Tag Archives: Prince Keleseth

We Make Death Knights

As I noted last time around, the group managed to get our main characters to level 68.  That means they have hit the minimum level requirement to head to Northrend once Wrath of the Lich King Classic launches next week.

Feeling chilly?

Having done that, we decided to give something else a try.  Blizzard had given us an incentive to roll up Death Knights, so we decided to give that a go as a group, heading into the Death Knight starter area.

It has been many years since I started a Death Knight, and I am pretty sure I only did it twice back then, so my memories of it are vague to say the least.

Anyway, we got together over the weekend and all rolled one up and jumped into the DK starting zone, where you meet the Lich King first thing.

Welcome to my expansion, can I offer you a quest?

Names were difficult this far down the line, but we all came up with something.  I went with Irondam, straight from the name generator, while Ula kept up with her usual theme, rolling with a gnomish DK named Krula.  Potshot went with Nordwink while Beanpole rolled a Dranei DK named Leiderhoser.

So named we went about the tasks of learning the DK trade, having swords issued, the whole runforging thing, and then having to fight somebody on our side to prove our value before we were allowed to fight the enemy.

Dude, that describes literally all of us

Then we were set upon the locals down the hill, who seemed to have had the bad luck of picking a nice little valley in between Light’s Hope Chapel and the landing zone of the Lich King.  Time to go slaughter the innocent… not that I ever turned my nose up at a murder for hire offer in Azeroth before.

Don’t make this awkward

The nice thing is that early on you get a quest to go steal a horse that becomes your very special DK mount… special in that every other DK you see has the exact same mount… but other classes don’t get it.  So there!

After some running about you get to one of the bedrock features of the Wrath expansion, the vehicle interface that lets you man guns or fly mounts that have special attacks.  We’ve all seen it a million times by now, but this was hot new stuff back in 2008 and Blizz was going to show it off to us.

Woohoo, eat cannon balls Scarlet Crusade!

It was actually a pretty decent addition to the game, and one of the big things that made Wintergrasp as fun as it was.

Of course, it was not without the occasional glitch.  For whatever reason, the second time we got the UI for a quest, it completely failed to function for me.  I was flying around on a great big dragon thing and couldn’t incinerate the hapless victims below or shoot their ballistas off of the tower tops.

I clicked the button harder, but it still wouldn’t work

Fortunately, since we were grouped up, we all shared quest progress on most quests, so as long as I stayed close to the rest of the group I ended up getting credit, bypassing my issue.  I still don’t know what happened as I had no problems in the UI before or after that during our session.

We also had to run back to the stronghold to train up skills and look into spending skill points as we leveled up.  Another Wrath feature is the ability to preview your talent points before you commit, but you have to turn that feature on in the settings, and you have to do it for every character.

A very important feature

Leiderhoser ended up going Frost spec because he forgot to turn that feature on.  It should be on as an account-wide default, but Blizz will be Blizz.

So there we were, out and about, killing stuff, routing the Scarlet Crusade, and basically living the DK lifestyle.

Outstanding in their field

And then we got some tasks from our old nemsis, Prince Keleseth.  We’ll be trying to deal with him soon enough in Northrend, but here he wanted us to go out and beat some Scarlet Crusade members to try and get information out of them.

This turned into a pretty long quest, and all the more so because it was one where you do not share quest credit with your group.  You have to run around beating them with special weapons, hoping the RNG will make them confess.  I was the last to get a confession, and I must have hit two dozen mobs before I got it.

Ka-ching, confession received

There was also an amusing run in with the town’s mayor, whose name is Quimby, a nice Simpsons reference.

But there was also some foreshadowing, a bit of a “Are we the baddies?” moment in the quest chain as you run into some prisoners taken by the Lich King’s forces, once of whom knows you.

Why does everybody make being bad feel awkward?

Interestingly, because we were different races in the group, we got to see that everybody’s old pal was of the same race.  The gnome knows every gnome who comes by, the dwarf all the dwarves, and so on.

There was some more running around, including possibly my favorite bit from the whole DK starter story, and probably the only part I ever remember, the apple tree disguise.

At one point you must waylay a messenger, and you do so by hiding behind some wood painted up like a tree.  I got us all to deploy our trees at the same time just to get this screen shot.

We have a small orchard here

After wrapping all of that up, it is finally time to head off to the grand finale of the who quest chain.  You are sent off to meet up with the rest of the forces of the Lich King who are set to attack Light’s Hope Chapel.

