Tag Archives: Zul’Farrak

Finishing Zul’Farrak and Returning to Jintha’alor

We were back to finish off Zul’Farrak.  We had made our mistakes, explored the mechanics, and run through most of the challenges, and now we just wanted to punch that “final boss” ticket and get the last two quests out of the way.  It was back to Tanaris for the run.

The general vicinity in Tanaris

Last time Moronae rolled over to level 50.  I was close, so went out and got there as well.  And Skronk and Ula got on during the week to put in some work on leveling, so when we met up our group was:

  • Moronae – level 50 night elf druid
  • Viniki – level 50 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 50 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 49 gnome mage

Level 50 was an expensive one for us.  Moronae and Skronk spent a bunch on new spells, while Viniki upgraded a bit of his gear, including grabbing Julie’s Dagger from the auction house.  It is fast, so my sharpening stones will be all the more effective.

Once we met up, we rode on over to the instance and started moving through it fairly quickly.

Back in ZF again

Being on a mission, we bypassed even more mobs that usual, slipping by the fountain area where the two routes through branch without bothering to clear it out.

The fountain stands unscathed

We did end up getting a patrol while we were on that little hill, but otherwise killed as few trolls as possible as we worked our way around to the stairs once again.

Once again, we cleared out everybody in the area, then ascended the stairs and took down the executioner.  Then we did a round of buffs, got full mana up, then unlocked Sergeant Bly and his companions and started off the event one more time.

Here they come… again!

We followed the same plan as before, concentrating on elites when they came up.  The non-elites threatened to get out of hand for a bit as heals and AOE drew some onto Skronk and Ula, but we managed to keep that under control.

When Bly began the march down the stairs, we followed, and at the base killed off Shadowpriest Sezz’ziz and Nekrum Gutchewer and the few remaining non-elites without much issue.

That done, I immediately went to Weegli Blastfuse and spoke to him, so he would blast open the doors to the final boss.  Skronk and Ula looted Nekrum for his necklace.  And then I spoke to Sergeant Bly, aggroing him for the fight over the Divino-matic Rod.

We slew him and his companions, looted the rod, and were successfully done with the event… on the third try.

Event done, all hostiles down

From there it was over to the big gate, which now lay open for us.

The gates are open

The fight beyond was something I could recall almost nothing about, save a sense that it was a bit of a let down after all the energy of the stairs event.  And that sense was about right.

There are three groups of mobs you need to pull first, then it is time for Chief Ukorz Sandscalp and Ruuzlu.  They actually summon some non-elites during the fight, but we killed them so quickly that the two non-elites they called only managed to get to use after both bosses were dead.  We lined up for a screen shot.

Where the chief once stood

The chief did drop the Ripsaw axe, which would have been a great weapon for Viniki… except that he had already upgraded to Julie’s Dagger, which I mentioned earlier.  Still, a could gold it a couple gold.

The best bit from the final boss was that, on our way out, a couple of stealthed trolls had spawned and attacked us.  An actual post fight surprise mechanic!  I love those!

After that though, we were pretty much done.  We went over to the one area we had bypassed the last three runs, just to see if there was anything to be found… a rare spawn… some loot… whatever.  But there wasn’t much to be had.

The only time we made it to this area

After that we fought our way out, killing a few extra mobs on the way as Ula was closing in on level 50.  Once out we rode back to Gadgetzan to turn in one quest.  Then we recalled and flew on down to the Blasted Lands for another quest turn in.  That, in turn with another quest, sent us up to the Hinterlands again where we needed to go into Jintha’alor once more.

Blue X, Us – Red X, Destination again

We rode on out to finish up The Ancient Egg and Saving Sharpbeak.

The in-game map is still a reasonable guide to getting there.  When we got to the foot of Jintha’alor Moronae was only about 30 minutes from a hard stop deadline he had.  But we felt we could get through in time.  We had just done ZF so quickly, why not?

Well, as we had forgotten, Jintha’alor actually ramps up to level 50 elites pretty quickly, which is higher level than most of ZF.  Still, we were level 44 or so when we last went up, so it was still easier than before.  We were able to bypass a lot of mobs and got to the top pretty quickly, all things considered.

Up at the altar again

We managed to clear around the altar and then knocked out Vile Priestess Hexx and got her key.  That unlocks Sharpbeak’s cage.  We went into the cave to get Sharpbeak and the ancient egg.

Fortunately, the layout for the cave at the top of Jintha’alor is the same as the kobold cave in Arathi Highlands, which I had just been questing in with an alt, so I knew which route was a dead end.  We fought our way quickly into the cave, spotting the egg about where I expected it.

The Ancient Egg!

We managed to collect that… slowly, because when one person takes it the egg has to respawn… but Sharpbeak was nowhere to be seen.  I had to go look up the quest and realized that we needed to get back out and go somewhere else for Sharpbeak.  That was another cave.  Time was ticking down for Moronae.

Unfortunately, things were fast to respawn, so we had to fight our way out again.  Ula hit level 50 along the way in the cave, which was good.  Skronk dying in one battle as we tried to rush was less so, though Moronae’s combat ress came in handy there.

We managed to get out of the cave, away from the altar, and back down the path to the other cave.  Through that and a couple of guards and we were on a plateau where Sharpbeak’s cage was located.

We let him out… everybody gets the update from the same action… and we were able to see him off.

Sharpbeak rescued!

At that point Moronae recalled and logged off, a couple minutes over time.

The rest of us decided to run down the quest turn ins.  From Sharpbeaks plateau you can safely jump off… if you’re careful… and use the terrain to basically climb down the back of Jintha’alor.  That would have been handy to remember previously.

We rode off back to Aerie Peak to turn in Saving Sharpbeak.  The we took the flight path to Menethil Harbor to get back over to Theremore.  It was apparently rush hour on the dock.

Quite the boat crowd on a Sunday afternoon

From there it was back down to Gadgetzen then over to Steamwheedle and Yeh’kinya, where we turned in the quest.  Yeh’kinya then gave us our first quest for Sunken Temple, The God Hakkar.

