Tag Archives: Blackrock Depths

Blackrock Depths and Love Potion Run Number Nine

We got together on New Years Day with a simple plan.  We were going to go collect what we needed for the Love Potion quest in Blackrock Depths, then maybe run on into the instance, to the Grim Guzzler, in order to turn that in.  Then we would see how we felt at that point.

Blackrock Depths map

That sounded like an easy enough run and we would get a little xp along the way.  We still hadn’t firmed up plans for getting past the Lyceum save for maybe another level or two would help.  My mechanical greench idea didn’t seem to stir much hope.  Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 57 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 57 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 57 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 56 gnome mage

For the Love Potion quest we needed items from around Azeroth.  The first was 4 gromsblood, something Moronae was able to go out and harvest for us before hand.

Next up was 10 giant silver veins each.  These come from giants out in Azshara.  If you look at the map of the zone, it looks something like a crab claw.  The giants are towards the east end of the bottom half of the claw.  They are all named Cliff.

Hunting giants

We though we were going to need a lot of giants, but it turned out that the silver veins drop 100% of the time and they drop in groups of one, two, or three.  We finished up there in not too long.

From there it was to Un’goro Crater to fill a vial from the Golakka Springs Crater.  The hot springs themselves are easy enough to find on the map, but the point where you need to fill the vial is actually up on top of a steep hill next to the pond on the map.

Here is where you fill the vial

From there Ula was able to portal us back to Ironforge.  Then it was off to Thorium Point and the run into the instance yet again.  New Years Day was a busy time on the server and the way was clear all the way to the instance portal.

We needed to get to the Grim Guzzler, location 15 on the map, which mean going off to the left, through the side door, and into the room where the bridge controls are.  We were able to slip in and take care of that.

Skronk slipping up to the control

From there it was now down the well worn path to the bar.  Up the ramp, down the hall, across the bridge, and around to the Manufactory.  We had the usual problem with one of the groups that has two of the large fire elementals.  Their burst damage killed Viniki before I knew what hit him and the group ended up wiping.

This corner is our curse

We bounced back from that, ran through the instance once more, finished off that group, got through the Manufactory, and into the Grimm Guzzler where Mistress Nagmara was waiting for us.

Time to turn in the quest

Once we all turned it in, we tested our new ability.  She and Rocknot get together and run out the back door, leaving it open for us.

At that point we had accomplished out primary goal.  I took a moment to go over at speak to Lokhtos Darkbargainer, the Thorium Brotherhood vendor I mentioned in my blacksmithing post.

Vending for the Thorium Brotherhood

I had some recipes available to me, though I cannot make any until I get my blacksmithing skill up some more.  Have to go work on that later.

Since we were there already, I suggested we take down Ribbly Screwspigot.  He is just downstairs in the bar.  So we set up in the keg room like we did when we last fought him, then I spoke to him and pulled him and his three companions back there.  That wasn’t a tough fight for us… his group is around level 50… and he dropped something nice for us.

Everybody loves a 16 slot bag

Ula won the roll for the big bag.

After that, I noticed that the kegs were set up for the keg room quest, so I clicked on those and in came Hurley Blackbreath and his crew.  This time Ula was clear of the doorway.  Defeating that group got us another fine drop.

An eyepatch!

This is a nice item if you want to play with what we now call transmog.  I wish it was a plate armor item, as I think it would look good on me.

Argh!

But, as a leather item, and an upgrade, it went to Moronae.  Unfortunately, when you have fiercely glowing eyes, the eyepatch effect is somewhat ruined.

Moronae shining through

After that we started looking for something else to do while we were there.  Moronae mentioned that he had missed looting Fineous Darkvire (9 on the map).

That was an awkward target as we had chosen to go across the bridge and not through the Ring of Law, since the latter leads to him.  But we had time, so we figured we would give it a shot.

We ran back to the bridge, which has several open windows.  The plan was to jump out onto the Dark Iron Highway and take on one of the groups below, then clear our way through Lord Indendius (location 10) to our target.

At the bridge we were looking out of the windows trying to decided which way to go when I tried to jump up on the window sill and managed to jump through the window and down onto the highway.

I went through this window

Fortunately for me, the group below had just marched off, so everybody else jumped down to join me.  We setup and took out the group, then noticed that things were not as we had expected.  We always call it “the bridge,” when in reality, it is the gate that forms the bridge we cross.  And to get across you have to close it.  So it was closed and we were on the wrong side.

It is a gate

So we started trying to figure out how to get to where we needed to go.  Moronae offered to try and stealth back down the Dark Iron Highway to the room where you close the gate in order to open it back up again.  We waited while he went… but he got spotted and ended up dying.  So we waited for him to run back to the instance and go to the room.  But, once there, he reported he did not get the option to move the wheel.

“Of course!” I thought, “You need the Shadowforge Key to do that!”  And what we were trying to do was finish the quest for Moronae that gets you that key.  So we decided to yolo our way down the Dark Iron Highway since we were pretty much stuck there against the gate.  I led the way, while Skronk put a bubble up on me.

Down the Dark Iron Highway

I was the only one who made it.  So we got everybody back together and went to the room where you close the gate only to find that none of us got the cog wheel.  It seems that you can only close the gate form there, not re-open it.

Still, our initial plan did not seem bad.  We ran back to the bridge/gate and, this time, jumped out the window on the correct side and fought the group just below.  There is actually a ledge below the window and Ula and Skronk were able to stay up there and cast, out of range of the mobs.

Fighting on the right side of the gate this time

That led to some problems with the mobs going into “evade” mode, since they were being shot from an unassailable location, but I was able to taunt them back into combat to finish them off.

From there we were able to work our way to Lord Indendius.

Lord Incendius awaits

He was no problem, though we did take the fight back in the hallway this time, having learned about his knock-back last time we fought him and not wanting to end up in the lava by mistake.

We were there at the Black Anvil, which is where you need to go to forge Dark Iron Bars from Dark Iron Ore… however, I did not yet have the recipe for that.  That comes from the seven dwarves room, down the other path.

On the far side of that was the area where Fineous Darkvire roams.  We cleared one of the golem groups when he wandered into range.  In a rash moment I popped him with my gun to pull him, but got another golem and his three helpers together.  That was more of a fight than we were expecting.  We focused on Fineous, but things got out of hand as the non-elites have ranged attacks at started going after Skronk.

We killed Fineous, but Skronk went down as well.  We started shouting at Moronae to loot the corpse to get the quest item in case we wiped, but then his inventory was full and there were a few awkward moments while I pulled out every ability I had that wasn’t on cool down to keep going.

We ended up surviving.  Moronae ressed up Skronk and we saw what else Fineous had.  He dropped the Chief Architect’s Monocle, which was definitely mage gear.  That went to Ula, who got to show off our second single-eye piece of gear of the run.

Ula with her new Monocle

We got ourselves back together and buffed up again and I took a screen shot of the group, having survived another fight.

Healing up down by the Black Anvil

To finish the quest for Moronae we had to keep going back up the path towards the monument to Franklorn Forgewright, where you turn in the quest.  But part of the way there we found ourselves once again outside the vault.

We’re here once more

We did not finish up the vault the last time we passed by, so we figured we could pause for a bit to try it again.  Everybody swore not to open up or look at the portrait, which got us in so much trouble last time.  Instead we cleared the group inside, then took down the boss and his pet, allowing us access to the vault area.

All I could recall was that you needed to have a dozen relic coffer keys to open up the twelve normal vaults in order to gain access to the final vault.  By this time, our ninth run in the instance, we all had a stack of those keys, so we started opening up vaults haphazardly, ignoring the four frozen golems in the center of the room.

Let’s open up some vaults

I had forgotten the bit about the golems coming to life and attacking once you open the twelfth vault, which naturally took us by surprise.  Things did not go well.

Golems attack… and knock me out momentarily

We managed to wipe without killing a single golem.  By that point we had been going for quite a  while and respawns behind us were clearly going to be an issue.  We decided to call it a night at that point.

