I’m late to the party! I know, I know, it’s terrible of me. (Was I supposed to knock and wait to be let in? I thought since we were cool I could just knock and open the door…) Look, I brought a case of beer and that CD you lent me a few weeks ago to make up for it. I couldn’t help but be late! I was away, I had shit to do, and I got really preoccupied with some movies. But I brought some gifts and I also brought something else: initial reports from the molten trenches of the Firelands. I know! How kind of me!
Patch 4.2 dropped a few weeks ago and in the ensuing weeks there have been a few guides here and there describing either the decor of the raid instance or the boss encounters. Until the dust settles in my little raid group and we get some things worked out I won’t feel right talking about specific boss strategies for different classes and specs, but I can share with you guys what I’ve taken from the patch and the instance in general. Nothing focused, just rambling thoughts.
4.2, class balance (or lack thereof! *rimshot*) aside, brought a few goodies to the table to share with all of us. To your left there’s a roast quail, glistening with the new PVP Season 10 sauce; to the right there’s the mashed potatoes and stuffing, served with dripping Molten Front dailies; and directly ahead there’s the hickory-smoked Firelands boar, mouth agape and stuffed with an apple, belly bursting with purple-texted goodies, each piece you can snatch full of odd boss gimmicks and tank swaps literally falling off the bone! I don’t know about you guys but I haven’t eaten all day (I’ve been saving myself for this meal!) and I’m starving. So, yeah, say grace and all that, but do it faster, c’mon too slow, oh come on THANKS DEITY WE APPRECIATE IT NOW MY STOMACH WANTS TO BE WORSHIPPED TOO.
As an occasional PVPer I feel I should get my impressions of this out of the way before I offend too many people with my terribleness. Like many have said before me, the change from Season 9 to 10 was anything but graceful. Season 10 waited too long after Season 9 left before jumping on stage, and even when it did the landing didn’t quite stick – yes, a broken leg isn’t a pretty thing to look at, but at least it was apologetic and back on its feet like nothing happened. After the fiasco with the odd ilvls the Honor gear had I was surprised at just how much Blizzard wanted to make the mistake right again.
Now, I was in no way surprised when they apologized and said over and over again how it was their fault, their bad, so sorry guys but shit happens. What caught me off guard was their claim to refund people who paid for the lower ilvl loot for not just what they paid: but with 4k Honor. For those PVEers who don’t know a lick about PVP: that is a whole lotta Honor, guys. How they’re exactly going to decide on who gets the hefty sum is still up in the air, but the gist of it seems to be that if you bought Honor gear from the vendors before 4.2 dropped (and after Season 9 ended) you should get 4,000 Honor. We’ll see how strict they get with the offering, but as for now I’m looking forward to my hunter rolling in the grist when the Honor bank floods the streets with riches.
Oh man, dailies. I both love and hate dailies as a system for leveling up any aspect of my character. They’re mostly fun if I don’t set myself to doing them, y’know, daily, but therein lies the crux: when they’re new and there’s tangible rewards (I WANT THAT DAMN BIRDIE MOUNT) I kind of feel bad when I slack on them. Not this time, though: I’m saving myself from the hell the Argent Tournament put me through and just doing them when I feel like it as opposed to doing them per day.
(Sidenote: I did the Argent Tournament dailies every day when they came out and got Crusader just when others did. I spent all my tokens on tabards and pets. Then Cata shat on me and made the tabards cost silver instead of a fair amount of tokens. Not really upset at that, just thinking that I could have staved off my addiction to tabards for a few more months and I’d be riding around on a sweet birdie mount. Oh well!)
As for the dailies themselves, I’m finding them quite fun. “The Protectors of Hyjal” is quickly becoming a staple of my day and something I legit look forward to. I love the randomness associated with the quest and the possibility to meet some old NPCs I had forgotten all about. Of course there are also NPCs that I’ve gotten that I could never forget about: Calder Grey being the foremost in my mind. He’s literally one of the greatest and funniest NPCs Cataclysm has introduced me to and makes me proud to be a Forsaken every time he asks me what he likes most. (Hint: “Murder”. He likes murder most of all.)
