Category Archives: WoW Classic

March in Review

The Site

What a month.  There was nothing much of note new on the site, but gaming life and blogging time and all of that was subject to some changes as the COVID-19 pandemic confined so many of us to home.  Fortunately my job is doable from home, but being there at my desk all day long does suck some of the joy out of gaming or writing.  If I’ve already been in my chair for nine or ten hours, there isn’t a lot of joy in staying there for a few more to play a game or write.

At least I can go sit on the couch and play Pokemon Sword.

My new Switch Lite

Good thing I got that for my birthday early in the month, as they are sold out now.  I have not yet succumbed to the mounting pressure to get Animal Crossing: New Horizon though.  My daughter loves it, but she isn’t sure it is a game I would like.

Otherwise it has largely been a constant series of, “Wait, did that happen this month? It seems so long ago now.” moments as the world falls further into whatever it is that we have going on now.

One Year Ago

I dug up my old Macintosh PowerBook 190cs, which I didn’t even remember I still had, and thought about writing about some of the games still on it.  However, I was unable to get it onto the network, so screen shots were difficult to obtain and I ended up running out of steam on the whole thing for the time being.

Activision Blizzard was hedging a bit on what effect their layoff of 8% of the company might produce.

Perfect World Entertainment officially killed of the Foundry in both Neverwinter and Star Trek Online, ending their player made content experiment.

Steam decided that they really did need to curate games on their site, a decision pushed by their inept handling of Rape Day.  The Epic Game Store, always eager to capitalize on Valve’s foibles, declared that there would be no porn in their store.

Gamigo killed off the Rift Prime retro server due to lack of popularity.  It remains my opinion that the Storm Legion expansion killed the game the first time around, so having it do it again was no surprise.

A data center move brought down and kept offline Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online for longer than expected.

Over at Massively OP they were talking about “niche MMORPGs,” a term as ill-defined as most in the gaming world.  Honestly, one could argue that MMORPGs are a niche genre.

Over at GoG.com we got a version of the original Diablo, and while it felt primitive it was still very playable and pretty damn good.

Niantic finally allowed players to change teams in Pokemon Go, allowing me to swap from Team Mystic to Team Instinct.

I was giving Path of Exile a shot again with their Synthesis update.

On the LOTRO Legendary servers the Mines of Moria expansion opened up.  That sent me off to Eregion in search of legendary weapons and such.

In EVE Online the March update brought new restrictions to Alpha clones.  They could no longer run level 4 or 5 missions.  People could buy skill books straight from their character sheet… for a bit of a markup.  CCP was also tinkering with null sec anomalies.  They were worried about too much ISK in the economy.  Skill Points though?  They were just handing those out.

There was a video of Burn Jita 6 in full 4K.

CCP Guard announced he was leaving CCP after 16 years of service.

In New Eden there were two notable ship losses, the first Komodo titan to die and a rare Gold Magnate.  I also got a ship blown up as part of my Myrmidon Experiment, though that was a much less expensive loss.

There was also the EVE Ather Wars tech demo, which went well enough, even if it did not get as many players in space as the company had hoped for.

But Katia Sai was being celebrated for visiting every system in New Eden.

I was pondering the proposed level squish for World of Warcraft.  My guess was that Blizzard would be too risk-averse to do it, but I was proven wrong later in the year at BlizzCon.  Blizz also revived Wintergrasp, the huge battleground from Wrath of the Lich King, which was fun to visit again.

Runes of Magic turned ten and I reflected on its place in the tale of the genre.

But the big news was EverQuest turning 20 years old.  I reflected on its history and celebrated its anniversary.  I covered what the team had to say, which included some good news as well as a bit of hubris.

And I was still doing my own play through of some EverQuest content.  I got a mercenary for my cleric, traveled to distant zones via dangerous paths, and even hit level 50.  It was a lot easier to get there than it was back in the day.  It was quite the tourist excursion!

Five Years Ago

I hit level 50 yet again.

The Elder Scrolls Online dropped the subscription business model.

The Crowfall Kickstarter campaign was still running.  I was wondering if they had a mid-game plan.  They really didn’t, but the campaign still brought in $1.7 million, double what was asked.

EA closed down Maxis as an entity within its organization.  It is what EA does best.

It was a Turbine roast as an insider spilled the beans on problems that have plagued the developer of Lord of the Rings Online.

Rift hit its four year anniversary, but it felt like it had been around for longer than that.

I was wondering what a progression server would look like with EverQuest II.  But it was Sweet 16 for EverQuest, which was getting a new progression server for its birthday it seemed.

Blizzard announced that they were going to go ahead with their PLEX-like idea, the WoW Token.  The instance group was in the Iron Docks and farting around in garrisons.

CCP was talking about the next stage of the proposed sovereignty changes for EVE Online.  There was the Scylla release, which was overshadowed by Fanfest.  Also, the members of CSMX were announced.

In New Eden I attempted to fly an Ibis from Immensea to Deklein.  Then there was a rumor of war as the usual suspects attacked our sovereignty in Fountain.  That called for a big old move op which, in post-Phoebe New Eden, meant caps taking gates.  Then there was that system our foes took.  And once they were evicted from Fountain, it was time for a punitive expedition to Delve.

And The Mittani declared that the power blocs of New Eden would never die.  We shall see.

My daughter and I tried out Diablo III on the PlayStation 3.

I put together a review of my Kickstarter history… I should do that again.

Finally, it seemed as though some of the MMO news sites were paying attention to bloggers again… at least briefly.

Ten Years Ago

With the March 2010 month in review I was able to announce that the site had passed the one million page view mark.  A minor milestone.

FarmVille.  We all tried it as research for Shut Up We’re Talking #60.  We didn’t inhale.

ran through GDC and had dinner.

I was waxing nostalgic for some flavor of Rome.

EA was saying very stupid things about how many subscribers Star Wars: The Old Republic would need.  It is never too early to set the bar for failure.  Also they were threatening to taint 38 Studios.

I was also wondering about greater challenges in MMOs.  Must all paths be equally easy?

I held an April Fools contest, which got a few entries.

Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver launched and, after some delay,  I was picking that initial Pokemon.

I was still invested in Star Trek Online… I was trying…. well, they were giving us lifetime subscribers some perks.

