Category Archives: Instance Group

Tales of the Twilight Cadre instance group in Azeroth

Claiming Fire Hardened Mail

While we were getting ourselves set for Shadowfang Keep, Skronk had asked if I have gotten Viniki very far along on Fire Hardened Mail quest, the warrior class you pick up at level 20.  I had to admit that, while I had grabbed it, I had not done anything with it as when you get it the quest is “warning danger level” red in your quest log.

He mentioned that he and Ula had managed to finish it off as a duo, though not without some considerable effort, so they could probably help out.

So the next day when I got online I set about making some progress.  Viniki was level 26 and the quest was moving into the range of viability.

The first bit was simple enough.  You need 50 drops from spiders out in the Wetlands.  They were levels 20-23, so it was just a matter of chopping them down.  The main annoyance was that then required drops only stored in stacks of 20 in my bag, and in the current WoW Classic age of inventory management dedicated three bag slots to anything is a big ask.  But I figured I would make due.

After that it was time to travel.  The next stage is out on the Stonetalon Mountains.  I may have forgotten quite a bit about vanilla WoW, but I do remember running the length of that zone to get myself up to Desolace at one point, which ended up taking me something like 45 minutes.  A long trip.  So I was headed that way again.  But the first bit would be short I thought, just a run across the breadth of The Barrens.

Ratchet to Stonetalon Mountains

Of course, I was deceived again by the scale of The Barrens.  It takes longer to run across, even at its short point, than you think.  But I made it and even remembered to not run straight up the road where the zones meet, avoiding the Horde guards at Honor’s Stand.  From there signs would show the way.

Stonetalon Peak this way

Not that there are a myraid of ways to choose from.  The road through the zone has some turn-offs, but my destination was at the very far end in the Charred Vale.

The Stonetalon Mountains

Starting in the lower right I just had to follow the path, bearing right at the lake to go to Stonetalon Peak to get the Alliance flight point.  The way Classic works you may find you need flight points you don’t necessarily travel to as they can provide connections.  While I was on my way there Skronk logged on.  He swapped to his level 22 paladin, who happened to be in Ashenvale, to come join me.

I grabbed the flight point and a quest that was to hand, and headed for the charred vale where Skronk caught up, having grabbed the flight point and the same quest as well.  He went AFK for a minute and I promptly got us killed.  He was on follow and his aggro radius was such that I managed to pull half a dozen mobs when I went to stalk one of the chimeras I needed for my next set of drops.

Oh well.  We got ourselves settled and Ula joined us with her warrior, which gave us more than enough muscle to finish off harpies and get the drops I needed for the quest.

From there we ran down into Desolace to grab the flight master at Nijel’s Point.  That was a bit dicey with Skronk’s pally in tow, as his aggro radius was about max size relative to the mobs there, but we made it to the flight point after a couple of encounters.

From there we wanted to go to Razorfen Kraul, the location of the last item on my list.  We decided to fly to Theramore and run from there.  We’d run through the swamp at a lower level already.

Over those familiar centaur camps

From Theramore we trotted out to The Barrens again and headed south to RFK.  Skronk said that when they did this for Ula’s warrior it took a while and some strategic dying was involved, along with some outright running for the exit.  But with three of us it seemed to go okay.  We were able to take on ones and twos without too much drama.

Fighting in RFK

Skronk’s pally healed while the two warriors got stuck in to tank and DPS.  This mostly worked.

There was one point when we got too many on a pull and had to run for the exit, with Ula’s warrior getting trapped and dying.  That also served as a reminder to put Escape Artist, the gnomish racial ability that gets you out of traps, on our respective hot bars.  Fortunately with a pally along a ress was available.

When we had cleared our way to our target, Roogug, we were able to get just him and one caster.  This was another fight where we thought we might have to take down on mob, flee, then repeat until we could cope with the whole thing.  But with three of us we were able to handle the fight.

Battling with Roogug

A little bit of healing goes a long way in these situations.

With Roogug down I had the last piece of the quest.  But since we were down at the southern end of The Barrens in any case, we decided to extend our trip to pick up one final flight point.  We wanted to get the one at Thalanaar in Feralas at the edge of the Thousand Needles zone, which meant taking the Great Lift.

I had read/heard that with WoW Classic you could only see the positions of the cars of the Great Lift, but it didn’t really strike me until we got there.  The cars just don’t show up the way they did back in the day, no doubt due to the update client/server tech being used.

So we sat there for a bit and discussed possible options.  The two NPC guards mean you cannot just saunter up for a peek.  In the end I decided just to rush the ramp and see what I could see when I got to the end.  Worst case I would simply jump off.   I have done that before.

In running I picked up the near guard and, as I reached the end of the ramp, saw the elevator car just starting its descent, so I jumped for it… and sailed right over it and down to my death.

Viniki at the bottom of the lift

However Ula and Skronk, following on behind, were ignored by the guard as he ran back to his post, so were able to wait for the car to return and take it down to the floor of Thousand Needles.  Again, having a pally around for a ress came in handy.

Once restored we made our way to the east end of the zone to Thalanaar and collected the flight point.  From there we flew back to Stonetalon Peak to turn in that harpy quest that we had finished up, after which we were done.  I recalled back to Stormwind and turned in the quest and collected a nice new bit of armor.

Fire Hardened hauberk

This was another quest line I never did back in the day as I do not think I bothered rolling a warrior as an alt until Warlords of Draenor.  It was a chance to go back and experience something I had missed the first time around.

Shadowfang Keep in WoW Classic

As usual, our pace is slow, but we continue to go.  The weekend before last I was off to EVE Vegas and others in the instance group were down with the flu, but this past weekend we were all together and, if not in perfect health (Skronk was still coughing and I managed to catch some minor convention crud in Vegas which made me tired all weekend), at least ready to run.  We set a time on Saturday afternoon to meet up for our next instance destination, Shadowfang Keep.

However, the time picked was a little later in the afternoon than I expected, as I had plans for the evening, so I decided to do a little preparation work.  I had already run Viniki out to Southshore, the closest flight point to the instance.  But, fearing that our proposed start time might slip… real life will get in the way of virtual plans… I decided to hedge by turning to an alt.

I have a post brewing about my alts in WoW Classic, but I will say that one of them is a level 20 Warlock named Winki.  Level 20 is an important level because it gets a warlock the ever so useful “ritual of summoning” spell.  That lets you and two other people in your group summon other people in the group to you.  I was not sure if Obama and Moronae would be on time, so I put Winki on the trail to Southshore as well a couple hours before the appointed time.

