Category Archives: Instance Group

Tales of the Twilight Cadre instance group in Azeroth

The Group Ventures Out from Lut Gholein

When last we left off the group  was headed into Act II of the game.

In case you were confused

We landed in Lut Gholein and ran about to get the measure of the place.

I always favor Act II.  The first act feels like a warm up, which it is naturally enough.  It has the mood of the original Diablo and felt very familiar when the game first launched.  The second act is where the game starts to come together with me, where it shows it can be different and better.

It is also a change up from the brooding darkness of the first act… at least some of the time.  When you’re out in the desert and the sun is up… again, there is a day/night cycle that I haven’t quite figured out yet… and sabrecats or leapers are chasing you around it feels like a different game.

There was also the option of some new mercenaries.

Ulfar and I opted to trade in our rogue archers… and I forgot to reclaim that nice bow I had given mine, but all loot is transitory in life I guess… for a couple of the polearm wielding local mercenaries.  They also have the advantage of having auras.  I opted for one with the prayer aura, which heals a bit, while Ulfar went with the defiance aura, which gives a boost to defense.

I couldn’t recall if the auras overlapped, and being a paladin favoring the might aura to boost Kevin’s skeleton army, we were going to have three running potentially.  But once we got out of town by dropping down into the sewers for the first quest, the aura effects at our feet showed we were getting multiple effects.

Down into the sewers via the trap door

The various guides to the game always seem to point out that going into the sewers to chase down Radament is optional and that act can be completed without doing so, but I always do it.  Act II flies by so fast that it feels like a positive to spend a bit more time there.

Having gone down the trap door into the sewers, we ended up having to explore a bit more to find the steps down to the second level.

We also started running into some narrow passages, which become more common ac the act goes along.  As a solo character these can often be useful to channel a group of mobs down to single file so you can dispatch them one by one.  With a mass of followers along though it can be a bit of a pain.  Getting your followers through and into a fight can take a bit of finesse and you start to learn about collision.  You can run through your followers, but no hostile mobs or other players.  Your followers, however, have collision among themselves, so you often have to lure them through a narrow bit in order to get your skeleton army into action.

We pressed on, found the third level and eventually bumped into Radament, who obliged us by being in a bit of an open area, so we were able to storm in and attack on a broad front to take him down.

After the battle

You can also see three auras at our feet in that screen shot, if you look close.

Radament done in, we returned to town for congratulations and our rewards, which is that the merchants in town won’t gouge you for things quite as hard.  A price break is always appreciated I guess.

Then it was out into the desert, which I always find fun.  The wide open spaces suited out group and followers and hangers on, which began to increase.  Kevin had leveled up enough to add some more skeletons to his entourage, while Ulfar found he found summon two ravens in addition to his three wolves… I think the hawk helm he got as a drop added that as a bonus… plus an orange, glowy, floating squid that did a bit of healing if I understood him correctly.

By the stash with wolves and the squid

We were also starting to look pretty smart as our armor got upgraded.  That your look changed with your armor choices was kind of a big deal back in 2000 and I am glad to see that they really honed in on that with the remaster.  Our characters look a bit careworn and aged in the select screen, but the gear helps hide that.

Anyway, we scoured the desert looking for our first goal, the Halls of the Dead, which is in the Dry Hills, the second desert zone.  We gabbed the waypoint, then found the dungeon.

As a dungeon it is nice and dark, but not that big and, while segmented into rooms, they are all wide enough to bring an army to bear on the hostiles, which served us well.

It is also the place where you find that most important piece of the game, the Horadric Cube.  After the big boss fight in the Halls of the Dead we ended up with four of them on the floor to loot.

Loot all over the place

I was wondering how that would work out with four of us.  It had been so long since I played with a group that I couldn’t remember, and in Act I there is a scroll drop that gives you the Carin Stone sequence, but you only get one of those among the group.  But here four cubes dropped, so we all got to pick one up.

Then it was back to town and time to explain a bit of the cube.  As Kevin summed it up, it is a bit like the crafting table in Minecraft. It does a whole bunch of things.

That secured in our stash, along with all of our loose coins, we headed back out to the Dry Hills and in search of the Far Oasis, where the next dungeon lay.

Once again, the wide open spaces lent themselves to a group that seemed to like to spread out.  We got a bit spread out, but nobody got into too much trouble.  There was yet another waypoint to be found, and then the next dungeon, the Maggot Lair.

Into the Maggot Lair

The Maggot Lair is neat because it has a very different look and feel than anything you have run into so far in the game.

It is also a challenge.  Playing through solo with my necromancer this was easily the slowest dungeon run of the game.  Remember up above where I wrote of narrow paths and collision in the sewers?  That was but a taste of the Maggot Lair.

As a dungeon it is made up of a series of single file tubes with rooms or intersections along the way.  Getting into the tube in the right order can be a bit critical, and your followers, who have their own collision properties to work through, can be a pain to get where they need to be.

Making our way through

In that screen shot above you can see Ulfar and I on the right, way ahead of the followers, though close enough to get auras, which are stuck in order because Kevin is back a ways and our followers cannot get past his followers.

The optimal ordering seemed to be to get me, the paladin, out in front, with Talon behind me with her spear.  She had the reach to attack with her spear from behind me.  Then Ulfar behind her ready to launch molten fire past us into mobs.  And, in the back, Kevin and the follower armor, ready to spill into any room or intersection when we had the chance.

Things working to plan for once

That was the ideal.  We often ended up stuck between people, or Kevin out in front and me in the back, unable to swap order without finding a room or an intersection.  And we kept leaving followers all over the place.

Followers left about the map

Still, we managed to muddle through and, once we found the final boss room, opened up a portal in the tube and went back to town, stocked up on supplies, the arranged ourselves in the optimum order to be able to storm the boss.

It went well, even if there were a lot of disgusting squelching sounds along the way.  It is that kind of place.

The room after the fight

That gave us each our next piece of the quest chain, the head piece to the staff of kings.

Then it was back to town to sell loot, repair, and resupply.  Along the way Ulfar traded in his hawk helm for a goat horned helm that looked pretty special.  All of our looks were still getting better, save for possibly Kevin, who was still a bit of the aging rocker in aspect.

The four of us in town, plus the squid again

That is a lot better looking that the original graphics, which the game lets you peek at.

The circa 2000 look

The funny thing is that my brain by this point has accepted the graphical update as the actual game.  As I play through now it feels like it has always been this way, that it is the natural order of things, the way it should be.  I guess I have to give some credit to Vicarious Visions, who did the remaster, some credit for that.  It all feels like the real deal to me and I am a bit shocked at how primitive it used to look.