In EVE Online I hit 50 million skill points.  I also had my first Tengu.

World of Tanks was staring to announce some of their progression trees, starting with the Russian and American sets.  Those have changed a lot since then.

The instance group was beginning to embrace the Dungeon Finder.  However, after Mauradon we found we still had to do a chunk of external legwork to prepare for our Sunken Temple run.  I also got a chopper along the way, on my birthday no less.

And, finally, that whole Derek Smart/Alganon thing was just kicking off.

Fifteen Years Ago

Monolith, backed by Sega and Warner Brothers, launches The Matrix Online in the US.  It hits Europe a month later. The title is soon taken over by Sony Online Entertainment, which runs it until its closure in 2009.

The Bloodline Chronicles adventure pack is released for EverQuest II.  It is free for Station Access subscribers.  Among other things it gives the game destructible walls.

Twenty Years Ago

Sony launched the PlayStation 2. Available initially only in Japan, it had ten launch titles.

Most Viewed Posts in March

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. Overseer Feature, Progression Servers, and Free Heroic Characters Coming for EverQuest Anniversary
  4. The State of Voice in 2020 with a Poll
  5. The March Update Brings Market and Moon Changes to EVE Online
  6. New Servers and Server Merges and More with the EverQuest Anniversary
  7. The Windstalker Leaves Norrath
  8. The Passion of the Overseer
  9. Visiting the Katia Sae Monument
  10. An Uldaman of Vague Memories
  11. Blizzard in the Badlands
  12. Seeking the Hydrocane

Search Terms of the Month

camelot unchained massive refund requests after terrible announcment
[Somebody knows what they’re looking for]

online rpg apple iie
[That is going to be a bit or a stretch. A MUD maybe?]

does concord intervene during killing spree in eve online
[All normal CONCORD rules apply]

null sec infrastructure to spawn mining belts
[infrastructure hub]

what plane in war thunder has the most bombs
[Going to guess it is the B-29]

wilma flintstone memes
[I don’t even]

Game Time from ManicTime

Time tracking shows I spent most of my play time with WoW Classic.

WoW Classic – 64.13%
RimWorld – 13.25%
Pokemon Sword – 10.93%
EverQuest – 5.10%
EVE Online – 4.32%
EverQuest II – 1.92%
World of Warcraft – 0.34%

You would think I would be further along, but I always find time to potter about.  Also, Pokemon Sword isn’t tracked by ManicTime, being on the Switch and all, but the save page in the game gives you an elapsed time played report with each save, so I can include it in the mix.

EVE Online

While I did not spend that much time in New Eden in March, the time I did spend was fairly active.  There was a move op north to Venal, followed by some fights, and then a move op home.  Structures were shot, ships exploded.

EverQuest

With the 21st anniversary going on I decided to poke my nose in while my all access subscription was still running.  I used the heroic upgrade on my cleric from last year’s anniversary, which promptly made his spells an unfathomable mess.  But I did end up playing with the new Overseer feature.  While it has a mobile game air to it, the EQ version has more depth than the EQII one does, so I do keep logging into play it.

EverQuest II

I fear my momentum has faded in EQII.  After grabbing the expansion last year and driving a few characters up to the level cap, both for adventure and crafting, I sort of lost interest and wandered off.  I did a bit of the Overseer thing, but it isn’t all that compelling.

Pokemon Go

My drive to the level cap slowed down somewhat.  The friend rewards, which are worth 100,000 points when you hit the highest level, drove me the last couple of months.  However, daily gifts have tapered off as people hole up at home and can’t get out to Pokestops.

Level: 38 (83% of the way to level 39)
Pokedex status: 526 (+14) caught, 556 (+11) seen
Pokemon I want: Lucario, which is tough because I never any in the wild.
Current buddy: Dewatt

Pokemon Sword

As noted previously, I got Nintendo Switch Lite and a copy of Pokemon Sword for my birthday, which was about a week before we all had to go into hiding, so that is some timing.  I am three gym leaders in so far and it is shaping up to be a pretty solid entry in the genre.  The villainous team is a little more buffoonish than normal, but we’ll see how that plays out.  I just have to get myself setup to pull screen shots from the game so I can post about it.

RimWorld

RimWorld got the Royalty expansion, which adds a new dynamic to the game.  I have that out and played through some.  But even if you do not get the expansion, the launch of it also brought a bit update patch for the base game that includes a lot of nice improvements.

World of Warcraft

As usual, my time spent in retail WoW was mostly around Darkmoon Faire, though I did log in to grab a map of Gnomeregan for a post, and found that I had forgotten that they had nerfed some of the outside area as well.

WoW Classic

A lot of time spent playing WoW Classic.  I was grinding for a mount and working on some alts, but the big effort was around UIdaman where, after three weeks, we took down Archaedas.  Now comes the time to prep for Zul’Farrak.

Coming Up

It is Blapril, so expect some blogging reflective posts and as much linking out to other participants as I can manage.

It is also April Fools tomorrow, though given the current state of the political scene in the US, I am not sure anybody will notice.  Much of the last couple of months has involved public figures saying things that should have ended with “April Fools!” but somehow did not… more so than usual.

EVE Fanfest should have been kicking off soon, but that was cancelled in what seemed like forever ago, though it was just a month back.  Still, it has been reported that CCP will have some news and a new trailer for us.

And it seems like a fine time for video games, especially online games.  But April promises to be as relentless with bad news as March was, so the end of the month will probably feel like another year has gone past.

Archaedas in the Foyer

The past weekend found us all at home.  Since we all live in locales that were under community lockdown guidelines… “shelter in place” they call it… thanks to COVID-19, we seemed to have ample opportunity to play.  Nobody had any reservations for dinner, a show to see, or a sporting event to attend certainly.

So we got together on Saturday afternoon to take another run at Uldaman and met up again in the Badlands.  If nothing else, we still had quests to finish up.  Uldaman is good at keeping your quest log supplied.  Our party for the afternoon was:

  • Viniki – level 44 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 43 gnome mage
  • Skronk – level 43 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 42 night elf druid

The still seemed shy of what we might need for Archaedas… but, quests!

