Blackrock Foundry: Who are we killing? Part 2

foundry

Fire! Metal! Lava! Rock! Brown! Orange! Reds! There’s a very distinctive theme to Blackrock Foundry that I’ve seen people complaining about recently. I’m confused as to what else they’d think a foundry would include, but the bosses I’m looking at in this second section do very well to see what else Blackhand has up his sleeve when supporting the Iron Horde’s conquest of this and other worlds/timelines. Here we’re looking at boats, trains and a petting zoo before going back to the big boss man of the foundry himself, Warlord Blackhand! It’s not as crazy a palette as you might find from Burning Crusade, but it mixes the pace up a bit from a factory creating fire-based weapons and armour.

Also, there will be spoilers toward the end of the post. You’ve been warned.

Darmac

Beastlord Darmac

After extinguishing the Slagworks and shutting down the Black Forge, we now make our way into where all those weapons and armour were being created for, and step into the Iron Assembly. First stop: the Breaking Grounds where Beastlord Darmac of the Thunderlord clan resides to break, train and outfit the most savage beasts Draenor has to offer. The prime beasts under Darmac’s control are the wolf, rylak, elekk and (in mythic) clefthoof alongside some lesser pack animals such as talbuks, boars, ravagers and birds. Darmac has a unique synergy with the beasts he has under his control, where he will be able to take on their aspect when they fall.

Defeating Darmac will disable a powerful aspect of the Iron Horde and will aid in Thunderlord dissent against the Blackrock clan and the Iron Horde as a whole. Storywise he feels a little more filler where he doesn’t exactly fit the theme of the foundry, with the theme of beasts in a place of metal and fire. It feels as though he’d be more of a fit in the Tanaan raid and at least give Grommash a few more clans to support him against us.

Thogar

Operator Thogar

This fight on a design standpoint is so much fun and quite interesting, I’d have to vote it as my favourite in the instance by far, which is just as well as the next fight is easily the most dragged out and boring fight in Blackrock Foundry. Either way, trains!

You know those dungeons that you did? Iron Docks and Grimrail Depot? Warships and artillery created within the Foundry are sent to Iron Docks while the weaponry for the Grimrail (no doubt the Grimrail train itself was created within Blackrock Foundry) were all sent from the Foundry Terminus, and it seems Thogar is the orc brains behind the trains!

For whatever reason, I don’t know what makes him so special – if he’s the only one that knows how to use the controls in the Terminus or whatever, but the victory here seems very hollow: we don’t shut the Foundry Terminus down; we don’t destroy any trains themselves; we don’t physically stop the transport of any of the creations of Blackrock Foundry. What stops another member of the Iron Horde to step up to the plate? We find out that the trains are behind schedule with the intro to the next boss, but I just feel that we could set off iron stars into the Terminus before jumping into the Dread Grotto to make it a little more epic and meaningful.

Iron Maidens

The Iron Maidens

The core feel of this fight feels very much like Madness of Deathwing, the end encounter of Dragon Soul back in Cataclysm. Firstly, you can choose which mechanics you can deal when the high movement phase of the fight occurs, and secondly because you have a very long easy phase of the fight (can be about 6-8mins of boredom) that leads to a huge ramp up in difficulty to quickly try and kill the bosses before they kill you.

Nevertheless, after making a few deliveries late by causing chaos in the Foundry Terminus, the raid will jump down into the Dread Grotto and face against Admiral Ga’ran of the Blackrock Clan and her trusted lieutenants, Marak the Blooded of the Bleeding Hollow and Enforcer Sorka of the Shattered Hand.

It’s interesting that Blizzard have allowed Blackhand to promote a female of his clan to such a prestigious position when back in the days of Warcraft I and Rise of the Horde, he even shuns his own daughter for just being female by forbidding her to drink the blood of Mannoroth and eventually ordering her death when she ran away with an ogre. It’s good to see that Blizzard have separated from their own stigma of sexism within their game, but at the sacrifice of the very core of Blackhand’s personality where he was ultimately a powerful yet not very bright orc clan leader that didn’t regard tactics and was more a figurehead for the real brains behind the operation: Gul’dan.

Killing Ga’ran and her lieutenants will halt the Iron Horde’s naval capabilities, not to mention with how many times we blow up the Dreadnaught we likely end up sinking one of the Iron Horde’s secret super-weapons. Given the remoteness of Tanaan Jungle to the rest of Draenor, cutting off any potential reinforcements from the sea will only help in our attempts to stop the Iron Horde.

