If A Pit Lord Is Imprisoned In A Dungeon, And Nobody’s Around To Raid Him, Does He Ever Shut Up?
Last time-our intrepid hero had braved the Ramparts of the Hellfire Citadel with four trustworthy companions and returned to Thrallmar with proof that three foul commanders were no more. Was his lot in life to be praise, text on my screen, ended up being roped into yet another Ramparts run-which ended up cutting my exploration time a bit short. However, there’s still quite a bit to talk about.
Hellfire Peninsula is big. REALLY big. Not quite Barrens big, but definitely comparable to a zone like Ashenvale. It’s up there. Horde has three flight points in that one zone alone. It also has the unfortunate feature of having several large ravines that I found myself falling down more often than I’d like to admit-and feeling thankful that I’d farmed some Light Feathers beforehand.
One thing I’d like to talk about for a moment. Blizzard’s outdone themselves on art and quest storylines and (especially) music and all… but one of the most striking things I’m having now about the Beta is this sense of wonder. Remember back when you were a level 4 or 5? You’d been doing quests in your little starter area and it seemed so big. And then you realized that the starter area was just a tiny part of a larger zone. After you hit level 10 or so, then you left your starting zone and realized that the larger zone was part of a massive world-and it was really hard to fathom (for me, at least).
After two years of WoW, that sense of wide-eyed wonder and epic exploration is mostly gone in Azeroth. I’ve been from the cliffs of Winterspring to the jungles of the Vale and everywhere in between. There’s nothing new there. In Outland, I’m going places I’ve never been before-and for the most part, places NOBODY has. While I’ve got more of a handle on the concept of the scale of the world in this World of Warcraft-so I’m not quite overwhelmed by that-it all feels new. I see something in the distance and think, “Hey, that’s really cool! I wonder what’s there… or I wonder what’s past it!?”
Apologies for rambling, but I had to bring it up. It’s just such a great feeling.
While riding to the Blood Elf outpost in the south west of the zone, I ran into the Stadium, one of the three PvP objectives. After skirmishing with a Paladin, I defeated him and captured the tower-though after I’d left the Alliance grabbed it right back, but… whatever, y’know? I made my way to the post of Falcon Watch, nabbed some quests and picked up Master First Aid. Gotta get some Runecloth to get 330 skill, when I can start making Netherweave bandages.
Was about to start questing when I got into that Ramparts group I mentioned. This group was, in addition to myself, two warriors, a priest, and a shaman. All pretty cool guys, and this time around we had a Ventrilo server to yak on, which made things a bit easier. This time around, it was quite a smooth run, and I noticed some things in the boss battles that I hadn’t before.
The Unscarred has an ability that knocks you up in the air, and then he likes to juggle you a bit with a shadow whip. I have no idea if you take fall damage from being that high up, but I wasn’t going to chance it. Gogo Slow Fall!
Also, I’d gotten the Herald encounter kinda wrong. The mount shoots fireballs that leave behind patches of fire a la Magmadar or Bat Boss in ZG-standing in them will hurt, and that’s what killed me last time. Also, the dragon itself can land if you take too long killing the Herald, and if you’re unprepared YOU’RE NOW ON FIRE!
Also, off the Watchkeeper, I finally got my first piece of upgraded gear! Yay!
I suppose this is as good a time as any to talk about Jayne(z)’s current gear. I’m wearing my full Netherwind (Tier 2, BWL) set with weapons, rings, and trinkets to match. Check me out: http://ctprofiles.net/104367 ! While full Tier 2 isn’t the best gear in the game, of course… it’s pretty damn good when you consider the playerbase as a whole. So, I was planning on keeping a checklist on how long it took normal leveling/questing/dungeon gear to catch up to my raid epics.
That didn’t take very long. Watchkeeper-the first boss in the first dungeon in the expansion-drops cloth shoulders that are just as good, if not better than Netherwind. I admit it’s slightly frustrating, but it is cool that people aren’t going to be left in the dust by raiders come expansion time.
The first time I’d done Ramparts, I’d died after the Herald fight and had had to run back due to our lone healer being a Druid-who had already used his Battle Rez. So the corpse of the Herald himself had decayed by the time I’d gotten there. This time, though, I’m aghast to find a letter on the body-a letter that begins a quest, to be precise! A quest-beginning letter branded with the letter “I”…
…I wonder who that could be?!
Yep, Illidan! Our favorite moody elf is in league with the Fel Orcs, and warns the Herald to not let any adventurers (or anybody else… but mostly adventurers) disrupt their business in the Blood Furnace.
