Tag Archives: Desolace

Meandering in Maraudon

Having finished up Zul’Farrak we ended up skipping a couple of weeks due to the real life, but got back together this past weekend.  The next instance on the list was Maraudon.

I know I always say something about hazy memories and having forgotten places, but for Maraudon that was especially true for me.  I remember there being an orange side, a purple side, and the final boss… not the fight, just the boss herself.  Aside from it being in Desolace, that was about it.

Add into this the fact that we do very little research before we head into an instance, preferring to learn on the go, and we sometimes set ourselves up.  The only thing we really look into is the quests, just to make sure we have them all going in.  There were three we needed to grab on the way in, one in Theramore and two more out in Desolace.  Everything else was said to be in the instance, so when we got on, we didn’t know much more than that.  Our group for the evening was:

  • Moronae – level 50 night elf druid
  • Viniki – level 50 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 50 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 50 gnome mage

Everybody was 50 at last, and I think we all have our class quests.  We’ll get to that later, since that involved the next instance.

We picked up our quests, riding across Desolace from the flight point.

Out in the aptly named Desolace

I had scouted the locations up front.  It was a matter of going to out outpost, then finding a wandering NPC in the south of the zone, then turning to the Valley of Spears and Maraudon.

Our path across Desolace

Also, as a side note, I am thinking of doing a series of short weekend posts featuring the in game map of each zone, completely explored, as finding maps for anything classic on Google has been problematic at times.  Just the map and a few notes about the zone, just so I can find them later.

Anyway, once to the Valley of Spears there is a big door, which we found straight away. There is no key or anything required, you just click on it and in you go,  you are in the foyer of the dungeon.  We stopped for a bit there to get ourselves buffed up and ready.

Setting up inside

Inside we ran into the Nameless Prophet, killed him, got his drop, and then ignored it while we went wandering around in the caves.  Unlike some other instances, the “outside the instance but part of the experience” area was not all elite mobs.  Maraudon was a post-launch addition, so maybe that changed their minds.  There was also at least one collect drops quest where we all got to loot a drop rather than only one of us getting the update.  Modern times.

We came to a point where things were clearly split into the orange and purple sides.  We looked at the orange side.

Orange, this way…

And the promptly went off towards the purple side of the caves, finding our way to the instance.

Into the purple zone

Once in, we began our advance, facing off against multiple groups of four or five.  But at level 50 we were well above the level of most of the elite mobs early on, and some of the mobs in groups were non-elite, so we were able to clear and move pretty well.  And well all had a “collect 25 items” quest that was of the old school, with only one person getting the drop, but everything seemed to drop them, so we were happy enough to slaughter everything as we went.  100 drops is a big ask, but we seemed to make decent progress.

We made out way to Lord Vyletongue, the first boss encounter.  We were not fooled by the two minions in stealth at the entrance to his chamber.  However, rushing in to grab him, we were surprised to find two additional stealthed guards in with him.  That could have gone more smoothly, but we managed to muddle through on an innervate from Moronea to get Skronk back his mana.

Lord Vyletongue down, dealing with his minions

Somewhere along there Moronae asked about the drop we got from the Nameless Prophet, a gem that we needed to use somewhere along the way.

The amulet in the bag

After trying to use it in a few likely spots, we happened upon one of the spirit Khans, so used it on him.  That does indeed manifest them in to the physical world… and they are aggro and attack right away.  Fortunately we were prepared.

We carried on into the center of the instance, where the purple and orange sides join and started in on that.

The middle of Maraudon is icky

The mobs started getting up to our level, but we kept on, clearing our way until we found Celebras the Cursed.

Celebras and his droogs

We got ourselves buffed back up, then Moronae and I waded into the green water to start the attack.  We decided to kill Celebras first.  He summons more minions as the fight goes on, but we were able to power though, drop him, and then clear his help.

That left us talking to the ghost Celebras, which something in the back of my head knew was the result, but something was missing.

Celebras, post fight

I believe Skronk asked aloud, “Aren’t we supposed to get a staff or something?”

