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There are so many things you have to learn when you’re involved in a game that relies on other people.  I’ve been pretty much winging it on my own, with the exception of the dungeon runs I’ve done with my guild leader.  He’s a great guy who explains things to me and has the patience to put up with the horrible mis-steps my old computer frequently causes.  In one dungeon, I had the hideous luck to keep falling into molten lava on the way in because at the time I did not have a winged beast to fly over it (or to be more exact, wasn’t at a high enough level to use my winged beast for flight).  He’s also been great at helping me collect armor for my priest and bags with enough slots to actually carry and store things in.  He’s generously found both cloth and leather whenever I’ve asked (from what he has left over) and informed me those hard to find dusts and essences can be found by disenchanting the things I have to make to move my tailoring skill up.  I can say as men go he’s probably treated me better than most of the real men in my life.

Sooner or later though, you have to start stepping out on your own just to prove you are capable of learning things that may seem easy to others, but are weaving new neural pathways in a much older brain.  When I hit level 60 and was finally able to upgrade my riding ability to fly I was feeling pretty good.  While other quests had taken forever to get to some of the places via the road (often stopped by aggressive NPCs on the way to get where I was going), I now fly over their heads.  Quest lines are much easier to finish as I no longer have to follow the roads to where I want to go.  I simply take a direct line and drop down right in the middle of everything.  This is especially handy when you have to go some place on the other side of Horde territory.

Feeling good about my new found freedom I thought I would trip the light fantastic and take a stab at joining a group through the dungeon finder.  BAD IDEA.  I had THE WORST dungeon experience in my life!  I’ve read you should go in as a DPS (only there to cause damage) person if you don’t know how to run a dungeon, but if you get put into an experienced group it doesn’t hold true.  I indicated on the dungeon finder that I would not be using my priestly skills, mostly due to the age of my computer and the buffer lag I have to deal with due to an inadequate graphics card and low processor speed.

Unfortunately, if you get into a group of experienced players they are off and running before you even have time to start the quests in the dungeon.  Before I even found out who the tank in my group was, he was barking instructions and criticism my way.  I had no idea what he was talking about though, since it was clear the words coming out of his mouth were foreign to me.

I brought this to the WoW forums and was blessed with some great responses. While it took a couple of explanations to get all the information I needed, I found out that priests who wish to be both healers and damage creators need to sign up for dual specialization.  I suppose this is true for all the other classes as well.  Each class comes with three different types of skills or spells, dependent upon what they wish to do.  I chose the Discipline Priest specialty when I created my character (even though most guides said to create a Shadow Priest), because at the time I wanted an equal balance between healer and fighter.  Being a Holy Priest would have taken too long to level and being a Shadow Priest made me a damage character, not a healer. The whole time the leader of this dungeon group was screaming SHADOW, SHADOW, SHADOW at me, he wanted me to switch over to a Shadow Priest.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but later I found out how easy it is to go to your class trainer and request dual specialization (having two bright tabs on your specialization as shown above indicates you can switch back and forth between the two).  Something else I also found interesting was the other priest in the group was using his Shadow skills and was also being targeted by the NPCs run amok, while I as a Discipline Priest was being left alone by random aggressive NPCs.

You really can find any piece of information you need on the Wow forum.  I post all my inquiries to the Newbie area since I know so little about the game. I received links to some GREAT class guides, was helped by being given a list of spells people would expect me to use in a dungeon run, had the loot system explained to me in a way that made sense and was given insight on what experienced people DO expect.  One person replying told me that her dungeon experiences yielded a one in five rate of having a leader who flew like the wind trying to take the course at his own pace – lucky me!  Of course, there is always the other extreme, which was pointed out to me by another poster, where people go through the dungeon slowly as they consider it more of a social opportunity than a speed drill.

