Echoes of the Dead Instance Cluster, Part Three: Sari-Surma
alt="Echoes of the Dead Instance Cluster, Part 3: Sari-Surma"
So you thought Ferndur the Virulent was a pushover and you're
ready for the next challenger? Drugoth the Death-monger is waiting at
the glacier fortress in Sari-Surma with a tray of
pigs-in-blankets to welcome you to the next level.
If Hell ever froze over, this place is what it would be like:
tortured souls forever trapped in glimmering crystalline stalagmites,
ephemeral spirits engaged in never-ending, bloody war only to puff away
into nothingness as you grow near. Grims
composed of living cold devastate the flesh just as surely as a raging
fire would do, and powerful generals - once living, now forced to serve
their dire master after passing from the mortal world -rule the frozen
corridors and icy chambers with brute, tyrannical strength.
speaking, this is the "fear" instance, its presence indicated by the
purple-marked relic. The larger issue, however, is the cold. There are
plenty of fear-based attacks, surely, but it's more likely that the
cold will be what kills you here.
the Lost Temple, this place has some pretty dazzling visuals - the
glimmering ice stalagmites with the trapped bodies, the swirling
spirits up around the ceiling. Take it all in now, because once you get
started, there is limited time to enjoy the scenery.
will need to be fairly sturdy, and possibly heal-heavy. Rune-keepers
can work well in here when paired with a Minstrel, able to provide
secondary main healing during crucial battles and high DPS during less
heal-intensive moments.Rune-keepers are especially valuable when they
come in with a frost-attuned stone and can cast Do Not Fall to Frost.
alt="Glacier fortress entrance"
obstacle you face is actually one of the toughest - a Brumal Grim in a
narrow chamber just up the winding ramp from the entrance.
These grims are brutal - massive area-effect damage in a relatively
confined space. When it engages the group in combat, it will spawn in a
lesser grim to aid it, and if the lesser grim is killed it can simply
call up a new one. It's go-time for healers, who will want to stay a
relatively safe distance from the melee guys. This is harder than it
sounds, because the layout of the ice cave does not make much allowance
for spreading out. The best the healers can do is try to heal through
the maelstrom and keep the tanks standing.
After the grims comes a small group of frozen wights. These
rotten little monkeys pop up a few times in this first part of the
instance, and are generally more of a nuisance than a real threat...
unless they are pulled at the same time as bears or grims. They apply
debuffs to those they hit with their weak attacks - healers and
tactical classes will find their tactical skills severely hampered, and
ranged attackers will experience the same problem, but melee characters
will experience this as a buff which increases their melee damage by a
A little further in, you will encounter groups of bears - a
mama bear with 2 cubs. Like all mama bears, the glowy-eyed matrons in
the ice caves are fiercely protective of their babies, and when the
cubs die, mama bear gets a massive damage buff. The cubs will
random-aggro during the fight, occasionally foraying into the rear
lines to beat on the healers, but attention must first be paid to mama
bear. Burn her down to around 5000 morale, then kill the cubs. When
both cubs are down, kill the matron swiftly before she rage-chews too
many holes in the tank.
When the matron dies, she will spawn a ghost version of
herself. This ghost version will not attack the players unless it is
attacked first, so be sure to pull back when the matron falls. If you
kill the matron first and not the cubs, the matron's spirit will heal
the cubs before she despawns - you don't want that.
In the tunnels between mob encounter zones, the group will run
across ghostly vignettes of scenes of past violence. These vignettes
poof away after they play out, often leaving the actors frozen in an
icy frieze as permanent fortress decorations. But some of these
stalagmite spots are spawn points for groups of wights - be on your
toes. Another thing to watch out for is the steaming vents located
strategically around the place. Stand on or near one of these vents for
10 seconds and you will receive a 1-hour warmth buff against cold-based
attacks. You will definitely want to do this before boss fights.
After a few more encounters with grims, wights and bears, you
come at last to the chamber of Coldbear the Wight. Coldbear, now in
new-and-improved wight form, is a recent immigrant from old Helegrod,
and is seeking vengeance against those who put him in this horrible
alt="Coldbear the wight"
This is a 3-stage fight, and one of the reasons you may want
more than one healer in the group. Most of Coldbear's special attacks
are prefaced by shouts, so pay attention to what he says and you'll do
The group will want to spread out for this fight, with lots of
empty space between the ranged attackers and healers. This will be
important for later stages of the fight when Coldbear uses his Frost
Shards attack. Healers will want to stand well back from Coldbear, just
within healing range of the main tank and with line-of-sight on the
corners of the room, but away from the stalagmite clusters of frozen
wights., which activate during the 3rd and final stage.
In stage 1 of the fight, the main tank will run up and engage
Coldbear straightaway. Watch out for a red glow around his head - this
shield will block 90% of incoming damage and reflect it back on the
attackers. When this shield comes up, quickly stop all DPS and wait for
it to expire.
