Game Design Exercise: Farahlon’s associated dungeons

Farahlon

Greetings again. This time we really did return before whole patches managed to release and you might have noticed, our concept map of Farahlon changed a bit. Mostly, you can find new names for some of the previously unnamed areas, but two new locations have been added as well – Mok’nathal Village on Ara’s island and a raid icon for the Sky City of the Apexis. Today’s post will delve into the three dungeons that are added with my imaginary Farahlon patch, and mostly concentrates on the story featured in those dungeons, with a general idea of boss abilities. The raid will be the subject of a whole other post, as it’s meant to represent a whole large tier – with about 12 bosses total. So let’s delve into the three dungeons and what they have in store.

Ruins of Lassh

As dungeon journal would tell you, Lassh was an ancient arakkoa settlement that was abandoned hundreds of years ago, when the Apexis fell. No one really knows how they fell, and the ruins were buried in a landslide soon after the fall of the Apexis so Reshad speculates that if one were to find those ruins, they would be pristine and could give curious modern day arakkoa a lot of insight into their own history and that ancient mystery. On that promise (and the promise of loot, of course) he sends you off to the location where Lassh was reportedly located – between Gorgrond, Talador and Frostfire Ridge. As such, it’s this patch’s only dungeon that is located outside Farahlon.

However, as soon as you approach the dungeon with your friends you realize you’re not the first people who found it. The entrance is guarded by elite vrocks and other Dark Conclave arakkoa, which makes abundantly clear who your enemy inside is – the Dark Conclave. From the very entrance, the corridors are filled with cursed arakkoa workers, chipping at stones and excavating Lassh and any riches it might contain. After a few packs of workers, their foremen and vrock guards, you encounter a large observatory room – unfortunately, its once beautiful glass room looking out into the sky is now collapsed and all that keeps the rocks above its former dome are metal beams planted by the Dark Conclave. Within this room, you meet the first boss – Felscreecher Akkarai.

You have met him before, in fact. Or rather, his counterpart from the main universe, Darkscreecher Akkarai. This time, the Dark Conclave freed him in their desperate attempts to gain more allies in the face of Sethekk’s defeat. Now, the ancient maniac is tending to flocks of kaliris enveloped in fel-flame – corrupted and empowered with whatever artifacts the Dark Conclave uncovered in Lassh. In battle, he usually melees his targets and casts chaos bolts, which should be interrupted. He will also frequently blink around the room, clearing out his aggro table (so that he has to be re-tanked). Occasionally, he summons flocks of Fel Kaliri which have to be quickly killed before they overwhelm your group. Finally, he summons a Fel Raven – a dread raven he took with him down here and corrupted with one of the artifacts. The Fel Raven will continue casting frontal cone green fire attacks, as well as leaving a trail of fire behind him. It’s best left crowd controlled until Akkari dies.

When you leave his room after his death, you will find most of the Dark Conclave workers slaughtered. Not much further you find out why – the area is filled with ghosts of high arakkoa, furious about the Dark Conclave violating their burial grounds. As ghosts do, they do not notice any difference between you and your enemies, so you have to destroy them as well. Some of the ghosts have also reactivated ancient Apexis constructs – including the standard Golems, orb-like, laser-shooting Oculi, as well as centaurine Centurions. After getting through most of these corridors, you find a graveyard with upturned graves, one contemplative high arakkoa ghost and a large Apexis Golem standing guard over a grave. When you get close enough, the ghost babbles on about your corruption and fall to the forces of the Twisting Nether (apparently he’s older than the Burning Legion, or just really crazy). Then, he rises out of his position and possesses his Golem, preparing for your next encounter – Architect Shrnmegh.

Most of his abilities come from his golem, which is a standard grave guardian, which means it’s completely non-standard. Its central core fire beams like the Oculi, it charges forward and knocks you over like a Centurion (it can charge anyone, not just the tank) and it slams its fists into the ground with a frontal cone AoE like Golems. Shrnmegh’s additional powers come from the ghost itself. The Architect’s spiritual anguish rises continuously during the battle, giving you a soft enrage. Finally, when the Golem is near death it begins the most reviled part of their programme – self-destruction. Your group has to kill the boss before it self-destructs or you wipe.

To leave the graveyard, you find another hole in the wall Dark Conclave dug through. In the following corridors, you find the most elite forces sent to Lassh, including more vrocks than before, including annoying imp-summoning casters. Some of them are hauling corrupted Apexis constructs with them. After a short escapade against those forces, you find the Lassh throne room and inside… instead of Rhaze himself, you find just his underling, Asghar. You probably met him as well, but this version is much stronger, having been transformed into a vrock.

