Category Archives: WoW Classic

Gnomeregan Again but Backwards

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

Gnomeregan Establishing Shot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My reaction to events

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

The back door has mobs too

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

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

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

All fire, no ice

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

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

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

We meet again Crowd Pummeler

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dead and Fergorin is out in the middle there

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

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

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

Me, face down in the toxic ooze again

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

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

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

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

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

The Healium UI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fergorin going down back in the tunnel

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

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

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

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

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

Time to hearthstone once again

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

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

Current Guild MOTD

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

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

Gnomeregan Quest Cleanup

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

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

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

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

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

Some troggs blocking our way to the punch card update

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

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

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

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

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

Battling a sentry bird

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

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

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

There we go, in the air again

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

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

Almost there

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

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

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

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

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

One last group between us and Thermaplugg

After that it was just us and Mekgineer Thermaplugg.

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

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

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

The post fight lineup

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

Ula and her new hat

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

Time to stone out

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

Relaxing on the fountain

Addendum: You can see the hat in action here.

Six for the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard

Saturday saw the return of Earlthecat to the instance group.  Finally setup in Japan and with some time to play, he was able to join us.

Earlthecat arrives

Oddly, the time difference… while it was late Saturday afternoon for us, it was Sunday morning for him… worked out for everybody.  None of us are staying up past midnight very often these days.  9pm seems like a reasonable bed time for most of us, and Earl’s job had kept him up with the markets on the east coast, so logging on to play early suits him just fine.

As for performance, Earl seemed to have very good performance from across the Pacific Ocean.  Our local pings to the server were in the 65ms range, and he was just over double that from Tokyo, which is well within playable parameters.  There was also no noticeable delay using Discord for our voice comms.  So we were able to get together to play without a hitch.

That left us with a decision as to what to do with the reformed group on Saturday afternoon.  The split seemed to be between hitting Razorfen Kraul, which is about on par with Gnomeregan level-wise, and which we have so far skipped save for that warrior quest run, and the graveyard in Scarlet Monastery, which was next on our list up the instances by levels list, though there was one druid voice suggesting a return to Gnomer to try and get that drop from the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.

Momentum seemed to be pushing us forward to Scarlet Monastery, as did our group size.  We had six people on, which mean going in as a raid.  With that many people we figured we ought to go upward in difficulty.

And then there was the formation of the group.  Both Skronk and I had left some alts back in the low 20s, assuming that we would do some catch-up instances with Earl once he was back.  But Earl drove straight through to level 30.  And, since Earl is a tank spec’d warrior, my warrior Viniki now seems redundant, so I was looking for an alt I could bring along.  I got Skronk to tank for my restoration spec’d druid for a bit earlier, and got him up to 26, so decided to bring him along to heal, with backup heals being provided by Fergorin, Skronk’s pally.  Ula traded out for her warrior, Scscla, leaving our group composition for the night looking like this:

  • Alioto – level 26 night elf driud
  • Scscla – level 28 gnome warrior
  • Fergorin – level 28 dwarf paladin
  • Obama – level 29 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 30 night elf druid
  • Earlthecat – level  30 human warrior

That seemed like quite a level spread, especially given the instance would be featuring mobs that were level 30 and up.  But Alioto wasn’t there to hit things, just to heal and be an aggro radius hazard, so he could just stand well back and do his thing.

Getting to Scarlet Monastery meant another road trip as well.  The closest Alliance flight point… and this is a common Google query that brings people here… is Southshore.  But we had been to Southshore already as part of our Shadowfang Keep run.  Sort of.  And suspecting that this might be our destination, I had run ahead and gotten the flight point for Alioto so when the time came I just flew him out.

Coming in to Southshore

However Monorae had missed getting the flight point.  I had forgotten that we had run out to summon him and Obama on that SFK run, though Obama had since run back for the flight point.  So we did have to do a summon for him.

Bringing Moronae to us

The group together now, it was time to go find the instance.  Somehow I ended up towing everybody along, which was fine through Silverpine Forest.  You just follow the road and pay attention to the signs.

Off we go

Once you get into Tirisfal Glades and in the vicinity of Undercity my memories were a little soft focus.  According to the list of our vanilla WoW runs, we had last been there back in January of 2007.  Runs since then have either been done with Horde characters, who have no worries in the area, or via the dungeon finder when that came along.  The truth is that people won’t make a run like that if they do not have to.

Somewhere in my memories I seemed to recall a guard post along the road that was a hazard, and as the lowest level player in the group I was especially wary of such hazards.  So I may have diverted a bit far off course in order to avoid that.  Eventually I had to stop and Google a map for a reference point, but eventually saw the little path that leads up to SM.

Our route through Tirisfal Glades

The signs were there to announce our destination.

This must be the place

Along the way we sorted out how to deal with being in a raid group.  A lot of the instances will let raids of up to 10 players run them, though there is a question as to whether or not you get quest updates if you have more than a group.  We had no quests though, so that wasn’t an issue at the moment.  However we did find that pally auras don’t work across raid groups, and Earl, most in need of the aura, ended up alone in group 2 of the raid, so there was some Googling to figure out how to move people around in raids (it is under the social panel where your friends and guild lists are), then a discussion as to who ought to be alone.  Since my plan with Alioto was to stay as far back as possible, I volunteered him for that position.