Anyway, that was all we had in us for the afternoon.  The rest of Act II awaits.

The Diablo II Group Finds Andariel

The group got together again on Saturday afternoon.  Having previously rescued Deckard Cain, we were ready to press on into the back half of Act I.

The rest of Act I involves pressing forward through the darkness, though it is sometimes darker and sometimes lighter.  There is some sort of day/night cycle going on in the game that I never really noticed when I was playing it back in the day. High resolution betrays many details, like all the potions stored in Akara’s tent in the rogue encampment.

Can I just swipe one while she isn’t looking?

We were also becoming a small army as we swarmed across the countryside.  Kevin’s skeletons, Ulfar’s hounds, and everybody with a rogue archer tagging along.  As I said previously, one of the game’s repeated “gotcha” attempts is to suddenly come at you with a half a dozen mobs out of the dark.  But when there are 16 of you in the group, the attacker’s numbers don’t carry that much weight.  Even the carver camps, with a couple dozen little demons running around and their shaman ressing them up, fell pretty easily to us, though I always run in and knock down the shaman as soon as I can.

The game is supposed to dial up the difficulty with each player, but we seemed to be enough to overwhelm it.  I thought maybe we might face a bit of difficulty in the Black Marsh facing the Countess down in basement of the dark tower.  That is one of the first big fights where things can really get our of hand if you’re not careful.  Instead we found her and burned her down pretty quickly, clearing out the whole bottom floor.

The Countess now counts for less

I also kind of have to slow my own roll a bit.  The group game is different from solo, and I have mostly played solo when I have played over the last 18 years or so.  That has ingrained a few habits, like a tendency to run all over creation when looking for things and a discerning eye for what things I care to pick up.  Diablo games are all about the drops, but it rains so much stuff so often that have developed a sense of what vendor well, what is for my class, and what I need to hoard for later… the latter being gems, jewels, charms and runes.  And gold.  Always gold, which the game nicely auto-splits among your party.  My ability to savor the loot pile has atrophied over the years and now we have a group, and for some of us this is a fresh experience, so I have to remember to stop and identify the magic items.

And keeping track of each other was getting to be a bit of a chore.  As we made our way into the monastery and down into the jail levels, it became a bit too easy for everybody to run off in a different direction.  Fortunately, some digging through the options… which I hadn’t even considered because I guess I have just been playing default settings and solo for all these years… found the setting that shows everybody else on the map.

Everybody on the map… look at all of us

They also have different map placement options, including upper corner mini-map, though I stayed with the traditional overlay.

We made our way through the jail levels below the monastery, picking up the waypoint as we went.  I tend to obsess a bit about finding the waypoints.

Our army secures another waypoint

Then it was up to the inner cloister… another waypoint… and into the catacombs.  We seemed to be making good time, though we also seemed to be getting map layouts that put the entrances and exits close together.

We made our way down and I prematurely announced we were close when we hit level 3, only to be reminded that there were four levels.  And once we were on the fourth level I announced Andariel was behind the first door and then remembered there was actually a second door.  But we found her eventually and had a short sharp fight.

Solo she can be a bit of a chore and I habitually leave a town portal up by the stairs out in order to escape back to town.  He poison can bring you down and she hits hard, but with four of us… and all the hired help, she did not last long.

Andariel goes up in flames

I later looked her up and she is especially susceptible to fire, which Ulfar was dropping in great quantities during the fight, so that probably helped speed things along.

Once we cleaned up the few remaining mobs it was time to go through the loot pile and haul back likely items.

Then it was back to town to sort things out, get the congratulations of everybody in the rogue encampment, and finally to speak to Warriv to travel to Act II.

The caravan is ready

I also found a setting in the game options to make all the text larger.  That helps with my aging eyesight and the high resolution monitor.  We made the trip to Lut Gholein.

Town in the desert

We were all level 15 and ready for adventures in a new environment.

Remaking our Diablo II Group

After the three of us played Diablo II Resurrected on an off week, the return of Beanpole brought up the question of whether we should get back to Outland in WoW Classic or keep running in Diablo II.

Diablo II, being something different, won out, though Beanpole did suggest we would do just about anything to forget how to play our classes in WoW.  But now Diablo II is an instance group thing.

A larger group meant a restart with fresh characters.  We hadn’t gotten that far before, so it wasn’t a huge burden to re-roll.  And, in re-rolling it was a chance to try a new class.  There was some discussion as to what we ought to play, and Potshot asked if it would bother anybody if he played an assassin, a class locked as female.  I immediately say no, indicated that we would likely make fun of him at some point, which I guess was enough to throw that idea in the bin.  We’ll probably have to roll up a group at some point where Ula plays a barbarian and the three men play female classes.

But for now the boys each grabbed a male class, Potshot going with druid, Beanpole grabbing the necromancer, while I went with a paladin.  Paladin was kind of on my over-played list, but I thought it might be different with a group due to the aura thing that paladins get.  Ula went with an Amazon, which gave us the following characters.

  • Talon – Amazon
  • Ulfar – Druid
  • Ernest – Paladin
  • Kevin – Necromancer

Beware Kevin

Then we had to spend a bit of time sorting out how to play Diablo II again, as Kevin hand’t played it in many years and even I was still remembering things.  The whole skills and talent tree and right click swap assignments and accidentally hitting the W key which swaps you weapons were all refreshed.

Hanging out in the Rogue Camp while things get sorted

Still, we were out into the world soon enough, fighting the first few creatures as we made our way around to the Den of Evil, the first quest objective of the game.  We made our way into there and set about clearing it out.

Down in the Den of Evil

It was time for a couple of teachable moments.  Kevin got himself killed in a scuffle with a mini-boss, but I was able to open a town portal for him to get back quickly.  We also learned a bit about BNet issues.

You can see the four of us, Talon, Ernest, Kevin, and Ulfar in that picture.  Ernest has his might aura up, and you can see it glowing at the feet of everybody save Ulfar.  He was in the game, but somehow wasn’t fully connected.  It also turned out, as we went back to the rogue camp, that he couldn’t use the portal that I had to put up, and had to cast his own in order to return quickly.

We thought maybe the problem would sort itself out, so went off after Blood Raven.  However, even though we finished up that fight successfully, I noticed when we were going into the crypt in the graveyard, that Ulfar was still not getting my aura.

No aura for you

He also had to take his own town portal home yet again.  He could see mine, but couldn’t enter it.

We did a bit of disconnecting and reconnecting after that and eventually got everybody on the same page connection wise, with everybody getting the paladin aura and able to use each other’s portals.

