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Into Orgrimmar

Having saved the Northern Barrens from a tormented sleeping druid’s nightmares, we returned to Ironforge to get our equipment repaired and take a bit of a breather. Azeroth is definitely a world tormented by more than just the Shattering and Deathwing’s appearance. Everyone seems to want to try and get the upper hand.  I’ve even heard rumors that the Horde has infiltrated Gilnean and Night Elf territories!  Luckily, they seem to have left my home, Aerie Peak, alone.

Kaide and I had drawn ourselves a pint to relax while Cordagan worked on stitching a new pair of boots for me. We chatted as he sewed, and it wasn’t long before Vi had joined us. Higher Authority is a small guild, and there aren’t often many others around, as we all tend to be adventuring throughout not only our own world, but also Outland.  My own sister lives primarily in Shattrath, and another member, Kerridwen, seems bent on saving them from any further destruction.

Our chatting took the turn towards beer preferences, and we were getting quite lively, the four of us, when a Draenei walked into the room. Kaide could see the door, and she started, then visibly relaxed as she took in the armor of the woman. She was a paladin, and while she didn’t wear our tabard, we quickly recognized her as one of the most powerful members of our guild. Arianrose. Shoryl’s older sister, Taoiseach, was nowhere to be found.

Taoi and Ari had disappeared some weeks before I joined the guild, but there had always been mutterings about Arianrose. About how traumatic she’d found going back to Outland, and how she would hold no quarter for demons or anyone who consorted with them.  She looked at me, took a moment to assess me, and turned away. I felt a sense of dread, and suspected she had gone to the point where even the Shadow was too close to demons. She did not raise her sword, though, so I was safe. For the moment.

She spoke to Kaide as if the rest of us didn’t exist, “Shaman!”

Kaide nodded, an impressively impassive look on her face, “I am.”

“What do you think of demons, Shaman?” Ari asked.

“Generally, that they need to be killed.” Kaide responded, “and my name is Kaide.”

Arching her eyebrow, Ari said, “Kaide, then. How daring are you?”

Kaide looked at the rest of us at the table, then back to Ari, “What’s the one have to do with the other?”

Ari laughed, then, and the laugh was downright insane. We were dealing with a madwoman who could probably kill us all before we could put a hand to our weapons. This did not make me happy, but she was most likely to turn on me, so I held my tongue. She spoke again, “Would you go into the heart of the Horde to kill demons they harbor?”

Kaide raised her own eyebrow, and responded “I have no quarrel with the Horde. But what is this of demons?”

Arianrsoe smiled, and actually sat down at our table, “In the heart of Orgrimmar is a place they call Ragefire Chasm. Within that chasm are borers, cultists, and demons. The cultists are, as I understand it, mostly orcs.”

“And how,” Kaide said, keeping her voice cold, “do you expect me to get into the heart of Orgrimmar to destroy these demons and cultists?”

“I have a way to get you there, and out again when you’ve killed Tagamen and his lieutenants. Your friends, too.”

Kaide looked at me. I shrugged. So long as I didn’t have to walk through Orgrimmar to get there, I could kill demons. Especially if it meant maybe not having to be looked through like Arianrose had done when she first arrived. 

Turning her gaze to Cordagan, Kaide silently asked the question, and he said to Arianrose, “In and out?” A curt nod from the Draenei, and then, “Don’t see why not. I don’t mind sticking a thorn in Hellscream’s craw.”

Vi stood then, “I’m ready when you are.” he said.

Cordagan finished tying off his thread, and handed me the boots. “These should be better than those.” I smiled as I slipped them on. They were, indeed, better. And hopefully they’d keep my feet dry.

Kaide nodded to Arianrose, “We’re ready then.”

Arianrose drew a scroll from her pack, and facing us, read aloud. I felt the familiar lurch as we were drawn through space. As my eyes adjusted to the now-dim light, I realized I was in a rather hot underground cave. Behind us, I could hear the bustle of a city, and the rise and fall of foreign calls. I slipped over to a wall, a sense of forboding coming over me. We were, indeed, in the heart of Orgrimmar.