I think Maraudon is actually next on our list, but we’ll get to Sunken Temple eventually.  Some of us get class quests at level 50 and they seem to all require you to get something from there.

That done, we recalled home once again.

Leaving Steamwheedle

Zul’Farrak is done at last.  Now the four of us are off to Desolace and Maraudon.

Our past adventures in Zul’Farrak listed out:

Sergeant Bly Leaves Us at the Altar

We go together for a Father’s Day run at Zul’Farrak, though we were time constrained with a hard stop time, so when we got online we made a plan as to what we would do in the instance.

ZF is an odd instance in that you have path choices and can bypass some of the bosses.

We met up in Gadgetzan and got lined up.

The stable master there has the same staff as Ula

Our lineup for the run was:

  • Moronae – level 49 night elf druid
  • Viniki – level 49 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 48 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 48 gnome mage

We grouped up and rode on out to the instance where we got ourselves buffed up and ready to go.

Inside the instance

Since we last met up, Moronae had made the run to Feralas and finished up the Screecher Spirits quest, so our first goal was to get him the two tablets needed for the follow on quest.  That meant turning right at the fountain to take that path to Theka the Martyr who holds the first of the two tablets.

While there is some mandatory trash to clear all the way to the fountain, once you get past that you can bypass quite a bit of the mobs.  There is a little set of huts through the first doorway in the wall past the fountain that we have cleared on past runs, but this time we just walked on by.  There were three walkers in the corridor to Theka, but after that there is just him and the scarabs.

Theka and his friends

Theka isn’t particularly difficult, you just have to make sure you don’t do any AOE or the nearby scarabs will join in, so we had the first tablet in no time.

After that we bypassed Antu’sul and Witch Doctor Zum’rah, with all his zombie fun, heading straight for the stairway.

Those stairs again

Finishing the stairs event was our second goal for the run.  We learned last time that we really ought to clear out everything in the area, lest they become complications for us later.  Having a few extra elites pile on us is likely what made us wipe.

Once that was done it was up to the top of the stairs to get Bly and his companions out of their cages.

Bly and friends uncaged

From there we followed pretty much the same plan as last time.  Bly and his crew are pretty strong and the non-elites don’t really do much to them, so we focused on the elites coming up the steps, pausing to drink or bandage at need. That went well and we cleared the lot and started down to the bottom again.

All done on the steps

Down at the bottom we were able to dispatch the two named trolls and their non-elite helpers without much problem, thanks to Bly and his companions.

And then we got distracted for a bit.

Both Moronae and I announced that we had gotten Nekrum’s medallion, which updated a quest we had.  Neither Ula nor Skronk got the medallion.  As it turned out, they did not have the quest.

Only two of us had the quest

So there was some discussion as to where the quest came from, was it shareable, and then some research online as to where to get it.  And while that was going on Sergeant Bly and his companions all went into a crouch and started the animation that one associates with a player using their hearthstone to recall.  And then they disappeared.

They’re gone now

Which left us with the event incomplete.

We still had to kill Bly in order to get the Divino-matic Rod for the other quest… which we all had… and, I believe, to unlock the gates to the final boss.  But the quest remained unfinished and the gates remained firmly locked.

A gnome should be able to get under that!

Had we done this right and killed Bly, we could have closed out Zul’Farrak and been ready to move on.  The final boss, to my recollection, is pretty quick, so we had the time.  But now we will have a return trip.

We then went up the side path to the area around Gahz’rilla and grabbed the mob that dropped the other tablet that Moronae needed.  Then, seeing we had some time left and that Moronae was very close to level 50, we cleared out the area around the pool, getting him his level.

Then, since we were there, we summoned Gahz’rilla again just to kill him again.

You rang?

After that we mounted up and rode on out of the instance… successfully this time… and headed back to Gadgetzan.  Moronae and I both had the Nekrum’s Medallion quest to turn in while Skronk and Ula had to go figure out what they needed to do to pick it up.

In the course of things Viniki was also very close to level 50, so I ground out some mobs until he leveled up as well.

So we will be back for at least one more run at ZF.  We’ll see if we can get it right this time.

Death on the Stairs with Sergeant Bly

It had been almost a month since we had our last outing in Zul’Farrak.  There was just too much going on for a few weeks for us to find the time.

The Tanaris area of operation

But this past Sunday we finally got online together with the time to return to the instance.

Meet up in Gadgetzan

The line up for the day was:

  • Moronae – level 49 night elf druid
  • Viniki – level 48 gnome warrior
  • Skronk – level 48 dwarf priest
  • Ula – level 47 gnome mage

We did a quick check on quest status for everybody and found that Moronae, Skronk, and Ula all still had Screecher Spirits.  However, Moronae still had to go to Feralas to get the drops while Ula and Skronk just needed to turn the quest in for the next stage.  We ran over to Steamwheedle to do the update for them.  It seemed likely that Moronae would have another shot at finishing the quest down the road.

The Steamwheedle Waterfront

From there it was back past Gadget and on to ZF, dodging past the elite mobs that guard the outside of the instance.

A fireball chasing us to the zone line

Once into the instance we buffed up and started clearing mobs, which was nice as it gave us a to warm up a bit on some easy stuff after the time off.

There is, however, a lot of trash to take out, but we managed it, even clearing around the fountain without too many accidental pulls.

The fountain area has plenty of walkers

From the fountain we turned left again, both to pick up the quest objectives for Ula and Skronk for the Screecher Spirits follow on quest and because we totally missed a boss that lives off the path that direction.  As we approached his lair, none of us could recall having ever done this fight.  But we spotted his cave easy enough.

The cave of Antu’sul

Since none of us could remember the fight, all of the details and surprises seemed to get us, like the fact… which I read up on later… that you don’t have to attack Antu-sul, or even get within casting range of him, you just have to get within a reasonable distance of his cave and he comes running out to get you.  Surprise!

Oh, and he quickly summons some elite helpers for the fight as well.  Surprise!

Oh, now he has friends

And he doesn’t just do that once… he keeps doing it as you kill his helpers off… and he keeps rooting everybody as well as dropping totems and healing himself every so often.  We were quickly in over our heads and I was scrambling to remember some warrior skills to help keep me alive.