I found the Leyara mini-quests kind of fun in that it’s reminding me that not everyone directly related to world events has a stake in things. She was Falstad’s wife before he died in Sithilus (torn apart by the mean old General, no less!) and was recruited when Fandral went extra-crazy (not just kind of crazy when he kept Malfurion locked up in the Dream and poisoned him). Seeing her kind of drove it home that you don’t have to be a major lore character to want to change things, even if you’re misguided and following a man who holds the position of Majordomo (something Ragnaros has a habit of… erm, dethroning his subjects of regularly).
The Molten Front provides a nice change of pace if you’ve never seen the inside of the Firelands raid. There are fresh dailies there and a bevy of achievements to get if you’re into that kind of thing (I am!). If you also happen to be a hunter and are a fan of either spider pets or pets that not everyone can get you’ll find a lot of things to either camp or pray are up when you’re doing your dailies. The taming challenges, while fun in theory, tend to get diminished as long as you have one or even two friends who are keen to help you. But what else could we ask for, really? You don’t want the challenges to require 9 or 24 other players just to get one measly PVP pet do you?
Molten Core 2: The Reckoning is, in my mind, leagues above and beyond most of T11. The fights are tough, like I thought T11 was, and the loot is great, but there’s still something about the raid that puts me in a great mood. Maybe I just remember Molten Core too fondly. And I do remember it fondly, for some reason. My rose-tinted glasses are affixed firmly before my eyes and I see nothing but rainbows and unicorns and new tabards as far as the eye can see. What difficulty of making sure 40 raiders were ready to go? What farming Azshara for hours on end to come up with raid consumables? Pffft! We ran in an killed bosses and got loot! We definitely did not spend an entire month on Ragnaros (not the instance, just a full month of wiping to one boss)! Heavens, no.
Now, I loved the hell out of Blackwing Anything and BWD tickled all the right nostalgia buttons in my brain to make me love the hell out of it. But it still felt like BWL. I was still fighting Nefarion and his minions, still putting to sleep the experiments he wrought, still having to kill dragons I felt really bad killing, still having to backhand dwarven constructs that somehow managed to stay alive during Nefarion’s reign of the upper half of the mountain. It felt too recycled.
Firelands somehow manages to take the motif of Molten Core (fire? check. elementals? check.) and make it new. Killing a whole bunch of trash to spawn Shannox can be annoying, but damn it it’s a fun little mechanic to get the kennel master of the Firelord out and about. Beth’tilac is also a neat gimmick and an interesting boss from a story perspective, if dry in the sense that I’m fighting Lolth but with more burning. Lord Rhyolith is interesting in that he’s an elemental as old as the Firelands AND that you have to steer his lazy ass away from the bad lava. Alysrazor seems like a lot of gimmick fun as does Baleroc. Hell, I can only think of Ragnaros as a boss that has gimmicks I’m going to come to loathe!
So far TSU TAIN GUU FAITAA has downed Beth and Shannox down regularly (twice and three times, respectively) and we’re making very nice progress on Lord Rhyolith. Afterwards we’re gonna pluck a burning budgie out of the sky and make her cough up purples. Beyond that? I don’t know. Baleroc seems like the obvious choice. At this point I don’t care, though. I’m having a lot of fun with 4.2 and the Firelands and I don’t want to overthink it like I tend to do with a lot of things.
You’ll get boss strategies tailored to whatever roll I end up playing (looking to be a holy paladin this tier! I’m pretty excited to heal again!), but not until I feel I’m ready to talk about it without a whole bunch of guessing. So give me a week or so and you’ll have a post about Shannox (who I can actually talk about as a tank, a melee DPS, a ranged DPS, and a healer since I’ve done all those roles for that fight!) and one soon after for Beth’tilac.
You guys can’t fool me, though: I know you don’t come here for the boss strats. Between all those things I’ll have more ranty fluff full of meta-musings on blogging and playing the game, same as I always have. And who knows? I know a baby bear guide that needs updating. Maybe there’ll be some of that, too!