At level 20 he had already been out to the Wetlands and Menethil Harbor.  He just had to run from there, up through the Arathi Highlands and into the Hillsbrad Foothills.

Entering the Arathi Highlands

Arathi was the worrying part, as mobs there are in the low 30s, but he made it through without incident, grabbing the Refuge Point flight point along the way.  Hillsbrad mobs are mid-20s, so while higher level than Winki, he was able to get through, sacrificing his voidwalker to some bears along the way.

I logged him off at the Southshore inn after grabbing the flight point.  Always grab the flight point.

The appointed hour arrived to find Skonk, Ula, and Viniki logged in, but Obama and Moronae nowhere to be seen.  Again, real life is like that.  After a bit of a wait we decided to just head out and see what the three of us could manage.  With healer, tanks, and DPS, we thought we could get a start, so we headed off to the instance.  It is not too far down the road in Silverpine and, once I paid attention to the signs, I led us to the correct path that ran up to the keep.

The three of us in the instance

Inside we found the first set of mobs awaiting us to be gray, not worth any experience.  This is one of the oddities of some of the earlier instances, that the level range of the mobs varies a lot.  By the end we would be facing mobs our level or higher.

We got stuck in and seemed to do okay.  We cleared all the way to the first boss, Rethilgore.  If you want to count him as a boss.  He isn’t a tough fight and doesn’t drop anything worthwhile, but he has a name.  As we were contemplating him, Obama and Moronae showed up.  They had been delayed, but were now ready to go.  However, they were nowhere close by.

Enter Winki.

We ran out of the instance, because you cannot summon from within one, and I had Viniki drop group and log out.  Then I logged in Winki and started running him to the instance.  Again, bears ate my minion, but I was able to get into Silverpine where Ula and Skronk escorted me to the bridge outside the instance.  There we summoned Obama and Moronae to the group.

Ritual of Summoning commence!

Then I logged Winki out and Viniki back in and we had our group for the afternoon run.

  • Ula – level 25 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 25 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 25 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 26 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 26 night elf druid

And this is where I say that perhaps I don’t need to do a blow by blow run through the instance.  We were, as a group, high enough level to handle most everything without much drama.

Back to Rethilgore

We were able to slay Rethilgore and get out into the courtyard, one the early barriers for groups, with mobs close and wandering back and forth.  However, we were able to clear the area and get into the keep proper.

From there it is a long and somewhat… well, I hate to say linear because it twists and turns…. but there is only one way forward past the dining room and Baron Silverlaine.

At the baron’s dinner table

The baron was nice enough to drop a ring that went to Viniki.

a pretty good ring too

The only difficult bit early on was when we accidentally proximity pulled four of the wailing guardsmen that are before Commander Springvale.  They have an AOE silence which meant that healing and other casting was put on hold for a bit.  But we survived.

Eyeing Springvale after our big fight

We rolled for loot as we went along, Obama showing an alarming consistency in rolling 80+ on almost every go.  I wondered aloud if there was an addon for that.  The closest roll however was when Skronk rolled a 99 and then Moronae rolled 100 to beat him.

Strangely low roll for Obama

Things went well and we eventually wound our way around and to Archmage Arugal, the final boss of the instance.  He is level 26, which put most of us on level with him.

The Archemage awaits

He is notable for being that boss that teleports around the room.  He also casts void bolt continuously, which puts out a lot of damage.  Checking the Recount logs, Viniki took more damage from him than any other boss and all other groups of mobs.

The group stayed up at the top of the stairs where we came in while Viniki ran around to the platform on which Arugal stands to start the fight.  There was the usual amount of running about after him.  Viniki took the brunt of his special attacks, save for that last one, mind control.  Arugal was on the platform with the rest of the group when he hit Viniki with that, as which point I turned around and killed Skronk.

As Skronk is fond of saying, “Mind control FTW!”  I killed one more named character than everybody else on the run.

Fortunately, by the time that happened we had worn him down enough that finishing him off wasn’t a big deal.  Moronae dropped a couple of heals on me… I had used a potion and a healthstone already by then… and we did him in.  He dropped the nice cloth caster’s belt and we stood and took the usual group picture.

I took the mask off for the shot

If my  description of the fight is brief, it is because Ula caught it all on video so you can watch our fight.

The video shows the pre-clear then the whole fight with Arugal.  Watching it closely, I think it actually vindicates me.  The change in my avatar when I am mind controlled indicates that I was done with that before the final blow was struck.  But I like to think I helped.

Ula got the belt despite the roll.  It was a bigger upgrade for her I believe.

You can also see us lining up for the final group picture.  I always like when Ula’s videos align with one of my screen shots.

And so we were finished.  Aside from the final fight it was a bit of a face roll.  The instance says it is for levels 22 to 30, but it is only challenging at the lower end.  And it sits in the midst of a series of instances (Deadmines, Wailing Caverns, Blackfathom Deeps, Stormwind Stockades) in a very narrow band of levels where, even at classic leveling rates, you’re moving up fairly steadily in levels if you’re not careful.

The whole thing did not take as long as we thought it might, so we went back out to the front of the instance and reset it to run it again.

If you have 2 DPS you do not have a group

I joined in for a bit, but it was getting close to when I would need to bail in order to have some dinner before my daughter and I went out to see a movie together. (We saw Jojo Rabbit, which she quite enjoyed.)  But the group carried on with Viniki there to tank.

When I checked in the next day the report was that even as a foursome most of the instance was pretty doable.  The only struggle was at the final battle again, where three out of four of the group died before Arugal was slain.  Skronk died twice, having used a soul stone to revive mid battle.  But they still managed it.  There is even a video of that fight as well.

They also said that the shield I wanted from Commander Springvale did not drop on the second run, so I don’t feel like I missed out.

That run seems to line up with the instance group history with Shadowfang Keep, where we did at least one four person run previously.

Victory over Arugal back in 2006

Having a dedicated healer makes a big difference.

As for where we head next, the group will probably hit Stockades, then go back and faceroll Blackfathom Deeps just to say we’ve done it.  After that we’re getting into range of Razorfen Kraul.

Running of the Gnomes in WoW Classic

I have been, over the years, vaguely aware of the Running of the Gnomes event.  When I saw it was coming up again I posted about it in our group Discord, thinking it might be something interesting for Ula to make a video about.  She looked into what it was about, found the official site and the charity which it supports, and said we ought to do the run.