We still have things to finish in Blackrock Depths, but we are considering taking a break and maybe going after Dire Maul East as a diversion next time.  BRD will still be there waiting for us.  We might even want to finish the vault successfully just once.

Bad Day at Blackrock Depths

In the grand scheme of things in Blackrock Depths, we are nearing completion.  We have been to most of the spots on the map.

Blackrock Depths map

We really only have two locations to hit to be able to declare ourselves done.  We have to face Magmus (20 on the map) and then Emperor Dagran Thaurissan to rescue Moira Bronzebeard (21).

And we have been doing pretty well.  Much more so than I might have credited us as a group of four.  So when we got together last week we were set to get in there and get it done.  Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 57 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 56 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 56 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 56 gnome mage

We met up at Thorium Point and ran down the chains and to the instance one more time.

From there it was off to the left and through the gate with the Shadowforged Key, slipping past the wandering fire elemental easily enough.  Then we were in through the side door to the room that controls the bridge.  We found we did not even have to clear the full room.  Skronk slipped up to the control and was still out of aggro range of the final group.

The Skronk sneak

From there it was up the ramp and some clearing to get ourselves along to the manufactory and into the Grim Guzzler, the same path we took the week before.  However, we were hurrying along a bit too quickly and were, at times, a bit optimistic about aggro radius.  And accidental proximity pull of a group left Viniki down, though we won the fight.

Viniki waiting for a ress

We managed to stumble through the manufactory without losing anybody, though we managed to get ourselves a couple more surprise pulls.  Then we cleared the bridge and were into the Grim Guzzler once again.

This time we were just passing through, so I bought the beers for Private Rocknot and set him up for his event.  He got rambunctious and set of Phalanx who knocked open the back door… there must be some sort of emergency fire exit clearing routine in his programming… before we knock him down ourselves.

The back door open we headed out to keep clearing the way to our goal.  But them Skronk went down the steps and we got another proximity pull with me at the top of the steps and out of line of sight for heals.  That quickly led to our first wipe.

Viniki dead as Skronk releases

Accidents happen.  So we released, ran back to the instance, ran through the dungeon and back through the Grim Guzzler to get ourselves setup on the steps again.  This time I ran on in to start the engagement… and it turned out there were more guys than we had planned for… and, well, things went down hill from there and we managed to wipe again.

Dead together at the bottom of the ramp

We at least took one of them out before we wiped, so once we released and ran all the way back once again we were able to take them down without any further drama.

Around the corner, once it was clear, we came upon Ambassador Flamelash once again, a fight that seemed a lot tougher this time around.  Skronk died part way through the fight but Moronae was able to get a combat ress on him so we could finish things up, though it was a close run thing.  I think everybody ended up dying on their own during a fight at least once… twice for me… along with the various wipes.

We managed to wipe once more due to me running out of Skronk’s healing range as we fought the last group in that room.

Ula was the last hold out

Another run back.  We cleared that out and then did well on the Summoner’s Tomb event, slaying the seven dwarves without too much trouble.

All of that was just precursor to our first objective, which was to get through the Lyceum.  That was where we had stopped last time, though we had done a lot before then.  This time around it was our first main goal.  There are two mobs you need to slay in order to loot torches from them so you can light the braziers which opens the way to Magmus.

The trick, as noted last week, is that the non-elite mobs in the room are on a very quick respawn timer and come in groups of six to a dozen.  Also, unlike mobs early in the instance, that are around level 50, these are level 55, so have a much larger aggro radius relative to us.

Our plan, at the end of last week, was to look up some info about the Lyceum to see if there was a strategy we could make work.  Unfortunately, the info we found tended to be along the lines of “stay tight, AOE the crap out of things, use the columns to break line of sight with ranged mobs, get the torches, there is a safe spot near each brazier.”

We decided to head towards one of the braziers, get to the safe spot there, and see if we could spot one of the mobs with a torch.

One of the braziers is just at the end of this row

And, we actually made it to the platform with the brazier.  From there one of the torch carrying mobs, which Skronk had spent some time scouting out with mind vision and marking, was visible walking back and forth.  I tried to slip over in range of the torch mob, and managed to tag it, but I brought back a whole raft of non-elites with it.  We ended up in an epic fight on the brazier platform.

Moronae in bear form holding out at the end

However, it ended up as a wipe for us, though we did kill the torch mob.  The hope was that Moronae could stealth in and loot it when we got back.  However, by the time we ran to the instance and then took the path all the way through to the Lyceum again, the corpse had faded.

More research ensued and it came up that the torches persist and can actually be sold at the auction house.  The thought then was that we could perhaps blitz our way to a torch bearer and, even if we wiped, if we could just loot the torch we would be a step closer to getting through.  So I led a run straight for one of the torch mobs, and we got him down too.  I even clicked to loot him.

But I had turned off auto loot back when I went to grab an item from the chest you get at the end of the seven dwarves fight.  If I had had the option set we would have had a torch.  Instead, Skronk and I lay dead next to the corpse, still sparkling and ready to be looted.

Our corpses are practically on top of him

But at least we had a plan.  So we released for another run back, only to get to the room with the bridge control and find that it had respawned.  We killed a mob in our way and ran up the steps in the hope that we might beat the spawn there, but we were too late.  Groups at the top of the ramp were there and even as we watched groups down the hall began to re-appear.  We were stuck on the landing below the mobs.

As far as we could get back with many fights

We had spent too much time getting to the Lyceum and then too much time idle there trying to figure out a strategy.  We were not up for another clear, so we called it a day.  We will have to work our way back to the Lyceum another time.

Bar Brawl in Blackrock Depths

I hope you are not tired of reading about Blackrock Depths because we’re not done yet.  Last Sunday saw us once again head back into the sprawl that is this dungeon.

Blackrock Depths map

Our group this week was:

  • Viniki – level 56 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 56 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 56 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 56 gnome mage

Our primary goal was to knock out the two quests associated with The Grim Guzzler, the bar that is located in the midst of the instance, marked on the map above as location 15.  So we headed out of Ironforge for Thorium point, passing by one of the hallmarks indicating that Naxxramas had arrived.

It hangs in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t

So it was over to Thorium Point and across into the mountain, down the chains, through the excavation, and into the instance.  We’re starting to wear a path in the textures at this point.

Once inside, it was off to the left again, using the Shadowforged Key and into one of the side doors.

That key comes in handy

From there we retraced the same path we took in episode 4 of Blackrock Depths (Punching Sheep with Marshal Windsor), turning the big cog, crossing the bridge, going past General Angerforge (13), and into the manufactory where Golem Lord Arglemach resides (14).

We did not have to engage either of them, though we had to clear our way through one side of the manufactory to get to the opening on the other side.  From there we could see the entrance to The Grim Guzzler.

That way, past the fire elementals

After clearing the way and enjoying a little pause on the threshold we went inside.  The bar is full of non-aggro NPCs drinking, laughing, dancing on tables, and generally having a good time.  Still, it is best to keep your hands to yourself and not make eye contact.  You can set them all aggro by lifting a drink that isn’t yours as I recall.

Looking out at the crowd

Our first quest sent us to the storeroom… another storeroom… to break up some kegs of stolen Thunderbrew beer.  Those were easy enough to spot on one side of the room with a cog wheel when you moused over them.  We spread out and I commenced breaking open the kegs.

We could have just drank them, Skronk could have finished one keg himself

Breaking the last keg starts and event and some Dark Iron dwarves rush in to stop your keg smashing shenanigans.

Here they come!

Unfortunately, in spreading out, Ula placed herself closest to the way into the storeroom, so when the bads ran in the first thing they did was turn on her and beat her down.  She died before we could react.

We managed to recover from that rather unfortunate turn of events, though it was a near run thing at times.  That got us our quest update and, once we ressed Ula and got everybody buffed up again, it was time for the second quest, which involved obtaining the head of Ribbly Screwsproket.  Conveniently, he hangs out just a stone’s throw from the storeroom.

Ribbly out in the main area

I pulled him and his three friends back into the storeroom and we set about them.  That went better, and we were able to loot his head, marking the second quest complete.  Our goals for the run had been accomplished, but we had barely been at it for an hour, so we set ourselves to head further on into the instance.

