As players continue to level and adventure in The World of Warcraft:Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) additional instances open themselves for exploration. The fourth such instance that players come across is Drak'Tharon Keep, located between the northern border of Grizzly Hills and the southern border of Zul'Drak. The instance is the fourth level-up instance in the expansion and features primarily trolls and undead, sometimes both at once.
Drak'Tharon Keep is the troll fortress that once was home to the Drakkari trolls, however they were driven out by the Scourge. It has been featured in Warcraft before as it was the place that Prince Arthas stayed when he was searching for the runeblade Frostmourne.
The instance can be accessed from either of the two zones it rests between, in much the same way as Blackrock Mountain. Most players will find it on the northern edge of Grizzly Hills as they explore the zone. Once there you can walk north in the non-instanced portion of the Keep to get to the meeting stone and zone in portal. You can also continue all the way through the Keep to get to the zone of Zul'Drak to the north and find the flight path just a short way to the north east at Light's Breach. Once you have that flight point, it should be your normal access point to the instance.
One of the nice things that Blizzard did with this instance was to try to set the mood even before you get into it. When you approach from the Grizzly Hills side of the instance you will see swarms of terrified trolls fleeing out of the Keep. Don't worry, they do not attack. They do serve the purpose to show that something is terribly wrong in the area though. It's a nice touch.
The MOBs in the instance are all troll or undead based, or worse yet, undead trolls. The very few exceptions are the spiders and raptors found in a few areas. There are a few special mechanics that have been seen in the instance so far as well. In several of the packs of MOBs there is a caster that creates a black void zone on the ground that causes large damage to anyone that stays in it. When this appears you need to clear out quickly. It seems to target players at random, so everyone needs to keep their eyes open. When fighting the spider MOBs will attempt to flee when they are getting low on health, if they get away they spawn additional small spiders, so try to keep them in combat and kill them quickly. Lastly, there are a few MOBs that can fear, but it is only a short term fear and should not create any serious issues.
The first boss in the instance is reached quickly after starting. His name is Trollgore and he is found at the top of the staircase in the second room of the Keep. He is a giant troll that is melee based and uses some mechanics from past WoW boss fights. His two main abilities are to either cannibalize or detonate any nearby body. This will generally be the bodies of the adds that spawn in the fight. When he cannibalizes a body he gets a stacking damage buff and grows in size, very similar to Gruul. When he detonates a nearby body it explodes causing an AOE blast hurting anyone nearby.
In addition to fighting Trollgore, troll bat-riders spawn in groups of three and must be picked up and dealt with. The best way to do this depends on the type of tank. As a Paladin tank you want to tank him at the top of the stairs so that you can grab them with consecrate as they land. As any other type of tank it is probably best to tank him at the bottom of the stairs and allow the ranged DPS time to kill the adds as they run down the stairs into the fight. Either way, they are non-elites and will die quickly when focused on.
The fight is fairly simple as long as the adds are taken down quickly and not allowed to pile up on the healer. If Trollgore is allowed to stay alive too long and cannibalizes too many bodies, the healer may run into issues healing as the damage ramps up fairly quickly. Other than those two issues, the fight is a simple tank and DPS race.
Once Trollgore has been defeated you proceed through a single room that has groups of spiders and cocooned victims. The spiders, as mentioned above, need to be kept nearby or they will summon additional adds. Once the spiders in the room have been cleared the cocoons can be destroyed to free victims for a quest in the instance. When you enter the next room you will find the second boss, Novos the Summoner.
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