It was slated for Saturday, so we got on early and rolled up the required characters, gnomes with pink hair, in order to join in.  At least male gnomes can have pink hair.

My gnome for the run

Before hand you want to get in one of the guilds they form in order to get directions (and, I gather, get counted for participation) and maybe get a red shirt to go with the color theme.  They were handing those out for free.  If you had the cash to opt for a guild tabard you ended up with a nice pink and white theme with a heart.  I saved my gold, but Ula and Skronk bought them on the plan that they are not soul bound so could be handed off to their main characters once the guild got around to spending 10g on a tabard design.  That might be a while.

There were not many people on as early as us, and I was wondering how big the turnout might be given that the run on retail had gone off the week before.  But as the clock ticked down more and more pink haired gnomes began showing up.

Some gnomes in the house

As the hour approached more and more gnomes piled into the scrum.  And then we were off.  The three of us formed out own little group so we could keep track of each other, and I tried to simply follow Ula’s gnome, but the server wasn’t sure what to do about all of us.

There was a lot of rubber banding and stops and starts as we ran up the path and into the first tunnel.  But it all seemed to be holding together for the moment.

Pink hair into the first tunnel

But on the far side of the tunnel something happened… layering probably… and for a bit I was running down the road by myself.

I think we’re alone now…

We were on voice coms as well, reporting what we saw.  I kept on trotting, but I was nervous about being ahead of the pack.  It wasn’t a big deal in the starter zone, but we were headed to Booty Bay and along the way there it was going to be a good idea to be in the middle of the pack.

However, as I ran along gnomes started re-appearing running along the road with me.

On the road to Ironforge

We ran up into Ironforge, took the tram to Stormwind, running through town to group up again at the front gate.

At the gates

It was hard to take a good picture as a lot of people kept shouting or talking and I have speech bubbles turned on. (And I couldn’t quickly find how to turn that off.)  Still, a lot of us clumped up at the gates.  The guild we were in, one of a couple, showed more than 500 players running along with us, but I imagine layering was keeping us separated.

From the gates we took off with the fountain in Darkshire as our destination.

Along the forest road

There was some confusion as to which route to follow.  Some people cut across country before we made it to the Eastvale logging camp while others stuck to the road and went through Redridge.

I went cross country and over the river

We halted at the fountain in Darkshire to form back up again.

Mass pink in town

From Darkshire the next leg was through Stranglethorn Vale and into Booty Bay, the official destination of the run.

Into Stranglethorn

STV was interesting though.  Up until this point things hadn’t been very high level around us.  A few gnomes were lost, but the guides, high level characters around to clear the way, had kept the path pretty safe.  On the path in STV though the aggro radius of level 2-4 gnomes… nobody who made it that far was still level 1 based on discovery xp alone… was such that distant beasts would come crashing out of the jungle to attack gnomes.

Tiger in our midst!

Tigers, gorillas, panthers, and those lizards for that one quest all came running at us.  Our shepherds killed them as they came, but they were not fast enough to save every gnome.  The sight of gnomes being mauled by the local wildlife was pretty damn hilarious.

Most of us made it to Booty Bay though.  I stayed in the middle of the road in the middle of the pack and was never bothered.  Once there we headed to what I gather is the traditional location on the roof above the inn to form a heart.  Color me surprised that we managed it.

The heart formed… with no dialog bubbles for a brief moment

We jumped into the water to form a heart there as well.  There was some odd layering issue and a the server was having problems keeping track of gnomes.  If you went under water it looked like gnomes who jumped in were crashing all the way to the bottom of the bay.

That was the end of the official event.  The run took about 40 minutes to make from start to heart, at least if you didn’t die along the way.

But there is an after party aspect to it.  We all got on the boat to Ratchet and sailed to The Barrens.  From there we ran up to the side gate of Orgrimmar… the one we used on our Ragefire Chasm adventure… and ran on into town.

Into Orgrimmar!

There were so many of us that the guards could not slay us all.  Those of us further back in the pack ran past many a pink haired corpse as we ran deeper and deeper into town.

Running down the avenue

The goal was to find Thrall and lick him.  I made it to just outside the building where he resides before being cut down.  Ula was cut down much further back, but Skronk made it into Thrall’s chamber before dying.

Dead gnomes strewn about outside of Thrall’s place

We released and ran back as ghosts… something we have some practice with… to see if we could get into licking range of Thrall.  However, the guards are thick on the ground around Thrall and without the sheer weight in numbers a low level gnome has less than a 2 second life expectancy in that building.

I managed to get within sight of Thrall, but it was going to take a few more runs to be able to try to lick him.  And Skonk, who could revive right on Thrall’s throne, reported getting beat down before he could click the macro he made to target and lick Thrall.

I can see Thrall from here

After playing around with that for a bit, we gave up, used the angel to revive at the graveyard, and hearthstoned back home. (Guild chat indicated that we did that just ahead of some Horde players deciding to camp the graveyard.)

There we took a final pic of our three even gnomes.

Back where we started

It was quite the event.  I hope they raised some money.  I will definitely run it next year if I am subscribed.


Wandering the Wailing Caverns

The Wailing Caverns felt like a bit of a let down for me.  I imagine this is largely because, for an Alliance player at least, it comes after the Deadmines in the order of instances run. And if you’re high enough level to get through the Deadmines then you’re likely past the point where WC is going to be a huge challenge.  They occupy similar spots in the level curve.

Wailing Caverns from the Outside

They also make for an odd compare and contrast when it comes to early Blizzard dungeon design.  They both share some similar features, like an open world area before the instance populated by elite mobs complete with its own quests.  But where the Deadmines is a very linear ride… you literally come in the front and exit out the back with no real way to go astray… WC is much more sprawling and open.  You can get lost in there.  You can also create an unrecoverable screw up of a run in there.

But that is all getting ahead of myself.  First you have to get WC, something I started thinking about once we decided to carry on so long as our subscriptions remained active.  We had done some groundwork previously on getting to The Barrens and Ratchet back when we did our run to Ragefire Chasm.  We took the time to get flight points along the way so as to ease our return.

