“Anyone want to join UBRS?” asks Muckley.
“Kairi, you got the key, yeah?”
“Yes, I got the key. Even got it in my inventory.”
“Good. We got about eight people now, Tink can join maybe later.”
“Okay, I’ll be getting there then.”
By the time Kairi gets to the mountain the group is up to nine, enough to start. UBRS, or Upper Black Rock Spire, takes place in a huge mountain or presumably a resting volcano, holding not only a few normal dungeons, but also space for two raids. Nefarian, the brother of Onyxia, resides there. Along with his guards and an impressive number of other dragons, drakes, wyrmkin, dragonkin, dragon whelps… Anything with legs, scales, wings and a fairly fierce breath. For now, there is only one goal to enter the mountain: Muckley needs the Manual of Eviscerate IX to update his skillset.
Then Hillysum comes online.
“Hillysum! We have not got a mage yet.”
While this may seem like a friendly invitation from one guildie to another, there is a second agenda here. A mage is always appreciated for their area spells and the handy portals they can make at the end of the dungeon to instantaneously return to one of the major cities. Not to mention the water, freely distributed to any who needs it to replenish their mana. As in life, ingame friendliness is dictated by mutual needs.
The group of 10 is trickling in, piece by piece, with a summon for those too far away from our lovely warlock Feytor.
Before everyone is there, Sensay adheres to all hunter stereo types by running out of patience and beginning the first pull.
“Guys, a little help here.”
“I was not even aware we had started yet.” Replies Kairi, running.
“We have now.”
“I need two more outside to summon.”
“Killing some trash first.”
“Do we even have a healer yet?”
“Can someone take this one of me? He likes me more then I like him.”
“Need one more to summon!”
A little bit of chaos is the trademark of a good run. Or at least, of an entertaining one.
“We need to pull all the packs.” States Kershbob, Gompertz’ warrior-alt. In his night-elf form he is close to his normal, real life form according to himself, but it seems like all his limbs are slightly too long. Then again, that may be exactly his point.
“Because I’m level 52” comes Feytor aka Sevenn in, as usual sounding like he knows what the joke is about, but he’s not going to tell anyone. “I’m going to pull everything.”
“Muckley, I’m going to be top DPS.” Stopfeed informs.
“O, you’re not tanking?”
“No, Blode is main tank tonight.”
“Right, we’ll see who’s top dps then, won’t we.”
True to his word, Feytor pulls every enemy towards the group merely by being present. The first rooms before the fire elemental boss are easily dealt with, and the loot is appreciated.
“Striker shoulders. I tried to get those in vanilla but never got them.” Kershbob muses after the fiery boss, as he passes on them. “Don’t need them now.”
“I’ll take them then” says Bloed aka Blode, happily accepting the gear.
The next boss is the dragonkin protecting the eggs, Solakar Flamewreath. In the rookery they fight him in hope of getting the rare engineering recipe, or the resistance gear sorely needed for cloth wearers. Sadly, only gear drops that is greeded on by everyone: a few gold is always welcome. The dismal faith of a whole nursery, shattered for the possibility of obtaining some items, is ignored by the brave adventurers who continue their slaughter.
“Back against the wall everyone.” Even after the amount of runs done in UBRS solely to get Muckley his loot, someone will still mention this. And with good reason.
“Yeah Kershbob, someone did not get the note, I saw someone flying by.”
“Yeah… I may have fallen down, a little bit.” Confesses Hillysum. “Ehm, I also may have broken some eggs down here.”
As he tries to run up again, a swarm of dragons follows.
“No, Yes, getting there… almost… leave me alone! Oke, I died.”
The rest of the group can’t really be bothered by this, as they get to deal with a lot of enthusiastic dragonwhelps. Feytor is prime target, being the lowest level of the bunch. Even though the first two bosses were dealt with before, this is where the dungeon really begins.
“I’m above you, Muckley.” Announces Stopfeed happily.
“Yeah, well, we’re not done yet, are we. There is a lot more.”
When all is quieted down Oreetpal silently revives the troublesome mage.
“Are we doing Anvilcrack?”
“Muckley, go check if he has a hat.”
“Ofcourse, Kershbob. That he does.”
“Then yes, we’re doing Anvilcrack.”
“Let me reiterate how I hate stairs.” Mumbles Kairi.
“Are you in the corner? Yes you are.”
“It’s not fear of getting thrown out Kershbob, it’s the fact that they are never eight yards away so I can’t hit anyone.”
