Although the analogy to chess is usable (Doomguards are "stronger" than Footmen for example), it's not very strict. The pieces from the event behave very differently from real chess pieces, in particular player-controlled pieces autoattack enemy pieces they face, and the Kings are actually the strongest pieces in the game. In order to start the event, a player has to talk to the King piece of their own faction. The objective is to kill the enemy King without losing one's own King. If the game is won, a Dust Covered Chest appears with loot. Many players see this encounter as an easy fight, referring to it as "the free epics".
Afterwards the pieces are reset, and it is possible to play a friendly game within the raid. Whenever a game is going on, there is a silence debuff in the chess room to prevent clearing the trash mobs leading to Prince Malchezaar.
It is possible to reset the event by talking to the Echo of Medivh.
Chess Piece Abilities and Control
After the event begins, raid members can control any currently uncontrolled piece of their own faction by talking to it. Upon taking control of a piece the player character is teleported onto a platform at the side of the chess field. The player gains the "control piece" buff, his viewing perspective changes to that of the controlled piece, and their action bar is replaced. It is possible to release control of a piece by removing the control buff (right click it). This incurs a 15 sec debuff, during which time it is not possible to take control of another piece.
The action bar for controlling a chess piece has the following layout:
- 1: Move: This moves the piece, see piece description for details.
- 2: Rotate Piece: The same for all pieces, click an adjacent square on the board to face toward it.
- 3: Special Ability 1: The piece's first unique ability, see piece description for details.
- 4: Special Ability 2: The piece's other unique ability, see piece description for details.
The abilities can either be activated by clicking on the action bar, or by using keys 1 through 4. It's faster to use the key shortcuts, particularly because the movement controls have a timeout. Each chess piece auto-attacks if it faces an enemy. While pieces can move diagonally, they can only face towards four directions. After a diagonal move, pieces turn 45° clockwise to realign themselves.
Movement and rotation share a common cooldown of 5 seconds, and the special abilities have another shared cooldown of 5 seconds. If an ability has a cooldown of more than 5 seconds, the other ability is only affected by the 5 second cooldown.
|Chess Event Pieces|
|Piece||Alliance||Horde||Movement||Ability 1||Ability 2||Notes|
|King||King Llane||Warchief Blackhand||1 Space any dir.|| Sweep / Cleave|
Deals 4000 damage to 3 frontal adjacent enemy units.
| Heroism / Bloodlust|
Grants 50% increased damage to all allied humanoids on all 8 adjacent spaces, does not affect self. Cooldown 15 secs.
|High Health/High Damage. The first side to kill the opponent's King wins.|
|Queen||Human Conjurer||Orc Warlock||Straight 3 / Diagonal 2|| Elemental Blast / Fireball|
Deals 4000 damage to any single chess piece. Range: Straight 4 / Diagonal 3.
| Rain of Fire / Poison Cloud|
Deal 6000 damage to any hostile chess piece and all adjacent hostile pieces. Cooldown 15 secs. Range: Straight 4 / Diagonal 3
|Medium Health/High Damage|
|Bishop||Human Cleric||Orc Necrolyte||1 Space any dir.|| Healing / Shadow Mend|
Heal a friendly piece for 12,000. Cooldown 20 secs. Range: Half of board.
| Holy Lance / Shadow Spear|
Deals 2000 damage to enemy units standing in a straight line of 3 squares in front.
|Low Health/Low Damage. Only Healer.|
|Knight||Human Charger||Orc Wolf||2 Straight / 1 Diag|| Smash / Bite|
3000 damage to a target 1 square in front.
| Stomp / Howl|
Reduces damage of all adjacent hostile chess pieces by 50%, last for 10 secs.
|Medium Health/Low Damage|
|Rook||Conjured Water Elemental||Summoned Daemon||1 Space any dir.|| Geyser / Hellfire|
Deals 3000 damage to all adjacent hostile chess pieces.
| Water Shield / Fire Shield|
Reduce damage taken by 50% for 5 sec.
|Low Health/Medium Damage|
|Pawn||Human Footman||Orc Grunt||1 Space any dir.|| Heroic Blow / Vicious Strike|
Deals 1000 damage to a target 1 square in front.
| Shield Block / Weapon Deflection|
Absorbs 500 damage. Lasts 5 secs.
|Low Health/Low Damage|
Warning: Medivh Cheats!