We’re also here to recapture the Draenic Thaumiturgical Orb that was taken from a Draenei vessel to aid Khadgar in his fight against Gul’dan. It’s not entirely explained what it does, and the orcs don’t appear to be using it for anything either. We just know that it’s got a lot of power and it’s better in Khadgar’s hands than anyone else’s from our viewpoint.

Blackhand

Blackhand

Finally, Warlord Blackhand himself. Leader of the Blackrock clan, one of the strongest clans within the Iron Horde is a fierce and ruthless warrior. He oversees the operations of the Blackrock Foundry and assists in creating the most powerful of weapons for use in the conquest of Draenor. When I first fought against Blackhand, I thought that Blizzard did a fantastic job to represent the orc in what we know of him in the previous games, while also adding the touch of flair when it comes to being the overseer of a massive, sweltering foundry.

He’s no caster nor a divine being, he has no Titan, Old God or Legion influence to augment his ability. He is simply an orc with a hammer, some machinery and an army, and wastes no time in showing what he can do with it. It certainly feels like a short fight for how end-tier bosses go, but the tuning is so tight even in heroic – let alone mythic – that he’s certainly going to be a fight to remember.

Defeating him spells a huge blow to the Iron Horde, and removing his arm and returning it to Khadgar makes him realise that the orcs are willing to sacrifice body parts to augment themselves within the fiery primal magics. Blackhand is regarded as second in power to only Grommash himself within the Iron Horde. In addition, the Blackrock clan was likely the strongest clan not only in terms of numbers but as the providers for the creation of armour, weapons and machinery.

artwork-guldan4-full

We’ve significantly weakened the Iron Horde from this, and as we soon find out from the legendary ring questline, we have actually spent this entire first tier playing right into Gul’dan’s hands. We’ve systematically torn the Iron Horde apart. We freed Gul’dan and his lieutenants Cho’gall and Teron’gor when we first entered Draenor. We helped Thrall kill Garrosh, Gul’dan’s prime enemy within the Iron Horde. We dismantled the Shadowmoon clan by killing Ner’zhul, We assaulted Highmaul at the same time as Cho’gall and ended up killing the leader of the Shattered Hand, Kargath Bladefist. We’ve stormed through Blackrock Foundry and killed Blackhand. Azuka Bladefury was introduced as an excellent potential villain, but was eventually killed near the border of Tanaan Jungle, with her plans of controlling the magnaron for the Iron Horde dying with her.

The Iron Horde has all but collapsed around Grommash, and I’m surprised that he still doesn’t take the pit lord blood knowing what he was like in the main universe (drinking Mannoroth’s blood a second time when confronted by Cenarius and the night elves, knowing full well what the blood curse does). However, Gul’dan is now at the head of the Iron Horde, similar to how events occurred in the main timeline, just with Kilrogg Deadeye as his puppet instead of Blackhand. I’m interested to see what happens in the next patch or two, to see what happens between Gul’dan and Khadgar, and what ultimately happens to the Iron Horde.

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Blackrock Foundry: Who are we killing? Part 1

foundry

Continuing on the series of the first tier of Warlords raiding, I don’t know what game tier it is now, tier 17? It’s hard to keep track. Regardless, while we assaulted the allies of the Iron Horde in the previous raid and got rid of Cho’gall and whatever his master used him as a pawn for, we’re now heading toward the seat of siege production itself, the Blackrock Foundry.

Blackrock Foundry

There are two reasons we’re entering Blackrock Foundry. Firstly, it’s the next stage of the legendary storyline where Khadgar sends us to collect certain reagents to break the mind control Gul’dan has over Garona Halforcen, the orc responsible for nearly assassinating Khadgar.

We’re sent to collect 3 Elemental Tablets so that Khadgar can unlock the secrets of earth and fire to further enhance our rings. But more importantly for the chase for Gul’dan, we have to collect the Heart of the Fury from the Blast Furnace, Flamebender Ka’graz’s tome and to retrieve the lost Draenic Thaumaturgical Orb from the Iron Maidens.

Ultimately, we’re here to put down Blackhand, warlord of the Blackrock clan and to halt the Iron March and production of their siege weaponry.

Gruul

Gruul

In our timeline he’s known as the Dragonkiller. With a lack of dragons in this version of Draenor, he’s simply known as the father of the Gronn. Garrosh knew of his and the gronn’s might and enlisted the Thunderlord clan to subjugate and capture him for menial labour within the Foundry. His hand has been replaced by a hook in order to haul massive crates around the Slagworks though he does still keep his signature ability from Gruul’s Lair in Burning Crusade.

