Tag Archives: Shadowfang Keep

Shadowfang Keep in WoW Classic

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.

Entering the Arathi Highlands

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.

The three of us in the instance

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.

Enter Winki.

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.

Ritual of Summoning commence!

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.

Back to Rethilgore

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.

At the baron’s dinner table

The baron was nice enough to drop a ring that went to Viniki.

a pretty good ring too

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.

Eyeing Springvale after our big fight

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.

Strangely low roll for Obama

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.

The Archemage awaits

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.

I took the mask off for the shot

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.

If you have 2 DPS you do not have a group

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.

Victory over Arugal back in 2006

Having a dedicated healer makes a big difference.

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.

Return to the Heroic Deadmines

Last time out for the instance group we finished up the last of the normal mode instances, Grim Batol, and then decided to try our hand at Cataclysm heroics.

The Deadmines, ever the favored dungeon in Azeroth, was our target and the fact that we couldn’t use the Dungeon Finder because the item level of our gear was too low did not deter us in the slightest.  An item level of 329 seemed too much to ask.

In hindsight, we might have paid a bit more attention to that last bit.  While we managed to get in the door and through the first couple of bosses, we were clearly in over our head and called it a night after too many wipes in the foundry.

The Machination in the background

Where we left off last time…

Thus stopped mid-instance, we decided to remedy the gear item level situation in Pandaria.  Four of us went to visit Silkweaver Rul in Pearlfin Village.

The Gearing Up Vendor

The Gearing Up Vendor

While we had all picked up at least a few items in our first foray into Pandaria, where we stopped at Pearlfin Village, we clearly did not pick up enough.  The four of us each ended up buying 8 or 9 items from the vendor.

The gear is kind of interesting.  There is something there for everybody and it is all item level 372.  It is also all bind on pick up and you cannot disenchant them.  This is clearly the “catch up” vendor for those entering the expansion.

Earl, on the other hand, decided to press on into Pandaria to gear himself up.  He didn’t get to read the discussion in last week’s comment thread about the balance between health and main stats versus secondary stats as you level up in Pandaria, which was probably a good thing as it was more than I really wanted to consider, and just leveled up to 86.  He also came up with an item level 450, account bound (which means you can mail it to your alts), sword to wield.

So the group was all at item level 372 or above and ready to go.

  • Earlthecat – Level 86 Human Warrior Tank
  • Skronk – Level 85 Dwarf Priest Healing
  • Bungholio – Level 85 Gnome Warlock DPS
  • Alioto – Level 85 Night Elf Druid DPS
  • Ula – Level 85 Gnome Mage DPS

The question was, where should we head with our new gear?  Ula was AFK when that discussion started, and when she returned she flatly stated that we were going to go back to the Deadmines and that was pretty much that.  The decision was made.  Having walked there last time, we felt entitled to use the Dungeon Finder to get us there.

DMHqueued

Did all that gear make a difference?  More after the cut.

Continue reading

Three Instances – One Night

Hrmm, that title seems familiar.

We assembled on Saturday night to renew our instance assault, and the first on the list was Ragefire Chasm.

Ragefire Chasm was up first because you can only use dungeon finder to access it through level 21, and our group line up was:

  • Xula – level 21 Gnome warrior
  • Ethelred – level 21 Worgen druid
  • Earlthedog – level 21 Worgen warrior
  • Maloney – level 21 Worgen mage
  • Nancyboy – level 21 Worgen priest

Last week’s runs through the Deadmines and Wailing Caverns was worth almost four levels to the group.  So if we wanted to do Ragefire, we needed to do it now or be faced with trying to run to the zone, which is located in the middle of Ogrimmar.  We’ve done it as Alliance players before, but it was a challenge just getting there.  And now with everybody hanging out in the old world capitals again, the challenge is no doubt even greater.

So we used the Dungeon Finder and dropped into the instance in the middle of the orc capital.

And, once there, we found… no quests.

Not much rage, not much fire, and no quests

I thought, with the advent of Cataclysm, that the dungeon quests were all going to be located within the dungeons. But Ragefire missed the cut for that it seems.  There were no quest giving NPCs hanging around the front door… at least not on our side of it.  So, presumably, the quests are all still in Orgrimmar and are horde only.

And the other thing we found was a lot of grey mobs facing us.  The level range of 15-21 seemed to be tilted firmly toward the low end.