The throne room seems mostly intact, but its room is supported only by two barely standing pillars and a few beams the Dark Conclave placed. Asghar is sitting on the throne, boasting how even Rhaze will be powerless against him if he takes control of Lassh. However, he notices you and taunts you to attack him. As adventurers are used to, you do and his battle commences. At first, he’s a lot like his old self in our universe’s Shadowmoon Valley (except very much alive). He’s constantly cleaving (so melee DPS has to stand behind him) and he occasionally tries to heal himself with Dark Mending (has to be interrupted) as well as sometimes popping Whirlwind, prompting people (including tanks) to run away from him.

However, in phase two he casts a protective bubble around himself and walks up to the two pillars – he grabs them, and topples them dropping the roof on your heads and opening up the sky. If you are smart enough, you went into his bubble to survive this. In phase two, he continues his old abilities as well as summoning vrocks who fly in from the now opened roof. In his dying words, Asghar curses you. “You will never find Rhaze before he takes the Sky City… Draenor will be ours again… as it should have been.”

Mrk’arak

If you keep following the questline, you return to Reshad after killing Asghar. He’s deeply troubled by the fact that not only the Dark Conclave found Lassh before you, but that Rhaze got away before you could get him. Reshad is grateful for whatever artifacts you took from the Fel-Sages while you were in the ruins, but he knows a place where you could find much more, undisturbed. That place is known as Mrk’arak and it lies beneath the Overgrown Apexis Ruins on Ara’s island. While the Primals took over the ruins, they wouldn’t have destroyed the knowledge left beneath.

After killing about a million podlings and possessed mok’nathal on your way to the dungeon, you finally enter the Golden Gates of Mrk’arak. Inside, the first corridors are filled with the Primals, namely botani leading hordes of podlings and occasional giant mutants named “Possessed Mok’nathal”. You defeat those packs as you normally would, leading up to the first boss – a possessed Mok’nathal, Selmak, with a mandragora pet. Selmak is still convinced he’s alive and thinks you’re ogres that came to kill him for being a half-breed. Selmak isn’t meant to be a particularly challenging boss. He simply hits for a lot and very quickly, pellets the group with arrows if the tank is too far away, and killing his mandragora enrages him, so they have to be killed close to one another.

Deeper inside, you find less typical Primals and you finallu get to Mrk’arak proper, filled with various steam-powered engines that still seem like they’re trying to work – and they would, if it wasn’t for structural damage. The Primals have sent roots deep into the place and tore apart the machinery, but some mobile constructs remain. Unfortunately, the Primals overpowered them a long time ago but instead of destroying them, they possessed them. Here you encounter Apexis Golems, Oculi and Centurions filled with vines, and serving the Primals against their own creators and against other fleshy beings.

The second boss of Mrk’arak is a giant Apexis Oculus, the Eye of Mrk’arak. This huge, metal, eye-like constructs is resting in the middle of the room in a powerful machinery that still seems mostly intact. However, the plants react to your presence and take over the machinery where the Eye is seated. Before your eyes, roots come up from the ground and take over the construct, activating it as a robotic eye on a root-tentacle. The boss is stationary (it’s literally rooted) and obviously wipes you if there’s no tank in range. Additionally, it keeps spamming various beams across the rooms which have to be avoided. It also sometimes chains two players together, and finally summons more Oculi, which are taken over by more roots and become smaller versions of the boss.

After you defeat the second boss, you are lead down a flight of rickety stairs towards the city’s power core. Down there, you find most of the machinery still working and most of the Apexis constructs still standing guard over the now derelict city. As you plow through the Apexis constructs, you forgot that you’re leaving all the doors behind you open, and behind you are mostly the Primals. Finally, as you approach the core, the Primals break through from the surface (thanks to you) and attempt to take over the power core – if they succeed, they will surely overrun Farahlon and perhaps all of Draenor with that kind of power. So the third boss is the Defense of the Power Core.

When you activate the power core’s defenses, the constructs finally realize you’re a friend and become friendly. The forges on the sides of the power core start pumping out new constructs, as Primals begin their assault. Of course, the city’s own systems are not enough to defend the core, so you have to keep fighting the Primals with them. Waves of attackers include many enemies from other parts of the dungeon, including botani, podlings, possessed mok’nathal and possessed constructs. Some packs are intentionally annoying combinations – like a Possessed Behemoth (slow, a ton of HP) with a healer botani and a group of Oculi that keep lazering everything around the behemoth. Finally, instead of the last wave you face a large, toxic gas-spewing mandragora who can kill the Core with DoTs if you’re not fast enough.

After you finish the encounter, you can proceed to retrieve a disk full of data for Reshad. This is the end of the Apexis/Dark Conclave storyline for the time being, but it continues inside the Sky City raid, where you will find the truth behind the disappearance of the Apexis.

