Tag Archives: Scarlet Monastery – Graveyard

It’s okay, I’m a rogue. You’re not supposed to notice.

I think that in the end I only ran Gnomeregan about five times, total. I could go back through my blog entries and count, but I’m going to say it doesn’t matter and it was about five times. I thought that was bad. It IS an instance that takes a significant chunk of time.

I had not yet been introduced to monotony in the way that being level 30-32 has introduced me to monotony leveling a character through the LFD tool.

“Scarlet Monastery Graveyard” syndrome is typified by a few key symptoms. Let me enumerate them for you.

  • Spontaneous narcolepsy at the keyboard
  • Group apathy regarding: drops, conversation, the run or any of the mobs in it
  • Tendency to whimper, “I’ll – rip – the – secrets – from – your – flesh!” in a creepy singsong.

If you or any of your family members or loved ones begin to exhibit any of these signs, don’t wait, seek aid quickly. Preferably by deciding against leveling a character exclusively through the LFD tool in the first place. Leave yourself an “except if I start to see red in the form of Scarlets one too many times” caveat.

The phenomenon is best summed up by a fellow I grouped with while pugging the other day. It was my fifth Graveyard run and he observed (not to me, but about me)… “I’ve had the same healer for this five times today.”

You don’t say? That’s funny, because I’m a healer. And this is the fifth time I’m doing this. Wait a minute…

I really had grouped with him five times, I guess. I didn’t recognize him at all, except vaguely I knew that we’d run together the previous time. I sheepishly admitted that I hadn’t realized we’d grouped together as many times. His answer? See the title post. He wins at witty repartee.

The rogue went on to say, “I’m loving the new LFD tool! It makes leveling so fluid!”

The words were still hanging there in the air, in a little speech bubble, as the tank blundered into Scarlet Room No. 1 and pulled the whole thing. I had to laugh, but in the end he was right; none of us died, all of THEM died, and so really that is pretty fluid. I remarked wearily, “Five runs in a row, I’m getting a little tired of this place.” Again, though, Mr. Stabby McStab had me beat.

“Only five?” he said. “This is my eleventh.” But he sounded happy about it.

So needless to say, I don’t have quite the pug endurance I normally would at the moment. Five graveyards at a time is approximately my limit, no matter how smooth the groups.

I’ve duly noted hints and tips about warlocks, spirit tapping, and their dependence on doing so. I’ve officially put them on the “benefit of the doubt” list for the time being. I’m sure I sounded meaner than I really am – it’s not that I have a problem with healing people who need it. If more tanks were using a shield, I’d be likely to have more time to spare for beleaguered, low-level ‘locks.

For now though, I have to tell you about another warlock I encountered. I’m not sure this one ever life-tapped at all. That wasn’t his problem. His problem seemed to be some mixture of recklessness/cluelessness. All throughout the instance (I watched him doing this, though perhaps he thought no-one would notice) he kept pulling mobs. He’d sneak ahead, target something – send his pet in to attack it, immediately begin wanding and then type into party chat: “Help!”

This wasn’t an isolated incident. I watched him go to a completely different area of the graveyard and do it. Pet, wand… “Help!” Wanding, incidentally, made up the bulk of his attacks for the instance. Maybe the word has gotten out about me, he was too afraid to Lifetap to get any mana, and so wanted to conserve everything he could.

“I didn’t just shoot this ghost in the eye with my magical wand! Someone help me!”

At one point our tank disconnected. The possible OT was AFK. It was just myself, rogue, warlock. I was just asking if the other warrior might agree to tank so we could finish the instance, when the warlock charged down the steps. The rogue and hapless healing pally followed.

Encountering the first batch of undead there, the warlock began wanding. “Help,” he cried, unexpectedly.

I was healing him. I was. I was healing his pet too. And the rogue. For a moment I thought we might pull it off, but too many of them were on me, dividing my healing between them and mostly me. Perhaps I should have been a better healing pally turned tank. I was running out of  ‘I have a ghost in my unmentionables’ cooldowns (damn you, Forbearance).

“I’m going to die,” the warlock said, in his first flash of understanding since we’d met.

He was right. Moments later, the rogue and I are still struggling to eke by, and the warlock is typing in party chat. “Can someone rez me?” We hadn’t yet died ourselves.

I’m sure it’s nothing about warlocks in particular. I just keep encountering them, that’s all I’m saying!

People keep telling me that they’ve been inspired to level a lowbie alt this way after reading here. I have only one thing to say to this.

