Tag Archives: Utgarde Keep

A Visit with Prince Keleseth

It was a busy weekend and we could not get the whole instance group together, but on Sunday afternoon three of us, Ula, Skronk, and myself, found a bit of time to log into WoW.

Retail WoW.

We got out the group I posted about previously to pick up where we left off in Northrend.  We had made it out to the airfield in Borean Tundra and carried on with a couple of quests there as a warm up, enjoying the luxury of features offered by the current version of the game after doing quests together the previous week in WoW Classic.  You can just mouse over the quest in the quest tracker and it shows you everyone’s objective/collection status.

With three of us though, questing was a bit of a walk over.  So we decided to take a shot at one of the challenges we discussed when we started this venture.  We were going to try running an instance.  Our ability, so far, to run all of the WoW Classic instances with a group of four made us wonder if we could handle any of the Wrath of the Lich King instances with a group of three.

Retail WoW is easy-mode, right?  But how easy?

Our group at the moment was:

  • Mendula – 22 gnome priest
  • Fergorin – 22 dwarf shaman
  • Merchi – 24 gnome hunter

We at least had healing covered, as Menula spec’d into that.  We didn’t really have a tank, there not really being a shaman tanking spec.  And, while Merchi was beast mastery, the only REAL hunter spec to my mind, he did not have a pet that was the tanking spec.  His robo-bunny from the tutorial was the cunning  pet spec, which has some damage mitigation, but a tenacity spec pet would have likely been better.

Still, what the hell.  So we headed towards Howling Fjord and the traditional first dungeon from WotLK, Utgarde Keep.  I’m not sure we HAD to go with that instance.  Keeping track of what unlocks when as you zip up levels is more than I can manage.  But we knew where it was and they give you the flight path up front now.

Flight path available

So it was on the… well, not a bird, but a gnomish flying machine… and off to the far side of Northrend.

They don’t call it the “boring” tundra for nothing

Over in Howling Fjord I was reminded just how close to the flight point and the inn that first dungeon really is.  It looms over Valgarde Point, the sinister skull in its facade looking out over the area.

Mendula coming in for a landing

From there it was a quick ride north, dodging the field of mobs before the structure, to the instance portal.  Once inside we were able to pick up the quests from the quest giver inside the instance… by WotLK there wasn’t all the running around for dungeon quests the way we have been dealing with in WoW Classic… after which we were left eyeing the first set of mobs.

The plan was to use my pets to tank… I chose the “two pets out” from the talents, which seemed far and away the best idea… and Mendula would heal while Fergorin and I piled on whichever mob was the target.

After getting a handle on the various mobs wandering around ahead of us, we managed to pull a pair… and it wasn’t a disaster.  Sure, Mendula went down… healing drew aggro… but Fergorin could ress, so we were able to get ourselves back together.

Mendula and our two targets down

Once she was ressed, we carried on, learning a bit with each fight.  All of us died a couple of times before we started to get the hang of it.  By the timer we got out onto the furnace floor, I had figured out my traps, one of which made a pretty effective crowd control.

One mob ice trapped, with the tar trap slowing the others down

Like so much in retail vs classic, hunter traps are a lot different.  I found that I could not only throw them in combat, but I could even throw the freezing trap under a mob in a group that we had yet to aggro and trap it without pulling the group.  Strange times.

We were starting to make headway and it felt like we were doing okay, and then we made our way into the dragon room.

The dragon room

Something in the back of my head said that the dragons were tougher than normal elite mobs in the instance.  I seemed to recall they had double the xp rewarded, which was commensurate with their increased difficulty.  Also, I remembered that we didn’t have to clear the whole room, just one side, in order to make our way to the next area.

I found out quickly that my freezing trap wasn’t good on dragons and deaths occurred.  Fortunately Fergorin has a self-ress spell… also, because we wiped more than once in the room, it is nice that when you release you come back in the instance.  Again, WoW Classic had us expecting to run back from the local outside graveyard.