To get past we had to go to the upper tier of the bar and start another even that involved Private Rocknot.

There he is

You buy him some drinks from the bar… again, don’t pick up anybody else’s drink… and feed them to him via a quest interaction until he has had too much and starts demanding even more beer.  When he cannot find any he gets violent which activates Phalanx, the peace keeping golem in the corner.  Phalanx is aggro to everybody, so that was the fight.  He went down easily enough and, as part of the whole event, he busts down the back door of the Grim Guzzler, letting us pass further into the instance.

The bent back door visible behind us

We picked up the Love Potion quest from Mistress Nagmara on the way out, which simplifies getting the door open, and pressed on, clearing as we went.  We next ran up against Ambassador Flamelash (16) and we managed to beat him down fairly quickly.

The only hitch was that Ula died.

Not during the fight, but afterwards.  She went looking around and fell off the edge of the platform and into the lava.

Ula’s corpse, surprisingly intact given the pool of lava

Unfortunately there is no way down to the level of the lava and from the platform her corpse was out of ress range.  She had to release and run back to the instance.  We met her at the door and ran back to where we left off.

From there we ran into a room with Flame Golems (17 on the map), one of which walked up behind us as we engaged another group, causing enough confusion to make us wipe.  Oh well.

Down Again

Back we ran and, once we got ourselves set and kept an eye on the wandering golem, we were able to make our way through the room without breaking a sweat.  The surprise of the wanderer upset out balance.

That got us into the Summoners Tomb (18) to face The Seven dwarves.  And yes, they do have names to match the theme.

  • Hate’rel
  • Anger’rel
  • Vile’rel
  • Gloom’rel
  • Seeth’rel
  • Doom’rel
  • Dope’rel

This is another event.  You speak to to Hate’rel at the top of the platform in the room, which sets things in motion.

Are you threatening me?

You then have to fight the dwarves, each of whom represents a different vanilla WoW class.  They come at you one at a time, but go on a timer, so you need to work fast if you don’t want to have multiple bosses on you.

We actually did pretty well on this, even though it was very much a DPS check and as a group of four we are always short on DPS.  We were finishing up one as the next would show up, allowing me to grab the new one and get aggro while everybody burned down the previous one.  Timing was a little tight, but we were good throughout and finished the fight, slaying all seven.  We took a group shot there, just in case that was the pinnacle of our efforts.

After The Seven

Winning that fight opened the door the the Lyceum (19).

The door opens before us

At that point you can see from the map that we were getting very close to the final bosses in the instance.  But the Lyceum would prove our undoing.  It is an event of its own, a room full of non-elite groups.  You have to get two drops, Shadowforge Torches, from the Shadowforge Flame Keepers who wander the Lyceum, and use them to light the two braziers.  That will open the far door and allow access to the final bosses.

But to do that you must contend with the non-elite groups which, in this area of the instance, are on a two minute respawn timer.  To deal with that constant respawn rate, you need a plan, and we did not have one.  We got into the room a ways, near one of the braziers, but the pace of fighting wore us down quickly.  Skronk and Ula went down at one point, but Moronae had a combat ress for Skronk, who then could ress Ula.  But by the time that got sorted we were in deep with the respawns again and soon we were going down in a desperate fight.

Fighting over Skonk and Ula’s corpses

We wiped as the numbers tore us down.

Corpses as Ula releases

We decided at that point that we had probably reached our limit for the run.  Time had moved along, we were now in the respawn zone for the instance, and it was time for dinner at my end.  We revived at the graveyard angel and flew on back to Ironforge to call it.

So we have at least one more run if we want to complete the instance.  But we need to come up with a plan for the Lyceum first.

A Two Boss Day in Blackrock Depths

Our plan for the Thanksgiving holiday was to try and get in a couple runs at Blackrock Depths in WoW Classic since we all had most of the week off.  And then, of course, the week slipped on by so we fell back to what we all learned in college, which was to cram things in at the last minute.

Who said you don’t learn life skills at school.

So on Saturday afternoon we did our tour with Marshal Windsor, which was yesterday’s post, and late Sunday afternoon we went back in to see if we could knock out another dungeon quest or two. Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 56 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 56 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 56 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 55 gnome mage

Looking at the map and the quests, we picked a couple of likely targets.

Blackrock Depths map

The first on the list was Bael’Gar.  He is number 11 on the map and sits alone at one end of the Dark Iron Highway, so we were not going to catch him on the way to anything else.  So it seemed like an easy plan to go after him.

After that we figured we would see if we could run back up to the other end of the Dark Iron Highway and catch Lord Incendius, number 10 on the map.  I am not sure why these two bosses need a highway running between them.  It was probably part of some pork barrel appropriations bill in the Dark Iron legislature or some such.

We formed up out at Thorium Point once more and ran to the instance.  Inside, the Dark Iron Highway is easy to get to as it is just through the gate off to the left and straight down the tunnel.

The Shadowforge Key lets us through again

The highway is close and you can even see Bael’Gar standing in his spot up the way.  The tricky bit is that the highway is home to a number of groups of Dark Iron dwarves who roam about in packs of five.  The key to getting through this was mastering those groups.

Their composition followed a standard pattern:

  • 1 – Officer
  • 1-2 – Medics
  • 1-2 – 2h axe wielders
  • 1-2 – guards

The officer ended up being the most annoying member of these teams as they can cast heal, they have a stun attack, and they prefer to sit back out of melee range and shoot the healer.

Medics are healers.  Having two in a group made them extra annoying, but most groups only had one.

The 2h axe dwarves seemed normal at first, but they have an AOE attack.  There were usually two in each group and their combined AOE meant that Moronae took a bunch of damage at times and had to step out and heal up.

Finally there were the guards, which were just normal melee NPCs.  Easy enough.

Adding to that, there are about a dozen of these groups of five along the highway, including one group off to either side of Bael’Gar, and several of them march about or change positions, so you have to keep an eye on your surroundings.

And then there was getting ourselves up to speed.  Several of us had been playing retail WoW a lot over the course of the week, and the play style is very different.  We had a bit of warm up time to get through.  So there were issues… and one wipe… as we ramped ourselves up and tried out some variations on who to sheep and who to kill first.

Dead on the highway shoulder

In the end, the best plan seemed to be to sheep the officer who, as noted above, was the most annoying in those groups, and kill the medic or medics first, then the guys with the AOE axe attacks, then then guards, and then finally the officer.  Not sheeping the officer had a nasty tendency to get Skronk dead, causing Moronae to use his combat ress, so we stuck with the plan that kept Skronk alive.

Aggro management was the tricky bit.  With four mobs on me and not a lot of AOE options… I have an AOE debuff that gives me a tiny bit of aggro and an AOE attack that doesn’t do much more and which will pop the sheep if he’s too close… there was some running back and forth between Skronk and I as his heals would put him over the aggro line now and again.  If his fade skill was up, that was good enough to send mobs back to me.  But if it was on cool down, then he had to run to me or I to him… the latter being slow because, among their other tricks, somebody in these groups kept hitting me with hamstring… so I could use my single target taunt or whack on whoever was giving him problems.

Anyway, we eventually got into the swing of things and cleared the way to Bael’Gar.

Bael’Gar waiting for us

His fight went pretty smoothly.  He hits hard, but not that hard.  He summons a non-elite red blob every so often, and we just turned to kill them whenever they showed up.  And every so often he shouts then lets go with a fire damage AOE attack.  Skronk and Ula just stayed out of range, while Moronae ran for it when the shout came.  I sat and took the hit.  Skronk had given me a fire resist potion before hand, which helped.  The one time I was a little low on health after a shout I put up my shield wall ability and it seemed to absorb the hit for me.  Then Bael’Gar was down.

He dropped the Rubidium Hammer, which nobody wanted, so it was a roll-off to see who got to vendor it for the 4 gold.

Well all used the black dragonflight molt from the quest on his corpse, which got us the Encased Fiery Essence, which is what we needed to turn in to finish the quest.