Slaying Gruul will not only halt the Iron Horde’s production line, but it will also set some brute strength back from them and possibly dampen the spirits of any other gronn under subjugation of the Iron Horde.

Oregorger

Oregorger

The Goren appear to be the pest of Draenor, much like the Virmen were in Mists, so it makes sense that we’d see a boss for one sooner or later. In our assault of the slagworks it seems that the goren have taken fancy to all of the blackrock ore littering the mines. Oregorger is a particularly big one thanks to his gluttony, and after we clear out the orcs in the area he immediately jumps down from the roof, ready to devour all of the blackrock ore deposits in the repository.

Other than defending ourselves against the massive goren, it’s mainly a ‘curiosity killed the cat’ scenario that got us into this mess. Though it’s much better to deal with him sooner than have him pop his head in elsewhere…

Blast Furnace

Blast Furnace

The final encounter in the Slagworks wing is a notable increase in difficulty in comparison to the other two bosses, and thematically it feels a little bit out of place in this wing, where it might be better off within the Black Forge. Nevertheless, if the storage for the Blackrock ore is nearby and they usually have Gruul to haul the metals to the Black Forge to be made into weaponry and plating, I guess I could allow for a bit of bad planning from the simple minds of orcs.

Players are here to destroy the furnace and cut off the production of the Blackrock Iron to the rest of Grommash’s Horde. First, we disable the heat regulators and fight off the orcs and ogron that are keeping us and the furnace in check. Once the regulators are blown, the Heart of the Mountain emerges from the furnace and more orcs arrive to keep it in check. As bits of slag animate and focus on raiders, the explosion caused by their demise is strong enough to interrupt the focus the elementalist orcs have on their shields. Once all of these elementalists go down, the Heart of the Mountain is unleashed, and he’s not too happy about being held hostage inside a furnace and strikes out at the players. We then kill him and the blast furnace is shut down, suppressing most of the Foundry’s production there and then.

In addition, Khadgar asks players to take the Heart of the Fury from the Heart of the Mountain to aid in his efforts to free Garona from her mind control that Gul’dan placed upon her.HansFranz

Hans’gar and Franzok

Making our way into the Black Forge to shut down the next stage of Iron Horde arms production, we get into the Slagmill Press and are met by twins Hans’gar and Franzok. Originally exiled from their clan for not taking part in mak’gora against one another (a duel to the death to assume leadership), they were still incredibly skilled warriors.

Being banished to the wilds of Draenor did nothing but improve their skills as brawlers and warriors, and increased their intuition between each other’s actions. When the call of the Iron Horde came, they quickly took up arms and followed Blackhand’s command into the Foundry, where they work as overseers within the Slagmill. Although jammed by the time we get into the room, getting rid of these overseers is just another step in our murderous rampage through the Foundry to deal a heavy blow to the Iron Horde.

Flamebender

Flamebender Ka’graz

Revered shaman of the Burning Blade clan, Flamebender Ka’graz resides within the Black Forge to aid the Iron Horde in creating and imbuing blades with the primal fury of her clan’s namesake. Alongside Aknor Steelbringer (who if you don’t kill for the achievement – doesn’t appear to enjoy spending the rest of his life at the forge) they toil before an ever-burning forge in support of the Iron Horde’s conquest of Draenor and beyond.

Another major forge of the foundry, this one doesn’t turn the blackrock ore into metals like the Blast Furnace does, but it’s still important that we shut down this section so that the front lines no longer are being supplied with weaponry. In addition, Ka’graz holds a tome that Khadgar requires in his chase for Gul’dan. Upon acquiring it, Khadgar is further able to understand how to bend elemental power to his will. He claims that he will use it to counter Gul’dan’s every move…

Kromog

Kromog

The final encounter we meet within the Black Forge resides in the Great Anvil, and was a peculiar sight to behold. The orcs dug too deep in their excavation for Blackrock Ore, and wakened a slumbering magnaron named Kromog when they uncovered his chamber. To their even greater surprise, the magnaron decided to aid the orcs in their endeavours and uses his massive fists to pound and hammer out gigantic plates used in Iron Horde dreadnaughts and siege machinery.

Why he’s annoyed when we walk into the room however is a mystery. Perhaps he realised that the Iron Horde are in fact a terrible employer and he gets no benefits and very little holiday entitlement, and he thinks we’re more taskmasters sent to ask for his quarterly reports. There’s a reason why there’s no Iron Horde around the area once you leave the Black Forge area! Ultimately, he’s definitely a filler boss story-wise, but he’s a fun fight nevertheless!