I bought some plate armor at the auction. My level 40 paladin now had more than 2000 hit points and was getting close to 3000 armor. I redefined the keys
Q for my mount and
E for Seal of Command.
Along with Danes from my current guild we started a chain of runs in Scarlet Monastery, a big place that was split up in several smaller dungeon instances. The journey there was actually quite a hassle. We started in Southshore, rode past the magical sphere of Dalaran, swam through a lake with small islands, then rode through a low-level Horde zone with a couple of lethal “Level ??” PvP soldiers on our tails.
First we visited the Graveyard (the smallest with no quests) and then the Library. It went well for a while but on the way out we pulled too many. Here I tried using Divine Intervention, a timed shield of immunity to protect another player from harm while the enemies run back. Throwing this spell was always a suicide on my part and the other player was then supposed to revive the fallen party members afterwards.
Unfortunately the guildies didn’t know about this mechanism and we just wiped anyway.
Another not so cool thing was that our pulling player did so using his character instead of a ranged weapon or spell. Nevertheless it went better in the Armory and we even killed the boss Herod. As he died it started pouring in with several dozens of additional enemies, but luckily they were not elite and could be exterminated with area of effect (AOE) spells. We did okay – but there was still a lot to learn.
I also started running the instance dungeon Gnomeregan a few times. The first time it was on my alt with OLD BOYS guildies, including Belfachmor and Nonaki. This dungeon was a fascinating experience the first time. Lots of mechanics, gears, red lights, and gnomes in spherical spider robots that went “PLUNK!” as they were beaten, followed by the gnome thrown screaming into the air and then dying. It was a confusing dungeon, but luckily the other guildies knew just where to go. Our healer was magnificent and even had macro text to show who was being healed, and Nonaki demonstrated crowd control (CC) in the form of turning an enemy into a sheep. The boss at the end was Mekgineer Thermaplugg, and here Belfachmor had to run around and hit red buttons to prevent bombs from pouring out of the machinery.
The zone Desolace was a mix of soloing and collaborating with the Danish guild member Samwize. Quests started popping up that sometimes required us players traveling all over Azeroth to solve them. For the Gelkis in Desolace, a clan of centaurs, Samwize and I first had to travel all the way to the other continent to kill a troll in a zone called Swamp of Sorrows. This quest chain reached a peak by blowing a horn back in Desolace and then surviving several waves of enemy centaurs, including a tough elite boss.
It’s funny, I actually remember most of what I read in my diaries about the game, but I also often refer to my healing spells suddenly not working anymore, and I don’t remember that bug at all.
My guild and I had another run in Scarlet Monastery to complete the Cathedral, another separate instance inside. I had read a tip about using a need and greed system to distribute the loot, and I suggested using it. We typed “g” or “n” and only “n” was followed by typing a dice rolling command, unless nobody needed it. Then everybody rolled. It was quite successful and I wished the game had something like it built in.
Blizzard obviously liked it too – it didn’t take long before it was part of the dungeon loot interface.
In the meantime, Bulwai contacted me and told me the good news that his guild, Nifelheim, had been converted from an all Swedish guild to a Scandinavian one. I was contacted by the guild leader Xiria, but I told her that I wanted to think about it. I was in doubt about the jump. The Danish Order had us chatting in my first language and it was easier to communicate and be sarcastic without someone not getting it. On the other hand the guild did have young kids and I had already endured immature playing styles from it. Bulwai promised that Nifelheim had players all in their twenties, and that was quite alluring. Nevertheless I still liked the way we Danes played together in Scarlet Monastery and it complicated matters.
But Bulwai did his best to persuade me into making the jump. It was clear that he really wanted me to be part of Nifelheim. He talked about them only being interested in PvE dungeons and not PvP, and I let myself be talked into it. I wrote an in-game mail to the guild leader Zionux in The Danish Order about the change. He told me in a whisper that he appreciated how I told him about it instead of just quitting.
I must admit that I never quite got used to the guild chat in Nifelheim. Everyone was talking Swedish and normally I didn’t have trouble reading it after years of practice reading subtitles on Swedish television channels, but I still needed to pay attention. They did have a very friendly tone in the guild and especially Bulwai and Xiria seemed to have some sort of teasing game going on.
And they had a much prettier tabard than The Danish Order.
