own during a fight at least once… twice for me… along with the various wipes.

We managed to wipe once more due to me running out of Skronk’s healing range as we fought the last group in that room.

Ula was the last hold out

Another run back.  We cleared that out and then did well on the Summoner’s Tomb event, slaying the seven dwarves without too much trouble.

All of that was just precursor to our first objective, which was to get through the Lyceum.  That was where we had stopped last time, though we had done a lot before then.  This time around it was our first main goal.  There are two mobs you need to slay in order to loot torches from them so you can light the braziers which opens the way to Magmus.

The trick, as noted last week, is that the non-elite mobs in the room are on a very quick respawn timer and come in groups of six to a dozen.  Also, unlike mobs early in the instance, that are around level 50, these are level 55, so have a much larger aggro radius relative to us.

Our plan, at the end of last week, was to look up some info about the Lyceum to see if there was a strategy we could make work.  Unfortunately, the info we found tended to be along the lines of “stay tight, AOE the crap out of things, use the columns to break line of sight with ranged mobs, get the torches, there is a safe spot near each brazier.”

We decided to head towards one of the braziers, get to the safe spot there, and see if we could spot one of the mobs with a torch.

One of the braziers is just at the end of this row

And, we actually made it to the platform with the brazier.  From there one of the torch carrying mobs, which Skronk had spent some time scouting out with mind vision and marking, was visible walking back and forth.  I tried to slip over in range of the torch mob, and managed to tag it, but I brought back a whole raft of non-elites with it.  We ended up in an epic fight on the brazier platform.

Moronae in bear form holding out at the end

However, it ended up as a wipe for us, though we did kill the torch mob.  The hope was that Moronae could stealth in and loot it when we got back.  However, by the time we ran to the instance and then took the path all the way through to the Lyceum again, the corpse had faded.

More research ensued and it came up that the torches persist and can actually be sold at the auction house.  The thought then was that we could perhaps blitz our way to a torch bearer and, even if we wiped, if we could just loot the torch we would be a step closer to getting through.  So I led a run straight for one of the torch mobs, and we got him down too.  I even clicked to loot him.

But I had turned off auto loot back when I went to grab an item from the chest you get at the end of the seven dwarves fight.  If I had had the option set we would have had a torch.  Instead, Skronk and I lay dead next to the corpse, still sparkling and ready to be looted.

Our corpses are practically on top of him

But at least we had a plan.  So we released for another run back, only to get to the room with the bridge control and find that it had respawned.  We killed a mob in our way and ran up the steps in the hope that we might beat the spawn there, but we were too late.  Groups at the top of the ramp were there and even as we watched groups down the hall began to re-appear.  We were stuck on the landing below the mobs.

As far as we could get back with many fights

We had spent too much time getting to the Lyceum and then too much time idle there trying to figure out a strategy.  We were not up for another clear, so we called it a day.  We will have to work our way back to the Lyceum another time.

Bar Brawl in Blackrock Depths

I hope you are not tired of reading about Blackrock Depths because we’re not done yet.  Last Sunday saw us once again head back into the sprawl that is this dungeon.

Blackrock Depths map

Our group this week was:

  • Viniki – level 56 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 56 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 56 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 56 gnome mage

Our primary goal was to knock out the two quests associated with The Grim Guzzler, the bar that is located in the midst of the instance, marked on the map above as location 15.  So we headed out of Ironforge for Thorium point, passing by one of the hallmarks indicating that Naxxramas had arrived.

It hangs in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t

So it was over to Thorium Point and across into the mountain, down the chains, through the excavation, and into the instance.  We’re starting to wear a path in the textures at this point.

Once inside, it was off to the left again, using the Shadowforged Key and into one of the side doors.

That key comes in handy

From there we retraced the same path we took in episode 4 of Blackrock Depths (Punching Sheep with Marshal Windsor), turning the big cog, crossing the bridge, going past General Angerforge (13), and into the manufactory where Golem Lord Arglemach resides (14).

We did not have to engage either of them, though we had to clear our way through one side of the manufactory to get to the opening on the other side.  From there we could see the entrance to The Grim Guzzler.

That way, past the fire elementals

After clearing the way and enjoying a little pause on the threshold we went inside.  The bar is full of non-aggro NPCs drinking, laughing, dancing on tables, and generally having a good time.  Still, it is best to keep your hands to yourself and not make eye contact.  You can set them all aggro by lifting a drink that isn’t yours as I recall.

Looking out at the crowd

Our first quest sent us to the storeroom… another storeroom… to break up some kegs of stolen Thunderbrew beer.  Those were easy enough to spot on one side of the room with a cog wheel when you moused over them.  We spread out and I commenced breaking open the kegs.

We could have just drank them, Skronk could have finished one keg himself

Breaking the last keg starts and event and some Dark Iron dwarves rush in to stop your keg smashing shenanigans.

Here they come!

Unfortunately, in spreading out, Ula placed herself closest to the way into the storeroom, so when the bads ran in the first thing they did was turn on her and beat her down.  She died before we could react.

We managed to recover from that rather unfortunate turn of events, though it was a near run thing at times.  That got us our quest update and, once we ressed Ula and got everybody buffed up again, it was time for the second quest, which involved obtaining the head of Ribbly Screwsproket.  Conveniently, he hangs out just a stone’s throw from the storeroom.

Ribbly out in the main area

I pulled him and his three friends back into the storeroom and we set about them.  That went better, and we were able to loot his head, marking the second quest complete.  Our goals for the run had been accomplished, but we had barely been at it for an hour, so we set ourselves to head further on into the instance.

To get past we had to go to the upper tier of the bar and start another even that involved Private Rocknot.

There he is

You buy him some drinks from the bar… again, don’t pick up anybody else’s drink… and feed them to him via a quest interaction until he has had too much and starts demanding even more beer.  When he cannot find any he gets violent which activates Phalanx, the peace keeping golem in the corner.  Phalanx is aggro to everybody, so that was the fight.  He went down easily enough and, as part of the whole event, he busts down the back door of the Grim Guzzler, letting us pass further into the instance.

The bent back door visible behind us

We picked up the Love Potion quest from Mistress Nagmara on the way out, which simplifies getting the door open, and pressed on, clearing as we went.  We next ran up against Ambassador Flamelash (16) and we managed to beat him down fairly quickly.

The only hitch was that Ula died.

Not during the fight, but afterwards.  She went looking around and fell off the edge of the platform and into the lava.

Ula’s corpse, surprisingly intact given the pool of lava

Unfortunately there is no way down to the level of the lava and from the platform her corpse was out of ress range.  She had to release and run back to the instance.  We met her at the door and ran back to where we left off.