What is wrong with you people?! Really? You read this and it makes you WANT to do it? We need a support group or something.

The plus side is, though, that there are other people writing things in a much more systematic and helpful way than I am. Natarumah wrote this Instance Leveling 101 guide. Cass over at HoTs & DoTs has been mapping Gnomeregan for the directionally challenged. I might try to compile some lowbie holy pally things, since the sum total of knowledge I found on the topic when I searched can essentially be boiled down to: “Lowbie Holy pally healing? Don’t/lol noob/go ret,” etc. I have switched to judging Light to help the DPS heal themselves instead of Wisdom to give me mana to heal them, and that seems to have been helpful so far!

This next part has nothing to do with being a pally or pugging, so feel free to skip it if that’s all you’re into. Some folks might recall that when I’m not punishing myself mercliessly trying to progress beyond SM: GY, I mess things up with the power of the arcane/frost/fire, even frostfire, for a stint.

I haven’t really made a fuss about hiding my identity here – anyone who cared to armory Vidyala would know my guild anyway. We like ten-person raiding, hard modes, and general tomfoolery. Possibly shenanigans. We’re looking for a ranged DPS right now. That’s it, just one awesome DPS. Preference given to one whose skills have progressed beyond wanding a mob and screaming “help,” – you should have a macro to pop your trinkets first and THEN wand the mob. Drop me a line if you have any questions about the guild, or the macro. I make a great wanding macro.

I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

It turns out that insomnia and the new LFD tool are uniquely suited to one another. Instead of using Warcraft as a glorified chat engine, standing in a capital city and staring at the mailbox, I can actually while away some time until I’m tired enough to sleep.

Scarlet Monastery GY – Hello? Is this thing on?

My first pug of the evening was accompanied by a feeling of great hope. Could it be possible, I thought, that I have out-leveled interminable Gnomeregan runs?  Yes, the random dungeon finder answered. A thousand times yes!

Now I can spend my time doing the same Scarlet Monastery run over and over again instead. This was another ‘silent one.’ I had a panick-y moment during the initial SM GY; I realized, thanks to the warlock… that it seemed like my Flash of Light was not healing. A few confused and muddled moments later and I realized it was healing – it was just healing ME. My clever keybound macro was too smart for its own good, and it interprets /cast Flash of Light as /cast Flash of Light on the pally, and not the life-tapping warlock who probably deserves to die anyhow.

I need to digress a moment to talk about the lifetap thing. What is with warlocks who do this? I’m giving most warlocks the benefit of the doubt here, I haven’t run across too many yet in my LFDing. At 80, I’ve met ‘locks who are unobtrusive in their lifetapping. I’m genial about tossing them a HoT. Here, warlock, do borrow my mana. My leaves can handle it. My mana is infinite, please partake of it. This is as a resto druid. I’m no longer playing a resto druid, and I’m also not level 80. THIS warlock drained herself dry casting in one pull, meanwhile, you can imagine that futile FoL spam (due to dealing with my broken macro) left my mana gasping, I hoped the tank would actually stop when I asked him, and sat to drink. The tank was a pally, and he sat to drink too. Everyone sat to drink! We had a little party there among the corpses, just drinking away.

The warlock? She lifetapped until she’d nearly killed herself, and then she just stood there.

What did I do? I don’t have a HoT. I couldn’t even get all my mana back in the time I had to drink. The tank jumped up and flailed off in some opposite direction, and I followed him. The last glimpse of her I had – she was bandaging. Which brings her up slightly in my estimation since she clearly recognized that she was on her own with her LT habit. What, warlock, you’re too good to drink like the rest of us? You thought you’d save some time? Or you took a look at my mana bar, and mistakenly thought that it was your bitch.

Apart from the warlock, the whole group was fairly forgettable, because nobody spoke beyond ‘hello.’ I should note here that I’ve been thinking about this post that Elnia wrote over at Pink Pigtail Inn in which she compares the new LFG tool to pornography. It’s a thought-provoking read which I won’t attempt to summarize here. I wonder if it holds true at all levels? What about if you are trying to get to know the people in your group? My biggest regret about the cross-server system is that I keep meeting people who seem really nice but have no method of adding them to my friends list or similar, and likely will never encounter them again. So to me the impersonal nature is a major drawback, but is it still casual thrill-seeking? And if so, am I a sort of pugging porn star?

With that in mind, I made a concerted effort to engage my next random SM group. It took them a little while to open up, but we did get to chatting. Someone remarked that it was quite a competent group, and I said that it was the tank who was making me happy. I’m not even sure that the tank (a warrior) even really knew what I was talking about. Early on in the instance he’d been LoSing some groups around the corner. And he said he was going to do it! And called it by name!