Yeah, that was the ticket.  But no staff here.  So we started looking up the instance and the quests and found that we had gone the wrong way.  There is an NPC early on in the orange side that sets you up with the quest you need.  Then you need to kill a boss on the orange side and a boss on the purple side to get yourself set for Celebras.

We did not have that quest.  We should have done the orange side first.  Plus, we had already killed the purple side boss, Lord Vyletongue.  We were in a “what do we do now?” situation.

We decided to just go back the way we came, go over to the orange side, get the quest, then see if we could make it to the boss there to at least move the quest along.

Fortunately, not much had respawned behind us, just the first few mobs in the instance.  Unfortunately, getting back was a bit of a maze of bridges and paths, though in our wandering we did wrap up another quest.

We found another khan along the way.  We ended up with four of the five gems from them, and I think the last one we need is right at the start when you come in, so we should be able to finish this up next time.

Eventually we unwound the maze and made it into the orange side and found the quest giver, Cavindra.

Quest obtained

That done, we decided we had time for one more objective, to take down the boss on the orange side for the quest.  On the mini map that boss, Noxxion, looked like he was pretty close by.  But the mini map lies, Maraudon is twisting caves and ramps.  We had a ways to go.  But we managed to move fairly quickly.

The one test on the way was in a room with a bunch of non-elite larvae.  I grabbed a bunch of them so we could do freeze and burn, and in the middle of them an elite showed up.  I hadn’t seen an elite before, but grabbed aggro and focused on him.  Then another showed up, seemingly out of nowhere.  Something was amiss.

I looked up and around the room and saw a large pulsing tube that ran from ceiling to floor, and when I moused over it I got a cog wheel cursor.  With that a little light went on in my head, the tube was the source of the elites.

Moronae worked his way over there as another elite appeared from the tube to prove my point.  He clicked on it, we finished off the last elite, and were set to move forward again.

The deflated larvae launcher in the background

From there it wasn’t much farther to Noxxion.  The fight with him had a mechanic where he divides into multiple versions of himself that you have to burn down, then he reappears to resume the fight.  We had enough power to burn through that and bring him down.  That accomplished our goal for the night.  We lined up for a picture then stoned back to Ironforge.

Maraudon very orange

For next time we have a couple of quests to turn in, the third khan to find, Lord Vyletongue to slay once more, and then a return date with Celebras.  Then we can move on into the end of the instance and maybe wrap it up.

Three Stops in Scarlet Monastery

Saturday one again saw the group together and we were going to take one more run at Scarlet Monastery.  As I mentioned last week, I wanted to finish up the quest In the Name of the Light as it offered up a serious weapon upgrade for me.  The rest of the group was good for that as well, so as we set out we had this line up:

  • Viniki – level 38 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 38 gnome mage
  • Skronk – level 37 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 38 night elf druid

The first thing we had to do was to get everybody on the quest together, and that meant speaking to Brother Anton out in Desolace.

Brother Anton hanging out at the inn

We had gotten ourselves pre-positioned nearby, so getting to Desolace wasn’t an issue.  Viniki had even already done this stage, so I got out Wilhelm, my pally, to run along and get the quest under his belt.

The quest is simple.  Brother Anton just wants you to kill some undead.  He is from the Scarlet Crusade after all, and their stated purpose is the eradication of undead on Azeroth.  The undead in question… thirty of them… are a bit of a ways off.  You basically have to run the length of Desolace, north to south and back, which itself is well stocked with hostile creatures wandering about.

Running the length of Desolace

And Desolace is not a small zone.  It isn’t as big as The Barrens, but it is a lot bigger than Westfall.  So we headed off.

We just need to get to that arch

The zone also has such a muddy color palette that one might mistakenly believe they had accidentally run into EverQuest II Classic.  But we made it without too many entanglements along the way.

The slaying of the ravagers starter off well enough.  We got in the first ten pretty quickly.

