The Fall of Deathwing dungeon was masterfully made by the WoW Team and Creative Team in both lore and gameplay mechanics. This is the last major content patch of the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, closing a pivotal chapter.

That doesn’t mean this is the last patch of Cataclysm, or the last content. As history has demonstrated, Blizzard Entertainment will add a pre-World Event and World Event content to wrap up Cataclysm and tie-in what’s to come in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria — the new expansion.

I have never been in a hardcore guild like those which chew World First Boss Kills Achievements without a sweat. Actually, between us, they do sweat a lot, but they won’t stop till they get the job done.

I remember the days where my old guild Untold Prophecy farmed Molten Core everyday, that was as hardcore as I could get back in 2004. Farmed Tower of Karazhan for countless months, defeated Kael’Thas, Lady Vashj, Illidan in Burning Crusade. I managed to kill Yogg’saron a couple of times before another guild disbanded.

In Wrath of the Lich King, after the guild disbanded in Ulduar, and after years of hard work in PUG teams, I only managed to get 10/12 at Icecrown Citadel. On September 15, 2011, I finally got the Defender of a Shattered World Achievement which includes all Cataclysm Heroics and the Raid Dungeons: Throne of the Four Winds, The Bastion of Twilight and Blackwing Descent.

Not bad for a casual raider. Around a week later, I felt confident to get back to Icecrown Citadel where — after two years — I laid the smackdown on the Lich King at level 85. I felt like I cheated, but no one is gonna erase the satisfaction.

My current guild has been in hiatus for about six months or so after our main tanks called it quit for real life matters. One of them serving military time. I have had to go back to solo powering up my character with daily heroic dungeon finder and valor points. Nowadays, my healer character’s item level is 375 and none of it came from my guild. I worked hard in PUG teams.

A couple of weeks ago, I used the new Raid Dungeon Finder introduced in patch 4.3 to enter The Siege of Wyrmrest Temple. The Fall of Deathwing raid dungeon was either not available or my item level didn’t meet the requirements. No clue which.

After a few PUG attempts, I got my Siege of Wyrmrest Temple Achievement (Dec 3, 2011). I never thought possible to achieve that in a PUG, but it happened. Not just once, I have cleared it a few times. It’s hard and had fun.

On the lore aspect, I truly loved the linear structure of the three 5-man dungeons. Blizzard Entertainment recently released a short story by Matt Burns (Charge of the Aspects) which ties-in with the new Caverns of Time dungeons in patch 4.3. I recommend reading that story which is a prelude to the new 5-man dungeons.

The Short Story shows Ysera and Thrall planning a way to defeat Deathwing. She reveals Thrall an idea or vision about using the Dragon Soul — however, the Demon Soul was destroyed during the Second War by Rhonin (as seen in the novel by Richard A. Knaak – Warcraft: Day of the Dragon).

Alexstrasza agrees, while the Dragon Soul brought pain and misery to her red dragon flight, the Dragon Soul is how it all started, and it should be the way to end Deathwing and the Hour of Twilight. This is how the idea is born to ask Nozdormu to help the Aspects retrieve the Dragon Soul from the past.

However, Ysera’s vision of the Hour of Twilight — as seen in the novel by Christie Golden (World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects) — is drawing near. Nozdormu is unable to open the timeways to the past. Thus, Nozdormu recommends to kill the leader of the Infinite Dragonflight … to kill his very own future self, in order to preserve life in Azeroth.

Think about that for a second. All this time, Nozdormu was shown by the Titans the moment when Nozdormu’s demise would happen. For milennia, It likely worried him. And now he’s the one to take the decision to kill his future self to protect Azeroth. The Hour of Twilight begins during the Fall of Deathwing Raid dungeon in Patch 4.3.

The moment Ultraxion enters the fray at the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple, if players aren’t able to defeat Ultraxion, the Dragon Aspects take the full brunt of the Hour of Twilight spell that causes 300,000 Shadow damage, and die — causing the death of all life in Azeroth, and the Ascension of the Old gods.

Nozdormu sends players into the future to the End Time. A period of time, after the Hour of Twilight where all life on Azeroth has been already extinguished. There, players must defeat the echoes of Jaina, Sylvanas, Baine Bloodhoof, or Tyrande (two random) in order to fight Murozond (the future version of Nozdormu who has fallen to madness by the Old gods).

The WoW Team added NPCs at the end of each 5-man dungeon to teleport you to the next dungeon — making it clearly a linear lore event. That’s awesome. You can also access each dungeon individually, or use the dungeon finder to play them randomly. So there are three choices to approach and circumvent them if you don’t wish to have a linear experience.

After End Time, once Murozond is dead, the timeways become open to travel back in time 10,000 years into the past during the War of the Ancients. The idea is to retrieve the Dragon Soul a few minutes before the Well of Eternity implodes and sunders the land underwater.

