One of the best things about Cataclysm (yes, the altoholic in me is speaking again), is that they decided to make some of the old Vanilla instances more accessible. Not only by lowering their level requirement so that they're actually interesting, relevant and available before you get to Outlands, they're not as hellish as they used to be, although far from cake-walks at the appropriate levels. I'm talking about Dire Maul, Stratholme and Scholomance. The ogre-part of Dire Maul is actually quite tricky, and one thing I really like about it is that they've kept the Tribute Run! The Tribute Run used to be quite troublesome, where you needed to bring special items into the instance to be able to complete it. I wanted to find out if Blizzard had simplified this as well, and turns out, they have. Everything you need to finish it is now in the instance, but that doesn't mean that they're just handing out the Tribute Run on a plate. Doing a Tribute Run is actually more work than just burning through the instance, but in the end you'll be rewarded by other blues than what normally drops.
So what is a Tribute Run anyway? Quite simple - the goal of Dire Maul - North is to become king of the Ogres. In Ogre-society, that is achieved by killing the current king. It doesn't really matter that you're not an Ogre yourself, if you kill the king you're obviously more fit to lead the Ogres than he was, or so they have decided anyway. Once you've killed the king, all the guards of the instance will come and pay you their Tribute, that is the special tribute loot that you're after. Problem is, if you kill all the guards, there won't be anyone to give you anything! Therefore, you must aim to keep those alive that are going to give you loot. As long as you're not the king however, everyone in the instance will try to kill you, so you must avoid, trick and incapacitate the guards in order to not kill them. This is how to do it!
The instance entrance, in case you'd like to get there without pugging, which you probably won't because there isn't much point in doing Dire Maul at any other level!
Once you get inside you can either choose to go left, down the slope, or right. The left way is shorter, but it will lead you to the first Guard, Mol'dar. Therefore, you want to go right.
The right way takes a little more time. But it'll be worth it in the end!
The first guard, Mol'dar, that you want to avoid.
This is where you will avoid the second guard, Fengus. His chest is in the middle, and you need his key to get through the next gates. He walks around this area, so just make sure you know where you've got him, and he's fairly easy to avoid.
Sneaking in to get the key...
Hihi, Fengus never noticed a thing!
The next guard to avoid is Slip'kik, and he is probably the trickiest. He patrols too, so just make sure he's moved away before you do anything. First of all, you should clear the group that stands by the fire. Once you've done that, you activate the frost trap (can be seen just left of Slip'kik on the picture) on the ground. You used to need an item, I think a Frost Oil, to be able to activate it, now you don't need anything. When Slip'kik unsupectingly comes back, he will step in it and voila! - a frozen ogre.
He is frozen indefinitely, just don't attack him.
Next step is to give this guy, Knot Thimblejack, some Ogre Tanning, so that he can craft you an Ogre Suit which you need to avoid the last guard. This used to be the most troublesome part of the Tribute Run, because the Ogre Suit required a lot of different materials. Now, you only need Ogre Tanning, and it is just up ahead.
There we have it! Now just run down and hand it in, for your very own Ogre Suit. Just don't use it right away, it only has one charge and lasts 10 minutes.
Aint I pretty?
The last guard to avoid is Kromcrush, and you're actually better off having him walk away than fighting him. Not only does he fear you, he also spawns adds that hit really hard. Fighting him is probably one of the tougher fights in the instance, especially if you're healer isn't ready for it. With the Ogre Suit on he turns friendly to you however, and you can go talk to him. You'll tell him a little lie which has him walk away. The course lies clear to kick the Kings butt!
Well almost anyway. There is actually one last guy you should avoid killing, but unfortunately you can't avoid getting into combat with him. That is the kings add, Cho'rush the Observer. Just make sure no one kills him and focus on King Gordok.
The king is dead, long live the king! Once you've killed Gordok you get a buff that make all the ogres in the instance friendly to you. Mizzle the Crafty will come running to hand you your tribute. Let's have a look!
Ach, if only my warrior had been here... two tank items!