In between my last blog entry and this one, I also went to some pretty interesting quests.  The Un’Goro Crater quest line seemed to take FOREVER.  I was never so thankful to receive an increase in movement speed.  In addition, it seemed to have the highest amount of aggressive NPCs that were always in the way of getting from here to there.  It would have been much easier to get through that area with a flying mount.  By the time I was through with all the quests in that area, all I wanted to do was get out of it.

Then there was the exorcism of Colonel Jules.  I had been running quest lines that were pretty self explanatory for so long, I forgot about the ones where you just stand there and observe.  I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do when I got to this quest (buffer lag played a part in my confusion waiting for the NPC to speak), but I finally stood still for a while and realized the NPC I interacted with was beginning an exorcism complete with green goo and flying skulls.

The most ANNOYING quest came from Silithus on the continent of Kalimdor. This was the first time I was ever tricked into PvP play by a quest.  I’m sure I spent hours trying to figure out why, when I clicked on the geyser, I couldn’t get to the apparatus which sucked the geyser energy I was carrying out of me as the quest required.  After a lot of frustration and wasted time, I finally found a web page with comments about the quest.  It appeared that you must not only have your PvP indicator turned on when starting the quest (right click on your face in the upper left corner where it shows how many hit points you have left and you’ll see the Player vs. Player options), but you CANNOT ride any mount after interacting with the Silithyst Geyser; i.e. you better run fast to get to the machine that sucks the geyser energy back out of you.  Sometimes it was a VERY long run hoping no one would spot me.

Part of the quest was the Alliance/Horde challenge you see above.  I suppose you win some type of honor points if your faction gets to 200.  I never saw the score indicator get close to 200 on either side.  To move the numbers (and they reset every day I believe), you have to complete the geyser run.  There are several geysers in Silithus, but I found them to not respawn all that fast.  I think you do better going into Silithus as a group and trying to get as many as you can that way.

I had my second chance to go to the Darkmoon Faire this month.  The games were much easier to play this time having learned more about the user interface and my mouse.  The cannon game is still a bit iffy due to the age of my computer and poor graphics card.  The lag is horrible when I play, which doesn’t bode well for hitting a button when you get over a certain area in the ocean.  I still found myself distracted enough by trying to complete quests to not make it to the Faire every day to gather more tickets.  I suppose the special quests benefit people who are at their highest level already.

I am thrilled to be able to say I can now make my own 16 slot bags!  I made a bunch of them with the tons of Netherweave Cloth I had gathered from all the quests.  I’ve had the misfortune to be very far behind in Tailoring from the level I’m at.  Here’s a good tip for anyone winding up in the same situation.  If you are predominantly behind in Tailoring (i.e. the cloth you’re getting from kills is a few levels above what you can create), try to keep in mind that if you find a good area to farm cloth during your quests, spend some time there and get as many as you can while you’re at that level (and don’t think for a minute that having 140 pieces is enough – the higher you get, the more pieces it takes to make a bolt of cloth)!  I am finding that once I pass the player level of the area where certain cloth spawns, I can’t farm ANYTHING to save my soul!  I’m sure they put that stopgap in the game to keep people from making millions farming different types of cloth, but I would hope one day they would re-code the ability to pick up cloth based on your Tailoring level, NOT your player level.  The last seven levels of Tailoring were incredibly painful for me.  I was too big to farm any more runecloth, but I didn’t have enough to make items that would raise my level (grayed out items don’t raise your Tailoring level, green does sometimes, but not always).  The prices for cloth through the auction house (for those of us who were too impatient to wait until our non-tailoring characters got up to that cloth level) were HORRIBLE.  At a time when I should be saving up for flying lessons, I’m spending my gold on cloth I should have spent the time to farm.  Oh well, at least now I know.

If you’re having any problems as a newbie or have questions about things that aren’t working well for you, please visit the battle.net WoW forum.  The people there are full of all kinds of information.  You just have to be specific about what you want to know and they will happily share their experience and expertise.  It’s always been a positive experience for me. 🙂

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.

March 2017
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