HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Revisiting Blackrock Depths: Prison

Blackrock Depths Prison

Blackrock Depths Prison satchel time!

When the Dungeon Finder was released Blackrock Depths was one of those ridiculously long Classic dungeons that became split up into more manageable pieces. Unfortunately, someone decided that the best way to chunk down an instance that spans 12 character levels (48 – 60) and includes 20 bosses was to split the zone into two parts: Prison, covering 1 boss, and Upper City, presumably covering the other 19 bosses.

Makes no sense to me either. But we’ll work with what we’re given.

After struggling through Sunken Temple it was something of a relief to be dropped into Blackrock Depths to complete a super quick run and receiving a satchel 5 minutes later. Then I, and my groups, became dissatisfied. These one boss BRD Prison runs were just too short. I started dragging my groups off to kill some of the bosses wandering the corridors nearby.

This guide will actually cover the starting area of Blackrock Depths and should give you a nice, quick, four boss run with minimal trash kills. We’re going to clear the Halls of Law, Ring of Law and then finally head south and kill High Interrogator Gerstahn for a satchel.

The Map

Blackrock Depths: Prison - bosses and travel path marked

Blackrock Depths: Prison - bosses and travel path marked

  1. Lord Roccor Optional.
    This giant rock elemental patrols the Halls of Law – look out for him.
  2. Houndmaster Grebmar Optional.
    Drops a sweet caster cloak by the way!
  3. Ring of Law Optional.
    Make sure your entire party is well within the gate before you speak to the NPC and start the event. The gate will close and lock party members out of the fight if they’re not inside the arena. The bosses summoned during the event are random, but waves of adds will come out of the east gate and then north gate first.
  4. High Interrogator Gerstahn
    The final boss. Congratulations on your Satchel!

The Run

If Sunken Temple showed us the low of the low: tanks who couldn’t tank, healers who couldn’t heal and DPS that did nothing, Blackrock Depths: Prison showed us the opposite. We were grouped up with efficient killing machine style tanks. Bind on Account gear was the norm, not the exception.

Even the tanks that struggled to hold threat against the full brunt of mine and Pixii’s AoE were excellent and well in control of their character and the enemy mobs.

Actually, the reason I wanted to put this guide together was because I ended up queuing one night on my own and was fortunate enough to be grouped with a very experienced tank/healer duo in BoA gear that knew BRD back to front. These guys weren’t content to kill one boss. At level 50 and 51 they were ready to do a full instance clear. It was this pair that showed me that Houndmaster Grebmar and Lord Roccor are just around the corner from the starting area and these two players that patiently explained all the tricks to successfully clear the bar without wiping.

Unfortunately not all of our runs were as blissful. It was in a Blackrocks Depths: Prison run that I played with the absolutely worst player that I’ve ever played with. Yes, it was that bad. Yes, it was a tank.

A bot could have done a better job.

I can only assume that this particular Warrior had been hassled by their Hunter friend to try out tanking. The pair were from the same guild, the Hunter was quite skilled and did their very best to compensate for their friend’s performance by laying traps like crazy and misdirecting non-stop. Unfortunately this Warrior had an epic DPS weapon, no shield and just ran in and auto-attacked. No thunderclap, no taunts, no shouts, nothing. I’m serious, it was like watching a brand new player run around Northshire Abbey right clicking on boars.

One pull in and a DPS left the group. We replaced them. Another two pulls and another DPS left the group. We replaced them. But when the healer left a couple minutes later I gave up too. I’ve never been so glad to get out of a party before.

Still Want More?

There’s no doubt about it, even doing a “full” four boss clear, Blackrock Depths: Prison is a really short instance. It’s not uncommon to be standing over the body of High Interrogator Gerstahn still wanting more.

If your group is keen, and you’ve already killed the four bosses on the map, I suggest that you extend the run out to almost double the length and turn it into a “Shadowforge Key” run. Unless you’re a Rogue (with Pick Lock) you’re going to want to earn your own Shadowforge Key before you reach the Blackrock Depths: Upper City level bracket (51 – 61).

To start the quest chain you need to spirit run back into Blackrock Depths, talking to a ghost quest-giver in the heart of Blackrock Mountain (just near the summoning stone, in the center rock hanging suspended from 2 metal chains) on the way. So if you do happen to wipe in Blackrock Depths: Prison make sure you use that spirit run back to pick up the quest. Alternatively you can accept the quest from another party member if they share it with you.

I’m going to write a separate guide for the Extended Prison Run, so keep an eye out. When it’s released I’ll come back and link to it from this article.

The Corpse Run

Everytime I’ve wiped or died during a Prison run of Blackrock Depths I’ve released and ended up near Thorim Point in northern Searing Gorge at a graveyard. However, Blackrock Mountain sits rights at the border between Searing Gorge (to the north) and Burning Steppes (to the south). There is a small chance that you will end up in the northeast graveyard in Burning Steppes depending on where you die inside Blackrock Depths itself.