And then we shook up the group so now three of the characters who went to Ragefire Chasm have been replaced by three new characters.  We did a bit or work on that as well, though the fact that my character, Viniki, had been to Ratchet via Theramore had slipped my mind.  The problem with juggling alts… and I have too many now… is that I cannot always keep clear who has done what.  And I was worried that I had not been there with Viniki because I took the boat from Menethil Harbor to Auberdine and got several discovery messages, meaning I hadn’t been there before.

So Saturday morning I got Viniki out and carried on from Auberdine, making the run from there to Astranaar and on into The Barrens where I discovered, upon opening up the map, that I had been to Ratchet already.  Still, I did pick up some flight points and with how classic works, you need some of those to get where you’re going.

I got myself to Ratchet, then decided to make sure I knew where WC even was.  I had a vague memory of it, but decided to explore a bit just to get it on the map.  No point in wandering in The Barrens as a group.  Fortunately I was able to stumble on it without too much effort.

Wailing Caverns, Ratchet, and the Crossroads

I didn’t recall it being quite so close to the Crossroads, but memory is a strange thing.  Then it was back to Ratchet to clear out my bags at the bank and hole up at the Inn for the night.  I knew Skronk could get there, and Obama as well.  They had both been out for Ragefire Chasm.  And with three of us around we could use Obama’s warlock summoning skill to bring Ula and Moronae to us.  I think Ula had made the run, but Moronae would need a summon or have to do it the hard way.  Fortunately Obama had a couple soul shards handy for the summoning.

Warlock utility in action

Gathered, we began the trot over to the instance across the very orange land that is The Barrens.

On our way through the big orange

Our group lineup for the run was as follows:

  • Ula – level 23 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 22 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 21 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 21 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 21 night elf druid

We grabbed the quests from outside the instance… they are in the left eye (as you face it) of the skull that forms the entrance to the the place.

We were all up a level or so from the Deadmines run the weekend before, which made most of the mobs in the caverns on the way to the instance, the foyer of WC I guess, gray to us.  Still, there was a bit of comedy to be had as I, running ahead of the group, fell into the hole in the final ramp that leads down to the instance.

Seriously, somebody should put up a sign

That never fails to get a laugh.

Once I got out of the hole, we carried on the few yards to the instance where things began in earnest.

I could probably write a detailed, blow by blow narrative of the trek through WC, but I am not sure it would be good for either you or I.  A run consists of a lot of fighting groups of two or three, with the local druids gone bad making up a good portion of the mobs.  Sleep is their theme, as they kept putting a sleep charm on people throughout the run.  But even with that things went okay.  Occasionally we had adds or a bad pull, but even six deep into the trash mobs we managed not to lose anybody.

Having looked up the instance before hand, I knew that the “correct” method was to go west, slaying the two bosses that way, Lady Anacondra and Lord Cobrahn.

Arriving at Lord Cobrahn

They both dropped leather items from the fang set, the belt and the leggings.  Since we only have Moronae who wears leather, he was doing pretty well for openers.

Then you loop back and head east to get into the meandering ways of the dungeon.

The path starts off easily enough.  We ran across Kresh, the turtle who drops a shield that would have been a huge upgrade for me.  But he can also drop a crap shield, and the crap shield is what we got.

Then the way begins to wander.  You get choices in direction and it is not always clear which way you should go.  I recall at some point being told to follow the mushrooms, that they would not steer you wrong.  But at one junction the mushrooms seemed to be going in the wrong direction, so went the other.  And that brought us to Lord Pythas, who looks like just another druid of the fang hanging out in a cave.  He too coughed up an item from the Fang set, our druid continuing to do very well for himself.

From there we had a few paths and both Skronk and I started looking at maps.  There was a momentary threat of wife/mom aggro again, so it seemed like expediting our travel might do us well.  However, WC is a very three dimensional instance and two dimensional maps are not always helpful.  We thought about simply bypassing Skum, the next boss.  However, it looked like we had to pass right by him in order to get to the big boss we needed, so we stopped to take him down.

Die rebel Skum

He dropped the glowing lizardscale cloak, which again seemed like a good druid item.

From Skum it looked like a straight path up to the two bosses at the end of the trail.  We were actually able to bypass some mobs along the way, WC caves being broad enough to just slip by some clusters at our level.  There was a moment of anxiety when we reached the part on the path where you have to jump over a gap in the path.  Everybody made it, but we could all imagine somebody falling and needing to be retrieved.

From there it was just up the path a ways to the big open platform.  At one end was Lord Serpentis, at the other Verdan the Everliving.

On the platform

Lord Serpentis has two mobs near him, but one of them wasn’t even close enough to be bothered to join the fight.  You can see the errant druid at the right side of the screen shot above.  Bringing down Lord S got us the savage trodders, a pair of mail boots that were actually an upgrade for me.

After that we turned to Verdan the Everliving, who is a very big boy indeed.  It was here that we had the most difficult fight.  Verdan isn’t complicated, he doesn’t have any special mechanics, but he does hit hard.  I had to use a heal potion not too far into the fight, which made me a bit nervous.  Later, looking at Recount stats, Verdan hit me for more damage than any other boss by a fair margin.  In fact, he hit me for 3% of the damage inflicted on me for the whole instance, and we fought a lot of mobs along the way.

In the end though, we brought him down.  He dropped the seedcloud buckler, which was a pretty big shield upgrade for me.  It is actually much better than the shield off of Kresh, though it doesn’t have the distinctive look that the turtle shield does.  Still, I was happy to get the upgrade.  We took a group shot at that point since there was some concern that wife/mom aggro might return unexpectedly.

Verdan down after the fight

From Verdan you then have to work your way back to the start of the instance to speak with the NPC, the Disciple of Naralex.  I think one of the reasons that WC brings up memories of drudgery is that back in the day, back in 2006, back during our first run, we turned around from Verdan and walked all the way back the way we came.  And that can be a long walk.

Had we poked around a bit back in 2006 we might have noticed the hole… another hole… in the floor well behind Verdan that drops through into a pool of water not far from where we set out, about where we ran into Kresh.  That shortens the way back considerably.  Fortunately, here in 2019, we had since learned about this exit and so took it directly.

Back at the entrance we found the Disciple of Naralex.  He doesn’t have a quest, which is an odd mechanic, but once you’ve slain the other bosses in the instance you can interact with him to start the big event of the dungeon.

Starting him on his way

This is an escort event… not a quest… which leads you around to the final boss.  Once we started it I remembered that the general no fail plan was to go clear out the path first, then go back and set him in motion because if he dies then the run is over.  You cannot revive him and restart the event, you have to reset the instance and start from scratch.

