She crept forward, her footsteps light and her eyes searching around in the darkness till they finally alighted upon a target; an unsuspecting skeletal guardian who lurched around loudly, carrying clanking chains and a large and bloodied war axe. Skeletons would normally have been of little threat to her, but some of the blood splattered upon that massive axe was clearly fresh and the fiend's eyes seemed to burn with a malicious intensity utterly unlike most of its mindless peers she had chanced upon before.

So the rumors had been true… There was dark work afoot here in the bowels of the Malefic Crypt, once a notorious prison for the most wretched of criminals till it fell into disrepair after its warden, the traitor Yohanes was revealed to have been secretly undermining the Imperium and subsequently executed.

But just who was responsible? Judging from the first guardian, it had to be a necromancer of significant power… Reanimating skeletons was easy work but imbuing them with even the slightest of intelligence was infinitely more difficult.

Issildar slipped away quietly, not wishing to alert the undead sentries to her presence just yet… After all, she had a party to report to…

P: Issildar—couple of pats wandering around with the normal mobs, so you gotta pull them here I reckon.

P: Kratos—I don't have any ranged pulling techniques yet ^$^%#^

P: Aurion—so just drag them here haha, I'll heal you no worries.

P: Kratos—right, like the last time you cast Salvation on me in WoW because you were bored?

P: Aurion—hey, it made a boring farming raid fun!

P: Issildar—wait, doesn't Salvation protect you but you can't do anything for like…10 seconds?

P: Aurion—LOL YES

P: Grimm—Kratos screamed like a baby on Vent LOLOL!


P: Grimm—Yea, I remember all the fucks LOL

P: Kratos—shut up douchebags!

P: Issildar—okkkk…

P: Aurion—maybe I should cast Humility on you this time hmm Kratos? =)

P: Kratos—whatever Aur, my tanking is too leet anyway heh

He laughed as he scrolled through their banter. Kratos and Grimm were both guildmates of Aurion and she had invited him to their group for the first dungeon for the Imperium at level 20—the Malefic Crypt.

He alt-tabbed for a brief moment to check on the wikis detailing the dungeon layout and of course, the loot each boss dropped and a Cheshire grin broke out across his face as he spotted several uncommon fast swords and daggers in the loot table of the four bosses. At present, with a party composition of mage, priest, rogue and warrior he would probably stand a good chance of winning any rolls on his weapons…

P: Kratos—orc berserker pming me

He considered the class for a moment before shrugging—berserkers were primarily dual-handed so he shouldn't meet any competition from the orc player for loot, although the prospect of having to share his leather drops was less than appealing.

P: Aurion—meh, just take whoever and let's get on with it!

P: Grimm—that's right, GET ON WITH IT!

P: Aurion—monty python freak

P: Grimm—NI!

P: Aurion—IT!

P: Kratos—stop spamming my chatbox fool! I can't see what the heck he's saying!


P: Grimm—eecky-eecky shebang errrrrrr….

P: Aurion—lol Grimm phailllllll

-Feral joins the party-

P: Feral—hey guys wassup

P: Aurion—hihi =)

P: Grimm—yo

P: Issildar—hey

P: Kratos—I'm tank, Aurion healer, you three noobs dps. Done?

P: Grimm—stfu noob

P: Kratos—/kick Grimm

-Grimm leaves the party-

P: Aurion—LOL!



-Grimm joins the party-

P: Grimm—oh hahahaha

P: Issildar—*claps excitedly*

P: Kratos—now port already Grimm or you get kicked again =D

P: Grimm—I'm so setting up a guild with the name [I hate Kratos]

P: Aurion—now now children, we've got work to do!

P: Kratos—yes mum

P: Grimm—yes mum

P: Aurion—…

P: Issildar—ROFL

She watched from the shadows as Kratos crept forward with a great hunting bow in his hands, the Drow's eyes unerringly seeking out his intended prey. Notching an arrow to his line, he pulled back on the mighty bow before letting loose his deadly payload which slammed into the skull of a pallid necromancer who toppled forward dead.

Its minions and a fellow necromancer with whom Kratos's victim had been conferring which was quick to spring into action, turning their vengeance onto the Drow warrior who had allowed himself to be glimpsed momentarily before slinking just out of their sight, behind the wall.

Screaming in anger, the necromancer bade both sets of minions forward even as he himself stumbled to his feet and clumsily followed the charging skeletons. Issildar smiled as she then began her advance forward—the dark mage had just committed a fatal mistake as intended by Kratos and she was fully prepared to chastise him for it.

The foremost undead rushing past the corner soon met a powerful double-handed blow from Feral's axe, the berserker neatly shearing off the heads of two unwitting skeletons as Kratos then made his own charge into the midst of the milling survivors, barreling several over as his mail-clad form smashed into their fragile bony frames.