Tanks will have a rough time of this fight. When Coldbear
shouts "No more wriggling!" or "You will stand still and take it," he
applies a debuff to his primary target that negates all block, parry
and evade. Guardians may want to use Overpower stance for this fight
since they won't be blocking any attacks anyway. Coldbear will also
shout "Your scurrying around must stop!" whereupon he applies a debuff
to secondary targets, slowing movement speed by 75%.
Stage 2 starts at around 50% health, and is mostly the same as
stage 1, but with the addition of the Frost Shards attack, a nasty
frost attack that does massive damage over time. Coldbear will shout
"Embrace the frost!" before he applies this debuff, and the affected
character will be surrounded by a blue cloud that will spread to anyone
caught within the radius when it expires. Victims of this debuff must
move away from the rest of the group, and healers will need to focus
spam-heals on the affected character until the debuff ends. If the
victim does not move away from the group and the cloud spreads to other
characters, healing the whole group will be more or less impossible.
When Coldbear's physical body is slain, he rises up again in
spirit form, and this starts stage 3 of the fight. He loses the reflect
shield in stage 3, but replaces it with some other nasty surprises.
First, he will shake the room, applying a small frost damage-over-time
effect on everyone. Second, he will use an area-effect stun that will
stun everyone within 10 meters of him. Thirdly, he will shout "I need
more power!" and will run over to a secondary target and drain power
from that character. None of these attacks are interruptable.
Also, the frozen wights are activated during stage 3. Anyone
standing close to the clusters of frozen wights may be subject to their
attacks. The group may want to send a melee character around to pick up
the wights when they spawn in and keep them away from the healers, who
will be rendered powerless by the wights' tactical debuffs. And, of
course, there's still the Frost Shards attacks to worry about.
Rune-keepers are again very useful in this fight
with Do Not Fall to Frost, which can negate the Frost Shards
attack if applied in time to the right character. However, the timing
and placement of this attack is wholly uncertain, and players should
probably not rely on this effect to save them. Better to
assume that it won't happen and be prepared to keep the Frost Shards
victims standing with spam-heals.
After Coldbear's ghost is put to rest, it's time to move
deeper into the icy fortress and confront the next boss, Osan. The path
to Osan is mercifully brief, but no less dangerous.
To get to Osan, first you will have to pass a couple of
Fanatics and some undead giants. The Fanatics are small, goblin-type
wights surrounded by icy whirlwinds, which have knock-backs and do
area-effect damage. They are difficult to properly tank since they use
a number of targeted attacks, and you'll want to fight them singly
rather than paired with giants.
Once you've dispatched these few mobs, it's time to enter the
pit. This fight seems like it might be a cakewalk at first, but as the
fight progresses, it gets progressively harder as more and more
"reinforcements" enter the fray. For this fight, the group wants to go
DPS-heavy; Rune-keepers go DPS, Hunters go Strength stance.
The tank starts by igniting the pedestal in the middle. Osan
will march forward and smash the pedestal, and the tank pulls him to
the black columns between the stairs, staying there for pretty much the
whole fight. Everyone else ignores Osan and focuses on adds.
There are 4 types of adds in this fight, and a fairly strict
priority sequence for taking them down.
- Fanatics - the goblin-type wights surrounded by swirling,
icy death. These need to be taken out first. They behave rather like a
mob affected by a Burglar's Enrage trick, targeting attacks and
ignoring all attempts to tank them.
- Wights - weaker than the Fanatics, but a dangerous nuisance
when you get a lot of them at once (and you will). Take these out
- Giants - these drop down along the sides and hurl boulders.
They can be locked down with crowd control until the Fanatics and
wights are dead.
- Lieutenants - there are 4 of these, and they must be killed
before taking Osan down. When they jump down, they need to be picked up
by an off-tank and kited around the room. They hit very hard and have a
number of special attacks that can be brutal. Kill them last, and only
when there are no other adds to fight.
The adds drop down in groups from the back and the sides, and
Fanatics usually drop in from the corners. All but the tank need to
focus their efforts on killing the adds until all 4 lieutenants are
dead. The adds are on a timer, not tied to Osan's health, so killing
Osan too early will lose the tier 2 challenge. Hunters will want to be
in Strength stance for this stage of the fight, and keep the adds off
of the healers when they drop in. The group will need a designated
off-tank to aggro the lieutenants and whatever else is posing a problem
and kite them around the room. A Warden works for this (though a Warden
may be better suited to tank Osan), and so does a Champion.
Besides the order of the adds, there are 2 more important
things to watch out for in this fight. First is the glaring blue eye,
which can be applied to any member of the group. This eye does no
damage, but when it expires it will instantly kill the affected
character. When the eye pops up, the affected character needs to call
it out, and the group's designated corruption remover needs to hit Osan
with his corruption removal skill. All classes have some kind of
corruption removal these days, so pretty much any class is fine for a
designated corruption remover. However, it's a good idea to plan for
disaster and have a backup corruption remover, in case the first guy
misses his mark.