“Yeah, I just wait it out when I do this on my hunter.”
Kairi does not have that patience, and she goes in with sword drawn. As a dwarf with one of the largest swords in the game, jokes about compensating for something would have been made is she was a guy.
“Need on the hat?”
“All need on the hat” states Feytor.
“Okay Kairi, should’ve known it would be you. You have to put it on now.”
“Yeah, yeah Muckley. Look how fashionable I am now”
“Yes, the green perfectly fits the pink of your guild tabard and the purple of you gear.”
The hallway before them is full of packs. Normally it’s easy to avoid at least a few; stay on the right and the left will not pull. However, apart from having a low level warlock, they also have a new and enthusiastic main tank in Bloed. Head first he runs into the pack; “We’re going to pull them all anyway, right?”
“Well, we do now.” One by one the packs fall and the group work their way up the ramps, to the balcony. While it is possible to walk around, this would mean a bit more patience and a bit more time. But both are short on these runs, especially on the nth one this week for the same bloody manual that just won’t drop for Muckley. Below the balcony is a rectangular room with a large dropdown gate on the left side. From this side mobs will come in waves until the Gauntlet, as this part is called, ends with the warchief whom you can hear bossing people around before and during every wave. By jumping down, the gauntlet is started.
Each wave starts with the hunters putting down a trap while Warchief Rend spouts some less-than-frightening threats and promises; Kairi does a frost trap to slow the enemies, while Sensay complements this with a damaging explosive trap. After this, they take a few steps back to wait for the next wave which will then be kept in place by Bloed while everybody else does as much damage as possible. A good moment for Stopfeed and Muckley to compare DPS, which they do after each round. While at one point in the game a fight to reckon with, by this point in the game most have become bored with this part of the dungeon. Dutiful each wave gets decimated, but it’s more a test of patience then of skill. As is shown between two waves, when a certain mage decides to test his limits. Suddenly the packs from the stairs and the balconies come running in, aggravated by the invasion of their privacy while peacefully doing their rounds and murdering anyone wearing the wrong uniform.
For the first time this run, a real challenge appears, and everybody pretends to be annoyed while slaughtering the oncoming mobs. Combined with the regular gauntlet mobs, this is a challenge. While Hillysum freezes anyone who dares coming near, both pets Angua and Jumahla fight alongside the melee. Stopfeed and Muckley finally get the chance to prove which one actually gets higher dps, and Oreetpal heals as much as he can. As the only healer, he must watch in vain when Feytor is the first to get slaughtered. Hillysum soon succumbs to the damage, while Tjido and Stopfeed pop cooldowns to save the day. Alas, Kershbob and Bloed are already gone, and after a while all that remains is a lonely hunter. While everybody surrounding him drops, Sensay dramatically feignes death. Something Kairi was too late to do. Sadly enough, his dramatic skills are not enough, and he too gets his ass handed to him. Within seconds, the whole party, moments before so certain of their superiority to this dungeon, is wiped.
The long ghostwalk begins. From the searing gorge graveyard, ten ghosts run back. The night elves slightly faster than the rest, all will have to enter the instance to get returned to life. During the walk of shame, the everlasting question of any human interaction comes up: who is to blame for our misfortune?
“What happened? Where did they come from?”
“Ehm, I saw a blizzard thing on the balcony” Says Tjido softly.
“Yes, sorry, I was bored.” Answers Hillysum, sounding a little less laid back as normal with a tiny hint of guilt.
“We must restart the instance, right?”
“Yes Muckley, I’m afraid so.”
“Allright, all walk in and out again” Instructs Feytor briskly, taking charge when he gets impatient. When everyone is out again, the instance is reset and the whole ordeal can start again. After a few packs, the first boss Pyroguard Emberseer is slaughtered for the second time, right after his room full of protectors. It is clear that security in dangerous volcanoside temples is not what it’s supposed to be nowadays. This time, nobody feels like starting the second boss, Solakar Flamewreath, and thus the poor dragon whelps are left in peace. For now.
“Isn’t this where the Leroy Jenkins thing happened?” Wonders Muckley.
“Yeah, but it’s totally set up. They talk nonsense, and then the idiot hits each and every possible egg.” Kairi dismisses the most-talked-about video related to the game.
“Well, it was way harder back then, people could really wipe here.” Joins Stopfeed in.
“I still think it was set up. Nobody is that stupid. You don’t run in, touch every frigging egg and then get surprised you wipe.”