Before we went in though, we had to get out quests aligned.  Viniki had gotten ahead with one in the Badlands, so we spent a little bit of time getting everybody back on the same page.  That meant finding a dead dwarf then slaying some troggs.

The troggs are over there

The annoying bit was having to run back to Loch Modan to get the quest update, but three out of four of us have mounts now while the hold out, Moronae, is a druid, which means he has a travel form, so it didn’t take as long as it might of to get the quests set.

Another week in Uldaman

The missing one was Agmond’s Fate, and it was another “collect a few things” quests, in this case it was four urns.  But like the power stone drops and the fungus, there didn’t seem to be many urns about.

It didn’t help that, once again, things were a bit busy outside of Uldaman.  We were not the only ones sheltering at home.  We did find out way to one quest objective outside the instance, a large stone chest.

Well, we got this at least

But otherwise we were in competition with other groups for mobs and drops and harvestables and whatever.  The place was stripped clean, like the paper goods aisle at the store.  So the instance seemed to be our best bet.

So dramatically lit too

Inside we followed what has become the usual path.  We cleared through the troggs, met up with the lost vikings, got the bits for the Staff of Prehistoria, slew Revelosh, and set up to fight Ironaya again, just because.  Seriously, we could just bypass her, but calling her out doesn’t take much extra time and we all live in hope of a nice blue drop.

Fighting Ironaya again

I like that screen shot because Ula’s spell is in flight and because I got off a disarm on Ironaya, which always pleases me for some reason.  Ironaya’s revenge was to drop some mail bracers, and nobody in our group needs that.  Her chamber was, as usual, empty.

Again, the paper goods aisle at the store…

I like that they went so far as to put cobwebs on the shelf to emphasize their emptiness.  I was hoping they might at least have an urn.  But we were denied.

We carried on, following the left wall mostly, taking down Galgann and Grimlok in their turns.  We bypassed the Ancient Stone Keeper and went from Grimlok straight to the Hall of Crafters.  It was time to get things cleared for the big fight.

All those groups in there again

Here is where a couple weeks of practice began to pay off.  After all of the fights… and a few deaths… last week, we had finally settled on a routine that worked for us.  The rhythm for these groups was for Viniki to engage and get aggro and Moronae to call the target marker color the the current DPS focus.  Previously we had tried targeting off of Viniki or having me call the target, both of which have problems.  I use push to talk on coms, and mid-fight my fingers are sometimes too busy to get that extra key, while targeting off of Viniki can fall apart because he has to change targets to hold aggro on whole bunch.  But Moronae taking the lead on that made everything much smoother.

So we plowed through the three groups in the first room, did the golem event easily enough, then did the next set of groups, all without any major issues.  That brought us to Archaedas again.

There he is

On last week’s post Rebeard left a comment suggesting a different strategy for fighting Archaedas.  This involved starting the fight and then running back up to the room with the golem event and fighting Archaedas there.  That was supposed to slow down the arrival of the adds so that, towards the end, when he summons the his final minions you can kill him before they show up and ruin the party.  So we set up to give it a try.

Ready to start Archaedas

The whole thing nearly fell apart seconds into the event.  We started the event and then paused to make sure Archaedas would follow.  As it turns out, the doors to the chamber close and we just barely managed to squeeze out through them.  I believe you can open them up again, but I didn’t stick around to check and even if you can, doing so with Archaedas beating on your seemed like a bad plan.

And then, with Archaedas hot on our heels up the stairs to the golem room, he began beating on Skronk.  Skronk was losing a lot of health and Archaedas seemed to be able to shrug off my taunts.  Somehow we managed to get up to the top of the stairs and into the golem room and get things sorted.  The fight began.

On the plus side Ula, Skonk, and Moronae all leveled up along the way before we started this fight, so we were better equipped.  But being away from Archaedas’ room only slowed down the arrival of the first add.  After that it was the same routine, hitting Archaedas, swapping to burn down the latest add, then on to Archaedas again.  There was a question as to if we would know when we should go all out on him, but his shout of “To my side, brothers! For the Makers!” seemed to be the hint we were looking for.  We focused on Archaedas and were so very close as the big golems arrived and started pounding on me.

Getting so very close

And then he collapsed and the fight was over.

Almost over, one non-elite arrived late

Strewn about us were the corpses of many adds… though they seemed to fade quickly even as the fight was going on.  During the fight we pulled out all the stops.  Moronae hit Skronk with innervate part way through the fight and I managed to consume three superior health potions along the way.  Not a short fight.  So we lined up to take our screen shot by the fallen Archaedas.

Victory in Uldaman

That accomplished, it was time to run back down stairs to the treasure room.

The treasure room has opened

I have to say, the treasure room in Uldaman is one of the biggest teases in the game.  You run into that room and see a giant chest and piles of gold and gems and what not, but what you walk out of there with is… not much.  You go through the final quest bit, get a bit of lore

Ding! Your discs are ready!

The chest contained a couple of leather items, and Moronae only wanted one of them.  Our loot drops for the run were not great.  But we finished the instance, killed the boss, and got into his vault.  One last screen shot there, then it was back to Ironforge.

The treasure is so bright we have a backlighting problem

Back in Ironforge, after a bit of run around, we got the real prize for the whole venture… a 14 slot bag! (Plus some potions to replace the ones from that last fight.)

The best quest reward

And so we were done.  Viniki still has two unfinished Uldaman quests in his log.

Urns and fungus

But I am not sure either is worth finishing up.  After three weeks there it might be time to move on.  Next on the list is Zul’Farrak, home of the famed Carrot on a Stick trinket.  I think I still had that and the Argent Commission in my trinket slots well into The Burning Crusade.

And, as I have done with past instances, here is a replay of the group’s experiences from both the distant and the recent past:

Oddly, February and March seem to be when we visit Uldaman.  No other months will do I guess.

Seeking the Hydrocane

We returned to Gnomeregan few times, back when we were doing Gnomeregan, in search of a couple of specific drops.  Moronae, for example, wanted the Manual Crowd Pummeler drop from the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.

Moronae with the Manual Crowd Pummeler

Having moved some levels beyond Gnomer, I figured I wouldn’t be going back.  But then I wanted to wrap up some of the Mirage Raceway and Stranglethorn Vale quests, which include a couple of underwater runs in the Vile Reef off the coast.