The necromancer starting muttering unintelligible curses in a hideous tongue and Issildar, pausing for a moment to ensure that the chamber behind her was secure, promptly sprang into action. She pulled out a thin cord barely detectable in the light before crouching behind the chanting necromancer and, before he had even realized she was there, looped the wire around his neck and garroted him.

His words cut off abruptly as she strangled him efficiently and his struggling form soon fell still as the air was cut off ruthlessly from his lungs. In the meantime, her companions were busily finishing the last few surviving minions and soon the battlefield reassumed the eerie silence that had pervaded since their very first step within the Malefic Crypt.

"Very nice, gentlemen," Aurion said with that irritating smirk of his before tipping his hat at Issildar, "And of course the only gorgeous buxom lady in our midst today…"

"If you were not such a good healer, I would probably have killed you a long time since," she replied sweetly as she rummaged through the dead necromancer's pockets.

Her comment drew a laugh from even the normally silent Kratos, a ruthless Drow warrior who like her was rummaging through the remains of the undead in search of anything useful. "You know you don't mean it, Issildar," the priest grinned, "I'm the joy of your life."

"Bane, more likely," Grimm—a daemon mage rasped with a grin that revealed his bloody fangs, "You would hit on anything with breasts that moves."

"What did I ever do to you, Grimm?" Aurion said mournfully, "Why do you denigrate me such?"

Grim flicked the pipe he had been smoking at Aurion casually though the gleam in his eyes suggested a deadly seriousness, "You hit on my sister, remember?"

"I didn't know she was your sister!" Aurion said, adopting a pained expression before turning pleadingly to Issildar who had raised her eyebrows at Grimm's piece of news, "I really didn't, Issi…"

The next moment, a dagger had pinned itself into the wall directly beside Aurion's head and the priest gaped at it for a moment as Issildar said in a voice dripping with sweetness, "Aurion, please… Never ever call me that again."

P: Kratos – First boss in Apocalypse. Don't fail now kids!

W: From Aurion – Issi, don't go in! We're letting Kratos wipe =D

W: To Aurion – lol seriously?

W: From Aurion – watch ;)

Kratos charges!

Harbinger Malith: Who dares invade my domain?

P: Kratos – WTF!

Kratos dies.

Harbinger Malith: Suffer the consequences!

P: Issildar – XD

P: Aurion – noobcakes

P: Grimm – pwnt

P: Feral – that went well =)

P: Kratos – I hate you guys

Harbinger Malith was a massive skeletal warrior bearing a mighty double edged axe that was splattered with blood, squatting in a circular chamber that still bore the remains of several other adventurers who had deigned to travel the inner workings of the Malefic Crypt to their peril… In life, he had been Assistant Warden Malith, second only to Yohanes though he was rumored to have been killed in the convict uprising that preceded Yohanes's disgrace.

Issildar squirmed as she spotted several severed heads resting at the warrior's feet, their faces twisted into agonized caricatures of their former selves. This undead was clearly a foe they should not trifle with lightly.

"Can we bypass him?" Aurion asked nervously.

Kratos shook his head and motioned at the passageway directly behind the Harbinger, "He's sitting right on the entrance into the inner sanctums… We have to dispose of him."

"I don't mind to be a coward but look at them!" Aurion whined as he pointed at the severed heads, "You want to end up like them?"

Feral, the hulking orc berserker grunted in his guttural voice, "Charging head-on against a monster armed with such a weapon is a surefire technique to get yourself killed."

"You have any plans?"

"You feel up to a little distracting?" the orc fired back at Kratos.

Kratos smirked, "So I will be the bait while you lot charge at his flanks… Is that the idea, Feral?"

The orc nodded and replied, "Undead are always a little slow to respond to multiple threats; between you and me the two of us could keep the monster distracted long enough for Grimm and Issildar to weaken it beyond animation."

"Sounds like a plan," Kratos acknowledged coldly as he drew his blade, "Let us not tarry here any longer."

Grimm grinned as he whispered jokingly to Issildar beyond the hearing of Kratos and Feral who were deliberating on their strategy to distract the monstrosity that barred their path, "Don't you just love it when the men act all manly and soak everything up for you, Issildar?"

"There is a certain charm about being protected," she agreed with a smirk.

"Hey wait, what about me? Don't you love it when I come to heal your grievous wounds?"

Grimm and Issildar took one look at each other before answering together firmly, "No, Aurion, not at all."

"You'll be changing your tune when you are hurting…"

Kratos grabbed the front of Aurion's robe without warning and hissed angrily, "Enough bickering already, you will be alerting the whole crypt to our presence if you do not cease your infernal talking now!"

"Maybe I could cut his tongue out?" Issildar volunteered, testing the edge of her dagger with her thumb.

