Tag Archives: Opening the Dark Portal

Through the Dark Portal at Last

All the tension and the build-up and what not over the last two weeks since the pre-patch came to a head yesterday at 3pm my time.

The date finally arrived

I had logged in earlier in the day and set my hunter Tistann up on the rim of the vale where the Dark Portal lay.  About ten minutes before “go time” I logged back in to see the crowd assembled.  It honestly didn’t seem that bad.

The portal awaits

What that picture doesn’t really show is the size of the scrum down in the vale, clustered around where the quest giver with the intro quest would show up.  But all I had to do was get closer to see how dense the throng was.

Nobody was wearing a mask either

There were still technically a couple minutes to go before the 3pm start time, but people were already running towards the portal.  The quest giver was apparently up somewhere in the scrum of people.

There is a quest giver in there somewhere

I am not sure how I managed to click on the quest giver… I certainly couldn’t pick him out of the crush of players, but I managed it and got the quest.

I’ve got a golden ticket!

After that if was time to head through the portal.  I didn’t even get back on my mount.  I started to click it but I couldn’t see myself in the mass and started to move too soon, so I just turned on Aspect of the Cheetah and hoofed it through the portal.  My screen shot time stamp says I made it into Outland at 2:58:41pm Pacific Time.

On the far side there was an almost comic stream of characters running through the portal, pooling up at each quest giver, then moving on to the next.  The last step there was the flight master who was launching gryphons like a machine gun, sending people off to Honor Hold.

Fly my pretties! Off to Honor Hold

At the far end I was in the stream of flights dropping people in Honor Hold.  The stream was non-stop for a while.  I wish I had setup to record a video of it, as it was just one of those things that you only ever seen at moments like this.

Coming in to Honor Hold

Once there I found the quest giver, once again buried in a mass of players, then went around and found the skinning trainer, the leatherworking trainer, and the cooking trainer.  The latter confused me for a moment.  You don’t get trained, you buy a training book from him.

And then I went back to the inn and logged off for a while.  Having refreshed my memory of the starting quests in the beta, I knew there was going to be a huge competition for mobs as the “bowling ball through a python” mass of players tried to move in parallel into the expansion.  As fun as the first night of WoW Classic was, I wasn’t up for standing in line or fighting over spawns.  I went off to do other things.

When I logged back in a couple hours later things had calmed down.  Blizzard had reported a DDoS attack about 45 minutes after the launch, but it appeared to have been cleared up by then.

Honor Hold had calmed down considerably… which is to say it was still full of people and when I went out to do a couple of the initial quests there were still a lot of people out in the field with me, but it wasn’t completely crazy.

As far as I could tell our server, Bloodsail Buccaneers, didn’t have a queue and wasn’t showing any lag, but it is also the RP-PvE server, so not the most popular in the batch.

It will no doubt remain busy for a while though and I expect that we might see queues come the weekend as those without a lot of free time during the week get stuck into the expansion.

Meanwhile, back on Azeroth, Ironforge was deserted.  I literally saw zero players in the usually active area between the bank and the auction house.

They’ve all gone off

Stormwind was likewise feeling like a ghost town, though its proximity to the Dark Portal meant a few people could be spotted now and then.

Burning Crusade Classic has landed at last.  Outland lays before us, and everybody who could get through the portal last night apparently went.

Addendum:  I didn’t have the foresight to record video, but Ula did.

Some nice images of the opening moments in that video. (Also a blog post about it.)

Meanwhile, there are already players at level cap.  I think my hunter ended up 10% into level 60.

Opening a Portal and Facing Locked Doors

The instance group was short a gnome on Saturday night, so while we were all sitting outside the Halls of Stone, that was obviously not going to be our destination as a four person group.

Original Target - Halls or Stone

Original Target - Halls of Stone

The four of us were:

76 Warrior – Earlthecat
78 Priest – Skronk
78 Mage – Ula
78 Paladin – Vikund

And we needed something to do.

For a short term solution we decided to head back to the Caverns of Time and hit the heroic version of opening of the Dark Portal.  We did the regular version a few weeks back and figured we could handle the heroic version with this group.

Fortunately there is a portal from Dalaran to the Caverns of Time, so we were able to get from Ulduar to the instance pretty quickly.

Earl picked up the quests and away we went.  Again, another week without a delay getting an instance.  Very nice.

The routine was the same as before, and since Earl had done Violet Hold with us it was easy to explain what was going to happen.

Zip, bang, an 18 portal round and we had the achievement, Earl getting a double, both the regular and the heroic.

OnDarkPortAchi

This time we were ready for the orcs to stream through the portal.  Last time we were ready to light them up.  This time we just waved.

Orcs through the portal

Orcs through the portal

I then demonstrated to Earl that there wasn’t any going through the portal for us.  If you try to follow the orcs back through the portal, you just end up on the ground on the other side.

Nothing around back for us

Nothing around back for us

And that wrapped up that for us, leaving ample time for other adventures.

So we thought about what we ought to try next.

We had talked about Zul’Aman previously, there being a quest as part of it that yields a 20 slot bag.  We could all go for that.  So Ula opened a portal to Ironforge for the four of us, then we flew off to the Ghostlands to hit Zul’Aman.

Once there we picked up the quest for the bag and headed in.