Vi paid no attention to the city behind him, for before him were the cultists. Robed in black, they were end-of-the-world nuts. Not the Twilight cult of Deathwing’s, but the Cult of the Damned. They, I knew, were worth killing. We began our march.

The enemies fell before us more quickly than they had in the past. Why Arianrose had not come here herself, I don’t know. Perhaps she was merely testing us to see if we were on the right side of the light. Perhaps she couldn’t get herself here so easily.

I hadn’t yet seen any demons, though the cultists were certainly a worthwhile opponent. Cordagan was letting fly fireball after frostbolt, and I was using mindflay on anything that looked remotely intelligent, while generally smiting the troggs. Vi had gotten even better at keeping the enemies occupied, and Kaide kept us all alive.

The cultists were little problem, though as we got deeper into the chasm, we found them in larger groups. The borers were even less of a problem, and we dispatched those so quickly that it felt like were were riding a steamtank. But there were also troggs.  I had only seen the little troggs that were harrying chillbreeze camp before. These were bigger, gruffer, and smellier – probably from the heat coming off the lava pools within the cavern.  Still, we’re dwarves, and dwarves are stalwart, intelligent, and even crafty. We prevailed.

 As we rounded a bend, we came into a larger section of the cavern, riddled with lava pools. Natural bridges crossed the rivulets of lava between the pools. In the center was a creature who, with the exception of wings and a reddish tone to his skin, looked like a Draenei!  I looked at Cordagan, who was looking, gape-jawed, at the thing, so I turned to Vi, “is that… a demon?” I asked.

Vi shrugged, “I doubt it’s a cultist, but I didn’t know Draenei could have wings.” 

Then again, I mused to myself, he was wearing the trappings of the Cult of the Damned, maybe the wings were part of his clothing.  I was shown to be mistaken, though, as he flapped those wings once and lifted himself a good ten feet off the ground, flames bursting from his hands. He was looking at Vi.

Vi leapt, and as the fire slid down his back, he bowled into the lower legs of the demon. The demon, in turn, landed, and began to attack Vi with what looked like viscious claws. Cordagan and I both started our own spells, and I heard Kaide call forth her totems behind me. 

Vi was able to mostly keep the thing’s attention, but once in a while it would turn to me or Cordagan and throw a ball of fire. We tried to dodge, but the magical flames seemed to be able to follow us. After each searing burst, though, Kaide would follow with a heal, and we would continue casting our own spells. The fight seemed to drag on, and then, somehow, the demon grew. He let out a howl, enraged that we had persevered. I focused on my spell-casting all the more as the thing clawed at Vi, trying to pull away his armor. At least it had stopped casting spells at us as well!

I stood a moment, dumbfounded, as the creature fell, dead. We’d killed our first demon.  “She said Tagamen and his lieutenants.” Kaide said, as we poked around the area near the creature, seeing if there was any treasure worth taking back with us.

“Well, I hope that was Tagamen, then,” I responded.

Vi pointed, “Looks like there’s a path. Let’s see what’s back there.”

“Better than going into Orgrimmar.” Cordagan said, brushing char marks off his robes.

We continued, killing more cultists, though thankfully we ran into no more troggs. The next demon we saw was smaller, and a caster. After the previous fight, it seems almost not worth mentioning. He fell comparatively quickly.   We’d found one lieutenant, then, and this pointed toward the big demon being Tagamen.

It took us quite a while to find the path to the second lieutenant. It was against a shadowed wall, and we had to go single file to get through a particularly narrow spot. Luckily, we were not ambushed. If I were holed up in a spot like that, I would certainly put my minions on that narrowing in the passage as a choke point.  I guess the demon figured we’d never find him.

Again the cultists fell with ease, while the demon failed to lift a finger to help, even in their death throes. This demon wasn’t a caster at all, but he swung his sword very quickly. Vi was hard-pressed to dodge his blows, and I think only partially dodged several, but we were once again the winners. As we finished that fight, I felt the now common sensation of being dragged through space. 

When things settled this time, we stood in front of Arianrose once again. She looked at us briefly, then said, “so it is done?”

“Yes.” I said.

“Good.” She replied, turned on a hoof, and marched out the door.

