Whole continents will shatter as Deathwing returns to the mortal realm in the upcoming Cataclysm expansion. But our dragon nemesis won’t have the monopoly of destruction; us players can also cause our fair share of havoc through the planned bombing runs in the new level-85 Grim Batol dungeon.
Similar to the Outland dailies where we had to destroy Fel Cannonball Stacks using smart explosives, the bombing runs in Grim Batol form part of an initial attack to the ruined city. Twilight’s Hammer cultists and black dragons have made Grim Batol their new hideout so it’s our job to decimate most of the ground forces before we clear the rest of the dungeon by foot.
The Queen of the Dragons Alexstrasza has even lent her red drakes as dependable mounts for the bombing runs. While Blizzard has yet to release full mechanics, the vehicle flight will probably handle the same way as it did in previous World of Warcraft expansions.
Premature Tips for Bombing Runs
The lack of details about the Grim Batol bombing runs has left us speculating the exact nature of the missions. Blizzard has only confirmed that these airborne raids will be held at the start of the 5-player instance and will be followed with the normal dungeon crawl up to the presumed final boss General Umbris.
For practice, it’s wise to return to the Outlands to brush up on vehicle-handling skills. Bombing runs require a balance of timing, aiming, and vehicle control. Blizzard installs cursor indicators that show your damage radius so seek to get the maximum coverage per bomb.
The Grim Batol mission itself would probably have a kill quota—or the number of ground troops you’d have to eliminate—before moving on to the next phase of the dungeon so don’t be stingy with the bombs. Whenever the cooldown goes up, be sure to have a locked target in sight.
And with flying mounts being activated in Azeroth, spend time brushing up on aerial maneuvering. Some players expect the bombing runs to have a “chase element” with black dragons hot on our trail while we scramble to drop bombs at moving targets. It wouldn’t hurt to practice flying through the buildings and alleyways of Stormwind and Orgrimmar to hone those flight reflexes.
Backlash from Oculus
Exciting as it may be to blow up hundreds of mobs like an airborne assassin, not all players welcome the return of bombing runs in Cataclysm. Naysayers argue that bombing runs have no place in dungeons and that Blizzard should have learned from the unpopular Oculus instance.
In the Oculus dungeon, we are asked to ride one of three kinds of drakes with either healing, tanking or damage-dealing abilities. The frustration with the instance lies in controlling the drakes to evade boss attacks and coordinating the use of drake abilities such as Stop Time and Martyr. Poor timing of these abilities often proves disastrous and results in wipes—a problem that Blizzard has remedied recently with Oculus-specific nerfs.
Should the Grim Batol bombing runs prove similarly hard to master, expect hotfixes to roll out quickly. Nothing new with this; Blizzard has shown over the years that it’s willing to bring down the difficulty encounters so most of us can experience their content and get a sense of achievement in-game.