The second thing to watch out for is Osan's "ground pound"
attack, which he does for every 5 adds killed. The tank will see a
building "Impending Wrath" buff building up, and when it reaches tier 5
he does his ground-pound and resets it. He announces this
attack in advance, and the tank (who should be the only one who needs
to worry about this attack) usually has lots of time to get away from
the enraged giant.
By the time the 4th lieutenant drops down, the fight may seem
like a madhouse scramble, particularly if the other mobs have not yet
been handled. It turns into a DPS race against the adds - you want to
burn them all as quickly as possible before the next wave hits. After
the 4th lieutenant is killed, the fight calms down considerably and the
DPSers can start hitting Osan, peeling off only when waves of Wights
enter the pit.
DRUGOTH THE DEATH-MONGER
The final fight is against the gaunt-lord Drugoth and his two
pet caerog Guardians. They stand on a pillar-lined ledge on a high
cliff overlooking the Bay of Forochel. Familiarize yourself with the
layout before starting anything - you're going to want to keep track of
your position in this one, or you risk taking an icy plunge.
alt="Drugoth the Death-monger"
This fight feels much easier after defeating Osan, but that
don't make it a picnic in the park. You will want to divide your group
into ranged and melee, and split up accordingly. The ranged guys run
around the outside of the platform, sticking to the pillars and cliff
walls, clockwise from the door to the second pillar from the wall
(basically the furthest point from the caerog). Melee guys stay at the
door until the fight starts.
The tank runs out and starts the encounter, and, after a brief
"you're all doomed" villain speech, the caerog activate. Drugoth holds
his fire for a few seconds, so you have time to deal with the caerog.
Hunters earn their pay here, range-tanking the molasses-slow caerog and
burning them down quickly. The caerog will very, very slowly march
against the ranged attackers, and the attackers will not want to let
them get too close, or risk being punted over the edge of the cliff.
When they get close, run past them to the other side of the ledge and
keep firing. Take these guys down fast before turning on Drugoth, and
keep them away from the melee guys. Again, Hunters have the advantage
here with high-DPS threat, so as long as everyone avoids the knockbacks
and doesn't stray too close to the juggernauts, this part of the fight
should go fairly smoothly.
Drugoth also likes to fling people around at this point, and
there are patrolling, non-attackable tornadoes that have a silencing
effect. Nothing can be done about those tornadoes except to try to
avoid them whenever possible, but Drugoth's high-flying
aerobatic-inducing moves can be countered by breaking line of sight
whenever he says anything about coming closer or getting further away.
Since he never moves from his one spot, all of the "come here/go away"
stuff he says applies to you. If possible, keep the doorway at your
back and you shouldn't go flying off the ledge.
Once the caerog are down, the fight gets easier and it's a
quick hop to stage 2, which you will recognize by the creepy, darkening
sky. Ranged attackers and healers should move close to a pillar, and
staying closely grouped up might help. Drugoth usually announces what
he is doing before he actually does it - the hallmark of the true
super-villain - so the group has time to react when the situation
requires it. During stage 2, he will say something along the lines of
"Run and hide!" or "Freeze in place!" When he says this, or anything
like this, get behind one of the pillars and break line of sight. You
will know you have broken line of sight when you see a blue buff on
your buffs bar. If he can't see you, he can't hit you. If he can see
you, you will be stunned, take big damage or be flung about like a used
During stage 3, Drugoth will begin stealing the powers of
various members of the fellowship, turning them against his foes by way
of summoned spirits that show up behind him. Some of these are worse
than others - for instance, when he steals the power of Hunters, the
spirits will begin doing massive ranged damage against random targets,
and when he steals the power of Guardians, he and the spirits will have
a damage reflect shield. Furthermore, the character who has had his
powers stolen is mezzed as long as his spirit is alive. He steals the
skills of 2 classes at once, so be prepared for a tough fight during
this stage. DPS needs to be focused on the spirits when they come up -
they're not that tough, only around 9000 morale each. Kill them fast
and then resume beating on Drugoth until he dies. Loot the 2 chests,
and then take a minute to congratulate yourself for beating one of the
most difficult 6-man instances in the game.
Of course, the story isn't over yet. Nosir, these were just
the preliminaries. From this point on, it's time to step up your game
and get ready to go raiding. The storyline of In Their Absence
continues in Ost Dunhoth, which requires full 12-man raids to complete
each of the 5 wings. If you haven't brought your A-game for these
preliminary instances, it's time to get it out of the closet and bring
it now. You're going to need it.
Any further tips to share on this or any of the other new
instances? Share them in our forums!
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