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Schooling Scholomance
10-20-2004, 04:48 PM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:44 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #21
Schooling Scholomance
[Image: dawnsgambit.jpg]

Say cheese!

ADVENTURES OF NERIAD: Schooling Scholomance, part XII, Dawn's Gambit

In the Burning Steppes, there begins a little known, or at least little completed, quest series called "Dawn's Gambit." It starts off in the Burning Steppes, takes you into Blackrock Spire, then over to the other side of the world to Winterspring, and then to Scholomance. Kronos was one of the few people to have taken the trouble to complete the quest series up to this point. Heck, I'm a quest hound, and I have yet to finish the series myself.

At the point of our story, Kronos had received a box called Dawn's Gambit from an NPC who claims that the box will "react with the undead found [in the Viewing Room] and, with a little luck, destroy them." None of us had any clue as to what was going to happen, but we figured it was a device that would somehow clear the room of students so that we could fight the two named bosses at the front of the room unimpeded.

Before continuing, I'd like to clear up a strange misconception about the Viewing Room.

[Image: dawnsgambit2.jpg]

I've been in two pickup Scholomance groups now where, upon entering the Viewing Room, people have admonished the group in capital letters, "DO NOT TALK TO THE MOBS HERE!" One day, I want to study how such rumors and superstitions start and spread. In this case, I imagine this superstition began with the almost equally absurd superstition that one shouldn't talk to the patrons in the bar in Blackrock Depths. At least in that room, there is indeed one named quest goblin with his four clearly delineated henchmen surrounding him who will attack you if you talk to him.

However, other than him, it was and is perfectly safe to talk to the bar patrons, contrary to popular belief. What's even more amazing is that not only would people accept something like that without question but that they would go so far as to forcefully spread the superstition without at least testing it out themselves. One time I asked in a pickup group why we shouldn't talk to the patrons, and a guy said that the patrons you talk to would aggro when the Phalanx event started, an idea that was completely absurd. I proceeded to talk to every patron in the bar (except the named goblin and his henchmen) much to the horror of my groupmate. We started the Phalanx event, and of course, no bar patrons aggroed us.

[Image: dawnsgambit3.jpg]

Coming back to Scholomance, I can assure you that you can safely talk to all of the mobs in the Viewing Room -- even the two nameds. Some of the comments you'll read are quite funny, in fact.

So there our group was standing in the middle of the Viewing Room, surrounded by a couple dozen students and with two mean-looking named bosses staring at us. All we had going for us was a mysterious box that Kronos had received from an NPC. We buffed ourselves up, shrugged, and waited for Kronos to right-click the box.

[Image: dawnsgambit4.jpg]

The moment Kronos hit the box, so many things happened at once, I didn't know where to turn. Looking at the screenshots I managed to get during the first few moments of the battle reveals this conversation:

Vectus yells: Ah, so my minions from the Burning Steppes have brought the dragons...
Vectus yells: Marduk, gather the box and place it before me!
Marduk Blackpool says: Master Vectus, I sense something strange within this container...
Vectus yells: What is this?! How dare you!
Marduk Blackpool says: We are betrayed!

At this point, the students, who I think had gathered at the front to look at the "box," all turned into skeletons and charged the party. By turning the students into skeletons, the box made it easier to kill them, because they had far less health. Kronos and Neth were able to use area-of-effect attacks to kill them all.

[Image: dawnsgambit5.jpg]

Marduk Blackpool had charged the party along with the students and had promptly killed Neth. But once the students had been killed and once we had a chance to get over the initial shock and surprise, our party sprang into action. Lilisi rezed Neth, while I healed Kupeludo who tanked Marduk. Marduk hit *hard* and used some special multi-target attacks like "Shadow Bolt Volley." Incidentally, that debuff aura you see on all of us (the purple claw-like thing) is a -100 to shadow resistance aura. If we hadn't had our shadow resistance buffs or paladin resistance aura up, we would've been dead meat. It was touch and go there for a while, but in the end, we were victorious.

What about Vectus? Luckily, he hadn't charged us along with the rest of the mobs in the room, so we were able to take a breather and med up, before tackling him. If we would have had to have fought Vectus and Marduk simultaneously, that would've been an ugly fight.

[Image: dawnsgambit6.jpg]

After we medded for a bit, we charged Vectus, and it turned out that he was very easy to kill when he was by himself. After Marduk, he seemed almost too easy, but after all we had gone through, we didn't care. Kronos had completed his quest, and I could yell out:


What'd Vectus and Marduk drop? I didn't care. It was 8:30ish in the morning. Vectus just dropped a Scourgestone while Marduk dropped a thorium lockbox. I understand that Vectus usually drops very little but that Marduk frequently drops blues. I just checked thotbott to see if I could give you a better idea of the kinds of items he drops, but it's an indication of how few people have actually completed Dawn's Gambit that it knows of only two times that Marduk has been killed. One should take that precise figure with a grain of salt, of course, because all that means is that only two people who have installed Cosmos and who choose to contribute data to thotbott have killed Marduk. Many players, and in fact the vast majority of players, do not. Still, the fact that thotbott only has two reports of Marduk's death does indicate how rare the event is, and I'm glad Kronos had that box with him so I could see it (and write about it). That reminds me. I should go finish Dawn's Gambit myself!

We hearthed to Ironforge, hooted and hollered, and made complete fools of ourselves in the general chat. Then, after taking care of some business in town, Kronos whispered me to ask if I was going to turn in the quest involving the four deeds. He didn't want to turn in the quest unless he knew there was a good reward or a followup quest, just in case a later patch added a big reward. I told him that I had no problem with turning in the quest now, because all of our items and characters are going to be deleted in the not too distant future anyway.

So, we both rode up to Chillwind Point, and I gave the four deeds to Weldon Barov. It turned out that there was a followup quest, so I told Kronos to go ahead and turn his deeds in, too.

[Image: lastbarov.jpg]

A PvP quest? What the...?

The adventure has just begun!
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10-21-2004, 04:39 AM
Post: #22
Schooling Scholomance
Tal,Oct 16 2004, 04:08 AM Wrote:I do have a question for you and Lemekim if you don't mind since you both have played to the level cap in the end game instances. I have always felt that it is my role as secondary tank in groups to off-tank any adds before they go after the squishy center of the tootsie roll pop that we call a group. Recently though I ran across a priestess who told me to stop doing that as it would "lead to a wipe". Now I should tell you that when I off tank I grab the add before it can make it to the casters, get it pissed off and then move back into position next to the warrior. I then switch back to the warrior's target only switching back to the add if it looks like its not going after me any longer. Most of the parties I have been in up to Temple seem to be appreciative of this role I provide in a group setting. Being (at least to me) a good party member I acquiesed to the Priestess' wishes and stopped going after the adds. What this lead to was every add charging into the midst of the casters wreaking havoc for a minute or so until the warrior could get there to taunt it off them. Every battle was a hodgepodge of the warrior scrambling everywhere to keep the taunt on all the baddies nearby. We successfully completed Temple but it seemed more hectic than other instances.

It's a tough question, since it's so situational, which is partly why I've delayed answering your question. Before I fully answer, I need to know what your definition of an "add" is. There seems to be two definitions of "add" in use on the servers.