From there we ran into a room with Flame Golems (17 on the map), one of which walked up behind us as we engaged another group, causing enough confusion to make us wipe.  Oh well.

Down Again

Back we ran and, once we got ourselves set and kept an eye on the wandering golem, we were able to make our way through the room without breaking a sweat.  The surprise of the wanderer upset out balance.

That got us into the Summoners Tomb (18) to face The Seven dwarves.  And yes, they do have names to match the theme.

  • Hate’rel
  • Anger’rel
  • Vile’rel
  • Gloom’rel
  • Seeth’rel
  • Doom’rel
  • Dope’rel

This is another event.  You speak to to Hate’rel at the top of the platform in the room, which sets things in motion.

Are you threatening me?

You then have to fight the dwarves, each of whom represents a different vanilla WoW class.  They come at you one at a time, but go on a timer, so you need to work fast if you don’t want to have multiple bosses on you.

We actually did pretty well on this, even though it was very much a DPS check and as a group of four we are always short on DPS.  We were finishing up one as the next would show up, allowing me to grab the new one and get aggro while everybody burned down the previous one.  Timing was a little tight, but we were good throughout and finished the fight, slaying all seven.  We took a group shot there, just in case that was the pinnacle of our efforts.

After The Seven

Winning that fight opened the door the the Lyceum (19).

The door opens before us

At that point you can see from the map that we were getting very close to the final bosses in the instance.  But the Lyceum would prove our undoing.  It is an event of its own, a room full of non-elite groups.  You have to get two drops, Shadowforge Torches, from the Shadowforge Flame Keepers who wander the Lyceum, and use them to light the two braziers.  That will open the far door and allow access to the final bosses.

But to do that you must contend with the non-elite groups which, in this area of the instance, are on a two minute respawn timer.  To deal with that constant respawn rate, you need a plan, and we did not have one.  We got into the room a ways, near one of the braziers, but the pace of fighting wore us down quickly.  Skronk and Ula went down at one point, but Moronae had a combat ress for Skronk, who then could ress Ula.  But by the time that got sorted we were in deep with the respawns again and soon we were going down in a desperate fight.

Fighting over Skonk and Ula’s corpses

We wiped as the numbers tore us down.

Corpses as Ula releases

We decided at that point that we had probably reached our limit for the run.  Time had moved along, we were now in the respawn zone for the instance, and it was time for dinner at my end.  We revived at the graveyard angel and flew on back to Ironforge to call it.

So we have at least one more run if we want to complete the instance.  But we need to come up with a plan for the Lyceum first.

A Two Boss Day in Blackrock Depths

Our plan for the Thanksgiving holiday was to try and get in a couple runs at Blackrock Depths in WoW Classic since we all had most of the week off.  And then, of course, the week slipped on by so we fell back to what we all learned in college, which was to cram things in at the last minute.

Who said you don’t learn life skills at school.

So on Saturday afternoon we did our tour with Marshal Windsor, which was yesterday’s post, and late Sunday afternoon we went back in to see if we could knock out another dungeon quest or two. Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 56 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 56 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 56 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 55 gnome mage

Looking at the map and the quests, we picked a couple of likely targets.

Blackrock Depths map

The first on the list was Bael’Gar.  He is number 11 on the map and sits alone at one end of the Dark Iron Highway, so we were not going to catch him on the way to anything else.  So it seemed like an easy plan to go after him.

After that we figured we would see if we could run back up to the other end of the Dark Iron Highway and catch Lord Incendius, number 10 on the map.  I am not sure why these two bosses need a highway running between them.  It was probably part of some pork barrel appropriations bill in the Dark Iron legislature or some such.

We formed up out at Thorium Point once more and ran to the instance.  Inside, the Dark Iron Highway is easy to get to as it is just through the gate off to the left and straight down the tunnel.

The Shadowforge Key lets us through again

The highway is close and you can even see Bael’Gar standing in his spot up the way.  The tricky bit is that the highway is home to a number of groups of Dark Iron dwarves who roam about in packs of five.  The key to getting through this was mastering those groups.

Their composition followed a standard pattern:

  • 1 – Officer
  • 1-2 – Medics
  • 1-2 – 2h axe wielders
  • 1-2 – guards

The officer ended up being the most annoying member of these teams as they can cast heal, they have a stun attack, and they prefer to sit back out of melee range and shoot the healer.

Medics are healers.  Having two in a group made them extra annoying, but most groups only had one.

The 2h axe dwarves seemed normal at first, but they have an AOE attack.  There were usually two in each group and their combined AOE meant that Moronae took a bunch of damage at times and had to step out and heal up.

Finally there were the guards, which were just normal melee NPCs.  Easy enough.

Adding to that, there are about a dozen of these groups of five along the highway, including one group off to either side of Bael’Gar, and several of them march about or change positions, so you have to keep an eye on your surroundings.

And then there was getting ourselves up to speed.  Several of us had been playing retail WoW a lot over the course of the week, and the play style is very different.  We had a bit of warm up time to get through.  So there were issues… and one wipe… as we ramped ourselves up and tried out some variations on who to sheep and who to kill first.

Dead on the highway shoulder

In the end, the best plan seemed to be to sheep the officer who, as noted above, was the most annoying in those groups, and kill the medic or medics first, then the guys with the AOE axe attacks, then then guards, and then finally the officer.  Not sheeping the officer had a nasty tendency to get Skronk dead, causing Moronae to use his combat ress, so we stuck with the plan that kept Skronk alive.

Aggro management was the tricky bit.  With four mobs on me and not a lot of AOE options… I have an AOE debuff that gives me a tiny bit of aggro and an AOE attack that doesn’t do much more and which will pop the sheep if he’s too close… there was some running back and forth between Skronk and I as his heals would put him over the aggro line now and again.  If his fade skill was up, that was good enough to send mobs back to me.  But if it was on cool down, then he had to run to me or I to him… the latter being slow because, among their other tricks, somebody in these groups kept hitting me with hamstring… so I could use my single target taunt or whack on whoever was giving him problems.

Anyway, we eventually got into the swing of things and cleared the way to Bael’Gar.

Bael’Gar waiting for us

His fight went pretty smoothly.  He hits hard, but not that hard.  He summons a non-elite red blob every so often, and we just turned to kill them whenever they showed up.  And every so often he shouts then lets go with a fire damage AOE attack.  Skronk and Ula just stayed out of range, while Moronae ran for it when the shout came.  I sat and took the hit.  Skronk had given me a fire resist potion before hand, which helped.  The one time I was a little low on health after a shout I put up my shield wall ability and it seemed to absorb the hit for me.  Then Bael’Gar was down.

