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Patch 5.3 PTR: Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario

Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
So with the patch 5.3 PTR opening up some of the new scenarios I got a chance to run the one I'm most interested in, Dark Heart of Pandaria. It's a very interesting glimpse into Pandaria's hidden history and lore, into how Garrosh's Horde is coming apart at the seams, and about how it's never a good idea to drain a lake and start digging for artifacts in the middle of someone else's most sacred secret Vale without things like asking first. Admittedly, they would have said no, and this scenario is just chock full of reasons why, in fact, they should have said no.

There's really no way around the fact that every screenshot I got is at least somewhat spoilerish. The one I used above is fairly safe (I doubt anyone is surprised that in the new scenario, I end up hitting things) but from here on in, it's plot details and tons of them. So be warned, spoilers ahoy. If you don't want spoilers for patch 5.3, this is not the article for you.
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
You arrive at the digsite to find that whatever they were mining has upset the balance of nature, sending the local elementals into a Cataclysm-style revolt and killing most of the workers. You step in, restore order the murdering way, and then round up the various artifacts. There are artifacts that give you a combo bonus (the yellow lighted ones) if you only collect them once, and regular artifacts. Once you've collected 250 of them (boosted by the Reliquary Pick you can pick up that gives you a 15 second buff) you move on to the second stage - head into the mine and confront whatever's going on, and try and reach a goblin miner who can blow open the last wall so you can explore.
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario

There are a lot of these guys in here, and on heroic it can be a bit of a task to get through them. Don't run ahead too fast and pull too many and especially don't pull the Mouth of Fear unless you're absolutely ready for it - it can hit relatively hard and has an annoying fear that can easily cause a chain pull you may or may not be ready for.

Once you get past the oozes, you find the goblin miner with the explosives and he blows a way into the final chamber. Which is chock full of surprises.
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
You read that right - the Echo of Y'Sharrj is in there. What's the Echo of Y'Sharrj, you ask? Well I'll show you. (And yes, it's spelled differently than Y'Shaarj, I assume that's a typo.)
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
Upon entering the chamber you see a Titan Watcher-style construct named Norkunian who announces a containment breach. Before you can stop him, your little goblin friend with the explosives runs straight ahead into where an oozing black substance is being contained ala Prince of Darkness and gets himself infested with vile corruption. It seems that even though he's dead Y'Shaarj just won't stop being a major bummer. So what can you do but beat the baker's chocolate out of that poor possessed goblin? Nothing. There's nothing else you can do, go beat him up already.
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
The fight is interesting because in the room there are four wells of light that, when you stand in them, reset all of your class cooldowns. Yes, you heard me right. Everything. I got to reuse my 'pop everything' macro four times. Meanwhile, as you're throwing all the DPS you can at the Echo, Y'Shaarj won't stop whispering at you, and his whispers are both creepy and important. First off, they hint heavily that Y'Shaarj isn't dead at all. Secondly, they make several KYL's I or Anne wrote look like we're secretly inceptioning the Blizzard writers.

It's a fun, hectic little fight, and when it's over stuff gets interesting. Y'See, the Korkron show up after you do all the work (the way they do) and there's a fascinating exchange between the goblin foreman Garrosh hired for the dig and who I think is Malkorok (if not, it's definitely another Blackrock orc). To make a long story short, not only does the Korkron stiff the goblin, he makes some intensely racist statements while doing so.
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario

Money being fairly important to goblins, the little guy takes the opportunity to mutter a few choice words about Garrosh once the orc stops strangling him. It goes over about as well as you'd expect, but the goblin does manage to run away with his hide intact.
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
And so ends Dark Heart of Pandaria, with the Korkron in possession of Titan technology intended to confine the essence of Y'Shaarj itself, as well as the undying primordial ooze that is all that's left of the Old God. Yes, you read that right, the Korkron have seized for Garrosh Hellscream the remains of an Old God. Oh, and their own Titan Watcher, it seems.
Patch 53 PTR Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario
I'm absolutely sure none of this is going to come back to bite anyone in the behind. No, the fact that Garrosh Hellscream has the Echo of Y'Shaarj, the means to confine it, and a Titan Watcher akin to Ra-Den (at least presumably) in no way, shape or form spells trouble down the road. It's not like Garrosh has any recent examples of someone pulling the heart out of one of these guys to gain its power or anything, much less has recently attempted to infuse his own soldiers with Sha essences which are but pale remainders of the very Old God whose still chatty corpse he just seized.

This is all coming up roses, really.


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

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