March 29th, 2008


Crossfire in Dire Maul: in over our heads

Last time, after we had finished Blackrock Depths, we wondered what to do next. We were level 56 and Stratholme seemed a bit out of our league. Lower Blackrock Spire was an option, and so were Scholomance and Dire Maul, or so we thought. We voted for Dire Maul, because none of us except Glok really know that dungeon and we curious. Well, I can say with quite some certainty now, even though our critkitty has tranformed into a moonchicken, curiosity killed the cat. Several times.

The East side of the instance was easy enough. We chased Pusillin, killed some plantoids and some satyrs, we had fun and it felt good. Though at a certain moment I started to feel that some of the plantoids really had a lot of hitpoints, that what I thought had been a pretty big hit only made a slight dent in its health bar. That's when I noticed they were all level 57 or higher. I thought: "should be interesting", and I went on with slicing and dicing.

Zevrim the evil sacrificing satyr was a challenge, especially because the first person he decided to sacrifice was Sna, and our ever versatile Marlix had to jump in with the healing. The second time he activated the altar, it was me, so there was no real loss there, and we pounded his face into a pulp none the less. From there, making our way to the treant who would open the door to the final boss for us was quite fun.

Alzzin the Wildshaper patiently waited for us in the middle of is courtyard while we slew all his happy tree friends. He turned out to be a slippery fellow, but all his changing back and forth between satyr, wolf and other shapes did him no good. He fell unmistakebly hard and we felt fittingly heroic, having killed a level 58 boss. So we made our way back to the centre of Dire Maul, where a level 60 chimera had spawned.

Quite a gripping battle, but the loot was disappointing, so we moved on to the West side of Dire Maul. The first treants we encountered near the entrance were good practice and quite easy, especially because they could be pulled one by one. A good thing was that our vigilance didn't waver, a very good thing indeed. The huge demon hound Immol'thar is being kept improsoned in the depths of the West side by five highly magical pylons, guarded by arcane elementals. In order to kill him, he must first be released by destroying the pylons and the elementals guarding them.

The first pylon is quite near the entrance and the arcane elementals stand in a circle around it. With our first pull, we aggroed three of them and that was a little bit much to handle. Their damage ignored Glok's massive armor rating, and they had the nasty habit to shoot volleys of arcane missiles and chain lightnings at us. It was the first but certainly not the last wipe that night. Some of us had just turned level 57 and they were level 60.

Pulling two of them at the same time proved doable and we felt like we got the hang of it, keeping the guys with the chain lightning at a distance of the rest of the party and killing the guys with the arcane volleys first. When we had cleared the first pylon and moved on deeper into the dungeon, things calmed down again. The undead we encountered were a nice exercise in alertness, because some of them were invisible, and as we fought our way through them up to the parapet where the questgiver waited for us, I admired our solid teamwork.

We picked up the quest and paid our regards to the undead hunter roaming the balcony, and after that we went down towards Immol'thar's prison. That's where things got nasty; the only enemies we encountered from there onwards were the arcane alementals, and storm elementals who always came in large groups with one elite while the rest was level 58 or 59. The first time we tried such a group,  we were a goner. Marlix feared they might be immune to his hurricane spell, but they turned out to be immune to arcance spells, including counterspell, which made it harder for us to pull them away to a quiet spot of the hall.

But we learned our lesson, and the second time we pulled such a group, we made mincemeat out of them, or whatever kind of meat you can make of elementals. Taking down the rest of the pylons was no problem either, now that we had the trick down. And there he stood, Immol'thar himself, quite a scary guy with all his eyes, and his level 61.

Overwhelmed by his awesome powers, we died. But we didn't leave it at that. Luckily, the graveyard is quite close to the entrance of Dire Maul, and though he put up quite a struggle, the biggest struggle we've seen ever since we vanquished Herod at level 36 before the patch that nerfed all the dungeons, we got him in the end.

But that was only half of the quest; the other half was killing the guy who had imprisoned him: Prince Tortheldrin, who turned out to be quite a formidable opponent too. We were in luck that there was someone to repair our armor inside the instance, or Marlix would have had to face him with a bare chest. His nasty habit of ignoring our tank to jump up and kill the weaker members of Crossfire was a pain on our poor casters, and by the time we finally pinned him down, Glok and I were the only ones left standing.

Looking back on the challenges we had faced, we decided not to go to the North side of the dungeon. Maybe later, when we were higher level. Next up on our schedule is Scholomance on 15 April. We don't have the key, but I will make sure that the lock will pose no problem. Glok and Marlix immediately started to discuss which quests we need to pick up and which we would not, so I open the floor for their discussion here.
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