Friday, October 20, 2006

Caverns of Time - Hillsbrad Foothills

If there’s one thing I never wanted to do in World of Warcraft again,
it was returning to Hillsbrad. So many memories of the Hillsbrad to Southshore PvP zerg have tainted the zone for me forever, but a fellow guild priest Tivoli enticed me into heading there again. This time however, we would be entering the Hillsbrad Foothills not from Silverpine Forest or Arathi Highlands, not even from the Western Plaguelands. Tivoli tipped me off saying that the Caverns of Time were finally open, and we were to take a group into the first instance. I was quickly summoned to the front of the Caverns of Time where Anachronous dwells, using the brand new Meeting Stone summoning portals. This new tool should make creating and gathering groups a lot faster than before.

The stone that was previously sealing the entrance of the Caverns of Time is gone, and a bronze dragon was waiting for me inside. After a quick dialog with the dragon, I became mounted on a drake and flown deep inside the caverns. The flight was rather short, but I got to see a lot of rather odd sights inside including a gigantic hourglass. This is where the hub of the cavern is, including the first tedious quest I had to complete before zoning in. A custodian of time is summoned, and they tell the story of the cavern. After this quest was completed, I was given a quest to head into the instance, and my group zoned in.

First thing that I noticed after zoning in is that I was suddenly ugly. Not only that, but a human! I know that I’m bald and everything, but human? That’s just an insult to my character. Everyone in the group becomes afflicted by a buff that switches their race to a more appropriate one to the instance. The quest that I was previously given is handed in right at the entrance, and a follow-up quest is given involving the next section of the zone, Durnholde Keep. For those of you who leveled in Hillsbrad, you will remember this area, there was a handful of Horde quests involving it.



The quest’s objectives are to locate barrels and set explosives inside them. This will cause a distraction so Thrall can be rescued, which is the main objective of the instance. The barrels are located inside of houses in the area below the bridge, where the rest of the orcs are being held captive. At the entrance of each house, there are 3-4 pulls of varying human guards.



Once the barrels have been located inside each of the houses, and explosives places inside, they are all set on fire. This causes a loud commotion, and the first boss of the zone, Lieutenant Drake comes rushing down. The fight is not that complicated, well suited for the first named mob of the zone. He did not place any debuffs on any of the party members, so it is a straight tank/heal/dps fight. Lieutenant Drake’s loot was Cloak of Impulsiveness dropped, a rare 18stam 18agi 40ap cloak.



The next part of the zone involves fighting through the keep in the center of the area, and down to the basement where Thrall is. Clearing the mob towards the keep involved 3-4 pulls of humans with melee and caster combos. None of the pulls are too complicated, but they do tend to hit a warrior in dps gear with a two-hander out rather hard. Other than one close call during a 4 pull, there were no healing problems during these pulls. The pulls are setup with one in each room inside the keep, same setup as before with the 4 humans. The quest indicator in your map shows that Thrall is held in the basement, not on the roof where our group first checked. This quest is bugged currently and only allows one person in the group to accept it, instead of showing the group accept prompt that most escort quests show.




This is where the zone gets tricky. Our group setup was lucky to
contain two priests, because Thrall is quite the runner. Like all escort quests, the npc really doesn’t know when to slow down or stop and this is where the two healers can help. Tivoli and I alternated when we drank in between pulls to conserve mana, just incase Thrall got a little ahead of himself and pulled two pulls. This only happened once because of a running mob. The mages in these pulls do polymorph so be ready to dispel at all times.



When Thrall reaches the outside gates of the keep, the next boss, Captain Skarloc spawns at the road in front of the keep and rides towards the group mounted. This is another simple boss fight, with the only twist being two adds that come with the boss. The warrior in the group pulled him away from the adds and Thrall added just enough dps to make this fight trivial. Captain Skarloc dropped a weapon a lot like Noth’s axe, the Amani Venom Axe.





With the second boss dead, Thrall commandeers the late captain’s horse and instructs the group to ride to Tarren Mill. Mount up and follow, because he moves quickly through this part of the zone. Thrall is headed to attempt to located Taretha who he believes is being held inside the town. He leads the group across the center river in Hillsbrad and north along it to sneak behind the barn in the town. Thrall instructs the group to move into the barn. He makes the mistake of spooking a horse which alerts a patrol of guards outside. Remember that line of sight can be tough for healers in this area, so if you aren’t a healer, be nice to the healers in the group and stay where they can heal you. Thrall heads towards the final area of the zone, the center of Tarren Mill, and inside the cathedral. Taretha isn’t located inside the cathedral, but the guards outside see an opportunity and strike while you are inside. This is a five pull, but isn’t that tough since you can line of sight the caster npcs using the entrance of the cathedral to slow down their dps.

Thrall next heads to the inn, the last place where she could be. Two pulls later, Thrall finds Taretha inside the upstairs bedroom under a spell. A booming voice from outside can be heard after a short dialog between the two. The Epoch Hunter does not sound happy that the group is interfering with the two. Thrall rushes outside and the final fight of the zone begins. Three sets of dragonkins spawn before the Epoch Hunter can be engaged. These pulls can be tough if you do not have a decurser, because they cast a -50% healing and -50% damage debuff on your group members. Since these are dragonkins, if you do have a druid in the group, remind them that they can put these to sleep, which makes the fight trivial.



The Epoch Hunter shouts and engages the group. Even though this is the final fight of the zone, his adds before him were more challenging, and this is a straightforward fight as usual. The hunter dropped a decent healing cloth shoulder, comparable (after socketing) to the Ternary Mantle from the bug trio in AQ.



Erozion appears after the boss dies and explains quickly that he needs to remove the memories from Taretha and Thrall. After a quick spell, Thrall forgets the group’s presence and leaves. The person who did complete the earlier quest with locating and starting the escort of Thrall can now turn in the quest and receive one of the rewards.











Overall this was an enjoyable instance, mostly because this was a rehash of a place that most people are familiar with. The highlight of the zone has to be seeing Thrall knock out the armory guard and suit up in leather. The loot is right on par with the zone’s intended level, a group of 68’s. Since there is a lot of mobs in the zone, this has been designed to generate a lot of experience while completing the quest of the instance. Caverns of Time is designed so that you do have to progress through the zones in order, so currently this patch you'd need to do the instance once per player in your 5 man group to progress to the next instance.

Source : http://forums.curse-gaming.com/showthread.php?t=1292

41 Comments:

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7:54 PM  

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