Blizzard has had a few things going on to celebrate the World of Warcraft 10th anniversary. You got a molten corgi pet just for logging in during the anniversary period. (November 21 to
January 6th now January 13th, see addendum at the end of the post.)
There was also the special Southshore vs. Tarren Mill 40 vs 40 battleground. I played through a few of those, was on the winning side my first time out, so go the achievement and the “Tarren Mill Terror” title right away. And, I must admit, despite my skepticism about this being able to bring back the ad hoc PvP battles that used to rage where Horde met Alliance in that zone, it was actually pretty fun.
When the goal is just to kill the other side you tend to end up in two big groups with people trying to run out and snag people, with the road running outside of Tarren Mill being something like the line of scrimmage. It worked and felt chaotic enough. In that first match we were absolutely stomping the Horde for a while, then ended up chasing them well past the road and into the area where the guards roam. They jumped on us and suddenly our big lead fell by the wayside until we got everybody back on our side of the road again.
Another anniversary event was a special Molten Core raid. It was the classic, 10 boss, 40 person raid redone for level 100 players… well, level 100 LFR players… with some special drops at the end and a mount in the mail for everybody who got to the end and killed Ragnaros.
That catch was that you had to get to level 100 and get your item level up to 615 before the event expired… and it expires on January 6th, just about 24 hours after this post should go up, if I read things right.
Not that getting to level 100 is that hard… I managed to meander there with a month to spare… but the item level aspect takes at least a bit of effort, and after the first few weeks of Warlords of Draenor I wandered off to winter in EverQuest II for a while. So I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to give the whole thing a go. I ended up at item level 614 with about a week to spare largely due to my garrison followers picking up items, my engineering goggles, and a couple of lucky upgrades on drops. But that wasn’t enough, so I slouched forward into action.
I ran through the Proving Grounds and got my silver rating for DPS on the first go. It actually didn’t seem like that big of a deal, which appeared to be a good sign. Maybe I had actually, you know, learned to play after all these years.
With that in hand I was able to queue up for heroic instances. However, those did not go very well… or, rather, they went exactly as well as heroic instances tend to go in my experience. I have no achievements for heroic WoD instances because I did not finish a single one in four tries. But I only needed four incomplete tries, as during the fourth instance an item level 630 cloak dropped, which was enough to boost me to 616. I didn’t even mind when the tank kicked me from the group after we wiped on the final boss… on our first try… because I did not keep him alive after the healer went down. I had my item, so good riddance to all that.
I got up Saturday morning, logged into WoW, and queued up for Molten Core. The queue, was predictably at that time of day, a bit long. I was going to wait for an hour or so.
I did my garrison routines, ran out and did the fishing daily, trapped enough game that I should be able to get the achievement required to upgrade the bard to level 3 by next weekend (125 work orders required for the achievement, they take 3 hours each (well, actually 4 hours each, as somebody noted in the comments), and you can only stuff 19 in the queue, so it takes a while), and wandered about while waiting for the instance to pop.
I did get a bit concerned at one point when the queue started showing very short average wait times.
I am going to guess that the person who did this queue timer previously did the timer that estimates file transfer times in Windows explorer. I did have a moment of “something’s broke, I had better leave and queue up again,” but decided I had better not. And a few minutes later the queue eventually popped and I was in.
More after the cut because of too many screen shots.
Into Molten Core.
I had actually been to Molten Core once before. Way back during the Wrath of the Lich King era our group tried to do it as a four person effort, but the whole thing just wore us down. It was a long haul. And, even tuned for LFR, it is still a long haul. Part of the reason I decided to make the effort was that I watched my daughter go through it earlier in the week. Her group went two and a half hours by my count. (Which didn’t stop her from telling me my group was “slow” when she came by to look over my shoulder. Impudent child!)
Over all, the Molten Core LFR aligned with my past experience with the Mists of Pandaria LFR groups. Basically, if you get just a few people who know what they are doing and who will communicate what the rest of us need to do, things tend to go pretty well. There were only two wipes during the run.
We got in and were having problems killing the core hounds. As somebody was trying to explain how we needed to AOE to kill them all at once, or as close to all at once as possible, or they will just revive, somebody managed to pull Lucifron and his entourage, which left us all dead.
Not an auspicious start, but we got back up and, armed with the knowledge about the core hounds, managed to kill each group… including a double pull… without breaking a sweat. Likewise, Lucifron was dispatched and Magmadar was put down with minimal losses.
