Wild World of Warcraft III

The next stop on the Azeroth world tour was to be Zul’Farrak, but first we had to travel to many faraway places and do many convoluted quest chains to get those sweet, sweet dungeon quests. Along the way we did a difficult trio of escort missions for…mechanical chickens, because they just happened to be there and they were worth a lot of points.

Then we were sidetracked by ridiculous Christmas event quests where we won some more useless cosmetic items so we could look stupid because why not?

Then after many hours of preparation, it was finally time to go back to the desert region of Tanaris to tackle that dungeon, but not before I stopped to show off on my fancy paladin horse. Aaaaaanyway…

Zul’Farrak is basically just a giant troll city. It’s so large in scale that you can use mounts inside it, though you don’t really have much of a chance or reason to do so.

While it’s a big place, and it does have a few nice bosses and an interesting scripted event, it’s all a little too similar looking and you spend most of the time fighting the same few troll enemies over and over again. There are some nice rewards to be found, but it’s definitely not my favorite place.

The scripted event I mentioned involves killing a little boss at the top of a big pyramid-type structure who drops a key, which you use to unlock a group of cages, which starts another “escort” quest. There’s not really much actual escorting to be done, you all just stand at the top of the stairs while huge groups of guys rush you all. It becomes a pretty intense battle and luckily the people on your side aren’t as fragile as the usual escort quest people because things get so crowded and frantic that I lost sight of most of them within a few seconds.

If you manage to survive all the waves, you all walk down to the bottom and witness a dramatic scene where one of the prisoners leaves the group and runs away, and the rest suddenly turn on you and you’re forced to kill them. Thanks, guys.

About those super-convoluted quest chains, the worst one involves Gahz’rilla. If you want to fight him you’re going to have to jump through quite a few hoops. The quest only tells you that you need to find a way to summon him so you can kill him, and that the trolls might know a way to do it. If you do it the way the game wants you to, you’d have to actually go to Zul’Farrak first and get a randomly dropped trash item that’s actually an important text file that tells you what you need to do to perform the summoning ritual. Having done it before, I knew what needed to be done, but that didn’t make it simple still.

You need to find a certain enemy in Hinterlands, a forest area with more trolls that’s way on the other side of the world, kill him and take his sacred mallet, then you need to fight your way through an entirely different troll city, up to the top of another pyramid-type structure, all of which is almost the same size and difficulty as a normal dungeon itself, and use the mallet on the altar at the end to create Mallet of Zul’Farrak. Then you take that back to Zul’Farrak and use it on another altar, which finally summons the damn guy, all so we could win some items we didn’t even use. Oh well. He needed to be conquered, so that’s what we did!

Gahz’rilla

Apparently if I get the other one of these two rare one-handed swords there, they can be combined into a pretty sweet epic sword. I NEED DIS! We had already moved on to the next place before I realized though…

Maraudon is a 5-player dungeon, consisting of 3 wings (The Wicked Grotto, Foulspore Cavern, and Earth Song Falls), located in the Valley of Spears in Desolace. It is a combination of ancient centaur burial grounds, as well as a primal temple dedicated to the elemental earth.”

Entrance to Maraudon. I’m sure it’s fine

This place was added into the game after its earliest days, and so I never had much experience with it. I think I might have gone there once, but don’t think we explored it all. I can see why we wouldn’t have done that at the time because this place is fucking massive.

It’s another one with a huge pre-instance dungeon, probably the biggest one since Deadmines, and to make matters worse, this area comes to a forked path, each of which leads to a separate entrance to the same instance, but if you should happen to pick the wrong one you’re going to end up doing it “backwards” and messing up the order of a few key Maraudon quests. Naturally, there’s no indication whatsoever which way you should go first, so if you happen to pick the wrong one you won’t know until it’s way too late to do anything about it other than do the whole place over again (unless you can get some magic GM help…).

Once inside,  the instance itself is even more enormous and confusing. Like the description says, there are three distinct zones and each one is almost a full-sized dungeon on its own. First (though as it turned out, this was NOT where we should have gone first) there’s The Wicked Grotto, a big series of crystal-covered caves full of angry centaurs, satyrs, and some really hard-hitting slime enemies. I always liked those slime guys because you can see the little bits of skeletons and stuff floating around in some of them and when you loot them they’ll be full of junk items like skulls and broken weapons. Always thought that was a nice touch of detail.

Anyway, then you reach another fork in the road, with one path leading to Foulspore Cavern, a weird bio-wasteland full of angry mutant plants. This area has a lot of enemies, but is pretty simple and linear (which I guess is why it’s supposed to be the area you’re supposed to enter first).

Sexy final boss of Maraudon

Earthsong Falls, the third and final section, is the biggest and nastiest. It’s a long stretch of twisting roads leading up and down some cliffs which branch off into multiple directions again, some leading down to an optional section of watery depths at the base of the waterfalls, which is guarded by giant worms and lizards, hydras, and some earth elementals, as well as some extra bosses. The other way leads up through a gauntlet of towering boss-sized stone giants, and finally ends with the last boss of the whole crazy place.