I gave it a try with Tistann, but the time limit for being under water was pretty restrictive.  WoW Classic is hard mode these days when compared to retail.  I thought, perhaps, I could work around the underwater issue with water breathing.  Warlocks have the spell, but I didn’t have one handy to keep it on me.  Water breathing potions are a thing, but I was not inclined to waste cash at the auction house buying them.  But I remembered that the first real boss in Gnomeregan dropped the Hyrdrocane, a staff with water breathing as an attribute.

The Hydrocane

All I would have to do is run into Gnomeregan, get to the Viscous Fallout, that first real boss, slay it, and loot.  The odds were not bad for the drop and Skronk had been talking about rogues sneaking in to farm the Viscous Fallout for the dagger drop.  So in I went.

It isn’t too far into the instance even.  You just zone in and run to the edge of the of the pit in the Hall of Crafters.  It is visible from the entrance.  Just watch for the mob that runs past that spot… though he is non-elite… and even if he was elite, you’re here to kill a boss so you had better be able to take on a single elite.

Gnomeregan Map segment from Retail WoW

From there you just jump from the ledge onto a big gear down below.  The fall knocks you down to about half health, but that isn’t so bad.

You can see the top of the gear from here

The Viscous Fallout wanders around down there.

A picture from later in the story, but you get the idea

You just get him alone, easy enough, and take him down.  My first run in went very smoothly.

Unfortunately, he dropped the Acidic Walkers instead of the Hydrocane.  And then I had to get back out.

I could, of course, stone out.  But that is a once-per-hour thing.  I decided to see if I could just blast my way out.  Rogues have stealth to solve this problem, but a hunter with a pet… you are not very stealthy and your pet is bouncing around a bit so you cannot slip past mobs.

So I tried to do a runner and died.  Even gray elite can bring you down if there are enough of them.  So I ran back to the instance, revived, then stepped out again to reset the instance.  Once reset, I ran back in and did it again.

With the same result.  Acidic Walkers.

So I fought my way out more slowly this time.  It took a bit, but I got out safely, reset the instance, and did it again.  Acidic Walkers again.

Finally, on the sixth try I got the Hydrocane.  I had already trained staves on Tistann, so I could wield it, I just needed to run on back to the Vile Reef to finish things off.  Worked like a champ, especially since I didn’t have to fight with it, taking on the murlocs at range with my gun.

Later I had Viniki with the same set of quests.  Again, I figured the Hydrocane would be a good choice.  I had even learned a thing or two from my first runs.  Also, being small and without a pet wandering around him, he was able to bypass a lot of the mobs, and simply absorb hits from others being a warrior and all.

Viniki slips past the troggs with ease

It was a good thing that I learned a few thing, as it took even more tries this time around.  Viniki had four Acidic Walkers and two daggers drop before he got the Hydrocane.

Hydrocane in the loot finally

From that set of runs I learned that if you try to reset an instance more than instances more than five times in an hour the game will stop you and make you wait for a while.  Ah well.

And then he had to go train staves and skill it up because to use it under water he would have to equip it as his weapon.  There was some work in that, but it ended up doing the job.

So when Wilhelm, my paladin was at level 38 and looking at the Vile Reef quests my mind immediately went to the Hydrocane.  I figured he could manage getting in at level 38, so I flew him to Ironforge and ran out to Gnomer for another run.

Like Viniki, he was able to slip past the troggs on the way in by running up the rail outside the instance.  Once in, he went to the edge of the pit and jumped in.  The Viscous Fallout rolled by him and he took it down and, on the first try, he got the Hydrocane!  Mission accomplished.  No need to worry about sneaking out, he could just stone home.

Once he recalled back to Stromwind I ran over to the weapon trainer.  I needed to train up staves and get Wil working on skilling that up, when I tumbled over a fact I should have remembered.  Paladins cannot train staves.

I don’t know why.

As I complained to Skronk in chat, a paladin can train polearms.  Those are pretty much sticks with a blade attached to the end.  Wil’s weapon even then was a polearm.  And a stave is pretty much a stick without the blade bit.  But I guess paladins need that sharp bit to get things done.

So he ran out to Vile Reef and did the quests the hard way, holding his breath, diving down, then rushing back up to the surface.  It didn’t take too long.  Less time that it would have taken to do eight runs at the Viscous Fallout most likely, as I had done with Viniki.  But it is still nice to have the water breathing on hand, just in case.

And I was able to stop Skronk from wasting his time trying to get the Hydrocane with his pally.  Or anymore time.  He’s already gone zero for four trying to get it as a drop.  Lessons learned.

I was thinking about Alioto, my druid, who might be doing those quests some day soon.  With cat form he could stealth on out of Gnomer.  But druids also have aquatic form, so maybe he won’t need it.

Visiting Archaedas

As we gathered up again this past weekend, the question was what should we do.  We had taken down almost all of the bosses in Uldaman the week before, but our group, as it stood, seemed a bit wee to challenge Achaedas.  We started out on Sunday as:

  • Viniki – level 43 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 42 gnome mage
  • Moronae – level 42 night elf druid
  • Skronk – level 42 dwarf priest

My inexpert opinion was that we probably didn’t have much of a hope unless we were all at least level 43.  Archaedas is level 47 and our past experience shows that when you are five levels below a boss they will resist your spells and abilities with alarming regularity.

However, we still had a good number of quests to finish up in Uldaman. As nobody had a better idea when it came to leveling up it seemed like a worthwhile venture to head back in.  We all had the same five on our list this week.

Our quest list

So off we went to the Badlands.  Ula and I got there first.

Waiting for the group

I had sold everything not nailed down and scrounged gold from my alts to get a mount for Viniki, which felt like a necessity after I had run back and forth across the Badlands a few times.

As it turned out, somehow Moronae never obtained the flight point at Thelsamar in Loch Modan, so he had to run out from Ironforge.  I was less concerned about the delay than how he managed to get this far without that flight point.  Anyway, he got it this time and joined us out in the Badlands.

We figured we could work on some of the quests that require drops outside of the instance, but it was a busy Sunday around Uldaman and the mobs were being hunted by several groups besides ours.