And the Disciple of Naralex has some of the usual quirks of NPCs being escorted.  He is more in the Sarah Oakheart category when it comes to speed, but with an annoying tendency to ignore mobs the group is fighting around him.  That means he keeps on going while you’re engaged, walking straight into the next group of completely obvious mobs just down the path.  We had him wander off a couple of times and at one point I had to run from the fight we were having to taunt mobs down the way off of him.

Clearing the path ahead of time is clearly the pro tactic.  However, we made it, leaving behind unlooted mobs in the scramble to keep him safe.  He gets down into the final room and starts his ceremony.

Cover me while I do some stuff

That brought us to the final stage of the event, which was actually shorter than I remembered it.  You get two waves of mobs coming at you before the final boss appears.

Mutanus Arrives as we stand amid the viscera of the opening acts

Mutanus has an extra powerful sleep charm he uses during the fight, one that cannot be broken by players, but other than having to wait down the timer on that, things went pretty smoothly.  Mutanus was down soon enough.  He dropped the Deep Fathom Ring, which had the casters all salivating.

And that was the end of that, instance complete.

We still had a bit to clean up afterwards.  There was the Trouble at the Docks quest, which has you looking for the goblin named Mad Magglish.  He spawns outside of the instance, in the elite area, even though the quest is flagged as WC.  But the outside counts as well.  He is also stealthed when he spawns, but we found his corpse in looking for him, so that gave us a clue as to where to camp him.

There were also the quests we had.  We only finished one of the pair from the left eye, and that one sent us back to Ratchet.  Once there Obama and Moronae signed off while Skronk, Ula, and I went to track down the final quest.  We had to head back out into The Barrens to find the final turn in.

Orange sunset over an orange land

One of the interesting things about The Barrens is that you can run all the way up a lot of the hills in the middle of the zone, something you may not even notice if you’re grown accustomed to the “hills are zone walls” methods common in the genre.

The final quest turn in ended up being in a house at the top of one of those hills.

Great view, but a long commute

And with that we were done for the day.

Only after the fact did I go back and check out my posts about our past runs through WC.  They were illuminating to some extent.

October 22, 2006 – We do the whole thing, but with only four players.  Earl was missing, so I am not ever sure who was the tank with a mage, priest, rogue, and warlock.  The voidwalker I guess.

November 19, 2009 – We return to the instance as part of our run on the Horde side.  We fail to clear the path for the disciple ahead of time and he dies, scrubbing the end of the run.

January 13, 2011 – We use the dungeon finder to transport our new all worgen (plus a gnome) group to see what changed for Cataclysm.  We earn the achievement, the guild achievement, and get a special prize for completing the instance.  Also, Kresh dropped his shell shield.  I have a screen shot.

Another round to add to our history with this dungeon.  It is interesting to see what I mention and what I don’t as time goes by.

Next on the list is Shadowfang Keep.  There is probably another travel adventure in that.

In Search of VanCleef in the Deadmines

We left off yesterday in the Deadmines with Mr. Smite in the distance.

Mr. Smite awaits at the top of the gangplank… you can just see him

Back in the day Mr. Smite was the first boss to keep us from advancing in the Deadmines, the first one to send us home to try again later.  But that was back in 2006 when we were pretty bad at working as a group.  This time around we were hoping things would go better on our first try.

As usual, we relied on memory rather than looking up the fight.  It is amazing how many little details linger in the backs of our brains.  As with the first boss, Smite comes with a pair of assistants, which we decided to take down first, our new group rule becoming “Sheep left, fight right.”

This seemed to work.  Mr. Smite is not a particularly complex fight.  He has a routine of stunning everybody so he can go swap weapons from his big chest on the dock (which you can also just make out in the screen shot above) but otherwise isn’t very tricky.

We’re stunned for a weapon swap

He is, in the end, a DPS check.  If you can put out enough damage, you win.  If you cannot, you go home.  We were putting out more than enough damage and Smite went down.  He dropped Smite’s Reaver, a 1h axe.  Unfortunately, Viniki, the only axe wielder, was already holding better.  Something else to vendor.

It was at that point, with Mr. Smite down and the ship ahead of us, that the additional complicating factor to which I alluded in the previous chapter, came into play: Wife aggro.

Worse, wife and mom aggro.  At that point Moronae’s wife, also Obama’s mother, told Obama that it was time to get off the computer.  He said we only had 5-10 minutes left… an optimistic assessment by any measure… but we were on notice.  We had to get this finished up as soon as possible or be prepared to do it all again another day.  The race was on.

We went up the ramp and started clearing the pirates on the first deck.  We decided to simply skip Cookie, the murloc that wanders off to the left on the first deck, but he wandered into aggro range, so we took him, looting his tenderizer.

Then it was to the right to keep clearing, arriving at the series of ramps that lead up to the main deck and VanCleef.  We were edging towards recklessness in pulling mobs, but seemed able to handle the extras we go, settling out a group on the first platform up the ramp.

On the first platform

As you might be able to discern in this screen grab from video Ula was taking, Skronk is standing very close to the edge of the platform.  As the fight ended he both leveled up and fell off the platform into the water.  Ula says the video makes it look like a gold comet is flashing past.

This was not ideal timing.

To get back to us he would have to swim to shore and run around to get back on the wooden platforms leading to the ship.  It was a good thing we took out some of the goblins along the shore as we passed through, but we didn’t get them all.  So Skronk had to run past one.  His health and mana had been restored by leveling up, but he wasn’t going to solo the mob, so we ran around and back down the gang plank to meet him and knock down his new friend.

Skronk rescued, we headed back up onto the ship to take on the next ramp in order to get on to the final platform from which we could access the main deck where the final fight takes place.

In the press to get up to that platform we took on a few pirates.  Obama was being asked why he wasn’t off the computer yet, so we dove in.  But we were up for that.  Then we once again lost track of a runner who fled the fight and, before they could be taken down at range, brought Captain Greenskin, the penultimate boss in the instance, into our melee already in progress.  That gave us five or six active mobs, including a boss, so things looked bad.

And they got even more glum when Moronae ended up dying mid fight, remove his DPS and extra heals from the equation.

I don’t know if Skronk said his usual “everybody remain calm,” as he was pretty busy, but it played in my head and I knew that we had to knock down as many of these guys as we could before we succumbed.  So I just kept hitting the current target mob while turning to taunt mobs off of Skronk as tried to keep people alive.  Skronk even whipped out a heavy linen bandage to do first aid on me as we stood and fought, waiting for what we knew had to be the inevitable end of the fight, with us all down.