Our raid group disposition

So there we were having arrived.  We stopped a bit to take stock, which is when I realized I left in a bit of a hurry.  I didn’t have the reagent for my combat ress (Moronae gave me a couple), was low on drink (Fergorin shared a few with me), and potions.  So we spent some time getting sorted out on the road.  It is easy to get used to having a mage there for food and drink.

What does a warrior need really?

Once we had that sorted, at least to the extent possible, we started up the road to the instance.  I don’t think we got more than a dozen steps up before I started drawing aggro from Scarlet Crusade archers along the route.  My amazing aggro radius was enough to flush out all the lurkers along the route to the door.

Into the Scarlet Complex

The outer complex has its share of elites wandering around, but you also have to find the way to the correct instance, as it hosts four dungeons.  Fortunately Skronk knew where we needed to go, up to the far left corner to get into the graveyard.

Once in, things started off easily enough.  The first mobs were at the far end of a corridor, so I was able to stand far enough back that I did not invite additional trouble.

Into the instance

Standing back and healing means that all of the screen shots show Alioto standing around doing nothing.

When it came to getting into the next room however somebody else went to far in and we got an accidental pull that included Torturer Vishas.  That was a fight.

He was marked so people wouldn’t get too close…

We ended up surviving without any losses, but I ran out of mana healing before the fight was done and Fergorin had to drop some heals to keep everything going.  My mana pool remained my main constraint during the whole run.  Fergorin keeping Blessing of Wisdom up on me, which regenerates a bit of mana every five seconds, made a very big impact on my ability to heal.  If I needed to drop a Healing Touch on Earl, that would at least keep Rejuvenation or Remove Curse as a possible casts.

Torturer Vishas was down, but only dropped the Bloody Brass Knuckles, a common item that didn’t even meet the group loot threshold.

After that we worked our way through the torture chamber, where we had a group of four mobs to take out.  But with six people, three of whom can be tanks, plus a voidwalker, we were able to split them up and still leave enough DPS to focus on targets to bring things down before anybody died after the healer once again ran out of mana.

Sometimes you just need to burn down individuals rather than trying to split up and multi-off-tank.  The amount of healing required to deal with a dead mob is zero.  But I say that as the wee healer with the limited mana pool.  And we made it out of the torture chamber and into the graveyard proper.

Out in the graveyard

This might be the most familiar bit of an instance in the game.  It certainly is for me.  It is the location where every year I dutifully show up every year to slay the Headless Horseman, only to not get his mount as a drop.

But there was no Headless Horseman for us, just a bunch of mobs in the form of some elite undead and the ghosts, the brine shrimp as they have been called, to clear out.

Earl asked how thorough we needed to clear and I asked how many mobs we wanted to pull due to my aggro radius.  So it was all of them then.

However, we had forgotten the behavior of the graveyard.  As we got to about the fountain, having diligently cleared everything in sight, we looked back to see the undead had already began to respawn behind us.  Also, we didn’t get any of the rare spawns in the graveyard.  So we decided to move things along and make straight for the crypt at the far end.

From there it was down the stairs and into more mobs.

They were happy to come to us

The path down into the crypt… the whole instance really… is pretty short.  We had a couple of groups to work through, but we had soon blundered into the boss, Bloodmage Thalnos, the big boss.  Unprepared to start the fight, it was a bit of a near run thing taking down a level 34 boss at our level, even with the six of us.  Though, again, that was largely due to my mana running down trying to keep Earl alive.

Big heals eat mana, and I had to lay a couple down early on.

But with heals from Fergorin and the Blessing of Wisdom drip feeding me enough mana to get off a fresh heal now and then, we were able to bring down the boss.  Op success!

Victory in the Crypt

Our first run with the return of Earl went pretty well.  I clearly have some work to do getting my potential group alts up to the rest of the group in levels, but we seemed to work pretty well, and we knocked out the first stage of Scarlet Monastery.

As has become the norm, Ula has a video of our run through the graveyard for those who want a more visual experience.

My one complaint about this, and my screen shots, is that unless I am actively healing Alioto is just standing in the background like he is an observer.  Healer life I suppose.  I’m not supposed to get in there and hit things… not with that aggro radius certainly.

November in Review

The Site

Another quiet month when it came to traffic.  There was a spike at the start, because writing about Blizzard and BlizzCon will get you some attention.  But then writing about EVE Online or Daybreak games… that is pure death for traffic.  But I write about what I am interested in and what I am playing.

It was apparently also “internet picture posting month” or “inpipomo” or some such.  People were posting screen shots and keep count and that sort of thing.  I thought about joining in, but every month is picture posting month around here.  I am well past 100 for the month I am sure, but I’ll post one more just for luck.

SIEGED!

I’ll leave you to figure out what that even means.

One Year Ago

It was the end of days for WildStar.

I commemorated TorilMUD for having survived for 25 years, and did a post about the Castle Drulak zone on Evermeet.

I was looking back at the decade old VirginWorlds podcast dedicated to the Star Wars: The Old Republic announcement.

BlizzCon was on its way and I was projecting what we might see.  What we actually got… well, Diablo Immortal didn’t play well with fans, but we heard a lot about WoW Classic.  I went over why I felt fan expectations for Blizz are hopeless, but nobody listens.

I had finally schlepped my way to level 120 in Battle for Azeroth and collected my WoW 14th anniversary gifts.