Many nice pieces of gear were found and much fun was had, but there’s much, much, much more to go still. Join us next time for adventures in the Sunken Temple and…whatever comes next after that? Stratholme maybe? I don’t even know! I’m excited to get started on these later level Azeroth dungeons though, as I seem to remember liking them and their semi-horror-themes the best. Until then…

Wild World of Warcraft II

Now for some more tales of furious World of Warcraft playing. We ended up playing quite a bit during the extra downtime of the holidays, before we ended up on an extended family vacation where we’re currently doing a whole lot of nothing. Anyway…I guess I forgot to mention our characters too, eh? I used to play a rogue back in the old days, so I figured I’d try something different this time. Now I am Ralstonicus the retribution paladin, and it’s been pretty fun. I’m sort of a tank, but also with a lot of interesting crowd control, damage, and healing/protection spells.

VANITY SHOT

Mrs. Fotchenstein decided to go with a shadow priest, so she’s got a lot of healing and some pretty nice damage spells. We actually make a pretty good team with these classes and builds, luckily. She also ended up spending a lot of time setting up a guild for us, all 3 of us (us 2 and the extra GM account), which we decided to fittingly name Servants of Pantha (our cat).

So…the next stop on our journey was…well, it was going to be Razorfen Downs, but apparently the internet misinformed us of the level range of that one so we overshot it by a great deal. Luckily there’s another dungeon, Razorfen Kraul, literally right across the street, so that’s where we ended up.

The imposing entrance of Razorfen Kraul

Razorfen Kraul is the ancestral home of the quilboar, obscured by thorns that grew from the corpse of the demigod Agamaggan”

I guess things didn’t work out too well for the quillboars, because this place is a decrepit maze of caverns, filled with angry undead quillboars and other such decayed abominations. A bit of the way into the place we came upon a large room with a big gong in the corner. Mrs. Fotchenstein said to me “you should ring that gong”. I couldn’t remember what this thing did, but it sounded like a dare to me, one that I didn’t think she thought I would do! So of course I immediately did it and about a dozen weird spiders rushed out and attacked us, almost killing us. We survived and she said “Ok, now will you hit it again?”, and so I did. This time a group of larger man-spider things rushed out and attacked us, almost killing us again. This time she says “are you sure you want to hit it again?”, and I say “YES!” and do it, which summons the final enemy, a giant spider monster called Tuten’kash!

TUTEN’KAAAAAAASH!

He wasn’t too tough at all really. It’s much easier to deal with a single tough target than it is to be surrounded by a swarm of weaker guys. The only time we died in here was to another boss, some super skeleton guy, who had about 20 minor skeleton guys around him that swarmed the shit out of us.

Fatso zombie boss

Things went pretty smoothly after that. Lots and lots of undead to fight through and some cool looking undead bosses. The only other tricky part was an escort quest that started with a guy we found locked in a cell deep in the dungeon. Luckily we had cleared the place out before trying to start his quest so it was simple enough to get him where he needed to go, but then he started doing a little magic ritual that he needed protection during and more undead quillboars started appearing out of nowhere to attack in waves for quite a long time, with no chance to rest. We made it through though, and conquered all there was to conquer in the dreaded Razorfen Kraul. Next up, Uldaman. 

Final boss of RFK

“Uldaman is an ancient Titan vault buried deep within the Khaz Mountains. Partially excavated, it has since fallen into the hands of the Dark Iron dwarves who seek to corrupt its riches for their master, Ragnaros.”

Uldaman is pretty fun, but also kind of annoying in some ways. It’s a large place with another really complex layout that’s easy to get turned around in. There’s a pretty large variety of enemy types and bosses, so that’s good. There’s a secret boss hidden behind a door that can only be opened by finding the two halves of a staff that was clearly based on the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Secret boss

There are a lot of dark dwarves, trogs, various types of stone golems, and some surprisingly deadly pits of little scorpions, which ended up killing me in an unexpected ambush once. Luckily Mrs. Fotchenstein was there to save me.

I can survive 50 foot stone giants, but not some tiny scorpions…

The downside of Uldaman though is another lengthy pre-dungeon area to fight through and some really convoluted quest chains that want you to do multiple things in the pre-dungeon area, then run back and turn the quests in just so you can get the actual quests for inside the dungeon. There’s even one quest that wants you to get 3 special gems in the dungeon, all of which drop from different bosses that are all over the place, so you aren’t getting them all without doing the whole dungeon, but then when you turn it in they want you to go back and fight another boss that was in there, one that you’d have to fight your way through half or more of the whole place again to get to again. No thanks, one complete exploration of this place is quite enough for now.

