The Wailing Caverns felt like a bit of a let down for me. I imagine this is largely because, for an Alliance player at least, it comes after the Deadmines in the order of instances run. And if you’re high enough level to get through the Deadmines then you’re likely past the point where WC is going to be a huge challenge. They occupy similar spots in the level curve.
Wailing Caverns from the Outside
They also make for an odd compare and contrast when it comes to early Blizzard dungeon design. They both share some similar features, like an open world area before the instance populated by elite mobs complete with its own quests. But where the Deadmines is a very linear ride… you literally come in the front and exit out the back with no real way to go astray… WC is much more sprawling and open. You can get lost in there. You can also create an unrecoverable screw up of a run in there.
But that is all getting ahead of myself. First you have to get WC, something I started thinking about once we decided to carry on so long as our subscriptions remained active. We had done some groundwork previously on getting to The Barrens and Ratchet back when we did our run to Ragefire Chasm. We took the time to get flight points along the way so as to ease our return.
And then we shook up the group so now three of the characters who went to Ragefire Chasm have been replaced by three new characters. We did a bit or work on that as well, though the fact that my character, Viniki, had been to Ratchet via Theramore had slipped my mind. The problem with juggling alts… and I have too many now… is that I cannot always keep clear who has done what. And I was worried that I had not been there with Viniki because I took the boat from Menethil Harbor to Auberdine and got several discovery messages, meaning I hadn’t been there before.
So Saturday morning I got Viniki out and carried on from Auberdine, making the run from there to Astranaar and on into The Barrens where I discovered, upon opening up the map, that I had been to Ratchet already. Still, I did pick up some flight points and with how classic works, you need some of those to get where you’re going.
I got myself to Ratchet, then decided to make sure I knew where WC even was. I had a vague memory of it, but decided to explore a bit just to get it on the map. No point in wandering in The Barrens as a group. Fortunately I was able to stumble on it without too much effort.
Wailing Caverns, Ratchet, and the Crossroads
I didn’t recall it being quite so close to the Crossroads, but memory is a strange thing. Then it was back to Ratchet to clear out my bags at the bank and hole up at the Inn for the night. I knew Skronk could get there, and Obama as well. They had both been out for Ragefire Chasm. And with three of us around we could use Obama’s warlock summoning skill to bring Ula and Moronae to us. I think Ula had made the run, but Moronae would need a summon or have to do it the hard way. Fortunately Obama had a couple soul shards handy for the summoning.
Warlock utility in action
Gathered, we began the trot over to the instance across the very orange land that is The Barrens.
On our way through the big orange
Our group lineup for the run was as follows:
- Ula – level 23 gnome mage
- Viniki – level 22 gnome warrior
- Skronk – level 21 dwarf priest
- Obama – level 21 human warlock
- Moronae – level 21 night elf druid
We grabbed the quests from outside the instance… they are in the left eye (as you face it) of the skull that forms the entrance to the the place.
We were all up a level or so from the Deadmines run the weekend before, which made most of the mobs in the caverns on the way to the instance, the foyer of WC I guess, gray to us. Still, there was a bit of comedy to be had as I, running ahead of the group, fell into the hole in the final ramp that leads down to the instance.
Seriously, somebody should put up a sign
That never fails to get a laugh.
Once I got out of the hole, we carried on the few yards to the instance where things began in earnest.
I could probably write a detailed, blow by blow narrative of the trek through WC, but I am not sure it would be good for either you or I. A run consists of a lot of fighting groups of two or three, with the local druids gone bad making up a good portion of the mobs. Sleep is their theme, as they kept putting a sleep charm on people throughout the run. But even with that things went okay. Occasionally we had adds or a bad pull, but even six deep into the trash mobs we managed not to lose anybody.
Having looked up the instance before hand, I knew that the “correct” method was to go west, slaying the two bosses that way, Lady Anacondra and Lord Cobrahn.
Arriving at Lord Cobrahn
They both dropped leather items from the fang set, the belt and the leggings. Since we only have Moronae who wears leather, he was doing pretty well for openers.
Then you loop back and head east to get into the meandering ways of the dungeon.
The path starts off easily enough. We ran across Kresh, the turtle who drops a shield that would have been a huge upgrade for me. But he can also drop a crap shield, and the crap shield is what we got.
Then the way begins to wander. You get choices in direction and it is not always clear which way you should go. I recall at some point being told to follow the mushrooms, that they would not steer you wrong. But at one junction the mushrooms seemed to be going in the wrong direction, so went the other. And that brought us to Lord Pythas, who looks like just another druid of the fang hanging out in a cave. He too coughed up an item from the Fang set, our druid continuing to do very well for himself.
From there we had a few paths and both Skronk and I started looking at maps. There was a momentary threat of wife/mom aggro again, so it seemed like expediting our travel might do us well. However, WC is a very three dimensional instance and two dimensional maps are not always helpful. We thought about simply bypassing Skum, the next boss. However, it looked like we had to pass right by him in order to get to the big boss we needed, so we stopped to take him down.
Die rebel Skum
He dropped the glowing lizardscale cloak, which again seemed like a good druid item.