Well, we were there, we thought we might as well get the achievement.  So we plowed ahead.  We hit and bowled over the first boss then kept going.  Weaving our way through the path of least mobbage, we ended up at the second boss, who also turned out to be the first mob in the instance worth experience to us.

We jumped on him and killed him quickly, at which point we got the achievement for the instance.

We stood there and debated for a moment as to whether this meant we were done or not. With no quests and very little prospect for experience or usable loot, did we really have to go after the final two bosses?  We decided Blizzard knew best and that we were done.  We pulled up the dungeon finder from within Ragefire Chasm, something we compared to sitting on the phone in one restaurant making reservations for second, and were soon whisked away to Shadowfang Keep.

Reservations for 5 please...

Elapsed time in Ragefire Chasm: 11 minutes.

At Shadowfang Keep (SFK) we met Ivar, a notable worgan and owner of a chain of seafood restaurants.

Ivar is the quest giver for SFK, the only exception being the class quests each of us got at level 20 that sent us to the instance.

Ivar is also known as Ivar the Doorman or Ivar-come-lately.

The thing is, Ivar and his droogs, who are very high level, appear over and over throughout the instance pointing the party at bosses and asking that we take them out, opening doors, and generally getting involved with almost everything.  Everything except the fighting. Ivar never seems to get his own hands dirty, only showing up at a fight once the main guy is dead.

So we got our first quest, to kill the first of several undead guys dressed like classical pilgrims.

Piling up on the stairs looking at the first boss

We were a bit worried, here in this new and improved SFK that we might run into something too tough for us at our level.

For the most part, however, we had little to fear.

There is a new set of bosses, but there were, for the most part, in the same old locations.

Hiding in the dining hall, eh?

There were less yard trash mobs to worry us than before.  Last time we were here we though the place had been nerfed.  This time it was a little more clear that it had.

Of course, Ivar kept showing up to egg us on, outside…

Ivar on the ramparts

and inside…

Ivar the doorman... or dog... or whatever

Until we were there at the last fight.  Ivar, in his usual style, offered to watch the door to ensure that nobody interfered, while we went in and did the heavy lift.

It was just Lord Godfrey standing up there on the platform where Archmage Arugal used to stand.

Now there was a boss.  That Arugal used to teleport all over the room.  That fight was a challenge back in the day.

This guy though.  He looked like a wimp.  Who is afraid of a pilgrim?  We walked up and tore into him.

And wiped.

It was a trap! He had TWO guns!

Yeah.  See, Godfrey has guns, and they give him this special attack, pistol barrage.  You get a warning and everything, but we ignored it.

In fact, we stood in such a way that he managed to hit us all with it whenever he used it.  He won, we lost.

That meant running back past Ivar… or multiple Ivars.  He didn’t despawn from a couple of his location.

We made it back to Godfrey and then, a little bit wiser, we pulled him down to the main floor where Xula, in her first tanking assignment that required positioning of the mob, kept him aimed at a wall while the rest of us stood behind him and kicked him in the ass.  And when the pistol attack came up, Xula stepped out of the way like a matador facing a particularly ugly bull.

We killed him dead which, as usual, got us the achievement.

And so we were victorious.

Victory over Godfrey

We learned a bit in Shadowfang Keep, though what we learned was mostly about gnomes and hay.  They love it, it seems.  They hide in it.

Beware in the hay

SFK done, we were still only 90 minutes into the evening. We decided to let the Dungeon Finder send us someplace random.

It chose Stormwind Stockade.  Here we would be challenged.  This instance has a recommended level range of 21-30, and we were only level 22 as a group.

Just to demonstrate how bad we were in for it, we wiped on the first pull.

Dead on the door step

Okay, Xula was a bit keyed up, excited after all that hay, and pulled pretty much the whole hallway down on us while we were still standing around going, “So, stockades, haven’t been here in a while.”

And to prove it, we went on and took the place out without another death.

We had to take care, all of the mobs were at least a couple of levels above us, but we stuck to tried and true pulling and killing and ground through the place in no time.

Hogger! Again!

Of course, Hogger is the star of the show.  But we cleaned his clock without much drama.

Killing him gives you the achievement.  See, he is the star.


But unlike Ragefire Chasm, we actually had a reason to carry on, another quest to finish off with the final boss.  Which didn’t take us that long at all.  30 minutes or so after we started, we were standing victorious.

Nancyboy fell asleep

And that about wrapped it up for the night.