Somehow we managed to keep going… nobody died… and we got Antu’sul down, which stopped new adds from showing up, and we made it through.

For all that he dropped the Lifeblood Amulet, which was a bit of an upgrade for me, adding +3 stamina over what I had.

From there we moved on, picking off Theka the Martyr for the quest update for Ula and Skronk, avoiding any scarab entanglements, and then heading to the graveyard.

The graveyard again

This is, of course, where we got surprised last time.

We did this again, the right way, digging up all the graves first, then going after Witch Doctor Zum’rah.  All I can say is that there are way more graves in that area than there needs to be to make whatever point some Blizz dev was trying to make.  But we could use the xp and the undead trolls dropped the troll temper for one of the Gadgetzen quests, so there was some upside.

The witch doctor himself wasn’t so tough without the zombies, though he does still summon some help on his own.

He dropped Zum’rah’s Vexing Cane, a staff that I thought might be up for contention between Ula and Skronk.  However, it didn’t seem like much of an upgrade to the Illusionary Rod from Arcanist Doan back in Scarlet Monastery, something we picked up in our low 30s in December, though there was some uncertainty whether the bonus to healing/damage casting was worth the sacrifice of 10 spirit and 5 intellect.  Ula decided to try it out, though the fact that it looks like somebody glued a door knob to the end or a broom stick did not endear it to anybody.

From there it was time to decided whether or not to attempt the stairs.

The stairs loom in our future

We cleared our way to them and decided to give it a shot.  As with other fights, our memories were vague at best and we didn’t stop to look up a strategy, preferring to have at least one go in as raw a state as we could manage.

Up at the top we met the Sandfury Executioner who attempted to live up to his name.

Execute! Execute!

He dropped the key to the cages where Sergeant Bly and his companions are.  Opening those up starts off the big event on the stairs.

Standing with Sergeant Bly

Down below the trolls formed up.

That is where we are headed

The trolls then start coming up the stairs.  Most of them are not elite, but there are a few elites mixed in every so often.  We tried to focus on the elites to burn them down.  Bly and his crew seemed pretty able to care for themselves otherwise.  It was chaotic and nearly got out of hand a few times when healing pulled aggro onto Skronk and there were shouts of “Get the combat ress ready!” but we seemed to get through each crisis.  The Bly wanted to start moving.

Bly gives the command

It was at the bottom of the stairs that things got out of hand.  There are two named mobs that spawn, and we ended up pulling them early, while we were still mixed up with the greater trash at the bottom of the stairs.  We lost control, people started dying, and the last I saw of Sergeant Bly he was in a mass of trolls holding his own until he was polymorphed into a frog and beaten down.

Corpses around as Bly gets pounded

Once that was settled out, we released and ran back to the instance.  Since Bly and his crew were dead the event could not be run again and the remaining trolls were too many and packed too close together to try and finish them off.  So we decided to save the stairs for another time… after some research… and finished off the quest Ula and Skronk had.

That meant clearing out some of the area around Gahz’rilla, and since we started on that, we finished clearing around and then used to Mallet of Zul’Farrak to summon Gahz’rilla again.  This time we fought him from the water so when we got tossed in the air we had a soft landing.

We waited in the deep end of his pool

That worked out well and Gahz ended up being a pretty easy fight.  He doesn’t drop anything we need, but it all sells for coin and we all need more of that.

From there we mounted up and tried to ride on out of the instance, out running the various patrols and respawns between us and the exit.  We almost made it too, but Ula took a big hit right at the zone line.  We went back in and Skronk ressed her.

So close you could feel static off the portal

We got Ula back up on her mount and we road out and back to Gadgetzan for quest turn ins and such.

For next time we need to get Moronae to Feralas for his quest update as well as looking up some tips for the fight on the stairs.  I think I know some of what we did wrong, and we know better what to expect, but after one run winging it I’d like a little more info.  And we can managed that we can get to the final fight and finish off ZF.

The Three-Percent-Solution

The week before we could not get together, but this past Sunday… Mother’s Day… we managed to find the time to take our first step into Zul’Farrak.  Our lineup was:

  • Moronae – level 48 night elf druid
  • Viniki – level 47 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 47 gnome mage
  • Skronk – level 46 dwarf priest

As we met up at the flight point outside of Gadgetzan it was time for a quest check to make sure everybody was on the same path.

Everybody at the flight point

It quickly became clear that not everybody have wrapped up and turned in the Screecher Spirits quest that was the focus of last post.  What can I say?  People were busy.  And, frankly, I was in a hurry.  I was feeling like I might be on the highway to the danger zone taking some time out to play WoW Classic on mother’s day, so I wanted to get going right away.  So rather than sorting out who needed to just go to Steamwheedle and get the right quest and who still needed and expedition to Feralas, I went with the fact that we were likely going to be making multiple visits and we’d get everybody caught up next time.

Steamwheedle wasn’t on the way, so screw it

So we headed away from Steamwheedle and towards the instance.  Somebody was outside clearing things up for us, no doubt trying for the 20 troll temper drops you need for one of the quests, so we didn’t have to fight all the way to the front door.

The way in

Once inside we started to try to call upon our various faded and mixed memories of the instance.  I think we came up with “it’s big” and “it’s outdoors so we can ride our mounts” and “it really is big” and “I think we messed up this pull and wiped.”

It had been a while.

In the instance so far

Still, we didn’t have much of a problem taking down mobs as we moved forward.  The groups of three and the occasionally singletons and wanderers were not much of a problem, save for those troll hunters who kept polymorphing me into a frog.  But Skronk could cure that, so we made pretty good progress forward.

Trolls just hanging out

We did get a couple of extra adds as we moved into the main junction with the fountain in the middle, but we didn’t mind slaying a few extra trolls as we each needed 20 drops, and the drop rate wasn’t very good, so we were clearly going to have to kill all the trolls more than once.

From the junction we decided to turn north.  I knew that south was the way straight to Gahz’rilla, who was our goal for the expedition.  But we had the a quest for scarab shells, which something in the back of my brain told me was up the northern route.  So we went that way.

And, sure enough, that memory was reliable.  There were tons of scarabs up that way.

