Tag Archives: Slave Pens

Advancing Two Instances

After a two week hiatus due to sickness and travel we were all back in the game last Saturday night.  It was time to let the dungeon finder take us away.  The lineup was:

62 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
62Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
62 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)
62 Undead Deathknight – Maliverney (Skronk)
63Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)

And since we were all at least level 62, a new instance opened up to us.  We were now facing a range of possibilities.

So, it was time to roll the dice again and see where the dungeon finder would send us.

First pick: Blood Furnace.

This pass through ran almost exactly as it did in our last outing, including an almost exact replay of our fight with Broggok, which included Earl and Bigbutt dying on the last round of trash before the Broggok actually comes out to fight.  As with last time, Earl had his shaman revive handy and Hurmoo was able to use his combat ress on Bigbutt, so Broggok was defeated.

Broggok Coming For Us

And that was about it for drama in the Blood Furnace.  Broggok is the tough fight, being something of a multi-round event.  After that we sailed through to finish up and collect our goody bag.

Hurmoo overhealing for the win

With that out of the way, and with plenty of time left to play, we let the dungeon finder pick again.

Second Pick: Slave Pens.

Something new!

Hurmoo, in anticipation of perhaps getting into the Coilfang dungeons, picked up the only quest (Lost in Action) he could find that did not require a chain of lead-in quests, so we at least could boost our experience a little bit.  The quest actually required us to hit both the Slave Pens and the Underbog, but best to have it handy just in case.

I do not think any of us had been through the Slave Pens since we ran it together with the original cast of characters in the instance group.  So we had to relearn a few things.

For example, a minute or so into the fight with Mennu the Betrayer, we remembered that we had to put somebody on duty to take care of his healing totem.  Otherwise the fight just goes on and on as his totem heals at a prodigious rate.  And, after Mennu, you get to see some of the more spectacular scenery in the instance.

Ramps up to the drop-off

Then there was Rockmar the Crackler, a tough fight for us back in the day.  Now, however, he was just so much lobster to be harvested.  Still, delicious when dipped in melted butter.

Of course, feeling cocky after knocking down Rockmar without breaking a sweat, we managed to get in trouble with two groups of mobs who were, in turn, helped out by a wandering patrol.  Slew the boss, wiped on the trash.

We took a few with us at least

We almost made it.  In the screen shot, you can see the patrol that broke up the party walking… slithering… whatever naga do… heading away from us pretty much unscathed.  It pays to be fashionably late.

Once we recovered from that, it was a smooth trip to the last boss, Dame Helen Quagmirran.

Quagmirran caught in the tub again!

As before, the last fight went by pretty quickly and Quagmirran was defeated.

Quagmirran laid to rest

There was some worry as to whether or not everybody was in the screen shot.  I don’t think I’ve ever left anybody out.

And so the achievement and goody bag was ours.


While the Slave Pens took a while, we felt we still had another run left in us… maybe two if we drew Hellfire Ramparts… so we let the dungeon finder roll the dice for us again.

Third Pick:  Underbog.

Two new… well, new to these characters in any case… instances in one night.

Again, it had been a while since we visited the Underbog as a group, though I have actually been there more recently in a dungeon finder group with another character.  This meant we at least knew which direction to head.  Underbog has a few points where you can end up going the wrong way.

We were able to bypass a number of the trash groups and take out Hungarfen on our way to the first real fight, Ghaz’an, who happens to be a distant cousin of Ghaz’rilla.

Going after Ghaz'an

The fight really isn’t that tough, but it does have a danger to it.  It takes place on a platform and if you get caught in the wrong spot, Ghaz’an has a knock-back attack that will send you over the side into a pool full of hungry fish… elite, aggro, hungry fish.

Hurmoo was standing in the wrong spot and got knocked into the pool and died before he could get to the ramp.

Fortunately, as I said, the fight isn’t all that tough and we were far enough along that even with the healer down the fight was ours.

Ghaz'an defeated

Once done there, we remembered to go through the big crack at one end of the pool below the platform.  All of the hungry healer-killing fish die when Ghaz’an goes down, so the swim was safe.  On a previous venture into the Underbog, we spent a long time trying to figure out where to head next.  Even after noticing the crack, you have to jump down to a path well below it and with no way back up, so we were hesitant to commit.

This time we knew to just jump.

Then it was down the path to Swamplord Musel’ek and a surprisingly tough fight.

You face two bosses, Musel’ek and Claw (who also happened to be the last NPC we needed to find for our one quest) who have a habit of freezing the whole group and then setting in on the DPS.  At least that was what happened to us, which lead to a wipe.

