Tag Archives: Scarlet Monastery

The Instance Group in the Scarlet Monastery

With WoW Classic so far it has been my practice, at the end of a dungeon run post, to link to past runs of the same instance in various eras of WoW.  With Scarlet Monastery though, that was a little different.  To start with, it has four wings, so I felt I had to wait until I knew we were through there in order to inject those links.

Also, in looking back, I found that some of the posts had issues.  Early on in the history of the blog I hit a point where I was using up my image upload space more rapidly that I expected, so for a brief bit I went looking for alternatives to direct uploads to WordPress.com.

For whatever reason, I chose ImageShack.

I don’t know why.  It was sort of the Imgur of its time I guess.  I am sure it seemed like a reasonable choice when I made.

Back in 2007 they allowed free upload accounts.  Since then they have gone paid subscription only and it seems that they purged all the free accounts, so a range of old posts just have broken image icons where screen shots should have been.  Given how parsimonious I was with images at that point in the life of the blog, I felt I had better fix that.  Fortunately, I throw nothing away and had the screen shots from that era archived, so you can experience those posts in full color.

Also, we didn’t do an instance this past weekend, so at least I have something to post.

Vanilla Era

Basically, real “back in the day” stuff.

While not as primitive as some of my earlier instance run posts, I had clearly yet to establish a regular pattern of posting after every run.  Also, I think over the holidays we were running a couple times a week… I seem to recall a series of Thursday and Saturday runs.  It was a different time.

What is interesting is how parallel the experiences were to more recent posts.  We hit things at about the same level.  We were doing it as groups of five most of the time, though there were some short groups in there.  We did the the “In the Name of the Light” quest.  Arcanist Doan was just as generous with the Illusionary Rod back then as he was recently.

I even distinctly mention how easy it was to avoid Herod’s spin attack in the armory, making me wonder if SynCaine’s theory about modern performance levels making things easier is as straightforward as I might have seemed at first glance. (Ula took a poke at that idea on her blog as well.)  Maybe this stuff was never really that hard and we were not as bad as I recall.

Celebrating in the Cathedral back in 2007


After we wrapped the initial instances in Wrath of the Lich King we decided to re-roll the group in as different a way as possible, so we went Horde and did so on an RP-PvP server.  We did go back to our old characters now and again, but we were focused on the new group a lot.

The first post is the original characters going back to the monastery to get Santa hats.  It is the second post that gives a sense about how things had changed.  We showed up with a level 32 group and pressed through to do the graveyard, library, and the armory in one evening.

Granted, this was after the instance levels had been re-factored.  Herod, for example, was level 37 there, as opposed to being the level 40 boss we fought recently.  But still, we managed it, though we passed on the cathedral I guess.

Victory in the Armory

Interestingly, while I do not mention respawn rates in the vanilla era, the fast respawn of the armory comes up in that post.  We wiped on the way out then as well.


With the coming of the Cataclysm expansion we re-rolled again, this time going with four worgen and a gnome.  Ula only plays gnomes.

With a group of four level 30s we decide to eschew the Dungeon Finder and run to Scarlet Monastery.   We finish the library, slaying Doan successfully.  Sure, we wiped a few times, but we were a group of four level 30s FFS.

At the end of the library

You can see that the Illusionary Rod dropped again.  I think it must always drop.

We were not too far from disillusionment with Cataclysm at that point, though for us re-rolling was the wrong play.  If we had gone back to WotLK and finished off the instances they added after the group took a break (though Earl and I kept playing the whole expansion) and had then gone into the Cataclysm instances, we would have been better disposed to the expansion.

The Neverwinter Heresy

Adrift after growing tired of Cataclysm, we tried other MMOs.  There was the horrible EverQuest II experiment, some time spent in LOTRO after it went free to play, and a diversion into Neverwinter.  There we found that somebody had used the dungeon creation tools to create approximations of several World of Warcraft instances, including the Scarlet Monastery.

I might have forgotten about that, except for the fact that I tagged the post “Scarlet Monastery,” so it is on the canon list.

We went through two Scarlet Monastery recreations, one of the library and the other of the cathedral.

It does have that Scarlet Monastery vibe to it I guess

They were pretty impressive, given the tools.  There was also an attempt at the Deadmines, which was less convincing.

Hallow’s End

We ran out and did the graveyard quite a few times as part of the Hallow’s End celebration, so one could technically count that as a visit to the Scarlet Monastery.  Way back in the day you actually had to run there.  However, I didn’t tag these with “Scarlet Monastery,” but I did find a couple pre-Dungeon Finder run to include just for flavor.

The 2008 post was just a week before Wrath of the Lich King hit, while the 2009 post was just about a month before patch 3.3.0 hit, bringing with it the Dungeon Finder interface, which made running the Headless Horseman a lot more routine.

Headless Horseman Down in Flames

WoW Classic

That brings us to the more recent adventures.

There is a gap between the graveyard and the other wings largely because we went back and did Gnomer again.  Twice.  Go figure.

At the upper fountain last week

There was also a substantial change in the group. Obama has officially dropped out, so he won’t be playing with us any more, and Earl hasn’t been able to get on to play, leaving us with the current group of four.  Still, we persist.

Three Stops in Scarlet Monastery

Saturday one again saw the group together and we were going to take one more run at Scarlet Monastery.  As I mentioned last week, I wanted to finish up the quest In the Name of the Light as it offered up a serious weapon upgrade for me.  The rest of the group was good for that as well, so as we set out we had this line up:

  • Viniki – level 38 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 38 gnome mage
  • Skronk – level 37 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 38 night elf druid

The first thing we had to do was to get everybody on the quest together, and that meant speaking to Brother Anton out in Desolace.

Brother Anton hanging out at the inn

We had gotten ourselves pre-positioned nearby, so getting to Desolace wasn’t an issue.  Viniki had even already done this stage, so I got out Wilhelm, my pally, to run along and get the quest under his belt.

The quest is simple.  Brother Anton just wants you to kill some undead.  He is from the Scarlet Crusade after all, and their stated purpose is the eradication of undead on Azeroth.  The undead in question… thirty of them… are a bit of a ways off.  You basically have to run the length of Desolace, north to south and back, which itself is well stocked with hostile creatures wandering about.

Running the length of Desolace

And Desolace is not a small zone.  It isn’t as big as The Barrens, but it is a lot bigger than Westfall.  So we headed off.

We just need to get to that arch

The zone also has such a muddy color palette that one might mistakenly believe they had accidentally run into EverQuest II Classic.  But we made it without too many entanglements along the way.

The slaying of the ravagers starter off well enough.  We got in the first ten pretty quickly.

Smiting a ravager

But then somebody else showed up to hunt them, and then a third party joined in as well.  The problem with this quest is that even with a full, untouched spawn, there are not 30 ravagers to be slain.  If you have the place to yourself you end up having to wait for respawns.  And when you have other people around it becomes a race to see who can tag ravagers first.  Fortunately for us bringing along a paladin had benefits.  Wilhelm has track undead, so we could spot spawns at a distance, and the one ranged pally spell, exorcism, only works on undead and demons, so he could actually tag things without having to run all the way up to them and shake their hand.

So it took a bit, but we eventually got them, then trotted back across the length of the zone to report back to Brother Anton.

He, in turn, sends us off to speak to Raleigh the Devote, who resides in Southshore.  Anton promised that Raleigh would, “escort you to a place of honor in our Scarlet Monastery” when we met up with him.  But Raleigh wasn’t so receptive.

Raleigh reacts badly

Raleigh has become disillusioned with the Scarlet Crusade, feeling that its once noble mission had gone astray.

The problem

His solution was to decapitate the leadership.  We had to go slay:

  • Houndmaster Loksey (Library)
  • Herod (Armory)
  • High Inquisitor Whitemane (Cathedral)
  • Scarlet Commander Mograine (Cathedral)

Of course, we had slain all four of these bosses before, so we were back for an encore run, hitting three wings in one run.

We ran out to the Scarlet Monastery again, taking the path from Southshore, and arriving without any particular issues for once.  There we went straight into the library to find Houndmaster Loksey.