Final boss of Uldaman

One other thing worth noting about Uldaman is that if you get all the way to the end you’re treated to a lengthy history lesson by a weird magic hologram type guy that reveals that some weird ancient creator race came to Azeroth and created all the life there, and that all the weird magic-tech like the stone golems and such are actually machines built by these strange beings which I guess you could call alien invaders? Very strange. My friends back in the old days of Warcraft would always rush through all these things so quickly that I never really had time to stop and read all this weird lore, so I never realized what a strange history this world has. I think I’m going to need to do some research on this because it sounds pretty interesting. I guess I should also actually play Warcraft 3 someday, as I always hear how good that was and how relevant it is to a lot of the stories in World of Warcraft. 

Well, that’s enough of the Wild World of Warcraft for now. There are more tales to tell of things we already did weeks ago, but I’m a bit behind on everything thanks to this vacation so I’ll have to talk about Zul’Farrak, Mauradon, and more next time!

Wild World of Warcraft

Ah, the slow grind of the early days. Stabbing your way through boars and sick wolves and such for some pitiful amount of xp. It’s a bit slow in the beginning, with such simple quests and such limited abilities for your character, but it was probably necessary, as we had no idea what we were doing after almost a decade of absence from this game. It’s not terrible, having to run around doing these early solo quests, but we were both eager to get to the dungeons, as that’s where all the real action and rewards are. Also, holy shit is it slow to have to walk everywhere. Level 20, where the first dungeons and mounts are, couldn’t come fast enough.

Once we got there though, it’s been almost nothing but non-stop back-to-back dungeons. I’m not complaining, it’s just strange to look back and realize how often we’d have to resort to doing everything BUT dungeons back in the day because we couldn’t find a group or we found one and it went wrong part way through. Without the reliance on large groups of friends or random strangers, you can just dive right into the dungeon content and never really stop.

We blew through quite a few places before it occurred to me that I should take more screenshots in order to keep some kind of record of all this, so there isn’t much to show for all these early ones. I actually screwed up a bunch of the first batch of screenshots by accidentally re-binding the same button to both video and image capture. Oops. So, I’ll keep these brief this one time.

The first dungeon for the Alliance side is The Deadmines. While it was nice to finally get into a dungeon again, this one is a bit annoying in the beginning. Dungeons are typically instanced so you can’t be disturbed by other players while you’re in there and the creatures don’t ever respawn as long as one of your group is still inside, so it’s strange that this one has a massive outer area that you have to fight through to get to the actual instance entrance. It’s really long for an entrance area and it’s a bit of a maze of caverns so there was a good amount of backtracking to find the right passage to the entrance, and since those no-respawn rules don’t apply to anything outside, we had to go through the same large groups of enemies multiple times. Oh well. It was fun once we got in. Rogues, goblins, and pirates. Pirates with attack parrots. Fun times.

Final boss of Gnomer

Next on the list was Shadowfang Keep. This was one we never saw much of back in the day because it’s deep in Horde territory and very difficult for low level characters to get to without help. It’s a shame, because it’s my kind of dungeon, a dusty old mansion filled with werewolves and ghosts.

Then there are The Stockades. This was a common, popular one since it’s right inside one of the major Alliance cities. It’s not a particularly exciting one though. It’s very short and you just fight a bunch of prisoners with no real variety and no interesting bosses. Oh well.

After that was Blackfathom Deeps. This is a weird maze of ruins and caves that’s partially submerged under water. This is probably the first “real” dungeon you go to. It’s noticeably longer and broken up into different sections, each with their own different visual style and set of enemy types. You’ll come up against murlocs, nagas, giant snapping turtles, a variety of evil cultists, many more bosses than before, and there’s even a giant three headed hydra boss at the end. This is what it’s all about, that sweet, sweet dungeoning!

Herod in The Scarlet Monastery

Then there’s the infamous Gnomeregan. A strange clockwork labyrinth full of trogs, diseased gnomes, and many bizarre mechanical enemies. The quests in this one are a bit complicated, requiring you to find well-guarded terminals in a specific order to upgrade a key card level by level until it’s high enough to open the door to the last boss. The layout of this place is pretty complex and it’s easy to find yourself lost or missing the one terminal you need. Still, without having any impatient team members trying to rush things along, we were able to explore it all at a nice relaxed pace and find everything we needed. Looking back on it, we used to play with some real assholes back then, that made things not so fun sometimes. I don’t want to get into all that, I’m just glad it isn’t an issue anymore.

The last stop on this particular tour is The Scarlet Monastery. This was another semi-popular one, but also one that was pretty difficult to get to for the level range it was intended for. It’s not only in Horde territory, but it’s through a few areas that are of much higher level than you are if you’re going to this place. You’d either need an escort or just have to try to run for it and hope you survive until you get there. It’s a pretty fun place if you make it though. A lot of crazy templar types and big boss fights.

That’s all for now. I apologize for how basic this post is, I’ll make sure to have more pictures and details on adventures in individual dungeons now that this has caught up to the point where I actually realized “I should record this shit!”. Goes to show how much we’ve been playing this and how quickly we’re progressing, as we’d already shot up to the mid 30’s by this point.