Tag Archives: Deadmines

Some Enchanted Evening

Once again the group was off on a side task.

During a past run when we were talking about trade skill coverage it was pointed out that we have nobody on the team who does enchanting.  We have a number of trade skills covered, but nobody had really picked up enchanting.  Obama had said he was going to try it, but then stopped playing with us, leaving us without an enchanter.

I don’t think enchanting is necessarily critical, but it can be a nice to have addition to the group.  Also, some part of me wants a glowing weapon.

I had initially asked if Ula was interested in going with enchanting.  She has been doing tailoring and I brought this up while we were out looking for the mooncloth bag recipe. (Since obtained for 20g at the auction house.)  Tailoring is something of a natural to go with enchanting as it does not require a dedicated harvesting skill the way many of the professions do.  I have the tailor/enchanter mix on a character in retail WoW.  We could just run her through some lower level dungeons to collect gear to disenchant to kick start her progress.

So we picked up the discussion the past weekend.  The first proposal was to have somebody’s alt pick it up, but I argued that we ought to have somebody in the dungeon group itself pick up the profession, as having them around to disenchant the inevitable bind on pickup drops that we get every run.  Those could turn into materials for useful enchants.

Eventually Moronae volunteered for the position.  He had been running with just gathering professions, herbalism and skinning, in order to make some money.  But skinning is pretty common and not a huge money maker.  So he said he would drop that and pick up enchanting.

With that decided we went of to do a few low level dungeon runs just to get him started.  For whatever reason… I can’t really recall now… the rest of us opted to bring out some slightly lower level alts for this run.  They were not low enough level to get xp or find any good drop, so I suspect we would have been fine with our mains, but at least we got them out for some exercise.  So our group was:

  • Moronae – 59 feral druid
  • Scsla – 43 gnome warrior
  • Fergorin – 40 dwarf paladin
  • Alioto – 36 resto druid

We decided that the Deadmines would be a good start, so flew out to Westfall and ran off to that.

Into the Deadmines

I will admit that it is actually kind of fun to go into a lower level instance and slay with near impunity.  This is my major gripe about level scaling all content, you never get a chance to do this sort of thing.  My druid, being level 36 and dressed to heal, did manage to get in a little bit over his head now and then… enough elite gray mobs can still be a hazard… but we kept on plowing through.

The drops were good and Moronae was able to start disenchanting stuff pretty quickly.  He kind of had to as we were letting him loot most of the corpses and his inventory was filling up fast.  I ended up taking some of the wool from him as I still needed to make heavy wool bandages to advance my first aid.

We arrive at the boat

Up on the ship we roamed around the back and got Cookie and the siamese cat drop.  Then we were back around front and up the ramps to knock out Captain Greenskin and then Van Cleef.

Skonk was quick to point out that one of the ramps had a corner cut off and that this no doubt explained why he fell off the ramp and into the water back when we were doing the Deadmines at level.

You can see if at the lower left

We went up and faced VanCleef, who gave us his usual routine.

Yes, yes, tell us some more

That did not take us much time at all and was distracting enough that we decided to do another instance.  This time we flew on up to run through Shadowfang Keep.  Another quick tour through a dungeon.

Hate to break up the dinner party…

Again we were on a rampage and Archmage Arugal didn’t stand much of a chance against us.

Arugal is down

That was a sight bit quicker than our run through the first time in classic.

After that it seemed like we might take a break, but I was in Stormwind and the Stockades were close by and a quick run, so we ran in and did that just to pile on some more gear to disenchant.

The slaughter of the Defias

After that Moronae was able to get himself up to 90 enchanting.  Viniki made him his silver and golden enchanting rods to cover his ongoing requirements and he was able to do a few practice enchants on us.  I think we all got +5 health on our bracers.

Anyway, we got him off to a good start I think and hopefully we can get him up to where he can disenchant the inevitable mail bind on pick up drops that inevitable are our reward when doing runs.  And maybe someday I will have a glowing enchanted weapon.

In Search of VanCleef in the Deadmines

We left off yesterday in the Deadmines with Mr. Smite in the distance.

Mr. Smite awaits at the top of the gangplank… you can just see him

Back in the day Mr. Smite was the first boss to keep us from advancing in the Deadmines, the first one to send us home to try again later.  But that was back in 2006 when we were pretty bad at working as a group.  This time around we were hoping things would go better on our first try.

