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Patch 5.3 PTR: Blood in the Snow overview

Patch 53 PTR Blood in the Snow overview
If you've been wondering what's been going on in Ironforge during Cataclysm and Mists, patch 5.3 ought to fill you in. The first of two scenarios required to unlock the quest chain for 5.3, Blood in the Snow tells the story of Moira Bronzebeard and her attempt to prove to both the Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, and the Alliance itself that the Dark Iron are worthy allies. One tends to forget that Moira's roots lay originally with the Bronzebeard clan -- and she's not out for blood, she's out to prove that both she and the clan she now runs aren't the one-dimensional villains everyone would like to make them out to be.

Does she succeed in this goal? Well ... that remains to be seen. But given Cho's story of the three clans, the tale that pointed out that both Wildhammer and Bronzebeard were being perhaps unnecessarily paranoid, it looks like the dwarves might finally be moving in a direction of actual unity. Meanwhile, the scenario itself is actually pretty fun, and presents a bit of a challenge without being impossible.

Please note: This post contains spoilers for patch 5.3 content.

Patch 53 PTR Blood in the Snow overview

Save the Scouts!

The scenario starts out pretty straightforward -- Zandalari agents have been seen chatting with the local frost trolls, and that's pretty much an indicator that things are about to go down that will likely have unpleasant repercussions. Add in the curious, seemingly never-ending snowstorm, and you've got a recipe for potential disaster. Especially when you consider that this entire scenario is happening right at the foot of Ironforge.

Before you can get down to the business of getting rid of that pesky snowstorm, you'll have to rescue scouts that were lost in the hills and captured by the trolls. Each scout is being held by a mob of angry trolls you'll need to kill. While a lot of the trolls are simply level 90 mobs, there are elite mobs scattered in the mix that pack quite a punch if you aren't careful. Make sure that you're interrupting casts, stunning, disarming, and otherwise taking every opportunity to nullify as much of the damage coming in as possible.

Patch 53 PTR Blood in the Snow overview

Bonus objective?

At this point, a new message will pop up on your screen, stating a bonus objective: rescuing all the scouts and stopping the summoned storm. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what this bonus objective nonsense was all about. We rescued all the scouts as part of the natural progression of the scenario, and we stopped the storm in order to trigger the final stage. This didn't feel like some sort of extra effort on our parts, it just felt like what you were supposed to do while you were there.

I'm also not certain what completing the bonus objective actually gets you -- or if it grants you anything additional at all. Completing the scenario simply rewarded valor points and a shiny box of goodies to open, which is pretty much what all scenarios do right now anyway. There appear to be bonus objectives tied with the other scenarios as well, but it's the same story for those, too.

Patch 53 PTR Blood in the Snow overview

Stopping the Storm, being a Hero

Once you've rescued all the scouts, you'll be sent to a camp just up the hill. The camp is packed with a ton of trolls, and a small cave. Just inside the mouth of the cave is the source of the odd snowstorm -- a powerful elemental that you'll need to defeat. The elemental reminds me of elemental mobs in the Twilight Highlands. It'll cast an attack that freezes a member of your part, and you'll want to break them free. It also has a few ground attacks that you'll want to avoid. But by and large, it's not too much of a challenge for those in LFR-quality gear.

Once the snowstorm has been stopped, the final stage will begin. Moira's forces will arrive in earnest and begin to attack the main camp of trolls -- you'll need to defeat a pile of adds and then the one troll in charge of the whole operation. Hekima the Wise is listed as a Herald of Rastakhan -- which is odd, because as far as we were aware, Rastakhan and Zandalar Isle were busy sinking into the ocean. Portents of future content? Possibly -- but more importantly, this guy likes to spit dark clouds of things you shouldn't stand in on the ground. Don't stand in them.

And far more annoying than that, he enjoys healing. A lot. He'll heal his allies, or he'll heal himself. Focus on taking down all of the adds, and then turn your attention to Hekima -- just avoid his attacks and let him do his thing while you're whittling down the adds. If you're lucky, Moira will hold his attention until you can focus on him after clearing everything else out of the way. Once he's dead, you've won -- enjoy your loot, and a small exchange between Moira and Varian.

Patch 53 PTR Blood in the Snow overview
Blood in the Snow is definitely not too much of a challenge on regular difficulty. It is, however, one of several scenarios being offered on Heroic difficulty in patch 5.3. Before you can tackle the far-more-difficult version of the scenario, you will have to clear it on regular mode first. All in all, even though it isn't the most difficult scenario you'll face in the game, it's pretty entertaining. The objectives are easy to understand, there's not a lot of useless running around, you won't face a lot of dead time, and the "boss" fights are just challenging enough to be fun without being frustrating.

As for the lore involved ... well, we won't go too far into that here. I'll just say I think I know a certain Bronzebeard that's going to need her own Know Your Lore in the next few weeks, and leave it at that.

Blood in the Snow will be coming to live servers in patch 5.3. But if you'd like to play through the scenario ahead of time, you can download the PTR client from your Battle.net account page. Copy a character over, test the scenario yourself, and don't forget to leave feedback on the official thread while you're at it!


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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