As a newbie to the world of graphic RPGs, I have so much to learn in so many different ways.  In the game, the instructions were very clear on how to get a ride to places far away.  In one of my earlier quests, it took me via gryphon to another city.  I learned the flight routes very easily from that quest.  Since I knew nothing about the game and started out without anyone to guide me on how to play, I picked up quests I didn’t know how to finish and they bugged me every day.

It might be my OCD tendencies.  I don’t like knowing there’s a quest out there I haven’t finished and two of the quests I managed to accept along different quest lines had no discernible way to get to them without going through a dungeon.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready to do so.  I didn’t like the idea that I could get stuck in a dungeon group full of miscreants who just wanted to use foul language and be abusive.  Mind you, not ever having been in one with a group yet I don’t know that to be the norm, but based on the type of behavior you see on the general chat channels it did not inspire me to investigate going into a dungeon.

At level 38 now, having a bit more information and being told how low level the Gnomeregan dungeon was I figured it was time to set out and see if I could find Gnomeregan by myself.  I’ve seen maps of it and I was told it was west of Ironforge, but I could never find a map connecting the lines between Ironforge and Gnomeregan.  When you are in Ironforge, you get a map of Ironforge. Right-click on that map and you get a map with more areas in it, but few indicators of where towns are.  Now that I have been in WoW for a bit, I’ve figured out how to get mid-level maps showing an entire area (by finding the big continent map and clicking on the area labeled Dun Morogh or whatever area you are looking for – it’s like hovering over states on a United States map).

For those of you who may have worked so hard to level up your characters and not been to a dungeon with a group, I’ve taken several screen shots for you of what to expect.  I did forget to take a screen shot of the first level NPC Boss kill.  It’s a 20,000+ EXP  NPC and my nerves were a bit frazzled having died a couple times in the process of learning.  I will say my old CircleMUD skills came into play.  I was able to run all three levels of the dungeon by myself at level 38 (being a priest – you can probably do it at a lower level with a hardier class) through use of pulling the NPCs away from one another (since things die much quicker when you have a bunch of people beating on it and not so much by yourself).  One of the first things to know is how to get to a dungeon on foot.  Most people use the feature in the game (keybound to the letter “I”) that will put you in queue for a group to go run a dungeon with.  If you’ve forgotten to do a much lower level dungeon and you want to do it by yourself, you need to go by foot and look for the dungeon symbol (hot green above) to get inside.

Gnomeregan (and the Stormwind dungeon) is a little better prepared then some.  With Gnomeregan and Stormwind, you have the option of quiet rooms to rest and heal before you go back into the dungeon if you get killed.  My recent experience with the Shadowfang Keep dungeon was less friendly.  I saw no quiet rooms at the Keep and in fact, there is NO PLACE anywhere nearby where you won’t get mowed down instantly in which to get your armor repaired.  There is a small area at the base of Shadowfang Keep, but a mob with over 100K EXP roams there and if she catches you, it’s instant death.

Gnomeregan requires that you take an elevator down to the dungeon area. Upon exiting the elevator, you walk through a hall of machinery to the loading area/healing room.  You have the choice of either going straight into a practice area where you can work out the group dynamics with some smaller NPCs or turning left to head into the dungeon.  How do you distinguish where the dungeon is?  By the blue portal above.  When you step through that portal you’ll be greeted by a Quest Master (Murd Doc – linked through a quest in another non-dungeon area) and his friendly support team.  Once you accept his quest, you are ready to rock and roll.

