As you go in, you will need to either equip your lance OR pick one up that are near some of the horses in the zone. When you get on a horse, you will notice the action bar is very VERY similar to those as you may have seen before…
The only exception is that there are no healing abilities on this mount. Which means, you will need to hop onto one of the horses lining the arena for this first part when your health gets low. You were able to do a seamless transfer (meaning you didn’t need to hop off) to get onto the horses… on the PTR, if you got knocked off, you got a nice error msg and a boot offline.
Anyway. Get on your horse. Talk to your representative in the middle. And you start a very long scene, where your representative (Horde’s is Jaeren Sunsworn) introduces you to the crowd:
Of course, sometimes you might see someone else cheer for you… doesn’t make too much sense, but…
But anyway. Jaeren would introduce three different Grand Champions: our successful one involved the Gnome (Ambrose Boltspark), Draenei (Colosos), and Night Elf (Jaelyne Evensong). As soon as they were all lined up in a pretty row, we had to fight three waves of three minions a piece, each with 75000 HP and one stack of the Shield. They are easily destroyed with 5, but not so much with 3 (we tried to 3-man it; didn’t work so well).
As soon as those were down, we fought the actual Grand Champions on mounts (they have much more health, almost twice as much, and have three stacks of Shield). After you knock one out, they lie on the ground… but only for so long! The gimmick of this fight is to trample them to keep them from getting to another horse. Once again, having five people charge one target will make this fight easy.
After you do this, you will transition into a not-mount-fight with the three random Grand Champions of your opposing faction. Colosos is a shaman, Jaelyne is a hunter, and Ambrose is a mage. The hunter has a magic buff that causes its ranged attacks to cause more damage (can be dispelled), and the mage does a curse that causes any healing done to whatever target will make that heal work on all surrounding enemies (e.g. I heal our tank, that heal heals the mage, hunter, shaman). Interesting gimmick; too bad I use bubbles.
You open a box to get one iLvl 200 (epic), an Emblem of Conquest, and a Champion’s Seal.
After this, you talk to your representative to start another fight: Argent Confessor Paletress or Eadric the Pure. We got the latter.
Now, my favorite part has to be…
There are some trash pulls before Eadric; I assume the same for Paletress. It’s made up of a priest, a paladin, and my favorite from Scarlet Monastery… a monk. The priest will use Shadow Word: Pain and sometimes will spawn a Lightwell (wish I took a picture of it).
Either way. They’re easily killed.
Eadric will use two abilities that I noticed right off the bat: he’ll whack someone with his hammer and stun them… then will hit them with it, causing around 13k damage on Normal. It’s dispellable, which I assume is the gimmick for the fight (it seems to be ranged based as well; I got targeted each time). He’ll do a Yogg-Saron-esque “don’t look at me” where the game will actually say “SHIELD YOUR EYES” (not your actual eyes).
He drops 2 iLvl 200s (epics), an Emblem of Conquest, and a Champion’s Seal.
Finally, the last encounter is the Black Knight(!). After choking your NPC buddy to death and rising him as a ghoul (he actually says in the [Zombie] language “brains”), you fight him.
I did my part and shackled the ghoul (FOR GREAT PRIEST CC JUSTICE!). But it’s unnecessary as the Black Knight in his first phase is a tank and spank… he does DK things, like diseases and some magic debuffs. Toward the end, he makes his ghoul explode, so your group should kill that before it does.
The second phase makes him raise up, this time as a skeleton, saying he doesn’t need flesh to kill us. K! He summons his Army of the Dead, which needs to be AoE’d down quickly. He’ll use Desecration too. Then you kill him.
… or did you? He rises up as a ghoul and this seems to be a DPS check, kind of. He increasingly raises the amount of magic damage you take (which is undispellable), and will focus on one person (hopefully your tank). He seems to move slow, so other groups may need to kite him to avoid the extra damage that he may deal.
Our group’s observations were that…
- The opening sequence needs to be shortened (especially if you wipe). Having to restart it over and over from beginning to end was arduous.
- The mechanics of the first encounter (mounted battle into regular combat) was very cool; the trampling was also a nice twist.
- Overall, the fights were easy due to our gear level (three of us in actually gained Ulduar loots, the other a premade Retribution paladin). Definitely could be difficult for those who are stepping into actual raid content.
- According to this post at Wow.com, Paletress’ ability of making you relive an encounter is actually only a changed model, but has the same ability… for shame! I wanted to enjoy the groups that got Algalon and died instantly (probably including me).
- The loot is very nice, some of it wasn’t that much of a downgrade to our two Death Knights.
Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to observe a few raid bosses too! Stay tuned for entertainment and win.