Tag Archives: Howling Fjord

Arming for Utgarde

We did not get back to Utgarde Keep last Saturday.  Skronk and Ula could not make it, so Bung, Earl, and I rolled around Howling Fjord for a while doing some quests.  Both Earl and I used alts as were are both starting to creep away from the rest of the group in experience.

The big surprise of the night was, after doing the quest The Cleansing at the top of a mountain, we failed to notice that completion of the quest gave us the spell Slow Fall, so we were quite surprised when, riding the steep paths back down the mountain, our mounts seemed to take flight.

Not A Flying Mount

Not A Flying Mount

I have to hand it to some evil genius at Blizzard who slipped that one in, because it fooled us!

We did not stay on too late, but Bung is closing in on 72.

Meanwhile, I have been working on some of the suggestions people gave on last week’s post.

I respec’d Vikund to retribution again, following the path outlined at Elitist Jerks in their forum on paladins.

This will be his third time going down the retribution path.  I keep changing back to protection because I am, I guess, and old school paladin who, as Skronk puts it, “never dies, but neither do his enemies.”  I am good at protection, I like it, I am used to it.

Retribution, on the other hand, will take me some work to get used to.  I have to figure out a good cycle of attacks and how to manage my power, because it seems to drain away too quickly.

Following that up, I went out to the auction house and bought up some spiked cobalt armor, which is bit on hit rating and strength to help boost my damage.

Same Style, New Color

Same Style, New Color

And then I got myself a big old spiked club with which to beat on things.

cehotb

That was the biggest I could find.  Not as cool as that board with a nail through it I had once, but it means business.

And, finally, I have been running a couple of daily quests on a regular basis to improve my standings in hopes that one of the quartermasters might have something nice for me when I get to revered.

My regular run is Break the Blockade, the one where you bomb pirate ships from a captured zeppelin.  Not that I haven’t had my own issues with the quest.

Paladin in the Water!

Paladin in the Water!

I hate when I forget that my avatar is faced one direction and the camera another.  And you cannot even bomb the pirates from the water.  At least I got to say hello to the fjord penguins.

Howling Fjord Penguins

Howling Fjord Penguins

They didn’t seem to hold a grudge for all the times I tried to bomb them.

The other daily I run… daily… is Steel Gate Patrol which has the advantage of being fun and yielding up two super health potions on completion.  I know you can only use one potion per fight, but when I am down to 2 or 3 in my bag, I tend to put off using them until it is too late.

I know others in the group are looking into honing their own DPS after last Friday’s post, so if we get together for Utgarde again this Saturday, we should do better.

Facing Ingvar the Plunderer

The Saturday night after Christmas found us arrayed again before the doors of Utgarde Keep for another fun run.  Our lineup was:

71 Warlock – Bungholio
71 Priest – Skronk
71 Mage – Ula
71 Paladin – Vikund
72 Warrior – Earlthecat

Only Earl had played much over the intervening two weeks, so you might ask why we thought we would do better than previous attempts if not much had changed.  Laziness?  Lack of initiative?  Determination to press on?  Insanity?

You can speculate, but we’re not telling.

We decided to skip anything that we could get past.  That meant that we only killed two of the three groups working the forge and only three of the enslaved proto-drake groups while sneaking past all the rest.

That brought us to Prince Keleseth again.

We killed his four minions and then debated as to whether we could just bypass him or not.

Watching his pacing back and forth, we thought it might be possible, but decided to take him down just to be safe.

We wiped on the first fight due to bad positioning.  We positioned ourselves off to the left, then were talking about the fight when Prince K walked into aggro range and started attacking us.  We nearly pulled it off all the same, but didn’t quite make it.

The second fight, started from a little further back, went much more smoothly and the Prince K went down.

Since last time I had installed the addon “recount” that was suggested by some people as a damage parser.  I reset it before the second Prince K fight, just to see how much a pally with a shield was holding back the group.  The results:

uk4pkdamagemeters
A pally with a shield still does pretty well DPS-wise when it comes to undead I’d say, but I’m afraid to ask what this damage output says about our group overall.

We moved on, plowing through to Skarvald the Constructor and Dalronn the CFO/Controller.

Discussing Year End Results

Discussing Year End Results

This fight took us a few tries.  We seemed to be coming close each time, bringing down Dalronn but not lasting through Skarvald.  His charges during the fight were causing too much damage, even when Earl was tanking Skarvald and Vikund was tanking Dalronn and most of the charges were hitting Vik.

Skarvald Charges, But Pays Off His Balance Every Month

Skarvald Charges, But Pays Off His Balance Every Month

Eventually we went to the web and read that Skarvald has a minimum range on his charges and that if everybody just sticks close, he does not charge.

With that bit of information on our side, we handily won the next fight.  Piece of cake.

Skalvard and Dalronn Down

Skalvard and Dalronn Down

And suddenly we were in new territory.

We fought our way up some more stairs and out into the open, the final battle taking place on the roof of the keep.

