Although the analogy to chess is usable (Daemons 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: Rotate Piece: The same for all pieces, click an adjacent square on the board to face toward it.
- 2: Move: This moves the piece, see piece description for details.
- 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 Medivh's 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 Medivh's 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 beaten with one person. First, move as many pawns one square ahead as possible, to give the back row of pieces room to move from the fire when the Echo of Medivh inevitably cheats. As soon as fire appears under a piece, control it and move it out of the way. Then play the queen piece and focus on damaging the opponent's king from range. Switch to a bishop to heal the king if necessary.
- 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.|
|A minor concern.||Yes...of course.||A necessary sacrifice.||Ahh, I should have known.||And so, the end draws near.||And so it ends.|
Patches and hotfixes
- Hotfix (2013-05-24): "
- Medivh's buff to damage on chess pieces has been reduced to 100%, down from 200%.
- Damage from Medivh's fire has been reduced to 4k, down from 10k."
- Hotfix (2013-05-21): "Increased the delay between moves for enemy chess pieces."
- Hotfix (2012-09-12): "The Chess encounter should once again proceed at its former, more leisurely pace."
- Patch 2.0.3 (2007-01-09): Added.