As usual, we relied on memory rather than looking up the fight.  It is amazing how many little details linger in the backs of our brains.  As with the first boss, Smite comes with a pair of assistants, which we decided to take down first, our new group rule becoming “Sheep left, fight right.”

This seemed to work.  Mr. Smite is not a particularly complex fight.  He has a routine of stunning everybody so he can go swap weapons from his big chest on the dock (which you can also just make out in the screen shot above) but otherwise isn’t very tricky.

We’re stunned for a weapon swap

He is, in the end, a DPS check.  If you can put out enough damage, you win.  If you cannot, you go home.  We were putting out more than enough damage and Smite went down.  He dropped Smite’s Reaver, a 1h axe.  Unfortunately, Viniki, the only axe wielder, was already holding better.  Something else to vendor.

It was at that point, with Mr. Smite down and the ship ahead of us, that the additional complicating factor to which I alluded in the previous chapter, came into play: Wife aggro.

Worse, wife and mom aggro.  At that point Moronae’s wife, also Obama’s mother, told Obama that it was time to get off the computer.  He said we only had 5-10 minutes left… an optimistic assessment by any measure… but we were on notice.  We had to get this finished up as soon as possible or be prepared to do it all again another day.  The race was on.

We went up the ramp and started clearing the pirates on the first deck.  We decided to simply skip Cookie, the murloc that wanders off to the left on the first deck, but he wandered into aggro range, so we took him, looting his tenderizer.

Then it was to the right to keep clearing, arriving at the series of ramps that lead up to the main deck and VanCleef.  We were edging towards recklessness in pulling mobs, but seemed able to handle the extras we go, settling out a group on the first platform up the ramp.

On the first platform

As you might be able to discern in this screen grab from video Ula was taking, Skronk is standing very close to the edge of the platform.  As the fight ended he both leveled up and fell off the platform into the water.  Ula says the video makes it look like a gold comet is flashing past.

This was not ideal timing.

To get back to us he would have to swim to shore and run around to get back on the wooden platforms leading to the ship.  It was a good thing we took out some of the goblins along the shore as we passed through, but we didn’t get them all.  So Skronk had to run past one.  His health and mana had been restored by leveling up, but he wasn’t going to solo the mob, so we ran around and back down the gang plank to meet him and knock down his new friend.

Skronk rescued, we headed back up onto the ship to take on the next ramp in order to get on to the final platform from which we could access the main deck where the final fight takes place.

In the press to get up to that platform we took on a few pirates.  Obama was being asked why he wasn’t off the computer yet, so we dove in.  But we were up for that.  Then we once again lost track of a runner who fled the fight and, before they could be taken down at range, brought Captain Greenskin, the penultimate boss in the instance, into our melee already in progress.  That gave us five or six active mobs, including a boss, so things looked bad.

And they got even more glum when Moronae ended up dying mid fight, remove his DPS and extra heals from the equation.

I don’t know if Skronk said his usual “everybody remain calm,” as he was pretty busy, but it played in my head and I knew that we had to knock down as many of these guys as we could before we succumbed.  So I just kept hitting the current target mob while turning to taunt mobs off of Skronk as tried to keep people alive.  Skronk even whipped out a heavy linen bandage to do first aid on me as we stood and fought, waiting for what we knew had to be the inevitable end of the fight, with us all down.

Only we didn’t wipe.  The last mob was down and four of us were still standing.

Ressing Moronae after the fight

What seemed like to be a disaster actually ended up speeding us along a bit.  We now only had VanCleef waiting for us.  We headed up onto the main deck and got ready for the final fight.

We see you in there VanCleef

Like some of the other bosses, including the recently dispatched Captain Greenskin, VanCleef comes with a pair of helpers.  He also gets a second pair part way into the fight.  So our plan was the new standard for the group, sheep left, fight right.

This started a bit precariously as I took a lot of damage right up front and had to use a health potion right away.  After that though things settled down and we knocked out first one helper, then the other, before focusing on VanCleef.

When the second pair of helpers appears it was the same routine… sort of.  Somebody didn’t switch because VanCleef went down before his final helper did.

Erm, why is he dead already?

Still, the helper didn’t survive VanCleef by very long and we were done.  We had finished the Deadmines on our first go.  Just time for a victory shot.

