Also a Vanilla Grouping Experience

After hitting level twenty, my next major goal was to get into a group for the Deadmines. I kept an eye on chat as I continued my questing, but at the time nobody seemed to be building any Deadmines groups - a guildie just kept spamming guild chat with looking-for-more requests to do the escort quest in Redridge. Finally she called me out directly, as I was obviously in the right area, and I caved and agreed to join. After all, that escort quest would earn me some nice XP too, right? My mantra before the introduction of the group finder had always been to take the bull by the horns whenever an opportunity presented itself, because waiting until everything lined up perfectly so that you could do the content you wanted, at exactly the time you wanted, with exactly the group you wanted, was generally a futile endeavour.

I joined a group consisting of the guildie on her level 23 or 24 (can't remember exactly) gnome mage, and another guildie on a dwarf warrior of the same level. When we trekked up to the area with the cave in which the escort starts, I realised that I was somewhat in over my head, with all the mobs being around level 25. However, I just hung back and healed the two dps while they laid waste to the enemy and that seemed to work out fine.

Then we got to the escort quest, and I saw that the exclamation mark over corporal Keeshan's head was grey to me. When the others started the mission, I received nothing but an error message that I wasn't eligible for the quest (due to me being too low level). This was somewhat disappointing, but I didn't feel too bad about it as we slowly walked down the mountain, because at least I had got two quests to kill orcs and gather their axes done on the way.

Once Keeshan was safely back in Lakeshire, the mage asked if we wanted to stick together to also do the elite quests in Stonewatch Keep. We agreed and picked up a level 19 druid on the way as well.

However, it soon turned out that in the keep, we were all in over our heads. The mobs were just too strong and numerous. While we could slowly whittle them down by pulling very carefully, it took so long to kill anything that we pretty much had to deal with respawns before we could ever get anywhere. The druid and I were actually more of a liability than helpful, due to our low level giving us an absolutely massive aggro radius. There was one particularly humorous moment when we had suffered some deaths in the first hallway of the keep and slowly reclaimed our bodies while carefully tucking ourselves into a corner. The moment the druid got up however, an orc immediately started throwing spears at him, killed him, and then walked away again.

Eventually it seemed that most of us agreed that we weren't going to be successful with this group and we decided to part ways for now. I had been lucky, as I had at least got enough quest drops from the caster mobs we had killed to complete one of the elite quests.

So far, so good.

Just after I had taken a flight back to Westfall, the gnome mage suddenly whispered me again to say that she was building a new group and that she had a tank in the high twenties now, so this group was bound to do much better! I agreed to re-join and made my way back. They were clearly desperate for a healer.

This time the rest of the group consisted of the mentioned level 28 paladin tank, a hunter and a warlock, but the two latter were once again of quite a low level. The warlock also realised almost immediately that he didn't actually have all the quests and had to jog back to Lakeshire to hand something in so he could pick up the correct follow-up. Meanwhile the paladin tank asked us to clear a tower on the side which did nothing for the rest of the group.

When the warlock came back, he got killed by respawns and the mage told him to watch where he was going, to which the warlock replied somewhat testily that she should drop the condescending attitude. We killed some more mobs.

Just as we were making our way to the boss inside the courtyard, the mage was suddenly removed from the group. I typed a question mark into chat and was kicked from the party as well. I'm still not sure why, because the mage had been a bit snarky I guess and we were in the same guild? We regrouped with the level 28 pally who had apparently suffered the same fate as us and wedged ourselves into a corner while we waited for another mage to join us to build our group back up to strength. The gnome advised the second mage to just run through all the mobs on his way, which didn't work out and he died. The gnome then went out to "help" him... and they both died.

When they were finally about to re-join us at the right spot, the warlock and hunter who had kicked us suddenly swooped in with a level fifty shadow priest in tow who murdered everything for them in seconds. Since the boss' respawn was going to take a while, we gave the inside of the keep another shot but died again. It was quite late by then and I finally excused myself, having achieved nothing but a lot of deaths.

I felt utterly drained by the whole experience, the constant dying with no progress, fighting the same pulls over and over again, and then having other people swoop in to kill the mobs we needed before we could get to them. To be honest, the gnome mage's aggressively hyper attitude also started to grate on my nerves after a while. At one point early on, a level 60 swooped past us with someone he was boosting and the mage called him names in /yell. When the other group "stole" the boss right in front of our noses, she also suggested running after them into the keep and trying to steal their tag on the boss in there. I just didn't want to hear any more of it.

I didn't play for several days after that.


  1. That reminds me of Age of Conan, grinding mobs, and never getting anywhere near the middle of the zone you need to go because the mobs keep coming back so quickly.

    1. Well, I've never played Age of Conan... it's also one of those games I feel I know very little about; I rarely see people talk about it in the parts of the blogosphere that I follow.

  2. :-( sad to hear the tale. Unfortunately putting hard content in the open world has the drawback of stuff like killstealing etc actually being really annoying. Respawns and such also means that the group has to work together as a group, something i actually think is a positive thing, but which obviously makes for a shitty experience when you hit a group that does not understand the team-play part. Stuff like splitting up, not waiting for all members, etc in a place where the mobs are so condensed, and on such a short respawntimer is a very very bad idea.
    To me it sounds like the gnome you mention might have been most of the trouble, maybe with an unpatient tank and some cranky other players to feed the situation.
    If you still need the place feel free to whisper "shandren", I am sure we can get a group together that can deal with the place, if you want to.

    Shandren out

    1. Thanks for the offer, I'll add you to my friends list! For now I'm mostly planning to get back to it at some point when I'm a few levels higher. Going in there at 20 was definitely pushing it.

      For me the lesson was mostly that groups being so precious without a group finder also has the negative side effect that you can get "stuck" with a group that is annoying or not getting anything done, merely because you don't want to be the party pooper who just quits at the first sign of trouble... until you finally give up and realise that you had a lousy evening.

  3. If it makes you feel any better, that Stonewatch Questline was hard to do even in Wrath for low levels, especially due to like you noticed the combination of cramped spaces and high aggro (the Tower of Althaleax - has very sweet Quest rewards at the end - is another good example, a veritable death trap; the Undead Gnoll keep in Silverpine is another). It was barely manageable by our group of three level 19 twinks, a Protadin and two Rogues.

    Which goes to show what some people mean with 'optional challenging levelling content', and why it is so silly to think only Raids could ever be considered hard - every content gets easy if you cheeze it by bottomfeeding etc.

  4. Another good read that reminds me of the gold old times and shockingly resembles my current experiences on Nostalrius. I still maintain that challenging low level content offers great opportunities to meet useful and pleasant comrades-in-arms. But it depends on the group, of course, and that Mage didn’t sound too pleasant. I always dislike impatient people and split groups.

    My mantra before the introduction of the group finder had always been to take the bull by the horns whenever an opportunity presented itself, because waiting until everything lined up perfectly so that you could do the content you wanted, at exactly the time you wanted, with exactly the group you wanted, was generally a futile endeavour.

    That is very sound reasoning and the way I usually operate as well.