Posted by: shatteredblog | January 6, 2014

SoO Bosses: Malkorok


Malkorok is the ninth boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, and seems to be one that causes problems for raid finder groups. Malkorok you may remember is one of Garrosh’s closest lieutenants and is now twisted by mogu dark magic and the power of Y’Sharrj.

The fight against Malkorok has two phases. In the first normal health can’t be healed and any healing done fills a barrier with a maximum equal to double your health. Periodically voids will appear that will damage the raid unless a player stands in them and takes damage. The boss uses an ability called Arcing Smash to damage people standing in a section of his platform and then after doing that three times uses Breath of Y’Sharrj, which kills anyone standing in any of the three previously affected areas.


Phase two is very short, and seems to be where people have trouble. In this phase the raid can be healed again but the boss is affected by Blood Rage and deals huge damage split between people in his melee range. To combat this people need to stack with the tank to split the damage between them so it can be healed, but invariably raid finder raids will not. I find it frustrating because the people who die are the ones who know to stack.


For hunters Malkorok drops the only gun in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, a ring and also mail bracers. I haven’t been lucky enough to get the gun yet but keep hoping.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about Malkorok, and see you next time.

Posted by: shatteredblog | January 4, 2014

Pickup Raiding

Been tentatively getting into raiding in wow, just using the raid finder. The current tier of raid armor is 16 and comes from Siege of Orgrimmar and the world bosses on the Timeless Isle.


Siege of Orgrimmar is a raid zone with fourteen bosses split into four wings. In raid finder you’re required to have a minimum item level of 496 and then can queue for only the first wing, until you successfully complete it and get the achievement which unlocks the second, and then the third and fourth. The raid begins in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in chambers below the imperial palace that were exposed after the climactic battle between Taran Zhu and Garrosh in the preview video.


The raid is a lot of fun, even in a raid finder group. I’ve been enjoying the story as alliance and rebellion forces first uncover the clues of Garrosh’s betrayal and then chase him to Orgrimmar and a fortress under the city defended by his True Horde loyalists. Along the way the war that was rekindled in pandaria ends and the leadership of the horde changes once again.


My hunter is doing quite well for loot too, the nicest of which is this trinket. It increases the frequency I can use some abilities and is amazing for beast mastery because big red Bestial Wrath is one of the affected abilities.

Hope everyone is having a good 2014 so far, and see you next time!

Posted by: shatteredblog | December 22, 2013

Back in action

I recently resubscribed to Warcraft, and the past few weeks I’ve been running around the timeless isle getting gear for the hunter. Here are a few highlights from the world of Azeroth!


The timeless isle has been good to me, with my eighth burden of eternity dropping last weekend. This means my hunter has an ilvl well above the requirement to queue for the new Siege of Orgrimmar raid. I’ve been hesitant to though, because even with my gear improving DPS isn’t keeping pace. I bought the bow from the timeless isle (and promptly transmogrifyed it to a gun) but it upgraded is only ilvl 484 and it shows. I also had the pleasure of summoning the Dread Ship rare the other night, obligatory corpse screenshot.


I’ve also been pet battling a bit. Got the 250 wins achievement and have been leveling a team to try some of the higher level battles. An addon that has really helped is PetBattle Teams, that allows you to set teams of three and switch between them at a click. Makes keeping track of things amazingly easy.


I also made a trip to the Isle of Giants to hunt for the Ancient Tome of Dinomancy. With stable slots being vastly increased sometime while I was away there was no excuse for me not to find and tame a direhorn all my own. The miniraptors were just a bonus 🙂

Until next time, happy hunting!

Posted by: shatteredblog | December 19, 2013

Back to blogging, and Hearthstone

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long break from blogging, no excuses from me but I’m planning to get back into it more regularly.

I’ve been spending time in the Hearthstone beta the past couple months and really been having fun with it. The game itself feels a bit rough, not yet well-developed but full of potential.

