Tag Archives: Stormwind Stockades

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!

Yes, I will murder those men in cold blood to avenge your son. For great justice.

I keep learning all of these utility things and I feel like such a paladin padawan. Like I learned Hand of Salvation. I know a ret pally will use this on themselves to make sure they don’t pull threat and then go splat. Is it typical for a pally healer to use it in a similar fashion to put on a DPS? Should I save it for myself in case I have a terrible tank and am pulling healing threat (not an unheard of situation, believe me).

Anyway, I keep logging on with Vid determined to look into these things beforehand, and end up saying, “Meh, I’ll figure it out” and just diving in. Today I managed to squeeze in three full instances; leveling handily from 23 some odd to 26. Incidentally – I’m referring to people by their classes instead of their names here to preserve at least some anonymity, not because I actually call people “Tank” or “Hey you person that smacks things.”

Stormwind Stockades – “Shaman didn’t pull shit!”
First up on the random menu, home to Stormwind’s nastiest criminals. No really, these guys are level twenty. One of them even has a BoP blue, they mean business.

I’m learning a few pug cues I never really paid attention to before. One: when your tank walks into Stocks and says “Which way?” you’re probably not in for a great run. Those of you who’ve never had the dubious ‘pleasure’ of enjoying this instance may not know what I mean… it’s a corridor, in essence. You start at the centre. You can go left, and then after you’ve cleared left, you’ll be going right. Or you can go right, and then you’ll be clearing left in due time.

It took us so long to go through this instance that by the time we were going right, we had re-spawns. I didn’t even know Stocks could HAVE respawns. The warrior tank didn’t exactly know what he was doing, but we muddled through regardless. Poor DPS at these levels is giving me ample opportunity to judge Wisdom and then flail ineffectually at things with my healing mace to try and get some mana back. I think it’s working somewhat.

At one point we had a group member drop, just as we were coming to the room with the ogre boss. Now, I’m a little vague on the details of what happened here. I’m pretty sure I saw the hunter’s wolf run into the room on the right. I’m tempted to say I saw the warrior tank sprint merrily into the room on the left. And I know for a fact that I followed the shaman into another room. The tank exclaimed gleefully while we were running back to our bodies, “I think I counted ten at one point!”

Did you know the graveyard you appear at when you die in Stocks is in Elwynn? Neither did I! On the long run back I coached my group members on the finer points of not aggroing half the damn instance. “Do you think we need a fifth?” the tank asks. “Nope, we’ll be fine if we don’t pull all three rooms. The hunter pulled a room, you pulled another, and the shaman ran into a third.” The shaman insisted he was only following the feared warrior tank (this is possible) with an emphatic, “Shaman didn’t pull shit!” I had to give him credit for his conviction, but being that I stood in the doorway of a room full of mobs into which he cast a lightning bolt… I remain dubious.

We go back in to try again, unfortunately we somehow lost Dextren Ward in the fray, and he won’t respawn, so we can’t chop his hand off. It’s during this confused trash clearing that I realize something. Every single green that drops, the Hunter is rolling Need on it. When he rolls need on Bright Mantle, I call foul.

Me: Hunter, why are you needing on everything?
Hunter: cuz I can use it and make my armor better
Hunter: do you know how hard it is not to die from melee as a hunter?
Shaman: You should play a lock priest or mage they wear cloth
Hunter: I need the best possible protection
Me: I hope Bright Mantle helps, lol
Hunter: I can use Cloth, Leather and when I hit 40 Mail.
Shaman: Cloth is for a damn caster type… you should only roll need on Leather
Me: I am sure he does, LMAO
Hunter: O chit I gotta go, sorry
Hunter: but cloth shoulders were the best 4 now
Me: Good luck with your melee problem!

I liked the Tourette’s shaman, he tried to get the hunter to give me the shoulders but I demurred. I left the group secure in the knowledge, at least, that the next time the tank should know which way to go (left or right), and the hunter… bless him, I’ll bet he never runs out of mana, he has such high spirit!

Blackfathom Deeps – Please light one candle at a time, guys
I actually made sure to collect the easily available quests for this instance in case I happened to get popped in line for it – and it pays off! I gained at least half a level from these instance quests; they were all red and orange to me. My second instance is everyone’s favourite murloc-ridden, Twilight Cultist dwelling cavern. I have a fond place in my heart for this instance, because it was the first one I stumbled through as a completely noob priest with no idea what I was doing, a year and a half ago. I hope I acquit myself better as a healer this time around and I can make up for past wrongs. I remember it because being my first character at the time, the other party members actually pointed out how bad my gear was – “lol you need better gear!” and I shamed them by saying that it was my first character and I couldn’t afford the AH prices to buy anything.

Vidyala, on the other hand, practically glows when she walks she’s so laden with antiques, so nobody tells her she needs better gear. I join the instance in progress, they’ve already downed the turtle boss, and a mage joins at the same time as I do. We head down the tunnels as the mage begins attacking neutral crabs or something. I tell him we don’t need to kill those, we’re trying to get to the group. As it turns out, the group comes to us, as we reach the first true boss: platform jumping.

I can only assume that the current generation of young WoW players missed out on Mario or something, because we spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for this poor mage to manage three jumps in a row to make it across the water. I remember there’s a cheat you can run along the wall and skip it, but instead I watch as the shaman coaches the mage by showing him where to jump. Amid “lol wut r u guys doing,” everyone comes back to find us. “I’m helping this mage!” The funniest thing is, this is probably the hardest part of the whole dungeon.

