The next stop on the Azeroth world tour was to be Zul’Farrak, but first we had to travel to many faraway places and do many convoluted quest chains to get those sweet, sweet dungeon quests. Along the way we did a difficult trio of escort missions for…mechanical chickens, because they just happened to be there and they were worth a lot of points.
Then we were sidetracked by ridiculous Christmas event quests where we won some more useless cosmetic items so we could look stupid because why not?
Then after many hours of preparation, it was finally time to go back to the desert region of Tanaris to tackle that dungeon, but not before I stopped to show off on my fancy paladin horse. Aaaaaanyway…
Zul’Farrak is basically just a giant troll city. It’s so large in scale that you can use mounts inside it, though you don’t really have much of a chance or reason to do so.
While it’s a big place, and it does have a few nice bosses and an interesting scripted event, it’s all a little too similar looking and you spend most of the time fighting the same few troll enemies over and over again. There are some nice rewards to be found, but it’s definitely not my favorite place.
The scripted event I mentioned involves killing a little boss at the top of a big pyramid-type structure who drops a key, which you use to unlock a group of cages, which starts another “escort” quest. There’s not really much actual escorting to be done, you all just stand at the top of the stairs while huge groups of guys rush you all. It becomes a pretty intense battle and luckily the people on your side aren’t as fragile as the usual escort quest people because things get so crowded and frantic that I lost sight of most of them within a few seconds.
If you manage to survive all the waves, you all walk down to the bottom and witness a dramatic scene where one of the prisoners leaves the group and runs away, and the rest suddenly turn on you and you’re forced to kill them. Thanks, guys.
About those super-convoluted quest chains, the worst one involves Gahz’rilla. If you want to fight him you’re going to have to jump through quite a few hoops. The quest only tells you that you need to find a way to summon him so you can kill him, and that the trolls might know a way to do it. If you do it the way the game wants you to, you’d have to actually go to Zul’Farrak first and get a randomly dropped trash item that’s actually an important text file that tells you what you need to do to perform the summoning ritual. Having done it before, I knew what needed to be done, but that didn’t make it simple still.
You need to find a certain enemy in Hinterlands, a forest area with more trolls that’s way on the other side of the world, kill him and take his sacred mallet, then you need to fight your way through an entirely different troll city, up to the top of another pyramid-type structure, all of which is almost the same size and difficulty as a normal dungeon itself, and use the mallet on the altar at the end to create Mallet of Zul’Farrak. Then you take that back to Zul’Farrak and use it on another altar, which finally summons the damn guy, all so we could win some items we didn’t even use. Oh well. He needed to be conquered, so that’s what we did!
Apparently if I get the other one of these two rare one-handed swords there, they can be combined into a pretty sweet epic sword. I NEED DIS! We had already moved on to the next place before I realized though…
“Maraudon is a 5-player dungeon, consisting of 3 wings (The Wicked Grotto, Foulspore Cavern, and Earth Song Falls), located in the Valley of Spears in Desolace. It is a combination of ancient centaur burial grounds, as well as a primal temple dedicated to the elemental earth.”
This place was added into the game after its earliest days, and so I never had much experience with it. I think I might have gone there once, but don’t think we explored it all. I can see why we wouldn’t have done that at the time because this place is fucking massive.
It’s another one with a huge pre-instance dungeon, probably the biggest one since Deadmines, and to make matters worse, this area comes to a forked path, each of which leads to a separate entrance to the same instance, but if you should happen to pick the wrong one you’re going to end up doing it “backwards” and messing up the order of a few key Maraudon quests. Naturally, there’s no indication whatsoever which way you should go first, so if you happen to pick the wrong one you won’t know until it’s way too late to do anything about it other than do the whole place over again (unless you can get some magic GM help…).
Once inside, the instance itself is even more enormous and confusing. Like the description says, there are three distinct zones and each one is almost a full-sized dungeon on its own. First (though as it turned out, this was NOT where we should have gone first) there’s The Wicked Grotto, a big series of crystal-covered caves full of angry centaurs, satyrs, and some really hard-hitting slime enemies. I always liked those slime guys because you can see the little bits of skeletons and stuff floating around in some of them and when you loot them they’ll be full of junk items like skulls and broken weapons. Always thought that was a nice touch of detail.
Anyway, then you reach another fork in the road, with one path leading to Foulspore Cavern, a weird bio-wasteland full of angry mutant plants. This area has a lot of enemies, but is pretty simple and linear (which I guess is why it’s supposed to be the area you’re supposed to enter first).
Earthsong Falls, the third and final section, is the biggest and nastiest. It’s a long stretch of twisting roads leading up and down some cliffs which branch off into multiple directions again, some leading down to an optional section of watery depths at the base of the waterfalls, which is guarded by giant worms and lizards, hydras, and some earth elementals, as well as some extra bosses. The other way leads up through a gauntlet of towering boss-sized stone giants, and finally ends with the last boss of the whole crazy place.
Many nice pieces of gear were found and much fun was had, but there’s much, much, much more to go still. Join us next time for adventures in the Sunken Temple and…whatever comes next after that? Stratholme maybe? I don’t even know! I’m excited to get started on these later level Azeroth dungeons though, as I seem to remember liking them and their semi-horror-themes the best. Until then…