Dragon progress

We managed to make it through the dragon room on a few tries, then pressed on into the next hallway, where we faced a group of four normal elites.  That we were able to handle.

From there it was into the next big room, Reavers Hall, which is where Prince Keleseth resides.

The big room with the map table

The four mobs at the table, who come as  a group, got a bit out of hand, but we managed to take them down.  That left Prince Keleseth, the first boss in the instance, as our next target.

Prince Keleseth was an inflection point for the instance group back in the day.  We managed to half-ass our way through vanilla WoW instances as a full group, and managed to barely get past the instances in The Burning Crusade.  But Prince Keleseth was a wall we could not get past the way we were working.

We actually spent a week off reading up about our classes over at the then font of such knowledge, Elitist Jerks, upgraded our gear (I think I still had the Carrot on a Stick trinket equipped), and generally worked to “git gud” before we gave it another try.

And, after no small effort and a few more runs, we got past him.  And, from that point forward in the group, instances became more a matter of learning the boss fight mechanics than simply trying to apply enough DPS.  Our ability to run through most of the WoW Classic instances as a group of four, many of which were a struggle as a group of five back in the day, is directly related to lessons learned back then.

Which also leads to us having the spunk to think we might be able to take on an instance in pre-Shadowlands WoW with a cobbled together group of three players.

Prince Keleseth, however, had other plans.

We sort of remembered bits of the fight.  I recalled that he would summon helpers during the fight from the door on the far side.  I thought I might put my tar trap down there to slow them down a bit.  Other than that we couldn’t recall much.  So we gave it a try.

We wiped, naturally.  We had forgotten about his ice block attack, where one of the party members is encased in a block of ice, unable to do anything, while it applies a bunch of damage.  You have to get everybody to attack the block and burn it down before it kills the person encased in it.

Also, as we remembered, Prince Keleseth summons friends, a set of undead, to come help him.  You need some AOE to knock them down fast.  And there were some line of sight problems with the big table and the short people standing around it.

We got ourselves together and tried to refine our approach.  We pulled Prince Keleseth back to the door in order to give ourselves a bit more time versus the adds, but we were not quite ready to deal with them, or the ice block.

A couple more tries yielded the same result.

I’m dead, Fergorin is in the ice block, Mendula is all the DPS

We had been at it for a while by then and it was getting to be time for dinner at my end, so we called it for the time being.   We might not have a very good class mix, I might need a better pet, we might not even have critical skills at our level, or it might not  be a viable instance to go in with just three people.  Some more research to be done.  But it was a bit of fun to go in and try, and we even got the first quest done for the instance, got a few drops, and gained a level.

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.

Ingvar’s Head

Cutting straight to the chase, we killed Ingvar the Plunderer last Saturday night.


Go us!  Utgarde Keep completed!

In fact, we plowed through Utgarde Keep like… well… like we had had some practice.  We took out the trash mobs and killed all the bosses on the first try.  Ingvar, he’s a dead man !  Keleseth, dead! Niedermeyer, dead! Skarvald, dead!

The team for this adventure was:

73 Priest – Skronk
73 Mage – Ula
73 Warlock – Bungholio
73 Warrior – Earlthecat
74 Paladin – Vikund

And while we got through the instance in record (for us) time, our fight with Ingvar was a near run thing.

Plate Wearers, Play Dead!

Plate Wearers, Play Dead!

Just as we were beating Ingvar down below that last 10%, Earl and Vikund got zapped, leaving only the cloth wearing casters to take on the big boss.  Fortunately, he only had a few hit points left so a final hail of magic did him in.

Ingvar Defeated

Ingvar Defeated

We collected his head for the quest that we had all been holding in our log for the last few months, took our victory picture, and then started looking for the way out.  As if pretty typical of WoW instances, there is a short cut from the last boss to the exit.  In Utgarde Keep the quick way out involves jumping into a large, square shaft into some water.