I said, “It’s so nice to have a tank who really knows what he is doing. You said ‘LoS pull’ and my heart went pitter-patter.”

His response: “Huh?” I think he was too busy concentrating on tanking to pay too much attention. Anyway, we all had fun and everyone wanted to queue for another together, so we did, and had a quick and painless Stockades run. I think the tank may have queued us for it specifically, because of the weird level-diversity glitch with a pre-existing group. I’m at the point where Stocks doesn’t grant much, XP-wise, but it was a fun run regardless. The tank had just re-rolled Alliance and this was his first tanking character, but he’d obviously been paying attention to other tanks because he was one of the best I’ve encountered playing Vid thus far.

After that group broke up, I was relatively close to 31 and so I queued again. Once more, SM Graveyard, this time with a spastic paladin tank who rushed in and aggroed the entire first room past the hallway. Chaos ensued, and like the sick person I am, I was pleased. “Now THIS is a group that’ll give me something to write about,” I enthused in guild. It’s possible I have a sickness.

Anyway, we all died horribly and we were running back, when one guy says “Rez please.” I immediately think of Tam’s refusal to rez one such asshat, but SM GY is so short, and my convictions are weak. The time it would take me to belabour the point would be at least half the length of the instance. Paralyzed by indecision, I don’t respond. The tank is a pally, after all. He could also rez. And I didn’t say I wouldn’t rez him, either. But little do I know, in a twist of delicious fate, the problem is going to take care of itself.

“Rez please!” he insists. I’ve just run back into the instance and made it to the room full of Scarlets we didn’t kill. A charming gnome skeleton decorates the ground.

“You released,” I tell him. “Only your skeleton is here. I can’t rez you.”

But apparently, meantime, he’s been trying to run back. “Why u guys close the door??” he says.

I say nothing.

“**** you closed the door, I can’t get in!” he goes on. Nobody says anything in party chat. I’m killing myself laughing, silently. He’s got to be trying to get into one of the other instances in SM…the ones that HAVE doors, some of them locked.

“You guys are ***holes, why u close door?!” Mister Rez Me has finally had enough, and he quits the group in a fit, presumably to wander Tirisfal as a ghost, forever. I think it’s a fitting end.

The rest of the run really isn’t great, because we’re talking about a paladin who is ‘tanking’ with a massive 2-hander equipped. We finish and I’m still snickering to myself, but only one measly bar away from hitting 31. I queue one more time, and I’m in a group with not only the same not-so-great pally tank, but also the warlock from before. (She barely life-taps, though, have I won some sort of silent power struggle?) I hit 31 and decide it’s time to stop tempting fate, since clearly the late-night crowd is making for slim pug pickings.

I’m looking forward to the next chance I get to pug – hopefully I’ll be into the rest of the SM instances soon! I really enjoy them all, and although Graveyard is fast and easy, after 4x runs per session it’s going to get old fast.

Ambriel (aforementioned holy paladin from my guild) says he wouldn’t make a very good blogger re: pugs because he would just say, “The run was fine. The end.” I could summarize this evening’s pugs in a similar fashion, perhaps a haiku:

pug kills many ghosts

sadly, the door eludes you

next time run instead!


I “Need” to sell it on the AH, if you disagree you’re just being greedy.

There are benefits that come with taking a brief hiatus from leveling a character, and also drawbacks. One excellent thing: rest bonus! The levels just fly by when you’re getting added XP. I started pugging this evening about half-way through level 28. Two instance runs later, and Vid’s reached another major milestone: Level 30!

The drawback is that the break I took did leave me noticeably rusty and a little unsure of some of my pally tools. (No, I didn’t lose my FoL button, fortunately. I did forget which key + click combination I was using for Divine Protection.) I know it sounds a bit silly, but I have trouble keeping track of the names of paladin things compared to the other classes I have leveled, but it may just be a question of familiarity. I know before I played a resto druid, all the regrowth, rejuv, lifebloom, etc. sounded the same to me. I wondered how druids could manage them. Mind you, at that time I’d never seriously committed to playing an arcane mage. Arcane blast? Missile? Barrage? Explosion? Oh, we’ve got your arcane covered.

