Category Archives: Instance Group

Tales of the Twilight Cadre instance group in Azeroth

To Stranglethorn Vale in Search of 36

After our peek into the Armory in Scarlet Monastery the previous week we were feeling a bit under-level to consider trying to finish off the instance.  The gut feeling was that we probably should be level 36 as a group of four to have a hope of getting through the Armory to finish off Herod and the Scarlet Monastery floor show.

We were all in and around level 34 when we wrapped up that run, so there was between a level and two levels of extracurricular activity that had to happen to get us back there.

The question was where to go?

Having crossed over the level 30 threshold, we are now in the timeline of no fixed zone for leveling.  If you’re working through solo from 30 forward you optimally end up bouncing between a few zones like Thousand Needles, Hinterlands, and Desolace.

I do not know if it was a deliberate design choice, but in these zones you find that the levels of quests increment, often jumping a level or two with each step in chain, so that you can quickly find yourself bumping up against red quests and mobs where an accidental add means death.

But as a group that might be a more manageable proposition.  So in looking for a destination for us I wanted a zone that had a bunch of quests, the more the better, that we as a group could burn through.

Having run through pieces of those zones solo with my hunter, Stranglethorn Vale seemed like the obvious choice.  It has the series of quests from the rebel camp at the north as well as the first “slaughter the local fauna” Hemet Nesingwary quest hub, something that has become a tradition in WoW expansions since.

And the quests, for the most part, seemed about ideal.  For a group, killing a set number of mobs, as Hemet would ask, is about ideal.  Likewise, the rebel camp sends you off on a series of quests that almost require a group.  Both the Kurzen camp and the troll areas are teeming with mobs, packed in tightly and with sprightly respawn rates.  And the last quest in the Kurzen quest chain sends you after a level 40 elite.

Also in its favor is that most of the early quests are pretty well contained to the northern bit of the zone around the rebel camp and Hemet Nesingwary’s setup.

The general vicinity

That compares favorably with, say, Desolace.  I’ll get to Desolace later.

So that was our plan for the weekend, to dive into Stranglethorn Vale.

It was just a matter of getting people on together.  And getting there.  STV has a flight point, but it is down at the southern tip, at Booty Bay.  While I appreciate the sparse flight point aesthetic of early WoW, where every zone gets one flight point whether they need it or not, I have to admit that the later addition of the flight point to the rebel camp in STV was sorely missed more than a few times over the weekend.  Even a mailbox would have been appreciated.

Instead you have to hoof it from Darkshire into STV.

Welcome to Stranglethorn Vale

I set Viniki up down there ahead of time.  Oddly, of my alts in their 30s, I think he was the only one of the bunch that had not started on any of the quests there.  I camped him with Hemet so he would be ready when the time came.

Not the last time I’ll run into you

Saturday evening Skronk, Ula, and I were online, but Moronae wasn’t expected.  Skronk had his hunter out and was just starting in on the Kurzen quest line.  I grabbed my pally to join him, while Ula came along.  She was the furthest behind in experience, needing a little more than two levels to get to 36.  Skonk and my warrior, Viniki, were much closer to the group goal so we kept to our alts.

I was kind of glad to get my pally out.  While he had done some of the Nesingwary stuff, he was still early on in the rebel camp stuff.

Not for the last time, I wish it had that flight point

Specifically, he was a bit stuck on the quest Bad Medicine.  That requires seven drops, which are, of course, rather sparse.  In addition, the easiest source of the drops, the medicine men in the Kurzen camp tend to be both heavily hunted and a bit of a pain to solo with a pally.  They self-heal at a cycle faster than my interrupt, so each fight becomes a protracted event.

While we couldn’t do much about the competing groups… STV on a Saturday night had people running all over… we were able to press on into the caves where the headhunters also drop the jungle remedy potion needed to complete the quest.  So we were able to press on and finish that up.

Bad Medicine unlocks a couple of quests, including the first foray into the trolls.  That run was… interesting.  I had done it with my hunter a couple weeks back, so could guide everybody to the four tablets on which you need to click.  The challenge is more that the population density in the troll areas is pretty high.  It is easy to get way too many adds.  Even with other players around, getting through can be a challenge as the respawn rate is also very quick.  We had a duo wipe just ahead of us… horde, so we could only mourn… while we were fighting a group that had just respawned after their passing.

Trolls on the way out

But running the troll circle also brought us through areas for three of the Nesingwary quests, so we picked up various flavors of tigers, panthers, and raptors before finally circling back to turn in quests.

It is especially easy to see the quest levels ramp up with those kill quests.  The tigers are the easier of the trio as they start doable at 28 or so, with the final task of slaying Sin’Dall, a level 37 non-elite being soloable at 35 without much fear.

Waiting for Sin’Dall to spawn

At the other end are the raptors, which are level 40-41 when you are only on the third round.  We managed that at the end of the night, with a group that was 5-7 levels shy of the mobs.  A group of three can handle that, but the level difference means that the raptors resist spells regularly, and an add can be fatal.  We did have one death, though that was mostly because I had to remember that paladin’s can heal.  Fortunately they can also ress.

We also sorted out pages from the Green Hills of Stranglethorn quest.  I had been to STV already with my pally and, after collecting most of the pages, I bought my way through the quest at the auction house.  So I was able to hand over needed pages for Ula and Skronk, though in the end they too used the auction house to collect the last page or two.  I think I did this the hard way back in 2006.

The next afternoon was to bring Moronae on the scene.  However, some of us were early and so Skronk and I worked with a different set of alts, his pally and my restoration druid, while we waited for Moronae to show.  We dropped our alts when he logged in and started out with out mains.

Like Saturday evening, Sunday afternoon saw other groups hunting out in the Kurzen camp.

The Kurzen camp awaits

Having learned our lesson the previous night, we passed through the camp and into the caves and back down to where Sgt. Malthus lives to fight the mobs there that also drop the needed jungle remedy. Needing seven a piece and with low a drop rate, we were down there for a while.

Taking them all on

Aside from the occasional lost player, we had the place to ourselves for a while.  The spawn rate was rapid enough to keep us mostly engaged, while adding in the occasional surprise.

Skronk to be bonked by a surprise spawn

It took us a few cycles of spawns, but we eventually came up with seven jungle remedy potions for the three of us that needed them.  And then, on the way out, jungle remedy potions pretty much dropped off of every possible mob.  There were enough between us that I collected seven and set them aside to mail to one of my alts just to get past that stage of the quest.

