Ascending Utgarde Keep

27th January 2009 – 10.55 am

I spend so much time in New Eden that it is almost the end of the weekend before I wake up Sapphire in World of Warcraft. My guild is optimistic about getting a Northrend instance run scheduled and I am looking forwards to it myself. The choice is still between The Nexus and Utgarde Keep, as we are mostly lingering in the early-to-mid 70s and in no rush to reach the end-game. I suspect the end-game for most of us will be to play alts, anyway. I don't mind which instance we go to. Utgarde Keep will be new to us all, and I have a bit of experience from my recent run through The Nexus with a pick-up group that could help out the guild group.

We end up going for Utgarde Keep, cautiously making progress in the entirely new instance. The huge fiery furnace in the first room causes some consternation about jumping through flames, but maybe it is my experience with World of Warcraft's dungeon mechanics that means I don't even flinch. I realise that we will have to kill the mobs that are fanning the flames and, in turn, the flames would die out to let us make it to the exit without problems. There is some brief discussion about who will collect the weapons scattered around for a quest and we reach an amicable solution. As I am not overly enamoured with the quest reward I quitely let everyone else collect their items first, in case there aren't enough to share in the instance, remembering the more grindy days of early Azeroth.

We make it to the first boss without problems, but he then causes us to wipe when his summoned skeletons go straight for the healer who is standing at maximum range, which is normally a sensible tactic. The skeletons split the party because as I rush to pluck the aggro off her the caster boss doesn't move. Our second attempt, with the healer standing ten feet away, works much better, as the skeletons are pulled in to the main scuffle easily. The boss drops a nifty new dagger loaded with spell power, which our healer plucks from his hands for our efforts. Without a suitable off-hand item to wield she falls back on holding Old Crafty, which we stole from Orgrimmar last week. It is an interesting sensation to be healed by having a wet fish slapped on your face.

The second boss in the Keep is fairly straightforward, even if there are two of them together. We pick on the caster for being squishy and are a little surprised to see his ghostly form continue the fight, but we prevail without trouble over the both of them.

The final boss, Ingvar the Plunderer, seems quite easy at first blush. He does a few attacks that cause some moderate damage but he drops like an Alliance flag carrier in Warsong Gulch. It is thus a little disheartening when he is raised from the dead as zombie Ingvar the Plunderer and starts hitting everyone for considerably more damage. After the rest of us are raised from the dead, but not as zombies, a second attempt sees us falter before we even get reintroduced to Ingvar the Zombie, and a third gets us back to zombie stage but his dark smash again proves our demise. With a bit more care taken over the positioning of everyone behind the zombie plunderer and a quick pair of heels on me when I see him about to unleash a dark smash our fourth attempt is looking really good! That is, until our healer cannot recover from one of the area-of-effect spells Ingvar casts occasionally. Luckily, she has spirit form and is able to throw a few last heals on the party that are just enough to help us to finish the battle in victory.

Everyone gets the Utgarde Keep achievement and as it turns out there are enough quest item weapons to feed the whole group, although it looks dependent on the group getting near the end of the instance. We also manage to collect a coin for the lunar festival on our run through the keep, bumping in to one of the ancients loitering in a vestibule. We leave with our spirits brimming with positivity about the run, with a promise to revisit The Nexus next week.

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