11 April 2007

Deadmines, Take Two

That went a lot better.

There were two major differences. The biggest was that we had all leveled up. I don't think there were any major shifts -- any new skills that really saved our bacon -- but just having more health really can make for success. Plus, the extra levels meant that the trash mobs -- the Defias Strip Miners and the like -- were much less likely to aggro. So we were able to even skip some early parts of the run. Nothing significant, but still it helped us get to the difficult parts while we were still sharp.

Rhahk'Zor was completely anticlimactic, going down almost as easily as the 'normal' Defias elites scattered throughout. We were lucky in that Miner Johnston paid us a visit, and we cleared him out fairly quickly. We were somewhat more careful with Sneed and his shredder, making sure to clear out the random goblins in the room first, but in the end he went down easily also.

We were careful again in clearing out the goblins in the smelter, but here too we were helped by their reduced aggro radius. Gilnid himself went down quickly, and our confidence continued to build as we approached the ship. Mr. Smite was again an amusing fight. We had Cargarios tank him while the others focused on the assassins. This time, we had not quite taken out the second assassin when Smite did his warstomp, and that meant that Firegrin had to tank some damage while stunned. But ultimately it was nothing he couldn't handle, and Mr. Smite was taken down like the rest.

That left us ready to board the ship.

Again, no major challenges here. We were able to pull out Cookie and nuke him by himself. We worked our way up the ship, and then faced the top deck, where we had wiped before. This time, we had realized a much better pull strategy. We waited on the lower deck while Wyrmm stealthed up to the last few casters remaining. He struck and then ran back down to us -- forcing them to follow. This worked flawlessly, allowing us to clear them out without dealing with Captain Greenskin. We had some anxious moments pulling Greenskin, as we didn't want to deal with VanCleefe yet, but in the end it wasn't a problem. As with Mr. Smite, we had Cargarios tank Greenskin while Firegrin and Wyrmm first took down the caster and then the pirate.

That left VanCleefe. I've seen many different strategies for dealing with him. Ultimately we decided to all focus on VanCleefe and get him done first, then to deal with the other adds last. And it worked absolutely flawlessly. Cargarios was able to grab 100% of the aggro, and so Alamein had only him to heal while the others kept dealing damage. I threw several big heals onto him -- probably seven -- but he'd given me the Blessing of Salvation, so I never grabbed aggro. Through the whole fight with VanCleefe, I don't think I saw a single point of damage on either Firegrin or Wyrmm; in short, it was perfection. After he (finally) went down, we cleaned up the adds and then took stock. We were done!

The loot drops were OK. Rakh'zor dropped his worthless hammer. Sneed, Miner Johnson, Gilnid, and Mr. Smite all dropped mildly amusing greens. Greenskin dropped the [Emberstone Staff], which the team generously gave to Alamein. And VanCleefe dropped the [Cape of the Brotherhood], which Cargarios won on a roll.

So -- in short -- a good time, fairly easy, and a real cause for celebration. It's pretty satisfying to get our first instance closed out so emphatically.

What's next?

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