In EVE Online, there was the very pretty Crimson Harvest event.  I was also showing off the swag I got from EVE Vegas. There was also an op out to Geminate to tangle with Pandemic Horde.

But mostly there was the Onslaught expansion, which landed mid-month and reduced the once mighty POS to just so many bubbles in space, though they still haven’t pulled them from the game a year later.  There were also daily login rewards and the activity tracker.

Project Nova, shown at EVE Vegas, had been postponed.

Daybreak was announcing The Burning Lands expansion for EverQuest while the Chaos Descending expansion launched for EverQuest II on my anniversary with the game, though I bid the game farewell for a while.

But the month was really focused on Lord of the Rings Online and its Legendary Server.  I wondered what we might see on the eve of its launch.  The server itself was overwhelmed pretty quickly and there were problems with its login queue.  A second server was announced almost right away.

After fiddling around with ways to beat the queue I was able to get in and start a new character.  There were some quirks of the game to come to grips with, like the lack of tin.  But I made it to the Lone Lands before the month was out, working on the many deeds there.

Five Years Ago

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Launched.

There was BlizzCon, about which I made the usual predictions.  I found the event itself vaguely dissatisfying.  But those who were bitching about lack of focus on WoW at BlizzCon 2015, go back and look at how little attention it got in 2014!  Otherwise we were in Azeroth collecting achievements and waiting for the expansion to hit.

Oh, yeah, the expansion hit… Warlords of Draenor and server queues and all that.   Blizz was trying to fix that while I had to figure out who to play.  Blizz eventually gave everybody 5 days free for the problems.  But hey, they had 10 million subscribers on the hook again, up from the 7.4 million low point during the summer.  Remember when subscriber numbers were a thing?

In EVE Online the Phoebe expansion arrived, bringing with it Jump Fatigue and the 10 year/50 skill long training queue.  Then they were on about removing other annoyances with the upcoming Rhea expansion.

In game the Reavers had finished up in Feythabolis with a bang and were off into Omist next, hunting the unwary before returning home again.

Rixx Javix was drawing spaceships.  He’s still at it.

And there was the This is EVE video that became wildly popular.

I reflected on EverQuest II at its 10 year anniversary.  Veterans of the game even got their own island.  Over on the EverQuest side of the house, The Darkened Sea, the 21st expansion for the game, went live.

And, finally, the power supply on my computer blew out, taking the motherboard and drives with it.  I had to rebuild, but was up and running again in a couple of days.

Ten Years Ago

I was writing about how I had not changed the blog format since I started.  I have since changed it, though mostly due to the fact that WordPress.com broke the old theme.

Our Thanksgiving entertainment was Rock Band 2.  While I was really bad at it, it was a lot of fun.  The next year we played Super Mario Bros. Wii, which I was also really bad at, but which isn’t nearly as much fun.  However, the kids liked it.  I rode along in a bubble most of the time.

And while Tech Crunch was exposing the odious practices favored by Mark Pinkus to get FarmVille and Mafia Wars profitable, the New York Times was gushing over this wonderful new virtual goods market, which I summarized and provided links to here.

I managed to get some playtime in with the original Torchlight, though there were some problems.  It turns out that if you bought the game from the wrong vendor, you could be a while waiting for patches.

The first LEGO Harry Potter game was announced, which I had anticipated would come to pass almost two years before it was announced.

Warhammer Online announced that levels 1-10 were going to be free, making me wonder if they were just going to breed a mass of level 1 twinks.  I think that is what the end result was.  Well, there were twinks, but I don’t think the amounted to much of a “mass” in any way.

In EVE OnlinePLEX was off to a booming start.  The price of a PLEX has risen some since then (~300 million then, well over a billion ISK now in new PLEX).  Meanwhile, the first Hulkageddon was on and even I noticed something was amiss.  Eventually somebody pointed me in the right direction in the comments.

I wondered if fishing was really the secret ingredient for MMO success.

I got all nostalgic for Star Trek because of Star Trek Online’s impending release.

World of Warcraft and EverQuest II both hit their five year anniversaries.  Then I had the temerity to say that there were things that EQII didn’t do very well in my opinion.  Odd how some of those things from a decade back have changed… or how I have changed… or both.

On the WoW end of things, somebody was suing because they felt the game wasn’t easy enough.

Then there were Mr. T Mohawk grenades and a 24 slot Portable Hole, outrages both along with the $10 vanity pets.  And I was complaining about not getting the Headless Horseman’s mount during Hallow’s End.  Again, sound familiar?

I wrote a very short post about Pilgrim’s Bounty which went on to become the most viewed post on the site November of five years ago.

And the instance group started in with Ragefire ChasmWailing Caverns and Deadmines on the RP-PVP server.  Actual PVP occurred since we had to walk to the Deadmines.  We get called griefers for daring to engage in PVP on a PVP server.

Fifteen Years Ago

As may have been mentioned, World of Warcraft launched fifteen years ago this month.

Also celebrating a fifteenth birthday this month was EverQuest II.  It launched a few weeks earlier, but has ever remained in WoW‘s shadow.

EVE Online got its second free expansion, Exodus, which introduced player owned starbases… the POS of yore… one of the uses of which was to claim territory in untamed null sec space.  And thus the race to for empires began.