VanCleef defeated

After that we decided it was best to rush for the exit so as to keep Moronae and Obama out of as much hot water as possible.

However, jumping off the far side of the deck towards the exit meant running through a few more mobs.  But they were manageable in fairly short order.  Then it was straight for the out portal.

This way out

Once out of the instance, Obama and Moronae logged off while Skronk, Ula, and I headed back towards Sentinel Hill and Gryan Stoutmantle in order to collect a reward and have our names shouted to the zone.

Cheers for Skronk

The instance itself did not drop any upgrades for me, but at least the quest gave me a decent pants upgrade.

Blue pants, best pants

Overall I think we did pretty well.

Posing with Gryan after the run

During the run I ran the Recount addon, which is, among other things, a damage meter, which means people hate it.  But it supplies so much information about your fights, not just DPS but which attacks were used and how much damage they did, both by players and NPCs, as well as healing stats and such.  I don’t/won’t use it to name and shame people, but I like to see the data.

I seemed to do okay as tank.  The mechanics of the Deadmines are not exactly complex, so holding aggro and staying alive was probably enough.  I think a large part of our success was due to the fact that two members of the team were in their long established, Skronk as healer and Ula as mage for DPS and crowd control.  They contributed mightily to our success.

Which is not to downplay Obama and Moronae.  Lacking cat for for real DPS, Moronae spent a lot of time casting moonfire then hitting things with his staff, which limited the amount of damage he could put out.  On the other hand, having a few extra heals and a buff around was very nice, and the thorns buff on Viniki ended up being the second highest damage contribution from him.

I was wondering if the imp, with its blood pact buff, would have been a better pet for Obama.  The void walker is very good at picking up and off tanking, but it doesn’t contribute much to damage.  But, being new to WoW, Obama hadn’t realized there were pet skills to be purchased and upgraded.  An imp with blood pact and fire shield might have been worth it, but with what we had available to us the voidwalker suited us fine.

And so it goes.  We made it to my minimum group goal for WoW Classic, running the Deadmines.

Next up on the list is Wailing Caverns out in The Barrens.  Or it might be.  The obvious bad Blizz behavior has me considering the future of the group. But I’ll get to that tomorrow.

Into the Deadmines at Last

At last!  We made it to the Deadmines in WoW Classic.  It took us long enough.

The problem with getting the band back together is that the lives of all of its members have changed over the years.  As I have noted previously, we’re still waiting for Earl to get settled in Japan, so there may be a B group of alts on standby to run instances with until he catches up.

But, with the addition of a member of the younger generation in the form of Bung’s son, we were able to fill out the group.  And so our lineup for the night was:

  • Ula – level 21 gnome mage
  • Viniki – level 20 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 18 dwarf priest
  • Obama – level 18 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 18 night elf druid

That is not far off the group we first finished the Deadmines with just about 13 years back.  Some names/classes are even the same.

We were not certain exactly when things would kick off, but when Bung and his son, appearing as Moronae and Obama in the group, made it online we set about getting started.  Of course, there is always something to do first.  Obama and Moronae had to go over to Moonbrook to find the Defias Messenger.  On a Sunday afternoon his dance card was pretty full and he wasn’t wandering far from his spawn point before being slain for his drop.  Our guys joined another group waiting for the messenger and, having slaughtered him, were able to meet us back at Sentinel Hill for the next stage.

The Defias traitor.

Viniki and the Defias Traitor

In a fit of paranoia I had done the Defias Traitor quest already.  I have bad memories of that quest in Razorfen Kraul where you speak to that one quest give and unless you’re all right on the button he runs off without the whole group being on the quest.  Skronk wasn’t worried, but I got it out of the way all the same.

We got everybody around the traitor and Skronk explained how one person was going to get the quest and that then the game should prompt everybody else in the group to accept the quest as well (except Viniki of who had it out of the way) right away so we could do this all in one run.  Ula was the designated quest person and everybody else would accept off of her action.

And then, as we stood there, just about ready to start, somebody else ran up, got the quest from the Defias Traitor, and took off with him.  We would have to wait for them to finish, which takes about five minutes by my calculation.  During that time there was chiding to keep people from wandering too far afield, as the range of quest sharing is pretty small.

