Status update: I've been gone for the better part of two weeks, due to travel and holidays. Still, I've been able to get into the game a bit. Alamein dinged 76 last night. Mattoo is 80; Firegrin and Wyrmm are 79, and Eric's been playing up his Death Knight who's up to 76 too. So I have some catching up to do!
Last night we ran Violet Hold which was a blast. It's an instance found in Dalaran, like Stockades in Stormwind. The instance itself is a lot like Black Morass: you stay in place and face 18 waves of adds coming through portals. After waves 6, 12, and 18 you face a boss. The setup here is that the Blue Dragonflight is attempting to invade Dalaran through its prison. After facing 6 (and 12) waves of invaders, one of them will open a prison cell, forcing you to deal with a prisoner. The final boss is the blue dragonflight leader of the invasion, Cyanigosa.
We ran the instance twice. The first time included Eric's DK tank Abscess, Sedem healing (Disc priest), Firegrin (BM hunter), Wyrmm (Sub rogue), and my Alamein as Boomkin DPS (in a 35/0/31 Restokin spec). With this group, we wiped once while learning a boss fight (more in a sec) but finished the event on the second try. After that, we ran it again, subbing out Firegrin to bring in Mattoo as Feral DPS, and finished it on the first try.
The trash waves are mostly Dragonkin. We really didn't need CC, but we did it anyway, more for conserving the healer's mana than anything. Druid CC really shines here, since Hibernate works on Dragonkin and Entangling Roots works indoors. Between that and Wyrmm's Sap we were really able to pace the fights.
The key here is to have some space between the portal and the tank, so you can CC out of damage range. The portals spawn at several random locations, and most of them give you enough room; the toughest one spawns in the middle on the lower level. On Normal difficulty, we really had no problem even with zero CC, but I'm sure heroics are different. There are also 5 switches on the wall that you can activate (once) to put a big chunk of damage on any active mobs. We really didn't need these, only pulling them a couple times to see what would happen.
Some of the waves will spawn additional mobs, who tend to head straight for the healer; make sure to have someone watching for this. If uncontrolled, the mobs will eventually try to head for the door shield. If they damage it down to 0% you're defeated (again, similar to BM), but that was never an issue for us.
So the trash ain't bad. The tougher part for us were the first two prisoner bosses. The challenge is that they're a bit random. There are six mobs to choose from, and each has a different strategy, so you don't know who you're going to get. I had read up a bit in advance, but it was tough to know all the strats for all possible bosses.
You can get good info on them from both WoWWiki's VH pages and from Wowhead's VH data and comments. But two weeks into WotLK, the info is still a bit spare and I had to gather info from a few sources. Here's a quick and dirty guide to the six bosses you could face, from simplest to most complicated.
Moragg - BeholderA straight tank-n-spank. Will put a stacking debuff on the tank that reduces armor (5% per application), also damages another group member with an eye beam attack. Does magic damage, but otherwise nothing complicated. On Normal he was a cakewalk. On Heroic he's probably a healer-intensive fight (high damage on 2 targets).
Lavanthor - Core HoundAnother tank-n-spank. He has a flame breath ability so the tank should face him away from the group. We didn't face him, but he shouldn't be tough.
Erekem - ArakkoaDidn't face him either. He spawns with two adds, and the key here is to take Erekem down and just control the adds. If an add dies first, bad stuff happens (125% damage buff to the boss).
Xevozz - EtherealHe spawns orbs that are Bad News. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but you need to a) keep him away from his orbs, and b) keep party members away from the orbs. But the orbs will teleport you to them. In Normal we were able to just burn him down while eating some of the orb damage; this hit us pretty hard but I popped Tranquility to get us through a rough patch. On Heroic this is gonna be a tough fight. Evidently the Orbs can be rooted, which will probably help a lot, but we didn't know that/do that.
Zuramat the Obliterator - Void WalkerThis guy wiped us, but it's easy once you know the trick. He spawns adds that will AOE the party hard. The key is to watch for the Void Shift attack. Zuramat will cast Void Shift on one party member, and only that player can target and kill the adds. The key is to realize when you're Void Shifted and kill the adds quickly.
If you're not shifted, you'll see spheres casting the AOE; when you shift, you'll also see small voidy guys who are casting them. Kill them fast. (One Moonfire was enough to do it for me.) Everyone who's not Void Shifted should just DPS on the boss. The biggest challenge would be if the healer gets Void Shifted. You'll either need the tank to eat damage for a few seconds, or have a backup healer ready to switch from DPS. On Normal, with a good group you could probably just DPS the boss and eat the damage, but you'll need to be quick. On Heroic that's probably a wipe strategy.
Ichoron - Water Elemental ("Revenant" model)This fight goes in phases:
- DPS on Ichoron (actually his shield).
- Ichoron blows up, knocks you back, and drops to the ground. Little water elementals spawn around the room and head for the boss. Kill them, they have about 4000 HP on Normal.
- When an elemental eventually reaches Ichoron, he pops back up with a new shield and starts fighting again. So you want to kill as many as possible before they reach him, or you're dealing with boss+adds at the same time. Subsequent elementals will heal him if they reach him.
This repeats a few times until he hits 25% health, when it becomes a DPS race.
He wasn't bad on Normal, as long as you know the trick to the fight. I worry on Heroic that the adds will be tough to kill. Activating the wall switches can kill the adds, which many people recommend. This shouldn't be necessary on Normal, but may be key for Heroic.
So: those are your six possibilities. You'll face two of them each time. On our first attempt, we wiped on Zuramat after 12 trash waves, and we had to restart the whole event including the first boss. The two bosses were the same as our first try. The good news is that we got loot for each kill of boss #1.
The final boss, Cyanigosa, was easy by comparison. She's a typical dragon fight: tank faces her away from the party, melee needs to attack from the sides instead of the back to avoid her tail sweep. She does a blizzard AOE that you'll need to run out of. A few times during the fight, she'll teleport everyone on top of her. This is an aggro wipe. On Normal, she was darn easy. If everyone stays awake I don't think that Heroic should be tough (if you can get past the first two bosses, anyway). She was slightly anticlimactic after the more interesting fights that came before, but then again we've killed tons of dragons in Blades Edge so dragon fights are second nature now.
So: Two runs, one wipe, two successful completions. Abscess got a lot of plate loot, so he was pretty happy. We also got a mail belt and a druid staff (that I took for offspec). All in all, it was a lot of fun. It's a great instance and another example of Blizzard's design getting better and better.