Having conquered Duriel successfully for the third time (actually fourth, when catching people up is factored in), the Rogues now proceeded to move on to the jungles of Act Three. Most of the sessions ended after finishing acts, but we still had plenty of time after killing Duriel and so proceeded on to try and complete the first Act3 quest.
Here we are running into the Dark Wanderer outside Kurast (I took this picture mostly because of that comment you can read ). The Flesh Pups were immediately killed and we moved off into the swarms of Fetishes. We didn't have enough time to get to the first waypoint, so the goal was just to get the Golden Bird from the first boss that we encountered. Sure enough, it wasn't long before one of Hell difficulty's many bosses reared its head:
This guy did indeed drop the Golden Bird, but unfortunately Jaffa's connection dropped literally seconds before we picked up the quest reward from Alkor. Despite trying multiple times after this with Jaffa hosting, we were never able to get the Bird to drop again. D2 can be a buggy game at times.
I missed the next session of Rogue Revival, the only one I missed if I remember correctly, since I happened to be in Iceland at the time. Yeah, wasn't going to be making it that night, hehe. The other Rogues cleared the Spider Forest and Spider Cavern (Sszark) the night I was gone. But after the week of Easter 2005 was over, I managed to return for our run-through of the Great Marsh. We drew a double boss pack at the waypoint, but fortunately they were both slow-moving Thorned Husks, and were not that difficult to manage. There were some Extra Fast Thorned Husk bosses a bit later, who made things interesting (they are also immune to cold and can't be slowed/frozen). But the real killer on this night was the gloams, whose lightning devastated the Rogues who lacked that particular resistance:
Erick was hurting for Lightning resistance and had it tough this night. The Magic Resistant on that boss isn't too bad, but Cursed and Cold Enchanted (can't run away!) were both quite deadly. I think about 95% of the team's deaths this night were to gloams, and deaths were much higher than we had been seeing on other nights.
Another picture of the team in action against a boss; I think that's a jungle bunny underneath the graphics. Some of that is our lightning; some of it is from the ever-present Gloams. We also got through a little bit of the Flayer Jungle on this night and picked up the Gidbinn. Erick's quest reward ring was so horribly poor that I took a picture of it:
Keep in mind this was a quest reward for Act Three HELL difficulty! Brings to mind that "worst rare" contest that Bolty ran at the Lurker Lounge ages ago, heh.
In the next session, the Rogues returned to the Flayer Jungle to run the dungeons located there. The Swampy Pit not only had the usual Flayers, but also Soul Killers (exploding little guys) and Gloams (our favorite friends from the previous session). Packed into a cardboard box, that was a sure recipe for trouble, and the Rogues took some pretty brutal punshiment at times. Even worse was the Flayer Dungeon, which was absoutely packed with bosses. Level 2 of the Flayer Dungeon had no fewer than four bosses (and their accompanying packs) within the first two rooms. Here's one of them:
I think This picture was actually taken later, after we had re-established ourselves from a different location. You can see we've all been Cursed from a different boss pack, and are now dealing with a group of super-fast Lightning Enchanted buggers zipping around. We completely lost the entry ground around the stairs on Level 2 of the Flayer Dungeon, with everyone but Sirian and myself getting killed in very short order. What does that look like in town? Here's a picture:
Scenes like this were a bit more common that we would have liked in Rogue Revival. My character is the one sporting the horned helmet, Sirian is the one with the shield and throwing axes. Everyone else... well, Cy and Jaffa have the mana shield orbs over their heads. Just don't ask me to guess which is which. As far as dealing with the situation, Cy had recently leveled up to 82, so he popped around on the floor for a little while and finally got us some safe ground to work with. Lots of Cy bodies on the ground as we worked our way back to the stairs.
As we fight this boss, we've almost made it back to the original stairs (most of the Rogues have their gear back by now). Cursed/Lightning Enchanted is always fun on a speedy little Flayer, let me tell you. Rogue Revival certainly SOUNDS easy at times (just stand back and shoot your bows!) but in practice it's much more difficult. Any enclosed space, or fast enemies, or Fire or Cold Immune enemies present problems, and all too frequently we're dealing with all of them at once.
Down on Level Three, we've managed to catch up to Endugu, who has drawn the rare tri-elemental combination. Better make sure to bring your resistances to this fight. He was handled without too much difficulty (aside from an impressive death explosion), and we all grabbed our Khalim's hearts. On a side note, this seemed to be the night for Lightning-Enchanted bosses, as we got 7 of them between the Swampy Pit and Flayer Dungeon. From there, the Rogues worked their way up to the Lower Kurast waypoint, bumping into the guardian of Kurast's gate on the way:
Stormtree was fought from across a river, and was no problem even though he was Extra Fast. Yet another triple elemental boss; could be coincidence, but knowing how buggy the generation of these boss traits is in D2, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the Endugu traits influenced it somehow. Upon reaching the Lower Kurast waypoint we called it a night, with all of Act 3 to that point having been full-cleared at some point.
The group was unusually small for our next session, with ME0003 and Erick out, and Dathon's connection giving him such massive problems that he kept drifting in and out of the game. Another attempt was made to get Jaffa the Golden Bird, but again the game failed to drop it. After that, the Rogues worked their way through Lower Kurast/Kurast Bazaar/Upper Kurast to the Travincal waypoint. We ran one of the dungeons in Lower Kurast, held off on Sarina's (I can't remember their names right now) for when we could come back with a full group. The common theme for the night seemed to be bosses with Mana Burn on them, an ability dangerous even for Red Rogues as it stripped away thier teleportation mana. Here's one out of many I could have picked:
(Don't ask me what that comment is in reference to - I'm not sure I want to know ) With all the Mana Burn bosses running around, I had to burn multiple full rejuvs to teleport out of situations that would have killed Svava otherwise. Good practice for the trigger finger.
Another dangerous boss encountered on this night; Multiple Shots/Lightning Enchanted is never a fun combination. The fireworks on the screen are from Sirian's Frozen Orb, which continued to do a ton of damage compared to our bows. I should also mention that Sirian landed the unique War Belt "Thundergod's Vigor" while GAMBLING (of all places - better to be lucky than good in this case) which grants the wearer +20 Lightning Absorb and 10% To Maximum Lightning Resist. As a result, he can stand down there next to that MSLEB with almost complete impunity as our designated Lightning Tank. Erick (Rogue without helmet) and I are back at a safer distance. In any case, since a number of people were missing, this was otherwise a "slog through to the next few waypoints" session that didn't accomplish anything too eventful. Just bear in mind that "uneventful" didn't mean "easy".
Our next session was again a bit short on numbers, but there were still plenty of areas to run before heading to Travincal. We trekked through the miscellaneous temples and the Kurast Sewers on this evening; there were some nasty traps in a couple of the temples, but we never completely lost containment, and the group as a whole played very well down in the cramped conditions. Sewers were long but not very dangerous. The only notable boss was this fellow:
Icehawk Riftwing drew a bunch of fairly non-dangerous boss abilities, and was taken out without much trouble. By the end of the evening, the only areas remaining to go were Sarina's temple and Travincal. The next few sessions promised to be a lot more interesting, with fights against the Council and Mephisto (hey, I even got a picture of him this time in Hell!)