Twenty Years Ago

Asheron’s Call, the third of the big three break out MMORPGs of the late 90s, launched.  Never as big as its rivals (it peaked at 120K players to Ultima Online’s 250K and EverQuest’s 550K) it blazed its own trail in trying to define what an MMORPG ought to be.  Neglect, a mis-handled sequel, and a studio that made some dubious and costly moves, left the game without a home when Standing Stone Games was split off to support Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings OnlineAsheron’s Call was officially shut down in January 2017.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. How Many People Play EVE Online?
  3. The Apology
  4. CCP Falcon Leaves CCP
  5. Looking Back at BlizzCon 2019
  6. End of a Vision
  7. Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean
  8. Visions of a Sunken Temple
  9. No. I’d Rather Kill Rats.
  10. Quote of the Day for WoW Classic Fans
  11. Gambling Returns to New Eden
  12. BlizzCon 2019 and The Big Four Announcements

Search Terms of the Month

how to like raspberries
[to my mind they can only be tolerated]

new everquest game
[Maybe some day]

meeting stones dont summon in classic
[no they do not]

mau wow
[poppa oom mau wow]

why did ccp change the cyno rules in eve online
[If I could answer that…]

Game Time from ManicTime

World of Warcraft gets dethroned from the top spot after three months in a row, as I spent some time in EverQuest II for the 15th anniversary.  I did play less WoW Classic than I did in October.  However, EQII got a big boost thanks to my being off from work most of Thanksgiving week, giving me the time to indulge in its long, side track questing.  It was well behind in time spent until this past week.

  1. EverQuest II – 49.47%
  2. World of Warcraft – 42.94%
  3. EVE Online – 5.53%
  4. EVE Aether Wars – 1.69%
  5. LOTRO – 0.37%

EVE Online

Not a lot happened in New Eden for me.  I went on a total of two ops.  I’m not terribly interested in a lot of the game at the moment and a good chunk of my time was simply spent moving all my junk from one Keepstar to another since our staging station changed.

EverQuest II

Went back for the 15th anniversary and managed to find a goal that seemed obtainable, getting my alleged main to the level cap of 110.  Getting to 108 was quick, but then there was a few days of distraction as I went off on what was something of a wild goose chase, at least when it came to the task at hand.  However, there were some other things unlocked that may do me well later.

Pokemon Go

Still lingering around level 37, though 38 is getting closer.  My wife asked me what we were going to do when we hit level 40.  I said we’d probably quit and go play the Harry Potter version of the game for a change.  That seemed to be okay, since she is much more of a fan of that than Pokemon.

Level: 37 (+0… but very close to 38)
Pokedex status: 470 (+7) caught, 495 (+7) seen
Pokemon I want: I need more Sinnoh stones…
Current buddy: Tepig

World of Warcraft

I logged in for Darkmoon Faire, which is what I do every month.  I will level up my trade skills that way eventually.  I also logged in for the 15th anniversary, though really only to get the achievement and whatever they were handing out directly.  I did not do any of the events nor the LFR for the mount.  I might regret that if mounts were rare, but when you have more than 400, it just isn’t that big of a deal I suppose.

WoW Classic

I slowed down a bit in WoW Classic in November.  I didn’t stop, but as you can see from the play time break down, I didn’t spent more than 90% of my time playing it to the exclusion of all else.  It isn’t a sprint but a marathon to get to level 60 and through all those instances.

Coming Up

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, according to some.  I like that the production servers at work will be locked down for most of the month so no worry about pushing updates or changes.  Just don’t let anything go wrong.

Game companies though… there will be expansion for EverQuest and EverQuest II and EVE Online next month.  We’ll also be getting battlegrounds in WoW Classic.  Then there will be holiday events and the Steam Winter Sale and all of that.

As for me, expect the usual end of the year nonsense I suppose.  There is of series of annual posts I have accumulated over the years that I will no doubt get to again.  Reviews of predictions, a look at what I played, highs and lows, maybe even something about books, all culminating in predictions for the new year.

Gnomeregan, But with a Plan

Last week’s Gnomer run could be rated as a success.  We went in, worked our way through to Electrocutioner 6000, obtained the back door key, killed the bosses up to that point, had a couple of intense fights, only had one death, and had zero wipes.  Op success.

On the flip side, the five of us went into the instance with six Gnomer quests in our log and only one of us, Skronk, came out with even a single one of those quests completed.  That was not stonks.  I think the first time we did the instance back in 2006 we did better, but still came out with a lot of quests undone.  But we went on to Scarlet Monastery and deleted those from our quest log.

So over the course of the week Skonk looked into what we needed to do and came up with a plan.  It wasn’t a complicated plan.  It was more of a reminder of the things we needed to do to wrap up some of the quests we had.

On Saturday evening we assembled again in Ironforge, set to return and finish things off.  Our group was:

  • Ula – level 30 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 30 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 29 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 29 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 29 night elf druid

Well, we sort of assembled in Ironforge.  Obama had logged off outside the instance the previous week, so we ran out to him.

Once more through the snow

For some reason he thought it wise to go into the instance, and did so before we grouped up.  Then he got aggro and died at about the time we arrived.  However, because he went in before he was in the group, entering Gnomer ourselves we did not see his corpse so could not ress him.  So he had to release and run back to the instance, go in, come back to life, then come back out to meet up with us.  There is always some complication.

He had to come back out because we had things to do outside the instance first.  We had to run around to where the side door is and find Techbot for the Save Techbot’s Brain quests.  That was a kill and loot.

