WAWK: Hellfire Citadel Part II

Hellfire Citadel

From the Hellbreach and into the Halls of Blood, we’re continuing our series of Who Are We Killing by exploring the backstories and the reasons why different encounters are within the raid! In the Halls of Blood, we have three more encounters filling out the rest of the lower section of Hellfire Citadel: orcs, orcs and (ex-)orcs, but it’s the final time we see orcs as bosses for the rest of the expansion! In here we have the Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye and Gorefiend!

High Council

Hellfire High Council

As advisors of war I’d have thought this trio would appear later on in the raid, but here we are with the most powerful orcs to come out of drinking the blood of Mannoroth (other than Kilrogg and Gul’dan). Dia Darkwhisper, formerly of the Shadowmoon Clan, is a master of void magic that rivals perhaps even Ner’zhul’s and acts as Gul’dan’s left hand – I assume after Cho’gall had betrayed Gul’dan and perished in Highmaul, he needed a new champion of the void that wouldn’t succumb to this dark master Cho’gall mentions. Gurtogg Bloodboil emerged victorious a hundreds times over by trial of combat, while the third member of the High Council, Blademaster Jubei’thos of the Burning Blade, was the only one who managed a draw.

Most fresh in our minds with regards to alternate timelines of orcs we’ve already killed, Gurtogg Bloodboil was a memorable fight from back in Black Temple days of The Burning Crusade! However, even back then he didn’t have any character buildup so we don’t really know an awful lot about him, other than him being a really big orc and he has an insatiable bloodlust that causes him to sometimes fixate on a target and for whatever reason has a knack for raising the body temperatures of those furthest away from him.

Those that have played Warcraft III may recognise the Blademaster joining in on the fight, Jubei’thos. Interestingly enough, in this timeline he becomes the leader of the Burning Blade clan after Azuka Bladefury’s demise (it’s assumed) whereas back in WCIII he was a member of the Blackrock clan. I had a bit of trouble when Warlords was released and found out that the Burning Blade had allied with the Iron Horde when in the main timeline they’ve usually been without chieftain and, more importantly, held loyalty to no one. Although this could still be viable, as we don’t know events of the Burning Blade before the Second War that could have led to this clan’s regression. Still, in Blackrock or in Burning Blade, it seems that his lust for demons is still the same.

Dia on the other hand is completely new and has never been mentioned before in Warcraft lore, although we kind of got rid of most of the Shadowmoon Clan already, and they’re the ones most likely to know void magic. Maybe Nethekurse instead of making him a rarespawn in Tanaan? Though he mainly played with felfire anyway, and that doesn’t really follow the idea behind Darkwhisper’s abilities shown in this encounter. Instead of secreting Dentarg away in the legendary questline where he’s not particularly memorable, he could have been a good option here too to have three nostalgic bosses (one back to WCII, one to WCIII and the final one to TBC). Wasted opportunities, Blizzard, wasted opportunities…

Kilrogg

Kilrogg Deadeye

Our next stop in nostalgia-town is the final killable warlord on the box of WoD (spoilers, we don’t kill Durotan or Grommash this expansion – unless Blizzard decides to throw a spanner in the works between now and 7.0, and Gul’dan is stated as a boss in the first tier of Legion). Kilrogg Deadeye of the Bleeding Hollow clan has been an interesting character to me. As outlined in the Lords of War video, Kilrogg and his entire clan know how they will die in a coming-of-age ritual practiced throughout the clan. If they see an event coming up that does not include this vision, they will march head-first into it with all the ferocity they can – after all they already know they’ve won!

That’s what makes the 6.1 legendary questline trailer interesting for me: Kilrogg already knew that he would die as a fel orc inside Hellfire Citadel, and so he resides within the Halls of Blood, waiting to lock eyes with the ones he met in his vision. He was always going to “betray” Grommash by drinking from the cup, but I’m guessing he withheld on certain information to Gul’dan that his killers may also be the ones to stop any plans he had with the legion overall – a double agent as it were. It keeps his death honourable, that all orcs strive to have while keeping to his clan’s traditions.

