Friday, April 8, 2011

Blackrock Spire - Level 56: Thursday, April 7, 2011

While Blackrock Depths is buried far underneath Blackrock Mountain, you need to ascend the volcano to enter Blackrock Spire.  This large orcish city is the home of the Blackrock Orcs, who are under the command of Lord Victor Nefarius, aka Nefarian, an evil black dragon in disguise who happens to be the son of Deathwing.  He is feuding with Ragnaros for control of Blackrock Mountain.  

Blackrock Spire is divided into two portions, Upper (UBRS) and Lower (LBRS), and you previously had to complete a series of quests in LBRS in order to gain access to UBRS.  That has since been removed, and you can access UBRSwhenever you wish.  Shortly after entering LBRS, you meet a mysterious man named Vaelan, who is disguised as an enemy until you get close to him.  
He explains that he is a member of the Red Dragonflight in disguise, and his real name is Vaelastrasz.  He has entered Blackrock Spire to fight Nefarian, who has kidnapped his mother, Alexstraza in the past, among other offenses.  He enlists your help in finding a number of gems scattered throughout LBRS in order to craft you the key to UBRS.  LBRS is essentially a huge barracks for the Blackrock Orcs, but there are portions of the once proud city that have been neglected, like the Skitterweb Tunnels, which have been taken over by massive spiders, perfect nightmare fuel for arachnophobes.  
The final boss of LBRS is Overlord Wyrmthalak, who is in charge of the orcs stationed in the barracks.  
LBRS is confusing to navigate, and fairly non-descript, but UBRS is one of the best dungeons in the game.  You begin in a large hall that is populated with Blackrock Orcs, and must clear them all before you are allowed access to the Hall of Binding.  
Inside the Hall of Binding, Blackrock Orcs are holding Pyroguard Emberseer, an elemental servant of Ragnaros who has been taken prisoner.  Killing the orcs frees him, and your group must kill him before you can move forward.  

Up next is The Rookery, which is filled with black dragonflight eggs that will hatch into whelps that can quickly overwhelm a group if too many are unleashed at once.  
This room is infamous for being the site of the Leeroy Jenkins video, and now offers an achievement, and your character the surname "Jenkins" if you manage to kill a certain amount of whelps in a short amount of time.  

Eventually, your group finds itself in the middle of a large open arena.  Gates on both sides shut you in, and you discover that you have been trapped.  Nefarian appears at the balcony with his orc lieutenant, Rend, and unleashes waves of dragons into the arena that you must defeat.  Eventually, Rend decides to take matters into his own hands, and joins the battle atop his drake.  You must kill the drake, which will make Rend fight you on foot. 

During this fight, you are aided by Vaelastrasz, who appears and casts a healing spell on your party.  
After defeating Rend, the gate opens and you are allowed to progress.  This is the part of the dungeon where you can access the entrance to Blackwing Lair, a 40-man, Level 60 raid where you fight to do battle with Nefarian himself.  This raid was introduced shortly after the game's launch, and was a step up in difficulty from Molten Core. 
You pass through to the inner portion of UBRS, and soon encounter the final boss' pet corehound, named The Beast.  
Finally, you make your way to the Spire Throne, where General Drakkisath, the leader of Nefarian's armies waits with his two lieutenants.  Because he hits so hard, one member of the party usually keeps him occupied by kiting him into the previous rooms while the rest of the group kills his two companions.  When they are dead, the kiter allows him to re-enter the room to bring him down.  

Behind the general is a glowing orb, that, when touched, will allow you to get into Blackwing Lair from a matching orb outside of Blackrock Spire.  This is a similar attunement to Molten Core, so that a player doesn't have to repeatedly clear out Blackrock Spire in order to use the Blackwing Lair portal inside.  

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