Only we didn’t wipe.  The last mob was down and four of us were still standing.

Ressing Moronae after the fight

What seemed like to be a disaster actually ended up speeding us along a bit.  We now only had VanCleef waiting for us.  We headed up onto the main deck and got ready for the final fight.

We see you in there VanCleef

Like some of the other bosses, including the recently dispatched Captain Greenskin, VanCleef comes with a pair of helpers.  He also gets a second pair part way into the fight.  So our plan was the new standard for the group, sheep left, fight right.

This started a bit precariously as I took a lot of damage right up front and had to use a health potion right away.  After that though things settled down and we knocked out first one helper, then the other, before focusing on VanCleef.

When the second pair of helpers appears it was the same routine… sort of.  Somebody didn’t switch because VanCleef went down before his final helper did.

Erm, why is he dead already?

Still, the helper didn’t survive VanCleef by very long and we were done.  We had finished the Deadmines on our first go.  Just time for a victory shot.

VanCleef defeated

After that we decided it was best to rush for the exit so as to keep Moronae and Obama out of as much hot water as possible.

However, jumping off the far side of the deck towards the exit meant running through a few more mobs.  But they were manageable in fairly short order.  Then it was straight for the out portal.

This way out

Once out of the instance, Obama and Moronae logged off while Skronk, Ula, and I headed back towards Sentinel Hill and Gryan Stoutmantle in order to collect a reward and have our names shouted to the zone.

Cheers for Skronk

The instance itself did not drop any upgrades for me, but at least the quest gave me a decent pants upgrade.

Blue pants, best pants

Overall I think we did pretty well.

Posing with Gryan after the run

During the run I ran the Recount addon, which is, among other things, a damage meter, which means people hate it.  But it supplies so much information about your fights, not just DPS but which attacks were used and how much damage they did, both by players and NPCs, as well as healing stats and such.  I don’t/won’t use it to name and shame people, but I like to see the data.

I seemed to do okay as tank.  The mechanics of the Deadmines are not exactly complex, so holding aggro and staying alive was probably enough.  I think a large part of our success was due to the fact that two members of the team were in their long established, Skronk as healer and Ula as mage for DPS and crowd control.  They contributed mightily to our success.

Which is not to downplay Obama and Moronae.  Lacking cat for for real DPS, Moronae spent a lot of time casting moonfire then hitting things with his staff, which limited the amount of damage he could put out.  On the other hand, having a few extra heals and a buff around was very nice, and the thorns buff on Viniki ended up being the second highest damage contribution from him.

I was wondering if the imp, with its blood pact buff, would have been a better pet for Obama.  The void walker is very good at picking up and off tanking, but it doesn’t contribute much to damage.  But, being new to WoW, Obama hadn’t realized there were pet skills to be purchased and upgraded.  An imp with blood pact and fire shield might have been worth it, but with what we had available to us the voidwalker suited us fine.

And so it goes.  We made it to my minimum group goal for WoW Classic, running the Deadmines.

Next up on the list is Wailing Caverns out in The Barrens.  Or it might be.  The obvious bad Blizz behavior has me considering the future of the group. But I’ll get to that tomorrow.

Into the Deadmines at Last

At last!  We made it to the Deadmines in WoW Classic.  It took us long enough.

The problem with getting the band back together is that the lives of all of its members have changed over the years.  As I have noted previously, we’re still waiting for Earl to get settled in Japan, so there may be a B group of alts on standby to run instances with until he catches up.

But, with the addition of a member of the younger generation in the form of Bung’s son, we were able to fill out the group.  And so our lineup for the night was:

  • Ula – level 21 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 20 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 18 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 18 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 18 night elf druid

That is not far off the group we first finished the Deadmines with just about 13 years back.  Some names/classes are even the same.

We were not certain exactly when things would kick off, but when Bung and his son, appearing as Moronae and Obama in the group, made it online we set about getting started.  Of course, there is always something to do first.  Obama and Moronae had to go over to Moonbrook to find the Defias Messenger.  On a Sunday afternoon his dance card was pretty full and he wasn’t wandering far from his spawn point before being slain for his drop.  Our guys joined another group waiting for the messenger and, having slaughtered him, were able to meet us back at Sentinel Hill for the next stage.

The Defias traitor.

Viniki and the Defias Traitor

In a fit of paranoia I had done the Defias Traitor quest already.  I have bad memories of that quest in Razorfen Kraul where you speak to that one quest give and unless you’re all right on the button he runs off without the whole group being on the quest.  Skronk wasn’t worried, but I got it out of the way all the same.

We got everybody around the traitor and Skronk explained how one person was going to get the quest and that then the game should prompt everybody else in the group to accept the quest as well (except Viniki of who had it out of the way) right away so we could do this all in one run.  Ula was the designated quest person and everybody else would accept off of her action.

And then, as we stood there, just about ready to start, somebody else ran up, got the quest from the Defias Traitor, and took off with him.  We would have to wait for them to finish, which takes about five minutes by my calculation.  During that time there was chiding to keep people from wandering too far afield, as the range of quest sharing is pretty small.

He popped back up in about five minutes, Ula grabbed the quest, everybody was in range and accepted, and off we went.  And I will say this about the Defias Traitor, he doesn’t let any grass grow under his feet.  Unlike Sarah Oakheart of LOTRO infamy, he moves off at a run headed for Moonbrook.  Once he gets there he slows to walk through town, and goes a bit Pengail on you, running after any Defias that gets within line of sight, but the final stretch is short and soon the Defias Hideout was revealed to us.

The Defias Hideout

Of course, then everybody besides Viniki had to run back to Sentinel Hill to turn that quest in and get the dungeon quest from Gryan Stoutmantle.  We met up again in Moonbrook and settled our potions and food and whatnot.

In Moonbrook getting set

Everybody was handing things out except Obama, who was back to his hobby of extreme planking.

You need a strong neck for that

Getting into the Deadmines isn’t as easy as all that.  The actual entry to the instance is at the far end of some caves populated by hostile elites, so just getting there can be a fight and the potential for getting lost exists.  We followed the time honored lore of following the right wall.  Also, another group went in ahead of us, so we figured they would clear for us.  Skronk put a big orange target marker on Viniki and I led the way in.