Smiting a ravager

But then somebody else showed up to hunt them, and then a third party joined in as well.  The problem with this quest is that even with a full, untouched spawn, there are not 30 ravagers to be slain.  If you have the place to yourself you end up having to wait for respawns.  And when you have other people around it becomes a race to see who can tag ravagers first.  Fortunately for us bringing along a paladin had benefits.  Wilhelm has track undead, so we could spot spawns at a distance, and the one ranged pally spell, exorcism, only works on undead and demons, so he could actually tag things without having to run all the way up to them and shake their hand.

So it took a bit, but we eventually got them, then trotted back across the length of the zone to report back to Brother Anton.

He, in turn, sends us off to speak to Raleigh the Devote, who resides in Southshore.  Anton promised that Raleigh would, “escort you to a place of honor in our Scarlet Monastery” when we met up with him.  But Raleigh wasn’t so receptive.

Raleigh reacts badly

Raleigh has become disillusioned with the Scarlet Crusade, feeling that its once noble mission had gone astray.

The problem

His solution was to decapitate the leadership.  We had to go slay:

  • Houndmaster Loksey (Library)
  • Herod (Armory)
  • High Inquisitor Whitemane (Cathedral)
  • Scarlet Commander Mograine (Cathedral)

Of course, we had slain all four of these bosses before, so we were back for an encore run, hitting three wings in one run.

We ran out to the Scarlet Monastery again, taking the path from Southshore, and arriving without any particular issues for once.  There we went straight into the library to find Houndmaster Loksey.

He is not too far into that instance, so we could zip in, clear just a few groups, then grab him.

Markers of the Loksey fight

Arcanist Doan was not on Raleigh’s list, so we were able to slip right back out of the instance and on to the armory.

This was our third run into the armory, so we had the path in down pretty well.  We moved at a pace though the trash.

Cutting down the scarlets

It did not take us too long to get to Herod.

Herod awaits once more

Having done the fight already, we were able to run through it pretty quickly.  Herod spins, we run, Herod stops, we slay.  He was soon down and the trainee chorus line with him.

All clear again

Herod was nice enough to drop Herod’s Should, the mail shoulder piece, which was a nice addition to my kit.

We did not, however, linger long.  My plan was to get back out of the instance as fast as possible.  Skronk suggested we could just “tele-mort,” wipe and run back, but I wanted to get out alive.  With the quick spawn rate of the armory, my hope was that we could bypass most of the trash and maybe just fight a few groups as we got close to the exit.

Running for the exit

Eventually we hit a group, just before the stairway to the archery range.

The armory layout

It was just a group of three though, so no big deal.  We killed them going in, we would kill them going out.  However, not thinking, I grabbed this group around the corner from where they spawned, which happened to be very close to where the next group of three spawned less than a minute later when we were in the midst of the fight.

A trio of adds

At that point we were toast.  It didn’t help that the walked that patrols this section also wandered in.  I think we also proximity pulled the group behind us that spawned as well.  It was not going well, so the decision was to run for it to see if anybody could get out.  Nobody did, but you can see all the mobs running back past my corpse after they finally got Ula.

Trash returning to their spots

So we ended up with the tele-mort option after all.

That left us lined up for the cathedral.  We did that last week, but it wasn’t a cake walk.  However, having done it we were better prepared as to how we should approach it.  Also, we were very careful not to get too close to Morgaine.

As with the previous run, we cleared a path first to the lower fountain, then the upper fountain.  At the upper fountain we picked off the mobs on the front lawn from left to right, then took the guardians of the door.

Once the cathedral doors were open the careful pulls really began.  We were not fooled by the mobs just inside the doors and off to either side.  We move from group to group with deliberate care, keeping the fights manageable and not letting anybody run off.

Not too far into that Viniki hit level 39.  That would make him all the more effective against the final boss.  However, I was also facing a problem.  I had forgotten to repair my armor after last week… and another couple of deaths during the week… so as we were moving on I got the paper doll warning for my sword and pants.

Never a good sign

My sword was especially light on durability, and would clearly go red if I kept using it.

