Friday, June 4, 2010

Which Way to the Deadmines?

Tomakan dinged 20 last week, acquiring Flash of Light in the process.  I'd promised myself that once he got FoL, I would be ready to try my hand at healing PuGs.

I also promised myself I'd ease back into this by getting Ragefire Chasm first.

For a Horde player, Ragefire is the first instance you go through, although Wailing Caverns is a close second.  For me, Ragefire typically wins out because it's so easy to get to:  there's no "just how do I get there?" moments while trying to traverse the hills in The Barrens.  (Alliance players take note:  Ragefire is smack dab in the middle of Org:  you see a path heading down, you take it.)    You also don't have a 8-10 deep quest chain that takes you into Ragefire, either.  You can pick up a one-off quest in The Undercity, or if you go about 4-5 quests into a chain started by Thrall you have your excuse as well.

So, I dialed up Ragefire before it disappeared from my radar, and away I went.  (I'm used to queuing as DPS, but instant gratification has it's advantages too.)

I was admittedly overpowered for Ragefire, but I was perfectly fine with that.  This was the perfect intro for me, since the last time I tried healing any instance was that ill-fated Trial of the Champion --with four or more wipes on Confessor Paletress without so much as denting her armor-- before I dropped healing for good.

Ragefire went as smooth as possible:  the pulls were one at a time, Flash of Light was my mainstay, and I hardly had to drink at all.  The tank told us to yell at him if he got lost, but I didn't need to say anything.  For the first time in Ragefire in a group and not as a loot monkey, the instance was as easy as pie.  I breathed easier, knowing that I could handle this.

Thus emboldened, I just decided to let 'er rip on the LFD tool.

An unfamiliar instance picture popped up on my screen.  Okay, I thought, Deadmines or Stockade, which is it?

It was Deadmines.

Before I even got my hello out of the way, I confessed this was my first time through Deadmines.  "I typically play Horde, so this one is new to me."

"Not a problem," the tank said.  "This is my favorite instance."

"I play Horde too," one of the two (!) Gnome Warlocks said.  "This is only my second Alliance character."

(Note to Souldat:  You were wondering about the friendliness of the Alliance side?  It's the Battlegroup.  I guess the others we've been on are more cutthroat.)

We started in through the Deadmines, and I have one thing I'm grateful for:  there's a single path through the instance.  No multipath instances like Halls of Stone here.  However, that first set of trash set my teeth on edge:  one after the other after the other.  I had to keep Judging Wisdom on the first trash pulls just to keep my mana up.  Once the room was clear, only then could I drink.

This was more like what I was used to; the Watcher sequence in A-N, but quicker.

After that first room, things got easier.  I settled into a pattern:  Judging Wisdom once the tank had aggro to keep my mana up, and using FoL on everyone who needed it.  When someone dropped around 50%, I brought out Holy Light.  (I'd made a point of picking up the Holy Light Glyph, so the extra spam heal it gave was a godsend.)

I pulled aggro by healing more often than I preferred, but the tank was typically able to yank it back.

However, things weren't all sweetness and light.  With not one but two Gnome Warlocks, I kept having to heal them because they'd use me as their gas tank when they swapped health for mana.  Yes, I know that's a class perk for Warlocks, but I'm a Holy Spec Paladin HealerMy specialty is in healing tanks, not every single caster who decides I'm his meal ticket and doesn't have to stop and drink.  I don't have AoE heals.  (Yet.)

The Locks also ran OOM frequently during a fight, and I made a point of laying down Consecration when my mana pool could swing it so we weren't down to one DPS on those longer fights.

We survived fairly well until we got to the bottom of the spiral slope before you get to the boat areas.  We not only had the regular trash mobs but the Overseer mob as well, and I could see things were pretty bad.  I kept up spamming the tank with everything including the kitchen sink (Gift of the Naaru), but it was just too much.  The tank bit it, and I did shortly thereafter.

You want to know who survived?  The Gnomes, naturally.

Anyway, I discovered the joys of running back to get to The Deadmines.  "Where the hell is the entrance?" I asked, frustrated.

"It's in the barn," the tank told me.  "Go upstairs and head down into the mines."

I went to the barn.  Looked pretty open to me; only one floor too.  Oh.  He meant that barn over there.  I followed his instructions and found myself in the caverns before you get into the Deadmines.  "Naturally, the entrance to a set of mines is in the second floor of a barn."

I then got lost in the caverns before the instance entrance itself.  "This is worse than Uldaman," I said.

"No, Uldaman is still worse."

Finally, after about 10+ minutes trying to find the darn place I got back inside and we hooked up with the rest of the group.  In the intervening time the most annoying of the two 'locks split, so my life was instantly made easier.  We then proceeded through the instance, wiping only on the plank heading to the top of the ship.  The comedy of errors continued on the runback, not because I didn't know the way, but because the hunter and then the tank kept wiping on respawning trash, thus necessitating further runbacks.  We lost and gained several DPS in the process, one at least asking why I couldn't Rez the tank.

"He already released."


The Van Cleef fight was almost anti-climatic at that point.

So, what did I learn? 