“Well, let’s just not follow their example, shall we.”
After walking carefully through the room, no single dragon whelp gets awakened. However, the danger is not gone yet. Just like the last time, someone may fall down. On the balcony they kill the mobs, until Kairi gets bopped down.
“O for fucksake. I fell.”
She tries to run up, and feign death to get rid of the dragons. She gets up too fast again, runs for her life, but doesn’t make it.
“Don’t bring them here!”
“I was just trying to get in line of Oreetpal” Kairi tries to justify her hasty flight up. Halfway up the stairs she dies, and the dragon whelps go down again as they were not yet in line of sight of the rest of the party.
“Well, we better get the book this run.” Chimes Kershbob in. “Okay, let’s see if Anvilcrack and Jed are still up.”
The hallway poses no problem. Sensay gets impatient and pulls, as a true hunter would. Up on the balcony, Sensay and Kairi dismiss their pets. Or at least, they try.
“I can’t dismiss Angua.”
“Jump down or you’ll pull” Says Muckley.
“Dismiss the pet!” Sensay yells, “Use /petdismiss”
“THAT DOES NOT WORK EITHER!”
“If you leave her, she pulls all.”
“I KNOW. Trust me, I KNOW.” Flashbacks of an UBRS where some random strangers yelled at Kairi come in, while people yell at her from all sides.
“Jump, Kairi. NOW.” Ingrained as it is after a mere few months, Kairi listens to her guild master and jumps down, laying all blame of what comes next on him.
Angua follows a few seconds later.
“See, nothing, we’re fine.” Says Feytor.
“Ehm…. Too soon.” At the same time as the first pack enters the gauntlet from the large gate, another pack comes from the small gate. Friends brought on by Angua when she came down the normal way. While on the left Tjido and Stopfeed hold the expected pack, Kershbob and Bloed fight on the right with the unexpected pack. Now everybody gets flashbacks from a similar situation, not half an hour ago.
“The dragons first!” Someone yells. The DPS slay down the gauntlet pack first, while Hillysum and Feytor work their literal magic, Kairi and Sensay shoot as fast as the buttons allow. Muckley weaves his melee attacks while Oreetpal focus on healing all four tanks as much as possible. Kershbob and Stopfeed are not geared as tanks, and fall down first. Feytor succumbs, while the rest fight the last few enemies. Each of the single targets become an enemy to be reckoned with. While Tjido and Bloed try their hardest, some of them go after the hunters who resort to feigning death and kiting, while the mage uses his ice block to save his own skin. By the skin of their teeth, the group manages not to wipe for a second time but in fact kill the current wave.
After the packs, frantic healing occurs. While Oreetpal revives the fallen victims, everybody else sits down to eat and drink as fast as possible. The endless wait between two packs seems to be mere seconds this time. When the next pack comes the team is slightly worse for wear, but again ready to fight.
“Enervating run, this” Says Muckley.
“Yeah, very entertaining.” Comes the slightly sarcastic reply from Stopfeed.
After the last normal wave, Warchief Rend Blackhand sends in his pet, Gyth. As Gyth is going down, a ghostly dragon appears, who speaks words of future encounters and a fight against the black dragon Nefarian. As a parting gift, he heals all contenders.
“What was that?” asks Oreetpal, probably happy to get some help with the healing.
“The key to UBRS is also a ring, and as Kershbob told me, meant to be used in this fight.”
“Nice Kairi, useful.”
“That’s what I thought.”
Now start the part where Muckley has been waiting for.
“Right. One of these assassins has my book.”
“Thanks for the optimism, Stopfeed. Really appreciated.”
Several assassins try to decimate the team, but none of them drops the all important book. What they do drop is a really nice pattern. With no tailor in the group everybody gets to roll. Kershbob wins this, but he’s feeling especially generous.
“I made a screenshot of who’s here, when I sell it, you all get a part.” However, the future will learn that a better phrase would have been “if I sell it”.
“There are more. Let’s kill the boss first.” Muckley’s focus only increases the further they get in. It should be about time the manual drops, seeing how his class leader only needed two runs to get it and Muckley has lost count on how many runs he is at by now.