All Down

In an attempt to save the fight, Earl used his revive right away when he got killed, but it was not enough, and so we had to do the long run from the graveyard to the instance.  It was a good thing that Hurmoo had gone to visit the instance earlier, so he knew the way.

Once back, we consulted a couple of sites about the fight to get an idea of what we were doing wrong.  The fight seems to rely heavily on the tank being able to get and keep aggro, which seems to get reset when the freeze trick happens.  With that bit of knowledge, our second run through was a success, though we did lose Bigbutt.  Being the only cloth wearing player in the group seems to make him a priority target… well, that and all the damage he put out.

Winning let us finish the quest and sent us on our way to the last boss, the Black Stalker, who I recalled giving us an interesting fight before, but who went down so fast this time that he only got to do his mid-air suspension trick just before he died.

That gave us the achievement and our goody bag.


And while we all started the evening around level 62, we ended up at, or very close to, 64 as a group.

Hurmoo, whom I had not played for two weeks, and who thus had a full load of rested experience to go through, exhausted his blue bar and got the dreaded “you feel normal” message part way into the Underbog.  Experience-wise, that was a pretty good evening’s work.

The quest turn-in put those of us who were close to 64 over the top, so next time around we may get to hit another new instance or two.

This also puts us four levels away from the big dungeon finder switch over.  At level 68, the random dungeon option will send us to Northrend.  Then it will be farewell to the Burning Crusade.

The Outland instance count so far is:

Hellfire Ramparts: 4
Blood Furnace: 2
Slave Pens: 1
Underbog: 1

We’ll see what we end up getting the next time around.

The Slave Pens – Return Visit

Saturday night arrived again, as it always seems to about once a week, and it was about that time. My daughter was asleep and my wife was in bed after a long day at the gift show up in San Francisco, so it was time to head to Azeroth.

While he was logged on to Skype, Earl was flagged as away. We are beginning to suspect that having a real house in the suburbs rather 250 square feet in Hell’s Kitchen is starting to tell. Moving in and getting settled can take the wind out of your sails and you might not always be ready to start a couple hours of gaming at midnight local time.

So our party ended up as a foursome, a fine number for a round of golf, but an “at level” instance usually required a bit more… 25% more, actually. Our usual choice in such circumstances is to go out and do some quests. That works for group quests, but with the solo quests it is often more of a hindrance to have along more people. Such is the way of WoW.

We decided, as a change up, to go back and try a lower level instance to see how well we could do there. While there would be no quests to finish, the experience from killing mobs should be more substantial.

This would also be the first real test of the team since Skronk respec’d shadow and Vikund respec’d retribution.

Our party was:

68 Paladin – Vikund
68 Warlock – Bungholio
68 Mage – Ula
70 Priest – Skronk

Skronk also hit level 70 recently, the first member of the instance group to do so with their main character. Earl hit level 70 with an alt already and is probably pretty close with his main.

So it was that we headed back to the Slave Pens, and instance we have done not once, but twice already, and the only instance we have run with Gaff in as a substitute.

We flew on down to Zangarmarsh, swam through the Coilfang reservoir, collected everybody, and jumped into the instance.

And we ran back out pretty quickly.

The first fight with three elite mobs went sour pretty quickly. We were going to have to figure out how to work as a smaller and considerably different group.

Eventually we settled into a workable routine. Skronk had to stay out of shadow form and be somewhat biased towards healing. Vikund went with his new two-hander, The Oathkeeper, a rock crusher of comic proportions, to cause maximum damage so as to hold aggro. Bung kept his viodwalker active as off-tank and did the warlock death dance. And Ula… well, she stayed with her usual crowd control and damage.

That, plus some chemical enhancements in the form of some potions and a flask or two from Skronk (Alchemists Local 428), got us going.

Once we got our routine down we managed to get through any group of three elites without issue and even managed a good showing against groups of four most of the time. We did manage to wipe a couple of times on four. But to say we were in as much control as with five of us would be a gross over statement. Any deviation from the plan, any unforeseen add, or, when faced with four opponents, and slip up generally meant death all over.

We moved forward through the instance though, until we got to the first boss, Mennu the Betrayer. Ironically, we wiped to another group within sight of him, but then took him down without too much drama. It was remembered, not too far into the fight, that the key to Mennu is keeping his totems down. Once somebody went on totem patrol, it was only a matter of time before he went down.

Battling Mennu on the Ramp

Battling Mennu on the Ramp

He dropped the Princely Reign Leggings, which went to Bung.

On we went. There was a little trouble at one point when we were in a fight and a patrol we had not noticed, as the draw distance in some parts of the slave pens is remarkable close, which was a deviation from the script and thus lead to a wipe, though not before we took most of the bad guys down.