When players help Tyrande, Malfurion and Illidan to defeat Mannoroth, who is sucked into the portal along with the demons back to the Twisting Nether, Chromie appears on the scene giving players the option to continue the mission in a linear way. Now that you have acquired the Dragon Soul, Chromie sends you forward in time to the present where Thrall will welcome your arrival and take possession of your delivery of the Dragon Soul.

The Hour of Twilight dungeon have you escorting Thrall back to the Wyrmrest Temple. In the present, the Black dragonflight and the Twilight dragonfligt are attacking the Wyrmrest Temple. There are giant Old god-like creatures with massive tendrils coming out of the ground, Faceless Ones and Vile Oozes coming forth to prevent Thrall’s arrival to the Wyrmrest Temple.

Thrall is serving as the Earth Aspect to perform the ritual that will empower the Dragon Soul to affect and defeat Deathwing. It’s a nice touch to see Archbishop Benedictus as the final boss in the 5-man dungeon, as a continuity notch from Christie Golden’s novel. I ain’t going to spoil it for you, go read the book.

After this dungeon, you are ready to enter the Siege of Wyrmrest Temple raid — if you wish to experience the whole content in a linear way. I’m going to be blunt. It’s hard. However, the Raid Dungeon Finder also brings hardcore players who will take leadership to teach you what to do. Trust in them, and do your best. It’s no rocket science. It’s doable.

The Dungeon Journal is another great feature added by Blizzard Entertainment in patch 4.3 that let’s you read lore and tactical info about each boss, and what each spell does. Which spells are dispellable, and which can be interrupted. The Dungeon Journal and the Raid Dungeon Finder are Blizzard’s way to open up end-content to casual players. I got to say they have done a pretty good job. As a healer, it only takes me less than 10 seconds to get queued into the Raid Dungeon Finder. Sometimes a split second after I queue in.

Before I knew it, thanks to the Valor Point Quartermaster items, and a few loot from the new 4.3 Heroic dungeons I became flagged to join the Fall of Deathwing raid dungeon. I was totally glad to see the option enabled last night.

The Dragon Aspects: Kalecgos, Alexstrasza, Ysera and Nozdormu are at the top of the Wyrmrest Temple performing the ritual with Thrall to empower the Dragon Soul. Your job is to prevent the Black and Twilight dragons from interrupting the ritual. After several waves of drakes, Deathwing unleashes Ultraxion upon players. The ultimate Twilight dragon experiment who is meant to cause the Hour of Twilight by slaying the Dragon Aspects at this juncture.

After Ultraxion, a cinematic plays showing Thrall wielding the Dragon Soul to blast Deathwing. Deathwing’s eye zoom in on Thrall as he realizes he is holding the Dragon Soul. The blast is so powerful that a piece of his elementium armor comes out revealing part of his spine. Deathwing is severely injured, and flees away. Deathwing is in pain, but he makes a point to shake Thrall — Deathwing flies through the Horde Gunship — now we know how the Gunship in End Time got split in half.

The Dragon Aspects, Thrall and players come aboard The Skyfire (Alliance Gunship) in pursuit of Deathwing who seeing the defeat of Ultraxion and how easily Thrall injured him with the Dragon Soul decides to fly to the Maelstrom to cast the final Cataclysm spell that will shatter the world and cause a massive upheaval of volcanoes, magma, tsunamis, and earthquakes.

At mid-journey, Warmaster Blackhorn and his Twilight’s Hammer mounting Twilight drakes will attempt to stop you long enough to let Deathwing reach the Maelstrom. After Blackhorn’s demise, a cinematic kicks in showing human Sky Captain Swayze and orc Kaa’nu Reevs (Keanu Reeves, lol) parachuting down on Deathwing’s back.

After the cinematic, players glide down with parachutes on Deathwing’s back. Literally. There are a few mechanics here you should double-check with the Dungeon Journal in-game. The idea is to make the Hideous Amalgamation explode near the Elementium Plate protecting Deathwing’s Spine.

The blast causes the Elementium Plate to literally come off his spine. It has a amazing art animation. Once you have removed three Elementium Plates, the next cinematic kicks in.

Deathwing falls to his apparent death into the Maelstrom.

There’s a dialogue between the Dragon Aspects and Thrall, and you can loot a chest. However, the fight isn’t over. Deathwing’s body has been torn apart without the Elementium Plates holding his body together.

He’s become sort of an Old god with tendrils grabbing each rock around the Maelstrom. Players must attack each of these Limb Tentacles, and the Mutated Corruption tendrils. In between, there are waves of adds that must be quickly dispatched with AOE — recommendable to be done near the Limb Tentacles.

After all Limb Tentacles are destroyed, players fight the head of Deathwing.

Here I was with a full PUG raid joining the end-content dungeon that wraps up Cataclysm. How cool was that? In the range of one to ten? Thirty. It took me two years or longer to finally be able to kill the Lich King.

It took me a few hours last night to earn the Fall of Deathwing Achievement. Woot!!!!