There we found an NPC named Harrison Jones.  I had just run into him in Grizzly Hills with my hunter the other day so was a bit surprised to see him.  WoW does have its share of recurring characters.

We spoke to Harrison and he lead us over to a gong that he explained would open the inner doors to the instance if only he could get at least five people to help him sound it.

Five people.  If only.

Harrison Jones needs help banging the gong

Harrison Jones needs help banging the gong

Well, we tried banging the gong with just the four of us in case they changed that rule, but nothing appeared to happen.  Our attempt at Zul’Aman was thwarted.

So suggestions were called for once again.  This time Karazhan came up.

A mage portal to Stormwind, a flight to Darkshire, and then a ride through Deadwind Pass got us to the gates of Karazhan.

Which were locked.

Locked!

Locked!

Well, a quick look through WoW Wiki indicated that getting the key to the place was a little more involved than we were expecting.

That wasn’t going to fly.

Again we began discussing options.  What could we do that was fun, interesting, new (for us, at least), and would possibly grant an achievement?

The perfect idea came up.  A plan was hatched.  Another mage portal was opened.  We were heading off for something different.

But I’ve got nothing else on tap for this week, so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see what it is.

Caverns of Time and the Botanica

Another foursie group on Saturday night sent us back to the Outlands for a bit more instance backfilling while Earl got some rest.  It is tough to blame him for missing once in a while since we start playing at midnight his time every Saturday.  He’s the young guy in the group, but nobody stays young forever.

So that left the Left Coast Quartet to carry on:

76 Priest – Skronk
76 Warlock – Bungholio
77 Mage – Ula
77 Paladin – Vikund

A check of the Instances by Level list showed that Shattered Halls was the next instance in our queue.  But it also requires a key which has a quest chain behind it which we have not yet run down.  Wanting to get straight to the action, we moved on to the next instance, The Caverns of Time: Opening the Dark Portal, also know by its location, the Black Morass.

I suppose this wasn’t exactly going back to the Outlands since the Caverns of Time are in Tanaris.  But it is Burning Crusade content.

We had been to the Caverns of Time on more than a couple of occasions, so we knew how to get there.  We did not, however, do any reading up front so were not sure how things were going to play out.

We grabbed a quest for the instance on the way in, found the right instance swirl, and then spent 10 minutes trying to get in.  We were back to the old “Additional instances cannot be launched, please try again later” routine, only it seemed to be worse than usual.  A busy night for instances I guess. Eventually though Blizzard relented and let us in.

Once in, we spoke to the quest mob at the door… he must have been the butler… and then headed towards a likely looking portal thing we could see in the middle distance.

There we spoke to a guy named Medivh who said something that essentially seemed to mean, “Cover me!”  We stood around for a minute or so, waiting for something to happen. Then some dragonkin began wandering in from one of the flanks.  We killed them while looking for the source.  There was a swirl in the air and a mob called a “Rift Keeper” standing next to it, so we figured that must be the target.

Upon killing him, a counter at the top of our screens incremented.  It seemed that we would be doing this at least 17 more times since we had just advanced to 2 of 18.

It turned out that at every sixth rift came with a boss.  We did well enough against the first one but had a rough go with the second, with Bung and Vikund getting killed.  Fortunately there is a fairly long delay after each of the bosses, so Skronk was able to bring us back before the next rift came along.

Rift Count and Shield Status

Rift Count and Shield Status

Back up we got through the next six battles including the last boss and… well… we were done.  Achievement.

CBODPachi

There we were, standing before the portal.  A host of orcs came wandering through, but they turned around and left.  I would have too, the place was a dump.  But when we tried to follow them, we just ended up at the backside of the portal.

Defective Portal

Defective Portal

Out of that the only look worth mentioning is the Mask of Inner Fire, which dropped off of the first boss.  And the only reason it is worth a mention is because it just looks cool.  Vikund won the roll for it and I am keeping it as part of his ever growing hat collection.

The Mask of Inner Fire!

The Mask of Inner Fire!

That done, it was still early for us, so we decided to go for two.  Ula opened a portal to Shattrath for us, and while we were there, it was decided that those who did not have the Going Down? achievement should pick it up.

I showed everybody where I had done it, jumping of the Scryers area and landing on an awning below.  It turned out though that only Ula was missing that achievement, so it was gnome free fall time.  Unfortunately she missed the awning.  Twice.

Ballistic Gnome

Ballistic Gnome

And then when she did hit the awning, she didn’t get the achievement.  So, once we stopped laughing (you should have seen her bounce off of that structure in the picture above) we decided to shelve that achievement for the time being and move on to the Botanica wing of Tempest Keep.

The Botanica did not turn out to be that hard for our group of four.  We hand’t picked up any of the quests for the instance, so we just burned our way through to Warp Splinter, the final boss, without slowing down.  There were four bosses in before him, but none were that tough.  We’ll have to go back and do this one in Heroic mode at some point.

Warp Splint and his minions in the last fight faded before our damage and soon another achievement was ours.

CBBotAchi
The loot, just for Coppertopper, was:

CBBotLoot

And that brought us to the end of the evening.  We just had to take our traditional victory shot.

Warp Splinter Down

Warp Splinter Down

This coming weekend, if we’re all available, it will be time for Violet Hold.