Working our way around we eventually arrived at Rokmar the Crackler. Here was the point when that big crab cracking hammer of mine was going to come in handy.

Time for Rokmar the Crackler

Time for Rokmar the Crackler

We checked our buffs, made a quick plan, and then went after him. Rokmar had a different plan however, and while we were close to bringing him down… he was at 11% or so… Vikund went down to Rokmar’s Grievous Wound attack that drains 900 health every two seconds.

Oh yeah, forgot about that one.

Still, we were close. A couple of better place heals and maybe the tank remembering he had a health stone handy would do it. On to round two.

Tank dies even sooner, everybody run!

The tank is down, time to panic!

The tank is down, time to panic!

For the third round we decided to change things up a bit. Vikund put down that big crab hammer, strapped on a shield and drew his one handed mace. That mace was, frankly, crap when it came to DPS, so Vikund couldn’t hold aggro well enough to keep the fight in one place. Casters died, the tank died, we all died.

Okay, that did not work. We were closest to slaying him with plan A. Time to go back to that with a focus on the healing required to deal with Grievous Wound. Once the somebody has it, they have to be healed up to 100% before it fades, which can be a steep slope when the tank is losing 900 hp every two seconds.

And we managed to do it this time.

Vikund remembered he was a paladin and had that “lay on hands” icon on his button bar and actually used the skill at a key moment to supplement Skronk’s otherwise excellent healing. Aggro was maintained by the tank while Ula and Bung burned Rokmar down.

Victory over Rokmar the Crackler

Victory over Rokmar the Crackler

And at that point we called it a night. People were tired and the final boss, Quag-Helen-Mirren is a step up from Rockmar and we weren’t quite up for that.

And so we will reassemble next Saturday for another night in Azeroth. I hope we’ll get the whole team on again soon, though it is summer and people have other plans. But we will get back and finish off Auchenai Crypts at some point before Wrath of the Lich King comes out.

The Slave Pens – Round 2

Another Saturday night down the drain. Down the drain in the Coilfang Reservoir and to the Slave Pens for our second run through.

Last time around, missing Bung, we had Nerral, a level 70 druid join our group. That lets us do the instance, but did leave us wondering how different it would be without level 70 muscle behind us. So in we went with the usual group.

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

The short answer is that things weren’t drastically different than last week.

Once in we had not real problems with the yard trash mobs, except once when we pulled a group of five, forgetting that Bung was AFK. Taking on five elite with you damage guy and off tank pet out of the picture turned out to be more than we could handle and there was a wipe.

Earl got to add a new tool to his arsenal, the Goblin Rocket Launcher, which he used to pull mobs with great comedic effect. Each shot throws the shoot on his back.

The rocket puts out enough damage to ensure that the targeted mob heads straight for Earl. The only drawback is that the rocket also has a stun effect on the mob it hits, so the main target often ends up lagging behind the rest his pals when you’re pulling a group.

Still, the rocket launcher effect never got old.

As for the rest of the run, well, the bosses are always key.

With Mennu the Betrayer we did about the same as last week.

He is a shaman and he pops off healing totems like my grandfather used to drain scotch and sodas, which is to say early and often. We had the usual totem destruction mix-up, as Mennu seems to know who has been pegged for totem patrol and his totems end up on the far side of the battle from the designated totem popper. So it was slow going for a bit until I just started whacking totems with my big old mallet.

And so Mennu went down.

Then we battled our way to Rokmar the Crackler.

I did stop and take some pictures of the scenery along the way.

Last time around Rockmar gave us fits, causing a wipe on our first attempt and leaving three of us down before he died on the second attempt.

Taking some of the advice offered on last week’s post, this time around Vikund stay out of the melee and helped with the healing instead.

This worked out well and Rokmar went down with all of us still standing. We did give up healing a bit soon though, as the Grievous Wound attack was still on Earl, killing him not long after the fight ended. Still, Rokmar went down first this time.

He also coughed up a nice, new hammer for Vikund, the Coilfang Hammer of Renewal. It isn’t so hot for damage, but it looks really cool and it buffs up Vik’s healing a lot, so it is worth holding on to just to give him the extra healing edge when we need it.

That just left Helen Quagmirren for us to take on. Last week he wasn’t much of a match for us, but then we had Nerral the nature boy along to help out. This time around we were somewhat lacking in the nature resist department and Quagmirren stomped us good the first time out.

Ah well, so it goes.

The next time around we finished him off, and thus finished off our second run through the Slave Pens.

Next time we will be looking into The Underbog!