From Skum it looked like a straight path up to the two bosses at the end of the trail. We were actually able to bypass some mobs along the way, WC caves being broad enough to just slip by some clusters at our level. There was a moment of anxiety when we reached the part on the path where you have to jump over a gap in the path. Everybody made it, but we could all imagine somebody falling and needing to be retrieved.
From there it was just up the path a ways to the big open platform. At one end was Lord Serpentis, at the other Verdan the Everliving.
On the platform
Lord Serpentis has two mobs near him, but one of them wasn’t even close enough to be bothered to join the fight. You can see the errant druid at the right side of the screen shot above. Bringing down Lord S got us the savage trodders, a pair of mail boots that were actually an upgrade for me.
After that we turned to Verdan the Everliving, who is a very big boy indeed. It was here that we had the most difficult fight. Verdan isn’t complicated, he doesn’t have any special mechanics, but he does hit hard. I had to use a heal potion not too far into the fight, which made me a bit nervous. Later, looking at Recount stats, Verdan hit me for more damage than any other boss by a fair margin. In fact, he hit me for 3% of the damage inflicted on me for the whole instance, and we fought a lot of mobs along the way.
In the end though, we brought him down. He dropped the seedcloud buckler, which was a pretty big shield upgrade for me. It is actually much better than the shield off of Kresh, though it doesn’t have the distinctive look that the turtle shield does. Still, I was happy to get the upgrade. We took a group shot at that point since there was some concern that wife/mom aggro might return unexpectedly.
Verdan down after the fight
From Verdan you then have to work your way back to the start of the instance to speak with the NPC, the Disciple of Naralex. I think one of the reasons that WC brings up memories of drudgery is that back in the day, back in 2006, back during our first run, we turned around from Verdan and walked all the way back the way we came. And that can be a long walk.
Had we poked around a bit back in 2006 we might have noticed the hole… another hole… in the floor well behind Verdan that drops through into a pool of water not far from where we set out, about where we ran into Kresh. That shortens the way back considerably. Fortunately, here in 2019, we had since learned about this exit and so took it directly.
Back at the entrance we found the Disciple of Naralex. He doesn’t have a quest, which is an odd mechanic, but once you’ve slain the other bosses in the instance you can interact with him to start the big event of the dungeon.
Starting him on his way
This is an escort event… not a quest… which leads you around to the final boss. Once we started it I remembered that the general no fail plan was to go clear out the path first, then go back and set him in motion because if he dies then the run is over. You cannot revive him and restart the event, you have to reset the instance and start from scratch.
And the Disciple of Naralex has some of the usual quirks of NPCs being escorted. He is more in the Sarah Oakheart category when it comes to speed, but with an annoying tendency to ignore mobs the group is fighting around him. That means he keeps on going while you’re engaged, walking straight into the next group of completely obvious mobs just down the path. We had him wander off a couple of times and at one point I had to run from the fight we were having to taunt mobs down the way off of him.
Clearing the path ahead of time is clearly the pro tactic. However, we made it, leaving behind unlooted mobs in the scramble to keep him safe. He gets down into the final room and starts his ceremony.
Cover me while I do some stuff
That brought us to the final stage of the event, which was actually shorter than I remembered it. You get two waves of mobs coming at you before the final boss appears.
Mutanus Arrives as we stand amid the viscera of the opening acts
Mutanus has an extra powerful sleep charm he uses during the fight, one that cannot be broken by players, but other than having to wait down the timer on that, things went pretty smoothly. Mutanus was down soon enough. He dropped the Deep Fathom Ring, which had the casters all salivating.
And that was the end of that, instance complete.
We still had a bit to clean up afterwards. There was the Trouble at the Docks quest, which has you looking for the goblin named Mad Magglish. He spawns outside of the instance, in the elite area, even though the quest is flagged as WC. But the outside counts as well. He is also stealthed when he spawns, but we found his corpse in looking for him, so that gave us a clue as to where to camp him.
There were also the quests we had. We only finished one of the pair from the left eye, and that one sent us back to Ratchet. Once there Obama and Moronae signed off while Skronk, Ula, and I went to track down the final quest. We had to head back out into The Barrens to find the final turn in.
Orange sunset over an orange land
One of the interesting things about The Barrens is that you can run all the way up a lot of the hills in the middle of the zone, something you may not even notice if you’re grown accustomed to the “hills are zone walls” methods common in the genre.
The final quest turn in ended up being in a house at the top of one of those hills.
Great view, but a long commute
And with that we were done for the day.
Only after the fact did I go back and check out my posts about our past runs through WC. They were illuminating to some extent.
October 22, 2006 – We do the whole thing, but with only four players. Earl was missing, so I am not ever sure who was the tank with a mage, priest, rogue, and warlock. The voidwalker I guess.
November 19, 2009 – We return to the instance as part of our run on the Horde side. We fail to clear the path for the disciple ahead of time and he dies, scrubbing the end of the run.
January 13, 2011 – We use the dungeon finder to transport our new all worgen (plus a gnome) group to see what changed for Cataclysm. We earn the achievement, the guild achievement, and get a special prize for completing the instance. Also, Kresh dropped his shell shield. I have a screen shot.
Another round to add to our history with this dungeon. It is interesting to see what I mention and what I don’t as time goes by.
Next on the list is Shadowfang Keep. There is probably another travel adventure in that.