The first dungeon level in Gnomeregan can only be reached by a parachute (which BTW, doesn’t always open – if it doesn’t you can plan on losing around 1,000+ Hit Points when you hit bottom).  Luckily there are parachute boxes on both level 1 and 2 in case you die and have to return.  Level 1 is full of oozing slime and baby Vicous Fallout roaming robots, but they are easy to pull and kill. A good level 38 priest can take Vicous Fallout himself out after killing all the roaming NPCs, but you need to be very focused on what you’re doing to ensure you are healing what was half my hit points every time my power shield faded out and needed to be recast.  Since this was such a low level dungeon I was a bit surprised that the item he dropped was better than the one I had.  The good thing about running the dungeon was I didn’t have to worry about sharing the armor and equipment drops.  It was sad there weren’t people to get the items I didn’t need (they immediately bind to you), but I sold them for a good amount of coin at the next vendor I visited.  When I finally killed Vicous Fallout, I was exhausted and completely forgot to get a screen shot of his carcass.  Having never killed a dungeon boss before, it was a relief when it was over.  There is a friendly NPC in a car almost halfway around level one who gives you the next quest for level 2.    The corridor behind him is where I pulled all the NPCs I killed to.

By the second level, I was a little more used to the killing frenzy.  There were the same requisite NPCs to kill, a little one bigger than the other and seemingly around 5,000 hit points.  Electrocutioner 6000 had more hit points to get rid of though.  In the end, Electrocutioner 6000 met his match.  Notice the white tipped staff on my back?  I got that from the first level NPC Boss.

When the third level came around it almost seemed impossible.  I won’t deny I died a couple of times from getting a little cocky with my second level success of pulling NPCs (i.e. I didn’t die on the second level).  I made sure when I parachuted down to this last level that I ran to the very outside of the area and made my way around the perimeter to the hall that took you to where the Boss NPC (Mekgineer Thermaplugg) was.  There was a helpful dwarven NPC with blue balls of electricity when I pulled the worker NPCs out to the perimeter of the main area to be killed (they all had “guardians”).  This level seemed to me to have the most aggressive NPC workers of the dungeon, which would make sense if it’s the last Boss NPC.  By the way, Mekgineer Thermaplugg had over 27,000 hit points and a bunch of little bombs to annoy you with some offensive spell while you were trying to kill him.

I want to make a note here for anyone who is going through the Gnomeregan dungeon…there is supposed to be a dormitory somewhere which contains a Sparklematic 5200 NPC.  The Sparklematic is supposed to process all the grimy encrusted things you received as you killed all the NPCs and turn some of them into pretty stones.  It is also supposed to be a quest, but I couldn’t find the “Dormitory” where the Sparklematic is supposed to live when I was outside in the “Loading Area.” I can only surmise he lives on one of the dungeon levels even though older instructions on the web says he is in the pre-dungeon area. I spent my time focused on killing the Boss NPCs and going to the next level as opposed to exploring so I suppose there could be a clean room on one of the dungeon levels, but I didn’t go looking for it.  Now I have a bunch of grimy encrusted items and have no idea how to get them transferred into gems at the moment.  If you figure it out, please feel free to leave a comment as I would love to figure out how to get them taken care of.

Also, in my travels through the non-dungeon areas of the Gnomeregan dungeon in search of the Sparklematic 5200, I came upon an area in the back of the practice zone with 5,000HP NPCs.  I don’t know if they lead to the major dungeon areas as I wasn’t really trying to run the dungeon again.  I was just looking for the “clean” area where people claimed the Sparklematic 5200 resided.  I don’t know if I couldn’t find him due to running the dungeon at such a high level instead of the level the dungeon was intended for, but Sparklematic 5200 was nowhere to be found.

If like me, you have hesitations about grouping with strangers wait until you feel more comfortable about it.  There are hundreds of discussions about dungeon runs on the internet, some include strategies.  Sooner or later you’ll wind up meeting people you want to run in a group with.  Dungeons are a great place to pick up good armor and challenge your strategy and gaming skills.  I liked Gnomeregan as a starter dungeon.  The graveyard is very easy to get to and it’s a quick trip to run outside and get armor repair before going back in (if you click on the guy near the transporter device at the elevator bay, he will automatically transport you up to the surface without waiting for an elevator).  I’ve read other people talking about how boring the Gnomeregan dungeon is, but I found it to be a good first dungeon to experience.  Just remember to make sure your hearthstone is in your bag (there is no other way out unless someone teleports you) and you stop at the Sparklematic 5200 before leaving the last dungeon level.