Easily one of the most creative and distinctive fights in Icecrown Citadel, the Gunship Battle is something many raiders have been looking forward to since BlizzCon 2009. As a little bonus, this fight is also the source of a certain cloak that's white and longer than your average cloak.
Here's the basic story. As you've just managed to lay waste to Lady Deathwhisper, you ride the elevator up to where you'll see the Horde and Alliance doing battle. The fight happens almost identically the same whether you're Horde or Alliance. The only difference is which faction leader you're attacking and which faction leader you're following.
You pick fights with small parties of the enemy faction as you fight your way to get to your gunship. This is the same ship that's been circling Icecrown for all of Wrath, so you'll probably recognize Orgrim's Hammer and Skybreaker. You'll want to be sure to grab a jetpack as soon as you get onboard, and spend a little time shooting around and getting used to the rocket jump. Even if you're not going to be part of the raiding party attacking the enemy ship, the jetpacks are too much fun to completely ignore. Also, as has been mentioned before, these jetpacks gave rise to the infamous Rocket Bear.
Once the encounter starts in earnest, you'll quickly find yourself fighting the enemy in ship-to-ship combat. Let's take a look behind the jump and talk about how this is going to work.
The basic flow of the gunship battle works like this. You'll have a series of guns with which you damage the enemy ship. The enemy will be returning fire, but they also have a plan for how to deal with your guns. A mage will come out and attempt to freeze your guns in ice. In order to prevent that from happening, a group of raiders will use their jetpacks to rocket jump to the opposite ship and kill the mage. At the same time, a portal will open on your ship, with an enemy boarding party trying to lay waste to the rest of your team.
The Gunship Battle is a relatively easy encounter, but your raid will have to operate in three different groups. One group will man your cannons (two people in 10-man, but 4 people in 25-man). The second group will defend the ship's desk from enemy boarders. The last group with rocket jump to attack the enemy mage. While the cannoneers will help with deck defense whenever they can, it's important that your usual defenders anticipate and are ready to act.
The cannon task isn't too difficult, but it's got a trick or two to it. You have two kinds of cannon blasts. The normal Cannon Blast (hotkey number 1) will allow you to do light damage to the enemy ship, but it will also build up Heat. Once you have a hefty amount of Heat, you want to fire an Incinerating Blast (hotkey number 2). Incinerating Blast converts all of your extra Heat into damage. Be careful not to Overheat your guns, as you will not be able to use them for a few seconds if they do so.
Troops will occasionally attempt to swarm your ship. The two important abilities to watch out for are both from the Sergeants, who will hit with Bladestorm and Wounding Strike. Otherwise, the troops aren't all that terrifying. Just grab them and burn them down. They drop from a purple portal in the middle of the deck, so your defending tank should easily be able to pick them up. If your gunners aren't otherwise immediately occupied, they should be helping clear your deck of these boarders. As a fun little thing, all troops in this encounter will ding Experienced, Veteran, and Elite the longer they're left alive.
When the enemy leader (Muradin or Saurfang, depending on your faction) commands it, a mage will walk out onto the enemy deck and cast Below Zero on your guns. The mage won't do anything else, but they will be defended by troops on the ship. Have your DPS and a tank shoot over to the enemy ship and kill that mage. It's important, though, to note that the enemy leader will keep getting stronger and strong as they stack Battle Fury. You need to kill the mage quit and get away, to let the stacking Battle Fury drop off after 20 seconds. Don't bother trying to kill the enemy leader, because it's just not going to happen.
In summary, basically, fire your cannons as much as you can. When the mage comes out and uses Below Zero, go kill the mage. Keep your deck clear of boarders. It sounds easy, but there's a lot going on in the fight, and it can get a little confusing. Troops will shoot at your deck from the enemy ship, and ranged DPS can plink them dead with their free time. Keep an eye out for rune-like circles to appear on your ship, because that means Rocket Artillery is about to land there. You'll be able to live through the Explosion easily enough, but there's no reason to take damage you don't have to.
The gunship battle is clearly one of the most fun fights in Icecrown Citadel. It's an easy fight once you've seen everything going on, which is actually kind of a shame. It's so much fun, I wish it went on a little longer.
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