He could have outright denied the vision by never drinking the blood of Mannoroth and cheated his death. However, the rest of his clan likely also saw their deaths in Tanaan Jungle as fel orcs too, so that would have been pretty awkward to tell them that they no longer know how they’ll die, and for them to go into battles without the surety of their deaths isn’t a great morale booster for a clan that have always known if they will die in this fight.

In essence, we kill him here because that is what his destiny was.

Gorefiend

Gorefiend

Another character who’s history has massively differed between the main timeline and this alternate one, the final boss of the Halls of Blood is Teron’gor in his alternate incarnation of Gorefiend! If you ever thought that souls were not just edible, but also had calories, this boss is your answer – an abnormal amount of them also seems to have cancerous properties, unfortunately. So draenei souls are definitely off the weight-watchers lists!

For those that didn’t make the reference yet or begin the Tanaan Campaign quest chain, Teron’gor became Gorefiend after we sent him to the depths of Auchindoun. In order to power the Dark Portal for yet another invasion on Azeroth, it was the power of soul magic that would ignite the portal and keep it maintained. Knowing that he didn’t have the numbers to capture and slaughter draenei like he did in the main universe’s version of opening the portal, Gul’dan settled for sending Teron’gor to Auchindoun, the mausoleum city of the dead, to “bleed it dry”. Whether or not he intended to become the vessel himself or carry a LOT of soul shards around with him remains to be known, but thanks to our meddling it becomes the former.

Yeah, we helped Gul’dan with his plan. Again. During the Tanaan Campaign, we are sent to Auchindoun because the Auchenai sensed that something felt wrong about the place since Teron’gor’s attack, and we find Teron’gor has slightly transformed while bathing in some fel soup and eating a rather large portion of draenei soul goulash – he’s also taken the new name Gorefiend. Tyrant Velhari (a boss we’ll talk about another time) and Adept Vatrusta are protecting him as he gorges on more souls, though when we interfere Velhari and Gorefiend teleport away to Hellfire Citadel while Vatrusta fights us off to give them time to escape.

In Hellfire Citadel, it can be believed that Gorefiend is the battery to open the portal to Azeroth, unleashing the souls he has consumed in order to power and maintain it. Defeating him and releasing the souls of the dead will bring some comfort to the Draenei, but will also cause Gul’dan to go to desperate measures to try and stop us later in the raid.

Interestingly enough, Blizzard decided to call his orc Teron’gor instead of keeping his Orc name Teron Gorefiend – introduced in Warcraft II he was already a Death Knight so could have had the name change when his orcish soul was in a human knight, but even when going to his past he was never called Teron’gor. Minor slip-up on their behalf, or did they want to differentiate between the TBC raid boss, the Warlords questing experience orc, and the HFC raid boss?


And that concludes the Halls of Blood, and the orcish part of the expansion! Next up is the Bastion of Shadows for Arakkoa and Draenei-themed bosses and the start of the Burning Legion and Shadow Council influences among the non-orcish races of Draenor! Two of which are again old friends from TBC, while the final encounter is newly added for the tier.

WAWK: Hellfire Citadel Part I

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Another tier calls for another lore-related post to let you guys know why we’re in the raids and to ask the question: “Who Are We Killing?”

This time, we’re in for a five-part installment to cover the thirteen bosses and encounters in Hellfire Citadel! There are a number of bosses in here that don’t have much, if any, screentime outside of HFC, but that’s the nature of having a large raid tier – last tier or not! Why are we hitting Hellfire Citadel to begin with? Who stands in our way to defeat the big bad? What does defeating the big bad mean for the future of WoW? What does Khadgar want with this raid with relations to the legendary questline? This first segment will guide you through the first three bosses that make up the Hellbreach, the entrance to the Citadel and the grounds surrounding it.
Hellfire Assault

Hellfire Assault

Following on from what the designers thought was a success in the Spoils of Pandaria encounter in Siege of Orgrimmar, we’re met by Siegemaster Mar’tak and the front line of the FelHellIron Horde (I don’t even know what they call themselves any more). The Iron Horde constructed many siege weapons within the Fel Forge, Warcamp and Blackrock Foundry, ready for the assault on Azeroth, though the most colossal of all are the Hellfire Cannons that defend the Citadel itself.