Then we turned around and headed to the other end of the highway, where several more groups waited for us.

Down at the other end

We were able to bypass one group handily, but ended up clearing out the rest just to be safe.  There is one group that actually walks through the giant doors at the end of the highway, so once again you have to be aware.

Through the doors there is an open area and a gate guarded by a pair of fire elementals, with three more pairs down the hall beyond them.

The Fire Elementals Await

The elementals are linked, so you get them both no matter what, and they have a ranged attack, so you have to go get them.  That just makes crowd control a little annoying, since we don’t have a warlock to banish them.  The first pair is the toughest as they are far apart, but the hallway beyond them narrows so each subsequent pair is closer together, with the last two in easy melee range.

And beyond them is Lord Incendius.

There he waits with the black anvil

Skronk had given me another fire resist potion before we got to the elementals, but I held onto it until we got to this fight.

The fight itself wasn’t too bad.  We had a bit of luck with it.  Skronk read after the fight that he has a knock back, so the suggestion is that you pull him back in the hall so the tank won’t get punted into the lava surrounding the platform.  I happened to align myself so that when the knock back came, I landed safely on the ramp to the platform.  I chose that alignment just so I wouldn’t accidentally back up into the lava, so it was a happy moment when I found it was a good choice.  And so we won.

It is an MMORPG, everybody respawns man

We got our update for slaying him, some loot that was also going to get vendored, and stood on the black anvil to take our victory shot, there not being much left of the boss after he passed.

We survived

Then it was time to turn in the two quests we had completed.  Ula was going to portal us to Stormwind so we could fly to Morgan’s Vigil, but she was out of the reagents required.  So we stoned back to Ironforge instead.  The inn happens to be right next to the reagent shop, so people stocked up and then we took the bird out to Burning Steppes.

One turn in was there in the camp.  More stuff to vendor plus some exp.  The other was back in the cave where we had to fight the dragon four times, once for each of us for a drop, with a 10 minute timer between fights back when we were doing prep for the instance.

Back with Cyrus Therepentous

That was a bit more exp and another item to vendor.  It also got us down to just four quests left for the instance.

The remaining quests

The hope is that we can knock those out in the next run and be done with Blackrock Depths.

Touring with Marshal Windsor

Last time in Blackrock Depths we made our way to Marshal Windsor, having gone in to retrieve the items he was searching for.  However, our attempt to escort him out of the instance failed at the storeroom where four elites were waiting in addition to another group that spawns outside as soon as he goes through the door.  It ended with a wipe, including Marshal Windsor.

Dead in the storeroom as Windsor dukes it out in the hall

We were headed back to in to finish the escort part of the quest and wrap up the Marshal Windsor story.  Our group for the event was:

  • Viniki – level 56 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 55 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 55 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 55 gnome mage

After the previous week I had gone to the auction house to look for some upgrades.  I found two items from the warrior Valor set, the belt and the gauntlets, for cheap.  They were upgrades over my current gear and boosted by armor by 200 with both on as a set bonus.  I also found a 1h axe called Serathil for 20g, which was half my savings, but it boasted 40 dps and 100 armor when equipped.  My axe skills were low, 150 out of 280 for my current level, but I got out in Searing Gorge ahead of the group and killed lava spiders until everybody got out there, which got my skill up to 250.  Good enough to carry on.

So we met up out past Thorium Point and ran over to the instance, once more heading down the mighty chains.

That view never gets old

There we decided to clear a path in advance of talking to Marshal Windsor.  We knew he was going to the storeroom and then over to the Ring of Law before he would head for the exit.  With that in mind we cleared a path for him that looked like this.

The path we cleared

We cleared the detention block, including opening up the storeroom and killing the group in there.  Then we fixated on the Ring of Law and where you go in to meet the challenge, which has a number of cells close by.  We cleared up to past the last cell on that side, taking down Lord Roccor while we were there.

Then we went back to Marshal Windsor.  We had everybody check and delete the failed version of the quest from last time before Skronk unlocked the door.  We got in and spoke to him, starting him on his way.

Things went much more smoothly.  We stopped at Dughal Stormwing, which spawns a group that attacks, which we managed fairly well.  Then it was off to the storeroom.

Headed to the storeroom

There another group spawns when Windsor opens the door.  Again, we managed that.  Windsor then went in and rummaged through the boxes for his gear.  When he finds it and puts it on, he is ready to go again.

Rock? What is this rock?

The power he seems to be referring to is the buff he gives off when he is geared up, which is a fairly substantial boost.  And it is a good thing too, because we needed it.

His AOE buff

He then headed towards the Ring of Law… sort of.  As we walked with him through the big open area he was clearly not headed towards the stuff we cleared out.  He was aimed at the other side of the ring which, it turns out, goes all the way around to where we were.  I thought the “ring” was the bit on the inside, but I guess it is the path around the outside as well.  This is where he goes.

Where Marshal Windsor walks

And Windsor gets stuck right in.  He is no Sara Oakheart when it comes to pace, he moves quickly and doesn’t pause between fights.  We kept up, clearing groups and then helping him settle scores with some of the mobs in cells.

Windsor holds a grudge

We managed to make it though the half of the ring that we had not cleared, Windsor punching sheep mercilessly all the way, after which things got considerably easier.  Windsor was still in a hurry to get the last cell opened though.

I’m pretty sure we killed them all, but sure

The last guy we freed had what I can only describe as the correct attitude about the whole experience.

He wants out

He runs off and disappears in a way I wish more escort targets would.  No hanging about to find his missing gear or to settle and scores.

At that point Windsor finally headed towards the exit.  We followed him and he announced where we should head next.

Group shot with Windsor while he speaks

We didn’t follow immediately.  We had a bit of time so we went back to the Ring of Law, went inside, and rand the event.  We got the Eviscerator again, who dropped a nice belt for Moronae.  After that Ula opened a portal to Stormwind for us and we went to the flight point there and flew out to Morgan’s Vigil to talk to Marshal Maxwell.  He sent us on to Stormwind where we were supposed to speak to Squire Rowe out at the front gate of the city.  He would summon Windsor for us.

Howdy squire!

However, he had to tell us that Windsor was otherwise indisposed.

Leave a message at the beep

Squire Rowe kicks off an event in the city and only one group at a time can run it.  We saw the guards all kneeling as we ran to the front gate, so we were going to have to wait until that was done.  Eventually Rowe was ready and ran out the gate and set off a firework to summon Marshal Windsor.  He rides up, dismounts, shoos his horse… I think he punched it too… and had us follow him into the city.  There is a brief confrontation with the guards, but they defer to Windsor and in we marched.

Follow me!

He walks through town and, being on an RP server, we set ourselves to walk along with him.  The guards are all in awe as you pass by.

Windsor is their hero

Some of the guards are a bit too obsequious.

Grow a spine man!

And off you go into the presence of the young King Anduin, Bolvar Fordragon, and Lady Katrana Prestor.  Then the confrontation takes place as Windsor calls her out.

A dragon in human form!

Then she reveals her true form while Windsor expresses the greatest moment of optimism in his life.

Guards grab her indeed!

Of course the guards are dragon kin in human form, so Onyxia flies off and there is the big fight with half a dozen level 60 elites.  Back in the day I was worried that Bolvar Fordragon might not be up to the task.  But we sat back and watched the fight as he took on the whole group.

Letting Bolvar do the heavy lifting

Ula tried to help early on and got killed for her troubles, our only death during the whole run. Moronae hit her with the combat ress and we carried on as spectators.

Bolvar wins, Windsor dies, the quest updates, and the throne room resets to normal with Bolvar, Anduin, and Prestor back where they started.  Such is life in an MMORPG.

And then Moronae realized he hadn’t gotten the quest update back during the Squire Rowe segment, which meant he had to go back and do it again.  He went off to do that while the rest of us called it for dinner.

This finished up one of our tasks for Blackrock Depths as well as opening the way to Onyxia.  You might think that the raid would be too much for us, but after reading about groups of three defeating Onyxia, it ought to be easy for the four of us, right?

