Tag Archives: Dire Maul North

Reconsidering My Paladin in Dire Maul

At some point last night we got the Burning Crusade Classic patch on WoW Classic… I think.  The downtime was supposed to be done at 3pm, then 7pm, and then 10pm and… well… some of us have to get up and go to work in the morning.

I suspect that database operations took much longer than expected, which is frequently a thing in my experience.

Anyway, when it it does go live it will be the day of the dividing of worlds and new specs and events and what not.  I’m sure I will have a post about that tomorrow.  This post was actually supposed to go yesterday, but then EVE Online blew up in three directions and that was the focus of Tuesday.  So maybe it is better that the patch is delayed as I can slip this post in now.

As we have run up to the last days of the pure WoW Classic, I have been reflecting on the last 20 months or so of this experiment in nostalgia.  Don’t worry, I’ll have a post about that too.  But one item I was considering this past weekend was my paladin.

He has made it to level 59, so I can move him on to Outland whenever I choose… once it becomes available.

Wilhelm the Paladin in Silithus

But getting him there has been a grind at times, both due to the nature of the class, the nature of leveling in the old system past level 40, and due to my reading too much into various bits of advice.

For example, I spent a stretch trying to level up based on a retribution spec from Icy Veins that was really for raiding.  I eventually found a spec better suited for leveling, which did make things more manageable.

Another bit of information I took to heart was the stated fact that paladins cannot tank in classic.  I read that a number of places and, based on that, I went with Viniki, my gnome warrior, to be the group tank when the group settled down to the four of us.

That was a good decision and it has worked out.  We have been able to manage most instances as a foursome without having to out-level them.  But every time we run into a multi-mob scrum and Viniki is trying to keep aggro on half a dozen non-elites I always think about how that wouldn’t be an issue if I had consecrate.  The pally comes with a lot of beneficial skills, though does lack that single target taunt.  And the tanking thing, like my first spec, was really meant for end game raiding.

So, this past weekend I decided to tinker with my paladin and the protection spec.  I went to the pally trainer and paid to reset my talent points… which was 10 gold because I’ve done that a few times now… and spec’d up the recommended protection talents, which were fairly obvious.  I probably would have gotten them right just doing them myself, starting with the need to spec into consecrate on the holy tree first.

That done, I went to the auction house to buy a sword and maybe a better shield.  The spec pretty much requires a one hander and shield.

As I wandered into the empty auction house… odd and prime time on a Saturday… I realized that this was the weekend when the auction house had been shut down to clear it our for the WoW Classic / Burning Crusade split.

Of course, I had already done the spec change, so I was kind of stuck.  I had a shield in the bank, but not a 1h weapon to call my own.  I had been sending green drops and such to Moronae to use for enchanting.

Trade chat, being trade chat, wasn’t helpful on this front.  At least not with my budget.  So I ended up with the best vendor sword that WoW Head could find me, the Falchion.

A common sword will have to do

With that in hand I went to go train up the sword skill.  I figured I could do at least that much as I was starting out with a skill of 22.  I hit some lower level mobs for a bit, but then went over to Felwood to pick on some mobs in the low 50s, just to see how I would do.

Of course, with a low weapon skill, even when I was hitting I wasn’t doing much damage.  But as the skill built up past 200 I started killing mobs.  Meanwhile, I wasn’t taking much damage.  Skill ups slowed down around 230, but I kept on killing.  I moved over to Winterspring to get some higher level mobs and seemed to be doing okay.

A lot of the pally’s damage is in his holy seals and judgements and I had beefed him up with plenty of +str gear to boost damage as well.  I was doing well enough with that common level sword that I wondered if maybe I shouldn’t have just gone with protection for leveling up anyway.  The kills came a little slower, but I took so little damage that downtime shrank to more than make up for the lower damage.  I wasn’t setting any records, but I was doing pretty well considering the weapon.

When Sunday rolled around we tried to get something going, but Moronae was not available.  Skronk and Ula were on, so I asked if they could help my pally finish up a quest in the Eastern Plaguelands.  Hameya’s Plea was probably something I could manage solo.  I did it with my hunter.  But it can get out of hand if you’re not careful.  So they flew out and we grouped up.  The quest was even shareable, so we could all get the reward.

As it turned out we did get a little sloppy and ended up with a mass of undead trolls around us, but a pally tank loves some undead to slay.

Hameya is on the left there

We were able to get in and out without me managing to mess up too much as tank.  Running back to turn the quest in, it got them an item to vendor for some gold and me a sword upgrade.

An improvement

Confusingly, they both have the same inventory icon, but I got the right one equipped.

That done, the next item on the list was the mooncloth robe recipe, which comes from a vendor in the library of Dire Maul.  So we headed to Feralas and into Dire Maul North.