Bladewind Fort (TEMP NAME)

The third 5-man dungeon of the patch is centered around the Iron Horde’s presence in Farahlon and especially the Bladewind Clan which invaded the zone. The outdoor part of the fort is accessible to the players as a group bonus objective area inhabited by elite Bladewind warriors, as well Blackrock engineers who are working on uncovered Apexis artefacts to harness that technology for the Iron Horde. As a few of those experimental piloted Golems were unleashed on the Fields of Farahlon (presumably as group rare elites), the new Farahloni Exarch sends you to infiltrate the fortress and destroy any technology they managed to acquire. This questline is a culmination of (yet-to-be-written-down) questline dealing with Farahlon City.

To get to the outdoor part of the fort, you walk straight through the front door, but the instance portal is located in the back, as a breach in the wall, similar to the Black Temple entrance. You get into the dungeon through the sewers and encounter a few side effects of the orcs’ tampering with Apexis tech – namely discarded fragments of constructs irradiating the rats and cockroaches which become your first enemy within the fort. As you get out of the sewers, you walk straight into the barracks where you have to fight a gauntlet of rookie Iron Horde grunts. At the end of that gauntlet, you find the first boss – Blood Guard Porung. Yes, the very same.

This time, he has some real abilities. He somehow became an engineer this time around and wields a flamethrower and a chainsaw, both clearly incorporating elements of Apexis technology. Usually, he uses the chainsaw like an axe, but sometimes actually gets it running and starts plowing through people, including tanks – so if he fixates on you, you should do what you’d normally do when someone runs after you with a chainsaw – run away. His flamethrower on the other hand, is a frontal cone attack that should be easy to avoid. Most of his difficulty comes from the adds he summons, including healers and archers.

When he finally dies, you make it out of the barracks and into a large open field filled with Bladewind orcs. It’s actually the same area before the main fort’s entrance that serves as the outdoor bonus objective area, but here the mobs are much stronger. The trash in this “room” is meant to give you trouble by forcing you to be careful where you fight them – or the constantly moving packs will keep aggroing and eventually wipe you. When most of the trash here dies, Warlord Uraga finally leaves the fort. She’s furious and challenges you to battle, becoming the second boss.

As a Bladewind Warlord, she mostly commands their iconic abilities, including Whirlwind and Bladewind – a summoned cyclone that wanders around and disables and damages players it encounters. She also occasionally knocks back players in the melee range and directs a wind-strike towards ranged players, interrupting them. Finally, like a good blademaster she can cast Windwalk, turning invisible and randomly striking a player, so healers must prepare when she disappears. At the end of her encounter, she doesn’t die but stuns everyone with a wind attack and runs inside the fort, leaving a chest of loot behind to distract you.

When you follow her inside, you find more Bladewind orcs, but this time there’s more engineers among them. Like engineers mobs usually do, they will zap you, interrupt you, or throw bombs around. There are also assassins hidden around these corridors. After you get through that to the central room of the fort, you find Uraga, still wounded, talking to her chief engineer. The engineer keeps insisting the golem isn’t ready, and when he refuses to launch it, she kills him and uses the control panels to summon it herself – the floor opens up and a giant Apexis Golem emerges from below, as Uraga climbs inside and taunts you to attack.

The third boss is now Mech-Lord Uraga, piloting said giant golem. Using powers of many Apexis constructs, it stomps the ground stunning people around it, shoots lazers around the floor and occasionally drops a bomb which explodes, leaving a patch of fire (that you shouldn’t stand in). The boss also shoots steam from its exhaust pipes in the back, so you shouldn’t stand behind it unless you want to be set on fire. At about 20% of health, Uraga loses control of the Golem, which starts shooting attacks randomly. You have to quickly kill it before it overwhelms your group. In the end, the Golem’s heart explodes, killing Uraga and throwing her body onto the floor (so that it can be conveniently looted).

And that’s it for the 5-man dungeons, which took more writing than I expected. I will return to you with a raid design (this time with a concept map!) for the Sky City of the Apexis soon(tm). The Sky City will bring a thrilling (I hope) conclusion to the Dark Conclave storyline, as well as uncovering the greatest mystery of the Apexis – the reason for their disappearance.

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About Arakkoa

Verroak Krasha, an Arakkoa druid with over 50 years of experience. Formerly from Farahlon, during the Orcish expansion relocated to Skettis, then to Sethekk Halls, then to rebuilt Shattrath, following the heresies in each of those places. Finally, he founded his own succesfull alchemy business and set out into the wide cosmos to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and boldly go where no bird has flown before. View all posts by Arakkoa

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