Maybe we’ll get to level 60 before we start down that path.  We still have work left in Blackrock Depths after all.

Punching Sheep with Marshal Windsor

It was time to return once more to Blackrock Depths and to continue our adventures there.

Blackrock Depths map

Last time we successfully finished the Franclorn Forgewright quest which gave us the Shadowforged Key.  That gave us some options going into this week.  Our group was:

  • Viniki – level 55 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 55 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 55 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 54 gnome mage

We assembled at Thorium Point and ran over to the mountain, down the chains, through the mine, and into the instance.

Into the mountain

With the Shadowforged key, we were able to head off to the left and through the locked door.

New paths available

We decided to make Marshal Windsor’s quest our goal for the run, which meant defeating General Angerforge and Golem Lord Arglemach, who are at points 13 and 14 on the map above.  As to how to get to them… well, it was a good thing Skronk remembered or had done some research, because the map is pretty bad at showing the various elevations in the instance.

We headed through the gate, to the right, and up into a side door that put us behind the Ring of Law.  There we had to get around to a large gear assembly which would deploy a bridge across the Dark Iron Highway and give us access to our targets.

The bridging gear

We managed to clear that area and deploy the bridge.  We then started working our way towards our targets.  We moved pretty quickly and even managed to bypass one group, and successfully avoided bumping into them by accident later, which was what happened to us last time.

And this was kind of key as we would walk past that group a few times.

Our first bit of trouble was a group of four, two fire elementals and two Dark Iron Dwarves, one of which was a healer.  We decided to kill the healer first, but the elementals hit very hard and I went down suddenly on a crit and we ended up wiping.

We released and ran back and finished them off, but things got out of control again with the next group and another wipe happened.

Viniki and Ula down as the wipe progresses

The fire elementals hit hard, but this also did not bode well for the upcoming fights.

General Angerforge was just down the steps from the elementals, so we made sure to clear them all as well as the groups that were off to either side of the general.  We then got ourselves ready to go.

Ready for Angerforge

Angerforge has a group of non-elites with him that are fairly easy to kill.  Then, when he is down to low health, he summons another group.  Our plan was to freeze and burn the initial non-elites, which went well.  We then burned down Angerforge until he called for help.  At that point, as his team ran in, I lit off my AOE taunt, which has a 10 minute cool down, so I use it only at need.  The plan was to get them all on me, do more freeze and burn, and finish off Angerforge.

My taunt worked.  All the mobs ran to me… and beat the crap out of me, killing me.

Viniki down again

This ended up as a wipe, but we managed to bring down General Angerforge before the last of us died.  We released and ran back to the instance and kept going straight back to the scene of the fight.  I had some unlooted mobs disappear after a previous wipe, so wanted to get back just in case.

We were in luck.  His helpers had disappeared, so we were able to loot the first item for Marshal Windsor.  Then it was across the way to the Manufactory and Golem Lord Arglemach.

Into the Manufactory

Golem Lord Arglemach was straight ahead, but we went about and cleared out the whole area before heading to him.  He will call any left for help.  So we proceeded with care, pulling individuals and groups.  They are mostly non-elite, but there were some elites mixed in.  And once that was done we turned to face Arglemach.

Arglemach waits

He has two golem helpers with him.  A quick check of the fight suggested that we kill the golems as quickly as possible, then finish off Arglemach.  Our first run was fast.  I pulled Arglemach and he and the golems came at me, and beat me down with a 1,500 burst of damage.  It was a quick wipe.

Viniki down in seconds

But we did learn a few things.  The first was that Arglemach unleashes some lightning attacks that are nature based.  We all had two nature resist potions on us.  So the next run we took the potions to reduce damage from Arglemach, and set to slay the golems first again.  And we did fairly well, we managed to get both golems down, but didn’t have enough left in the tank to finish the boss.

Helpers down, Arglemach still up

That didn’t further our cause though, as the golems just loaded back again after the fight.  You have to kill Arglemach or you get nothing.  So we looked at the combat log again and decided we needed to kill the golem tossing fire balls at us first.  He was doing the most damage.  So we took out potions again, focused on the fire golem, and then I shot him to start the fight.  And he just stood there launching fire balls while Arglemach and the other one ran at us.  I panicked and ran to the target golem and got out of healing range of Skronk and died quickly.

Barely scratched them this time

The fight happened so fast that Moronae didn’t even get a hit in, so was able to stealth and hide without dying.  He popped his combat ress on Skronk, who in turn was able to ress Ula and I, saving us the run back.

At this point we had blown our nature resist potions.  Skronk still had one extra for me, and Moronae still had his up, since he didn’t die.  So we lined up for our fourth run.  It was starting to feel like we were not going to be able to get past this boss.  But we had another go in us.  We planned to all bring it to the fire ball golem this time, to get him down fast.  Then the second golem, and then Arglemach.  So in we went.

And this time it worked.  We got the first golem down fast, then the second, and had plenty of gas left in the tank for Arglemach.  He went down and we were able to collect the other piece for Marshal Windsor.

Golem Lord Arglemach down at last

That done, we went back out the way we had come and set about clearing the big open area between the detention block and the instance exit in anticipation of having to having to finally escort Marshal Windsor out of the dungeon.

We did that and started down the detention block, clearing as we went.  We got in over our heads at one point when, working on a group of four, Ula mis-targeted and brought the next group down on us as well.  And then a group of dogs patrolling the detention block walked into range and joined the fight.

Things looked bad.  But somehow we managed to pull it off.  Skonk and I used every skill that had a long cool down to keep going, and Moronae died at the end of the fight, but in the end the bad guys were all down.

We survive the brawl in the hall

We got Moronae ressed up and carried on, clearing to Marshal Windsor’s cell.  We even cleared the group just past the cell, just to be sure we didn’t get a proximity pull by mistake.  Skronk opened up the cell door and we went in to talk to him.  We turned in the quest, for which he gave us 90 silver, then immediately wanted to get out of there.  But first he wanted to go get his stuff.

I cannot leave without my stuff!

I always wonder who writes the scripts for escort mobs and thinks that somebody locked in a dungeon’s first thought on seeing rescuers is, “I’m saved, but I cannot leave without my random and likely replaceable stuff.”  Of course, Windsor didn’t even suggest leaving on our first two visits.

And then I remembered where the storage area was.  It was on the other half of the detention block loop.  We had cleared the most direct route to Marshal Windsor, but not the path he was about to take.  To illustrate:

The Detention Block

The blue arrow is the path we cleared as we came in.  The orange arrow is where Marshal Windsor was going to go.  We had not cleared that.  So it was on our bicycles to keep up with Windsor and keep him safe despite himself.

I will say, for a guy in just his shorts… where was he keeping that silver he gave us… he got right into the spirit of battle.

Windsor bringing the pain

Unfortunately, he could be kind of random as to who he would attack.  He had a propensity to start beating on whichever mob Ula managed to sheep during these fights.  He seemed to delight in it, changing to beat on the sheep when he had a mind.

We got a break part way through as he stops at Dughal Stormwing’s cell so we can free him as well.

Dughal gets free

He doesn’t join the fun, just runs off into the instance and disappears.

Once he was free and we rested up a bit, Marshal Windsor went on towards his stuff.  We ended up outside the storeroom with only two more mobs between us and the exit of the instance.  Windsor just stood there for a bit, then suddenly announced he was going into the room.

He’s going in!

Of course, there was a group of mobs in that room and, in our attempt to keep Windsor alive and grab aggro and kill them we managed to wipe.

Dead in the storeroom

Windsor fought on, but died not too long after.  We released and ran back, but our expectations were low.  In Classic, losing an escort mob in an instance generally means resetting the instance and starting over.  And such was the case here.  But at least we would be read for next run.

At that point, we called it and headed out.  Skronk and I both managed to finish the fanny packs quest, so we got to turn that in.  Next time around we’ll finish up Marshal Windsor and then move on to the next item in the instance.  There is still a lot of that map we haven’t seen yet.