He popped back up in about five minutes, Ula grabbed the quest, everybody was in range and accepted, and off we went.  And I will say this about the Defias Traitor, he doesn’t let any grass grow under his feet.  Unlike Sarah Oakheart of LOTRO infamy, he moves off at a run headed for Moonbrook.  Once he gets there he slows to walk through town, and goes a bit Pengail on you, running after any Defias that gets within line of sight, but the final stretch is short and soon the Defias Hideout was revealed to us.

The Defias Hideout

Of course, then everybody besides Viniki had to run back to Sentinel Hill to turn that quest in and get the dungeon quest from Gryan Stoutmantle.  We met up again in Moonbrook and settled our potions and food and whatnot.

In Moonbrook getting set

Everybody was handing things out except Obama, who was back to his hobby of extreme planking.

You need a strong neck for that

Getting into the Deadmines isn’t as easy as all that.  The actual entry to the instance is at the far end of some caves populated by hostile elites, so just getting there can be a fight and the potential for getting lost exists.  We followed the time honored lore of following the right wall.  Also, another group went in ahead of us, so we figured they would clear for us.  Skronk put a big orange target marker on Viniki and I led the way in.

Of course, the group ahead of us was careless and we caught up to them not too far from the instance to find them dragging a train of hostile elite miners, more than enough to ruin our fun.  Shouting our usual battle cry of “Don’t make eye contact!” then “Follow me!” I raced ahead for the instance, the group in tow.

All out for the instance portal

Everybody made it in okay.  We took a moment for a bio break and to get buffs set, then we were ready to go.

Viniki looking eager

Of course, “ready” is a relative term.  I was ready to start, but how things would work were largely theoretical on my part.  I have rarely played a warrior in WoW, and I have only played them as DPS really.  My only experience as a tank has been as a druid in bear form, and that was only in the post-Cataclysm level 1-40 dungeons, which were all dumbed down so much that you could run a couple an hour to level up with much effort.

Actually tanking in WoW Classic with old school warrior skills, this was a whole new thing for me.  Not helping things was that defensive stance doesn’t allow some of the skills I am used to, like charge and hamstring.  Still, I had something of a plan.  I had practice a bit with defensive stand and I had trained up the gun skill, bought a gun, and stuck some ammo in my bag for long distance pulls.  Otherwise I would be trotting up to things to engage.  My plan was to use bloodrage to build up some of that all important rage, then hit the first target with sunder armor, which the tool tip says generates a lot of aggro, using taunt if something started to get away from me.

The start was not entirely encouraging.  There are groups of nomal miners mobs around, and I was getting those in twos and threes and wasn’t holding them all.  But normal mobs were easy enough and Obama had his voidwalker out to off tank while Moronae was dropping into bear mode now and then, trying to decide his best method for DPS in the group.

Elite mobs came as singles and I was able to hold them.  We moved on down the line until we got the first boss, Rhahk’Zor, in sight.

Rhahk’Zor awaits

He has two mobs with him, and something in the back of my head said that we could get him alone if we did things right.  But, to be safe, we decided to follow the time tested tactic of taking down the adds then focusing on the main boss.

That seemed to work, and we were soon standing over Rhahk’Zor’s corpse.  However, we had forgotten to set the group for master looter to allow Skronk to dole out boss bind on pick up items, and Obama looted the corpse.  Fortunately, he only had his crappy common hammer on him, but looting was changed up at that point.  The patrol that shows up once you’ve killed him was a bit of a surprise.  I had forgotten that part of the tunnels.  Once you kill one of the early bosses a three or four mob elite group wanders up behind you.  We survived, but it we were caught unawares.

Then it was a door through which more caves and miners and wandering elite Defias waited.  We worked our way through that, only veering off to see if the elusive Miner Johnson was there.  He was not.  He is never there for us.

We worked our way to the next door, through which we knew Sneed awaited.

Sneed is one of those fights that can go wrong if you don’t clear thoroughly first.  So I set out to get every single goblin helper of his.  That took a bit of patience, as you have to pull around his wandering.  The only problem was the tendency for people waiting for you to pull to follow you into the room to see what you are up to.  With lower level player who have a larger aggro radius, this can lead to surprises, but we managed to avoid that.  Once I had Sneed’s room picked clean, we went in to get him.

Sneed alone in his shredder

The fight at that point wasn’t a problem.  There was nobody around to run into if you got hit by his fear.  The only thing was, despite the fact that I know it is a two part fight, that once you defeat the shredder you have to fight Sneed, I am always surprised when he jumps out and the battle carries on.  Still, he was down quickly enough.