Techbot’s brain saved, body slain

We also had to get our white punch cards update at the machine that is outside the instance as well.  Once we had done that, it was back to the instance itself. When we were previously at the instance there had something of a scene going on, with a group jumping out of the instance having gotten into some trouble within, only to get jumped by the mobs outside the instance.  This time around all was quiet.

Once inside things went pretty smoothly.  We cleared our way to the edge of the open area, jumped off the ledge, took on the ooze we landed on, then cleared a mob as the Viscous Fallout once again came up behind us mid-fight.

Here he comes, sneaking up again

As with last time, he may have been an add, but we still didn’t have much problem with him either.  However, he dropped the staff again, rather than the cloth boots the casters were coveting.  Such is life with RNG.

We went from there over to the ramp up to the dormitory and the room with the sloped walls where we had such a chaotic battle last time.  This time around we just needed to clear a couple of mobs to reach one of the punch card machines we needed for the second punch card upgrade.  We were on our way.

Then it was off to the gauntlet again, where we managed to clear through to the big room with the Electrocutioner 6000 in the middle.

We’re here already

Elapsed time in the instance at that point was 20 minutes.  We cleared around to the ramp, and got stuck in with the Electrocutioner 6000 pretty handily.

This time fighting in a lit section of the platform

At just past the 30 minute mark we were already up to where we made it last week.  Things were going smoothly as we cleared around to the tunnel that would take us to the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.  Moronae coveted one of the possible drops.

Again, clearing through to him wasn’t a big deal.  We were able to take groups out easily enough and were soon looking at our target.

The Crowd Pummeler 9-60 waits

Like many bosses, he doesn’t have a lot in the way of complicated mechanics.  He stands apart with an attack that throws you back, which could get awkward if you were fighting with your back to the ledge.  However, we had arranged ourselves in such a way that it was not an issue… totally by chance, yes, but it worked out.

At that point we were bopping along pretty well.  We cleared around to the elevator and then cleared the whole room below just to make sure we got all the “coke machines” that were down there for quest updates.

Then it was up the side tunnel that empties out into the ramp which leads down to the final boss, Mekgineer Thermaplugg.  We were pretty close to the end.  And then our troubles began.

Once again, there is something of a sudden ramp up in difficulty mid-instance.  As I have said before, vanilla WoW instances seem like a mix of experiments and assumptions about dungeon design.  And one of those assumptions was clearly that people were going to take multiple runs at instances.  While Gnomer doesn’t have the steep level ramp from start to finish the way Deadmines does, the key you get for the side door is an indication that they expected people to get that far, the work up a bit before going further.

So while things were very manageable so far, the moment we spilled out into the tunnel with the Dark Iron Agents and their mechanical friends, things suddenly got more difficult, though it would take us a bit to notice how much in over our heads we were.

The one wise thing we did was take out a small group that was up the tunnel from us, just to give ourselves more room before we took on the foursome of Dark Iron Agents in the direction we needed to go.  Not only were there four mobs to handle, all level 32 or 33 while we were still 29 and 30 as a group, but we totally forgot about the mines that the Dark Iron drop.  Add in an alarm bot that came up behind us and called in adds and the wheels came off pretty quickly.  We ended up with a wipe on that group, having taken down just one of them.

Dead on the ramp, mines about

But at least we got one, and Skronk had the soul stone ready.  We were not sure what the mines would do, there being one on either side of Skronk’s corpse.  He popped the soul stone and the mines immediately detonated, killing him again.

Strewn about sans mines now, Skronk face down rather than face up this time

That meant we had to release and run back.  In running back we decided to take the side door in, hoping to avoid the stuff we left behind.  We got to the door, over by where Techbot spawns, and found we could not use the key while dead.  Oh no!

And then one of use realize that, as ghosts, we could walk through the door and we were able to get back into the instance.  We buffed up and cleared our way ahead, hitting a second locked door.  I guess they needed a double door solution, the first to keep people from just wandering in if they didn’t have the key and the second to keep people from ghosting in the back door.

We were back and facing the three remaining Dark Iron, still marked with targeting icons.  Three should be easier than four, right?  So we checked our buff and got stuck in again.

And then something odd happened, which I still haven’t figured out.  Somehow we managed to draw what must have been 6-8 additional mobs, Dark Iron Agents and the mechs that are mixed in with them.  Maybe proximity to a group of two down in the lower part of the tunnel?  They swarmed in from up the ramp mid-fight, causing us to wipe again.

Everybody freakin’ shows up to kill us

On the bright side, the soul stone was up again, so Skronk had that in hand before the wipe.  But he was once again dead right next to one of the Dark Iron mines.  It seemed like we were going to have to do the return run again.  But, since the soul stone is “use it or lose it” he gave it a shot.  And, for no reason I can see, the mine didn’t go off.

Skronk escapes the mine

So he was able to ress us.  We buffed up again and carried on, trying to stick to the wall side of the ramp lest we draw a crowd again.

We were also becoming very diligent about zapping alarm bots when they showed up.  They only take a couple of hits, but if you don’t get them you’re going to have some adds.

The only good Alarm Bot is a dead Alarm Bot… from earlier in the instance

On we went, finally clearing that first group of four.  After that there were a couple smaller groups before we hit another group of four where things once again got our of hand and ended up in a wipe.  The soul stone hadn’t been ready yet, so we had to run back again, which is a bit of a pain since the closest graveyard is in Kharanos, which is a bit of a trot from the instance.