We looked at one another. No thank you. No explanation. Just. Good.  It was confirmed. Arianrose had gone insane.

Shy players in a Tiny Guild

One of my guild’s most active players is incredibly shy. I’m not talking about my co guild leader, who is also shy. I’m talking about a member who is so shy that he rarely says anything in guild chat before someone else speaks up.  When the guild had a couple more active players and a Vent server, he never signed on there to chat.  We hardly knew anything about him, except that he was going to college.  

He’s always more than willing to help, and almost always joins in on any guild event that someone else cooks up – regardless of how zany or serious it might be. He has altitis that makes mine look like a couple extra characters. 

Over the past few months, though, we’ve gotten the most wonderful treat of seeing him come out of that shell.  First, it was the weekly 5-mans for our 85s. The guild’s tank wanted to go back into tanking slowly, and so PuGging was right out. I’m a pally who didn’t even 5-man in Wrath (I rather disliked the expansion as a whole), and so I had no skill with crowd control. Our healer was rusty.   All these things led to starting with Blackrock Caverns and moving our way up. We’re not into heroics yet, but we’re progressing pretty steadily. 

Our wallflower rogue joined the team, and has been reliable. He’s learned his sapping skills, and we’ve watched him grow from one of those rogues (you know who they are) to a pretty solid guy with good rotation. He’s still working on situational awareness, but he’s putting my cautious playstyle to shame these days.  

Then, I noticed that the guild was seriously lacking in dwarves, and started the Dwarven Dungeon Crawl. He signed up as soon as he heard about it, and brought us not one, but two toons to choose from, based on who’s able to attend.  We started using Skype for these runs (it’s free, there’s five of us, it works. Sh’up.) and one of my officers helped him set it up. 

Shortly after I started these runs, he asked me if my leatherworker could help his 85 rogue out with some gear. I could make him a cloak – she’s not all that advanced in her skills, and where she is, it’s for her own mail gear. Then he casually mentioned that he got a new hat. He’s changed his spec. And now he’s working on getting his item level up to be able to run heroics.   I’m sure the guild groups are what provided him with the impetous.

But still, you can do all that and still be a wallflower. Except if you’re painfully shy, opening that Dungeon Finder tool is still scary… at least I’ve heard that. I’m not nearly that shy.

Here is where the exciting part comes in: The other night, he suggested a new guild activity. After all, we’re a guild with altitis, right? We are. That guild activity is Worgen Wednesdays. We teased him a little bit about the choice of name, but then immediately followed up by suggesting that he toss it on the calendar and see if anybody bites.  I haven’t looked in the past day or two, but I suspect he’s got a couple of tentatives and an official “signed up”.  I know I said I’d come along.

Now this is not like the Dwarven Dungeon Crawl, or the Sunday Cata runs. This is about blowing the bejeezus out of dungeons. With (mostly) Worgen.  I’m sure there will be paladins collecting everything up and using Holy Wrath and Divine Storm with reckless abandon. At least, if I’m the 85 on, that’s how I’m going to do it. 🙂

Blackrock Caverns – Normal Mode

Blackrock Caverns – Normal Mode

 This guide is designed to be a reference for relatively new players to the level 80-85 instances.  While it will provide more specifics than the boss-only guides that are more commonly available, it is not meant as a step-by-step guide.  Trash mobs will be listed as you may see them. Additionally, I’ll include the type of each mob and a list of abilities. I will do my best to indicate which attacks are ranged or melee, however, I will not necessarily be able to indicate whether the mobs will always stand at range if they have a ranged ability.  All of the links provided are from Wowhead. Blackrock Caverns is a fairly linear dungeon, so I will only provide minimal ‘directions’.

The first trash mob packs may include:

Mad Prisoner (humanoid) These melee mobs will try a Head Crack, and Enrage.

Twilight Sadist (humanoid) Sadists have a few short range abilities, including heart-seeker blade, inflict pain and short throw. They will also use sinister strike in melee.

Twilight Torturer (humanoid) The torturers may toss a short range inflict pain or shackle, but Red-hot poker is their primary attack. They also like to inflict Wild Beatdown, to make things interesting.