I hate to spend money while the game is still in beta, so I’ve been playing with mostly basic cards and the 20 or so packs I’ve bought with quested gold. Part of the rawness of the game is in the weakness of some classes without bought cards. Shaman especially suffers from this, with their lightning storm and forked lightning removal cards both rare and definitely much missed compared to a class that has strong removal in their basic cards. I could give other examples, but I have a feeling that this will improve with more expansions.


I hate how much art is re-used from the ccg game. I’m sure that it’s less of a big deal to people who haven’t played the ccg but it grates on me. The beautiful animations for gold cards are great though, and the animation and voice clips in game really give it something special.


I’ve also dabbled in the arena lately, but I am apparently terrible at it with a 4-3 best record. Will have too keep trying, as arena rewards are really nice after the latest patch.

Final thought – I can’t stop saying “Who?” when the Blood Elf shouts “For Lor’themar!” before attacking. I can’t be the only one.

See you next time!

Posted by: shatteredblog | January 22, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Back to the Dungeon

Moving through the dungeon mazes again, making better progress than before now that I have the experience gained in the mines under my fedora. I go to exploring DL 4 with gusto.


I run across a goblin statue, and smash it on the way through. Statues in the dungeon have a small chance of being statue traps that will spawn the corresponding monster, or otherwise can contain items that you liberate by smashing (usually spellbooks). A priest with the stone to flesh spell can revert a statue to life as well. As an archaeologist I would take a penalty smashing historic statues, but those are labeled as “historic statue of __” and only appear on certain levels. Unfortunately, the goblin statue held nothing but rocks.

T3744I am accosted by a trio of elves later on, which allows me to name one of the types of  random boots as elven and eat some delicious elf meat. Elven boots give stealth when worn, but I already have it so do not keep these. Elf corpses of any type can bestow the sleep resistance intrinsic so eating these is especially important. I eat two without receiving it, then tin the third for later.

T4058Another wand in a room with a fountain. Engrave testing this one identifies it immediately, as a wand of light. That would have been useful in the mines, heh. Nothing else to find on this level, so moving down.


I hear the level sound before I even put on the blindfold, there’s a werewolf here. Were creatures are dangerous because their bite can cause lycanthropy, causing you to uncontrolled polymorph into werecreature form every few hundred turns. Wolves are especially dangerous because the werewolf animal form is large and causes you to break your body armor when you change. I’m avoiding this one for now, I don’t have a way to cure the disease without praying. luckily he’s in a locked room so avoidance is not an issue.


Wandering around what I can of DL 5 is a little boring. The most exciting thing that happens is being engulfed by a dust vortex, which honestly isn’t that exciting really. When engulfed by a creature you take periodic damage but your weapon swings will always hit, so it can be a good way to train in an unskilled weapon for some players. I am dangerous with a mattock and bash my way out quickly. I find a couple scrolls, and a clear potion that is plain ordinary water.

Starting to feel self conscious about the cursed gear I’ve been wearing, and feeling the need to identify these scrolls identify scroll or no. I think I’ll turn around here and head back to minetown and see about doing so in the hopes of finding a remove curse scroll, or failing that praying on the altar for Camaxtli to help with the cursed stuff. Sometimes taking the time to put yourself in a bit better situation is the best way to keep yourself alive.


I make a pit stop on DL 3 to buy the stethoscope for sale in the hardware store. Was a bit worried about my alignment being so early in the game and wanted to make sure I was still on my god’s good side before I try praying. Applying a stethoscope at yourself gives a message about your status, which includes alignment and I am apparently pious which is good. A deep breath and I’m back on DL 2. Don’t forget to blindfold this time.


Telepathy reveals the demon, who is lurking outside the room with the upstairs but not moving otherwise. It also reveals something unexpected, a shopkeeper I had no idea was there. Neat. I’m still woefully underequipped to take on the demon so I move quickly back to the mines.

Next time; sundering, reading and swimming! Look forward to it!

Posted by: shatteredblog | January 20, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Shopping!