On the plus side, I had an alternate weapon in my bag, the Hand of Righteousness, which dropped off of Morgaine last week.  It required level 39, so it just opened up as an option right then.  In addition to durability, it gave me a boost from 21 to 29 dps when it came to my weapon.

It is also pretty nice looking

The flip side of that was Viniki hadn’t used a one-handed mace for a while, so while the cap for weapon skills at level 39 is 195, Viniki’s mace skill was 65.  He was not going to be hitting anything for much damage until that worked up.  I warned the group about the issue, then took hold of the mace and pulled the next mob.

As expected, I had some trouble holding aggro for a while as I wiffed swing after swing.  But for a long stretch there was a skill up with every swing.  Soon I was reliably hitting for 1 damage.  Fortunately I was able to use my taunt and a few other skills to keep the mobs from running completely amok on the casters.

We kept going, clearing the left side of the altar first, then going to the right, swinging wide around the pillars to keep clear of Morgaine.  On the right side we cleared then went to grab High Inquisitor Fairbanks again.

It is weird that he is just laying there looking dead

The Icy Veins guide says he is skippable, which is true enough, and does get skipped because he doesn’t drop blue gear.  But he is an easy fight and last time he dropped the Inquisitor’s Shawl, which was an upgrade for Skronk.  This time he dropped the Dusty Mail Boots, which were an upgrade for Viniki.  Worth the time yet again.

After that we went back to the main hall for the final fight.

There is Morgaine

Again, having done it last week we were much better prepared.  Last time there was a some tension as we got to the end of the fight as Skronk ran low on mana and my health ebbed.

This time however it played out like a sure thing.  I re-equipped my sword to be sure I was hitting consistently and we kicked things off.  Morgaine went down, Whitemane revived him, we slew Whitemane, then finished off Morgaine again without the issue being at all in doubt.

Finishing up Morgaine

So the question became, “What did they drop?”

Last week Morgaine dropped the Scarlet Leggings.  This time around he gave us the Morgaine’s Might, the two handed mace.  I was really hoping for his shield, which would have been a major upgrade for me.  Nobody really wanted/needed the mace, so we rolled off for who would get to vendor it.

And then there was Whitemane.  Last week it was the Hand of Righteousness, which I had been using for a bit.  But the big item from her is Whitemane’s Chapeau.  And when we checked the corpse, there it was.  Skronk had been pining for that hat and, in my brain, it was healer gear.  But on looking at the stats, it was really good for any cloth wearing caster.

Whitemane’s Chapeau

So Ula and Skronk had to roll off for it.  Ula won.

She has a post with a video about her new hat over at her blog.

But Whitemane’s Chapeau requires level 39 and she was half a bubble shy.  So we went back out to the fountain area and picked off mobs until she leveled up.  Then we ran over to take a proper screen shot out in front of the upper fountain.

At the fountain for the picture

Then it was time to recall to Ironforge.  But we were not done yet.  We had to fly back to Southshore to turn in the quest to Raleigh.  I was happy to get my new sword.

For those not so inclined, there was another weapon that vendored for over two gold, which at our level of poverty is not something to be sneered at.  And the experience for the quest was decent as well.  It pushed Moronae over the top to 39 and Skronk ended up not too far from that level as well, having hit 38 earlier in the run.

With that I think we might be done with Scarlet Monastery.  I believe Razorfen Downs is next on the list.  At least that is where we went next back in the day.

Desolace, Feralas, and Thousand Needles

The Loremaster summer project continues.  I think I have been able to carry on with it as I have in part because of the nature of a quest driven goal.  It is very easy to log on, advance through some quests, then go away, only to pick things up again later.  And then there is the whole tourist aspect of running through zones to see how they have changed since back in the day.  That works well now, but once I advance into Outland and The Burning Crusade content, things having changed won’t be part of the picture.

Anyway, since last time I have managed to pop through three more zones with my rogue, starting with Desolace.