I hope that water is deep enough

I hope that water is deep enough

Just do that twice, and hope they haven’t drained the pool for cleaning, and you’re back by the entrance.

All told, we wrapped up the keep in about 90 minutes, which left us with some more time to do something.  So we thought we would scout out the next instance on the agenda, The Nexus.

That meant a flight all the way across Northrend, which gave us all time to go get a snack or refresh our drink.

Once there, we had to find our way in.   I ran to the first swirly zone-entrance looking thing I saw.

Not The Entrance

Not The Entrance

No, the entrance is actually down below that area.  That glowing swirly appears to be just decorative for the moment.

Once we got the the actual way in, we had a choice of directions, this being one of those mult-wing instances it seems.  We went left and eventually ran into some people trapped in ice.

So Cool

So Cool

You cannot just walk past them however.  The ice seems to be there to keep them fresh… fresh to kill you!  Once you get too close, they break out and attack you.  You think somebody is going to be cool for once, and then they start wailing on you.

We fought our way along until we found a boss, Grand Magus Olestra.  And she is a blood elf that will cause you some leakage.

We cleared out her cronies and decided to just go after her without any pre-fight research.  This turned out to be one of the best boss fights so far in Northrend.  She has all sorts of crazy attacks and was throwing us all over the room in what must have been one of the most active battles we have been through in a long time.

Of course, the fact that we won made it that much better.

However, by that point the hour was getting late.  We declared our reconissance into The Nexus a success and vowed to be back next Saturday.

Sparring with Ingvar

We are just dragging out this final showdown with Ingvar the Plunderer as long as we can it seems.  Utgarde Keep first appeared in a post here back in November.  Ingvar might die of old age before we actually slay him.

You see, Saturday night rolled around again and there were only four of us standing there in the Utgarde Keep foyer.  We were short a gnome!  Those on the scene were:

72 Priest – Skronk
72 Mage – Ula
73 Warrior – Earlthecat
74 Paladin – Vikund

And as we sat there wondering if Bung was out for the night, we decided to take a peek into the instance, to warm up a bit against some real mobs.

The first fight went smoothly and yielded a nice blue drop, the Skein Woven Mantle.

Blue on the First Fight

Blue on the First Fight

That seemed to be a good omen, so on we went, just to see how far into the instance the four of us could get.

We got through the forge, past the proto-drakes, and even managed to take out the foursome that stands before the first boss.

And there we were staring at Prince Keleseth.  He had been tough for us every time as a group of five in the past and Bung was still a no show.

Gaff logged in with his level 70 druid just as we were getting to Prince K and we thought we might have somebody to fill the empty slot in our party, but it was late for him and he had already had a long evening in EVE Online and just wanted to say hello.  Plus he admitted he was mildly disturbed to find that I had a character that was higher level than him, an unusual set of circumstances.

So we said good night to Gaff and pondered Prince K.   Since we were there, we thought we might as well give it a shot.

The first time we wiped, but it was close.  The wrong people got hit with the ice block to keep us going.  Being close, we decided to give it another run and on the second try we brought him down.

Prince K, Dead Again

Prince K, Dead Again

He was kind enough to drop Keleseth’s Balde of Evocation again, which proved to be an upgrade for Skronk.

After that we rolled along, cleaning up the groups of mobs, heading further into the instance until we were faced with the second boss fight with Skarvald the Constructor and Dalronn the Controller.  These two gave us a lot of trouble in the past, until we learned the trick of bringing the whole group close in for the fight.  That keeps Skarvald’s annoying charge attack at bay.  Even with a foursome, we smote the pair in one quick fight.

Skarvald Down

Skarvald Down

You can see Earl wearing the Arm Blade of Augelmir that Skarvald dropped.  A unique looking weapon.

After that we knew we were going to make it to Ingvar the Plunderer.  But would we be able to take him with just the four of us.

The answer was no.