He is not too far into that instance, so we could zip in, clear just a few groups, then grab him.

Markers of the Loksey fight

Arcanist Doan was not on Raleigh’s list, so we were able to slip right back out of the instance and on to the armory.

This was our third run into the armory, so we had the path in down pretty well.  We moved at a pace though the trash.

Cutting down the scarlets

It did not take us too long to get to Herod.

Herod awaits once more

Having done the fight already, we were able to run through it pretty quickly.  Herod spins, we run, Herod stops, we slay.  He was soon down and the trainee chorus line with him.

All clear again

Herod was nice enough to drop Herod’s Should, the mail shoulder piece, which was a nice addition to my kit.

We did not, however, linger long.  My plan was to get back out of the instance as fast as possible.  Skronk suggested we could just “tele-mort,” wipe and run back, but I wanted to get out alive.  With the quick spawn rate of the armory, my hope was that we could bypass most of the trash and maybe just fight a few groups as we got close to the exit.

Running for the exit

Eventually we hit a group, just before the stairway to the archery range.

The armory layout

It was just a group of three though, so no big deal.  We killed them going in, we would kill them going out.  However, not thinking, I grabbed this group around the corner from where they spawned, which happened to be very close to where the next group of three spawned less than a minute later when we were in the midst of the fight.

A trio of adds

At that point we were toast.  It didn’t help that the walked that patrols this section also wandered in.  I think we also proximity pulled the group behind us that spawned as well.  It was not going well, so the decision was to run for it to see if anybody could get out.  Nobody did, but you can see all the mobs running back past my corpse after they finally got Ula.

Trash returning to their spots

So we ended up with the tele-mort option after all.

That left us lined up for the cathedral.  We did that last week, but it wasn’t a cake walk.  However, having done it we were better prepared as to how we should approach it.  Also, we were very careful not to get too close to Morgaine.

As with the previous run, we cleared a path first to the lower fountain, then the upper fountain.  At the upper fountain we picked off the mobs on the front lawn from left to right, then took the guardians of the door.

Once the cathedral doors were open the careful pulls really began.  We were not fooled by the mobs just inside the doors and off to either side.  We move from group to group with deliberate care, keeping the fights manageable and not letting anybody run off.

Not too far into that Viniki hit level 39.  That would make him all the more effective against the final boss.  However, I was also facing a problem.  I had forgotten to repair my armor after last week… and another couple of deaths during the week… so as we were moving on I got the paper doll warning for my sword and pants.

Never a good sign

My sword was especially light on durability, and would clearly go red if I kept using it.

On the plus side, I had an alternate weapon in my bag, the Hand of Righteousness, which dropped off of Morgaine last week.  It required level 39, so it just opened up as an option right then.  In addition to durability, it gave me a boost from 21 to 29 dps when it came to my weapon.

It is also pretty nice looking

The flip side of that was Viniki hadn’t used a one-handed mace for a while, so while the cap for weapon skills at level 39 is 195, Viniki’s mace skill was 65.  He was not going to be hitting anything for much damage until that worked up.  I warned the group about the issue, then took hold of the mace and pulled the next mob.

As expected, I had some trouble holding aggro for a while as I wiffed swing after swing.  But for a long stretch there was a skill up with every swing.  Soon I was reliably hitting for 1 damage.  Fortunately I was able to use my taunt and a few other skills to keep the mobs from running completely amok on the casters.

We kept going, clearing the left side of the altar first, then going to the right, swinging wide around the pillars to keep clear of Morgaine.  On the right side we cleared then went to grab High Inquisitor Fairbanks again.

It is weird that he is just laying there looking dead

The Icy Veins guide says he is skippable, which is true enough, and does get skipped because he doesn’t drop blue gear.  But he is an easy fight and last time he dropped the Inquisitor’s Shawl, which was an upgrade for Skronk.  This time he dropped the Dusty Mail Boots, which were an upgrade for Viniki.  Worth the time yet again.

After that we went back to the main hall for the final fight.

There is Morgaine

Again, having done it last week we were much better prepared.  Last time there was a some tension as we got to the end of the fight as Skronk ran low on mana and my health ebbed.

This time however it played out like a sure thing.  I re-equipped my sword to be sure I was hitting consistently and we kicked things off.  Morgaine went down, Whitemane revived him, we slew Whitemane, then finished off Morgaine again without the issue being at all in doubt.

Finishing up Morgaine

So the question became, “What did they drop?”

Last week Morgaine dropped the Scarlet Leggings.  This time around he gave us the Morgaine’s Might, the two handed mace.  I was really hoping for his shield, which would have been a major upgrade for me.  Nobody really wanted/needed the mace, so we rolled off for who would get to vendor it.

And then there was Whitemane.  Last week it was the Hand of Righteousness, which I had been using for a bit.  But the big item from her is Whitemane’s Chapeau.  And when we checked the corpse, there it was.  Skronk had been pining for that hat and, in my brain, it was healer gear.  But on looking at the stats, it was really good for any cloth wearing caster.

Whitemane’s Chapeau

So Ula and Skronk had to roll off for it.  Ula won.

She has a post with a video about her new hat over at her blog.

But Whitemane’s Chapeau requires level 39 and she was half a bubble shy.  So we went back out to the fountain area and picked off mobs until she leveled up.  Then we ran over to take a proper screen shot out in front of the upper fountain.

At the fountain for the picture

Then it was time to recall to Ironforge.  But we were not done yet.  We had to fly back to Southshore to turn in the quest to Raleigh.  I was happy to get my new sword.

For those not so inclined, there was another weapon that vendored for over two gold, which at our level of poverty is not something to be sneered at.  And the experience for the quest was decent as well.  It pushed Moronae over the top to 39 and Skronk ended up not too far from that level as well, having hit 38 earlier in the run.

With that I think we might be done with Scarlet Monastery.  I believe Razorfen Downs is next on the list.  At least that is where we went next back in the day.

Scarlet Monastery Cathedral

We got together on Saturday night and the question was, “Where should we go?”

I had suggested last week that perhaps we ought to take another week off to go level up a bit rather than jump straight into the cathedral in Scarlet Monastery.  The three bosses there are all level 42, which seemed a bit steep, especially for a group of just four.  I figured we might need to be level 38 to ensure some chance of success.  I even came up with a couple of options for places we might go level.  So when we logged on this was the group:

  • Viniki – level 37 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 36 gnome mage
  • Skronk – level 37 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 36 night elf druid

But by the time we had logged on I had changed my mind.  I figured why not just give it a try.  If nothing else we would get some decent experience clearing out the instance.  And if it didn’t work out we could always go slay Herod in the armory again.

I also had a bit of an additional motive.  I have managed to find one more Scarlet Monastery quest, In The Name of the Light, and the reward options include a serious upgrade for Viniki.  But to finish it you need to kill Loksey in the library (easy) and Herod in the armory (not so easy), along with the two big bosses in the cathedral (hard)

As nobody else had an alternative plan we all headed back up to Southshore, our now usual jumping off point for the Scarlet Monastery.

Hanging out in Southshore

From there I had another brilliant idea.  It had been mentioned that the Chillwind Point flight point was the closest Alliance flight point to the Scarlet Monastery, so I thought maybe we ought to go grab that on the way and see how the path from there looked.  I had gotten the flight point a while back, but had been slaughtered by the mobs on the way to Tirisfal Glades.  But I was level 30 then.  I figured we might have leveled up enough to get through.

Confident I knew where  I was going, I led us off to a path through the mountains and into… the Hinterlands.

I don’t think this is the place

We were there, so we grabbed the flight path for later.  We will need to go back there for the Mallet of Zul’Furrak if nothing else.  Then we flew back to Southshore where I consulted a map and realized that we needed to go up the river.

On the second try I was successful.  We arrived in the Western Plaguelands and got the flight point.

Chillwind Point vicinity

From there it was just a short run to Tirisfal Glades.  We ran off down the road, south of the lake, only swimming across to the north bank.  From there the Bulwark and Tirisfal Glades were practically in sight.

Just a simple path to Tirisfal Glades

Unfortunately, a bear who showed only a level “skull” to us had different ideas.  As did the second bear and a spider.