What wasn’t dropping were pages for the Green Hills of Stranglethorn.  Unlike the night before, when we were getting quite a few such drops, this time around we all came out with one page.  And that was all I would get for the night.  Some times it rains those pages and overflows your inventory… usually when you’re on with you hunter… and some times they just don’t drop.

We went back to the rebel camp to turn in quests and pick up the next round.  Ula took a break while Skronk, Moronae, and Vinki went to go do the troll tablets run, which has the previously mentioned benefit of swinging through areas for raptors, panthers, and tigers.

We circled back from that to Nesingwary then to the rebel camp, where we happened to catch Private Thorsen doing his patrol, which allows you to get another quest chain going.  Unfortunately, Ula wasn’t back yet so missed out on grabbing that.

After a bit of a break we made out final run of the evening at the Kurzen camp.  We made a quick venture to the camp to knock out one last preliminary quest, then picked up the final goal.  We were after Colonel Kurzen himself.

I remembered this vaguely enough to know that we had to go all the way to the end of the cave to find him.  We found a solo druid who was trying to go that way as well and asked if he could join, so Skronk invited him.  We had the room.

And then we were into the caves and clearing our way to Colonel Kurzen.  That wasn’t particularly tough as the mobs are not elite, but there are a lot of them and you have to plow through row after row of them to advance and even non-elites can pile on if you pull too many.

We had made it through most of the cave and were just down the path from Colonel Kurzen himself, literally right outside his den at the end of everything, when a level 44 night elf hunter ran right past us as we were mid-fight and into Kurzen’s room.

I wasn’t going to let that stand.  I abandoned the mob I was finishing and ran into the room after him and tagged Colonel Kurzen with my gun.  It was on.

We were, of course, still involved with a couple mobs and Kurzen had a couple more with him, while the colonel himself is an elite with his own special routine.  It was not a guaranteed slam dunk at that point, and the hunter was content to let us work this out on our own.

Getting thing under control was… a challenge.  Things looked bad when Skronk went down before I could pull mobs off of him.  But we had two druids in the group, so there was a combat ress to be had.  Our guest druid got his off, putting Skronk back in the fight as we eventually got a handle on everything.  Kruzen went down, we looted his head, and that was that.

We had to fight some of the way back out of the cave, the respawn rate being what it was, along with stopping to get the the contents of the locked box that was on the quest chain that Private Thorsen set us on.  But from there it was back to the rebel camp to turn things in.

At that point Ula hit level 36, the first in the main group to do so.  Viniki was very close to 36, and managed to get there with a few kills later on.  Skronk likewise managed to get to 36 shortly thereafter.  And Moronae is very close to 36 and will likely get there soon enough; if not before out next run, then probably not too many mobs into it.

So we look to be set up to make another run at the armory in Scarlet Monastery.

The Library and the Armory

After a bit of time off around the holidays the instance group was able to form back up for another run this past Sunday.  Various holiday distractions meant that not much progress was made by anybody during the off time, which meant that we were still mostly in the level range for the library in the Scarlet Monastery, which we had previously run through.

Also, we were a group of four again, our lineup looking like this:

  • Viniki – level 34 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 33 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 33 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 32 gnome mage

I fear that Obama may have lost interest… or has other, more pressing interests… as he hasn’t logged in for quite a stretch.  Meanwhile, things have not settled down enough to get Earl on with us regularly, leaving us with the gang of four.

As the Scarlet Monastery library was still in the level range for us… maybe a level or two above our range really… we decided to take another run at that.  There was a quest in Ironforge that we had neglected to pick up previously that required us to pick up a book in the library, so at least we had a task.

We all grabbed the quest and headed for Southshore where we commenced another trot across the landscape to the Scarlet Monastery.  This time we managed to neither go completely wide of the mark nor run through the camp with the guards that wiped us out last time.  We kept to the road, swinging wide once we got past the Undercity.

Dangerous turn off

I did veer us a little bit more northward than I might have needed, but we arrived outside the Scarlet Monastery complex intact.  And we got the map update for Brill, so our Tirisfal Glades map isn’t quite so blank as before.

While it was Sunday afternoon, which can be something of a quiet time, we did have a couple other groups around, so we didn’t have to clear the whole way to the library door, though we did get in over our heads a little bit at one point before another group wandered in to help.

And once inside we nearly got a wipe on the second engagement.

The first area is corridor with four groups and a walker that comes and goes.  We cleared off the first group right away.  Then I shot the target in the second group to pull him, only to find he just wanted to sit there and cast, so I ran up to him and engaged.  Moronae followed me in cat form and got behind him, which put him just in range to proximity pull the next group.  Now we had four mobs to deal with.  As that was going on, the walked came up as well and joined in just as Skronk was dropping a heal on me.  An archer, she began pelting Skronk at range while her hound pet went chasing after him.  We were spread out down the corridor so losing aggro on somebody meant scrambling about, and I got there too late to save Skronk at one point and he went down.

Things were looking bad, but then somebody remembered that Moronae, a druid, had a combat ress, so he was able to get Skronk back up as we carried on.  I thought things were getting worse when I saw another hound engaged in the fight, but that was Ula using the dog whistle she got as a drop from Houndmaster Loksey last time.

In the end, we made it, but it was something of a mess.  At least we had cleared out most of the room.

We remained standing

That done, we took it a little more carefully going forward, clearing the courtyard and taking down Houndmaster Loksey without much in the way of drama.  Having been through the instance once already, we were somewhat aware of places we where we needed to take care, though being a few levels below some of the mobs, which range 33-37, we still managed the accidental proximity pull now and then.  But that generally happened when we were setting up for a fight anyway, so we carried on, stopping for a rest now and then.

Just enough chairs for our group

We picked up the book we were looking for along the way.  That took a couple minutes as the book disappears once somebody picks it up.  But it respawns eventually.

Ula grabbing the book

We worked our way around to the final corridor with only a few more accidental proximity pulls along the way.

Look, we won, didn’t we?

That left us with the main boss, Arcanist Doan.  The fight with him went about as well as we could have hoped.  He still sheeps the healer now and then, but we burned him down quickly enough that there wasn’t much of an issue.

Doan Down

As with our last run, he dropped the robe and the illusionary rod, the two big caster items.

There was a bit of confusion over who should get the illusionary rod.  I was sure it had dropped the last time but nobody remembered who got it.  Then Ula found it in her bag.  The problem was that it requires level 34 to use and neither she nor Skronk were there yet.