Medivh cheats at random intervals during the game. Although on paper the effects look tough, in reality they usually have little effect on the course of the event.
- Healing Cheat: Heals Medivhs king (and possibly all the other pieces) to full HP.
- Damage Cheat: Medivh places a fire AoE on a random player controlled piece.
- Berserking Cheat: One of Medivhs units gains increased size, speed and damage.
The king is quite strong and thus should be used in an offensive way—he is in fact similar to a DPS tank (be cautious though). A reasonable kill order is to deal with the enemy healers first, then drop the queen, and finally the king. If king and queen work together efficiently, and have good support from the bishops, the combats on the remainder of the board are less important. The friendly healers should move only very little, and concentrate on keeping the king and the queen at top health.
One simple strategy is to have each player chose one non-pawn piece which they want to control later. Then, each player moves the pawn in front of their piece as far as needed, releases control and takes over their "real" piece. As soon as holes in the pawn line appear, attack with the player controlled pieces. This is an excellent strategy for higher-levels trying to complete this event in a five-man or other smaller raid. By having a few players concentrate, at the start, on moving pawns and 'unplayed' pieces forward, these pieces are in range to auto-engage combat.
A more sophisticated strategy has four players initially controlling the four central pawns, and four other players on the king, the queen and both knights. The two remaining raid members should take the bishops. This allows to move the offensive pieces more quickly.
This event can be, at least, 2-manned. What we did was: First, move as many pawns one square ahead as possible. Then, starting moving other pieces, but keep the bishops near the king. After some time, the enemy king and queen will reach yours, so one player stays on the king and attacks them, while using heroism now and then to help the pieces hold off the other enemy pieces, while the other player stays on a nearby bishop and heals the king. It was a close call, but eventually the queen died, and then the king shortly after. Keeping other pieces near the king is a good idea as the enemy will be distracted (or even attacked) by them, thus buying your king some time, because even with a bishop, its just a matter of time until the king dies to the enemy's overwhelming assault.
You can 1-man this by using a similar strategy as the 2-man run. What I did was move the pawns in front of the knights (wolves) out one, then moved any others I could get to. Next, move the rooks (demons) to where the pawns were in front of the knights. Watch out for when medivh cheats by putting fire squares down (move the rooks/king/queen if needed) - use the queen (warlock) to burn down the king, and you'll be good to go.
An additional method used by (Jabba - Gundrak) an 85 Retribution pally was to start the event by talking to my king either orc or human depending on faction (i will use chess terms to help explain my moves)
i move the pawn in front of the king 1 space forward (i move this pieces mainly in case he put fire in the place of the king and the empty space occupied by the queen meaning there is no safe space for the king to move costing you important time) then move the queen as far on the diagonal this should allow you to target the opposing king piece with your abilities. when he uses fire move the queen (if needed) then move king (fire always seems to spawn under the king) then go back to the queen and continue once the queen is dead go back to your king and kill the incoming king pieces the range of the kings special cleave in 2 spaces directly in front of your and 1 space to the diagonal left forward and right forward (forward refers to the directing you are facing)
If you are a little slow for whatever reason jump on a bishop and heal your king as needed.
If your king needs too much healing you will fail just reset it and start again.
- As of patch 2.4, releasing from a piece may cause the player to spawn below the floor of the room, leaving him back in the Curator's hallway. This can prevent the player from looting the chest because running back may take too long before it disappears—use a Warlock summon if possible in this case.
- Taking control of a piece may sometimes result in an near-immediate disconnect. The only way back into the game is to wait some time until the player is removed from the game with a "desertion" like debuff, or by quickly releasing control of the piece before the disconnect actually takes place.
The "Echo of Medivh" speaks at various events during the course of the game.
- Event begins
- Very well. Let the game begin.
- Perhaps a change is in order.
- Time for an alternative scenario.
- One must not become too complacent.
|Player loses|| Let us see.|
A transparent stratagem.
Ah, the wheels have begun to turn.
|Foolish! Very foolish!||Yes... all according to plan.||The slightest loss of concentration is all it takes.||Now it gets interesting.||As it should be.||Nothing less than perfection will do.|
|Medivh loses|| Hmm.|
|A minor concern.||Yes...of course.||A necessary sacrifice.||Ahh, I should have known.||And so, the end draws near.||And so it ends.|