So last night, a group of people I PUG with on occasion decided that it would be fun to run Scarlet Monastery...
Yes, you heard that right. Fun. "Fun" and "Scarlet Monastery" in the same sentence.
Now...having never run SM before, and having just picked up this seemingly difficult quest from the HMFIC in Undercity, I figured this was a perfect time to go see if I could complete the quest and get some better gear in the form of drops from a higher-level instance. So, I get tankboy all prepped for his run and meet up with Bob (who shall be now referred to as "the instigator" from here on out) at the summoning stone. Our party, at the start of the grind, anyway, looks like this:
Me: 33 Tank
Bobylnop: 32 Prot Pally
Ashefist: 35 Mage
Ponseexos: 28 (!) Hunter w/ Scorpid pet
In retrospect, maybe we could have used a dedicated DPS'er. Or a basic Priest to heal and let the mage go aggro. Or a tactical nuclear strike.
As it was, we went into the Graveyard portion of the instance first (SM is broken up into three sections...it's that big) and almost immediately got wiped in the first room of death (and the hardest part of that section of the instance, for my money). Respawn and try again, and we make it through...sort of...well, the Hunter did. Everyone else had to wait for Bob to come back and res the remainder of the party. After that, we waltzed through the rest of the GY area and were feeling pretty good about ourselves. A couple quick heals and we were off for part 2 of the instance, the catacombs.
To say that things went poorly is an understatement. See, the problem with SM is that the mobs RESPAWN EVERY 4 MINUTES, and part 2 of SM has a ton of mobs. We were about halfway through into something innocently-labeled as the Treasure Hall when we ran into our first group of mages and monks. I've never had a mob hit me with his fists and do 100+ damage. It didn't help that our mage, in an attempt to keep us all alive, was trying to polymorph and freeze them rather than healing, which drew mob aggro that I couldn't pull back without using cooldowns. It also didn't help that something crashed Northrend about 9 PM MST last night and was causing major lag issues across all servers. Our conversations were going something like this:
*As Pon and Ash take pissloads of holy damage before I can pull aggro back and Bob isn't moving...*
Bob: Ack. Bad lag. Sry.
Me: Heal plz.
Ash: cant out of mana
Pon (wiping): Well that sucked
Me: Bob inc to left
Bob: Not seeing them. Still lagged.
Me: Ash back off; mana pot and heal us
Ash (aiieeee): cant dead
Bob (gak!): Me too
Me (after sucking down a potion, Last Stand-ing, and Raging out Hudson-style from Aliens): well, 5 on 1...I got 3 :(
Bob: I think we need help...
After that, we called in assistance in the form of Pyraxii and Pyraxil, a hubby and wife team of a 49 Priest and 51 rogue. After that, the rest of the instance was cake and we got the keys to the vestibule. However, I think everyone was so exhausted at that point that we decided to call it a night and do the tower on Fri. Moral of the story? At low to mid 30s, you are not cool enough for SM unless you have:
1. An experienced tank, which I am not (although I am improving, there were a couple of times last night where I didn't pull back aggro using thundershock when I could have and instead concentrated on killing the mob in front of me...led to one party wipe).
2. A dedicated DPS character, such as a Ret Pally, fury Warrior, or battle-spec'd Shaman.
3. A bad-ass healer, preferably a higher-30s Priest.
On a lighter note, I did get a fist weapon and a new sword that, while it does 2 less damage than my meat cleaver from SFK, gives a better stamina boost. Which reminds me...if there's one thing I could change about being a tank, it would be our selection of armor and weapons being based solely on stamina and defense buffs. Just once, I want to go into an instance cracked out with my Haunted Blade and go berserker on everything. As it is, here's another conversation I've had recently on a few drops:
PUG Member: Hey, you want this [Random Crappy Sword of the Bear]?
Me: Depends. What's the speed?
Me: Not exciting me so far. Any buffs?
PM: +12 Stamina.
Me: Ooh! Mine! Got anything else?
PM: How about this [Rusted & Partially Motheaten Leggings of the Platypus]? +8 Defense rating...
Me: Sold American!
In other news, about to ding 34 and need to start branching out into new areas. I have 4 completed quests to drop off, a few I want to do in 1000 needles, the warrior armor and cage match on the island quests, and then I'm going to blast everything out of my Log and go to Arathi and Desolace for some serious power-leveling. Anyone have any tips to get me into the high 30s-low 40s quickly?