He dropped the Rubidium Hammer, which nobody wanted, so it was a roll-off to see who got to vendor it for the 4 gold.

Well all used the black dragonflight molt from the quest on his corpse, which got us the Encased Fiery Essence, which is what we needed to turn in to finish the quest.

Then we turned around and headed to the other end of the highway, where several more groups waited for us.

Down at the other end

We were able to bypass one group handily, but ended up clearing out the rest just to be safe.  There is one group that actually walks through the giant doors at the end of the highway, so once again you have to be aware.

Through the doors there is an open area and a gate guarded by a pair of fire elementals, with three more pairs down the hall beyond them.

The Fire Elementals Await

The elementals are linked, so you get them both no matter what, and they have a ranged attack, so you have to go get them.  That just makes crowd control a little annoying, since we don’t have a warlock to banish them.  The first pair is the toughest as they are far apart, but the hallway beyond them narrows so each subsequent pair is closer together, with the last two in easy melee range.

And beyond them is Lord Incendius.

There he waits with the black anvil

Skronk had given me another fire resist potion before we got to the elementals, but I held onto it until we got to this fight.

The fight itself wasn’t too bad.  We had a bit of luck with it.  Skronk read after the fight that he has a knock back, so the suggestion is that you pull him back in the hall so the tank won’t get punted into the lava surrounding the platform.  I happened to align myself so that when the knock back came, I landed safely on the ramp to the platform.  I chose that alignment just so I wouldn’t accidentally back up into the lava, so it was a happy moment when I found it was a good choice.  And so we won.

It is an MMORPG, everybody respawns man

We got our update for slaying him, some loot that was also going to get vendored, and stood on the black anvil to take our victory shot, there not being much left of the boss after he passed.

We survived

Then it was time to turn in the two quests we had completed.  Ula was going to portal us to Stormwind so we could fly to Morgan’s Vigil, but she was out of the reagents required.  So we stoned back to Ironforge instead.  The inn happens to be right next to the reagent shop, so people stocked up and then we took the bird out to Burning Steppes.

One turn in was there in the camp.  More stuff to vendor plus some exp.  The other was back in the cave where we had to fight the dragon four times, once for each of us for a drop, with a 10 minute timer between fights back when we were doing prep for the instance.

Back with Cyrus Therepentous

That was a bit more exp and another item to vendor.  It also got us down to just four quests left for the instance.

The remaining quests

The hope is that we can knock those out in the next run and be done with Blackrock Depths.

Touring with Marshal Windsor

Last time in Blackrock Depths we made our way to Marshal Windsor, having gone in to retrieve the items he was searching for.  However, our attempt to escort him out of the instance failed at the storeroom where four elites were waiting in addition to another group that spawns outside as soon as he goes through the door.  It ended with a wipe, including Marshal Windsor.

Dead in the storeroom as Windsor dukes it out in the hall

We were headed back to in to finish the escort part of the quest and wrap up the Marshal Windsor story.  Our group for the event was:

  • Viniki – level 56 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 55 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 55 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 55 gnome mage

After the previous week I had gone to the auction house to look for some upgrades.  I found two items from the warrior Valor set, the belt and the gauntlets, for cheap.  They were upgrades over my current gear and boosted by armor by 200 with both on as a set bonus.  I also found a 1h axe called Serathil for 20g, which was half my savings, but it boasted 40 dps and 100 armor when equipped.  My axe skills were low, 150 out of 280 for my current level, but I got out in Searing Gorge ahead of the group and killed lava spiders until everybody got out there, which got my skill up to 250.  Good enough to carry on.

So we met up out past Thorium Point and ran over to the instance, once more heading down the mighty chains.

That view never gets old

There we decided to clear a path in advance of talking to Marshal Windsor.  We knew he was going to the storeroom and then over to the Ring of Law before he would head for the exit.  With that in mind we cleared a path for him that looked like this.

The path we cleared

We cleared the detention block, including opening up the storeroom and killing the group in there.  Then we fixated on the Ring of Law and where you go in to meet the challenge, which has a number of cells close by.  We cleared up to past the last cell on that side, taking down Lord Roccor while we were there.

Then we went back to Marshal Windsor.  We had everybody check and delete the failed version of the quest from last time before Skronk unlocked the door.  We got in and spoke to him, starting him on his way.

Things went much more smoothly.  We stopped at Dughal Stormwing, which spawns a group that attacks, which we managed fairly well.  Then it was off to the storeroom.

Headed to the storeroom

There another group spawns when Windsor opens the door.  Again, we managed that.  Windsor then went in and rummaged through the boxes for his gear.  When he finds it and puts it on, he is ready to go again.

Rock? What is this rock?

The power he seems to be referring to is the buff he gives off when he is geared up, which is a fairly substantial boost.  And it is a good thing too, because we needed it.

His AOE buff

He then headed towards the Ring of Law… sort of.  As we walked with him through the big open area he was clearly not headed towards the stuff we cleared out.  He was aimed at the other side of the ring which, it turns out, goes all the way around to where we were.  I thought the “ring” was the bit on the inside, but I guess it is the path around the outside as well.  This is where he goes.

Where Marshal Windsor walks

And Windsor gets stuck right in.  He is no Sara Oakheart when it comes to pace, he moves quickly and doesn’t pause between fights.  We kept up, clearing groups and then helping him settle scores with some of the mobs in cells.

Windsor holds a grudge

We managed to make it though the half of the ring that we had not cleared, Windsor punching sheep mercilessly all the way, after which things got considerably easier.  Windsor was still in a hurry to get the last cell opened though.

I’m pretty sure we killed them all, but sure

The last guy we freed had what I can only describe as the correct attitude about the whole experience.

He wants out

He runs off and disappears in a way I wish more escort targets would.  No hanging about to find his missing gear or to settle and scores.

At that point Windsor finally headed towards the exit.  We followed him and he announced where we should head next.

Group shot with Windsor while he speaks

We didn’t follow immediately.  We had a bit of time so we went back to the Ring of Law, went inside, and rand the event.  We got the Eviscerator again, who dropped a nice belt for Moronae.  After that Ula opened a portal to Stormwind for us and we went to the flight point there and flew out to Morgan’s Vigil to talk to Marshal Maxwell.  He sent us on to Stormwind where we were supposed to speak to Squire Rowe out at the front gate of the city.  He would summon Windsor for us.

Howdy squire!

However, he had to tell us that Windsor was otherwise indisposed.