Still hanging about in Minetown. The interruption with the yellow light stopped me from what I wanted to do, check out the shops! So moving on to doing that. The bookstore I’m not spending much time with other than to price ID the items for sale. Unless you’re a wizard or priest spellbooks can be dangerous to read at low levels even if you know the spell level, and I find out the one scroll for sale is a duplicate of one I have that costs 100 zorkmids. So on to the hardware store, to see if it has better deals.


The hardware store has two good things in it. A lock pick, which is one of three tools can be used to unlock doors or chests you find locked. I’d rather have a skeleton key, as non rogues get no bonus for unlocking with a pick… but I’ll take it anyway. The other item is a blindfold, which may not seem useful but will be once I manage to gain telepathy. Just about ready to leave minetown, but before I do I want to test this no message wand once more. Zap it at the open door to one of the now  empty little rooms off the path, and “The door swings shut and locks!” The wand is locking, which is good to know… most monsters aren’t smart enough to open doors.


On the way back up I meet the housecat that was wandering around again. Since I have a whistle now to make pet management easier I tame it. You can tame animals that are in the domestic category, even hostile ones by throwing them a food item that they consider a treat. For dogs and cats this is a meat item such as tripe or food rations, and for pony and horse it is a vegetable like a carrot, apple or sprig of wolfsbane. I head back upstairs whistling my cat along with me.

I’m heading back upstairs here because I would rather explore the sokoban dungeon branch before heading to Mine’s End. Sokoban is a good source of food and a chance at either an amulet of reflection or a bag of holding, either of which would be very useful. It also has much less chance of dangerous traps than continuing in the mines does. So that is what I shall do, with a quick stop at the closed shop before continuing in the main dungeon.


I missed a bag on one of the dark levels, and when I #loot it it bites me. This is a bag of tricks, which when applied summons a random monster. Useful only while you want to create monsters, but I bring it along anyway.


I’m ambushed by a pack of gnomes and their minions on the top floor of the mines. The cyan potion was paralysis, which luckily only lasted three turns but still scared me. I decided to let the housecat chew on the homunculus but it is overcome and dies (sad). I clear the way myself and move on petless.


A bit further on there is another floating eye. I picked up some daggers along the way so I should be able to kill this one will ranged attacks. I throw my daggers and they strike true.


Good timing on feeling hungry, because I’m about to eat me some floating eye corpse. Only 50% of eyes will leave a corpse, but when one does it has 100% chance to give you telepathy.


The corpse was rotten, but after I wake up from passing out I finish eating it anyway. You feel a strange mental acuity. Now when I wear my blindfold I will be able to see creatures on the level that have minds, anywhere on the level. It doesn’t work for mindless creatures or undead, but is amazingly useful. Of course, I forget to wear it when passing DL 2 to see what the demon is up to. Oops… oh well, he didn’t molest me on the way through to DL 3 so guess I’m lucky for that.


The message in the dust has worn away a bit when I get back. Things you engrave or write in the dust will become illegible once they’ve been walked on enough, which makes Elbereth a temporary respite unless you have a permanent way to write or you can levitate (if you don’t touch the ground you don’t smudge the writing). I use the lockpick to open the door, and let’s see what kind of shop we have.


It’s another hardware store, and a big one. Renrut has some good stuff, including towels, expensive cameras, candles and leashes but what catches my eye is that lamp up there. A magic lamp is a permanent light source while it stays magic, and if you have a way to bless is an 80% chance at a wish when #rubbed (positive luck applies). Hoping this one is magic.


Unfortunately it isn’t, can tell by the price. I rename it oil lamp and drop. I buy the candles he has for sale and both his magic markers so I can write scrolls when I identify the useful ones. Nothing exciting happens after I leave the shop and head to DL 4.


Coyotes! The coyote is one of my favorite monsters in the game, and it’s because of the description when you look at one. In an homage to the roadrunner cartoons every time you look at a coyote the name changes, here it’s Eatibus Anythingus. When I used to play on my pc using the Falcon’s Eye port the name would change on mouseover, which was always hilarious. Can’t tame them though, so they die.

