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World of Warcraft Column: Thoughts on Patch 5.4

By Reza Lackey on September 23, 2013

As planned, Patch 5.4 went live on all realms on September 10 introducing a giant, loot infested zone, a massive new raid and a bunch of other cool additions. Even though I did spend some time checking out these new features on the private test realm, experiencing them in the live environment is a much different experience. This week on the WoW Factor I’d like to share some of my experiences so far.

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Timeless Isle

In past articles I have discussed the Timeless Isle and its many features. While exploring this new zone on the test realm, I rarely spent much time playing with others. Often times on the test realm players dip their toes in a new content for only a few moments to get a taste of what’s to come. Because of this it was difficult to find groups of players to adventure with for more than five minutes. Now that I have spent some time in this zone on the live realms and thus with many more players, I have a newfound excitement for the Timeless Isle.


The Timeless Isle

If you don’t already know, the Timeless Isle is a new zone designed mostly to get players geared up quickly to participate in the new endgame content. This new area features dynamic events for players to participate in to earn loot and Timeless Coins to be spent on a variety of items. Check out my earlier previews of the Timeless Isle for more information on the content available in this zone. 

Venturing into the Timeless Isle on the live realms is an absolute blast. As I was wandering around hunting for treasures, someone alerted the general chat that Evermaw - an elite shark swimming around the isle - had spawned north of the island. Moments later a raid was forming to take on the giant swimming beast. Playing on my Horde character, I mounted up with others nearby who were also in the same raid and headed towards the shore to begin our swim to the terror in the water. As we got close to the shore, we realized the Alliance was doing the same thing and thus began an enormous battle, a fight over who would take down Evermaw. During this fight in the water, ghost pirates began to rise from the depths, released from their age old ship rotting beneath the surface. They entered the battle and luckily distracted many of the Alliance players as they fought and decided to dive down into the water and presumably search their ship for riches. The rest of the surviving Horde continued their swim towards Evermaw who by this point was on the East side of the Isle. A second raid had formed and started to cut off any Alliance moving towards Evermaw’s new location. All of this coordination to take down one elite and preventing the Alliance from stealing a kill. Amazingly fun.


Evermaw

This kind of coordination continued happening all over the new zone whether taking on world bosses, rare spawns or simply trying to turn the tides of a heated PvP battle. There is so much adventure waiting to happen on this island, I can’t begin to imagine what a larger zone of this kind would be like. If this proves to be a success among players, which I can’t see why it wouldn’t be, I am sure we will see much more of this type of content in a much broader fashion.

Siege of Orgrimmar

Since Patch 5.4 hit, I have been able to participate in the first four boss encounters (or wing one of the Looking For Raid difficulty and Flex Raid difficulty) of the new Siege of Orgrimmar raid. This first wing takes place far from Orgrimmar in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Some of these bosses have some unique mechanics.

The first fight against Immerseus is neat. The boss stands stationary in the center of a giant circular room. In addition to a health pool he also has a corruption resource which starts off maxed at 100 points. To defeat Immerseus, the raid must reduce his corruption to zero. There are two phases in the encounter. The first is simply dealing fatal damage to Immerseus using traditional methods. With a smaller health pool, it doesn’t take long for his health points to be reduced to zero. When this happens, phase two triggers as he splits into numerous adds that scatter across the room and begin to move towards the center. Some of these adds need to be killed while others need to be healed. Once the surving adds reach the center, phase one begins again and Immerseus reforms. However, his corruption level is now reduced by one point for each add that was killed or healed by the end of phase two. His hit points are now the same as his corruption level so it will take even less time to trigger phase two. These two phases repeat until his corruption is reduced to zero. Of course there are numerous ways to take damage during the fight but these are the core mechanics it’s centered around.


Immerseus

Another encounter that I really enjoyed was against Norushen, the third boss in the raid. Interestingly, you don’t actually fight against Norushen, but rather the raid must prove worthy to him by taking on an Amalgam of Corruption. In this fight, each players have a corruption bar that starts at a certain level. The more corruption a player has, the less damage they do, the less healing they can perform and the more damage they take for DPS, healers and tanks, respectively. To remove the corruption, players must interact with orbs around the room to enter a Test Realm (in LFR difficulty players are randomly chosen to enter the test realm) where they are sent to overcome a challenge on their own that is based on their role in the raid. These tests are performed alone and by succeeding, you become purified, removing all corruption. When you become purified or after certain amount of time expires, you are sent back to the Normal Realm where you continue to fight the Amalgam of Corruption. The interesting twist is that any mobs killed in the Test Realm for damage dealers are sent to the Normal Realm to be dealt with by the rest of the raid. A very fun encounter.

There’s Still More

I’m continuing to sink my teeth into all the new content and so far I’m really enjoying this new raid. With Throne of Thunder and now Siege of Orgrimmar, the raiding game has never been more fun. The Flex Raid difficulty is possibly my favorite addition to the game in a very long time. This allows raids of ten to twenty-five players the ability to engage in these encounters that will scale based on the amount of players partcipating. This is great for guilds who have a difficult time getting attendance on raid night or for large groups of friends to get together for a night of challenging bosses. One common scenario is say you begin the raid with fifteen people and an hour in, three of them have to leave. No big deal - the raid difficulty will scale down slightly to compensate.

What are your thoughts on Patch 5.4 so far? Let us know what your favorite new feature is in the comments below!

This week’s throwback item: Tower of the Mouldering Corpse

Follow me on Twitter @rezalackey

Reza Lackey / Reza is a giant nerd who loves video games, board games, film and way too many other things. Works in the film industry, on some startups and thinks science is cool. Also launches rockets.

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