Skeletal remains of that wipe

We got one of the fours again though, which left us with a threesome that we could handle.

From there it was another clear and we were at the bottom of the ramp.  There four mobs wander.  As we were sizing that up I looked over the lip of the ramp to see what might wander up behind us.  There was a Dark Iron Agent there and as everybody piled over to look we proximity pulled him.  I figured we were toast yet again.

But he ran up the ramp, turned around and came up our ramp, just shy of where the mobs were roaming and didn’t bring anybody from the door with him. (Though he did bring his own friend.)  Some luck at last.  And then we found we could pull each of the mobs before the big door individually if we let them wander off by themselves.  We opened up the door and found a mixed group there, two elites and some non-elite helpers.  We took them on and managed to muddle through.  It turned out we could have taken each group individually, but I figured that out too late.  Ula went down in that fight, but Skronk was quick on the ress.

That left us looking at Mekgineer Thermaplugg, the big boss.

There he is

Moronae had something to do for a bit IRL, so we camped there at the edge of the big room and planned how to take on the final boss.  That let the soul stone timer run down, which ended up being handy.

As we sat there we saw the Dark Iron Ambassador wander by on his loop.  We would get him too.

We looked up how to deal with the big fight.  We all vaguely remembered something about bombs and buttons and such, but were pretty hazy on the mechanics.  The question was who to put on button patrol.  You have to push the buttons when the bomb towers get activated or they’ll keep unleashing mech bombs to come an disrupt the fun… and help the boss kill you.

There are six towers and buttons, and we decided that the two ranged DPS, Ula and Obama, ought to take three each.  They could run to buttons and cast in between.  I would stay in the middle with Mekgineer Thermaplugg and hold him there, Moronae would DPS, and Skronk would keep us all alive.

This was a tough fight.  The boss was level 34 and, Viniki had just made it to 31, but everybody else was still 30 save Obama, who was 29.  When you’re more than 2 levels below a mob, your attacks and spells and abilities become less effective and much more subject to resists.

So, while it started smoothly, the battle quickly devolved into chaos.  I had to work to build up aggro and two of my biggest aggro generators, sunder armor and mocking blow, were getting shrugged off and resisted more often than not.  With the damage I was taking Skronk drew aggro after not too long, leaving me to chase the boss around throwing a taunt at it every eight seconds, which it seemed to shrug off more often than not.

Skronk went down and I was left chasing Mekgineer Thermaplugg around the room as he went after the casters, then back to me, then after the casters again.  Skronk used the soul stone and got back in the fight again.  But, again, with him needing to pour on the healing… the boss chasing the casters drove them away from the buttons so as I chased the boss the bombs were chasing me… he drew aggro yet again as I tailed the target trying to get aggro back on me.

Skronk went down a second time.  The only bright side at that point was that Mekgineer Thermaplugg was down to his last sliver of health, so we were able to burn him down.  The fight was won.  Moronae used his ress to bring Skronk back.  It was a messy win, but a win none the less.  We took our traditional screen shot with the dead boss.

Victory over Mekgineer Thermaplugg

Thermaplugg dropped the Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator, a very nice cloth head piece that went to Skronk on the caster roll-off.  He earned it with his extra deaths.

Then we went back out to the tunnel and waited for the Dark Iron Ambassador.  He takes a while making his rounds, but we had seen him come and go a couple of times, so we knew we just had to wait until he made his way to us once more.

The Dark Iron Ambassador approaches

As a fight he was pretty quick.  And he had the potential to drop a mace that would have been a serious upgrade for me… or a gun that would have been an upgrade for the one I use to pull.  Instead he dropped the leather wrist pieces, which went to the only leather wearer in the group.

It was a successful run, but not without its share of wipes.  The Recount total of deaths for Gnomeregan round 2:

Repair time

After that we ran around the boss room, there being a memory of a chest or something in there.  But there was nothing, so we all stoned back home to get on the quest turn ins.

All of us stoning out together

On the quest front we had done pretty well.  I managed to get them all done, and everybody else was just one shy.  We may need to go back to find a few more of the “coke machines” to wrap that up.

Quest log for Gnomer

Back in Stormwind I ran over to the Dwarven Quarter to find Shoni the Shilent.  Then it was into Deeprun Tram to get to Ironforge where a bunch of quest turn-ins awaited.

Right there in tinker town

Then from there is was a run down to Kharanos for the final turn in.  That one actually led to another quest back in Gnomer.  Given that, the fact that we need a few more items for another quest, and that a couple of us want boss drops that we didn’t get, and that we could all probably use a few more levels before Scarlet Monastery, we might yet return to Gnomer at least one more time.

I will likely get Viniki out and to level 32 before we go back in.  The final fight would probably be a bit less dramatic if I could hold aggro.

In case we don’t go, I’ll add in the part that links back to our past Gnomer runs below:

  • Gnomeregan – Round 1 – Dec 2006 – Our first run, with an odd writing style. I was still figuring out how to write about instance runs.  Also, there was no “round 2.”
  • Road to Gnomeregan – Dec 2009 – We go as our Horde group via the Booty Bay teleporter.  This was after Gnomer was refactored to be slightly lower level than in vanilla.
  • You Brought Me Here, Now Give Me The Damn Quest! – Feb 2011 – We run the Cataclysm version of the instance.
  • The Key to Gnomeregan – Nov 2019 – I might as well include last week’s post here for posterity.