Into the tunnels

Even inside the tunnels it was slim pickings.  We did go update one quest and, after a bit more hunting, decided to just head on into the instance and carry on there.

The area around the instance was bare

There we made our way to the dead paladin, which in turn started another quest that required us to pick up three gems.  That required killing a few bosses, so we figured we might as well clean out the ones we did last week one more time.

We did stumble a bit at Ironaya.  We forgot to get the bits to make the staff to unlock her.  We could have just passed on by, but that seemed wrong, so we headed back, got the items, made the staff, and went through the summoning routine again.

Staff in place to call her

The fight went smoothly.  The whole run through the first part of the instance.  The scorpion traps and such did not cause us any real problems.

Scorpions! We’re Back!

We worked our way around and took down Galgann Firehammer hammer again without issue.

Galgann gets it again

For the quest we needed to go take care of Grimlok as well, so we cut our way into the troggs and got set up for that fight.

Eyeing Grimlok

This time around we put Grimlok third on the list, with the basilisk taking second position since it caused some problems last time.  Grimlok went down pretty easy with that ordering and we were able to update the quest.  The update had us pointed at the vault guarded by Archaedas, so it was on the list for later.

That done, we took a side trip over to the Ancient Stone Guardian, managing to keep Ula alive in the trash this time around.  He was another quick fight, after which we still had some time.  So we figured we might as well see how far we could get on the path to Archaedas.

First there are the troggs outside the Hall of Crafters.  They come in groups of four and are a step up from a lot of the earlier trash in the instance.  Early on you run into a range around 38-42 or so.  Now it seemed to be 43-45.  Still, we managed to get them cleared out and made our way to the big door.

The Hall of Crafters door

Past the door we faced a room with three groups each made up of an elite and four or five non-elites.  However, the non-elites were where we had fallen down in the past and they caused us problems again.

Looking into the room with the groups

The opening idea was the old plan of I hold elite and the rest of the group does AOE to burn down the little guys.  Only the little guys were now our level or higher and one or two of them were casters, so tended to stand back out of the AOE and pelt our own casters.  Ula went down with the first group, though we were far enough along that we finished them off.

The second group saw Skronk go down, and from there it was a near run thing to finish off that group.  Also, to get Skronk back Moronae had to use his combat ress, which has a 30 minute cool-down.  So we were a bit on edge and decided to change up out plan.

Instead of me holding the elite, I would grab the group and pick a non-elite to focus on.  Everybody would target off of me and we would quickly burn down all the small guys with single target damage, after which we would take on the elite.

That seemed to go much more smoothly and we cleared the final group in the room.  But now we had an event to pass through, involving the four golems in a circle.  Again, vague memories were with us, but we were not solid on how the event really ran.

In the room with the Golems

You get three people to click on the pedestal in the middle, which starts the event.  That much we remembered.  But how would the fight run?  We decided to press the button and find out.

As it turned out, the golems activate one by one.  You kill one and the next one goes live.  Four single target mini-boss fights was no big deal.  It helped that Skronk leveled part way through the fight, so got a refill of mana, but we were on it either way.  Soon they were all down and the far door had opened up.

Golems down and the door open

On the far side of the door was another group based on an elite.  But he had six non-elites.  Or maybe it was seven.  I know we had to use all of the target markers to mark them.  That proved to be a couple too many mobs for us to handle.  We ran down the little guys like last time, but eventually damage builds up and Skronk has to start laying heals on me, which then pulls aggro.  I have a taunt to get everybody back on me, but it has a ten minute cool down, so it is a once a fight deal, and after I used it the wheels came off anyway and we had a wipe.

We released and decided to try and run back in via the back door, which we managed to find.  I am not sure how.

The cave to the back door as seen in dead-o-vision

Going in via the back door mean we had to kill the Obsidian Sentinal, a boss we bypassed because it only has a drop for the mage quest and we got that last week.  Again, not a tough fight and we were soon back in the Hall of Crafters.  Fortunately we had pared down the group that we wiped on, so were able to finish off the rest.

There were two walkers going up and down the halls, which we managed to get solo.  Then there were more groups, the last of which was another “use all the target markers” in size.  Somehow though, we managed to get through them with a wipe, or even a death.

Which left us standing at the door of Archaedas.

There he is!

We had gone all that way, we were certainly going to give him a shot.  Again, vague memories and the layout of the room suggested how the fight might go, but we were not certain.

Standing in the room

He has a series of inanimate dwarves around the edge of the room, then some bigger ones in the circle around him, and then two more even bigger ones at opposite ends of the room.  We had out theories as to what might get activated when, but decided to figure it out by kicking off the event.  We got three of us on the pedestal to start things going.

Waking Archaedas, or whatever it is we are doing

The basic plan was to tank Archaedas, focus on him when we could, but kill any add as it appeared.  And there are a lot of adds.  Archaedas starts lighting up the outer circle of dwarves one by one.  They are non-elite, so died pretty quickly, but there are a lot of them and they just keep on coming.

That seemed to go okay.  When his health was down by about a third he woke up that inner circle of dwarves, which we managed to get through.  But even as we were working on that, more of the outer ring dwarves were getting lit up.

A lot of animated dwarves down

We were not doing bad, but we were falling behind.  And then a little too much healing landed on me and they began going after Skronk and the wheels started coming off the wagon.  We had Archaedas about half way down at that point.

Last health check on Archaedas

But then we wiped.  If the boss is on Ula it generally means we’re about done.

After the wipe

It wasn’t a horrible wipe.  Three out of four of us were level 43 by that point in the run, Ula having leveled up as well, but Achaedas was still resisting attacks fairly regularly.  And, again, there is a DPS check aspect of this that we, as a group of four, are going to have to work hard to get past.  But I think we might manage it.  We may have to be 44 or even 45 as a group to ensure success, but our one run at him didn’t feel like it had no hope.

Still, we were not going to go again.  It was getting towards dinner time and home life was calling, so we released, ran back into the instance to revive, then recalled back to Ironforge to call it a night.

With all of that, plus the grinding he did to buy that mount, Viniki is close to 44.  Ula shouldn’t be too far back from that and Skronk is at least a ways into 43.  We might need to look into getting the group a level or two next time.  But the best way to do that might just to be to head back into Uldaman.  We still have quests to finish after all.  We all need some more power core drops and nobody is close to done with the fungus harvesting.

