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

fury_hellfire_6.2_header

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…!

Why I preferred my raiders to have PvP experience…

Ashran

… and why I think Ashran will help with this!

Back when I used to recruit for and lead a raid team, I will admit one of my vices was to prefer players that had experienced both PvP and PvE. If that wasn’t the case with new applicants, I’d be more than happy to take them in 2’s or in BGs to get them that kind of experience if they wanted it – it’s partly how I managed to get nearly twice as much guild participation as the person in second place. I felt back at the time that if raiders could get used to unscripted events that often happen in PvP, they’d be much more likely able to react to when things don’t go too smoothly in raids and some people didn’t follow tactics perfectly and having to make up for that mess up.

Since me stepping down from raid/guild leadership and having been in new guilds with different leadership styles since, I’ve seen plenty of cases where I’ve been proven right or wrong. The best Windwalker Monk I’ve ever known, and definitely one of the best raiders I’ve had the pleasure of raiding with in the past 10 years, has barely set foot in PvP whatsoever – he doesn’t even hold 10k HKs to a single character. In my current guild, there are certainly people there that are excellent at following what boss mods tell them to. Some people do however panic once something goes awry and find it difficult to recapture the situation. If it’s just the nature of the later bosses in Siege to be difficult to pull back the slightest of situations, I don’t know, as I haven’t done the later bosses with anyone other than my current guild. But I do still feel like if they had a bit more PvP experience (as far as I know, most of them have pretty limited exp on that front) that there’d be a bit more initiative to survive easier. I have on the other hand seen one or two people who focus primarily on PvP being brought in to raid, and failing either in terms of performance output or just generally not following tactics and causing one-shot wipes. So there are certainly boots for both feet, for sure.

barkskin

Regardless, we found out from the Warlords release date event this week that Ashran would have mechanics in place that you collect a currency while fighting or completing objectives – including whenever you kill an enemy, you can loot half of their Ashran currency! I don’t know how that’ll work out for groups of gankers in terms of who gets the loot, but it certainly brings a bit more of a disincentive to die other than being set back up to 30secs and placed in the wrong side of the map to prevent immediate combat re-entry.

You see, one of the main reasons why I tried to push for PvP is to try and get people to use all of their toolkit, bits that they wouldn’t ordinarily use in a raid setting, and I also saw on logs that one of the leading reasons why people died or took too much damage is because they weren’t using their defensives effectively, if at all. I will admit that after missing two seasons of PvP that I’ve gone back into bad habits and forgetting I have abilities such as using Cenarion Ward preemptively to quickly gain health after a big damage nuke comes in, or keeping an eye on healers mana to innervate them early to be able to cast it again later in the fight, or even just using a quick NS+HT on people at low health. Admittedly at this stage our healers have so much regen that it’s mainly GCDs that kill people off if it’s not one-shot mechanics (or silly DPS getting crit streaks on the pull and dying to threat), so the latter example there would likely end up being overhealing for either myself or the healers, and I lose the ability to instant res for a minute, but it’s still areas that I know I’m slacking on from my break in PvP.

Ashran also provides a great outlet to just smack some faces around. With the new faction hubs being on the outskirts of the zone (with stronger guards than what we currently see in Mists’ Shrines) it allows people to not only have easy access to world PvP, but also to have a safe refuge when you’ve had enough or have realised that the opposing faction is dunking you hard. As much as I dislike mixing PvP and PvE content together, I would love to see Ashran as one of the ways you can earn bonus rolls in raids. It’s no secret I have a large dislike for dailies, so I’m glad that won’t be one of the methods of gaining these bonus rolls (other than the weekly quest chains, but seeing as it’s reminiscent of 5.1’s dailies, I’ll let that one pass).

warsong-gulch

I guess my view back in the day was largely jaded because of the ease that the top guilds on our server also happened to have the best of the PVPers too, and even when there was a PVP focused guild that managed to snatch many multi-glads as well as gain Grand Marshal ranks they managed to clear the hardest raiding content in a matter of a scant few weeks of first setting foot in the raid altogether. There are certainly exceptions to the rule as I outlined above, and I certainly won’t hearken that I’m an excellent player in either PvP or PvE, but I will certainly argue the fact that in order to play better with people, it’s good to play against them to really see how people react in different ways to different situations, or to certainly find out better ways to increase their own life expectancy. With Ashran and arena skirmishes being very easy ways to get into PvP next expansion, it’ll be a much better time than any to dip your foot into it… As long as class balance isn’t as terrible as it has been at the end of Mists.

I’ve certainly learned that the best way for me to increase my life expectancy in raids these days is to constantly yell out for MD’s, Tricks and Hand of Salvs so that I don’t pull threat mid-cooldowns.