1. (My prefered) A mob that unexpectedly joins a battle in the middle of a fight. This could be a patrol who moved in too close or a respawn, for example. The key here is that it was an unexpected addition to the fight.

2. Any mob that causes the number of mobs to be greater than one. For example, "Attack Barov and shackle the add." I this case, the additional mob is fully expected from the start.

I'm trying to picture what you're doing. Are you trying to peal off some of the expected adds onto you? Or are you noticing a new mob joining the fray that is perhaps making its way to a clothwearer and heading it off at the pass?
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10-21-2004, 05:14 AM
Post: #23
Schooling Scholomance
MongoJerry,Oct 21 2004, 12:39 AM Wrote:It's a tough question, since it's so situational, which is partly why I've delayed answering your question.  Before I fully answer, I need to know what your definition of an "add" is.  There seems to be two definitions of "add" in use on the servers.

1. (My prefered) A mob that unexpectedly joins a battle in the middle of a fight.  This could be a patrol who moved in too close or a respawn, for example.  The key here is that it was an unexpected addition to the fight.

I'm trying to picture what you're doing.  Are you trying to peal off some of the expected adds onto you?  Or are you noticing a new mob joining the fray that is perhaps making its way to a clothwearer and heading it off at the pass?

This is indeed the definition I'm going for - basically any mob that couldn't be CC'd or who adds itself into the mix during battle. :)

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10-23-2004, 08:03 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:45 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #24
Schooling Scholomance
[Image: lastbarov2.jpg]

ADVENTURES OF NERIAD: Schooling Scholomance, part XIII, The Last Barov

After Kronos and I returned the four deeds to Weldon Barov in the Alliance camp at Chillwind Point, Barov asked us to go to the Bulwark, a Horde camp, and assassinate his brother, Alexi Barov, so that Weldon will never have to "worry about an unscrupulous gang of mercenaries seeking [his] head." There was one piece of information Kronos and I needed before setting off on this mission, however.

Kronos: Where's the Bulwark?

After a long night of Scholomance running, the gears in my head turned slowly, but they managed to bring up images of my days of playing an undead priestess named Ariadne for the couple of months ending with the patch that introduced the PvP server. (I and some friends like to switch factions from time to time to see more of the world and to observe the changes are made in the game over time. I may switch back to the Horde side when the Open Beta starts, if the announced overhauls of Ashenvale, Stonetalen, and Desolace are implemented by then). At the time, the Scarlet Monastery was the highest level instance in the game, and far less of the world was developed.

My memory dredged up pictures of a mysterious spot on the edge of Tirisfal Glades, the undead starting zone, called the Bulwark. It consisted of a makeshift wooden wall with an open gate and stacks of player corpses all around it. If one did not recognize the significance of the piles of dead bodies or if one simply had an insatiable and suicidal curiosity, one could pass the gate as much as a few steps before getting "death touched" by a stealthed spider. This was Blizzard's gentle way of saying, "Hey noob! We haven't finished the Western Plaguelands, yet. Move along!" It was because of such memories that I could confidently tell Kronos...

Neriad: Border of tirisfal glades if I were a great and knowledgeable player who knew all things great and small about the game. Truthfully, I had no clue what to expect, since there hadn't been a working town with NPC's at The Bulwark back when I was playing my Horde characters.

[Image: lastbarov3.jpg]

Players on the PvE server often express relief that they get to miss out on all the ganking and griefing that is a fact of life on the PvP server. But they sometimes forget that they also miss out on the extra camaraderie among players of your own faction as well as some of the extra thrill that the PvP server provides. Consider a quest given by the night elves in Ashenvale to assassinate a wizard in the Barrens who has been plaguing a lake in Ashenvale with his water elementals. On the PvE server, this is a simple jog down the road and an easy mob boss kill. On the PvP server, completing this quest is a major cat-and-mouse game as one tries to avoid detection by Horde players, while making one's way to the top of a mountain that stands next to the Crossroads, a major Horde town. (This reminds me. I have a great idea for a trilogy. It's about two gnomes who find a bracelet of power...). Similarly, this quest to assassinate Alexi Barov, a mostly trivial affair on the PvE server, becomes a far more intense assignment on the PvP server.

Kronos and I avoided detection on the way to The Bulwark by staying away from the road. I had an elaborate plan to lure potential ganking Horde into thinking that our goal was to complete some of the quests involving the western farms in the Western Plaguelands. The last thing I wanted was for Horde players to know that our target was really the Bulwark itself and end up camping us there. Luckily, no such plan needed to be implemented, and Kronos and I found a nook in the hills near the Bulwark that was out of sight from both the road and the outpost. Kronos summoned an Eye of Kilrogg, a warlock minion designed to let warlocks scout nearby locations, and on it I cast Mind Vision, a priest spell that lets the priest see through the eyes of another mob or player. This way, I could see what Kronos saw through his Eye of Kilrogg, and both of us could remain out of sight while we scouted.

It's a good thing we scouted the place before charging into town. A party of high level Horde was across the road from where Alexi Barov, our target, stood. Luckily, they were already mounted and were acting like they were grouped. They would likely be moving out of the way soon. We took the opportunity to scout further. (Incidentally, if you're wondering why that group of Horde didn't see a bright green ball near them and suspect that something was up, an Eye of Kilrogg is naturally stealthed, so while there is a small chance of detection if the person happens to be looking in the direction of the Eye, most of the time an enemy player or mob won't see it).

Kronos pointed out the yellow "!" floating over an NPC's head. An alliance quest given in the middle of a Horde town? That seemed bizarre. But then we figured out what it really was -- a group of Argent Dawn camped out at the Bulwark. The Argent Dawn is made up of both horde and alliance elements united by a common hatred of the Scourge who infest the Western and Eastern Plaguelands. There are some Argent Dawn reputation quests that ask you to collect different kinds of "scourgestones" off dead Scourge mobs. Every time you turn in sets of these scourgestones, your reputation with the Argent Dawn increases. When your reputation is high enough, you can then purchase items from the Argent Dawn quartermaster. Currently, one can only purchase a limited supply of Major Health and Major Mana potions, which is still actually a pretty good reward in it's own right. However, the quartermaster's text description seems to imply that additional items may come up for sale in future patches, if one's reputation with the Argent Dawn is high enough. An Argent Dawn NPC to whom you turn in your scourgestones and an Argent Dawn quartermaster stay at the alliance camp of Chillwind Point. Apparently, the Horde has its equivalent Argent Dawn NPC's at the Bulwark.

[Image: lastbarov4.jpg]

After the Horde party left the area, we waited a few beats to make certain that they weren't returning and then jumped out of our nook in the hills to charge Alexi Barov. There weren't any NPC guards nearby, so we had a straight shot at Barov. But when we closed on him, we realized our first mistake. We'd spent so much time scouting the outpost for Horde players and NPC guards that we'd forgotten to scout out our target. It was only when I started blasting away at Barov that the realization came to me, "Oh, c***! He's elite!" As you can see in the screenshot above, Barov was able to crit me for 976 health, more than a third of my health, in one hit. He tore through my cloth armor like it was rice paper. The first assault was a complete disaster. No way was I going to be able to tank Barov for any length of time -- at least not in the equipment and talent configuration I use for instances.