Also that way was Theka the Martyr who, true to his name, died.

We make martyrs all the time

Rather to my embarrassment, Theka had one of the drops for the Screecher Spirits follow on quest which I hadn’t let anybody grab, so I was the only one who got the update.  But we will be making another trip here, I am certain of that.

Like the troll temper drops, the scarabs seemed rather reluctant to cough out, and we may have gotten a little bit greed in taking them on as they were non-elites, trying to do the freeze and burn with only four players.  We killed lots of scarabs, but Ula got mobbed at one point and died mid-air trying to mage hop her way out of the mess.

Ress incoming for the floating corpse

Having cleared most of the scarabs away, we moved on to the next area which had a bunch of graves.  Clicking on the graves sometimes gave us some random gray loot and sometimes spawned a zombie or two, which we took out quite easily.

That routine got boring quickly though, and we spotted a big chest in a building close by, and the troll in there was green to us, so it seemed totally safe, so we ran over to get it.  Nobody felt even the mildest twitch of memory about this place, so we were all pretty surprised when the troll, Witch Doctor Zum’rah, turned aggro and started summoning zombies from the graves, a couple at a time.

Oh, this will not end well

You can see above that Skronk was already down, and when Ula fell, the last to go, we got the warning about the place.

Oh, now you tell us!

I suppose it wouldn’t be the complete Zul’Farrak experience if we didn’t wipe at least once per trip.  So it was back to the instance as ghosts.

Running back from Gadgetzan

Back in we mounted up and, aside from a patrol now and then, we able to get back to where we died.  From there we had to carefully pull the zombies, who were all hanging around where we had fallen.  Then it was time to get to work on the remaining graves.

And there were graves all over

At first we thought this was going to be a problem.  Once you get stuck in with Witch Doctor Zum’rah, any further zombies run straight over to the steps in front of his building, which felt like it could go very badly for us.

But the witch doctor didn’t aggro, and once arriving at the steps, the zombies then turned to come after us, all of which just gave the casters an opportunity to soften them up a bit with ranged attacks before they came back at us.  We cleared then and then Witch Doctor Zum’rah, but he didn’t have anything much in his chest.  Kind of a bummer after all of that.

Somewhere in the mix I ended up with an ancient tablet in my inventory, which turned out to be the instructions for summoning Gahz’rilla.  But we had done all that groundwork already.

This? This we remembered.

From there we moved on into the open area below the steps where the big event happens.  But we were not up to the big event.  That was more that we had signed up for that day.  Instead we cleared along the left edge, past the gates that lead to the final fight, and down the back route to Gahz’rilla’s pool.

Pool This Way – No Running

We nearly stumbled into a pile of trolls too.  Just off to the right as you go in there is a group of five mobs, which would have been a bit of a surprise.  Instead, we went to the left and cleared clockwise around the pool, finishing up with the group of five, which we though might be a group of three and a group of two… but which turned out to be a full group of five.  But we were up to it.  And that group dropped the other piece for the Screecher Spirits follow up as well as the drop for the quest from Tabetha out by Theramore.

The area cleared, we set our plan.  We would fight him in the big open area at the end of the pool opposite the gong.  I would go ring the gong and bring him back.  I had remembered the Mallet of Zul’Farrak, which is something we forgot back in the day, so was ready to go.

Of course, he shows up at the far end of the pool, away from the gong, so I had to run back to grab aggro.  And then the fight was on.  It went pretty well, too, though I had forgotten about how much damage can hit you when you land after he throws everybody in the air.

Up I go, and soon it will be down

I think the solution to that is to fight him in the pool where you can land in the water and not get hurt, but we managed it.  We brought him down without loss and were able to loot the scale for the quest that bears his name.  We then posed for the victory shot.

Gahz’rilla defeated

The mission of the night completed, we mounted up to ride back out the route we came in.

Leaving Gahz behind

We stopped only to slay some more scarabs to finish off that quest for Skronk and myself.

And to visit our remains

Then we skirted past a few patrols and exited the instance.  We found the outside still fairly clear, so road off to turn in the most important quest.

Don’t mind that troll chasing us

That turn in wasn’t at Gadgetzan or Steamwheedle, but out at the Mirage Raceway.

Mirage Raceway with the gnomish team

There we turned in Gahz’rilla’s scale for the coveted Carrot on a Stick trinket.

The Three Percent Solution

We then rode back to Gadgetzan, feeling very good that we were moving a full three percent faster on our way back.

That seems like a trivial speed boost, but back in the day WoW didn’t exactly rain trinkets down on you and I recall wearing that item well into The Burning Crusade.  Of course, I think I was also wearing that Argent Commission trinket into that expansion as well, so I might have just been bad at upgrading my gear.

That complete, we were done for the day.  I camped and quit and found my wife, who had been busy with something while I had been playing, so didn’t seem upset.

Now we just have to get back for the return trip.  We missed a boss completely and still need to do the event on the stairs and the final boss.  Everybody gained a level this round, so we’re better prepared.  But first we have to get everybody done with that Screecher Spririts quest.

Screecher Spirits and Feralas

Technically I can make the claim that the instance group got together this past weekend.  We were all logged into WoW Classic at the same time for a stretch and shared some information and made some plans.  But it was otherwise more an afternoon of parallel play than a group effort.

The plan was small.  There was one more quest to run down before we headed on towards Zul’Farrak, one from Steamwheedle port called Screecher Spirits.  We were all going to go do that quest at some point, and Skronk and Ula were going to try and pick up a bit more experience along the way to get to level 47.  We would then be about as ready as we planned for the instance.

I started out at the flight point in Tanaris with Viniki.

Desert air base of sorts

From there the nearest flight point for me was at the far end of Thousand Needles, the little Alliance camp at Thalanaar.

Through Thousand Needles

That borders on Feralas, and from there I headed into the forest mess that is the zone.

Green dominates the palette of the zone, so much so that I almost didn’t see the two Horde NPC guards standing on the road as I rode on, stopping short when I finally saw them.