Of course, after the Blood Raven quest everybody got a rogue mercenary.  With four of those, and Kevin’s growing skeleton followers, and Ulfar with a couple of wolves, we were starting to become a bit of an army.

From there it was on from the Stony Field, through the dark tunnel, and into the Dark Woods and the Tree of Inifuss for the scroll for Akara.  Being the old hand at this, I insisted that we explore a bit more to get the waypoint in the Dark Woods.  We would be needing that later.

From the waypoint it was back to the rogue encampment and Akara.  By that point we’d been playing for quite a while.  We were just warming up as a group so things were going a bit slow.  But I got everybody to come along for one last push.  I figured we could get to Tristram easy enough.

So it was back to the Stony Field and the Carin Stones, which opens the portal to Tristam.  Then it was into the portal and into town to rescue Deckard Cain and clear the place out.

Clearing out the town square while Cain waits in his cage

We cleared the town out, freed Deckard Cain, who took a portal back to the rogue camp, then swept around the town to make sure we got everything.  I made sure we found Wirt’s corpse and that somebody grabbed his leg.  I will do the cow level some day, I swear.

Then it was back to the Stony Fields, because the waypoint was next to the Carin Stones.  No point in wasting a town portal scroll while we were still poor.

Leaping back into the Stony Field

Then it was back to the rogue encampment, where Deckard Cain thanked us and promised to identify all our items, which is also a bit of a gold saver this early on in the game.

So that brings us up to where we stand in Diablo II Resurrected.

That actually wasn’t last weekend, but the weekend before, which was probably a good thing.  Apparently Diablo II Resurrected is doing very well, to the point that the servers were falling over last weekend, at least during EU prime time. (I played in the evening Pacific Time and never saw a blip, but by that time the load had passed.)

Blizzard actually has a long post about the troubles the servers are having, which is in part because the code from 20 years ago didn’t face as much traffic as it is getting now, and because people are starting new games in rapid succession to farm specific mobs for drops because the end game of Diablo II has always been trying to get some crazy rare item in the rain of loot that litters the game.

There is a list of things they are doing to handle the problem.  People have been making a comparison between this launch and the Warcraft III Reforged launch.  But that feels like a false comparison.  Both saw problems, but not the same problems.

Warcraft III Reforged launched missing a lot of features and some petty restrictions that left a bad taste in the mouths of many.  Blizzard ended up having to offer refunds on demand.

Diablo II Resurrected feels more like it delivered what it promised.  It isn’t anything new, just better looking.  But that seemed to be the right mix to get enough people on board to swamp the servers trying to recreate a 20 year old experience.

Hunting for Disenchants in Blackrock Depths

After our Hellfire Ramparts run Ula announced that she had finally made it up to 301 in enchanting and wanted to know if there were any gear enchants we might want.

Fergorin started looking at enchants that would be available to us at that skill level, and the common denominator seemed to be large brilliant shards, with a couple to a dozen being needed depending on the specific enchant.  Some investigation over at WoW Head showed that we might be in luck for some of those shards if we were willing to go back to Blackrock Depths to kill a few bosses.  And why not.  We’ve been there a dozen times in WoW Classic already, it isn’t like we don’t know the layout by now.

But it was Sunday and there was only three of us, so we’d have to see how well we could manage against bosses in the low 50 level range.  Our group was:

  • Ula – level 62 gnome mage
  • Wilhelm – level 63 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 63 human paladin (holy)

We met up at Thorium Point and rode the familiar path to the instance.

Off towards Blackrock Depths

There was a question as to where we ought to go first… and if we even had the keys to the place.  Both Fergorin and Wilhelm are Outland replacements, so neither of them were on the dozen BRD adventures, and so neither of them have the Shadowforge Key.  Fortunately Ula had it, so we were able to move about.

The nearest boss seemed to be Lord Roccor, who wanders around outside the Ring of Law.  Fortunately for the sake of speed, our aggro radius was small enough to allow us to thread the needle and bypass a lot of mobs, though we had to knock out a few groups.  We were able to grab Lord R in between two groups who just sat there and ingnored the fight.

After Lord Roccor

His drop only yielded a small brilliant shard, not a large.  We went into the Ring of Law and did the event there, drawing the big spider, whose drop also disappointed when disenchanted.  Still, we pressed on, heading around the corner to find Pyromancer Loregrain.  His loot included the recipe Enchant Weapon – Fiery Weapon.  Not a shard, but something pretty cool for Ula. (Moronae got that last time we found Loregrain, but I don’t think he ever got his enchanting high enough to use it before he swapped out to Beanpole.)

From there we wound our way back, set the bridge/gate so we could cross it, and went looking for General Angerforge next.  He was a bit of a pain at level back when we did him.

There is General Angerforge

At level 63 and geared up from Outland, the three of us were able to handle him, with AOE taking down his non-elite minions when he summoned them to fight.

Then it was across the way to Golem Lord Argelmach.  Here we had a bit of trouble.  We were able to slip through the manufactory well enough, but we had forgotten that if you don’t clear it out, Argelmach runs out there and summons help.  So the fight seemed to be going off the rails pretty quickly.  But we held it together and were able to muscle through the boss, his two minions, and the adds he summoned.

Golem Lord Argelmach’s golem friends down

That goes us a good shard plus, on the ground near where he spawns, was the engineer recipe for the Field Repair Bot 74A.  You cannot even pick it up unless you’re a level 300 engineer, but Wilhelm was at 305, so a happy new recipe for him as well.  While the bot is one use and a bit pricey, requiring a dozen thorium bars and two fused wiring, the latter being the more painful item to provide, having one along if we need to repair or sell to empty bags some day may well save us some day.  I’m working on sourcing more fused wiring so I can make backups.

From there it was over to the Grim Guzzler, where we picked off Ribbly Screwspigot and the mobs that show up to defend the kegs when you break them.  The drops were now starting to disenchant nicely into the shards we wanted.

At the far end of the Grim Guzzler I bought the ale to feed to Private Rocknot to get him to start the fight with Phalanx when we had ran into a bit of trouble.  Once Phalanx went active I hit him with my taunt to pull him onto me, but it has a 15 second cool down, and in that time Ula unloaded on him, pulled aggro, then did her AOE freeze to hold him down so she could step away, not remembering that bar patrons were right behind her.  So the bar went aggro on us.

Melee in the Grim Guzzler

Ula got stomped and, as things started to really go bad, Fergorin pulled out the Divine Intervention card, sacrificing himself to bubble me, take me out of combat, and let me walk off to ress and restore the situation.