Neriad: We need a tank.
Kronos: Breaking out the VW (e.d. voidwalker)
Neriad: Good idea

On the first assault, Kronos had used his imp for the extra buffs and firepower. From now on, we'd use his Voidwalker as our tank. Unfortunately, even with a voidwalker, it would take several tries to achieve a partial success.

[Image: lastbarov5.jpg]

Luckily, the Bulwark provided plenty of trees, hills, and man-made structures that we could hide behind while medding. The first assault with the voidwalker was a disaster from the start as Kronos sent the voidwalker directly from our hiding spot to Barov, a path that took it through an NPC named Shadow Priestess Vandis. We had no chance with a second mob joining the fray. (I realize now that I could've Mind Controled Vandis and softened Barov up a bit. It's stuff like that you forget when you've gone thirty hours without sleep). The second assault went better, but I pulled aggro off the voidwalker and got summarily pummeled. The third assault went even better until a *!@$% horde rogue rode by and stabbed us from behind. It was at this point that I was glad that this quest was not well known, because after helping Barov kill us, he left. He probably thought we were just out getting jollies killing random Horde NPC's or something. If he'd known that alliance players had to kill Barov for a quest, he might have stuck around, knowing we'd be back.

The fourth assault with the voidwalker, however, achieved a partial success. This time, I was very careful not to pull aggro off the voidwalker. I let the VW get several torments in before doing anything. I then avoided using Mind Blast or any other such skills that cause extra aggro. I mostly used Renew to heal the voidwalker and held my dps in check. It worked for a while, but in the end I still ended up pulling aggro off the VW. This was very frustrating. A voidwalker is supposed to be a warlock's tank pet, and yet they can't hold aggro worth a darn. Whenever my hunter and an equal level warlock friend group together, my hunter's pet can consistently grab and hold aggro far better than my friend's voidwalker. Voidwalkers need their Torment boosted significantly.

Barov came and chopped Neriad to bits when he was below half health. It was then that I did the next dumb thing. Somewhere in my sleepy consciousness, I thought that I could run from the graveyard at Faol's Rest back to the Bulwark in time to provide some help. So, I released. About halfway back, Kronos announced that he'd finished Barov off (nerf warlocks!). Of course, since I had released my spirit, I was nowhere near Barov when he died, and therefore I couldn't loot his head off the body. Grrrr...

[Image: lastbarov6.jpg]

That's OK, we thought. At least we knew that we could kill Barov without calling for reinforcements. All we had to do was wait for Barov to respawn. So we waited. And waited. And waited some more. I got a target lock on Shadow Priestess Vandis, and since trees and shacks apparently don't count as obstacles as far as line-of-sight is concerned, I could Mind Vision her and scout the place without leaving the relative safety of our hiding place. (Incidentally, occasionally people will make lists of the most "useless" priest spells on the priest board and Mind Vision nearly always makes the list. Morons). We waited some more.

Finally, it took so long (and did I mention that we'd been awake more than 30 hours?) that both Kronos and I submitted Game Master requests to find out if a GM could possibly cause Barov to respawn. After a while, Kronos got a response from a GM who told him that Alexi Barov isn't respawning at all and that we'd have to wait for the next server reset to try again. Argh!

So I said, "farewell!" to Kronos and told him I'd log off right there in our hiding spot in the Bulwark, take an afternoon nap, and then log back on later to see if Barov had respawned. Kronos offered to help if he happened to be on, and I figured I would also be able to grab one or two more people to help out when the time came. We parted ways, and I logged off to get a little sleep.
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10-23-2004, 08:09 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:47 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #25
Schooling Scholomance
[Image: lastbarov7.jpg]

Several hours later, I logged back on to find that Alexi Barov had indeed respawned. Woohoo! Kronos wasn't online, but Kupeludo, the warrior in our earlier Scholomance party, was. Perfect. Since he had collected the four deeds along with the rest of the party, he would be just as interested in getting the head of Alexi Barov as I was. In addition, I knew I could recruit a lvl 60 rogue friend, lem, to help. Not only is he a good friend and likely to be just as curious about this strange quest as I, but I also keep him well bribed with stacks of fadeleaf. (Rogues use fadeleaf to create blinding powder, a hot commodity on the PvP server as you can imagine).

[Image: lastbarov8.jpg]

Kupeludo and lem came over to the Bulwark and proceeded to rip Alexi Barov a new one, while Neriad stood there looking pretty. (She does that very well). Remember that 976 crit that Neriad received from Barov? Here are the hits that Kupeludo received according to the screenshots I took of the battle:

Alexi Barov's Rupture is absorbed by Kupeludo.
Alexi Barov's Rupture is absorbed by Kupeludo.
Alexi Barov hits Kupeludo for 64 (48 blocked).
Alexi Barov's Sinister Strike was parried by Kupeludo.
Alexi Barov hits Kupeludo for 158.
Alexi Barov crits Kupeludo for 216.
Alexi Barov's Kick parried by Kupeludo.
(At this point Neriad casts Renew on Kupeludo. Glad I could be of help!)
Kupeludo suffers 107 Physical damage from Alexi Barov's Rupture.


Kupeludo and I looted our heads of Alexi Barov (who knew that he was actually a hydra?), and the three of us headed back to Chillwind Point. It was at about this time that a GM responded to my still open help request ticket. I suppose I should have abandoned my ticket, when Kronos received his answer, but sometimes you get different answers from different GM's, and I wanted to get the full scoop on this whole Alexi Barov respawn situation. It's a good thing I did, because I ended up talking to a more knowledgeable GM.

[Image: lastbarov9.jpg]

This GM (Xilven or something close to that) told me that Alexi Barov does in fact respawn, but he's on a long respawn timer by design as a punishment on the Horde for letting him die. He's the quest NPC who gives Horde players the same "get the four deeds" quest that Weldon Barov gives alliance players, you see. It was then it hit me. The Bulwark and Chillwind Point are not only similar to one another, they are mirror images of one another. Consider:

1. Both camps lie on the border of the Western Plaguelands and are where quests for the Western Plaguelands are given.

2. Both camps have Argent Dawn stationed in them, including Argent Dawn quartermasters.

3. Each camp has only one faction NPC guard -- High Executor Derrington (pictured above) at the Bulwark and Commander Ashlam Valorfist at Chillwind Point. Both commanders protect the main body of their camps from players of the other faction, but both are stationed far enough away from their respective Barov brothers that they won't interfere with any attacks on them. The commanders aren't elite, by the way, so they can be killed easily.

4. Each camp has a Barov brother who is murderously competitive with the other. At Chillwind Point, Weldon Barov asks Alliance adventurers to retrieve the four family deeds and then kill his brother Alexi. At the Bulwark, Alexi Barov asks Horde adventurers to retrieve the four family deeds and then kill his brother Weldon.

So by killing Alexi Barov, who has a long respawn timer (some have mentioned the figure of five hours, but I can neither confirm nor deny this number), alliance players are indeed fulfilling Weldon's wish about not needing to "worry about an unscrupulous gang of mercenaries seeking [his] head." In this case, the "unscrupulous gang of mercenaries" is a group of Horde questers. If Alexi is dead, then Horde players can't get the quest to kill Weldon, so Weldon is safe, relatively speaking. Considering the symmetry of the outposts and quests, I suspect it works the same way on the Horde side. Alexi asks Horde players to kill Weldon so that he doesn't have to worry about being killed by alliance players. This is a neat concept.

