It's back to the Horde continent of Kalimdor and the dry heat of the Barrens for the Filesystem Checkwits. Heading close to the Thousand Needles boundary we take a sharp left for our expedition in to Razorfen Downs. At least, that's the idea, but Livya has somehow found herself in Desolace. That's okay, Vulzerda and I can use the summoning stone to transport our warlock to us. Despite possibly being able to wait for her to ride across a region, and Livya's refusal to use 'such witchery', we need our warlock. It's unfortunate timing for a static group to play on patch day, as it means we are again sadly missing Qattara. Having to install a 600 MB patch and then download and configure various add-ons can somewhat stifle the normal schedule.
Our first task is to find the entrance to the instance, and in typical Filesystem Checkwit fashion we instead fight our way through mobs to appear at the top of a cliff overlooking Thousand Needles. It looks to be a back route to the region, allowing the Horde guards at the Great Lift to be avoided, although I fail to see the fun in that. Finding a way down to Thousand Needles from the Barrens is better when a challenge. Going back in to the brambles finds us a stranded night elf, who wants us to slaughter some quillboar, but only the ones outside the dungeon. I don't think anyone's told him they are no longer elite mobs and he could just wander back to Darnassus without being troubled, but we're happy to get the quest XP.
Hunting pig-men lets us find the ominous entrance to Razorfen Downs, a large maw carved in to the rock face, and we enter. No sooner do we get inside than we are met by a fork in the road. It is another dungeon that is not deceptively linear, as Wailing Caverns before it. This confuses my alliance sensibilities, so I instead trust my paladin instincts. I pick the right-hand path to despatch undead abominations instead of turning left for the more banal quillboar pig-men. Rounding a corner, I bump in to an actual abomination, the wandering boss Glutton. At Glutton's inevitable demise, Vulzerda helps herself to the fleshhide shoulders he was wearing, which is a little disturbing, as the type of flesh the shoulders are made from is not specified. When Vulzerda soon complains about not being able to remove the skins of the zombies, I get somewhat concerned that maybe she's turning in to Leatherface. At least she's on our side.
The next boss encountered is somehow the final boss of the dungeon. Even with her traitorous Horde knowledge, Livya has no idea how we reach this boss without encountering the other bosses. Vulzerda points out that 'only alliance know this route', as we obviously took the righteous path. Joining the fray, there is a bit of trouble with the boss's summoned spirits, but my taunts and consecrations help us prevail, Amnennar the Cold leaving behind a plate helmet. This is excellent, as I have my first piece of armour ready for when I reach 40th level and train in wearing plate armour, then having to entirely re-equip myself. Until then, I even have Herod's hat to look forwards to, once I reach 37th level. Um, which I did earlier. Let me put my new, superior hat on, which probably would have helped with every combat since Glutton. Herod's hat has horns. I have horns. With Herod's hat, I am one horny draenei.
On the way out of RFD, we visit the rest of the bosses in no particular order. Although it seems some of the skeletal moshers around Mordresh Fire Eye can be pulled separately from the boss, not all of them can, as we find out as the big fellow joins the fray unexpectedly. Caught off-guard and in the midst of lag, my health drops to somewhat below zero, leaving Livya and Vulzerda to suffer the complete lack of melee damage. Being a caster, Mordresh poses relatively few problems for a duo without a tank, and the DPS and healing of warlock and shaman are enough to defeat him without needing a paladin's monotonous auto-attack. A new belt for Livya is gained for her efforts.
Reaching the holding pens, we release a cook who is happy to teach us how to brew tea, but otherwise seems content to stay in the company of pig-men. Belnistrasz, on the other hand, can't wait to escape this foul place. So keen is he to flee that, unlike any other escort quest, the bastard runs at full pelt towards the exit. As refreshing as it is to escort an NPC who doesn't exhort the importance of escape from the enemy's lair before casually walking at a pace that suggests it's a lazy Sunday stroll through a fête, the speed of Belnistrasz is such that he isn't able to stop in time to encounter only the first group of mobs he walks in to. And as we approached him from the wrong direction, his path to the exit is fully populated with quillboars.
Belnistrasz hurtles through the first group of razorfen pig-men and straight in to the second, only then pausing to consider not dragging half the instance behind him. His tactic of inadvertently aggroing a couple of groups of mobs, calling for help, then running onwards before waiting for the rest of the party to rest adequately makes me wonder if perhaps the cross-realm LFG tool is working and we have a PuG fourth member. After we fail to escort the PuG NPC to the exit by rudely wiping, we clear our way back through the mobs to him, where he again pelts off, Vulzerda's warning that 'he's going to go again, grab his legs!' being sadly too late.
Eventually Belnistrasz stops and begins a little ritual, which draws the attention of many more quillboar, and we wipe again. Livya's soulstone doesn't quite help us this time, as she accidentally cast it on herself, but Vulzerda reincarnates and then pulls my spirit back in to my body. Going to Look for Livya's body causes me to pull the boss hog, and we have to defeat him slowly as tank and healer. Livya's faux-corpse chuckles and mutters 'I bet my DPS doesn't look so bad now', but the boss eventually dies and we mostly complete the quest. There's no sign of Belnistrasz, presumably because he ninja-looted and used his hearthstone.
All that's left is the spider boss, called by banging a big gong. Our cunning plan of ringing the gong and standing on a tall stake to avoid attacks fails when Livya's stubby legs let her down again, unable to propel her to jump far enough to get on to the stake. Come on, you can make it!
'Damn you, and your pogo stick, mountain goat legs!' I think we're actually space goats, shorty. The spider boss doesn't prove much of a challenge, at least compared to jumping more than six inches in the air, and we finally conquer Razorfen Downs, despite getting the achievement about an hour earlier.
We can't get back to Stormwind quickly enough for Livya. Lorr remains absent, but she thinks she has found a replacement. Remembering that Lorr walks around half-naked, I ask if her latest obsession also happens to be shirtless. 'He has trousers on, yes', Livya replies. Vulzerda and I spend our time more fruitfully, getting training for reaching 38th level. We also prepare for our next adventure, in to the ugly dwarf dungeon Uldaman, by collecting quests for the dungeon, and planning the push to the landmark 40th level, where many new options are opened. We'll also start speeding along the ground on our swift mounts, changed from being acquired at 60th level. Other Uldaman preparations include pretending to be swamped in the mire of patch downloads and add-on configuration in an attempt to feign unavailability. Let's see how that works out.