The next room is as dark and gloomy as the rest of the dungeon. Torches light the way, and in a big room several packs of dragonkin patrol alongside Black Assassins and other Blackhand trash. Two packs get murdered before the group goes left, past a barrage of campfires, into the room of The Beast. The Beast looks like an oversized Cerberus made of fire and brimstone, but with only two heads. Fair enough, it has the temper and brainpower that may be expected after losing one third of his probably already diminished mental faculties. While it tramples around it throws our heroes in the air, doing not only damage when it hurts, but another bout of damage after you fall down. For the hunters, this is not a big drama; more than once a thrown hunter will end up on an invisible ledge, from where the attack continues. While Feytor is again the only casualty, Kershbob skins the dead animal to reveal a tiny humanlike form. The poor guy was trapped, but not anymore. Due to his diving helmet, it seems like he was the Jona to the Beasts’ Whale and might not be there totally by accident.
After the Beast, more packs with assassins appear. Sheeping them, Hillysum proves he’s useful beyond causing wipes and may actually start a career in a petting zoo. The hunters adapt to every situation by using a wide variety of traps, which either trap, slow or damage one or multiple enemies, while Stopfeed and Muckley keep their banter up about who is highest in DPS. Kairi nudges Sensay.
“Is it me, or are you at least as often up top on the list as either of them?”
“Yes, well, let’s not spoil their fun, shall we?” Sensay answers drily.
A narrow bridge separates the last room from the current one. On the bridge, packs are fought and killed, while traps are lain down and dragons change into sheep. By now the dungeon is almost over and the group seems to have found their rhythm. Step by step, a way is fought to the end boss. However, with each pack, Muckley’s hope diminishes: still no Manual, and another run tonight is highly unlikely with how long this one is taking.
“Oeh, the last pack still has two assassins.”
“Let’s get the boss first, shall we. Kairi, you kite?”
“Yes Kershbob, unless you wanted to do the honours. Everybody full? Please don’t attack until I do.”
Kairi aims the gun, and shoots an Aimed Shot, which ensures the captain has only eyes for her. She turns around, a bit too much, a bit back, and runs over the narrow bridge into the last room. With the Aspect of the Cheetah she stays ahead of the dragon. The large, clumsy dragon cannot keep up with the tiny dwarf legs, which can go o so fast when helped a little bit. As soon as the dragon comes into range, she turns, shoots, turns, and runs again. Far in the back she can hear the fighting going on, but that is irrelevant now, she must guide this dragon on a merry chase – that is the only goal right now. Let the dragon come too close and she’ll be, quite literally, toast. Stray too far ahead and the dragon will lose interest. Step by step she gets further into the room. Run until the abilities show she’s out of range, turn, wait until she’s in range, shoot, turn, run. When she hears “bring him back” she does what every sane hunter does when being followed by a large, angry fire breathing dragon: she feigns a very dramatic death. Sadly enough, too late. Conflagration burns her, turning a ploy to be left alone into a death by being toasted. Patiently waiting, she hears some more battle noises that indicate that the dragon captain is defeated and Oreetpal shows up to bring her back to life. In the meantime, Muckley has trouble keeping his patience; will the coveted Manual drop in the last pack?
“Okay. The last pack. I NEED this book.”
“Right.” Says Blode while he runs in to tank the pack. The pack of four, bereaved of their captain, warchief and henchman, stands no chance and falls within seconds to the bloodthirsty group of adventurers.
The first of the two assassins drops the book. Everybody presses pass, except for Muckley… and Feytor. Muckley rolls a 89, believing he is safe, followed by a 91 for Feytor. Who laughs loudly, before he hands the Manual of Eviscerate IX to Muckley.
“Sorry Muckers, always wanted to do this.”
“How bad would it be if this one also had one?” Asks Tjido standing at the last assassin.
“Well, it would make Hatti very happy” Says Kairi.
“Hatti? No way, we should sell it.” Feytor has his priorities sorted, as one of the richest guild members, guild leader and class leader of the rogues, to which both Muckley and Hatti belong.
Sadly, the discussion is moot: no manual.
“O, by the way, have you guys seen the bullied dragon?” asks Kershbob.
“What? A bullied dragon?”
“Yes Kairi, it’s very sad. The poor thing is being bullied by other dragons. Come.”
They follow Kershbob through the hallways, down from the narrow pathway towards a poor little dragonwhelp with beautiful blue scales, dying after being picked on by his fellow dragons. With his last dying breath, he asks the adventurers to find his friend, Haleh, the matron protectorate in Winterspring. This rings a bell for Kairi.
“Wait a minute… isn’t that the woman from the jump?”
“No, what jump?” asks Kershbob.
“Yeah, it is, isn’t it. Blue runes. That horrible, horrible jump.”
“O right, ye, that’s her.”