In the heat of the moment, after dealing with the irritation of having to wait several hours to get another chance at Alexi's head, I told the GM that the long respawn timer was also a punishment on alliance players who would not be able to complete their quests in a timely manner. Now that I understand the logic of the story and mirror image nature of the two brothers, however, I'm leaning toward liking the long respawn time. Of course, I already have my head of Alexi Barov. If I didn't, I might not feel the same way.

[Image: lastbarov10.jpg]

One of the fun things about visiting the Bulwark as an alliance player is that even though it is technically a Horde outpost, the Argent Dawn is a neutral organization that will treat horde and alliance players equally. Alliance players can turn in scourgestones to Argent Officer Garush as you can see above.

[Image: lastbarov11.jpg]

In addition, alliance players may purchase potions from Argent Quartermaster Hasana. It turns out that Hasana is right on the edge of where a level 60 player would aggro High Executor Derrington, so if the player comes from the north and doesn't get too close, he or she can purchase potions without needing to fight Derrington. So an Alliance player could spend all day buying out potions from the Bulwark's Argent Dawn quartermaster and prevent their purchase by members of the Horde. There are some great spots in the hills to the north of the outpost to hide in while waiting for potions to respawn at the shop. This would be an awfully boring and tedious way to grief members of the another faction, but I've heard of other more boring and tedious methods of griefing being employed.

[Image: lastbarov12.jpg]

So we got our heads of Alexi Barov and returned them to Welden. What reward did we get? A trinket that calls forth three "servants of the House of Barov to fight, cook, and clean for you." This is the funniest and best trinket ever.

[Image: lastbarov13.jpg]

The servants last for 15 seconds and the cooldown time is only 10 minutes. Unlike, say, the Mithril Mechanical Dragonling or the ever popular Gnomish Battle Chicken, these servants of Barov are level 59-60 and therefore actually hit their targets from time to time. (Why can't the mechanical dragonlings and chickens have the same level as the summoning character so that they can be somewhat useful at higher levels?) Plus, most importantly, they're hysterically funny. They even had a somewhat practical moment in a PvP situation. While taking the above screenshots of the Argent Dawn in the Bulwark today, a level 52 shadow priest jumped me from behind and started blasting away. I recovered somewhat (it helped to be level 60), but being jumped while equipped and spec'd for instance running, I was still at a disadvantage. Partway through the battle, he got a Silence off on me and probably had me dead to rights, so out of desperation, I hit the button for the Servants of Barov trinket (apparently you can still activate trinkets while silenced). On a practical level, they acted like a poor man's curse of tongues as they hit and stuttered the shadow priest. But the biggest effect they had, I think, was the, "What the h*** are those things?!" effect. I swear I could almost see the other player's confused look through the computer screen. Those extra seconds they bought me let the silence wear off and let me finish off the attacking priest. It felt good.

(Incidentally, any chance of a truce to allow Neriad to travel to places and get screenshots and all? I'm trying to benefit everyone here. Yes? No? Worth a shot...).

This "PvP" quest to kill an NPC in an outpost of the opposing faction is very fun, and I hope more such quests are implemented at some point. These kinds of quests would be especially fun on the PvP server, where players can intentionally make it more difficult for members of the other faction to fulfill those quests. For example, some of the ganker/PvP guilds of both factions could post a guard or two near their respective Barov brother around the clock to jump any members of the opposing faction who try to complete the "Last Barov" quest. I highly recommend that they do so. The fact that such a system would leave I and a few friends as being some of the few to own this nifty trinket is by no means my motivation for this recommendation.

Well, that was a fun and unexpected excursion, and it made us wonder if turning in the quest to kill "The Butcher" would lead to further quests.

UP NEXT: The Blood of the Innocents
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10-24-2004, 01:54 PM
Post: #26
Schooling Scholomance
Tal,Oct 20 2004, 10:14 PM Wrote:This is indeed the definition I'm going for - basically any mob that couldn't be CC'd or who adds itself into the mix during battle. :)

OK, I think you're running into one of those cases where you are doing something smart but that it looks the same from the outside as what a dumb person would do. I run into this all the time when I use Mind Control in groups. I like to use Mind Control in situations where there will be two uncontrolled mobs in a pull. For example, let's say there will be four mobs in a pull. One can be sapped by our rogue and one can be sheeped by our mage. That leaves two mobs open to attack our warrior. In that case, I like to mind control one of them, reducing the enemy damage output by half, and use that mob to attack the free mob that the party is trying to kill, allowing me to provide some offensive power without using any of my precious mana.

This is an effective tactic that can really help a party. Nonetheless, nine times out of ten in pickup groups, someone will plead with me not to use Mind Control. I'll ask why and receive answers ranging from horror stories to bizarre tactical reasons why not, but they basically all come down to: 1. We're not used to it. We just want our priest to heal. 2. I saw someone use it once and they sucked.

In your case, I think you're doing something that people aren't used to and are mimicking something that people who suck do. People who suck spread damage around to multiple mobs. The most effective party is one that has as much of its damage output as possible directed at one mob at a time. So, by breaking away from the pack and fighting a different mob than your party, you are acting like a sucky player who doesn't understand the concept of damage concentration. What the priestess in your group may not have realized was that after a couple of hits, you then went back to fighting the same mob as the group, and therefore, you aren't that kind of sucky player.

I would answer your question on what to do this way:

If we are talking about expected mobs in a pull, then you should let the warrior tank all of them. You should not break away and try to aggro some of the *expected* mobs. Instead, you should focus on the same mob that your party is attacking. In fact, often in partys I'm in, the paladin is often considered the "primary assist" person. That is, it's the paladin who chooses the mob to attack and everyone else assists off him to know which mob the party is going to concentrate on. If you're worried that the warrior wouldn't be able to handle all the damage from all the mobs, then you can cast that seal on him that splits the damage taken with you.

What happens if mobs don't behave and the warrior can't taunt the full pull onto him or her at the start? Don't panic. Other classes have things they can do to protect themselves. Priests can Fade, for example, severely reducing their aggro for 10 seconds, and mages can Frost Nova to keep mobs at bay. If you really feel the "soft center" needs some help, then I suggest that you cast that seal that reduces a person's aggro by 50% on the priest and/or mage. That is a very useful seal and will buy plenty of time for the warrior to gather any stray mobs to him or her. Meanwhile, you can keep banging away at whatever mob the party is supposed to be focusing on and help kill it, thereby reducing the overall power and threat of the pull.