We almost made it.  In fact, I did make it, though it was a near run thing when trying to get past the Bulwark Ula and I fell into a pit that was hemmed in by the wall, a tree, and some spikes.  I was able to hop my way out and run for it, but the spider got Ula.

So close to the destination

Everybody else released and ran back to their corpses and we met up on the “safe” side of the Bulwark to heal up, rebuff, and generally get ourselves sorted out.

Camping by the Bulwark

From there we ran north to the Scarlet Monastery, though we only made it about 20 feet before I ran us into a deathguard and we once again had to run for our lives.  We all survived this time.

At the monastery itself things were busy.  People were out playing on a Saturday night so we were able to wander though the opening areas to the cathedral door without the usual entanglements.

Inside, we were soon into the thick of things.  The cathedral is not a big instance.

Scarlet Monastery map

It is, however, densely populated once you get past the opening hallway.  I seemed to recall from back in the day that fighting from the fountain was a good plan.  I may have run up into the fountain prematurely, but we found off the extra add and setup a base there to clear up the left side.  The left side was also part of the vague memories from the group.

In the lower fountain

From there it was clearing to the steps to get into the upper fountain.

The upper fountain

The strip of grass between the upper fountain and the cathedral doors was populated mostly by casters.  That meant pulling them back into the fountain, which I mostly accomplished by tagging them with the gun and then running back and jumping down into the stairway to break line of site.  That seemed to work pretty well and we were soon opening the doors.  Moronae hit 37 in the fountain, so we were all the same level.

If the outer fountain area is crowded, the cathedral itself is packed.  We stood there at the open doors, Skronk marking the four mobs in the first row when we managed to proximity pull a pair of walkers around the corner.  Skronk switched the markers and we were on to our clearing.

Not the pair we thought we would get

There are three rows in the center and then a series of walkers and bystanders in the aisles on the outside of the pillars.  Some slow and steady work managed to clear the mobs group by group.  We didn’t even get many accidental adds.  Along the way I hit level 38, putting at least myself in the level range I thought we needed to be in.

We managed to clear the main area and had moved off to the left side to clear out the group there.  That went well enough.  We were wondering whether we needed to clear the side rooms or not when I said we ought to take care of the group on the other side.  This led to our first wipe.

I ran over to the other side, steering wide of Morgaine, who is standing up on the altar.  However, the rest of the group didn’t come with me and only saw me over on the other side, so ran straight  to me.

Paths traveled

They proximity pulled Morgaine and things fell apart pretty quickly.  But in doing that we did get the answer to the question of whether or not we needed to clear the mobs in the side rooms.  When you engage Morgaine all of the remaining Scarlet Crusade mobs in the cathedral run to assist him.  We would need to clear.

We ran back to the instance and revived inside.  Fortunately the respawn time for the cathedral is much longer than the other wings.  We had been at it for over an hour and nothing new had respawned.  We were able to get back into the cathedral to carry on.

Back into the cathedral

We went back over to the left to clear the rooms and ended up with a runner from one room pulling the second room and the wheels came off again and we wiped.  Back to the entrance to get ourselves put together again.

Another post-wipe picnic

We went back to the left side and, this time, managed to clear without incident.  Then we ran over to the right side, giving Morgaine a wide berth this time, and knocked out the group over there and the singleton in the back room.

Then it was time to pull the torch to pick up the minor boss.

That torch, which opens the secret door

The Icy Veins guide says that High Inquisitor Fairbanks is skippable because he doesn’t drop anything cool, but we don’t skip anything as a group.  He wasn’t too tough of a fight really.  And he starts out asleep or dead or whatever on the floor so you can get all grouped up around him before you start in.

He looks about the same after as he did before the fight

And, while he doesn’t drop anything blue, he did drop the Inquisitor’s Shawl, which was an upgrade for Skronk (he has them on in the pic above) so it was easily worth the effort.

That left us with most everything cleared in the cathedral.  We cleared up a couple of walkers, because while the zone doesn’t respawn quickly like the other instances, it does spawn random patrols now and again, and then sat down to prep for Scarlet Commander Mograine.

You can see we were still keeping our distance

Given the fight was above our level I went and took a quick look at how the fight was supposed to play out.  I mostly remembered it, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to refresh that memory.  The simple order of events is:

  • Fight and slay Scarlet Commander Mograine
  • High Inquisitor Whitemane shows up and revives Morgaine
  • Fight them both, kill Whitemane first, then Morgaine

So we got ourselves as prepped as we could and then got stuck in with Morgaine.  He hits hard and I was putting up damage mitigation skills as often as they were ready, worried about keeping going as I was.  However we got through Morgaine well enough and he went down.  Then Whitemane walked in from the back room.

Announcing her arrival

She came out and stood next to the altar and we watched her, waiting for her to revive Morgaine.  A few seconds passed and nothing happened.  Finally I decided to take a poke at her, and when that seemed effective, we opened up on her.  In glancing through the how the fight runs, I missed the part where you have to get her down to half health or so before she brings back Morgaine.

Silly us.  I wonder how long we all might have sat there waiting.

So we beat Whitemane down, she revived Morgaine, and then we carried on with Whitemane, dropping her fairly quickly.

At that point, with the death of Whitemane, Ula hit level 38, which meant she got a full refill on health and mana.  That was nice timing, though it might have been a bit better for us if Skronk had been the one to level up.  We still had Morgaine on us and he was beating on me hard and I had already thrown up shield wall and used a big health potion and Skronk’s own mana was dwindling.

You know when the healer asks you about the cool down on your health potion that there might be an issue.

Skronk alerted Moronae that he might have to drop out of cat form and throw me some heals.  Morgaine was down to the end of his hit points, but my own health bar was marching down at a steady clip as well and no heals were incoming.

Fortunately we were putting out enough damage that Moragine one the race… or lost the race… to the end of our health bars and fell at our feet.  We had done it.

Our foes dead at our feet

And, as happens at these moments, there was some amount of surprise.  First, because we managed it a bit under-level as a group of four, then in the frame of the memory of how hard this fight was back in the day with a full group at a higher level.  We were bad back in the day.

It was time for some loot.

Morgaine gave us the Scarlet Leggings, mail pants which went to me.

They were a big upgrade, as I was still wearing mail that dropped back in Gnomeregan.

And Whitemane dropped the Hand of Righteousness, a one handed mace that is spec’d for a healing paladin I would imagine, but which was such an upgrade in DPS over my current sword that it went to me.

So I made out pretty well with the blue gear.  That said, Skronk might have gotten the most coveted item that dropped.  A trash mob had a 12 slot bag on its corpse.  A 12 slot bag!

I am sure he would have traded that for Whitemane’s chapeau, but still it was a good drop and a reminder of how inventory constrained we all are.  To this day I remember how overjoyed I was at one time back in vanilla when I got a 16 slot bag dropped.  That was a minor miracle.

We made it.

Now we just have to do it again once people get that Scarlet Monastery quest I mentioned above and to get another shot at Whitemane’s chapeau.  Also, I wouldn’t mind Morgaine’s shield, as that would be a serious upgrade for me.

Done with our task, we stood on the altar for one last screen shot of us all stoning home.

The group exiting

Ula has been at it again and has a video up of our run through the cathedral that covers the high points and aligns with a number of my screen shots.

There is even a very brief post-credits clip from the Bulwark part of our run.  She managed to get her video capture turned on to record the last few seconds of a spider and a bear on her as she was trapped in that pocked in the fence before they killed her.

You can comment on the video over at Ula’s blog, where it was posted initially.

The Armory and the Library

After our diversion into Strangelthorn Vale for a couple of levels last week, we were ready for a return bout in the armory in Scarlet Monastery.  We had given it a shot once before and had come up short.  But this past weekend our lineup was a little stronger.

  • Viniki – level 36 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 36 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 36 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 36 gnome mage

Moronae was actually only level 35 when we logged in on Sunday, but he was just a bubble shy of level and we were slow getting started, so he ran out, got his level, trained up, and got back to Southshore for the expedition.