  • That Blizz figured out how to make instances easier to find by the time the two expansions hit.
  • Low level Warlocks can be just as annoying as their high level Boomkin counterparts.
  • That I see a male Night Elf, and the first thing that pops into my head is "Where's the Weed, man?"
  • That the entrance to a major mining and processing operation is through the second floor of an abandoned barn.
  • The ICC 5-man instances are nice and straightforward compared to this.
  • I'm going to need more mana potions if I'm going to do this.
  • Oh yeah, one more thing:  that I can heal instances.


  1. Grats on the healing adventure!

    As a healer myself, I understand the gripe about locks assuming that you have the mana to heal them up after life tap. This used to bug me so much. Thankfully, my priest is now way OP for non-ICC heroics, so I can tell locks to tap away. I literally just keep renew ticking on them the entire instance.

    Also very interesting (that I had never thought about before) was the comment about making instances easier to find. I thought about any of the BC instance clusters (like Coilfang Reservoir) compared to ICC. In BC, you had to know (or figure out through trial and error) which instance is which. In ICC, they put gates in front of each instance to let you know which one is FoS, PoS, or HoR. It's very much appreciated!

  2. @NaturalGamerGirl: Thanks! Outside of emergency healer duty, I haven't healed an instance from start to finish since before Christmas. Even then, I was more often than not a loot monkey riding on Soul's tanking coattails.

    I have to admit I kept mashing the button where I typically stick Hand of Salvation whenever I grabbed aggro, cursing when I realized it wasn't available until L26.

    That's something I'm just going to have to deal with in the meantime, I guess.

    Locks annoy me so much when they just lay into an enemy and don't have any sense of aggro control. Some of it goes with the territory, I realize that, but when you're grabbing aggro and the tank is doing everything he can to keep it, maybe it's better to lower your DPS a bit and let the tank do his job. Besides, the Locks would hold onto mana a little better, so no Life Tap needed.

  3. Redbeard! You are Alliance! And you're a Draenei! And a healing paladin! Although you're on some other server... but still. Super points for all of the above. I'm glad your experience wasn't too bad. That Holy Light glyph is a godsend...and I had mana issues until well into my 30s if I remember correctly. You have the advantage of me in that you actually know how to use a paladin's abilities. :D

  4. Ohhh it's Souldat's server. I get it now. It's also the server my ex-GL wound up on...funny enough.

    p.s. - Do you have Twitter?

  5. @Vid:

    Redbeard! You are Alliance! And you're a Draenei! And a healing paladin! Although you're on some other server... but still. Super points for all of the above.

    I know! What'll happen next, that I'll start raiding?

    Don't let the news get out; my reputation will be ruined. ;-)

    Yeah, I started Alliance on Soul's current server with the original intention of leveling up some alts with him. Apparently the Old Boy is a wee bit burned out on leveling, and I don't feel like starting a DK anytime soon, so I'm kind of soloing my way through right now.

    Ohhh it's Souldat's server. I get it now. It's also the server my ex-GL wound up on...funny enough.

    Yep. Kind of strange how the migrations have happened. We started on Stormscale (where Soul and his wife Millalyn originally played), then migrated to A-52 to join a guild. Soul and Millalyn then moved to Ysera to join another guild, and instead of having Quint follow (and faction change), I've kept Quint on A-52 and migrated an alt loaded with heirlooms over.

    And I had no idea about your ex-GL. I swear. Honest. And if that's an okay thing, I take all credit for it.

    What server is your Tauren Druid on? I might want to start an alt there sometime, and as you know, good tanks are hard to find.

    p.s. - Do you have Twitter?

    I don't. I'm the sort of person who talks before thinking, and the instant gratification of Twitter is a bad combo for me.

    Of course, I've been told to get my tail in gear and join Twitter by some of my LJ blog friends, so I may yet do it.

    Check your Pugging Pally GMail; I'll send an e-mail your way.

  6. I'm confused by one thing the "I don't have an AoE heal, yet".

    You already have the Glyph of Holy Light - what other AoE heal are you thinking of?

  7. @Adgamorix: Pallys will be getting a true AoE heal spell in Cataclysm, called Healing Hands. It operates in a similar fashion to a Shaman's Healing Stream Totem.

  8. Grats on the healing - following in Vid's foosteps I see :) Although Deadmines is illogical and stupid, I do much prefer early instances to later ones. The thing about them being badly laid out and all that is that they feel, to me at least, more like the places they're supposed to be (apart from second floor abandoned barn issue, certainly :) ) rather than loot tunnels.

    Also Dead Mines is amazing. Underground ships. Pirates. Murloc cook. WIN!

  9. @Tam: Yeah, both following in Vid's footsteps and going back to my roots. I'd always played the healer type in pencil-and-paper RPGs, and when I started in WoW I chose the Priest for the healing.

    That's how I found out that Priest != D&D Cleric. At all.

    When we hit the pirate ship in Deadmines, I blurted out "It's The Goonies in WoW!"

  10. Oh! That explains why the guy in my Deadmines group (long, long ago now) always had Rez Sickness after a Wipe; he didn't know where the entrance was, so he would GY Rez and Teleport to the Instance!

  11. I think Wailing Caverns might be worse, but that's because of all the maneuvering around the hills in The Barrens to get to the entrance. I went through Dire Maul on Quintalan last weekend, and it was much easier to find. Rather telling that it was an instance originally brought in via a patch, as opposed to one of the original Vanilla instances.