Monday, November 28, 2005

WoW: Wailing Caverns

After a pleasant Thanksgiving weekend, I returned home and managed to spend a bit of time playing World of Warcraft. Haokan has been languishing a bit lately, but I returned to him last night, and he finally managed to find a group with whom to journey into Wailing Caverns, the dungeon southwest of Crossroads in the Barrens.

You enter Wailing Caverns through a cave in the Lushwater Oasis. Much like the Deadmines on the Alliance side of the ocean, you’ll have to wander through "public" caves populated with elite monsters (mostly raptors) in search of the entrance to the Instance Dungeon itself.

Monsters in the Wailing Caverns tend to average around level 19, but naturally almost all of them are elite monsters, making them much tougher than ordinary monsters of their level. I ventured into the mines with a party of four players:

  • Haokan (me), a level 23 Shaman specialized in healing

  • Danicor (the party leader), a level 24 Shaman specialized in close combat

  • Junasaz, a level 20 Rogue

  • Ghostblade, a level 20 Hunter

As usual, not every member of the party was equally competent. In my role as primary healer, I had little trouble keeping up with the healing duties most of the time; Danicor did a good job of holding the attention of the monsters, and Junasaz did a good job of crowd control by sapping (stunning) some members. Ghostblade, on the other hand, had a tendency to start fights before the rest of the party was ready and to draw extra monsters into ongoing fights. He also tended to be a "ninja looter", trying to get treasure that he didn’t really need, so Danicor took direct control of loot distribution. Even then, Ghostblade couldn’t seem to follow directions when told to "/roll" for a special item: generating a random number in a "roll off" with the highest number receiving the item.

Despite two wipeouts, though, the party functioned as a pretty effective monster terminating machine most of the time. I can’t really give good guidance about where to go in the Caverns, since I was just following Danicor most of the time and not keeping track of the path.

I can tell you that you will spend a lot of time fighting the Druids of the Fang. These are night elf druids who will invariably have escorts of some kind around them, be they raptors, serpents, or elementals. You can generally expect to have to fight one druid and two escorts in a given encounter. When dealing with these groups, we generally sent Junasaz to sap the druid, pounded down the escorts, and then turned on the now-lonely druid. Druids of the Fang typically cast the Wrath spell a few times and then change into a fighting form. Their fighting form is serpentine rather than the bear or cat form of player druids, but they don’t seem to have any special advantages because of it.

There are a lot of quests available for Wailing Caverns, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve shared quests with your traveling companions before entering the instance. I’ve still got incomplete quests in there, so hopefully I’ll go back soon and get more screencaps.

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