Leave a message at the beep

Squire Rowe kicks off an event in the city and only one group at a time can run it.  We saw the guards all kneeling as we ran to the front gate, so we were going to have to wait until that was done.  Eventually Rowe was ready and ran out the gate and set off a firework to summon Marshal Windsor.  He rides up, dismounts, shoos his horse… I think he punched it too… and had us follow him into the city.  There is a brief confrontation with the guards, but they defer to Windsor and in we marched.

Follow me!

He walks through town and, being on an RP server, we set ourselves to walk along with him.  The guards are all in awe as you pass by.

Windsor is their hero

Some of the guards are a bit too obsequious.

Grow a spine man!

And off you go into the presence of the young King Anduin, Bolvar Fordragon, and Lady Katrana Prestor.  Then the confrontation takes place as Windsor calls her out.

A dragon in human form!

Then she reveals her true form while Windsor expresses the greatest moment of optimism in his life.

Guards grab her indeed!

Of course the guards are dragon kin in human form, so Onyxia flies off and there is the big fight with half a dozen level 60 elites.  Back in the day I was worried that Bolvar Fordragon might not be up to the task.  But we sat back and watched the fight as he took on the whole group.

Letting Bolvar do the heavy lifting

Ula tried to help early on and got killed for her troubles, our only death during the whole run. Moronae hit her with the combat ress and we carried on as spectators.

Bolvar wins, Windsor dies, the quest updates, and the throne room resets to normal with Bolvar, Anduin, and Prestor back where they started.  Such is life in an MMORPG.

And then Moronae realized he hadn’t gotten the quest update back during the Squire Rowe segment, which meant he had to go back and do it again.  He went off to do that while the rest of us called it for dinner.

This finished up one of our tasks for Blackrock Depths as well as opening the way to Onyxia.  You might think that the raid would be too much for us, but after reading about groups of three defeating Onyxia, it ought to be easy for the four of us, right?

Maybe we’ll get to level 60 before we start down that path.  We still have work left in Blackrock Depths after all.

Punching Sheep with Marshal Windsor

It was time to return once more to Blackrock Depths and to continue our adventures there.

Blackrock Depths map

Last time we successfully finished the Franclorn Forgewright quest which gave us the Shadowforged Key.  That gave us some options going into this week.  Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 55 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 55 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 55 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 54 gnome mage

We assembled at Thorium Point and ran over to the mountain, down the chains, through the mine, and into the instance.

Into the mountain

With the Shadowforged key, we were able to head off to the left and through the locked door.

New paths available

We decided to make Marshal Windsor’s quest our goal for the run, which meant defeating General Angerforge and Golem Lord Arglemach, who are at points 13 and 14 on the map above.  As to how to get to them… well, it was a good thing Skronk remembered or had done some research, because the map is pretty bad at showing the various elevations in the instance.

We headed through the gate, to the right, and up into a side door that put us behind the Ring of Law.  There we had to get around to a large gear assembly which would deploy a bridge across the Dark Iron Highway and give us access to our targets.

The bridging gear

We managed to clear that area and deploy the bridge.  We then started working our way towards our targets.  We moved pretty quickly and even managed to bypass one group, and successfully avoided bumping into them by accident later, which was what happened to us last time.

And this was kind of key as we would walk past that group a few times.

Our first bit of trouble was a group of four, two fire elementals and two Dark Iron Dwarves, one of which was a healer.  We decided to kill the healer first, but the elementals hit very hard and I went down suddenly on a crit and we ended up wiping.

We released and ran back and finished them off, but things got out of control again with the next group and another wipe happened.

Viniki and Ula down as the wipe progresses

The fire elementals hit hard, but this also did not bode well for the upcoming fights.

General Angerforge was just down the steps from the elementals, so we made sure to clear them all as well as the groups that were off to either side of the general.  We then got ourselves ready to go.

Ready for Angerforge

Angerforge has a group of non-elites with him that are fairly easy to kill.  Then, when he is down to low health, he summons another group.  Our plan was to freeze and burn the initial non-elites, which went well.  We then burned down Angerforge until he called for help.  At that point, as his team ran in, I lit off my AOE taunt, which has a 10 minute cool down, so I use it only at need.  The plan was to get them all on me, do more freeze and burn, and finish off Angerforge.

My taunt worked.  All the mobs ran to me… and beat the crap out of me, killing me.

Viniki down again

This ended up as a wipe, but we managed to bring down General Angerforge before the last of us died.  We released and ran back to the instance and kept going straight back to the scene of the fight.  I had some unlooted mobs disappear after a previous wipe, so wanted to get back just in case.

We were in luck.  His helpers had disappeared, so we were able to loot the first item for Marshal Windsor.  Then it was across the way to the Manufactory and Golem Lord Arglemach.

Into the Manufactory

Golem Lord Arglemach was straight ahead, but we went about and cleared out the whole area before heading to him.  He will call any left for help.  So we proceeded with care, pulling individuals and groups.  They are mostly non-elite, but there were some elites mixed in.  And once that was done we turned to face Arglemach.

Arglemach waits

He has two golem helpers with him.  A quick check of the fight suggested that we kill the golems as quickly as possible, then finish off Arglemach.  Our first run was fast.  I pulled Arglemach and he and the golems came at me, and beat me down with a 1,500 burst of damage.  It was a quick wipe.

Viniki down in seconds

But we did learn a few things.  The first was that Arglemach unleashes some lightning attacks that are nature based.  We all had two nature resist potions on us.  So the next run we took the potions to reduce damage from Arglemach, and set to slay the golems first again.  And we did fairly well, we managed to get both golems down, but didn’t have enough left in the tank to finish the boss.

Helpers down, Arglemach still up

That didn’t further our cause though, as the golems just loaded back again after the fight.  You have to kill Arglemach or you get nothing.  So we looked at the combat log again and decided we needed to kill the golem tossing fire balls at us first.  He was doing the most damage.  So we took out potions again, focused on the fire golem, and then I shot him to start the fight.  And he just stood there launching fire balls while Arglemach and the other one ran at us.  I panicked and ran to the target golem and got out of healing range of Skronk and died quickly.

Barely scratched them this time

The fight happened so fast that Moronae didn’t even get a hit in, so was able to stealth and hide without dying.  He popped his combat ress on Skronk, who in turn was able to ress Ula and I, saving us the run back.

At this point we had blown our nature resist potions.  Skronk still had one extra for me, and Moronae still had his up, since he didn’t die.  So we lined up for our fourth run.  It was starting to feel like we were not going to be able to get past this boss.  But we had another go in us.  We planned to all bring it to the fire ball golem this time, to get him down fast.  Then the second golem, and then Arglemach.  So in we went.