T3652I wear the blindfold to take stock of the level before I begin opening doors. The only creature with a brain on the level is a gecko, heh. So for now anyway it seems safeish here.

Next time, more exploring and monster bashing!

Posted by: shatteredblog | January 17, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Making Minetown

Stepping out into the busy thoroughfare of Minetown, feeling hopeful and a little itchy from this rusty helmet glued to my head. Wonder what I’ve been lucky enough to have in my game. Minetown has several variations, each of which in addition to the normal chance for a room with one door to be a shop has rooms that are set aside for specific shop types. What would be really useful is a general store, one that will buy and sell everything to make price identifying easier. We shall see!


Actually we won’t see before the inhabitants try to kill me. Two gnomish wizards pile out of the shops and jump me. I thwack the one with my mattock, but he quaffs a dark potion that I know now is full healing. The wizards don’t manage to cast any spells that hurt me and I take care of them.

The first two shops I come across are a hardware store that sells tools and a bookstore with one scroll and several spellbooks. I approach the room in the center of town that is likely the temple, and get some good news walking through the door.

T2713The altar and priest are coaligned, meaning they share my alignment (neutral). Makes things better when it’s this way, as when you enter a temple with a coaligned priest you gain sanctuary and monsters will not normally attack you.

Continue wandering the town, wave to Izchak through the door of his shop (no lamp so not going in for now). The last shop in the corner is a general store, a tiny three tile one. Even three tiles is enough for identification, so I’ll take it.


I hate shopkeepers. They know it’s easy for someone who can dig to steal from them, so they ask you to leave your pick or mattock outside before coming in. Always worried some random monster will come pick it up when I drop my weapon.

Identifying items by price is a little tricky, but once you know the basics it’s a powerful way to learn what items are. Shopkeepers will offer to buy items from you for half their base cost, or occasionally 1/4 less than that. If you drop an item a few times they will make an offer each time so not difficult to weed out the 1/4 less cases.


I have quite a collection of scrolls and potions to price out. The method works on wands, spellbooks and rings too, but amulets all have the same base price. I drop the stuff in my pack one by one and rename them with the base cost.

T2913For example, this is a scroll he offered 40 for, making the base price 80. I know that there are two scrolls with this cost, so this is either enchant armor or remove curse. Some price points have more items than others, several of my scrolls were cost 100.

I also picked up the whistle he had for sale, to test it and see if it’s a magic whistle.

T2921Lucky! Magic whistles are so incredibly useful. Blowing one that is uncursed or blessed will bring your tame pets to you from anywhere on the level. No more worrying about getting scaredy cats to follow me. I buy it.


Out in the hall, a floating eye floats ominously. Floating eyes are dangerous even for seasoned players, because if you attempt to melee it without being blind or free action it will paralyze you. The paralysis lasts a long time, more than enough for a weak monster to nibble you to death. I have a few darts on me from upstairs but would prefer to have more if I’m going to try to kill this, so I back off… and into the path of the yellow light that came around the corner.


You might say, “This is a good thing, now you can kill the eye while blind!” but remember, minetown has the peaceful watchmen and watch captain walking around and if I bump into one of them trying to walk around they will get angry and all try to kill me. I begin resting with the [.] key to wait out the blindness.

T3062If you become aware of a monster while blind it marks the location with an I, like this. Something that is attacking me is fair game, so I attack back and kill it still blind. If I were searching instead of waiting it would place I’s where I felt a monster near me as well, but gives no idea what the creature might be. I continue waiting.


I can finally see again, 119 turns later. The eye is right next to me, but as long as I don’t attack it can’t hurt me… and apparently my assailant was a mummy as there is a mummy wrapping on the ground. For the meantime, I’m safe after the tense period of blindness.

Come back next time, when I finish up Minetown visit number 1 and get back to dungeon running. See you then!

Posted by: shatteredblog | January 15, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Gnometown


It’s dark. So dark I can’t see beyond arms length in any direction. Stumbling around in the dark is always fun of course, but in the mines you have to worry about the short people hiding in the shadows… and they have infravision so they can see you just fine!