Kratos glanced at her and muttered, "That might not be a bad idea."

"He will not be able to cast his healing spells then," Grimm disagreed as Aurion shot him a fawningly grateful look and began to thank the mage when Grimm continued, "After we have finished exploring this dungeon, Issildar?"

The priest paled visibly as Issildar winked at him salaciously, "It will be my pleasure…"

Issildar casts Slice and Dice.

Issildar strikes Harbinger Malith for 93 damage.

Issildar strikes Harbinger Malith for 186 damage (critical).

Issildar strikes Harbinger Malith for 192 damage (critical).

Harbinger Malith casts Wind Buffet!

Issildar takes 250 damage!

Warning, Low HP (560!).

Issildar strikes Harbinger Malith for 88 damage.

Aurion heals Issildar for 150 HP (Divine Prayer).

Aurion heals Issildar for 200 HP (critical) (Divine Prayer).

Issildar strikes Harbinger Malith for 120 damage (critical).

Issildar casts Spiral Cutter.

Issildar strikes Harbinger Malith for 150 damage.

P: Kratos – 5%! BURN HIM DOWN!

Issildar casts Spiral Cutter.

Issildar strikes Harbinger Malith for 270 damage (critical).

Killing Blow!

Harbinger Malith: I…am free at last.

Issildar gains 1350 experience.

Congratulations, Issildar has leveled to Level 21! Issildar has gained 52 hit points, 6 strength, 12 agility, 5 endurance, 6 dexterity, 2 intelligence and 4 willpower!

P: Issildar – ding!

P: Kratos – grats

P: Aurion – grats!

P: Grimm – grats lol

P: Feral – congrats =D

P: Aurion – omg, someone's leveling faster than Kratos!

P: Kratos – Issi's a bigger nerd than me xDD

P: Issildar – heh =P

P: Grimm – when you're done patting Issi on the back, can we move on? I gtg in an hour

P: Aurion – hot date? =D

P: Kratos – date with his hand

P: Feral – LOL!

P: Issildar – =O

P: Grimm – geez Kratos, stop giving away trade secrets so quickly

P: Aurion – Ooh! Tattered Harbinger Robes!

Damn, he thought wryly, no sword drops for him.

P: Grimm – grats

P: Kratos – take it clothie

P: Feral – /ninja Tattered Harbinger Robes

Feral ninjas Tattered Harbinger Robes. Poof!

P: Issildar – nice emote haha, grats Aur

Aurion spanks Feral. That's for being naughty!

P: Kratos – ooh, kinky!

Aurion tells Kratos, NO.

P: Feral – that hurt!

Aurion pats Feral on the head. Oh, poor you!

He laughed and played along, typing /hot in his chatbox.

Issildar is feeling very hot inside.

Feral cheers at Issildar!

Aurion sticks out his tongue and blows a raspberry. Can't touch this, losers!

P: Grimm – stop flirting already ladies! GTG IN A HOUR

P: Kratos – fine, let's zerg it. No joking now people.

He typed in /leeroy as a joke, knowing that every MMORPG player worth his or her salt would have known of the internet phenomenon only to be startled when…

P: Issildar – all right chums, let's do this. LEEROYYYYYYYYYYYYY JENKINS!

There was a brief pause as Issildar actually shouted those words in game and he stared at his screen in amazement before his party members began to respond.

P: Feral – wtf they have a built-in leeroy emote?


Author's Note:

I've been watching my sister raid Icecrown Citadel in World of Warcraft recently. Unlike me (who quit several months back), she is actually in a high-end PvE raiding guild and has very good gear from Trial of the Crusader (she's the 10th best geared priest on her server or something) and whoo, Icecrown is looking to be fun! Quite easy though in my opinion, once people have gotten the hang of the fights... Seriously though, World of Warcraft is becoming extremely easy... With gear like hers, they breeze through heroics so quickly... I remember being fully geared in epics in Burning Crusade and the Magister's Terrace was still a pain-in-the-ass to complete, having to CC this or that mob what with my bad lag and with that 5 man boss that very easily went out of control. Bad groups simply couldn't cope. These days they just zerg everything, even with a bad tank! The healer just heals through everything they throw at the DPS... And with a good tank and healer, DPS can just spam all the AOE spells they want and see their DPS go up to like... 16k?

Pulling - technique to draw groups of monsters (otherwise known as mobs) towards the group without attracting attention from too many at once

Tank - the meat shield of the group, basically has the most Hit Points and Armor and absorbs most of the damage from mobs

Ding - leveled up

Leeroy Jenkins - watch?v=LkCNJRfSZBU. Basically, it's a mockery of nerds who usually play MMORPGs.

Ninja - someone who will 'need' a piece of loot before zoning out immediately once he has won it regardless of the stage of completion of the dungeon.