Once again we set off for a run across Hillsbrad and around the Undercity to get to the Scarlet Monastery complex.

Ula, having been drinking, fell behind… she is back under the tree beside the road

I think we are actually getting to be high enough level now that we could run out to the flight point in the Western Plaguelands, get that, and run to the instance from there.  I tried it solo at level 34 and got the flight point, but going from there to Tirisfal Glades was another story.

So we made the trot and the swim and the trot, Skronk deftly avoiding the outpost along the way that got use killed previously until we made it to the ground.

Past the meeting stone

We pushed on in and were once again getting unexpected adds in the foyer of the place.  We just can’t help ourselves.  But we did press on and opened the door to the armory.

There are just a bunch of mobs hanging out here

From there things went pretty smoothly.  While we were still at or below the level of most of the mobs, our aggro radius was reduced enough that we were not getting in over our head with comedic regularity.

Starting off with the first few mobs

We pulled through the courtyard and archery range without issue and carried on into the heart of the armory itself.

The armory layout

Our only real problem going in were the various walkers that pace through the instance.  We could mark them, call them out, time things to avoid them, yet somehow always managed to have them land in the middle of a fight by accident.

Still, we have the bandwidth for a single add, though things did get hairy now and again.  We also managed to get past the pair of groups by the fireworks, which was where we fell last round.  Everybody knew there was two groups and we pulled each group well back so as to avoid an accidental proximity pull.

Past that it was around the corner and up the final hallway to Herod’s door.

Herod’s door is locked.  I am not sure why.  It uses the same key as the door that locks you out of the instance.  I guess it keeps people from sneaking in past that door and getting to the final boss unless they have the key from Doan next door.

But we had the key… I said that already, didn’t I… and went on in to behold Herod.

Yup, that’s him

Ula had read about the fight aloud to us.  Herod does a special spin attack which everybody has to get clear of, but otherwise it is a standup fight.  Ula and Skronk stood on the stairs above the fight while Moronae and jumped down to mix it up with Herod.

The spinning attack, announced by the same shout of “Blades of Light,” were more surprising in their frequency rather than their ferocity.  When he goes into spin mode everybody just hangs back out of the way… he is immune to damage while it is going on… and waits for the fight to start back up again.

There he goes, spinning again

The main off-script moment was when he suddenly ran after Skronk.  Skronk was standing back and hitting him at range with his wand between heals, and the combo of the two was enough to pull Herod in his direction, which was a bit unexpected.  I taunted Herod off of him on the second try (he resisted the first), but I had to chase him down as he ran off right after he was done with a round of spins and I was out of range.

Skronk did not die, though it was close.  It was almost time to shout “combat ress!” yet again.

Herod finally went down after eight or so rounds of spinning. [Edit: Ula’s video below shows 10 spins.]  At that point Skronk and Ula jumped down from their perch and we all braced ourselves for the onslaught of the Scarlet Trainees.

Here comes the chorus line

The whole trainee chorus line ran in and down around the stairs and I braced myself for a struggle… having forgotten that they have about the same hit points as a soap bubble.  Skronk and Ula did a couple of AOE attacks and they were gone.

Well, that went quickly

Boom!  We had done it.  And Herod had a nice treat for me, the Raging Berserker’s Helm, an upgrade from my current chapeau.  The only problem is that it requires level 37 and I was still just 36.  I would have to put it in my bag for later.

The helm

We took a few more screen shots then it was time for a break.

I swear somebody had their eyes close in almost every shot

I had to call in a Thai food order for my wife to pick up on the way home.  The Grammy’s were on later and we have a tradition of Thai or Chinese take out for awards shows.  Then Ula was away for a bit after I got back.  Then I went away for a bit.

All told we were away long enough for the instance to respawn almost fully.

The last hallway was empty for a while

We were going to fight our way out as we had another task to take care of in the Scarlet Monastery, and by the time we were rolling the first guy in the hallway before Herod had just popped, so we started with him.

After that we did a couple more careful pulls, though the next mobs up the hallway behind us respawned and Ula got them on a proximity pull.  But we managed to contain things… certain gnomish hats and and a dog whistle came into play… and won the fight.

The gut pile after the fight… hound just visible in the lower left

We moved forward to where the fireworks were and just as I pulled the next group a walker came up making the threesome a foursome.  A bit of a challenge, but we were still looking good.  And then the hound that had been summoned for the previous fight decided to run around the corner and pull the next group of three as well and suddenly it was seven on five, counting the dog, and the damn dog wasn’t keeping to the plan.  Moronae was the first to go down.

Moronae collapsing on the left

After that things fell apart.  I used whatever skills I had and managed to keep most of the group on me… but there is only so much mana in the world for healing and everybody on me meant I got pounded down eventually.  Then it was on to the casters.

Cloth tanking for the… well, not win I guess…

And so we wiped.

We ran back to the instance, Moronae and I going back into the armory because that made sense to us, while Ula and Skronk ran into the library to see if the game cared which of the instances you ran into.

The game does not care.  The revived just fine.  And they were there for a reason, with Moronae and I joining them momentarily to revive, buff up, and get ready to go.

But first a bit of food in the entry room

For her mage class quest we needed to go into the library to pick up a book.  Seems like a natural enough location to find one.  So we set out on another run through the library.  We were so close to having our act together.

Okay, maybe the wrong target, but we were good

For the first time ever we managed to clear out the opening hallway without an accidental proximity pull or walker wandering up.  Sure, it helped that we were all level 36 now, but we also had warmed up enough over the evening to be working pretty well.  So we moved on through the instance in search of the book.

We skipped Loksey.  His whistle summoned hounds have some issues to be worked out still.  We left the side rooms alone as well… again, levels meant no proximity pulls on those… and pressed on straight up the middle.  Along the way both Ula and Skronk hit level 37.

We made it to the book.  It is on a shelf at the start of the final hallway that leads to Arcanist Doan.  She grabbed it and was all set to go when I pointed out that Doan was really just a few mobs away and I was less than a bubble from 37.  So we pressed on to finish the instance.

I hit 37 in the last fight before we got to Doan, so was able to put it on.  I even turned off “hide helm” so everybody could see it.  Then we hit Doan, which went about the same way it did the last couple times.

Doan dead again

He dropped his staff… which the casters already had, so we did a roll-off and Viniki got it… and the cloth shoulders, which went to Ula.  That done, we had one last picture lineup.

Ula, dressed as Doan, and me with the new helm

So that is three wings of the Scarlet Monastery down.  Now about the fourth, the cathedral.  The bosses there are all level 42, so it would probably be good for us to hit at least 38 before giving it a serious run, which means doing some more experience.  We can run the armory some more… I wouldn’t mind, Herod has a few nice warrior items even if the armor will all be moot at level 40… or we can return to Stranglethorn Vale.  We have some quests left in the north end, and the quests at the south end are within our range as well now.  And it remains an easy-ish zone to get to, at least when compared to some of the alternatives.

We shall see.  Until then Viniki is working out with his new staff to raise his skill.

Beating on a Harvest Reaper for skill ups

You didn’t think I was going to just sell it, did you?  I think we should get one for Moronae as well so we can all have one in groups shots.

Addendum:  Ula has another great video up showing our run through the armory.

You should probably view it on YouTube at a larger resolution and higher quality level to get the full effect.  I think you can see us picking up the various walkers I mentioned as the video goes on.

The video also shows Herod doing his “Blades of Light” spin ten times, as well as the killing blow (in slomo) and the dispatching of the Scarlet Trainees.  The video ends there are does not show our subsequent demise.  Only the highlights!

The Library and the Armory

After a bit of time off around the holidays the instance group was able to form back up for another run this past Sunday.  Various holiday distractions meant that not much progress was made by anybody during the off time, which meant that we were still mostly in the level range for the library in the Scarlet Monastery, which we had previously run through.

Also, we were a group of four again, our lineup looking like this:

  • Viniki – level 34 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 33 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 33 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 32 gnome mage

I fear that Obama may have lost interest… or has other, more pressing interests… as he hasn’t logged in for quite a stretch.  Meanwhile, things have not settled down enough to get Earl on with us regularly, leaving us with the gang of four.