I wander slowly a few paces from the stairs up and let the gnomes come. A pack of them gains me another level, and after a bit more wandering I get a most welcome message.


NetHack is an RPG at heart, and weapons and spellcasting all use skills to judge how effective and likely you are to use them correctly. Each class is proficient in a different set of skills, and can never become proficient  in others. I mentioned before that Archaeologists are able to advance pickaxe to Expert making the dwarven mattock a very useful weapon for a long while, and seeing this message is the first step toward that. As you use a weapon or class of spell you gain experience with it, and crossing a threshold means you can advance the skill to the next level, from Unskilled -> Basic -> Skilled -> Expert. Monks have an additional two levels beyond expert for their martial arts skill. You use the command Enhance to advance these.


Here I’ve already advanced my pickaxe skill to Skilled. The reason this doesn’t happen automatically is because each time you advance a skill it consumes a number of skill slots, which you gain one per level as you level. When a skill is available to be advanced it will be highlighted, and skills you’ve reached the maximum level for your class will be marked with a *.

Continuing my wanderings around the dark cavern, I bump into an orc mummy. The undead is no great challenge thanks to my swift mattock skills.

T2271The mummy dropped a corpse and his wrapping as you can see. Corpses dropped by undead monsters are not good for eating, as they are already old and rotten when you kill the monster. There is one type of undead that is an exception to this rule; the wraith, whose corpse will level you up if you can manage to eat it quickly before it disappears completely. In general though, remember which corpses are undead monsters and don’t eat or tin them. The mummy wrapping is a cloak item, and is useful if you happen to be invisible and need to go shopping. A shopkeeper will not allow an invisible character into the shop normally, but wearing a mummy wrapping will render you visible “Invisible Man” style. They aren’t rare though, and I have a cloak so I’m leaving this one here.

Further wanderings and more monsters. I have a bit of trouble with a raven that blinds me with its attacks, and my already rusty cursed helmet is hit by a rust trap and becomes very rusty. The traps in the upper levels of the mines tend to not be as bad as in lower levels, but corroded equipment is never a welcome sight. Wish I had a can of grease to protect things with.


Eventually the stairs down come into view. Perhaps on the next floor there will be a light source I can use to make a level like this one less painful. I take the stairs, and starting in a room with a corridor is a giveaway that I’ve found the town in the mines.

Minetown is the only guaranteed source of shops in the game, and in many (including this one) the first altar you will find. It’s a boon to reach the level but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a safe haven, as complacency will lead to tragedy. I wander to the next room and am confronted by yet another dwarf.


Watching monsters is a good way to find out about the dungeon. We’ve already seen monsters using potions and how you can find out what they are from watching the effects. You can also easily see if a weapon is cursed by watching a monster wield it. I kill him for his trouble, but not before thanking him for the lesson.


Minetown has its own set of rules and a patrol of watchmen led by a captain to enforce them. You can’t break down or lockpick doors without angering the guards, and if you dip or quaff from the fountains here they will also attack. They aren’t here to protect you for monsters, and a misstep means they will join in the monsters in putting an end to your adventuring career.

Next time, I’ll continue exploring Minetown, see what shops I was lucky enough to get and talk a little about item identifying. Might even be a monster or two. See you then!

Posted by: shatteredblog | January 13, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Among the G

When last we left our intrepid archaeologist, he was glancing over his shoulder while heading for the stairs down into the gnomish mines. The rampaging water demon left behind on DL 2 doesn’t make an appearance, and so we head down into the new dungeon branch.


The game has in addition to the main dungeon several branches that represent optional or non optional challenges while playing the game. The first of these is the gnomish mines, a several levels deep area that includes cavern levels like the one I am in now, Minetown which is a source of shops and an altar, and the End of the Mines which has a few different variations that all include gems and a luckstone mixed in with loadstones. The in between cavern levels can  be lit or unlit, and thankfully this is a lit level. I can see from the stairs three gnomes, a food ration and a gem in the corner there. Unless your character is a gnome the gnomes in the mines are usually hostile, and these are no exception.


