The most wonderful heroic

Heroic Deadmines loading screenI refer, of course, to Heroic Deadmines.

I went through it for the first time just last night and I must emphasize how ridiculously fun—and difficult—the location is.

I joined a guild group on a lark and we entered the random queue and Deadmines popped up. Two of five of us had never been in the heroic version before (though I had gone with one other guildmate before through regular Deadmines just to see it).

Entry

Warning: Spoilers!

Heroic Deadmines map Image courtesy WoWWiki.com

The very first pull indicates that this is a well-and-true heroic difficulty experience since the most meager loitering monster is a serious contender. Crowd control is a necessity and, really, you can't go off willy-nilly.

Pulls are just the right amount of complicated. CC this one and that one, do this one first, mind your positions, &c. It's not a face roll by any means. It's a good warm-up for the first few bosses.

The first few bosses aren't horrendously difficult by any means but you do have to pay attention to what you're doing. I died a couple times from my own inattention to such details as walls of fire combing over me like a rake. (I thought for sure I could complete my cast before it got to me!)

Delightful boss

Foe Reaper 5000 Image courtesy WoWWiki.com

There is one battle that I particularly enjoyed: Foe Reaper 5000.

This battle takes place in two locations in the foundry room. You remember, it's the one with the very long ramp leading down to a metal floor and molten goings-on.

One person jumps into a reaper and walks it down to the bottom of the ramp and there fights lava beasts that appear. Meanwhile, the rest of the party is at the top of the ramp fighting the Foe Reaper 5000.

I was in the reaper suit the first couple times we attempted this boss, then up top the final two times before we defeated him.

Both sides of the fight are fun! There's tension and excitement at trying to keep the lava creatures and kill them at the bottom of the ramp before they can get loose and one-hit kill the rest of the party.

Up top, the Foe Reaper 5000 has a variety of tactics to keep the entire party moving around, such as whirlwinds and charges and whatnot.

It's a fun, dynamic, challenging—but not frustratingly tough—fight. Very well balanced. Oh, and the Foe Reaper 5000 sounds like Colossus in the movie of the same name, which is awesome.

OMG TOUGH

Heroic Deadmines mapThe luxury of an "easy" fight where you only wipe a couple times is gone by the time you get to the end of the instance, that is to the boat and what's widely regarded as the most difficult boss fight of five-person heroics.

Admiral Ripsnarl

Admiral Ripsnarl Image courtesy WoWWiki.com

This fight is so tough that it defines the word.

Here's the scoop: Throughout the fight, Admiral Ripsnarl creates a fog and summons Vapors, who are killer creatures made of air (but not air elementals, really). They're so badass that they have claws made of air. And I think they're 50% claw.

The first Vapors to appear are born with a few hit points and don't hit very hard. However, the longer they exist the bigger they grow, gaining more hit points and power with each passing moment.

And, of course, multiple vapors are summoned at once.

And then, twice during the fight Admiral Ripsnarl will go into a summoning frenzy and release oodles of Vapors onto the deck. This is a very tense moment as the party has to dispatch ever-toughening Vapors as quickly as humanly (or worgenly) possible before the party wipes.

Mage fight

As you know by now, managing mana is the New Difficulty in Cataclysm. This is especially pronounced in the Admiral Ripsnarl fight as you have to be able to use cooldowns and deliver maximum DPS to kill the oodles of Vapors. You'll have to single target them and hope that your gear is sufficient to carry through with the job.

About the only tip I can offer for this boss is when the first Vapors appear, only use an instant cast and Arcane Missiles if it procs. This is because with the entire party dedicated to the initial weak Vapors, it's a waste of mana to use your heavy guns like Arcane Blast. The Vapors will likely be dead before you complete casting anyway.

You must conserve mana during this fight so if you can get away with a couple instants, a missile here and there, maybe using your wand, in the first Vapor wave then you'll be much better off later on, when you need every drop you have.

Don't forget Time Warp when Admiral Ripsnarl is on his last legs. Ye gods.

Final Boss

Refreshingly, the final encounter of the instance, Vanessa VanCleef, is a delight. It's not difficult but is complex and entertaining. You will have to go through a variety of fun challenges beginning with being chained up at the Foundry and dodging lightning walls and more to get back to the top of the boat, and once there do exciting things like swing away from the ship as it explodes—and swing back to continue fighting the boss.

Pinnacle

I haven't been everywhere and done everything in Cataclysm yet, but Heroic Deadmines is easily the most well-designed thing I've encountered thus far. It's interesting without being tedious, difficult without being soul-crushing, exciting without being frenetic, and punishing enough that you don't want to wipe but recoverable enough that you're always in the mood for another try.

Good luck!