As usual, our pace is slow, but we continue to go. The weekend before last I was off to EVE Vegas and others in the instance group were down with the flu, but this past weekend we were all together and, if not in perfect health (Skronk was still coughing and I managed to catch some minor convention crud in Vegas which made me tired all weekend), at least ready to run. We set a time on Saturday afternoon to meet up for our next instance destination, Shadowfang Keep.
However, the time picked was a little later in the afternoon than I expected, as I had plans for the evening, so I decided to do a little preparation work. I had already run Viniki out to Southshore, the closest flight point to the instance. But, fearing that our proposed start time might slip… real life will get in the way of virtual plans… I decided to hedge by turning to an alt.
I have a post brewing about my alts in WoW Classic, but I will say that one of them is a level 20 Warlock named Winki. Level 20 is an important level because it gets a warlock the ever so useful “ritual of summoning” spell. That lets you and two other people in your group summon other people in the group to you. I was not sure if Obama and Moronae would be on time, so I put Winki on the trail to Southshore as well a couple hours before the appointed time.
At level 20 he had already been out to the Wetlands and Menethil Harbor. He just had to run from there, up through the Arathi Highlands and into the Hillsbrad Foothills.
Arathi was the worrying part, as mobs there are in the low 30s, but he made it through without incident, grabbing the Refuge Point flight point along the way. Hillsbrad mobs are mid-20s, so while higher level than Winki, he was able to get through, sacrificing his voidwalker to some bears along the way.
I logged him off at the Southshore inn after grabbing the flight point. Always grab the flight point.
The appointed hour arrived to find Skonk, Ula, and Viniki logged in, but Obama and Moronae nowhere to be seen. Again, real life is like that. After a bit of a wait we decided to just head out and see what the three of us could manage. With healer, tanks, and DPS, we thought we could get a start, so we headed off to the instance. It is not too far down the road in Silverpine and, once I paid attention to the signs, I led us to the correct path that ran up to the keep.
Inside we found the first set of mobs awaiting us to be gray, not worth any experience. This is one of the oddities of some of the earlier instances, that the level range of the mobs varies a lot. By the end we would be facing mobs our level or higher.
We got stuck in and seemed to do okay. We cleared all the way to the first boss, Rethilgore. If you want to count him as a boss. He isn’t a tough fight and doesn’t drop anything worthwhile, but he has a name. As we were contemplating him, Obama and Moronae showed up. They had been delayed, but were now ready to go. However, they were nowhere close by.
We ran out of the instance, because you cannot summon from within one, and I had Viniki drop group and log out. Then I logged in Winki and started running him to the instance. Again, bears ate my minion, but I was able to get into Silverpine where Ula and Skronk escorted me to the bridge outside the instance. There we summoned Obama and Moronae to the group.
Then I logged Winki out and Viniki back in and we had our group for the afternoon run.
- Ula – level 25 gnome mage
- Viniki – level 25 gnome warrior
- Skronk – level 25 dwarf priest
- Obama – level 26 human warlock
- Moronae – level 26 night elf druid
And this is where I say that perhaps I don’t need to do a blow by blow run through the instance. We were, as a group, high enough level to handle most everything without much drama.
We were able to slay Rethilgore and get out into the courtyard, one the early barriers for groups, with mobs close and wandering back and forth. However, we were able to clear the area and get into the keep proper.
From there it is a long and somewhat… well, I hate to say linear because it twists and turns…. but there is only one way forward past the dining room and Baron Silverlaine.
The baron was nice enough to drop a ring that went to Viniki.
The only difficult bit early on was when we accidentally proximity pulled four of the wailing guardsmen that are before Commander Springvale. They have an AOE silence which meant that healing and other casting was put on hold for a bit. But we survived.
We rolled for loot as we went along, Obama showing an alarming consistency in rolling 80+ on almost every go. I wondered aloud if there was an addon for that. The closest roll however was when Skronk rolled a 99 and then Moronae rolled 100 to beat him.
Things went well and we eventually wound our way around and to Archmage Arugal, the final boss of the instance. He is level 26, which put most of us on level with him.
He is notable for being that boss that teleports around the room. He also casts void bolt continuously, which puts out a lot of damage. Checking the Recount logs, Viniki took more damage from him than any other boss and all other groups of mobs.
The group stayed up at the top of the stairs where we came in while Viniki ran around to the platform on which Arugal stands to start the fight. There was the usual amount of running about after him. Viniki took the brunt of his special attacks, save for that last one, mind control. Arugal was on the platform with the rest of the group when he hit Viniki with that, as which point I turned around and killed Skronk.
As Skronk is fond of saying, “Mind control FTW!” I killed one more named character than everybody else on the run.
Fortunately, by the time that happened we had worn him down enough that finishing him off wasn’t a big deal. Moronae dropped a couple of heals on me… I had used a potion and a healthstone already by then… and we did him in. He dropped the nice cloth caster’s belt and we stood and took the usual group picture.
If my description of the fight is brief, it is because Ula caught it all on video so you can watch our fight.
The video shows the pre-clear then the whole fight with Arugal. Watching it closely, I think it actually vindicates me. The change in my avatar when I am mind controlled indicates that I was done with that before the final blow was struck. But I like to think I helped.
Ula got the belt despite the roll. It was a bigger upgrade for her I believe.
You can also see us lining up for the final group picture. I always like when Ula’s videos align with one of my screen shots.
And so we were finished. Aside from the final fight it was a bit of a face roll. The instance says it is for levels 22 to 30, but it is only challenging at the lower end. And it sits in the midst of a series of instances (Deadmines, Wailing Caverns, Blackfathom Deeps, Stormwind Stockades) in a very narrow band of levels where, even at classic leveling rates, you’re moving up fairly steadily in levels if you’re not careful.
The whole thing did not take as long as we thought it might, so we went back out to the front of the instance and reset it to run it again.
I joined in for a bit, but it was getting close to when I would need to bail in order to have some dinner before my daughter and I went out to see a movie together. (We saw Jojo Rabbit, which she quite enjoyed.) But the group carried on with Viniki there to tank.
When I checked in the next day the report was that even as a foursome most of the instance was pretty doable. The only struggle was at the final battle again, where three out of four of the group died before Arugal was slain. Skronk died twice, having used a soul stone to revive mid battle. But they still managed it. There is even a video of that fight as well.
They also said that the shield I wanted from Commander Springvale did not drop on the second run, so I don’t feel like I missed out.
That run seems to line up with the instance group history with Shadowfang Keep, where we did at least one four person run previously.
Having a dedicated healer makes a big difference.
- SFK Round 1 – Nov 6, 2006 – We take our first shot 13 years ago
- SFK Round 2 – Nov 25, 2006 – We do a four person run
- The Nerfing of SFK – Dec 12, 2009 – SFK gets refactored, Arugal is now level 21
- One Night, Three Instances – Feb 19, 2010 – We run it for “Love is in the Air”
- Three Instances, One Night – Jan 21, 2011 – Running it with our re-rolled Cataclysm group
- Return to Heroic Deadmines – Feb 20, 2014 – We also run heroic SFK
As for where we head next, the group will probably hit Stockades, then go back and faceroll Blackfathom Deeps just to say we’ve done it. After that we’re getting into range of Razorfen Kraul.