But with the pally it’s more Hands/Seals/Blessings/Aura… there are more effects going than you can shake a stick at. I hoped that by leveling as I am, I’d have enough time to acclimatize in between levels but it can still be a bit overwhelming to get something like six new abilities at once. In any case, I now have Divine Favor, which I have macroed to FoL for the time being. My guild’s resident Holy pally, Ambriel, tells me that I will change this to Holy Shock in ten levels.

But that’s not what you want to read about, is it? You want to hear about how I went to Gnomeregan. I’m thinking I should change the blog’s name: “Straight Outta Gnomeregan.”

I logged in and tried to remember what my shiny buttons do. When I felt good and ready, I hopped in that queue. If you ever owned a classic NES, you’ll know what I mean when I say I was doing everything I could to picture this pug working. In the same way you used to blow air in the cartridge, turn the machine upside down, dance in a circle and hop on one foot, I crossed my fingers as I clicked accept. It went something like, “Please not Gnomeregan, please not Gnomeregan…”

Yes, Gnomeregan

You know how the next part of the story goes. We had three druids and a mage. One druid fancied being a bear, the other two were cats. The mage was a smartass, but we’re all kind of like that, really. This druid hadn’t read what Big Bear Butt has written about bear tanking at lower levels. But she wasn’t bad, she was struggling a bit and squishy to heal (relative to other tanks I’ve seen going through Gnomer). But I think her biggest problem was something I’m starting to think of as Pug Diffusion. It seems to happen especially if the tank isn’t a strong personality, or at least they aren’t in a role they’re as comfortable with. Tanks are under a lot of pressure, and it’s a big responsibility, even if a lot of folks don’t take it as such. When a tank seems uncertain or the least bit hesitant in these lowbie pugs, there are usually three other people entirely too willing to seize the reins and go charging off – in three different directions.

My rule is pretty simple. I stick with the tank. Even if they’re going the wrong way. In this case, one cat seemed to know the lay of the land, but would often head in a different direction from my bear. “This way,” and “Here,” and “No go here,” and I’m starting to be glad that the bear ass is easy to keep an eye on. I still managed to lose her in the room where you can clean gunk off an object and get a little present… she was standing meditatively in front of one of the machines, feeding one grimy lump after another into it while the rest of the group waited. I almost want to go back and do the same – I have 19 of those things. I said almost.

No animals were harmed in the taking of this screenshot.

The best part of this pug was when we were at one of the circular places…with the robots… and it was as if word had gotten out about the fleshy beings, because we sure got their attention. Each DPSer was tanking their own little pack of mobs while the bear stood in the middle, things were hitting me, him, her, and it felt like I’d stumbled into the Ringling Bros. Vidyala’s Traveling Circus! It became one of those intense, heal, heal, heal, mana potion, oh crap judge wisdom on this and try to swing a hit at it, heal, heal, moments. It was great! At the end, I was completely empty, and everyone lived. I even took a picture.

Not long after this, one of the DPS druids was voted out of the party. He kept needing on every green while people said things like, “Why did you need on that, you can’t even use swords??” I was still staring at the “Vote to kick” pop-up when the motion passed, apparently you only need a majority to do it. This is a major problem with some of these older instances, though… If you kick someone, it’s nigh-impossible to get a replacement in because they start at the very beginning. Assuming they aren’t like me, and bound to get hopelessly lost, they’ve still got to contend with pats, trash that didn’t get cleared, whatever. It isn’t worth it, and the rogue who joined our party agreed with me. After a brief, “Don’t go back and get him, come back here tank,” mini-drama, we went to kill Mekgineer whosits with four of us. It actually may have been the quickest Gnomeregan run I’ve had yet; or it’s also possible I’ve lost all sense of time.

Naughty Secrets!

Next, I encountered a dilemma. Our completed Gnomeregan run left me a mere bar of XP left to go until level 30. I’d really like to be level 30 very much. Another run of Gnomeregan much? Possibly… except I get lucky. I recognize that loading screen from the Hallow’s End event. Scarlet Monastery, Graveyard! This instance is short, sweet…and eerily silent. I haven’t encountered this at lower levels, although in 80 pugs I more or less expect it. Nobody answers my hello or says anything at all, some of these people are doing over 100 DPS – at least double what I’ve seen up until this point. We clear through handily, and the only thing of note is that the bear tank is wearing all heirloom cloth gear. I know that at lower levels, feral doesn’t have all the stuff they have at higher, but I think she’d have been easier to heal if she were at least wearing feral gear, if not using a feral spec. But who am I to talk? We cleared the instance in about ten minutes. It was smooth, and nothing eventful happened at all, and now my small pally is slightly bigger. Only 50 levels to go!