A Stroll Along Magister's Terrace - 2.20.2008

Let me just begin this article with a joyful yelp that 2.4 is finally on the PTR's. I, along with many others, have been fervently digging into the new content and seeing the changes with my own eyes. Well, that is once Blizzard EU sorted their character copy out. And once I could move amongst the throngs of people crowding the new Isle. Oh, and of course once the Sunwell Plateau could be found (it did go missing for a few evenings, rumour has it that it ran away to Moonglade to RP with Molten Core - keep it under your hat though).

But rant over - onto more important things! Magister's Terrace, the latest 5 man instance to grace Azeroth has been well run by yours truly, and I would like to give my opinions on this shiny new instance.

On the face of it I have to say I was fairly impressed as my party ventured inside. The first packs were fairly bog standard, but with the added twist of a Magic Dampening field and a ranged stun that keeps healers alert. This combined with the fairly refreshing Blood Elf architecture (well, I'm guessing it's not as refreshing if you rolled Blood Elf) made for a great first few minutes. The first boss was a slight pushover however and a rather similar encounter to another heroic boss, but no complaints from me so far; the Crack Elves habiting his room were amusing enough. Notice they only hit hard when they 'shoot up', what a charming and accurate depiction of drug use in today's society.

The second boss however was a shock - we went in without having a clue whatsoever and proceeded to wipe quite dramatically. After another wipe we came to realize that the tactic involved was perhaps slightly less complicated than we were assuming; and from that point on we simply nuked him down as fast as possible. Which worked rather better. This is a nice touch for a 5 man instance in my opinion; we see various DPS tests in 25 man raids but in general 5 man bosses have to have a lot more leeway so players in inferior gear can still kill them alongside the Tier 6 clad groups.

The packs on the way to the 3rd boss are probably some of the hardest packs I have encountered outside of pre-nerfed Shattered Halls - multiple casters, multiple healers, seducers; all a rich tapestry of mobs that prove relatively more challenging to defeat than the usual instance trash. And the 3rd boss herself? All I can say is wow - what a fantastic encounter. What better way for Blizzard to force PvE players to PvP; by putting a 5v5 Arena team in an instance! Loved it.

And finally the big man himself. Kael'thas with a sparkly green crystal embedded in his chest. The similarities of the encounter to the boss in Tempest Keep were very apparent, and again I detect a certain choice of Blizzard to try and involve the more casual player in end game content - by at least encountering Kael in this way non-raiders can see some portrait of what 25 man groups experience.

So, all in all a very worthwhile instance. Decent loot, a worthwhile reputation gain from each run, challenging bosses, and interesting trash. The only downside is the long run back should you wipe on 3rd or 4th boss - perhaps removing the invisible wall over the first bridge of the instance would speed this up. I strongly recommend you try the instance out on PTR, or if not as soon as it hits Live - really is quite enjoyable.

-Joe Zara [Phoee]

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