Crazed Mage (humanoid) These guys, as the name might suggest, like to hang out at range. They cast Frost Nova and Frostbolt.

Note that Rom’ogg Bonecrusher will patrol in and out of the first room. Pull as many groups away from his patrol area as you can before engaging Rom’ogg.

When you pull Rom’ogg, move him toward the hall you came from. According to Wowhead, he will Call for Help when he is first pulled (typical boss… can’t do his own work if someone’s handy to do it for him.)

He likes to cast Quake, and when he does, it will spawn Angered Earths. It’s important for the tank to pick these up and the DPS to burn them down to conserve the healer’s mana.

Rom’ogg has a 1-2 punch that can be vicious if the group isn’t on top of it. First, he will cast Chains of Woe. Everyone needs to beat down the chains, then run away before the second spell, Scullcracker, cracks your skull.  The final trick in his bag is Wounding Strike.

Loot, and enjoy Raz the Crazed. Learn to love Raz, though he will be in your life for a very short time.

Raz will kill a bunch of mobs for you, before leaping off the bridge. Don’t follow Raz. Keep taking the obvious path.

You’ll start to see Evolved Twilight Zealots (dragonkin) on patrol at this point. Try to kill them away from the bigger groups that you’ll be coming on, just to make things a little easier.  They’re melee, and have four abilities: Force Blast, Gravity Strike, Grievous Whirl, and Shadow Strike.  None of these abilities stand out except that the tank will have to soak a little bit more damage.

Also, you’ll get groups of 4-6 Flame Callers and Zealots.

Twilight Flame Callers (humanoid) Call Flames and use Blast Wave. Pretty standard stuff.

Twilight Zealots (humanoid) are somewhat unpredictable.  They can be annoying, as they like their ranged spells. Usually, some will try to stay at range, while others will run up to the tank. Their ranged abilities include Arcane Barrage, Arcane Missiles, and Shadow Bolt. At melee range, they will use Gouge, Kick, Mortal Strike, Rend, and Shadow Nova. They also have Aura of Arcane Haste, which might make things slightly more annoying. Why does only the Twilights Hammer have Arcane Warroglocks?

As you start moving downstairs, you might be tempted to turn to the left and head out the door – That leads to a dead end, so continue down the ramp to the left.  You’ll see Corla at the bottom of the ramp.

Before you engage Corla, however, jump off the side of the ramp and take out the patrol that walks up to her area and kill them. They’re another group of zealots and flamecallers. You may also want to clear the groups standing on the side just beyond them to give yourself space to work.

Corla, Herald of Twilight has two Twilight Zealots who she is in the process of evolving.  To stop the process, have two members of the dps block the beams coming from the dragonkin. They will get a debuff called Evolution that stacks. If the stacks reach 100, the dps will become an evolved twilight zealot, which is bad. So, they should step out of the beams at about 70-80 stacks, and let the debuff wear off, then hop back into the beam.

Corla can also cast a 3 second fear called Dark Command. Otherwise, just beat her up and take her lunch money.

Once you’re done with Corla, continue down and through the corridor the pat had been walking up and down.  In this section, you’ll see more zealots and flamecallers.

Turn the corner and stop in panic! Until Raz the Crazed leaps down to save the day! Yep. He’ll kill all those evolved Twilight Zealots. You’ll be free to move on to the Twilight Forge.

When you get to the Twilight Forge area, you’ll see Karsh Steelbender, with two Conflagrations (elemental), and a whole bunch of Quicksilver elemental).  Around the edges are several bellows slaves (humanoid).   You can safely ignore the bellows slaves – they’re not elites, and unless things get out of hand, you won’t agro them dealing with Karsh.

If you pause a moment to watch the conflagrations, you’ll notice that they heat up the quicksilver as they pass, during which time it can move. Then it will cool off, and hold still again.   This is important to note.

First, carefully pull the conflagrations, one at a time, while Karsh is away from them.  Any warmed quicksilver will follow along. The conflagrations are a pretty easy kill, and the quicksilver will solidify in place when they die.  Because of this, you may want to pull the first conflagration far back into the hallway, so you only need to deal with a few of the quicksilver on each. If you have a tank with high health, though, you don’t need to be as careful about that part, as the conflagrations are a quick kill, and They only immolate and cause heat exhaustion.