Addendum:  Ula posted a pair of videos covering the run.  The first video goes up into the Dark Iron Agents.  You can see us jumping off the ledge to get to the Viscous Fallout through until our wipes.  You can see much better how many mobs came and swarmed us on that one wipe.

The second video carries on with the Dark Iron Agents, shows that proximity pull, the final clearing fights, and then the big battle Mekgineer Thermaplugg.

As always, excellent work by Ula!  Go follow her blog.

Sunday WoW Classic and the Rush to Battlegrounds

Just last Sunday I was posting about the release of the Phase 2 content for WoW Classic.  Now Blizz is saying that features from Phase 3 are coming early.

Classic is as classic does

Specifically, Blizz has announced that the battlegrounds Warsong Gulch and Alterac Valley will got live for WoW Classic on the week of December 10th, while the rest of the Phase 3 content (Darkmoon Faire and Blackwing Lair) won’t arrive until 2020.

Why the indecent haste?  As SynCaine points out, the combo of ranks and honor and rewards being added and the population faction imbalance on a lot of the PvP realms has made the open world PvP system comically nonviable on many servers.

I’m not as critical of Blizz on this front, though the fact that I play on a PvE server no doubt helps.  Blizz has made a commitment to the vanilla experience, and you can hardly toss a stone in a discussion about vanilla WoW without hitting somebody who pines for the halcyon days of yore when there was the constant battle between Tarren Mill and Southshore.

So Blizz has naturally tried to honor that.  Remember back at the 10th anniversary how Blizz brought that back for a bit, along with Molten Core, as a special anniversary event?  Now they have tried to do that again for the 15th anniversary, only this time it was on WoW Classic and it wasn’t in a staged and balance battleground environment. And guess what, it didn’t work out well.

But I’ll bet you it didn’t work out well back in the day either.  A treasured memory of one day of good fights in the Hillsbrad Foothills probably blanks out all the half-assed, lopsided days that were probably more the norm.  After all, there was a reason that Blizz created battlegrounds.

On the bright side, at least Blizz had a go to solution handy when reward driven open world PvP ended up being problematic.  I don’t know how long the gap was between honor and ranks and rewards and the implementation of battlegrounds was back in vanilla, but I bet it was longer than three weeks.  And so it goes.

The Key to Gnomeregan

As I mentioned in the Stormwind Stockade post, we were skipping straight ahead to Gnomeregan, bypassing Razorfen Kraul.  This was, in part, due to Ula demanding that we face something challenging lest her video recaps of our adventures get dull.  We cannot depend on Skronk falling off of things every time to liven up a run.

So it was to be Gnomeregan, with the group capped at level 29 according to the MOTD in guild chat and the pinned notice in our Discord.

Not that we were in danger of getting too far ahead.  When the designated time came on Sunday afternoon, our lineup was still mostly at level 28.  We were:

  • Ula – level 29 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 29 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 28 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 28 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 28 night elf druid

We met up outside the bank in Ironforge to get ourselves together.  With an eye towards getting things rolling as quickly as possible I brought my warlock, Winki, to the bank to use the summoning skill to bring Obama and Moronae to us, since I could see from the guild roster that they were strewn about the map of Azeroth and there was no need to waste our limited time on travel.

Summoning before the bank

Still, it took us a while to get sorted and to get all of the quests shared out.  Like the Stormwind Stockade, Gnomer has its share of quests.

Most of the quests

We had to trot down the hill into Kharnos in order to pick up an additional one, and I am not sure we got them all.  There is quite a list.  But once set there, it was off for the instance.

Through the snow to Gnomer

Which is a bit of a trot.  And Gnomer is also one of those instances where the elite mobs start before you get to the portal.  But that is fine.  Troggs are for killing.

And more so once inside.  Clearing troggs is a bit like clearing Defias in the Stockade.  They hang around in groups and you get the occasional walker… well, runner… passing through, though the runners are at least non-elite.  As tends to be the case, the mobs on entering the instance were lower level than us, but that changed as we moved further in.

Moving further in though… nobody brought a map and it had been ages since we had been in Gnomer, so we moved through the instance in what was probably not the most efficient method.  But we didn’t fall off of anything, which is a hazard.

We found our way to Emi Shortfuse pretty quickly and ran through her event.

Emi starts us off

The end of that event had no drop.  I was kind of hoping for the gauntlets that are a possibility, but we were denied.

Afterwards there was some question as to where to go.  I had some recollection of jumping off the ledge to get to the Viscous Fallout boss, but I wasn’t sure that was the best idea.  So we decided to just clear our way through to where ever, including that platform in the middle.

Fighting on the high platform

The fact that you can fall off of high places in Gnomer was a bit of a reminder about how things have changed.  I recall being in instances in later expansions and finding all sorts of invisible walls that would keep you from falling off into anything.

Given that we all needed a ton of drops and a bunch of the “Coke machines” that are scattered throughout the instance for quests, taking the long way around and killing as we went seemed like a reasonable approach.