Skronk’s reward this time

At that point we were done with the instance, but we still had some time.  Both casters had the boss drops they wanted, so there wasn’t much point in doing the library again, so we decided to poke our noses into the armory wing of the Scarlet Monastery.  We were well below level for that, but we wanted to see how far we could get, so we started to run back to the entrance of the library… and ran unwittingly into a bunch of mobs and promptly wiped.

About where we picked up that book

Now, I remembered that instances in vanilla WoW respawned.  There was always that hanging over a group’s head back in the day if the run was going too slowly.  But in my mind respawns were something like a 2 hour thing.  We ran into respawned mobs at the location where we had taken them down about 30 minutes previously.  These instances are small, so maybe that accounts for the quicker timer, but it came as a surprise.

Still, we were out and nobody was keen to fight our way through the library in both directions.  So we ran back as ghosts, revived in the library, then exited to go next door to the armory.

Like most of the complex, the armory isn’t a big instance.  You work your way through the courtyard and then the open plan office area where most of the mobs hang out, to the the long corridor, finally ending up with Herod and the Scarlet Monastery floor show at the end.

The armory layout

We were definitely a little paranoid going in.  For some reason I had a bad feeling lurking in the back of my head about the open archery range, like there was some event or such that gets triggered there.

Are we the targets?

However, that might be something from the post-Cataclysm revamp in my head.  It proved to require just a careful clear to get through it, and only careful due to the rising level of the mobs and the possibility of more proximity pulls.  Mob levels were running 36-38 and, while Ula and Moronae had both leveled up, we were still punching up with a short group.

Once inside the armory we managed to keep things mostly under control.  The open space plan means that fleeing mobs can run straight to the next group if you are unlucky.  But we seemed to do okay.

The armory layout

Our first problem came at the top of the stairs in the room with the cannons, where we managed to get a patrol and proximity adds due to the closeness of the groups.  Things again looked like they might fall apart as mobs took down Skronk while I was trying to taunt them off.  Mobs resisting taunts and spells and polymorph were becoming much more common.

But Moronae’s combat ress was off cool down and Skronk was alive again and we managed to get through the fight.  We carefully moved forward, arriving at the fireworks stockpile after a few careful fights.

There we were facing a pair of level 38 mobs off to the right down the corridor.  There was also another pair of level 38 mobs on the left side of the corridor, which I thought everybody saw, but when I pulled the right pair somebody stepped into proximity range of the left pair and we suddenly had four mobs that were very resistant to our efforts to deal with.  It did not end well.

Ula throwing ice in the last moments

We wiped.

And, when we ran back we found that the instance had begun to respawn as the library had.  Also, we got too close to the first two mobs and pulled them by proximity… again… and had to flee the instance for the dark anteroom outside.  That happened to have another group hanging out in it.  We decided that we had gone about as far as we were likely to get… there was no way we were going to be able to take on the boss encounter with most of the group six levels below him.  So we recalled.

Stoning out in the dark anteroom

Three of us had our stones set in Ironforge, where we landed comfortably back at the bar.

We needed a drink

Along the way Skronk made it to 34, so was able to wield the illusionary rod.  Ula still has a ways to go for hers.

From the bar we ran first to repair, then across Ironforge to turn in the one quest we had.  The reward for that was a +6 stamina +6 spirit item for the neck slot.  Given that was empty for all of us, we were happy to have it.  Now we only have empty trinket slots, and it might be a while for that.  You don’t get the carrot on a stick until ZF.

We might have to spend a bit of time leveling up between instance runs.  We’re clearly shy of being able to do the armory wing, and nowhere close to the cathedral.  Also, we might have to work on a plan to fill out that lingering empty spot in our group.

Addendum:  Ula did a video of our run through the library where you can see, among other things, our near wipe at the start of the instance.

As always, amazing work by Ula with a fun sound track.  If you watch it on her channel you can see it in full 1440p.

Arcanist Doan, in the Library, with the Illusionary Rod

The holidays seem to have made it more difficult to get a group together.  A plan for this past Saturday fell through due to a need to install a new clothes dryer.  I am not sure if that counts as a holiday event.  Is a dryer like a Peloton?  But Sunday we were able to get together most of a group.  We met up in Ironforge, where I was able to sit around and watch the guild Sharp and Shiny do their latest performance art routine.

It is a place to see and be seen

There were only four of us, the line up being:

  • Viniki – level 33 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 32 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 32 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 32 gnome mage

Obama was out and it was Monday morning for Earl in Japan, so we were going to have to make do with what we had.

There was a bit of a discussion about our options.  Doing a bit of the holiday event was a possibility.  But we decided just to press on and head to the Scarlet Monastery to attempt the library wing.  As a short handed group mostly at level 32, it seemed like a stretch for us.  The backup plan, should we prove not up to the task, was to fall back and do the graveyard again or, as we were in the area, go look for missing Winter Veil treats.  We got on the bird in Ironforge and flew on out to Southshore, still our nearest flight point.

Flying in formation over the Wetlands

At Southshore Skonk led the group off.  Having suffered previously with my meandering run through Silverpine Forest and around the lake in Tirisfal Glades, he had a short cut in mind.  We were going to take a more direct path, past Dalaran, across the lake, and past the Undercity.

Which wasn’t a bad idea.  We certainly spotted the place where you should go for the Soothing Turtle Bisque quest in Southshore.

Many unmolested turtles

We swam the lake and came around the Undercity, skirting its front door but failing to get a map update.

Pay no mind to us you undead

From there Skronk set a course up the road to Scarlet Monastery.  It was only when we got past there and spotted an innocuous camp on the right side of the road that past memories flooded into my brain and I said, “Bear left!” on coms.  But it was too late.

Path comparison

There is a small camp alongside the road which has a number of high level guards mixed in.  They have slain many an unwary Alliance traveler attempting to reach the Scarlet Monastery, and they were quickly on the road chasing us.  They chopped us down, one by one.

All dead and flagged

So there we were, all dead, quite a ways from our corpse, and all now flagged PvP just a stone’s throw from the one Horde city in the Eastern Kingdoms.  This seemed like foreshadowing to a bloody run.

Also, not a single map update yet either!

We ran back as ghosts, revived, then hid off the road short of Scarlet Monastery, waiting for our PvP flags to time out, lest we run into an eager Horde group of five willing to come get us.

Once safe from the PvP menace, we sat down and got ourselves set to get to the instance.

We have arrived

Scarlet Monastery has four wings and you have to fight your way in through elite yard trash to get to the one you want.  We were definitely suffering from the previously mentioned “Sunday night problem” where nobody else was around so we had to clear all the trash ourselves.  That nearly led to disaster as we ended up with five elites on as at one point after we peeked around a corner a bit too quickly.