As the Scarlet Monastery library was still in the level range for us… maybe a level or two above our range really… we decided to take another run at that.  There was a quest in Ironforge that we had neglected to pick up previously that required us to pick up a book in the library, so at least we had a task.

We all grabbed the quest and headed for Southshore where we commenced another trot across the landscape to the Scarlet Monastery.  This time we managed to neither go completely wide of the mark nor run through the camp with the guards that wiped us out last time.  We kept to the road, swinging wide once we got past the Undercity.

Dangerous turn off

I did veer us a little bit more northward than I might have needed, but we arrived outside the Scarlet Monastery complex intact.  And we got the map update for Brill, so our Tirisfal Glades map isn’t quite so blank as before.

While it was Sunday afternoon, which can be something of a quiet time, we did have a couple other groups around, so we didn’t have to clear the whole way to the library door, though we did get in over our heads a little bit at one point before another group wandered in to help.

And once inside we nearly got a wipe on the second engagement.

The first area is corridor with four groups and a walker that comes and goes.  We cleared off the first group right away.  Then I shot the target in the second group to pull him, only to find he just wanted to sit there and cast, so I ran up to him and engaged.  Moronae followed me in cat form and got behind him, which put him just in range to proximity pull the next group.  Now we had four mobs to deal with.  As that was going on, the walked came up as well and joined in just as Skronk was dropping a heal on me.  An archer, she began pelting Skronk at range while her hound pet went chasing after him.  We were spread out down the corridor so losing aggro on somebody meant scrambling about, and I got there too late to save Skronk at one point and he went down.

Things were looking bad, but then somebody remembered that Moronae, a druid, had a combat ress, so he was able to get Skronk back up as we carried on.  I thought things were getting worse when I saw another hound engaged in the fight, but that was Ula using the dog whistle she got as a drop from Houndmaster Loksey last time.

In the end, we made it, but it was something of a mess.  At least we had cleared out most of the room.

We remained standing

That done, we took it a little more carefully going forward, clearing the courtyard and taking down Houndmaster Loksey without much in the way of drama.  Having been through the instance once already, we were somewhat aware of places we where we needed to take care, though being a few levels below some of the mobs, which range 33-37, we still managed the accidental proximity pull now and then.  But that generally happened when we were setting up for a fight anyway, so we carried on, stopping for a rest now and then.

Just enough chairs for our group

We picked up the book we were looking for along the way.  That took a couple minutes as the book disappears once somebody picks it up.  But it respawns eventually.

Ula grabbing the book

We worked our way around to the final corridor with only a few more accidental proximity pulls along the way.

Look, we won, didn’t we?

That left us with the main boss, Arcanist Doan.  The fight with him went about as well as we could have hoped.  He still sheeps the healer now and then, but we burned him down quickly enough that there wasn’t much of an issue.

Doan Down

As with our last run, he dropped the robe and the illusionary rod, the two big caster items.

There was a bit of confusion over who should get the illusionary rod.  I was sure it had dropped the last time but nobody remembered who got it.  Then Ula found it in her bag.  The problem was that it requires level 34 to use and neither she nor Skronk were there yet.

Skronk’s reward this time

At that point we were done with the instance, but we still had some time.  Both casters had the boss drops they wanted, so there wasn’t much point in doing the library again, so we decided to poke our noses into the armory wing of the Scarlet Monastery.  We were well below level for that, but we wanted to see how far we could get, so we started to run back to the entrance of the library… and ran unwittingly into a bunch of mobs and promptly wiped.

About where we picked up that book

Now, I remembered that instances in vanilla WoW respawned.  There was always that hanging over a group’s head back in the day if the run was going too slowly.  But in my mind respawns were something like a 2 hour thing.  We ran into respawned mobs at the location where we had taken them down about 30 minutes previously.  These instances are small, so maybe that accounts for the quicker timer, but it came as a surprise.

Still, we were out and nobody was keen to fight our way through the library in both directions.  So we ran back as ghosts, revived in the library, then exited to go next door to the armory.

Like most of the complex, the armory isn’t a big instance.  You work your way through the courtyard and then the open plan office area where most of the mobs hang out, to the the long corridor, finally ending up with Herod and the Scarlet Monastery floor show at the end.

The armory layout

We were definitely a little paranoid going in.  For some reason I had a bad feeling lurking in the back of my head about the open archery range, like there was some event or such that gets triggered there.

Are we the targets?

However, that might be something from the post-Cataclysm revamp in my head.  It proved to require just a careful clear to get through it, and only careful due to the rising level of the mobs and the possibility of more proximity pulls.  Mob levels were running 36-38 and, while Ula and Moronae had both leveled up, we were still punching up with a short group.

Once inside the armory we managed to keep things mostly under control.  The open space plan means that fleeing mobs can run straight to the next group if you are unlucky.  But we seemed to do okay.

The armory layout

Our first problem came at the top of the stairs in the room with the cannons, where we managed to get a patrol and proximity adds due to the closeness of the groups.  Things again looked like they might fall apart as mobs took down Skronk while I was trying to taunt them off.  Mobs resisting taunts and spells and polymorph were becoming much more common.

But Moronae’s combat ress was off cool down and Skronk was alive again and we managed to get through the fight.  We carefully moved forward, arriving at the fireworks stockpile after a few careful fights.

There we were facing a pair of level 38 mobs off to the right down the corridor.  There was also another pair of level 38 mobs on the left side of the corridor, which I thought everybody saw, but when I pulled the right pair somebody stepped into proximity range of the left pair and we suddenly had four mobs that were very resistant to our efforts to deal with.  It did not end well.

Ula throwing ice in the last moments

We wiped.

And, when we ran back we found that the instance had begun to respawn as the library had.  Also, we got too close to the first two mobs and pulled them by proximity… again… and had to flee the instance for the dark anteroom outside.  That happened to have another group hanging out in it.  We decided that we had gone about as far as we were likely to get… there was no way we were going to be able to take on the boss encounter with most of the group six levels below him.  So we recalled.

Stoning out in the dark anteroom

Three of us had our stones set in Ironforge, where we landed comfortably back at the bar.

We needed a drink

Along the way Skronk made it to 34, so was able to wield the illusionary rod.  Ula still has a ways to go for hers.

From the bar we ran first to repair, then across Ironforge to turn in the one quest we had.  The reward for that was a +6 stamina +6 spirit item for the neck slot.  Given that was empty for all of us, we were happy to have it.  Now we only have empty trinket slots, and it might be a while for that.  You don’t get the carrot on a stick until ZF.

We might have to spend a bit of time leveling up between instance runs.  We’re clearly shy of being able to do the armory wing, and nowhere close to the cathedral.  Also, we might have to work on a plan to fill out that lingering empty spot in our group.

Addendum:  Ula did a video of our run through the library where you can see, among other things, our near wipe at the start of the instance.

As always, amazing work by Ula with a fun sound track.  If you watch it on her channel you can see it in full 1440p.

Arcanist Doan, in the Library, with the Illusionary Rod

The holidays seem to have made it more difficult to get a group together.  A plan for this past Saturday fell through due to a need to install a new clothes dryer.  I am not sure if that counts as a holiday event.  Is a dryer like a Peloton?  But Sunday we were able to get together most of a group.  We met up in Ironforge, where I was able to sit around and watch the guild Sharp and Shiny do their latest performance art routine.

It is a place to see and be seen

There were only four of us, the line up being:

  • Viniki – level 33 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 32 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 32 night elf druid
  • Ula – level 32 gnome mage

Obama was out and it was Monday morning for Earl in Japan, so we were going to have to make do with what we had.

There was a bit of a discussion about our options.  Doing a bit of the holiday event was a possibility.  But we decided just to press on and head to the Scarlet Monastery to attempt the library wing.  As a short handed group mostly at level 32, it seemed like a stretch for us.  The backup plan, should we prove not up to the task, was to fall back and do the graveyard again or, as we were in the area, go look for missing Winter Veil treats.  We got on the bird in Ironforge and flew on out to Southshore, still our nearest flight point.