And this time it worked.  We got the first golem down fast, then the second, and had plenty of gas left in the tank for Arglemach.  He went down and we were able to collect the other piece for Marshal Windsor.

Golem Lord Arglemach down at last

That done, we went back out the way we had come and set about clearing the big open area between the detention block and the instance exit in anticipation of having to having to finally escort Marshal Windsor out of the dungeon.

We did that and started down the detention block, clearing as we went.  We got in over our heads at one point when, working on a group of four, Ula mis-targeted and brought the next group down on us as well.  And then a group of dogs patrolling the detention block walked into range and joined the fight.

Things looked bad.  But somehow we managed to pull it off.  Skonk and I used every skill that had a long cool down to keep going, and Moronae died at the end of the fight, but in the end the bad guys were all down.

We survive the brawl in the hall

We got Moronae ressed up and carried on, clearing to Marshal Windsor’s cell.  We even cleared the group just past the cell, just to be sure we didn’t get a proximity pull by mistake.  Skronk opened up the cell door and we went in to talk to him.  We turned in the quest, for which he gave us 90 silver, then immediately wanted to get out of there.  But first he wanted to go get his stuff.

I cannot leave without my stuff!

I always wonder who writes the scripts for escort mobs and thinks that somebody locked in a dungeon’s first thought on seeing rescuers is, “I’m saved, but I cannot leave without my random and likely replaceable stuff.”  Of course, Windsor didn’t even suggest leaving on our first two visits.

And then I remembered where the storage area was.  It was on the other half of the detention block loop.  We had cleared the most direct route to Marshal Windsor, but not the path he was about to take.  To illustrate:

The Detention Block

The blue arrow is the path we cleared as we came in.  The orange arrow is where Marshal Windsor was going to go.  We had not cleared that.  So it was on our bicycles to keep up with Windsor and keep him safe despite himself.

I will say, for a guy in just his shorts… where was he keeping that silver he gave us… he got right into the spirit of battle.

Windsor bringing the pain

Unfortunately, he could be kind of random as to who he would attack.  He had a propensity to start beating on whichever mob Ula managed to sheep during these fights.  He seemed to delight in it, changing to beat on the sheep when he had a mind.

We got a break part way through as he stops at Dughal Stormwing’s cell so we can free him as well.

Dughal gets free

He doesn’t join the fun, just runs off into the instance and disappears.

Once he was free and we rested up a bit, Marshal Windsor went on towards his stuff.  We ended up outside the storeroom with only two more mobs between us and the exit of the instance.  Windsor just stood there for a bit, then suddenly announced he was going into the room.

He’s going in!

Of course, there was a group of mobs in that room and, in our attempt to keep Windsor alive and grab aggro and kill them we managed to wipe.

Dead in the storeroom

Windsor fought on, but died not too long after.  We released and ran back, but our expectations were low.  In Classic, losing an escort mob in an instance generally means resetting the instance and starting over.  And such was the case here.  But at least we would be read for next run.

At that point, we called it and headed out.  Skronk and I both managed to finish the fanny packs quest, so we got to turn that in.  Next time around we’ll finish up Marshal Windsor and then move on to the next item in the instance.  There is still a lot of that map we haven’t seen yet.

Blackrock Depths and Shadowforge City

Our last run into Blackrock Depths got us as far as the detention block and the Ring of Law.  For our second run we were once again headed to the detention block and the Ring of Law.  The detention block to catch Moronae up on the Mangi Bronzebeard quest line and to speak again with Marshal Windsor, and the Ring of Law because pretty much everything else we might want lay on the far side of it for now.

Blackrock Depths map – Most of the instance is past the Ring of Law

Our lineup for the run was:

  • Viniki – level 55 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 54 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 54 gnome mage
  • Moronae – level 54 night elf druid

I did make one gear change on Viniki before the run.  My pally had gotten Uther’s Strength, a trinket that has a 2% chance to cast Holy Shield on the wearer when struck, so I sent that to Viniki and traded it out for the Diamond Flask to see if prevention would be better than a little healing.  Yes, the Diamond Flask is on the “best in slot” list for warrior tank trinkets, but the 6 minute cool down means I always hold back on using it, which means I never use it.

In a bit or warm up before hand with Moronae the new trinket seemed to proc all the time.  Once we got into the instance it didn’t proc for ages, leading me to wonder if there was some “do not proc in dungeons” flag set.  As time went on it did begin to proc though.  But I was worried for a bit.

In the instance we once again cleared a wide path through the main open area at the start, just in case Mashal Windsor wanted to get out of the place.

Open spaces

We had to get to him because one of the first drops we got was a crumpled note, which is the continuation of the quest line for him.

A crumpled note

That represents the optimism or daring or carelessness of the WoW devs back in the day.  The quest chain just drops, and you have to go in and get a drop to carry on.  I am sure the drop rate it cranked up to make sure people get it, but there is still the possibility people will miss it, or won’t click on the note to actually re-start the quest chain.

We fought our way up the short path on the east side of the detention block loop to Windsor.  He bade us carry on, but seemed content to hang around in a cell.  I would have left on the first rescue attempt.  Though, he might be sparing us the part of the standard escort quest where your target suddenly decides they cannot leave until they collect all their belongings from deep within the instance.

Marshal Windsor in his cell

That done, we turned towards the cave branch that led to the ring of law, where we quickly got ourselves in over our head.  We were taking one group when a pack of dogs that wanders up and down the cave showed up and joined the fight.  We basically got et’ by the dogs.

The dogs got us

First wipe, which meant a ghostly run back from Thorium Point.  On this run we figured we might as well try just jumping down into the lava rather than threading all the chains down to the platform that leads to the instance.  That seemed a slightly quicker route.

Once back and in the right cave again, we got back to business and finished off the remains of the groups that did us in.  At least we had thinned them out before wiping.

We reached the Ring of Law, but I wanted to carry on as there was another boss, Lord Roccor, down the cave a ways.  So we cleared our way towards him.  However, he nicely wanders up and down the cave, so he met us half way, meaning we didn’t have to clear everything.

Here he comes

His was a short sharp fight.  He dropped a shield, which I was hoping for, only to discover that my first glance assumption that it would be an upgrade was wrong.  He also dropped some Rockshard Pellets, ammunition for guns, which I claimed, being the only one who has a gun in the group.  Also, I was running low on ammo for pulls, so it was a timely drop.

We then turned back and made out way into the Ring of Law again.  Skronk had prepared us some nature resist potions in case we met up with Hedrum the spider, who wiped the floor with us last week.  We got in there and our first fights were not with spiders but with worms.  And they nearly did us in.  But we made it through and had a moment to eat and drink to be ready for the boss.