We all ended up at level 23 and, in contrast to the start of the night where we were in a hurry to get to a couple of dungeons because we had so many choices, now there is only one more dungeon available to us through the dungeon finder.

Blackfathom Deeps is all that is on the list that we haven’t done yet.  With the same level range as Stormwind Stockade, we had probably better hit it as soon as possible to make it any sort of challenge, judging from what we have seen so far,

After that, we might have to go outside and play.

Meanwhile, watch out when walking through hay.  There could be gnomes hiding in it.

One Night – Three Instances

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

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

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

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

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

Sorting ourselves out

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

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

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

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

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

Achievement secured

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

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

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

Baxter, Hummel, and Frye

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

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

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

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

Spread out and dead

We had forgotten to even make a soul stone.

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

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

Concentrated and dead

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

This worked out much better.

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

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

Good on the fifth try!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battle with Archaedas

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

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

The Nerfing of Shadowfang Keep

It has been a while since we last went through Shadowfang Keep.  A little more than three years have passed since our first and second runs with the group.

But the memory of the instance remains.  The memory of a tough slog through some densely packed areas where crowd control was a must and accidental proximity pulls were a fact of life that could lead to a wipe.

The instance has been reset since then, the level range lowered to put it more in line with the area in which it resides.

In addition to the change, memory can be tricky.  I’ve been wrong enough on things that I just knew I remembered perfectly to know how memory can drift and change.  Fortunately, I have those old posts to remind me of what I thought about the instance at the time.

Here we were to relive the Shadowfang Keep experience.  Oddly enough, we only seem to be able to get four players together for this instance.  This time around it was:

23 Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
23 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
23 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)
24 Tauren Druid – Azawak (Skronk)

Hurmoo and Azawak made their way to the instance to summon people, Hurmoo also poised to scare people by popping out of cat form to reveal his horrible visage.

However, there were no people to scare besides our group.  No fellow horde players were hanging out by the instance nor were there any groups of alliance players to stalk and slay there at the stone.  It was just us.

So we rounded everybody up and went inside.

Early in the Instance

We noticed a change in things almost right away.  The density of NPCs appeared to have been reduced.  Getting to the horde NPC that gives access to the courtyard and the rest of the instance went very quickly.  The alliance NPC is a mage and opens a portal to leave once he unlocks the door for you.  On the horde side you talk to a rogue who unlocks the door (picks it?) and then just runs off.

Not quite as dramatic.  On the other hand, the guy opening the portal to leave left me feeling like he was saying, “So long, suckers!”

The door open, we started in on the courtyard.  This seemed about as densely populated as before and, despite being at the high end of the level range for the instance (a good thing, since there were only four of us), we managed to get a couple of adds from wandering NPCs.  Nothing we couldn’t handle, but I could see a group at the low end of the range getting in over their heads pretty quickly if not careful.

The nice thing about Shadowfang Keep is that there is no shortage of bosses to kill, so there are plenty of blue drops to be had.  Everybody in our group ended up with at least one blue upgrade to current equipment, and we disenchanted the rest to support the guild enchanter, Hurmoo. (Who will be able to hand out weapon enchants next time.)

We did not clear the courtyard.  Rather we drove a path though it to the kitchen door, avoiding our past mistake of going up the rampart.  There we took on Razorclaw the Butcher and then, in the dining room, the ghost of Baron Silverlaine.

Silverlaine Interrupted

From the Baron we headed upstairs to Commander Springvale, another ghost still hanging about since the worgen took over.  His room seemed a bit less crowded than before.  But it was after him that we began to notice larger changes.

Up on the ramparts of the keep we were… well… almost alone.  A lone group and a singleton patrol on each segment seemed to be the extent of the guard force.

Walking the Empty Ramparts

And from the ramparts forward we noticed that the population of the instance had been significantly reduced.

There was a point when making our way towards Fenrus where we suddenly remember how there used to be groups of four NPCs that had to be taken as a group, made memorable by the fact that we managed to use three forms of crowd control for several pulls. (sap, polymorph, and shackle)

Those groups and the tricky pulls they required have been pared down.  We plowed on through to Fenrus.

Fenrus gave us a little surprise.  The fight wasn’t tough, but just last week we had been talking about how the Deadmines had the surprise patrols that were triggered by killing certain bosses.  Of course, at the end of the Fenrus fight you get a similar surprise.  So it isn’t just the Deadmines.

Still, I wonder why those little tricks faded from instances.  Or is my memory failing me again?