Flying in formation over the Wetlands

At Southshore Skonk led the group off.  Having suffered previously with my meandering run through Silverpine Forest and around the lake in Tirisfal Glades, he had a short cut in mind.  We were going to take a more direct path, past Dalaran, across the lake, and past the Undercity.

Which wasn’t a bad idea.  We certainly spotted the place where you should go for the Soothing Turtle Bisque quest in Southshore.

Many unmolested turtles

We swam the lake and came around the Undercity, skirting its front door but failing to get a map update.

Pay no mind to us you undead

From there Skronk set a course up the road to Scarlet Monastery.  It was only when we got past there and spotted an innocuous camp on the right side of the road that past memories flooded into my brain and I said, “Bear left!” on coms.  But it was too late.

Path comparison

There is a small camp alongside the road which has a number of high level guards mixed in.  They have slain many an unwary Alliance traveler attempting to reach the Scarlet Monastery, and they were quickly on the road chasing us.  They chopped us down, one by one.

All dead and flagged

So there we were, all dead, quite a ways from our corpse, and all now flagged PvP just a stone’s throw from the one Horde city in the Eastern Kingdoms.  This seemed like foreshadowing to a bloody run.

Also, not a single map update yet either!

We ran back as ghosts, revived, then hid off the road short of Scarlet Monastery, waiting for our PvP flags to time out, lest we run into an eager Horde group of five willing to come get us.

Once safe from the PvP menace, we sat down and got ourselves set to get to the instance.

We have arrived

Scarlet Monastery has four wings and you have to fight your way in through elite yard trash to get to the one you want.  We were definitely suffering from the previously mentioned “Sunday night problem” where nobody else was around so we had to clear all the trash ourselves.  That nearly led to disaster as we ended up with five elites on as at one point after we peeked around a corner a bit too quickly.

In the entry area

Somehow we got through that without loss and were able to pick off the remaining mobs between us and the library wing.  Once we were in, we were looking at groups of mobs to clear.

Starting off for the library

We managed to keep ourselves together and not pull many extra adds as we worked our way out to the courtyard.  There was that one walker, but other than that it was nice little groups of two or three to mop up until we got to the first boss, Houndmaster Loksey.

He was a bit of a chaotic fight, mostly because I think we may have approached it wrong.  Loksey has three elite hounds as companions, and we set Ula to sheep one, Moronae to use soothe animal on another, then concentrate on the third, taking them down before we turned on Loksey.

However, that kept Moronae out of cat form a lot of the time, and he is our top DPS when he is in cat form, so killing slowed down, which meant we needed more healing, plus who was crowd controlling which dog got mixed up mid fight.  It was a bit of a muddle.  But we still managed to pull it off all the same.

Houndmaster mastered

Loksey dropped the dog whistle, which went to Ula in a roll-off.

Popular with some political factions

She says she setup a button to do rolls, but she seemed to have learned from Obama on that front and her button made her a winner more often than not.  And now, between her hat and that whistle, she looked to be ready to go solo.

From there it was into the building which houses the library.  I had a twitch here, remembering that something bad had come to pass in this section before.  And sure enough, after clearing a couple of guys we managed to accidentally proximity pull the next three groups.  However, we were lucky enough to do it one by one, avoiding a wipe but leaving us moving from one unexpected fight to the next.  And we pressed on further into the instance.

In the gallery area

As we moved, the mob levels began to ratchet up.  When we entered the mobs were level 32-33.  As we got further in, the cap on levels moved to 34, then 35, and then 36.  While Moronae popped up to level 33, Skonk and, more importantly, Ula were still 32.  With a four level gap spell resists start to become a regular thing.  We had to make sure to target the lowest level mob for polymorph, lest the sheep not hit.

And as we got to the last groups before the final boss, there were level 37 mobs in the mix.  With that, four levels above Vinki, they were resisting taunts and other high aggro attacks, making it hard to keep mobs off of Moronae at times.

But those were only the last few groups where this became an issue, and once we cleared them we faced the main boss, Arcanist Doan.

Doan’s Library Ahead

The group memory of Doan could only recall that he does a big AOE attack every so often.  The plan we chose to deal with that was for me to pull him to the far side of the room, up against the bookshelves, and hold him there so Ula and Skronk would be out of range of that.  That was pretty much the plan, so in we went to get him.

Fighting Doan

What we didn’t remember was Doan putting a polymorph on the healer after ever big heal, and 20 seconds is a long time to go without a heal in a boss fight.  Moronae got out of cat form at one point to heal me and got the sheeped as well for his effort.  I had to use a health potion at one point, but things held together and we finished him off.

Doan Down, Done

Doan was kind enough to drop the covered Illusionary Rod, the staff that all the casters want.  That went to Ula and her roll button.

Ula got this

Doan also dropped the Mantle of Doan, the cloth shoulders, which went to Skronk.

Better than steak knives for second place

And there we stood, done with the instance, and somewhat surprised.  There was a feeling in the group that we would probably be able to get through Loksey, but that once we got into the higher level mobs deeper in the wheels were likely to come off and we would hit a wall.  Instead we made it through without a death.

There were some tense moments, there were times when runners got away from us and adds showed up and it seemed like we might lose control.  But we never did.  We held it together and finished off the last boss.  Op success.

We also picked up the Scarlet Key from Doan’s strong box, which unlocks the last two wings of Scarlet Monastery as well as being involved with a later instance if I recall correctly.  But we all now have it safely tucked away in our key rings.

Hanging out in the library

We are probably not ready to move on to the armory wing, but we seem able to take on the library at this point.  We will likely return there for another run at Doan to see if we can conjure another staff.

Six for the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard

Saturday saw the return of Earlthecat to the instance group.  Finally setup in Japan and with some time to play, he was able to join us.

Earlthecat arrives

Oddly, the time difference… while it was late Saturday afternoon for us, it was Sunday morning for him… worked out for everybody.  None of us are staying up past midnight very often these days.  9pm seems like a reasonable bed time for most of us, and Earl’s job had kept him up with the markets on the east coast, so logging on to play early suits him just fine.

As for performance, Earl seemed to have very good performance from across the Pacific Ocean.  Our local pings to the server were in the 65ms range, and he was just over double that from Tokyo, which is well within playable parameters.  There was also no noticeable delay using Discord for our voice comms.  So we were able to get together to play without a hitch.

That left us with a decision as to what to do with the reformed group on Saturday afternoon.  The split seemed to be between hitting Razorfen Kraul, which is about on par with Gnomeregan level-wise, and which we have so far skipped save for that warrior quest run, and the graveyard in Scarlet Monastery, which was next on our list up the instances by levels list, though there was one druid voice suggesting a return to Gnomer to try and get that drop from the Crowd Pummeler 9-60.

Momentum seemed to be pushing us forward to Scarlet Monastery, as did our group size.  We had six people on, which mean going in as a raid.  With that many people we figured we ought to go upward in difficulty.

And then there was the formation of the group.  Both Skronk and I had left some alts back in the low 20s, assuming that we would do some catch-up instances with Earl once he was back.  But Earl drove straight through to level 30.  And, since Earl is a tank spec’d warrior, my warrior Viniki now seems redundant, so I was looking for an alt I could bring along.  I got Skronk to tank for my restoration spec’d druid for a bit earlier, and got him up to 26, so decided to bring him along to heal, with backup heals being provided by Fergorin, Skronk’s pally.  Ula traded out for her warrior, Scscla, leaving our group composition for the night looking like this:

  • Alioto – level 26 night elf driud
  • Scscla – level 28 gnome warrior
  • Fergorin – level 28 dwarf paladin
  • Obama – level 29 human warlock
  • Moronae – level 30 night elf druid
  • Earlthecat – level  30 human warrior

That seemed like quite a level spread, especially given the instance would be featuring mobs that were level 30 and up.  But Alioto wasn’t there to hit things, just to heal and be an aggro radius hazard, so he could just stand well back and do his thing.

Getting to Scarlet Monastery meant another road trip as well.  The closest Alliance flight point… and this is a common Google query that brings people here… is Southshore.  But we had been to Southshore already as part of our Shadowfang Keep run.  Sort of.  And suspecting that this might be our destination, I had run ahead and gotten the flight point for Alioto so when the time came I just flew him out.