We went at him three times.  We got close on the last two fights, close enough that we could see Ingvar’s remaining hitpoints would have been more than taken care of with the DPS Bung has been putting out.  But we couldn’t quite pull it off ourselves.

So we called it a night.

Not a bad night.  We did well as a group of four and ended up with three usable blue drops which, frankly, is three more than we get some nights.

It seems that you may have to read at least one more post about Utgarde Keep.  Maybe in a couple weeks I’ll actually have a post about us in The Nexus.

Facing Ingvar the Plunderer

The Saturday night after Christmas found us arrayed again before the doors of Utgarde Keep for another fun run.  Our lineup was:

71 Warlock – Bungholio
71 Priest – Skronk
71 Mage – Ula
71 Paladin – Vikund
72 Warrior – Earlthecat

Only Earl had played much over the intervening two weeks, so you might ask why we thought we would do better than previous attempts if not much had changed.  Laziness?  Lack of initiative?  Determination to press on?  Insanity?

You can speculate, but we’re not telling.

We decided to skip anything that we could get past.  That meant that we only killed two of the three groups working the forge and only three of the enslaved proto-drake groups while sneaking past all the rest.

That brought us to Prince Keleseth again.

We killed his four minions and then debated as to whether we could just bypass him or not.

Watching his pacing back and forth, we thought it might be possible, but decided to take him down just to be safe.

We wiped on the first fight due to bad positioning.  We positioned ourselves off to the left, then were talking about the fight when Prince K walked into aggro range and started attacking us.  We nearly pulled it off all the same, but didn’t quite make it.

The second fight, started from a little further back, went much more smoothly and the Prince K went down.

Since last time I had installed the addon “recount” that was suggested by some people as a damage parser.  I reset it before the second Prince K fight, just to see how much a pally with a shield was holding back the group.  The results:

A pally with a shield still does pretty well DPS-wise when it comes to undead I’d say, but I’m afraid to ask what this damage output says about our group overall.

We moved on, plowing through to Skarvald the Constructor and Dalronn the CFO/Controller.

Discussing Year End Results

Discussing Year End Results

This fight took us a few tries.  We seemed to be coming close each time, bringing down Dalronn but not lasting through Skarvald.  His charges during the fight were causing too much damage, even when Earl was tanking Skarvald and Vikund was tanking Dalronn and most of the charges were hitting Vik.

Skarvald Charges, But Pays Off His Balance Every Month

Skarvald Charges, But Pays Off His Balance Every Month

Eventually we went to the web and read that Skarvald has a minimum range on his charges and that if everybody just sticks close, he does not charge.

With that bit of information on our side, we handily won the next fight.  Piece of cake.

Skalvard and Dalronn Down

Skalvard and Dalronn Down

And suddenly we were in new territory.

We fought our way up some more stairs and out into the open, the final battle taking place on the roof of the keep.

Fighting Atop The Keep

Fighting Atop The Keep

You can look out and see all of Howling Fjord around the keep.  Or at least the instanced version of it.  We fought our way onward.

Spiritualist Is A Female Dominated Profession

Spiritualist Is A Female Dominated Profession Among The Vrykul

Until, at last, we faced the final boss.  Ingvar the Plunderer stood before us.

Ingvar Awaits

Ingvar Awaits

His head would finish the last quest and end the instance for us.  We just had to kill him… twice.

You see, you kill Ingvar, which isn’t so tough, and then he comes back from the dead and you have to kill him again, which is a bit tougher.

We had a soul stone handy, so we knew we had at least two tries in us.  We nearly did it.  Both times in the second fight, one of us did not get out of the way of Ingvar’s dark smash in time, an attack that is a one shot kill if you are at all down on hit points.

After our two fights we had to release and start the run back through the instance.  However, as happened last week, we ran into respawns.

Couldn't You Have Taken The Night Off?

Couldn't You Have Taken The Night Off?