We got through and eventually had the final boss, Archmade Arugal in sight.

There he is, through the door...

As part of the rescaling of the instance, he went from level 26 to level 21.  While he can be a challenging fight at level, having a couple levels boost on him (despite being short a person) was enough to take the sting out of this fight.  He did his teleporting routine, but as they say, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”


And there we were, standing over the corpse of Arugal.

Arugal - Reduced to Shade Form

If you look carefully, you can see the Enaldie’s Ancona chicken behind her legs in the picture.  I found this amusing because, back in our earlier runs, her alliance side character, Ula, had that very same pet out for the victory shot. (Not to mention that I just got an achievement by getting that very same pet.)

Arugal left behind his robes, which would have probably made a decent upgrade for Bigbutt, but he was otherwise occupied. (Ironically, he was only a couple of miles from my home, but was with relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday, so couldn’t slip out to come play.)

So we made it through the instance without a death.  Healing with Hurmoo went okay, though we were never in much trouble at any time.  Easing back into the healing thing is good, since I haven’t played a healer much since the early EQ2 days.

The instance itself has clearly been nerfed since we last ran it.  The level range was reduced and NPCs were culled out of some spots to make pulls and proximity adds less of an issue.  Given that this is probably the second or third instance most people will have the opportunity to run, that probably isn’t a bad thing.

A bigger effect on the whole thing is the leveling curve in the game.  We’ve almost leveled ourselves too far above the targets for some instances doing little more than running instances.  Wailing Caverns, Deadmines, and Shadowfang Keep all overlap in levels, so doing all three without out-leveling them is tough.

Which brings up the question of the next instance to look at.

Do we go through Blackfathom Deeps where we are, again, getting towards the high end of the level guide for the instance, or do we skip that and go after Razorfen Kraul?

Shadowfang Keep – Round 2

While it was only Friday night, we decided to use the holiday to get in another victory lap instance run and maybe get a few blue drops for Thanksgiving.

The lineup for the night was:

30 Priest  – Skronk
30 Rogue   – Blintz
30 Mage    – Ula
30 Warrior – Earlthecat (late arrival)

Skronk and Ula were already on when I logged in around 9:30pm.  I had a quest to finish up in Thousands Needles (Highperch Venom), but I was camped there so it did not take long before I recalled to Stormwind and began the flight to Southshore.

Skronk had jumped into the instance by this point to start clearing the way.  I jumped in when I got there and Ula joined us in time for Rethilgore the Cell Keeper, which was good, because in a sloppy moment I managed to pull his whole room to us.  Still, they were all grey to us, so the fight was not too long and soon Sorcerer Ashcrombe was opening the door to the keep for us before he went on his own merry way.

The courtyard was equally uneventful.  The fights were brief and Ula was there to uncurse us when we got hit with some of the nasty curses that the undead carry in Shadowfang Keep.

We headed into the keep, avoiding the battlements route that we took last time, and aiming straight for Razorclaw the Butcher and then Baron Silverlaine.  Both declined to drop any rares, with only the Bloody Apron dropping from Razorclaw and The Baron’s Scepter from Silerlaine.  At least the scepter disenchanted into a small glimmering shard.

We headed up the stairs in the keep, then to the left to work our way to Commander Springvale when Earl logged on.  We bade him rush out to Silverpine and join us, and he made it just in time for the battle with the Commander.  Unlike last time, when Commander Springvale dropped the Commander’s Crest, which we had to disenchant because we had no shield user with us, this time we got nothing.  There was no rare or even uncommon bind on pickup item.  Oh well.

From there we went out onto the walls of the keep.  Again we did not get the rare named NPC, the Deathsworn Captain.

Odo the Blindwatcher was a little better to us.  After trouncing him and his two bat companions, we found he had Odo’s Ley Staff on him.  Nobody wanted it, so it got DE’d into a large glimmering shard, but at least we finally got a rare drop.

Onward through the keep, slowing down only to do our triple disable trick again on the four mobs that sit at the bottom of the stairs on the way to Fenrus the Devourer.  I sapped the humanoid, Ula sheeped a live wolf, Skronk chained the undead lupine horror, and then we killed the remaining mob, then slew the others one by one.  We did not really need to do it this way, but it is kind of neat to practice this sort of coordinated attack.  We might need it in earnest some day.

We got to Fenrus.  As before, he dropped Fenrus’ Hide, which nobody wanted, so another item was disenchanted.