Desolace Map

Desolace Map

I apparently have to open each of these zone descriptions with a statement about not having fond memories.  So much Kalimdor hate.  I think, deep down, I resent that Kalimdor has a name, while The Eastern Kingdoms is just a description.

My earliest memory of Desolace involves running.  This is a mid-30s zone, so back in the day it might have been one of the last you went through before you got a mount.  I remember running from Ratchet in The Barrens through the Stonetalon Mountains, to Desolace, and realizing that the trip took me nearly 45 minutes.  That is almost an early EverQuest length cross-continent trip.  And then once you got there, you ended up running all over the zone again and again.  I particularly remember that skeleton infested canyon down in the south end of the zone.

Now though, there are several flight points in the zone, you get a mount at level 20 so you don’t have to run, and upon entering the zone, you even get a free lift to Nijel’s Point, the Alliance base in the zone.

Why walk when you can fly?

Why walk when you can fly?

The zone itself, despite being one of the featured “changed” zones for the Cataclysm expansion, hasn’t changed as much as you might think.  Yes, there is the big green patch in the middle now, and you spend more time with the nagas and less time with the centaurs (and that “choose a faction” deal is all history), but as a whole it still has something of the same feel it had for me.  And, for the most part, the quest chains have been tightened up and improved.  There are fewer “just go kill some things” quests, though a few of the old ones still linger at the start of the zone.   And there are the requisite vehicle quests, which I often find a pleasant change.

Centaur as vehicle

Centaur as vehicle

The zone also feels a bit more tied together with a story.  Cataclysm might not have added any new zones that I really like, but if you wanted zones to feel more cohesive in terms of story, you got that at least.

The zone ends up with a minor boss fight that uses a creature model from The Burning Crusade if I recall right.

Was she ever in vanilla

Was she ever in vanilla?

Nicely, I got the quests achievement just as I was wrapping up the last few quests in the zone, so I did not have to trace back my steps to find the missing quest.

DesoQuestAchi

That put me on the road south out of the zone and into Feralas.  Though first I had to head back to Darnassus, as I also hit level 40 at the end of Desolace, so I was due for a mount upgrade.  But then it was off to the green zone of Feralas.

Feralas Map

Feralas Map

Of Cataclysm updated zones I have been through far, Feralas has seen the least changes.  The zone is pretty much intact from pre-Cataclysm days.  Yes, the west coast and Sardor Island were damaged, there are more flight points, and the storyline there has changed, but a fair number of the old quests remain.  You will go hunting for yeti pelts.

But other aspects have been trimmed quite dramatically.  You are flown out to Sardor Island for a couple of quests that barely last long enough for you to make a Thomas the Tank Engine reference before you are winging your way back to the mainland.

Farewell Thomas!

Farewell Thomas!

The majority of the quests are concentrated in the stretch of land between Feathermoon and Camp Mojache, the Horde base that straddles the main road through the zone.  As is custom, I managed to wander into range of the Camp Mojache NPCs and get myself killed.

I did run into one quest issue.  I do not think the quest was bugged, but I could not figure out how to get Might of the Sentinels to complete.  I gave it a couple of tries, dropping it and picking it back up again, but it never wrapped up for me.  So I kept it in my quest log to return to if I needed one more quest to finish the zone.  The quest itself is memorable in that it features a globe of Azeroth, which seems to be missing Northrend.

The globe in Feralas

The globe in Feralas

As it turned out, the quest was not on the main thread through the zone and I ended up at New Thalanaar just two quests shy of the 40 needed, and there were four quests waiting for me at that end, so I was able to get the achievement without having to return for the unfinished quest.

FeraQuestAchi

Which put me on the boat to Thousand Needles.  Literally.

When you wrap up at the eastern end of Feralas the lead-in quest puts you on a boat that runs you through most of the zone… submerged in water since Cataclysm… out to Fizzle and Pozzik’s Speedbarge.