Blackrock Depths and Shadowforge City

Our last run into Blackrock Depths got us as far as the detention block and the Ring of Law.  For our second run we were once again headed to the detention block and the Ring of Law.  The detention block to catch Moronae up on the Mangi Bronzebeard quest line and to speak again with Marshal Windsor, and the Ring of Law because pretty much everything else we might want lay on the far side of it for now.

Blackrock Depths map – Most of the instance is past the Ring of Law

Our lineup for the run was:

  • Viniki – level 55 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 54 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 54 gnome mage
  • Moronae – level 54 night elf druid

I did make one gear change on Viniki before the run.  My pally had gotten Uther’s Strength, a trinket that has a 2% chance to cast Holy Shield on the wearer when struck, so I sent that to Viniki and traded it out for the Diamond Flask to see if prevention would be better than a little healing.  Yes, the Diamond Flask is on the “best in slot” list for warrior tank trinkets, but the 6 minute cool down means I always hold back on using it, which means I never use it.

In a bit or warm up before hand with Moronae the new trinket seemed to proc all the time.  Once we got into the instance it didn’t proc for ages, leading me to wonder if there was some “do not proc in dungeons” flag set.  As time went on it did begin to proc though.  But I was worried for a bit.

In the instance we once again cleared a wide path through the main open area at the start, just in case Mashal Windsor wanted to get out of the place.

Open spaces

We had to get to him because one of the first drops we got was a crumpled note, which is the continuation of the quest line for him.

A crumpled note

That represents the optimism or daring or carelessness of the WoW devs back in the day.  The quest chain just drops, and you have to go in and get a drop to carry on.  I am sure the drop rate it cranked up to make sure people get it, but there is still the possibility people will miss it, or won’t click on the note to actually re-start the quest chain.

We fought our way up the short path on the east side of the detention block loop to Windsor.  He bade us carry on, but seemed content to hang around in a cell.  I would have left on the first rescue attempt.  Though, he might be sparing us the part of the standard escort quest where your target suddenly decides they cannot leave until they collect all their belongings from deep within the instance.

Marshal Windsor in his cell

That done, we turned towards the cave branch that led to the ring of law, where we quickly got ourselves in over our head.  We were taking one group when a pack of dogs that wanders up and down the cave showed up and joined the fight.  We basically got et’ by the dogs.

The dogs got us

First wipe, which meant a ghostly run back from Thorium Point.  On this run we figured we might as well try just jumping down into the lava rather than threading all the chains down to the platform that leads to the instance.  That seemed a slightly quicker route.

Once back and in the right cave again, we got back to business and finished off the remains of the groups that did us in.  At least we had thinned them out before wiping.

We reached the Ring of Law, but I wanted to carry on as there was another boss, Lord Roccor, down the cave a ways.  So we cleared our way towards him.  However, he nicely wanders up and down the cave, so he met us half way, meaning we didn’t have to clear everything.

Here he comes

His was a short sharp fight.  He dropped a shield, which I was hoping for, only to discover that my first glance assumption that it would be an upgrade was wrong.  He also dropped some Rockshard Pellets, ammunition for guns, which I claimed, being the only one who has a gun in the group.  Also, I was running low on ammo for pulls, so it was a timely drop.

We then turned back and made out way into the Ring of Law again.  Skronk had prepared us some nature resist potions in case we met up with Hedrum the spider, who wiped the floor with us last week.  We got in there and our first fights were not with spiders but with worms.  And they nearly did us in.  But we made it through and had a moment to eat and drink to be ready for the boss.

The worms down, the boss is coming

This time around we got the Eviscerator, a wild worgen.

His name is what he does

He wasn’t a walk over… he kept stunning me… but a single target boss is almost always an easier fight for us than a pack of non-elite mobs where aggro can get out of control.

With him down the out gate opened up and we were able to move deeper into the instance.  You go through the gallery of spectators and wind up at a T-intersection.

New areas to stalk

Once we cleared the group at the bottom, the patrol that goes through, and the groups on either side, we had a choice of directions.  But we could see Pyromancer Loregrain off to the left, so figured getting in another boss kill would be good.  Despite having to helpers, we managed to take his group down pretty quickly, which left us standing before the monument to Franclorn Forgewright.

There we were

The statue has a cog wheel, so you can click on it which puts up a quest completion dialog.  But in order to complete the quest you need Ironfel, and item that drops from Fineous Darkview, who is further on in the instance. (Location 9 on the map above.)  Otherwise this was a dead end, so we turned around and went the other way, only wandering straight into trouble a few times.

I did not see those fire elementals until I wandered into aggro range

This is where trying to follow the map gets a bit sketchy.  Blackrock Depths is very much a three dimensional dungeon with ramps up and down.  So we pushed on as best we could.  Clearing our way through an areas calle The Domicile we ended up getting what I predicted would be the best drop of the run, a Traveler’s Backpack.

16 slots, does not bind

Even with Ula able to make use 14 slot bags now, I was pretty happy to see this guy.  Bag space always was an issue for me in vanilla WoW and remains so in WoW Classic.  I know I still have a few of these still on alts because you could pass them along.  I was glad to win the roll for this item.

We carried on from there and came out in an area that was identified as Shadowforge City, which is above the boss Lord Incendius and in the vicinity of The Vault.

Gonna go down to Shadowforge City, where the dwarves are iron and the loot is pretty

The Vault was right there on our path, so we set about clearing mobs away, until we were left with just the boss and his dog, Warder Stilgiss and Verek.

A dwarf and his dog

We managed to take them pretty handily, at which point we were left with some options for the vault.  It seemed like we had collected enough relic coffer keys to unlock all the lock boxes and spawn the boss in there.  Or we could look at that covered portrait on the wall next to the entry into the room with the lock boxes.

We looked at the portrait.

The picture revealed

That spawned Dark Keeper Bethek and four elite guards behind us who walked up and beat the crap out of us.  We wiped without taking even one of them down.

Note to self: Do not look at the portrait

That meant another ghost run back from Thorium Point.

Once back in and up we decided to just give The Vault a wide berth and carry on past it.  We slipped past the vault door when Bethek and his crew were at the far end… they just march back and forth inside the vault… and skirted another group off the corner and through a passage into some more caves.

There we ran into Fineous Darkvire, just the dwarf we were looking for.  We had at him once we got him in the clear.

Fineous walked right into us

We managed to take him down without too much trouble… no adds or any mishaps.  He dropped the Senior Designer’s Pantaloons… so to speak, which Skronk took just based on the name.  He also dropped Ironfel, the item we needed for the Franclorn Forgewright quest.

At that point we had been at it for a while and my wife was cooking something that was making me very hungry just from the smell, so we decided this might be a good place to wrap things up.  We could just run back to the Franclorn Forgewright monument, finish that quest, and be done.

So we started running back, ran through the passage and straight into the group we had previously skirted.  Then, recoiling from them, we managed to setup too close to the door to the vault where Bethek and his crew came running out to give us another pounding.  Another wipe.

We ran back again, only this time we had to clear some respawns that had shown up back in the main area.  But there were not too many.  We were able to get past those, through the Ring of Law again, and down the path to Franclorn Forgewright’s statue to turn in the quest.

Quest done, key obtained

That gave us the Shadowforge Key, which gives us access to other paths through the instance.  That mission accomplished, we recalled back to Ironforge.  We will return again, as there is much left to do.

Heading to the Detention Block in Blackrock Depths

After our previous prep run we were all about ready to take our first steps into Blackrock Depths.  We met up in Ironforge and flew out to the Burning Steppes together.  Our group lineup was:

  • Viniki – level 54 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 54 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 54 gnome mage
  • Moronae – level 53 night elf druid

Normally we would just fly to Thorium point, which is both a shorter flight from Ironforge and a shorter run to the instance, but we had a few things to wrap up on the way in.

First, we had a quest to finish up from Morgan’s Vigil that involved sticking an ogre’s head on a stick as a warning to the others.  Easy to do and it cleared out a space in our nearly full quest logs.

Ogre head in place

We quickly rode back and turned that in before setting out again across the zone.  We stopped along the way again as Moronae was behind on one quest.  He did not have the Kharan Mighthammer quest from King Mangi Bronzebeard yet.