The worms down, the boss is coming

This time around we got the Eviscerator, a wild worgen.

His name is what he does

He wasn’t a walk over… he kept stunning me… but a single target boss is almost always an easier fight for us than a pack of non-elite mobs where aggro can get out of control.

With him down the out gate opened up and we were able to move deeper into the instance.  You go through the gallery of spectators and wind up at a T-intersection.

New areas to stalk

Once we cleared the group at the bottom, the patrol that goes through, and the groups on either side, we had a choice of directions.  But we could see Pyromancer Loregrain off to the left, so figured getting in another boss kill would be good.  Despite having to helpers, we managed to take his group down pretty quickly, which left us standing before the monument to Franclorn Forgewright.

There we were

The statue has a cog wheel, so you can click on it which puts up a quest completion dialog.  But in order to complete the quest you need Ironfel, and item that drops from Fineous Darkview, who is further on in the instance. (Location 9 on the map above.)  Otherwise this was a dead end, so we turned around and went the other way, only wandering straight into trouble a few times.

I did not see those fire elementals until I wandered into aggro range

This is where trying to follow the map gets a bit sketchy.  Blackrock Depths is very much a three dimensional dungeon with ramps up and down.  So we pushed on as best we could.  Clearing our way through an areas calle The Domicile we ended up getting what I predicted would be the best drop of the run, a Traveler’s Backpack.

16 slots, does not bind

Even with Ula able to make use 14 slot bags now, I was pretty happy to see this guy.  Bag space always was an issue for me in vanilla WoW and remains so in WoW Classic.  I know I still have a few of these still on alts because you could pass them along.  I was glad to win the roll for this item.

We carried on from there and came out in an area that was identified as Shadowforge City, which is above the boss Lord Incendius and in the vicinity of The Vault.

Gonna go down to Shadowforge City, where the dwarves are iron and the loot is pretty

The Vault was right there on our path, so we set about clearing mobs away, until we were left with just the boss and his dog, Warder Stilgiss and Verek.

A dwarf and his dog

We managed to take them pretty handily, at which point we were left with some options for the vault.  It seemed like we had collected enough relic coffer keys to unlock all the lock boxes and spawn the boss in there.  Or we could look at that covered portrait on the wall next to the entry into the room with the lock boxes.

We looked at the portrait.

The picture revealed

That spawned Dark Keeper Bethek and four elite guards behind us who walked up and beat the crap out of us.  We wiped without taking even one of them down.

Note to self: Do not look at the portrait

That meant another ghost run back from Thorium Point.

Once back in and up we decided to just give The Vault a wide berth and carry on past it.  We slipped past the vault door when Bethek and his crew were at the far end… they just march back and forth inside the vault… and skirted another group off the corner and through a passage into some more caves.

There we ran into Fineous Darkvire, just the dwarf we were looking for.  We had at him once we got him in the clear.

Fineous walked right into us

We managed to take him down without too much trouble… no adds or any mishaps.  He dropped the Senior Designer’s Pantaloons… so to speak, which Skronk took just based on the name.  He also dropped Ironfel, the item we needed for the Franclorn Forgewright quest.

At that point we had been at it for a while and my wife was cooking something that was making me very hungry just from the smell, so we decided this might be a good place to wrap things up.  We could just run back to the Franclorn Forgewright monument, finish that quest, and be done.

So we started running back, ran through the passage and straight into the group we had previously skirted.  Then, recoiling from them, we managed to setup too close to the door to the vault where Bethek and his crew came running out to give us another pounding.  Another wipe.

We ran back again, only this time we had to clear some respawns that had shown up back in the main area.  But there were not too many.  We were able to get past those, through the Ring of Law again, and down the path to Franclorn Forgewright’s statue to turn in the quest.

Quest done, key obtained

That gave us the Shadowforge Key, which gives us access to other paths through the instance.  That mission accomplished, we recalled back to Ironforge.  We will return again, as there is much left to do.

Heading to the Detention Block in Blackrock Depths

After our previous prep run we were all about ready to take our first steps into Blackrock Depths.  We met up in Ironforge and flew out to the Burning Steppes together.  Our group lineup was:

  • Viniki – level 54 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 54 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 54 gnome mage
  • Moronae – level 53 night elf druid

Normally we would just fly to Thorium point, which is both a shorter flight from Ironforge and a shorter run to the instance, but we had a few things to wrap up on the way in.

First, we had a quest to finish up from Morgan’s Vigil that involved sticking an ogre’s head on a stick as a warning to the others.  Easy to do and it cleared out a space in our nearly full quest logs.

Ogre head in place

We quickly rode back and turned that in before setting out again across the zone.  We stopped along the way again as Moronae was behind on one quest.  He did not have the Kharan Mighthammer quest from King Mangi Bronzebeard yet.

The list so far

I figured he could grab the bits for the quest along the way and then turn them in later.  After all, the quest in question was RED in out log, so it was probably something at the back of the instance that we wouldn’t get to this run.

Doing that also gave us some warm up time with our characters, which at least I needed.  After playing a Demon Hunter in retail for a couple of days, I was very set on a constant key rotation, which is not at all how you play a warrior tank in WoW Classic.  I also had to get used to manually dismounting for a bunch of things.

We got Moronae his update and rode on to Blackrock Mountain.

Destination in sight

In one of those very vanilla WoW mechanics, the ramp up top the doors is flagged as “no mounts,” so we were dismounted automatically for once and had to go on foot up to the doors.

Going in the front doors

Through the doors we got to see the inside of the mountain.  It has been a while since I was in there.

The view inside the mountain

Fortunately, not everything was forgotten.  I knew we had to go across one of those chains to the rock suspended in the middle, then down another chain to a chamber that would lead us into the instance itself.

The second chain… also, it feels like the nether in here

We ran around and up the ramp, found the chain we could get to, and made our way to the big rock which hold the tomb of Franclorn Forgewright.

The tomb

The ghost of Franclorn Forgewright had a quest for us, but you can only get that quest when you, yourself, are a ghost as well.  So we ran on down the next chain and into the open area before the instance and found some orcs to kill us.

Slowly getting ourselves dead

In hindsight, this was an act of some hubris, assuming that we would need to deliberately get ourselves killed, as though the instance wouldn’t take care of that for us at some point.  But we did it.

That put us at the graveyard by Thorium Point and we ran in ghost form back to the Franclorn Forgewright, where he had a quest for us.

Franclorn Forgewright revealed

You speak to him, get a quest, and… well, you’re supposed to speak to him again and finish that quest and get the next step.  But since you’re dead and everything is grayscale, three of us just assumed that was a gray question mark above his and didn’t do the next step.  Only Ula got that one right and by the time Skronk noticed, we were well inside the instance.  But we had time.