It’s unlikely, though. So I’ve covered the trip back from the Searing Gorge graveyard to the Blackrock Depths entrance. This is also how I would travel there if you’re not getting summoned or teleported straight in.

The basic directions are:

  1. Travel south from Thorium Point/The Graveyard, in the general direction of your corpse marker on your minimap
  2. As you enter the southern half of your map start looking towards the southern border of the zone for a set of wooden slats which form the path up to Blackrock Mountain. Take that path (I think it’s a bit further east than where your corpse marker on your mini map).
  3. Enter through the giant doors. Blackrock Mountain can be navigated via a giant ring path. The northern door opens out to Searing Gorge, the southern door opens out to Burning Steppes. If you enter from Searing Gorge, turn left and travel a short distance along the ring road.
  4. Climb up the rubble onto the giant chain that links the ring road to the floating rock island in the middle of the mountain. Walk onto the chain, turn right and head down the chain towards the summoning stone (going left takes you to Blackrock Spire – upper and lower).
  5. Walk into the building, the tomb, via either door near the summoning stone. Head down through the center rooms until you come out the other end. Don’t walk off the edge.
  6. Turn right and you’ll see that the path spirals down until it meets a second chain bridge.
  7. Cross the second, smaller chain bridge and walk up towards the blood elf (this guy exists to port attuned players directly into the raid zone – Molten Core) but just before you reach him, take the right open doorway.
  8. Welcome to the Grinding Quarry. Head north east, weaving between the giant rocks, until you see a wide bridge due north.
  9. Cross the bridge and you’ll see the Blackrock Depths zone portal tucked into the rock face on your right.

33 Responses to “Revisiting Blackrock Depths: Prison”

  1. AblimothNo Gravatar says

    See, I like your commentary, I like reading what you write. I like that you get linked everywhere.

    When the hell are you going to remove that stupid bit at the bottom of the screen every time I come to your blog? This isn’t 1998 on a Geocities site, you don’t need to put stuff on just because you can! I buy a massive screen so I can see the site, not a banner.



    More seriously, your writing is great, I will never, ever read more than one post every 3-4 months because I HATE THAT BOTTOM BANNER!

    • SybeldaNo Gravatar says

      I’ve died twice in this dungeon and couldn’t find my corpse for hours. I’m bookmarking this site so if it happens again, I might have a clue. Thank you so much for taking the time to post pictures!

      • CassandriNo Gravatar says

        Blackrock Mountain is a little tricky to understand when you’re a first time visitor – can you believe there’s only 2 actual instance portals for 4 dungeon/raids? No wonder it’s confusing!

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      No need to rant about it. Thank you for the design feedback, it’s something I’ll keep in mind next time we make changes. In the meantime you should check out a feed reading service like Google Reader, then you’ll never need to visit this site to read our blog posts. Glad you’re liking the writing at least!

    • ShrikeNo Gravatar says

      If you really find it to be annoying, Firefox with Firebug is your friend. ^_^

      On the CSS tab, right-click on #header, select “New Property”, type “display: none”. Voila, header gone on that page until you go to another page, where you could do the same thing again.

      If I were a better WordPress coder, I’d suggest two versions of the header: the full one (default), and a small (~25px tall) branding header with the links at the bottom plus a homepage link, with a collapse/expand button to switch between the two. For extra niceness, the collapse/expand button could be state-saved in a cookie.

      ETA: I personally don’t find it that annoying, or only did the first time or two I came here… I just work as domains/hosting tech support professionally.

  2. KurnNo Gravatar says

    Actually, the reason I wanted to put this guide together was because I ended up queuing one night on my own and was fortunate enough to be grouped with a very experienced tank/healer duo in BoA gear that knew BRD back to front. These guys weren’t content to kill one boss. At level 50 and 51 they were ready to do a full instance clear.

    Out of curiousity, when did this happen? My brother and I have been levelling some lowbies (a paladin my brother mostly tanks on and I’m levelling a disc priest) and I noticed you’re on our battlegroup. We definitely started in on the full clears well before we were “supposed” to, so I’m wondering if maybe this wasn’t us crossing paths!

    Whether or not we did, nice guide for newbies to BRD. It shocked me that people were running in for the satchels and that was it when BRD is such a big, diverse dungeon. If Jailbreak still existed, by golly, I would have done that event as well! :D

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      Well it was at least a month ago, probably closer to two months now (sorry – I procrastinate putting these maps together!). The tank was definitely a protection paladin and they wore BoA gear but no BoA trinkets. Can’t remember the healer quite as well. We’re in the Bloodlust battlegroup. You never know – perhaps we did play together!

      • KurnNo Gravatar says

        Holy cow, I am almost certain that was my brother and me! Especially if either your tank or healer wrote in proper English with appropriate punctuation, spelling and capitalization!

        We were running BRD like mad about a month or 5 weeks ago or so and did run with a few gnome mages who were in BOA gear, some of which actually knew what they were doing! ;)

        Given no hard evidence, I shall now choose to believe we ran with you at some point and can now cross “randomly grouping with someone whose blog I read” off my list. ;) There are so many Bloodlust folks who write blogs, I’m shocked that I haven’t run into (m)any yet. Or that I haven’t realized that I’ve run into them, if I have. ;)
        .-= Kurn’s last blog: ! =-.