The list so far

I figured he could grab the bits for the quest along the way and then turn them in later.  After all, the quest in question was RED in out log, so it was probably something at the back of the instance that we wouldn’t get to this run.

Doing that also gave us some warm up time with our characters, which at least I needed.  After playing a Demon Hunter in retail for a couple of days, I was very set on a constant key rotation, which is not at all how you play a warrior tank in WoW Classic.  I also had to get used to manually dismounting for a bunch of things.

We got Moronae his update and rode on to Blackrock Mountain.

Destination in sight

In one of those very vanilla WoW mechanics, the ramp up top the doors is flagged as “no mounts,” so we were dismounted automatically for once and had to go on foot up to the doors.

Going in the front doors

Through the doors we got to see the inside of the mountain.  It has been a while since I was in there.

The view inside the mountain

Fortunately, not everything was forgotten.  I knew we had to go across one of those chains to the rock suspended in the middle, then down another chain to a chamber that would lead us into the instance itself.

The second chain… also, it feels like the nether in here

We ran around and up the ramp, found the chain we could get to, and made our way to the big rock which hold the tomb of Franclorn Forgewright.

The tomb

The ghost of Franclorn Forgewright had a quest for us, but you can only get that quest when you, yourself, are a ghost as well.  So we ran on down the next chain and into the open area before the instance and found some orcs to kill us.

Slowly getting ourselves dead

In hindsight, this was an act of some hubris, assuming that we would need to deliberately get ourselves killed, as though the instance wouldn’t take care of that for us at some point.  But we did it.

That put us at the graveyard by Thorium Point and we ran in ghost form back to the Franclorn Forgewright, where he had a quest for us.

Franclorn Forgewright revealed

You speak to him, get a quest, and… well, you’re supposed to speak to him again and finish that quest and get the next step.  But since you’re dead and everything is grayscale, three of us just assumed that was a gray question mark above his and didn’t do the next step.  Only Ula got that one right and by the time Skronk noticed, we were well inside the instance.  But we had time.

That done… or half done for some of us… it was back down in the chain again and time to revive.  We healed up, spelled up, and went looking for the instance.  There is a long hallway that will get you there.

The way in

There was supposed to be a boss mob, Overmaster Pyron somewhere along here, but there was a group of level 60s hanging around the instance line and apparently farming him for some drops.  We made our way into the instance.

Once inside we cleared out some of the big open area that has paths off in several directions.

The big open area in the instance

I went and dug out a map from the internet to help us along.  There are a few available.  I wish I could just find a blank version of the map that is used to populate the mini-map, but I was out of luck there.  We went with an annotated map.

Blackrock Depths map – A is where you start

While we want the experience of WoW Classic, we’re also not as patient as we might have been 15 years ago.  At least I am not.  I can learn boss dynamics on the fly, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time lost, and this instance is sprawling enough that you could spend a lot of time lost.

We decided to go off the right to the prison cells as our first destination, the little oval area at the bottom with numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 indicated.

A cheerfully decorated area

We were doing okay clearing groups of mobs along the way.  Pairs of elite mobs were no problem, nor were triples really.  The elite mobs in there did seem to hit for noticeably more damage and Skronk was kept busy healing.

Pairs and triples with some non-elite mobs in tow, and the groups of non-elite hounds that rove in packs, were more problematic.  Groups like that always cause me anxiety as the tank because, being down one DPS, we don’t always have quite enough AOE damage to do an effective “freeze and burn” to kill the group before they break loose.  And once they break loose and start running after Ula it is always a struggle for me to get aggro back.  I have one skill that will pull all aggro in the area to me, but it has a 10 minute cool down, so I hate to burn it unless we really need it in the moment.

Still, we managed to push our way around the loop, one group at a time, until we had sight of High Interrogator Gerstahn, the first boss on our list, and number 5 on the map above.

High Interrogator Gerstahn

She is up a hallway and has a couple of mobs off to either side.  Still, we figured it wouldn’t be a huge issue.  Just pull her via line of sight, sheep her friend, tank her and the adds, and kill them one by one.

And that might of worked expect the High Interrogator casts fear, and hit Moronae with it, who then ran off down the half of the loop that we had not cleared, bringing back an additional pair of elites and another group of hounds.  This did not end well.

The chaos that followed

You can see me dead on the floor… I think Ula was done by that point as well, Morone in the middle of things, and Skonk trying to get clear off to the left.  It was a wipe.  But the corpse at the lower left is High Interrogator Gerstahn.  We at least knocked her out before we began our run back.

Through the back doors as a ghost

We got ourselves back in the instance and together again, buffed up, and ran back to where we had wiped.  Skronk, the master looter, got the prison cell door key from Gerstahn.  Then we finished off the rest of her group up the hallway.

However, once we did that and went into the area where she had been standing, we decided that there wasn’t really any value in clearing out all of the rooms behind her position.

We did take a moment to sit down in the four dwarven barcalounger that were set up in the room for whatever reason.

Getting comfy

With the key in hand, there were several cell doors to open up, some of which clearly had somebody inside keen to speak with us.

Somebody wants out… and how did they know I was a gnome through the door?

We decided to take some care here.  This smelled a bit like it might end up as an escort or something, so we carefully cleared all of the rest of the way around the cell block loop… and, for good measure, cleared all the mobs wandering around the big open area so we had a clear shot to the instance door.  I mean, there was a freaking store room with the cells, so we could just image the whole “follow me, I need my gear, now I need to walk slowly out of the instance, directly through any mobs I can find” routine.

But we need not have been quite so careful.  There was no escort quest looming.  Behind one of the doors was Marshal Windsor.

Okay, okay, stop yelling at me

He had a quest update that required us to head back to Morgan’s Vigil.

And in one of the other cells was Kharan Mighthammer.

Kharan Mighthammer

He is, of course, the quest mob for the quest in red that I thought we wouldn’t get to on this first run… because the quest is red and the instance is a huge sprawling dungeon… but there we were.

On the bright side, we had the key now and the path to his cell isn’t that big of a side trip… and the next step of the quest is Princess Moira, mob 21 on that map, who is way the hell in the back of the instance, so it seems likely that we won’t be getting there on the next run… but it is still another item on the list.

That done, we looked around for something we could knock out before we called the run for dinner.

Not too far around the corner was the Ring of Law.  We had some vague memories of it being a boss fight challenge… as Skronk succinctly put it, we didn’t exactly have this instance set to farm back in the day… but that seemed like something we could tackle, so off we went.

We had the good sense to all enter the ring together, at which point a Dark Iron dwarf came out and pronounced our doom.

Also, heresy by word, heresy by deed….

After that, out came the spiders.  Lots of spiders.  Non-elite spiders, yes, but a bunch of them, in two waves, and we had our usual freeze and burn problem, I blew my AOE taunt on the first wave, and Ula died during the second wave as we tried to get stuff off of her… also, the spiders kept webbing everybody, keeping us immobile, and hitting everybody with a poison DOT which blew a lot of Skronk’s mana as we struggled.  But we made it and killed all the wee spiders and had a bit of a breather before the big boss came in.

Skronk got a ress off on Ula, we healed up a bit, and then the main boss came in, another spider, Hedrum the Creeper.  Things did not go well.  We wiped.

So it was another run back from Thorium Point and back into the instance.  By this point Skronk had noticed our Franclorn Forgewright problem, so the three of us who needed to updated the quest.  We jumped into the instance and back out again to grab Overmaster Pyron, who was up outside the instance.

Burn, baby, burn

We then went back into the instance and back to the Ring of Law to find Hedrum the Creeper waiting for us.  So we gave him another try.  Again, it did not go well for us.

Hedrum done with us

The fight was summarized well by one of the comments on his page on WoWHead, which said:

Problem wasnt heals or tanking or DPS, problem was the mob’s would root the tank, drop aggro and go crazy on the rest of the group. The web root lasted like 12 secs and the mob would stun for 10 secs. Overall, this mob is a pain the booty.