Now the grey area comes when there is a true add -- like say a patrol came into a area or someone mistakenly aggroed another group of mobs. Then, the situation isn't quite so clear. If you can hit the add a couple of times quickly and then go back to the original target, then, yeah, that'd be cool. In fact, if you want that job, I would suggest telling your group that. Perhaps after a battle when you've done that for the first time, say "Btw, if we get an add mid-battle like that, I'll take care of rounding it up so it doesn't attack our priest" or something like that.
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10-24-2004, 02:02 PM
Post: #27
Schooling Scholomance
Hey, guys, I have a question for y'all. I've been thinking of approaching some on-line publications about doing these types of journals for actual cash -- perhaps as free-lance work. They've obviously been very popular features for both Diablo II and now WoW. My problem is that I have no idea what publications are out there that would publish these sorts of things and would have budgets to pay for them. I don't read all the game or computer magazines or web-zines, so I don't know who the big or medium-sized players are. Any suggestions on who I should approach?
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10-24-2004, 04:06 PM
Post: #28
Schooling Scholomance
Thanks MongoJerry - glad to hear that my instincts have been right all along. :)

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10-24-2004, 07:03 PM
Post: #29
Schooling Scholomance
Sorry, I can't help you with the question :(

I would just like to add my compliments to the rest. These are great! :)

I'm amazed at how much Neriad has passed Freyrveyk by! I really have to work some time into my day!
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10-30-2004, 06:01 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:48 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #30
Schooling Scholomance
[Image: jandice1.jpg]

ADVENTURES OF NERIAD: Schooling Scholomance, part XIV, Jandice Barov

Today, I received a lovely note from the folks at Blizzard that said (paraphrasing), "Thank-you for your assistance in testing World of Warcraft, but you have been having far too much fun playing your hunter. We are therefore going to take down the servers for several days to make sure that you sit down and finish your dang Scholomance journals." At least, that's how I interpreted the letter. I don't want to disappoint the folks at Blizzard, so let's get cracking.

The story so far is that on the second day of the patch that introduced the Scholomance instance, a group of players set out to see if Scholomance could be beaten with a group composed only of five players. (At the time, it was common to run Scholomance with raid groups of around ten players). Having accomplished that, some members of the party turned in one of the quests and ended up getting a surprise "PvP" quest to assassinate an NPC in the middle of a Horde outpost. Having then completed that task and having each received a nice trinket as a reward for their efforts, several members of the party went to turn in another quest to see if they would get another quest series continuation. Those members returned to Eva Sarkhoff, who stands just outside the Scholomance entrance, to let her know that they had killed Doctor Tholen Krastinov and burned the remains of her and her husband as she had requested. Indeed, there was a followup quest. It turns out that Krastinov was merely a servant of the even more cruel master, Kirtonos the Herald. To summon him, the group first had to obtain a bag containing the Blood of the Innocents, which could only be obtained by killing Jandice Barov in the depths of Scholomance.

I groaned when I saw the quest continuation. I knew at some point I would get a quest to kill Jandice Barov, but that didn't mean that I had to like it when I got it. I had already had several bad experiences in the basement room leading to her and had begun dubbing the chamber, "The Room from Hell." Weeks later, having been through that room a few more times, I don't find it as scary or as frustrating as it use to be. But, it's still the most challenging and time consuming room of the instance to get through.

Soon after Kupeludo (warrior) and Lem (rogue) helped me kill Alexi Barov, the NPC who stands in the middle of the Bulwark that we needed to assassinate to complete that PvP quest, Kronos (warlock) came on-line. I asked him if he'd like to join us in continuing the assault on Scholomance by going after Jandice Barov.

Kronos: Who do you have so far?

Neriad: Kupeludo and Lem

Kronos: Ew, a rogue!

Neriad: Yeah, I know. What can you do?

We then picked up Keimon, a second warlock, and set off.

[Image: jandice2.jpg]

Jandice's room is a large basement hall with three wall segments in the middle that divide the room into four rows. One can choose to go along the left or right walls, and for some reason, going along the right wall seems to be the easier path.

There are three kinds of mobs here. First, there are the elite diseased ghouls whose bodies erupt in poison gas clouds when they die. Then there are the slow non-elite scooby-doo mobs (at least they look like what scooby-doo ghouls always seem to look like) who like to pop back to life after being killed the first time. And then finally, there are the non-elite Risen Aberrations which are skeletons who hit hard. So, every pull is composed of one or two elites combined with several non-elite mobs. This screams for the tactic whereby the elites are shackled and the non-elites are killed with area-of-effect attacks. The only trouble is that the Risen Aberrations are immune to fire, cold, arcane, and shadow damage (and nature damage?). So, other than paladin holy attacks, they're immune to all AoE attacks. You have to kill them one at a time.

The most critical issue in handling this room is pulling it correctly. The mobs constantly shift and move around at different speeds. Pull them correctly, and you can get one elite and 3-4 non-elites, a fairly easy pull to dispatch. Pull them incorrectly, and you'll get two elites with about eight non-elites and likely get wiped. In addition, the room has a fast respawn time, so one has to move forward at a steady pace. In fact, the respawn rate is fast enough that I suggest that if a group ends up having a partial wipe, involving multiple resurrections and buffing, that it might as well move back to entrance stairwell and start the room over. You don't want respawns appearing on top of you while fighting a pulled group of mobs. Luckily, Blizzard developers have said that they have tweaked the respawn rate in the front area of Scholomance because of the many complaints about its current setting, so hopefully this won't be as much of an issue after the upcoming patch.

[Image: jandice3.jpg]

Once we finally got to the end of the room, we fought Jandice Barov herself. She's a tough one, but I don't recall having any major problems fighting her. (The screenshot above shows the Servants of Barov trinket at work. It summons three servants of the house of Barov to come Cook, Clean, and Fight for you. It's so much fun).

[Image: jandice4.jpg]

The only particularly special attack Jandice Barov has is that she can split into multiple illusions of herself, but the illusions can be destroyed quickly with area-of-effect attacks.

[Image: jandice5.jpg]

Jandice dropped this sword for us, which many players goggle over. In addition, she dropped a green Hyperion Helm of the Boar. Hmmm... both a green and a blue item in addition to the quest bag. Well, it wasn't worth the time or effort of working one's way through the basement room just for that, but at least we got a couple of things other than the quest item from killing her. But wait! There's more!

[Image: jandice6.jpg]

Along the wall near Jandice is a torch switch that opens a gate in a room upstairs that contains a special chest that for us contained two more top of the line green items. Before you say, "Bah, how junky!" Keep in mind that some green items are better than many blue items, and for some equipment slots (especially for rogues), green items can be the best items in the game. Plus, those green items from the chest are bind on equip, so if no one in the party can use them, they can be given to alts or sold at the auction house. One of the items we found, for example, was a set of Nightmare Armguards of Agility -- +15 agility leather bracers. None of us could use those bracers, so I asked for them to give to my hunter alt. After I had asked for items for my hunter a few times, however, I started getting teased by the party that "hunter" was really a codeword for "Auction House." For example, we might find some green cloth gloves with +int and +spirit on them, and they'd start saying, "Uh, yeah, my hunter could use those." My hunter's lvl 46 and named Pandarus. Look him up! Grrrrrr...

[Image: jandice7.jpg]

Keimon had to leave after we killed Jandice, so we summoned in Orodruin, another warlock, to replace her. One of the nice things about having two warlocks in the party was we were able to take turns porting out (or /stucking and rezing at the spirit healer) and talking to Eva Sarkhoff to get the next part of the quest series. As expected, the next quest asked us to use the Blood of the Innocents to summon Kirtonos the Herald, the big boss man himself.