Fighting Atop The Keep

Fighting Atop The Keep

You can look out and see all of Howling Fjord around the keep.  Or at least the instanced version of it.  We fought our way onward.

Spiritualist Is A Female Dominated Profession

Spiritualist Is A Female Dominated Profession Among The Vrykul

Until, at last, we faced the final boss.  Ingvar the Plunderer stood before us.

Ingvar Awaits

Ingvar Awaits

His head would finish the last quest and end the instance for us.  We just had to kill him… twice.

You see, you kill Ingvar, which isn’t so tough, and then he comes back from the dead and you have to kill him again, which is a bit tougher.

We had a soul stone handy, so we knew we had at least two tries in us.  We nearly did it.  Both times in the second fight, one of us did not get out of the way of Ingvar’s dark smash in time, an attack that is a one shot kill if you are at all down on hit points.

After our two fights we had to release and start the run back through the instance.  However, as happened last week, we ran into respawns.

Couldn't You Have Taken The Night Off?

Couldn't You Have Taken The Night Off?

The hour was late and we did not want to fight our way back to Ingvar again, so we called off further efforts; so close to our goal, but not quite there.

We took a portal Ironforge where we played with the Crashin’ Thrashin’ Racers we all got for the Feast of Winter Veil.  Vikund even got the associated with the racer for crashing into other racers 25 times.

We’ll be back for Ingvar soon.

Howling Fjord Quest Night

We got ourselves together on Saturday night, counted noses, and found ourselves short a warrior.

Earl, who promised to be drunk, was also missing.  However, now that he lives in the wilderness, trivial things like power and net connectivity cannot always be taken for granted, so he might not have been able to get on.  Or he might have overshot the mark on the whole drunk part of the equation.

Anyway, our group in Howling Fjord was:

70 Paladin – Vikund
71 Warlock – Bungholio
71 Priest – Skronk
71 Mage – Ula

It appeared that everybody except me found time on Thanksgiving to run out and get to level 71.  Still, Vikund was not too far behind and, after indulging in a little back-tracking for some, we were able to carry on with our mission for the night: equipment upgrades through questing.

Though, to be honest, after getting the full cobalt armor set from Earl the previous week, it was hard for Vikund to find a real upgrade.  Everybody else, not being able to don cobalt attire, was keen.

I won’t go into detail on most of the quests we made it though.  It would be dull and even more long winded than usual.  But I will say that Howling Fjord has some of the more interesting twists on the standard MMO quest mechanics that I have seen.  For example:

We went hunting with birds of prey.  Something new in that for me.

We became birds of prey to collect eggs from nests on a cliff.  This was particularly neat because you got a five minute timer during which you could fly freely.  If you finished up your eggs, you could just fly around and scout out the area.

We rode in rickety gnomish flying machines.

Air Vikund

Air Vikund

We donned flying mechanical suits.

Iron Rune Construct Disguise

Iron Rune Construct Disguise

And then we went off to sample crystals among the dark iron dwarves and scout out what they were up to.

The Suit Does Not Look At All Out Of Place

The Suit Does Not Look At All Out Of Place

And, of course, we killed fjord turkeys.

At the crossroads near the Explorer’s League Outpost, one at a time, we each did the Fjord Turkey achievement, called “Friend of Fowl.”

When you slay your 15 turkeys in under three minutes, a mass of Fjord Turkeys attacks you… some times.  Skronk and Bung got attacked at the end, but neither Vikund nor Ula did.  And not getting attacked seemed to leave us flagged aggro to all normally neutral animals in the zone.  Even the critters were flagged as aggro, though they never attacked.  So Ula and I had to dodge the shoveltusk herds, lest we get mobbed by angry ungulates.

There were hilarious moments, like when we noticed that the big axes the mobs throw at you outside of Valgarde follow you for a long time, turning corners, dodging obstacles, and slowly pursuing you until finally stop and take the hit.

Axes Incoming!

Axes Incoming!

And then there was a depressing moment when I saw my least favorite of all mounts, the flying carpet.

It Comes With A Pillow!

It Comes With A Pillow!

I hope these end up being more rare than in EverQuest II.  Made available en masse as part of the Desert of Flames expansion, carpets are still everywhere in Norrath.  They were an interesting sight when they were rare, but when they became common, the charm wore off and they became an immersion breaking eye sore.

That is my opinion of them anyway.

All in all though, a good night.  Vikund made it to 71, everybody picked up at least a few upgrades, and I even spotted a quest that has a gun upgrade, so I got Tistann out the next day and ran him through to that quest so he had a Norend weapon.

And now having spent time in both Howling Fjord and the Borean Tundra, I would have to say that the former is the place to go for interesting twists on quest mechanics.

Not that Borean Tundra is… boring.  I had fun with the whole D.E.H.T.A. quest line, especially since I have been looking to get back at Hemet Nesingwary since I first ran into his group in Stranglethorn Vale and had to kill 270 animals and collect all those pages to The Green Hills of Stranglethorn Vale way back when.  But Howling Fjord really has some different things going on.

