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 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.
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.
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.