In the entry area

Somehow we got through that without loss and were able to pick off the remaining mobs between us and the library wing.  Once we were in, we were looking at groups of mobs to clear.

Starting off for the library

We managed to keep ourselves together and not pull many extra adds as we worked our way out to the courtyard.  There was that one walker, but other than that it was nice little groups of two or three to mop up until we got to the first boss, Houndmaster Loksey.

He was a bit of a chaotic fight, mostly because I think we may have approached it wrong.  Loksey has three elite hounds as companions, and we set Ula to sheep one, Moronae to use soothe animal on another, then concentrate on the third, taking them down before we turned on Loksey.

However, that kept Moronae out of cat form a lot of the time, and he is our top DPS when he is in cat form, so killing slowed down, which meant we needed more healing, plus who was crowd controlling which dog got mixed up mid fight.  It was a bit of a muddle.  But we still managed to pull it off all the same.

Houndmaster mastered

Loksey dropped the dog whistle, which went to Ula in a roll-off.

Popular with some political factions

She says she setup a button to do rolls, but she seemed to have learned from Obama on that front and her button made her a winner more often than not.  And now, between her hat and that whistle, she looked to be ready to go solo.

From there it was into the building which houses the library.  I had a twitch here, remembering that something bad had come to pass in this section before.  And sure enough, after clearing a couple of guys we managed to accidentally proximity pull the next three groups.  However, we were lucky enough to do it one by one, avoiding a wipe but leaving us moving from one unexpected fight to the next.  And we pressed on further into the instance.

In the gallery area

As we moved, the mob levels began to ratchet up.  When we entered the mobs were level 32-33.  As we got further in, the cap on levels moved to 34, then 35, and then 36.  While Moronae popped up to level 33, Skonk and, more importantly, Ula were still 32.  With a four level gap spell resists start to become a regular thing.  We had to make sure to target the lowest level mob for polymorph, lest the sheep not hit.

And as we got to the last groups before the final boss, there were level 37 mobs in the mix.  With that, four levels above Vinki, they were resisting taunts and other high aggro attacks, making it hard to keep mobs off of Moronae at times.

But those were only the last few groups where this became an issue, and once we cleared them we faced the main boss, Arcanist Doan.

Doan’s Library Ahead

The group memory of Doan could only recall that he does a big AOE attack every so often.  The plan we chose to deal with that was for me to pull him to the far side of the room, up against the bookshelves, and hold him there so Ula and Skronk would be out of range of that.  That was pretty much the plan, so in we went to get him.

Fighting Doan

What we didn’t remember was Doan putting a polymorph on the healer after ever big heal, and 20 seconds is a long time to go without a heal in a boss fight.  Moronae got out of cat form at one point to heal me and got the sheeped as well for his effort.  I had to use a health potion at one point, but things held together and we finished him off.

Doan Down, Done

Doan was kind enough to drop the covered Illusionary Rod, the staff that all the casters want.  That went to Ula and her roll button.

Ula got this

Doan also dropped the Mantle of Doan, the cloth shoulders, which went to Skronk.

Better than steak knives for second place

And there we stood, done with the instance, and somewhat surprised.  There was a feeling in the group that we would probably be able to get through Loksey, but that once we got into the higher level mobs deeper in the wheels were likely to come off and we would hit a wall.  Instead we made it through without a death.

There were some tense moments, there were times when runners got away from us and adds showed up and it seemed like we might lose control.  But we never did.  We held it together and finished off the last boss.  Op success.

We also picked up the Scarlet Key from Doan’s strong box, which unlocks the last two wings of Scarlet Monastery as well as being involved with a later instance if I recall correctly.  But we all now have it safely tucked away in our key rings.

Hanging out in the library

We are probably not ready to move on to the armory wing, but we seem able to take on the library at this point.  We will likely return there for another run at Doan to see if we can conjure another staff.

Return to the Crowd Pummeler

The group didn’t really align itself over the past weekend, so we spent some time doing quests in smaller groups.  On Saturday Fergorin and Alioto finished off they elite quests in Duskwood and Alioto got to 30, so we have a backup healer close in levels to the group.

Had to wait a bit for Morbent Fel

Earl, Skronk, Ula, and I also spent some time on as alts, first chasing down some basilisks in the Charred Vale for a mage quest and then just running around leveling up a bit out in Loch Modan.

Trying to flee from our wipe… it didn’t work

Come Sunday it seemed possible that there might be a big enough group for a try at the next Scarlet Monastery instance at some point, but as the day wore on into evening, we could only scrape together three of us.  Our small group consisted of:

  • Viniki – level 32 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 32 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 32 night elf druid

That makes up the holy trinity of WoW groups, but it is a little light on the DPS front.  Also, it was getting a little late to start on a big new endeavor.  I have a rule about not starting anything new after 8pm on work nights, built on a long history of kicking of something small that ends up keeping me up well past my bed time.

But I did have one idea, a scheme that would either be short or extremely short, depending how well we did.  So I brought up that now tired name, I said, “Gnomeregan.”

Gnomeregan Establishing Shot

We weren’t going to do the whole thing.  Even I wasn’t that mad.  But I figured it was worth a shot to go in the back door and see if we couldn’t get to the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.  He had denied us that two handed mace, the Manual Crowd Pummeler, that Moronae had be looking for.  In three attempts the Crowd Pummeler had dropped the leather boots each time.

Also, at this point, I was taking a bit of perverse joy in returning to Gnomer yet again, it being such an unloved instance.

If we were good enough getting to the Crowd Pummeler wouldn’t take too long.  And if we were not good enough, well, that would take even less time unless we chose to bang our collective heads against a wall a few times.  So we met up in Ironforge and trotted on down the road to Gnomer.

Getting to the back door was a bit of a pain.  As it turns out, past 7pm Pacific Time on a Sunday night isn’t a popular time to run Gnomer.  Every possible mob that could lay between us and the back door was up and awake while the tunnels were just narrow enough that we couldn’t avoid an ongoing slog through trash mobs.

All the leper gnomes came out to play

Still, trash is just trash.  It took us a bit to chop through it all, but we made it to the back door, opened it up.

The door rises

On the far side was out first challenge, a pair of elites and a couple of non-elites around them, the Gnomer special.

The first hurdle past the side door

It was time to put our little group to the test.  I chose the flamethrower mech as the first target.  We got ourselves buffed.  Then I did the pull.