Since we’d done an excellent Ramparts run, we decide to give the Blood Furnace a shot.
The Blood Furnace
If Hellfire Citadel and the Ramparts are Blackwing Lair-very red/black, very military and savage-then the Blood Furnace is Naxxramas. It’s much more blue/green, and there’s a palpable feel of something mysteeeeerious in the air. As we’ll see, too, the bosses feel like Naxx bosses also.
We enter the Furnace, doing away with several warlocks and their Imp companions and find ourselves at the base of a massive staircase. Pretty damn cool, to be sure. As we climb, we encounter one of the more annoying enemies in the dungeon-Laughing Skull Rogues, who do everything a PC Rogue does and can take 20 times the hits. And they’re invisible. They also have an impeccable sense of timing, and will jump you at the exact moment to mess you up the most.
But we press on-because we MUST! At the top of the staircase, we get a view of five warlocks surrounding a lone figure in the center of the room, channeling purple energy in a Pentagram around him. This just reeks “Final Boss” to me… but you’ve got a ways to go to get to him.
Oh, by the way, this entire time you hear Magtheridon (Pit Lord from Frozen Throne, to jog your memory) yelling and ranting. Apparently, after Illidan beat him up and kicked him out of his home, the Pit Lord was delivered into the hands of the Fel Orcs to harness as they willed. So he’s not happy. Though you never actually encounter him here, he keeps shouting through the entire run.
We fight on and kill enemies, and Magtheridon still doesn’t shut up. In the next room, we encounter orc Technicians, who will become very familiar to us on the run. They, like the goblin Technicians in BWL, will toss sticks of dynamite. They’ll also toss down Proximity mines, and after a few seconds will activate them-meaning anyone who approaches will detonate it for about 1800 Fire damage. I can EASILY see this leading to the demise of a PUG group or two-communication when dealing with the mines is key.
At the end of the hallway we find The Maker, the first boss… and at this precise moment, my Internet crashes. Yay me. Once I log back on, I find myself at the beginning of the instance, and my party fighting the Maker without me-so I really can’t tell you what he does. There are cages along the walls with Hostile (can’t interact but they don’t aggro you) Orcs, and I honestly have no idea what they do.
We move on. Magtheridon yells.
In the next room, after dealing with more Technician packs, we come across a boss named Broggok–who looks exactly like what you’d get if you took a D&D Beholder and slapped it with the Ugly Stick for a few hours. Not a pretty sight. There are Fel Orcs in cages all along the walls, the same sort of “cage door” barring the way to Broggok, and a big ol’ lever in the middle of the room. I think we can see where this is going.
Pulling the lever unleashes the Fel Orcs a cage at a time-wouldn’t it be better to just have them all go at once? I mean, they’d kill us a lot easier-and once you’ve killed all four cages, you fight Broggok him/her/itself. Broggok has an AoE poison volley and does this thing where he leaves a circle of poison beneath him that slowly spreads outward-requiring the tank to keep moving through almost the entire fight. After we wipe due to a bug preventing us from targeting one of the cage groups, we go back and kill him and take a screenshot because we’re awesome. I get bracers with a level 61 requirement that are, yes, comparable to Netherwind.
Magtheridon keeps bellowing, we keep killing until we run across a lone warlock with six imp companions-who all have a rapid-fire Fireball that hits for 600. Ouch. Fire Resist Gear = <3 right there, I can tell you that much.
After we keep moving, we find ourselves at the base of the chamber we’d seen earlier. Annoyed that we interrupted their Evil Ritual, the five channeling Orcs break off and start attacking us. Once they’re done, the figure in the center (named Keil’Dan the Breaker) attacks us. Every so often he’ll go immune to everything and stand still-and then unleash a short range Fire AoE for about 2k.
It’s a fun fight, but one I have issue with… he also does significant Shadow damage. In the first phase of the encounter, the chanellers have a debuff that increases Shadow damage taken by 1000. It’s a Magic debuff, and that’s virtually an automatic death sentence to anyone afflicted by it going into the second phase (when he starts to do a Shadow Volley at low health, especially). It’s pretty much saying that unless you want to chug potions or have a Priest or a Paladin, you don’t win. So… yeah. Not too positive on that aspect of it.
Still, all in all-great zone, one of the best instances in the game. Gonna have a lot of fun with that dungeon. It requires people to keep on their toes, and is a significant step up from the cakewalk Ramparts.
After that, I decided to head back to Azeroth and refresh the Combat Potions I’d used up. To my horror, I found that they didn’t SELL Combat Potions anymore… but there were some nifty new rewards that kept my interest fairly well.
Till next time, Jayne(z) signing out.