We had issues doing Dire Maul North as a group of four previously, so going in hard with just the three of us, and with me trying to tank a with a new spec, seemed like a bad idea.  But you can get to the library with minimal mobs to kill.  We took down one ogre guard and then got onto the stairway that goes down to the center pit of the first big area.  Going down far enough that we could jump up on the banister (and waiting until the wandering pack of dogs passed) we were able to avoid the group of ogres in the center.

The stairs behind us

From where we are in the screen shot it is a straight run into the very long tunnel, which fortunately lacks and mobs, that eventually gets you to the library.

Welcome to the Dire Maul library

There Ula was able to able to buy the recipe.  She also picked up the Arcane Refreshment quest, which gets her the final drink spell for mages.  In order to complete it you need to slay Hydrospawn in Dire Maul East.  Since we were already in the neighborhood we thought we might give it a try.  We’ve done DME a couple of times already, right?

Getting out of DMN meant running back up the tunnel to the center area again, waiting for the dog pack to pass, then running up the stairs, which meant getting within aggro radius of the ogres in the center.  Ula and I made it, running for the door.  Skronk got caught and smacked down.  But we just met him over in DME since, as a ghost, you get revived in any of the Dire Maul instances.

There we cleared a couple of mobs then considered our options.  The plan was to avoid fighting our way all the way in to Hydrospawn, being a tough job for a group of three.  Instead, we wanted to drop into the middle area in the main room, the conservatory, which is where Ironbark stands.  From there it is possible to track back to Hydrospawn pretty easily… or so we hoped.

Considering the drop

It took us a few tries to get it right.  There are a couple groups of non-elites down there, but also some solo elites and the usual groups of treants that run back and forth across the area.  By the fourth drop we managed to get in and have a clear LZ from which to work.

There were issues on the first three tries

We then very carefully grabbed any stationary mobs that were in our way, timing our progress to avoid the mobile mobs.

Taking some refreshment while mobs run past

From where I am sitting in the shot above were were able to time it to run past the treants to the fallen column, then to the wall, and then through the archway towards the next area.

Safely through the conservatory

I will say that the draw distance issue, about which I have complained in the past, did not make that run any easier.  The treant groups would appear and disappear and what felt like very close ranges to us.

From there we had to slay a couple of Satyrs, but otherwise were setup with our eyes on Hydrospawn.  There we were able to pull him… and we almost managed it.  We had forgotten that Hydrospawn resists frost attacks, which is a really bad bit of news to recall mid fight when your DPS is a frost mage.  You’d think a water elemental would resist fire and be frozen by frost, but what are you going to do.

We made it through the part where he summons two helpers, but I ran out of heals, pots, and any other pally tricks very shortly thereafter and was down.  There wasn’t enough oomph left to finish him off.

Dead on the rock and Hydrospawn back in his pool

Still, it was a fun run.  We decided that was enough for the day, but we’ll be back again to get Ula her quest reward.  I wouldn’t mind another run into DME.  My pally has the quest the gets him a serious shield upgrade from the last boss and there are some decent drops.

But by the time we try that the Burning Crusade Classic pre-patch should be in place and I will have to roll with the new spec.  Having tinkered with it in beta, I know that at least I won’t have to go up the holy tree to get consecrate.  I can give him a trial run next time to see if I stick with my warrior, Viniki, or swap to my paladin, Wilhelm.

Thwarted in Dire Maul North

We hadn’t really made a plan after the previous week’s diversion into Dire Maul East.  However, we had made it through successfully, had the key to get into the rest of the complex, and were looking for something to do, so we decided to carry on in Feralas.

Feralas in WoW Classic

Skronk said that Dire Maul North was the next destination, and I honestly couldn’t recall.  The high end of the level range is packed with dungeons and they are something of a blur in my brain all these years down the road.  Our group for the afternoon was:

  • Viniki – level 58 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 58 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 58 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 58 gnome mage

But before we went to Feralas we had a bit of leftover business to which to attend.  In Dire Maul East we picked up those gems after the final boss and brought them to Moonglade to jump start a quest.

Two gems left to collect

On our way to the instance we decided to wrap that up, which required a trip to Silithus.  Since we had not been there before, we flew into Un’Goro Crater and took the path into Silithus.

Actually, I had gone ahead over the course of the week and completed the quest as it had a shield upgrade for me.  That meant I knew the way to where we needed to go.

The wrecked town in Silithus

Alone it was a bit of a pain to get myself into the building where the chest you need to collect is.  As a group we rolled through pretty quickly.

Chest found… also, my new shield is visible

From there we ran back to the alliance camp in the zone, picked up the flight point, and flew back up to Feathermoon in Feralas.  The boat was, once again, just in time for us and we were soon within the Dire Maul compound.  This time we headed to the back of the main open area, the north end, to the door.  It was locked, but we had the key.