Time for a ress

We were able to get back together and slay Phalanx and move on around the corner to knock out Ambassador Flamelash.  He was another one that summons a bunch of minions where consecrate takes care of business.

We were not keen to go much further in.  The lyceum felt like more work that we wanted to do, though I suppose we could have tried threading the needle again.

So we turned around and jumped off the platform we were on to go after Lord Incendius.

Lord Incendius down again

After that we went up the ways a bit and knocked out Fineous Darkvire for good measure.  That done, we had the vault and a couple more small things we could have done, but it felt like enough for the afternoon.  I had a couple of real life chores calling, so Ula got us a portal to Ironforge.

Once there I asked about what materials were needed for the Fiery Weapon enchant.  It needed different shards and an essence of fire.  I bought the shards off the auction house and had the essence of fire handy, so she enchanted my blade.

Fiery Enchant Active

That is a good looking enchant.  I had just upgraded my weapon earlier, so I will get to see that fiery glow for a while.  And, of course, it throws an extra 40 points of fire damage regularly, which means it both looks good and is a practical addition.

We might have to go back for some more shards, but that was a pretty nice run back… again… to old Azeroth.

Return to Hellfire Ramparts

After some time away from the game and then some mucking around in old Azeroth in search of a guild tabard and some epic mounts, we finally had to get back to the business waiting for us in Outland.  It was time to go back and finish Hellfire Ramparts.

I wasn’t sure faster mounts were really going to help us, but we did get a level each in our wanderings since the last attempt on the instance.  A couple in some cases.  Our group for the venture was:

  • Ula – level 62 gnome mage
  • Beanpole – level 63 gnome warlock
  • Wilhelm – level 62 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 62 human paladin (holy)

And even after our warm ups in various Azeroth dungeons, getting back into Ramparts was going to be a bit of a chore for us.  If nothing else we were going to have to get used to having a somewhat larger aggro radius.  So we got ourselves to Honor Hold and rode on out to the instance.

Our fate lay beyond the instance swirl

Once in and buffed up we were able to take out the first few groups without too much problem.  Another residual issue from doing Azeroth instances was the amount of sloppiness we could endure.  Pull a few extra mobs?  No problem!  Here, the aggro radius and the mobs more geared to our level meant when we managed to aggro not one but two additional groups, it was a race to the zone line when the tank went down.

Beanpole almost made it. Warlocks don’t have blink

The comedy of errors continued as we towards the first boss, Watchkeeper Gargolmar.

Even there, a boss we had brought down twice before without incident, we ran afoul of aggro radius, taking him on before clearing all the way around, and thus managing to bring two groups of guests to the fight.

Dead again in Ramparts

I think Ula made it out of the instance, or got close at least.  But the rest of us had to get a ress.  Fortunately we had the soul stone handy.

After that we decided to be a bit more thorough.  We pulled everything around the boss, so when we got him the next time it was just him and his two minions.  The minions went down quick, so when he called for healing there was none coming.

Watchkeeper Gargolmar getting his now

After that we started doing better.  The high point after that was the group of five at the top of the ramp which we have managed to wipe on every time.  As we got ready for that fight, I looked at my exp bar and realized I would level after we killed two or three of the group, so when we pulled them around the corner I did not hold back on mana.  I kept consecrate going and anything else I could throw at them.

Just as the third one was about to die I announced that I was out of mana… then he died, I leveled up, and was suddenly full again.  We had not problem that time around.

Win at the top of the ramp

We then managed to clear the mobs ahead of us until we had a choice.  We could go do Omor the Unscarred, who is generally the second boss, or we could just go straight for the final bosses, the duo we had yet to defeat, Nazan and Vazruden.

We went for the big boss pair.

This duo again

And we came close on the first fight.  A slip up on my part… late on a health stone… and I was dead, leading to a wipe.

The soul stone got us back in action again and we went right at them once more… and wiped again.  This was not going to plan.

We took a break to refresh drinks and feed cats, during which time we read up on the fight.  We were getting close, but we had been close before.  I was staying under Nazan’s snout to avoid as much of his fire breath as I could and we were burning down Vazruden pretty easily before turning on Nazan.  And then it came out of the guide.  Vazruden wasn’t really a threat.  We needed to focus all fire on Nazan as early as possible.  Ranged attacks and DOTs on him while he was still in flight, then all in when he landed.

With that bit of info we changed up our tactics and… won the fight at last.

Victory in Hellfire Ramparts

After looting the chest and posing for a screen shot, we ran around the corner and gave Omor the Unscarred a shot.  He went down very easy when compared to previous fights.  A couple levels and some gear upgrades will do that.

And the run helped us with a few more gear upgrades.  There was something for everybody along the way, and even more with the quest turn ins back at Honor Hold.

One instance down, many still to go.  We’ll see how far we get as a group of four.

The next target is the Blood Furnace.

Finding our Epic Mounts in WoW Classic

We had wrung our hands a some about the state of affairs at Blizzard.  A couple of us cancelled our accounts with pithy remarks in the comments.  But the fact that WoW Classic is the game that brings us together every week overrode our anger at the company, salved a bit by the ramp up in firings of key individuals.  And with the state all over them about this, they’ll be under a microscope for a long while.  Just go ask the Riot management team, which has been under investigation for a few years now and still has the government calling them out for bad behavior.

The upshot, however, is that we are still playing and we have actually spent the last three weekends running around in Azeroth rather than Outland because we wanted our epic mounts.

In the revised Outland lineup, where UIa fired the old team, two of the replacement, Wilhelm and Fergorin are paladins, while Beanpole is a Warlock, which means the three of us have special quests for our mounts.

The quests require a number of special items and 350 gold to pay off one NPC or another.  Much of it can be done solo, but the first thing on this list for the group was to head to Stratholme again because I needed to get four vials of Stratholme holy water.

Back in Strat

You need five for the quest and I had picked up two in our last visit, but they look like mana potions in my bag so I accidentally drank one during the Omor fight in Hellfire Ramparts the last time we were there.  Oops.

So in we went to find some more for me.  They drop from crates that are scattered liberally throughout the instance.  However I would estimate that less than 1 in 5 crates actually contains something, with the other four unleash some minor mobs or a poisonous malady, so we had to go a ways into the instance in order to fill my order.  Far enough to wipe when an old friend showed up.

One of the more memorable vanilla catch phrases

Ula had actually substitted her level 58 booster warrior Scscla into the group for this run, so we were running a different dynamic with warrior DPS rather than a mage.  Still, the soul stone was to hand and we were able to ress and get back to it pretty quickly, finding my final vial shortly thereafter.