His big drop was a blue axe.  But it was a 2H axe, which nobody could use.  We rolled on who got to vendor it.

After that is was back to mixing it up in the tunnels until we reached the foundry.

Goblins at work here

Here is where things got a little shaky.

We were able to pull and deal with groups on the ramp down.  The goblin engineers release their own mechanical helpers which are full blow adds, but they were manageable.  But once down the ramp we had some problems around the platform.

One of those summoned adds on the platform

First, we got a pull with an unexpected add.  A goblin engineer, who created an additional add as part of the mix.  Then, we were fighting down at the bottom of the ramp, but at one point a goblin went to flee when it his low health… how I missed hamsting at that moment… and hopped up onto the platform and broke line of sight.  Nobody could hit him unless they ran after him.  He, of course, brought back another add.  Obama went down and things were starting to come off the rails.  But I just kept taunting mobs off of Skronk so he could keep healing while Ula and Moronae kept burning things down.

Eventually all the hostiles were down, and by virtue of this chaos we had almost finished clearing before the boss, but it felt like a near run thing.  We took down the final stragglers, then went after Gilnid, who was not a tough fight.  We looted the Smelting Pants from him, which went to Moronae.

After that I was all keyed up for the follow on patrol, remembering us getting the worst from a similar situation back in the day.  Oddly, that patrol was very slow in coming.  I was wandering up and down the ramp waiting for them for a few minutes before they showed up.  There were four this time, but we had no problem dealing with them.

Once that was down, it was down deeper into the tunnels, clearing miners and getting to the cannon, which Ula fired for us once the gunpowder was collect from the side tunnel.

The door comes down

We had to warn Obama, they new kid… almost literally… not to run through the door once it came down.  As usual, the pirates were waiting on the other side.

And then we were out on the boardwalk. where we cleared the pirates as well as some goblins who were lurking off to either side.  That last would turn out to have been a boon.  Then we sat a minute to take stock.

The group takes a rest

Nothing lay between us and the next boss, sitting up at the top of the ship’s gangplank.  There he stood, the aptly named Mr. Smite.

Mr. Smite awaits

And that is where this chapter will close.  I’m already past the two thousand word mark… also I’m home sick, so need a break… and I have a lot more to go as this is where things get interesting, for we had to face not only Mr. Smite and the remaining bosses, but a danger from an unexpected angle.  Tune in for part two tomorrow.

Return to the Heroic Deadmines

Last time out for the instance group we finished up the last of the normal mode instances, Grim Batol, and then decided to try our hand at Cataclysm heroics.

The Deadmines, ever the favored dungeon in Azeroth, was our target and the fact that we couldn’t use the Dungeon Finder because the item level of our gear was too low did not deter us in the slightest.  An item level of 329 seemed too much to ask.

In hindsight, we might have paid a bit more attention to that last bit.  While we managed to get in the door and through the first couple of bosses, we were clearly in over our head and called it a night after too many wipes in the foundry.

The Machination in the background

Where we left off last time…

Thus stopped mid-instance, we decided to remedy the gear item level situation in Pandaria.  Four of us went to visit Silkweaver Rul in Pearlfin Village.

The Gearing Up Vendor

The Gearing Up Vendor

While we had all picked up at least a few items in our first foray into Pandaria, where we stopped at Pearlfin Village, we clearly did not pick up enough.  The four of us each ended up buying 8 or 9 items from the vendor.

The gear is kind of interesting.  There is something there for everybody and it is all item level 372.  It is also all bind on pick up and you cannot disenchant them.  This is clearly the “catch up” vendor for those entering the expansion.

Earl, on the other hand, decided to press on into Pandaria to gear himself up.  He didn’t get to read the discussion in last week’s comment thread about the balance between health and main stats versus secondary stats as you level up in Pandaria, which was probably a good thing as it was more than I really wanted to consider, and just leveled up to 86.  He also came up with an item level 450, account bound (which means you can mail it to your alts), sword to wield.

So the group was all at item level 372 or above and ready to go.

  • Earlthecat – Level 86 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 85 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 85 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 85 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 85 Gnome Mage DPS

The question was, where should we head with our new gear?  Ula was AFK when that discussion started, and when she returned she flatly stated that we were going to go back to the Deadmines and that was pretty much that.  The decision was made.  Having walked there last time, we felt entitled to use the Dungeon Finder to get us there.