Thousand Needles Map

Thousand Needles Map

If you can question how much Desolace and Feralas really changed with Cataclysm, with Thousand Needles it would be tough to find much that remained the same.  Once a dry, desert area of tall mesas and a salt flat that was home to the Mirage Raceway, the whole thing is now a lake, and the speedbarge, floating in the middle of it, is the first quest hub.  Occupied by goblins and gnomes who have an uneasy truce, you end up helping them secure themselves from the pirates on the east coast of the lake.  Oh, and you salvage things for them.

The one quest that remains from the old days of Thousand Needles involves salvaging rocket car parts.  You only need to find 10 now, as opposed to 30 back in the day, but they are the same parts strewn about the same raceway.  It is just under water now.

Once I ran a raceway...

Once I ran a raceway…

Water is the focus of the first half of the quest chain in the zone.  Fortunately, they give you underwater breathing so your many ventures at the bottom of the lake that is Thousand Needles are a little easier to deal with.  You also get a boat.

On a boat yeah...

On a boat yeah…

This is your zone-specific mount for Thousand Needles.  And while I had the azure water strider, the water walking mount, to get around on, the boat seemed to be faster.  I was passed by a couple of people.  That included Horde players, because Thousand Needles looks like the point where the Alliance and Horde quest lines unite.  The achievements for previous zones were separate for Alliance and Horde.  From Thousand Needles forward both sides get the same achievement.

There is much to be zone around the speedbarge.  As I mentioned, there is salvage and pirates, plus some more centaurs who are sitting on some oil reserves that the combined gnome/goblin forces want to exploit.  And there are plenty of sights to see.

That is a big, dead whale shark

That is a big, dead whale shark

Eventually, about 30 quests in, the speedbarge quest chain runs out and you are done there.  That puts you at the half way mark for the quest achievement.  Fizzle gives you one more quest, which sends you back up the lake towards Freewind post.  There, the war against the Grimtotem tauren commences… though I could have sworn the Alliance was supporting them back in the Stonetalon Mountains quest chain.  You end up fighting across the various mesas and then across the south bank of the lake from Highperch, where you free some adorable baby pridelings, down to Twilight Withering.

A dozen pridelings in tow

A dozen pridelings in tow

The quest chain on the mesas includes an NPC tagging along for the whole trip, so as a rogue you want to stealth past things, but you have this fully visible dolt next to you who might as well be shouting, “Hey, are you being stealthy? That is sooo cool! I can barely see you sneaking up on that Grimtoten warrior!  Hey, warrior, can you see my friend here?”

Still, she was a good fighter as well as being a mobile quest dispenser, so at least I did not have to do a lot of back and forth to advance the quest chain.  Along the south bank you lose your NPC shadow and the situation becomes ideal for a rogue.  There are a number of quests where you can just slip on past all the bad guys and ambush the one guy you want.  I ran down the quest chain and hit the 60 quest mark only a couple quests shy of being done.  Again, excess quests, so no need to go back and find quests I missed.

Achievement and level

Achievement and level

I also hit level 47 with that turn-in.  I ran down the last couple of quests, which ended up back on the speedbarge, where Fizzle gave me a nice blue item.  In addition to going for the quest achievements, I have also done the whole thing so far with gear from quests or drops.  Every time I think I might want to buy a new weapon, I go look at the auction house and the prices drive me away.  My sense of value in the game has not kept up with inflation I am sure, but I still don’t think 300+ gold for a level 50-ish weapon that my character will out grown quickly is a good deal.  I am tempted to just get him an heirloom dagger this weekend when Darkmoon Faire pops again.

The final quest pointed me towards Tanaris.  But I already have the quest achievement for Tanaris via my monk, who is almost ready to wrap up Un’goro Crater as well.  So my rogue will be heading to Felwood next and then to Winterspring.  And when those two are out of the way, I will only have the Draeni starting zone, Bloodmyst Isle on my list for Kalimdor.  I had originally thought I would roll up a Draeni to run that… in fact, I already rolled him up… but with only that zone on the list, I might just go back and twink it with the rogue.  Or maybe not.  I still have a bunch of work in the Easter Kingdoms before I move on to Outland and The Burning Crusade zones.