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10-31-2004, 04:01 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:49 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #31
Schooling Scholomance
[Image: kirtonos.jpg]

ADVENTURES OF NERIAD: Schooling Scholomance, part XV, Kirtonos the Herald

After killing Jandice Barov, the party took a break. For one thing, Keimon had to leave, so we had to look for a replacement (and found one in another warlock, Orodruin). In addition, several party members wanted to turn in their bags containing the Blood of the Innocents to Eva Sarkhoff right away. Having two warlocks in the party made this easy. Players could hearth out (or /stuck and rez at the spirit healer), turn in the quest at Eva, and then get resummoned back to middle of the instance. As long as one warlock and at least two others stayed in the instance at all times, the party could rotate people in and out as much as it wanted to. Conveniently, there's a spot at the top of the stairwell leading to Jandice Barov's basement chamber where no mobs respawn. We stayed there during the break.

After gathering again, we fought our way back through respawns to the Chamber of Summoning, the second major room in the instance. We had seen a small balcony off to the side of the Chamber of Summoning with a curious looking brazier in it, but until this point we hadn't known what it was for. It turns out that we were supposed to place the Blood of the Innocents in the brazier to summon Kirtonos the Herald. We had no idea what to expect, so we cleared the Chamber of Summoning again just in case this Kirtonos fellow decided to fight in the middle of the chamber.

We walked out onto the balcony (or the "Porch" as the game calls it for some reason), and with no idea of what to expect, lit the brazier.

[Image: kirtonos1.jpg]

An orange text message appeared on the screen:

Kirtonos the Herald lets out a shrill cry

I looked around to try to locate Kirtonos, and it was only when he was just about on top of us that I saw that in fact he was a gargoyle, flying at us from the outside direction. (Note: The above screenshot was from a later run, when I knew where to look).

[Image: kirtonos2.jpg]

Kirtonos flew over our heads, landed behind us on the stairs leading to the Chamber of Summoning, and transformed into his humanoid form. As you can see, the gate leading to the Chamber of Summoning closed shut once the brazier was lit, so there was no chance of running and also no need to clear the Chamber of Summoning. This fight was going to end one way or another on the "Porch."

[Image: kirtonos3.jpg]

Several times during the fight, Kirtonos changed back into his gargoyle form. In this form, he would cast Curse of Tongues, which reduced casting speed by 50% -- a harsh penalty on casters.

[Image: kirtonos4.jpg]

Still, there weren't any special tactics that needed to be employed to kill him, and we flattened him pretty quickly.

What'd we get? What'd we get? You ask. Check out Kupeludo's brand new cool-looking two-handed axe that you can see him holding in the previous screenshot. It's stats are:

[Image: kirtonos5.jpg]

Not good enough, you say? Then, how about this belt that I got:

[Image: kirtonos6.jpg]

I was particularly happy to get this belt, because the only piece of treasure in Blackrock Spire that could possibly be useful to me was a belt that sometimes drops off one of the minibosses there. I didn't want to bother running Blackrock Spire over and over just to get that belt. Yet, here I was on the third day of the patch, and I already had a belt from Scholomance that was better than that BRS belt, so I didn't have to run BRS anymore. *Phew* It's purely personal preference, but I like Stratholme and Scholomance much better than BRS. (Note: Stat-wise, the belt in BRS and the Clutch of Andros are roughly equal. Which one you prefer depends on whether you like stamina or spirit more. I like spirit more than stamina for Neriad, so I prefer the Clutch).

After killing Kirtonos, the party continued on a standard Scholomance run much like what has already been described by these journals. When we were done, the party members were in a bind. We had been able to summon Kirtonos because of an item given to us by a quest giver, and Kirtonos had dropped two very nice items for our party. Who knew what other items he might drop? (Note: I've also seen him drop a 40.0 dps dagger that gives +8 to arcane spells). We could abandon our quests, get the quest again along with a another Blood of the Innocents from Eva, and farm Kirtonos repeatedly. Or, we could turn in our quests and see what we get.

It didn't help that the Kirtonos quest specifically says in its title "<Needs Reward>." Internal Blizzard notes like "<Needs Reward>," "<NYI>" (not yet implemented), and "<Needs Text>" are a common sight for beta testers. Unfortunately, many beta testers take such messages too literally, since I've seen some players not bother to accept quests that say "<NYI>" or "<Needs Reward>." The thing is that in most cases such quests are actually implemented or actually have some sort of reward. I suspect that such messages most of the time indicate that while there is some sort of implementation or reward for the quest, it hasn't gone through whatever quality assurance vetting process Blizzard has.

So it was a tough call. Abandon the quest and farm Kirtonos, or turn in the quest and see what was behind the proverbial curtain #2.

[Image: kirtonos7.jpg]

Well, I'm a curious SOB, so I turned in my quest and received an item called a Spectral Essence, which says it will allow me to "communicate with the other lost souls of Caer Darrow." What the heck did this mean? At this moment, a system message came on, saying that the servers were being taken down. I'd have to wait for a few hours to find out what this Spectral Essence thing was all about.

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10-31-2004, 07:14 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:51 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #32
Schooling Scholomance
ADVENTURES OF NERIAD: Schooling Scholomance, part XVI, Caer Darrow

[Image: caerdarrow.jpg]

A few hours later, I logged on and headed back to Caer Darrow, the ruined island town surrounding Scholomance. Caer Darrow appears deserted, except for the spirits of Eva and Lucien Sarkhoff, whom we've met several times before. But every once in a while, if you stand in certain places, you'll overhear the disembodied conversations of unseen inhabitants.

[Image: caerdarrow2.jpg]

Whoever these inhabitants are, they can't be seen while your character is a ghost and detect invisibility items won't reveal them.

[Image: caerdarrow3.jpg]

But when a player equips the Spectral Essence given by Eva Sarkhoff, an entire town population is revealed. (Can you find all nine spirits in this image? Compare your answers with this image).

[Image: caerdarrow5.jpg]

It turns out that Sammy and Melia, whose conversation snippet we saw above, are two young girls perpetually racing each other around the town's central fountain. In addition, the man in the shack to the left is a bread vendor, something that could be very handy, considering the shortage of vendors of any sort in the Plaguelands.

[Image: caerdarrow6.jpg]

But the real find in this town is the blacksmith vendor who sells four rare blacksmithing recipes and one rare alchemy recipe.

[Image: caerdarrow7.jpg]

When I first saw these recipe scrolls, dollar signs floated in front of my eyes. Remember that this was on the third day of the patch, and few people had completed the quest series up to this point. In fact, as far as I knew Kronos and I were the first people on the PvP server to have gotten this far. Imagine being able to buy a bunch of these recipes, especially the Major Mana Potion recipe, and sell them at the auction house. We could've made a fortune.

Unfortunately, as you no doubt picked up quickly, four of the five recipes available for sale are bind-on-pickup, so it would be impossible to sell them at the auction house. In addition, the one recipe that isn't bind-on-pickup, the Storm Gauntlets, are really shaman gauntlets that are essentially worthless to alliance players. I considered buying a few of those recipes to sell anyway, since some people like to collect recipes no matter how useless they are, but at 4g a pop, I doubted I could make much of a profit.