Getting straight to the point, we won.  And pretty convincingly.  I was able to hold most of the aggro, Skronk kept me healed, and Moronae shredded each target in turn in cat form.  The main annoyance was the occasional wrench throwing non-elite that would fixate on Skronk in the middle of the pack.  But otherwise it seemed like we could get through to the Crowd Pummeler.

Battling our way into Gnomer

There were a few tense moments and a couple of lucky pulls, like the time another pair of elites waiting walked just far enough apart that I was able to pull one but not the other.  Eventually though we made our way around and stood just up the tunnel from the Crowd Pummeler.  Would we be able to take him down?

We can see the Crowd Pummeler across the way

Once we were ready I pulled him back into the tunnel, if only to constrain the space in which he could toss us around.

As I said with the last run into Gnomer… or was it the one before… it is much easier to deal with one big mob than a crowd, both when you’re healing and when you are tanking.  And aside from the knock-back, the Crowd Pummeler doesn’t do anything special.

Facing the Crowd Pummeler

The fight was over pretty quickly, and we sent Moronae up to check the loot.

Checking for the pummeler

And… it was the leather boots again.  Fourth time in a row for that drop.

That was a let down.  But it didn’t take us all that long to get to the Crowd Pummeler, so we decided to run back out the way we came, reset the instance, then try again.

Back in the instance we managed to move back through again.  The three of us at level 32 seemed capable of handling each encounter.  Our first run was not a fluke.  It was just the usual dangers of the place.

Have to kill that alarm bot before anybody hears him

In not too much time we were back at the Crowd Pummeler again for another shot.  As with the first fight, the second went very smoothly with just the three of us.  When he was down Moronae once again went to check the loot status.

Here we are again!

And this time it was the Manual Crowd Pummeler that dropped.

Manual Crowd Pummeler stats

There are only three charges for that increased attack speed, which didn’t show up when I clicked the linked weapon.  But even without that it is a hard hitting mace, and has a reasonably distinct look.

Moronae out of cat form with the Manual Crowd Pummeler

That was what we came for, so it was time to head home.

Stoning out of Gnomer again

So maybe that was our last run into Gnomer.  It has equipped the group pretty well, with the Acidic Walkers and the Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator hats having dropped a couple of times each.  Still, I wouldn’t mind a Manual Crowd Pummeler for my retribution pally.  We shall see.

The Test of Righteousness

At some point around when we were doing the Fire Hardened Mail quest, Skonk had mentioned that we ought to make sure and do the Paladin class quests, which culminate with a nice 2H weapon.

This all starts out with the Tome of Valor quest chain.  Skronk had done that already, but I went out and got it in the bag pretty quickly.  The action takes place out in a corner of Westfall and I was able to solo the combat event at level 20 on the second try, the first giving me the insight of how I needed to approach things.  Daphne, who you are there to defend, is pretty tough so you can get away with letting her off tank for a bit while you clear out the rest of each wave.

That done, you can start on the Test of Righteousness quest in Stormwind.  That sends you to the right person, Jordan Stilwell outside of Ironforge, where you get a task to go collect four items for him.

Skronk and I got out our paladins, Fergorin and Wilhelm, and tackled two of the items immediately.

The first was out in Loch Modan.  It is just a box you need to pick up in among the elite ogres.  You do have to stop in Thelsemar first, where you will find a quest to get the box.  Once we had that, the ogres were not much of a problem.  The box is out in the open rather than being deep in one of the caves, so we only had to knock down a couple ogres to get it.  Then it was back to Thelsemar to finish that quest, leaving us with the first item in our inventory.

On a roll, we ran off for the next item, which is in Shadowfang Keep.  We had recently done the run there with a group and were able to get through the first boss with just three of us, so felt we could probably get to the item we needed.  It was just out in the courtyard, in the stable area.  We managed that without too much drama.

After which we called it a night and sort of forgot about the whole thing for a couple weeks, until Skronk mentioned it this past weekend.  Having had both Fergorin and Wilhelm out for the various group mixes we ran, it seemed like time to carry on.

Skronk had some free time after out run on Sunday and went and picked up a third piece, the one in the Deadmines, and did it solo, though he described it as quite the slog even at level 29.

By Wednesday night I had worked Wilhelm up to 28 and was on questing when Skronk got on and told me the tale of his assault on the Deadmines, then wanted to know if I had time to go with him for the fourth piece, the purified Kor Gem.  I was keen, as I still needed it as well, so we met up in Menethil Harbor to take the boat to Auberdine.

Paladins at sea

Once there you need to pick up a quest to retrieve a corrupted Kor Gem.  The reward for that is the purified version for the main quest.  Then corrupted gems drop off of naga in and around the Blackfathom Deeps instance, which is one we have actually skipped so far.

Quests in hand we headed on down the road to Ashenvale where you can find the instance on the coast.  Fortunately the two of us were more than a match for any of the elites outside the instance and the item drops from nagas there.  We had to kill a few, but the corrupted Kor Gem dropped soon enough.

Then we had to stop ourselves from stoning back home because this wasn’t the gem for the main quest.  Instead we trotted over to Astranaar (which is a somewhat shorter run than going from Auberdine to BFD, so use the flight point both ways if you can) and flew back up to Darkshore, where we turned in the sub-quest and got the purified Kor Gem.

Now was the time to stone back to Stormwind.

At that point Skronk was done, but he offered to run through the Deadmines to help me get the last item.  With the two of us we expected it would go easier.  So it was off to Westfall again.

Heading towards Moonbrook

Once inside the mines at our level… Fergorin was 29 and Wilhelm was 28… you find that your aggro radius is pretty small.  You can squeeze up to the wall and watch elites walk past down the middle of tunnels.

Watching an elite mage walk past

You can’t get past them all, but you can slip by more than a couple of them.  And then there are the miners, which are easy non-elites, but who are strewn along the edges of the tunnels.  You have to carve a path through them, though you can do it one by one since, again, aggro radius is small once you level beyond the instance range.

Beating one miner while another just works away

The effort comes when you have to get past the first boss, Rhahk’Zor.

The ogre boss of the Deadmines

Skronk described his solo encounter as quite a long slog.  He managed it solo, but he was forever on the edge of being out of mana, just able to get a heal in often enough to keep going.  For the two of us it wasn’t a complete walk-over… I used a potion at one point… but we dispatched him and his two helpers in what ended up being about a four minute fight.  Long enough that mana started to fade from heals as he does hit boss hard.

After that it was more clearing through up to the room with The Shredder.  You don’t actually have to fight another boss, you just have to get one of the goblins from that room.  They all drop the item if you have the quest.  We ended up with two goblins, but they were easily managed.