I went back to Stranglethorn Vale and had some bad luck killing elite panthers, but luckily a guildie from Nifelheim helped me out later. Then back to questing in Desolace again. The two zones were on each continent so it was always a long journey each time flying on taxa gryphons.
Apropos journeys, I rode south through Barrens, took an elevator down to a “Grand Canyon”-style zone called Thousand Needles, then rode further down to the salt desert at the end of the canyon. It was almost perfectly flat, and I killed turtles and scorpions. But what I really came here for was to gather quests for the next dungeon, Uldaman. It was located in Badlands, a red desert zone south of Loch Modan.
The timing of collecting quests for Uldaman turned out to be excellent as Bulwai invited me to a run there with guildies from Nifelheim. I once again had success suggesting the “g” and “n” loot system in chat. The run itself was okay but suffered from us not having a real healer on board. Bulwai had a tendency to be a bit brash and pulls of up to 4-5-6 level 43 elite enemies were not uncommon. He also had a problem about waiting for mana users to get their juice back up. And another player, Magnux, repeatedly transformed an enemy I was just about to hit into a sheep, after which my inevitable smack would cancel it.
And then, all of the sudden, Bulwai had to walk his dog in real life. 20 minutes just waiting around.
We visited Uldaman several times to complete quests. I later had a new healing spell Divine Favor that could heal a little bit here and there without losing mana. Bulwai was persistent and made sure additional runs were organized, but he also repeatedly demonstrated that patience wasn’t his biggest virtue in dungeons. Sometimes it was bad enough for me to regret ever having quit The Danish Order. Why the rush?
For the first time I also tried a respec where all of my talent points were reset for me to re-train and get new spells. The price for this was one gold, a sum that could certainly be felt in 2005.
In one of the last of many runs in Uldaman, Bulwai had assembled a pick-up group. There was Samas, Bresius (which Bulwai managed to lure into Nifelheim) and one Setix. That last player immediately caught my attention as he was a member of The Phoenix Order.
I had read about this guild at work earlier today, where I had sniffed around their stylish web site and forum. It looked like a serious and disciplined guild and I found that very attractive – especially the fact that you had to write an application in the forum to become a member. During our run in Uldaman I asked Setix about his guild. Unfortunately he also had a 40  degrees fever and had a hard time concentrating about playing the game.13 April 2005
I was back once again in Stranglethorn Vale, and together with Stripe from Fist of Chaos and Bresius from Nifelheim we killed three captains on pirate ships anchored up a bit from the beach. They also helped me getting Kurzen’s head. But killing a level 47 elite giant went south – he was too strong for us.
Later that evening, Bulwai logged on. The guild leader Xiria and Bulwai teased each other in a way I had always considered to just be friendly banter in guild chat. Their debate got a little heated and Xiria started degrading Bulwai in ranks using the guild interface. I imagined that it was all just fun and that he would be returned to the original rank the next day. But then later, after Xiria had logged off, Bulwai actually started admitting in whispers that he was vexed about her degrading him like that. Bulwai wasn’t so sure it was just a joke, and he surmised a lot about it in guild chat. Only Bulwai, Trumdum and I was online at this hour, and Bulwai filled up the guild chat almost single-handedly. I made use of this opportunity to advertise a little bit for The Phoenix Order in one of our whispers, in case we wanted to leave one day.
But before I embarked upon the above, I went on a trip to Theramore with Bricaard to deal with a quest to get the artisan level in First Aid. It was one of the most unique and original quests I had yet seen in the game. A doctor gave me a roll of bandages, and then I had to hurry up healing a lot of sick soldiers lying on double beds in a room. I zoomed out and switched on their name tags so I could see their hit points. I managed to complete this quest the first time.14 April 2005
My old guild, The Danish Order, invited me into a group to visit the open sky dungeon Zul’Farrak for the first time. It was a level 45 dungeon close to Gadgetzan in Tanaris. I learned how a rogue in our group could turn himself partly invisible and pull with style. The most fascinating part of this dungeon was after freeing five prisoners on top of sort of a pyramid with a very long and steep set of stairs. A large horde of normal level 45 enemies spawned at the foot of these stairs and started running up to us in increasingly bigger waves. It was chaotic, it was noisy, it was a lot of work – and it was fun. One of the most epic fights I had yet seen in this game. There was even an epilogue where the five freed prisoners turned against us. I got a set of awesome shoulder plates as loot – they had spikes on them and looked really intimidating.