Once we breach into the courtyard itself, we use their own weapons against them to break open the doors of Hellfire Citadel. Mar’tak however attempts to stop us by sending wave after wave of orcs as well as an assortment of siege machines to take down the Hellfire Cannons that we have now capitalised on and faced towards the Reinforced Hellfire Door. Mar’tak flees during the encounter to prepare for the secret weapon provided by the Blackfuse company.

Iron Reaver

Iron Reaver

Why she doesn’t use it during the Hellfire Assault baffles me, but the next encounter features Mar’tak again: back with a vengeance. Maybe she had to run off and fly it in? I don’t know, but with the rest of the siege machinery at the front of the citadel, it doesn’t make sense that this colossal monstrosity isn’t there to back them up – especially if it’s the siege vehicle she was planning to use during the invasion on Azeroth and she was merely waiting on Gul’dan’s orders to begin the assault.

Regardless, from a schematic that Blackfuse himself had created (the guy that brought us conveyor belts in Siege of Orgrimmar, as well as the Iron Juggernaut), we now have the latest installment of the Iron Reaver retrofitted for use with fel fire. Based heavily on the designs of the legion’s own Fel Reavers, the similarities are noticeable between the mo’arg and goblin designs. Instead of the Overrun ability Doomwalker uses, Iron Reaver possesses a Blitz ability that likely uses the same engines that provide the Iron Reaver flight to greater effect. Earthquake (Doomwalker) and Pounding (Void Reaver) carry over quite nicely too, and I can only assume that Void Reaver’s Arcane Orb and Doomwalker’s Chain Lightning was inspiration for the Unstable Orb used by Iron Reaver.

Plus, she can fly.

Kormrok

Kormrok

While there is a choice to go for Kormrok or Hellfire High Council/Kilrogg first, in the Hellbreach section of the raid Kormrok is the baddy listed! The final boss of the Hellbreach represents the final stage of where the reflections of the old Iron Horde under Grommash ends, and from here on out the influence of Gul’dan and reflections of the Shadow Council and Burning Legion become much more apparent.

More than just a palindrome, Kormrok was regarded as ancient as Draenor itself and ruled over Gorgrond until the Iron Horde attempted to control him for their own requirements. While they failed, the fel energies used by Gul’dan were finally enough to break his will. Once broken, Gul’dan empowered him so that his power over the earth and his sheer size was exponentially increased. Shadow Infusers stand in front of a purple Shadowy Pool, Fiery Enkindlers in front of the orange Fiery Pool and Fel Extractors near the green Foul Pool, all empowering the breakers in them with the energies the pool provides. As a result, when Kormrok is engaged and leaps into the pools during his encounter, it makes sense that associated abilities are also empowered.

His ability set is similar to other breakers and magnaron we’ve seen in Draenor so far, with runes on the ground that explode on impact, forcing the earth below players to rise up and grab them and finally just hit the ground really hard. The energies within the pools appear to be living too – especially the Shadowy Pool – as they will also send waves out that unfortunately doesn’t empower us, just harm us.


Next time, we’ll be heading into the Halls of Blood and exploring the lower levels of the Citadel with the Hellfire Council, Kilrogg Deadeye and Gorefiend! At least these next encounters have a bunch of lore already behind them…!

Highmaul: Who are we killing?

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Forever pushing this back, I decided to finally sit down in the twilight of Highmaul and write the article that a few have been poking me to write, or asking me things like: “So why are we killing this moss giant anyway?” Outside of purples and Abrogator Stones, there is a very good excuse for that, but we’ll get onto that later. For now, let’s look at why we’re entering Highmaul in the first place!

Highmaul

I always do love raiding cities when they’re well done. Blackrock Depths is a memorable first for many people to invade a city. With market quarters, entertainment districts and wealthy nobles walking around the raid instance, it really gives the place a lot of character and more depth that you can relate to as opposed to raiding a high fantasy fortress or something that doesn’t look like a place that is a home for its denizens.