One Goblin woodcarver down, one to go

Goblins down and looter, we were done and ready to hearthstone back home.

Except, of course, this wasn’t retail WoW and our hearthstones didn’t have 20 minute cool downs nor did we have three stones to choose from.  With half an hour left on the recall clock, we had to walk back out.  Walking places is the theme of WoW Classic in its way.  That meant a bit more fighting, but I also was able to grab a couple more tin mining nodes for Wil along the way.

Out of the Deadmines and the caves, it was off to Ironforge to speak with Jordan Stilwell.  And he isn’t just one of those vending machine NPCs, he takes your items and goes off to craft you a weapon.

Jordan Stilwell working on my hammer

The downside of that is only one person can do the quest turn in at a time.  When Jordan Stilwell is acting out his part he won’t accept any new requests.  That isn’t so bad on a special quest like this, but you want to use this sparingly on quests that everybody does, a lesson Blizz no doubt learned.

So Fergorin had to wait a bit before it was his turn.  But he still got his hammer in a short enough time.

And a hammer for you

And there we were, quest done, hammers in hand.

Posing with Jordan Stilwell

That was another quest chain I never did back in the day.  I was far too fixated on getting forward in levels back then, which seemed the ultimate goal, to stop and work on some of these class quests.

The hammer itself is pretty good.  I got a decent hammer as a quest reward from our Gnomer run on Saturday.

The Mechanic’s Pipehammer

But this hammer, Verigan’s Fist, was a considerable step up from that.

Verigan’s Fist – Paladins only please

I’d still drop it for the Manual Crowd Pummeler from the Crowd Pummeler 9-60 in Gnomer, but we might be done running Gnomer at this point, so Verigan’s Fist will probably be my weapon for a while.

Gnomeregan Again but Backwards

Did I say we were done with Gnomeregan?  Clearly I was in error.

Gnomeregan Establishing Shot

Sunday saw us online again.  The weather outside was foul, with heavy rain and high winds, so my plan to go out and hang the holiday lights on the house was postponed.  Time for games. (It was a bountiful Thanksgiving week for that.)  We got together to decide what instance we ought to do, since we had five of us on. (It was Monday morning for Earl in Japan, so he was off the list.)

The discussion went around, but Moronae still wanted that staff, the Manual Crowd Pummeler, from the Crowd Pummeler 9-60 boss in Gnomer.  And I can’t blame him, it is a great item.  I’d love one for my pally.  So we figured we would just run in through the back door, get to the Crowd Pummeler, and take him down.  Easy days.

But then we needed a group.  Skronk and Ula wanted to go with their alts, Fergorin and Scscla, so I rolled out Alioto, who managed to survive our Scarlet Monastery graveyard run, giving us a group that looked like this.

  • Alioto – level 26 night elf driud
  • Scscla – level 28 gnome warrior
  • Fergorin – level 28 dwarf paladin
  • Obama – level 29 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 31 night elf druid

And with this group we had some fresh faces for Gnomer.  Alioto had collected up some of the Gnomer quests the day before when there was a question as to where we might head and what the group composition would look like.  Scscla and Fergorin had some as well, so we shared them out amongst outselves.  After all, going in the back door meant going past Techbot, and that would be a quest done.  And you have to fight your way in there, so you’ll probably get the white punch card, so you might as well start that quest off.  And, who knows, you might get enough “coke machines” along the way to finish that quest off.

So off we went.  Alioto, still not quite 27, made some early decisions for us, along the lines of, “should we kill this mob?” just as Alioto managed to proximity pull the mob with his aggro radius of doom.

As expected, we managed to pick up the white punchcard and upgrade that at the first set of machines.  Then it was off to wait for Techbot to spawn.  Despite those who rushed to level cap in the first month, there are still a substantial number of people running lower level instances.  Techbot has been dead whenever we have run by.  And he was yet again.

We were crowded around the spawn point, but a group having just left and another lurking around nearby.  Not content to wait quietly, Obama started calling the other group “Republicans.”  He is young, and in youth you find many things funny.  But he has also gotten a fair share of grief for his name choice.  At least my druid’s name, also political, was just that of an SF mayor.

My reaction to events

Anyway, that didn’t turn ugly and we took down Techbot, finishing that quest, and headed over to the back door.

The back door has mobs too

At this point I do not recall the first time that Alioto died.  Nor do I recall the situation of most of his deaths during the run.  I just know that Recount says he died 6 times.  Two of those were wipes, and one was a special case, but the other three were all pretty much the same scenario, one that occurs often in Gnomer.

A lot of the trash in Gnomer consists of groups of non-elite mobs, often centered on one elite main mob.  What happened those five times was that Scscla would go in and get everybody on her.  Then the rest of the group would join in, focused on the elite mob, which was the main threat.  At some point I would need to heal Scscla, often a big heal as the mobs would be beating her down pretty aggressively.  A rejuvenation just wasn’t going to cut it.

So I would toss our a regrowth or, if things went south fast, a healing touch.  And as soon as I did I would end up topping the aggro chart for some of the non-elite mobs who would rush me or start throwing wrenches at me.  Gnomes, right?  With the mage plus warlock group this gets handled with fire and ice, but with no Ula we just have fire and a bunch of loose gnomes running  around.

All fire, no ice

Even at level 26 I could probably handle one of these level 28-30 non-elites, but when two or three started in on me, I was in trouble.  It was time to run to the tank, say “save the healer!” on voice coms, and try to heal myself.  That I only died to this three times was probably a good sign.  An additional heal from Fergorin or Moronae was often the margin needed to keep me alive.

So I died a lot.  fortunately Fergorin could also ress me.  I’ll bypass the trash mob deaths and stick to the more memorable ones.

We made our way to the Crowd Pummeler which, relative to the trash mob fights, was easy to heal through. Aggro isn’t an issue with just one mob, though Moronae’s DPS was enough to pull aggro from the tank now and then.  We even pulled him back into the tunnel to keep the tossing about to a minimum.

We meet again Crowd Pummeler

However, the Pummeler disappointed yet again, dropping the boots rather than the 2H mace.  Moronae already got the boots on a past run, so they defaulted to Alioto as the other leather wearer.  They were a big upgrade, though he needs to get to level 28 to wear them.

Having hit our primary objective, there was the question of what to do next.  Electrocutioner 6000 wasn’t that far away, so we decided to press on to get him.  When we got to the ring area around his platform we decided to clear clockwise.  He was 180 degrees off from us in the circle, and the first group to the left looked a bit easier that the one to the right.

