05 April 2007

Deadmines, Take One

We almost made it.

We were pumped and ready for our first venture into an instance. And for the most part it went very well. We had one manageable bad fight, and one unmanageable one... and that's what wiped us. At that point, we'd had respawns behind us, and it was late, so we called it a night and bailed out.

One of the key decisions we made was to rely on the Deadmines instance guide at WoWWiki. Many times I prefer to work 'blind' so that I can be surprised by things... but as we were completely new to instances I was eager for any help we could get. And it was incredibly valuable for some details.

We took a quick trip through the non-instance portion. We had one glitch when fighting down to Marissa du'Paige. Somehow Firegrin's piggie got distracted and ran around a ramp, aggroing a whole slew of mobs. So things were fairly frantic for a bit, but we just focused on our jobs and kept our cool, and the storm blew over.

We worked out a good rhythm at the beginning of the instance. I suppose we were slow, but we were careful in all our pulls and brought in just a few at a time. Wyrmm did a lot of excellent scouting, and he was able to coach us on who was where and when to make our pulls. The first boss, Rhahk'Zor, was relatively easy. We were good at pulling in everyone around him, so we fought him completely by himself. We continued on (didn't see Miner Johnson) and visited with Sneed. He was if anything easier, but of course took longer as we had to fight both his shredder and himself.

Gilnid was a little tougher, mostly because of the room shape. We were worried about our pulls, particularly of the goblins on the platform in the middle of the room. A couple times we had a lot to handle, particularly with the mechanical pets the goblins have. But we did well at it, and when the room was clear it was fairly easy to take down Gilnid.

Then things got interesting. Wyrmm was able to pick the lock on the doors, which kept things quiet, and we did fine with the pulls down most of the boardwalk. Mr. Smite was pretty funny, and made for a good fight. It helped (a lot!) to know about his new weapons and what was coming next, and we definitely used the strategy of killing off his minions first. He dropped Smite's Mighty Hammer, which we gave to Cargarios, as it was far superior to the hammer he had been using.

(And yes, I know the tank "should" be using a shield. Like I said, we're more interested in having fun than being as efficient as possible. Eric likes the big hammer? Eric uses the big hammer.)

So now, on to the ship. The tight quarters made things nerve-wracking. Our pulls went fine. We got lucky with Cookie; he was quick to flee but ran away from the rest of the mobs. We caught it fairly quickly anyway, but there was little worry about him bringing back friends.

We kept working our way up the ramps on the ship. From the guide, we knew to be wary of Captain Greenskin. We flagged him with the skull and were careful with all our pulls; I don't think we ever came close to aggro'ing him from the lower levels. We were very paranoid about the mobs on the last ramp, but we carefully pulled them when Greenskin was far away, and had them run down to us.

That went well, but then we knew we had a problem. There were two Squallshaper mages at the top of the ramp, right next to Greenskin's patrol path. There was no way to reach the top without aggro'ing them... and we didn't know how to pull the mages down -- they would just cast on us.

We decided to try to take them as quickly as possible. We timed it perfectly and had made a good effort, but then we saw Greenskin running in (with his minions) and knew we were in trouble. I was trying to keep up with the healing... when I suddenly found myself very dead.


After that, the wipe was on. Without a healer, Cargarios got tanked into oblivion quickly, and Wyrmm followed soon after. Firegrin hung on longest, but death was inevitable and he soon joined us in spirit form. The biggest problem with our party design is that we have no ability to wipe recover. We have two rezzers which is nice, but no shaman to self-rez and no warlock to soulstone someone. And one of our rezzers is also our tank -- so no ability to disengage and flee. in other words, dead is dead.

We ran to the instance and popped in together, to see the other bit of bad news. Since we had been slow and methodical in moving through the instance, all the trash mobs had respawned. It was going to take another hour (at least) to work our way back to the ship. It was already 11:00PM and some of us needed to get up early to go to work. So we hearthed out and called it a night.

It's frustrating to be so close and to miss our goal. But we did well, and I think we have a strategy to deal with those pesky mages next time. We did get some nice items from the drops, and about a level's worth of experience. And you know what? Getting wiped just shows us that these things are challenging... which is sort of the point. I know that there are players out there who know much more than us, who could take even our characters and clean out the Deadmines in an hour or two. But efficiency really isn't the point, at least for us. We had to use a lot of creativity to plan for and complete our fights, and had a lot of fun along the way. Nobody lost their cool or got angry with the whole thing. And that tells me we're doing something right.

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