Did all that gear make a difference?  More after the cut.

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Grim Batol and Beyond in Cataclysm

Back to the more comfortable (for me anyway) world of five person instances.

We all got together again on Saturday night wondering what we should do.  We had all reached the magic level of 85.

  • Earlthecat – Level 85 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 85 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 85 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 85 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 85 Gnome Mage DPS

We had all at least poked our noses into Pandaria for a few gear upgrades.  So the question was where to head next?  The only normal mode instance left undone by us in Cataclysm was Grim Batol.  Kicking off the quest line into Twilight Highlands and doing that was the default plan for the night.  We could also attempt Grim Batol in heroic mode, try one of the heroic only instances, or really roll the dice and try one of the two converted raids which were ranked as 85++.

We decided to go with the default.  That would complete our minimum plan for Cataclysm content and then we could mess around with whatever else afterwards.  That meant picking up the opening quest for Twilight Highlands and heading over to Stormwind Keep to chat with the king.

Hanging around in Stormwind Keep

Hanging around in Stormwind Keep

You can sort-of see the enchant on Alioto’s staff, which Skronk made for me with one of his alts.  It is the agility enchant, but it is green and has an animation of leaves dropping from it, making it about the most perfect druid weapon enchant ever.

As we hung out waiting for everybody to get ready, we watched what seemed to be a continuous stream of people show up and speak to Major Samuelson over in the corner, at which he would transform into some sort of Ganesh-esque monster which had to be slain.  Clearly a popular quest line on a Saturday night.  We weren’t sure what lead to that, but we had our own tasks to work on.  Once we were all together, we spoke to the king, got our one version of the destined to be troublesome Prince Anduin (nicely, everybody’s copy of the prince was only visible to themselves) and off we went to unlock the way to the Twilight Highlands.

Headed out of the keep

Headed out of the keep

More after the cut because of the usual group nice verbosity.

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The Dreadmines and the Scarlet Something or Other

Not a World of Warcraft post.

Saturday night rolled around again, as is its habit, and it found three of us online and looking for adventure.  I think we might be ready for a game like Borderlands 2 or such at this point.  Needing to accommodate five people is slipping as a requirement.

So there we were.  I think we have actually settled on characters now, so I will start listing them out.  We had:

  • Fergorin Ironhelm – Level 12 Guardian Fighter
  • Regulos – Level 12 Devote Cleric
  • Sans Serif – Level 12 Trickster Rogue

I actually went and played some Neverwinter on a weeknight to catch up, which I suppose is a good sign for the game.  Though, in doing so, I ran a quest that gave me another bag, thus removing from immediate contention possibly the only item in their store I would consider buying.  Nice move Cryptic.  I was this close *holds up two fingers very close together* to pulling the trigger on a buying some Zen, and then you handed me an out.

I also gained my stealth skill, another attack, and some upgraded equipment.  I was ready… or more ready… to go.

After our previous venture into Neverwinter, where the Foundry came through for us, we chatted a bit afterwards about the Foundry tool set and what it was possible to build.  During that conversation I demonstrated what an unoriginal hack I was by declaring that if I was going to make dungeons in Neverwinter, I would just remake the good ones from WoW.

That got a chuckle and few comments before we logged off for the night.

This past weekend however Potshot, who is our Foundry expert and scout, said he had a special surprise for us.  He had been exploring the Foundry and had a couple of dungeons lined up for us.

More after the cut because of too many pictures which I probably think are more amusing than they really are.  My apologies in advance.

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Westfall Story

When you’re a Defias,
You’re an expendable pawn
From your first red bandana
To your final respawn.

-Defias Song, Westfall Story

When last we checked into Westfall, Gryan Stoutmantle had a big question mark over his head and I was certain that we would be getting stuck into the Defias.

Gryan Waits For Us

The Defias, curse their name, were all over Sentinal Hill, attempting to burn it down while engaged in ritual combat with the Westfall Brigade… combat that looked rather like an awkward and slow motion version of the Jets taking on the Sharks in West Side Story.

What task would Gryan Stoutmantle have for us.

As with last week, I’ll answer that after the break so as not to spoil Westfall for those who have not done it yet.