That done… or half done for some of us… it was back down in the chain again and time to revive.  We healed up, spelled up, and went looking for the instance.  There is a long hallway that will get you there.

The way in

There was supposed to be a boss mob, Overmaster Pyron somewhere along here, but there was a group of level 60s hanging around the instance line and apparently farming him for some drops.  We made our way into the instance.

Once inside we cleared out some of the big open area that has paths off in several directions.

The big open area in the instance

I went and dug out a map from the internet to help us along.  There are a few available.  I wish I could just find a blank version of the map that is used to populate the mini-map, but I was out of luck there.  We went with an annotated map.

Blackrock Depths map – A is where you start

While we want the experience of WoW Classic, we’re also not as patient as we might have been 15 years ago.  At least I am not.  I can learn boss dynamics on the fly, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time lost, and this instance is sprawling enough that you could spend a lot of time lost.

We decided to go off the right to the prison cells as our first destination, the little oval area at the bottom with numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 indicated.

A cheerfully decorated area

We were doing okay clearing groups of mobs along the way.  Pairs of elite mobs were no problem, nor were triples really.  The elite mobs in there did seem to hit for noticeably more damage and Skronk was kept busy healing.

Pairs and triples with some non-elite mobs in tow, and the groups of non-elite hounds that rove in packs, were more problematic.  Groups like that always cause me anxiety as the tank because, being down one DPS, we don’t always have quite enough AOE damage to do an effective “freeze and burn” to kill the group before they break loose.  And once they break loose and start running after Ula it is always a struggle for me to get aggro back.  I have one skill that will pull all aggro in the area to me, but it has a 10 minute cool down, so I hate to burn it unless we really need it in the moment.

Still, we managed to push our way around the loop, one group at a time, until we had sight of High Interrogator Gerstahn, the first boss on our list, and number 5 on the map above.

High Interrogator Gerstahn

She is up a hallway and has a couple of mobs off to either side.  Still, we figured it wouldn’t be a huge issue.  Just pull her via line of sight, sheep her friend, tank her and the adds, and kill them one by one.

And that might of worked expect the High Interrogator casts fear, and hit Moronae with it, who then ran off down the half of the loop that we had not cleared, bringing back an additional pair of elites and another group of hounds.  This did not end well.

The chaos that followed

You can see me dead on the floor… I think Ula was done by that point as well, Morone in the middle of things, and Skonk trying to get clear off to the left.  It was a wipe.  But the corpse at the lower left is High Interrogator Gerstahn.  We at least knocked her out before we began our run back.

Through the back doors as a ghost

We got ourselves back in the instance and together again, buffed up, and ran back to where we had wiped.  Skronk, the master looter, got the prison cell door key from Gerstahn.  Then we finished off the rest of her group up the hallway.

However, once we did that and went into the area where she had been standing, we decided that there wasn’t really any value in clearing out all of the rooms behind her position.

We did take a moment to sit down in the four dwarven barcalounger that were set up in the room for whatever reason.

Getting comfy

With the key in hand, there were several cell doors to open up, some of which clearly had somebody inside keen to speak with us.

Somebody wants out… and how did they know I was a gnome through the door?

We decided to take some care here.  This smelled a bit like it might end up as an escort or something, so we carefully cleared all of the rest of the way around the cell block loop… and, for good measure, cleared all the mobs wandering around the big open area so we had a clear shot to the instance door.  I mean, there was a freaking store room with the cells, so we could just image the whole “follow me, I need my gear, now I need to walk slowly out of the instance, directly through any mobs I can find” routine.

But we need not have been quite so careful.  There was no escort quest looming.  Behind one of the doors was Marshal Windsor.

Okay, okay, stop yelling at me

He had a quest update that required us to head back to Morgan’s Vigil.

And in one of the other cells was Kharan Mighthammer.

Kharan Mighthammer

He is, of course, the quest mob for the quest in red that I thought we wouldn’t get to on this first run… because the quest is red and the instance is a huge sprawling dungeon… but there we were.

On the bright side, we had the key now and the path to his cell isn’t that big of a side trip… and the next step of the quest is Princess Moira, mob 21 on that map, who is way the hell in the back of the instance, so it seems likely that we won’t be getting there on the next run… but it is still another item on the list.

That done, we looked around for something we could knock out before we called the run for dinner.

Not too far around the corner was the Ring of Law.  We had some vague memories of it being a boss fight challenge… as Skronk succinctly put it, we didn’t exactly have this instance set to farm back in the day… but that seemed like something we could tackle, so off we went.

We had the good sense to all enter the ring together, at which point a Dark Iron dwarf came out and pronounced our doom.

Also, heresy by word, heresy by deed….

After that, out came the spiders.  Lots of spiders.  Non-elite spiders, yes, but a bunch of them, in two waves, and we had our usual freeze and burn problem, I blew my AOE taunt on the first wave, and Ula died during the second wave as we tried to get stuff off of her… also, the spiders kept webbing everybody, keeping us immobile, and hitting everybody with a poison DOT which blew a lot of Skronk’s mana as we struggled.  But we made it and killed all the wee spiders and had a bit of a breather before the big boss came in.

Skronk got a ress off on Ula, we healed up a bit, and then the main boss came in, another spider, Hedrum the Creeper.  Things did not go well.  We wiped.

So it was another run back from Thorium Point and back into the instance.  By this point Skronk had noticed our Franclorn Forgewright problem, so the three of us who needed to updated the quest.  We jumped into the instance and back out again to grab Overmaster Pyron, who was up outside the instance.

Burn, baby, burn

We then went back into the instance and back to the Ring of Law to find Hedrum the Creeper waiting for us.  So we gave him another try.  Again, it did not go well for us.

Hedrum done with us

The fight was summarized well by one of the comments on his page on WoWHead, which said:

Problem wasnt heals or tanking or DPS, problem was the mob’s would root the tank, drop aggro and go crazy on the rest of the group. The web root lasted like 12 secs and the mob would stun for 10 secs. Overall, this mob is a pain the booty.

That is the way it went for us.  A single mob seemed ideal for us, but when he roots the tank… and my escape artists skill, which is on my hot bar, has a cool down so you really only get one use per fight… and runs off to kill the healer or the DPS, things are not going to end well.

So we decided to call it a day.  We took the gear damage hit and revived at the graveyard by Thorium Point, then flew over to Morgan’s Vigil to turn in some quests.  Then Ula put up a portal to Stormwind because I thought we had a turn in there, but we didn’t.  So we stoned back to Ironforge and updated our quests there, the repaired.  My bill was 2 gold 38 silver, which is pricey in classic terms.