The rain made it harder to see…

I had forgotten there was a Horde camp astride the main road into the zone, Camp Mojache.  I had forgotten a lot of things about Feralas.  I am pretty sure at that point I had forgotten much, much more than I remembered about the zone.  But being there and riding through revived a lot of them, the ones that had sunken below conscious recall, as landmarks and names and terrain awakened them.

I couldn’t really remember where the vale screechers, the mobs for the quest, were, but the quest text said the south central of the zone.  I made my way around the Horde camp, first attempting to go south, only to find the terrain… difficult.  So I went back around to the north and managed to pass by, picking up a few areas on the map along the way.

In the western of the two valleys, between the ogres and the yeti and in amongst the bears and gorillas, I spotted my first screecher.

The bear invited himself to the party

The screechers were a bit rare on the ground, at least relative to the other mobs that I had to clear though in order to find them.  But I was able to find my quota in not too much time, though it was helpful that I only needed three.  I had wondered if this would be a good quest for the group, but I suspect that the four of us together at once would have needed to find a dozen of them, so maybe we were better off solo.

Skronk had mentioned that he flew into Feathermoon Stronghold, the Alliance flight point on an island off the coast.  I had forgotten that was there, but since he reminded me I decided to exit from there rather than ride back to Thousand Needles.  Being me, I also made a point of trying to get all the map updates along the way.  I think I managed it.

Feralas revealed

I made it to the coast, mentioning I had gotten my screechers.  Skronk said he had found them there on the coast, and sure enough they were about.  Our dozen might have been manageable there as opposed to deeper in the zone.  I waited at the dock for the boat to show up and take me to Feathermoon Stronghold.  I seemed to recall that this was a slow boat and that people often opted to just swim the gap, but I decided to wait.  I was sort of surprised when the boat arrived.

The boat arrives

My memory was of an elven boat model, though on seeing the standard vanilla boat pull up, I seemed to recall that the elven boats only showed up later, during The Burning Crusade perhaps.

I took the boat across the straights to the point where in ran between the two islands, then jump into the water.  You don’t get map updates on griffons and apparently you don’t get them on boats either, and I wanted to fill out the map.

Having done that, I made my way to Feathermoon Stronghold, where the boat was still waiting.  It is a bit of a slow boat I suppose.

The boat docked at Feathermoon

I ran around a bit and scoped out some of the quests.  I wasn’t keen on doing them with Viniki, he was already level 47 and I didn’t want to get too far ahead, but with alts in tow I tend to be on the lookout for quests they can run.

From Feathermoon it was back to Tanaris on the bird.

A straight shot back

From there it was off to Steamwheedle for the quest turn in.

Over at Steamwheedle

That gave me a lineup of seven quest for Zul’Farrak.

My ZF quest selection

Having that all set I got out my hunter, Tistann, and did it all again with him, gathering up some of the quests I bypassed with Viniki.

Zapping shore striders

He also stumbled across the leatherworking quests at Feathermoon Stronhold as well, so he has those to work on as well.

The Altar of Zul and Jintha’alor

After Uldaman, the next instance on the list for us was Zul’Farrak.  But before we could wander down to Tanaris and start in on that there was some prep work to be done.  ZF is an instance with a group of lead-in quests so we got together to get those done first.  Our group for the venture was:

  • Moronae – level 46 night elf druid
  • Viniki – level 45 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 44 gnome mage
  • Skronk – level 44 dwarf priest

Moronae had been out working on gold to get his mount, which got him a couple of levels along the way.  The rest of us were about where we left off after Uldaman.

Our destination was the Hinterlands.

Map of the Hinterlands

In the Hinterlands is the hammer that one must transform into the Mallet of Zul’Farrak, which is needed to summon Gahz’rilla, one of the bosses in the instance.  We all still recall the time we went in and forgot to bring the mallet with us.

Otherwise though memories of the Hinterlands aspect of this were vague.  But we would just follow the quests and see where we ended up.

The line starts with the quest Withbark Cages, available in the cave just behind the flight point… the flight point which we all had after I got lost that one time… which was a quick out and back as a group.

Back to get the next quest already

That leads into the quest that sends you out to investigate Altar of Zul.  At the top of the structure, at the Altar of Zul itself, is Qiaga the Keeper, who drops the sacred mallet that becomes the Mallet of Zul’Farrak.  So we headed out to the Altar of Zul to see what we could see.

The steps up to the Altar of Zul

The mobs on the way up, were starting to creep up in levels compared to our group.  They were also a bit close to each other, so we ended up with our share of proximity aggro and pulls.  But they were all non-elite.  However, at the top, Qiaga and Morta’gya were both elites and level 50.

Red level is a warning

However, we met up with Discostuart, a level 47 priest, who was also there for the Altar of Zul.  We joined up with him and went after the elites.  It was a bit of a muddle… Discostuart decided to mind control Qiaga but didn’t mention that up front, which led to some confusion, and we managed to get all the non-elites in the area on us as well… but we managed in the end.  We all got the quest update for investigating the altar and we all got the sacred mallet.

Mallet in hand, it was time to move on to Jintha’alor to find the altar in order to create the Mallet of Zul’Farrak.

Behold Jintha’alor

Jintha’alor is something of an open air dungeon.  Most of the mobs are elite and you have a path to follow up the various walled tiers of the complex.  The altar, from my readings, was somewhere between the two ponds at the back of the complex.

Blue X, Us – Red X, Destination

It started off fairly manageable, with elite mobs being around levels 46-47 and spaced out enough that we were not getting too many accidental adds.  There were even some gaps that allowed us to slip on by some mobs now and then.

Running up the sideline

But that soon started ramping up a bit, and as mobs got to be 48 and 49, our abilities became much less reliable.  That was to be expected, and we have run into that before, but it seemed to get a bit more critical this time around.  Moronae, who has been able to just unleash his DPS so far in our group ended up dying because my taunt, on an 8 second cool down, was hitting maybe 1 in 4 times.

Reviving Moronae after a fight

At our level things are getting a little more serious.  He started using cower, a skill that dumps a bit of aggro, more frequently.  This helped me as I had been blowing all of my aggression on offense that built up aggro.  Now I had a bit more room for damage mitigation.  Things were still close to going off the rails now and then, but we had a bit of luck go our way.