However, I did have to give the Blizzard developers props for the idea of this hidden vendor who sells bind-on-pickup recipes. The Major Mana Potion recipe, in particular, is the real prize. The problem with alchemy as it is currently implemented is that it's really easy for someone to create a level 35 alchemist alt who can manufacture any potions a player desires. (If you know your way around the game, getting a character to level 35 doesn't take long). In fact, I expect that nearly all miner players will create alchemist alts so that they can transmute all the archanite they want. But placing this bind-on-pickup Major Mana Potion recipe on a hidden vendor that can only be accessed after completing a high level quest makes it much harder for someone to create a simple alchemist alt capable of manufacturing these potions. I wish Blizzard would move the archanite transmutation recipe to this hidden vendor or another like him. It should be a much more difficult skill to obtain.

[Image: caerdarrow8.jpg]

Another character one finds in Caer Darrow is an NPC named Joseph Dirte, who proudly tells all comers, "My title is Waste Management Specialist." I guess that this is a reference to the movie Joe Dirt, but since I haven't seen the movie, the precise reference is lost on me.

[Image: caerdarrow9.jpg]

Finally, if one goes to the top of the main building in Caer Darrow, the same building that contains Scholomance itself, one finds Magistrate Marduke who explains to players what the Cult of the Damned is in grizzly detail. In short, the Cult of the Damned is made up of non-undead who nonetheless sympathize and worship the Lich King and is loyal the Scourge. One cult member was a mage of Stromgarde whose abilities caught the attention of the Lich King. The Lich King granted immortality to this mage by turning him into a lich as well. The mage's name? Ras Frostwhisper, the overseer of Scholomance. It turns out that even though our party had defeated Ras Frostwhisper several times already, that didn't do any lasting good. Ras Frostwhisper is already dead, so killing him again serves no purpose. To truly defeat him, the Magistrate tells us, we must return Frostwhisper "to his mortal form and then slay him, once and for all." Apparently, this Magistrate has an idea of how to do this, although it involves a bit of traveling.

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10-31-2004, 07:19 PM
Post: #33
Schooling Scholomance

I have to say, first of all, that I have really enjoyed your commentary thus far - it makes me want to buy this game (although it would probably ruin my life for a solid 2+ years... :))

Anyways, I'm incredibly impressed by the depth and breadth of the quest series that you have so far described - Blizzard definitely has my attention.

But whate'er I be,
Nor I, nor any man that is,
With nothing shall be pleased till he be eased
With being nothing.
William Shakespeare - Richard II
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11-01-2004, 10:32 AM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:53 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #34
Schooling Scholomance
[Image: stromgarde.jpg]

ADVENTURES OF NERIAD: Schooling Scholomance, part XVII, The Keepsake of Remembrance

Magistrate Marduke informed Neriad that to truly destroy the lich, Ras Frostwhisper, she must first cause Frostwhisper to return to his mortal form and then kill him. Marduke knew how to cause the transformation to take place, but the one thing he was missing was an object from Ras Frostwhisper's former life. That is, a "keepsake of remembrance." Obtaining one would be no small task, for undead sentient beings such as Frostwhisper typically attempt to destroy all remnants of his or her previous life in order to prevent such a transformation from taking place, according to Marduke.

So, Magistrate Marduke asked Neriad to go to Ras Frostwhisper's former home city of Stromgarde and find an item that might in some way be linked to Ras Frostwhisper's former life. He does not say what such an item might be or where in the city such an item might be found. It was up to Neriad and any other adventurers doing the quest to find the item themselves.

Kronos and Neriad flew over to the Arathi Highlands and entered the city of Stromgarde. It is a city in the midst of a brutal three faction war. The Alliance, the ogres, and the Syndicate each control approximately one-third of the city. The inhabitants are all elite mobs, so it's a kind of "outdoor dungeon" that normally requires sizeable party to venture into. This is especially true on the PvP server, since both Horde and Alliance adventurers enter the city to complete quests. Since the city is not an instance, it can be a madhouse free-for-all as everyone runs into each other while trying to complete their quests. (This can be both a fun and frustrating aspect of questing in Stromgarde).

But luckily for us, both the mobs in the city and the majority of players who typically quest there are in the mid-to-high level 30's. So Kronos and I (and Berilac who joined us later), as level 60 characters, could walk around the city pretty much unmolested.

Hmmm... where should we start looking? We weren't told what the keepsake looked like or where in the city it was. Thinking like a game developer, I reasoned that that probably meant that whatever the keepsake was, it was probably in some obvious landmark location. I suggested that we try looking in the central keep first, but Kronos said that he was going to check the ogre tower first.

Kronos: FOUND IT!!!!
Kronos: top of the ogre tower

In hindsight, it was a good guess. After all, Ras Frostwhisper was a mage in his former life, and the ogre tower has that "mage tower" architecture that can be seen in many locations throughout the world.

[Image: stromgarde2.jpg]

I raced to the top of the ogre tower, and found... nothing.

Neriad: Is the keepsake a mob drop?
Kronos: no, it's a book
Kronos: appears right here
Kronos: gm says it's spawning

I waited a bit longer, but the book didn't respawn. I left to check a couple other places but returned to the top of the ogre tower every few minutes only to find that the book hadn't respawned there. Kronos and Berilac posted some messages on the Blizzard forums, asking for clues on where the keepsake spawns, but since so few people had actually followed the quest series to this point, we only got a couple of non-specific responses. The one thing we did get out of the responses, though, was the confirmation that the keepsake can spawn in multiple locations, so camping one location (like the top of the ogre tower) wasn't going to do any good.

[Image: stromgarde3.jpg]

I still clung to my belief that the keepsake had to spawn in landmark locations, though, and the fact that it had spawned that one time at the top of the ogre tower only reinforced that belief. I thoroughly checked the central keep, which is in Syndicate hands, three times, and I also checked the chapel and mausoleum in the Alliance area several times. I then started checking some of the second tier landmark buildings (inns and other such buildings that hadn't been burned to the ground).

Finally, in desperation, I embarked on a systematic search of every square inch of the sprawling city, starting with the Alliance area where I was at the time and then moving on to the Syndicate sector. As I was completing my search of the Syndicate section of the city, Kronos called out that he'd found the keepsake in a chimney in a ruined building in the ogre section of the city -- naturally, the last place I was going to look.

[Image: stromgarde4.jpg]

It took me two hours of searching to find the keepsake, far too long for such a quest, but that's not really the fault of the game designers. It took me that long, because I kept holding onto my belief that the keepsake had to be in some landmark location. If I had known that it could be found in a chimney in the middle of a ruined house, I would've started my systematic search of the city earlier and found the keepsake much quicker. So far, the only reports on the location of the keepsake seem to be in ogre and Syndicate areas, so if you're looking for the keepsake yourself, try those areas first. (I gather that the chimney of an inn in the Syndicate section of the city is another popular spawn location).