Blizzard in the Badlands

I saw this ogre shout while out in the Badlands and had to laugh.

Tell us how you really feel…

At this moment there is almost an aura of nostalgia about this being the top gaming news item a few months back now that we have Covid-19 and uncertain future ahead of us.

(I named my hunter pet “Blitzchung” back then and saw no need to change it.)

An Uldaman of Vague Memories

One does not just walk into Uldaman… at least you don’t if you want to complete all the quests.

Uldaman seems to be to be clearly designed for multiple visits.  It has a noticeable step in mob level/difficulty part way in, it has a side door like Gnomeregan, and, the clincher, you cannot actually wrap up the quests for the instance in one go.  There is one that sends you there and, upon turning it in, sends you back again.

But first you have to get all the quests, and that too is not just a matter of “grab and go.”  The project leading up to the weekend was to find and collect the quests we could.  The wiki helps, of course.  You can get a list of quests.  But you still have to go out and do things as several of the quests have precursors.

So you start in Ironforge by picking up a couple.  Then you fly off to Loch Modan to pick up and advance a couple.  Then it is off to the Badlands, where there is no Alliance flight point, so you walk all the way.

Now entering the Badlands

The color palette changes from greens to oranges as you cross over into the zone.  Even the map is in the right colors to depict the place.

Welcome to the Badlands

I didn’t have to go very far out of my way while doing some of the lead-in quests in order to fill out most of the map.

Probably the most burdensome quest on the list was Badlands Reagent Run.  This starts in Thelsamar in Loch Modan and sends you off to the Badlands to procure a few items.  The ten coyote teeth are easy.  The drop rate isn’t high, but coyotes are practically the signature mob of the zone, so they are everywhere.  Rock elemental shards are not too bad either.  There are not a huge number of rock elementals, but the drop rate is very high, so you only need a few.

And then there are the buzzard gizzards.  The drop rate is low and buzzards are few and far between in most of the zone.  I was struggling on this stage until Ula mentioned that there was a place where they seemed to congregate.  There was a bunch of them around what looked to be an abandoned orc structure.

Where the buzzard collect…

That done, it was time to trot back to Loch Modan again in order to turn that in and get the quest for the instance.  So much running.  Of course, some people had been saving their coppers for a mount.

Ula on her mechanochicken

Viniki is still about 20g shy of a mount as I write this.

Mechanostriders are not cheap

But after all that running about I had the six quests.

Ready for Uldaman

When I was done with that Moronae showed up and we shepherded him through that as well, guiding him to the buzzard spot and such before finally getting everybody together at the meeting stone.  The lineup for the evening was:

  • Ula – level 42 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 42 gnome warrior
  • Moronae – level 41 night elf druid
  • Skronk – level 41 dwarf priest

From there we headed to the front door where, as the title suggests, the whole adventure stirred up a lot of vague or half forgotten memories.  Fortunately there was just enough of a tickle in the back of our collective brains to steer us in mostly the right direction without getting too lost.

As with a lot of the classic instances, there is a whole outer area with elite mobs and a couple of the quests get updated there, as well as mobs dropping items for another.  We wandered around the outer area for a bit, then headed in where we faced Revelosh.

He went down pretty easily.  After that there was a side are… we knew there was something significant about a side area… where we fought our way to Erik, Baleog, and Olaf, the lost vikings.

Not the last appearance these guys will make in WoW

There was a quest turn in there and we read a book and then I picked up an item from a chest, which seemed to be important.

From there we wandered further into the instance to the wide open area with the model city.  Clearing that out we were left with an item that wanted the Staff of Prehistoria.  None of us had that, but Skronk remembered that we had to assemble some pieces, and I had the pieces, so we were able to summon Ironaya.

Ironaya approaches

Ironaya is one of the more memorable bosses in the instance for me.  Probably the only one I can recall clearly, but women wearing tall boots often have that effect on me.  Memorable or not, she went down.

Ironaya done

From there it was a bit of a tour of the mini map as we ran along the edges of the instance to find the bosses.  There was the Obsidian Sentinel, which we needed for a mage quest for Ula.

There he is

That was a fight we only remembered once it started.  The sentinel starts spawning adds, getting smaller as he does.  So we killed the adds then him, collecting Ula’s update.

Further along was Galgann Firehammer and his helpers.

Getting ready for Galgann

While there were three of them, we were able to knock them down with much drama.

Then we worked our way around to Grimlok. He has quite the array of wandering troggs before him and is in the end of the instance where the trash mobs start to scale up in levels a bit. We were a bit more careful with our pulls there, and manag

I sued to do pretty well with that. Grimlok himself is part of a foursome. The plan was to kill the caster, lest we find out that he was also a healer, then move on toe Grimlok. Ula would sheep the warrior and Moronae would pacify the pet basilisk. And, in the end, that worked out. We slew the caster quickly and moved on to Grimlok.

However, there came a point when the sheep popped and the basilisk broke out of his spell and the rest of the crew was trying to get that under control that I started feeling a little lonely out in front with Grimlok pounding on me.

Hanging on with Grimlok

I survived, though I had to use a potion, long enough for the DPS to get back on the big guy and burn him down.  Then the warrior and the basilisk got their turns.

At that point, with some of the pre-instance quest work, we were starting to get to the end of our time.  We started about midway into Sunday afternoon, but dinner time was approaching.  We decided to go check out at least one more boss.  We didn’t think we were up for Archaedas, but there were a couple other named mobs in the instance.

The first one we ended up at was Annora, who is the enchanting trainer in the instance.  You cannot fight her.  So we started working our way towards the Ancient Stone Keeper.  And it is along the way that we had our one and only death.

While bosses did not seem to cause us much problem, there are a number of points in the instance where you end up fighting a sizable group of non-elite mobs, like pits full of scorpions.

Scorpion trap unleashed

We were able to handle most of them, but they were often harder work than some of the boss fights.  Again, I think it is the missing DPS player slot in our group that makes these a bit of a challenge.  Viniki’s taunt has a cool down and his one AOE in defense stance needs a lot of rage to use, so the mobs always get away from me. (I might just be a bad tank in this.)  So the burden tends to fall on Ula to AOE these mobs, but she can quickly pull aggro on the lot of them and it becomes a race to save her.