It’s that easy folks. Start doing your homework (queue yourself into the Dungeon Finder and do the Random Hour of Twilight Dungeons) — get some item level 378 from there, and combine that with farming Valor Points to purchase item level 378 gear. Do a few Siege of Wyrmrest Temple raids and get some cool loot until the Fall of Deathwing Raid Dungeon option becomes enabled in your Raid Finder.

I got to admit the Fall of Deathwing raid dungeon was harsh to heal. Later I noticed I forgot to enchant, gem and meta my new acquired Helm, but I still managed to help the PUG team get the achievement. It was a great satisfaction to have killed Deathwing twice in a single night, rather than how long it took me to kill the Lich King.

Thanks to the WoW Team for opening up end-content to the majority of players, and shoe-kissing to the Creative Team for the awesome linear lore experience. I might have a couple rants here and there about Well of Eternity, but the experience was excellent either way.

That was the best ever World of Warcraft dungeon experience I have had in the last seven years since classic beta 2004. The game mechanics are unique and engaging.

Lore Enigma Analysis and Speculation

On the lore part, there is one big enigma that hasn’t been answered. I have come up with a personal conclusion to explain that enigma.

The End Time comes to happen in the present after Ultraxion kills the Dragon Aspects at the Wyrmrest Temple during the Siege.

The question is … what made possible the change of the End Time?

The Titans had foreseen the death of Nozdormu (aka Murozond). True. Thus, they had foreseen the death of the Aspects at the Hour of Twilight. End Time was meant to be the end of all things. Which means Thrall was not meant to get the Dragon Soul. What made possible the change of the outcome leading to the Hour of Twilight / End Time future?

This makes me think that someone outside time who has witnessed the future, and has no clouded perceptions like Nozdormu — who admits something is preventing him from seeing the future — has somehow managed to help the heroes avert the End Time and to start the Age of Mortals.

In my theory, to find part of the answer we have to go back to World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects.

    1. Ysera had a vision of the Hour of Twilight in that novel. How was she able to see a future event? Who did send her that vision?

    2. Thrall reveals to the Dragon Aspects that Krasus was not in fact a betrayer of the Dragon Aspects, siding with the Twilight’s Hammer. Thrall tells them about a vision he had where Krasus is defending the Ruby Sanctum from a new Twilight viral strain that infested the red eggs, and all other eggs during a Twilight’s Hammer siege on Wyrmrest Temple and its sanctums. Krasus cast a spell that reached out to the other sanctuary portals to implode each portal. He sacrificed to prevent the eggs from turning into Twilight dragons — annihilating the dragonflights. Or so it seemed …

How did Thrall get this vision? Who gave him that moment of clarity to see what really happened with Krasus?

Sadly, Blizzard hasn’t revealed these two enigmas.

On top of that there is the third enigma: Did Krasus really die? His corpse was never recovered. Did he implode the Sanctums, or did he only collapsed the portals thus sealing off the sanctums as tesseracts / pocket universes? Another question to ponder: Did Krasus somehow know the Twilight’s Hammer would strike at that very moment and had a rogue plan of his own? Had someone who knew about End Time enlisted Krasus’ help to prevent End Time?

We have seen Krasus plan out schemes without the knowledge of his beloved Alexstrasza before. What if he was alerted of the Hour of Twilight by the same entity that sent Thrall and Ysera separately a vision? In order to accomplish this plan he had to fake out his death.

If this is the case, then the Creative Team has learned a thing or two from Marvel — and we know Chris Metzen is a hardcore fan of Marvel Comics. The Secret Invasion storyline took years in the making, and there were plenty of breadcrumbs left in comic issues for years hinting at the upcoming Secret Invasion (2008).

I have a little theory of my own about how Krasus could have learned of a future event for him to attempt to prevent it, and who may have had knowledge about the future to make the Hour of Twilight not come to pass.

It was hinted in World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects — or I might just be seeing too far into it and Christie Golden didn’t do that on purpose.

Thrall went to the Caverns of Time to fulfill a special mission for Ysera. The Bronze dragonflight welcomed Thrall and recognized he was there on behalf of Ysera. Thrall’s mission was The Search for Nozdormu.

Not even the Bronze dragonflight has been able to find their master. Thrall traveled to other timelines and parallel Azeroths, but was unable to find Nozdormu on his own.

Eventually, Thrall would have returned back home without Nozdormu. Think about it for a second. Who starts the Dragon Soul 5-man dungeons? Nozdormu. It’s Nozdormu who sends you to the future to the End Time to face Murozond, to be able to retrieve the Dragon Soul from the past.

What if Thrall had not found Nozdormu in his Search through Caverns of Time? No one would have been able to prevent the Hour of Twilight. No one.

Are you pondering, what I’m pondering? — you who read World of Warcraft: Thrall, Twilight of the Aspects — that is.

Who told Thrall how to find Nozdormu?

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