Earl was online and I told him on guild chat that we had wiped on the first boss already. Having been through the LFR himself, he suggested I get used to it. And I did die a few more times. At Garr… I think it was Garr… we didn’t kill all the trash around him and I got knocked back into a couple of them just moments after somebody said in group chat to not turn your backs to the trash or you’ll get knocked back into them. I was still digesting that as I was flying backwards to my death. But the fight went okay. We won. I got a ress.
The whole group wiped again further down the line when, while clearing more trash somebody tagged Baron Geddon as he ran by. That was clearly going to be a wipe. The tanks tried to hold him for a bit, but he had already stomped out enough people that we were clearly not going to make it. The wipe ended with one healer a couple DPS running down the cave trying to kill the last couple of trash mobs before we died. The trash were chasing the healer, we were chasing the trash, and Baron Geddon was chasing us. We all died in the end, but we got the last trash mob, so at least we were ready for the next fight.
Our next run at Baron Geddon was a success, and from there on out we rolled on without a wipe. I died on Shazzrah, but was ressed right after the fight and we moved on. Bosses fell before us. A number of people by that point were saying that this was the best group they had been in for the Molten Core LFR. There are a couple of rare drops off the final boss, so we were lucky enough to get some repeat players who could guide us through things.
We finally stood before the penultimate boss, Majordomo Executus, where somebody explained exactly what we needed to do… kill the healers, then the other mobs, ignore the boss… and it went off without a hitch.
That unlocked access to the final boss, which sent us running back around the instance.
There we met up with Majordomo Executus again, who summons the final boss, Ragnaros.
I moved around a bit, not sure where to stand. It did look as though being knocked into the lava was going to be a thing however. I found myself a spot on the periphery and waited for somebody to summon Rag.
I was hoping to get a decent screen shot of Ragnaros, but there was a bit of a problem with scale and me being melee DPS.
I was not able to get a picture of him… or at least all of him. So, instead, I have a screen shot of Lil’ Ragnaros, one of the pets I got as a parting gift when WoW Magazine folded up shop after five issues.
The fight itself was straightforward. Beat on Ragnaros. Get out of the lava when he knocks you back. Beat on Ragnaros some more. We were warned well in advance that he would disappear at one point and we would face a wave of adds, so when that happened we took it in stride. Then it was back to beating on Ragnaros until he died. Achievements all around.
There were two achievements, one for doing the raid and another feat of strength achievement for doing the special anniversary version. I also got one more achievement.
That is the achievement for passing nine thousand achievement points. I always laugh at achievements for getting achievements. The meta achievements are okay, but the “here’s a medal for getting so many medals!” thing seems a bit silly at times.
Then we were standing around what is maybe one of the most iconic early raid group scenes, Ragnaros’ hammer.
Many a guild in vanilla posed proudly by that hammer. However, this being an LFR group, people just said thanks… or nothing at all… and left. Almost everybody had disappeared before I could move around for a different shot.
And that was that. I am sure SynCaine will tell me that what I experienced was nothing like vanilla WoW, which is fine. This was a tourist run, not a hardcore raiding experience. I enjoyed it. I saw the sites, experiences a taste of the fights, took my pictures, and went on my way. I am very much the MMO tourist at times.
And, while I did not luck out and get either of the rare drops, I did get my special helm, the Crown of Desolation, and the core hound mount in the mail.
The crown, a gem with a fiery halo, is nifty, but I think I prefer the look of my engineer’s goggles. Since they are both item level 640 (and the goggles can be upgraded to level 655, once I upgrade the barn in my garrison to level 3 so it will generate savage blood, just to loop back to something I mentioned earlier in the post), I will likely stick with the specs and put the crown in the bank with all of my other “I’ll never wear it, and probably won’t transmog anything with it, but I still want to keep it” gear. I think it is sitting next to Whitemane’s Chapeau.
And that was that. Like the MoP LFR stuff, I was glad to have done it once, but I am not sure I would want to invest in another long wait in the queue for another two hour run. But I got in and did it before it went away.
Addendum: More last minute that I thought. It seems the events shut down a day early. That will probably lead to Blizz extending it a week. We’ll see.
Addendum 2: As predicted above, Blizz fixed the problem and extended the anniversary event for a week, so it now ends on January 13th. [North America only.]