One group of mobs around the Ancient Stone Keeper managed to win the race and Ula went down.  But it was just that one fight.

She died up here, above the Ancient Stone Keeper

The Ancient Stone Keeper himself… well, he has a gimmick at least.  We learned quickly to get out of the whirlwinds that appear around him.  But with that bit of knowledge we were able to knock him down as well.

He ended up dropping a pair of gloves for me.

Stone Keeper Gloves

I am not sure that +10 spirit was the stat for which I would have wished.  However, I was still wearing mail gloves, so the armor was a boost, and the defense and stamina stats were to my liking, so I took them.

And then it was time for a screen shot of the group.

Done with the Ancient Stone Keeper

Before we recalled, Skronk wanted to go track down a paladin’s corpse that was earlier in the dungeon, around the first troggs.  It was something related to a quest.  However, when we found him there wasn’t anything we could “do” with the paladin, so opted to recall back to Ironforge.

There, in turning in some of the quests, we got the update from one that sends us back for that paladin.  So just one trip to Uldaman won’t do.  Also, we have a lot of drops to get still.  But at least we know where that pally is for next time.

Ula has put together another great video of our first Uldaman run.

She captured all of our boss fights very well.  I especially like the sound effect when Ironaya runs up to Viniki at the start of the fight and punts him.  Also, apparently there was a problem with Viniki’s animation for a while, so instead of the running animation, he was just walking very fast.  I could not see this on my client, but it is visible at some points in the video.  I caused great hilarity as I ran around.

There are also a couple of post-credit scenes, including one with the scorpions and another capturing Ula’s death at the Ancient Stone Keeper.  She also captured a lot of the drops we got from bosses.

We will be making a return trip of course.  We need to level up, if nothing else, before thinking beyond Uldaman.

Right now Viniki is close to 43, as is Ula I imagine.  Skronk made it to 42 and Moronae is probably close there.  Looking back on our group composition from our first victory over Archaedas, we were a group of five that were levels 43 and 44.  We might still give Archaedas a try next time.  That will further test the “bad then, better now” theory of our abilities I suppose.

Razorfen Downs Confusion

After the previous week’s run at Razorfen Downs, where we ran out of time with only two bosses down, I decided to do some ground work to make sure things went better.

To start with, we completely missed a quest giver outside of the instance.  And we spent more time wandering around looking for instance, so I got out my druid and walked around stealthed in cat form to get the lay of the land until I was sure I could find my way directly to the instance.

I had also suggested on Discord that we pre-position ourselves over on Kalimdor if possible, and Skronk added that it might be a shorter run from the alliance flight point on the boarder of Thousand Needles and Feralas, so I tested that route as well.

We met an hour earlier than the previous Sunday afternoon, but I still wanted to get things under way as I was still not certain how long the whole run would take.  The group met up in Theramore.

  • Ula – level 41 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 40 gnome warrior
  • Moronae – level 40 night elf druid
  • Skronk – level 40 dwarf priest

Skronk and Ula had also leveled themselves up a bit over the week, so the whole group was past the level 40 mark. (But nobody has the gold yet to buy a mount.)

Everybody in Theramore

The first problem came up when we found that Moronae didn’t have the Feralas flight point.  Fortunately, I had forseen this as a possible issue and had run Winki, my level 24 gnome warlock, down to the flight point and camped him there.  So Skronk, Ula, and I flew from Theramore to Feralas.

Our dots on the map

Once there I logged Viniki out and Winki in, got in the group, and fired up the ritual of summoning.

I even remembered to have a soul shard on hand

Moronae was summoned and got the flight point while I swapped back to Viniki and we headed off to the instance.  There was no trouble along the way.  At the top of The Great Lift the Horde guard was dead already as we passed through, so we were unimpeded all the way to our destination area.

Leaving the Great Lift behind us

I was also able to successfully navigate us to the instance, taking a small side trip up the hill overlooking the path to pick up the quest we missed last time.

Overlooking the crude boar snout structure

Then it was into the instance, where we got ourselves prepped.

There was a question as to how we ought to proceed.  We decided to go left again and follow the same path as before.  However, we decided to leave Belnistrasz and his escort quest until the end.  There was a bad feeling about that.

So off we went.  Being better prepared and higher level, things went a bit more smoothly.

We were able to ring the gong for the Tuten’kash event without losing anybody.  For the first wave we actually all stood so far at one end of the room that the wave of non-elites at the other ended were outside of our aggro radius and just hung out until we finished with the mobs at our end.  They actually ran in a bit, then withdrew down the hallway it seemed, as we went to go ring the gong for the next round only to find no cog wheel when we moused over it.  We had to go looking for them before we could get to the next round.

The round with the elites was a bit chaotic, but we got it done.  And Tuten’kash himself was a simple fight.

Tuten’kash goes down again

From there we moved on through the Murder Pens and across the bridge to Mordresh Fire Eye on his pile of bones.  This went almost exactly as it did last time, where I got a couple of pulls from the skeleton mosh pit before hitting somebody who aggro’d the whole pack and the fight was on.  Ula AOE’d the skeletons while I ran up to Mordesh and hit him with my shield every time he tried to cast his fireball spell.

Smacking Mordesh

Without that he doesn’t do a lot of damage, so we were able to take him pretty easily.

He dropped the Deathmage Sash, which went to Ula.

From there we went back to the Murder Pens and took the path that starts up to the summit of spiral.  There is a lot of trash on the way as well as the occasionally running skeletons.  But the runners are non-elite, so we tended to just take them in stride.

We hit The Glutton on the way up.  Or he hit us… or me… and he hits pretty hard.

The Glutton approaches

However, we had it in us to take him down.  He dropped the Glutton’s Cleaver, a 1h axe that was much worse than the sword I got at the end of Scarlet Monastery, so we rolled on that as vendor trash.  It was worth over a gold, which still seems rich to us.

We kept on around the spiral until we arrived at the summit and Amnennar the Coldbringer, the final boss.

At the top of the spiral

None of us could remember anything about this fight, so we just went at him.