Three or four gnomes rush me on the stairs, and I gain two quick levels. Still surrounded by gnomes but not in any urgent danger, and a dwarf is approaching from the north. Dwarves are a bit different then gnomes in that they tend to be generated lawful, and will be peaceful to a lawful character. This one hates me of course.  Killing the rest of the gnomes and him gains me level 5.

The gnomes were carrying some gems, and that means it’s time for my archaeologist training  to shine. Archaeologists always begin the game with an uncursed touchstone, and can use an uncursed touchstone as other classes can use a blessed one to identify gems and other stones. To do so, we open the extended commands menu (with [#] in this port, and select rub.


Rub prompts you first for what to rub. If this is a touchstone, then it prompts you to rub something on the stone. Here I am picking the two orange stones I picked up.


Worthless glass once identified is truly worthless, only useful as ammunition for a sling. I drop these. Now to check the corpses (and eat a gnome that isn’t too long dead, gnomes are good eating!)


What luck! The dwarf in addition to some armor and coin was carrying a broad pick, which is a dwarvish mattock. This is the weapon I was talking about earlier that is a two hand item and uses the pickaxe skill, which archaeologists can become expert in. A great find, it’s a powerful weapon. I take it, and everything else useful. Wear [W] the shoes and cloak from the dwarf, though wearing armor before you know if it’s cursed can come back to haunt you. These aren’t, thankfully and my AC improves to 7.

A bit more exploring, and I’m ambushed by another gnome and dwarf. This gnome throws a purple-red potion at me, “You feel rather tired.” means it was a potion of sleeping and I fall asleep. Luckily sleep only lasts until I’m attacked, and after my nap I make short work of the pair. This dwarf has a hat and shoes and foolishly I try them on as well in hopes of a better AC. Both are cursed, so my AC remains 7. Around the corner is a ring mail which I can thankfully wear due to the cloak not being cursed, and my AC is improved to 4. A lower armor class at starting levels is worth dealing with some cursed items, but it’s a bad idea to wield a weapon that you haven’t seen a monster wield or otherwise tested as if it is two handed it won’t leave your hands free for anything else!

The first mines level has one more surprise for me as I move toward the exit, a rust trap that rusts my cursed helmet. The mine levels all include a handful of hidden traps that are quite nasty below minetown, but avoidable once you’ve seen them.

The second cavern level is also lit, and also features a mob of gnomes swarming me when I poke my head down. A few trips up to heal then back down to fight and the wave of little people is cleared. I find a sack lying on the ground, with nothing in it.


An annoying thing about the port is it defaults to looting something on the ground if you tap the screen trying to pick it up. Not too difficult to remedy, the command to pick up items is [,] but still requires remembering to do so. I bring the bag along with me.


The only (g)notable monster I run across is a little dog, after leveling to 6 from gnome and gnome lord kills. Normally a pet animal like this would be dangerous to meet early on, but with AC 4 and a mattock I can take it. I could throw [t] a tripe ration and tame it, but I think it would be better to save that for when I’m in trouble against one or can benefit more from the pet. Quick tip – don’t eat the corpses of domestic animals like dogs, cats and ponys. You will get aggravate monster for your troubles, and it will make it much easier for nasties to find you.

Onward to the third cavern level in our next installment, when we stumble blindly through the dark, make rusty things rustier and perhaps stumble upon the town in the mines.

Posted by: shatteredblog | January 10, 2013

Nethack Diaries: The Adventures of Tom (III), Unlucky

When last we left Tom the level 1 Digger, he was confused and running for his life from an invisible water demon. A scary situation to be in so early in the game.


Water demons are one of the weakest types of major demon, but bad news for a new player at only level 1. They have three attacks (claw and bite as well as a weapon swing), are intelligent enough to use scrolls and potions, and have a chance at summoning nasties while attacking (typically other demons). When this one threw a confusion potion at me, I thought it was game over, but I stumbled to the door.

