We have known it was coming since the bomb fell. Garrosh has been over-stepping lines since he took up the mantle of Warchief, and blatantly destroying a city that sought peace between the Alliance and Horde was only the first step to his downfall. Weakening allegiances with the rest of the Horde by nearly killing Vol'jin and destroying the sanctity of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms in search of a source of power did not help his reputation either. Now, he has the might of the Kor'kron fully under his control and mobilizing for war to bring about the 'True Horde,' with the aide of the dark artifact found in Pandaria's heart. Remember C'Thun and Yogg-Saron? Imagine those battles, but with an entire army.
There will be no charging in, swords and bows and staffs glinting in the bright Durotar sun, however. First things first, the Vale is forever scarred, and adventurers will need to travel to the 'Pools of Power,' where the very essence of the water has become corrupted, and cleanse the area of its taint. This corruption, of course, is derided from the Sha, and screams of Old God energies. The Sha are more than just the physical manifestations of negative emotions – the are the curse, the very last will of Y'Shaaj to forever infect the world of Azeroth. Many have been slain against all odds – Anger, Doubt, Fear. But the greatest one has yet to fall.
There are always casualties to war, and tragically some of the allies found among the Golden Lotus are now restless spirits due to the devastating effects of the Big Blossom Excavation. Their despair and sorrow over the damage to the Vale must be soothed before the path to the Vault is clear. Once inside, the Titanic Watcher that long guarded the Heart of Y'Shaaj must be 'defeated'. Norushen will present the adventurers with a challenge to 'look within,' and only then can they shed the corruption that has started to manifest even within themselves. Once the challenge is complete, the mighty construct will accompany the party to their final task in the first stage of the siege.
Lying dormant for millennia, the Sha of Pride was awoken by Garrosh's arrogance upon finding the Heart of Y'Shaaj. Its foulness seeped into the land, being the last burden the Pandaren Emperor Shaohao faced and could not fully release. It was the cause of the concealing mists that hid Pandaria from the rest of the world for generations, the physical representation of the Emperor's belief that his people were better than the other denizens of Azeroth and therefore should be hidden away. To defeat this great evil - perhaps the greatest of all the Sha – it will take everyone's best skills and full cooperation in a large team effort. There must be no pride here, as it will prove to be your downfall.
Now that the Vale is secure, it is time to begin the assault on Orgrimmar proper. Those who have helped the Darkspear Revolutionaries know that the group is planning on taking Bladefist Bay, the port just outside the capital, to allow troops from both the Alliance and Horde to land. Once in Durotar, find Vol'jin and the battle against Hellscream's loyalists can begin. The greatest obstacles to the gates of the city will be Galakras, Warlord Zeala's proto-drake, a massive Iron Juggernaut, and a pair of Dark Shaman and their riding worgs. To seasoned heroes, most of these fights will be rather typical – dodging swiping limbs, fire, and other dangers, interrupting critical spells, and dispelling vile curses. While the battles rage on, do not forget to aid allies – the Warchief has captured a large variety of prisoners that would be more than willing to assist adventurers that free them.
One last thing will bar the path to the city's center: General Nazgrim. The former grunt has come a long way, rising quickly in rank to become one of the Warchief's best. Both Alliance and Horde may know him from past events in Grizzly Hills, Vashj'ir, and Pandaria, and now find him firmly in the way of the siege. Though he fights in a manner very similar to most warriors, do not underestimate him. He will give his last breath for the 'True Horde.' And again, be sure to aid potential allies – especially Tauren who are rumored to hit like a fully-grown Kodo.
After Nazgrim has fallen, the group can begin the descent into the darker parts of the capital, where more of Hellscream's mightiest wait to defend the twisted cause. Malkorok has been tainted with Sha energy, probably a result of Garrosh's attempts to use the foul beings to strengthen his forces. The group will have to be fast to defeat him, or else the power of the Sha will overwhelm them. Before continuing further into the underground base, the party will want to stop and examine the spoils of war being held in one of the antechambers – perhaps there is some weapon to be taken for future use. But be warned, the Titans themselves seem to be concerned with the welfare of these artifacts, and disturbing their rest may prove unwise.
Past the treasure hold lies a prison, guarded by a fearsome Devilsaur. His terrible roars and keen nose for the iron scent of blood can shock the whole party and drive Thok into a frenzy that causes him to devourer anyone in range. However, this rage can be used to the group's advantage and present an opportunity to free the captives in the nearby cells, who will then gratefully assist and change the course of the battle with their 'element.' Once active, both the beast and adventures find themselves with a blessing to use to their advantage.
Upon Thok's death, it comes down to the final push into the Warchief's inner sanctum. There are only two main obstacles left in the way, two very powerful allies of the 'True Horde. The first is Siegecrafter Helix Blackfuse, the only engineer Garrosh seems to trust with his plans for world domination. The Goblin follows in the typical fashion of his race, blinded by the profits and usefulness of his creations. As adventurers intruded upon his workshop, he will use every trick, machine, and explosion in his arsenal to keep his precious work safe. Upon defeating him, the party will find themselves up against foes they may not have expected. For those who have befriended the Mantid of the Klaxxi, they may have foreseen this alliance, but to many it may feel like a betrayal. Regardless, the numerous champions must be defeated along with their vast array of abilities. It will likely be a long, complicated fight with no room for rest after. For the Warchief awaits just beyond...
Garrosh's will is to rule the world with his True Horde of Orcs, with ultimate power behind them to forever keep interlopers from rising once more. Thrall himself will join the party in the final confrontation, trying to make the raging Hellscream see reason. But his dabbling with the dark might of the Old God has changed him, his pride too great: logic will not solve this conflict. As the fight begins, minions of all types will rush into the fray to wield weapons and spells to both harm and heal. Garrosh himself will attack with a wide range with of own desecrated weapon, seeped in Y'Shaaj's power. There is a chance the the pulsing energies may transport the group and the mighty Orc to another realm, where embodiments of fear, despair, and doubt reside. Once the Warchief falls, you may think it is time for celebration. But this is only the beginning. Hellscream has tapped into the Heart of Y'Shaaj, and its power revives him with new abilities. He becomes stronger, and can even corrupt his foes with a single touch, the evil spreading like a plague. As he is weakened, he will launch into a frenzy, claiming that this is his world and summoning more minions of darkness to him. It will take great care, organization, and teamwork to finally defeat him.
As it is stands, the Siege is actually more like two raids in one: the first is the healing of the Vale, then the conflict in Orgrimmar proper, which is further divided into three sections. The fights with the fourteen bosses will vary from DPS races and role checks to meter mechanics and tag-teaming foes. Thankfully, this raid will be able to be taken on by more than the traditional groups of ten or twenty-five people. With the new Flexible Raid mode, the difficulty scales based on the number of people in the gathered party, any number from 10 to 25, making it a good place for practice and finding better armor and weapons before entering into a core group.
Overall, the final confrontation of the expansion seems promising in both game play and storyline. Could it be that defeating the different levels of pride could finally end the war between the Alliance and Horde? Or as we gather our weapons, our party, and our enhancements, will this simply become practice for a greater battle yet to come? As we near the end of Mists of Pandria, we perhaps should keep the words of Chen Stormstout in mind: “To ask why we fight, is to ask why the leaves fall. It is in their nature. Perhaps, there is a better question ... What is worth fighting for?”
Sources and related articles:
http://www.wowpedia.org/Siege_of_Orgrimmar (and sublinks)
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Descent to the Heart - A Siege of Orgrimmar 'Walkthrough'
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