Finally able to get a good group to run the Magister's Terrace, Gabriel "DarkFact" Zamudio and David "Xerin" Piner were able to visit Blizzard's latest instance recently, and offer their points of view on Blizzard's newest offering to people who like 5-man instances.
Our group makeup was a healing druid, a tanking druid, a rogue, and 2 hunters - fairly reliant on the sap and quick killing, yet not a bad makeup altogether.
The first thing I noticed was the music and visuals inside the Magister's Terrace - familiar Silvermoon music played, and the area looked like a nice garden inside Silvermoon City.
The first few pulls set the tone for most of the instance, a great challenge to many players since they have different abilities and come 4 to 6 at a time, including Priest, Warlock, and Paladin-esque types of mobs. Good coordination and DPS is needed to bring down these monsters without wiping.
The room where Selin Fireheart is has a lot of Wretched in it, but these proved to be considerably easier to handle than the mobs before them. While not to be underestimated, these Wretched posed no chance to kill anyone.
Selin Fireheart is the first encounter, a Blood Elf similar to those you fight in Hellfire Peninsula's Daily Quest, and a variant of the Warlord Kalithresh fight in Steamvault. The voice acting and visual effects in this fight are really nice, as when he explodes with energy the whole screen lights up and he yells, pretty convincingly, about how he has attained god-status.
As a rogue, I had to keep watch for the crystals and switch to them as soon as possible while trying to use Cloak of Shadows to shield myself from some of his AOE attacks - challenging, and fun. Before long, Selin succumbed to our might.
The next area looks really interesting, there's not much road to go before the second boss, Vexallus, says hello. He is in the next room, yet there's quite a handful of monsters flying about, similar to those you fight in the Elf starting zone. The view is impressive, and I certainly thought it would take more than it did to kill all the packs needed. It was hard on me since I had no AoE skill to help out, but the hunters did the job pretty well, I felt largely useless in this room, however.
Vexallus is basically a buffed Curator, that looks like an Unbound Ethereal on Steroids, a good adaptation for the 5-man fight, this one is challenging yet not that hard when it comes down to it, kill him before he kills you seems to be the tune of the battle here.
Next up was probably my favorite part of the zone, you get a sneak peek at the final area of the raid instance, where Kil'Jaeden will spawn and 25 lucky adventurers (or should I say extremely dedicated?) will fight him head-on, the area looks amazing and it is the first cinematic in World of Warcraft ever since the introduction to the game. Very nicely done, Blizzard.
Next up, packs of 5 monsters appeared, including Succubuses and deadly imps that fireballed for over 500 damage. This was really challenging as I had to sap, get on the succubus, and hope for the best since it would seduce someone, while other monsters would still be doing their thing. If any of us failed in our CC ability, we would definitely wipe to these packs. DPSing, especially as melee, is hard if you do not have marks set up, thankfully we did this time or it would have been ugly. Upkeeping stuns and kicks is very very common and asked for in here.
The next boss, I have not been able to really figure out how to do, not in my first, nor in my subsequent runs through this zone - not because the encounter is hard, but how it varies a lot from run to run, as she picks her adds randomly and can bring a lot of annoying abilities. If your tank or DPS is undergeared, better be careful as Priestess Delrissa will expose it.
Not being able to use Blade Flurry in fear of dragging more aggro into myself as we pulled is a setback, as I had to focus on one monster at a time, luckily, we had no real healers in the adds so the monsters died one by one. We took a few losses this fight, but in the end, we prevailed. In other runs, they have all been stuck here and some have even disbanded at this boss. A fight that seems to be taken straight out of Karazhan's Moroes, this takes coordination and gear more than ever.
Finally, the last room of the instance with Kael'thas has the dreaded 6-pull. Lots of monsters who respawn even if you kill one or two of them, this has to be executed perfectly in order to fight Prince Kael'thas himself - this is the reason why many groups will emphasize, time and time again, that they want atleast one mage in their groups. We found this out the hard way, as we wiped 4-5 times to this pull.
In the end, Hunters trapped correctly, we killed 2 monsters quickly before my Sap wore off, and we were able to proceed to Kael's chamber.
Kael'thas gives you a speech, possibly the longest, and then the fight starts - he will spawn phoenixes and use fireballs, as you may read in our guide, however, as melee DPS, I stuck to him like glue and kept slashing his health down. Our hunters did an awesome job of entertaining the Phoenixes, until the gravity lapse came.
Moving in the air as if I was swimming was pretty fun and an interesting mechanic to the fight. The ability to use Cloak of Shadows to escape some of his damage was appreciated, as I then swam down and kept stabbing him while our hunters shot him. Trying to fight him while in Gravity Lapse as a rogue was fun, since you actually have to get up-close to him to keep damaging him, while avoiding his energy balls in the area. Melee DPS has to be more careful than ranged in this phase.
This is one of the few instances I feel like I actually had to spend some effort into completing, and it seems Blizzard knew this, as they made Kael'thas drop epic loot even in normal mode.
... Epic loot we couldn't use since it was plate. Regardless, this was one of the most fun instances I've ever done, and coming from someone who's been to all instances at 60, and most of the 70 ones, it's something. Blizzard, please add more fun instances like this one in the future.
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