More clearing then up the ramp to the Electrocutioner, where we brought him down in short order.  Again, a single mob fight, no problems for me.  He dropped the Lagnut ring yet again, going 4 for 4 on that now.  It went to Scscla, who had an empty ring slot and who could use it.  There we realized that we had cleared to the third punch card machine, but were missing a previous one back by the dormitory.  Obama had also finished up with “coke machines” and Alioto had picked up collecting those and was nearly done.

So to finish out those quests we thought we would fight our way back to the second punch card machine, picking up the “coke machines” on the way.  It was then that we realized that clockwise was the wrong choice previously.  It left the path to the tunnel we needed to get to still occupied.  So we started to clear our way there.

That was when we had our first wipe.  We managed to get two groups of non-elite gnomes plus two elites.  That led to me dying in the usual, happened five other times, way.  But it also left too much heat on the group to survive.  We all went down.

Complicating things, Fergorin, who had the soul stone, was in the thick of the remaining mobs, so his survival seemed unlikely.  But the soul stone is a “use it or lose it” proposition, so he used it hoping for some luck.

Dead and Fergorin is out in the middle there

There was no luck.  The wipe was complete and we had to release.

Back at the graveyard we began to run back, at which point I suggested that we might as well go in through the front door this time to revive, after which we could jump of the ledge, take on the Viscious Fallout, get the dormitory punchcard machine, and then work our way back to where we died, over by the Electrocutioner 6000, which had the third punchcard machine.  After that we would just need to go back to where the Crowd Pummeler was, use the lift to get down to the bottom floor, and get the final punchcard machine.  Piece of cake.

People agreed, so we went in through the front door, got ourselves together, cleared a few pesky troggs, and jumped off the ledge to the boss fight.  It was a close run thing, and I died there too.  I suppose it was slightly different that the rest of the five deaths I’ve lumped together because my aggro radius drew elite adds, but my healing still drew aggro and I went down again.

Me, face down in the toxic ooze again

However, the Viscous Fallout nicely dropped the Acidic Walkers again, so Obama got a new pair of shoes.

After that we made it to the punchcard machine, then to the gauntlet to fight our way back to the Electrocutioner 6000 area.  By that time Alioto was done with “coke machines” and Fergorin had picked up grabbing them.  We figured it was better for somebody to complete the quest rather than have a few of us mostly done.

We managed to get up the gauntlet fine and cleared our way to the Electrocutioner platform for another punchcard update.  Then it was back to where the Pummeler resided.  At some point Skronk finished up his “coke machines” and Scscla started in on getting her dozen.  Taking the lift down to the floor below the Pummeler, we got into the death I am declaring an exception.

We once again got into the situation of an elite mod with a group of non-elites on the tank who, when I healed Scscla, started to focus on me.  I ran to the tank and went to heal myself when there was an incident.

For healing I use an addon called Healium.  It is a simple addon that keeps me from having to make Skronk’s mouse-over macros for healing.  It just gives me the group list with their health status and some spells next to each name that I can click on to apply to that person.  It doesn’t prompt me, I still decide who and when to heal, it just gives me some simple buttons to mash to make sure I drop a heal on the right person.

The Healium UI

I still screw up, but less so than if I were manually targeting and healing.

Anyway, the array of buttons sits low on my screen, right above the hotkeys.  I’ve move the cast bar up to keep it from getting in the way.  But as it turns out, when somebody loots and there is need/greed dialog up, it blocks the healing buttons for the top two people on the list, which in this case were Fergorin and myself.

And, having set all that up, you can probably guess that somebody looted mid-fight, there was a green level item that popped the dialog, and that this happened just as I was going to cast a heal on myself.

I died.  But what is one more death at this point.  I was already getting the yellow paper doll warning after the last death and we were almost done.  Fergorin ressed me yet again, I got healed up, buffed up, and we carried on.

The final punchcard machine was right there, so three of us finished off that quest.  We cleared a bit more to get to another of the “coke machines” and Alioto hit level 27 at last.  At that point Scscla just needed three more “coke machines” and she would be done.  But where to go and find them?

We did not want to go in the direction of the Dark Iron Agents.  That way lay madness and more wipes.  We also didn’t want to wander all the way back to the dormitory area.  We had enough back tracking for one day.  But looking at a map of the instance, it looked like we could take a tunnel to the floor area below the platform where the Electrocutioner 6000 lived.  Surely there would be a couple quest objects there.  So off we went.

And, there were even a couple on the way, so by the time we got to the big open area below the Electrocutioner 6000, Scscla needed just one more of the “coke machines.”   As we came to the opening to the area, we saw spread before us a multitude of “coke machines.”  It was the promised land for those looking to complete the quest.  Scscla just needed to run in there and grab one.

And therein lay the rub.  The open floor had a variety of mobs and groups of mobs criss-crossing it in overlapping areas of patrol.

Scscla spotted and opening and made a dash for one of the “coke machines” around the center pillar of the room.  However, she strayed to close to a mob and was in combat.  Taking damage we ran out to support her and managed to get a few more mobs on us.  We were quickly in over our head and a wipe seemed imminent.

At that point Fergorin had the foresite to flee back up the tunnel and die there, leaving him safe to use the soul stone to revive.  He could then ress us, though that was easier said than done.

Fergorin going down back in the tunnel

He was able to get Moronae, Obama, and Alioto easily enough, but Scscla had died by the center pillar near one of the quest objectives, and was out of ress range from the tunnel.  We would have to go out onto the main floor to get her.

We picked off a couple of the wandering mobs to thin things out a bit.  Moronae played with stealthing out to get close enough to pop his combat ress, which only takes two seconds to cast, but got himself herded away.  Eventually a big gap opened and Fergorin ran out to do a ress.  I kept just in range to be able to heal should it come to it.  He got Scscla and we retreated to the tunnel.

They were looking longingly at all those “coke machines” out in the center of the room still, but I had noticed, while laying dead out on the floor, that there was one just on the other side of a huge pillar that was next to the tunnel entrance.  You can see it at the far right of the screen shot above, in the dark, but still visible.  Further poking around showed that you could squeeze behind the pillar, well away from the wandering mobs.  We all shimmied past the pillar to get her final quest update, and we were done.

I don’t know why we all had to go past the pillar, but we did

After that it was back into the tunnel where we recalled back home.

Time to hearthstone once again

When I landed in Stormwind I went straight to somebody who could mend because I was red paper doll on a couple of my slots.  Then it was back to Ironforge to turn in the quests.