The door to Dire Maul North

Once in and setup, we got off to a pretty strong start.  We managed to work our way around the open main area and get to the steps to pull Guard Mol’Dar without aggroing any of the packs of hounds that are down there with him.

The Guard commeth

He was an straightforward fight, as was Stomper Kreeg after him, though the drunk effect from fighting Kreeg stuck with me for a good long while after the icon for it went away.  I was weaving about as I ran, which wasn’t an opportune thing to have happen as things started to get a bit thick on the ground for us.

We were attempting to make our way to Guard Fengus and his chest, which has another key, but the groups of mobs on the way were very close together, with wanderers moving in between.  This was made more difficult by the fact that the mobs in Dire Maul North were a couple levels higher than those in the east, ranging from 58 to 60, which made their aggro radius tricky to watch.  Honestly, the aggro radius for the mobs there seemed to be extra wide, though maybe the size of ogres distorted my perception.  But at times I would edge into range to shoot one for a pull and find that I had already had them with proximity aggro.

Still, we managed to thread our way through, knocking out groups we needed to as we moved and bypassing the rest, until we were able to pull Guard Fengus off to a safe corner.  Well, it seemed safe until that add wandered up.  Still, we won, though Moronae went down in the fight.  Time for the first ress.

Bringing Moronae back

But we got him and got the key and were headed into the deeps of the instance, which was when things started to get a bit hairy.

We were fighting the first group on the way in when an Eye of Kilrog floated up on the group.  I said something like, “I think we need to kill that… fast” but we were already engaged in a fight and did not get it in time.  The Eye of Kilrog opened up a portal and two Netherwalkers hopped out and joined the fight against us.  They were both level 60 and basically kicked the crap out of us before we could get our act together.

We’re all dead, save Skronk, who is banished and about to die

That meant a release and run back.  We got back in the instance and threaded our way back to the Netherwalkers who, conveniently, stayed where we left them, far enough from the remains of the group we had been fighting that we could take them on their own.

We were able to take them and move on down into the main room, avoiding further mishap with fights.  We managed to pull Guard Slip’kik away from the other mobs on his patrol path and take him down.

Slip’Kik pulled back

Up to this point I haven’t mentioned drops from the bosses mostly because we were getting rooked on the RNG.  Mail every single time, despite the fact that the loot table had some nice items in there.  There were some upgraded shoulders I would have like had as a possibility.  But we were denied every time.

We spoke with Knot Thimblejack about his quest, but didn’t have the materials… no planning here… so decided to skip on past that.

Knot prepared for him

And after that the road got pretty rough for us.  There were a series of groups around the ramp that led up to the next level.  Something about that ramp tickled some memory in the back of my brain, something negative, but we carried on.  On pulling one group we got them around the corner only to have an Eye of Kilrog come up behind us and go unnoticed until it was too late.  Another wipe.

Dead again as the Netherwalkers beat us down

On the way back a patrolling Ogre managed to get the better of Moronae and I, though Ula and Skronk managed to finish him off, so Skronk was able to ress the two of us so we could carry on.

Embarrassing

The patrol had banish Skronk and I was a millisecond late on my health potion.  It was not a good look.

We came back and managed to clear the bottom of the ramp, but in attempting to clear the area at the top of the ramp we ended up with another Eye of Kilrog attack that wiped us again.

Wipe on the ramp

Honestly, we were killing about half of the Eye of Kilrog patrols as soon as they showed up, but you just have to get one mid-fight when you’re busy and things can get quickly out of control.

We were also starting to notice some really odd draw distance issues.  The mobs on the platform at the top of the ramp were fading in and out of visibility even though we seemed to be plenty close to them.  I know there have been some other draw distance issues in WoW Classic before, but here we were dealing with things on the edge of aggro range popping in and out our sight.  We managed, but it was odd.

We pushed on and cleared the platform and made it up the next ramp, thwarting an Eye of Kilrog along the way.  We found we could bypass most of the mobs on the next platform and were able to get in and up the hall to within sight of Captain Kromcrush, the next to last boss.

The captain is up ahead, the final boss back beyond that

We had to deal with one more group.  Unfortunately that got out of hand… that banish is a killer at the wrong moment… and we ended up wiping in the hallway.

Down in the hallway

You can see behind us some of the groups we were able to bypass.

Still, we got one guy down and were so close to the captain, so we ran back to the instance again.  But when we got there, we found we had been long enough that the instance had started to respawn.  We got a patrol right in front of us, but past him groups were appearing again.

That first guy

We were looking at the need to fight our way through at least half of what we had cleared on the first pass through.  That wasn’t going to happen, so we called it.  Ula opened a portal to Darnassus for us to put us near a flight point.  Those that had not turned in the quest we started out with were able to fly off and turn it in, reaping the reward.  We’re all starting to get close to 59, so it might be a little easier once we cross that number.