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The Deadmines – Enemy Territory

80 > 22+22+22+22+22

-Essential WoW PvP Math

We decided that for our weekly instance group run last week we would leave the Barrens and its colorful chat channel behind and venture into the dangerous world and perhaps experience the PvP side of our RP-PvP server, Lightninghoof.

I have not really played on a PvP server in WoW before, so the whole situation was not clear to me when we rolled up on Lightninghoof.  I expected to be flagged PvP at all times.  But that turned out not to be the case.  While you can flag yourself PvP at any time, the zone you are in determines what else flags you PvP.

For each player, there are three flavors of zones.

There is what is considered the home territory of your faction.  This is sort of like the PvE servers, in that you only get flagged if you actually attack a player of the other faction.  however, players of the other faction are always flagged PvP when they enter your home territory.  So they other side cannot come in and stomp noobs but are exposed themselves.

Then there is contested territory, which is most of the world I gather.  When in contested territory, everybody is flagged for PvP.

Then there is enemy territory, which is the other factions home territory.  There you are flagged PvP but the other side is not, so you cannot go stomp their noobs but they can choose to come get you whenever they please.

We were off to do the Deadmines, and it turns out that Westfall is enemy territory for the Horde.  So we would be flagged for PvP the whole time, but couldn’t go a-ganking unless somebody obliged us by flagging themselves.  Of course, if a high level came along, we would be in trouble.  The equation at the top of the post also applies to level 50 and above in the ability to slaughter a group in the low 20s.

As part of the plan to get ourselves into Westfall with the minimum of deaths, Azawak and Hurmoo both went into the druid cat form and used prowl to sneak into the vicinity of the Deadmines summoning stone.  We flew into Stranglethorn Vale first, then swam around to the shores of Westfall.

Summoning Stone Under Observation

As the hour approached, we started assembling the team for the night:

22 Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)
22 Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
22 Tauren Druid – Azawak (Skronk)
22 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
22 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)
80 Tauren Druid – Fayli (Gaff)

Gaff came over from New Eden to give us some covering fire if we needed it getting to the instance.  And it turned out we needed it.

Even as people were getting ready, Hurmoo got caught by a high level Alliance paladin near the summoning stone and was insta-killed.  Fortunately I had seen him coming and was trying to escape and evade while in prowl, so I managed to put my corpse close to a building.  This let me revive on the other side of the building, out of sight, and head for the hills.

Azawak and Hurmoo laid low for a while as the other troops got themselves in position and Fayli traveled out to join him.

When everybody was ready, we summoned in Enaldie, Bigbutt, and Earlthebat, then started quickly towards the instance.

However, in the tunnels, we found the paladin again.  He turned out to be level 80 and he killed us all pretty rapidly.  Fayli showed up, but we hadn’t told him it was a paladin, just that a high level Alliance player was on us.  It seems that a paladin is a tough target for a feral druid of the same level unless the druid gets the drop on him, so Fayli and the pally ran around the mines a bit while we revived and got killed once or twice more.

Eventually though, we all made it to the instance.

The Deadmines itself wasn’t much of a challenge.  As a group of level 22 players, we were a bit above level for the instance.  The instance is listed as being for levels 15 through 23, but by 22 you’re not really being challenged.  The NPCs at the start of the instance were grey to us.

Running Through Familiar Places

While familiar with the instance, we managed to get surprised now and again.  We had forgotten that patrols show up to sweep the room when you finish a couple of the bosses, so you can get take unaware, especially by that group that shows up after you finish the foundry.

Looking Out Over The Foundry

It seems odd though that Blizzard established this patrol thing pretty strongly in the Deadmines, then didn’t use it again.  At least I cannot think of an instance off-hand where something like that occurs.

We still showed care and did not get in over our heads… not very often anyway… even though everything was below our level.  Things got a little more challenging once we got to Smite.

Facing Smite

You have to love VanCleef’s ship.  Can you say “Top Heavy?”

We made our was along the decks and up the scaffolding, making it to VanCleef at last.

We though perhaps we could form an alliance with the Defias.  These guys are fighting against Stormwinds, why are they aggro to us?  But it wasn’t to be.  He fought, we won, the achievement was ours.

Victory Over VanCleef

Hurmoo is wearing the puffy shirt that dropped from VanCleef.  Nobody wanted it, so it went to Hurmoo to disenchant.

While the Deadmines was fun, it was something of a nostalgia ride, and as such, did not last very long.  We still had some energy left in us.  So we decided to terrorize Westfall.