      • ShivaNo Gravatar says

        I have to say, people are often amazed there is even a Lyceum. I have some guildies who have playing for 2 years and never been to the Lyceum. Whenever I play a tank-toon, I am often very well geared and can handle doing the entire instance with a decent healer.

        It’s a great feeling to see the reaction some people have to seeing the Lyceum or the Emperor for the first time.

  3. ShivaNo Gravatar says

    I think part of the reason you’re seeing better tanks/healers in some instances and worse in others has a lot to do with power-gamers and efficiency.

    Those who are power-gamers know the best and most efficient places to go; therefore they flock to those instances in droves. Whereas somewhat of the opposite happens in less efficient instances, where the power-gamers might do it once for quests and then never again, but the inexperienced will still try it out.

    BRD is brutally fast and efficient if you have AoE capabilities. The mobs are mostly elite and very congested; they don’t hurt much or have devastating abilities (sure, nets are annoying though) which generates high xp/hr.

    And I know you guys didn’t do it, but the Dark Iron Highway is like a dream for power-leveling.

    And to top it off with all those bosses there are a few blues and decent loot until Outlands.

    Honestly do to my hatred of Outlands I ended up running BRD well until 61-62 on both my Paladin and Druid.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      I’m planning to stick Baelgarr (if that’s how his name is spelt) at the end of the Prison Extended/Shadowforge Key run guide. I didn’t want to put anything in this run that requires you to have the key. I’m not sure how I feel about that highway – it seems like a lot of patrols, large trash pulls (with healers! healers with bubbles at that!) for only 1 boss. But if you think the XP is worth it, I’ll definitely include him the extended run.

      • ShivaNo Gravatar says

        Most of the packs should have just 1 priest and 1 paladin, but the paladin doesn’t aoe heal and usually just does an annoying Divine Shield when he’s about die.

        A good tank can pick-up the healer and bash/hammer/shield-bash anyways. It’s not too much effort to lockdown the one healer and kill the 5 mobs though.

        You actually don’t require a key to get to the Dark Iron highway either. A rogue helps, of course, but there are two ways to get there without the key.

        The “long way” which is to double-up through the arena spectators and clear out the 5+ bosses (the two former rare spawns are 100% now, but there are also 1-2 “event”/”quest” bosses available) leading up to the Fire Elemental (Incendius). From there you can back-track down the Dark Iron Highway effectively leaving Bael’garr as the final boss.

        The “short way” is to go up from the arena, but don’t take the path through the spectators, take the path as if you were heading towards the Grim Guzzler, of course your path will be blocked, you can jump out on to the window. There is a ledge (perfectly safe, just there are no walls/barriers, so don’t run off). From the ledge, jump down to the bridge. This will be the door, allowing you to go towards either Incendius or Bael’Garr.

        Of course, I am sure you already knew this.

  4. JenNo Gravatar says

    I hope Blackrock Mountain gets wiped by Cataclysm. Painfully. I want to see all that lava frozen. Hitting 58 on my priest felt amazing yesterday, after dying in UBRS, looking for the entrance for 10 minutes and finally giving up and begging a GM for help.

    (Also, seriously, 1+19 bosses? And you can’t get to the end without a key? Who thinks of this stuff?)

    [Still eternally grateful for the guides and I hope you do one for the Spire too. I've got a few other alts in the making...]
    .-= Jen’s last blog: Blogging muses and chance encounters =-.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      The Blackrock Spire entrance (same entrance for upper and lower) is actually a bit easier to get to: when you reach the first chain bridge inside the mountain you turn left, not right. I think it’s one of those places that once you get used to it, you wonder why you disliked it to start with!

    • ShivaNo Gravatar says

      Blackrock Depths was originally planned was the center-piece end-game instance of the original World of Warcraft.

      A lot has changed since then, but think of this grand abode as a place formerly zergable with up to 39 of your comrads… and a place which was expected to have a 7-day lockout (meaning you had up to 7 days to revisit the same area and slowly clear parts of it over the days).

      Blackrock Mountains as a whole was the pinnacle of 1 to 60 experience. Might not seem like it, but there are several entire -areas- directly leading up to Blackrock Mountains as a whole. If you do the quests alliance side, Redridge Mountains, Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge all lead up to here. The Gnomeregan instance also ties in. For the Horde, there are tie-ins to this entire area/instance starting from the Barrens and include the Badlands and Desolace.

      But enough psycho-babbling from me.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lathere & Cassandri. Lathere & Cassandri said: New blog post: Revisiting Blackrock Depths: Prison Enjoy! [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gravity. Gravity said: diagram showing the corpse run for BRD, handy, plus guide to a speed 4 boss run [...]

  3. [...] over at Hots & Dots wrote up a sweet guide to BRD – Prison if you, like many old-school players, know there has to be more to the prison than killing the [...]

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