[Image: stromgarde5.jpg]

Having finally found our Keepsake of Remembrances, we returned to Magistrate Marduke who then told us to take it to Leonid Barthalomew the Revered, an undead dissenter of the Scourge, who is now loyal to the cause of the Argent Dawn. Barthalonmew then told us to take our keepsakes to the location where Ras Frostwhisper cut his own throat and where the Lich King turned Frostwhisper into a lich. (Really, I think Blizzard should look into creating an instance populated by fluffy bunnies who just want to cuddle and do nice things for people). This spot was called Menethil's Gift, a pentagram located deep within the Scourge city of Stratholme.

Easy enough. But, uh, there's one problem. Where the heck was this pentagram? Kronos, Berilac, and I scratched our heads trying to remember where the thing was. We had each done many Stratholme runs, so we figured we had to have seen it. Kronos thought that it might be somewhere in the section of the city with the ziggurats. I thought there might have been a pentagram on the floor of the main boss's chamber in the Scarlet Crusade section of the city. (The Scarlet Crusade boss turns out to be a demon in disguise, so it wasn't a crazy idea). We asked around, but no one had a definitive answer on where the pentagram might be. Gee, one would think demonic runes would stand out more in a game like this.

[Image: stromgarde6.jpg]

Berilac had joined us originally to do a Scholomance run with us, so it would have been rude to delay that any further. We recruited some more people, headed off, and put the search for Menethil's Gift on hold. However, we did finally get a response from some friends who were running Stratholme that there definitely was not a pentagram in the Scarlet Crusade's boss's chambers, so that idea was scratched.

I kept asking around later, however, and I finally got a definitive response that there were some strange markings in the Baron's chamber in Stratholme. I hitched a ride with a group raiding Stratholme to check it out. One of the nice things about being a priest is that one never has a shortage of opportunities to go on instance runs.

[Image: stromgarde7.jpg]

We killed the Baron (a.k.a. the Death Knight), and sure enough, right in the middle of his chamber was Menethil's Gift. I don't know about you, but that sure doesn't look like a pentagram to me. However, it does say "[PH]" (placeholder), so maybe the art team is still working on it.

I placed the keepsake on Menethil's Gift, and the Keepsake of Remembrance turned into a Soulbound Keepsake. (The text reads: "The soul of the fallen clings to that which represents its former life and transforms the item into a soulbound keepsake.") A new quest appeared that asked me to return the keepsake to Barthalomew the Revered who then told me to take it to Magistrate Marduke. Great, why couldn't I have cut out the middle man and just gone to Magistrate Marduke in the first place?

[Image: stromgarde8.jpg]

Anyway, Magistrate Marduke then told me that there was one task remaining. I had to enter Scholomance, find Ras Frostwhisper, use the soulbound keepsake to return him to his human form, and then kill him once and for all.

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11-01-2004, 02:00 PM
Post: #35
Schooling Scholomance
Chaerophon,Oct 31 2004, 09:19 PM Wrote:Mongo,

I have to say, first of all, that I have really enjoyed your commentary thus far - it makes me want to buy this game (although it would probably ruin my life for a solid 2+ years... :))&nbsp;

Anyways, I'm incredibly impressed by the depth and breadth of the quest series that you have so far described - Blizzard definitely has my attention.

Same for me. It's a great story. I am impressed by the work of the game designers here and also like that people actually go out there and employ tactics and teamwork to discover all this.


Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm!
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11-01-2004, 10:09 PM (This post was last modified: 03-11-2005 03:54 AM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #36
Schooling Scholomance
[Image: frostwhisper.jpg]

ADVENTURES OF NERIAD: Schooling Scholomance, part XVIII, The Final Task

Neriad: We meet again, Frostwhisper, and this time I am the lich!

Ras Frostwhisper: You are?

Neriad: Not really. It just seemed like the thing to say.

Ras Frostwhisper: Oh, well, you can't win, Neriad. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Neriad: Oh, yeah? Well, I have THIS!

[Image: frostwhisper2.jpg]

Neriad: Um, give me a few seconds will you? It's this whole channeling thing. I'm sure you understand. These soulbound keepsakes are so complicated.

[Image: frostwhisper3.jpg]

Ras Frostwhisper: NO! THIS CANNOT BE!

[Image: frostwhisper4.jpg]

And in a straight-forward almost anticlimactic battle, Ras Frostwhisper was vanquished.

[Image: frostwhisper5.jpg]

So, what'd we get? The quest reward is the Crest of Caer Darrow plus the choice of either the Crown of Caer Darrow, the Darrowspike, or the Cerulean Blade of Caer Darrow. As you can see above, these are some very nice items, and I particularly drooled over the prospect of wearing the Crown of Caer Darrow. However, there were two problems.

First, as you can see, the level requirements on all of those items are level 70 and are therefore impossible for any player to wear. An item can have a level 70 requirement for one of two reasons. First, it can mean that it's a proposed quest reward item that hasn't yet gone through the vetting process to make sure that it is in balance with other items in the game. Second, it can also means that the Blizzard quest and item design team are sadists who like to taunt beta testers with powerful items they can't wear and then beat the items with a nerf stick when the next patch comes out.

But even before we got to the point of trying to turn in the quest, we ran into another problem. We are supposed to pick up Ras Frostwhisper's head and deliver it to Magistrate Marduke to complete the quest. But you see, Ras Frostwhisper dropped nothing... at all. I understand that what happens is that if you turn Frostwhisper into his human form, his shifts over to a different drop table when he dies. That makes sense, since he is supposed to drop his head when he dies in human form. Unfortunately, the new drop table is empty. As I've told myself hundreds of times since I first started playing WoW, "Welcome to beta!"

I hope you all enjoyed these Schooling Scholomance journals. I've appreciated all of the encouragement and great feedback I've received along the way. Look for more Adventures of Neriad soon.
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11-01-2004, 11:01 PM
Post: #37
Schooling Scholomance
MongoJerry,Nov 1 2004, 06:09 PM Wrote:I hope you all enjoyed these Schooling Scholomance journals.[right][snapback]58841[/snapback][/right]
I have - truly. I meant to reply earlier to suggest that you pick up Writer's Market. Since I didn't I'm doing it now.

MongoJerry,Nov 1 2004, 06:09 PM Wrote:.&nbsp; Look for more Adventures of Neriad soon.
I'm still waiting on Neriad's one-elf assault on the Undercity. :(

[Image: 2drgabq.png]
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11-02-2004, 08:19 AM
Post: #38
Schooling Scholomance
MongoJerry, will you have a weblog for your adventures in the retail game?
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03-24-2013, 06:37 AM
Post: #39
RE: Schooling Scholomance
Hey, this will be one hell of a bump and its doubtful that anyone would reply to this but there is no way I can thank you enough for this step by step accounting of your scholomance run. I'm part of a project to make a Vanilla WoW server and this accounting of the bosses and mobs of scholomance was a great help in perfecting them on our server. I seriously cannot thank you enough for the detail you went through putting this together.
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05-17-2016, 10:02 AM
Post: #40
RE: Schooling Scholomance
I know this won't be quite as big a bump as the last one, but I have to nonetheless, hell I even registered just to write this.

This account was so well written and documented that I literally could not stop reading after I was sent here by a random reddit/wow link. Lost a few hours of sleep, but it was worth it. I think I almost teared up a few times while reading when I realized that experiences like these will probably never be realized in WoW ever again. Thanks for helping recreate some of the magic of the golden days!
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