Dire Maul West: Clear…kind of…

New readers and everybody else, click here to check out what this project is all about and see the current status: Dungeon Challenge Overview.

300px-Eldre'Thalas

Dire Maul West, as well as East and North, are technically one dungeon. That’s why you can enter all three wings at the same level, even though they vary vastly in difficulty. The East end boss is level 41, West is 44 and Norths is 47 and everything is available from level 31. Well, in theory.

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We got to the end boss of East at 31 (+10) but didn’t manage to kill him until 34 (+7). We entered West at 33. Eleven levels below the final boss. Yikes! We didn’t go at 31 because it seemed, well, stupid, even for us and we chose 33 because that was our next Step Up (Scholomance became available) and the level difference to the bosses was still a new record.

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Actually we didn’t expect to make progress at this level difference, but as usual, this challenge is full of surprises.

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Razorfen Downs: What the…?

In this episode of the WoW Dungeon Duo project, we step into the Razorfen Downs. If you are new here, check out the Introduction to our little adventure.

This post is a bit longer than usual. Enjoy! Or: Sorry! (If you don’t like reading.)

Razorfen Downs Loading Screen
Razorfen Downs Loading Screen

Well then, after successfully finishing Scholomance at 34, testing our other current roadblocks and deciding we couldn’t beat them yet, we leveled up to 35, thus unlocking the Razorfen Downs.

Razorfen Downs has been redesigned with the release of Cataclysm and contrary to the other updated dungeons, this one had the level range increased by about 8 levels. Originally you could enter at Level 25, now it’s 35, with the mobs being 43/44 and the bosses 45. Naturally we ignored the recommended level range and group size and went in 10 levels below the final boss, not knowing what to expect.

The instance has 4 bosses and one optional boss. Let’s get to it!

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Scholomance: Beaten!

New readers, check out what this project is all about: Right here.

Scholomance

Ah, the School of Necromancy. Much has changed since it was overhauled for Mists of Pandaria and I don’t like it that much to be honest. I’d go on a rant here about the shortcomings of the new version, but I’ll just describe quickly what changed:

Upon release of WoW, Scholomance was one of the toughest Dungeons in the game. Designed for 10 players around level 58-60, it was quite challenging and not to mention huge, with over a dozen bosses. In 2006 the instance was nerfed slightly, mob numbers and hit points were reduced, but so was the maximum number of players and now it was a regular 5 man dungeon, so it stayed quite difficult. There were also a bunch of quests (naturally) and other events like the fight for the Paladin mount and a special summoned boss for level 60 players that needed to complete their Dungeon Set 2 quest chain. It was great!

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But ever since the Burning Crusade, less and less people actually entered the dungeon and it became more irrelevant as leveling speeds increased. Most players hit Outland at 58 and the Scholomance gear wasn’t that great to the quest rewards in Outland…or compared to heirlooms. So the instance was mostly forgotten. So with Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard wanted to overhaul the dungeon, so more players would be able to see it again.

Instead of being an end game dungeon, it is now for players from 38 to 48. The dungeon was drastically resized and all branching paths were removed, along with most of the bosses, to allow for a quick, straight and smooth run through the instance. Of course the difficulty was adjusted as well so now you typically rush through the dungeon in a couple of minutes without anyone dying. The special encounters were removed as well. There is a heroic Level 90 version of the dungeon, but it’s still the same, smaller instance. Bosses are slightly harder and there is an additional (trivial) rare spawn. That’s about it.

Why they didn’t split the dungeon into two wings, like they did with so many others, it beyond me. It would work perfectly and they didn’t have to shrink the dungeon that much, keeping everything intact. Maybe some people like the new Scholomance better. If you do: Tell me why, I’m very curious to know.

Okay, enough rambling, let’s get on to the challenge.

The Scholomance bosses are Level 43 and the minimum level to enter the dungeon is 33. You can queue for the dungeon from Level 38 and I believe using the random dungeon finder offers you the dungeon at 40+. Of course we went at Level 33, just the Healer and me, the tank. We really didn’t expect much, still having the original Scholomance difficulty in our heads, but to our surprise, we made progress.

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Finally!

The first time I set foot into the Black Temple was in August of 2008, a few months before the big 30% nerf for the WotLK 3.0.1 prepatch in October of the same year. We didn’t clear the raid, but it was quite exciting and even if it wasn’t current endgame anymore, it was a real challenge for the whole raid.

The fashion of soloing raids wasn’t really a thing back then, not like it is today. An ill prepared raid of lvl 70 characters could still very VERY easily wipe in lvl 60 raids like AQ40 or Naxx. Soloing raids was made more difficult by the fact that you couldn’t enter them solo, so you needed a friend or second account so you could make a raid group.

In the older expansions the power creep wasn’t that huge as well, so the Black Temple wasn’t soloable at level 80 and even at level 85 depending on the class and your gear, it was impossible to get past the first boss. Later bosses were also impossible for other classes.

My first Black Temple run (as a healer)
My first Black Temple run (as a healer)

I didn’t get to solo BT on my Rogue until level 90 and even then it took a while until I got enough gear to pass the DPS check on the first boss. I slowly improved my gear and checked regularly if I could kill him. Later bosses weren’t pushovers either. The Essence of Desire at the Reliquary of Souls fight was very tricky and Illidan as well as other bosses killed me regularly as well.

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Four levels for one boss: Alzzin the Wildshaper

New readers, check out what this project is all about: Right here.

Alzzin_the_Wildshaper

This was quite the epic journey. The Dire Maul portal lets you enter the instance at level 31 and we progressed, with some difficulty, to the endboss: Alzzin the Wildshaper.
You can read about the first bosses and our troubles with Alzzin in the previous post.

Alzzin is without a doubt the toughest bossfight in the game we encountered so far. We had roadblocks prior to this, like the Houndmaster who was really strong due to a debuff where we had to get lucky or Rooguk in Razorfen Kraul, who was just ridiculously unbalanced and not actually difficult.
But Alzzin has it all. High damage, multiple phases, shapeshifting, adds, tons of abilities, movement, mana and aggro management…it’s a shame that regular dungeon groups basically kill him before anything happens.

I already spoke about the boss in the previous posting, but let’s recap the fight in detail and with what we’ve learned while leveling up.

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New WoW Dungeon Project Overview

dungeon

I just wrote a neat little overview about the World of Warcraft Dungeon project. There you can read all about the motivation and general progress of the duo and it will also be updated with links to the new posts.

New updates are coming soon, there has been quite some progress in the last couple of days!

The WoW Dungeon Challenge – Project Overview

If you want to read up on a specific dungeon or see where we are in the overall progress, this is the site to check out. It’s also linked at the top of the blog itself!

Unity and other Status

Time to get back on track with everything and I’ll make a few minor changes.

Unity 3D

I still fully intend to finish the current tutorial game, but it’ll probably be the last. I’ll also finish the tutorial with the provided assets for now, to get to a playable product, or let’s call it a prototype. From there I’ll work on expanding the gameplay, game, interface and overhauling the visuals.

So I expect to finish the tutorial much quicker now. My new work schedule has settled and I’ve freed some time each week to work with Unity again, yay ^^

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