Dire Mauled

As noted at the end of the post on the last full run we did, we decided to divert from another round in Blackrock Depths to face an set of instance we had not previously done as a group, Dire Maul.

Even with our venture into Runes of Magic last week, the group was still askew, with Earl falling a bit behind.  We kicked off with:

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

Dire Maul is quite a contrast to Blackrock Depths.  Added after the game went live, Dire Maul seems to reflect the philosophy of breaking up instances into discreet runs that became the favored approach for Blizzard.  So while BRD is a sprawling complex that you must visit repeatedly to finish up, Dire Maul is three discreet zones, each with its own flavor.

We started off with the east wing of Dire Maul, which has a theme of Satyrs and nature, something that can be confusing with a restoration spec’d druid in tree form running around.

Make sure you taregt the correct tree!

It is also something of a pain for a shaman who is a bit low on levels and  heavy on nature damage spells.

But it is also the section of Dire Maul which I had visited most recently, so I had something of a feel for where to go.  Sort of.

We started off with Pusillin, the imp you chase around the instance.  We chased him while learning that at least there were more than druid-like trees to kill.

You know those ancient protectors...

We worked our way through the instance, knocked off Pusillin and then lined up for the biggest fight we ended up having in Dire Maul East, the battle with Zevrim Thornhoof.

Zevrim at his altar

During this fight, Zevrim zaps people onto the altar where they are effectively stuck in a damage over time spell.  Azawak ended up on the altar twice, but survived while Enaldie tanked.  Then Hurmoo got yanked up onto the altar and expired before the time ran out.

Fortunately, 4 out of 5 people in our group can ress.

Left at the altar

Aside from that death, our run through Dire Maul East went pretty smoothly, with the final with Alzzin the Wildshaper over so fast I didn’t get a screen shot.

Emboldened by our success, we turned our eyes towards the North wing of Dire Maul.  And there our troubles began.

Sitting in the Dire Maul North Foyer

Through most of Dire Maul East, the mobs were around the level of most of the group, and so a couple of levels higher than Earl.  In Dire Maul North, the mobs were levels 58-60, which made a lot of Earl’s attacks fail.

They were also showing up in groups of four, which meant having to fall back on some crowd control.  That meant Bigbutt was spending time casting polymorph rather than damage.

The latter, of course, meant mobs angry at Bigbutt.  The ogres of Dire Maul North also do a lot of damage, which meant a lot more healing going on, which meant mobs angry at Hurmoo the healer.  Fights started becoming wild affairs and Bigbutt or Hurmoo ended up dead every so often.

Then came the first big fight in the tunnel leading to the big boss, King Gordok.  We were trying for a tribute run, which means avoiding the lesser bosses and just killing the big boss if possible.  At that point, the lesser bosses, are so happy to have been been freed from their current tyrant that they give you gifts.

In the tunnel we were in a pitched battle with four ogres when an eye of Kilrogg showed up, opened a portal, and brought in a few more mobs, which tipped the balance of the fight.  We had our first wipe in a long time.

Dead in the tunnel

Earl, with his shaman self-resurrection ability, was thwarted in his attempt to revive us because he died a little too close to the start point of the ogres.  The penalty of a large aggro radius.

That meant a jog back to the instance in ghost form.  From that point forward, the fighting was tough.  If things went even a little awry, fights quickly got out of hand.

Ogres crushing the remains of the party

And as healer, Hurmoo was feeling the weight of ogre blows, and he ended up getting pounded into the ground with disturbing frequency.

Ogres can flatten unwary Taurens

Which lead as often as not lead to all of us having to run back to the instance as ghosts again.

At least we know the route!

Still, we persisted.  While we were dying a lot than we were have grown used to of late, we were still making progress.  Not every fight was a fiasco, and the door to the final boss was within sight.

And then we were rewarded with the true meaning of the saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  Most people just mis-quote that first part, and often in a way that mis-interprets the meaning of the full quote.

A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.

- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, 1709

We knew, through various sources, about the Dire Maul North tribute run.  However, we drank only lightly of that knowledge, and were thus intoxicated into rash action.

In this case, there we were at the King Gordok’s door, and we didn’t have the key.

Neither did we have a rogue handy with locking picking skill up around 300, a blacksmith’s truesilver skeleton key, nor an engineer’s  powerful seaforium charge, any of which would have opened up the doors.

A little bit of research showed up who had the key, Guard Mol’dar.  However, he was at the other side of the instance in an area we have not bothered to clear.  And it was getting very late, ress and release runs having eaten up a chunk of time.  And some of us were wearing armor that was completely out of durability.

Hurmoo's Paper Doll

So we decided to take our lessons and return another night when we would, no doubt, be better prepared for the North wing of Dire Maul.

And while it is annoying to fail (and die so many times!), we did at least feel we were facing a challenge in this instance.