Highmaul is the capital city and seat of power for the Gorian Empire, the nation-state of ogres that ruled Draenor before the arrival of the Draenei. In this timeline’s Draenor, it was the combined might of the Iron Horde that pushed the Gorian Empire back to their home continent across the Barrier Sea, however their leader Imperator Mar’gok has struck up an alliance with Grommash Hellscream, and so Highmaul stands as the bastion-city of the ogres, and they have certain items of interest to us.

Horde and Alliance invade Highmaul to bring Khadgar magical gems called Abrogator Stones and to gather the Felbreaker’s Tome and Sigil of the Sorcerer-King in order to aid in finding Gul’dan. Cho’gall also invades the city with the Pale to claim the ancient runestones for his own purposes.

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Kargath Bladefist

One of the first Warlords we encounter in Tanaan Jungle is Kargath Bladefist, where he makes us kill 100 gladiators for his amusement as a macabre mirror to his own imprisonment in Highmaul’s Coliseum. Other than appearances in Bladefist Hold in Spires of Arak and at Mok’gol Watchpost, we don’t really see much of Kargath until we first enter Highmaul and he’s standing with the crowd while we battle Vulgor. Once Vulgor is defeated, Kargath jumps into the arena claiming the crowd deserves a superior gladiator, and challenges the raid group to make him the first encounter of Highmaul. Whether he challenges us for his own pride, to get back at the amount of times we’ve escaped him from 90-100, or at the request of Mar’gok/Hellscream, we don’t know.

Once defeated, he makes a reference to the arena in Tanaan Jungle, where killing him is the 100th orc slain for freedom in the arena. So he gets the honorable Orcish death, which is a nice way to see out one of the Warlords! Cho’gall also arrives to start his siege on the city, and for the rest of the raid the assault of the Pale is notable throughout.

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The Butcher

Hidden away in the underbelly of Highmaul, the Butcher was beaten and abused from his early days. That only served to strengthen his body and weaken his mind, right up to the point where he no longer remembers his own name. Most give him a wide berth as he hacks and slashes away at carcasses left in the pit. We have no real reason to kill him lore-wise, other than the fact that Khadgar claims it would be wise to defeat every last of the ogres within Highmaul, to ensure they don’t become a threat. He also drops Abrogator Stones, so he likely picked those up from a nobleogre that ventured too far into the ghetto of the ogre city.

In Mythic, the Pale assault on Highmaul continues where Night-Twisted Cadavers attempt to slay Butcher as a last resort. They are extremely volatile however, and explode on contact. Why he’s a target of note to Cho’gall and his forces is also a mystery, but we’ll just have to chalk it up as just being a very powerful ogre who’s managed to pick up some interesting items in his mindless craze, and we have to kill all of the ogres in Highmaul

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Tectus, the Living Mountain

The Pale continue to invade Highmaul, and have managed to create a ritual to summon the primal earthen furies of Draenor, and attempt to bind it under their will to lay siege upon the citadel itself. However, like Wilfred Fizzlebang in Trial of the Crusader, they ended up with a trio of earth elementals Oro, Lokk and Rokkaa that decimate their summoners upon arrival. Once all three are defeated, the Living Mountain itself is angered and Tectus arrives.

The raid group must then attempt to break Tectus down into shards, and again into motes before finally breaking him into dust before the Pale attempt to overwhelm the raid and break his mind. Essentially, the only reason we’re killing him is to stop Cho’gall from having an elemental superweapon that he can bend and enhance to his master’s will. An unfortunate death.

Brackenspore

Brackenspore

With the Iron Horde juggernaut moored off the shores of Highmaul, Brackenspore became enraged. Driven by his primal instinct, he now wishes to eradicate any sign of civilization above the surface of the waters. If left unchecked, his fungal growth and moss quickly envelops the cliffs below Highmaul, and while the Iron Horde were barely holding him back, they ended up falling back to the safety of Highmaul, and it is up to the raid group to pick up the flamethrowers left behind and to combat the hostile fungus and encroaching moss to fight against the walker of the deep.

