Tag Archives: Scarlet Monastery

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.

You Brought Me Here, Now Give Me The Damn Quest!

How do you pronounce Gnomeregan?

When I say it aloud, which is more often than you might guess, it comes out “No More Ray Gun.”

It is not as tough to pronounce as, say, Uosusuokko, but I always hesitate a moment before I say it. (I have never even attempted to say Uosusuokko aloud.)

And I had reason to say it this past weekend as the instance group was heading back to Gnomeregan.

We had a new plan.  In search of increased challenge, we were going to try to hit instances at the lowest level the Dungeon Finder.  After all, if you can DF into an instance, you should be cleared for all the quests therein, right?  That is only logical after all.

When we grouped up, we shook out as:

  • Xula – level 25 Gnome warrior
  • Earlthedog – level 25 Worgen warrior
  • Ethelred – level 26 Worgen druid
  • Maloney – level 26 Worgen mage
  • Nancyboy – level 26 Worgen priest

And Gnomeregan was the one instance on the Dungeon Finder list that we had not hit, so off we went.

Only when we got there we found that Xula and Earl, who were just shy of level 26, could not get the initial quest for the zone.  The only saw the dreaded gray exclamation point.

Those of us who were level 26 could get the quest however, and since Xula and Earl were close to level, we decided to just do some clearing of trash until they hit level.  Then we could run back and they could grab the quest.

Clearing Some Troggs

Soon enough, Xula and Earl hit 26.  At that point we found that we could simple share the initial quest.  I was not sure we could do that, as it looked like it came with a quest item, namely a parachute.

You no longer have to fight your way the long way down to the first boss.  You can simply jump over the edge about where we are in the above picture and float down to the Viscous Fallout.

Which is, of course, what we did.  We managed to land all over the place and there was a bit of a hectic fight as we each brought our own elite add to the party.  That was the most dramatic event for… well… most of the instance.

We then chased the Viscous Fallout around for a bit, as he is a wandering boss, until we finally chewed through most of his little helpers and caught him.

Engaging the Viscouse Fallout

He coughed up the Toxic Revenger blade, which went to Xula.

There is a quest turn-in near by, after which you begin the great yard trash clearing effort for which Gnomer is so rightly known.

Of the initial leg of that run, the only item of note is that there is still a bug that causes the gnomes to run around the outside of one of the pillars in the ring around the Electrocutioner 6000.

They Won't Go Through The Arch

We made our way around to the Electrocutioner 6000 after clearing out all the wrench throwing gnomes.

The Electrocutioner 6000

He did not put up much of a fight.  The most notable thing here was that, when he died, Maloney, Ethelred, and Nancyboy all leveled up to 27.

It was then just a clearing effort to get to Mekgineer Thermaplugg.

The Plug Abides

This is an event fight and you have to detail people to watch and disable the bomb chutes that surround Thermaplugg.

Maloney and Ethelred, the ranged DPS, each took one side of the chamber on bomb patrol, and the fight began.

And then it ended.

I think I only had to turn off one bomb chute, turning to hit Thermaplugg while I was waiting, and Ethelred might have had to turn off two.  But we burned down Thermaplugg so fast that not all the chutes came into play.

With Thermaplugg down, the achievement was ours and the instance was complete.

Thermaplugg Defeated

But the whole thing was quite a different experience from what we went through on our first run some four years ago.  Go back and look at all of the stuff I listed out before.  Entering through Dungeon Finder did not give us all of those external quests and so we never had to bother with Coke machines, punch cards, or essential artificials.

It was more akin to our run through the instance as a Horde group.  But it was even a bit abbreviated compared to that.

Gnomeregan “done,” we checked the Dungeon Finder and saw that the Graveyard instance in Scarlet Monastery had opened up to us.  With plenty of time left on the clock, we jumped on in.

And we were once again thwarted on the quest front.  While Dungeon Finder was happy enough to transport us to the dungeon, the quest giver did not find us worthy and we could not get the quest.

No Quest From Joseph

Joseph the Awakened was there and waiting for us, but only had the gray punctuation above his head. (Not visible in the picture due to the UI being turned off.)

Furthermore, the Graveyard, a short instance already, has been dialed back a bit more.  There are a few less trash mobs.  You’ll note that the entry hall where the quest giver now stands is almost completely devoid of any bad guys.  We ran through the instance so fast we were taking a victory shot before I remembered to take any screen shots.

Victory in the Graveyard

We’ll have to come back of course.  Not that we haven’t been there a lot already.  As Xula noted, it wasn’t even Hallow’s End and here we were.

The one confusing moment in the instance was when we finished off the main boss and did not get an achievement.  The Pavlovian response, “kill final boss, get pretty ding!” was interrupted!  It took a minute for us to remember that you have to do all four of the Scarlet Monastery instances to get the achievement.  But during that minute we tore around the instance looking for some hidden or rare boss that we might have missed.

Done so quickly, we decided to hit random and run through another instance just to get us all up to level 28.

The Dungeon Finder put us back in Gnomeregan.  There it was noted that we all had another parachute in our bags, so I guess that you just get one for going into the instance, no quest required.

We took the opportunity to look around for some of the side adventures that used to be a part of the instance.   We found, for example, that Emi Shortfuse was still there with the trogg tunnel event.  You can speak to her to run it and you get to kill troggs as before, finishing with Grubbis and Chomper.

After that we made our way down into the instance, eventually getting the whole group to 28 at about the time we hit the Electrocutioner 6000 again.  Xula got 28 on that fight, the last in the group to get the level, so we decided to stop there and call it a night.

Final Group Shot

Given where we stand on getting quests in instances, we might have to go out into the world and get a couple of levels before we head back to the Scarlet Monastery.