The hour was late and we did not want to fight our way back to Ingvar again, so we called off further efforts; so close to our goal, but not quite there.

We took a portal Ironforge where we played with the Crashin’ Thrashin’ Racers we all got for the Feast of Winter Veil.  Vikund even got the associated with the racer for crashing into other racers 25 times.

We’ll be back for Ingvar soon.

The Death of Prince Keleseth

Saturday night and we got the full team into Northrend again.  The lineup was:

70 Warrior – Earlthecat
71 Warlock – Bungholio
71 Priest – Skronk
71 Mage – Ula
71 Paladin – Vikund

And it was back to Utgarde Keep for us!

A level for most of us and some more equipment upgrades along with some research and the advice people offered after our last attempt made us confident enough to go for it.

As before, the initial forge area did not present us much of a problem.   We carved our way through that to the Proto-drake stables.  Here we avoided wiping, having had much practice fighting the beasts.

Drake Fight

Drake Fight

We lost Skronk once in a fight, but otherwise did well.

We fought our way through and eventually found ourselves back at our old familiar resting place on Prince Keleseth’s door step.  We made our plans, summoned our baby blizzard bears, and prepared to fight!

Here We Are Again

Here We Are Again

We cleared his four guests and then brought the action to the Prince.  And we were close.  So very close.

He was under 20% when the wheels came off and the inevitable wipe ensued.

Dead Again

Dead Again

Yet, this was as close as we had ever gotten to killing the prince.  We were enthusiastic.  We were ready.

And we wiped two more times.

But those two wipes were due to mistakes made early on in the fights.

Finally, on the fourth run, with a little bit of tuning to our original plan, it was down with the Prince!

The Prince Is Dead!

The Prince Is Dead!

In fact, the fight felt pretty easy the last time around.  Things went right and well all knew we were going to win by the time we had him half way down.

The one change Vikund made was to go with Seal of Wisdom for the fight rather than Seal of Vengence.  I do not know how much this helped turn the tables, but in the previous fights, Vikund ran out of mana, while in the last fight he was pouring out the concencrates (for those pesky undead helpers) and exorcisms through the whole fight.

Is there a group damage parser that works with 3.0.3?  I’d like to be able to tell how much a change like that made to the fight.

The prince was down and I could take a moment to admire his table, which turned out to be a map.

Northrend - You Are Here

Northrend – You Are Here

So, at last, we were able to move on.  Further into the keep we went until we ended up facing the next boss, or bosses, Skarvald the Constructor and Dalronn the Controller.

We had read ahead in our research and knew that the trick to this fight was that whoever you kill first of the pair comes back as a spirit and continues to kick your ass until you kill the other guy.  The recommended approach is to kill Dalronn first.

Or so we read.

The actual tip that we read said to try to bring down Skarvald’s hit points first, then kill Dalronn, then finish off Skarvald.  Unfortunately, we DoT’d Skarvald up good, so when we switched to Dalronn he died anyway, then came back as a spirit and pounded the crap out of us before we could finish off Dalronn.

Still, it felt like we were close.  A matter of timing as opposed to some huge flaw in the plan.  We did not have a soulstone ready quite yet, so we released and ran back to the instance, only to find…


Spoiled by the Outlands instances, which never seem to respawn, we were surprised to enter the instance and find it held in force against us again.  We had dawldled some in our progress through the instance, stopping for snacks, bios, doggie needs, and moving small, sleeping children to their beds.

We were able to get past the entrance without having to kill everybody and were able to sneak past the forges by hugging the walls.  When we got to the proto-drake pens, the first one we killed had respawned.  It was getting late, we did not want to fight out way through the drakes and such again, so we knew, with the soulstone available again, we would have just two more bites at the apple before we called it a night.

And we blew it both times.  Bad luck early in both fights, those events where you just know you’ve lost before the fight is even really under way, like the priest getting charges by Skarvald and Shadowbolted by Dalronn in the first seconds and dying because, oops, we forgot to buff fully.