We first went to the flight point to see what we could slay there, but everything showed up as “??” to us, so we gave that a wide berth.  No slaying the flight master for us.

We then headed to the Saldean Farm where all the NPCs were low level.  We killed them all in front of a couple of lower level Alliance players.

Death To The Humans!

Then we ran over and tried to free Old Blanchy from his oppressors, the Furlbrows, who regularly give away his blanket and feed pouch.  We slew them, but Blanchy was too brainwashed to accept his freedom, join us, and fight against the tyranny of Stormwind.

Free Old Blanchy

Then we headed into Elwynn Forest, where we slew guards until a pair of “??” Alliance players saw us and one-shotted us.

The Invasion Crushed

We went back, revived, found that at least our corpses were not being camped, declared a moral victory, and recalled for home.  We decided to do a bit on the Pilgrim’s Bounty end of things.

All in all, it was quite a fun run.  The Deadmines is still an awesome instance and I look forward to the heroic version that is promised for Cataclysm.  Then perhaps Sneed and his shredder will be a challenge.

Sneed And His Shredder

The instance is also very good looking.  Every time I go through it I am always struck by the lighting and how well it sets the mood.  Somebody spent a lot of time on this instance.

After figuring out how the tables at Pilgrim’s Bounty worked and getting the first achievement or two, we started calling it a night one by one.

If we stay on our instance trajectory, Shadowfang Keep will be the next on the list.  We are not dedicated to running all the instances again, the way we did with the original instance group, so maybe we’ll just go raid Westfall again.

Heroic Deadmines!

From the WoW.com coverage of the Cataclysm expansion preview panel

1:31PM Heroic Deadmines and Heroic Shadowfang Keep. Existing art, but new fights, creatures and abilities. Heroic level 85 dungeon. “VanCleefier than ever before.”

Yay for more VanCleefiness!

[Addendum: There is a list of the current Cataclysm 5-person dungeons on WoW.com.]

A Tour of the Deadmines

We were all lined up to do the Deadmines, my mother, my daughter, and I.

My daughter was up to level 19 with her hunter and had all the quests in place.

My mom had been playing some over the week, so she was already level 26 and interested to see the inside of the Deadmines.

And my druid… well, my druid wasn’t going.  To get the three of us through the Deadmines without the adventure becoming a route, I decided to take along the level 40 hunter I have on our server in order to clear the path.

It had been some time since I ran through the Deadmines.  The instance group last set foot in the Deadmines back in November 2006.

I did remember to follow the right wall along the caverns leading to the instance, even if I messed that up at one point in the interest of taking a short cut.

Once in, I found it easiest to just set my pet on aggressive for a while to clear out the early sections of the dungeon.  That sped things up a bit.  Bosses did not pose much of a problem at level 40.  The biggest problem I had was keeping my daughter with the group.  As the lowest level, she was the aggro magnet, and as the youngest one, she was prone to run off on her own.

Still, with my pet running amok and my hunter shooting anything that got on her, I was able to keep her alive for the most part.  The only time anybody died was in the foundry when we managed to aggro just about everybody on the ground floor including Gilnid.

It wasn’t a wipe though.  My hunter powered through while everybody else got to learn the lesson about not clicking release when you die on a boss fight, otherwise you might not get to roll for the loot.

Oddly enough, while the 3.0.8 patch added new graveyards all over old Azeroth, including in Westfall, when you die in the Deadmines you still come back as a wisp way over at Sentinal Hill rather than one of the closer respawn locations.  One of the problems going in with three hunters is that all you can revive is pets.

Once we got everybody back and together, we pressed on, experiencing no further deaths.

Blowing the Door

Blowing the Door

We got in a bit over our head once or twice, but were able to keep things under control.  The fight with Mr. Smite was amusing if only because it went by so quickly that he had to hurry through his lines.

We made our way around and up the ship, finally facing off with and taking down VanCleef, which finishes off the main quest and granted us all the Deadmines achievement.

Even with the deaths, we were through in about an hour.  The loot was the usual Deadmines assortment.  Probably the best item for the long term was the Green Wing Macaw drop, a rare companion pet you can only get in the Deadmines.

I do not know if we’ll make instance tours like this in the future.  I cannot see us treking through Wailing Caverns for example.   But it was nice to run through the Deadmines.  It is a good deomstration of a well done instance.