Eventually he gets it and we move on – I have to tell the party “to please stop attacking random crustaceans,” and they manage to restrain themselves for the most part. We had a hard time keeping this party together and at one point I thought we wouldn’t finish it – the mage dropped early on, the shaman not long after. Eventually they’re replaced by a hunter and another rogue. It dawns on me, as we’re moving through the Twilight Cultist section and the hunter’s pet tanks a mob off in the corner and dies – my healing UI is not set up to display warlock or hunter pets. I must remember to fix that before I run another instance.

I really haven’t met many tanks I particularly like or trust doing this. I wonder if that will change or improve as I reach higher levels? They’ve been mostly bumbling and blissfully unaware of the fact that the healer can’t heal them if they run on ahead out of range, or if the healer is completely out of mana since they pulled an entire room of murlocs with their face.

By some miracle though we get this one done, too. I even get a piece of loot at the end! Moss Cinch is better than what I’ve been wearing and we only have cloth-wearing casters, so I need roll on it. Cuz I need it to make my armour better. Do you know how hard it is to avoid being killed in melee as a holy paladin? At 40 I can wear plate and I’ll roll Need on that, too!

Razorfen Kraul – Would anyone actually eat the meat that drops from these mobs?
I need to start taking into account that these classic instances…they’re often LONG. These aren’t “I can knock out a quick instance in 20 minutes” kinds of places. They’re more like “Let’s venture into a tangle of thorns and pigs and see how many times we can get lost, mmkay?”

I’m going to be frank here and admit that I recall very little of this actual instance. The tank was pretty decent, except for the expected oblivious understanding of my mana restrictions as he chain pulled while I gasped along behind. Mana, btw, is lasting a goodly long while now. Flash of Light is helping me a great deal to not just spam massive heals; if we have many melee I can cast Holy Light on the tank and see if the little heal from the glyph will top them all off, and spot heal FoL where necessary. A few pulls in here got pretty hairy, and actually the last boss (some big pig lady?) was interesting, she was casting a chain of lightning sort of effect the whole time. I’m not sure what the range on the jump for it was, since she was tanked in a little hut at the top of the stairs.

Anyway, at that point I realized how intense pally healing can get at this level, when you have a lot of AoE damage going out. If you aren’t constantly casting, you’re doing it wrong. This place had a lot of annoying debuffs I couldn’t dispell just yet. Magic effects, curses. No poisons of course, because those I could dispel.

At some point the tank, hunter and I got hopelessly, uselessly lost on the other side of the instance from the druid.

Tank: “Crap guys, I really have no idea where we are.”
Hunter (as we pull a pair of quilboar) “Why don’t you ask these guys for directions?”
Me: “He won’t, guys never do.”

(You know it’s true). At the end of the instance time is getting really tight for me since I haven’t eaten and we’re raiding in about an hour. Once we finally manage to find the rest of the group I tell them I’ve got five minutes, tops, so let’s get this done. A few minutes later they’re still messing around and I say, “Less talk, more killing!” I mention this only because it prompts the warrior to say, “I’m the one doing all the killing here!” and I tell him, “Well, I’m keeping you alive while you do it, so we’ll call it even.” The feral druid is mightily offended by this, and he interjects, “I disagree! Everyone knows it is us who are doing the damaging, you tank things but we will damage them.”

I glance over at the damage meter. Of course he’s right…kinda. In practice, the feral druid has done less than half the damage the tank has, and none of the DPS are even close to the tank. I point out that he put me on follow and went AFK to eat supper for half the instance, although his theory is sound. The tank links the damage meter. I’m actually a little ashamed to be running a damage meter in an instance at this level. So far the hottest DPS I’ve come across is doing a whopping 50 damage per second! Quilboar don’t have that much HP, y’know.

You don’t want to know where they are wearing those bandanas.

Stormwind Stockades
There’s no question that this is a slow method of leveling, but it’s convenient. I just have to login, make sure I have water to drink and bagspace, hop in the queue and away I go. So I would call it both incredibly slow and incredibly fast. Today I was randomly queued for Stocks, which impressed itself upon me as the singularly most boring instance in the game. (Somebody remind me if I bitch about the wolves again). But, at least it is fast and easy, but there’s really not much return for time investment. BoP blues? Just one. Greens? Only a few. It’s like someone took all the trashiest trash and just crammed it in a few hallways with the same repetitive rooms lined up one side and down the other. That said, the instance was fast and easy owing to some other good group members.

I encountered my first issue with the Looking for Dungeon system, though. Well, maybe “idiosyncrasy” would be more accurate. Anyway, the group was nice, we all got along well, so the leader said, “Who’s up for another?” Everyone was. The only problem was that the extreme outliers (myself, at level 22, and another pally at level 26) were basically making it impossible to queue for something appropriate to all of us. The other group members were 24-25. It kept giving the error, “One of more of your group members do not meet the requirements for this dungeon.” So it would try to queue us for Gnomer (shudder) and then say we couldn’t go because I was too low level. Then I can only assume it would try to queue us for something like Deadmines and encounter the same error with our level 26 friend.

I suggested we queue for something specifically – I can do RFK at this level, or BFD, or whatever, but the two hunters immediately dropped group. I speculate they want the “Satchel of Helpful Goods” granted from doing a random, every time. Which is a shame because it was a good group. Now I only hope I can avoid being queued for Gnomer during the course of my leveling, which inevitably means I will run it five times, minimum.