Then we ran out to Dire Maul, after hitting Stromwind for some quest updates, to go into the west wing to find the ancient equine spirit, the next quest update.

The spirit of the venture

You can see dual wielding warrior Scscla in that shot.

That didn’t take too long, since you just have to get in and defeat the first boss, after which we decided to head up to Felwood to help Beanpole with the next stage of his quest, down in the underground of Jaedenar.  Getting there was a bit comic as three of the members of the group were boosted, which meant that they got the new flight point at the south end of Felwood automatically, while Wilhelm leveled up the hard way and only had the north flight point.  So we went to the north flight point and rode on down the zone to get where we needed to go.

Beanpole had to get to the end of the underground, talk to Lord Banehollow, kill a few mobs for him, then get his reward and update.

Lord Banehollow

We had some help getting through as somebody else was working on quests and had cleared the way… we then cleared the way for them as we caught up.  They were doing that escort quest, so I was happy to help.

We finished up there and then Beanpole went off to update his quests and we were done with that run.

The next week our target was Scholomance.  Both paladins and warlocks need to visit Scholo and Dire Maul West for their mount quests, just not in the same order.  We were there to move Beanpole’s quest along and finish the quests for Fergorin and Wilhelm.

We flew up to Chillwind Point and ran over to the instance only to discover it was locked.  You need a key, something that had slipped our mind since we last did this instance back in early 2008.  It has been a while.

For the key we had to go back to Chillwind Point to get a quest which required you to be honored with the Argent Dawn to pick up.  Fortunately both Fergorin and Wilhelm were at Honored because you have to be so for a couple steps in the quest before Scholo.  So we ran around, did our quest, got the key, then got into the instance.

Into the instance

We had some problems early on.  We needed some warmup and there were only four of us, though we were all also level 62 at this point and mostly geared up from Outland, so I suppose I should be happy we didn’t try this before Burning Crusade Classic dropped.

Still, we managed to get into the groove after a wipe and a few close calls (and one of the best threading the needling moves I’ve ever managed), fighting our way to the lab first in order to grab the update for Beanpole’s quest.  We killed the boss too, but we didn’t really need to.

We were there already, so why not

Then it was down into the basement where you must slay Rattlegore, then drop an item to start an event.  Fergorin went first, dropped his relic, and the event kicked off.  We managed to wipe on the third round of the event because they mobs all spawn together right where I was standing, but once again the soul stone let us revive and carry on.

Wipe in the basement

We got back up, fought the final guy, and Fergorin was able to claim his mount.

The charger redeemed

We didn’t get a two-fer on that one, the way we did the ancient equine spirit, so I dropped my relic to start the event… and nothing happened.  You cannot do it twice in one run I guess.

Ula opened a portal back to Stormwind and I went back to the quest giver, abandoned the quest, got the quest again with a new relic, then we all went back to Scholo to do it just one more time.

Fortunately we had things kind of figured out for the second run and no wipes occurred and I got my summon charger spell as well.

We didn’t have enough time left for Beanpole’s final run, but we went to Ironforge and collected together enough gold so Ula could head down the hill and buy the riding skill and a Swift Yellow Mechanostrider.

Down at the mechanostrider dealership

That was week two.

Week three had a very clear goal, to finish up Beanpole’s quest.  Having now done the Scholo part of it, we were headed back to Dire Maul West to slay Immol’thar, who we found fairly quickly.

There he is

What took time was bringing down the forcefield surrounding him.  We had to clear all around his pen to turn off two pylons, which were protected by a lot of wandering mobs.  Then, when we did that and nothing changed, we looked up the instance and found that we had to turn off three additional pylons elsewhere in the instance.  So there was some backtracking and and run in with another boss Illyanna Ravenoak to go get that squared away.

The last pylon on our list

Fortunately being level 62 reduced our aggro radius enough that we were able to slip by quite a few groups.

Once that was done we were back down to Immol’thar, who we brought down handily.  Then it was time to setup for the event.  Beanpole had to keep three items active while waves of non-elites, with occasional elites, came at us.  Unfortunately things got out of hand.  We didn’t really have a plan, mobs were being pulled this way and that, and the corpse of Immol’thar was blocking the view of one of the items Beanpole needed to watch.  The wheels came off and we wiped.

That corpse is really in the way, we should have pulled him elsewhere

Late in the first run I had actually settled into a pattern that seemed sustainable.  I had seal of wisdom up, which feeds me mana on each hit, with wisdom judged on my current target, more mana, which gave me enough regen to keep consecrate going pretty much non-stop which, in turn, kept all the mobs who ran in focused on me so we could take them down.

So for round two the plan was to bring everything to me while I kept the consecrate times flowing.

Consecrate for the win!

That was enough to get us through… and get me top damage, hahaha… to the end of the event where we slew the final guy and Beanpole was able to claim his new mount.

The fight done

Beanpole had his new summon mount spell, but you cannot mount up in the instance, so Ula once again opened a portal for us and we hopped through to Ironforge and got out all our shiny new mounts for a screen shot.

The group, only faster now

Now, after a few weeks of distraction we might need to turn our attention to Outland again.  We still have a boss to kill in Hellfire Ramparts.

In Search of a Guild Tabard

I feel like guild tabards fell by the wayside a long time back in Azeroth.  First they started giving players game faction tabards as rewards, then tabards helped you earn faction if you wore them, then we got transmog and once that settled down it was all fashion all the time.

But back in vanilla a guild tabard seemed like kind of a big deal.  I know we got one put together pretty quickly back in the day.  When it came to WoW Classic though we never quite got there.  Nobody wanted to spend the 10g to design one.  We were poor or cheap, or both in my case, and had better things on which to spend out limited gold.

Then came Burning Crusade Classic and suddenly a guild tabard became necessary because of the Outland gear models.  We were out with alts on Saturday night and Ula got her first chest piece upgrade for Scscla, he warrior alt, and it turned out to be a skimpy halter top.

We did get through the exciting exorcism scene

I can’t say I’ve forgotten how bad some of the gear looked back in Burning Crusade, but as a male paladin it was mostly due to the clownish and colorfully mis-matched style of much of the gear.  I had forgotten how much worse it could be for female characters.

So it was decided, with that quest reward, that it was time to get a guild tabard.  Gold is much more freely available… again, the market is still pretty hot if you have stuff to sell… so we were good to go.  We just had to pick a suitable design for our guild, Crag Boar Rebellion, and we would be set.

So we got to the guild master in the visitors center in Ironforge and quickly found that there was no boar option for a tabard graphic.  In fact, if we’re going to list out things I have forgotten over the years, we can add the bizarre and disappointing set of graphics available for tabards.