Coming in to Southshore

However Monorae had missed getting the flight point.  I had forgotten that we had run out to summon him and Obama on that SFK run, though Obama had since run back for the flight point.  So we did have to do a summon for him.

Bringing Moronae to us

The group together now, it was time to go find the instance.  Somehow I ended up towing everybody along, which was fine through Silverpine Forest.  You just follow the road and pay attention to the signs.

Off we go

Once you get into Tirisfal Glades and in the vicinity of Undercity my memories were a little soft focus.  According to the list of our vanilla WoW runs, we had last been there back in January of 2007.  Runs since then have either been done with Horde characters, who have no worries in the area, or via the dungeon finder when that came along.  The truth is that people won’t make a run like that if they do not have to.

Somewhere in my memories I seemed to recall a guard post along the road that was a hazard, and as the lowest level player in the group I was especially wary of such hazards.  So I may have diverted a bit far off course in order to avoid that.  Eventually I had to stop and Google a map for a reference point, but eventually saw the little path that leads up to SM.

Our route through Tirisfal Glades

The signs were there to announce our destination.

This must be the place

Along the way we sorted out how to deal with being in a raid group.  A lot of the instances will let raids of up to 10 players run them, though there is a question as to whether or not you get quest updates if you have more than a group.  We had no quests though, so that wasn’t an issue at the moment.  However we did find that pally auras don’t work across raid groups, and Earl, most in need of the aura, ended up alone in group 2 of the raid, so there was some Googling to figure out how to move people around in raids (it is under the social panel where your friends and guild lists are), then a discussion as to who ought to be alone.  Since my plan with Alioto was to stay as far back as possible, I volunteered him for that position.

Our raid group disposition

So there we were having arrived.  We stopped a bit to take stock, which is when I realized I left in a bit of a hurry.  I didn’t have the reagent for my combat ress (Moronae gave me a couple), was low on drink (Fergorin shared a few with me), and potions.  So we spent some time getting sorted out on the road.  It is easy to get used to having a mage there for food and drink.

What does a warrior need really?

Once we had that sorted, at least to the extent possible, we started up the road to the instance.  I don’t think we got more than a dozen steps up before I started drawing aggro from Scarlet Crusade archers along the route.  My amazing aggro radius was enough to flush out all the lurkers along the route to the door.

Into the Scarlet Complex

The outer complex has its share of elites wandering around, but you also have to find the way to the correct instance, as it hosts four dungeons.  Fortunately Skronk knew where we needed to go, up to the far left corner to get into the graveyard.

Once in, things started off easily enough.  The first mobs were at the far end of a corridor, so I was able to stand far enough back that I did not invite additional trouble.

Into the instance

Standing back and healing means that all of the screen shots show Alioto standing around doing nothing.

When it came to getting into the next room however somebody else went to far in and we got an accidental pull that included Torturer Vishas.  That was a fight.

He was marked so people wouldn’t get too close…

We ended up surviving without any losses, but I ran out of mana healing before the fight was done and Fergorin had to drop some heals to keep everything going.  My mana pool remained my main constraint during the whole run.  Fergorin keeping Blessing of Wisdom up on me, which regenerates a bit of mana every five seconds, made a very big impact on my ability to heal.  If I needed to drop a Healing Touch on Earl, that would at least keep Rejuvenation or Remove Curse as a possible casts.

Torturer Vishas was down, but only dropped the Bloody Brass Knuckles, a common item that didn’t even meet the group loot threshold.

After that we worked our way through the torture chamber, where we had a group of four mobs to take out.  But with six people, three of whom can be tanks, plus a voidwalker, we were able to split them up and still leave enough DPS to focus on targets to bring things down before anybody died after the healer once again ran out of mana.

Sometimes you just need to burn down individuals rather than trying to split up and multi-off-tank.  The amount of healing required to deal with a dead mob is zero.  But I say that as the wee healer with the limited mana pool.  And we made it out of the torture chamber and into the graveyard proper.

Out in the graveyard

This might be the most familiar bit of an instance in the game.  It certainly is for me.  It is the location where every year I dutifully show up every year to slay the Headless Horseman, only to not get his mount as a drop.

But there was no Headless Horseman for us, just a bunch of mobs in the form of some elite undead and the ghosts, the brine shrimp as they have been called, to clear out.

Earl asked how thorough we needed to clear and I asked how many mobs we wanted to pull due to my aggro radius.  So it was all of them then.

However, we had forgotten the behavior of the graveyard.  As we got to about the fountain, having diligently cleared everything in sight, we looked back to see the undead had already began to respawn behind us.  Also, we didn’t get any of the rare spawns in the graveyard.  So we decided to move things along and make straight for the crypt at the far end.

From there it was down the stairs and into more mobs.

They were happy to come to us

The path down into the crypt… the whole instance really… is pretty short.  We had a couple of groups to work through, but we had soon blundered into the boss, Bloodmage Thalnos, the big boss.  Unprepared to start the fight, it was a bit of a near run thing taking down a level 34 boss at our level, even with the six of us.  Though, again, that was largely due to my mana running down trying to keep Earl alive.

Big heals eat mana, and I had to lay a couple down early on.

But with heals from Fergorin and the Blessing of Wisdom drip feeding me enough mana to get off a fresh heal now and then, we were able to bring down the boss.  Op success!

Victory in the Crypt

Our first run with the return of Earl went pretty well.  I clearly have some work to do getting my potential group alts up to the rest of the group in levels, but we seemed to work pretty well, and we knocked out the first stage of Scarlet Monastery.

As has become the norm, Ula has a video of our run through the graveyard for those who want a more visual experience.

My one complaint about this, and my screen shots, is that unless I am actively healing Alioto is just standing in the background like he is an observer.  Healer life I suppose.  I’m not supposed to get in there and hit things… not with that aggro radius certainly.

The Dreadmines and the Scarlet Something or Other

Not a World of Warcraft post.

Saturday night rolled around again, as is its habit, and it found three of us online and looking for adventure.  I think we might be ready for a game like Borderlands 2 or such at this point.  Needing to accommodate five people is slipping as a requirement.

So there we were.  I think we have actually settled on characters now, so I will start listing them out.  We had:

  • Fergorin Ironhelm – Level 12 Guardian Fighter
  • Regulos – Level 12 Devote Cleric
  • Sans Serif – Level 12 Trickster Rogue

I actually went and played some Neverwinter on a weeknight to catch up, which I suppose is a good sign for the game.  Though, in doing so, I ran a quest that gave me another bag, thus removing from immediate contention possibly the only item in their store I would consider buying.  Nice move Cryptic.  I was this close *holds up two fingers very close together* to pulling the trigger on a buying some Zen, and then you handed me an out.

I also gained my stealth skill, another attack, and some upgraded equipment.  I was ready… or more ready… to go.

After our previous venture into Neverwinter, where the Foundry came through for us, we chatted a bit afterwards about the Foundry tool set and what it was possible to build.  During that conversation I demonstrated what an unoriginal hack I was by declaring that if I was going to make dungeons in Neverwinter, I would just remake the good ones from WoW.

That got a chuckle and few comments before we logged off for the night.

This past weekend however Potshot, who is our Foundry expert and scout, said he had a special surprise for us.  He had been exploring the Foundry and had a couple of dungeons lined up for us.

More after the cut because of too many pictures which I probably think are more amusing than they really are.  My apologies in advance.

Continue reading

Traveling to the Scarlet Monastery

There were only four of us on Saturday night.

Which wasn’t a huge surprise.

Due to the new computer negotiations of last autumn, we had resolved to take the first Saturday night of each month off from the instance group.

However my wife and one of her friends were going to the San Jose Sharks game on Saturday night, so there wasn’t much point in me not playing.  And so I checked into World of Warcraft to see who else was on.  I knew at least Potshot would be on, and if it were just the two of us, I was pretty sure we would adjourn to old Norrath for more nostalgia.

In the end though, only Mike, aka Nancyboy, was nowhere to be seen.

So we had a perfectly good group of four, all of whom were level 30.