Here is a picture of Fenrus with the raid icon above him for scale.   Even a big wolf in game is less than half his size.

Fenrus and the raid icon

 

For the sake of scale, here I am as Blintz with a raid icon over my head.  Pretty big compared to me, now isn’t it?

Don’t sheep me bro!

At least at this point we were well into mobs that gave us experience.  Nobody was going to level on this run, but it is nice to advance your exp.

Wolf Master Nandos, Archmage Arugal’s door guard was less trouble this time around.  His four lupine defenders went down smoothly and when the wolf master himself charged into battle he did not last long enough to summon more than one additional helper.  He was also nice enough to drop the Feline Mantle, which went to Ula in a roll off with Skronk.

And, at last, we were outside Archmage Arugal’s room, the door was open, and only three minor mobs stood between us and the last battle.  As before, our tactic with the Archmange was to rush him.  As he teleports around during the battle, Earl and I ended up doing some running while Ula and Skronk stayed in a more central location and laid down the bad magic on him.  Unfortunately, Arugal’s attention was thus focused on Ula, and she ended up dying during the battle.  She got battle ress’d quickly and was up and in the fight when Archmage Arugal’s end came.

The late Archmage was kind enough to drop the Meteor Shard, which I got to take home.

And, to make up for our missing screenshot last time, here we are in Archmage Arugal’s chamber, standing, or sitting, around his corpse.  You can see everybody in the shot has a nice, glowing red weapon, indicative of the minor beast slaying enchant.  That is Ula’s pet chicken in the foreground.

Victory over Arugal

I will have to warn Skronk that sitting like that lets us see up his robes, a view that, frankly, none of us asked for.

We are skill looking at Razorfen Kraul as our next major target.

Shadowfang Keep – Round 1

Saturday night was WoW instance night again. We had four out of five of our team on and had the possibility of the fifth joining us late, once he was done selling himself some wine, at a substantial markup, for tax reasons.

The lineup for the night was:

25 Priest – Skronk
25 Warlock – Bungholio
25 Rogue – Blintz (me)
25 Mage – Ula
27 Warrior – Earlthecat (late arrival)

Skronk and I were on a bit early, around 9pm, so we ran from Southshore over to Silverpine Forest and scouted a bit into the instance. What we saw made us believe we would have a smooth run. Most of the initial mobs were 18-20, far below the level of our group.

By about 9:40pm we had four of us on and started to assemble.

I have to say a word about our leader, Skronk the Meticulous. The week before we do an instance, Skronk goes off and researches it and posts a “homework” assignment to do before instance night. This is usually the flight points one should have and any quests one should pick up for the instance. This makes things go smoothly when we get to instance night as we don’t have to fumble around getting ready. Unless, of course, somebody doesn’t do their homework.

While we were all on by 9:40pm, we spent a while waiting while some people flew from Stormwind to Methil Harbor, then ran to Refugee Point, picked up that flight point, ran to South Shore, picked up that flight point, then ran to Silverpine Forest and Shadowfang Keep. So we did not actually get started until about 10:20pm, the intervening time occupied by the homework and a series of puns via obscure references from myself related to movies, television, and bad literature. I hope the threat of a repeat performance will get everybody to do their homework in advance in the future.

So we hit the instance at last.

The four of us rolled in, along with Mezzmon, Bung’s voidwalker and our starting tank, and did not have much problem. A lot of the mobs in Shadowfang Keep are close together, so it was rare we were able to pull singles, but even in twos and threes, we were handling fights without drama. In one of the first few fighter we got a rare drop, the Mindthrust Bracers.

We worked our way in to Rethilgore the Cell Keeper, dropped him and released Sorcerer Ashcrombe who, in turn, unlocked the door to the courtyard for us then disappeared. (When you go in as horde, you release Deathstalker Adamant for the same thing.)

The courtyard can be tricky. I could see a level 22 group getting themselves in trouble in here. There are a lot of mobs wandering around, so you almost always have to pull two or three and it is quite easy to mis-time things and end up with more. A modicum of patience and our small aggro radii served us well. We cleared out most of the courtyard and started working our way towards the far end.

At the far end, you have a choice. Like most choices, there is a better and a worse option. Here you can either go into the base of the keep or go around, up a ramp, and onto the battlements. We chose the battlements. The right choice is to go into the keep, but we figured that out later.