At one point we came out into a room that we had to clear and things started getting out of hand.  We don’t have anybody who can quickly stop troggs when they start to run… the wind up for druid root is a bit long… so there were a couple of adds from that.  We were also fighting on a sloped section of wall with some open doors to other rooms, which ended up in a proximity pull or two.  I hope Ula got Skronk falling into one of those open areas on video.  The fight seemed to be getting out of hand but we somehow managed to come through it without losing anybody.

Taking a breather after the fight

From there we found our way into the safe zone, where we used the vendor and played with the machines.

3 silver for a piece of lead? At least it gives exp on the first try

After that we carried on to the floor area where the Viscous Fallout lives.  We were careful pulling mobs, clearing out a large area around the doorway before venturing in.

Pulling ooze back from the main floor

And then, as we were taking on one of the slimes the Viscous Fallout wandered up behind Moronae and the fight was on.  I honestly thought it was just another elemental, and the fight went pretty fast.  But, it turned out we had another boss down.  He didn’t drop the shoes, which all the casters were looking for.  Instead he had the staff.  It is a nice staff, but not what people really wanted.

After that we cleared our way back around to the out door and into an area I have heard referred to as “the gauntlet” in the past.  It is a long corridor with a walkway up on the left side, both of which had mobs wandering around.  You have to pick one or another to travel down to get to the next area.  The comedy comes when you’re in one and get close to the end of the other and pull proximity aggro and get a few surprise adds.

Here is where we ran into trouble.  At the start we went into the wide section, eschewing the walkway, mostly because there was a “Coke machine” sitting there waiting for us.  The pair of mobs next to it didn’t seem like much of an issue.

And then we got a walker as an add.  Then an alarm bot showed up and called for help before we could kill it.  And then somebody strayed too far left and we got a proximity pull from the walkway.  And then another as a walker on the walkway joined in as well.  Things were becoming a bit chaotic.

Fight in the gauntlet

At one point, with my taunt on cool down yet again… that is a long 8 seconds to wait… Skronk went down.  That was fine, he had a soul stone, we could still pull this out.  But then we had to have a discussion about whether or not we wanted to “blow” the soul stone on a fight with trash mobs.  I was very much on the “yes, revive yourself and heal me now please!” side or the discussion, and he did use the soul stone.  I suppose Moronae could have used his combat ress as an alternative, but we didn’t really have the time to bring that into the debate.

Also, all of our buffs took the opportunity to drop during that fight, just to add to things.

And yet we lived.  I figured, after that previous fiasco in the room with the sloped wall, that there was a good chance of us pulling through.  Despite being older and rusty and not very well coordinated (I’m pretty sure the voidwalker ran off and pulled another add on its own) we are still not as bad as we were back when we were doing this as a group for the first time in 2006.

Once we recovered and got buffs back up, we decided to take the walkway forward.  Its narrow confines had more mobs and would keep us marginally less likely to get proximity adds from the big open trough.  We still managed it, but we never ran into a situation quite that bad again.

Through the gauntlet, we ended up in the big room that had the next boss, Electrocutioner 6000, in the middle.  We just had to make our way around the room to the ramp up to his platform.

Around the platform, working on gnomish aircraft, are groups of five or so gnomes linked together.  They are all non-elite, so the idea was to pull them, group them up, then do “fire & ice” so the casters would burn them down.  And that sort of worked.  There were a few hiccups.  Amongs the groups there is the occasional elite mob.  The pathing for the gnome groups is still as broken as it was back in the day, which makes getting them all together awkward if you try to pull them through one of the areas they refuse to enter.  And, frankly, mage AOE wasn’t as OP effective as I recalled, so we had to get in and chop down individuals.

Still, we managed, nobody died, and we made it to the ramp and laid eyes on the boss in not too long.

There he is

Despite the Electrocutioner 6000 being a few levels above us, level 32 to our mostly level 29 group, with only Ula having hit 30 so far, the fight with him was short.  There are no special mechanics, it is just a “there he is, get him!” sort of fight that went very quickly.  Maybe our DPS isn’t all that bad.  The main complaint was that I pulled him into a dark area on his platform, so the fight wasn’t going to look good on video.

Over the corpse on the dark corner of the platform

The Electrocutioner 6000 dropped the Lagnut ring, which went to Skronk, it being spirit and stamina focused.

At that point we had been running for about 2.5 hours and there was some spouse aggro developing for a couple of us.  We started a bit late in the afternoon and dinner was ready for some of us… I had to pause the group at one point to call in a Thai food order for my wife to pick up on the way home from a listing where she was holding an open house… and pointed reminders that there was food on the table were coming.  So it was time to call it for the day.

Fortunately, the Electrocutioner 6000 dropped the workshop key, which lets people come in the other entrance, bypassing the initial bosses.

They key

So we were set for our next run.  We recalled back from that platform.

…after playing on the planes

So Gnomeregan will be a two-parter for us.  Maybe a three-parter if we decide to finish off all of the quests.  I don’t think we knocked out a single one.  As for next time, the level cap for the group was raised to 30, since Ula was already there.  We will pick up where we left off next time.

Ula has posted two short videos from our run.  The first covers entering the instance through the Emi Shortfuse event.

The second takes us through the Electrocutioner 6000 fight.

Among other things in this video, you can see the Viscous Fallout wandering up on us, the fight in the sloped room, the chaos of mobs showing up in the Gauntlet, the pathing issues I mentioned, and how quick the Electrocutioner 6000 fight and why we took the fight in that dark corner. (Hint, proximity pull again!)