Lucky the confusion only lasted three turns, during which I misstepped once… and luckier that this type of demon is afraid of Elbereth. The E word is a new player’s best friend when facing nasty monsters with powerful melee attacks, as engraving [E] it on the ground will cause them to become afraid and flee. To engrave you select an item or your fingers [-] and write on the floor, up to 10 characters instantly with a fast method (which fingers in the dust is). Finger engravings are easily smudged though, so do it a few times until you see “monster begins to flee!” to be sure it’s working. Using Elbereth I got a few steps ahead of the demon (important here, water demons can follow you on the stairs if they are next to you) and took one of the two stairs down that I had found exploring the level. It happened to lead to DL 3.

Two staircases on a level means a dungeon branch is there, and the first branch you find leads to the Gnomish mines. The mines are tough for a low level character too, so I’m glad to not be in them yet. Still being on DL 3 at level 1 with no pet isn’t a good feeling either, but backward is into the teeth of the demon so we are forging ahead. In the room with the stairs up is a fountain but this time I leave it alone. No use trying to outrun something when I don’t know where I’m running to.


A shop is here, but the shopkeeper has written in the dust “Closed for inventory” and the door is locked. Breaking in would only get me an angry shopkeeper and a quick zap with whatever offensive wand he was generated with as I have no money to pay for the broken door, so will come back later when an angry shopkeeper is not such a problem or I can enter without angering him. If I had access to a key, or a lockpick to unlock the door I could shop here normally.


Later in the level I find a wand, in the room with the downstairs. Wands can be useful items and an early offensive wand is a great weapon against mean monsters. So we will try to identify this one in a safe way, using a technique we already know… Engraving! The first step is to write something in the dust with our fingers again.


Once something is written on the ground already, engrave [E] again but this time with the wand. You may get a message that immediately identifies the wand or you may be prompted to continue with the engraving. Wands are fast engraving methods but just a single character addition is plenty. After engraving you may get another message that will help you identify the wand, or you will get no message. Unfortunately, I got no message for this wand, making it one of opening, locking, secret door detection, probing, undead turning or nothing. I’m not keen to keep using charges to identify it as it isn’t immediately useful so moving on after renaming it.


The rename command is a useful tool when trying to identify items the hard way. I use it a lot in the early game, the same as when the game prompted me to name the potion of confusion. This time I name the wand with it’s original description spiked, and a note that it had no engraving message.


The death of a goblin and a kobold zombie in this level mean I have raised to level 2 when I come to a room with a sink. It’s bad of me, but I’m feeling cheeky after the water demon back on DL 2 and think I may kick this one, to see if my luck is any better. It has to be after the demon right?


Kicking sinks is mostly more bad than good. You have the chance of finding a ring, or of wounding your leg from the kicking. An incubus or succubus can appear, the opposite of your sex. Or, a black pudding can ooze out of the drain and be a general pain due to it’s corrosion and splitting into multiple oozes.


The least useful result is the one I get, unlucky again. Puddings are slow, and I know I can’t kill this one at my level so I’m running once again. At least this time I don’t have to worry about it becoming invisible or throwing potions at me. I run off then continue exploring the level. A couple giant rats attack, and push me to low health before I best them. A nice feature of this port is that the highlight on your character changes color as your health falls, yellow around 50% and then red when low.


It’s a good reminder to wait and regain some health before wandering into trouble again. In the game you can regain health through spells if you are a spellcaster, or potions if you have identified healing potions (fruit juice also restores a bit of health). The most common way though is to wait, as health regenerates slowly every half dozen turns. The port has a button for searching you might have seen, the one labeled [20s] so I use that. The game stops you searching if a monster moves into view, or you hear something so it’s not terribly unsafe.

A room with a red mold sitting on a scroll is the last one I find on this level. Not finding anything else and worried about going further down at low levels I decide to head back up and then attempt the gnomish mines. Back on DL 2, I don’t see the demon (hah!) and make it to the stairs down without incident.

Tune in next time to hear about my travels among the little people, dark rooms and the joys of being an archaeologist. See you then!


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