You call this selection?

To some extent I get why the options are limited.  For whatever reason… probably simplicity… a tabard isn’t one texture but two, being left and right hand versions that are mirror images of each other.  That means that every logo must display bilateral symmetry, so visions of anything like a boar rampant on a tabard is unrealistic.  We would have settled for something that looked like a boars head, but were disappointed on that front as well.  The closest we got to a boar was something that was either a boar’s tail or a whisk broom.  So we started going through the other options.

A lobster has bilateral symmetry

I have to say that even with the symmetry requirement, the options for logos is pretty bad.  Well, some are not bad.  A few are pretty good.  But I am not sure what they represent, and they certainly did not fit with our guild name.

We began to favor the old Twilight Cadre tabard style, which was a red field with gold trim and the crossed hammers logo in gold.  Very proletarian.  However that felt like a re-do.  So we considered the angry gingerbread man and the flattened roadkill squirrel, but nothing was really clicking.

Eventually we decided… more out of making a choice than any real love for the design… and went with the concentric circles.  The target.  Which is now painted on all of our backs… if we chose to hide cloak at least.

Alioto wearing the tabard

Having made that choice… we then had to swap guild leaders.  On the guild leader can set the tabard and Ula was driving the design, so I had log Tistann in and set Ula as the leader, which took a bit to figure out.  You don’t do it in the UI, it is a command line option, /gleader.

So she pressed the button and we had a guild tabard.  Then we got back to actually playing after about an hour or so of tabard talk.  You can see the tabard on Alioto, the big target on his back, in the screen shot up at the top of the post.

I at least comforted myself in a sense of surety that this was really an old WoW problem, that Blizzard must have made this better or given people more options over all these years.

But no.  I logged into retail WoW to check and it is the exact same interface with the exact same logo options.  Not an important feature I guess.

If you want to see the tabard creation options, somebody built an page that let’s you design one offline.

On the Edge in Hellfire Ramparts

After last week’s run the group spent a bit of time going out and running quests out of Honor Hold in order to gear up a bit.

The place is a bit of a mess

That did, of course, get us some experience as well, and by the time we formed up again for another run this past Sunday, the group looked like this:

  • Ula – level 61 gnome mage
  • Beanpole – level 61 gnome warlock
  • Wilhelm – level 60 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 60 human paladin (holy)

Potshot had also been busy with Skronk, the guild alchemist, who was out gathering herbs and creating potions for us, including a fire resist potion for that last boss fight.

We managed to get right into the instance… we ran back enough last time to not get lost… and into the first few mobs.

Starting off strong

We did have a couple of minor mishaps on our way to the first boss, as we mis-timed a patrol and forgot that when you hear the announcement about hounds, you had best be prepared for even more adds.

Whoops

Fergorin also accidentally lit off a consecrate in the midst of some adds, which brought him down as well.  But we successfully made it to the first boss, Watchkeeper Gargolmar.  After clearing all the groups from where he wanders, we followed our previous successful strategy and killed off his helpers first, leaving him vainly calling for healing as the fight went against him.

But no healing came as his healers were dead

After Watchkeeper Gargolmar we cleared the rest of the opening area and went up the ramp in the tower to face our biggest non-boss nemesis, that group of five at the top of the tower.

Those guys again

We made sure the soul stone was up and went at them.  This time they resisted Ula’s polymorph and seemed to deflect all of her frost damage.  We thought we were going to wipe and then we wiped.  But at least we brought three of the five down in the attempt.  Once we revived we gave it to the other two.

Not so tough without all your buddies, are you?

We managed to get through the open area at the top of the tower and to Omor the Unscarred.  Last time around it took us four tries to bring him down and I wasn’t sure if we really learned much about the fight after the first two tries.  But we tried to harness what we knew, spreading out and getting ready to go all in.

And it was a near run thing.  Ula got popped trying to remove Omor’s curse and Skronk fell to that as well.  Beanpole and I held him for a bit before the curse got him as well, but Skronk had a soul stone up again… we had waited until it was ready again before we started the fight… and got in some heals on me and some damage before going down again.  That left me alone with Omor, who was down to the hairy edge of hit points, but so was I.  I had used everything besides lay hands up to that point, so hit that as I got low, which gave me just enough to bring him down.

It is for you

I had just a bit of health left.

Just 21% left in the tank

Unfortunately his last words were prophetic as he had left behind three fiendish hounds that were still on me.  With no mana and everything else on cool down I went down before I could finish them off.

Omor lost and defeated us in the end

So we beat him on the first try AND we wiped.  We had to run back to the instance, but his corpse was still there to be looted when we returned.  That was good, as he had the Tenacious Defender, a nice belt upgrade for me.

That just left us with Vazruden and his dragon mount Nazan.

Vazruden and Nazan waiting for us

This fight we felt we had learned something from.  We had some fire resist potions and had read up that the tank, if careful, can nestle up to Nazan when he is down on the ground, getting under his head, which will cause him to miss with his big fire breath weapon.  So we kicked off the event by killing the guards, then tackled Vazruden, and finally I went in and grabbed Nazan.

And the plan of keeping under his chin seemed to work.  Nazan steps back every so often when you get that close, but I kept pressing up to him with each retreat until I had him up against the edge of the platform where the battle takes place.

Nazan breathing fire over my head

It went well right up until it didn’t.  While I was avoiding his breath attack, he was still hitting me and dropping fire bombs on me, which added up to a lot of damage.  I used my health stone, but didn’t have a health potion up because my fire resist potion was on the same cool down.

I died.

But we were so close and, while Fergorin was clearly next to go, both Ula and Beanpole were still in the fight and if seemed like we would get there.

Nazan must die, he is almost there

But once Fergorin went down Nazan turned on Ula and his breath did her in, which left Beanpole alone to whittle down the last 2% of Nazan’s health.

Beanpole alone

He didn’t make it.  We wiped.  And, furthermore, while we had the soul stone up again, Fergorin couldn’t ress me, way out in the open area, before the event reset and the guards reloaded.  He just got off the spell before being attacked.  I ran past him, hitting myself with Divine Protection, which somehow kept me out of combat, so when Fergoin went down I was at least able to ress the party.

Still, we were feeling good about how close we had been to victory.  It felt within our grasp.

And then we did the fight two more times and came nowhere close.  On the next fight I forgot to take the fire resist potion and got caught in the open between Vazruden and Nazan as I was trying to go grab the dragon’s aggro and took the fire breath weapon full on and died instantly.

The next time I took the fire resist potion and managed to grab Nazan successfully, but on his first hop back he launched his breath weapon at me before I could step forward and I was down again.