Not that the battlements is a completely wrong choice. We fought our way up the ramp and into the second story of the keep and eventually to Commander Springvale. He was the first named we hit with a good drop, the Commander’s Crest. Unfortunately, it is bind on pickup and Earl, our only shield user, wasn’t on yet, so it got disenchanted into a large glimmering shard.

From there we worked our way onto the walls of the keep. We did not get the rare load, the Deathsworn Captain. That seems to be our luck.

After crossing the walls, we ended up outside the room of Odo the Blindwatcher. He and his two bats are together in his room, and they are all linked, so when you get one, you get them all, despite the fact that the bats are across the room from Odo. We tried pulling just the bats, but got Odo as well. Still, it was a manageable fight at our level.

After Odo, you have to work your way through the keep, its tight corridors, twisty stairs, and crowded rooms. Sheep and shackle undead were our friends during this part. One of the most annoying mobs was the lupine horror, a ghost wolf that summons several followers during combat. The followers look just like the summoner, so if you are not careful, you can spend time chopping up the wrong mob. If you slay the lupine horror, his summoned wolves disappear.

During this crawl through the keep, we did a group first. We were at the top of a flight of stairs and in the room below were four mobs, including one of our ghost wolf friends. The way we worked it, I stealthed, went into the room, and sapped the humanoid mob, then Ula sheeped one of the live wolves while Skronk chained the lupine horror. Never before had we been able to use all three of those skills in a single battle. And the battle went smoothly because of it.

Eventually we ended up looking into the room that holds Fenrus the Devourer. Like Verdan the Everliving in the Wailing Caverns, the raid icon looked tiny atop Fenrus. We used the same plan as we did with Verdan: There he is, get him! This time it worked out better. Fenrus is a huge wolf, but he doesn’t hit as hard as Verdan.

But as soon as Fenrus goes down, Archmage Arugal shouts out, the gate Fenrus was guarding opens, and four voidwalkers rush in and attack your group. That was a bit of a surprise, and a bit confusing as well, but we managed to beat them down.

After Fenrus, there are only a couple of mobs wandering the halls until you get to Wolf Master Nandos. He guards the door of the Archmage. He is in a long room with four wolves. The fight seems deceptively easy at first. You pull the wolves and you get all four, but Nandos stays back at the door. However, as soon as the last wolf dies, he rushes at you and summons some more wolves to boot.

This was our undoing. We locked onto Nandos and slew him, but his wolves were all over us, including a lupine horror, which summoned some of its own minions. We all died, with Bungholio the last gnome standing, fighting off the wolf onslaught.

Fortunately, when we died, all of Nandos’ summoned minions disappeared. We had a soul stone on Skronk and he, in turn, resurrected the rest of us. So we were outside the archmage’s door, which was now open, and could see him.

And then Earlthecat logged in. We invited him to the group. You cannot summon somebody outside of an instance, but Earl had done his homework and flew from Stormwind to South Shore, then ran to Silverpine and entered Shadowfang Keep. Once inside the instance, we summoned him to us.

Then came the battle with Archmage Arugal. He has 3 more minions in front of him, but you can pull each of them individually. Once they were down, we got ready and rushed the archmage.

Archmage Arugal teleports around during the battle, so we had to race to different locations in his room to keep beating on him. At least Earl, Mezzmon, and I did. The casters could stay a little more centrally located and hit him with their magic. With Arugal just under 200 hit points, Earl went down. By his own admission, he did not use a potion nor his healthstone. He was just too fixed on the battle. But with 200 hit points left, there wasn’t much of a fight. The Archmage Arugla breathed his last and we won.

He dropped the Belt of Arugal, which our casters rolled on.

Earl got resurrected and we began walking back out of the keep. We knew we had not hit everbody and suspected that we made the wrong choice in the courtyard.

The courtyard had respawned by this point, so we had to clear some mobs before we could enter the first floor of the keep. Sure enough, in there we found first Razorclaw the Butcher and then Baron Silverlaine. Neither dropped anything interesting, but we were now done. We cleared the way back to the zone entrance and departed. The time was around 12:30am.

Thoughts

This is a pretty tightly packed instance. Any group had best be ready for multiple mobs on any pull.

This instance is also reasonably sized, especially when compared with Wailing Caverns. With the knowledge we picked up doing it, we could probably manage it again in about 90 minutes.

We forgot to take a screenshot over the corpse of Archmage Arugal. We will have to make another trip!

Next we are looking at Blackfathom Deeps or the Stormwind Stockade.