And so it goes.  Are we done with Gnomeregan now?  Moronae doesn’t have his 2H mace yet, so I won’t commit to an affirmative on that.

Current Guild MOTD

We’ve certainly been into Gnomer more times now in WoW Classic than we ever went as a group in retail.  Also, I guess our path wasn’t really “backwards” so much as multi-directional, or at least somewhat out of the usual order.

Now my task though is to get Alioto and Wilhelm leveled up a bit more so they are not such liabilities on these ventures.

Gnomeregan Quest Cleanup

After our run through the Scarlet Monastery graveyard Earl still had some morning energy in him in Tokyo, while most of us in California were not quite ready for bed yet.  Obama was done for the evening, but with the five of us remaining we could go back to a regular group and do something else.

Moronae was still after the staff from the Crowd Pummeler 9-60 in Gnomeregan, so we thought we might as well run back through that.  However, a potential return to Gnomer meant a shuffle of the team as both Skronk and Ula had quests to finish there as well.  With Skronk healing and tanking covered, I went looking for another alt.  The next highest likely suspect was Wilhelm, my retribution pally.

  • Wilhelm – level 26 human paladin
  • Skronk – level 30 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 30 night elf druid
  • Earlthecat – level  30 human warrior
  • Ula – level 31 gnome mage

Again I was way behind level compared to the group, so I had the huge aggro radius issue going against me, plus I wasn’t sure if I was even going to be able to put out any damage worth noting at level 26.  But it was that or a 32 hunter, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.  Plus we were only planning to go in as far as the Crowd Pummeler, so why not get some time on the pally?

We ran on out of Ironforge and down to the instance.  Earl and I shared the quests we had collected between us, so stopped to get the punchcard update and Techbot’s brain.

Some troggs blocking our way to the punch card update

Being melee DPS rather than healing this time around, I immediately started answering the question “Do we get this mob or go around?” by pulling the mob in question with my huge aggor radius.  We had to kill all the things on the way in.

Once into the instance we followed the path that Skronk had come up with for our last run which involved bypassing the Emi Shortfuse event and just jumping straight off the walkway to hit the Viscous Fallout.  With the jump my aggro radius turned out to be quite the liability as I pulled a couple extra trash mobs our way.  I had to lay hands to hold out for a bit, though that amount of healing just bumped up my aggro and I ended up dying.

But with me down the rest of the group was able to hold out, and the Viscous Fallout nicely coughed up the Acidic Walkers, the primo cloth footwear we had been looking for.

Once I was ressed we started our way around to the dormitory and the B model punch card machines.  We cleared to that and we able to run into the safe area to use the Sparklematic 5200, which is good for some exp.

After that we were on to the gauntlet run, where I stayed as close to the right wall as possible as we fought our way through.

Battling a sentry bird

I think I still managed to pull somebody out of the side run, but I managed to stay alive.  Also, I seemed to be hitting okay.  I was in no danger of being top damage, but I was adding as much weight as I could at my level.

We managed to get through that okay and out into the ring that leads to the next boss, the Electrocutioner 6000.  As a fight he was straightforward and, in slaying him, both Earl and I got the back door key for Gnomer along with our next punchcard update.  The Electrocutioner also dropped the Electrocutioner Lagnut ring, which is what he seems to drop every time for us.  It went to Wilhelm as he had empty ring slots, though he would need to be level 29 before he could wear it.

From there it was around to the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.  We have been down this path a few times and, aside from the random alarm bot rolling up behind us, it wasn’t an arduous journey.  We got to the Crowd Pummeler and took the fight to him with Earl’s back to the wall to keep the fight in one place when it came time to get tossed about.

There we go, in the air again

However, he just dropped the leather boots yet again.  The Manual Crowd Pummeler, the weapon that Moronae (and Wilhelm) wanted remained a dream yet again.

With that done I was wondering if we were on our way out.  Skronk, Ula, and Moronae had all finished up their quests and Earl had even managed to get the dozen “coke machines” for one of the quests.  But we decided to carry on, so went up the tunnel that would bring us to the Dark Iron Agents.

Almost there

As in our last run, we cleared the pair upstream from us first, which was easy enough.  Then there was the group of four downstream.  Skronk put target markers up on each of them.  Earl was going to handle two of them, Ula would sheep one, and I got the last one.  I was still level 26, so I was curious as to how I would deal with a level 32 elite, but this was also the test for the group.  If we couldn’t get past this group of four then there was no reason to carry on.

But we managed to get past the first four.  I didn’t even die holding my guy, though I wasn’t going to be able to carry on much longer by the time attention turned to it.  I was running him down the hall to avoid the mines he was dropping.

After that there was another pair, then a second group of four.  I had to hold one of the Dark Iron Agents again, though I did ask for a level 32 mob.  I was initially assigned a level 33, which seemed like asking for an extra ration of trouble.  We managed to dance around them pretty well, along with the alarm bot, though this time Wilhelm went down.

Me down, dead mines about, and one mob left sheeped

That left us with a free run down to the bottom of the ramp where we were able to pick off the mobs at the bottom one by one.  Then it was time to open the big door, take the two groups behind it one at a time.

One last group between us and Thermaplugg

After that it was just us and Mekgineer Thermaplugg.

Last time we put both the casters, the ranged DPS, on bomb button patrol as they could stand at a distance and still contribute damage.   This time it was going to be Ula and Wil, Ula because she was ranged and Wil because I doubted a level 26 pally was going to inflict much damage on a level 34 boss.  I had actually done okay for DPS up until this point, given my level, but this time was probably asking too much.

And so the fight began.  The usual chasing around ensued in the middle as Thermaplugg shrugged off attempts to keep him focused on the tank, while on the sidelines I chased buttons.

In the end, I think my main contribution to the fight was basically eating every bomb that managed to get loose on my side, healing myself up between goes, to prevent that additional DPS from landing on Earl or Moronae.  I don’t know how much that really mattered, but it was what I could contribute, and we won in the end.

The post fight lineup

Thermaplugg dropped the Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator again, which went to Ula.

Ula and her new hat

And that was it for the run.  At Earl’s end there was a meeting he had planned, so he had to go, while it was about midnight local time for the rest of us, which meant we were all off to bed.  It was time to hearthstone and call it a wrap.

Time to stone out

And so went another run through Gnomer.  We ought to be about done with it by now, having acquired a few of the good drops at least.  You can now find Ula doing her relaxation routine with her hat.

Relaxing on the fountain

Addendum: You can see the hat in action here.