As it turns out, he resists frost, which forced Ula to change up on damage, and spawns some minions, which we mostly just ignored, and knocks back the tank every once in a while, which could have gone really badly had I been kicked off the summit, but I happened to be positioned so his tent was behind me… in inadvertent but fortunate… so I just slammed into that.  Also, he has some dialog.

Are you in the right expansion?

Even with all of that together he went down pretty quickly.  He dropped the Coldrage Dagger.  I was hoping for the plate helm he can drop, as I am still wearing the mail helm from Herod.  I took the dagger, being the only one interested in it.  The DPS is a hair lower than my sword (29.7 vs 30) but it can proc, which might make up for it.

Coldrage dagger stats

Also, a dagger looks like a sword when wielded by a gnome, while a sword sometimes looks silly.

Dagger vs Sword sizing

That pretty much wrapped things up save for the escort quest.  So we tromped back to Belnistrasz to give that another shot.  We were not feeling confident.

There he is in his murder pen

And, of course, things started off with an almost comedic blunder.  The first time you speak to Belnistrasz you have to go through a series of quest dialogs before you end up with the go.  But after you have gotten the escort quest, you basically just accept the quest he has up and it is off to the races.

I was thinking about the original set, so just hit accept right away, only to find it was go time.  Everybody else got the join message, and was able to get on the quest again, though Ula had a moment of panic when she found her quest log was full.  She managed to clear that and accept.  But we were going to have to buff on the fly as Belnistrasz marched on to the idol.

We got waylaid at the last corner by a pair of boars… I think that is just part of the event script… killed them, then caught up with Belnistrasz, quillboars already in progress beating on him.  I pulled taunted one off and the other got sheeped and we were on our way.

Until Belnistrasz.  A few spawns in I had clearly lost track of mobs and one of them killed him.  At that point the event despawned and the quest showed as “failed” in our logs again.

There it is again…

It looked like the event was going to elude us again, though at least this time we did not wipe.  We took a group shot at the idol as it seemed like that might be it for the evening.

The first final group shot

Skronk went to look up if it was possible to get things restarted or if Belnistrasz might respawn while we debated whether or not it was worth it to reset the instance to start again.  The restart was voted down and the web seemed to indicate that if we waited a couple hours Belnistrasz might come back.  We were wandering about when Skronk went back to the start point of the escort quest to find Belnistrasz was already back.

Woohoo!  We got another run at it!

Forearmed this time, we got buffs, made sure health and mana was at max, cleared space in quest logs, and then set off with once more.

Another bite at the apple… or idol… or whatever

At the same turn we ran into the same two boars again… on script… but I ran on past and set myself up to grab the first mobs as they spawned, before they started pounding on Belnistrasz.

For all of the prep, we were still in the same hole as last week.  Getting through this event requires burning mobs down fast, and with a four person group we are missing a person’s worth of possible DPS.  So we started falling behind.  We killed one elite and the non-elite boars that come with when the second group spawned.  Ula kept one sheeped, but we were similarly back a mob when the third group spawned.  And then the fourth.

At some point Moronae pulled aggro on one of the mobs… we were practically surfing the crowd of quillboars by that point… and died.  Already behind with four, losing a DPS put us further in the hole.  But I was determined to hang on for as long as possible.  I pulled out all the tricks I could, tossing out any possible skill that wasn’t on cool down as rage was not at all an issue.

We were still going when Belnistrasz called the one minute mark, but it wasn’t clear how much longer we would last.  Moronae mentioned releasing in the hope of running back to help, but the distance back to the instance was way too far for that.  Eventually I succumbed, followed by Skronk and then Ula.  We were defeated.

Everybody dead at the idol

I stayed put in my corpse to watch Belnistrasz get ganked by the mass of mobs.

Only he didn’t get ganked.  Instead he announced that the ritual was complete… to those of us who had not hit the release button yet.

Ritual complete, op success!

Then he disappeared and the mobs in the room just milled about in a couple of groups.  Those of us still in the room, dead though we were, got the quest update.  We had apparently made it just over the time limit.

But we were still dead.  We had to release and trot back to the instance.  Once in we had healed up, buffed up, and got ourselves ready because, in the interim, the instance had started to respawn.  We fought our way, group by group, back to the idol room.  Fortunately that is not too far into the instance.  There we saw the two groups of mobs still milling about.  We took on one of them, but as we got to the last guy we got too close to the other group and pulled them by proximity.

Still, it wasn’t too bad.  We burned them down and looked around the room.  There was a brazier with a cog wheel on it when you moused over it.  When we clicked on it, Skronk and I were able to complete the quest and get the reward… but Morone and Ula were left out.  The “complete” button was not activated for them.  They apparently released just before the quest update and missed it.  Erf.

We seemed to be done.  I had thought there was a boss at the end of the event, but the room was clear.  The quest from outside the instance did not get any updates, so we decided to skip that and call it a night.  We took a second group shot around the brazier.

The second final group shot

Then we recalled and turned in the one remaining quest that came from the cathedral in Stormwind.  That was about it.

A little later on, after I had dinner, I went back and started looking up the Belnistrasz event.  We were supposed to fight Plaguemaw the Rotting.   When I went to look for screen shots of him, he didn’t seem to look much different than the other mobs, so it is possible we killed him him the mix and didn’t even notice.  The only hint was that we got the Swine Fists off of one of the mobs, or so I seem to remember.  That is a drop from Plaguemaw.  But I don’t have any screen shots to really back that up and Ula hadn’t been running video.  The closest I have is this shot after the fight.

Corpses around the brazier and idol

In looking at screen shots on the web, I think the corpse in the foreground might be him.  But it is hard to tell.  It might not be him.

So maybe we killed him.  But if we did, it didn’t register very much.

Once more, Ula rolled up an excellent video that shows a lot of what I have described.

I like to watch these after I write up my post to see how they line up.  I am surprised at how infrequently I need to change my post after seeing the video.

And so it goes.  We have now done as much Razorfen Downs as we are likely to do.  The next item on the list is Uldaman.  That means so research to find the quests, a trip to the Badlands, and probably several runs at the whole thing, as it is one of the dungeons with a side-door and a step up in levels such that the starting mobs are likely gray when the group is on par with the Archaedas, the final boss.

Finally, a list of past posts about our runs at Razorfen Downs: