“Blackrock Depths (aka Blackrock Deeps, BRD) is the deepest part of Blackrock Mountain, ruled by the Dark Iron dwarves who are led by Emperor Dagran Thaurissan. Several minions of the Firelord Ragnaros also make their home in these lava-lined depths. BRD is currently the largest 5-man instance in the game, and is likely to remain so, making it a true wonder of the World of Warcraft. The average time to complete the entire instance is 4–6 hours due to its complexity: a large amount of mobs and bosses, several scripts, and many quests.” – wowwiki
Yeah, this place is huge alright. It’s just one part of Blackrock Mountain too, which also contains the Lower Blackrock Spire and Upper Blackrock Spire standard dungeons, as well as The Molten Core and Blackwing Lair raid dungeons. The Depths alone felt like two dungeons mashed into one.
You begin in the spoke of a circular hub area which spreads out into many paths, most of which lead to prison halls with a bunch of mysterious locked doors. You’ll need to find the prison key before you can open any of these, and naturally a well-guarded boss holds it. Clearing out the long, dark iron dwarf-filled prison halls, key-holding boss, and opening those many cells takes a good chunk of time alone, and that’s just the beginning.
After dealing with the prison area, you’ll find yourself locked in an arena trap, then if you survive it’s up to a fork in the path, one direction of which is sealed for the moment, the other leads up to the arena seating area where you have to make your way through mobs of arena spectators, then onto the barracks and beyond.
Further in there is a strange shrine area and some kind of underground dark iron dwarf city that you can only partially access at first. One of the more noteworthy sub-areas here is the Black Vault, which is pretty much what it sounds like. In this room there are a dozen or so locked safes that you need to have found keys for on various enemies on your way down. There are also 4 menacing looking golems standing frozen in the middle, which naturally all come to life once you’ve opened all the safes. They also bring a boss friend with them, and you have to survive it all to gain access to the final secret safe, which holds some nice items and something you need for a quest.
After this you start getting near the Molten Core entrance area and start to see a rise in fire elementals, golems, and deadly lava pits. This all leads to the Dark Highway, a long and wide stretch of “road” that seems to lead to a gigantic door in the distance.
Certainly this must be getting close to the end, right? Oh look, once you fight your way down there you finally come to an enormous magma giant named Bael’Gar. This sure looks like a final boss fight…but it’s not. Once you finish him, there’s nowhere to go except a locked door that seems to lead back to the beginning, but wait, where’s the key? And wasn’t this the same key needed for that sealed path way back by the arena and all that?
So, as it turns out, you need to get that Shadowforge Key to get to the rest of this place, and where’s that? Well, you need to get it from a quest from a ghost that you can only talk to when you’re dead, of course. So one “quick” detour later, the key was obtained aaaaaand that leads to a whole other series of areas. What the fuck, how big is this place?
There was another barracks area, another section of that underground city, and some nasty labs full of evil gnomes and golems. Then there’s The Summoner’s Tomb, where you have to survive an onslaught of ghost dwarf bosses to open the exit to the next area.
Then there was this giant, open area packed full of lower level enemies, but in such high concentration that you could easily find yourself overwhelmed again if you weren’t careful. You have to carefully, but also quickly, push your way through here to find specific torchbearer enemies that drop torches, which are needed to open the exit to this area, and once you finally do that, you come face to face with…another identical magma giant called Magmus.
And THEN, FINALLY THEN, you’re in the last area, The Iron Hall. At the end of this hall lies the real final boss, the emperor of the dark iron dwarves himself. Finally, finally, finally, once you beat him you are done with this place (I mean…until you have to fight your way almost all the way through again to get to the entrance to The Molten Core, dammit).
We took a much-deserved moment to rest and pose for what are probably horribly cliched tourist pics, but who could resist stopping to sit in this throne after all that?
If this all sounded horribly complicated to you, it’s actually even worse than it sounds. There are so many sub-areas in here that I can’t even remember all of them, and I think I glossed over more than a few of them. This is a complete basic map of the place. Wait…did we not even need that Shadowforge key? I could have just picked the lock? Urghhhhhhh!
At this point we’re about one dungeon away from hitting level 60, where technically we could go start in on The Burning Crusade again, but…there’s still so much left to do in Azeroth. There’s the Blackrock Spire dungeons, and the dreaded Stratholme and Scholomance. There are also several raid areas and world bosses to try conquering (if we can even do those with only 2 of us). I suppose we’ll stop gaining any experience from any of these things pretty soon, but these are the best parts, and these places must be seen and destroyed!