There is a big setup for it, and when you arrive you have to wait around until the timer runs down and the battle can commence.

The battle will commence in three minutes

There is a tally up at the top of the screen which shows the defenders vastly out numbered by the scourge.  And then the time comes and you launch into the event and a bunch of fighting appears to be going on, but in reality the outcome is preordained.

The forces of light prevail and turn the DKs to their side even as the Lich King and Tirion Fordring play out a bit of their own foreshadowing here at the start of the expansion.

He did not have our best interests at heart

And so the disgruntled DKs became the Ebon Blade and we ran off to Stormwind to join the crusade against the Lich King.  You have to do that walk through down where people boo you and pelt you with things, then talk to the king who tells everybody to be nice to you, and then you’re in the club and can hang around in downtown Stormwind with everybody else.

All on our special mounts by the fountain

The whole thing was mostly an enjoyable lark.  We managed to go from level 55 to almost level 60 during the events.  Not bad.  Now we’re stuck getting through Outland before we can actually join in with the war on the Lich King, but that is the way it goes.

More importantly though, we were all able to claim our special mount in retail WoW for finishing the DK starter zone.

That guy on the mount

I don’t know if any of us will use our DKs much more.  I went out and did enough to get mine to level 60, so he could buy flying and a mount if he had the gold.  If the expansion wasn’t next week, the current xp bonus might hurry us along.  But with only a few days left, that seems unlikely.

A Visit with Prince Keleseth

It was a busy weekend and we could not get the whole instance group together, but on Sunday afternoon three of us, Ula, Skronk, and myself, found a bit of time to log into WoW.

Retail WoW.

We got out the group I posted about previously to pick up where we left off in Northrend.  We had made it out to the airfield in Borean Tundra and carried on with a couple of quests there as a warm up, enjoying the luxury of features offered by the current version of the game after doing quests together the previous week in WoW Classic.  You can just mouse over the quest in the quest tracker and it shows you everyone’s objective/collection status.

With three of us though, questing was a bit of a walk over.  So we decided to take a shot at one of the challenges we discussed when we started this venture.  We were going to try running an instance.  Our ability, so far, to run all of the WoW Classic instances with a group of four made us wonder if we could handle any of the Wrath of the Lich King instances with a group of three.

Retail WoW is easy-mode, right?  But how easy?

Our group at the moment was:

  • Mendula – 22 gnome priest
  • Fergorin – 22 dwarf shaman
  • Merchi – 24 gnome hunter

We at least had healing covered, as Menula spec’d into that.  We didn’t really have a tank, there not really being a shaman tanking spec.  And, while Merchi was beast mastery, the only REAL hunter spec to my mind, he did not have a pet that was the tanking spec.  His robo-bunny from the tutorial was the cunning  pet spec, which has some damage mitigation, but a tenacity spec pet would have likely been better.

Still, what the hell.  So we headed towards Howling Fjord and the traditional first dungeon from WotLK, Utgarde Keep.  I’m not sure we HAD to go with that instance.  Keeping track of what unlocks when as you zip up levels is more than I can manage.  But we knew where it was and they give you the flight path up front now.

Flight path available

So it was on the… well, not a bird, but a gnomish flying machine… and off to the far side of Northrend.

They don’t call it the “boring” tundra for nothing

Over in Howling Fjord I was reminded just how close to the flight point and the inn that first dungeon really is.  It looms over Valgarde Point, the sinister skull in its facade looking out over the area.

Mendula coming in for a landing

From there it was a quick ride north, dodging the field of mobs before the structure, to the instance portal.  Once inside we were able to pick up the quests from the quest giver inside the instance… by WotLK there wasn’t all the running around for dungeon quests the way we have been dealing with in WoW Classic… after which we were left eyeing the first set of mobs.

The plan was to use my pets to tank… I chose the “two pets out” from the talents, which seemed far and away the best idea… and Mendula would heal while Fergorin and I piled on whichever mob was the target.

After getting a handle on the various mobs wandering around ahead of us, we managed to pull a pair… and it wasn’t a disaster.  Sure, Mendula went down… healing drew aggro… but Fergorin could ress, so we were able to get ourselves back together.

Mendula and our two targets down

Once she was ressed, we carried on, learning a bit with each fight.  All of us died a couple of times before we started to get the hang of it.  By the timer we got out onto the furnace floor, I had figured out my traps, one of which made a pretty effective crowd control.