Once the conflagrations are out of the way; you are ready to pull Karsh. Two things are very important from the start of the fight. The first is that Karsh needs to be dragged in and out of the pillar in the center of the room. The second is that everyone wants to stay off the ring grate, as fiery nastiness will happen if anyone stands there.

From WoWhead: Karsh starts off with a Quicksilver Armor buff, which makes him immune to 99% of all damage. You can drag him through the pillar of fire in the center of room, allowing him to gain stacks of Superheated Quicksilver Armor for every 2 seconds he spends there. If his Superheated Armor buff falls off, he will regain the Quicksilver Armor and summon fire elemental adds (Bound Flames)  . To make the fight as easy as possible, you want to minimize the number of Superheated Armor stacks Karsh gains, while making sure the buff never falls off. To do this, have your tank run (not backpedal) through the pillar of fire once the Superheated Armor has about 5 seconds left on it.

Time to loot and move on!

Moving along the next section, you’ll run into a variety of mobs, again in packs of 4-6.  These are all ranged capable types, though some will run to melee more readily than others. Defiled Earth Ragers, Incendiary Sparks, Twilight Obsidian Borers and Twilight Elemental Wardens comprise these ranks. Here is a breakdown of their abilities:

Defiled Earth Rager (elemental): Bludgeoning Strike, Meteor

Incendiary Spark (elemental): Fireball, Final Volley

Twilight Elemental Warden (humanoid): Chain Lightning, Frostbomb, Fire Blast

Twilight Obsidian Borer (humanoid): Bore, Shadow Prison

After a few groups, you’ll get to a spot where you can go left or right. To the right is Beauty’s den, and she is a skippable boss.   On the other hand, so long as you don’t kill Runty, she’s a pushover, so there’s no real reason not to take her out.  Make sure you clear the intersection area, though, as Beauty has a fear ability.

First, figure out where Runty (beast) is, and mark him, just so everyone’s clear on where the little bugger is. I’ve seen him hiding in the back behind Beauty, which makes things much easier. The reason you don’t kill Runty is because Beauty will enrage when Runty dies.

The four pups (Lucky, Buster, Spot and Runty (all beasts)) have the same abilities: Lava Drool and Little Big Flame Breath. When one of the pups is near the front of the cavern is the best time to pull it. You can pull the pups individually, or use CC to pull them all at once, your choice.    Remember! Don’t kill Runty. If you get Runty in a pull, make sure to CC him to keep him out of the way.

Presuming you didn’t get Runty in a pull, grab Beauty when you’ve taken care of her other pups.  (If you did get Runty, as soon as you’ve downed the pups in front, grab Beauty as well, and make sure you keep Runty out of the way)  Beauty has a few abilities, the most notable being the fear, called Terrifying Roar. Her other abilities are Magma Spit, Flamebreak and Berserker Charge.

Move on to the left after you’ve made appropriate jokes about Molten Core for your skinners.

You will have a couple more groups like the ones discussed before Beauty. And then you will face the Ascendant Lord with a whole lot of minions, which makes things look much more complicated than they really are. Move a little closer. Oh, Hi Raz! Unfortunately, Raz will die here. Fortunately, when he does, you will be facing Ascendant Lord Obsidius and two Shadows of Obsidius.

Assign a DPSer to kite the Shadows. The kiter will need to have at least a little bit better than average run speed (or a slowing ability), and a ranged attack of some kind.  They should kite the adds within range of the healer, and not too far away from the Ascendant Lord.  The Shadows have Crepuscular Veil, which is why the run speed ability is handy. They also take no damage.

At 66% and 33%, the Ascendant Lord will switch places with one of the Shadows. The tank will still have aggro on the new Ascendant Lord, but the kiter will need to pick up the new Shadow.

Additionally, the Ascendant Lord will use Thunderclap, and if your kiter is in range, it needs to be removed. He also uses Twilight Corruption, which can either be removed or healed through.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed Blackrock Caverns!