A level 60 player rode past us at one point and on up towards the altar.  I gather they were looking to gain faction with the Wildhammer Clan.  But they cleared a lot of the stuff ahead of us.

Skronk attempting to Mind Vision ahead to check the path

We were able to get pretty far along in the wake of the level 60, though once up at the top we were in among level 50-52 elites.  Those were mobs we could handle one at a time, but there wasn’t a lot of room for error.  A lot of resists meant mobs might go after anybody.  We took out a few of the level 50 wolves up there, but the way in to where ever we needed to be… we were not quite sure beyond the “between the ponds” landmark… was guarded by level 51 mobs that were clearly going to be coming at us in pairs.

About then the level 60, Bootsncats, showed up and asked what we were up to.  I told him we were up here for the altar.

I am for simple explanations

Since I wasn’t sure where it was, and it seemed like we might need to go into the cave just over the way, I added that.

You can see the cave and some targeted mobs

Bootsncats ran ahead and killed a couple mobs, though we chased after and almost managed to get in over our head with a couple of adds.

A level 51 resisting away

But as they went into the cave with us in tow, I started to feel that maybe the cave was too far past our mark.  The altar seemed to be out in the open, there just wasn’t anything to indicate what we had to do.

While Bootsncats was clearing the cave, we went back to the altar and sat around for a bit.

At the altar

One of us clicked on the sacred mallet they had collected and found that would upgrade it to the Mallet of Zul’Farrak.  Objective complete.

We left Bootsncats to his slaying.  As I noted, I think they were up there for the rep grind anyway.  We turned around to play our escape.  The ride out of Jintha’alor is traditionally done by just trying to blow past and out run all the mobs, jumping off terraces and running down wall tops to avoid fall damage.  So we all mounted up and rode off.

There was some confusion as to where we ought to turn.  I just rode down stairs then straight over the next ledge and so on.  Ula fell off the wrong side of a wall at one point and ended up going the wrong way.  Skronk and I were riding all out when we got to the base of the complex.

Nearly there!

However, both Skronk and I got swarmed by mobs at the bottom, dismounted, and killed.  Only Moronae made it out safely.  Skronk and I were close enough to safety that Moronae went to use his combat ress, the one with the 30 minute cool down, to revive Skronk so he could then revive me.  But Moronae mis-clicked and revived me instead.

Oh no, wrong corpse! Skronk was just behind me

There was a quick discussion as to whether or not if I declined it the cool down would go away, but it already seemed to be running.  So I took the ress, Skronk released and came back, and Ula somehow got herself back to us, though I am not sure where she ended up.

We were out and done.  We took a side trip to Skulk Rock to slay some oozes for a quest we picked up.  If Jintha’alor was any guide, we were probably going to need some more levels before we could expect to successfully assault Zul’Farrak.  I figure we probably need be 47 minimum across the board to finish it all.  So something to work on.  But the groundwork has been laid.

Preparing for Sunken Temple

Well, that sounds silly, doesn’t it?

I mean, we did Sunken Temple the previous week, why would we then start preparing for it?

Well, we’ve been big on doing all the quests for instances and seeing all the sites as we make what might be the last run through pre-cataclysm Azeroth, and Sunken Temple has a couple of important quests.

Sunken Temple has the level 50 class quests.  Remember those?

Maybe not.

There were a set of quests, one for each class, that finished up in Sunken Temple.  But you have to be level 50 to get those quests, and as you can see, our line up for the night was just a bit shy of the mark.

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

Hurmoo actually got on earlier in the day to get to 49 to try and keep up, so he still had nearly a full level to go before 50.

Anyway, the class quests each end with a nice blue item as a reward.  This was fine back when you had to be level 50 to have a hope of finishing Sunken Temple.  Our first run at the instance back on the alliance side ended badly when faced with the level 55 Eranikus.

And then came the great November nerf of 2007 on the Tuesday after that first run.  And suddenly Eranikus was level 50 and we walked all over him.  Well, we didn’t wipe in any case.

But they didn’t change the levels of the quests associated with the instances.  So despite being able to finish Sunken Temple, we weren’t high enough level to get the quests.  We decided to work on that.

The quests aren’t simple, talk to the NPC and head into the instance variety either.  No, we had an evening of prep work to do.  First it was off to Steamwheedle.

Taurens on the Beach

There to pick up Screecher Spirits, a quest line that runs along through a couple instances.  This required us to run out to to the Feralas coast to kill three flying snakes, talk to their spirits, and then head back to Steamwheedle.

Flying through Thousand Needles

Once complete, we had to then run off to Zul’Farrak to knock off a couple of bosses for their tablets.

But first we had to engage in a bit of at-level PvP.  A slightly higher level shaman and priest were on the dock at Steamwheedle.  Enaldie rushed right in to tackle them and promptly died.  Then we managed to continue to squander our numerical advantage by joining in one by one until we were all dead.  It took a while, and Earl, Azawak, and Hurmoo keep them busy for several minutes, but in the end we were all dead.

Fortunately for us, they had other tasks to take care of and they didn’t hang around to camp our corpses or otherwise make us any more miserable.  We took our meager revenge on an alliance player hanging around at the Zul’Farrak entrance.  That will show them we’re serious!

Back here again

Once in Zul’Farrak, we made our way reasonably quickly to the first boss.  We managed to bypass quick a bit of the troll trash on the way, but on defeating the first boss somebody, who shall remain nameless, did not get the tablet.

They did not get the tablet because they did not have the quest.  In tracing things back, in turned out that they had not picked up the initial quest.  So it was break time for some of us while others returned to Steamwheedle then flew to Feralas to kill wind serpents, then came back, updated the quests, and finally returned to Zul’Farrak where we reset the instance and started over again.

Fortunately, as I said, the effort to get in and find the bosses was not substantial.

Finishing up our time in ZF

We actually stopped, rang the gong, and killed Ghaz’rilla again, just to do it.  Then it was back to Steamwheedle and off to the next destination, the Hinterlands.

