August 28, 2009

The Scarlet Sanctuary

So, we're gonna take a (very short) time travelling trip, okay? Back... back before the latest WoW patch, patch 3.2, was released... back before we even knew the details of it, just vague comments. We knew it was going to have a new five-man instance. That turned out to be the Trial of the Champion... but we didn't know that for quite some time. There were whispers, but I hoped against hope for something else. I hoped for a new Scarlet Crusade instance.

The Scarlet Monastery, from back in vanilla WoW, is one of the most beloved old world dungeons. Interesting, cool bosses, great gear, cool looks, and divided into little bitesized chunks, so that you could do the parts that appealed to you, and not bother with the rest. And really, the Scarlets are great antagonists. Psychoes that have gone off the deep end about purity and holiness, they think everyone but them needs to be killed to make the world holy. Perhaps it shouldn't surprise you, then, that over the years, various demons have manipulated these toolbags to great effect. Logic is not their strong suit. Killing you, and being cool while doing it... well, hang on. Actually, they aren't that great at doing that either, cause you're a hero. Well... they're good at providing interesting fights, cool architecture, and all the hallmarks of a great instance.

And in Wrath of the Lich King, the Scarlets are anything but dead. They are no longer the Scarlet Crusade... they are the Scarlet Onslaught, and they have abandoned all pretense of being innocent. They still want to purge the world... but now, they are wholly willing to use evil powers to do it. Wrath introduced us to Scarlet Death Knights, which are pretty much just as cool as all Death Knights (except for the ones that name themselves Arthasscourge and think Corpse Explosion is just the funniest thing ever, nothing cool about those guys), and the Raven Priests... basically regular Priests, only with the ability to use magic to conjure and attack with ethereal ravens. I know, on paper, doesn't sound that cool, but I assure you, the beautiful spell effects totally sell the concept.

So I thought, since the Scarlets are around, since they are, in fact, trying to invade Icecrown... why not let us rip them up once more? Mix new and old, nostalgia and badassery. Of course, it was not to be. And yes, the Trial of the Champion is a pretty cool instance, though it's certainly not my favorite- its short length and lack of actual dungeon make it feel kind of hollow to me. But the other day, I said to myself... "Hang on. I have this blog, where I can pretty much rant about any game related thing I find cool... and apparently, some people actually read it. So why not give this idea a full, proper writeup?" And I started writing. In the middle of math, and my teacher got annoyed when I obviously had no idea what the class was up to... but totally worth it. Besides, factorals are old bloody news, I thought this was college math not junior high.

I'll give you a basic preview in this post, and then go into greater detail in another post (or two, we'll see how long it is) later today. This post is pretty long already just giving context for this idea.

Okay, so the basic premise is a Scarlet Onslaught building... a huge temple of sorts, called the Scarlet Sanctuary (SS for short, don't confuse it with Soul Stone). This building, unlike Scarlet Monastery, isn't divided into mini-instances... it's five boss fights in one instance. Long for a heroic? A little. The gear and fights are worth it, but we'll get to that. The basic setup is pretty simple- there is a long, single straight path, that near the end, branches into three. Along the path is trash, varying based on the boss that you're on your way to confront. You fight the first boss, then the second. The second boss you do not kill- he ports away, and you must kill bosses three and four, not necessarily in that order, to open the gates to reach him. He then becomes boss five... and boy, is he a doozy.

Our bosses can be summed up like this- the first boss is a commander of Scarlet troops, and he will challenge party members to duel with him one-on-one in an arena while the other four party members fight waves of soldiers. The second boss plays on the mean name people call DKs- warlocks in plate. This guy... is a warlock who died, and was raised as a Death Knight... and he combines the powers of both to great effect. Trust me, this is actually the boss that I think is the coolest. With a little creativity, the synergy between Lock and DK abilities becomes truly awesome. At least stick around for the undead Doomguard. The third boss is a raven priestess, the fourth is a rogue- one who actually plays like a rogue, stealthing, sapping, backstabbing, and more. None of these fights are tank and spank- they all have unique, fun mechanics for the basis of the fight.

Finally, then, you get to fight the DK Lock again... only this time, he's not playing around... honestly, the reason you fight him again was because he was so cool, and I came up with so many awesome abilities for him... if he used them all in one fight, he would be outrageously difficult. Two fights, more chance to show off his awesome powers. So, does that sound cool? I hope so, because before the day is done, you will learn all about these bosses... and their awesome abilities.

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