We think we can manage it though, next time.   In the mean time Earl is going to go out and get level 71, upgrade some of his remaining gear such as his weapon.

We won’t be back this coming Saturday night however.  We’ll be short two players, so Keleseth, Skarvald, Dalronn, and friends will have to wait until the following week to get theirs.

Night of the Long Bears

We logged on Saturday night around 9pm and were rewarded with Baby Blizzard Bears.


Since we play on an East Coast time zone server, the day rolls over 3 hours early for most of us (Earl is in New York, so the time is right for him) so we got our bears a little earlier than expected.

There actually seemed to be some oddity with the times because while Vikund got the achievement and bear before midnight local, logging in other characters did not.  However, they all got their bears the following morning when I logged them in.

So we ended up running around with five little bears in tow through much of the evening.  And we were not alone.  The bears were everywhere.

The usual line up was on hand for the evening.

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

None of us had hit level 71 yet.

Thanks to and afternoon of cobalt hunting by one of Skronk’s alts, Earl was able to put together new suits of cobalt armor for Vikund and himself.  Here is Vikund as Mr. Cobalt:

Cobalt Jacketed Paladin

Cobalt Jacketed Paladin

Nice stuff.  I even left the show helmet option selected, since I like the sort of “Steampunk meets Shogun” look of it.

Along with that, my own alt, Tistann went out harvesting leather so, with the addition of a substantial pile of hides from Ula, he was able to make some Borean Armor kits to further boost the stamina of some party members.  That put both Earl and Vikund close to 14K hit points when buffed.

With that bounty of new equipment for the tanks, we thought we might have a better shot at Utgarde Keep.

This time we went straight to Howling Fjord, avoiding last week’s long, but scenic, overland trip. (Skronk actually got the flight paths set between Valiance Keep and Valgarde, but said the flight was too much gold to start with and there were additional charges for checked mounts and in-flight meals and entertainment.)

We rolled in pretty well, as we did the previous week.  We got through the forge area without issue and then the drake pens, which are also a nice setting that I did not post a shot of last week.

Here Be Drakes

Here Be Drakes

I noticed this time around that the roof is “open” on the drake pens.

If We Had A Flying Mount...

If We Had A Flying Mount...

Pretty quickly we found ourselves facing Prince Keleseth again.

Get Him? That Is You Plan?

Get Him? That's You Plan?

Unfortunately, the upgraded equipment on Vikund and Earl did not turn the balance quite enough.  Both of us lasted longer when going toe to toe with the prince, but in the end, in four runs, we only got him down to 50% health before wiping.

The casters, who bear the brunt of Keleseth’s ice block, were hard pressed to stay alive and provide the damage needed to bring him down.  Skronk did hang in better than last week, ending up the last dwarf standing twice.

Get The Priest!

Get The Priest!

But staying alive, un-frozen, and keeping everybody alive was a bit too much juggling.

So after the same result four times running, we decided to go do some quests to upgrade gear further.  Rumor has it that some of us are still wearing gear obtained early on in Hellfire Peninsula.  (No, don’t go to the Armory and check, it’s embarrassing enough.) Then to do some research on how other groups are going after Prince Keleseth.

Advice here is, as always, welcome. But if your own experience starts out with having the Warbringer Armor set or some such, it probably isn’t going to help us much.

We are strictly quest drops and auction house level of equipment.

The Ride to Utgarde Keep

The first Saturday night for the instance group after the launch of The Wrath of the Lich King found us wondering what to do.  With a brand new continent to explore and ten more levels to grow, plus as yet unfinished content in the Outlands, the options were wide open.  The line up for the night was:

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

We thought we should stick with our usual mission, though in the new lands of Northrend, so we decided to take a look in the first instance, Utgarde Keep.

This was a bit presumptuous of us, given that we had only upgraded some of our gear so far and we were struggling a bit back in the Outlands.  But the new expansion smell was intoxicating, so we thought we would give it a try.

