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World of Warcraft Nostalgia: Scarlet Monastery
I always loved the concept of the Scarlet Crusade. A group of fanatics so obsessed with eradicating the undead that they begin to see everyone who is not a part of them as infected and beyond saving. (How they ever recruit more members is beyond me). Not only is that a cool ideology for an enemy to have, they also had a nice looking armor set you could get as drops. I liked them so much that I made a guild and named it after them for a time.
Even the location of the Scarlet Monastery was pretty amazing. Located in the undead starting zone, Tirisfal Glade, at the north eastern part of the area, it stood on a cliff, defiant to the swarms of undead that surrounded it. What I remember the most about this place probably has to be the journey you took to get there back in vanilla as alliance.
This was one of the few dungeons in vanilla that actually favored the horde in terms of traveling. Most others took horde players a long time to reach, especially Black Rock Mountain. It was just a simple run from the Under City and you were there, alliance had the trouble of going through several zones in hostile territory.
Since I leveled as a warlock, it was pretty much expected of me to run there so I could throw down a summoning stone. I remember a lot of warlocks in vanilla resenting this but I never really minded. However, I also remember people sending me random tells for a summon when I was sitting in a capital city, as they would simply ask any warlock. Keep in mind, you would still have to find 2 other people to assist with the summon, so it was a giant pain. Whenever it came to that, I almost always just lied and said I was out of soul shards.
Scarlet Monastery's earlier dungeons, like Graveyard, Library, and the Armory, were generally run by people below level 40, so at this time, most people would not have their mounts still. And since the gap in between each dungeon in level was fairly significant, you would often run this place multiple times and have to make this long journey again and again.
For alliance, it would start by flying to South Shore, and then running through Hillsbrad and Alterac, before entering horde territory. You would then need to run through Silverpine Forest and then get past the Under City. I remember on so many occasions when high level horde, who happened to pass by, would just turn around and kill you and since you lacked a mount, you were pretty much done for.
Then after finally getting there, you just had to hope everyone had started their journey there but you always had that one guy who would take ages to get moving, or even worse, if multiple people expected to be summoned because they had a warlock in the group so no one else shows up to help with the summoning.
So, if you had downtime and were waiting, you would often get into fights with horde players your level that were also waiting. If you were lucky, they wouldn't call in level 60's but that would almost always inevitably happen. So after all of that, you killed a few elite npcs outside and finally made it into whichever of the dungeons you were running.
This dungeon was primarily for horde players. There were no quests for alliance here and there was a lack of rewards. This place only had one real boss with guaranteed loot, Blood Mage Thalnos. The real fun of this dungeon was the large amount of silver elites that could spawn.
Each of these rare spawns was in a different location and each dropped pretty good loot, especially for casters. There was something quite exciting about getting the chance at this loot, as it seemed better than most drops around that level and if you were lucky, you could get rewarded.
Until the Halloween Event, alliance had no real point in going there. I actually don't think I ever ran GY on my first character and always just wondered what that other instance portal was for.
Library was the first of the dungeons where you really start to fight the Scarlet Crusade itself. This place was all narrow corridors with a few courtyard areas. This dungeon was pretty quick paced even in vanilla and only the trash towards the end ever was a risk to your group.
The first boss was Hound Master Loksey and as you'd expect, he came with hounds. He didn't do much though, and was just a quick beat down. What was memorable about him, is that he would drop the Scarlet Whistle which would summon a scarlet hound to your side. It only had 3 charges but I remember how much I wanted it. I thought it would be so cool to summon a dog to my side but of course the actual result was underwhelming.
Then the final boss was Arcanist Doan. He was a fairly interesting fight that involved a lot of silences and a cool AOE spell he would cast at half health. You had to get out of his LOS to avoid it and it was pretty deadly. He would also yell "Burn in righteous fire!" when he cast it. The Illusionary Rod was one of his drops that was sought after by casters and I remember wanting it myself, yet never getting it. He also had a very small chance to drop an epic ring "Deadman's Hand". I never saw it drop but I remember seeing higher levels with it, it wasn't great, but hey, it was epic!
Finally, after defeating the boss, you could loot a chest that contained the Scarlet Key. You also had to roll for it. It was required to open the next level of the dungeon's doors (outside a rogue lock picking) and later on, to open a door in a later dungeon, Stratholme.
Armory was a trash fest. Pack after Pack of mobs. Usually it came in packs of four and a runner could easily aggro another group. I remember quite a few wipes due to runners or even patrols.
After reaching the end of, what was essentially a long hallway, you would come to a circle room surrounded by a staircase. Down below you stood the boss, Herod.
His fight was actually pretty cool for a vanilla boss. He would periodically do a whirlwind that made him immune to damage and would force melee characters to run away. After his death, scores of Scarlet Initiates would run into the room that needed to quickly be AOE'd down. These initiates had a chance of dropping the Scarlet Tabard, which had the crusade's insignia on it.
Herod also had a couple iconic drops. First was "Herod's Shoulder" which was a mail single shoulder epaulette colored red. He also had the drop "Ravager" a two-handed axe which had an on hit effect to cause the user to do a whirlwind. However, I distinctly remember Hunters always rolling on this for no darn reason, as it did not benefit them at all. In fact, I saw more hunters with it than warriors but that is how hunters tended to be...a bit on the dumb side.
The giant courtyard leading up to the actual Cathedral is probably one of the most memorable places in Scarlet Monastery. It is a nice grassy area with a huge fountain in the middle. There are groups of trash all around and it was fairly typical to accidentally pull additional adds from either runners or people just getting too close. After a bit of this trash you would reach the cathedral doors.
Inside you could now see the final boss behind even more trash packs. Again this room ran the risk of accidental aggro as there were patrols and tightly packed mobs. Also, if you tried to engage Mograine before killing all the trash, it would all automatically aggro and most likely wipe you.
Before tackling Mograine, there was a hidden boss named High Inquisitor Fairbanks. In one of the side rooms, there was an interact-able candlestick that would open a hidden door. Inside was the undead Fairbanks, he was pretty simple but I always wondered what his story was. An undead working for the Scarlet Crusade? Nonsense. If you are curious about his history like I was check it out here: http://www.wowwiki.com/High_Inquisitor_Fairbanks
Finally we come to the final boss encounter, Scarlet Commander Mograine and High Inquisitor Whitemane. The encounter began with Fighting and Killing Mograine when suddenly Whitemane appears. You fight her for a bit until she stuns everyone and then resurrects Mograine and recovers her hp. The fight essentially starts over now with you fighting both of them.
This doesn't sound like much now but in vanilla, this fight had a bit of flare. Up to this point, most fights had been tank and spank but this varied things up a bit. Probably one of the most iconic drops that this fight had was the Scarlet Shield. Every tank wanted it as it would hold them over for several levels.
Next time I will cover the warlock pet quests, starting with the Succubus. So much running!