At least we have a mage in our group, so we could get a portal to the Undercity from Tanaris.  However, once there, it seemed that only two of us had the flight point way out in the Hinterlands.  Tarren Mill seemed to be the closest point we all had, so it was off to Tarren Mill.

Luck was with us in that it was Saturday night and we managed to fly in during one of the few moments that Tarren Mill wasn’t under siege by high level alliance players.  We were able to fly in and head to the Hinterlands unhindered.

Through the Hinterlands

We had to head to the far end, both to get the flight point, but also to visit Jintha’alor, where our next quest objective lay.  Hurmoo happened to have a couple of other quests for that area which were sharable.  As on our past visit, we did the slogging fight into Jintha’alor to get to the pinnacle and grab the ancient egg, but on the way out we did the wild ride through everything.

Airborne Kodos!

The ride is not without danger.  But we managed to get down mostly intact.

Post-ride Health

Once clear, we headed down to Raventusk Village, the horde encampment in the Hinterlands, turned in the extra quests we had for the area, then looked towards getting back to Steamwheedle to turn in this leg of the long quest line.  A portal to Orgrimmar and a flight down to Tanaris, then a ride out to Steamwheedle took care of that.  We turned in the quest and got the next segment that leads us to Sunken Temple.

Which left Hurmoo one final task.  We quickly ran out to knock off one more quest which, when Hurmoo turned it in, made him the last one in the group to get this particular achievement.


We were all now ready for our individual class quests in Sunken Temple.  We’ll have to do a bit more preliminary work on a some of them, but we should be ready for our final assault on Sunken Temple come Saturday night.

Oh, and with level 50, Hurmoo can now be a tree.

Make like a tree!

Another advance in healing.

Return to Zul’Farrak

It was time for a return to an instance that was a challenge the last time we were there, Zul’Farrak.

ZF is interesting in that it is an outdoor instance, which means you can mount up and ride.  But the spaces are not that open, and they can be quite crowded.  Plus the trolls who live there have a penchant for fleeing at low hit points.  So a group, especially a lower level group with a large aggro radius, has to take care, lest it find itself overrun.

And we were such a lower level group.  We had actually popped up, for the most part, into the ZF level range, but only just.

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

In advance of the night’s adventures, Azawak and Hurmoo made their way down to Tanaris and then to the entrance to ZF, forgetting once again about the implications, or even existence, of dungeon finder.

The implication is that the only people who run to instance doors these days are high level players who need something from that dungeon or who are running through some lower level friends.

Azawak and Hurmoo sat there at the meeting stone in stealth discussing how we would summon people in and have them run for the door since there was a ?? death knight hanging around in the area when another group, lead by a level ?? popped out of the instance, saw us, and killed us in about as much time as it took to read this sentence.

As we were headed back to our corpses, we realized that we could have avoided all of this by just using the dungeon finder.  So we headed back to Gadgetzen after reviving and sneaking away from the scene of our demise.

Once everybody was on and grouped, we fired up dungeon finder and took the easy way in.


It never seems like 8 bosses in ZF, but who am I to argue with the dungeon finder?

Once in ZF we settled down to the routine of clearing trash.  We took the counter-clockwise path to try and pick up the scarab shells early.  It turned out that all of the quests we had for ZF, including the red level 50 quest for Gahz’rilla, were all sharable.  And, as was pointed out in a comment previously, we didn’t even need the mallet of ZF to summon.  But we’ll get to that, first we had some trash in our way.

Who is clearing who?

We got a little over zealous once we got in and let fleeing trolls get out of hand, leaving us all dead in the sand.

Re-entering Zul'Farrak

Wow, a wipe!  On trash mobs! This might be… a challenge! We had best take care!

That was the only problem we really had. We worked out way through the trash, taking care not to let the trolls get out of hand again.  At one point, Bigbutt had to jump out of the instance, and when he came back he was placed at the entry point.  He mounted up and rode past some respawns without thinking that stuff in instances do not lose interest and let you just run away.  We were semi-AFK at that point so had a bit of a chaotic fight as Bigbutt and his new found friends arrived amongst us.

And then there was the site with all the graves, which we diligently began digging up one-by-one, fighting each undead troll that appeared, until we were about 75% through them when somebody asked, “Do we even have this quest?”

No, we did not.

Still, the experience was good.  There were level ups all around as we cut our way through.

We then made our way to the big event at the top of the stairs.

Everybody loves an event!

That actually came off about as well as I have ever seen it.  Okay, I’ve only seen it three times now, but it worked, we won, and nobody went away grumbling about bugs or having to reset the instance to try again.

The event cleared the way for the… um… final boss, Chief Ukorz Sandscalp.  His fight is not all that exciting, but you have to go kill him because his death now triggers the achievement for the instance.


Achievement in hand, we still had the best fight left, Gahz’rilla.

We cleared out all around Gahz’rilla’s pool, bumping into Elder Wildmane who was there for the Lunar Festival.

Once clear, the fight began.  Of course, no Gahz’rilla fight is complete without some air time.

Cast interrupted!

You’ll note that Azawak is flying through the air encased in a block of ice.

Gahz’rilla’s fight was exciting but short.  The end was a foregone conclusion.  We stood in victory.

Gahz'rilla defeated

Or sat, in some cases.  Enaldie likes to be seated for these shots.

That left us done with the bosses, but short on troll temper and scarab shells for various quests.  We kept clearing out the instance, but had to leave and reset the instance before everybody was covered for quest drops.  I seem to recall some of the ZF quests requiring multiple visits previously.

That done, we left the instance to turn in our quests and found ourselves scattered throughout Azeroth.

Returning to where we started, Azawak and Hurmoo rode out again from Gadgetzen to the summoning stone and pulled everybody through so we could ride together to finish our tasks for the night.

Riding to Gadgetzen!

Between Gadgetzen and the Mirage Raceway we managed to close out four of the five quests we had.  This included turning in Ghaz’rilla’s scale for the the Carrot on a Stick, an alien trinket of unimaginable cultural significance.  There is another reward for that quest, but I think everybody goes for the carrot.

That put us well past midnight, so at least ZF delivered a full evening of adventure.  The next up on the list is Maraudon which features, as I recall, a disappointing number of Gahz’rilla clones.  Life in the re-usable content lane.