One mob ice trapped, with the tar trap slowing the others down

Like so much in retail vs classic, hunter traps are a lot different.  I found that I could not only throw them in combat, but I could even throw the freezing trap under a mob in a group that we had yet to aggro and trap it without pulling the group.  Strange times.

We were starting to make headway and it felt like we were doing okay, and then we made our way into the dragon room.

The dragon room

Something in the back of my head said that the dragons were tougher than normal elite mobs in the instance.  I seemed to recall they had double the xp rewarded, which was commensurate with their increased difficulty.  Also, I remembered that we didn’t have to clear the whole room, just one side, in order to make our way to the next area.

I found out quickly that my freezing trap wasn’t good on dragons and deaths occurred.  Fortunately Fergorin has a self-ress spell… also, because we wiped more than once in the room, it is nice that when you release you come back in the instance.  Again, WoW Classic had us expecting to run back from the local outside graveyard.

Dragon progress

We managed to make it through the dragon room on a few tries, then pressed on into the next hallway, where we faced a group of four normal elites.  That we were able to handle.

From there it was into the next big room, Reavers Hall, which is where Prince Keleseth resides.

The big room with the map table

The four mobs at the table, who come as  a group, got a bit out of hand, but we managed to take them down.  That left Prince Keleseth, the first boss in the instance, as our next target.

Prince Keleseth was an inflection point for the instance group back in the day.  We managed to half-ass our way through vanilla WoW instances as a full group, and managed to barely get past the instances in The Burning Crusade.  But Prince Keleseth was a wall we could not get past the way we were working.

We actually spent a week off reading up about our classes over at the then font of such knowledge, Elitist Jerks, upgraded our gear (I think I still had the Carrot on a Stick trinket equipped), and generally worked to “git gud” before we gave it another try.

And, after no small effort and a few more runs, we got past him.  And, from that point forward in the group, instances became more a matter of learning the boss fight mechanics than simply trying to apply enough DPS.  Our ability to run through most of the WoW Classic instances as a group of four, many of which were a struggle as a group of five back in the day, is directly related to lessons learned back then.

Which also leads to us having the spunk to think we might be able to take on an instance in pre-Shadowlands WoW with a cobbled together group of three players.

Prince Keleseth, however, had other plans.

We sort of remembered bits of the fight.  I recalled that he would summon helpers during the fight from the door on the far side.  I thought I might put my tar trap down there to slow them down a bit.  Other than that we couldn’t recall much.  So we gave it a try.

We wiped, naturally.  We had forgotten about his ice block attack, where one of the party members is encased in a block of ice, unable to do anything, while it applies a bunch of damage.  You have to get everybody to attack the block and burn it down before it kills the person encased in it.

Also, as we remembered, Prince Keleseth summons friends, a set of undead, to come help him.  You need some AOE to knock them down fast.  And there were some line of sight problems with the big table and the short people standing around it.

We got ourselves together and tried to refine our approach.  We pulled Prince Keleseth back to the door in order to give ourselves a bit more time versus the adds, but we were not quite ready to deal with them, or the ice block.

A couple more tries yielded the same result.

I’m dead, Fergorin is in the ice block, Mendula is all the DPS

We had been at it for a while by then and it was getting to be time for dinner at my end, so we called it for the time being.   We might not have a very good class mix, I might need a better pet, we might not even have critical skills at our level, or it might not  be a viable instance to go in with just three people.  Some more research to be done.  But it was a bit of fun to go in and try, and we even got the first quest done for the instance, got a few drops, and gained a level.

One Night – Three Instances

Which, frankly, isn’t all that many instances when it comes down to it.  Heck, I did three instances in about 90 minutes one afternoon.

But those were lower level dungeon finder runs.  Here we had the regular Saturday night group together for a planned production.

And the tasks at hand required us to get out the old crew.  A reminder for those not keeping score:

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

We had to get out and figure out how to play our old classes.  For me that wasn’t such a big deal; going from healer to DPS made things easier for me, plus I still actively play Vikund regularly, pursuing those achievements and what not.  But others were a bit rusty.  And even I had forgotten some of the dynamics of having a warrior tank and a warlock DPS in the group.

Sorting ourselves out

You can see in that picture that Earl still has a pumpkin head, though I think we were throwing those around at Winter Veil, so it might not actually be from October.  Then again, it might.

The first instance on the agenda was Utgarde Keep, the scene of our inglorious start on Northrend instances that forced us to actually spec and equip for our roles in the group rather than just throw talent points around at random.