So, having advanced a level, armed with a little bit better equipment, and having done some research, perhaps Utgarde Keep will be within our grasp this coming weekend.

The Ride to Utgarde Keep

The first Saturday night for the instance group after the launch of The Wrath of the Lich King found us wondering what to do.  With a brand new continent to explore and ten more levels to grow, plus as yet unfinished content in the Outlands, the options were wide open.  The line up for the night was:

70 Warlock – Bungholio
70 Warrior – Earlthecat
70 Priest – Skronk
70 Mage – Ula
70 Paladin – Vikund

We thought we should stick with our usual mission, though in the new lands of Northrend, so we decided to take a look in the first instance, Utgarde Keep.

This was a bit presumptuous of us, given that we had only upgraded some of our gear so far and we were struggling a bit back in the Outlands.  But the new expansion smell was intoxicating, so we thought we would give it a try.

We met up in Valiance Keep in the Borean Tundra and started digging around various information sources to figure out just where Utgarde Keep really was.  The expansion being fresh, information was somewhat sparse, but we eventually figured out where we needed to be.

Valiance Keep Harbor

Valiance Keep Harbor

Northrend is shaped somewhat like Australia and we were in Valiance Keep (Perth) and needed to be in Utgarde Keep (Canberra).

Northrend

Northrend

(The above image was taken from Wikipedia who in turn took it from the CIA World Fact Book.)

Which, frankly, was a bit out of the way.  But, again, the spirit of adventure was upon us, so we decided to follow the roads east and see where we ended up.

That is very much the way we used to do things in the old days, in EverQuest; just saddle up the horses and ride… except we didn’t have horses back then.  All we had back then was Spirit of the Wolf, and we were happy to get that!

So on we rode!

We ended up on a very nice tour of… south Northrend? … Southrend? … the landscape.  As we went, we tried to pick up the flight points so we would not have to make this long ride again.  We did very well at first, but we missed one or two in the middle, so we do not have cross-country, non-stop service as yet.

The ride was a lot of fun, and my reference to the days of EverQuest and seeing new things was not idle.

There was the Borean Tundra.

See the Aurora

See the Aurora

There was a beautiful snowy area that looked something like the night elves might end up with if they got snow.

Do Those Hooves Melt Snow

Do Those Hooves Melt Snow?

There were areas of icy  tundra with great fissures running through it and a giant tower in the snow.

Do Not Put Your Tongue On The Tower

Do Not Put Your Tongue On The Tower

And, in the usual jarring environmental change common to Azeroth where deserts and tropical forests exist mere steps apart, we ended up in a lush green forested hills, beautiful scenery and fjord turkeys.

uk1waterfalls

Rustic Scenery

Eventually, after making it all the way to the coast and then past the Plain of Jars and back to the center of the Howling Fjord province, we found Utgarde Keep.

Charting Our Course

Charting Our Course

As usual with our navigation, we ended up around on the wrong side of the place, at Utgarde Pinnacle, which you need to be level 75 to enter.  A few minutes and only two falling deaths later, we made our way to the right summoning stone and portal.

Once we were there… and revived… there was nothing for it but to get into the instance.

Getting Ready with the Usual Buffet

Getting Ready with the Usual Buffet

Again, more great artwork.  I have not been a huge fan of the Tesla-inspired electro-plasma dungeons that you find in the Outlands, but here, in Utgarde Keep, I felt at home.  Skronk said it felt very much like a D&D location, and I could not help but agree.  There was even Vulcan’s own forge there to warm us when we got going.

Now There Is A Forge

Now There Is A Forge!

Warily, we started to work our way into the instance.  And things went surprisingly well for a while.  Our only wipe before the first boss due to line-of-sight issues when trying to heal.  Things were looking good.

And then we hit the first boss, Prince Keleseth, and he just worked us.  Not enough equipment upgrades, not enough hit points, and probably the wrong tactics meant that the prince wiped the floor with us five times running.

Prince Keleseth Thinking of New Ways to Kill Us

Prince Keleseth Thinking of New Ways to Kill Us

By that point, after the cross-country travel, we were tired and decided to call it a night.  Soundly thrashed but having had a good time all the same, we left the keep.

Looking for a way out, we headed south a bit and ran almost immediately into Valgarde which, from the looks of it, is the OTHER starting zone for Northrend.

We grabbed the flight point then saw a ship pull up at the dock.  It turns out that ship runs between Valgarde and Menethil Harbor.

Utgarde Keep in the Background

Utgarde Keep Very Close in the Background

So the right path for us would have been to take the boat from Menethil Harbor to Valgarde in Howling Fjord, then run 30 seconds to Utgarde Keep.

That information was not on WoWWiki on Saturday night.

Of course, not having that information made the night an adventure.

I think there is a lesson in that for all of us.