Patch 5.4 Raid Preview: Siege of Orgrimmar
The tensions stoked by Garrosh Hellscream’s arrogance have reached a boiling point with the devastation unleashed upon the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Now it’s time for leaders of the Alliance and Horde to lay siege to Hellscream’s capital and topple the ruthless Warchief once and for all!
The new Siege of Orgrimmar Raid takes place within two different settings. First, players will need to deal with the aftermath of Garrosh’s foul machinations within the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. His poisoning of the Pools of Power with the Heart of Y’shaarj has led to some truly harrowing consequences for the land and the people who have long defended it.
After the aftermath of the events in the Vale has been dealt with, members of the Horde and Alliance take the war directly to Garrosh’s doorstep in Orgrimmar. They must push past his outer defenses first before they can even hope to get to the orc at the center of it all, and that will prove to be more than they bargained for.
Don’t worry though—we’re not going to leave you to your own devices . . . completely. With 14 new encounters staring menacingly down upon you, we thought it might be helpful to arm you with a bit more insight from Lead Encounter Designer Ion “Watcher” Hazzikostas.
The ancient inhabitants of Pandaria recognized the vital importance of the life-giving Pools of Power, building an underground system of aqueducts to safeguard the waters and nurture life in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. The touch of corruption has animated and twisted these waters, and Immerseus stands as an unnatural embodiment of the Vale’s sorrow.
Ion Hazzikostas-The layout of this area and the visual framing of the boss as players enter the raid zone hearkens back to Lord Marrowgar at the entrance to Icecrown Citadel—we wanted to make sure that the first thing players saw when they entered the Raid was a huge and visually impressive foe. Long-time players (or pet collectors) may find the fight structure somewhat reminiscent of Viscidus in the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj.
The Fallen Protectors
The Golden Lotus and Shado-Pan guardians of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms were caught in the epicenter of the devastating blast that scarred the Vale, and torn apart by the dark energies. Their spirits linger in the place they once protected, confused and tormented by their failure.
Ion Hazzikostas- Once we decided to permanently change the face of Pandaria by having the power unleashed by Garrosh ruin the eastern half of the Vale, a natural query was what would become of the beloved Golden Lotus questgivers who had steadfastly tended to the Vale throughout the expansion. This encounter answers that question—you may earn some epic items from the Golden Lotus one final time.
Some say that the mogu race was created in the image of this Titanic construct, left deep beneath Pandaria to watch over and guard the continent’s darkest and most dangerous secret.
Ion Hazzikostas- Observant Scenario-runners will recognize Norushen from the Dark Heart of Pandaria Scenario. We decided early on in the development process that we wanted to have this Titanic watcher guarding the Vault of Y’Shaarj, and prioritized his model and the chamber for use in the Scenario in order to better foreshadow the upcoming raid encounter.
Sha of Pride
The seventh sha, the Sha of Pride was the final burden to which Emperor Shaohao clung, shrouding the land in mist and biding its time for millennia. When Garrosh awakened the Heart of Y’shaarj, the force of his arrogance caused this dark energy to coalesce in the chamber where the Heart was unearthed.
Ion Hazzikostas- There is a strong conceptual link between the Norushen encounter and this one. Norushen insists on purifying the players of their pride before he will let them enter the Vault of Y’Shaarj, and as soon as players engage the Sha of Pride they will understand why.
Warlord Zaela formed a close bond with Garrosh during events in the Twilight Highlands, and she and her Dragonmaw orcs have pledged loyalty to Garrosh’s cause. Riding atop the fearsome Galakras, a direct descendant of the cataclysmic progenitor of all dragonkind, Zaela oversees the naval defense of Orgrimmar.
Ion Hazzikostas- What better way to begin a war-themed wing than by storming enemy beach emplacements? We wanted the focus of this encounter to be on splitting your raid up to secure enemy towers and anti-air weaponry while holding off waves of attackers, and Galakras himself serves as more of a capstone on the experience.
This mechanical terror, designed nearly as much for intimidation as destruction, is the centerpiece of Garrosh’s siege weaponry. Crafted in the image of the mighty Kor’kron war scorpion, the Iron Juggernaut guards the gates of Orgrimmar, crushing any who would rise up to challenge Garrosh’s True Horde.
Ion Hazzikostas- This boss was the product of a particularly rowdy brainstorming session. We started with the idea of a siege tank. We ended up with a mecha-scorpion with a laser-mounted tail, flamethrower mouth, a drill and a sawblade for arms, and many, many cannons. We owe the artist who brought this monstrosity to life a drink or three.
Kor’kron Dark Shaman
Haromm and Kardris trained thousands of shaman to whisper reverently to the elements to requisition their aid. The army of Garrosh, however, does not ask—it takes what it desires in the name of the True Horde. Dark shamanism forces the elements into servitude, twisting them into burned-out ash, corrupted waters, and toxic air.
Ion Hazzikostas- One of the precepts of Garrosh’s True Horde is a disdain for all demonic magic, so when we wanted a more caster-oriented boss, we instead delved into the question of what shamanism would look like within Garrosh’s army. The attire for these two wolfriders was inspired by the traditional Warcraft III Shaman unit, and we’re excited to be able to give lucky Shaman players a chance to earn that look for themselves by defeating this encounter.
