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World of Warcraft – Part 26 – GrimRail Depot

During the original reveal of Warlords of Draenor, there was a short clip of a dungeon that takes place on a moving train.  A lot of people were pretty stoked for it, myself included.  It’s something that’s pretty unique compared to a lot of dungeons.  Most Dungeons consist of running through a castle or a cave of some sort killing monsters and bosses.  They are often divided into various wings or phases.  Grimrail Depot really isn’t much different than this set up, except you get the intensity of ridding on a moving train for much of the trip.

The actual experience lives up to the thrill.

You initially start out in the train station itself, surrounded by crates of supplies and weapons for the Iron Horde.  There are a handful of trash packs in this area consisting of some Orcs and Goblins.  The Goblins occasionally toss out some small scale Iron Stars which can be tricky.  I also wonder if these small sized Iron Stars are a hint at what’s to come once we get access to the Iron Horde Stronghold in Tanaan Jungle.  The Iron Star showed up in Mists during the final battle with Garrosh.  It was the ultimate destructive weapon of the Iron Horde, they were huge and would wipe out the group easily if not properly handled.  They have been much more prevalent in their return in Warlords.  During the Iron Docks dungeon, there are some that the players release to wipe out packs of enemies.  They show up here in small form.  There was even a pet version that showed up during the lead up quests for WoD.  This shipment of small Iron Stars are certainly a sign of the direction the Iron Horde is taking it’s armies and tech.

After the initial run you face off against a large brute and his Goblin handler, Borka and Rocketspark.  Neither is particularly tough, the brute charges and stomps about while the Goblin shoots some rockets and flies around.  After finishing off this Boss the real fun starts.  You climb up some stairs and then leap onto the supply train as it heads out of the depot.

What follows is some trash packs as you travel through a few train cars.  What’s interesting is how cramped the space is.  It’s not a wide open dungeon, it’s a narrow set of train cars loaded with crates.  This makes it tricky to avoid attacks and monsters and tricky to keep line of sight for attacking.  I kind of wish you could climb the box walls since some of them are certainly low enough to jump on.  Especially with my Hunter, it would be cool to leap up above the enemy to shower them with arrows while the Tank is fending them off.

Halfway through, you meet up with the second dungeon Boss, Nitrogg.  This battle adds some extra mechanics since Nitrogg mans a gun emplacement at the end of his train car.  At the start of the battle, the car opens up on each side revealing the world speeding past.  In order to break Nitrogg out of the gun emplacement, players must pick up Mortar shells off the Adds that spawn and shoot them back towards Nitrogg using canons on the sides of the train car.  What complicates this is the constant barrage of fire from Nitrogg himself and the Wind that pushes the players towards the edge when they are standing outside the train car near the gun emplacements.  Knocking out the gun turns Nitrogg into a pretty standard Tank and Spank fight.

The final two cars take place outside, though still within the confines of the train itself so there isn’t any pesky wind to deal with.  There is an interesting little action sequence following Nitrogg where you have to choose which side to run across to avoid a tipping vat of motlen metal.  Following this is a car full of Trash.  The final boss arrives after this mob is killed in the form of Skylord Tovra.  Tovra is an Orc accompanies by a flying Rylack.  Tovra is pretty standard but the Rylack flies by regularly to drop AOE electricity on the train car forcing players to keep on their toes.

The whole thing is a lot of fun.  The speeding train works really well, you pass between cars and get hints of the speed early on and later during the open air fights you really get a sense of urgency.  It’s almost tragic that like most video game trains it tends to be an endless rail line through indiscriminate country.  In the time it takes you to finish the dungeon the train would likely circle all of Draenor a dozen times.  That’s just a side effect of being a video game I suppose.  Maybe a countdown timer to complete the dungeon work be better but it would probably be less fun as a result.

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