So went our first venture into Blackrock Depths.  We have quite a ways to go before we’re done.

A Visit with Prince Keleseth

It was a busy weekend and we could not get the whole instance group together, but on Sunday afternoon three of us, Ula, Skronk, and myself, found a bit of time to log into WoW.

Retail WoW.

We got out the group I posted about previously to pick up where we left off in Northrend.  We had made it out to the airfield in Borean Tundra and carried on with a couple of quests there as a warm up, enjoying the luxury of features offered by the current version of the game after doing quests together the previous week in WoW Classic.  You can just mouse over the quest in the quest tracker and it shows you everyone’s objective/collection status.

With three of us though, questing was a bit of a walk over.  So we decided to take a shot at one of the challenges we discussed when we started this venture.  We were going to try running an instance.  Our ability, so far, to run all of the WoW Classic instances with a group of four made us wonder if we could handle any of the Wrath of the Lich King instances with a group of three.

Retail WoW is easy-mode, right?  But how easy?

Our group at the moment was:

  • Mendula – 22 gnome priest
  • Fergorin – 22 dwarf shaman
  • Merchi – 24 gnome hunter

We at least had healing covered, as Menula spec’d into that.  We didn’t really have a tank, there not really being a shaman tanking spec.  And, while Merchi was beast mastery, the only REAL hunter spec to my mind, he did not have a pet that was the tanking spec.  His robo-bunny from the tutorial was the cunning  pet spec, which has some damage mitigation, but a tenacity spec pet would have likely been better.

Still, what the hell.  So we headed towards Howling Fjord and the traditional first dungeon from WotLK, Utgarde Keep.  I’m not sure we HAD to go with that instance.  Keeping track of what unlocks when as you zip up levels is more than I can manage.  But we knew where it was and they give you the flight path up front now.

Flight path available

So it was on the… well, not a bird, but a gnomish flying machine… and off to the far side of Northrend.

They don’t call it the “boring” tundra for nothing

Over in Howling Fjord I was reminded just how close to the flight point and the inn that first dungeon really is.  It looms over Valgarde Point, the sinister skull in its facade looking out over the area.

Mendula coming in for a landing

From there it was a quick ride north, dodging the field of mobs before the structure, to the instance portal.  Once inside we were able to pick up the quests from the quest giver inside the instance… by WotLK there wasn’t all the running around for dungeon quests the way we have been dealing with in WoW Classic… after which we were left eyeing the first set of mobs.

The plan was to use my pets to tank… I chose the “two pets out” from the talents, which seemed far and away the best idea… and Mendula would heal while Fergorin and I piled on whichever mob was the target.

After getting a handle on the various mobs wandering around ahead of us, we managed to pull a pair… and it wasn’t a disaster.  Sure, Mendula went down… healing drew aggro… but Fergorin could ress, so we were able to get ourselves back together.

Mendula and our two targets down

Once she was ressed, we carried on, learning a bit with each fight.  All of us died a couple of times before we started to get the hang of it.  By the timer we got out onto the furnace floor, I had figured out my traps, one of which made a pretty effective crowd control.

One mob ice trapped, with the tar trap slowing the others down

Like so much in retail vs classic, hunter traps are a lot different.  I found that I could not only throw them in combat, but I could even throw the freezing trap under a mob in a group that we had yet to aggro and trap it without pulling the group.  Strange times.

We were starting to make headway and it felt like we were doing okay, and then we made our way into the dragon room.

The dragon room

Something in the back of my head said that the dragons were tougher than normal elite mobs in the instance.  I seemed to recall they had double the xp rewarded, which was commensurate with their increased difficulty.  Also, I remembered that we didn’t have to clear the whole room, just one side, in order to make our way to the next area.

I found out quickly that my freezing trap wasn’t good on dragons and deaths occurred.  Fortunately Fergorin has a self-ress spell… also, because we wiped more than once in the room, it is nice that when you release you come back in the instance.  Again, WoW Classic had us expecting to run back from the local outside graveyard.

Dragon progress

We managed to make it through the dragon room on a few tries, then pressed on into the next hallway, where we faced a group of four normal elites.  That we were able to handle.

From there it was into the next big room, Reavers Hall, which is where Prince Keleseth resides.

The big room with the map table

The four mobs at the table, who come as  a group, got a bit out of hand, but we managed to take them down.  That left Prince Keleseth, the first boss in the instance, as our next target.

Prince Keleseth was an inflection point for the instance group back in the day.  We managed to half-ass our way through vanilla WoW instances as a full group, and managed to barely get past the instances in The Burning Crusade.  But Prince Keleseth was a wall we could not get past the way we were working.

We actually spent a week off reading up about our classes over at the then font of such knowledge, Elitist Jerks, upgraded our gear (I think I still had the Carrot on a Stick trinket equipped), and generally worked to “git gud” before we gave it another try.

And, after no small effort and a few more runs, we got past him.  And, from that point forward in the group, instances became more a matter of learning the boss fight mechanics than simply trying to apply enough DPS.  Our ability to run through most of the WoW Classic instances as a group of four, many of which were a struggle as a group of five back in the day, is directly related to lessons learned back then.

Which also leads to us having the spunk to think we might be able to take on an instance in pre-Shadowlands WoW with a cobbled together group of three players.

Prince Keleseth, however, had other plans.

We sort of remembered bits of the fight.  I recalled that he would summon helpers during the fight from the door on the far side.  I thought I might put my tar trap down there to slow them down a bit.  Other than that we couldn’t recall much.  So we gave it a try.

We wiped, naturally.  We had forgotten about his ice block attack, where one of the party members is encased in a block of ice, unable to do anything, while it applies a bunch of damage.  You have to get everybody to attack the block and burn it down before it kills the person encased in it.

Also, as we remembered, Prince Keleseth summons friends, a set of undead, to come help him.  You need some AOE to knock them down fast.  And there were some line of sight problems with the big table and the short people standing around it.

We got ourselves together and tried to refine our approach.  We pulled Prince Keleseth back to the door in order to give ourselves a bit more time versus the adds, but we were not quite ready to deal with them, or the ice block.

A couple more tries yielded the same result.

I’m dead, Fergorin is in the ice block, Mendula is all the DPS

We had been at it for a while by then and it was getting to be time for dinner at my end, so we called it for the time being.   We might not have a very good class mix, I might need a better pet, we might not even have critical skills at our level, or it might not  be a viable instance to go in with just three people.  Some more research to be done.  But it was a bit of fun to go in and try, and we even got the first quest done for the instance, got a few drops, and gained a level.