Wednesday, November 26, 2008

AN and ATOK FTW

I have to say, I'm a fan of short instances with quests right outside. Especially when two instances are located in relative proximity to one another. Yeah, this is probably a bone thrown to us "casual" gamers; the type that can only get on for one or two hours a night. Its real nice to jump on, get summoned to an instance (or fly in), pick up a couple quests and knock out a dungeon.

There is also a very good trash to boss ratio in these dungeons. I've always felt like in some of the old world dungeons especially, it took you an hour just to get to the first boss. You were killing gobs of trash mobs with no "main event". I really do like the change, even if it is a catering to a more "casual" gameplay style, and I'd like to see this theme continue.

Opinions aside, I was able to run both Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom (hereafter referred to as AN and ATOK). I will try not to redo what has already been done, and point you instead to some good guides over at fear.win for both AN and ATOK if you want more in-depth coverage. I will, however, try to add a few of my own observations about them. I didn't grab any screenies, so its not a pretty post, and I apologize.

Before you start either of these, there is an NPC right near the summoning stone that will hand out the only three quests that are associated with these two instances. Pick 'em up for some bonus exp after you finish: none of them have you do anything too special.

In AN, there are three bosses and the dungeon is pretty linear. Just trash pull from one to the next. For the first boss, The Gatewatcher (are you the Keymaster? Ghostbusters anyone?), note that once you start pulling the three mobs in front of him, you are then locked into the encounter... make sure you're ready to go before you do that. I had that thing happen when you are leader and have to explain what's going on while starting a fight. Never good for the 'ole DPS. Other than that, he's pretty much cake. Some AoE makes his adds a bit easier.

The second boss is a nightmare for those of you folks with arachnophobia. However, this fight is all about the setup. When you exit the ramp onto the giant web, you will set into motion events which will lead up to the final encounter with the giant spider. A valid, tried, and true method for this fight is just to sit just to the right of where you exited the ramp and pull the large elites that sit in the middle of the web. After you pull the first one, the next two will show up. Pull those and kill 'em one at a time. Then you play the waiting game. You'll see some random non-elites wandering around. A few may come to you and you will just kill them, but Hadronox (the spider lady) will seal up the exits with web, cutting off the supply of adds and then turn her attention on you. While you can fight her earlier with the adds on her helping you, each time these adds die she gains a bit of health back, so it's probably best to just wait her out. She's not really all that hard, but this is the simple method. The only thing to really watch out for is her green AoE cloud of death... move out of it!

The final boss in AN takes place in a circular area that feels very much like a cage match for insects. Make sure everyone is in the circle before you start as a web forcefield will lock them out if you've left someone outside. Anub'arak is the name of this friendly burrower, and he'll take some time to DPS down. You'll have to deal with some adds and avoid the spikes that shoot up from the ground while killing him, but as long as you pick up the elites and kill them quickly, it shouldn't be a problem.

Next, head on over to ATOK to finish satiating your inner insectivore. This instance adds an extra boss, but is still pretty short. It is done well, and even evokes the feeling of claustrophobia at some points.

The first boss you encounter is Elder Nadox. This dude hits decently hard, so you'll want to let your tank focus on him when you need to pick up his "Guardian" elite adds. When they hatch, they will make him immune to damage, so DPS will need to kill those guardians. They're not too tough though and we had a hunter tank/kite them pretty easily as they don't hit very hard and can be killed quickly (we also had no other melee DPS). Swap back and forth and lay on some AoE to knock out the little guys that hatch as well.

Another Prince character (Teldaram this time) waits further in the instance. It should be noted that you will need to deactivate his magical forcefield by clicking on some orbs on two platforms leading up to the boss area. This isn't a Zeldanian puzzle (I think I made that word up), so you should be able to figure it out easy enough. The boss will do some chain fire damage that you'll want to spread out to avoid, plus he'll pin down a random party member and suck life from them. Knock him around real good (like 40k damage or something) to get him off. No one likes an uninvited mounter. We're not steeds mind you. He should die quickly enough though, and you'll spilled enough royal blood by now to call it a revolution.

A long, claustrophobic tunnel later and some more trash will bring you to Jedoga Shadowseeker aka "that floating lady". This fight can be tricky to learn. If you have a pally tank, its good to stack up when you run in to begin this fight to AoE down the little guys that will swarm you. The encounter begins when she lands and you'll just want to DPS her until she floats back up and calls for a sacrifice. It is imperative that you kill the minion before it reaches her little sacrifice area, as she will buff way up if she's allowed to complete the ritual and wipe you like single ply. Other than that, make sure you avoid the lightning circle of death and stay within the group of observers and you'll be fine.

The final fight takes place after you traverse a long, web ramp (Blizz loves the spiders in this x-pac). You'll pull the three blokes wandering around the boss chamber first, and then engage the boss himself, Mr. Herald Volazj. This big ugly is one of the more enjoyable fights so far, IMO. While you're tanking and spanking he'll throw in some AoE shadowbolts, but nothing big. The fun comes when he does an ability called "Insanity" which will pit you against the four other members of your party. Don't panic though, they each only have 4k health. If I were you, I'd take out the healers first and then just DPS down the rest of your group as you see fit. As a 'lock, I dotted everyone and laughed when they died so quick. The good news is that then you can help your remaining party members with their "insanity". After a certain amount of time, the remaining adds will appear to all and join in the fight as the boss resumes, so its good to get 'em DPS'ed down prior to that. It should be no problem if you have a couple good DPS'ers as they can help you after they take care of their own if you happen to be a healer or tank. All in all, a really fun fight.

Well, in any case, those are my thoughts on these two wonderful instances. Look for the first installment of Pally Power tomorrow, as I believe Fuu is typing up her post this evening. It may take an extra day, what with Thanksgiving festivities and all, but stay tuned and have a Happy Thanksgiving! If you're like us, you'll be spending at least half of it in the "new world" of WoW :-). Christopher Columbus ain't got $&!# on us.

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