Dead again

After that Beanpole had to go as RL was calling, so that was the end of our second attempt at Hellfire Ramparts.  We will have to look into what else we can do to mitigate Nazan next time around.

Stumbling Into Hellfire Ramparts

When we got together this past weekend for our first run after the opening of the Dark Portal the question came up as to where we ought to go.  There had been some talk of staying pure and not going to Outland until we had finished up the remaining Azeroth instances.  That was our idealism speaking.

But with shiny new content just on the other side of the portal we ended up deciding to go through to give the first instance a try.

On the way to Honor Hold

We had all done at least a couple of quests in Hellfire Peninsula and had upgraded a piece of gear here and there… I had a new shield and new pants, both of which were basic first quest green gear that were markedly better than the dungeon blue gear they replaced… but were mostly going in with Azeroth gear and our new group composition, with which we still had some learning to do.

But we didn’t really talk about all of that, we just wanted to try the first five person instance, Hellfire Ramparts.

The first thing we had to do was find the place.  I did what I expect we did last time, which was go out to the wall where the instance is, ride up the wrong set of stairs, and then wander around for about 20 minutes until I finally thought I had found the right place.  There was a crowd there, so I just asked.

This looked like the right crowd

I got an affirmative.  It turned out that I had ridden past the ramp that goes here to go up onto the wall.  I’m pretty sure I’ve made that mistake before.

Once we had assembled at Honor Hold we rode on out to the instance.

Crag Boars Assemble!

Our group for the run was:

  • Ula – level 60 gnome mage
  • Wilhelm – level 60 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 60 human paladin (holy)
  • Beanpole – level 60 gnome warlock

We managed to navigate successfully navigate to the right spot and, once inside, found ourselves facing the first encounter.  Two mobs.

There they are

We managed those two without issue, and then managed to nearly wipe on the next pair.  To be fair, a patrolling group came around the corner and the wheels came off… and we only “nearly” wiped because the exit was a short distance from the fight so once I went down people were able to run for safety.

Down already

We were still getting used to the new group composition and learning things about our classes.  Beanpole’s Felguard took some getting used to.  The Felguard is a big part of his damage output, but it has some quirks.  He has to be careful about when the Felguard gets sent in, as its first attack is always a charge with a stun, which can be awkward when I am trying to pull a mob back to a safe place to fight.  The Felguard also has an AOE attack that goes off every so often that will break polymorph if the mob is too close.

So we used that run up to the first boss to hone our play.  We tried to work it so that I would pull the main group away from whichever mob got sheeped so it wouldn’t get whacked by the Felguard… and so I could use consecrate to help build up aggro when I needed it across multiple mobs.

There were a couple more deaths before we made it to Watchkeeper Gargolmar, the first boss, but we made it.

Watchkeeper Gargolmar wanders

That fight wasn’t so bad.  He doesn’t hit too hard and you just have to kill his two companions first, as they heal him otherwise, and then it is on to him.  He called out for heals, but none were coming for him.  He also dropped a very nice item, the Light-Touched Breastplate, which arguably should have gone to Fergorin, but which was such an upgrade over my chest piece that I got it.

Past Gargolmar is the tower up to the next level, where we had more problems than we did with the boss fight.  There is a group of four casters and a melee mob at the top of the ramp which brought back bad memories from runs long ago.  We ended up wiping on that group, but not before we had taken down three of them, so the clean up afterwards was easy.

At the top of the tower a doorway leads out into an open area with patrols and groups standing around.  A bad pull on my part got a patrol and a group, which led to another wipe.

Down again

During the fight Ula was knocked back and landed behind some barrels, where she was stuck until she died.  We were able to spot her skeleton once we were all back.

A gnome sized skeleton

After that though, we were able to clear around the open area and make our way to the next boss, Omor the Unscarred.

There he is

This fight was a challenge.  I expect if we had either spent time gearing up in Hellfire Peninsula or if we had brought a fifth person for some additional DPS, this wouldn’t have been as much of a challenge.  But we were on the hairy edge of being able to handle this with only two DPS, our gear, and our skill set.  We wiped a few times.

Dead on the ground

Three times we came back and were still willing to give it another go.  We were close on the second and third tries.  On the fourth we were very close as well, but this time on the right side of victory.  Fergorin and I were left standing after the fight, but we had done it.

We took a victory shot with the fallen foe, thinking this might be the pinnacle of our run.

Victory over Omor

And that was a pretty accurate estimate.

The final boss pairing, Nazan & Vazruden, turned out to be a bit too much for us.

The pair of them are an event where you start off with two guards, then Vazruden jumps down off of Nazan, his dragon mount, and you fight him.  Nazan shoots fireballs while you’re fighting him, and you have to move away from them.  Then Nazan lands and joins the fight.  That was the point where things went bad for us each time.  Nazan pretty much one-shotted me with his breath attack three times running.

Nazan burninating again

After the third run at him I was red paper doll on about half of my gear, so we were about done.  Later on we read up a bit on how to fight Nazan, but that was going to have to wait until next time.

While we didn’t finish the final boss, we learned quite a bit about how our group works now and we got a few nice drops along the way.  Still, we need to upgrade some of our Azeroth gear for Outland gear before we go back.

Stratholme with The Replacements

The Dark Portal might be open, but we still have some work to do back in Azeroth before the instance group travels to Honor Hold.  One of the things on our list is get used to the new composition of the group.

The joke on Monday when we were playing is that Ula had fired the old group and hired some replacements for dungeon runs.  Last time around I had substituted in my paladin, Wilhelm, for Viniki, my warrior.  But, with the level 58 boosts available, we ended up getting two more substitutions.

First in was Skonk our priest, who dropped out in favor of a boosted paladin spec’d to heal named Fergorin.   That was the group’s first experiment with the WoW Classic character boost, which gives you gear and skills and a basic mount and a bit of gold. (30 gold seemed to be the amount.)  The gear didn’t seem bad… Fergorin got something for every slot, which might make a solo leveling player jealous, as trinkets are kind of rare outside of instance content… though the look of the gear might have left something to be desired.

When a Dwarf cosplays as an Ogre

With two paladins in the mix we could double up on auras and blessings and not lose a resser.

The Moronae, dissatisfied with the changes to the feral spec on his druid, went for a boost as well, choosing a gnome warlock whom he named Beanpole.  That lost us a combat ress, but got us soul stones and health stones along with warlock DPS.

