I decided to try soloing VON 1-4 with Exterminate, a 9th level warforged melee. No particular reason, I just happened to be logged on that character, sitting in the Ever Full Flagon, too late for guild play and with nothing particularly juicy on the LFM panel.
I expected trouble with the boss in VON1, and indeed, trouble ensued.
After failing to get by the boss several times (yes, several, I am hard-headed) I reluctantly headed to the Turbine shop to see if they had a useful caster for hire. There was only one at the correct level, a sorceror neamed Algaur Forestfriend. Fortunately he came equipped with the spell I really wanted – Firewall – and as a bonus carried Haste too.
Another run down into Tharashk Arena: shortly it is Algaur (set to Active) and I versus the monstrous troll boss with his unique and dreaded club of dancing. I ordered Algaur to drop a firewall while I kept the bad guy agro’d with damage and intimidate. It burned nicely, and I am through the first VON.
Very interestingly, I noticed someone was repairing me. Without instruction. And without even displaying the Repair spell in his hotbar. Nice.
In VON2 I start with the beholders. If I can’t beat them, I can’t beat the dungeon. My buddy Algaur was still in my backpack, so I open him up, set him to Active, and head for the first beholder. Algaur was great! Three times I charged in and drew agro, three times Algaur nuked the crap out of ’em.
But then things got dicey for my backpack companion. He had nothing for the PK hounds and wouldn’t stay with me in the maze; he was quickly converted to a soulstone. And he was the traditional bumbling hireling sorceror versus the mephits (and later against Shadow Orphne): nuke too soon, draw all the agro, die in a blaze of uselessness.
Yet overall he was well-behaved, well-equipped and smart enough to keep himself healthy with potions. Best of all, he was smart enough to keep me repaired without instruction.
My overall rating of my evening with Algour: Four smilies out of five.
Another positive, completely unrelated but still nice: this build seems to be working out pretty well. Good hits, good damage, very good survivability, although at only 9th level it is still too early to project to end-game effectiveness. The build is an evasion kensai/paladin. Details of the build are available here.