We needed to go kill Prince Keleseth so Vikund could get the Love is in the Air drop from him for the achievement.  Fortunately, killing Keleseth is a popular activity, since according to my stats at least, no other boss has killed me as many times as he has.

As a level 70 dungeon, that was a good warm up for us.  The risk was low and we got to use our skills without worrying about a wipe if we made a mistake.  Plus it still showed up on dungeon finder for us, so we could warp right in and start.

We rolled in and took care of Keleseth, getting me the drop and securing me the holiday meta achievement, as I previously mentioned.

Achievement secured

After that, it was time for the second instance, Shadowfang Keep.  There is both an achievement and a daily quest to be taken care of in SFK, which involves knocking off some level 80 bosses in line with the Headless Horseman at Hallow’s End.  I wanted the achievement, even though it is not required for the meta achievement, and the group was keen for a chance at some of the drops from the encounter, which looked pretty nice.

We had to travel overland this time around, since the dungeon finder does not let you into instances that are below your level.  A couple of us made it to the meeting stone and reeled in the remainders, thanks to the fact that the meeting stones no longer have level restrictions.

Inside, we met up with the trio that are the focus of the daily quest.

Baxter, Hummel, and Frye

Like most of these holiday encounters, it is an event that has some interesting parameters.  Baxter is wearing cologne and Hummel is wearing perfume, each of which causes some significant AOE damage. (Not unlike that woman in accounting.)  You are given two bottles of antidote that will protect you from the AOE effects, but they are mutually exclusive.  You can only wear one at a time.

The suggested method we saw was to put the main tank on Hummel, have an off-tank pull Baxter away (each wearing the appropriate antidote), and then burn down Hummel, then Baxter, then Frye.

Frye is the wild card, as he runs all over the place and hurls bottles of perfume and cologne, land and leave pools of the stuff which have the same effects as the perfume and cologne that Baxter and Hummel wear.  If you have the right antidote, you’re safe, if you don’t and you’re standing in the pool, you’re going to be toast pretty soon unless you move.

We gave it a try and seemed to be doing okay.  The battle went on for a while until Frye started hitting us with annoying accuracy with the items we were not protected against.  Earl went down and the wheels came off and it was a wipe.

Spread out and dead

We had forgotten to even make a soul stone.

That went badly enough that we decided to try the other strategy we saw, which has everybody focus on Hummel to take him down fast, then swap antidote and kill Baxter, then finish off with Frye.

And so we tried the concentrated attack in three different forms.  Each time we wiped, but we wiped much more quickly than our divide and conquer strategy.

Concentrated and dead

The problem did not seem to be Baxter or Hummel, it seemed to be Frye.  So for our last run, we decided to try a third strategy.  Earl pulled Hummel off to one side of the courtyard and held him.  Vikund pulled Baxter the other direction and held him.  And then everybody who could attacked Frye.

This worked out much better.

With the right antidote, Hummel and Baxter are no problem and Frye obliged me several times by running into my consecrate or whirlwind.

And by the time Frye was down Vikund almost had Baxter down.  The only hitch came when Skronk died.  We suspect he was standing in a pool of something for which he did not have the antidote active.

Good on the fifth try!

We did not get the elusive Big Love Rocket as a drop.  Instead we got the sweet perfume broach, which Vikund passed on because he’d already gotten his drop for the night back in Utgarde Keep.

Now that we know the fight, we will probably try to do it again this coming week.

Once we were done in SFK the evening was still relatively young for most of us, so we swapped over to Lightninghoof and our up and coming horde characters, who stood at the time at:

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

Earl had gotten out earlier in the day to catch up with his shaman, so we decided to head back to Uldaman to get him that last quest in the treasure room behind Archaedas.  He’d missed it during our last run because he was too low level.

Enaldie, however, was ready to call it a night, so we thought we’d give it a try with just the four of us.

Unfortunately dungeon finder won’t send you places with just a group of four, and we weren’t really in the mood to invite a stranger along at that point.  So we did what any similar group would do in the same situation.  We had Skronk go log Enaldie back in and join the party so we could use dungeon finder.

We dragged Enaldie along on follow for a while as we took on the instance as a group of four, which turned out to be not that big of a deal.  Ironically, in the pre-history of the instance group, it was just a group of four players who at one point just beat their head against Uldaman at and even slightly above level.  This was part of the reason that our initial victory over Archaedas was so sweet.