I was also back in Uldaman again and we managed to reach the end boss Archaedas. It was an enormous level 500+ boss that acted as if he was level 50, and he had a lot of help from stone golems. I had seen a movie on the internet about how to beat him and distributed my knowledge to the others in chat. We even got him down to just three pixels of health in the first attempt, then wiped. Second time, another wipe. Luckily third time was the charm, and one of the rewards was a nifty 14-slot bag.
One thing I was wondering about was the big ghost in the chamber behind the end boss. He had several pages of blather about the story of the dungeon. I’m sure it was both well written and educational, but after such a stressful fight I was definitely not in the mood for a bit of cozy reading.16 April 2005
Chatting in Nifelheim had its ups and downs. I tried adding my vulgar humor, especially to some of Violet’s comments, but my Danish was sometimes misunderstood by the Swedes. Probably vice versa too.
I started questing in Badlands, especially killing rock elementals not far from Uldaman.
But the big news tonight was that I managed to construct a much-coveted macro after a bit of research at work. For quite a while now I had been annoyed by the key
1working as a toggle and thus erroneously turn me away from fighting in a chaotic battle. However, this macro now makes the key automatically select the next enemy while also attacking it. No doubt it will turn out to be quite useful in the later instance dungeons.19 April 2005
I also found a a few small camps in Badlands with gnomes. One of them had a tiny robot running around to help him out. Sometimes it said that this was a dangerous area but it would of course help out its master anyway. “One day I’ll be a real boy”, I also heard it say a few times.
The quest for one of the two gnomes concluded with me fighting Fam’retor, a level 45 rock elemental, but as he was summoned he immediately ran towards the small robot and smacked it so hard that it died on the spot. After killing Fam’retor, I could have used that the gnome cried over the demise of his tiny robot. That would really have touched my heart – truly a lost opportunity. The reward was a strange watch that worked almost as well as a swiftness potion. Using it gave me 40% increased speed for 10 seconds. Good for outrunning an unwanted attack. And it was also my very first trinket.20 April 2005
I also continued questing in Tanaris, a desert zone with classic sand dunes. It was a dangerous zone where it was very easy to get aggro. One of the quests was about getting 12 big eggs from vultures, and Aunion from my Swedish guild assured me that would take a long time. It was rare drop at its worst. In fact, it was so bad that I tried buying some more eggs at the auction house, but alas they only had a few.
Later Bulwai and I quested together in Tanaris, and we actually complemented each other well. He was the the tank and I was the damage dealer. We completed two interesting escort quests. The first was about escorting a big turtle across the zone, after which he was scolded by his turtle wife. Both Bulwai and I couldn’t help laughing. We were also all laughs about escorting a robot chicken to town.
In fact, Bulwai, Aunion and I often quested together and often to do the harder elite quests, like killing the black dragons in Badlands. We were in Zul’Farrak several times, and in one of the pick-up runs I actually remembered one of the now level 48 players back from when he was just level 12 in Elwynn Forest. I found that somewhat fascinating, but he didn’t seem to care about that at all.
He probably didn’t remember me.
In Zul’Farrak we did the temple battles, got Bly’s quest item, and hit a gong to summon the three-headed hydra Gahz’rilla. My new
1 macro also turned out to be just as awesome as I had hoped for.
And then a remarkable day occurred for Bricaard. When I logged on today, Bulwai again repeated his dissatisfaction about the low activity in his guild, Nifelheim. Again I beat the drums for The Phoenix Order, a guild I had heard so many good things about. Then suddenly the server had to be restarted. Going offline, Bulwai and I – pretty much independently from each other – wrote an application on their web site. As we got online again we were quickly invited by an officer of the guild, Bass, a level 60 paladin. Finally a really big guild (more than 90 members) and with chat in all English. Bulwai was still a little doubtful, but I found the tone to be excellent right from the beginning. One of the other members even sent me a lot of free sharpening stones to whet my weapon with. They also mentioned that their forum had a few secret sections that Bulwai and I would soon get access to.27 April 2005
Then came a raft of visits to Maraudon. It was a long and meandering dungeon in Desolace on the west side of Kalimdor. I met some of the prominent members of The Phoenix Order for the first time.