That is the way it went for us.  A single mob seemed ideal for us, but when he roots the tank… and my escape artists skill, which is on my hot bar, has a cool down so you really only get one use per fight… and runs off to kill the healer or the DPS, things are not going to end well.

So we decided to call it a day.  We took the gear damage hit and revived at the graveyard by Thorium Point, then flew over to Morgan’s Vigil to turn in some quests.  Then Ula put up a portal to Stormwind because I thought we had a turn in there, but we didn’t.  So we stoned back to Ironforge and updated our quests there, the repaired.  My bill was 2 gold 38 silver, which is pricey in classic terms.

So went our first venture into Blackrock Depths.  We have quite a ways to go before we’re done.

Preparations in The Burning Steppes

I haven’t had much about the group in WoW Classic recently.  In part that was due to some interest in the Shadowlands pre-patch… and Skronk and Ula moving… but most recently it was because Moronae’s computer died and he had to put together a new one.  And some of us like to take their time researching before they throw together a new rig.  But his new Ryzen 5 powered system was up and running this past weekend, so we were able to get back to it.

We last left off in September when we finished our final Sunken Temple run.  From there the path headed to Blackrock Depths.  But one does not just walk into Blackrock Depths, as they say.  BRD is another one of those multi-week events, and the first step is preparation.  There are many quests to grab and lead-ins to find.  The fist on the list was in Ironforge, where we spoke with the royal historian who stands off to the side of King Mangi Bronzebeard.

Listening to the historian

She has a quest, the first step of which is to listen to her tale.  Then she wants you to head out to Searing Gorge.  But for us the next stop was Kharanos, down the road from Ironforge, to update another lead-in quest for the instance.

That was a quick round trip, after which we headed to the flight point to fly off to Loch Modan.  There were no quests for us in Loch Modan, but it is the nearest flight point to Searing Gorge and the flight path at Thorium Point.  That is the closest flight point to the instance, so we rode around into the Badlands and through the gap into Searing Gorge.

Path from the Badlands is here

We rode to Thorium Point and picked up the flight path and then took the bird to our next destination, Lakeshire in the Redridge Mountains.  That is the nearest flight destination to Morgan’s Vigil, the Alliance encampment in the Burning Steppes, which is also where Blackrock Mountain is, home to several instances including Blackrock Depths.

The Burning Steppes, squeezed in between Searing Gorge and Elwynn Forest

We arrived in Morgan’s Vigil, a sleepy little Alliance outpost.

A flight point, a barricade, and a few tents

There we picked up basically all the quests and headed out to work on them.  Some were going to end up in BRD.  There was a vital quest up in a cave in the northeast corner of the map with

Cyrus has a quest for us

The problem with the quest from Cyrus Therepentous is that completion is not shared with the group… it is a drop from an elite mob he summons… and the quest mob can only be triggered every 10 minutes.  Once again, we were probably better off with a party of four, as it would only take us 30 minutes to run through each of us.  In the mean time we went along the north side of the zone.

There is another quest hub along the north wall, up a ramp over some lava.  More quests to grab, and one to update.

The other quest hub

There I had to drop some quests as my quest log was filling up.

Those quests had us running around a bit in the ruins just south of the cave.

Out in the ruins

Then it was back to one quest hub, then the other.  We made our way around the eastern half of the zone pretty thoroughly.

Oh the places we’ve been

Strictly speaking we didn’t have to go do the quest with the ogres in Deadmaul Rock and over past the Pillar of Ash, but screw the ogres.

 

And then there was a series of trips to be made as one quest chain sent us back to Redridge then to Stormwind where we had an encounter with Lady Kartana Prestor.  I’m sure we won’t run into her again.

Katrana, young Anduin, and Bolvar Fordragon

Prince Anduin looks so… badly rendered.  His feet are huge.  And then there is Bolvar, most recently seen in the Shadowlands cinematic.  He looks better here… though maybe not as good as he did out in Northrend.

Bolvar and Dranosh and their smoldering look

Then it was back to Redridge and back to Morgan’s Vigil to finally cement that quest line.

We also had to go back to Ironforge to update the royal historian.  Doing that got us a quest from King Mangi Bronzebeard himself… well, all of us save Moronae, who forgot to do the “listen to the historian” part of the quest, so we may have to catch him up a bit on that.  There is no “party sync” in WoW Classic.

But after our running around, we now have a list of quests ready to go for the instance.

The list so far

And those are just the ones from outside of Blackrock Mountain.  There are a couple more to pick up there, including the one from Franclorn Forgewright, which you need to be dead in order to obtain.  I might need to delete a few more quests.

But next time we should be able to head in and at least get started.

Passing the Time in Blackrock Depths

They don’t make instances… at least not 5 person instances… like Blackrock Depths any more.  It is a sprawling, complex instance, and there seems to be more bosses and mini-bosses running around than some instances have mobs over all.

Whether the fact that instances are no longer so wide and wild is a good thing is up for debate.  Not everybody is up for 6 hours of dungeon run fun at a single sitting.  Certainly, Blizzard’s opinion on the subject is clear.  When going into BRD as a random dungeon finder instance, you get one boss as your target and you’re done in 30 minutes or less.

I know because I did such a run in order to get Hurmoo caught up with the rest of the team.  It was the always ironic luck of the draw that my Saturday afternoon catch-up instance was also our target for Saturday night.

For our initial assault on BRD, our lineup was:

52 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
53 Tauren Druid – Azawak (Skronk)
53 Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)
53 Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
54 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)

And one of the first things we had to do was die.

When we hit an instance, we like to knock off as many quests as possible, and for one of the BRD quests, Dark Iron Legacy, you need to be dead.  The quest giver, Franclorn Forgewright, is a ghost, and you need to be a ghost to interact with him.

We couldn’t find any alliance players to kill us.  We chased a high level alliance warlock around for a bit, but he didn’t want anything to do with us.  So we had to just jump in the lava then run back as ghosts.

Ghosting to Blackrock Depths

Franclorn’s quest is one of those “accept quest, read some text, turn in quest, get the real quest” setups.  One of us revived before getting the second step, so had to throw themselves in the lava again, die, run back, and finish up.

The things we do for quests.

Meanwhile, Enaldie wandered down towards the instance and killed our first boss solo.

Okay, Overmaster Pyron really isn’t a boss.  He isn’t even in the instance.  But he is a named elite just outside of the instance, and I didn’t think he was really soloable at our level.  Retribution paladins are OP!

Eventually we got ourselves together and into the instance and the prison area, the starting area of the instance.

Battle in the Detention Block

From that point, there was the usual wandering around.  BRD isn’t a one-way box canyon.  You can go the long way, or the wrong way in BRD.  We managed both at times.  Yet we slew all we came across, eventually getting to the Ring of Law to pass the BRD bar exam.

Not here to discuss torts

That got us through to some familiar places, like the Manufactory, where we found out Earl was too low level to pick up the engineering plans, and to the Grim Guzzler, a location featured as part of Brewfest, where we’re careful not to pick up somebody else’s drink by mistake, lest the whole place become aggro.

We've spent more time here than any place else in BRD

Then there was more running around.

roll stock BRD running clip

Eventually we ran down most of the quests we had on hand.  That left us far from completing the zone of course.  BRD is a multi-course meal.  We’ll have to come back for the next layer of quests.  Maybe.

But we did find we were in possession of enough reclic coffer keys to open up everything in the Black Vault, thus getting us access to the Heart of the Mountain.  That finished off one more quest and was the signal to call it a night.  So we took one last group shot out in front of the vault and then headed out to turn in some quests.

The Instance Group in BRD

As is usually the case, the experience was good and new levels were reached by everybody except Enaldie, who had experience turned off for this run.

While we have the next set of BRD quests lined up now, we will probably take a detour and go after Dire Maul instead.  It is one of the few instances we have not done at level at this point.

And after that… well, after that we’ll be getting close enough to 58 that we probably won’t spend much more time in classic Azeroth.  Our tour will be complete and we’ll start thinking about exactly how much of the Outland we want to go after.