Finishing Zul’Farrak

Saturday night rolled around at last.

A move had been completed. Another was yet to come.

But this night we were all online and ready to polish off Zul’Farrak.

We checked our readiness at the door.

Buffs? Up!

Soul stone? Ready!

Health stones? Distributed!

Health potions? Hot bar’d!

Aura? Glowing!

Mallets of Zul’Farrak? In hand!

So in we went, our group for the night being:

47 Mage – Ula
48 Warrior – Earlthecat
48 Priest – Skronk
48 Warlock – Bungholio
49 Paladin – Vikund

We had just two quests to finish and we would be done. First up, Gahz’rilla!

We plowed through the trolls, advancing on the gong that mocked us several weeks back. We cleared all mobs in the area as well as a few out of the way that looked at us funny. Then I was given the task. Sound the gong.

And out came Gahz’rilla. Earl charged into the attack as I stood and took a screen shot.

As we went into the attack, Skronk mentioned, “Watch out for the knock-back” in what I felt was, in hindsight, a rather casual tone.

Yeah. Knock back.

To me, knock back is something that, you know, knocks you backwards. Gahz’rilla does not knock you back.

Gahz’rilla sends you FLYING!

Here we are, flying through the air after one of Gahz’rilla’s specials.

Skronk, who wisely stood back, caught Ula with a heal mid-air, if I recall right. She did not die on hitting the ground.

As the fight wore down, Gahz’rilla sent Earl and I flying again.

But we were all high enough level that the outcome was not in doubt. Gahz’rilla went down, the electrified scale was collected, and we posed for pictures around the defeated monster.

One down, one to go!

We advanced on the stairs, first clearing all the mobs in the courtyard. That was what got us into trouble last time, some unexpected adds.

Then we killed the troll with the key, flagged ourselves PvP, spoke to the goblin, then let out Bly and his group.

Bly and his team moved to the top of the stairs. We stood there with them, looking down at the now re-filled courtyard.

Then the trolls began to mount the steps. The battle was on.

This time we kept our cool and did not edge down the steps until Bly moved down. We followed him to face the final set of trolls, bringing them down quickly. Then we asked Bly for the Divino-matic Rod he promised us, the second item we needed that night.

That, of course, is the trigger for Bly and his group to turn on us. We slew them, took the rod, and were done with our goals for the night.

But speaking to the goblin before that battle on the stairs gave us access to one more thing, Chief Ukorz Sandscalp. His gate was open and we walked in, slaying the patrol on the path then his pet basilisks and snakes.

The Chief was no match for us either, but he did leave behind a nice gift. Earl got the Big Bad Pauldrons out of the fight.

So we stood in the Chief’s spot and took a picture of ourselves victorious.

And then we tried to ride out and got variously mis-direct, dismounted, hexed, and eventually in a couple of fights that left Skronk and I dead. Here I am, my corpse oh so close to the exit, hexed and slain.

Skronk and I released and took the angel’s offer of revival with penalties. We had paid one final price, but we were done with Zul’Farrak.

We gathered back up and turned in our quests, one in Gadgetzen and one at the Mirage Raceway.

While we were picking up our Carrot on a Stick reward at the raceway, I got one last treat for the night.

Being a fan of the Error’d posts on the Daily WTF, I am always on the lookout for such errors, such a the variable $n below.

variable-racer.jpg

Now that we are done here, the next stop is Maraudon!

The Mallet of Zul’Farrak

One week back into WoW and already we were short of players for a Saturday night. Bung was out of town while Earl said something about a “wedding anniversary.” A likely excuse.

That left three of us:

47 Mage – Ula
48 Priest – Skronk
49 Paladin – Vikund

We thought we might go looking for that Mallet of Zul’Farrak that came up missing last week in ZF.

gongmessage.png

This meant heading up to the Hinterlands and facing the Altar of Zul.

I was more than a bit dubious about our chances. The last time we went up to the altar we were a group of five and we got plastered all over the scenery. Now there were just three of us, though we were at least a few levels higher now.

Being higher level helped us almost immediately. The last time around our level meant our aggro radius was big enough that even getting to the altar was a pain. This time we managed to get pretty much to the base of the pyramid on which the altar rests before we had to start fighting.

We killed the mobs on the steps and soon faced Qiaga the Keeper and Morta’gya the Keeper, both level 50 elites, as well as a normal level 48 mob. We buffed up, took a deep breath, and went after them.

And won.

We won handily in fact. It was not even a close fight.

We all looted the mallet off of Qiaga. Of course, the mallet is not ready for ZF yet. You have to enchant it first.

enchanting it means a visit to another part of the Hinterlands, Jintha’Alor. More elite trolls in the level 46-50 range.

We took this carefully. You have to get to another altar at the top of Jintha’Alor to transform the mallet, so we battled our way up the stairs and along the paths, taking one or two mobs at a time. I believe we only ended up with more than two a couple of times, and only once was there enough drama in a fight to make anybody nervous enough to get Skronk to start his “remain calm” mantra.

We made it to the top, to the amphitheater where the altar is. There is an elite troll bound to the altar, Elder Torntusk, but he leaves you alone if you don’t bother him.

Around the altar patrols an elite as well as Vile Priestess Hexx. We took out the elite, let Hexx wander away on her rounds, and ran up to the altar to transform the mallet. You just have to get close to the altar and right click on the mallet in your inventory and it becomes the Mallet of Zul’Farrak.

Only one of us needed to get the mallet, but now we have three copies, just in case.

We were pretty much done for the night at that point. We had only one more thing to do, the Valkyrie ride back down and away from Jintha’Alor. While we could have used our hearth stones to head home, there is something of a tradition of mounting up and riding wildly down the stairs and over parapets to get out. It is something of a celebration. So off we went.

downja.png

Of course, here is where we had our only death of the night. Ula took a couple of big hits from passing mobs as well as a couple of rough landings and ended up dead at the bottom of Jintha’Alor. Skronk and I rode on while she just revived at the angel and ported back to Ironforge.

So now we prepared for our next trip into ZF. We have the mallet, we can sound the gong and get on with the instance.