Get caught in one of the clouds and you'll find yourself teleported to the bottom of one of the nearby tombs, stuck in a sarcophagus, and taking damage from the curse. Your friends can't get into the tombs due to barriers that are placed over the doors, turning this into a race to get out of the tomb before you die. These moments were filled with frantic cheers and laughter as we all danced around trying to avoid the dust clouds, accompanied by laughs of anguish as people would get caught and stuck inside of the tomb.

Overall, the PQs are really enjoyable and a nice step away from "kill, rinse, repeat." Even if they involve killing monsters, there's usually some sort of trick to the PQ that makes it into a very active experience, rather than a strict button mashing period. Plus if that last boss battle sounded crazy, think of how it could go when the zone flips sides and the enemy begins running in. Now you have a boss, enemy players, and dust clouds. Fights in the tombs while curse is in effect, anyone? Luring enemies to stand in the way of dust clouds?

Eventually though, we were taken away from the PQs and had the chance to step into the Tomb of the Vulure Lord itself -- testing our mettle against the various traps. The first one that stood in our way was a hallway filled with swinging pendulum blades.

These blades were stacked very close together, with little room between them to stand without getting yourself sliced in half. One hit kills you, so don't try running through aimlessly because it's not going to end well. This trap is all about timing, placement, and pattern recognition -- a classic console adventure trap. What I liked the most about these traps was that they don't require the whole party to make it. Three people is all you need out of your group of six, and dying in the dungeon will just respawn you at the entrance (as long as you maintain control, of course.)

"It's very different, and it's alot of fun."

Eventually making it past that trap gave us access to the Terracotta Army hall -- a room filled with terracotta statues of soldiers and chariots. The whole room could be categorized under "things that never end well" because, as you would expect, walking next to some statues causes them to come to life. This whole encounter is a hybrid PQ/boss battle, as killing enough soldiers will awaken the final boss of the room, an angry skeleton who switches between different stances while you do battle with him.

Overall, I have to admit, I wasn't expecting this. I was expecting an area and a dungeon filled with standard MMO trappings of trash mob pulls, boring grindfests, and RvR mixed in with all of that. What I got was a very carefully crafted zone that caters to all types of MMO players and merges PvP content with PvE content in a really inventive fashion. Even the Tomb of the Vulture Lord doesn't feel like a traditional MMO dungeon. It's an adventure through a tomb rather than a series of trash pulls with scary bosses. It tells a story and immerses you rather than just throwing themed encounters at you. Sure, this mystique will wear off over time, but I don't see this dungeon becoming something like other MMO dungeons. It's very different, and it's alot of fun. Land of the Dead is totally something you need to experience.

The sands of the Tomb Kings are coming as the final release in the Call to Arms live expansion, the Land of the Dead approaches! Massively has your back with coverage from Mythic Entertainment at Games Day '09, so get your WAAGGGHHH ready for RvR mayhem as Massively re-arms for WAR!

This article was originally published on Massively.
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