As the only area of the city that Cho’gall’s presence isn’t made known, it could be speculated that Brackenspore’s ultimate master is the same as Cho’gall’s. Nevertheless, even with just his primal instict kicking in, it’s clear that once the moss begins to envelop the coast, it can quickly go out of control. Defeating Brackenspore is an interesting sideline to the main story arc of the raid, and opens up opportunities as to what else could lurk within the Zangar Sea.

Twin Ogron

Twin Ogron

Pol and Phemos are the two massive Ogron that serve as Imperator Mar’gok’s personal guard, stopping anyone unwelcome from entering the citadel’s main halls. What they lack in intelligence, they more than make up for in brute force, size and strength. They want to stop us from getting to Ko’ragh and Mar’gok, and will die for their master before letting us go through. Fortunately for them, the grand Imperator does aid slightly in placing an arcane barrier at the stairs to prevent us sneaking past the dim-witted Ogron, and in Mythic he also periodically enhances them in their combat against us – by causing Pol to replicate himself whenever he shield charges, or by making Phemos’s whirlwind also create a vacuum, dragging in enemies toward his flailing axes. Imperator also negatively enhances the raid by overloading them with arcane energy, causing them to explode with great force upon peak energy.

Ko'ragh

Ko’ragh

Interestingly, one of the few single-headed ogres to have an exceptional grasp on magic, Ko’ragh gets his exceptional abilities initially by luck mainly. He was the only ogre to survive direct exposure to an unearthed runestone in an excavation in Nagrand, that granted him an interesting immunity to all forms of magic – fel included. Taking the runestone back to Highmaul for research, Ko’ragh begins to teach other ogres various methods of Breaker rituals. Ko’ragh holds the Felbreaker’s Tome, a key item in locating and defeating Gul’dan. The pages of the tome appear blank however, so we have to obtain the Sigil of the Sorcerer King from Imperator himself in order to aid Khadgar.

Story-wise, nothing much changes in mythic, we just get to see more of his Breaker magic work in the form of mind control and fel magic usage. We’ve had a short break from the Pale with them not appearing in this encounter either, but we’re far from seeing the end of them as the trash between Ko’ragh and Mar’gok has an epic battle between the Pale and Ogre forces.

Imperator Mar'gok

Imperator Mar’gok

The current leader of the Highmaul, Mar’gok descends from a line of sorcerers who have ruled the Gorian Empire. At a far cry from the ogres we know on Azeroth, the grand Imperator is both cunning as well as brutal, while having an excellent understanding of arcane magic that surpasses even Khadgar to some extents. Allying with the Iron Horde, there is a clear reason why he is a threat to the Horde and the Alliance without even holding onto the Sigil of the Sorcerer King that is required for Khadgar to use the Felbreaker Tome acquired from Ko’ragh previously.

In mythic, Cho’gall arrives when Mar’gok gets low health and ensnares him in a field of dark magic before absorbing the power of the runestones through Mar’gok, ultimately killing him.

Cho'gall

Cho’gall

Although not a boss encounter in himself as more the final phase of the Imperator fight in mythic, this guy still deserves his own subsection. Why? It’s obvious why we want to kill him, he’s gone mad already and wants to kill us! Purely in defense of our own hides, we also find out some interesting tidbits from him that I’m looking forward to Blizzard expanding upon.

Firstly, alternate Cho’gall appears to have the same world-ending agenda as the Cho’gall in our universe did, he just has less eyes and looks more like an ogre here. He betrays not only Mar’gok, but in Nagrand he also betrays Gul’dan when he absorbs the void powers of K’ure. With the void powers, he is able to subjugate the Pale to assault Highmaul and gain the powers of the Sorcerer King’s runestones. However, assuming you don’t fail the raid team defeats Cho’gall, but not before he leaves an ominous and cryptic warning that his new master is drawing close to Draenor.

Between the Pale speaking a language very similar to the Old Gods of Azeroth, and the questline on old Outland involving the C’thun lookalike, it will be interesting to see who Cho’gall’s master is – the Burning Legion (but wanting to outrank Gul’dan), Dimensius or some other void god, or explore whether or not Draenor has its own set of Old Gods waiting to burst out of their ancient prisons. The Arakkoa certainly seem like they could be descendants of titanic watchers, no?