Once a grunt in service of the former Warchief, Thrall, General Nazgrim rose quickly through the ranks after overwhelming victories in Grizzly Hills and the sunken city of Vashj’ir. Fiercely loyal to the Horde and bound by a rigorous code of honor and duty, Nazgrim will hold the line for his Warchief until his dying breath.
Ion Hazzikostas- The decision to include Nazgrim as a raid boss was a controversial one—Horde players have seen him rise through the ranks from Sergeant, to Legionnaire, and now to General. Unlike many of our Raid bosses, he is not necessarily wicked, but he is a soldier whose loyalty to Orgrimmar leaves him no choice but to defend its walls. Of course, the Alliance likely has a different perspective on just how “noble” his past actions have been. . . .
Malkorok has been Garrosh’s most loyal and trusted lieutenant throughout the Pandaria campaign. When the Warchief needed a volunteer to infuse with the power of Y’Shaarj, it was only natural that Malkorok would offer without hesitation.
Ion Hazzikostas- Players who stuck around after the completion of the Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario may have had some inkling that they would be facing off against Malkorok someday in the near future. This is our “Patchwerk-style” boss of the zone, though of course he does have a couple more mechanics than Patchwerk did.
Spoils of Pandaria
When Garrosh gazed across Pandaria, he saw untapped power. During the course of his campaign, Garrosh has plundered weapons, treasures, and artifacts of the pandaren, the mogu, and the mantid. They are kept in a warehouse deep within his underground base, guarded by a mysterious security system that appears to be of Titan origins.
Ion Hazzikostas- When we were coming up with concepts for the different rooms and wings of Garrosh’s base, we envisioned a warehouse in which he kept the various artifacts, weapons, and other treasures he had plundered during the Horde campaign in Pandaria. An archaeological conservationist Garrosh is not. It’s been a long time since we’ve made a Raid encounter that didn’t have a single conventional “boss,” but the objective here is simply to shut down the security system before it blows you all up.
Thok the Bloodthirsty
When the Isle of Giants was discovered off the coast of Pandaria, teeming with primal devilsaurs, Garrosh sent men to capture some of the most fearsome specimens hoping to subjugate them and use them as beasts of war. Countless orcish beastmasters have fallen to Thok’s jaws as they struggle to tame him, yet the creature’s thirst for blood remains unslaked.
Ion Hazzikostas- If the prior chamber contained Garrosh’s inanimate plunder, this is his menagerie of living beasts and native creatures of Pandaria. As we considered what might be found in the cages lining the room, we covered all the bases, ranging from bats to saurok to a yeti plucked from the peaks of Kun-Lai. Oh, and also this unassuming snail that Garrosh came across somewhere. . . .
Helix Blackfuse was the only goblin with the combination of engineering prowess, professionalism, and ruthlessness to satisfy Garrosh in his search for the engineer of the True Horde. A mercenary at heart, Blackfuse's love for his creations (and the gold they fetch) has forever linked his fate with that of his patron and Warchief.
Ion Hazzikostas- Alongside the hardened infantry who are preparing for war in Garrosh’s underground barracks, Garrosh’s army would need mighty siege engines. The foundation for the concept of this fight lies in the U-shaped conveyor belt that encircles the chamber, allowing players to jump up into the workings of the assembly line and disrupt the manufacturing process. Observant players may recognize the components being assembled as the various parts of the Iron Juggernaut that they defeated earlier, with an extra heaping dose of bombs—because if you’re a goblin, there’s no such thing as too many bombs.
Paragons of the Klaxxi
The nine surviving Klaxxi'va Paragons are ancient champions of the mantid who fought alongside the Wakener against the madness of Empress Shek'zeer. But the paragons, as do all mantid, hold a far deeper loyalty. When Garrosh unearthed the heart of Y'Shaarj, the paragons followed the whispers of their ancient master to the iron halls beneath Orgrimmar.
Ion Hazzikostas- After mopping up the August Celestials on the Timeless Isle and “freeing” the Fallen Golden Lotus Protectors from their eternal torment, our intrepid heroes soon come upon the Klaxxi Paragons. Go figure. In any case, players who have achieved Exalted with the Klaxxi faction and paid close attention during the tour of their sacred underground chamber probably saw this one coming.
Garrosh, son of Grommash Hellscream, first learned of his father's heroism when Thrall encountered the young orc in Outland. The seeds of pride were planted. Garrosh spearheaded Horde victories in Northrend and, as Warchief, consolidated Horde power amidst the chaos of the Cataclysm. But his visions of orc supremacy by any means have brought the armies of the world crashing down upon Orgrimmar . . . a final reckoning that Garrosh himself awaits with brutal relish.
Ion Hazzikostas- Even though you fight him in his throne room beneath the city of Orgrimmar, far away from the verdant shores of Pandaria, Garrosh is still the ultimate villain of the Pandaria expansion, and we felt that it was important to forge a strong connection to the Pandaria story arc within the encounter itself. As Garrosh wields the power of Y’Shaarj—origin of all the sha—players must battle through some of the most memorable locations where the sha manifested in Pandaria. At the end, when his back is up against a wall and he is cornered in his own lair, Garrosh ends up facing the same sort of choice that once doomed his father.