* Xula – level 30 Gnome warrior
* Earlthedog – level 30 Worgen warrior
* Ethelred – level 30 Worgen druid
* Maloney – level 30 Worgen mage

Technically, that left us without a healer, Nancyboy being a priest.  But we figured we could press Ethelred into healing, even if he wasn’t ready for it.

But what to do with a group of four?

The Dungeon Finder wants nothing to do with the number four, unless you are proceeding to five.  Being the tight group that we are, we were not really keen to have a stranger along just to use the Dungeon Finder.  And those in the guild who were online Saturday night were all too high level to go along with us, at least via the DF.

So when we decided that we ought to give the Library in Scarlet Monastery a try, we knew it would mean some travel.

We were all sitting in Stormwind and discovered that the closest flight path to Scarlet Monastery we had was in Loch Modan.  Some travel indeed.  Time to get flying.

Werewolf on a Griffon - Call the Enquirer!

From there it was a trip on the ground through changed zones and memory lane.  Heading to the Wetlands we all recalled the formerly murderous journey that night elves use to have to take to reach the rest of the Alliance player base.

Whole bunch of Orcs just beyond this tunnel!

We ran across the Wetlands, picking up a couple of flight points, which made us grumble about how easy kids have it these days.  Back in the day we had to run… no mount, no flight points… back and forth across this zone for various quests.

Then it was across the Thandol Span into the Arathi Highlands and to the Refugee Point flight master.  From there it was across the zone to the big wall.

That's a big wall

It is interesting how good the landscape in WoW looks when you’ve been spending your time in old, unimproved EverQuest zones where the place looks like somebody laid some really ugly linoleum on the ground.

Hey, this stuff was totally on sale at Home Depot!

But those big beetles still look totally cool.  And the cardboard cut-out trees!

Anyway, at that big arch in the wall we got our first surprise.

It seems that the Horde has put up some guards.  We ran smack into a group of level 35 sentries.

Momentum seemed to carry us though, and the sentries gave up chasing us before that had killed any of us though it was a near run thing.  We healed up a bit and carried on down the road until we passed a little too close to some more Horde bad guys… guys who only showed up to us as level “skull”… who zipped out and one-shotted Earl and Maloney.

Dead dogs on the road

Ethelred had a ress ready and managed to bring us back to life from a safe distance, but that flagged all the worgen in the group PvP.  Just one more aspect to consider.

From that point on we were more careful, skirting around any likely concentrations of Horde NPCs.

We'll just avoid that camp...

The Foresaken had been busy in South Shore and beyond, throwing up more walls to block passes and narrow strips of land.  We faced a choice.  We found that we could attempt to rush through the checkpoints, hoping to survive the onslaught of guards, or we could WALK THROUGH THE OPEN SPOT AT THE END OF THE WALL.

Each and every wall we faced was easily avoided, all of them ending just shy of keeping us from passing through.  But they sure looked impressive.

We ran on through Trisfal Glades, admiring the sites.

The Undercity Zeppelin Complex

We even remembered to skirt around that one guard outpost where a couple of us used to die every single time we had to run to Scarlet in the old days, and eventually we all arrived.  This is part of the reason why we only used to do one instance on a Saturday night, rather than the two or three that has become our standard.  We used to have to travel…  in the world… where stuff lives.

We found that, with care and a judicious polymorph now and again, we could handle to guardians of the library in Scarlet Monastery.  We actually only ran into trouble with Houndmaster Loksey, the sub-boss that shows up early in the instance.

He has three elite hounds to help him with his fight.  With five of us, even at level 28, the fight was tough but manageable.  With four of us at level 30, we seemed to be juggling just too many balls at once.  We wiped.

More dead dogs... and live dogs

We actually wiped a couple of times.  You can see the bones in the picture above from the previous wipe. (I still think that is a nice touch.)  We did find out that the graveyard for Scarlet Monastery has been moved to practically outside the front door, so running back was very quick.

After the traditional three runs at Loksey, we declared we had given it the old junior college try and decided to bypass him.  Fortunately, he is off the main path in his own side-room, so he is easily avoided.  We carried on.

Having done the library the previous week, we were ready for all of the occupied side rooms and wandering guards that can take a group unawares.  We made it all the way to Arcanist Doan without another death on our part, and took him down on our first attempt.

At the end of the library

As with last week, we checked around the room to see if that chest with the scarlet key was still around.  It appears to be gone and the whole place is unlocked.  I guess you don’t really need a key when most people get instantly teleported to the place.

We had to actually use our hearth stones to get back home.  There was no little button to teleport us back to where we had started the night.  So we recalled and called it a night, travel and a single instance having used up our play time budget for the night.

Next on the lineup for us is the (new) first segment of Maraudon and Razorfen Kraul.  As amusing as the travel was, I think we’ll tackle those two via the Dungeon Finder.

The Smell of Dogs in the Library

The instance group does indeed still play World of Warcraft.  But it has been a while.

Real life kept us away for a bit, and Potshot and I used some of that time… well, a lot of that time… to go play EverQuest.  But last Saturday we were all online and ready to go at last.

The group line up for the night was:

  • Xula – level 28 Gnome warrior
  • Earlthedog – level 28 Worgen warrior
  • Ethelred – level 28 Worgen druid
  • Maloney – level 28 Worgen mage
  • Nancyboy – level 28 Worgen priest

And the Dungeon Finder… well… there were not a lot of choices for us.

We had already been through all of those at least once.  But we needed to get to level 29 to open up the next instance.

We decided to just spin the wheel and let the Dungeon Finder pick our first location.

We drew the Scarlet Monastery Graveyard.

This was actually a reasonable choice, since the last time we started that instance, we were all too low level to get the quest for the instance.  This time around though, our friend Joseph was happy to give us the quest.

A quest to reward your patience

The goal was to kill Bloodmage Thalnos who is in the crypt at the far end of the instance.

Just dying to meet us

The Graveyard has to be one of the shortest instances in the game.  We zipped on through, then went back to wipe out any undead that happened to be lurking in order to get the group closer to 29.  Three of us made it before we ran out of undead, but two more still had a ways to go.

So we let the Dungeon Finder pick for us again.  This time we got Gnomeregan.

More Troggs

Fortunately, we only had to kill for a little while before all of us were finally level 29 and we could leave Gnomer behind us.

We were now ready for the actual goal for the evening, the Library in the Scarlet Monastery.

Ethelred got to break out his new druid form.  He is now, officially, a boomkin.

Doing the Funky Chicken

A proud moment for him.

Meanwhile, much to my surprise and in contrast to what we saw in the graveyard, we were actually offered the quest for the instance when we arrived.

The main quest for the Library is go take out Arcanist Doan, who looks oddly like William Techumseh Sherman, at least in his quest mug shot.


They even have the same scowl.

And this lead to some of the most challenging instance play that we have had in a long time.  Getting into the instance at the earliest level possible ensures the maximum challenge.  The individual fights were not so hard, but the fact that our levels gave us a huge aggro radius meant that we got adds on almost every fight.  Clearing the first courtyard ended up being one non-stop battle as we kept pulling additional bad guys.

Resting up after the courtyard brawl

And the wild battles continued into the Library proper.

Into the Library

However, we did not appear to be in any huge danger all the same.  Wild battles are not always dangerous battles, and even the adds piling on and the spell resists didn’t lead to any deaths on our part.  I do not think anybody was ever close to dying.  Whether that was a result of our long teamwork or Blizzard nerfs is up to the reader.

In the end, we reached Doan and did him in.  The battle was a bit anti-climactic after the fights getting to him.

Doan Done

Along the way three of us got another achievement.

Level 30 is enough for us to take on the Armory wing of Scarlet Monastery next time.

Xula and Ethelred were short of the mark, still sitting at 29, but took it upon themselves to get to 30 before our next run so that we can hit a new instance.

Until then, Maloney has a new spell to play with.

Wolf on Ice

And while WoW is fun, I have to admit that the challenges of original EverQuest are still a little bit more compelling at the moment.  Of course, I am playing a cloth wearing caster in both games, which as I said before, is kind of a new thing for me.