We met up in Valiance Keep in the Borean Tundra and started digging around various information sources to figure out just where Utgarde Keep really was.  The expansion being fresh, information was somewhat sparse, but we eventually figured out where we needed to be.

Valiance Keep Harbor

Valiance Keep Harbor

Northrend is shaped somewhat like Australia and we were in Valiance Keep (Perth) and needed to be in Utgarde Keep (Canberra).



(The above image was taken from Wikipedia who in turn took it from the CIA World Fact Book.)

Which, frankly, was a bit out of the way.  But, again, the spirit of adventure was upon us, so we decided to follow the roads east and see where we ended up.

That is very much the way we used to do things in the old days, in EverQuest; just saddle up the horses and ride… except we didn’t have horses back then.  All we had back then was Spirit of the Wolf, and we were happy to get that!

So on we rode!

We ended up on a very nice tour of… south Northrend? … Southrend? … the landscape.  As we went, we tried to pick up the flight points so we would not have to make this long ride again.  We did very well at first, but we missed one or two in the middle, so we do not have cross-country, non-stop service as yet.

The ride was a lot of fun, and my reference to the days of EverQuest and seeing new things was not idle.

There was the Borean Tundra.

See the Aurora

See the Aurora

There was a beautiful snowy area that looked something like the night elves might end up with if they got snow.

Do Those Hooves Melt Snow

Do Those Hooves Melt Snow?

There were areas of icy  tundra with great fissures running through it and a giant tower in the snow.

Do Not Put Your Tongue On The Tower

Do Not Put Your Tongue On The Tower

And, in the usual jarring environmental change common to Azeroth where deserts and tropical forests exist mere steps apart, we ended up in a lush green forested hills, beautiful scenery and fjord turkeys.


Rustic Scenery

Eventually, after making it all the way to the coast and then past the Plain of Jars and back to the center of the Howling Fjord province, we found Utgarde Keep.

Charting Our Course

Charting Our Course

As usual with our navigation, we ended up around on the wrong side of the place, at Utgarde Pinnacle, which you need to be level 75 to enter.  A few minutes and only two falling deaths later, we made our way to the right summoning stone and portal.

Once we were there… and revived… there was nothing for it but to get into the instance.

Getting Ready with the Usual Buffet

Getting Ready with the Usual Buffet

Again, more great artwork.  I have not been a huge fan of the Tesla-inspired electro-plasma dungeons that you find in the Outlands, but here, in Utgarde Keep, I felt at home.  Skronk said it felt very much like a D&D location, and I could not help but agree.  There was even Vulcan’s own forge there to warm us when we got going.

Now There Is A Forge

Now There Is A Forge!

Warily, we started to work our way into the instance.  And things went surprisingly well for a while.  Our only wipe before the first boss due to line-of-sight issues when trying to heal.  Things were looking good.

And then we hit the first boss, Prince Keleseth, and he just worked us.  Not enough equipment upgrades, not enough hit points, and probably the wrong tactics meant that the prince wiped the floor with us five times running.

Prince Keleseth Thinking of New Ways to Kill Us

Prince Keleseth Thinking of New Ways to Kill Us

By that point, after the cross-country travel, we were tired and decided to call it a night.  Soundly thrashed but having had a good time all the same, we left the keep.

Looking for a way out, we headed south a bit and ran almost immediately into Valgarde which, from the looks of it, is the OTHER starting zone for Northrend.

We grabbed the flight point then saw a ship pull up at the dock.  It turns out that ship runs between Valgarde and Menethil Harbor.

Utgarde Keep in the Background

Utgarde Keep Very Close in the Background

So the right path for us would have been to take the boat from Menethil Harbor to Valgarde in Howling Fjord, then run 30 seconds to Utgarde Keep.

That information was not on WoWWiki on Saturday night.

Of course, not having that information made the night an adventure.

I think there is a lesson in that for all of us.