The very first visit was just mostly us from Nifelheim, though. Trumdum and Aunion had also joined by now. Many of these runs in Maraudon suffered from low network numbers and we repeatedly had lag. The dungeon also had really dangerous enemies, like green slime that could drink our health with poison clouds as if they had tapped directly into our health bars. A very unfortunate combination.
Halfway through the dungeon one player dropped out and we asked in guild chat for a replacement. One of the arrivals from there was one Sebastianus, and he turned out to be one of the exotic guild veterans. He was a Dwarf Hunter with a bear as a pet, and he was one of those that bothered to type all of his chat sentences with a capital first letter and a period in the end.
It was getting late by now and Bulwai started to back down with words about getting up early for work the next day. Sebastianus, a level 56 Hunter, was already on his way and didn’t hide his discontent towards this debate. He told us about another party that dissolved for the same reason, just as he arrived. At this point I could sense that Sebastianus was the harsh and firm type with zero use of smilies. He could seem a little snappish at times. Especially Bulwai’s attempts at sarcasm glanced off from him, and Bulwai was puzzled in a whisper to me. During the run it did get better and I even allowed myself a more “serious” tone, but Bulwai was repeatedly bickering with him.28 April 2005
I personally had another problem in Maraudon which turned out to be sort of an embarrassing nemesis. We died a few times here and there, and I always had a whole lot of trouble finding my way back to where we were. Maraudon just seemed liked one of the most confusing mazes I had ever seen in a game. That the dungeon was layered in multiple floors only made matters worse. There were crystals in specific colors in the tunnels, but it was impossible to see their individual colors in ghost mode where a blue tint was used as a filter. My map add-on Atlas also disagreed with how the dungeon actually looked (maybe something had been tweaked after a patch) and it escalated the problem even further. It was quite paradoxical that I had this problem finding my way back as I had always been quite capable of finding my way around in the numerous single-player games I had completed before World of Warcraft.
Luckily it got better after a few deaths and also Sebastianus managed to loosen up a little. Maraudon had an impressive variety of enemies such as e.g. worms, centaurs, mini bosses, wooden humanoids (with an amusing death animation), walking flowers and stone giants. Sebastianus often placed a frost or fire trap in front of a group before he lured them towards him.
At the end we met Princess Theradras, a hideous witch boss. Sebastianus immediately typed that we would probably wipe now, and he was right. She could pump out the most impressive gas farts that pushed us all away while delivering massive damage. We didn’t get her this time.
After a few additional runs, Bulwai and I agreed that Maraudon was one of the worst dungeons we had seen so far. Long, confusing, difficult, often plagued by lag, and we had frequent wipes. At least I got a new trinket called Mark of the Chosen that could increase all attributes by 25 for a minute. It immediately replaced a silly trinket with 3% increased speed for my horse.
Nevertheless I still have a fond memory in Maraudon since one of our last visits there was when I met Arathon for the first time. Arathon was a level 60 Dwarf Paladin played by Rav, an Austrian who turned out to be one of the original creators of the guild. He was charismatic, resourceful, he was a skilled player, and he would later become probably the best raid leader we ever had in the guild.
The run started badly, though. We were a pick-up group that once again had wipes. We still couldn’t muster the princess boss. And I once again got hopelessly lost while trying to find my way back as a ghost. In the meantime another player had gone idle and later logged out automatically.
That’s where Arathon took his place instead.
As soon as Arathon arrived, things immediately turned for the better. The way he talked and the way he moved seemed to indicate that here was a player that knew exactly how to do things the right way. We killed the princess in the first attempt which of course contributed to the first impression. His tip to deal with her was to let everyone heal him (that could) while he single-handedly pummeled the princess.
Later that evening, several of the original members of the guild invited us to Stormwind Keep to observe a battle with the dragon Onyxia’s spawning minions. Among the present were Arathon, Stovamor, Orchid and Sebastianus. After the short fight, I remember that Sebastianus was unexpectedly funny by simulating a picture to be taken by his bear pet, after which he scolded it for not bringing the camera along.
Below is a gallery from this month.
That was the end of part 3. Click here for part 4.