The weekend was busy, but Monday was a holiday in the US, so we met up that afternoon to give the new team a try out.  The group was:

  • Ula – level 60 gnome mage
  • Wilhelm – level 60 human paladin (protection)
  • Fergorin – level 60 human paladin (holy)
  • Beanpole – level 59 gnome warlock

The new group met up for the first time out in the Eastern Plaguelands at Light’s Hope Chapel.

Welcoming everybody onto the new team

We were out there because we had decided on Stratholme as our next target and warm up run.  It had the advantage of possible gear upgrades, several quests that had decent rewards both in gold and gear, and both paladins needed drops from the instance to get going on the charger mount quest.

From Light’s Hope Chapel Stratholme is just a modest ride to the northwest of the zone, where we found the meeting stone and went in.  Going in we were reminded how much we had likely forgotten since we last visited.  Going through the main entrance leaves you locked inside the instance.  The only way out… discounting portals or hearthstones… is through the instance.

Looking into Stratholme

We got into the instance and cleared the first couple of groups, but it quickly became clear that it had been a long time since we last did Stratholme.  Going back through the blog I have one run from January 2008 and another after the Dungeon Finder was put in when we were doing Horde alts in mid 2010.  We eventually had to go dig out an old map online to figure out where we were and where we ought to go.

Stratholme of old

On that map we came in where the blue “A” is and worked our way around to the courier and the first mailbox, managing not to wipe even when we did things like open the mailbox immediately after the first fight, before we had healed up, something that triggered another fight.

The mobs were in groups of elites and non-elites, so for me tanking was getting in there, casting consecrate and holy shield and then keeping them up.  That was mostly enough to keep everything on me.  Fergorin quickly got in a cycle of healing that seemed pretty active.

Beanpole had gone the demonology spec route, so his Felguard was in there doing melee damage.  We tinkered around with having its taunt on or off and seemed to do better with it off in most circumstances.  And then there was Ula, still the mage queen of burst DPS.

We made our way north, through the gate that traps you and releases mobs, only opening when you kill them… we remembered that much about the place, until we got to the Y intersection at point 2 on the map, where it was a left or right choice between the living and undead portions of the instance.  We decided to go right, into the undead.

We seemed to do pretty well and made it to The Unforgiven, who is 3 on the map, and defeated him.  There was a nice upgrade for me at the end of that fight.

New Shoulders

That was an upgrade for me on all stats.

We made our way around to the open area around the fountain, which is where the 2s are on the map.  That is where our first mishap came.  We pulled one group from around the fountain and, during that fight, Beanpole’s felguard went running past me through another group, and into a third, pulling everybody back on to us, causing our first wipe.

Down by the fountain

We did manage to kill a lot of the mobs, so some progress was made.  And Fergorin had the soul stone, so was able to revive and ress us.  But more importantly, as we sat there getting ready to return to the fight, we spotted a shadowy figure somewhat hidden off to the side of the road.  You can just barely see him by a barrel off to the left of the screen shot above.  That was Hearthsinger Forresten, a rare spawn.  He is not aggro and just hangs out off to the side, so you can miss him.  Our pause there made sure we saw him, and we slew him in turn.

Forreseten finished

He coughed up another big upgrade, this time for Ula, the Magister’s Boots.

From there we cleared the rest of the fountain and moved into the next area, where we found Magistrate Barthilas, who drops the key to the side door of the instance.  But only one key, so Fergorin got that.  From there we pressed on into the mini-boss section, marked 10, 11, and 12 on the map.  There we started having some problems.

Into that section of town

There are a lot of mobs, often in groups very close together, along with some flying mobs that move around the area and who can fear you into other groups.  So we got in over our heads at least once before we had made it very far.

A bad pull will do you in

We cleared as carefully as we could, and did okay, but our first run at the first of the mini-bosses, Baroness Anastari, ended in a wipe due to a proximity pull of nearby mobs we had sought to bypass.

Baroness Anastari survived

We had been lucky with the soul stone previously, but with a 30 minute timer we were eventually going to end up in the gap between casts, so we had to run back from the graveyard this time around.  Fortunately, the run from there to the side door is very short and we had obtained the key to it already.  Magistrate Barthilas sometimes spawns further in the instance, so we were happy to have found him early, if only to avoid a longer run.

From there we did okay.  Another wipe on trash getting out of hand caught us, but we had the soul stone up by then, and were able to carry on and slay the other two bosses.  So we went towards the final area, 14 and 15 on the map, only to find the gate locked.  Something sparked a distant memory about the three bosses we had just killed, so we ran back and checked the areas behind them, slaying the mobs there.  Clearing those areas opened the gate and left us facing the final challenges.

Facing the patchwork undead

This is an event, though it starts off slowly.  Once you start pulling the mobs around the courtyard some start wandering your way, so if you aren’t killing them fast enough you can end up overwhelmed.  We figured that out the hard way, wiping once more.

Our second try got out of hand as well, though this time Fergorin had set up a Divine Intervention macro as we were once again on the soul stone cool down.  As we got too many mobs and started losing people, he hit the macro and put DI on me, as the soul stone was on cool down still, which takes you out of combat for three minutes, sacrificing the caster.  I waited until all the mobs reset back in the courtyard and ressed Fergorin and then we ressed the other two.

Getting everybody back

I had also managed to go red on my shield during that fight, so part of the reason I started losing aggro is that you cannot cast Holy Shield if you don’t have a shield equipped.  Ula had picked up a green loot shield and traded that to me for another try.

We got ourselves set up for another run, and this time managed to slay all the patchwork horrors, drawing out Ramstein the Gorger.  We finished him as well.  Success.

We then sat down to drink and heal as another group came out of the central building.  We had not even looted Ramstein when they were walking towards us and in aggro range and suddenly we had to fight again.  We fell apart and wiped again.

Another wipe

We didn’t have a soul stone again, so it was another run back from the graveyard and in through the side door.  But once at the gate we found that mobs we had passed a while ago had begun to respawn.  The loot on Ramstein was lost as we decided to call it a night there.

That room and beyond looks full again

So we did not get to the final boss on the undead side of the instance, so we still have that left to do.  Fergorin and I also did not come up with the Strathome holy water vials we needed for the paladin charger mount quest, getting only two each.  So we’ll have to come back for that as well.

On the upside, we did get some nice drops, Beanpole made it to level 60, we did complete at least one of the quests, and I made it to honored with the Argent Crusade, largely because Wilhelm was still wearing the Argent Commission in his trinket slot.  I was eyeing the trinket that Ramstein dropped, but that was not to be.

And, most of all, it wasn’t a bad warm up run for a group of four, three of which are playing new classes in the group.  At least it seemed like we did okay to me.  We’ll see if Ula keeps us or fires us and looks for more replacements.