And so, there we were again, standing outside of the Mana Tombs on another Saturday night. The line up was familiar:
66 Warlock – Bungholio
66 Mage – Ula
66 Priest – Skronk
66 Paladin – Vikund
66 Warrior – Earlthecat
So familiar were the levels on that group list that I moved that the group rescind the “everybody stay around the same level” rule.
Since we are so close to level 70 now I felt it would not imbalance the group if some people got there sooner than others.
The motion was passed with three “yeas” and two abstentions. Despite the fact that I proposed it, I imagine that it will be Earl who ends up at level 70 first. Having the tank up at that level couldn’t hurt.
But back to the instance.
Skronk did some research on the Mana Tombs over the previous week, but we were still not confident in the outcome. No miracle “I Win” button could be found, so we were going to have to go in and take our chances.
And when we stepped into the instance things immediately went awry with a bad pull on the first group that resulted in a dead priest and the rest of us standing outside of the instance.
You would think that, third time into the instance, we would at least be gliding through first part. But it isn’t that sort of instance.
Revived and ready to go again, we pushed on to the first big room and the first named mob, our old friend Pandemonious.
During our previous two visits to the Mana Tombs, Pandy had been something of a walk over. Well, okay, we lost a gnome to him, but that happens in the real world of… well… make believe. The fights have never been big deals, some of the trash mob fights ending up more deadly than this guy.
So, of course, we wiped.
We wiped because rather than just running after him in the Leroy Jenkins fashion, as we have in the past, we decided to think about the fight, to approach it with a view to addressing past mistakes and gnome deaths.
Thinking failed us though, so for the second round we just ran at him and took him out. Sometimes having chicken is enough.
Pandemonius was nice enough to drop the Shield of the Void for Earl. A shield with both decent stats for a tank and a distinctive look.
It is too bad we couldn’t do something with his shoulder pads.
I think Joan Rivers had some about that size back in the late 80s.
That out of the way, we continued to chop our way through the instance.
We slew Tavarok on the first go, having worked that fight out well enough. No pre-fight talk was needed, everybody did what they had to, including Vikund putting on his healing gear to keep Earl alive.
Tavarok rewarded us with a leather drop. I yearn for Tobold’s idea about binding to an account versus a character. Some of us have alts that would benefit from some of these drops.
On we went.
Finally, only a couple of wipes later, we stood again before Nexus-Prince Shaffar.
And then the wipes began in earnest.
We came at Shaffar and his Ethereal Beacons from a couple of different directions, but always had the same problem. Either we could keep the beacons down, which is a chore, as Shaffar starts with three and new ones spawn pretty quickly with apparently no upper limit on how many can be assisting him, but manageable, or we could lay down the damage on Shaffer himself.
We just couldn’t manage both.
We brought fear, polymorph, AOEs, and anything else we could come up with into play and still ended up dead.
After using the repair bot, we finally went with plan Z.
Skronk had read that sending an Eye of Kilrogg up to Shaffar and having it jump until he noticed it, which causes the three beacons to despawn, after which there is a short window of opportunity to engage Shaffar. If you get him in that window, you end up with the same fight, minus the initial three beacons.
Not exactly in the spirit of the game perhaps, but we were past our twelfth fight overall with this guy and we wanted him down at any price. Our gaming souls? Sure, take ’em, if it will get Shaffar dead!
So in went the Eye of Kilrogg.
And it gave us just the extra edge we needed. It was still a tough fight as those beacons spawn in all over the place and Shaffar is a tough cookie. In fact, it was a near run thing at the end of the fight. But Shaffar went down and we found ourselves standing where he once stood.
Shaffar stuck his thumb in our eye one last time, dropping the Ethereal Warp-Bow, which none of us had any use for. But at least the quest to kill him, Undercutting the Competition, was complete. That got each of us a piece of socketed gear.
And so we called it a night and headed back to the Inn, leaving that damn escort quest behind. Another time.
Now, do we have enough in us to get through the Auchenai Crypts? Or have we just stepped a bit deeper in over our heads?
Level up Earl!