Wow. It’s amazing just how much they’ve managed to hint at and reveal at this year’s Blizzcon. So much that it’s going to take a day or two to sift through it all, so let’s get started! Today, we’ll discuss the new instances (i.e. normal and heroic 5-mans) which have been mentioned (in detail) in a nice, clean alphabetical order.
Abyssal Maw is going to be the name of the area which will contain two (as yet unnamed) instances. Lore-wise, the Maw is the way into the Elemental Plane of Water, where the water elementals were banished to by the Titans way back in history, which means we’ll actually be visiting a whole other realm (dimension?) when we go there. To add to the coolness, you get to it via a giant whirlpool located outside Vashj’ir, an underwater city. We’ll likely see a lot of Naga about too. What does this mean for Warlocks? Hopefully, some sort of mega-uber group buff of Unending Breath. Realistically, they’ll probably let us breathe underwater without buffs somehow, such as with air bubbles. The area will also use the new water mechanics, where you can either swim about or stand on the sea floor, which is nice.
The lore behind Uldum made me sob a little, and nor was it what I was expecting. Seriously – nobody has ever discovered the other fifth of Kalimdor because a Titan machine was concealing it behind an illusion? Did ships sail right through it? I felt this explanation was weak and poorly thought out, full stop. Putting that aside though, the area looks really nice. As with the Abyssal Maw, it will contain two instances, and in effect this is going to be Egypt, Azerothian style. Sort of like Ahn’Qiraj I guess, but with more hieroglyphics (which is a pain to spell). One of the instances, the Halls of Origination, will contain a whopping seven bosses and the other, the Lost City of Tol’vir, is going to be open-air and introduce a new race of stone cat people (read: sphinxes), which also sounds fun.
One of the ones I’m most excited about seeing is the Blackrock Caverns, an extension of Blackrock Mountain which has been taken over by the Twilight’s Hammer who are working for Deathwing. I’ve always loved the instances in that area, particularly LBRS, for their grandeur and sheer size (Blackrock Depths has, what, forty bosses?) as well as the lore and related-quests which are very rich. Hopefully this trend will somewhat continue, and I can’t wait to try the place out.
Grim Batol is where everyone expected Deathwing to be, and indeed it seems he has taken the stronghold for himself and used it to raise his new Twilight Dragonflight. While Deathwing won’t be there in person – he’s the end boss of the expansion and as such he’ll be at the end of a raid – the area will still contain an instance to do with clearing the Twilights out.
Unfortunately there was no detailed information given on the other future instances, but I’ll talk a little about them anyway.
One of them will be called Skywall, and I very much suspect this instance will revolve around the air elementals – basically the Elemental Plane is divided into four areas, one for each type of elemental (predictably). The Abyssal Maw for water, the Skywall for air, Deepholm for earth and the Firelands for, of course, fire.
This also leads to the conclusion that Deepholm, the region which Deathwing is residing in (earth realm for the former Dragon Aspect of the Earth) until he breaks through to Azeroth in Cataclysm, will revolve around the earth elementals. Since the story behind Hyjal will be to do with Ragnaros and his fire elemental army trying to destroy the World Tree, this means we’ll see something to do with every elemental.
Lastly we have two instances which, while surprising, are very welcome – Shadowfang Keep and the Deadmines! I can’t for the life of me work out how they can reintroduce these instances while preserving the old versions (I assume they will), but heroic Deadmines is, simply put, what everybody has been clamoring for, for a very long time. I hope they will keep the original instances though, so perhaps they will have two instances in the same zone. Alternatively, you could select either ‘level 20’ or ‘level 85’ upon entering, or similar, and effectively do the same instance but at a different level. However, this has lore implications, such as the fact that we’ve already killed VC in Deadmines by the time we hit 85. I guess we’ll see what happens.
More announcement revision tomorrow!