Of course, the group ahead of us was careless and we caught up to them not too far from the instance to find them dragging a train of hostile elite miners, more than enough to ruin our fun.  Shouting our usual battle cry of “Don’t make eye contact!” then “Follow me!” I raced ahead for the instance, the group in tow.

All out for the instance portal

Everybody made it in okay.  We took a moment for a bio break and to get buffs set, then we were ready to go.

Viniki looking eager

Of course, “ready” is a relative term.  I was ready to start, but how things would work were largely theoretical on my part.  I have rarely played a warrior in WoW, and I have only played them as DPS really.  My only experience as a tank has been as a druid in bear form, and that was only in the post-Cataclysm level 1-40 dungeons, which were all dumbed down so much that you could run a couple an hour to level up with much effort.

Actually tanking in WoW Classic with old school warrior skills, this was a whole new thing for me.  Not helping things was that defensive stance doesn’t allow some of the skills I am used to, like charge and hamstring.  Still, I had something of a plan.  I had practice a bit with defensive stand and I had trained up the gun skill, bought a gun, and stuck some ammo in my bag for long distance pulls.  Otherwise I would be trotting up to things to engage.  My plan was to use bloodrage to build up some of that all important rage, then hit the first target with sunder armor, which the tool tip says generates a lot of aggro, using taunt if something started to get away from me.

The start was not entirely encouraging.  There are groups of nomal miners mobs around, and I was getting those in twos and threes and wasn’t holding them all.  But normal mobs were easy enough and Obama had his voidwalker out to off tank while Moronae was dropping into bear mode now and then, trying to decide his best method for DPS in the group.

Elite mobs came as singles and I was able to hold them.  We moved on down the line until we got the first boss, Rhahk’Zor, in sight.

Rhahk’Zor awaits

He has two mobs with him, and something in the back of my head said that we could get him alone if we did things right.  But, to be safe, we decided to follow the time tested tactic of taking down the adds then focusing on the main boss.

That seemed to work, and we were soon standing over Rhahk’Zor’s corpse.  However, we had forgotten to set the group for master looter to allow Skronk to dole out boss bind on pick up items, and Obama looted the corpse.  Fortunately, he only had his crappy common hammer on him, but looting was changed up at that point.  The patrol that shows up once you’ve killed him was a bit of a surprise.  I had forgotten that part of the tunnels.  Once you kill one of the early bosses a three or four mob elite group wanders up behind you.  We survived, but it we were caught unawares.

Then it was a door through which more caves and miners and wandering elite Defias waited.  We worked our way through that, only veering off to see if the elusive Miner Johnson was there.  He was not.  He is never there for us.

We worked our way to the next door, through which we knew Sneed awaited.

Sneed is one of those fights that can go wrong if you don’t clear thoroughly first.  So I set out to get every single goblin helper of his.  That took a bit of patience, as you have to pull around his wandering.  The only problem was the tendency for people waiting for you to pull to follow you into the room to see what you are up to.  With lower level player who have a larger aggro radius, this can lead to surprises, but we managed to avoid that.  Once I had Sneed’s room picked clean, we went in to get him.

Sneed alone in his shredder

The fight at that point wasn’t a problem.  There was nobody around to run into if you got hit by his fear.  The only thing was, despite the fact that I know it is a two part fight, that once you defeat the shredder you have to fight Sneed, I am always surprised when he jumps out and the battle carries on.  Still, he was down quickly enough.

His big drop was a blue axe.  But it was a 2H axe, which nobody could use.  We rolled on who got to vendor it.

After that is was back to mixing it up in the tunnels until we reached the foundry.

Goblins at work here

Here is where things got a little shaky.

We were able to pull and deal with groups on the ramp down.  The goblin engineers release their own mechanical helpers which are full blow adds, but they were manageable.  But once down the ramp we had some problems around the platform.

One of those summoned adds on the platform

First, we got a pull with an unexpected add.  A goblin engineer, who created an additional add as part of the mix.  Then, we were fighting down at the bottom of the ramp, but at one point a goblin went to flee when it his low health… how I missed hamsting at that moment… and hopped up onto the platform and broke line of sight.  Nobody could hit him unless they ran after him.  He, of course, brought back another add.  Obama went down and things were starting to come off the rails.  But I just kept taunting mobs off of Skronk so he could keep healing while Ula and Moronae kept burning things down.

Eventually all the hostiles were down, and by virtue of this chaos we had almost finished clearing before the boss, but it felt like a near run thing.  We took down the final stragglers, then went after Gilnid, who was not a tough fight.  We looted the Smelting Pants from him, which went to Moronae.

After that I was all keyed up for the follow on patrol, remembering us getting the worst from a similar situation back in the day.  Oddly, that patrol was very slow in coming.  I was wandering up and down the ramp waiting for them for a few minutes before they showed up.  There were four this time, but we had no problem dealing with them.

Once that was down, it was down deeper into the tunnels, clearing miners and getting to the cannon, which Ula fired for us once the gunpowder was collect from the side tunnel.

The door comes down

We had to warn Obama, they new kid… almost literally… not to run through the door once it came down.  As usual, the pirates were waiting on the other side.

And then we were out on the boardwalk. where we cleared the pirates as well as some goblins who were lurking off to either side.  That last would turn out to have been a boon.  Then we sat a minute to take stock.

The group takes a rest

Nothing lay between us and the next boss, sitting up at the top of the ship’s gangplank.  There he stood, the aptly named Mr. Smite.

Mr. Smite awaits

And that is where this chapter will close.  I’m already past the two thousand word mark… also I’m home sick, so need a break… and I have a lot more to go as this is where things get interesting, for we had to face not only Mr. Smite and the remaining bosses, but a danger from an unexpected angle.  Tune in for part two tomorrow.

The Ogres of Loch Modan

Loch Modan occupies the same spot in the level curve as Westfall, being good for players up to about level 20.  It has long been my practice… since my first serious ventures into WoW… to run both the human and dwarf/gnome starter zones.  The pacing is about right if you bypass a quest here and there, and you never start running up against quests in the orange or red range.

That and I enjoy both zones.  They are similar in being smallish zones that feel bigger than they are, yet very different in layout.  Westfall has you ranging out from Sentinal Hill near its middle while Loch Modan is almost the inverse, with the loch in the middle forcing players to travel in a circle around it.