However now as a four person group, it wasn’t a big deal.  We wiped Enaldie off on some feature of the terrain at one point and didn’t notice until she was off the mini map.  It turned out to be a safe spot, as she disconnected before anything came to kill her.

As with last week, the troggs were the most difficult fights, at least from Hurmoo’s healer perspective.  After we were past that it was all smooth sailing and excellent experience.  The four of us made it to Archaedas and sent him packing.

Battle with Archaedas

So there you have it.  Four players at the appropriate level for the dungeon were capable of seeing through without issue.

Now we’ll see if we’re ready for Zul’Farrak.  The quests for the instance are levels 45-50.

The Death of Prince Keleseth

Saturday night and we got the full team into Northrend again.  The lineup was:

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

And it was back to Utgarde Keep for us!

A level for most of us and some more equipment upgrades along with some research and the advice people offered after our last attempt made us confident enough to go for it.

As before, the initial forge area did not present us much of a problem.   We carved our way through that to the Proto-drake stables.  Here we avoided wiping, having had much practice fighting the beasts.

Drake Fight

Drake Fight

We lost Skronk once in a fight, but otherwise did well.

We fought our way through and eventually found ourselves back at our old familiar resting place on Prince Keleseth’s door step.  We made our plans, summoned our baby blizzard bears, and prepared to fight!

Here We Are Again

Here We Are Again

We cleared his four guests and then brought the action to the Prince.  And we were close.  So very close.

He was under 20% when the wheels came off and the inevitable wipe ensued.

Dead Again

Dead Again

Yet, this was as close as we had ever gotten to killing the prince.  We were enthusiastic.  We were ready.

And we wiped two more times.

But those two wipes were due to mistakes made early on in the fights.

Finally, on the fourth run, with a little bit of tuning to our original plan, it was down with the Prince!

The Prince Is Dead!

The Prince Is Dead!

In fact, the fight felt pretty easy the last time around.  Things went right and well all knew we were going to win by the time we had him half way down.

The one change Vikund made was to go with Seal of Wisdom for the fight rather than Seal of Vengence.  I do not know how much this helped turn the tables, but in the previous fights, Vikund ran out of mana, while in the last fight he was pouring out the concencrates (for those pesky undead helpers) and exorcisms through the whole fight.

Is there a group damage parser that works with 3.0.3?  I’d like to be able to tell how much a change like that made to the fight.

The prince was down and I could take a moment to admire his table, which turned out to be a map.

Northrend - You Are Here

Northrend – You Are Here

So, at last, we were able to move on.  Further into the keep we went until we ended up facing the next boss, or bosses, Skarvald the Constructor and Dalronn the Controller.

We had read ahead in our research and knew that the trick to this fight was that whoever you kill first of the pair comes back as a spirit and continues to kick your ass until you kill the other guy.  The recommended approach is to kill Dalronn first.

Or so we read.

The actual tip that we read said to try to bring down Skarvald’s hit points first, then kill Dalronn, then finish off Skarvald.  Unfortunately, we DoT’d Skarvald up good, so when we switched to Dalronn he died anyway, then came back as a spirit and pounded the crap out of us before we could finish off Dalronn.

Still, it felt like we were close.  A matter of timing as opposed to some huge flaw in the plan.  We did not have a soulstone ready quite yet, so we released and ran back to the instance, only to find…

RESPAWNS!

Spoiled by the Outlands instances, which never seem to respawn, we were surprised to enter the instance and find it held in force against us again.  We had dawldled some in our progress through the instance, stopping for snacks, bios, doggie needs, and moving small, sleeping children to their beds.

We were able to get past the entrance without having to kill everybody and were able to sneak past the forges by hugging the walls.  When we got to the proto-drake pens, the first one we killed had respawned.  It was getting late, we did not want to fight out way through the drakes and such again, so we knew, with the soulstone available again, we would have just two more bites at the apple before we called it a night.

And we blew it both times.  Bad luck early in both fights, those events where you just know you’ve lost before the fight is even really under way, like the priest getting charges by Skarvald and Shadowbolted by Dalronn in the first seconds and dying because, oops, we forgot to buff fully.

We think we can manage it though, next time.   In the mean time Earl is going to go out and get level 71, upgrade some of his remaining gear such as his weapon.

We won’t be back this coming Saturday night however.  We’ll be short two players, so Keleseth, Skarvald, Dalronn, and friends will have to wait until the following week to get theirs.