The Slave Pens – Round 1

Saturday night and we were came up a gnome short. Something else came up and Bungholio, our warlock and #1 damage generator, was out for the night.

Our plan had been to hit the Slave Pens in Zangarmarsh, the next on our list of 5 person instances.

With no other plan, we thought we might as well scout it out for the following week. Skronk swam down the drain (literally) in the Coilfang Reservoir first.

Then Vikund showed up and tried to figure out where to go. Since we were grouped up, Vikund swam to the point on the surface of the lake that showed Skronk’s dot on the map. Vikund was attacked by a mass of swarmfish while there and, while Skronk was far below him, still he managed to get experience for each swarmfish Vik slew.

Eventually Vik got some directions on where to head and swam down the drain as well and met up with Skronk at the meeting stone. From there we summoned Ula and Earl.

As we were sitting there, grabbing snacks and otherwise getting ready, Gaff logged in with his druid, Nerral. We asked if he wanted to come along and, despite the late hour for him, he agreed. So our party this week ended up being:

64 Mage – Ula
64 Priest – Skronk
64 Paladin – Vikund
64 Warrior – Earlthecat
70 Druid – Nerral

I think we were all a bit interested to see if a level 70 character would unbalance the group or make the instance a walk-over, while Nerral seemed happy to be along for the ride.

sp1nerraljoins.png

We headed in and began to tuck into the usual array of instance mobs.

We did run into a little bit of a hang up early on.

Some of the mobs, most notably the Coilfang Champions, cast fear during fights.

This lead to one “I could see it coming” wipe, when we tried to bypass one group, then in the next fight Vikund was feared and ran right into the bypassed group. Fortunately, Vik got off a divine intervention on Skronk with literally his dying breath, so we did not have to run all the way back to the instance from the grave yard.

From that point forward, we gave up the idea of bypassing anything and just cleared all before us.

The first boss on the menu was Mennu the Betrayer. This started off as a bit of a challenging fight. Mennu is a shaman and drops totems constantly, healing being the most common flavor. Because of this, and because nobody was on totem patrol, the fight didn’t get anywhere for a bit. Then Skronk and Vik took over alternating totem smiting and we were finally able to overcome Mennu.

And, as is our usual luck, he dropped a bind on pickup mail item. Even with a leather wearing druid in the group, we still get the stuff nobody can use.

We made our way through some fine scenery.

sp1ramps.png

And we lived through a “Butch Cassidy” jump off of a broken bridge into a body of water far below to finally arrive at the next big boss, Rokmar the Crackler.

Rokmar is trouble… and probably the biggest crawdad that ever threatened a son of New Orleans. (Or a great grand–nephew of New Orleans in my own case.) Behold his majesty. There he is behind some mobs that are about dwarf height in stature:

sp1rockmarscale.png

He is big, and he has some nasty surprises.

Specifically, he has a bleed debuff called Grievous Wound that keeps on hitting like no other and a frost AOE that makes things tough as well.

You can see how well we fared.

sp1rockmarwipe.png

So our first run at him lead to a rather quick wipe. You just don’t expect that kind of fight from an overgrown crustacean. I’d hate to see him in the heroic version of the instance.

After a run back, we tried to plan and at least got Vik to put up his frost resistance aura. But the second fight was a near run thing as well. We had three of us down before Nerral, who took over tanking, finally finish Rokmar off. So we stood over him in victory.

sp1rokdead.png

It was getting late at that point for those not on the west coast. Nerral stealthed and scouted ahead to see how much more we had to do to finish the instance. After Rokmar there are only a few mobs in the way before you get to the last boss, Quagmirran.

Quagmirran appears to live at the bottom of somebody’s swimming pool.

sp1qpool.png

I’d hate to find him caught in the filter.

As far as fights go, this one was not nearly as tough as Rokmar. There was no doubt we were going to win shortly after the fight began. Not that it was going quickly, but it went steady.

And so we stood before Quagmirran, the instance complete and our quests updated.

sp1qdown.png

Of course, we will have to go back and do this again when Bung is available again, but now we know some of the ins and outs of the place.

The biggest surprise of the evening was that having a level 70 in the party did not make the instance a walk over. It helped, especially at the Rokmar fight (hopefully when Bung is back, the damage output will go up enough for us to take down Rokmar the first time around) but it wasn’t unbalancing. The instance was still a challenge.

I am just bummed that one of my old, favorite addons, Damage Meters, has not made the jump to patch 2.4, so I could not get a nice parse summary of how we did. Hopefully somebody will pick up the Damage Meters code that is part of Cosmos UI package and get it working with 2.4.

Next week it will probably be the Slave Pens again.