Loch Modan – Classic Map

Unlike Westfall however, Loch Modan does not have a dungeon at the end of its main quest line.  Even with the vanilla experience curve there is probably a limit to the number of low level dungeons you need.

There are, however, come elite ogres to battle with if you want a group challenge, congregated in the Mo’Grosh Stronghold in the northeast part of the zone.  I mentioned them in a previous post as we passed through Loch Modan in a series of quests that ended up with us in The Barrens on the way to Ratchet.  There are three “elite” quests that send you into ogre valley, and we had only knocked out one.  So this past Saturday we decided to take on the other two.

Well, some of us did all three since we ended up with some alts in rotation.  The main group has still not formed up.  Earl is still mid-move and Bung was away for the weekend, so it once again fell on alts to keep us busy.  I’ll have a whole post on alts later.

Actually, one main was with us.  Ula was on as her level 20 mage, a key part of the planned main group.  But Skronk was on with a level 19 dwarf paladin and I had my level 20 restoration druid, rounding on what would have been a decent group in EverQuest.  We had a tank, a healer, and a mage for crowd control and DPS.

The first two quests come from Thelsamar, while the third is part of the quest line around Stonewrought Damn.  After running into The Wetlands you come back and need to get a drop the ogres, which is kind of a pain because the rest of the quest line is soloable, with a group quest popping up in the middle of the chain.  Later WoW would never do that except to lead you into an instance.  Classic has no qualms on that front.

So off we went to take on the ogres.  And it went pretty well.

Fighting an elite ogre

As I said the last time we were out here, a dedicated healer changes the equation.  We were able to take single ogres without issue and pairs with some effort, though Ula was quick on the polymorph to sheep them if we needed.

We were again sitting at a cave to fish out some of the specific ogres we needed.

Orge cave screen shot from the previous trip

It was also said that the drop needed for the Stonewrought Dam quest would only drop from the ogres in the caves, so we kept on them.  But once you’ve cleared the easy cave… easy because your group is up to it… then you start eyeing the more difficult cave.  The cave where Chok’sul lives.

Chok’sul is the named ogre in the area, and one of the quests is to slay him and bring back his head.  Slaying him was the stretch goal for the evening, but we started off so well that we decided to head over and see about him.

His cave, the main cave in the valley, is deep.  Oddly, for me it was quite recognizable as the same cave used for some of the ogres in Nagrand in The Burning Crusade.  Never remake an asset when you have a good one to hand.

The cave itself wasn’t so bad.  We had to knock over a couple of ogres to get way into the back where Chok’sul was.  We found him there with two attendants.  We hoped that we could get one or both of them on their own, but when the pull happened we got all three.  Ula sheeped one and we tried to burn down the other two as quickly as possible.

We killed one attendant but in keeping Skronk alive I had pulls aggro with healing and Chok’sul was on my druid, pounding him to paste before I could adjust.  In hindsight there were a few things I could have done… going into bear form, for example, might have kept me alive longer since I had aggro… but I went down.  And without heals we were all soon running back to the cave.

When we got back we found we had made the classic WoW Classic blunder.  We had wandered into the cave after another group had cleared a bunch of it.  We saw them headed across the valley.  But rather than suspecting anything we wandered straight to the back of the cave.  But as we were running back to our corpses most of the cave respawned and we were in an ugly location with a couple of ogres wandering close to our corpses.

The plan was to resurrect and take, use a health potion quickly, then take whatever came at us.  We knocked down the closest one, but ended up wiping as we caught a couple more.

Back to the cave again.

The second time our position was better.  The ogre we had slain had been alone to one side of us, so we had a safer spot in which to resurrect.  There was still an ogre on us, but we were able to take him down right after we resurrected.

Ogre in the cave – note all the skeletons

Or space cleared out, we turned our attention to see how the Chok’sul situation had developed.  It looked like the respawn popped another ogre in between us and Chok’sul, but it looked to be far enough out to be able to pull on its own.

That ogre mystic up and off to the right

We got lucky on that.  Skronk was able to proximity pull only it and we had cleared enough space for ourselves to be able to break line of sight so it would come to us.

The bigger bit of luck was that Chok’sul attendant, the one we killed, did not respawn.  So we only have Chok’sul and another ogre.  It was time to sheep the ogre and let Chok’sul come and get us.

We were able to knock him down, though his ogre helper had to be re-sheeped before we were done with him.  Then we all looted Chok’sul to get his head right away lets something else go wrong and leave us in another situation.

We then went after the other ogre, dispatching him.  We were done with that quest, we just had to fight our way back out of the cave.  Fortunately getting out wasn’t so bad and we were able to clear our way to the cave entrance without further mishap.

There we took stock.  Chok’sul’s head had been obtained and we had knocked out the various ogre flavors that needed to be slain.  However, despite all that work in Chok’sul’s cave, we still had not come up with the crystal drop needed for the Stonewrought Dam quest.  It was back to the smaller cave, where an ogre at the entry waited for us.  We slew it and got the drop at last.  It was time to get out of Mo’Grosh Stronghold.  As with Chok’sul’s head, the corpse nicely yielded up a crystal for each of us.

We still needed a drop each from spiders and crockalisks, so spent some time hunting them.  Unlike elite ogres, they were only dropping one each.  But we were able to burn through them as fast as we could find them… finding them being the only real issue.  Eventually though we all ended up with the quest items we needed and headed back to the dam to turn in the quest.

After that there was a small matter of jumping in the water to defuse a Dark Iron blasting charge set to blow up the dam.  Then it was the final quest turn in.

As with the end of the Deadmines quest after you slay Van Cleef, Chief Engineer Hinderweir VII shouts out your name for the whole zone to hear when you wrap up the quest line.

A shout out for the help

After that it was back to Thelsamar for the other quest rewards.  Probably the best item received was the ring for slaying Chok’sul.

A ringing endorsement

It is not the best ring in the game, but for me it was the first ring I had received.  And any ring with some stats is better than no ring at all.

There is a post brewing in the back of my head about comparing how gear gets doled out in WoW Classic, where certain slots are not filled for many levels… shoulders just started to drop for us while rings, trinkets, and headgear are still mostly to come… to how a game like EverQuest II does it.  I cannot recall a slot you can’t fill by level 10 there, though one would need to loop in crafting, and there is another comparison to be explored I suppose.

Anyway, post ideas for the future.  But our Saturday night adventure in Loch Modan came to a successful conclusion.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we get everybody together and into the Deadmines.