I’m having a bit of a retro week, brought on in part by the nostalgia value of the Fire Festival.
Scholomance. Even the name sends whispers down your spine. A school of dark magic, where the tortured screams of the damned still drift across the water and even heroes fear to tread.
To enter you need a key. I must admit if I were going to make a school for sorcery and general evilness, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the door openable by anyone who bothers to run around the world giving gold to goblins and climbing volcanos. Impregnable fortress seems to be a concept unknown to the Scourge, think Scholomance, Stratholme and Naxxramas, all easily accessed by any wandering hero. Although I suppose it has its advantages, must make getting fresh body parts that little bit easier if people just come sauntering through the front door like lambs to the slaughter.
Key Quest Chain
Other less orthodox methods of gaining entry include
- Warlocks can hellfire themselves to death and pop under the door whilst ghostlike (Lifetap first otherwise it takes a while).
- Paladins can DI a friend and do the same
- Rogues with the necessary lockpicking skill can be roguelike and pick the lock
- Blacksmiths can use their all purpose keys
- I believe you can also fling yourself from the battlements like a jilted lover and res beyond the door
Part of my fondness for Scholomance comes from the fact it was the first instance I set foot in at 60 and its gothic feel attracted me from the start. Its a huge sprawl of a place, with summoned bosses, extra bosses and hidden treasures squirreled away. One visit really isn’t enough to learn all of its dark secrets.
Quests: These are engaging, drawing the reader into the tragic tale of a noble house whose members found darkness, death and slaughter was the path to immortality.
As I read through Eva Sarkhoff’s tragic tale of torture I was sold.
“The undead surrounded us, constantly tormenting us with horrifying acts of depravity. Finally, he came. He introduced himself as Doctor Theolen Krastinov. We came to know him as the butcher…We finally understood what the screams were from. The Butcher exposed us to pain that we did not know existed. He used us in countless experiments to devise a plague. The days turned to weeks. We would have died on that first day had it not been for that cruel bastard keeping us alive through magical means….We feel nothing. Our souls remain here, in limbo. We are unable to leave until our remains are found and spirits laid to rest.”
You have a purpose. Its obvious these people are evil, they commited terrible terrible crimes. As you venture into their unhallowed halls avoiding the cobwebs, you are bringing justice to the anguished dead. I wanted to help them, to give the butcher a taste of his own medicine and steal his shirt.
Visual Looks: Just like any good gothic horror Scholomance makes an impact even as you cross the bridge into Caer Darrow. Riding up to the Castle through the ruins of the village sends a shiver down your spine. A feeling reinforced as you enter the cellars, all those books on magic, necromacy and other such unspeakable things. So many students working away over broken body parts and things raised from the dead. The fact they haven’t dusted since they cut all the servants up into little bits helps add to the atmosphere.
The place is obviously evil, even small children know that cobwebs, dusty tomes and skeletons mean haunted. Add in candelabras loaded with wax dripping candles and wrought iron and if this was a movie, I would be behind the sofa.
Undead Ted. Makes you wonder what horrors those cross stitched eyes have stared blankly at. Wonder whose toy he was? One of the Barov’s or perhaps a servant child’s, either way its likely his or her owner met an unfortunate end.
Unique looking NPCs. Too many instances give us exactly the same mobs as those outside and quite often we get a whole instances full of the same looking creatures with little distractions. I want the opportunity to make a shadow priest who looks like this. A nightelf who exposed day after day to the corrupting shadows has been altered phyisically.
Boss encounters. The last two expansions have gone for small instances, quickly run with 4 to 5 bosses usually in a linear fashion. I rather like the sprawl of Scholomance in comparison. Jandice lurking in the basement, the bane of level 60 PuGs. The fact that when you add in the mini bosses around the ring you have most types of fights included, melee hard hitting bosses, magic ones and those with horrible auras. Then for the final course we have Gandling and his grand entrance, “School’s in session”. Including the summoned bosses and mini bosses, Scholo has a grand total of 13 bad guys compared to the average 4 in Wrath of the Lich King. Thats a huge difference.
I would love to know how Kirtonos went from running a funeral home in Stratholme to feasting on the blood of innocents with a succubus as a stewart.
Reasons for running Scholomance as a Level 80
- Tier sets – For RP reasons or simply for nostalgia reasons, pick up the very first tier set ingame.
- Sawbones Shirt – One of the 4 BoP shirts ingame.
- Darkrunes – Whilst they have lost most of their usefulness, they still work on General Vezax.
- Felcloth bag recipe – worth picking up for warlock alts/tailors who want every recipe
- Alchemy recipes
- Quests – For both the Loremaster and Seeker achievements
- Argent Dawn rep
In conclusion, to me at least Scholomance is one of those majestic old Grand Dame instances. Its still got a faded beauty hidden away beneath its veil of dust and cobwebs. Plus I had so many bad experiences with Jandice back when every warlock wanted their dreadmist shoulders for Molten Core, I relish the opportunity to pay her a visit these days and chaos bolt her face.