10 December 2008

Drak'Tharon Keep

Another instance we ran last weekend was Drak'Tharon Keep. (I need to start grabbing screencaps to illustrate these articles!) DK is a fort that's located between Grizzly Hills and Zul'Drak. It's pretty typical of the WotLK instances I've done so far: well-designed, fairly short, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Drak'Tharon is populated by Scourge, Drakkari trolls, raptors, and spiders. The trash fights aren't too complicated. One tip: you'll see Drakkari bat riders. If you just attack them, you'll fight the riders and their bats separately. But if you CC them first, you'll just fight the riders; the bats disappear. On Normal it wasn't worth the effort.

Boss fights are amusing enough, and pretty simple for the most part. Here's the Need To Know for each of them.

Trollgore - Dire Troll

On Normal he is pretty much tank 'n spank. He's attacked by adds throughout the fight. He can do two things with them: eat them for a damage buff, and explode their corpses for an AoE. On Normal we ignored that and just burned him down. It's possible that on Heroic you'll need to clean up the adds before they reach him, but I'd start by just DPSing him and see how that goes.

Novos the Summoner - Lich

He starts out shielded and unattackable. He will summon adds which you have to deal with. One type of add that he will summon is a Crystal Handler. After you kill four Crystal Handlers, the shield goes down and you can attack the boss. DPS him down. He'll cast a Blizzard effect — run out of it. Pretty easy.

King Dred - Devilsaur

Pretty much tank 'n spank. Clear the other raptors before pulling him. He will periodically fear the party. He also pulls in adds. Healers: watch for his Grievous Bite. It's a significant bleed effect, and it won't go away until the tank is healed to full health. (This includes after the fight — make sure to top off the tank when you're done, or he'll die while rolling for loot!)

Prophet Tharon'ja - skeletal Wind Serpent

Half of this fight is a normal tank 'n spank. But Tharon'ja will periodically cast Decay Flesh. This will turn him into a full-flesh wind serpent... and turn the party into skeletons. You'll have a new action bar with four abilities:
  • 1: Skeletal Strike. This is your attack; use it as much as possible.
  • 2: Taunt. If one player is taking too much damage, taunt Tharon'ja away. On Heroic the best strategy might be rotating taunts, though you'll want to end up with Tharon'ja on the tank if possible.
  • 3: Bone Armor. Use it if you're the one with aggro.
  • 4: Touch of Life. This is a self-heal that also drains health from the boss.
So when you're a skeleton, everyone DPS on the boss with your Skeletal Strike. After doing a certain amount of damage, Tharon'ja reverts to skeletal form, the party returns to normal, and the fight goes on as usual.

One note: Hunter pets won't become skeletons. So a hunter helps with his fight a lot, as the pet will continue to DPS when the party becomes skeletal.

We didn't have too much trouble on Normal, with any of the bosses. Even Tharon'ja wasn't bad once you're ready for the skeleton form. I have a suspicion though that this is the kind of instance that will be a lot worse on Heroic &mdash much harder than it's mid-level Normal difficulty would suggest. We'll see!

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